“That so? And what can I do for you?”

“I would like to have you give me a recommendation to some boat, if you will.”

“But you are not of age yet, Abe. Your father has a claim on you.” In that hard country, at that time, parents needed the help of their sons, and their claim upon their labour was enforced with rigour.

“I know that,” continued Abraham; “but I want to get a start somewhere, and I can do more for father so than I can by staying around here.”

“That may be; but that’s no reason why I should interfere; you and your father must settle that.”

Abraham turned away from this interview somewhat disappointed, yet disposed to make the best of it. He abandoned the idea of life on the river, and continued about home. Not long afterwards Mr. Wood saw him cutting down a large tree in the forest to whip-saw into plank.

“What’s up now, Abe?” Mr. Wood inquired.

“A new house; father is talking of putting up a new house.”

“Ah! And you are getting the lumber ready?”

“Yes; goin’ to have it all ready by the time he gets ready to build.”

“A better house, I suppose?” said Mr. Wood, inquiringly.

“I hope so; mother wants it badly.”

“Well, I don’t blame her,” added Mr. Wood, as he turned away.

But Abraham’s father did not build the house, as we shall learn in the next chapter. The lumber was prepared, but the project of removing to Illinois changed his purpose, and the lumber was sold to Josiah Crawford—the man who extorted work from Abraham for the book.

David Turnham bought a copy of the “Statutes of Indiana,” and Abraham heard of it, in consequence of which he called upon the neighbour.

“Can I see your copy of the ‘Statutes of Indiana’? I hear you have one,” Abraham asked.

“Of course you can, Abe,” answered David. “Goin’ to study law? It wouldn’t be a bad business for you.”

“I sha’n’t begin to-day,” responded Abraham; “but I want to take a look into the laws of Indiana. I don’t know much about them.”

“That’s the case with me; and that’s the reason I bought the book. I can’t spare it for you to take home, for I study it every minute I have to spare.”

“I can read it here, just as well,” replied Abraham, as David handed him the book. “It don’t make any difference where I read it.”

The result was that Abraham spent much time at David Turnham’s in studying the statutes of his adopted State. When David wanted the book, Abraham turned to “Scott’s Lessons,” and “Sinbad the Sailor,” two books which David owned. He read these books through at David’s house, beside studying the laws of Indiana quite thoroughly. To him the Statutes were by no means dry, as they would have been to most of his companions; for they opened a new and wide field of research to his inquiring mind. Without doubt the influence of that study upon his future career was marked. It began to be seen very soon; for, one day, he said to David,—

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