​Abraham Lincoln’s illustrative humor – Part III

Lincoln made his first appearance in society when he was first sent to Springfield as a member of the State Legislature. It was not an imposing figure which he cut in a ballroom, but still he was occasionally to be found there. Miss Mary Todd, who afterward became his wife, was the magnet which drew the tall, awkward young man from his den. One evening Lincoln approached Miss Todd and said, in his peculiar idiom: “Miss Todd, I should like to dance you the worst way.”

The young woman accepted the inevitable, and hobbled around the room with him. When she returned to her seat, one of her companions asked mischievously: “Well, Mary, did he dance with you the worst way?”

“Yes,” she answered, “the very worst.”


Lincoln loved everything that savored of wit or humor among the soldiers. He used to relate two stories to show that neither death nor danger could quench the grim humor of the American soldier:

“A soldier of the Army of Potomac was being carried to the rear of battle with both legs shot off, who, upon seeing a pie-woman, called out, ‘Say, old lady, are them pies sewed or pegged?’

And there was another one of the soldiers at the battle of Chancellorsville whose regiment, waiting to be called into the fight, was taking coffee. The hero of the story put to his lips a crockery mug which he had carried with care through several campaigns. A stray bullet, just missing the drinker’s head, dashed the mug into fragments and left only the handle on his finger. Turning his head in that direction, he scowled, “Johnny, you can’t do that again!”

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