Open main menu

Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/27

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
19
THE BOY

and do his studying at night in the light of a fire made from shavings, while his figuring was done with a bit of charcoal on the back of a wooden shovel, which he would whittle clean when it could hold no more. His pen was the quill of a turkey buzzard, and his ink was made from the juice of a brier-root. Altogether he had in his whole life less than a year of schooling, but he learned to read and spell and write and cipher to the rule of three.

One day a wagon broke down in the road near the house, and a woman with her two daughters stayed with the Lincolns over night. She had some books and told the children some stories. For the first time Abraham discovered what opportunity and happiness books can bring to those who learn to read them. From that day on he borrowed and read every book that he could get for miles around. One of the earliest writings which we have of his is a copy-book form which he set for a neighbor:

Good boys, who to their books apply.
Will all be great men by and by.

There were six books which he read and read and reread. These books were the Bible, Æsop's Fables, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Robinson Crusoe, A History of the United States, and Weems's Life of Washington. The last-