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[46] of his neighbors,1

was when I was a small boy and had gone with my father to attend some kind of an election. One of our neighbors, James Larkins, was there. Larkins was a great hand to brag on anything he owned. This time it was his horse. He stepped up before Abe, who was in the crowd, and commenced talking to him, boasting all the while of his animal.

“I have got the best horse in the country” he shouted to his young listener. “I ran him three miles in exactly nine minutes, and he never fetched a long breath.”

“I presume,” said Abe, rather dryly, “he fetched a good many short ones though.”

With all his peaceful propensities Abe was not averse to a contest of strength, either for sport or in settlement — as in one memorable case — of grievances. Personal encounters were of frequent occurrence in Gentryville in those days, and the prestige of having thrashed an opponent gave the victor marked social distinction. Green B. Taylor, with whom Abe worked the greater part of one winter on a farm, furnished me with an account of the noted fight between John Johnston, Abe's stepbrother, and William Grigsby, in which stirring drama Abe himself played an important role before the curtain was rung down. Taylor's father was the second for Johnston, and William Whitten officiated in a similar capacity for Grigsby. “They had a terrible fight,” relates Taylor, “and it soon became ”

1 John W. Lamar, Ms. letter, June 29, 1866.

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