Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/54

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Abraham Lincoln (13552661785).jpg


the last sitting on the day of lee′s surrender

On April 9 1865, the very day of the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, Lincoln, for the last time, went to the photographer′s gallery. As he sits in simple fashion sharpening his pencil, the man of sorrows cannot forget the sense of weariness and pain that for four years has been unbroken. No elation of triumph lights the features. One task is ended — the Nation is saved. But another, scarcely less exacting, confronts him. The States which lay “out of their proper practical relation to the Union.” in his own phrase, must be brought back into a proper practical relation. But this task was not for him. Only five days later the sad eyes reflected upon this page closed forever upon scenes of earthly turmoil. Bereft of Lincoln′s heart and head, leaders attacked problems of reconstruction in ways that proved unwise. As the mists of passion and prejudice cleared away, both North and South came to feel that this patient, wise, and sympathetic ruler was one of the few really great men in history, and that he would live forever in the hearts of men made better by his presence during those four years of storm.