will-power and incapable of being aroused, she certainly did not comprehend the man, Lincoln
began now to feel the sting.
's spur had certainly operated and with awakening effect.
One evening Lincoln
came into our store and called for his warm friend Speed.
Together they walked back to the fire place, where Lincoln
, drawing from his pocket a letter, asked Speed to read it. “The letter,” relates Speed, “was addressed to Mary Todd
, and in it he made a plain statement of his feelings, telling her that he had thought the matter over calmly and with great deliberation, and now felt that he did not love her sufficiently to warrant her in marrying him. This letter he desired me to deliver.
Upon my declining to do so he threatened to intrust it to some other person's hand.
I reminded him that the moment he placed the letter in Miss Todd
's hand, she would have the advantage over him. ‘Words are forgotten,’ I said, ‘misunderstood, unnoticed in a private conversation, but once put your words in writing and they stand a living and eternal monument against you.’
Thereupon I threw the unfortunate letter in the fire.
‘Now,’ I continued, ‘if you have the courage of manhood, go see Mary yourself; tell her, if you do not love her, the facts, and that you will not marry her. Be careful not to say too much, and then leave at your earliest opportunity.’
Thus admonished, he buttoned his coat, and with a rather determined look started out to perform the serious duty for which I had just given him explicit directions.”