Part 2 out of 2
_Lincoln_: Yes; but don't ask me for reprisals.
_Custis (gleaming)_: Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
_Lincoln_: No, no. You must think. Think what you are saying.
_Custis_: I think of murdered black men.
_Lincoln_: You would not ask me to murder?
_Custis_: Punish--not murder.
_Lincoln_: Yes, murder. How can I kill men in cold blood for what has
been done by others? Think what would follow. It is for us to set a
great example, not to follow a wicked one. You do believe that, don't
_Custis (after a pause)_: I know. Yes. Let your light so shine before
men. I trust Mista Lincoln. Will trust. I was wrong. I was too sorry
for my people.
_Lincoln_: Will you remember this? For more than two years I have
thought of you every day. I have grown a weary man with thinking. But
I shall not forget. I promise that.
_Custis_: You great, kind friend. I will love you.
_A knock at the door._
SUSAN _comes in_.
_Susan_: An officer gentleman. He says it's very important.
_Lincoln_: I'll come.
_He and_ CUSTIS _rise_.
Wait, will you, Mr. Custis? I want to ask you some questions.
_He goes out. It is getting dark, and_ SUSAN _lights a lamp and draws
the curtains_. CUSTIS _stands by the door looking after_ LINCOLN.
_Custis_: He very good man.
_Susan_: You've found that out, have you?
_Custis_: Do you love him, you white girl?
_Susan_: Of course I do.
_Custis_: Yes, you must.
_Susan_: He's a real white man. No offence, of course.
_Custis_: Not offend. He talk to me as if black no difference.
_Susan_: But I tell you what, Mr. Custis. He'll kill himself over this
war, his heart's that kind--like a shorn lamb, as they say.
_Custis_: Very unhappy war.
_Susan_: But I suppose he's right. It's got to go on till it's
_In the street below a body of people is heard approaching, singing
"John Brown's Body_" CUSTIS _and_ SUSAN _stand listening_, SUSAN
_joining in the song as it passes and fades away._
THE CURTAIN FALLS.
_First Chronicler_: Unchanged our time. And further yet
In loneliness must be the way,
And difficult and deep the debt
Of constancy to pay.
_Second Chronicler_: And one denies,
and one forsakes.
And still unquestioning he goes,
Who has his lonely thoughts, and makes.
A world of those.
_The two together_: When the high heart we magnify,
And the sure vision celebrate,
And worship greatness passing by,
Ourselves are great.
_About the same date. A meeting of the Cabinet at Washington_. SMITH
_has gone and_ CAMERON _has been replaced by_ EDWIN M. STANTON,
_Secretary of War. Otherwise the ministry, completed by_ SEWARD,
CHASE, HOOK, BLAIR, _and_ WELLES, _is as before. They are now
arranging themselves at the table, leaving_ LINCOLN'S _place empty.
Seward (coming in_): I've just had my summons. Is there some special
_Stanton_: Yes. McClellan has defeated Lee at Antietam. It's our
greatest success. They ought not to recover from it. The tide is
_Blair_: Have you seen the President?
_Stanton_: I've just been with him.
_Welles_: What does he say?
_Stanton_: He only said, "At last." He's coming directly.
_Hook_: He will bring up his proclamation again. In my opinion it is
_Seward_: Well, we've learnt by now that the President is the best man
_Hook_: There's a good deal of feeling against him everywhere, I find.
_Blair_: He's the one man with character enough for this business.
_Hook_: There are other opinions.
_Seward_: Yes, but not here, surely.
_Hook_: It's not for me to say. But I ask you, what does he mean about
emancipation? I've always understood that it was the Union we were
fighting for, and that abolition was to be kept in our minds for
legislation at the right moment. And now one day he talks as though
emancipation were his only concern, and the next as though he would
throw up the whole idea, if by doing it he could secure peace with the
establishment of the Union. Where are we?
_Seward_: No, you're wrong. It's the Union first now with him,
but there's no question about his views on slavery. You know that
perfectly well. But he has always kept his policy about slavery free
in his mind, to be directed as he thought best for the sake of the
Union. You remember his words: "If I could save the Union without
freeing any slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing
all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some
and leaving others alone, I would also do that. My paramount object
in this struggle is to save the Union." Nothing could be plainer than
that, just as nothing could be plainer than his determination to free
the slaves when he can.
_Hook_: Well, there are some who would have acted differently.
_Blair_: And you may depend upon it they would not have acted so
_Stanton_: I don't altogether agree with the President. But he's the
only man I should agree with at all.
_Hook_: To issue the proclamation now, and that's what he will
propose, mark my words, will be to confuse the public mind just when
we want to keep it clear.
_Welles_: Are you sure he will propose to issue it now?
_Hook_: You see if he doesn't.
_Welles_: If he does I shall support him.
_Seward_: Is Lee's army broken?
_Stanton_: Not yet--but it is in grave danger.
_Hook_: Why doesn't the President come? One would think this news was
_Chase_: I must say I'm anxious to know what he has to say about it
A CLERK _comes in_.
_Clerk_: The President's compliments, and he will be here in a moment.
_Hook_: I shall oppose it if it comes up.
_Chase_: He may say nothing about it.
_Seward_: I think he will.
_Stanton_: Anyhow, it's the critical moment.
_Blair_: Here he comes.
LINCOLN _comes in carrying a small book_.
_Lincoln_: Good-morning, gentlemen.
_He takes his place_.
_The Ministers_: Good-morning, Mr. President.
_Seward_: Great news, we hear.
_Hook_: If we leave things with the army to take their course for a
little now, we ought to see through our difficulties.
_Lincoln_: It's an exciting morning, gentlemen. I feel rather excited
myself. I find my mind not at its best in excitement. Will you allow
_Opening his book_.
It may compose us all. It is Mr. Artemus Ward's latest.
THE MINISTERS, _with the exception of_ HOOK, _who makes no attempt to
hide his irritation, and_ STANTON, _who would do the same but for
his disapproval of_ HOOK, _listen with good-humoured patience and
amusement while he reads the following passage from Artemus Ward_.
"High Handed Outrage at Utica."
"In the Faul of 1856, I showed my show in Utiky, a trooly grate city
in the State of New York. The people gave me a cordyal recepshun. The
press was loud in her prases. 1 day as I was givin a descripshun of
my Beests and Snaiks in my usual flowry stile what was my skorn and
disgust to see a big burly feller walk up to the cage containin my wax
figgers of the Lord's last Supper, and cease Judas Iscarrot by the
feet and drag him out on the ground. He then commenced fur to pound
him as hard as he cood."
"'What under the son are you abowt,' cried I."
"Sez he, 'What did you bring this pussylanermus cuss here fur?' and he
hit the wax figger another tremenjis blow on the bed."
"Sez I, 'You egrejus ass, that airs a wax figger--a representashun of
the false 'Postle.'"
"Sez he, 'That's all very well fur you to say; but I tell you, old
man, that Judas Iscarrot can't show himself in Utiky with impunerty
by a darn site,' with which observashun he kaved in Judassis hed. The
young man belonged to 1 of the first famerlies in Utiky. I sood him,
and the Joory brawt in a verdick of Arson in the 3d degree."
_Stanton_: May we now consider affairs of state?
_Hook_: Yes, we may.
_Lincoln_: Mr. Hook says, yes, we may.
_Stanton_: Thank you.
_Lincoln_: Oh, no. Thank Mr. Hook.
_Seward_: McClellan is in pursuit of Lee, I suppose.
_Lincoln_: You suppose a good deal. But for the first time McClellan
has the chance of being in pursuit of Lee, and that's the first sign
of their end. If McClellan doesn't take his chance, we'll move Grant
down to the job. That will mean delay, but no matter. The mastery has
_Blair_: Grant drinks.
_Lincoln_: Then tell me the name of his brand. I'll send some barrels
to the others. He wins victories.
_Hook_: Is there other business?
_Lincoln_: There is. Some weeks ago I showed you a draft I made
proclaiming freedom for all slaves.
_Hook (aside to Welles_): I told you so.
_Lincoln_: You thought then it was not the time to issue it. I agreed.
I think the moment has come. May I read it to you again? "It is
proclaimed that on the first day of January in the year of our Lord
one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves
within any state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion
against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever
free." That allows three months from to-day. There are clauses dealing
with compensation in a separate draft.
_Hook_: I must oppose the issue of such a proclamation at this moment
in the most unqualified terms. This question should be left until
our victory is complete. To thrust it forward now would be to invite
dissension when we most need unity.
_Welles_: I do not quite understand, Mr. President, why you think this
the precise moment.
_Lincoln_: Believe me, gentlemen, I have considered this matter with
all the earnestness and understanding of which I am capable.
_Hook_: But when the "New York Tribune" urged you to come forward with
a clear declaration six months ago, you rebuked them.
_Lincoln_: Because I thought the occasion not the right one. It was
useless to issue a proclamation that might be as inoperative as the
Pope's bull against the comet. My duty, it has seemed to me, has been
to be loyal to a principle, and not to betray it by expressing it in
action at the wrong time. That is what I conceive statesmanship to be.
For long now I have had two fixed resolves. To preserve the Union, and
to abolish slavery. How to preserve the Union I was always clear, and
more than two years of bitterness have not dulled my vision. We have
fought for the Union, and we are now winning for the Union. When and
how to proclaim abolition I have all this time been uncertain. I am
uncertain no longer. A few weeks ago I saw that, too, clearly. So
soon, I said to myself, as the rebel army shall be driven out of
Maryland, and it becomes plain to the world that victory is assured
to us in the end, the time will have come to announce that with that
victory and a vindicated Union will come abolition. I made the promise
to myself--and to my Maker. The rebel army is now driven out, and I am
going to fulfil that promise. I do not wish your advice about the main
matter, for that I have determined for myself. This I say without
intending anything but respect for any one of you. But I beg you to
stand with me in this thing.
_Hook_: In my opinion, it's altogether too impetuous.
_Lincoln_: One other observation I will make. I know very well that
others might in this matter, as in others, do better than I can, and
if I was satisfied that the public confidence was more fully possessed
by any one of them than by me, and knew of any constitutional way in
which he could be put in my place, he should have it. I would gladly
yield it to him. But, though I cannot claim undivided confidence, I do
not know that, all things considered, any other person has more; and,
however this may be, there is no way in which I can have any other
man put where I am. I am here; I must do the best I can, and bear the
responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take.
_Stanton_: Could this be left over a short time for consideration?
_Chase_: I feel that we should remember that our only public cause at
the moment is the preservation of the Union.
_Hook_: I entirely agree.
_Lincoln_: Gentlemen, we cannot escape history. We of this
administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal
significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. In
giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free. We shall
nobly save or meanly lose the last, best hope on earth.
_He places the proclamation in front of him_.
"Shall be thenceforward and forever free."
Gentlemen, I pray for your support.
_He signs it_.
THE MINISTERS _rise_. SEWARD, WELLES, _and_ BLAIR _shake_ LINCOLN'S
_hand and go out_. STANTON _and_ CHASE _bow to him, and follow_. HOOK,
_the last to rise, moves away, making no sign.
_Hook_: Yes, Mr. President.
_Lincoln_: Hook, one cannot help hearing things.
_Hook_: I beg your pardon?
_Lincoln_: Hook, there's a way some people have, when a man says a
disagreeable thing, of asking him to repeat it, hoping to embarrass
him. It's often effective. But I'm not easily embarrassed. I said one
cannot help hearing things.
_Hook_: And I do not understand what you mean, Mr. President.
_Lincoln_: Come, Hook, we're alone. Lincoln is a good enough name. And
I think you understand.
_Hook_: How should I?
_Lincoln_: Then, plainly, there are intrigues going on.
_Hook_: Against the government?
_Lincoln_: No. In it. Against me.
_Hook_: Criticism, perhaps.
_Lincoln_: To what end? To better my ways?
_Hook_: I presume that might be the purpose.
_Lincoln_: Then, why am I not told what it is?
_Hook_: I imagine it's a natural compunction.
_Lincoln_: Or ambition?
_Hook_: What do you mean?
_Lincoln_: You think you ought to be in my place.
_Hook_: You are well informed.
_Lincoln_: You cannot imagine why every one does not see that you
ought to be in my place.
_Hook_: By what right do you say that?
_Lincoln_: Is it not true?
_Hook_: You take me unprepared. You have me at a disadvantage.
_Lincoln_: You speak as a very scrupulous man, Hook.
_Hook_: Do you question my honour?
_Lincoln_: As you will.
_Hook_: Then I resign.
_Lincoln_: As a protest against...?
_Hook_: Your suspicion.
_Lincoln_: It is false?
_Hook_: Very well, I will be frank. I mistrust your judgment.
_Lincoln_: In what?
_Hook_: Generally. You over-emphasise abolition.
_Lincoln_: You don't mean that. You mean that you fear possible public
feeling against abolition.
_Hook_: It must be persuaded, not forced.
_Lincoln_: All the most worthy elements in it are persuaded. But the
ungenerous elements make the most noise, and you hear them only.
You will run from the terrible name of Abolitionist even when it is
pronounced by worthless creatures whom you know you have every reason
_Hook_: You have, in my opinion, failed in necessary firmness in
saying what will be the individual penalties of rebellion.
_Lincoln_: This is a war. I will not allow it to become a blood-feud.
_Hook_: We are fighting treason. We must meet it with severity.
_Lincoln_: We will defeat treason. And I will meet it with
_Hook_: It is a policy of weakness.
_Lincoln_: It is a policy of faith--it is a policy of compassion.
_(Warmly_.) Hook, why do you plague me with these jealousies? Once
before I found a member of my Cabinet working behind my back. But
he was disinterested, and he made amends nobly. But, Hook, you have
allowed the burden of these days to sour you. I know it all. I've
watched you plotting and plotting for authority. And I, who am a
lonely man, have been sick at heart. So great is the task God has
given to my hand, and so few are my days, and my deepest hunger is
always for loyalty in my own house. You have withheld it from me. You
have done great service in your office, but you have grown envious.
Now you resign, as you did once before when I came openly to you in
friendship. And you think that again I shall flatter you and coax you
to stay. I don't think I ought to do it. I will not do it. I must take
you at your word.
_Hook_: I am content.
_He turns to go_.
_Lincoln_: Will you shake hands?
_Hook_: I beg you will excuse me.
_He goes_. LINCOLN _stands silently for a moment, a travelled, lonely
captain. He rings a bell, and a_ CLERK _comes in.
Lincoln:_ Ask Mr. Hay to come in.
_Clerk_: Yes, sir.
_He goes_. LINCOLN, _from the folds of his pockets, produces another
book, and holds it unopened_. HAY _comes in_.
_Lincoln_: I'm rather tired to-day, Hay. Read to me a little. (_He
hands him the book_.) "The Tempest"--you know the passage.
Our revels now are ended; these our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
_Lincoln_: We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little
THE CURTAIN FALLS.
_First Chronicler_: Two years again.
Desolation of battle, and long debate,
Counsels and prayers of men,
And bitterness of destruction and witless hate,
And the shame of lie contending with lie,
Are spending themselves, and the brain
That set its lonely chart four years gone by,
Knowing the word fulfilled,
Comes with charity and communion to bring
To reconcile and build.
_The two together_: What victor coming from the field
Leaving the victim desolate,
But has a vulnerable shield
Against the substances of fate?
That battle's won that leads in chains
But retribution and despite,
And bids misfortune count her gains
Not stricken in a penal night.
His triumph is but bitterness
Who looks not to the starry doom
When proud and humble but possess
The little kingdom of the tomb.
Who, striking home, shall not forgive,
Strikes with a weak returning rod,
Claiming a fond prerogative
Against the armoury of God.
Who knows, and for his knowledge stands
Against the darkness in dispute,
And dedicates industrious hands,
And keeps a spirit resolute,
Prevailing in the battle, then
A steward of his word is made,
To bring it honour among men,
Or know his captaincy betrayed.
_An April evening in 1865. A farmhouse near Appomattox_. GENERAL
GRANT, _Commander-in-Chief, under Lincoln, of the Northern armies,
is seated at a table with_ CAPTAIN MALINS, _an aide-de-camp. He
is smoking a cigar, and at intervals he replenishes his glass of
whiskey_. DENNIS, _an orderly, sits at a table in the corner,
_Grant (consulting a large watch lying in front of him_): An hour and
a half. There ought to be something more from Meade by now. Dennis.
_Dennis (coming to the table_): Yes, sir.
_Grant_: Take these papers to Captain Templeman, and ask Colonel West
if the twenty-third are in action yet. Tell the cook to send some soup
at ten o'clock. Say it was cold yesterday.
_Dennis_: Yes, sir.
_Grant_: Give me that map, Malins.
MALINS _hands him the map at which he is working_.
(_After studying it in silence_): Yes. There's no doubt about it.
Unless Meade goes to sleep it can only be a question of hours. Lee's a
great man, but he can't get out of that.
_Making a ring on the map with his finger_.
_Malins (taking the map again_): This ought to be the end, sir.
_Grant_: Yes. If Lee surrenders, we can all pack up for home.
_Malins_: By God, sir, it will be splendid, won't it, to be back
_Grant_: By God, sir, it will.
_Malins_: I beg your pardon, sir.
_Grant_: You're quite right, Malins. My boy goes away to school next
week. Now I may be able to go down with him and see him settled.
DENNIS _comes back_.
_Dennis_: Colonel West says, yes, sir, for the last half-hour. The
cook says he's sorry, sir. It was a mistake.
_Grant_: Tell him to keep his mistakes in the kitchen.
_Dennis_: I will, sir.
_He goes back to his place.
Grant (at his papers_): Those rifles went up this afternoon?
_Malins_: Yes, sir.
_Another_ ORDERLY _comes in.
Orderly_: Mr. Lincoln has just arrived, sir. He's in the yard now.
_Grant_: All right, I'll come.
THE ORDERLY _goes_. GRANT _rises and crosses to the door, but is met
there by_ LINCOLN _and_ HAY. LINCOLN, _in top boots and tall hat that
has seen many campaigns, shakes hands with_ GRANT _and takes_ MALINS'S
_Grant:_ I wasn't expecting you, sir.
_Lincoln_: No; but I couldn't keep away. How's it going?
_Grant_: Meade sent word an hour and a half ago that Lee was
surrounded all but two miles, which was closing in.
_Lincoln_: That ought about to settle it, eh?
_Grant_: Unless anything goes wrong in those two miles, sir. I'm
expecting a further report from Meade every minute.
_Lincoln_: Would there be more fighting?
_Grant_: It will probably mean fighting through the night, more or
less. But Lee must realise it's hopeless by the morning.
_An Orderly (entering)_: A despatch, sir.
THE ORDERLY _goes, and a_ YOUNG OFFICER _comes in from the field. He
salutes and hands a despatch to_ GRANT.
_Officer_: From General Meade, sir.
_Grant (taking it_): Thank you.
_He opens it and reads_.
You needn't wait.
THE OFFICER _salutes and goes_.
Yes, they've closed the ring. Meade gives them ten hours. It's timed
at eight. That's six o'clock in the morning.
_He hands the despatch to_ LINCOLN.
_Lincoln_: We must be merciful. Bob Lee has been a gallant fellow.
_Grant (taking a paper_): Perhaps you'll look through this list, sir.
I hope it's the last we shall have.
_Lincoln (taking the paper_): It's a horrible part of the business,
Grant. Any shootings?
_Lincoln_: Damn it, Grant, why can't you do without it? No, no, of
course not? Who is it?
_Malins (opening a book_): William Scott, sir. It's rather a hard
_Lincoln_: What is it?
_Malins_: He had just done a heavy march, sir, and volunteered for
double guard duty to relieve a sick friend. He was found asleep at his
_He shuts the book_.
_Grant_: I was anxious to spare him. But it couldn't be done. It was a
critical place, at a gravely critical time.
_Lincoln_: When is it to be?
_Matins_: To-morrow, at daybreak, sir.
_Lincoln_: I don't see that it will do him any good to be shot. Where
_Malins_: Here, sir.
_Lincoln_: Can I go and see him?
_Grant_: Where is he?
_Malins_: In the barn, I believe, sir.
_Dennis (coming from his table_): Yes, sir.
_Grant_: Ask them to bring Scott in here.
I want to see Colonel West. Malins, ask Templeman if those figures are
_He goes, and_ MALINS _follows.
Lincoln:_ Will you, Hay?
HAY _goes. After a moment, during which_ LINCOLN _takes the book that_
MALINS _has been reading from, and looks into it_, WILLIAM SCOTT _is
brought in under guard. He is a boy of twenty_.
_Lincoln (to the_ GUARD): Thank you. Wait outside, will you?
_The_ MEN _salute and withdraw_.
Are you William Scott?
_Scott_: Yes, sir.
_Lincoln_: You know who I am?
_Scott_: Yes, sir.
_Lincoln_: The General tells me you've been court-martialled.
_Scott_: Yes sir.
_Lincoln_: Asleep on guard?
_Scott_: Yes, sir.
_Lincoln_: It's a very serious offence.
_Scott_: I know, sir.
_Lincoln_: What was it?
_Scott (a pause_): I couldn't keep awake, sir.
_Lincoln_: You'd had a long march?
_Scott_: Twenty-three miles, sir.
_Lincoln_: You were doing double guard?
_Scott_: Yes, sir.
_Lincoln_: Who ordered you?
_Scott_: Well, sir, I offered.
_Scott_: Enoch White--he was sick, sir. We come from the same place.
_Lincoln_: Where's that?
_Scott_: Vermont, sir.
_Lincoln_: You live there?
_Scott_: Yes, sir. My ... we've got a farm down there, sir.
_Lincoln_: Who has?
_Scott_: My mother, sir. I've got her photograph, sir.
_He takes it from his pocket_.
_Lincoln (taking it_): Does she know about this?
_Scott_: For God's sake, don't, sir.
_Lincoln_: There, there, my boy. You're not going to be shot.
_Scott (after a pause_): Not going to be shot, sir.
_Lincoln_: No, no.
_He breaks down, sobbing_.
_Lincoln (rising and going to him_): There, there. I believe you when
you tell me that you couldn't keep awake. I'm going to trust you, and
send you back to your regiment.
_He goes back to his seat.
Scott:_ When may I go back, sir?
_Lincoln_: You can go back to-morrow. I expect the fighting will be
_Scott_: Is it over yet, sir?
_Lincoln_: Not quite.
_Scott_: Please, sir, let me go back to-night--let me go back
_Lincoln_: Very well.
Do you know where General Meade is?
_Scott_: No, sir.
_Lincoln_: Ask one of those men to come here.
SCOTT _calls one of his guards in.
Lincoln:_ Your prisoner is discharged. Take him at once to General
Meade with this.
_He hands a note to the man.
The Soldier_: Yes, sir.
_Scott_: Thank you, sir.
_He salutes and goes out with the_ SOLDIER.
_Hay (outside_): Yes, sir.
_He comes in_.
_Lincoln_: What's the time?
_Hay (looking at the watch on the table_): Just on half-past nine,
_Lincoln_: I shall sleep here for a little. You'd better shake down
too. They'll wake us if there's any news.
LINCOLN _wraps himself up on two chairs_.
HAY _follows suit on a bench. After a few moments_ GRANT _comes to the
door, sees what has happened, blows out the candles quietly, and goes
THE CURTAIN FALLS.
_The First Chronicler_: Under the stars an end is made,
And on the field the Southern blade
And, where strife was, shall union be,
And, where was bondage, liberty.
The word is spoken....
_The Curtain rises on the same scene_, LINCOLN _and_ HAY _still lying
asleep. The light of dawn fills the room. The_ ORDERLY _comes in with
two smoking cups of coffee and some biscuits_. LINCOLN _wakes_.
_Orderly_: Good-morning, sir.
_Lincoln (taking coffee and biscuits_): Thank you.
_The_ ORDERLY _turns to_ HAY, _who sleeps on, and he hesitates_.
_Lincoln_: Hay. _(Shouting_.) Hay.
_Hay (starting up_): Hullo! What the devil is it? I beg your pardon,
_Lincoln_: Not at all. Take a little coffee.
_Hay_: Thank you, sir.
_He takes coffee and biscuits. The_ ORDERLY _goes_.
_Lincoln_: Slept well, Hay?
_Hay_: I feel a little crumpled, sir. I think I fell off once.
_Lincoln_: What's the time?
_Hay (looking at the watch_): Six o'clock, sir.
GRANT _comes in_.
_Grant_: Good-morning, sir; good-morning, Hay.
_Lincoln_: Good-morning, general.
_Hay_: Good-morning, sir.
_Grant_: I didn't disturb you last night. A message has just come from
Meade. Lee asked for an armistice at four o'clock.
_Lincoln (after a silence_): For four years life has been but the hope
of this moment. It is strange how simple it is when it comes. Grant,
you've served the country very truly. And you've made my work
_He takes his hand_.
_Grant_: Had I failed, the fault would not have been yours, sir. I
succeeded because you believed in me.
_Lincoln_: Where is Lee?
_Grant_: He's coming here. Meade should arrive directly.
_Lincoln_: Where will Lee wait?
_Grant_: There's a room ready for him. Will you receive him, sir?
_Lincoln_: No, no, Grant. That's your affair. You are to mention no
political matters. Be generous. But I needn't say that.
_Grant (taking a paper from his pocket_): Those are the terms I
_Lincoln (reading):_ Yes, yes. They do you honour.
_He places the paper on the table. An_ ORDERLY _comes in_.
_Orderly_: General Meade is here, sir.
_Grant_: Ask him to come here.
_Orderly_: Yes, sir.
_Grant_: I learnt a good deal from Robert Lee in early days. He's a
better man than most of us. This business will go pretty near the
_Lincoln_: I'm glad it's to be done by a brave gentleman, Grant.
GENERAL MEADE _and_ CAPTAIN SONE, _his aide-de-camp, come in_. MEADE
_salutes. Lincoln_: Congratulations, Meade. You've done well.
_Meade_: Thank you, sir.
_Grant_: Was there much more fighting?
_Meade_: Pretty hot for an hour or two.
_Grant_: How long will Lee be?
_Meade_: Only a few minutes, I should say, sir.
_Grant_: You said nothing about terms?
_Meade_: No, sir.
_Lincoln_: Did a boy Scott come to you?
_Meade_: Yes, sir. He went into action at once. He was killed, wasn't
_Sone_: Yes, sir.
_Lincoln_: Killed? It's a queer world, Grant.
_Meade_: Is there any proclamation to be made, sir, about the rebels?
_Lincoln_: No, no. I'll have nothing of hanging or shooting these men,
even the worst of them. Frighten them out of the country, open the
gates, let down the bars, scare them off. Shoo!
_He flings out his arms_.
Good-bye, Grant. Report at Washington as soon as you can.
_He shakes hands with him_.
Good-bye, gentlemen. Come along, Hay.
MEADE _salutes and_ LINCOLN _goes, followed by_ HAY.
_Grant_: Who is with Lee?
_Meade_: Only one of his staff, sir.
_Grant_: You might see Malins, will you, Sone, and let us know
directly General Lee comes.
_Sone_: Yes, sir. _He goes out_.
_Grant_: Well, Meade, it's been a big job.
_Meade_: Yes, sir.
_Grant_: We've had courage and determination. And we've had wits,
to beat a great soldier. I'd say that to any man. But it's Abraham
Lincoln, Meade, who has kept us a great cause clean to fight for. It
does a man's heart good to know he's given victory to such a man to
handle. A glass, Meade? _(Pouring out whiskey_.) No? _(Drinking_.)
Do you know, Meade, there were fools who wanted me to oppose Lincoln
for the next Presidency. I've got my vanities, but I know better than
MALINS _comes in_.
_Malins_: General Lee is here, sir.
_Grant_: Meade, will General Lee do me the honour of meeting me here?
MEADE _salutes and goes_.
Where the deuce is my hat, Malins? And sword.
_Malins_: Here, sir.
MALINS _gets them for him_. MEADE _and_ SONE _come in, and stand
by the door at attention_. ROBERT LEE, _General-in-Chief of the
Confederate forces, comes in, followed by one of his staff. The days
of critical anxiety through which he has just lived have marked
themselves on_ LEE'S _face, but his groomed and punctilious toilet
contrasts pointedly with_ GRANT'S _unconsidered appearance. The two
commanders face each other_. GRANT _salutes, and_ LEE _replies.
Grant_: Sir, you have given me occasion to be proud of my opponent.
_Lee_: I have not spared my strength. I acknowledge its defeat.
_Grant_: You have come--
_Lee_: To ask upon what terms you will accept surrender. Yes.
_Grant (taking the paper from the table and handing it to_ LEE): They
are simple. I hope you will not find them ungenerous.
_Lee (having read the terms_): You are magnanimous, sir. May I make
_Grant_: It would be a privilege if I could consider it.
_Lee_: You allow our officers to keep their horses. That is gracious.
Our cavalry troopers' horses also are their own.
_Grant_: I understand. They will be needed on the farms. It shall be
_Lee_: I thank you. It will do much towards conciliating our people. I
accept your terms.
LEE _unbuckles his sword, and offers it to_ GRANT.
_Grant_: No, no. I should have included that. It has but one rightful
place. I beg you.
LEE _replaces his sword_. GRANT _offers his hand and_ LEE _takes it.
They salute, and_ LEE _turns to go_.
THE CURTAIN FALLS.
_The two Chroniclers_: A wind blows in the night,
And the pride of the rose is gone.
It laboured, and was delight,
And rains fell, and shone
Suns of the summer days,
And dews washed the bud,
And thanksgiving and praise
Was the rose in our blood.
And out of the night it came,
A wind, and the rose fell,
Shattered its heart of flame,
And how shall June tell
The glory that went with May?
How shall the full year keep
The beauty that ere its day
Was blasted into sleep?
Roses. Oh, heart of man:
Courage, that in the prime
Looked on truth, and began
Conspiracies with time
To flower upon the pain
Of dark and envious earth....
A wind blows, and the brain
Is the dust that was its birth.
What shall the witness cry,
He who has seen alone
With imagination's eye
The darkness overthrown?
Hark: from the long eclipse
The wise words come--
A wind blows, and the lips
Of prophecy are dumb.
_The evening of April_ 14, 1865. _The small lounge of a theatre. On
the far side are the doors of three private boxes. There is silence
for a few moments. Then the sound of applause comes from the
auditorium beyond. The box doors are opened. In the centre box can
be seen_ LINCOLN _and_ STANTON, MRS. LINCOLN, _another lady, and an
officer, talking together.
The occupants come out from the other boxes into the lounge, where
small knots of people have gathered from different directions, and
stand or sit talking busily_.
_A Lady_: Very amusing, don't you think?
_Her Companion_: Oh, yes. But it's hardly true to life, is it?
_Another Lady_: Isn't that dark girl clever? What's her name?
_A Gentleman (consulting his programme_:) Eleanor Crowne.
_Another Gentleman_: There's a terrible draught, isn't there? I shall
have a stiff neck.
_His Wife_: You should keep your scarf on.
_The Gentleman_: It looks so odd.
_Another Lady_: The President looks very happy this evening, doesn't
_Another_: No wonder, is it? He must be a proud man.
_A young man, dressed in black, passes among the people, glancing
furtively into_ LINCOLN'S _box, and disappears. It is_ JOHN WILKES
_A Lady (greeting another_): Ah, Mrs. Bennington. When do you expect
your husband back?
_They drift away_. SUSAN, _carrying cloaks and wraps, comes in. She
goes to the box, and speaks to_ MRS. LINCOLN. _Then she comes away,
and sits down apart from the crowd to wait.
A Young Man_: I rather think of going on the stage myself. My friends
tell me I'm uncommon good. Only I don't think my health would stand
_A Girl_: Oh, it must be a very easy life. Just acting--that's easy
_A cry of_ "Lincoln" _comes through the auditorium. It is taken up,
with shouts of_ "The President," "Speech," "Abraham Lincoln," "Father
Abraham," _and so on. The conversation in the lounge stops as the
talkers turn to listen. After a few moments_, LINCOLN _is seen to
rise. There is a burst of cheering. The people in the lounge stand
round the box door_. LINCOLN _holds up his hand, and there is a sudden
_Lincoln_: My friends, I am touched, deeply touched, by this mark of
your good-will. After four dark and difficult years, we have achieved
the great purpose for which we set out. General Lee's surrender to
General Grant leaves but one Confederate force in the field, and the
end is immediate and certain. _(Cheers_.) I have but little to say
at this moment. I claim not to have controlled events, but confess
plainly that events have controlled me. But as events have come before
me, I have seen them always with one faith. We have preserved the
American Union, and we have abolished a great wrong. _(Cheers_.) The
task of reconciliation, of setting order where there is now confusion,
of bringing about a settlement at once just and merciful, and of
directing the life of a reunited country into prosperous channels of
good-will and generosity, will demand all our wisdom, all our loyalty.
It is the proudest hope of my life that I may be of some service in
this work. _(Cheers_.) Whatever it may be, it can be but little in
return for all the kindness and forbearance that I have received. With
malice toward none, with charity for all, it is for us to resolve that
this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth.
_There is a great sound of cheering. It dies down, and a boy passes
through the lounge and calls out_ "Last act, ladies and gentlemen."
_The people disperse, and the box doors are closed_. SUSAN _is left
alone and there is silence_.
_After a few moments_, BOOTH _appears. He watches_ SUSAN _and sees
that her gaze is fixed away from him. He creeps along to the centre
box and disengages a hand from under his cloak. It holds a revolver.
Poising himself, he opens the door with a swift movement, fires,
flings the door to again, and rushes away. The door is thrown open
again, and the_ OFFICER _follows in pursuit. Inside the box_, MRS.
LINCOLN _is kneeling by her husband, who is supported by_ STANTON.
A DOCTOR _runs across the lounge and goes into the box. There is
complete silence in the theatre. The door closes again.
Susan (who has run to the box door, and is kneeling there, sobbing_):
Master, master! No, no, not my master!
_The other box doors have opened, and the occupants with others have
collected in little terror-struck groups in the lounge. Then the
centre door opens, and_ STANTON _comes out, closing it behind him.
_Stanton_: Now he belongs to the ages.
THE CHRONICLERS _speak._
_First Chronicler_: Events go by. And upon circumstance Disaster
strikes with the blind sweep of chance. And this our mimic action was
a theme, Kinsmen, as life is, clouded as a dream.
_Second Chronicler_: But, as we spoke, presiding everywhere Upon event
was one man's character. And that endures; it is the token sent Always
to man for man's own government.
THE CURTAIN FALLS.