March 19, 1861.
MY DEAR MRS. RIDGELY:
An enterprising genius has just opened a little collection of Japanese curiosities under Willard's, and everybody goes there and gets unmercifully cheated. I was beguiled into the shop to-day and my eyes fell upon these little mother-of-pearl trinkets. I inquired their possible use and was told they were used in Japanese gambling, but were sold here for counters. I remembered the pleasant whist-parties at your house, and take the liberty of sending them. There is nothing domestic about them. The box, the wood and the paper are all d'outre mer.
Mr. Baker and his cara sposa left us to-day.
It made me positively homesick. I would give everything for a day or two in Springfield. Not that I love Washington less, but that I love Springfield more. This town will be very pleasant after a while when we have leisure to enjoy it.
With great respect.
SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p.6-7; Michael Burlingame, Editor, At Lincoln's Side: John Hay's Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings, p. 5-6;