“I heard a story last night about Daniel Webster when a lad, which was new to me, and it has been running in my head all the morning. When quite young, at school, Daniel was one day guilty of a gross violation of the rules. He was detected in the act, and called up by the teacher for punishment. This was to be the old-fashioned “feruling” of the hand. His hands happened to be very dirty. Knowing this, on his way to the teacher’s desk he spit upon the palm of his right hand, wiping it off upon the side of his pantaloons. “Give me your hand, sir,” said the teacher, very sternly. Out went the right hand, partly cleansed. The teacher looked at it a moment, and said, “Daniel, if you will find another hand in this school-room as filthy at that, will left you off this time!” Instantly from behind his back came the left hand. “Here it is sir,” was the ready reply. “This will do,” said the teacher, “for this time; you can take your seat, sir!”
Francis Carpenter, Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln, p. 130-132.