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in popularity and influence at home because of his refusal to be obedient to public opinion on the Mexican War issue.

He analyzed the wiggling weasel course of General Lewis Cass, the Democratic presidential candidate, on the Wilmot Proviso. In 1846 General Cass was for the Proviso at once; in March, 1847, he was still for it, but not just then; in December, 1847, he was against it altogether. "This is a true index to the whole man," declared Lincoln. "When the question was raised in 1846, he was in a blustering hurry to take ground for it. He sought to be in advance, to avoid the uninteresting position of a mere follower; but soon he began to see glimpses of the great Democratic ox-gad waving in his face, and to hear indistinctly a voice saying: 'Back! Back, sir, back a little!' He shakes his head and bats his eyes and blunders back to his position of March, 1847; but still the gad waves, and the voice grows more distinct and sharper still, 'Back, sir! Back, I say!'-and back he goes to the position of December, 1847, at which the gad is still, and the voice soothingly says: 'So! Stand at that.'

The style of the speech was "scathing and withering," a newspaper commented. Lincoln wasn't always humble. He could be cutting and scornful.

Chapter 81

LINCOLN had decided after a short stay of his wife in Washington that it would be best for her to return to Springfield, which she did. When again she wished to go East she wrote to him asking him about it as though in such a case it was for her to ask and for him to advise or decide.

He signs his letters to her, "Affectionately" or "Most Affectionately," and the name "A. Lincoln." She signs her letters, "Truly yours," and initials and dash, "M. L." His salutation is "My Dear Wife" or "Dear Mary," and hers "My Dear Husband."

He wrote her he hated to sit down and direct documents back

HE WRITES TO HIS WIFE

393

to Illinois voters, and he hated to be in an old boarding-house room by himself. While she was there he had thought she hindered him in attending business, but since then, having nothing but business, no variety, the daily routine had grown tasteless

All of the boarders with whom she was on decided good terms, he wrote, sent their love to her, while the others of the house were saying nothing. He has been shopping in the stores of Washington, as she asked, but cannot find a pair of plaid stockings of any sort to fit "Eddy's dear little feet."

He wished her to enjoy herself in every possible way, he wrote, but as to her open intimacy with a certain Wickliffe family he asked if there were not danger of her wounding the feelings of her own good father.

One letter Lincoln wrote to his wife that year, read, in full, as follows:

My dear wife:

Washington, July 2, 1848.

Your letter of last sunday came last night- On that day (sunday) I wrote the principal part of a letter to you, but did not finish it, or send it till tuesday, when I had provided a draft for $100 which I sent in it- It is now probable that on that day (tuesday) you started to Shelbyville; so that when the money reaches Lexington, you will not be there Before leaving, did you make any provision about letters that might come to Lexington for you? Write me whether you got the draft, if you shall not have already done so, when this reaches you- Give my kindest regards to your uncle John, and all the family- Thinking of them reminds me that I saw your acquaintance, Newton, of Arkansas, at the Philadelphia Convention- We had but a single interview, and that was so brief, and in so great a multitude of strange faces, that I am quite sure I should not recognize him, if I were to meet him again— He was a sort of Trinity, three in one, having the right, in his own person, to cast the three votes of ArkansasTwo or three days ago I sent your uncle John, and a few of our other friends each a copy of the speech I mentioned in my last letter; but I did not send any to you, thinking you would be on the road here, before it would reach you- I send you one now- Last wednesday, P. H. Hood & Co. dunned me for a little bill of $5-38 cents, and Walter Harper & Co. another for $8-50 cents, for goods which they say you bought- I hesitated to pay them, because my recollection is

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that you told me when you went away, there was nothing left unpaidMention in your next letter whether they are right—

Mrs. Richardson is still here; and what is more, has a baby-so Richardson says, and he ought to know- I believe Mary Hewett has left here and gone to Boston- I met her on the street about fifteen or twenty days ago, and she told me she was going soon- I have seen nothing of her since

The music in the Capitol grounds on saturdays, or, rather, the interest in it, is dwindling down to nothing Yesterday evening the attendance was rather thin- Our two girls, whom you remember seeing first at Canisis, at the exhibition of the Ethiopian Serenaders, and whose peculiarities were the wearing of black fur bonnets, and never being seen in close company with other ladies, were at the music yesterday- One of them was attended by their brother, and the other had a member of Congress in tow- He went home with her; and if I were to guess, I would say, he went away a somewhat altered man-most likely in his pockets, and in some other particular- The fellow looked conscious of guilt, although I believe he was unconscious that everybody around knew who it was that had caught him—

I have had no letter from home, since I wrote you before, except short business letters, which have no interest for you

By the way, you do not intend to do without a girl, because the one you had has left you? Get another as soon as you can to take charge of the dear codgers- Father expected to see you all sooner; but let it pass; stay as long as you please, and come when you please and love the dear rascals

Affectionately

Kiss

A. LINCOLN.

A letter dated "Lexington, May —, 48," arrives one day from Mrs. Lincoln; he may think old age has set its seal upon her: "in few or none of my letters, I can remember the day of the month. I must confess it is one of my peculiarities; I feel wearied and tired enough to know, that this Saturday night, our babies are asleep, and as Aunt Maria B. is coming in for me to-morrow morning, I think the chances will be rather dull that I should answer your last letter to-morrow."

She gives news from her sister Frances at Springfield. Willie is recovering from another spell of sickness. As to Springfield, she reports it "as dull as usual."

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