" By thy camp-fire they shall know thee."
A PARTY of twenty or thirty men once called at the author's studio and begged that he would go with them on a hike, stating that they intended to cook their dinner out-of-doors. We went on the hike. The author asked the gentlemen to collect the wood for the fire; they did so enthusiastically and heaped up about a quarter of a cord of wood. There was no stick in the pile less than the thickness of one's arm, and many as thick as one's leg. A fine misty rain was falling and everything was damp. While all the other hikers gathered around, one of them carefully lighted a match and applied it to the heap of damp cord wood sticks. Match after match he tried, then turned helplessly to the writer with the remark, "It won't light, sir," and none there saw the humor of the situation!
Had anyone told the writer that from twenty-five to thirty men could be found, none of whom could build a fire, he would have considered the statement as highly improbable, but if he had been told that any intelligent man would try to light cord wood sticks, wet or dry, by applying a match to them, he would have branded the story as utterly beyond belief. It is, however, really astonishing how few people there are who know how to build a fire even when supplied with plenty of fuel and abundant matches.