Last Tuesday I was killing time, after seeing a show at my alma mater, my train to Taunton wasn't for ages, so I decided to have a burger and some onion rings at the Fine Burger Company on Finchley Road.
As I tucked in, I was eager to finish reading the utterly exceptional and compelling book, that I mentioned here, entitled "Team of Rivals". It documents the rise and genius of perhaps the greatest US President, Abraham Lincoln but obviously, as the book draws to its inevitable and horrible close, the death of this great man fast approaches.
The book moves with pace as it recounts the events of that fateful night and as the death of Lincoln came and went and the eulogies from those that knew him were documented, I felt the sudden rush of tears to my eyes.
I found myself sobbing, utterly distraught that such a giant amongst humans, indeed perhaps one of the greatest to have ever walked the Earth, had been stolen by such cruel and desperate violence. Even one such as he was not above being taken by humanity's basest instincts and petty madness. The grief felt all encompassing but I had to gather myself, settle the bill and make my way to Paddington.
I'll leave you with my favourite part of the book, which is the moment of Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation:
As the parchment was unrolled before him, he "took a pen, dipped it in ink, moved his had to the place for the signature" but then, his hand trembling, he stopped and put the pen down. "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper" he said. "If my name ever goes into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it." His arm was "stiff and numb" from shaking hands for three hours, however. "If my hand trembles when I sign the Proclamation," Lincoln said, "all who examine the document hereafter will say, 'He hesitated.' " So the president waited a moment and then took up the pen once more, "slowly and carefully" writing his name.Now he belongs to the ages...