Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: “Smelt No Royalty in Our Carriage”

On one occasion, in going to meet an appointment in the southern part of the Sucker State—that section of Illinois called Egypt—Lincoln, with other friends, was traveling in the “caboose” of a freight train, when the freight was switched off the main track to allow a special train to pass.

Lincoln’s more aristocratic rival (Stephen A. Douglas) was being conveyed to the same town in this special. The passing train was decorated with banners and flags, and carried a band of music, which was playing “Hail to the Chief.”

As the train whistled past, Lincoln broke out in a fit of laughter, and said: “Boys, the gentleman in that car evidently smelt no royalty in our carriage.”