Mrs Lincoln

by Janis Cooke Newman

Set aside plenty of time for the closely typed 569 pages of the autobiography that former First Lady, Mary Lincoln, might have written from her Lunatic Asylum in 1875. Both she and her story are admirable, pitiable and exasperating by turns but make for an always compelling read.


I pulled my husband to me so that he could cry into my hair. When still his weeping did not stop, I held his face between my hands and kissed him, taking each tear into my mouth.
'I did not expect to grieve so long,' he sobbed.
With an embrace near to violence, he took hold of me. I knew it was only consolation he was seeking, but I was too susceptible to my husband's flesh. The taste of his tears, the pressure of his arms, the hard bones of his chest against my uncorseted chest made me shake as if with palsy.


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