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HUMANITY TO A PIG.
which would have seemed strange and ludicrous to a bystander, and which yet gives a view of the humane and sensitive heart of Mr. Lincoln, and shows that, in the quality of mercy, he was as child-like and sincere as he was determined in his ideas of truth and justice.
He was riding by a deep slough, in which he saw a pig ingulfed, and showing by its exhausted efforts that it would never succeed in extricating itself. He looked at it a moment with a pitying eye, but the mud was deep and black, and his wardrobe for the journey was limited to the suit he had on. He therefore rode on, but more than once looked back at the pitiable object. Pursuing his way about two miles, during which time he sought in vain to banish the struggling pig from his mind, he turned suddenly about and rode quickly back, fearing he might be too late to save the animals life. Dismounting, he hitched his horse and set about his labor of mercy in good earnest. He soon had a bridge of rails built to within reach of the pig, seized him by the ears and landed him on terra firma. After looking at him with a smile, as he scampered off, he re-mounted his horse and rode away. Mr. Lincoln probably never in his life inflicted wanton pain on the sensibilities of any person, or upon the humblest of God's creatures. But while
“Meekly bending heart and brow
To the helpless and the low". was also ever
" Ready to redress the wrong
After he had attained power and fame, his former humble and illiterate friends found him the
ame unassuming, considerate, and affectionate friend that he was while sharing their hospitality as a poor boy at the cabin fireside, or around the homely meal. Having one night left his comfortable quarters and agreeable companions, at the hotel of a village where he was attending court, to visit an aged friend in her cabin, his friends remonstrated with him. “0," said he,
“ “ it would break old Aunty's heart to hear that I had left town without visiting her.” He took pleasure, and it was pleasure in its highest and noblest form, in seating himself at the old matron's table, to listen to her garrulous talk, relate his merriest stories, and gratify her by his unaffected respect.
A STRANGE INCIDENT.
An incident in wide contrast to these, and which brought out wholly different traits of his character, took place in 1839. The Legislature was then in session at Springfield, and Mr. Lincoln was a member. During the session, a young lady wrote, and the editor of the paper at Springfield published, a sarcastic poem, which the public at once understood as directed against James Shields, also a member of the Legislature. Shields demanded of the editor the name of so audacious a writer, with the intent to repay the shedding of ink by the shedding of blood. Lincoln was unmarried, and understood to be at least an admirer of the offending young lady, and the editor, dishonorably fearing to meet the responsibility, repaired to Lincoln, with the request that he would assume it, and settle the difficulty with Shields. He at once consented, and Shields was informed that Lincoln considered himself responsible.
Mr. Lincoln seems to have gone into this difficulty without thinking of its folly—his mind absorbed with the idea of defending the name and privacy of the lady. Shields immediately challenged him to mortal combat, and Lincoln as promptly accepted, naming broad-swords as the weapons, and “Bloody Island ” in the Illinois river as the place. At the time appointed, Shields and his friends, and a surgeon, repaired to the place, and found Abe busy chopping away the underbrush with his sword, to clear a place for the duel. Friends who knew the trivial nature of the quarrel interfered and put an end to it. Lincoln said, doubtless truly, that he did not intend to injure Shields, and chose broad-swords that his superior reach of arm might enable him to defend himself and disarm his antagonist; but even with this purpose, it was the most reasonable act of his life.
N 1842 Mr. Lincoln was thirty-three years old, and established in a flourish
ing practice at law. He therefore deemed himself of sufficient age, and in possession of resources adequate, for the maintenance of a family. Accordingly he sought and won the heart and hand of Miss Mary Todd, daughter of Hon. Robert S. Todd, of Lexington, Ky. His bride had resided in Springfield for several years previous to her marriage, and doubtless fully appreciated the value of the “rough diamond " she had chosen. His social nature and kind disposition fitted him to enjoy the attractions of a home, and his wit, drollery, and genuine hospitality to render it singularly attractive to inmates and friends. His private correspondence at this time shows how happy he was in his new relation, and in the new cares and motives