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The following anecdote of the late President Lincoln has never been published, I think, and unlike, perhaps, some of the stories attributed to him, is an actual fact, for I have it from one who
was present at the time and sat next the hero.
During Mr. Lincoln’s practice of his profession
of the law, long before he was thought of for President,
he was attending the Circuit Court which
met at Bloomington, Illinois. The Prosecuting Attorney,
a lawyer by the name of Lamon, was a man
of great physical strength, and took particular pleasure
in athletic sports, and was so fond of wrestling
that his power and experience rendered him a formidable
and generally successful opponent. One
pleasant day in the fall Lamon was wrestling near
the court-house with some one who had challenged
him to a trial, and in the scuffle made a large rent
in the rear of his unmentionables. Before he had
time to make any change he was called into court
to take up a case. The evidence was finished, and
Lamon got up to address the jury, and having on a
somewhat short coat his misfortune was rather apparent.
One of the lawyers, for a joke, started a
subscription paper, which was passed from one member
of the bar to another as they sat by a long table
fronting the bench, to buy a pair of pantaloons for
Lamon, “he being,” the paper said, “a poor but
worthy young man.” Several put down their names
with some ludicrous subscription, and finally the
paper was laid by some one in front of Mr. Lincoln,
on a plea that he was engaged in writing at the
time. He quietly glanced over the paper, and immediately
took up his pen and wrote after his name, “I can contribute nothing to the end in view.”
–George William Curtis, The Editor’s Drawer, Harper’s Magazine, March 1866.
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Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”