“I remember when I was a boy over in Gentryville a shaggy, plain-dressed man rode up to the door one day. He had a cheerful, kindly face. His character began to speak to us before he opened his mouth to ask for a drink of water.
“‘I don’t know who you are,’ my father said. ’But I’d like it awful well if you’d light an’ talk to us.’ He did and we didn’t know till he had gone that he was the Governor of the state. A good character shines like a candle on a dark night. You can’t mistake it. A firefly can’t hold his light long enough to compete with it.
“Webster said in the Knapp trial: ’There is no evil that we can not either face or fly from but the consciousness of duty disregarded.’
“A great truth like that makes wonderful music on the lips of a sincere man. An orator must be a lover and discoverer of such unwritten laws.”
It was nearing midnight when they heard footsteps on the board walk in front of the house. In a moment Harry Needles entered in cavalry uniform with fine top boots and silver spurs, erect as a young Indian brave and bronzed by tropic suns.
“Hello!” he said as he took off his belt and clanking saber. “I hang up my sword. I have had enough of war.”
He had ridden across country from the boat landing and arriving so late had left his horse at a livery stable.
“I’m lucky to find you and Abe and Joe all up and waiting for me,” he said as he shook their hands “How is mother?”
“I’m well,” Sarah called from the top of the stairway. “I’ll be down in a minute.”
For an hour or more they sat by the fireside while Harry told of his adventures in the great swamps of Southern Florida.
“I’ve done my share of the fighting,” he said at length. “I’m going north to-morrow to find Bim and her mother.”
“I shall want you to serve a complaint on one Lionel Davis,” said Mr. Lincoln.
“I have one of my own to serve on him,” Harry answered. “But I hope that our case can be settled out of court.”
“I think that I’ll go with you as far as Tazewell County and draw the papers there,” said Lincoln.
When the latter had left for his lodgings and Joe and his mother had gone to bed, Samson told Harry the details of his visit to Chicago.
“She may have taken the disease and died with it before now,” said the young man. “I’ll be on my way to Honey Creek in the morning. If she’s sick I’ll take care of her. I’m not going to worry about Davis. But when I get there I wouldn’t wonder if he’d have to worry a little about me.”
WHEREIN ABE LINCOLN REVEALS HIS METHOD OF CONDUCTING A LAWSUIT IN THE CASE OF HENRY BRIMSTEAD ET AL., VS. LIONEL DAVIS.
They found many of Davis’s notes in Tazewell County. Abe Lincoln’s complaint represented seven clients and a sum exceeding twenty thousand dollars.