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[470] ‘whimsical,’ but without suspecting his purpose.1 Going out into the vestibule, he proposed, on account of the lady's presence, as Edmundson states, to send for Sumner to come outside of the chamber; but Edmundson advised against this, saying that the senator, being much engaged, would only send for him to come in.2

Meanwhile, from the time of the adjournment, Sumner remained at his desk writing busily for the next mail, probably addressing copies of his speech,3 and excusing himself to several persons who came to his seat; and when the last one4 had left he drew his chair close to his desk, and continued writing, with his attention so withdrawn from other objects that he was unaware of the presence of any one in the chamber.5 His legs were far under the desk, and so close to its bottom that he could not rise unless he bethought himself to push his chair back on its rollers,—a movement not likely to occur to one acting under surprise and excitement. The desk was immovable, its feet fastened to a plate of iron by screws, and the plate itself firmly screwed to the floor.6 He was thus pinioned, so as to be at the mercy of an assailant coming stealthily upon him.

At about quarter-past one,7 half an hour after the adjournment, Brooks stepped to the front of Sumner's desk. Sumner, with his head bent over close to it and absorbed in writing, did not see him approach; and his attention was first drawn by hearing his name pronounced, when looking up he saw directly in front a tall person, a stranger to him, who gave no name, and at the same moment caught the words, ‘I have read your speech over twice carefully; it is a libel on South Carolina and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine—’ (apparently not finishing the sentence).8 Instantly, without waiting for a reply, and while the words were passing his lips, he struck with his full

1 New York Tribune, May 23. Nicholson's testimony, Congressional Globe, p. 1366.

2 Edmundson's testimony. Congressional Globe, p. 1362.

3 Boston Telegraph, May 26.

4 Stated by W. Y. Leader to have been one of the editors of the Chambersburg (Penn.) ‘Transcript.’ (Works, vol. IV. p. 269.) But Sumner told the writer a short time after that it was William S. Thayer of the New York Evening Post.

5 Sumner's testimony, Congressional Globe, p. 1353.

6 McNair's testimony, Congressional Globe, p. 1363.

7 Sutton's testimony, Congressional Globe. p. 1363.

8 Sumner's testimony, Congressional Globe, p. 1353; . Y. Leader's statement, Sumner's Works, vol. i. p. 269. Nicholson testified that Brooks was ‘leaning on and over’ Sumner's desk. (Globe, p. 1361.) Sumner had an indistinct recollection that after the first blow Brooks used the words ‘old man,’ p. 1353.

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