Lincoln: I’ll come.
He and CUSTIS rise.
Wait, will you, Mr. Custis? I want to ask you some questions.
He goes out. It is getting dark, and SUSAN lights a lamp and draws the curtains. CUSTIS stands by the door looking after LINCOLN.
Custis: He very good man.
Susan: You’ve found that out, have you?
Custis: Do you love him, you white girl?
Susan: Of course I do.
Custis: Yes, you must.
Susan: He’s a real white man. No offence, of course.
Custis: Not offend. He talk to me as if black no difference.
Susan: But I tell you what, Mr. Custis. He’ll kill himself over this war, his heart’s that kind—like a shorn lamb, as they say.
Custis: Very unhappy war.
Susan: But I suppose he’s right. It’s got to go on till it’s settled.
In the street below a body of people is heard approaching, singing “John Brown’s Body” CUSTIS and SUSAN stand listening, SUSAN joining in the song as it passes and fades away.
THE CURTAIN FALLS.
First Chronicler: Unchanged our time.
And further yet
In loneliness must be the way,
And difficult and deep the debt
Of constancy to pay.
Second Chronicler: And one denies,
and one forsakes.
And still unquestioning he goes,
Who has his lonely thoughts, and makes.
A world of those.
The two together: When the high heart
And the sure vision celebrate,
And worship greatness passing by,
Ourselves are great.
About the same date. A meeting of the Cabinet at Washington. SMITH has gone and CAMERON has been replaced by EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War. Otherwise the ministry, completed by SEWARD, CHASE, HOOK, BLAIR, and WELLES, is as before. They are now arranging themselves at the table, leaving LINCOLN’S place empty.
Seward (coming in_): I’ve just had my summons. Is there some special news?
Stanton: Yes. McClellan has defeated Lee at Antietam. It’s our greatest success. They ought not to recover from it. The tide is turning.
Blair: Have you seen the President?
Stanton: I’ve just been with him.
Welles: What does he say?
Stanton: He only said, “At last.” He’s coming directly.
Hook: He will bring up his proclamation again. In my opinion it is inopportune.
Seward: Well, we’ve learnt by now that the President is the best man among us.
Hook: There’s a good deal of feeling against him everywhere, I find.