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[229] 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,

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