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[discussing why he can't face Mary Todd before his marriage to her] I'd have to tell her that I have hatred for her infernal ambition. That I don't want to be ridden and driven onward and upward through life with her whip bashing me and her spurs digging in me. If her poor little soul craves importance in life let her marry Stephen Douglas. He's ambitious too. I want only to be left alone.
[after a particularly hysterical outburst by Mary, he comes up to her; her back is to him] Why do you take every opportunity you can to make a public fool out of me and yourself? It's bad enough when you act like that in the privacy of our own home, but here in front of people! You're not to do that again, do you hear? You're never to do that again!
Mary Todd Lincoln:
[she turns to face him amazed, then] You never spoke to me like that before. You lost your temper, Abe... you've never done that before.
I'm sorry. [He turns and walks away from her] I still think youn should go home rather than stay here and endure the strain of this Death Watch.
Mary Todd Lincoln:
[slowly goes to the door, opens it, pauses, then turns back to him] This is the night I dreamed about when I was a child... when I was an excited young girl and all the gay young gentlemen of Springfield were courting me... and I fell in love with the least likely of them. This is the night I'm waiting to hear that my husband is become President of the United States... and even if he does, it's ruined for me. [He turns to stare at her] It's too late. [She slowly leaves]
Gentlemen, I may not know as much as you about economics and theology, but I do know politics and what is the essential quality that we demand in our candidate. It is simply this: that he be able to get himself elected.
Well, there's something in what you say.
And do you think he can do it?
I tell you, gentlemen, in that uncouth rail splitter you may observe one of the slickest, smoothest politicians that ever hoodwinked a yokel mob.
[after he withdraws from politics] What'll yuh do, Abe?
Judge Stuart's offered me a chance to work in his law office in Springfield. Course I don't know much about the law, but there's one thing I've learned here in politics... that ignorance is no obstacle to advancement. In fact, in some cases it's quite an advantage.
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