Behind the Scenes/Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House
By G. W. Garleton & Co., formerly a Slave, but more recently Modiste and Friend to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. New York :
WE suppose that Mrs. Keckley, as a literary resource, is probably exhausted in the volume before us ; but we would not have the ingenious editor of the work (whoever he may be) despair on that account. Indeed, he need never want inspiration while there are cooks, lady’s-maids, coachmen, and footmen about, who have lived in families of eminent persons. Why should he not give us next, “ Behind the Pantry Door; or, Mr. Seward’s After-Dinner-ana, overheard by his Butler ” ? — or, “ On the Kitchen Stairs ; Sayings and Doings of Chief Justice Chase, reported by his former Cook ” ? — and so on, concluding with “ The Married Life of our Distinguished Clergymen by a Serving - woman out of place ” ? He need not be deterred by the fact that the present book is an outrage, for he is not likely to be affected by any kind of criticism that can reach his case.
We put Mrs. Keckley out of the question of authorship ; and, of the material which she has supplied, we have but to say that it is both dull and trivial, and only considerable in its effect of dragging the family affairs of Mrs. Lincoln before the public. We should be quite ashamed to base upon it any speculations about the character of the late President; and with that of his wife and children we have no possible concern, further than to express our belief that, if the nation had dealt more generously with them, it would now be able to judge Mrs. Lincoln more kindly, or perhaps would not be obliged to judge her at all.