From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
To get the people to quiet down before any one of the 1858 debates with the famous Senator Stephen Douglas itself would start, Lincoln would tell one of his by-now famous jokes. As the joke wore on, a circle of attentive silence would radiate outwards from the speakers’ platform like a pebble dropped into a still pond of water - until the punch line was reached. Then everyone who had heard the whole joke would burst into laughter, and the ones out on the fringe would be encouraged to remain attentive because Lincoln just might tell another joke! [In the process, by the way, Abraham Lincoln would have won the debate before it had even started, isn’t that right?]
'The most trifling actions of a man give a nice observer some notion of his mind.'
- Benjamin Franklin