"I never mounted the steps and crossed the stone porch to the front door of the White House without a feeling of awe; Lincoln's feet had trod those steps where mine were walking; beyond the door, possibly in corners, I liked to fancy, there still lingered atmosphere that he had breathed."

                                                                      - -  Frank Vanderlip

A White House Affair

     When Frank was in Washington as Assistant Secretary of State in 1898, for a while he escorted a young lady who happened to be a niece of President William McKinley. He would proudly pick her up at the White House in the carriage drawn by two horses that he was entitled to because of his job title.

     While I was writing the book, I knew President McKinley had three nieces, but could never discover which one rode out with Frank. Recently I have come across information leading to the educated guess that it was Grace Howe McKinley, who stayed at the White House for some time to help care for the President's wife.
     After Frank left Washington in 1901, Grace married Army Captain Grayson Heidt. She fell in love with the captain in the Philippines, while she was visiting her brother, when the two men were stationed there together. But, she first met her future beloved in Washington, while she was staying at the White House. Was Captain Heidt the splendidly dressed military man who always accompained them as Grace's guard, who so entertained her in the carriage that poor, tongue-tied Frank felt so drab in comparison that he did not know how to join the conversation? Might Grace have otherwise become Mrs. Frank Vanderlip? Or was she simply unable to resist the charms of an escort in uniform?