“I Could not have Slept Well To-night”
Lincoln had the tenderest heart for any one in distress, whether man, beast, or bird. Many of the gentle and touching sympathies of his nature, which flowered so frequently and beautifully in the humble citizen at home, fruited in the sunlight of the world when he had power and place. He carried from his home on the prairies to Washington the same gentleness of disposition and kindness of heart.
Six gentlemen, I being one, Lincoln, Baker, Hardin, and others were riding along a country road. We were strung along the road two and two together. We were passing through a thicket of wild plum and crab-apple trees. A violent wind-storm had just occurred. Lincoln and Hardin were behind.
There were two young birds by the roadside too young to fly. They had been blown from the nest by the storm. The old bird was fluttering about and wailing as a mother ever does for her babes. Lincoln stopped, hitched his horse, caught the birds, hunted the nest and placed them in it. The rest of us rode on to a creek, and while our horses were drinking Hardin rode up. ” Where is Lincoln,” said one? ” Oh, when I saw him last he had two little birds in his hand hunting for their nest.” In perhaps an hour he came. They laughed at him. He said with much emphasis, ” Gentlemen, you may laugh, but I could not have slept well to-night, if I had not saved those birds. Their cries would have rung in my ears.” This is one of the flowers of his prairie life. Now for the fruit.
Quoted in Joshua F. Speed, Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln and Notes of a Visit to California(Louisville, Ky.: John P. Morton & Co., 1884), p. 25.
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April 23, 2020 at 12:56
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