had no sting in the end, that is, if it exposed no weakness or pointed no moral, he had no use for it either in conversation or public speech; but if it had the necessary ingredients of mirth and moral no one could use it with more telling effect.
As a mimic he was unequalled, and with his characteristic gestures, he built up a reputation for story-telling — although fully as many of his narratives were borrowed as original — which followed him through life.
One who listened to his early stories in New Salem says: “His laugh was striking.
Such awkward gestures belonged to no other man. They attracted universal attention, from the old sedate down to the schoolboy.
Then in a few moments he was as calm and thoughtful as a judge on the bench, and as ready to give advice on the most important matters; fun and gravity grew on him alike.”
's lack of musical adaptation has deprived us of many a song.
For a ballad or doggerel he sometimes had quite a liking.
He could memorize or recite the lines but some one else had to do the singing.
Listen to one in which he shows “How St. Patrick Came to be Born on the 17th of March.
” Who composed it or where Lincoln
obtained it I have never been able to learn.
says he often inflicted it on the crowds who collected in his store of winter evenings.
Here it is:
The first factional fight in old Ireland, they say,
Was all on account of Saint Patrick's birthday,
It was somewhere about midnight without any doubt,
And certain it is, it made a great rout.