hills to New Salem.
In the meantime Offut
's long expected goods had arrived, and Lincoln
was placed in charge.
Offut relied in no slight degree on the business capacity of his clerk.
In his effusive way he praised him beyond reason.
He boasted of his skill as a business man and his wonderful intellectual acquirements.
As for physical strength and fearlessness of danger, he challenged New Salem and the entire world to produce his equal.
In keeping with his widely known spirit of enterprise Offut rented the Rutledge and Cameron mill
, which stood at the foot of the hill, and thus added another iron to keep company with the half-dozen already in the fire.
As a further test of his business ability Lincoln
was placed in charge of this also.
William G. Greene
was hired to assist him, and between the two a life-long friendship sprang up. They slept in the store, and so strong was the intimacy between them that “when one turned over the other had to do likewise.”
At the head of these varied enterprises was Offut, the most progressive man by all odds in the village.
He was certainly an odd character, if we accept the judgment of his contemporaries.
By some he is given the character of a clear-headed, brisk man of affairs.
By others he is variously described as “wild, noisy, and reckless,” or “windy, rattle-brained, unsteady, and Improvident.”
Despite the unenviable traits ascribed to him he was good at heart and a generous friend of Lincoln
His boast that the latter could outrun, whip, or throw down any man in Sangamon county
was soon tested, as we shall presently see,