Page images

Lincoln's reading-room. Feeling somewhat tired, I lay down upon a couch in the room, directly opposite a bureau upon which was a looking-glass. As I reclined, my eye fell upon the glass, and I saw distinctly two images of myself, exactly alike, except that one was a little paler than the other. I arose, and lay down again, with the same result. It made me quite uncomfortable for a few moments, but some friends coming in, the matter passed out of my mind.

"The next day, while walking in the street, I was suddenly reminded of the circumstance, and the disagreeable sensation produced by it returned. I had never seen anything of the kind before, and did not know what to make of it.

"I determined to go home and place myself in the same position, aud if the same effect was produced, I would make up my mind that it was the natural result of some principle of refraction or optics which I did not understand, and dismiss it. I tried the experiment, with a like result; and, as I had said to myself, accounting for it on some principle unknown to me, it ceased to trouble me. But," said he, "some time ago, I tried to produce the same effect here, by arranging a glass and couch in the same position, without success.'

He did not say, at this time, that either he or Mrs. Lincoln attached any omen to the phenomenon, but it is well known that Mrs. Lincoln regarded it as a sign that the President would be re-elected.

How Lincoln Illustrated What Might Be Done With Jeff. Davis.

One of the latest of Mr. Lincoln's stories, was told to a party of gentlemen, who, among the tumbling ruins of the Confederacy, anxiously asked "what he would do with Jeff. Davis?"

"There was a boy in Springfield," replied Mr. Lincoln, "who saved up his money and bought a 'coon,' which, after the novelty wore off, became a great nuisance.

"He was one day leading him through the streets, and had his hands full to keep clear of the little vixen, who had torn his clothes half off of him. At length he sat down on the curb-stone, completely fagged out. A man passing was stopped by the lad's disconsolate appearance, and asked the matter.

"Oh,' was the only reply, this coon is such a trouble

to me.'

[ocr errors]

"Why don't you get rid of him, then?' said the gentleman. "Hush!' said the boy; don't you see he is gnawing his rope off? I am going to let him do it, and then I will go̟ home and tell the folks that he got away from me!" "

Lincoln's Cutting Reply to the Confederate Commission-His Story of "Root Hog or Die."

At a so-called "peace conference" procured by the voluntary and irresponsible agency of Mr. Francis P. Blair, which was held on the steamer River Queen, in Hampton Roads, on the 3d of February, 1865, between President Lincoln and Mr. Seward, representing the government, and Messrs. Alexander H. Stephens, J. A. Campbell and R. M. T. Hunter, representing the rebel confederacy, Mr. Hunter replied that the recognition of Jeff Davis' power was the first and indispensable step to peace; and, to illustrate his point, he referred to the correspondence between King Charles the First and his Parliament, as a reliable precedent of a constitutional ruler treating with rebels. Mr. Lincoln's face wore that indescribable expression which generally preceded his hardest hits; and he remarked:

"Upon questions of history I must refer you to Mr.

Seward, for he is posted in such things, and I don't profess to be; but my only distinct recollection of the matter is that Charles lost his head!"

Mr. Hunter remarked, on the same occasion, that the slaves, always accustomed to work upon compulsion, under an overseer, would, if suddenly freed, precipitate not only themselves, but the entire society of the South, into irremediable ruin. No work would be done, but blacks and whites would starve together. The President waited for Mr. Seward to answer the argument, but, as that gentleman hesitated, he said:

"Mr. Hunter, you ought to know a great deal better about this matter than I, for you have always lived under the slave system. I can only say, in reply to your statement of the case, that it reminds me of a man out in Illinois, by the name of Case, who undertook, a few years ago, to raise a very large herd of hogs. It was a great trouble to feed them; and how to get around this was a puzzle to him. At length he hit upon the plan of planting an immense field of potatoes, and, when they were sufficiently grown, he turned the whole herd into the field and let them have full swing, thus saving not only the labor of feeding the hogs, but that also of digging the potatoes! Charmed with his sagacity, he stood one day leaning against the fence, counting his hogs, when a neighbor came along:

"Well, well,' said he, Mr. Case this is all very fine. Your hogs are doing very well just now; but you know out here in Illinois the frost comnes early, and the ground freezes a foot deep. Then what are they going to do?'

"This was a view of the matter which Mr. Case had not taken into account. Butchering time for hogs was away on in December or January. He scratched his head and at length stammered: Well, it may come pretty hard on their snouts, but I don't see but it will be root hog or die!'"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Located near Gentryville, in Spen r County, and about midway between Evansville and Louisville. The Lincolns emigrated to this point from Kentucky in 1816; they resided here thirteen years.

« PreviousContinue »