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there I lived like an Indian, an Illinois Indian, barefooted allsummer, moccasined during the winter. Like an Indian, Iknew the meaning of silence, the dread of silence and itscomfort. My father taught me to work but he never taught655
VOICESFROMTHEPASTme to love drudgery.Some of those pioneers used to say:“Don’t see all you see; don’t hear all you hear.”That is sound advice. It applies here in Washington. Manyaspects of my life have assumed ridiculous proportionsamong these people. The fact that I was a wrestler affrontssome; that I could plow with oxen annoys others. My humorshocks many. My lizard joke, that I thought very amusing, isnowinbadtaste. If I said: “Spit against the wind and you spit in yourown face” ...well, certain politicians might understand andappreciate that.I see people and more people. My office is often crowded. Iam criticized for the amount of time I devote to the public.656
LINCOLN’SJOURNALMy secretaries try to restrain me.I’ll do the very best I can, the very best I know how. And Imean to keep doing so to the end. If the end brings me out allright what is said against me won’t amount to anything. Ifthe end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was rightwould make no difference.People have asked me how it feels to be president, and Isometimes say, if there is an appropriate moment:You have heard about the man tarred and feathered andridden out of town on a rail? A man in the crowd asked himhow he liked it, and his reply was that if it wasn’t for thehonor of the thing, he would much rather walk.W. H. January 20The other night I had a dream and in that dream Iobserved myself in a huge mirror; my face had two distinctimages, one more or less superimposed on the other, theunderneath face much paler than the upper face. The dreamhas perplexed me; something about it, its shadowinessmaybe, seems part of my wilderness life, the shadowiness ofthose star-roofed nights. Mary was disturbed by my dream.She interpreted it, saying that it meant that I would be re-elected for a second term. The pale image meant I would notfinish that term. As she talked about the dream Iremembered how emphatically I felt that I would neverreturn to Springfield, an emotion that nearly overwhelmedme as I waved from the train.W. H.1864It was only a few years ago that John Quincy Adams was657
VOICESFROMTHEPASTswimming in the Potomac with his son. Adams used to rise atfive, to read the Bible, Commentary, and then read thenewspapers. He was about fifty-seven when he wasPresident. I recall his vivid description of abolitionistLovejoy’s printing press tragedy, in Alton, in ’37, how themob destroyed the man’s press and murdered him, such afate for a truly conscientious man! A martyr to the cause offreedom! Adams recounts preacher Joseph Cartwright’s pleafor money, for $450 to buy the freedom of his own threegrandchildren. What a meaningful exemplification of slavery!