Washington, Sept. 24, 1864.
MY DEAR NICO:
Your despatch was just brought in. I took it to the President, and he told me to tell you, you had better loaf round the city a while longer. You need some rest and recreation and may as well take it in New York as anywhere else. Besides, you can't imagine how nasty the house is at present. You would get the painters' colic in twenty-four hours if you came home now.
Politicians still unhealthily haunt us. Loose women flavor the anteroom. Much turmoil and trouble. . . . The world is almost too many for me. I take a dreary pleasure in seeing Philbrick eat steamed oysters by the half-bushel. He has gotten a haven of rest in the family of some decayed Virginian gentry; really a very lucky chance, good, respectable, and not dear.
Schafer must be our resource this winter in clo’. If you don't want to be surprised into idiocy, don't ask Croney and Lent the price of goods. A faint rumor has reached me and paralyzed me. I am founding a “Shabby Club” to make rags the style this winter. Write to me some morning while you are waiting for your cocktail, and tell me how's things. Give my love to the fair you are so lucky as to know.
Isn't it bully about Sheridan?
SOURCES: Abstracted from Clara B. Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, Volume 1, p. 222-3; Michael Burlingam, Editor, At Lincoln’s Side: John Hay’s Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings, p. 95