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Along Lake Superior
by [?]

Many will meet us in the depths of the forest and go away thinking that we are just common plugs of whom the world wots not; but there is where they will fool themselves.

Then, when the season is over, we will come back into the great maelstrom of life, he to wait for his grandmother’s overshoes and I to thrill waiting millions from the rostrum with my “Tale of the Broncho Cow.” And so it goes with us all. Adown life’s rugged pathway some must toil on from daylight to dark to earn their meagre pittance as kings, while others are born to wear a swallow-tail coat every evening and wring tears of genuine anguish from their audiences.

They tell some rather wide stories about people who have gone up there total physical wrecks and returned strong and well. One man said that he knew a young college student, who was all run down and weak, go up there on the Brule and eat trout and fight mosquitoes a few months, and when he returned to his Boston home he was so stout and well and tanned up that his parents did not know him. There was a man in our car who weighed 300 pounds. He seemed to be boiling out through his clothes everywhere. He was the happiest looking man I ever saw. All he seemed to do in this life was to sit all day and whistle and laugh and trot his stomach, first on one knee and then on the other.

He said that he went up into the pine forests of the Great Lake region a broken-down hypochondriac and confirmed consumptive. He had been measured for a funeral sermon three times, he said, and had never used either of them. He knew a clergyman named Brayley who went up into that region with Bright’s justly celebrated disease. He was so emaciated that he couldn’t carry a watch. The ticking of the watch rattled his bones so that it made him nervous, and at night they had to pack him in cotton so that he wouldn’t break a leg when he turned over. He got to sleeping out nights on a bed of balsam and spruce boughs and eating venison and trout.

When he came down in the spring, he passed through a car of lumbermen and one of them put a warm, wet quid of tobacco in his plug hat for a joke. There were a hundred of these lumbermen when the preacher began, and when the train got into Eau Claire there were only three of them well enough to go around to the office and draw their pay.

This is just as the story was given to me and I repeat it to show how bracing the climate near Superior is. Remember, if you please, that I do not want the story to be repeated as coming from me, for I have nothing left now but my reputation for veracity, and that has had a very hard winter of it.