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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.
that he was “pale and trembling, as if being driven to slaughter;” another relates that the little son of a friend, noticing that his toilet had been more carefully made than usual, asked him where he was going, and that he gloomily responded:  “To hell, I suppose.”  Probably enough, however, these anecdotes are apocryphal; for why the proud and high-tempered Miss Todd should have held so fast to an unwilling lover, who had behaved so strangely and seemed to offer her so little, is a conundrum which has been answered by no better explanation than the very lame one, that she foresaw his future distinction.  It was her misfortune that she failed to make herself popular, so that no one has cared in how disagreeable or foolish a position any story places her.  She was charged with having a sharp tongue, a sarcastic wit, and a shrewish temper, over which perilous traits she had no control.  It is related that her sister, Mrs. Edwards, opposed the match, from a belief that the two were utterly uncongenial, and later on this came to be the accepted belief of the people at large.  That Mrs. Lincoln often severely harassed her husband always has been and always will be believed.  One would gladly leave the whole topic veiled in that privacy which ought always to be accorded to domestic relations which are supposed to be only imperfectly happy; but his countrymen have not shown any such respect to Mr. Lincoln, and it no longer is possible wholly to omit mention of a matter about which so much has been said and written.  Moreover, it has usually been supposed that the influence of Mrs. Lincoln upon her husband was unceasing and powerful, and that her moods and her words constituted a very important element in his life.[48]

Another disagreeable incident of this period was the quarrel with James A. Shields.  In the summer of 1842 sundry coarse assaults upon Shields, attributed in great part, or wholly, to the so-called trenchant and witty pen of Miss Todd, appeared in the Springfield “Journal.”  Lincoln accepted the responsibility for them, received and reluctantly accepted a challenge, and selected broadswords as the weapons!  “Friends,” however, brought about an “explanation,” and the conflict was avoided.  But ink flowed in place of blood, and the newspapers were filled with a mass of silly, grandiloquent, blustering, insolent, and altogether pitiable stuff.  All the parties concerned were placed in a most humiliating light, and it is gratifying to hear that Lincoln had at least the good feeling to be heartily ashamed of the affair, so that he “always seemed willing to forget” it.  But every veil which he ever sought to throw over anything concerning himself has had the effect of an irresistible provocation to drag the subject into the strongest glare of publicity.[49]

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