The Story of Abraham Lincoln/The New Mother
The log house, which Abraham Lincoln called his home, was now more lonely and cheerless than before. The sunlight of his mother's presence had gone out of it forever.
His sister Sarah, twelve years old, was the housekeeper and cook. His father had not yet found time to lay a floor in the house, or to hang a door. There were great crevices between the logs, through which the wind and the rain drifted on every stormy day. There was not much comfort in such a house.
But the lad was never idle. In the long winter days, when there was no work to be done, he spent the time in reading or in trying to improve his writing.
There were very few books in the cabins of that backwoods settlement. But if Abraham Lincoln heard of one, he could not rest till he had borrowed it and read it.
Another summer passed, and then another winter. Then, one day, Mr. Lincoln went on a visit to Kentucky, leaving his two children and their cousin, Dennis Hanks, at home to care for the house and the farm.
I do not know how long he stayed away, but it could not have been many weeks. One evening, the children were surprised to see a four-horse wagon draw up before the door.
Their father was in the wagon; and by his side was a kind-faced woman; and, sitting on the straw at the bottom of the wagon-bed, there were three well-dressed children—two girls and a boy.
And there were some grand things in the wagon, too. There were six split-bottomed chairs, a bureau with drawers, a wooden chest, and a feather bed. All these things were very wonderful to the lad and lassie who had never known the use of such luxuries.
"Abraham and Sarah," said Mr. Lincoln, as he leaped from the wagon, "I have brought you a new mother and a new brother and two new sisters."
The new mother greeted them very kindly, and, no doubt, looked with gentle pity upon them. They were barefooted; their scant clothing was little more than rags and tatters; they did not look much like her own happy children, whom she had cared for so well.
And now it was not long until a great change was made in the Lincoln home. A floor was laid, a door was hung, a window was made, the crevices between the logs were daubed with clay.
The house was furnished in fine style, with the chairs and the bureau and the feather bed. The kind, new mother brought sunshine and hope into the place that had once been so cheerless.
With the young lad, Dennis Hanks, there were now six children in the family. But all were treated with the same kindness; all had the same motherly care. And so, in the midst of much hard work, there were many pleasant days for them all.