ON APRIL 15, 1837, at the age of twenty-eight, Lincoln arrived in Springfield to try his “experiment as a lawyer.” Unable to afford a bed and bedding, he quickly accepted an offer from Joshua Speed to share a room and bed above Speed's store. Taking his saddlebags to the room, Lincoln soon returned and announced, “Well, Speed, I am moved!” Speed, who was four years younger than Lincoln, also came from Kentucky; in the four years they lived together, he became the only truly intimate friend Lincoln ever had.
Springfield was basically a frontier community where hogs still ran in the streets, but with 2000 inhabitants it was still a good sight larger and more cultivated than New Salem, and the rustic Lincoln felt badly out of place. “I am quite as lonesome here as [I] ever was anywhere in my life,” he wrote a few weeks after his arrival. He soon found a circle of friends among young, upwardly mobile professional men in town, who regularly gathered at Speed's store in the evening to discuss politics and other matters. Lincoln was at ease in this male fraternity, regaling its members with his stories, but he remained woefully uncertain around women. “I have been spoken to by but one woman since I've been here,” he reported, “and should not have been by her, if she could have avoided it.”
WHEN HE RELOCATED to the new capital, a local paper announced that Lincoln would practice law with John T. Stuart. Stuart was a successful attorney with a large practice, but he devoted most of his time to politics and hence left much of the office work to the junior partner. While Lincoln's legal knowledge did not run deep, the practice of law in