Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: Taking Down a Dandy

In a political campaign, Lincoln once replied to Colonel Richard Taylor, a self-conceited, dandified man, who wore a gold chain and ruffled shirt. His party at that time was posing as the hard-working bone and sinew of the land, while the Whigs were stigmatized as aristocrats, ruffled-shirt gentry. Taylor making a sweeping gesture, his overcoat became torn open, displaying his finery. Lincoln in reply said, laying his hand on his jeans-clad breast:

“Here is your aristocrat, one of your silk-stocking gentry, at your service.” Then, spreading out his hands, bronzed and gaunt with toil: “Here is your rag-basin with lily-white hands. Yes, I suppose, according to my friend Taylor, I am a bloated aristocrat.”