in the dark of the moon, but trees and plants which bear their fruits above ground must be put out in the light of the moon. The moon exerted a fearful influence, either kindly or malignant, as the good old rules were observed or not. It was even required to make soap in the light of the moon, and, moreover, it must be stirred only one way, and by one person. Nothing of importance was to be begun on Friday. All enterprises inaugurated on that day went fatally amiss.
Abraham Lincoln was reared from infancy to manhood among these people. Their manners, customs, habits, and opinions were familiar to him, and he knew no others by which to judge of them by contrast. The children of those people were his daily companions. He worked for and with their parents, heard their conversation, witnessed their want and ignorance, and nowhere found those intellectual conditions which could satisfy a mind like his. It is not strange that some of the peculiarities of the people with whom he was reared became his, and clung to him through life.
The incidents of this chapter will serve to magnify the mental and moral qualities of Abraham, which enabled him to improve and rise higher and higher even with such unfavourable surroundings.
James Taylor, who lived at the mouth of Andersons Creek, was anxious to secure Abrahams services.
I will give him six dollars a month and his board, said Mr. Taylor to Mr. Lincoln, and that is good pay for a boy sixteen years old.
Fair pay, responded Mr. Lincoln. You want him to run your ferry-boat? Mr. Taylor ran a ferry-boat across both the Ohio and Andersons Creek.
Yes, and other jobs that I want done; some farmwork; to take care of the horses, and chore about, was Mr. Taylors reply.
Abe can do as well by you in such work as a man grown, though I dont expect to get a mans wages for him, added Mr. Lincoln.
That is the reason I want him, said Mr. Taylor. I wouldnt give many boys that price anyhow; but I know that Abe is reliable, and he knows which side his bread is buttered.
For how many months will you pay him six dollars a month?
For nine months certainly, and perhaps longer.
Thats satisfactory; perhaps I wont want he should stay any longer.
Well, continued Mr. Taylor, do I understand that he may go? I want him at once.
He may go, answered Mr. Lincoln; and he may begin at once if you say so.
I say so; and shall expect to see him to-morrow, added Mr. Taylor, as he turned away and drove off.
Abraham was duly installed ferryman by his employer, though he was given to understand that, at times, he would be expected to act as farmer, hostler, and house-servant. He particularly enjoyed being ferryman, as it was new business for him; and, like most boys, he loved boating. He was very large of his age and very strong, and could therefore handle a boat as easily and effectively as a man. He was growing rapidly still, and, at seventeen years of age, he was six feet four inches highboth the tallest and strongest person in Spencer County.
Abraham was expected to be the first one up in the house in the morning, build the fire, put on the water in the kitchen, and get things prepared for cooking, before Mrs. Taylor put in her appearance. Other things, such as bringing wood and water, he attended to with scrupulous exactness; it was not strange that the mistress of the house soon came to regard him as the most wonderful boy she ever
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