to me always. I think he loved me truly. I had a son, John, who was raised with Abe. Both were good boys; but I must say, both being now dead, that Abe was the best boy I ever saw, or ever expect to see. I wish I had died when my husband died. I did not want Abe to run for President; did not want him elected; was afraid somehow,—felt it in my heart; and when he came down to see me, after he was elected President, I felt that something would befall him, and that I should see him no more.”

Mr. Lamon relates that, when this interview closed, and Mr. Herndon was about to retire, Mrs. Lincoln took one of his hands in both of hers, and wringing it, with the tears streaming down her cheeks, as if loth to separate from one who knew her “Abe” so intimately, said: “Good-bye, my good son’s friend. Farewell.”

Abraham tried his father often by his persistent efforts to gain time to read and study, and by his disposition to turn night into day, that he might pore over some engrossing book, or compose a “poem” or “chronicle” upon some passing event, pleasant or otherwise. He was more tried, however, by Abraham’s “preaching about” and making “political speeches” on stumps than anything; for this interfered with business. His step-sister, Matilda Johnson, says he was remarkable for preaching and speech-making. On Monday mornings, after he had listened to a sermon, he would mount a stump, and deliver the sermon, which his memory retained with wonderful accuracy. In the field he often amused his working companions with a speech upon some subject that was uppermost; and when he began to orate there was an end of labour. All hands gathered about him in admiration, and cheered him on. Thomas Lincoln thought Abraham was carrying the matter too far. But he said nothing especially authoritative until the community was visited by a preacher of singular eccentricities. He bellowed like a bull of Bashan in the pulpit, a fearful nasal twang accompanying his cracked voice; and he pounded the desk in his excitement, as if determined to reduce it to kindling wood. His performance was fun for the young people; and Abraham was especially amused. His gift of imitation enabled him to reproduce the sermon, with its nasal twang and other oddities, so that the eccentricities of the preacher were reproduced and repeated, over and over, on the stumps of the field, and at evening gatherings. When Abraham began to preach that sermon, in cabin or field, his audience could attend to nothing else until the discourse was finished. The exercise of laughing over it was well-nigh as exhaustive and violent as that of chopping. Even the old people, who thought it was not quite right to make so much merriment over a sermon, could not help laughing when Abraham became the eccentric pulpit orator. But his father felt obliged to interfere with this habit of public speaking. It became too much of an interruption to necessary work.

“You must stop it, Abe. I won’t have it. You’ll get to liking fun more than work; guess you do now. I’ve put up with it long enough,—shan’t any longer. Don’t let me have to speak to you about it again.” So Mr. Lincoln interrupted Abraham’s practice of stumpspeaking, in his irritation manifesting considerable feeling on the subject.

Yet there is no doubt that Mr. Lincoln was proud of the ability of his son, and, at heart, enjoyed his precocity. In his ignorance, he might have feared that his habit of speech-making would make him lazy or shiftless. Whether he did or not, Abraham evidently laid the foundation of his future greatness as an orator and debater in those remarkable days of his youth. A better practice to discipline him for public service could not have engaged his attention. The pioneer boy was unconsciously schooling himself for the highest position in the land.

Abraham worked often for William Wood, who lived one mile and a half away. Mr. Lincoln worked there, also, as a carpenter, whenever labour in his line was demanded. Abraham loved to work for Mr. Wood, for he took two papers, which the boy could read through and through. One of them was a temperance paper, and its contents interested him more even than the political paper.

“I did not know that a paper like this was ever printed,” he said to Mr. Wood, who was one of the most intelligent and well-posted men of Spencer Country. “It’s true, every word of it.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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