Both the steward and the cook had remonstrated with "Master Tad" upon bringing into the kitchen of the White House "such squads of poor, dirty. hungry street urchins to be fed," and at last Peter said that Mrs. Lincoln must be told.
Tad flew into a rage ran upstairs to see his mother himself, and on finding her out, searched the place for his busy father.
Meanwhile, the small objects of his charity waited at the lower door for Peter had absolutely refused to let them "step inside."
The indignant boy spied his father just crossing the yard with head bowed. eyes to the ground, talking earnestly to Mr. Seward as they walked to the Department of State together. He cried out to him at once "Father, father! Can't I bring those poor, cold, hungry boys home with me whenever I want to? Isn't it our kitchen?"
By this time Tad had his father by the hand, who stopped to listen to the frantic appeal.
"Can't I give them a good warm dinner today, say? They're just as hungry as bears. and two of 'em are boys
'of a soldier, too!- and, father, I'm going to discharge Peter this minute if he don't get out the meat and chickens and pies and all the things we had left yesterday." Say, mayn't I? Isn't it our kitchen, father?"
Secretary Seward was shaking with laughter. Mr. Lincoln turned to him with a twinkle. "Seward, advise with me. This case requires diplomacy."
Mr. Seward patted Tad on the back and said he must be careful not to run the government into debt and the President took Tad's little brown hands in his own big one, and with a droll smile bid him, to "run along home and feed the boys," and added: "Tell Peter that you are really required to obey the Bible by getting in the maimed and the blind, and that he must be a better Christian than he is"
In less than an hour, Mr. Seward said they passed through the yard on their way to the Cabinet meeting, and no less than ten small boys were sitting with Tad on the lower steps, cracking nuts and having a "state dinner."
Mr. Lincoln remarked that the "kitchen was ours."
From Wide Awake