“If you’ll let me dictate the speech I’ll agree,” said Abe.
“Vell-vat is it?” Eli asked.
“I would like my clothes to say in a low tone of voice: ’This is humble Abraham Lincoln about the same length and breadth that I am. He don’t want to scare or astonish anybody. He don’t want to look like a beggar or a millionaire. Just put him down for a hard working man of good intentions who is badly in debt.’”
That ended all argument. The suit of blue jeans was ordered and the measures taken. As they were about to go Eli said:
“I forgot to tell you dot I haf seen Bim Kelso de odder day in St. Louis. I haf seen her on de street. She has been like a queen so grand! De hat and gown from Paris and she valk so proud! But she look not so happy like she usit to be. I speak to her. Oh my, she vas glad and so surprised! She tolt me dot she vould like to come home for a visit but her husband he does not vant her to go dere—nefer again. My jobber haf tolt me dot Mr. Biggs is git drunk efery day. Bim she t’ink de place no good. She haf tolt me dey treat de niggers awful. She haf cry ven she tolt me dot.”
“Poor child!” said Abe. “I’m afraid she’s in trouble.”
“I’ve been thinking for some time that I’d go down there and try to see her,” said Harry as they were leaving the store. “Now, I’ll have to go.”
“Maybe I’ll go with you,” said Abe.
They got a ride part of the way back and had a long tramp again under the starlight.
“I don’t believe you had better go down to St. Louis,” Abe remarked as they walked along. “It might make things worse. I’m inclined to think that I’d do better alone with that problem.”
“I guess you’re right,” said Harry. “It would be like me to do something foolish.”
“And do it very thoroughly,” Abe suggested. “You’re in love with the girl. I wouldn’t trust your judgment in St. Louis.”
“She hasn’t let on to her parents that she’s unhappy. Mother Traylor told me that they got a letter from her last week that told of the good times she was having.”
“We know what that means. She can’t bear to acknowledge to them that she has made a mistake and she don’t want to worry them. Her mother is in part responsible for the marriage. Bim don’t want her to be blamed. Eli caught her off her guard and her heart and her face spoke to him.”
In a moment Abe added: “Her parents have begun to suspect that something is wrong. They have never been invited to go down there and visit the girl. I reckon we’d better say nothing to any one of what we have heard at present.”
They reached New Salem in the middle of the night and went into Rutledge’s barn and lay down on the haymow between two buffalo hides until morning.
WHICH CONTINUES THE ROMANCE OF ABE AND ANN UNTIL THE FORMER LEAVES NEW SALEM TO BEGIN HIS WORK IN THE LEGISLATURE. ALSO IT DESCRIBES THE COLONELING OF PETER LUKINS.