The next night at the same hour a man entered the Seward home, saying that he had been sent with messages by the doctor. Being refused admittance to the sick-chamber, he drew a pistol and endeavored to shoot Seward’s son who guarded the door; but being foiled in this he crushed the young man’s skull with the heavy weapon, and springing over his body dashed at the emaciated figure of Seward with uplifted dagger. A dozen times he struck at the face and throat and breast of the almost dying man, and then thinking he had done his work made rapidly away.
At the same time, linked by Fate in a sort of poetic justice, with the thought that if one deserved death so did the other, Hate had with surer aim sent an assassin’s bullet home—and Lincoln died.
Weeks passed and the strong vitality that had served Seward in such good stead did not forsake him. Men of his stamp are hard to kill.
On a beautiful May-day, Seward, so reduced that a woman carried him, was taken out on the veranda of his house and watched that solid mass of glittering steel and faded blue that moved through Pennsylvania Avenue in triumphal march. Sherman with head uncovered rode down to Seward’s home, saluted, and then back to join his goodly company, and many others of lesser note did the same.
Health and strength came slowly back, and happy was the day when he was carried to the office of Secretary of State and, propped in his chair, again began his work. Another President had come, but meet it was that the Secretary of State should still hold his place.
Seward lived full eleven years after that, seemingly dragging with unquenched spirit that slashed and broken form. But the glint did not fade from his eye, nor did the proud head lose its poise.
He died in his office among his books and papers, sane and sensible up to the very moment when his spirit took its flight.
The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. —Speech at Gettysburg
[Illustration: Abraham Lincoln]
No, dearie, I do not think my childhood differed much from that of other good healthy country youngsters. I’ve heard folks say that childhood has its sorrows and all that, but the sorrows of country children do not last long. The young rustic goes out and tells his troubles to the birds and flowers, and the flowers nod in recognition, and the robin that sings from the top of a tall poplar-tree when the sun goes down says plainly it has sorrows of its own—and understands.