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It lies behind the mountain blue; And yet, to reach it, one must still Five long and weary leagues pursue, And, to return, as many more! Ah, had the vintage plenteous grown!
So crooned one day, close by Limoux,
A peasant double bent with age.
Rise up, my friend," said I; "with you
We left next morning his abode,
But, heaven forgive him! half-way on
The old man died upon the road,
He never gazed on Carcassonne.
Each mortal has his Carcassonne.
A QUEST FOR THE UNAT
But one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. PHILIPPIANS iii. 13,14.
WHEN I was a boy, the Wisconsin River flowed by my home. It was then a great thoroughfare, which carried every year hundreds of millions of feet of logs, lumber, shingles, and lath, from what was then the great pine region of Wisconsin to the many points of distribution along the Mississippi River, all the way from Prairie du Chien to New Orleans. The river, in the spring and fall when the water was high, was picturesque with great floating fields of pine, moving with the current. These rafts, travelling in fleets of from half a dozen to twenty under the lead of one pilot, peopled the water and the immediate banks with a swarm of raftsmen who again were picturesque features of the landscape, bold, athletic, generally intemperate, but oftentimes chiv
alric to women and generous to children. Life among them was held cheap, and still they had a code of honor among themselves which was exacting, and even ideal. A raftsman might be profane, was probably intemperate, but he must not be mean. He must not cheat at cards, lie himself out of a mistake, or leave a fellow-raftsman swung on a sandbar without lending a hand, although giving assistance might necessitate a half-hour's hard pulling at the oar, a long walk back to the brother in distress, and four or five hours in the water wet to the waist. In those days the banks of the Wisconsin River were lined with a series of busy little villages, thrifty centres of trade, and always boisterous places of resort. Raftsmen generally had money, or its equivalent, and they appreciated a place where they could get a good meal, which always implied a large amount of liquid refreshment. The life of these river towns was based upon the saloon, the store, the lumber-yard, and the tavern, all of which found a fitful patronage in the raftsmen, tramping in squads on their way back after abandoning the floating homes that carried them down.
The railroads have changed all this. A raft of lumber on the Wisconsin River is now a rare
sight, and the towns whose names were so familiar to the residents of that riverside forty years ago are now lost villages. Most of them have long since been forgotten, and the names that survive have often been transferred to an adjoining location where the nearest railway station has sprung up.
Port Andrew, situated some thirty miles from my boyhood home, was one of these river towns. Forty years ago it was one of the most prosperous villages in Crawford county. It had the most convenient "eddy" on the river for tying up rafts. It was a good lumber point. It had an abundant supply of saloons and a reputation for being a tough place, where high stakes were played for, and riotous carousals were frequent. I had always thought of Port Andrew with ominous distrust. It was a place I should have been afraid to enter as a boy. It was associated in my imagination with the revolver, the bowieknife, the saloon, and the gambling den.
During the summer of 1889, Jess and I went to see Port Andrew, and planned to spend the night in its shelter. We found it less than a deserted village, for the very site upon which it was built has been mostly washed away by