Study Guide

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Part 2, Chapter 7

By Seth Grahame-Smith

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Part 2, Chapter 7

The Fatal First

  • This chapter begins with a letter from Lincoln noting that he never will marry. You know what that means. By the end of this chapter he'll be married. That's how Seth Grahame-Smith rolls.
  • Abe has a nightmare about being killed in a Southern plantation. The twist is that the killer is Henry, who tells Abe that this is his destiny. Great.
  • Back in the waking world, Abe is still a depressed mess after the death of Ann Rutledge. He's even too depressed to hunt vampires, sending out Jack to take care of any assignments from Henry.
  • However, with the encouragement of John T. Stuart (Abe's friend from the Blackhawk War in Chapter Six), Abe gets a law license in 1836, and he starts a law firm with Stuart in Springfield in 1837. 
  • In Springfield, Abe befriends the super-talkative Joshua Fry Speed, and they actually become roommates. Abe is broke, so he's not about to live by himself.
  • Springfield is a big booming city compared to where Lincoln used to live. That means it's also a lot more violent.
  • Which probably is good news for a lawyer, let's be honest. Abe is busy at his new lawyer job, including his twice-a-year job doing the circuit court. (That's what they called it when, in the olden days, the court and the lawyers rode around the county, going to the small settlements and towns that didn't have their own courthouses.)
  • And Abe gets back into vampire-hunting, saving some of Henry's assignments for when he's on the circuit.
  • The long and short of it is, Abe is getting on with his life—lawyer stuff, vampire-killing stuff, winning reelection to the State Legislature stuff (in 1836), and getting over Ann Rutledge stuff.
  • And one good way to get over losing a loved one (besides avenging her death) is to find someone new to love.
  • So John Todd Stuart introduces Abe to his Kentucky cousin, Mary Todd.
  • If you don't remember your First Ladies history, this might come as a surprise, but Abe likes her and she likes him. 
  • As the narrator notes, they have serious differences (she's cultured, he's a backwoods carpenter's son), but they have serious similarities (they lost their mothers, they're decisive, they're both emotional), too.
  • Mary Todd decides that she wants to marry Lincoln even though he's kind of poor and weird-looking because he makes her laugh. So there's hope for all of us.
  • They get engaged and Abe even gets her father's blessing.
  • But then Henry ruins everything by telling Abe the truth about Mary's father: he's the type of slave-owner who collaborates with vampires. Uh oh. 
  • Furious, Abe ends the engagement, breaking both Mary's and his own heart. This, by the way, happens on January 1st, which was the "Fatal First" of the chapter title.
  • Abe tries to explain to Speed why he did this crazy thing, but he tries to avoid the word "vampire."
  • But, surprise, Speed knows all about vampires. Wait. How?
  • It turns out that Speed comes from a wealthy Kentucky family, but he had always wanted to experience the excitement of living on the frontier. 
  • Unfortunately, Springfield isn't very fun, so in 1841, Speed goes home and Lincoln tags along for a visit.
  • Apparently, Speed's (dead) dad used to sell slaves to vampires (oh so that's how he knows about them). 
  • Lucky for Speed, Lincoln knows just how the guy can atone for his papa's evil deeds. He hatches a plan.
  • Speed invites a bunch of his dad's vampire friends to the plantation, where Lincoln ambushes and kills them. It's all the excitement of vampire hunting, with all the convenience of delivery.
  • After that vampire-killing vacation, Abe returns to Springfield, realizing that he loves Mary more than he hates her father for dealing with vampires.
  • After Abe abjectly apologizes, Mary takes him back and they get married in 1842.
  • Then there's a bunch of normal married stuff. They live happily together and they have a son, Robert Todd Lincoln. 
  • Abe is totally devoted to his son, writing "I am his servant, for I shall do anything to earn his slightest smile" (163).
  • And because Abe's got a whole family now, he decides that it's time to stop hunting vampires.
  • So he finds himself running as the Whig candidate for a seat in the US Congress in 1846. 
  • Frankly, hunting vampires is less dangerous than being a politician. You know that's true.

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