Lincoln's correspondence has been preserved with what is probably substantial completeness. The letters written by him to friends, acquaintances, political correspondents, individual men of one kind or another, have been gathered together and have been brought into print not, as is most frequently the case, under the discretion or judgment of a friendly biographer, but by a great variety of more or less sympathetic people. It would seem as if but very few of Lincoln's letters could have been mislaid or destroyed. One can but be impressed, in reading these letters, with the absolute honesty of purpose and of statement that characterises them. There are very few men, particularly those whose active lives have been passed in a period of political struggle and civil war, whose correspondence could stand such a test. There never came to Lincoln requirement to say to his correspondent, "Burn this letter."
From his side Captain Sender said, "Seven o'clock. Nothing's stirred on the other side. Bit of movement on our side, near a cellar close to the frontier. That'll be our reception committee-two good men from the Station. Better stay with it until they close down. Let me know when they take that gun in." - "All right."
Sir James Molony picked up the piercer the head waiter had left on the table and punctured the tip of his cigar with precision. He lit a Swan Vesta and waved its flame to and fro across the tip and sucked gently until he had got the cigar going to his satisfaction. Then he took a sip, first at his brandy and then at his coffee, and sat back. He observed the corrugated brow of his host with affection and irony. He said, 'All right, my friend. Now tell me. What's the problem?'
'Hum!' said I. 'Not that her happiness was of long duration,' pursued Traddles, 'for, unfortunately, within a week another execution came in. It broke up the establishment. I have been living in a furnished apartment since then, and the Mortimers have been very private indeed. I hope you won't think it selfish, Copperfield, if I mention that the broker carried off my little round table with the marble top, and Sophy's flower-pot and stand?'
'Betsey Trotwood don't look a likely subject for the tender passion,' said my aunt, composedly, 'but the time was, Trot, when she believed in that man most entirely. When she loved him, Trot, right well. When there was no proof of attachment and affection that she would not have given him. He repaid her by breaking her fortune, and nearly breaking her heart. So she put all that sort of sentiment, once and for ever, in a grave, and filled it up, and flattened it down.'
A repainted sky-blue Ford Popular with large yellow ears was scurrying along the crown of the road ahead. Mechanically Bond gave the horn ring a couple of short, polite jabs. There was no reaction. The Ford Popular was doing its forty. Why should anyone want to go more than that respectable speed? The Ford obstinately hunched its shoulders and kept on its course. Bond gave it a sharp blast, expecting it to swerve. He had to touch his brakes when it didn't. Damn the man! Of course! The usual tense figure, hands held too high up on the wheel, and the inevitable hat, this time a particularly hideous black bowler, square on a large bullet head. Oh well, thought Bond, they weren't his stomach ulcers. He changed down and contemptuously slammed the DB III past on the inside. Silly bastard!