McClure’s Magazine December, 1895

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Vol. VI. DECEMBER, 1895. No. I.






Abraham Lincoln grew to manhood in Southern Indiana. When he reached Spencer County in 1816, he was seven years of age; when he left in 1830, he had passed his twenty-first birthday. This period of a life shows usually the natural bent of the character, and we have found in these fourteen years of Lincoln’s life signs of the qualities of greatness which distinguished him. We have seen that, in spite of the fact that he had no wise direction, that he was brought up by a father with no settled purpose, and that he lived in a pioneer community, where a young man’s life at best is but a series of makeshifts, he had developed a determination to make something out of himself, and a desire to know, which led him to neglect no opportunity to learn.

The only unbroken outside influence which directed and stimulated him in his ambitions was that coming first from his mother, then from his step-mother. It should never be forgotten that these two women, both of them of unusual earnestness and sweetness of spirit, were one or the other of them at the boy’s side throughout this period. The ideal they held before him was the simple ideal of the early American, that if a boy is upright and industrious he may aspire to any place within the gift of the country. The boy’s nature told him they were right. Everything he read confirmed their teachings, and he cultivated, in every way open to him, his passion to know and to be something.

There are many proofs that young Lincoln’s characteristics were recognized at this period by his associates, that his determination to excel, if not appreciated, yet made its imprint. In 1865, thirty-five years after he left Gentryville, Mr. Herndon, anxious to save all that was known of Lincoln in Indiana, went among his old associates, and with a sincerity and thoroughness worthy of great respect, interviewed them. At that time there were still living numbers of the people with whom he had been brought up. They all remembered something of him. It is curious to note that all of these people tell of his doing something different from what other boys did, something sufficiently superior to have made a keen impression upon them. In almost every case the person had his own special reason for admiring young Lincoln. His facility for making rhymes and writing essays was the admiration of many who considered it the more remarkable because “essays and poetry were not taught in school,” and “Abe took it up on his own account.”

[Illustration: REV. ALLEN BROONER.

A neighbor of Thomas Lincoln, still living near Gentryville. Mr. Brooner’s wife was a friend of Nancy Hanks Lincoln. The two women died within a few days of each other, and were buried side by side. When the tombstone was placed at Mrs. Lincoln’s grave, no one could state positively which was Mrs. Brooner’s and which Mrs. Lincoln’s grave. Mr. Allen Brooner gave his opinion, and the stone was placed; but the iron fence incloses both graves, which lie in a half-acre tract of land owned by the United States government. Mr. Allen Brooner, after his wife’s death, became a minister of the United Brethren Church, and moved to Illinois. He received his mail at New Salem when Abraham Lincoln was the postmaster at that place. Mr. Brooner confirms Dr. Holland’s story that “Abe” once walked three miles after his day’s work, to make right a six-and-a-quarter-cents mistake he had made in a trade with a woman. Like all of the old settlers of Gentryville, he remembers the departure of the Lincolns for Illinois. “When the Lincolns were getting ready to leave,” says Mr. Brooner, “Abraham and his stepbrother, John Johnston, came over to our house to swap a horse for a yoke of oxen. ‘Abe’ was always a quiet fellow. John did all the talking, and seemed to be the smartest of the two. If any one had been asked that day which would make the greatest success in life, I think the answer would have been John Johnston.”]

Many others were struck by the clever use he made of his gift for writing. The wit he showed in taking revenge for a social slight by a satire on the Grigsbys, who had failed to invite him to a wedding, made a lasting impression in Gentryville. That he was able to write so well that he could humiliate his enemies more deeply than if he had resorted to the method of taking revenge current in the country–that is, thrashing them–seemed to his friends a mark of surprising superiority.

Others remembered his quick-wittedness in helping his friends.

“We are indebted to Kate Roby,” says Mr. Herndon, “for an incident which illustrates alike his proficiency in orthography and his natural inclination to help another out of the mire. 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,’ related Miss Roby to me 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.'”

This same Miss Roby it was who said of Lincoln, “He was better read then than the world knows or is likely to know exactly…. He often and often commented or talked to me about what he had read–seemed to read it out of the book as he went along–did so to others. He was the learned boy among us unlearned folks. He took great pains to explain; could do it so simply. He was diffident then, too.”

[Illustration: JOHN W. LAMAR.

Mr. Lamar was one of the “small boys” of Spencer County when Lincoln left Indiana, but old enough to have seen much of him and to have known his characteristics and his reputation in the county. He is still living near his old home, and gave our representative in Indiana interesting reminiscences which are incorporated into the present article.]

[Illustration: LINCOLN IN 1860.

From an ambrotype in the possession of Mr. Marcus L. Ward of Newark, New Jersey. This portrait of Mr. Lincoln was made in Springfield, Illinois, on May 20, 1860, for the late Hon. Marcus L. Ward, Governor of New Jersey. Mr. Ward had gone down to Springfield to see Mr. Lincoln, and while there asked him for his picture. The President-elect replied that he had no picture which was satisfactory, but would gladly sit for one. The two gentlemen went out immediately, and in Mr. Ward’s presence Mr. Lincoln had the above picture taken.]

One man was impressed by the character of the sentences he had given him for a copy. “It was considered at that time,” said he, “that Abe was the best penman in the neighborhood. One day, while he was on a visit at my mother’s, I asked him to write some copies for me. He very willingly consented. He wrote several of them, but one of them I have never forgotten, although a boy at that time. It was this:

“‘Good boys who to their books apply Will all be great men by and by.'”

All of his comrades remembered his stories and his clearness in argument. “When he appeared in company,” says Nat Grigsby, “the boys would gather and cluster around him to hear him talk. Mr. Lincoln was figurative in his speech, talks, and conversation. He argued much from analogy, and explained things hard for us to understand by stories, maxims, tales, and figures. He would almost always point his lesson or idea by some story that was plain and near us, that we might instantly see the force and bearing of what he said.”

There is one other testimony to his character as a boy which should not be omitted. It is that of his step-mother:

“Abe was a good boy, and I can say, what scarcely one woman–a mother–can say in a thousand, Abe never gave me a cross word or look, and never refused, in fact or appearance, to do anything I requested him. I never gave him a cross word in all my life…. His mind and mine–what little I had–seemed to run together. He was here after he was elected President. He was a dutiful son to me always. I think he loved me truly. I had a son, John, who was raised with Abe. Both were good boys; but I must say, both now being dead, that Abe was the best boy I ever saw, or expect to see.”

[Illustration: WILLIAM JONES.

The store in Gentryville, in which Lincoln first made his reputation as a debater and story-teller, was owned by Mr. Jones. The year before the Lincolns moved to Illinois Abraham clerked in the store, and it is said that when he left Indiana, Mr. Jones sold him a pack of goods which he peddled on his journey. Mr. Jones was the representative from Spencer County in the State legislature from 1838 to 1841. He is no longer living. His son, Captain William Jones, is still in Gentryville.]


From a photograph loaned by W.W. Admire of Chicago. This little log church or “meetin’ house” is where the Lincolns attended services in Indiana. The pulpit is said to have been made by Thomas Lincoln. The building was razed about fifteen years ago, after having been used for several years as a tobacco barn.]

These are impressions of Mr. Lincoln gathered in Indiana thirty years ago, when his companions were alive. To-day there are people living in Spencer County who were small boys when he was a large one, and who preserve curiously interesting impressions of him. A representative of MCCLURE’S MAGAZINE who has recently gone in detail over the ground of Lincoln’s early life, says: “The people who live in Spencer County are interested in any one who is interested in Abraham Lincoln.” They showed her the flooring he whip-sawed, the mantles, doors, and window-casings he helped make, the rails he split, the cabinets he and his father made, and scores of relics cut from planks and rails he handled. They told what they remembered of his rhymes and how he would walk miles to hear a speech or sermon, and, returning, would repeat the whole in “putty good imitation.” Many remembered his coming evenings to sit around the fireplace with their older brothers and sisters, and the stories he told and the pranks he played there until ordered home by the elders of the household.

Captain John Lamar who was a very small boy in one of the families where Lincoln was well known, has many interesting reminiscences which he is fond of repeating. “He told me of riding to mill with his father one very hot day. As they drove along the hot road they saw a boy sitting on the top rail of an old-fashioned stake-and-rider worm fence. When they came close they saw that the boy was reading, and had not noticed their approach. His father, turning to him, said: ‘John, look at that boy yonder, and mark my words, he will make a smart man out of himself. I may not see it, but you’ll see if my words don’t come true.’ The boy was Abraham Lincoln.”

Captain Lamar tells many good stories about the early days: “Uncle Jimmy Larkins, as everybody called him, was a great hero in my childish eyes. Why, I cannot now say, without it was his manners. There had been a big fox chase, and Uncle Jimmy was telling about it. Of course he was the hero. I was only a little shaver, and I stood in front of Uncle Jimmy, looking up into his eyes, but he never noticed me. He looked at Abraham Lincoln, and ‘Abe, I’ve got the best horse in the world–he won the race and never drew a long breath;’ but Abe paid no attention to Uncle Jimmy, and I got mad at the big, overgrown fellow, and wanted him to listen to my hero’s story. Uncle Jimmy was determined that Abe should hear, and repeated the story. ‘I say, Abe, I have the best horse in the world; after all that running he never drew a long breath.’ Then Abe, looking down at my little dancing hero, said, ‘Well, Larkins, why don’t you tell us how many short breaths he drew?’ This raised a laugh on Uncle Jimmy, and he got mad, and declared he’d fight Abe if he wasn’t so big. He jumped around until Abe quietly said: ‘Now, Larkins, if you don’t shut up I’ll throw you in that water.’ I was very uneasy and angry at the way my hero was treated, but I lived to change my views about _heroes_.”

[Illustration: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

From a photograph in the collection of T.H. Bartlett, of Boston, Massachusetts.[A] Mr. Bartlett regards this as his earliest portrait of Mr. Lincoln, but does not know when or where it was taken. This portrait is also in the Oldroyd Collection at Washington, D.C., and is dated 1856.]

[Footnote A: The collection of Lincoln portraits owned by Mr. T.H. Bartlett, the sculptor, is the most complete and the most intelligently arranged which we have examined. Mr. Bartlett began collecting fully twenty years ago, his aim being to secure data for a study of Mr. Lincoln from a physiognomical point of view. He has probably the earliest portrait which exists, the one here given, excepting the one used as a frontispiece in our November number. He has a large number of the Illinois pictures made from 1858 to 1860, such as the Gilmer picture, which we use as a frontispiece in the present number, a large collection of Brady photographs, the masks, Volk’s bust, and other interesting portraits. These he has studied from a sculptor’s point of view, comparing them carefully with the portraiture of other men, as Webster and Emerson. Mr. Bartlett has embodied his study of Mr. Lincoln in an illustrated lecture which is a model of what such a lecture should be, suggestive, human, delightful. All his fine collection of Lincoln portraits Mr. Bartlett has put freely at our disposal, an act of courtesy and generosity for which the readers of MCCLURE’S MAGAZINE, as well as its editors, cannot fail to be deeply grateful.]


Abraham was twenty-one years old when Thomas Lincoln decided to leave Indiana in the spring of 1830. The reason Dennis Hanks gives for this removal was a disease called the “milk-sick.” Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and several of their relatives who had followed them from Kentucky, had died of it. The cattle had been carried off by it. Neither brute nor human life seemed to be safe. As Dennis Hanks says: “This was reason enough (ain’t it?) for leaving.”

The place chosen for their new home was the Sangamon country in central Illinois. It was a country of great renown in the West, the name meaning “The land where there is plenty to eat.” One of the family–John Hanks, a cousin of Dennis–was already there, and sent them inviting reports.

Gentryville saw young Lincoln depart with real regret, and his friends gave him a score of rude proofs that he would not be forgotten. Our representative in Indiana found that almost every family who remembered the Lincolns retained some impression of their leaving.

“Neighbors seemed, in those days,” she writes, “like relatives. The entire Lincoln family stayed the last night before starting on their journey with Mr. Gentry. He was loath to part with Lincoln, so ‘accompanied the movers along the road a spell.’ They stopped on a hill which overlooks Buckthorn Valley, and looked their ‘good-by’ to their old home and to the home of Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, to the grave of the mother and wife, to all their neighbors and friends. Buckthorn Valley held many dear recollections to the movers.”

After they were gone James Gentry planted the cedar tree which now marks the site of the Lincoln home.[A] “The folks who come lookin’ around have taken twigs until you can’t reach any more very handy,” those who point out the tree say.

[Footnote A: See November number of MCCLURE’S MAGAZINE, page 502.]

[Illustration: GREEN B. TAYLOR.

Son of Mr. James Taylor, for whom Lincoln ran the ferry-boat at the mouth of Anderson Creek. Mr. Taylor, now in his eighty-second year, lives in South Dakota. He remembers Mr. Lincoln perfectly, and wrote our Indiana correspondent that it was true that his father hired Abraham Lincoln for one year, at six dollars a month, and that he was “well pleased with the boy.”]


[Illustration: SAMUEL CRAWFORD.

Only living son of Josiah Crawford, who lent Lincoln the Weems’s “Life of Washington.” To our representative in Indiana, who secured this picture of Mr. Crawford, he said, when asked if he remembered the Lincolns: “Oh, yes; I remember them, although I was not Abraham’s age. He was twelve years older than I. One day I ran in, calling out, ‘Mother! mother! Aaron Grigsby is sparking Sally Lincoln; I saw him kiss her!’ Mother scolded me, and told me I must stop watching Sally, or I wouldn’t get to the wedding. [It will be remembered that Sally Lincoln was ‘help’ in the Crawford family, and that she afterwards married Aaron Grigsby.] Neighbors thought lots more of each other then than now, and it seems like everybody liked the Lincolns. We were well acquainted, for Mr. Thomas Lincoln was a good carpenter, and made the cupboard, mantels, doors, and sashes in our old home that was burned down.”]

Lincoln himself felt keenly the parting from his friends, and he certainly never forgot his years in the Hoosier State. One of the most touching experiences he relates in all his published letters is his emotion at visiting his old Indiana home fourteen years after he had left it. So strongly was he moved by the scenes of his first conscious sorrows, efforts, joys, ambitions, that he put into verse the feelings they awakened.[A]

[Footnote A: Letter to —- Johnston, April 18, 1846. “Abraham Lincoln. Complete Works.” Edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay. Volume I., pages 86, 87. The Century Co.]

[Illustration: JOHN E. ROLL.

Born in Green Village, New Jersey, June 4, 1814. He went to Illinois in 1830, the same year that Mr. Lincoln went, settling in Sangamon town, where he had relatives. It was here he met Lincoln, and made the “pins” for the flatboat. Later Mr. Roll went to Springfield, where he bought large quantities of land and built many houses. A quarter of the city is now known as “Roll’s addition.” Mr. Roll was well acquainted with Lincoln, and when the President left Springfield he gave Mr. Roll his dog, Fido. Mr. Roll knew Stephen A. Douglas well, and carries a watch which once belonged to the “Little Giant.”]

While he never attempted to conceal the poverty and hardship of these days, and would speak humorously of the “pretty pinching times” he saw, he never regarded his life at this time as mean or pitiable.

Frequently he talked to his friends in later years of his boyhood, and always with apparent pleasure. “Mr. Lincoln told this story” (of his youth), says Leonard Swett, “as the story of a happy childhood. There was nothing sad or pinched, and nothing of want, and no allusion to want in any part of it. His own description of his youth was that of a joyous, happy boyhood. It was told with mirth and glee, and illustrated by pointed anecdote, often interrupted by his jocund laugh.”

And he was right. There was nothing ignoble or mean in this Indiana pioneer life. It was rude, but it was only the rudeness which the ambitious are willing to endure in order to push on to a better condition than they otherwise could know. These people did not accept their hardships apathetically. They did not regard them as permanent. They were only the temporary deprivations necessary in order to accomplish what they had come into the country to do. For this reason they could endure hopefully all that was hard. It is worth notice, too, that there was nothing belittling in their life, there was no pauperism, no shirking. Each family provided for its own simple wants, and had the conscious dignity which comes from being equal to a situation.

[Illustration: SANGAMON TOWN IN 1831. Drawn by J. McCan Davis with the aid of Mr. John E. Roll, a former resident.]


The company which emigrated to Illinois included the families of Thomas Lincoln, Dennis Hanks–married to one of Lincoln’s step-sisters–and Levi Hall, thirteen persons in all. They sold land, cattle, and grain, and much of their household goods, and were ready in March of 1830 for their journey. All the possessions which the three families had to take with them were packed into a big wagon–the first one Thomas Lincoln had ever owned, it is said–to which four oxen were attached, and the caravan started. The weather was still cold, the streams were swollen, and the roads were muddy, but the party started out bravely. Inured to hardships, alive to all the new sights on their route, every day brought them amusement and adventures, and especially to young Lincoln the journey must have been of keen interest. He drove the oxen on this trip, he tells us, and, according to a story current in Gentryville, he succeeded in doing a fair peddler’s business on the route. Captain William Jones, in whose father’s store Lincoln had spent so many hours in discussion and in story-telling, and for whom he had worked the last winter he was in Indiana, says that before leaving the State Abraham invested all his money, some thirty-odd dollars, in notions. Though the country through which they expected to pass was but sparsely settled, he believed he could dispose of them. “A set of knives and forks was the largest item entered on the bill,” says Mr. Jones; “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 letter, not thinking how highly we would have prized it years afterwards.”

The pioneers were a fortnight on their journey. The route they took we do not exactly know, though we may suppose that it would be that by which they would avoid the most watercourses. We know from Mr. H.C. Whitney that the travellers reached Macon County from the south, for once when he was in Decatur with Mr. Lincoln the two strolled out for a walk, and when they came to the court-house, “Lincoln,” says Mr. Whitney, “walked out a few feet in front, and after shifting his position two or three times, said, as he looked up at the building, partly to himself and partly to me: ‘Here is the exact spot where I stood by our wagon when we moved from Indiana twenty-six years ago; this isn’t six feet from the exact spot.’… I asked him if he, at that time, had expected to be a lawyer and practise law in that court-house; to which he replied: ‘No; I didn’t know I had sense enough to be a lawyer then.’ He then told me he had frequently thereafter tried to locate the route by which they had come; and that he had decided that it was near to the line of the main line of the Illinois Central Railroad.”


From a painting in the State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois. This picture is crude and, from a historic point of view, inaccurate. The celebrated flatboat built by Lincoln and by him piloted to New Orleans, was a much larger and better craft than the one here portrayed. The little structure over the dam is meant for the Rutledge and Cameron mill, but the real mill was a far more pretentious affair. There was not only a grist-mill, but also a saw-mill which furnished lumber to the settlers for many miles around. The mill was built in 1829. March 5, 1830, we find John Overstreet appearing before the County Commissioners’ Court at Springfield and averring upon oath “that he is informed and believes that John Cameron and James Rutledge have erected a mill-dam on the Sangamon River which obstructs the navigation of said river;” and the Commissioners issued a notice to Cameron and Rutledge to alter the dam so as to restore the “safe navigation” of the river. James M. Rutledge, of Petersburg, a nephew of the mill-owner, helped build the mill, and says of it: “The mill was a frame structure, and was solidly built. They used to grind corn mostly, though some flour was made. At times they would run day and night. The saw-mill had an old-fashioned upright saw, and stood on the bank.” For a time this mill was operated by Denton Offutt, and was under the immediate supervision of Lincoln. A few heavy stakes, a part of the old dam, still show themselves at low water.–_Note prepared by J. McCan Davis_.]

[Illustration: LINCOLN’S AXE.

This broad-axe is said to have been owned originally by Abram Bales, of New Salem; and, according to tradition, it was bought from him by Lincoln. After Lincoln forsook the woods, he sold the axe to one Mr. Irvin. Mr. L.W. Bishop, of Petersburg, now has the axe, having gotten it directly from Mr. Irvin. There are a number of affidavits attesting its genuineness. The axe has evidently seen hard usage, and is now covered with a thick coat of rust.]


The party settled some ten miles west of Decatur, in Macon County. Here John Hanks had the logs already cut for their new home, and Lincoln, Dennis Hanks, and Hall soon had a cabin erected. Mr. Lincoln himself (though writing in the third person) says: “Here they built a log cabin, into which they removed, and made sufficient of rails to fence ten acres of ground, fenced and broke the ground, and raised a crop of sown corn upon it the same year. These are, or are supposed to be, the rails about which so much is being said just now, though these are far from being the first or only rails ever made by Abraham.”[A]


The inscription above this model, which is shown to all visitors to the Model Hall of the Patent Office, reads: “6469 Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Ill. Improvement in method of lifting vessels over shoals. Patented May 22, 1849.” The apparatus consists of a bellows, placed in each side of the hull of the craft, just below the water-line, and worked by an odd but simple system of ropes and pulleys. When the keel of the vessel grates against the sand or obstruction, the bellows is filled with air; and, thus buoyed up, the vessel is expected to float over the shoal. The model is about eighteen or twenty inches long, and looks as if it had been whittled with a knife out of a shingle and a cigar box. There is no elaboration in the apparatus beyond that necessary to show the operation of buoying the vessel over the obstructions.]

If they were far from being his “first and only rails,” they certainly were the most famous ones he or anybody else ever split. This was the last work he did for his father, for in the summer of that year (1830) he exercised the right of majority and started out to shift for himself. When he left his home to start life for himself, he went empty-handed. He was already some months over twenty-one years of age, but he had nothing in the world, not even a suit of respectable clothes; and one of the first pieces of work he did was “to split four hundred rails for every yard of brown jeans dyed with white walnut bark that would be necessary to make him a pair of trousers.” He had no trade, no profession, no spot of land, no patron, no influence. Two things recommended him to his neighbors–he was strong, and he was a good fellow.

[Footnote A: Short autobiography written in 1860 for use in preparing a campaign biography. “Abraham Lincoln. Complete Works.” Edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay. The Century Co. Volume I., page 639.]

[Illustration: LINCOLN IN 1857.

From a photograph loaned by H.W. Fay of De Kalb, Illinois. The original was taken early in 1857 by Alex. Hesler of Chicago. Mr. Fay writes of the picture: “I have a letter from Mr. Hesler stating that one of the lawyers came in and made arrangements for the sitting so that the members of the bar could get prints. Lincoln said at the time that he did not know why the boys wanted such a homely face.” Mr. Joseph Medill of Chicago went with Mr. Lincoln to have the picture taken. He says that the photographer insisted on smoothing down Lincoln’s hair, but Lincoln did not like the result, and ran his fingers through it before sitting. The original negative was burned in the Chicago fire.]

His strength made him a valuable laborer. Not that he was fond of hard labor. Mrs. Crawford says: “Abe was no hand to pitch into work like killing snakes;” but when he did work, it was with an ease and effectiveness which compensated his employer for the time he spent in practical jokes and extemporaneous speeches. He would lift as much as three ordinary men, and “My, how he would chop!” says Dennis Hanks. “His axe would flash and bite into a sugar-tree or sycamore, and down it would come. If you heard him fellin’ trees in a clearin’, you would say there was three men at work by the way the trees fell.” Standing six feet four, he could out-lift, out-work, and out-wrestle any man he came in contact with. Friends and employers were proud of his strength, and boasted of it, never failing to pit him against any hero whose strength they heard vaunted. He himself was proud of it, and throughout his life was fond of comparing himself with tall and strong men. When the committee called on him in Springfield, in 1860, to notify him of his nomination as President, Governor Morgan of New York was of the number, a man of great height and brawn. “Pray, Governor, how tall may you be?” was Mr. Lincoln’s first question. There is a story told of a poor man seeking a favor from him once at the White House. He was overpowered by the idea that he was in the presence of the President, and, his errand done, was edging shyly out, when Mr. Lincoln stopped him, insisting that he _measure_ with him. The man was the taller, as Mr. Lincoln had thought; and he went away evidently more abashed at the idea that he dared be taller than the President of the United States than that he had dared to venture into his presence.

[Illustration: NEW SALEM.

From a painting in the State Capitol, Springfield, Illinois. New Salem, which is described in the body of this article, was founded by James Rutledge and John Cameron in 1829. In that year they built a dam across the Sangamon River, and erected a mill. Under date of October 23, 1829, Reuben Harrison, surveyor, certifies that “at the request of John Cameron one of the proprietors I did survey the town of New Salem.” The town within two years contained a dozen or fifteen houses, nearly all of them built of logs. New Salem’s population probably never exceeded a hundred persons. Its inhabitants, and those of the surrounding country were mostly Southerners–natives of Kentucky and Tennessee–though there was an occasional Yankee among them. Soon after Lincoln left the place, in the spring of 1837, it began to decline. Petersburg had sprung up two miles down the river, and rapidly absorbed its population and business. By 1840 New Salem was almost deserted. The Rutledge tavern the first house erected, was the last to succumb. It stood for many years, but at last crumbled away. Salem hill is now only a green cow pasture.–_Note prepared by J. McCan Davis._]

Governor Hoyt tells an excellent story illustrating Lincoln’s interest in muscle and his involuntary comparison of himself with any man who showed great strength. It was in 1859, after Lincoln had delivered a speech at the State Agricultural Fair of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The two men were making the rounds of the exhibits, and went into a tent to see a “strong man” perform. He went through the ordinary exercises with huge iron balls, tossing them in the air and catching them, and rolling them on his arms and back; and Mr. Lincoln, who evidently had never before seen such a thing, watched him with intense interest, ejaculating under his breath every now and then, “By George! By George!” When the performance was over, Governor Hoyt, seeing Mr. Lincoln’s interest, asked him to go up and be introduced to the athlete. He did so; and, as he stood looking down musingly on the fellow, who was very short, and evidently wondering that a man so much shorter than he could be so much stronger, he suddenly broke out with one of his quaint speeches. “Why,” he said, “why, I could lick salt off the top of your hat.”


The Rutledge and Cameron mill, of which Lincoln at one time had charge, stood on the same spot as the mill in the picture, and had the same foundation. From the map on page 18 it will be seen that the mill was below the bluff and east of the town.]

His strength won him popularity, but his good-nature, his wit, his skill in debate, his stories, were still more efficient in gaining him good-will. People liked to have him around, and voted him a good fellow to work with. Yet such were the conditions of his life at this time that, in spite of his popularity, nothing was open to him but hard manual labor. To take the first “job” which he happened upon–rail-splitting, ploughing, lumbering, boating, store-keeping–and make the most of it, thankful if thereby he earned his bed and board and yearly suit of jeans, was apparently all there was before Abraham Lincoln in 1830 when he started out for himself.


Through the summer and fall of 1830 and the early winter of 1831, Mr. Lincoln worked in the vicinity of his father’s new home, usually as a farm-hand and rail-splitter. Most of his work was done in company with John Hanks. Before the end of the winter he secured employment which he has given an account of himself (writing again in the third person):[A]

“During that winter Abraham, together with his stepmother’s son, John D. Johnston, and John Hanks, yet residing in Macon County, hired themselves to Denton Offutt to take a flat-boat from Beardstown, Illinois, to New Orleans, and for that purpose were to join him–Offutt–at Springfield, Illinois, so soon as the snow should go off. When it did go off, which was about March 1, 1831, the country was so flooded as to make travelling by land impracticable; to obviate which difficulty they purchased a large canoe and came down the Sangamon River in it from where they were all living (near Decatur). This is the time and manner of Abraham’s first entrance into Sangamon County. They found Offutt at Springfield, but learned from him that he had failed in getting a boat at Beardstown. This led to their hiring themselves to him for twelve dollars per month each, and getting the timber out of the trees, and building a boat at old Sangamon town on the Sangamon River, seven miles northwest of Springfield, which boat they took to New Orleans, substantially on the old contract.”

Sangamon town, where Mr. Lincoln built the flatboat, has, since his day, completely disappeared from the earth; but then it was one of the flourishing settlements on the river of that name. Lincoln and his friends on arriving there in March immediately began work. There is still living in Springfield, Illinois, a man who helped Lincoln at the raft-building–Mr. John Roll, a well-known citizen, and one who has been prominent in the material advancement of the city. Mr. Roll remembers distinctly Lincoln’s first appearance in Sangamon town. To a representative of this MAGAZINE who talked with him recently in Springfield he described Lincoln’s looks when he first came to town. “He was a tall, gaunt young man,” Mr. Roll said, “dressed in a suit of blue homespun jeans, consisting of a roundabout jacket, waistcoat, and breeches which came to within about four inches of his feet. The latter were encased in raw-hide boots, into the top of which, most of the time, his pantaloons were stuffed. He wore a soft felt hat which had at one time been black, but now, as its owner dryly remarked, ‘it had been sunburned until it was a combine of colors.'”

Mr. Roll’s relation to the newcomer soon became something more than that of a critical observer; he hired out to him, and says with pride, “I made every pin which went into that boat.”

[Footnote A: Short autobiography written for use in preparing a campaign biography. “Abraham Lincoln. Complete Works.” Edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay. Volume I., page 639. The Century Co.]



It took some four weeks to build the raft, and in that period Lincoln succeeded in captivating the entire village by his story-telling. It was the custom in Sangamon for the “men-folks” to gather at noon and in the evening, when resting, in a convenient lane near the mill. They had rolled out a long peeled log on which they lounged while they whittled and talked. After Mr. Lincoln came to town the men would start him to story-telling as soon as he appeared at the assembly ground. So irresistibly droll were his “yarns” that, says Mr. Roll, “whenever he’d end up in his unexpected way the boys on the log would whoop and roll off.” The result of the rolling off was to polish the log like a mirror. Long after Lincoln had disappeared from Sangamon “Abe’s log” remained, and until it had rotted away people pointed it out, and repeated the droll stories of the stranger.


The flatboat was done in about a month, and Lincoln and his friends prepared to leave Sangamon. Before he started, however, he was the hero of an adventure so thrilling that he won new laurels in the community. Mr. Roll, who was a witness to the whole exciting scene, tells the story as follows:

“It was the spring following the winter of the deep snow.[A] Walter Carman, John Seamon, myself, and at times others of the Carman boys, had helped Abe in building the boat, and when he had finished we went to work to make a dug-out, or canoe, to be used as a small boat with the flat. We found a suitable log about an eighth of a mile up the river, and with our axes went to work under Lincoln’s direction. The river was very high, fairly ‘booming.’ After the dug-out was ready to launch we took it to the edge of the water, and made ready to ‘let her go,’ when Walter Carman and John Seamon jumped in as the boat struck the water, each one anxious to be the first to get a ride. As they shot out from the shore they found they were unable to make any headway against the strong current. Carman had the paddle, and Seamon was in the stern of the boat. Lincoln shouted to them to ‘head upstream’ and ‘work back to shore,’ but they found themselves powerless against the stream. At last they began to pull for the wreck of an old flatboat, the first ever built on the Sangamon, which had sunk and gone to pieces, leaving one of the stanchions sticking above the water. Just as they reached it Seamon made a grab, and caught hold of the stanchion, when the canoe capsized, leaving Seamon clinging to the old timber, and throwing Carman into the stream. It carried him down with the speed of a mill-race, Lincoln raised his voice above the roar of the flood, and yelled to Carman to swim for an elm-tree which stood almost in the channel, which the action of the high water changed. Carman, being a good swimmer, succeeded in catching a branch, and pulled himself up out of the water, which was very cold, and had almost chilled him to death; and there he sat, shivering and chattering in the tree. Lincoln, seeing Carman safe, called out to Seamon to let go the stanchion and swim for the tree. With some hesitation he obeyed, and struck out, while Lincoln cheered, and directed him from the bank. As Seamon neared the tree he made one grab for a branch, and, missing it, went under the water. Another desperate lunge was successful, and he climbed up beside Carman. Things were pretty exciting now, for there were two men in the tree, and the boat was gone.

“It was a cold, raw April day, and there was great danger of the men becoming benumbed and falling back into the water. Lincoln called out to them to keep their spirits up and he would save them. The village had been alarmed by this time, and many people had come down to the bank. Lincoln procured a rope, and tied it to a log. He called all hands to come and help roll the log into the water, and after this had been done, he, with the assistance of several others, towed it some distance up the stream. A daring young fellow by the name of ‘Jim’ Dorrell then took his seat on the end of the log, and it was pushed out into the current, with the expectation that it would be carried downstream against the tree where Seamon and Carman were. The log was well directed, and went straight to the tree; but Jim, in his impatience to help his friends, fell a victim to his good intentions. Making a frantic grab at a branch, he raised himself off the log, and it was swept from under him by the raging water, and he soon joined the other two victims upon their forlorn perch. The excitement on shore increased, and almost the whole population of the village gathered on the river bank. Lincoln had the log pulled up the stream, and securing another piece of rope, called to the men in the tree to catch it if they could when he should reach the tree. He then straddled the log himself, and gave the word to push out into the stream. When he dashed into the tree, he threw the rope over the stump of a broken limb, and let it play until he broke the speed of the log, and gradually drew it back to the tree, holding it there until the three now nearly frozen men had climbed down and seated themselves astride. He then gave orders to the people on the shore to hold fast to the end of the rope which was tied to the log, and leaving his rope in the tree he turned the log adrift, and the force of the current acting against the taut rope swung the log around against the bank, and all ‘on board’ were saved. The excited people, who had watched the dangerous experiment with alternate hope and fear, now broke into cheers for Abe Lincoln and praises for his brave act. This adventure made quite a hero of him along the Sangamon, and the people never tired of telling of the exploit.”

[Footnote A: 1830-1831. “The winter of the deep snow” is the date which is the starting point in all calculations of time for the early settlers of Illinois, and the circumstance from which the old settlers of Sangamon County receive the name by which they are generally known, “Snowbirds.”]

[Illustration: A MATRON OF NEW SALEM IN 1832.

This costume, worn by Mrs. Lucy M. Bennett of Petersburg, Illinois, has been a familiar attraction at old settlers’ gatherings in Menard County, for years. The dress was made by Mrs. Hill, of New Salem, and the reticule or workbag will be readily recognized by those who have any recollection of the early days. The bonnet occupied a place in the store of Samuel Hill at New Salem. It was taken from the store by Mrs. Hill, worn for a time by her, and has been carefully preserved to this day. It is an imported bonnet–a genuine Leghorn–and of a kind so costly that Mr. Hill made only an occasional sale of one. Its price, in fact, was $25.]

[Illustration: MAP OF NEW SALEM.

Map made by J. McCan Davis, aided by surviving inhabitants of New Salem. Dr. John Allen was the leading physician of New Salem. He was a Yankee, and was at first looked upon with suspicion, but he was soon running a Sunday-school and temperance society, though strongly opposed by the conservative church people. Dr. Allen attended Ann Rutledge in her last illness. He was thrifty, and moving to Petersburg in 1840, became wealthy. He died in 1860. Dr. Francis Regnier was a rival physician and a respected citizen. Samuel Hill and John McNeill (whose real name subsequently proved to be McNamar) operated a general store next to Berry & Lincoln’s grocery. Mr. Hill also owned the carding-machine. He moved his store to Petersburg in 1839, and engaged in business there, dying quite wealthy. Jack Kelso followed a variety of callings, being occasionally a school-teacher, now and then a grocery clerk, and always a fisher and hunter. He was a man of some culture, and, when warmed by liquor, quoted Shakespeare and Burns profusely, a habit which won for him the close friendship of Lincoln. Joshua Miller was a blacksmith, and lived in the same house with Kelso–a double house. He is said to be still living, somewhere in Nebraska. Miller and Kelso were brothers-in law. Philemon Morris was a tinner. Henry Onstott was a cooper by trade. He was an elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and meetings were often held at his house. Rev. John Berry, father of Lincoln’s partner, frequently preached there. Robert Johnson was a wheelwright, and his wife took in weaving. Martin Waddell was a hatter. He was the best-natured man in town, Lincoln possibly excepted. The Trent brothers, who succeeded Berry & Lincoln as proprietors of the store, worked in his shop for a time. William Clary, one of the first settlers of New Salem, was one of a numerous family, most of whom lived in the vicinity of “Clary’s Grove.” Isaac Burner was the father of Daniel Green Burner, Berry & Lincoln’s clerk. Alexander Ferguson worked at odd jobs. He had two brothers, John and Elijah. Isaac Gollaher lived in a house belonging to John Ferguson. “Row” Herndon, at whose house Lincoln boarded for a year or more after going to New Salem, moved to the country after selling his store to Berry & Lincoln. John Cameron, one of the founders of the town, was a Presbyterian preacher and a highly esteemed citizen.–_Note prepared by J. McCan Davis_.]


The flatboat built and loaded, the party started for New Orleans about the middle of April. They had gone but a few miles when they met with another adventure. At the village of New Salem there was a mill-dam. On it the boat stuck, and here for nearly twenty-four hours it hung, the bow in the air and the stern in the water, the cargo slowly setting backward–shipwreck almost certain. The village of New Salem turned out in a body to see what the strangers would do in their predicament. They shouted, suggested, and advised for a time, but finally discovered that one big fellow in the crew was ignoring them and working out a plan of relief. Having unloaded the cargo into a neighboring boat, Lincoln had succeeded in tilting his craft. By boring a hole in the end extending over the dam the water was let out. This done, the boat was easily shoved over and reloaded. The ingenuity which he had exercised in saving his boat made a deep impression on the crowd on the bank. It was talked over for many a day, and the general verdict was that the “bow-hand” was a “strapper.” The proprietor of boat and cargo was even more enthusiastic than the spectators, and vowed he would build a steamboat for the Sangamon and make Lincoln the captain. Lincoln himself was interested in what he had done, and nearly twenty years later he embodied his reflections on this adventure in a curious invention for getting boats over shoals.

[Illustration: WILLIAM G. GREENE.

William G. Greene was one of the earliest friends of Lincoln at New Salem. He stood on the bank of the Sangamon River on the 19th of April, 1831, and watched Lincoln bore a hole in the bottom of the flatboat, which had lodged on the mill-dam, so that the water might run out. A few months later he and Lincoln were both employed by the enterprising Denton Offutt, as clerks in the store and managers of the mill which had been leased by Offutt. It was William G. Greene who, returning home from college at Jacksonville on a vacation, brought Richard Yates with him, and introduced him to Lincoln, the latter being found stretched out on the cellar door of Bowling Green’s cabin reading a book. Mr. Greene was born in Tennessee in 1812, and went to Illinois in 1822. After the disappearance of New Salem he removed to Tallula, a few miles away, where in after years he engaged in the banking business. He died in 1894, after amassing a fortune.]


The raft over the New Salem dam, the party went on to New Orleans without trouble, reaching there in May, 1831, and remaining a month. It must have been a month of intense intellectual activity for Lincoln. New Orleans was entering then on her “flush times.” Commerce was increasing at a rate which dazzled merchants and speculators, and drew them in shoals from all over the United States. From 1830 to 1840 no other American city increased in such a ratio; exports and imports, which in 1831 amounted to $26,000,000, in 1835 had more than doubled. The Creole population had held the sway so far in the city; but now it came into competition and often into contest with a pushing, ambitious, and frequently unscrupulous native American party. To these two predominating elements were added Germans, French, Spanish, negroes and Indians. Cosmopolitan in its make-up, the city was even more cosmopolitan in its life. Everything was to be seen in New Orleans in those days, from the idle luxury of the wealthy Creole to the organization of filibustering juntas. The pirates still plied their trade in the Gulf, and the Mississippi River brought down hundreds of river boatmen–one of the wildest, wickedest sets of men that ever existed in any city.

Lincoln and his companions probably tied their boat up beside thousands of others. It was the custom then to tie up such craft along the river front where St. Mary’s Market now stands, and one could walk a mile, it is said, over the tops of these boats without going ashore. No doubt Lincoln went, too, to live in the boatmen’s rendezvous, called the “Swamp,” a wild, rough quarter, where roulette, whiskey, and the flint-lock pistol ruled.

All of the picturesque life, the violent contrasts of the city, he would see as he wandered about; and he would carry away the sharp impressions which are produced when mind and heart are alert, sincere, and healthy.

In this month spent in New Orleans Lincoln must have seen much of slavery. At that time the city was full of slaves, and the number was constantly increasing; indeed, one-third of the New Orleans increase in population between 1830 and 1840 was in negroes. One of the saddest features of the institution was to be seen there in its most aggravated form–the slave market. The great mass of slave-holders of the South, who looked on the institution as patriarchal, and who guarded their slaves with conscientious care, knew little, it should be said, of this terrible traffic. Their transfer of slaves was humane, but in the open markets of the city it was attended by shocking cruelty and degradation. Lincoln witnessed in New Orleans for the first time the revolting sight of men and women sold like animals Mr. Herndon says that he often heard Mr. Lincoln refer to this experience: “In New Orleans for the first time,” he writes, “Lincoln beheld the true horrors of human slavery. He saw ‘negroes in chains–whipped and scourged.’ Against this inhumanity his sense of right and justice rebelled, and his mind and conscience were awakened to a realization of what he had often heard and read. No doubt, as one of his companions has said, ‘slavery ran the iron into him then and there.’ One morning in their rambles over the city the trio passed a slave auction. A vigorous and comely mulatto girl was being sold. She underwent a thorough examination at the hands of the bidders; they pinched her flesh, and made her trot up and down the room like a horse, to show how she moved, and in order, as the auctioneer said, that ‘bidders might satisfy themselves’ whether the article they were offering to buy was sound or not. The whole thing was so revolting that Lincoln moved away from the scene with a deep feeling of ‘unconquerable hate.’ Bidding his companions follow him, he said, ‘Boys, let’s get away from this. If ever I get a chance to hit that thing’ (meaning slavery), ‘I’ll hit it hard.'”

Mr. Herndon gives John Hanks as his authority for this statement. But this is plainly an error, for, according to Mr. Lincoln himself, Hanks did not go on to New Orleans, but having a family and being likely to be detained from home longer than at first expected, turned back at St. Louis. Though there is reason for believing that Lincoln was deeply impressed on this trip by something he saw in a New Orleans slave market, and that he often referred to it, the story told above probably grew to its present proportions by much telling.[A]

[Footnote A: “No doubt the young Kentuckian was disgusted [with what he saw in the New Orleans slave auction]; but there is no proof that this was his first object lesson in human slavery, or that, as so often has been asserted, he turned to his companion and said, ‘If I ever get a chance to hit slavery, I will hit it hard.’ Such an expression from a flatboat-man would have been absurd.”–_Personal Reminiscences of 1840-1890, by L.E. Chittenden._]

[Illustration: MENTOR GRAHAM.

Mentor Graham was the New Salem school-master. He it was who assisted Lincoln in mastering Kirkham’s grammar, and later gave him valuable assistance when Lincoln was learning the theory of surveying. He taught in a little log school-house on a hill south of the village, just across Green’s Rocky Branch. Among his pupils was Ann Rutledge, and the school was often visited by Lincoln. In 1845, Mentor Graham was defendant in a lawsuit in which Lincoln and Herndon were attorneys for the plaintiff, Nancy Green. It appears from the declaration, written by Lincoln’s own hand, that on October 28, 1844, Mentor Graham gave his note to Nancy Green for one hundred dollars, with John Owens and Andrew Beerup as sureties, payable twelve months after date. The note not being paid when due, suit was brought. That Lincoln, even as an attorney, should sue Mentor Graham may seem strange; but it is no surprise when it is explained that the plaintiff was the widow of Bowling Green–the woman who, with her husband, had comforted Lincoln in an hour of grief. Justice, too, in this case, was clearly on her side. The lawsuit seems never to have disturbed the friendly relations between Lincoln and Mentor Graham. The latter’s admiration for the former was unbounded to the day of his death. Mentor Graham lived on his farm near the ruins of New Salem until 1860, when he removed to Petersburg. There he lived until 1885, when he removed to Greenview, Illinois. Later he went to South Dakota, where he died about 1892, at the ripe old age of ninety-odd years.]


The month in New Orleans passed swiftly, and in June, 1831, Lincoln and his companions took passage up the river. He did not return, however, in the usual way of the river boatman “out of a job.” According to his own way of putting it, “during this boat-enterprise acquaintance with Offutt, who was previously an entire stranger, he conceived a liking for Abraham, and believing he could turn him to account, he contracted with him to act as a clerk for him on his return from New Orleans, in charge of a store and mill at New Salem.”[A] The store and mill were, however, so far only in Offutt’s imagination, and Lincoln had to drift about until his employer was ready for him. He made a short visit to his father and mother, now in Coles County, near Charleston (fever and ague had driven the Lincolns from their first home in Macon County), and then, in July, 1831, he drifted over to New Salem, where, as he says, he “stopped indefinitely and for the first time, as it were, by himself.”


“The village of New Salem, the scene of Lincoln’s mercantile career,” writes one of our correspondents who has studied the history of the town and visited the spot where it once stood, “was one of the many little towns which, in the pioneer days, sprang up along the Sangamon River, a stream then looked upon as navigable and as destined to be counted among the highways of commerce. Twenty miles northwest of Springfield, strung along the left bank of the Sangamon, parted by hollows and ravines, is a row of high hills. On one of these–a long, narrow ridge, beginning with a sharp and sloping point near the river, running south, and parallel with the stream a little way, and then, reaching its highest point, making a sudden turn to the west, and gradually widening until lost in the prairie–stood this frontier village. The crooked river for a short distance comes from the east, and, seeming surprised at meeting the bluff, abruptly changes its course, and flows to the north. Across the river the bottom stretches out, reaching half a mile back to the highlands. New Salem, founded in 1829 by James Rutledge and John Cameron, and a dozen years later a deserted village, is rescued from oblivion only by the fact that Lincoln was once one of its inhabitants. His first sight of the town had been in April, 1831, when the flatboat he had built and its little crew were detained in getting their boat over the Rutledge and Cameron mill-dam, on which it lodged. When Lincoln walked into New Salem, three months later, he was not altogether a stranger, for the people remembered him as the ingenious flatboat-man who, a little while before, had freed his boat from water (and thus enabled it to get over the dam) by resorting to the miraculous expedient of boring a hole in the bottom.”[B]

Offutt’s goods had not arrived when Mr. Lincoln reached New Salem; and he “loafed” about, so those who remember his arrival say, good-naturedly taking a hand in whatever he could find to do, and in his droll way making friends of everybody. By chance, a bit of work fell to him almost at once, which introduced him generally and gave him an opportunity to make a name in the neighborhood. It was election day. The village school-master, Mentor Graham by name, was clerk, but the assistant was ill. Looking about for some one to help him, Mr. Graham saw a tall stranger loitering around the polling place, and called to him, “Can you write?” “Yes,” said the stranger, “I can make a few rabbit tracks.” Mr. Graham evidently was satisfied with the answer, for he promptly initiated him; and he filled his place not only to the satisfaction of his employer, but also to the delectation of the loiterers about the polls, for whenever things dragged he immediately began “to spin out a stock of Indiana yarns.” So droll were they that years afterward men who listened to Lincoln that day repeated them to their friends. He had made a hit in New Salem, to start with, and here, as in Sangamon town, it was by means of his story-telling.

[Footnote A: “Abraham Lincoln. Complete Works.” Edited by John G. Nicolay and John, Hay. Volume I.]

[Footnote B: New Salem plays so prominent a part in the life of Lincoln that the MAGAZINE engaged Mr. J. McCan Davis, of Springfield, Illinois, who had already made a special study of this period of Mr. Lincoln’s life, to go in detail over the ground to secure a perfectly accurate sequence of events, to collect new and unpublished pictures and documents, and to interview all of the old acquaintances of Mr. Lincoln who remain in the neighborhood. Mr. Davis has secured some new facts about Mr. Lincoln’s life in this period; he has unearthed in the official files of the county several new documents, and he has secured several unpublished portraits of interest. His matter will be incorporated into our next two articles.]

[Illustration: LINCOLN’S FIRST VOTE.]

Photographed from the original poll-book, now on file in the county clerk’s office, Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln’s first vote was cast at New Salem, “in the Clary’s Grove precinct,” August 1, 1831. At this election he aided Mr. Graham, who was one of the clerks. In the early days in Illinois, elections were conducted by the _viva voce_ method. The people did try voting by ballot, but the experiment was unpopular. It required too much “book larnin,” and in 1829 the _viva voce_ method of voting was restored. The judges and clerks sat at a table with the poll-book before them. The voter walked up, and announced the candidate of his choice, and it was recorded in his presence. There was no ticket peddling, and ballot-box stuffing was impossible. To this simple system we are indebted for the record of Lincoln’s first vote. As will be seen from the fac-simile, Lincoln voted for James Turney for Congressman, Bowling Green and Edmund Greer for Magistrates, and John Armstrong and Henry Sinco for Constables. Of these five men three were elected. Turney was defeated for Congressman by Joseph Duncan. Turney lived in Greene County. He was not then a conspicuous figure in the politics of the State, but was a follower of Henry Clay, and was well thought of in his own district. He and Lincoln, in 1834, served their first terms together in the lower house of the legislature, and later he was a State senator. Joseph Duncan, the successful candidate, was already in Congress. He was a politician of influence. In 1834 he was a strong “Jackson man;” but after his election as Governor he created consternation among the followers of “Old Hickory” by becoming a Whig. Sidney Breese, who received only two votes in the Clary’s Grove precinct, afterward became the most conspicuous of the five candidates. Eleven years later he defeated Stephen A. Douglas for the United States Senate, and for twenty-five years he was on the bench of the Supreme Court of Illinois, serving under each of the three constitutions. For the office of Magistrate Bowling Green was elected, but Greer was beaten. Both of Lincoln’s candidates for Constable were elected. John Armstrong was the man with whom, a short time afterward, Lincoln had the celebrated wrestling match. Henry Sinco was the keeper of a store at New Salem. Lincoln’s first vote for President was not cast until the next year (November 5, 1832), when he voted for Henry Clay.–_Note furnished by J. McCan Davis_.]

_(To be continued.)_



Author of “The Prisoner of Zenda,” “The Dolly Dialogues,” etc.


It was in the spring of the year that Ludwig, Prince of Glottenberg, came courting the Princess Osra; for his father had sought the most beautiful lady of a royal house in Europe, and had found none to equal Osra. Therefore the prince came to Strelsau with a great retinue, and was lodged in the White Palace, which stood on the outskirts of the city, where the public gardens now are (for the palace itself was sacked and burnt by the people in the rising of 1848). Here Ludwig stayed many days, coming every day to the king’s palace to pay his respects to the king and queen, and to make his court to the princess. King Rudolf had received him with the utmost friendship, and was, for reasons of state then of great moment, but now of vanished interest, as eager for the match as was the King of Glottenberg himself; and he grew very impatient with his sister when she hesitated to accept Ludwig’s hand, alleging that she felt for him no more than a kindly esteem, and, what was as much to the purpose, that he felt no more for her. For although the prince possessed most courteous and winning manners, and was very accomplished both in learning and in exercises, yet he was a grave and pensive young man, rather stately than jovial, and seemed, in the princess’s eyes (accustomed as they were to catch and check ardent glances), to perform his wooing more as a duty of his station than on the impulse of any passion. Finding in herself, also, no such sweet ashamed emotions as had before now crossed her heart on account of lesser men, she grew grave and troubled; and she said to the king:

“Brother, is this love? For I had as lief he were away as here; and when he is here he kisses my hand as though it were a statue’s hand; and–and I feel as though it were. They say you know what love is. Is this love?”

“There are many forms of love,” smiled the king. “This is such love as a prince and a princess may most properly feel.”

“I do not call it love at all,” said Osra, with a pout.

When Prince Ludwig came next day to see her, and told her, with grave courtesy, that his pleasure lay in doing her will, she broke out:

“I had rather it lay in watching my face;” and then, ashamed, she turned away from him.

He seemed grieved and hurt at her words, and it was with a sigh that he said: “My life shall be given to giving you joy.”

She turned round on him with flushed cheek and trembling lips:

“Yes, but I had rather it were spent in getting joy from me.”

He cast down his eyes a moment, and then, taking her hand, kissed it, but she drew it away sharply; and so that afternoon they parted, he back to his palace, she to her chamber, where she sat, asking again: “Is this love?” and crying: “He does not know love;” and pausing, now and again, before her mirror, to ask her pictured face why it would not unlock the door of love.

On another day she would be merry, or feign merriment, rallying him on his sombre air and formal compliments, professing that for her part she soon grew weary of such wooing, and loved to be easy and merry; for thus she hoped to sting him, so that he would either disclose more warmth, or forsake altogether his pursuit. But he made many apologies, blaming nature that had made him grave, but assuring her of his deep affection and respect.

“Affection and respect!” murmured Osra, with a little toss of her head. “Oh, that I had not been born a princess!” And yet, though she did not love him, she thought him a very noble gentleman, and trusted to his honor and sincerity in everything. Therefore, when he still persisted, and Rudolf and the queen urged her, telling her (the king mockingly, the queen with a touch of sadness) that she must not look to find in the world such love as romantic girls dreamt of, at last she yielded, and she told her brother that she would marry Prince Ludwig, yet for a little while she would not have the news proclaimed. So Rudolf went, alone and privately, to the White Palace, and said to Ludwig:

“Cousin, you have won the fairest lady in the world. Behold, her brother says it!”

Prince Ludwig bowed low, and, taking the king’s hand, pressed it, thanking him for his help and approval, and expressing himself as most grateful for the boon of the princess’s favor.

“And will you not come with me and find her?” cried the king, with a merry look.

“I have urgent business now,” answered Ludwig. “Beg the princess to forgive me. This afternoon I will crave the honor of waiting on her with my humble gratitude.”

King Rudolf looked at him, a smile curling on his lips; and he said, in one of his gusts of impatience:

“By heaven! is there another man in the world who would talk about gratitude, and business, and the afternoon, when Osra of Strelsau sat waiting for him?”

“I mean no discourtesy,” protested Ludwig, taking the king’s arm and glancing at him with most friendly eyes. “Indeed, dear friend, I am rejoiced and honored. But this business of mine will not wait.”

So the king, frowning and grumbling and laughing, went back alone, and told the princess that the happy wooer was most grateful, and would come, after his business was transacted, that afternoon. But Osra, having given her hand, would now admit no fault in the man she had chosen, and thanked the king for the message, with great dignity. Then the king came to her, and, sitting down by her, stroked her hair, saying softly:

“You have had many lovers, sister Osra, and now comes a husband.”

“Yes, now a husband,” she murmured, catching swiftly at his hand; and her voice was half caught in a sudden sob.

“So goes the world–our world,” said the king, knitting his brows and seeming to fall for a moment into a sad reverie.

“I am frightened,” she whispered. “Should I be frightened if I loved him?”

“I have been told so,” said the king, smiling again. “But the fear has a way of being mastered then.” And he drew her to him, and gave her a hearty brother’s kiss, telling her to take heart. “You’ll thaw the fellow yet,” said the king, “though I grant you he is icy enough.” For the king himself had been by no means what he called an icy man.

But Osra was not satisfied, and sought to assuage the pain of her heart by adorning herself most carefully for the prince’s coming, hoping to fire him to love. For she thought that if he loved she might, although since he did not she could not. And surely he did not, or all the tales of love were false! Thus she came to receive him very magnificently arrayed. There was a flush on her cheek, and an uncertain, expectant, fearful look in her eyes; and thus she stood before him, as he fell on his knee and kissed her hand. Then he rose, and declared his thanks, and promised his devotion; but as he spoke the flush faded, and the light died from her eyes; and when at last he drew near to her, and offered to kiss her cheek, her eyes were dead, and her face pale and cold as she suffered him to touch it. He was content to touch it but once, and seemed not to know how cold it was; and so, after more talk of his father’s pleasure and his pride, he took his leave, promising to come again the next day. She ran to the window when the door was closed on him, and thence watched him mount his horse and ride away slowly, with his head bent and his eyes downcast; yet he was a noble gentleman, stately and handsome, kind and true. The tears came suddenly into her eyes and blurred her sight as she leant watching from behind the hanging curtains of the window. Though she dashed them angrily away, they came again, and ran down her pale, cold cheeks, mourning the golden vision that seemed gone without fulfilment.

That evening there came a gentleman from the Prince of Glottenberg, carrying most humble excuses from his master, who (so he said) was prevented from waiting on the princess the next day by a certain very urgent affair that took him from Strelsau, and would keep him absent from the city all day long; and the gentleman delivered to Osra a letter from the prince, full of graceful and profound apologies, and pleading an engagement that his honor would not let him break; for nothing short of that, said he, should have kept him from her side. There followed some lover’s phrases, scantily worded, and frigid in an assumed passion. But Osra smiled graciously, and sent back a message, readily accepting all that the prince urged in excuse. And she told what had passed to the king, with her head high in the air, and a careless haughtiness, so that even the king did not rally her, nor yet venture to comfort her, but urged her to spend the next day in riding with the queen and him; for they were setting out for Zenda, where the king was to hunt in the forest, and she could ride some part of the way with them, and return in the evening. And she, wishing that she had sent first to the prince, to bid him not come, agreed to go with her brother; it was better far to go than to wait at home for a lover who would not come.

Thus, the next morning, they rode out, the king and queen with their retinue, the princess attended by one of her guard, named Christian Hantz, who was greatly attached to her, and most jealous in praise and admiration of her. This fellow had taken on himself to be very angry with Prince Ludwig’s coldness, but dared say nothing of it. Yet, impelled by his anger, he had set himself to watch the prince very closely; and thus he had, as he conceived, discovered something that brought a twinkle into his eye and a triumphant smile to his lips as he rode behind the princess. Some fifteen miles she accompanied her brother, and then, turning with Christian, took another road back to the city. Alone she rode, her mind full of sad thoughts; while Christian, behind, still wore his malicious smile. But, presently, although she had not commanded him, he quickened his pace, and came up to her side, relying on the favor which she always showed him, for excuse.

“Well, Christian,” said she, “have you something to say to me?”

For answer he pointed to a small house that stood among the trees, some way from the road, and he said:

“If I were Ludwig and not Christian, yet I would be here where Christian is, and not there where Ludwig is.” And he pointed still at the house.

She faced round on him in anger at his daring to speak to her of the prince, but he was a bold fellow, and would not be silenced now that he had begun to speak. He knew also that she would bear much from him; so he leant over towards her, saying:

“By your bounty, madam, I have money, and he who has money can get knowledge. So I know that the prince is there. For fifty pounds I gained a servant of his, and he told me.”

“I do not know why you should spy on the prince,” said Osra, “and I do not care to know where the prince is.” And she touched her horse with the spur, and cantered fast forward, leaving the little house behind. But Christian persisted, partly in a foolish grudge against any man who should win what was above his reach, partly in an honest anger that she whom his worshipped should be treated lightly by another; and he forced her to hear what he had learnt from the gossip of the prince’s groom, telling it to her in hints and half-spoken sentences, yet so plainly that she could not miss the drift of it. She rode the faster towards Strelsau, at first answering nothing; but at last she turned upon him fiercely, saying that he told a lie, and that she knew it was a lie, since she knew where the prince was and what business had taken him away; and she commanded Christian to be silent, and to speak neither to her nor to any one else of his false suspicions; and she bade him, very harshly, to fall back and ride behind her again, which he did, sullen, yet satisfied; for he knew that his arrow had gone home. On she rode, with her cheeks aflame and her heart beating, until she came to Strelsau, and having arrived at the palace, ran to her own bedroom and flung herself on the bed.

Here for an hour she lay; then, it being about six o’clock, she sat up, pushing her disordered hair back from her hot, aching brow. For an agony of humiliation came upon her, and a fury of resentment against the prince, whose coldness seemed now to need no more explanation. Yet she could hardly believe what she had been told of him; for, though she had not loved him, she had accorded to him her full trust. Rising, she paced in pain about the room. She could not rest, and she cried out in longing that her brother were there to aid her, and find out the truth for her. But he was away, and she had none to whom she could turn. So she strove to master her anger and endure her suspense till the next day; but they were too strong for her, and she cried: “I will go myself. I cannot sleep till I know. But I cannot go alone. Who will go with me?” And she knew of none, for she would not take Christian with her, and she shrank from speaking of the matter to any of the gentlemen of the court. And yet she must know. But at last she sprang up from the chair into which she had sunk despondently, exclaiming:

“He is a gentleman and my friend. He will go with me.” And she sent hastily for the Bishop of Modenstein, who was then in Strelsau, bidding him come dressed for riding, and with a sword, and the best horse in his stable. And the bishop came equipped as she bade him and in very great wonder. But when she told him what she wanted, and what Christian had made known to her, he grew grave, saying that they must wait and consult the king when he returned.

“I will not wait an hour,” she cried. “I cannot wait an hour.”

“Then I will ride, and bring you word. You must not go,” he urged.

“Nay; if I go alone, I will go,” said she. “Yes, I will go, and myself fling his falseness in his teeth.”

Finding her thus resolved, the bishop knew that he could not turn her; so, leaving her to prepare herself, he sought Christian Hantz, and charged him to bring three horses to the most private gate of the palace, that opened in a little by-street. Here Christian waited for them with the horses, and they came presently, the bishop wearing a great slouched hat, and swaggering like a roystering trooper, while Osra was closely veiled. The bishop again imposed secrecy on Christian, and then, they both being mounted, said to Osra: “If you will, then, madam, come;” and thus they rode secretly out of the city, about seven o’clock in the evening, the gate-wardens opening the gates at sight of the royal arms on Osra’s ring, which she gave to the bishop in order that he might show it.

In silence they rode a long way, going at a great speed. Osra’s face was set and rigid, for she felt now no shame at herself for going, nor any fear of what she might find. But the injury to her pride swallowed every other feeling, and at last she said, in short, sharp words, to the Bishop of Modenstein, having suddenly thrown the veil back from her face:

“He shall not live, if it prove true.”

The bishop shook his head. His profession was peace; yet his blood, also, was hot against the man who had put a slight on Princess Osra.

“The king must know of it,” he said.

“The king? The king is not here tonight,” said Osra; and she pricked her horse, and set him at a gallop. The moon, breaking suddenly in brightness from behind a cloud, showed the bishop her face. Then she put out her hand, and caught him by the arm, whispering: “Are you my friend?”

“Yes, madam,” said he. She knew well that he was her friend.

“Kill him for me, then! Kill him for me!”

“I cannot kill him,” said the bishop. “I pray God it may prove untrue.”

“You are not my friend if you will not kill him,” said Osra; and she turned her face away, and rode yet more quickly.


At last they came in sight of the little house that stood back from the road, and there was a light in one of the upper windows. The bishop heard a short gasp break from Osra’s lips, and she pointed with her whip to the window. Now his own breath came quick and fast, and he prayed to God that he might remember his sacred character and his vows, and not be led into great and deadly sin at the bidding of that proud, bitter face; and he clenched his left hand, and struck his brow with it.

Thus, then, they came to the gate of the avenue of trees that led to the house. Here, having dismounted, and tied their horses to the gatepost, they stood an instant, and Osra again veiled her face.

“Let me go alone, madam,” he implored.

“Give me your sword, and I will go alone,” she answered.

“Here, then, is the path,” said the bishop; and he led the way by the moonlight that broke fitfully here and there through the trees.

“He swore that all his life should be mine,” she whispered. “Yet I knew that he did not love me.”

The bishop made her no answer; she looked for none, and did not know that she spoke the bitterness of her heart in words that he could hear. He bowed his head, and prayed again for her and for himself; for he had found his hand gripping the hilt of his sword. And thus, side by side now, they came to the door of the house, and saw a gentleman standing in front of the door, still but watchful. And Osra knew that he was the prince’s chamberlain.

When the chamberlain saw them he started violently, and clapped a hand to his sword; but Osra flung her veil on the ground, and the bishop gripped his arm as with a vise. The chamberlain looked at Osra and at the bishop, and half drew his sword.

“This matter is too great for you, sir,” said the bishop. “It is a quarrel of princes. Stand aside!” And before the chamberlain could make up his mind what to do, Osra had passed by him, and the bishop had followed her.

Finding themselves in a narrow passage, they made out, by the dim light of a lamp, a flight of stairs that rose from the farthest end of it. The bishop tried to pass the princess, but she motioned him back, and walked swiftly to the stairs. In silent speed they mounted till they had reached the top of the first stage; and facing them, eight or ten steps farther up, was a door. By the door stood a groom. This was the man who had treacherously told Christian of his master’s doings; but when he saw, suddenly, what had come of his disloyal chattering, the fellow went white as a ghost, and came tottering in stealthy silence down the stairs, his finger on his lips. Neither of them spoke to him, nor he to them. They gave no thought to him; his only thought was to escape as soon as he might; so he passed them, and, going on, passed also the chamberlain, who stood dazed at the house door, and so disappeared, intent on saving the life that he had justly forfeited. Thus the rogue vanished, and what became of him no one knew nor cared. He showed his face no more at Glottenberg or Strelsau.

“Hark! there are voices,” whispered Osra to the bishop, raising her hand above her head, as they two stood motionless.

The voices came from the door that faced them, the voice of a man and the voice of a woman. Osra’s glance at her companion told him that she knew as well as he whose the man’s voice was.

“It is true, then,” she breathed from between her teeth. “My God, it is true!”

The woman’s voice spoke now, but the words were not audible. Then came the prince’s: “Forever, in life or death, apart or together, forever.” But the woman’s answer came no more in words, but in deep, low, passionate sobs, that struck their ears like the distant cry of some brute creature in pain that it cannot understand. Yet Osra’s face was stern and cold, and her lips curled scornfully when she saw the bishop’s look of pity.

“Come, let us end it,” said she; and with a firm step she began to mount the stairs that lay between them and the door.

Yet once again they paused outside the door, for it seemed as though the princess could not choose but listen to the passionate words of love that pierced her ears like knives. Yet they were all sad, speaking of renunciation, not happiness. But at last she heard her own name; then, with a sudden start, she caught the bishop’s hands, for she could not listen longer. And she staggered and reeled as she whispered to him: “The door, the door–open the door!”

The bishop, his right hand being across his body and resting on the hilt of his sword, laid his left upon the handle of the door and turned it. Then he flung the door wide open; and at that instant Osra sprang past him, her eyes gleaming like flames from her dead-white face. And she stood rigid on the threshold of the room, with the bishop by her side.


In the middle of the room stood the Prince of Glottenberg; and strained in a close embrace, clinging to him, supported by his arms, with head buried in his breast, was a girl of slight and slender figure, graceful, though not tall; and her body was still shaken by continual, struggling sobs. The prince held her there as though against the world, but raised his head, and looked at the intruders with a grave, sad air. There was no shame on his face, and hardly surprise. Presently he took one arm from about the lady, and, raising it, motioned to them to be still. Osra took one step forward toward where the pair stood; the bishop caught her sleeve, but she shook him off. The lady looked up into the prince’s face; with a sudden, startled cry clutched him closer, and turned a terrified face over her shoulder. Then she moaned in great fear, and, reeling, fell against the prince, and would have sunk to the ground if he had not upheld her; and her eyes closed and her lips dropped as she swooned away. But the princess smiled, and, drawing herself to her full height, stood watching while Ludwig bore the lady to a couch and laid her there. Then, when he came back and faced her, she asked coldly and slowly:

“Who is this woman, sir? Or is she one of those that have no names?”

The prince sprang forward, a sudden anger in his eyes; he raised his hand as if he would have pressed it across her scornful mouth, and kept back her bitter words. But she did not flinch; and, pointing at him with her finger, she cried to the bishop, in a ringing voice:

“Kill him, my lord, kill him!”

And the sword of the Bishop of Modenstein was half-way out of the scabbard.


“I would to God, my lord,” said the prince in low, sad tones, “that God would suffer you to kill me, and me to take death at your hands. But neither for you nor for me is the blow lawful. Let me speak to the princess.”

The bishop still grasped his sword; for Osra’s face and hand still commanded him. But at the instant of his hesitation, while the temptation was hot in him, there came from the couch where the lady lay a low moan of great pain. She flung her arms out, and turned, groaning, again on her back, and her head lay limply over the side of the couch. The bishop’s eyes met Ludwig’s; and with a “God forgive me!” he let the sword slip back, and, springing across the room, fell on his knees beside the couch. He broke the gold chain round his neck, and grasped the crucifix which he carried in one hand, while with the other he raised the lady’s head, praying her to open her eyes, before whose closed lids he held the sacred image; and he, who had come so near to great sin, now prayed softly, but fervently, for her life and God’s pity on her, for the frailty her slight form showed could not withstand the shock of this trial.

“Who is she?” asked the princess.

But Ludwig’s eyes had wandered back to the couch, and he answered only:

“My God, it will kill her!”

“I care not,” said Osra. But then came another low moan. “I care not,” said the princess again. “Ah, she is in great suffering!” And her eyes followed the prince’s.

There was silence, save for the lady’s low moans and the whispered prayers of the Bishop of Modenstein. But the lady opened her eyes, and in an instant, answering the summons, the prince was by her side, kneeling, and holding her hand very tenderly, and he met a glance from the bishop across her prostrate body. The prince bowed his head, and one sob burst from him.

“Leave me alone with her for a little, sir,” said the bishop; and the prince, obeying, rose and withdrew into the bay of the window, while Osra stood alone near the door by which she had entered.

A few minutes passed, then Osra saw the prince return to where the lady was, and kneel again beside her; and she saw that the bishop was preparing to perform his most sacred and sublime office. The lady’s eyes dwelt on him now in peace and restfulness, and held Prince Ludwig’s hand in her small hand. But Osra would not kneel; she stood upright, still and cold, as though she neither saw nor heard anything of what passed; she would not pity nor forgive the woman even if, as they seemed to think, she lay dying. But she spoke once, asking in a harsh voice:

“Is there no physician in the house or near?”

“None, madam,” said the prince.

The bishop began the office, and Osra stood, dimly hearing the words of comfort, peace, and hope; dimly seeing the smile on the lady’s face, for gradually her eyes clouded with tears. Now her ears seemed to hear nothing save the sad and piteous sobs that had shaken the girl as she hung about Ludwig’s neck. But she strove to drive away her softer thoughts, fanning her fury when it burnt low, and telling herself again of the insult that she had suffered. Thus she rested till the bishop had performed the office. But when he had finished it he rose from his knees, and came to where Osra was.

“It was your duty,” she said. “But it is none of mine.”

“She will not live an hour,” said he. “For she had an affection of the heart, and this shock has killed her. Indeed, I think she was half dead from grief before we came.”

“Who is she?” broke again from Osra’s lips.

“Come and hear,” said he; and she followed him obediently, yet unwillingly, to the couch, and looked down at the lady. The lady looked at her with wondering eyes, and then she smiled faintly, pressing the prince’s hand and whispering:

“Yet she is so beautiful.” And she seemed now wonderfully happy, so that the three all watched her, and were envious, although they were to live and she to die.

“Now God pardon her sin,” said the Princess Osra suddenly, and she fell on her knees beside the couch, crying: “Surely God has pardoned her.”

“Sin she had none, save what clings even to the purest in this world,” said the bishop. “For what she has said to me I know to be true.”

Osra answered nothing, but gazed in questioning at the prince, and he, still holding the lady’s hand, began to speak in a gentle voice.

“Do not ask her name, madam. But from the first hour that we knew the meaning of love we have loved one another. And had the issue rested in my hands I would have thrown to the winds all that kept me from her. I remember when first I met her–ah, my sweet! do you remember? And from that day to this, in soul she has been mine, and I hers in all my life. But more could not be. Madam, you have asked what love is. Here is love. Yet fate is stronger. Thus I came here to woo, and she, left alone, resolved to give herself to God.”

“How comes she here, then?” whispered Osra. And she laid one hand timidly on the couch near the lady, yet not so as to touch even her garments.

“She came here,” he began–but suddenly, to their amazement, the lady, who had seemed dead, with an effort raised herself on her elbow, and spoke in a quick, eager whisper, as if she feared time and strength would fail.

“He is a great prince,” she said; “he must be a great king. God means him for greatness. God forbid that I should be his ruin! Oh, what a sweet dream he painted! But praise be to the blessed saints that kept me strong. Yet, at the last I was weak. I could not live without another sight of his face, and so–so I came. Next week I am–I was to take the veil, and I came here to see him once again–God pardon me for it–but I could not help it. Ah, madam, I know you, and I see now your beauty. Have you known love?”

“No,” said Osra; and she moved her hand near to the lady’s hand.

“And when he found me here he prayed me again to do what he asked, and I was half killed in denying it. But I prevailed, and we were even then parting when you came. Why, why did I come?” And for a moment her voice died away in a low, soft moan. But she made one more effort. Clasping Osra’s hand in her delicate fingers, she whispered: “I am going. Be his wife.”

“No, no, no!” whispered Osra, her face now close to the lady’s. “You must live you must live and be happy.” And then she kissed the lady’s lips. The lady put out her arms, and clasped them round Osra’s neck; and again she whispered softly in Osra’s ear. Neither Ludwig nor the bishop heard what she said, but they heard only that Osra sobbed. Presently the lady’s arms relaxed a little in their hold, and Osra, having kissed her again, rose, and signed to Ludwig to come nearer; while she, turning, gave her hand to the bishop, and he led her from the room, and finding another room near, took her in there, where she sat silent and pale.

Thus half an hour passed; then the bishop stole softly out, and presently returned, saying:

“God has spared her the long, painful path, and has taken her straight to his rest.”

Osra heard him, half in a trance, and as if she did not hear; she did not know whither he went, nor what he did, nor anything that passed, until, as it seemed, after a long while, she looked up, and saw Prince Ludwig standing before her. He was composed and calm, but it seemed as if half the life had gone out of his face. Osra rose slowly to her feet, supporting herself on an arm of the chair on which she had sat, and when she had seen his face she suddenly threw herself on the floor at his feet, crying:

“Forgive me! Forgive me!”

“The guilt is mine,” said he; “for I did not trust you, and did by stealth what your nobility would have suffered openly. The guilt is mine.” And he offered to raise her, but she rose unaided, asking with choking voice:

“Is she dead?”

“She is dead,” said the prince; and Osra, hearing it, covered her face with her hands, and blindly groped her way back to the chair, where she sat, panting and exhausted.

“To her I have said farewell, and now, madam, to you. Yet do not think that I am a man without eyes for your beauty, or a heart to know your worth. I seemed to you a fool and a churl. I grieved most bitterly, and I wronged you bitterly; my excuse for all is now known. For though you are more beautiful than she, yet true love is no wanderer; it gives a beauty that it does not find, and weaves a chain no other charms can break. Madam, farewell.”


She looked at him and saw the sad joy in his eyes, an exultation over what had been that what was could not destroy; and she knew that the vision was still with him, though his love was dead. Suddenly he seemed to her a man she also might love, and for whom she also, if need be, might gladly die. Yet not because she loved him, for she was asking still in wonder: “What is this love?”

“Madam, farewell,” said he again; and, kneeling before her, he kissed her hand.

“I carry the body of my love,” he went on, “back with me to my home, there to mourn for her; and I shall come no more to Strelsau.”

Osra bent her eyes on his face as he knelt, and presently she said to him in a whisper that was low for awe, not shame:

“You heard what she bade me do?”

“Yes, madam, I know her wish.”

“And you would do it?” she asked.

“Madam, my struggle was fought before she died. But now you know that my love was not yours.”

“That also I knew before, sir;” and a slight, bitter smile came on her face. But she grew grave again, and sat there, seeming to be pondering, and Prince Ludwig waited on his knees. Then she suddenly leant forward and said:

“If I loved I would wait for you to love. Now what is the love that I cannot feel?”

And then she sat again silent, but at last raised her eyes again to his, saying in a voice that even in the stillness of the room he hardly heard:

“Now I do dearly love you, for I have seen your love, and know that you can love; and I think that love must breed love, so that she who loves must in God’s time be loved. Yet”–she paused here, and for a moment hid her face with her hand–“yet I cannot,” she went on. “Is it our Lord Christ who bids us take the lower place? I cannot take it He does not so reign in my heart. For to my proud heart–ah, my heart so proud!–she would be ever between us. I could not bear it. Even though she is dead, I could not bear it. Yet I believe now that with you I might one day find happiness.”

The prince, though in that hour he could not think of love, was yet very much moved by her new tenderness, and felt that what had passed rather drew them together than made any separation between them. And it seemed to him that the dead lady’s blessing was on his suit, so he said:

“Madam, I would most faithfully serve you, and you would be the nearest and dearest to me of all living women.”

She waited a while, then she sighed heavily, and looked in his face with an air of wistful longing, and she knit her brows as though she were puzzled. But at last, shaking her head, she said:

“It is not enough.”

And with this she rose and took him by the hand, and they two went back together to where the Bishop of Modenstein still prayed beside the body of the lady.

Osra stood on one side of the body, and stretched her hand out to the prince, who stood on the other side.

“See,” said she, “she must be between us.” And having kissed the dead face once, she left the prince there by the side of his love, and herself went out, and turning her head, saw that the prince knelt again by the corpse of his love.

“He does not think of me,” she said to the bishop.

“His thoughts are still with her, madam,” he answered.

It was late night now, and they rode swiftly and silently along the road to Strelsau. And on all the way they spoke to one another only a few words, being both sunk deep in thought. But once Osra spoke, as they were already near to Strelsau. For she turned suddenly to the bishop, saying:

“My lord, what is it? Do you know it?”

“Yes, madam, I have known it,” answered the bishop.

“Yet you are a churchman!”

“True, madam,” said he, and he smiled sadly.

She seemed to consider, fixing her eyes on his; but he turned his aside.

“Could you not make me understand?” she asked.

“Your lover, when he comes, will do that, madam,” said he, and still he kept his eyes averted. And Osra wondered why he kept his eyes turned away; yet presently a faint smile curved her lips, and she said:

“It may be you might feel it, if you were not a churchman. But I do not. Many men have said they loved me, and I have felt something in my heart–but not this!”

“It will come,” said the bishop.

“Does it come, then, to every one?”

“To most,” he answered.

“Heigho, will it ever come to me?” she sighed.

And so they were at home. And Osra was for a long time very sorrowful for the fate of the lady whom the Prince of Glottenberg had loved; but since she saw Ludwig no more, and the joy of youth conquered her sadness, she ceased to mourn; and as she walked along she would wonder more and more what it might be, this great love that she did not feel.

“For none will tell me, not even the Bishop of Modenstein,” said she.




When shepherds watched their flocks by night, and the angel appeared, bringing the tidings of good-will, a new vocation, until then unknown, was given to men. Tradition has it that one of the earliest of the followers of the Child born that night was a painter, and in the pictures of the primitive Dutch and Italian schools a not uncommon subject is St. Luke painting the Virgin and Child, while in more than one church in Europe the original(?) picture may be seen. Perhaps the most notable of these is the beautiful though quaint picture by Rogier van der Weyden, now in the Old Pinakothek, in Munich. And the tradition is a pleasant one, showing how early the services of the painters were enlisted in spreading abroad the new gospel of peace on earth.

When we consider that, even stripped of divinity, the birth of a child, its first dawning intelligence, its flower-like tenderness of aspect, are one and all motives which excite the best that is in man, there is little wonder that the Christ-child should have been and should still be the best subject that a painter could demand. In many forms, in fact, do we of a later day and of less fervent faith celebrate the beauty of mother and child. How much more ardently, therefore, in the days when faith and the painter’s craft were so intimately linked, have the painters approached their task. Almost transfigured to divinity is the woman with the child at her breast that shines upon us in so many galleries; quite divine in the devout painter’s thought it was as he wrought.

“Fair shines the gilded aureole
In which our highest painters place Some living woman’s simple face.”

sings Rossetti; and the “highest painter,” pious monk, as in the case of Fra Angelico, and stately courtier, as was Peter Paul Rubens, meet, extremes though they are, on the same ground when they approach this sacred subject. The pictures reproduced here, it may safely be said, are all celebrated, and yet they represent but a small part of the pictures of the same subject which are known to be by men of importance, and of which every museum in the world has a goodly number. If we add to these the pictures in private collections, and then take into account the tens of thousands of pictures of the same subject which, everywhere throughout the world, especially in Europe, are to be found in the churches, it is safe to say that no other subject has so often given its inspiration to the painter.

[Illustration: MOTHER AND CHILD. TITIAN (ITALIAN: BORN 1477; DIED 1576).]

Nor in any other case has a subject given such variety of inspiration. The elements are few and simple, and though occasionally there are accessory figures, the concentration of interest, the reason for the existence of the picture, is centred on the Mother and Child. A survey of these pages will suffice to show that of these two principal elements a great variety of pictorial effect, of expression, of sentiment, of composition of line, and of light and shade, is possible. We can go back to the splendid Byzantine churches, with their wealth of mosaic, their subdued splendor of dulled gold covering arch and pillar as a background for the glow of color with which the artists of Constantine worked,–in a rigid convention as to form which gives their figures an impressive air, but which is ill-suited to the representation of the divine Mother and Child. Hence, in this, the earliest manifestation of Christian art, it is the remembrance of the majesty of a prophet, of the benign dignity of the mature Christ, that I we carry away with us. Giotto, however, had no sooner freed himself from the hampering conditions under which his predecessors worked, than we begin to feel the human element enter into art. Down through the centuries until to-day, the long procession of artists comes to us: those of Italy first of all, birthplace of modern art, land where time has touched everything with so reverent a hand that all has been rendered beautiful.


This legion of valiant painters enlisted in the service of “that most noble Lady and her Son, our Lord and Seigneur,” have names which sound sweet to the ear, as their work is goodly to the sight. Giotto, Era Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Gentile da Fabriano, Ghirlandajo, names like the beads of a rosary, commence the list, to which Botticelli, Perugino, Raffaello Santi, Leonardo da Vinci, Andrea del Sarto, Correggio, Tiziano, Veronese, and, last of all, with a name like the blast of a trumpet, the mighty Michael the Archangel, add their syllabic charm. Then the painters of more northern lands bring the tribute of their name and work; names less pleasing to the ear, as their work has less beauty to the sight, but rich, both in name and work, with honest intent and simple devotion.

[Illustration: MOTHER AND CHILD, MURILLO (SPANISH: BORN 1618?; DIED 1682).]

First come the men whose names are those of their works or of their birthplace: Master William of Cologne, Master of the Death of Mary, Master of the Holy Companionship. Then the Van Eycks, Hubert and Jan, Rogier van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes, Hans Memling, Quentin Massys, Lucas van Leyden, the two Hans Holbein, elder and younger, Burgkmair, Wolgemut, and then, master of them all, Albrecht Duerer. Something of their honesty of purpose must have been mixed with their pigments, for the works of these fortunate painters of the early Dutch and German schools shine on us to-day from the gallery walls with undiminished splendor; and brave with vivid reds, with blues as rich and deep as an organ chord, and yellows rich as the gold with which they embroidered their Virgin’s robes, their pictures show, with touching lapses in some of the details, a large technical mastery, coupled with an intensity of sentiment which has remained unapproachable.





[Illustration: MOTHER AND CHILD. RUBENS (FLEMISH: BORN 1577; DIED 1640).]


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