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