A-Rafting on the Mississip'

By Charles Edward Russell | Go to book overview

Chapter IV
THE LUMBERJACK

BUT to return to the logging camps. The work was hard, the management stupid, and its ways beyond knowledge. In general, the governing idea seems to have been mechanical. To arise at a specified time, whether work was to be done or not; to load in food as one would fire a boiler, and at night to herd bedward as one would turn off the steam—this seemed to be all the philosophy there was in the enterprise. At each camp was what was called a “chore-boy,” usually about sixty years old, whose first duty was to wake everybody up in the morning. This he did with a cow-bell; also with a piercing voice, liberally applied. In the dead of winter the choppers, so urged forth, would reach the woods before there was light enough to work. Then they would light a fire and sit on a log until the day should dawn.

The morals of the neighboring towns declining with the morals of the woods, when the men were paid off now the most of them trooped down to the settlement and spent their wages for forty-rod whisky and in the dance halls, with which every lumbering town was oversupplied. A few hours in such a place were usually enough to make the average man a lifelong prohibitionist.

I have called the resorts dance halls, which is euphu-

-60-

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