cannot be denied that he must have enjoyed unrestrained pleasure in his surroundings.
It is related that one day the only thing that graced the dinner-table was a dish of roasted potatoes.
The elder Lincoln
, true to the custom of the day, returned thanks for the blessing.
The boy, realizing the scant proportions of the meal, looked up into his father's face and irreverently observed, “Dad, I call these” --meaning the potatoes--“mighty poor blessings.”
Among other children of a similar age he seemed unconsciously to take the lead, and it is no stretch of the truth to say that they, in turn, looked up to him. He may have been a little precociouschildren sometimes are — but in view of the summary treatment received at the hands of his father it cannot truthfully be said he was a “spoiled child.”
One morning when his mother was at work he ran into the cabin from the outside to enquire, with a quizzical grin, “Who was the father of Zebedee's children?”
As many another mother before and since has done, she brushed the mischievous young inquirer aside to attend to some more important detail of household concern.1
The dull routine of chores and household errands in the boy's every-day life was brightened now and then by a visit to the mill.
I often in later years heard Mr. Lincoln
say that going to mill gave him the greatest pleasure of his boyhood days.
“We had to go seven miles to mill,” relates David Turnham
, the friend of his youth, “and then ”