Abraham Lincoln: A story and a Play/Out In The World

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Out in the World

As Abraham grew up, more and more people came to his part of the country to settle. A village called Gentryville grew up a mile or so from the Lincoln home. In the general store there, Abraham was clerk for a whole winter. Every evening and Saturday afternoons, this store was a gathering-place for all the men of the country side. They talked politics, told stories, and read aloud from the weekly newspapers, so the young clerk learned much at this time about what was going on in the world outside.

Mr. Gentry, the owner of the store, took a great liking to his young clerk, and gave him a chance to see something of that outside world. He loaded a flat boat with corn, flour, bacon and other things raised in the country near by, and gave it into the charge of Abraham and his son Allen. They were to go down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and sell the goods to the owners of the plantations where sugar and cotton were raised by negro slaves. He promised Abraham eight dollars a month, besides paying his fare home on a steamboat.

This seemed a large sum of money to the young man; besides, he was glad of the chance to travel and to see new sights. While Abraham and his friend Allen were away, they had an exciting adventure. One dark night, after they had drawn the flat boat up to the shore to rest till morning, seven negroes made a sudden attack. They meant to kill the young men, and then steal the cargo of goods.

But Abraham and Allen managed to defend themselves, though they were both hurt before they were able to drive off the negroes and get the boat safely out into the middle of the stream.

The money which Abraham earned at this time seemed a large sum to him. But it could not have been so precious as what came to him the year before when he was plying a ferry at Anderson's Creek. One day two men came hurrying down to the landing and engaged Abraham to carry them and their trunks out into the river to meet a passing steamer.

When the work was done and the men were about to step on board the steamer, each one handed him a half-dollar. He could hardly believe his eyes. He was, for the first time, the owner of a whole dollar, and for a small task which had taken less than half a day! It seemed too good to be true.