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[189] Noah Rickard, Evan Butler, Milton Hay, and Newton Francis were members. I joined also. Matheney was secretary. We were favored with all sorts of literary productions. Lincoln himself entertained us with a few lines of rhyme intended to illustrate some weakness in woman — her frailty, perhaps. Matheney was able several years ago to repeat the one stanza which follows, and that was all he could recall — perhaps it was best he could remember no more:

Whatever spiteful fools may say,
Each Jealous, ranting yelper,
No woman ever went astray
Without a man to help her.1

Besides this organization we had a society in Springfield,, which contained and commanded all

1 Near Hoffman's Row, where the courts were held in 1839-40, lived a shoemaker who frequently would get drunk and invariably whipped his wife. Lincoln, hearing of this, told the man if he ever repeated it he would thrash him soundly himself. Meanwhile he told Evan Butler, Noah Rickard, and myself of it, and we decided if the offense occurred again to join with Lincoln In suppressing it. In due course of time we heard of it. We dragged the offender up to the courthouse, stripped him of his shirt, and tied him to a post or pump which stood over the well in the yard back of the building. Then we sent for his wife and arming her with a good limb bade her “light in.” We sat on our haunches and watched the performance. The wife did her work lustily and well. When we thought the culprit had had enough Lincoln released him; we helped him on with his shirt and he crept sorrowfully homeward. Of course he threatened vengeance, but still we heard no further reports of wife-whipping from him. -James H. Matheney.

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