This section is from the book "The National Capitol. Its Architecture Art And History", by George C. Hazelton, Jr. Also available from Amazon: The National Capitol Its Architecture Art and History.
In a corner of the business-like document rooms, opening off, where are now kept bills, resolutions, reports and other printed documents for the use of Members, was located in the old days the post-office of the House. Here, writes Ben: Perley Poore, "during the Christmas holidays, Mr. Lincoln found his way . . . where a few jovial raconteurs used to meet almost every morning, after the mail had been distributed into the Members' boxes, to exchange such new stories as any of them might have acquired since they had last met. After modestly standing at the door for several days, Mr. Lincoln was reminded of a story, and by New Year's, he was recognized as the champion story-teller of the Capitol. His favorite seat was at the left of the open fire-place, tilted back in his chair, with his long legs reaching over to the chimney jamb. He never told a story twice, but appeared to have an endless repertoire of them always ready, like the successive charges in a magazine gun, and always pertinently adapted to some passing event. It was refreshing to us correspondents, compelled as we were to listen to so much that was prosy and tedious, to hear this bright specimen of Western genius tell his inimitable stories, especially his reminiscences of the Black Hawk War".
This extract, culled from the Reminiscences of the veteran-correspondent, throws a halo and aroma about the room, and gives to what remains of its fireplace, now hidden by prosaic desk and documents, almost as much interest as clings to the one in the Red Horse Inn at Stratford-on-Avon, made historic on the night when Washington Irving sat there alone poking the fire and dreaming his magic dream. The old chair in which he sat is looked upon with as much reverence as a royal throne, and his poker has come to be the famous scepter of Geoffrey Crayon. These are almost religiously preserved in Shakespere's hamlet on the banks of the Avon; and to the eyes of Americans, who go thousands of miles to see them, they are sacred. But where, alas, is the chair Lincoln tipped against the wall of this old post-office, while the room resounded to the applause evoked by that genius of story-telling ? And where is the poker with which " Old Abe " tickled the laughing embers until they cracked their sides with merriment ? The echoes of his voice have joined the mysterious voices in Statuary Hall, but where are his democratic throne and scepter once in the old House post-office ?