en-fr  The Story of Abraham Lincoln: by James Baldwin, Part 6+7
Le batelier.

Un des amis de Thomas Lincoln possédait un ferry-boat sur la rivière Ohio. Ce n'était rien qu'une petite barque qui ne transportait que trois ou quatre personnes à la fois. Cet homme cherchait quelqu'un pour prendre soin de son bateau et transporter les gens de l'autre côté de la rivière.

Thomas Lincoln avait besoin d'argent, ainsi s'arrangea-t-il avec son ami pour qu'Abraham obtienne ce travail. Le salaire du jeune homme devait être de 2,50 $ par semaine. Mais tout l'argent allait à son père.

Un jour, deux étrangers arrivèrent à l'embarcadère. Ils voulaient embarquer sur un bateau à vapeur qui descendait la rivière. Depuis son ferry, le garçon fit signe au bateau à vapeur qui s'arrêta au milieu du courant. Puis le garçon se rapprocha à la rame, avec les deux passagers qui furent pris à bord.

Au moment où il retournait vers le rivage, les deux étrangers jetèrent chacun un demi-dollar dans son bateau. Il ramassa l'argent et y jeta un œil. Oh, comme il se trouvait riche ! Il n'avait jamais eu autant d'argent à la fois. Et il avait gagné tout ça en quelques minutes de travail.

Quand l'hiver arriva, il y eut moins de gens qui voulaient traverser la rivière. Finalement, le ferry-boat fut mis aux amarres et Abraham Lincoln retourna chez son père.

Il avait désormais dix-neuf ans. Il était très grand, il mesurait presque six pieds et quatre pouces (1,92 m). Il était aussi fort qu'un jeune géant. Il pouvait sauter plus haut et plus loin, et pouvait courir plus vite que n'importe lequel de ses compagnons ; il n'y avait personne nulle part qui pût le mettre sur le dos.

Bien qu'il eût toujours vécu dans une communauté de gens grossiers et brutaux, il n'avait pas de mauvaises habitudes. Il ne fumait pas, ne buvait pas d'alcools forts, et aucun mot profane ne franchissait jamais ses lèvres.

Il était tout le temps facile à vivre et gentil avec tout le monde.

Au cours de cet hiver, M. Gentry, le commerçant du village, avait acheté une grande quantité de maïs et de porc. Il avait l'intention, au printemps, de la charger sur une péniche et de lui faire descendre le fleuve jusqu'à la Nouvelle-Orléans.

À la recherche d'un capitaine pour s'occuper du bateau, il pensa à Abraham Lincoln. Il savait qu'il pouvait faire confiance au jeune homme. Et l'affaire fut vite conclue. Abraham accepta de descendre le bateau jusqu'à la Nouvelle-Orléans et d'y vendre les marchandises, et M. Gentry devrait verser à son père huit dollars et demi par mois en échange de ce travail.

Le voyage commencerait après la débâcle. Le capitaine Lincoln n'avait à ses côtés qu'un homme d'équipage, c'était un des fils de M. Gentry.

Le voyage fut long et fatigant, mais les deux bateliers atteignirent enfin la grande ville du sud. Ils y virent beaucoup de choses étranges dont ils n'avaient jamais entendu parler auparavant. Mais ils vendirent rapidement leur cargaison et leur bateau et retournèrent ensuite chez eux sur un bateau à vapeur.

Pour Abraham Lincoln, le monde était maintenant très différent de ce qu'il lui avait semblé auparavant. Il avait envie de fuir la vie étriquée dans les forêts du comté de Spencer. Il avait envie de faire quelque chose pour lui-même, se faire une fortune et un nom.

Cependant, il se souvenait des enseignements de sa mère quand il s'asseyait sur ses genoux dans la vieille maison du Kentucky : « Agis toujours correctement. » Il se souvenait de ses dernières paroles : « Je sais que tu seras bon avec ton père. »

Il résolut donc de rester avec son père, de travailler pour lui et de lui donner tous ses revenus jusqu'à l'âge de vingt et un ans.

Les premières années dans l'Illinois.

Au début du printemps 1830, Thomas Lincoln vend sa ferme dans l'Indiana et toute la famille part s'installer dans l'Illinois. Tous leurs biens sont placés dans un chariot tiré par un attelage de huit bœufs. L'aimable belle-mère et ses filles prirent aussi place dans le chariot.

Abraham Lincoln, un long fouet à la main, avançait péniblement dans la boue au bord de la route, et guidait les bœufs. Celui qui l'aurait vu se rendant ainsi dans l'Illinois aurait-il pu imaginer qu'il deviendrait un jour le premier citoyen de l'État.

Le voyage fut particulièrement long et pénible, mais après deux semaines ils atteignirent Decatur où ils avaient décidé de construire leur nouvelle maison.

Abraham Lincoln avait alors plus de vingt-et-un ans. Il était prêt à voler de ses propres ailes. Mais il resta encore chez son père ce printemps-là. Il l'aida à clôturer ses terres et à planter le maïs.

Mais son père n'avait pas d'argent à lui offrir. Les vêtements du jeune homme étaient usés jusqu'à la corde, et il ne pouvait s'en procurer d'autres. Que pouvait-il faire ?

À trois milles de la cabane de son père vivait une femme très économe qui s'appelait Nancy Miller. Mme Miller possédait un troupeau de moutons, et dans sa maison un rouet et un métier à tisser fonctionnaient sans arrêt. Et donc vous devez savoir qu'elle tissait beaucoup de coutils et de tissus faits maison.

Abraham Lincoln conclut un marché avec cette femme pour qu'elle lui confectionne un pantalon. Pour chaque mètre de tissu nécessaire à la confection, il s'engageait à lui fendre quatre cents perches de clôture.

Il dut fendre quatre cents perches de clôture en tout, mais il travailla si vite que sa tâche fut achevée avant le pantalon.

Au moins d'avril suivant, le jeune Lincoln descendit avec une nouvelle barge le Mississippi jusqu'à La Nouvelle-Orléans. Cette fois, son compagnon était un parent de sa mère, John Hanks. À cette occasion, il resta plus longtemps à La Nouvelle-Orléans et il y vit des choses qu'il avait à peine remarquées lors de son premier voyage.

Il vit des groupes d'esclaves être menés dans les rues. Il visita le marché aux esclaves et vit des femmes et des filles y être vendues au plus offrant comme n'importe quel bétail.

Le jeune homme, qui était incapable de faire du mal à un être vivant, fut scandalisé par cette vision. Son cœur saignait, il en fut malade, habité de sombres pensées, triste, déprimé.

Il déclara à John Hanks : — Si jamais j'ai l'occasion de m'attaquer à cette institution, je frapperai fort, John.

Il revint de la Nouvelle-Orléans en juillet. M. Offut, le propriétaire du bateau à aubes qu'il avait convoyé, l'employa alors en qualité de commis dans une épicerie qu'il possédait à New Salem.

New Salem était une petite ville pas très éloignée de Springfield.

Le jeune Lincoln était un bon vendeur et tous les clients l'aimaient bien. M. Offutt déclara que le jeune homme en savait plus que quiconque aux États-Unis, et qu'il pouvait surpasser et affronter n'importe quel homme du comté.

Mais au printemps de l'année suivante M. Offut fit faillite. Le magasin fut fermé et Abraham Lincoln se retrouva de nouveau sans emploi.
unit 1
The Boatman.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 2
One of Thomas Lincoln's friends owned a ferry-boat on the Ohio River.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 3
It was nothing but a small rowboat, and would carry only three or four people at a time.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 4
This man wanted to employ some one to take care of his boat and to ferry people across the river.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 5
Thomas Lincoln was in need of money; and so he arranged with his friend for Abraham to do this work.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 6
The wages of the young man were to be $2.50 a week.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 7
But all the money was to be his father's.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 8
One day two strangers came to the landing.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 9
They wanted to take passage on a steamboat that was coming down the river.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 10
The ferry-boy signalled to the steamboat and it stopped in midstream.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 11
Then the boy rowed out with the two passengers, and they were taken on board.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 12
unit 13
He picked the silver up and looked at it.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 14
Ah, how rich he felt!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 15
He had never had so much money at one time.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 16
And he had gotten all for a few minutes' labor!
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 17
When winter came on, there were fewer people who wanted to cross the river.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 18
So, at last, the ferry-boat was tied up, and Abraham Lincoln went back to his father's home.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 19
He was now nineteen years old.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 20
He was very tall—nearly six feet four inches in height.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 21
He was as strong as a young giant.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 23
Although he had always lived in a community of rude, rough people, he had no bad habits.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 24
He used no tobacco; he did not drink strong liquor; no profane word ever passed his lips.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 25
He was good-natured at all times, and kind to every one.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 26
unit 27
He intended, in the spring, to load this on a flatboat and send it down the river to New Orleans.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 28
In looking about for a captain to take charge of the boat, he happened to think of Abraham Lincoln.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 29
He knew that he could trust the young man.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 30
And so a bargain was soon made.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 32
As soon as the ice had well melted from the river, the voyage was begun.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 33
Besides Captain Lincoln there was only one man in the crew, and that was a son of Mr. Gentry's.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 34
The voyage was a long and weary one, but at last the two boatmen reached the great southern city.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 35
Here they saw many strange things of which they had never heard before.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 36
But they soon sold their cargo and boat, and then returned home on a steamboat.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 37
To Abraham Lincoln the world was now very different from what it had seemed before.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 38
He longed to be away from the narrow life in the woods of Spencer county.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 39
He longed to be doing something for himself—to be making for himself a fortune and a name.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 41
He remembered her last words, "I know you will be kind to your father."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 43
The First Years in Illinois.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 45
The household goods were put in a wagon drawn by four yoke of oxen.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 46
The kind step-mother and her daughters rode also in the wagon.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 50
Abraham Lincoln was now over twenty-one years old.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 51
He was his own man.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 52
But he stayed with his father that spring.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 53
He helped him fence his land; he helped him plant his corn.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 54
But his father had no money to give him.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 55
The young man's clothing was all worn out, and he had nothing with which to buy any more.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 56
What should he do?
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 57
Three miles from his father's cabin there lived a thrifty woman, whose name was Nancy Miller.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 59
And so you must know that she wove a great deal of jeans and home-made cloth.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 60
Abraham Lincoln bargained with this woman to make him a pair of trousers.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 61
He agreed that for each yard of cloth required, he would split for her four hundred rails.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 63
The next April saw young Lincoln piloting another flatboat down the Mississippi to New Orleans.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 64
His companion this time was his mother's relative, John Hanks.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 66
He saw gangs of slaves being driven through the streets.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 67
He visited the slave-market, and saw women and girls sold to the highest bidder like so many cattle.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 68
The young man, who would not be unkind to any living being, was shocked by these sights.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 69
"His heart bled; he was mad, thoughtful, sad, and depressed."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 70
He said to John Hanks, "If I ever get a chance to hit that institution, I'll hit it hard, John."
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 71
He came back from New Orleans in July.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 73
New Salem was a little town not far from Springfield.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 74
Young Lincoln was a good salesman, and all the customers liked him.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 76
But in the spring of the next year Mr. Offut failed.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
unit 77
The store was closed, and Abraham Lincoln was out of employment again.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 7 months, 2 weeks ago
francevw • 14015  commented on  unit 61  7 months, 2 weeks ago

The Boatman.

One of Thomas Lincoln's friends owned a ferry-boat on the Ohio River. It was nothing but a small rowboat, and would carry only three or four people at a time. This man wanted to employ some one to take care of his boat and to ferry people across the river.

Thomas Lincoln was in need of money; and so he arranged with his friend for Abraham to do this work. The wages of the young man were to be $2.50 a week. But all the money was to be his father's.

One day two strangers came to the landing. They wanted to take passage on a steamboat that was coming down the river. The ferry-boy signalled to the steamboat and it stopped in midstream. Then the boy rowed out with the two passengers, and they were taken on board.

Just as he was turning towards the shore again, each of the strangers tossed a half-dollar into his boat. He picked the silver up and looked at it. Ah, how rich he felt! He had never had so much money at one time. And he had gotten all for a few minutes' labor!

When winter came on, there were fewer people who wanted to cross the river. So, at last, the ferry-boat was tied up, and Abraham Lincoln went back to his father's home.

He was now nineteen years old. He was very tall—nearly six feet four inches in height. He was as strong as a young giant. He could jump higher and farther, and he could run faster, than any of his fellows; and there was no one, far or near, who could lay him on his back.

Although he had always lived in a community of rude, rough people, he had no bad habits. He used no tobacco; he did not drink strong liquor; no profane word ever passed his lips.

He was good-natured at all times, and kind to every one.

During that winter, Mr. Gentry, the storekeeper in the village, had bought a good deal of corn and pork. He intended, in the spring, to load this on a flatboat and send it down the river to New Orleans.

In looking about for a captain to take charge of the boat, he happened to think of Abraham Lincoln. He knew that he could trust the young man. And so a bargain was soon made. Abraham agreed to pilot the boat to New Orleans and to market the produce there; and Mr. Gentry was to pay his father eight dollars and a half a month for his services.

As soon as the ice had well melted from the river, the voyage was begun. Besides Captain Lincoln there was only one man in the crew, and that was a son of Mr. Gentry's.

The voyage was a long and weary one, but at last the two boatmen reached the great southern city. Here they saw many strange things of which they had never heard before. But they soon sold their cargo and boat, and then returned home on a steamboat.

To Abraham Lincoln the world was now very different from what it had seemed before. He longed to be away from the narrow life in the woods of Spencer county. He longed to be doing something for himself—to be making for himself a fortune and a name.

But then he remembered his mother's teachings when he sat on her knee in the old Kentucky home, "Always do right." He remembered her last words, "I know you will be kind to your father."

And so he resolved to stay with his father, to work for him, and to give him all his earnings until he was twenty-one years old.

The First Years in Illinois.

Early in the spring of 1830, Thomas Lincoln sold his farm in Indiana, and the whole family moved to Illinois. The household goods were put in a wagon drawn by four yoke of oxen. The kind step-mother and her daughters rode also in the wagon.

Abraham Lincoln, with a long whip in his hand, trudged through the mud by the side of the road and guided the oxen. Who that saw him thus going into Illinois would have dreamed that he would in time become that state's greatest citizen?

The journey was a long and hard one; but in two weeks they reached Decatur, where they had decided to make their new home.

Abraham Lincoln was now over twenty-one years old. He was his own man. But he stayed with his father that spring. He helped him fence his land; he helped him plant his corn.

But his father had no money to give him. The young man's clothing was all worn out, and he had nothing with which to buy any more. What should he do?

Three miles from his father's cabin there lived a thrifty woman, whose name was Nancy Miller. Mrs. Miller owned a flock of sheep, and in her house there were a spinning-wheel and a loom that were always busy. And so you must know that she wove a great deal of jeans and home-made cloth.

Abraham Lincoln bargained with this woman to make him a pair of trousers. He agreed that for each yard of cloth required, he would split for her four hundred rails.

He had to split fourteen hundred rails in all; but he worked so fast that he had finished them before the trousers were ready.

The next April saw young Lincoln piloting another flatboat down the Mississippi to New Orleans. His companion this time was his mother's relative, John Hanks. This time he stayed longer in New Orleans, and he saw some things which he had barely noticed on his first trip.

He saw gangs of slaves being driven through the streets. He visited the slave-market, and saw women and girls sold to the highest bidder like so many cattle.

The young man, who would not be unkind to any living being, was shocked by these sights. "His heart bled; he was mad, thoughtful, sad, and depressed."

He said to John Hanks, "If I ever get a chance to hit that institution, I'll hit it hard, John."

He came back from New Orleans in July. Mr. Offut, the owner of the flatboat which he had taken down, then employed him to act as clerk in a country store which he had at New Salem.

New Salem was a little town not far from Springfield.

Young Lincoln was a good salesman, and all the customers liked him. Mr. Offut declared that the young man knew more than anyone else in the United States, and that he could outrun and outwrestle any man in the county.

But in the spring of the next year Mr. Offut failed. The store was closed, and Abraham Lincoln was out of employment again.