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Abe Lincoln Gets His Chance
written by "Hutchison, Paula A."
...a barrel of odds and ends that he wanted to sell. Abe, always glad to oblige, agreed to pay fifty cents for it. Later, when he opened it, he had a wonderful surprise. The barrel contained a set of famous law books. He had seen those same books in Mr. Pitcher's law office in Rockport. Now that he owned a set of his own, he could read it any time he wished. Customers coming into the store usually found Abe lying on the counter, his nose buried in one of the new books. The more he read, the more interested he became. [Pg 80]Perhaps he spent too much time reading, instead of attending to business. William Berry was lazy, and not a very satisfactory partner. The store of Lincoln and Berry did so little business that it had to close. The partners were left with many debts to pay. Then Berry died, and "Honest Abe" announced that he would pay all of the debts himself, no matter how long it took. For a while he was postmaster. A man on horseback brought the mail twice a week, and there were so few letters that Abe often carried them around in his hat until he could deliver them. He liked the job because it gave him a chance to read the newspapers to which the people in New Salem subscribed. But the pay was small, and he had to do all sorts of odd Jobs to earn enough to eat. On many days he would have gone hungry if Jack Armstrong and his wife, Hannah, had not invited him to dinner. When work was scarce he stayed with them two or three weeks at a time. He knew that he had to find a way to earn more money, and he decided to study surveying. It was a hard subject, but he borrowed some books and read them carefully. He studied so hard that in six weeks' time he took his first job as a surveyor. Sometimes when he was measuring a farm or laying out a new road, he would be gone for several weeks. People miles from New Salem knew who Abe Lincoln was. They laughed at him because he was so tall and awkward. They thought it funny that his trousers...

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