not to evade the claim from which in a few weary months he would be finally released.
Meanwhile occurred his first opportunity to see the world.
In March, 1828, James Gentry
, for whom he had been at work, had fitted out a boat with a stock of grain and meat for a trading expedition to New Orleans, and placed his son Allen
in charge of the cargo for the voyage.
Abe's desire to make a river trip was at last satisfied, and he accompanied the proprietor's son, serving as “bow hand.”
His pay was eight dollars a month and board.
In due course of time the navigators returned from their expedition with the evidence of profitable results to gladden the heart of the owner.
The only occurrence of interest they could relate of the voyage was the encounter with a party of marauding negroes at the plantation of Madame Duchesne
, a few miles below Baton Rouge
Abe and Gentry
, having tied up for the night, were fast asleep on their boat when aroused by the arrival of a crowd of negroes bent on plunder.
They set to work with clubs, and not only drove off the intruders, but pursued them inland, then hastily returning to their quarters they cut loose their craft and floated down-stream till daylight.
Before passing on further it may not be amiss to glance for a moment at the social side of life as it existed in Gentryville
in Abe's day. “We thought nothing,” said an old lady whom I interviewed when in Indiana
, “of going eight or ten miles to church.
The ladies did not stop for the want of a shawl, cloak, or riding-dress in winter time, but ”