“Having no office of his own, Mr. Lincoln, when not engaged in court, spent a good deal of his time in the clerk's office. Very often he could be seen there surrounded by a group of lawyers and such persons as are usually found about a courthouse, some standing, other seated on chairs or tables, listening intently to one of his characteristic and inimitable stories. His eyes would spark with fun, and when he had reached the point in his narrative which invariably evoked the laughter of the crowd, nobody's enjoyment was greater than his.

An hour later he might be seen in the same place or in some law office near by, but, alas, how different! His chair, no longer in the center of the room, would be leaning back against the wall; his feet drawn up and resting on the front rounds so that his knees and chair were about on a level; his hat tipped forward as if to shield his face; his eyes no longer sparkling with fun or merriment, but sad and downcast and his hands clasped around his knees.

There, drawn up within himself as it were, he would sit, the very picture of dejection and gloom. Thus absorbed have I seen him sit for hours at a time defying the interruption of even his closest friends. No one ever thought of breaking the spell by speech; for by his moody silence no one dared to break through.”

-- Jonathan Birch
Law Student in Bloomington, IL
Outlook of New York