There is to be a grand public reception this evening. Hard work and no extra pay, at a time when every member of this household feels as if there were too much on his hands already, but there is no avoiding a kind of show which the popular will so imperatively demands. A President who would not put on his best clothes now and then, and stand up to shake hands with his fellow-citizens, would lose all influence over them, even if he escaped impeachment as a haughty tyrant and a gloomy, secluded despot.
"What is it, Edward?"
"Madame would like to see you in the Red Room before she goes out. Something about the reception, I think."
"I'll come right down."
Mrs. Lincoln is waiting in the Red Room, and she is bright, cheerful, almost merry. Her instructions are given in a very kindly and vivacious manner. As you look at her and talk with her, the fact that she has so many enemies strikes you as one of the moral curiosities of this venomous time, for she has never in any way harmed one of the men and women who are so recklessly assailing her.
She is going out for a drive, and the carriage is waiting for her, and so is a lady friend. You will not be wanted again until the evening, but you are requested to be on duty at an early hour.
Is Mrs. Lincoln fond of driving out? Not very, but she must have exercise and fresh air, and there is hardly any other way than this. She has several times driven out to visit and inspect the forts and lines, and to wonder, as did her husband, why the men were kept at work upon additional defenses after so much hard spading had already been done. The military explanation, however, is perfect. It is true that the Confederate forces are numerically inferior, but they never tell us before- hand where they are going to strike us, and so we have no means of know-