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A Man for the Ages A Story of the Builders of Democracy   By: (1859-1950)

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A MAN FOR THE AGES

By IRVING BACHELLER

A STORY OF THE BUILDERS OF DEMOCRACY

AUTHOR OF THE LIGHT IN THE CLEARING, KEEPING UP WITH LIZZIE, ETC.

1919

TO MY DEAR FRIEND AND COMRADE ALEXANDER GROSSET

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK IN TOKEN OF MY ESTEEM

Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. March 21, 1864.

A Letter

TO THE AGED AND HONORABLE JOSIAH TRAYLOR FROM HIS GRANDSON, A SOLDIER IN FRANCE, WHEREIN THE MOTIVE AND INSPIRATION OF THIS NARRATIVE ARE BRIEFLY PRESENTED.

In France, September 10, 1915.

Dear Grandfather:

At last I have got mine. I had been scampering towards the stars, like a jack rabbit chased by barking greyhounds, when a shrapnel shell caught up with me. It sneezed all over my poor bus, and threw some junk into me as if it thought me nothing better than a kind of waste basket. Seems as if it had got tired of carrying its load and wanted to put it on me. It succeeded famously but I got home with the bus. Since then they have been taking sinkers and fish hooks out me fit only for deep water. Don't worry, I'm getting better fast. I shall play no more football and you will not see me pitching curves and running bases again. No, I shall sit in the grandstand myself hereafter and there will not be so much of me but I shall have quite a shuck on my soul for all that. I've done a lot of thinking since I have been lying on my back with nothing else to do. When your body gets kind of turned over in the ditch it's wonderful how your mind begins to hustle around the place. Until this thing happened my intellect was nothing more than a vague rumor. I had heard of it, now and then, in college, and I had hoped that it would look me up some time and ask what it could do for me, but it didn't. These days I would scarcely believe that I have a body, the poor thing being upon the jacks in this big machine shop, but my small intellect is hopping all over the earth and back again and watching every move of these high toned mechanics with their shiny tools and white aprons. My mind and I have kind of got acquainted with each other and I'm getting attached to it. It is quite an energetic, promising young mind and I don't know but I'll try to make a permanent place for it in my business.

I've been thinking of our Democracy and of my coming over here to be chucked into this big jack pot as if my life were a small coin; of all the dear old days of the past I have thought and chiefly how the wonderful story of your life has been woven into mine threads of wisdom and adventure and humor and romance. I like to unravel it and look at the colors. Lincoln is the strongest, longest thread in the fabric. Often I think of your description of the great, tender hands that lifted you to his shoulder when you were a boy, of the droll and kindly things that he said to you. I have laughed and cried recalling those hours of yours with Jack Kelso and Dr. John Allen and the rude young giant Abe, of which I have heard you tell so often as we sat in the firelight of a winter evening. Best of all I remember the light of your own wisdom as it glowed upon the story; how you found in Lincoln's words a prophecy of the great struggle that has come. Since I have been steering my imagination on its swift, long flights into the past I have been able to recall the very words you used: "Lincoln said that a house divided against itself must fall that our nation could not endure part slave and part free, and it was true. Since then the world has grown incredibly small. The peoples of the earth have been drawn into one house and the affairs of each are the concern of all... Continue reading book >>




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