could if necessary use them with deadly accuracy.
He framed the “Freeport
dilemma” for the unwary feet of Douglas
as cunningly as a fox-hunter lays his trap.
“Gentlemen,” he had said of an earlier effort, “Judge Douglas
informed you that this speech of mine was probably carefully prepared.
I admit that it was
The story, too, was a weapon of attack and defense for this master fabulist.
Sometimes it was a readier mode of argument than any syllogism; sometimes it gave him, like the traditional diplomatist's pinch of snuff, an excuse for pausing while he studied his adversary or made up his own mind; sometimes, with the instinct of a poetic soul, he invented a parable and gravely gave it a historic setting “over in Sangamon County
For although upon his intellectual side the man was a subtle and severe logician, on his emotional side he was a lover of the concrete and human.
He was always, like John Bunyan
, dreaming and seeing “a man” who symbolized something apposite to the occasion.
Thus even his invented stories aided his marvelous capacity for statement, for specific illustration of a general law. Lincoln
's destiny was to be that of an explainer, at first to a local audience in store or tavern or courtroom,