Page:Abraham Lincoln, A Story and a Play.djvu/36

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN

law. When I have learned enough, I can be a lawyer."

He got another man named Berry for a partner, and they started out with great hopes. Lincoln had the time he wished for study, and every spare moment was spent poring over some law books he had found in the bottom of a barrel of rubbish, which another man who needed the money had sold him for a half-dollar.

He kept these books close at hand, so that the instant a customer left the store, he could go back to his studies, if only for five or ten minutes. To most people these books would seem very tiresome, but to Lincoln they were wonderfully interesting.

In the meantime the town of New Salem was growing smaller every day, and there were fewer and fewer people to trade at the store. Besides, Mr. Berry showed himself of little worth. In a short time the business failed, and Lincoln found himself with a large debt which it took years to pay. He afterwards laughingly called it his "National Debt."

When the store was given up, Lincoln did any kind of work he could get. Yet he still kept up his study of the law, carrying a book with him