xt7rv11vf96q https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7rv11vf96q/data/mets.xml Dixon, Thomas, 1864-1946. 1920  books b92-201-30752143 English D. Appleton, : New York ; London : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Drama. Man of the people  : a drama of Abraham Lincoln / by Thomas Dixon. text Man of the people  : a drama of Abraham Lincoln / by Thomas Dixon. 1920 2002 true xt7rv11vf96q section xt7rv11vf96q 








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        A MAN

OF THE PEOPLE



A DRAMA OF ABRAHAM



LINCOLN



            BY
      THOMAS DIXON
AUTHOR OF "THE BIRTH OF A NATION," "THE CLANSMAN "
      "THE LEOPARD'S SPOTS," ETC



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY



NEW YORK



LONDON



MCMXX



I

 
































       COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
       THOMAS DIXON





























PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 




























              TO

   WILLIAM HARRIS, JR.

WHOSE COURAGE AND HIGH IDEALS AS A
  PRODUCER GAVE TO THE AMERICAN
  STAGE THE EPOCH-MAKING PLAY

      ABRAHAM LINCOLN

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HISTORICAL NOTE



  While the popular conception of Lincoln as the Libera-
tor of the Slave is true historically, there is a deeper view
of his life and character. He was the savior, if not the
real creator, of the American Union of free Democratic
States. His proclamation of emancipation was purely an
incident of war. The first policy of his administration
was to save the Union. To this fact we owe a united
Nation to-day. It is this truth of history which I try to
make a living reality in my play.
  The scenes relating to the issues of our National life
have been drawn from authentic records. The plot of
the action is based on the letter of Colonel John Nicolay
to Major Hay, dated August 25, i864, in which the fol-
lowing opening paragraph is found:
    "Hell is to pay. The New York politicians have
    got a stampede on that is about to swamp every-
    thing. Raymond and the National Committee
    are here to-day. R. thinks a Commission to
    Richmond is about the only salt to save us; while
    the President sees and says it would be utter
    ruination. The matter is now undergoing con-
    sultation. Weak-kneed damned fools are in the
    movement for a new candidate to supplant the
    President. Everything is darkness, doubt, and
    discouragement."
  No liberty has been taken with an essential detail of
history in the development of the action except to slightly
shift the dates of two incidents for dramatic unity. In
neither case does the change of date affect the validity of
the scene as used.
                                    THOMAS DIXON
                         [xiii

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             DIVISION INTO ACTS

PROLOGUE: The Lincoln cabin in the floods of Indiana,
    I820.
ACT I: In the President's room, the mornttg of August
   23, i864.
ACT II: The same, that evening.
ACT III: Scene I. Jefferson Davis' room three days
   later, in Richmond. Morning.
   Scene 2. Same as Acts I and I.
EPILOGUE-VICTORY. The Platform of the second Inau-
    guration, March 4, i86-, before the Capitol at
    Washington.



[ix]

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A MAN OF THE PEOPLE
      PROLOGUE

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        PERSONS OF THE PROLOGUE

ABE.......................A Boy of Ten.
SARAH...................... His Sister.
TOM LINCOLN.........    His Father.
NANCY ...      ...... His MIlother.
THE DOCTOR .........       An Old-fasshioned Pioneer.



[xiiil

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A MAN OF THE PEOPLE



                    PROLOGUE

SET SCENE: The rough-hewn log cabin of Tom Lincoln
    is seen in the center surrounded by the forest wilder-
    ness of Southern Indiana, i820.

The cabin door is cut in level with the ground. There
    is no shutter to the door and no window to the cabin.

Right and Left of the door opening are rude benches
    of split logs. On the walls are stretched a coon and
    a stmall bear, squirrel and muskrat skins. In the
    foreground on the right is seen an old-fashioned
    wash pot set on three stories. Near the wash pot is
    fixed in the ground a pole, On the top of which are
    hung six gourds cut for martin swallows to nest in.
    Beside it are a rude bench and two wash tubs. On
    the left is a crude settee mzade of a split log with
    legs set in augur holes and a rough back made of
    saplings.  An old-fashioned doctor's saddle-bags
    hang across the back of the settee. The trees are
    walnut, beech and oak-undergrowth of dogwood,
    sumac and wild grapevines. These vines, festooned
    over the cabin, give a sinister impression. A creek
    winds down through the hills behind the cabin.
                        [I]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

AT RISE:   SARAHI is sccn softly tiptoeing toward the
    cabin door. She pauses, listens and slowly peeps in-
    side. She listens again and then slips away and
    calls.
                       SARAH
Abe! Abe!
    [SARAH goes back to the door and peeps in and runs
      to the gate.]
Abe- ! Ma's awake now!
    [She returns to the door, peeps in again and runs
      once more to the gate.]
Abe ! He's feelin' her pulse! Come on in-don't
    stay out there in the woods
    [ABE enters slowly.]
                       ABE
What does he say
                      SARAH
He ain't said nothin' yet.
                       ABE
He's a dumb doctor, anyhow. I couldn't get him to say
    a word comin', last night.
                      SARA H
Well, he's here now, and there's his saddle-bags full of
    medicine. You've been ridin' all night-you look
    terrible tired! Go to bed and sleep a little
                       ABE
I can't-while Ma's so sick-I'm afraid to go to
    sleep-
                      SARAH
Why-
                       ABE
You know why-Sarah-
                        [2]

 




     A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                     SARA H
Ah, she ain't goin' to die now. She's talkin' to the doctor
    -lie down just a little while and get to sleep before
    the sun comes up or ye can't sleep-
    [Pleading. ]
-come on-
                      ABE
No-I'm scared-the plague's killin' folks every day-
    and nobody knows what to do for 'em-

    [The DOCTOR and Tom enter from the cabin and
    come down slowly-the DOCTOR seems to be de-
    bating his course of action.]

                      ABE
    [Eagerly to DOCTOR.]
You can do somethin' for her, Doctor

                     DOCTOR
    [Hesitates. ]
Yes-Get me a clean towel and a bowl-

                      ABE
Run, SARAH-quick-
                     SARAH
    [Running to cabin.]
Yes-I'll get 'em-

    [The DOCTOR opens his saddle-bags, takes out his
    lancet and examines its keen point.]

                      Tom
What are ye goin' ter do with that knife
                      [3]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                      DOCTOR
Bleed her, of course-it's the only thing to do-
    [Starts toward cabin.]
                       ABE
    [To his father.]
Don't let him do it-!

                      DOCTOR
What's that
                       TOM
You shan't bleed her-I don't know nothin' 'bout doc-
    torin'-but I know that'll kill her--

                     DOCTOR
I've a notion to give you the worst cussin' you ever had
    in your life, Tom Lincoln . . .
                       ToM
'Twouldn't do no good-Doctor-
                     DOCTOR
    [Throw ing his arms up.]
'Twould do se good! I've rode all night-thirty-five
    miles-from my home in Kentucky across the Ohio,
    into this wilderness, just for you to insult me-
                       Tom
I didn't mean to
                     DOCTOR
Well, you're doin' it-and I'd give ye the cussin' that'ud
   pay me for my trouble comin' up here-if I hadn't
   heard what you've been doin' for your neighbors, in
   this plague. There's no doctor in thirty miles-
   You've been the doctor and nurse-mother and
                       [4]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

    father to 'em all. And when they die, you go into
    the woods, cut down a tree, rip out the hoards, make
    the coffin, dig the grave and lower the dead with a
    prayer--I'(1 like to cuss you, Tom Lincoln-but I
    can't-damn ye-!
                       ToNi
I'm sorry, Doctor-but I just couldn't let ye bleed
    her-
                     DOCTOR
All right-good-by
    [With a snort of anger, the DOCTOR throws his
      lancet into his saddle-bags, snaps themr together,
      and starts for the gate.]
                       ABE
    [Following the DOCTOR to gate.]
Doctor-!
                     DOCTOR
What do ye want      
                       ABE
    [Seizing his hand.]
Please don't go-I'm mighty sorry we made ye mad-
    I didn't go to do it-you see--
    [He falters. ]
I love my Ma so, I just couldn't see ye cut her arm open.
   And Pa didn't mean to hurt yer feelin's-won't ye
   stay and help us Can't ye do somethin' else for
   her- 
   [Pauses.]
I'll pay ye ! I'll work for ye a whole-year-
                     DOCTOR
You'd work for me a year
                       [51

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                       ABE
    [Eagerly.]
I'll work for ye five years if you'll just save her-just
    save her life-that's all-don't go-please, don't
                     DOCTOR
    [The DOCTOR slips his arm around the boy, draws
      him close and holds him a moment.]
You're a good boy, Abe-
                       ABE
You'll stay-  
                     DOCTOR
I'd stay and do something if I could, Sonny, but to tell
    ye the truth, I don't know what to do-I'm not quite
    sure I'm right about the bleedin', or I'd stay and
    make you both help me
    [He pauses.]
But I'm not sure    ! I'm not sure! And I don't
    know what else to do-I've got no medicine-so I
    can't stay. All I can tell ye is to keep her warm-
    and give her everything good to eat that she can
    take-she's in God's hands-Good-by

    [The DOCTOR hurries through the gate-and leaves
      ABE and TOM gazing forlornly after him, as
      SARAH coanes front the house.]
                      SARAH
I've got the towel and bowl all ready-
    [Pauses. ]
What's the matter   
    [Looks around.]
Where's the doctor    
                       [6]

 




     A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                      ABE
He's gone-
                     SARAH
Gone 
                      TOM
Yes-
    [NANCY enters by door of cabin.]
    [NANCY'S sudden appearance in the door swIings
    ABE around with a quick cry of pain. The sunt is
      tinging the eastern sky wi'th, the splendor of an
      Indian Summer morning.   The mother's figure
      in blue homespun suggests against the dark back-
      ground of the cabin door the comsing of a spirit
      from the unseen world. She pauses a moment in
      the doorway and smiles at her son.]
                      ABE
Oh, Ma, you mustn't-
                      Tom
    [Follozening.]
Nancy-!
                     NANCY
I'm better, I'm a lot better
                      ABE
You're too sick to come out here, Ma-
                     NANCY
    [Smiling. ]
I can walk-as well as you can,-see-
    LShe sways slightly toward the settee.]
                      ABE
But the Doctor says you must keep warm-
                       [7]

 



     A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                     NANCY
Well-I have on the warm stockings that Sarah knit for
    me and the coon skin moccasins you made-don't
    you see, I'm better now-

                      AXE
    [Joyfully.]
Look, Pa, she's better!
                     SARAH
Yes-she's better!
                      TOM
    [Alarmed. ]
Don't try to walk-set down, honey!

                     NANCY
    [Sinking on bench.]
Yes-I will-
    [The boy comes closer, staring eagerly into his
    mother's face.]
                     NANCY
Come closer, my boy-
    [ABE kneels at her feet.]

                      To ir
I'm a feared of this, Nancy-you better let me git a hot
   rock and wrap it up for your feet.

                     NANCY
Yes, Tom-and bring me the Bible. I want Abe to
   read to me.
   [TOM goes into the cabin worried over her.]

                      ABE
Feel all right, Ma 
                       [8]

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                      NANCY
    [She nods and breathes deeply-her eyes alight.]
I wanted to see the sun rise through the trees! You
    remember the day you cut down your first tree to
    begin the clearing and the sunlight came through
    the hole you'd made to the sky-

                       ABE
Yes-I remember.
                      NANCY
You called me to come and see it-

                       ABE
    [In a whisper.]
Yes-
                      NANCY
I was proud that morning as I saw you stand with your
    ax on that big log-anything my boy starts to do-
    he does-
    [Pauses. ]
Your father taught you to use the ax and-
    [Turns and looks at ABE.]
Your father's a good man, my son-kind-hearted and
    true and everybody likes him. They made him road
    supervisor of his township in Kentucky once. If
    he could read and write he would have gone to the
    legislature-

    [TomI enters from, the cabin with, the rock and
      Bible, he crosses to NANCY, and ABE takes the
      rock and puts it under her feet-SARAH kneels
      and helps him.  NANCY'S hand drops on the
                       [9]

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

      bench. TOM picks up her hand, and the chill of
      it worries him.]
    [ABE and SARAH rise.]

                      NANCY
Read to me, son-I like to hear your voice-
                       ABE
    [Brightly.]
All right-whate -
                      NANCY
The Twenty-third Psalm.
    [ABE looks for the place.]
I love to hear you read, my boy. It means that yous can
    do what any other man can-it means so much!

                       ABE
    [Reads.]
The Lord is my shepherd-I shall not want. He maketh
    me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me
    beside still waters.  He restoreth my soul.  He
    leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his
    name's sake
                      NANCY
    [In a whisper.]
Yea, tho' I walk through the valley of the shadow of
    death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me--
    [ABE stops, looks up at his mother in amazement.]

                       ABE
Ma-
                     NANCY
Remember always, my boy, that God is with you! He
   is in the day and the night. He is in the sun and
                       [Io]

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

    the wind, the trees and the grass-and not a sparrow
    falls to the ground without He knows. You recol-
    lect the year you put up those gourds there-
    [She points to the pole.]
    for your martins  You cried when they circled
    away in the fall-
    [ABE nods.]
I told you God would send them back in the spring,
    didn't I 
    [Sihe laughs softly.]
You said that He'd forget to tell them and they'd never
    find the way-but they came-didn't they-

                       ABE
Yes, Ma, and I know now they'll come again next spring.

                     NANCY
So-I want you never again to doubt God, my boy,
    and I want you never to doubt yourself. Your bare
    feet, your ragged clothes, how poor you are-this is
    nothing! It doesn't count here-it's what you feel,
    it's what you believe-it's what you see that counts!
    I've taught you to read and write, and now you can
    do anything! If God takes me-
    [She pauses exhausted.]

                       ABE
But you mustn't say that, Ma-!

                     NANCY
"The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous al-
   together !"
                       [ I I]

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                       ABE
No! no, Ma! Don't talk that way! You'll give up if
    you do-!
                     NANCY
If He calls, my son, then my work is done-and you can
    do all I've tried and failed to do

                      ABE
    [Alarmed.]
Had she better talk so much, Pa-
    [Stoops to fix her feet.]

                      TOM
    [Feeling her hand.]
Nancy-!
                     NANCY
Just a minute more, Tom ! Don't let him know
   yet-you know--!

                      TOM
    [With upward look of faith.]
Yes, I know-
    [To ABE.]
It's all right-boy-
                     NANCY
Come back close, my son, I want to tell you something
   I saw last night! I had a dream-the same one I
   had the night before you were born. You had
   grown a man-strong and brave-wise and gentle.
   The people hung on your words, and did you
   homage. But you remembered this cabin here in
   the deep woods and you were humble. I walked
   with you between two white pillars. It was still
                      [I2]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

    and solemn, in there. Outside I could hear the peo-
    ple calling your name. You bowed low and whis-
    pered in my ear: "This is all yours, my Mother.
    I bought it for you with my life. All that I am
    I owe to you-"
    [Her voice sinks to a whisper that is half a laugh
      of religious ecstasy.]

                       ABE
    [Joyfully.]
See how she's smilin'-Pa! She's getting well-I tell
    you-!
                      ToM
    [Whispering.]
Don't ye understand, boy    

                       ABE
No-what 
                      SARAH
What-what is it      
                      ToM
    [Ixs deep religious awe.]
Look-look at her eyes     ! She's not telling ye a
    dream-she's  looking  through  the  gates  of
    Heaven-
                      ABE
No-no-no-!
                      TOM
It's death-boy-it's come-Lord, God, have mercy-
    [ABE springs to his feet and stares in anguish, as
    ToM falls on his knees beside NANCY. NANCY'S
    hand rests gently on Tom's shaggy head, while
                      ['3]

 




     A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

     he sobs. With her otiher hand she feels for ABE'S
     and holds it feebly.]

                     NANCY
Be good to your Father,
    [She pauses and breathes with difficulty.]
In the days to come, he will be the child and you the
   man-
                      ABE
Yes--



                     NANCY
And love your sister-
    [ABE nods.]
If dark hours come, my spirit will be
   and I'll help you if I can-



watching, my son-



                      ABE
Yes, I know iti
                     NANCY
And remember that you can be a great man in this free
   country if you only say-I will
   [NANCY'S body sinks in death as the boy lifts his
     face illumined by the light of a great purpose.]



ABE



Yes, Ma,-I will!



CURTAIN

 















A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

 









PERSONS OF THE PLAY



ABRAHAM LINCOLN ...... The President.
MRS. LINCOLN ........... His Wife.
COLONEL NICOLAY ........ His Secretary.
EDWARD ............... The Doorman.
EDWIN M. STANTON . ....... Secretary of War.
GEN. GEO. B. MCCLELLAN . Lincoln's Rival.
CAPTAIN VAUGHAN ......    Of the U7. S. Army.
BETTY WINTER ..........   His Sweetheart.
THADDEUS STEVENS ...... Leader of Corgress.
HENRY RAYMOND ........ Editor of the New      York
                            Times.
JOHN R. GILMORE ........ Of the New York Tribune.
COLONEL JACQUESS ....... A Methodist Clergymnan.
JEFFERSON DAVIS ......... President of the Conf eder-
                            acy.
JUDAH P. BENJAMIN .     His Secretary of State.
JUDGE ROBERT OULD ...... Commissioner of Exchange.
ROBERT E. LEE ........... Commanding General.
A SISTER ............,.,.Who begs for her brother's
                            life.
A CONGRESSMAN ......... Who demands a hearing.
A LITTLE GIRL ........... From Virginia.
A MOTHER ...........    With a b.'iby.
A WOMAN ...........     Who has lost two sons.
A TELEGRAPH OPERATOR .. In the White House.
A DOORMAN ...........     A At Richmond.
      COMMITTEEMEN, SOLDIERS AND GUARDS.
                     [i6]

 









ACT I



SET SCENE: The President's room in the White House,
    August 23, i864. A flat desk left center. At right
    a long table and chairs. Doors open right and left.
    Large windows open center. Beside the center
    window stands an upright desk. In one corner a
    rack wTithn map rollers and folios of naps on the
    floor and leaning against the wall.
AT RISE: Colonel Nicolay, the President's Secretary,
    is seen meriting before an enormous pile of mail.
    He reads a letter and throws it down in disgust.
    Reads another and hurls it into the waste basket.
    He rises-turns back to the desk and hurls an arm-
    ful of the letters into the corner on the floor and re-
    mnoves enough letters to clear a space for his Chief
    to write.
    [EDWARD enters dragging a nail bag.]

                      NICOLAY
    [Calling to the Doorman.]
Edward!
                       EDWARD
Yes, sir-
                      NICOLAY
Hold that door tight this morning-

                       EDWARD
Tight as a drum, sir-
                        [I7]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                     NICOLAY
If any men of importance try to crowd in before their
    time
                     EDWARD
I'll look out for them, sir-here's another bag of let-
    ters, Colonel Nicolay-

                     NICOLAY
Another-
                     EDWARD
And there's two more outside-

                     NICOLAY
My God-!
                     EDWARD
Don't blame me, sir-I didn't write 'em-

                     NICOLAY
No, I'll vouch for your loyalty to the President.

                     EDWARD
Where'll I put these-

                     NICOLAY
Throw the bag in the corner-there's no room on his
    desk now-
                     EDWARD
    [Obeying.]
Yes, sir
    [Edward throws the bag in the corner of the room
      where NICOLAY has ftlready piled the letters from
      the desk, and turns to NICOLAY. He watches
      NICOLAY destroying letters for a moment.]
                       [I8]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                     NICOLAY
Well, Edward- 
                     EDWARD
Will you tell me one thing, Colonel Nicolay-

                     NICOLAY
If I can-
                     EDWARD
What do they say in these letters to the President-
    I've served through four administrations-I've never
    seen such piles of letters in the White House be-
    fore-
                     NICOLAY
Well, Edward-these letters ask two things of Abraham
    Lincoln: That he dismiss General Grant from conm-
    mand of the Army-
                     EDWARD
The idiot-
                     NICOLAY
And stop the war to-day-August 23, i864,-make peace
    -peace at any price-to-day-

                     EDWARD
God save us! After nearly four years-quit, with noth-
    ing settled 
                     NICOLAY
That's what these letters demand-

                     EDWARD
You couldn't believe it No wonder his eyes sink back
    in his head, an' he looks as if he were seeing
    ghosts
    [Pauses and starts.]
                      ['9]

 




     A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                     NICOLAY
Watch out for that door, Edward
    [EDWARD bows, and exits to door leading to the
      main corridor. NICOLAY returns to his task of
      reading the letters-one he tosses into the basket
      wearily-one he crumples in anger and hurls into
      the basket.]

                    NICOLAY
The fools-!
    [He is absorbed in a letter when MRS. LINCOLN
      enters in a state of nervous excitement. He rises
      quickly, and goes to meet her.]
What is it, Mrs. Lincoln 

                  MRS. LINCOLN
I haie just heard that the Republican National Commit-
   tee is in Washington-!

                    NICOLAY
They are
                  MRS. LINCOLN
In conference at Senator Winter's house  

                    NICOLAY
Yes-
                  MRS. LINCOLN
What do they want
                    NICOLAY
There are ugly rumors-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
What- What- What-
                      [20]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                      NICOLAY
I can't discuss it, Madam, until the Chief knows-
                   MIRS. LINCOLN
Mr. Lincoln, doesn't know

                      NICOLAY
Not yet. He will, this morning. They've just sent a
    demand to me that he see them before his public
    reception begins-

                   MRS. LINCOLN
You've heard something-you know something-tell me
    -I can't endure the suspense-

                     NiCOLAY
Only rumors-and they're too ugly to put into words-
    they're incredible-
                   MIRS. LINCOLN
All the same, you believe them-
    [Im1petuously.]
What have you heard 

                     NICOLAY
    [Shakes his head.]
The Chief wouldn't like it if I talk, before he knows.
    Ill tell you a few things I'm thinking in plain
    English-if you'd like to hear

                  MRS. LINCOLN
You can't make it too plain to suit me-

                     NICOLAY
In my opinion, the devil is to pay. Weak-kneed fools
   are deserting the Chief. Every man who loves
                       [2I]

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

    Abraham Lincoln must get off his coat now and
    fight. He is the only man who can save this Na-
    tion to-day, and he's too big and generous to be
    trusted alone with wolves-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
What can you mean  The Republican National
    Committee have no power over the President of the
    United States

                    NICOLAY
No, Madam-But they have certain powers over the
    Nominee of their party-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
But Mr. Lincoln is already the nominee of his party for
    the second term . . . chosen two months ago-and
    the election is but eight weeks off-what do you
    mean-
    [EDWARD enters.]

                    EDWARD
Miss Betty Winter to see you, Ma'am-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
How fortunate-they're at her father's house-!

                    NICOLAY
Yes-
                 MRS. LINCOLN
Show he; right in here, Edward-

                    EDWARD
Yes, Madam
                      [22]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                  MRS. LINCOLN
    [To NICOLAY.]
And she's loyal to Mr. Lincoln-
                     EDWARD
    [,At door left.]
Right this way,-Miss Betty
    [BETTY enters-a young woman 25 yews old-
      poised, cultured, charming.]
                  MRS. LINCOLN
    [Meeting Betty.]
Welcome-my child-
                     BETTY
You're always so kind-!
                    NICOLAY
Excuse me, ladies-while I go out and get rid of some
    of these people waiting to see the President-
    [NICOLAY exits.]
                  MRS. LINCOLN
Tell me, dear, you've heard something-the Republican
    National Committee are at your father's
                     BETTY
They were there-they've adjourned to Thaddeus
    Stevens' house across the street from us They
    were locked in with father for two hours-
                  MRS. LINCOLN
Locked in- 
                     BETTY
    [Nods. ]
With the keyhole chinked up-!
                      [23]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                  MRS. LINCOLN
And you didn't get a hint of what they're up to  

                      BETTY
Not the faintest
                  MRS. LINCOLN
Oh, Betty-they're discussing me-

                      BETTY
They didn't mention your name-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
How do you know-
                      BETTY
Well-I did hear a little ! I could hear from the
    next room when they got excited! It's Abraham
    Lincoln they're discussing-not his wife-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
You're sure 
                      BETTY
Sure ! It sounded like a regular dog fight-with
    one big brute howling-
    [Initates.]
-the President's name above the din
                  MRS. LINCOLN
But, you can't be sure, my dear-

                      BETTY
What on earth could they be discussing you for-
                  MRS. LINCOLN
My loyalty, of course-you know that my brothers are
   in the Southern Army, fighting the Union. Fools
                      [24]

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

    have accused me of giving them important secrets
    of the Government. When I hate them for all they
    have done to me and mine-!

                      BETTY
But my dear Mrs. Lincoln-no one believes such lies
    about you now-not even in this bitter campaign
    -it's absurd

                  MRS. LINCOLN
    [Hesitates. ]
That is not the real thing I'm afraid of, child-it's some-
    thing worse-I'm going to take you into my confi-
    dence now-may I

                      BETTY
I'll be tickled to death with the honor-!

                  MRS. LINCOLN
And I'm going to ask you to help me

                      BETTY
I'll be in the Cabinet next-!

                  MRS. LINCOLN
The truth is, I owe A. T. Stewart and Company an
   enormous bill for dresses-6o,ooo--

                      BETTY
Sixty thousand-oh, my Lord!     That's worse than
   mine-!
                  MRS. LINCOLN
I had to get them! The world said the White House
   would be disgraced by my awkward husband's
   regime-I've  shown them   better!  But I just
                      [25]

 



      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

    couldn't tell Mr. Lincoln. He has no idea of the
    cost of clothes. If these jackals have found out
    and attack him on my account, the thought of it
    will kill me
                      BETTY
But you know he'd defend you against any one who
    dares attack you.

                   MRS. LINCOLN
Yes, dear-but it would hurt him so to hear it from their
    brutal lips. I want you to find out from your
    father, if they know

                      BETTY
And if they know-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
Get here before they do, and I'll head them off-I'll tell
    Mr. Lincoln first-

                      BETTY
    [Snmiling. ]
On one condition-that you help me-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
Anything you ask-
                      BETTY
I've promised my fiance that I would get an appointment
    for him to see the President on something very im-
    portant
                  MRS. LINCOLN
Mr. Lincoln will be here in a few minutes. I'll have
   him see your sweetheart first-
                       [26]

 



     A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                      BETTY
But-it's a personal matter and he doesn't wish to come
    to a public reception. He wants an hour alone-
    Could you get it for him, to-night

                  MRS. LINCOLN
I-think-so-
                      BETTY
You'll try 
                  MRS. LINCOLN
I'll do it, child-certainly! You're one loyal friend we
    have in that crowd of wolves on the Capitol Hill-

                      BETTY
All right, I'll find out if they're discussing politics or
    your dressmaker's bill.
    [BETTY hurries to the door, followcd by MRS.
      LINCOLN.]
                  MRS. LINCOLN
God bless you, child-
    [NICOLAY enters by the other door.]
-Hurry!
                      BETTY
If it's dresses-I'll beat them to the White House!
    [BETTY exits.]
                     NICOLAY
The President is coming, Madam-

                  MRS. LINCOLN
I'm going. But I may want to see him before that
    Committee-in case I send in-see that he comes,
    will you
                       [27]

 



     A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

                     NICOLAY
I'll try to manage it. The friends of the Chief may call
    on you for some inside work, Madam.
                   MRS. LINCOLN
    [Eagerly.]
I'll do my part, never fear!
    [MRS. LINCOLN exits and NICOLAY hastily arranges
      his desk and stands at attention as LINCOLN en-
      ters. ]

    [LINCOLN crosses the room zwith long nervous stride,
      reaches his desk, looks at the pile of letters and
      shakes his head wearily.]
                     LINCOLN
Sorry for you, John, with all these letters on your
    hands
    [Laughs.]
You have to work-!
                     NICOLAY
I'm trying to get them out of your way, sir-
                     LINCOLN
Thank you-you know the ones I want to see-
                     NICOLAY
Yes, sir-
                     LINCOLN
    [Softly.]
And don't forget that no man or woman can be turned
    from that door, who comes here to ask for the
    saving of a human life
    [Pauses.]
                       [28]

 




      A MAN OF THE PEOPLE

There's a firing squad shooting a boy down in Virginia
    this morning-!
    [Shakes his head.]
I hope I didn't do wrong to let them. Somehow I could
    not find an excuse to save him
    [Sighs. ]
The Generals are all after me