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THE LADIES OF THE WHITE HOUSE;

IN THE HOME OF THE PRESIDENTS.

In two volue sm.

Being a complete history of the social
and domestic lives of the Presidents
from Washington to Cleveland, 1789-1886

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MARY TODD LINCOLN.

To Mrs. Lincoln more than to any other President's wife was the White House an ambition. She had ever aspired to reach it, and when it became her home, it was the fruition of a hope long entertained, the gratification of the great desire of her life. In her early youth she repeatedly asserted that she should be a President's wife, and so profoundly impressed was she with this idea, that she calculated the probabilities of such a success with all her male friends. She refused an offer of marriage from Stephen A. Douglas, then a rising young lawyer, doubting his ability to gratify her ambition, and accepted a man who at that time seemed to others the least likely to be the President of the United States.

Mary Todd was a Kentuckian by birth, and a member of the good old Todd family, of Lexington. Her younger years were spent in that homely town of beautiful surroundings, with an aunt who reared her, she being an orphan. Childhood and youth were passed in comfort and comparative luxury, nor did she ever know poverty; but her restless nature found but little happi ness in the society of her elders, and she went, wher just merging into womanhood, to reside with her sister in Springfield. The attraction of this, then small place,

MARS ABFAHAM LINCOLN

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was greatly augmented by the society of the young people, and Mary Todd passed the pleasantest years of her life in her sister's western home. On the 4th of November, 1842, at the age of twenty-one, she was married to Abraham Lincoln, a prominent lawyer, of Illinois. A letter written the following May, to Mr. Speed, of Louisville, Kentucky, by Mr. Lincoln, contains the following mention of his domestic life: “We are not keeping house,” he says, “but boarding at the Globe Tavern, which is very well kept now by a widow lady, of the name of Beck. Our rooms are the same Dr. Wallace occupied there, and boarding only costs four dollars a week. I most heartily wish you and your Fanny will not fail to come. Just let us know the time, a week in advance, and we will have a room prepared for you, and we'll all be merry together for a while." The pleasant spirits in which the husband wrote, must have argued well for the married life they had entered upon. Although much in public life, Mr. Lincoln was. holding no office at the time of his marriage, but four years later he was elected to Congress, and took his seat December 6th, 1847. Mrs.. Lincoln did not accompany her husband to Washington, but remained at her home. It was a season of war and general disturbance throughout the country, and while Mr. Lincoln attended to his duties at the Capital, she lived quietly with her children in Springfield. In August he returned to enter upon the duties of his profession, and to “devote himself to them through a series of years, less disturbed by

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