The withering sunlight of a day late in August fell upon the dusty street, now almost deserted. Faces at the doors and windows of the little houses were looking out at them. Two ragged boys and a ginger colored dog came running toward the wagon. The latter and Sambo surveyed each other with raised hair and began scratching the earth, straight legged, whining meanwhile, and in a moment began to play together. A man in blue jeans who sat on the veranda of a store opposite, leaning against its wall, stopped whittling and shut his jack-knife.
“Where do ye hail from?” the Doctor asked.
“Vermont,” said Samson.
“All the way in that wagon?”
“I guess you’re made o’ the right stuff,” said the Doctor. “Where ye bound?”
“Don’t know exactly. Going to take up a claim somewhere.”
“There’s no better country than right here. This is the Canaan of America. We need people like you. Unhitch your team and have some dinner and we’ll talk things over after you’re rested. I’m the doctor here and I ride all over this part o’ the country. I reckon I know it pretty well.”
A woman in a neat calico dress came out of the door—a strong built and rather well favored woman with blonde hair and dark eyes.
“Mrs. Rutledge, these are travelers from the East,” said the Doctor. “Give ’em some dinner, and if they can’t pay for it, I can. They’ve come all the way from Vermont.”
“Good land! Come right in an’ rest yerselves. Abe, you show the gentleman where to put his horses an’ lend him a hand.”
Abe extended his long arm toward Samson and said “Howdy” as they shook hands.
“When his big hand got hold of mine, I kind of felt his timber,” Samson writes. “I says to myself, ’There’s a man it would be hard to tip over in a rassle.’”
“What’s yer name? How long ye been travelin’? My conscience! Ain’t ye wore out?” the hospitable Mrs. Rutledge was asking as she went into the house with Sarah and the children. “You go and mix up with the little ones and let yer mother rest while I git dinner,” she said to Joe and Betsey, and added as she took Sarah’s shawl and bonnet: “You lop down an’ rest yerself while I’m flyin’ around the fire.”
“Come all the way from Vermont?” Abe asked as he and Samson were unhitching.
“By jing!” the slim giant exclaimed. “I reckon you feel like throwin’ off yer harness an’ takin’ a roll in the grass.”
Wherein the reader is introduced to Offut’s store and his clerk Abe, and the scholar jack Kelso and his cabin and his daughter Bim, and gets A first look at Lincoln.