Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: Short, but Exciting

William B. Wilson, employed in the telegraph office at the War Department, ran over to the White House one day to summon Mr. Lincoln. He described the trip back to the War Department in this manner:

“Calling one of his two younger boys to join him, we then started from the White House, between stately trees, along a gravel path which led to the rear of the old War Department building. It was a warm day, and Mr. Lincoln wore as part of his costume a faded gray linen duster which hung loosely around his long gaunt frame; his kindly eye was beaming with good nature, and his ever-thoughtful brow was unruffled.

“We had barely reached the gravel walk before he stooped over, picked up a round smooth pebble, and shooting it off his thumb, challenged us to a game of ‘followings,’ which we accepted. Each in turn tried to hit the outlying stone, which was being constantly projected onward by the President. The game was short, but exciting; the cheerfulness of childhood, the ambition of young manhood, and the gravity of the statesman were all injected into it.

“The game was not won until the steps of the War Department were reached. Every inch of progression was toughly contested, and when the President was declared victor, it was only by a hand span. He appeared to be as much pleased as if he had won a battle.”