Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage

Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage

Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage

Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage

Excerpt

Springfield, Illinois, January 4, 1840. It was a cold, snowy evening as the stagecoach pulled into town, bearing among its passengers from St. Louis a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin S. Edwards, who had decided to make the new state capital their home. The young wife looked with apprehensive eyes upon the raw little town with "No street lights, no sidewalks, and the mud so thick it was hard for the stage to pull through." After depositing some of its passengers at the American House, the old coach went lumbering up through the dark to a large, stately house on the hill where the Centennial Building now stands.

It was the home of Benjamin's brother, Ninian Wirt Edwards, with whom the couple were to stay until their own home was ready. Years later Benjamin's wife described their arrival: "My heart was heavy at the thought of meeting strangers, but O! what a haven of rest it appeared to me when we entered that bright hospitable home and how quickly my fears were dispersed by the cordial welcome we received from all of the family."

The opened door led into a richly furnished interior ablaze with candles, oil lamps, and cheerful open fires. Across that illumination there came to meet her a young woman whose face was aglow with friendliness and welcome. She was a small, pretty, plump girl with vivid coloring of blue eyes, white skin, and light chestnut hair, but what the bride noted was not a catalogue of features but the joyousness of her responsive spirit. "I was attracted toward her at once," said Mrs. Edwards. "The sunshine in her heart was reflected in her face. She greeted me with such warmth of manner that I was made to feel perfectly at home and...she insisted upon my calling her by her first name, saying she knew we would be great friends and I must call her . . .

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