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THE CABIN IN THE WILDERNESS.
EFORE a log fire there sits a boy, between eight
and nine years old. In front of him is a rough slab of wood; in his hand is a short stick, which now and again he holds in the flames, and when the point of it is charred, he carefully forms letters and words with it on the board. the whole surface, he
knife, and begins again.
Then, after he has thus covered
shaves off the writing with a
The little lad is Abraham Lincoln, and it is with such strange substitutes for pencil and slate as these that he who in course of time will become President of the United States is teaching himself penmanship.
Let us glance at the humble home, and the surroundings of Abraham at this time; then we shall be better able to understand how it was that he was occupied in the way we have seen.
It was in a rough log cabin, in the midst of
a wilderness, that Abraham was now living.
He had been born in Hardin County, Kentucky, in the year 1809; but his parents, though they had resided nearly all their life in that State, having become dissatisfied with their prospects there, had in 1816 removed to Indiana; and here-near where Gentryville now stands-the rest of Abraham's boyhood was spent.
Hard had been Abraham's lot, even before his home was removed from Kentucky, for though he and his one sister enjoyed the blessing of a loving mother and a kind father, yet the privations of the family were very great, and both parents had to work incessantly to keep the wolf from the door. when they had moved into Indiana, matters were not much improved, and, as we shall see, Abraham had himself, at an early age, to take his part in earning bread for the little household.
Those who live in towns and cities cannot easily form an idea of the daily life of settlers and "pioneers," as they were called, like the Lincolns; yet they were only one of many families, who, at long distances from each other, sought at that time to gain a livelihood by opening up and cultivating the untrodden forest land of their country. Such a life meant incessant toil it meant the isolation of the family from friends and relatives; it meant, often, poverty and hardships of every kind. And this was the lot of Abraham's family; and when we have fully realised