By James Russell Lowell

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It was common practice in an era when private quarters were a rare luxury, when males regularly slept in the same bed as children and continued to do so in academies, boarding houses, and overcrowded hotels. The room above Speed’s store functioned as a sort of dormitory, with two other men living there part of the time in addition to Lincoln and Speed. The attorneys of the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Illinois, where Lincoln would travel, regularly shared beds—with the exception of Judge David Davis, whose immense girth left no room for a companion.

After we had purchased our pickup camper, we took major trips that coincided with both the school and farming schedules that dominated our lives. Usually they were planned for the summer months, during late July and early August, when the planting, fertilizing, and herbicide applications were done and before the harvesting season began, but this year we had a rare holiday break, with Christmas and New Year’s Day both falling on a Wednesday, which made our break a little longer. My mother, a schoolteacher, suggested, “What a great time to go south!

Basler, 9 vols. : Rutgers University Press, 1953–55), 1:269. Hereafter CWL. 3. Tracy to Seward, February 7, 1831, reel 118, Seward Papers, The Papers of William H. : Research Publications, 1983). 4. Seward to Tracy, February 11, 1831, Albert Tracy Papers, New York State Library, Albany. 5. Stanton to Chase, November 30, 1846, reel 6, Chase Papers, The Salmon P. , ed. : University Publications of America, 1987). 6. , December 2, 1847. 7. “Speech at Peoria, Illinois,” October 6, 1854, in CWL, 2: 248–75.

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