" I am sure that you could influence her, Mrs.
Keckley. Now listen ; I have a proposition to
make. I have a great desire to become an inmate
of the White House. I have heard so
much of Mr. Lincoln's goodness that I should
like to be near him ; and if I can enter the
White House no other way, I am willing to go
as a menial. My dear Mrs. Keckley, will you
not recommend me to Mrs. Lincoln as a friend
of yours out of employment, and ask her to take
me as a chambermaid ? If you will do this you
shall be well rewarded. It may be worth several
thousand dollars to you in time."
I looked at the woman in amazement. A
bribe, and to betray the confidence of my
employer ! Turning to her with a glance of
scorn, I said :
" Madam, you are mistaken in regard to my
character. Sooner than betray the trust of a
friend, I would throw myself into the Potomac
river. I am not so base as that. Pardon me,
but there is the door, and I trust that you will
never enter my room again."
She sprang to her feet in deep confusion, and
passed through the door, murmuring : " Very
well ; you will live to regret your action to
" Never, never ! " I exclaimed, and closed the
door after her with a bang. I afterwards learned
that this woman was an actress, and that her
object was to enter the White House as a servant,
learn its secrets, and then publish a scandal
to the world. I do not give her name, for
such publicity would wound the sensitive feelings
of friends, who would have to share her
disgrace, without being responsible for her faults.
I simply record the incident to show how I
often was approached by unprincipled parties.
It is unnecessary to say that I indignantly refused
every bribe offered.