Mr. Stone: Abraham’s all for the Constitution. He wants the Constitution to be an honest master. There’s nothing he wants like that, and he’ll stand for that, firm as a Samson of the spirit, if he goes to Washington. He’d give his life to persuade the state against slaving, but until it is persuaded and makes its laws against it, he’ll have nothing to do with violence in the name of laws that aren’t made. That’s why old John’s raiding affair stuck in his gullet.
Mr. Cuffney: He was a brave man, going like that, with a few zealous like himself, and a handful of niggers, to free thousands.
Mr. Stone: He was. And those were brave words when they took him out to hang him. “I think, my friends, you are guilty of a great wrong against God and humanity. You may dispose of me very easily. I am nearly disposed of now. But this question is still to be settled—this negro question, I mean. The end of that is not yet.” I was there that day. Stonewall Jackson was there. He turned away. There was a colonel there giving orders. When it was over, “So perish all foes of the human race,” he called out. But only those that were afraid of losing their slaves believed it.
Mr. Cuffney (after a pause): It was a bad thing to hang a man like that. ... There’s a song that they’ve made about him.
He sings quietly.
John Brown’s body lies a mould’ring
in the grave,
But his soul goes marching on...
Mr. Stone: I know.
The two together (singing quietly):
The stars of heaven are looking kindly
On the grave of old John Brown....
After a moment MRS. LINCOLN comes in. The men rise.
Mrs. Lincoln: Good-evening, Mr. Stone. Good-evening, Mr. Cuffney.
Mr. Stone and Mr. Cuffney: Good-evening, ma’am.
Mrs. Lincoln: Sit down, if you please.
They all sit.
Mr. Stone: This is a great evening for you, ma’am.
Mrs. Lincoln: It is.
Mr. Cuffney: What time do you expect the deputation, ma’am?
Mrs. Lincoln: They should be here at seven o’clock. (With an inquisitive nose.) Surely, Abraham hasn’t been smoking.
Mr. Stone (rising): Shall I open the window, ma’am? It gets close of an evening.
Mrs. Lincoln: Naturally, in March. You may leave the window, Samuel Stone. We do not smoke in the parlour.
Mr. Stone (resuming his seat): By no means, ma’am.
Mrs. Lincoln: I shall be obliged to you.
Mr. Cuffney: Has Abraham decided what he will say to the invitation?
Mrs. Lincoln: He will accept it.
Mr. Stone: A very right decision, if I may say so.
Mrs. Lincoln: It is.
Mr. Cuffney: And you, ma’am, have advised him that way, I’ll be bound.