the only thing he knew to her discredit was the fact that she was Major Hill
At this time in its brief history New Salem was what in the parlance of large cities would be called a fast place; and it was difficult for a young man of ordinary moral courage to resist the temptations that beset him on every hand.
It remains a matter of surprise that Lincoln
was able to retain his popularity with the hosts of young men of his own age, and still not join them in their drinking bouts and carousals.
“I am certain,” contends one of his companions, “that he never drank any intoxicating liquors — he did not even in those days smoke or chew tobacco.”
In sports requiring either muscle or skill he took no little interest.
He indulged in all the games of the day, even to a horse-race or cock-fight.
At one eventful chicken fight, where a fee of twenty-five cents for the entrance of each fowl was assessed, one Bap. McNabb brought a little red rooster, whose fighting qualities had been well advertised for days in advance by his owner.
Much interest was naturally taken in the contest.
As the outcome of these contests was generally a quarrel, in which each man, charging foul play, seized his victim, they chose Lincoln
umpire, relying not only on his fairness but his ability to enforce his decisions.
In relating what followed I cannot improve on the description furnished me in February, 1865, by one1
who was present.
“They formed a ring, and the time having arrived, ”