William Herndon had much to say about Abraham Lincoln and the Ann Rutledge matter. Mary Lincoln didn’t believe a word of it. Many others agree with Mrs. Lincoln. Here is more of what he said from his 1866 lecture (about Lincoln after Rutledge died) :
“He never did care for food-eating mechanically. He sorrowed and grieved, rambled over the hills and through the forests, day and night. He suffered and bore it for a while like a great man-a philosopher. He slept not, he ate not, joyed not. This he did until his body became emanciated and weak, and gave way. His mind wandered from its throne. In his imagination he muttered words to her he loved. His mind, his reason, somewhat dethroned, walked out of itself along the uncolumned air, and kissed and embraced the shadows and illusions of the heated brain. Love, future happiness, death, sorrow, grief, and pure and perfect despair, the want of sleep, the want of food, a cracked and aching heart, over and intense thought, soon worked a partial wreck of body and mind.
One thing for sure-if there had not been William Herndon’s version of the Lincoln/Rutledge matter-there would have been no Carl Sandburg telling. Mr. Sandburg owed a great debt to Herndon for his work. Again I ask dear blog readers: What do you think?Mail this post