While coming in one day with the paper I met Dunaway, our host, coming down from our room, where he had been and still was searching anxiously for his gong, which some ruthless hand had, alas, abstracted. When I had reached the room I was in the presence of the culprit. Lincoln sat awkwardly in a chair tilted up after his fashion, looking amused, silly and guilty, as if he had done something ridiculous, funny and reprehensible.
The Judge was equally amused; but said to him: “Now, Lincoln, that is a shame. Poor Dunaway is the most distressed being. You must put that back,” etc., etc.
It seems that Lincoln, in passing through the dining-room, had seen the offending and noisy instrument; and in a mischievous freak had secreted it between the top and false bottom of a center table, and where no one would have thought of looking for it. But he and I immediately repaired to the dining-room and while I held the two contiguous doors fast Lincoln restored the gong to its accustomed place, after which he bounded up the stairs, two steps at a time, I following.
Quoted in Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, introduction and notes by Paul M. Angle (Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxon Printers, 1940), pp.79