A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 609 pages of information about A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln.
I could in honor do (which, by the way, had brought me round into last fall), I concluded I might as well bring it to a consummation without further delay, and so I mustered my resolution and made the proposal to her direct; but, shocking to relate, she answered, No.  At first I supposed she did it through an affectation of modesty, which I thought but ill became her under the peculiar circumstances of her case, but on my renewal of the charge I found she repelled it with greater firmness than before.  I tried it again and again, but with the same success, or rather with the same want of success.  I finally was forced to give it up, at which I very unexpectedly found myself mortified almost beyond endurance.  I was mortified, it seemed to me, in a hundred different ways.  My vanity was deeply wounded by the reflection that I had so long been too stupid to discover her intentions, and at the same time never doubting that I understood them perfectly; and also that she, whom I had taught myself to believe nobody else would have, had actually rejected me with all my fancied greatness.  And, to cap the whole, I then for the first time began to suspect that I was really a little in love with her.”

The serious side of this letter is undoubtedly genuine and candid, while the somewhat over-exaggeration of the comic side points as clearly that he had not fully recovered from the mental suffering he had undergone in the long conflict between doubt and duty.  From the beginning, the match-making zeal of the sister had placed the parties in a false position, produced embarrassment, and created distrust.  A different beginning might have resulted in a very different outcome, for Lincoln, while objecting to her corpulency, acknowledges that in both feature and intellect she was as attractive as any woman he had ever met; and Miss Owens’s letters, written after his death, state that her principal objection lay in the fact that his training had been different from hers, and that “Mr. Lincoln was deficient in those little links which make up the chain of a woman’s happiness.”  She adds:  “The last message I ever received from him was about a year after we parted in Illinois.  Mrs. Able visited Kentucky, and he said to her in Springfield, ’Tell your sister that I think she was a great fool because she did not stay here and marry me.’” She was even then not quite clear in her own mind but that his words were true.


Springfield Society—­Miss Mary Todd—­Lincoln’s Engagement—­His Deep Despondency—­Visit to Kentucky—­Letters to Speed—­The Shields Duel—­Marriage—­Law Partnership with Logan—­Hardin Nominated for Congress, 1843—­Baker Nominated for Congress, 1844—­Lincoln Nominated and Elected, 1846

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A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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