Concerned that Abraham Lincoln was, at age 28, still a bachelor, one of his friends stepped in to play Cupid. She offered to introduce Lincoln to her sister, but with one condition — Lincoln would have to consider marrying her.
Lincoln had been quite unlucky in love thus far and was beginning to despair of ever finding someone. In a rare moment of impulsiveness, he agreed to his friend’s plan.
The blind date was less than what he had hoped for. He wrote to another friend to give a report on the disastrous occasion:
“. . . Although I had seen her before, she did not look as my imagination had pictured her. I knew she was oversize, but she now appeared a fair match for Falstaff. I knew she was called an ‘old maid,’ and I felt no doubt of the truth of at least half of the appellation, but now, when I beheld her, I could not for my life avoid thinking of my mother; and this, not from withered features, for her skin was too full of fat to permit its contracting into wrinkles — but from her want of teeth, weather-beaten appearance in general, and from a kind of notion that ran in my head that nothing could have commenced at the size of infancy and reached her present bulk in less than thirty-five or forty years; and in short I was not at all pleased with her. . . .
But what could I do? I had told her sister that I would take her for better or for worse . . . and was now fairly convinced that no other man on earth would have her, and hence the conviction that they were bent on holding me to my bargain. . . .
At once I determined to consider her my wife, and this done, all my powers of discovery were put to work in search of perfections in her which might be fairly set off against her defects. I tried to imagine her handsome . . . tried to convince myself that the mind was much more to be valued than the person. . . .
After I had delayed the matter as long as I thought I could in honor do (which by the way had brought me round into the last fall) . . . I mustered my resolution and made the proposal to her direct.
But, shocking to relate, she answered No. At first I suppose she did it through an affectation of modesty, which I thought but ill became her under the peculiar circumstances of her case, but on my renewal of the charge I found she repelled it with greater firmness than before. I tried it again and again, but with the same . . . want of success.
And I then . . . for the first time began to suspect that I was really a little in love with her. . . .
I have now come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying, and for this reason–I can never be satisfied with anyone who would be blockhead enough to have me.
Fortunately, for Lincoln and for history, he did not hold to this resolution. A short time later, he met Mary Todd, and the rest is history.
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Categories: History, Humor, Personal Descriptions and Insults, Presidents, US History
Our times are less rich for want of masters of the English language like Lincoln, Churchill, Dirksen, and a host of other great men of recent history.
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