watching the flies upon the ceiling.
This combination of bodily repose with intense mental and spiritual activity is familiar to those who have studied the biography of some of the great mystics.
pointed it out in the case of Wordsworth
In recalling the poverty and restriction of Lincoln
's boyhood and his infrequent contact with schoolhouses, it is well to remember that he managed nevertheless to read every book within twenty miles of him. These were not many, it is true, but they included The Bible, Esop's Fables, Pilgrim's progress, Robinson Crusoe
, and, a little later, Burns
Better food than this for the mind of a boy has never been found.
Then he came to the history of his own country since the Declaration of Independence
and mastered it. “I am tolerably well acquainted with the history of the country,” he remarked in his Chicago
speech of 1858; and in the Cooper Union speech of 1860 he exhibited a familiarity with the theory and history of the Constitution
which amazed the young lawyers who prepared an annotated edition of the address.
“He has wit, facts, dates,” said Douglas
, in extenuation of his own disinclination to enter upon the famous joint debates, and, when Douglas