Washington, D. C.
June 20, 1864.
MY DEAR NICOLAY:
I went blundering through the country after leaving you, missing my connections and buying tickets until I landed in Baltimore without a cent; had to borrow money of the Eutaw to pay for my dinner and hack. Got home tired, dusty and disgusted.
The Tycoon thinks small beer of Rosey's mare's nest. Too small, I rather think. But let 'em work! Val[landigham] 's sudden Avatar rather startles the Cop[perhead]s here away. Billy Morrison asks me how much we gave Fernandiwud for importing him.
Society is nil here. The Lorings go to-morrow — last lingerers. We mingle our tears and exchange locks of hair to-night in Corcoran's Row, —some half hundred of us.
I went last night to a Sacred Concert of profane music at Ford's. Young Kretchmar and old Kretchpar were running it. — Hermanns and Habelman both sang;—and they kin if anybody kin. The Tycoon and I occupied private box, and both of us carried on a hefty flirtation with the Monk Girls in the flies.
Madame is in the North. The President has gone to-day to visit Grant. I am all alone in the White pest-house. The ghosts of twenty thousand drowned cats come in nights through the south windows. I shall shake my buttons off with the ague before you get back. . . . .
SOURCES: Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 198-9; see Michael Burlingame, Editor, At Lincoln’s side: John Hay’s Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings, p. 85 for the complete letter.