before the close of his seventeenth year, thus reaching the limit of his stature.
He weighed in the region of a hundred and sixty pounds; was wiry, vigorous, and strong.
His feet and hands were large, arms and legs long and in striking contrast with his slender trunk and small head.
“His skin was shrivelled and yellow,” declares one of the girls1
who attended Crawford
“His shoes, when he had any, were low. He wore buckskin breeches, linsey-woolsey shirt, and a cap made of the skin of a squirrel or coon.”
His breeches were baggy and lacked by several inches meeting the tops of his shoes, thereby exposing his shinbone, “sharp, blue, and narrow.”
In one branch of school learning he was a great success; that was spelling.
We are indebted to Kate Roby
, a pretty miss of fifteen, for an indicent which illustrates alike his proficiency in orthography and his natural inclination to help another out of the mire.
The word “defied” had been given out by Schoolmaster Crawford
, but had been misspelled several times when it came Miss Roby
“Abe stood on the opposite side of the room” (related Miss Roby2
to me in 1865) “and was watching me. I began d-e-f — and then I stopped, hesitating whether to proceed with an ‘i’ or a ‘y’ . Looking up I beheld Abe, a grin covering his face, and pointing with his index finger to his eye. I took the hint, spelled the word with an ‘i,’ and it went through all right.”