Mr. Lincoln is certain to be re-elected. He
represents a principle, and to maintain this principle
the loyal people of the loyal States will vote
for him, even if he had no merits to commend
" Your view is a plausible one, Lizabeth, and
your confidence gives me new hope. If he
should be defeated, I do not know what would
become of us all. To me, to him, there is more
at stake in this election than he dreams of."
" What can you mean, Mrs. Lincoln ? I do
" Simply this. I have contracted large debts,
of which he knows nothing, and which he will
be unable to pay if he is defeated."
" What are your debts, Mrs. Lincoln ? "
" They consist chiefly of store bills. I owe
altogether about twenty-seven thousand dollars ;
the principal portion at Stewart's, in New York.
You understand, Lizabeth, that Mr. Lincoln has
but little idea of the expense of a woman's wardrobe.
He glances at my rich dresses, and is
happy in the belief that the few hundred dollars
that I obtain from him supply all my wants. I
must dress in costly materials. The people scrutinize
every article that I wear with critical curiosity.
The very fact of having grown up in the
West, subjects me to more searching observation.
To keep up appearances, I must have money
more than Mr. Lincoln can spare for me. He is
too honest to make a penny outside of his salary ;
consequently I had, and still have, no alternative
but to run in debt."
" And Mr. Lincoln does not even suspect how
much you owe ? "
" God no ! " this was a favorite expression of
hers " and I would not have him suspect. If
he knew that his wife was involved to the extent
that she is, the knowledge would drive him mad.
He is so sincere and straightforward himself,
that he is shocked by the duplicity of others.
He does not know a thing about any debts, and
I value his happiness, not to speak of my own,
too much to allow him to know anything. This
is what troubles me so much. If he is re-elected,
I can keep him in ignorance of my affairs ; but
if he is defeated, then the bills will be sent in,
and he will know all ; " and something like a
hysterical sob escaped her.