, Onstatt, and Alley
“It vas a small log house,” he explained to me in later years, “covered with clapboards, and contained four rooms.”
It was second only in importance to the store, for there he had the opportunity of meeting passing strangers — lawyers and others from the county seat, whom he frequently impressed with his knowledge as well as wit. He had, doubtless, long before determined to prepare himself for the law; in fact, had begun to read Blackstone
while in the store, and now went at it with renewed zeal.
He borrowed law-books of his former comrade in the Black Hawk
war, John T. Stuart
, who was practicing law in Springfield
, frequently walking there to return one and borrow another.
His determination to master any subject he undertook and his application to study were of the most intense order.
On the road to and from Springfield
he would read and recite from the book he carried open in his hand, and claimed to have mastered forty pages of Blackstone
during the first day after his return from Stuart
At New Salem he frequently sat barefooted under the shade of a tree near the store, poring over a volume of Chitty
, sometimes lying on his back, putting his feet up the tree, which provokes one of his biographers to denote the latter posture as one which might have been “unfavorable to mental application, in the case of a man with shorter extremities.”
's attempt to make a lawyer of himself under such adverse and unpromising circumstances excited comment is not to be wondered at. Russell