299. Harriet A. Chapman to William H. Herndon.
Charleston Ills Nov the 21st 66
Your favor of the 15th Came duly to hand. I will now endeavor to answer the Same. Enny information that I Can give you in regard to the loved and lamented Lincoln will be freely given, but would rather Say nothing about his Wife, as I Could Say but little in her favor I Conclude it best to Say nothing. and I persume it is not really nesessary that I Should. You ask me how Mr Lincoln acted at home. I Can Say and that truly he was all that a Husband Father and Neighbor Should be. Kind and affectionate to his wife and Child. Bob being the (only one they had when I was with them), and vary pleasent to all around him never did I hear him utter an un kind word to enny one. for instance one day he undertook to correct his Child and his wife was determined that he Should not. and attempted to take it from him but in this She failed She then tried tongue lashing but met with the Same fate, for Mr Lincoln corrected his Child as a Father ought to do, in the face of his Wifes anger and that too without even Changing his Countenance, or making enny reply to his wife. His favorite way of reading when at home was lying down on the floor I fancy I See him now lying full length in the Hall of his old home reading When not engaged in reading law Books he would read literarry works, and was vary fond of reading Poetry and often when he would be or appeard to be in a deep Study — Commence and repeat aloud Some piece that he had taken a fancy to and Commited to Memory Such as the one you have already in print. and the burrial of Sir Tom Moore, and So on. he often told laughable Jokes and Strories when he thought we was looking gloomy.
Your Lecture has been received and Carefully read I found it vary interesting. please accept my thanks for the Same. Will write you again when I return from a visit to Grand Ma Lincoln
Yours with respect —
H A Chapman
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2760; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:279 — 80
1. Robert T. (Bob) was born on August 1, 1843; Edward B. (Eddie), the next child, was born on March 10, 1846.
2. A reference to William Knox's "Mortality," better known as "O why should the spirit of mortal be proud." This poem was prominently featured in William H. Herndon's lecture on Ann Rutledge, which was printed prior to its delivery on November 16, 1866.
3. Probably "The Burial of Sir John Moore," by Charles Wolfe (1791 — 1823), first published in 1817.