Inside the White House in War Times: Memoirs and Reports of Lincoln's Secretary

By William O. Stoddard; Michael Burlingame | Go to book overview

The Critics and the Gamblers

Mrs. Lincoln is absolute mistress of all that part of the White House inside of the vestibule, on the first floor, and of all the upper floor east of the folding doors across the hall at the head of the stairs. She has had varied assistance in the management of her domain since she came into possession of it. She was never less than a somewhat authoritative ruler of her own affairs, but it is entirely easy, for all that, to meet her with the most positive and strenuous negatives. She is always ready to listen to argument and to yield to plainly put reasons for doing or for not doing, provided the arguments come from a recognized friend, for her personal antipathies are quick and strong, and at times they find hasty and resentful forms of expression.

It was not easy, at first, to understand why a lady who could be one day so kindly, so considerate, so generous, so thoughtful and so hopeful, could, upon another day, appear so unreasonable, so irritable, so despondent, so even niggardly, and so prone to see the dark, the wrong side of men and women and events. It is easier to understand it all and to deal with it after a few words from an eminent medical practitioner. Probably all physicians and most middle-aged people will understand better than could a youthful secretary the causes of a sudden horror of poverty to come, for example, which, during a few hours of extreme depression, proposed to sell the very manure in the Executive stables, and to cut off the necessary expenses of the household. No demand for undue economy and no unhappiness of disposition could be discovered a week or so later. People in great need of something spicy to talk or write about are picking up all sorts of stray gossip relating to asserted occurrences under this roof, and they are making strange work out of some of it. It is a work which they will not cease from. They will do it, to the very end, so effectively that a host of excellent people will one day close their eyes to the wife's robe dabbled with her husband's blood. There will be, in that day, a strange blindness and brutality concerning the

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Inside the White House in War Times: Memoirs and Reports of Lincoln's Secretary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Editor's Introduction vii
  • 1 - Inside the White House in War Times 1
  • Opening the Door 3
  • Persons and Papers 11
  • Weapons and War Ships 19
  • Gifts and Visitors 26
  • The Critics and the Gamblers 33
  • Bronzes and Earthworks 40
  • The Reception 47
  • A Variety of Uniforms 54
  • The Two Chieftains 61
  • The Monitor and the Union League 68
  • The Capitol and the Future 75
  • Sentries and Passes 82
  • A Battle Summer 89
  • The Echoes of the Proclamation 96
  • Realities and the Drama 103
  • A Vigil and a Victory 110
  • July 4th, 1863 117
  • The Contrabands and the New Captain 121
  • Pictures and Reports 127
  • There is an End of All Things 134
  • 2 - White House Sketches 141
  • Sketch 1 143
  • Sketch 2 148
  • Sketch 3 153
  • Sketch 4 156
  • Sketch 5 160
  • Sketch 6 165
  • Sketch 7 170
  • Sketch 8 176
  • Sketch 9 180
  • Sketch 10 184
  • Sketch 11 189
  • Sketch 12 193
  • Sketch 13 198
  • Notes 203
  • Index 221
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