The President took Stoddard, Nicolay and me to Ford’s with him to see Falstaff in Henry IV. Dixon came in after a while. Hackett was most admirable. The President criticised his reading of a passage where Hackett said, “mainly thrust at me,” the President thinking it should read “mainly thrust at me.” I told the President I thought he was wrong; that “mainly” merely meant “strongly,” “fiercely.” The President thinks the dying speech of Hotspur an unnatural and unworthy thing — as who does not. . . .
SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 141; Roy Prentice Basler, A Touchstone for Greatness: Essays, Addresses, and Occasional Pieces about Abraham Lincoln, p. 217