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knew. Imparting to his scholars some idea about cultivated society in thoroughly civilized places, he converted his school-room into a parlour of "ladies and gentlemen.” One pupil was required to go out, then re-enter in the rôle of a gentleman or lady stranger, whom another pupil introduced to every one in the room. Imagine Abraham, almost six feet high, though but fifteen years of age, homely as he could well be, clumsy and gawky in his appearance, clad in pioneer style, with legs and arms out of all proportion to his head and body, going through this ordeal of refinement! Nat Grigsby describes Abraham, at that time, thus: “He was long, wiry, and strong; while his big feet and hands, and the length of his legs and arms, were out of all proportion to his small trunk and head. His complexion was very swarthy, and his skin was shrivelled and yellow even then. He wore low shoes, buckskin breeches, linsey-wolsey shirt, and a cap made of the skin of an opossum or coon. The breeches clung close to his thighs and legs, but failed by a large space to reach the tops of his shoes. Twelve inches remained uncovered, and exposed that much of shin bone, sharp, blue, and narrow.” It must have been a comical sight, when this overgrown and awkward boy was required to play the gentleman, and was put through a course of “manners" indispensable to pioneers, as Crawford thought. It did him good, however, as we judge from the words of Mrs. Josiah Crawford, for whose husband Abraham subsequently worked. She said, “Abe was polite: lifted his hat on meeting strangers; and always removed it from his head on coming into the house."
Three years after Abraham attended Crawford's school he attended another, nearly five miles distant, taught by one Swaney. He continued but a short
time at this school, since the great distance consumed too much of his time. But John Hoskins, who was a fellow-pupil, declares that “Abe took the lead, and was big in spellin',” when “we would choose up, and spell every Friday night.”
Here Abraham's school-days ended; and all his schooling amounted to less than one year. Nevertheless, according to David Turnham, he completely drained his teachers. We have his word for it, that “ Abe beat all his masters, and it was no use for him to try to learn any more from them.”
We may add, in closing this chapter, that about this time Levi Hall, a relative of the Lincolns, removed from Kentucky with his family, and settled near them. Also John Hanks, cousin of the first Mrs. Lincoln, and son of Joseph Hanks of Elizabethtown, of whom Tom Lincoln learned the carpenter's trade, came to live with the latter. John had no education, could neither read nor write ; but he was a temperate, upright, truthful man, without a particle of Abraham's wit, and none of his extreme awkwardness. He lived four years with Mr. Lincoln; then returned to Kentucky; whence he removed to Illinois, where we shall meet him again.
“THE greatest man that ever lived!” said Abraham,
1 as he sat upon a log in the woods, conversing with David Turnham. “This country has a right to be proud of Washington.”
“That is your opinion ; but I guess the British won't say so," answered David.
“And that is just because they were whipped by him; and they don't want to own up."
“How do you know so much about Washington, Abe ? "
“Because I have read about him, and I always heard that he made the red-coats run for life.”
"What do you mean by the red-coats ?”. "Why, the British, to be sure. They were called red-coats' because they wore coats of that colour. I expect that they looked splendidly, though they didn't feel very splendidly, I guess, after they got whipped.”
“Have you read the Life of Washington'?"
"Of course I have, a good while ago. I read Ramsay's * Life of Washington,' and that shows that he was the greatest man who ever lived.”
"Is that like the one Josiah Crawford has ?"
“I didn't know that Mr. Crawford had a 'Life of Washington.'”
"Well,' he has; for I heard him talking with father about it."
“How long ago ?”
“You don't know the name of the author ? There are lives of Washington written by different men.”
“I don't remember who wrote this. I didn't mind much about what they were saying."
"I can find out,” added Abraham; and he did find out. He embraced the first opportunity to inquire of a neighbour, and learned that it was Weems's “ Life of Washington ” that Mr. Crawford owned.
“Can I borrow it ?” he inquired of his parents, for he was very anxious to read it.
"Perhaps he won't like to lend it," answered his mother.
“I shall find that out when I ask him," said Abraham.
“And you should tell him that you will not take it unless he is perfectly willing to let you have it.”
"Then I may ask him, may I ?”
“Well, I am, and I will go there to-night when I get through work.”
Abraham was elated with the idea of getting hold of this new work. He viewed the character of Washington with admiration, and he would know what different biographers said of him. He was not a little impatient for his day's work to be done. He toiled as usual, however, with a good degree of interest in his work, until night, when he prepared himself to call on Mr. Crawford.
The family gave him a cordial welcome, and Mrs. Crawford said: “I wonder what has brought you out to-night. I haven't seen you here for a long time.”
"Perhaps you won't be so glad to see me after you learn what I came for,” replied Abraham.
“And what did you come for, that makes you think so ?” asked Mr. Crawford.
“I came to borrow a book.” "A book, hey!. That is a good errand, I am sure."
“But I did not know as you would be willing to lend it."
“What book is it?" asked Mr. Crawford. “I have no doubt that I can accommodate you."
"It is the Life of Washington. I was told that you had it, and I want to read it.”
"I wish all the boys wanted to read it,” said Mr. Crawford. “I will lend it to you, Abe; with great pleasure. I am glad to see that you like to read.”
"I will not take it unless you are perfectly willing to lend it,” said Abraham.
"If I did not want you should have it, I should tell you so. I am not one of those persons who are afraid to tell what they thinks. I am glad that I have the book to lend you."
"I will take good care of it, and return it to you all safe,” responded Abraham. This was just like him. So considerate a boy would not ask the loan of a book without some diffidence, and when it was borrowed, he would feel that great care must be used to preserve it. He valued the few books which he himself possessed so highly as to lead him to think that other people held their volumes in equal estimation. It was really an excellent trait of character that caused him to use so much discretion in borrowing books, for the borrowing of this single article has been the occasion of much trouble in neighbourhoods. In consequence of thoughtlessness and less regard for the interests of others than their own, many persons have borrowed books and never returned them, or else returned them in a much worse condition than when they were received. Frequently books are lost in this way from Sabbath-school and other libraries. Borrowers do not return them. They