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221. Mary Todd Lincoln to William H. Herndon.

Chicago — Ill Aug 28th [1866]

My dear Sir:

Owing to Robert's absence, from Chicago, your last letter to him, was only shown me last evening. The recollection of my beloved husband's truly affectionate regard for you & the knowledge, of your great love & reverence for the best man, that ever lived, would of itself, cause you, to be cherished with the sincerest regard, by my sons & myself. In my overwhelming bereavement, those who loved my idolized husband — aside from disinterested motives — are very precious to me & mine — My grief has been so uncontrollable — that in consequence, I have been obliged, to bury myself in solitude — knowing, that many whom I would see, could not fully, enter into the state of my feelings — I have been thinking for some time past, that I would like to see you & have a long conversation — I write to [know?] if you will be in Springfield next Wednesday week — Sept — 4th — if so — at 10 o'clock, in the morning, you will find me, at the St Nicolas Hotel — please — mention this visit to S. to no one — It is a most sacred one — as you may suppose to visit the tomb — which contains my All, in life — My husband. You will excuse me, enclosing you, this sentence, of yours & asking its meaning. With


the remembrance of years of very very great domestic happiness — with my darling husband & children — my sons & myself, fail to understand your meaning — will you be pleased to explain —

If it will not be convenient — or if business — at the time specied should require yr absence — should you visit Chicago — any day, this week, I will be pleased to See you. I remain

Very truly
Mary Lincoln

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2625 — 26



1. Note in top margin in MTL's hand: Private — please burn — . Though not given, the year of the interview is put beyond doubt by Robert T. Lincoln's letter to WHH of October 1 (§257).

2. MTL is confused about the date. This letter was written in 1866, but September 4 was a Tuesday.

3. This refers to a fragment in WHH's hand, presumably clipped by MTL from a note sent by WHH to Robert T. Lincoln: Robt — I want to give a sketch — a short life of your mother in my biography up to her marriage to your father — or say up to 1846 — or 1858 — . I wish to do her justice fully — so that the world will understand things better. You understand me. Will she see me. (Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3774)