Ulysses Grant: Some Anecdotes

Odds & Ends
Pendel 1, who worked in the Grant White House, tells a few anecdotes about Grant. They are not especially revealing. SEE BELOW
Taken together, these anecdotes 1 illustrate a little about Grant. At the least, he apparently liked to take walks.


One day I saw two gentlemen coming up the sidewalk. It was after three o'clock in the afternoon. I said in my mind, "I do not think the President will see these two gentlemen." I stepped to the door and met them, and said, "Gentlemen, it is after the hour when the President receives visitors." They said, "We have an engagement with the President." I said, "All right, gentlemen, if that is the case, walk in." I went into the inner corridor, and there met the President, who had just lit a cigar, and was about to take his evening stroll. I said, "Mr. President, these two gentlemen say they have an engagement with you. I told them it was after your hours for receiving visitors." The President immediately spoke up and said, "Yes, I had an engagement with them at two o'clock; it is now after three o'clock, and I must poke my nose out of doors a bit, to get a little fresh air." He said to me, "Where are the gentlemen?" I said, "In the little waiting-room, Mr. President." He stepped to the door and they met him immediately, and he said, "Gentlemen, your engagement was for two o'clock; it is now after three, and you failed to fulfil your engagement, and I must have a little opportunity to poke my nose out of doors, and get some fresh air. Good afternoon, gentlemen," and the President walked out, smoking his cigar.
On another afternoon, as the President started to take his walk, a woman met him on the portico, and her tongue commenced running at a great rate. If she didn't rattle it out at the rate of ninety miles an hour! The President listened to her very attentively, and when she had about run down, as a clock would, she handed him a letter. He said a few words to her, put the letter in his pocket and continued his walk.
Another time when President Grant had been out walking--the day was very gloomy, it looked as though a northeast storm was brewing--the rain commenced pouring down in torrents just as he entered the east gate on Pennsylvania Avenue. He did not hasten his gait a particle, but seemed to enjoy the drenching he was getting, and walked along as unconcerned as though the sun was shining and such a thing as rain was never heard of.
General Grant was a remarkable man. He displayed more patience than any President I ever saw in the White House. Once he came downstairs to take a drive in his buggy. The buggy was not there. He smoked his cigar, and waited and waited. He walked up and down the portico, and would "right-about" in regular army style, and walked up and down, and smoked again, and after waiting until the patience of an ordinary man would have been worn out, Albert finally appeared. Instead of railing out at Albert for his slow appearance, he said something pleasant to him, took the reins and drove off.
One day the General had been out in the hot, broiling sun, and when he returned he was pacing up and down in the grand corridor. The perspiration was rolling down his face, and he had his handkerchief out wiping it off. He was so warm that his handkerchief was soon saturated. I stepped up to him and said, "Mr. President, let me take that handkerchief, and go upstairs and get you a dry one." I hurried upstairs and soon returned with one that was nice and dry. He seemed to be gratified at the attention, and continued walking up and down the corridor.
Cited Sources
  1. Pendel, Thomas F. Thirty-Six Years in the White House. Washington: Neale Publishing Company, 1902.

    Comment: Pendel was door-keeper at the White House from the time of Lincoln to the time of Theodore Roosevelt. Full text is available on-line at loc.gov. It is a rather dry book, and reads as if it were written by an old man. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?lhbcbbib:1:./temp/~~ammem_rEou::

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