Seasick Ashore

Seasick Ashore

In the president's office at the White House in Washington, there was the sound of a loud crash. People rushed into the room, and there lay the President, Abraham Lincoln, stretched out full length upon the floor.

"What has happened?" they asked. "Is the President dead?"

"No," said his helpers. "Mr. Lincoln has just fainted."

"But what made him faint?" the people asked.

Then they turned toward a man standing in the room, and someone pointed his finger at him and said, "That man came in here very angry, shaking his fists at Mr. Lincoln, and shouting in a mad voice, You must stop giving an order that we cannot shoot and kill the soldiers who deserted from the Army. You must not protect these cowards. We want to kill them, and you are too kindhearted.'

"The kindhearted President jumped up shaking his fists at the angry man and shouted back, 'If you think that I, of my own free will, will shed another drop of blood of another soldier. . . .'" But President Lincoln never finished that sentence. At that moment he fell with a crash to the floor in a dead faint.

Now the doctors had rushed in and they were leaning down over his stricken body, listening to his heart, and holding his wrist, feeling his pulse.

"This terrible war," the doctors said, "is slowly killing the President. He must be put to bed immediately for a rest, and then he must go away from Washington and from his office in the White House for a complete change."

So, a few days later, President Lincoln went for a cruise on the big boat called The River Queen. It was early springtime, in the month of March. The river was wide and rough. The March wind was blowing hard, kicking up huge waves. The River Queen rocked from side to side and lurched forward and backward like a rocking horse. The President, who was already feeling badly enough, now began to feel seasick.

As the boat arrived at the wharf and the sailors tied the rope to make the boat fast to the dock, General Grant came up the gangĀ­plank to greet the President. He was followed by his staff of Army officers all resplendent in their dark blue uniforms trimmed with gold braid and brass buttons.

President Lincoln put out his long arm and gave all the officers a warm handshake. But they could see that he was really feeling very sick indeed.

"I am not feeling well today," Mr. Lincoln said to one of the officers. "As you can see, it was terribly rough coming down the bay, and I am well shaken up with seasickness."

Just then a young officer came up, who thought he could help President Lincoln to feel better. Out from his pocket he drew a bottle of champagne. He held the bottle up to Mr. Lincoln saying, "Drink this and it will cure you of your seasickness."

Now if this young officer had only remembered what a wise man President Lincoln was, he never would have offered him that strong drink.

Mr. Lincoln frowned as he put his hand on the young officer's shoulder, "No, no, no, my young friend," he replied. "I cannot take your drink. I have seen too many men in my day taken sick from drinking just what you have in that bottle. That strong drink makes them seasick ashore."

President Lincoln knew that it was bad enough to be seasick on the water without being also seasick on the land. He knew how drinking liquor made one's legs all wobbly and twisted up with each other. It made one's head so dizzy a person could not see straight. He sometimes bumped into posts or sometimes fell into the gutter. It made one just as sick as if he were out on a stormy ocean. When men are drunk the solid land looks as though it were rising and falling and twisting like a ship in a tempest at sea.

"No, no, no," said one of America's greatest Presidents. "Don't touch any liquor. It will make you seasick ashore!"

And some day, when all America comes to know how wise President Lincoln was, and follows his example, no one will ever be so silly as to drink liquor and get seasick ashore.

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