Inmates of the White House get accustomed, after a while, to this strange, unnatural, wartime atmosphere, but they cannot escape from some of its effects. Mr. Lincoln bears it better than could another man in his place, perhaps, but it is telling upon him perceptibly. The sense of not breathing so easily here as elsewhere is a false impression, no doubt, but all sorts of men are suffering from moral malarial fever. Some of them say and do different things from what they intended saying or doing before they came to Washington. All kinds of people come on all kinds of errands, and most of them, nowadays, besiege the Capitol and the Departments, but there is a long list of persistent visitors who hang around the White House and wait for chances to see the President, even after they are assured that he cannot and will not see them.
For a while the private secretary's room was overflowed, like the others, but the excess worked a reaction, and the door of that office is now under wholesome restrictions. The door of this northeast room cannot so well be closed, and it has become a favorite waiting-place for those who consider themselves privileged to make use of it. Hullo!
"I want to see Old Abe!"
He is six feet high, in shining black broadcloth, shining pin and watch- chain, shining black hat and hair, and his face is all one shine of serene, hearty, boisterous self-confidence. He knows exactly how to swing into the affections of a rail-splitter, and he has swung right past the usher, and the common people--Senators, Congressmen and the like--who are loitering so patiently near the President's office door. His entrance here suggests the word "bulge," if there is such a word.
"Is Old Abe in?" and the smile on his face ripens into a haw-haw of asserted old acquaintance and personal familiarity with--well, with the Government and with all creation.