Abraham Lincoln: A story and a Play/Scene Six
The sky at last begins to clear,
No longer is great cause to fear
That North and South divided be.
Our President the end can see
Of cruel war; his hope is high,
His heart grows merry; though death be nigh
He knows it not. Then, suddenly,
He meets his end most cruelly.
Time, Ten o'clock in the evening, April 14, 1865. Scene,—A street in Washington.
Two officers walking together.
First Officer,—How much we have to be thankful for! The end of the war is in sight. We can draw a long breath at last.
Second Officer,—Yes, and we may bless God for the one who has brought us safely through such terrible dangers. No other than Old Abe would have been wise enough to do it. He was sent to us in our great need.
First Officer,—I believe it. They say that even when he was a backwoods boy, he talked of being President some day. He was determined to be a great man. But when he became great, did it make him proud? No, it made him eager to use his power in helping others. Such a big, tender heart I never knew.
Second Officer,—I heard that he seemed unusually happy to-day,—went driving with his wife in the afternoon, and this evening is at the theatre with her and a party of friends.
First Officer,—Perhaps his dream had something to do with it. Do you remember the day we heard of the success at Gettysburg, and his telling us of the dream he had the night before? I heard that he had the same one last night, and that he said it meant more good news. No doubt he was thinking of the end of the war.
Second Officer,—I hope with all my heart that the dream comes true, and that President Lincoln will live long to enjoy the peace for which he has worked so hard.
(At this point a man comes running towards the two officers, shouting.)
Shot! Shot! President Lincoln has been shot!
Crowd gathers from all directions.
First Officer (excitedly),—Shot! what do you mean?
Man (still shouting),—Shot by a crazy actor in Ford's theatre, and there is no hope!
The two officers force their way through the crowd as they hurry down the street in the direction of the theatre.
Old Negro Woman (screaming),—Massa Linkum, good Massa Linkum! De Lord neber let such harm come to de Savior of dis people! No! No! No!
Women in the crowd begin to sob.
Newcomer, (joining the crowd),—Yes, it is true. There is no hope. The Friend of his people is sinking fast. The doctors believe that he will not last till morning.
Voice From The Crowd,—No hope!
One After Another,—No hope! No hope!
Old Man,—What will become of the country now?
Man (who brought the news that Lincoln was sinking),—Our President has saved the country, but he has lost his life in doing it.
One Of The Crowd,—To the White House, to hear all we can.
(He hurries away, and the others follow.)