If, on arriving at the office, I found him in, I knew instantly that a breeze had sprung up over the domestic sea, and that the waters were troubled.
He would either be lying on the lounge looking skyward, or doubled up in a chair with his feet resting on the sill of a back window.
He would not look up on my entering, and only answered my “Good morning” with a grunt.
I at once busied myself with pen and paper, or ran through the leaves of some book; but the evidence of his melancholy and distress was so plain, and his silence so significant, that I would grow restless myself, and finding some excuse to go to the courthouse or elsewhere, would leave the room.
The door of the office opening into a narrow hallway was half glass, with a curtain on it working on brass rings strung on wire.
As I passed out on these occasions I would draw the curtain across the glass, and before I reached the bottom of the stairs I could hear the key turn in the lock, and Lincoln
was alone in his gloom.
An hour in the clerk's office at the court-house, an hour longer in a neighboring store having passed, I would return.
By that time either a client had dropped in and Lincoln
was propounding the law, or else the cloud of despondency had passed away, and he was busy in the recital of an Indiana story to whistle off the recollections of the morning's gloom.
Noon having arrived I would depart homeward for my dinner.
Returning within an hour, I would find him still in the office, although his house stood but a few squares away,--lunching on a slice of