CROSSING THE RIVER
“After a time, General Creswell told his story, read his affidavit, and said, I know the man has acted like a fool, but he is my friend, and a good fellow; let him out, give him to me, and I will be responsible that he won’t have anything more to do with the rebs.”
“Creswell,” said Mr. Lincoln, “you make me think of a lot of young folks who once started out Maying.” To reach their destination, they had to cross a shallow stream, and did so by means of an old flatboat. When the time came to return, they found to their dismay that the old scow had disappeared. They were in sore trouble, and thought over all manner of devices for getting over the water, but without avail. After a time, one of the boys proposed that each fellow should pick up the girl he liked best and wade over with her. The masterly proposition was carried out, until all that were left upon the island was a little short chap and a great, long, gothic-built, elderly lady. Now, Creswell, you are trying to leave me in the same predicament. You fellows are all getting your own friends out of this scrape; and you will succeed in carrying off one after another, until nobody but Jeff Davis and myself will be left on the island, and then I won’t know what to do. How should I feel? How should I look, lugging him over? I guess the way to avoid such an embarrassing situation is to let them all out at once.
Ward Hill Lamon, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, p. 247-248.