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Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/35

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THE MAN

Virginia farmer pushed his way through the crowd and told him that some Union soldiers had carried off his hay. "I hope, Mr. President," he ended, "that you'll see that I'm paid."

Mr. Lincoln's only reply was to tell him the story of Jack Chase, the river captain. Once when he was piloting a steamer through the rapids and straining every nerve and muscle to follow the narrow channel, a boy pulled his coat-tail and shouted in his ear above the roar of the waters: "Say, Mr. Captain, I wish you'd stop the boat a minute. I've dropped my apple overboard."

At other times his whimsical drollery and quaint flashes of humor were efforts, perhaps unconscious, to relieve the rooted melancholy of his life. "Why, Mr. President, do you black your own boots?" exclaimed Charles Sumner when he found Mr. Lincoln so engaged at the White House. "Whose boots did you think I blacked?" responded the President.

Another time, when he was visiting the Union army, a young officer pushed his way through the crowd and complained to him bitterly that Colonel Sherman, as he was then, had threatened to shoot him.

"Did he threaten to shoot you?" exclaimed Lincoln.