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followed early one morning when he was starting to clear a piece of wood, his axe in his hand. Softly stealing up behind him the girl sprung upon his back, threw her arms about his neck, and brought him backward to the earth. The falling axe cut her ankle. As they were doing what they could with the wound the frightened Matilda wondered how she could escape the mother's detection, but her brother advised her to confess frankly to the whole truth, -the first tale we have of the trait which afterward made him Honest Abe.

A less elevated instance of his desire to help others is connected with Crawford's school. There is conflicting evidence about his orthographical abilities, but they seem to have surpassed those of his neighbors, so that he led in the spelling class. At any rate he could spell "defied," and his schoolmate Kate Roby, who could not, tells a story of the consequences. The word "defied" had been given out by Schoolmaster Crawford, but had been misspelled several times when it came Miss Roby's turn. "Abe stood on the opposite side of the room," said she in 1865, "and was watching me. I began d-e-f-, and then I stopped, hesitating whether to proceed with an i or a y. Looking up, I beheld Abe, a grin covering his face, and pointing with his index finger to his eye. I took the hint, spelled the word with an i, and it went through all right."

There are no real tales of sentimental experiences in these years, but a direction in which he sometimes dreamed is painted in an interview with a Springfield editor. It was a rainy day, and Lincoln, sitting with his feet on the window-sill, his eyes on the street, watching the rain, suddenly looked up and said :

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"Did you ever write out a story in your mind? I did when I was a little codger. One day a wagon with a lady and two girls and a man broke down near us, and while they were fixing up, they cooked in our kitchen. The woman had books and read us stories, and they were the first I ever had heard. I took a great fancy to one of the girls; and when they were gone I thought of her a great deal, and one day when I was sitting out in the sun by the house I wrote out a story in my mind. I thought I took my father's horse and followed the wagon, and finally I found it, and they were surprised to see me. I talked with the girl and persuaded her to elope with me; and that night I put her on my horse, and we started off across the prairie. After several hours we came to a camp; and when we rode up we found it was the one we had left a few hours before, and we went in. The next night we tried again, and the same thing happened - the horse came back to the same place; and then we concluded that we ought not to elope. I stayed until I had per

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suaded her father to give her to me. I always meant to write that story out and publish it, and I began once; but I concluded it was not much of a story. But I think that was the beginning of love with me."

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CHAPTER II

EARLY EXPERIMENTS IN LIFE

WHEN Lincoln was nearly twenty-one years of age, his father, discouraged by another epidemic of the milk-sick, found occasion to move. He sold most of what belonged to the various branches of his family, aggregating thirteen persons, and put the rest into one wagon drawn by four oxen, who started off with their load in March, 1830. The driver was Abraham, but he was not content with one occupation. He had saved over $30, and before leaving Gentryville he invested it all in articles which might be of use to the inhabitants of villages through which they were to pass. A set of knives and forks was the largest item entered on the bill," says Captain Jones, the Gentryville grocer; "the other items were needles, pins, thread, buttons, and other little domestic necessities. When the Lincolns reached their new home, near Decatur, Illinois, Abraham wrote back to my father, stating that he had doubled his money on his purchases by selling them along the road. Unfortunately we did not keep that

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letter, not thinking how highly we would have prized it years afterward."

After two weeks of this kind of travel through the prairies and scattered villages, the thirteen relatives landed at a point about ten miles west of Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, a spot selected by John Hanks, a relative who already lived there. It was "just before the winter of the deep snow," which is accepted as a dividing line that makes the Lincolns pioneers. They speedily built a log cabin, in which they resided when that first winter in their new home brought them snow three feet deep, followed by rain which froze, after which the mercury remained at twelve below zero for two weeks. It was at Decatur that Lincoln made the first oratorical test of which anything is known. A man came to town and made a speech. John Hanks thereupon remarked that "Abe could beat it." John turned down a box, Lincoln mounted it, and did what John promised. The subject was the navigation of the Sangamon River.

That river saw the beginning of the first eventful trip of Abraham Lincoln's life. After spending the Illinois winter in odd jobs, largely railsplitting, for his father's benefit, the legal period for his emancipation arrived. After the separation Tom moved at least three times, and although he hereafter counts for little, he will

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