[Chicago—Sunday, 24 October 1875]

Sunday. Still at this great hotel. There is a clock in the hall with chimes and all through the night its beautiful bells may be heard marking off the hours. We went to hear dear Robert Collyer, and such a sermon! All the family sang all the congregation song, led on by an excellent choir and a good organist. The sermon was upon the tendency we have of depreciating our present time, our present men, our present life. He said we are like those who went forth to find John the Baptist and found no prophet, only a man clothed in camels hair and eating wild honey! I felt it was good for me as for anyone and I was grateful for the privilege of being there.

In the evening Mr. Collyer took tea with us at the Palmer House and then Judge Swett of his church called for us in a carriage and brought us to Mr. Carpenter’s to meet Mr. & Mrs Dougherty of Philadelphia. Mrs Carpenter sang two Irish Songs but D. gave us the most astonishing series of entertainments, recitations, representations, burlesques that it is possible to conceive. We were all amazed.

Returning, Mr. Swett told us he had known Abraham Lincoln intimately. When they were young men they used to travel together on their circuit and lived together during six months of the year. He was ungainly & careless always about his appearance but his manner of presenting a case was always the clearest conceivable. His mind was utterly incapable of sophistry. To give some idea of the simplicity and rigid economy of his life, Mr. Swett said that about two years before he was elected president there was a case brought to him to plead of a boy who was charged by some relations who held a claim upon some property in common with the child, with having been extravagant in the use of his money. The boys father said it was a time that he had purchased for his son when he went to school a suit of clothes costing $28. When Mr Lincoln came to argue the case he said, “it must be allowed that the purchase of a suit of clothes for the lad at $28 was an extravagance! He himself had seldom, indeed he could remember but once, when he had given so large a sum for a suit of clothes.”

Mr. Swett said after going East and marrying his wife, he returned to the West with his bride, entertaining her from time to time with stories of his great friend Mr. Lincoln. One night soon after her arrival a meeting was announced where Mr. Lincoln was to speak and at an early hour, he and his wife were on the platform. But when an ungainly figure arose with a linen coat on hunched up to the middle of his back, his wife could not conceal her disappointment. Is that Mr. Lincoln she asked. Mr. Sweet tried to evade replying until Mr. Lincoln was warmed up into his Speech, when he turned round upon his wife and found she was becoming rapidly converted to his own opinion of Abraham Lincoln. Everywhere he went he was loved and reverenced. He said he could remember some kind of a rude political meeting once in a grove where Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Swett being somewhat tired and not anxious to be drawn in had seated themselves on a fallen trunk just outside of the circle. However the meeting was not going on just right and Lincoln got up and addressed the people. He had no sooner finished than a doctor jumped up and said “Mr. Lincoln I must answer you.” Very well said Mr. Lincoln go ahead. There upon the little man fired away for some time but while he was speaking a lame man came round to the stump where Lincoln & Swett were sitting and said Dont take the trouble to reply to him Mr Lincoln or your friend and I shall do well enough for him. So he rose when the doctor was seated and he said he thought the doctors speech was worth about so much as his own pills, which were noted for the power of doing just what they weren’t intended to do—Whereat the doctor became very angry and said “You lie, Sir.” Now this means a great deal out west said Mr. Swett and Mr. Lincoln who had been talking with me, stopped to watch how it would turn out, thinking he might still be obliged to interfere. The doctor continued “You lie Sir I have not practised for some years.” Oh haven’t you, said the man, excuse me. I am glad to know there is a chance for the better health of the country. A general laugh followed this and all was well.

We came about this time to the hotel and saw Mr. Swett no more, but I remember just here something a lawyer in Bloomington who once went with Mr. Lincoln to Boston and stopped with him at the Tremont House told us of him there.

He was deeply impressed by New England. A day or two after their arrival Mr. Lincoln got out of bed one morning and began to talk instead of dressing himself. I declare, he said, these are certainly the darnedest smart people these Yankees I ever saw. I believe they turn a little paint & varnish into one end of a tree-trunk, with a turning-lathe, and it comes out a wagon before you have time to think of it.

Sunday Oct 24. Chicago. Wrote a long article for Mr. Murray’s paper the Golden Rule in the P M and answered some letters.


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