Another Trip to New Orleans

Denton Offutt's Proposition—Who is Abe?—His Step-brother—The Plan and Pay—Start for Springfield—Boat not Ready—Abe proposes to Build One—Repair to Spring Creek—Merry Times—Discussions—The Juggler—Description of Abe again—Boat Finished, and Cargo—Stuck on Rutledge's Dam—Abe's Ingenuity—The Spectators—Success and Cheers—Offutt's Opinion—Abraham's Invention afterwards—The Patent Office—Loading Wild Hogs—Sewing up their Eyes—The Voyage Down the River—Horrified by Slavery—Providence leading—Return—Offut hires Abe to keep Store—Walks from St. Louis—The Famous Wrestler—Abe's Magnanimity

Denton offutt was a trader, residing at New Salem. Meeting John Hanks one day, he said:—

“John! I want you to take a boat for me to New Orleans on a trading trip; you understand the business.” John had some reputation as a waterman.

“I can’t do it; don’t fancy the business.”

“Fudge! you can do it if you only think so. I’ll pay you extra for it. You are the only man who can do it to suit me.”

“I know of a man who can do it for you,” said John. “Abe Lincoln understands it, and perhaps he’ll do it.”

“Who’s Abe Lincoln?”

“He’s a relative of mine; came to Illinois from Indiany about one year ago, and settled a few miles from me.”

“Well, I don’t know anything about him,” continued Offutt, “and I do know about you. Say you’ll go.”

“Maybe I’ll go if Abe and John Johnston will go.”

“And who’s John Johnston?”

“He is Abe Lincoln’s step-brother, and lives with him. He came with him from Indiany.”

“And you think they are good men for the business?”

“I know they are; Abe, especially, can’t be beat on a boat. He’s the tallest and strongest chap in Illinois.”

“Well, now, John, I’ll do most any way to get you to undertake the trip,” continued Offutt; “and if you’ll see your two friends, and get them to go, I’ll see that they’ll make a good thing of it.”

“How much pay will you give?”

“I’ll give you—all three of you—fifty cents a day; and, at the end of the trip, I will divide sixty dollars, in addition, equally between you.”

“That’s good pay, and no mistake,” replied John, who was rather surprised at the generosity of the offer: “I think we’ll be able to arrange it.”

Offutt was a man of considerable property for that region, and he was generous, too—some said “too generous for his own good.”

John Hanks lost no time in laying the subject before Abraham and Johnston.

“I should like the job,” Abraham replied at once. “That is larger pay than I ever had, and I rather like the business.”

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