oppressed, the feeling was soon relieved by the narration of a story.
The tavern loungers enjoyed it, and his melancholy, taking to itself wings, seemed to fly away.
In the role of a story-teller I am prone to regard Mr. Lincoln
as without an equal.
I have seen him surrounded by a crowd numbering as many as two and in some cases three hundred persons, all deeply interested in the outcome of a story which, when he had finished it, speedily found repetition in every grocery and lounging place within reach.
His power of mimicry, as I have before noted, and his manner of recital, were in many respects unique, if not remarkable.
His countenance and all his features seemed to take part in the performance.
As he neared the pith or point of the joke or story every vestige of seriousness disappeared from his face.
His little gray eyes sparkled; a smile seemed to gather up, curtain like, the corners of his mouth; his frame quivered with suppressed excitement; and when the point — or “nub” of the story, as he called it — came, no one's laugh was heartier than his. These backwoods allegories are out of date now, and any lawyer, ambitious to gain prominence, would hardly dare thus to entertain a crowd, except at the risk of his reputation; but with Lincoln
it gave him, in some mysterious way, a singularly firm hold on the people.
was particularly strong in Menard county
, and while on the circuit there he met with William Engle
and James Murray
, two men who were noted also for their story-telling proclivities.