A scene from the Lincoln household described by their housekeeper
SOURCE: Lincoln's Unknown Private Life: An Oral History by His Housekeeper Mariah Vance -- 1850-1860
By Lloyd Ostendorf, 1995)

De Missy always seem to favor Willie. Her say, "Willie, precious, tell Mother what you and Taddie were doing."

Willie was smart, and he say meek like, "We was only playing."

But de Missy say, "How playing? Tell me about the pipe and this smoke. Give me the pipe, Taddie."

He held it back of him for a spell, then finally shove it at her. De Missy look at it, smell it, and say, "Come to Mother, boys."

Taddie step up bold like, but Willie hung his head and went slow like.

"Now, boys," her say, "I know you were playing, but this is an order from Mother. No more such playing."

"But Mother," Willie say, "those men at your party last night smoked and chewed and you didn't tell them to stop. Why should they have more privilege in our home than we have?"

Her say, "Men can choose or can limit themselves when it comes to vices. But little boys must be guided or directed by parents who love them. Your father would not do what he would not have his boys do. You know he would not want you to pattern after men who are careless about their habits. Don't you want to please your dear father?"

They both of course say they do. No spanking, no scolding. That was the way Mistah Abe and de Missy manage those boys. I never did see the like, for those boys went back to their making soap bubbles without another word.



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