Higbie and I were living in a cotton-domestic lean-to at the base of a mountain. It was very cramped quarters, with barely enough room for us and the stovewretched quarters, indeed, for every now and then, between eight in the morning and eight in the evening, the thermometer would make an excursion of fifty degrees...
At last, when we clear out and still had struck nothing, we saw that we must find some other way of earning a living. I secured a place in a near-by quartz mill to screen sand with a long-handled shovel. I hate a long-handled shovel. I never could learn to swing it properly. As often as any other way the sand didnt read the screen at all but went over my head and down my back, inside of my clothes. It was the most detestable work I have ever engaged in but it paid ten dollars a week and boardand the board was worth while, because it consisted not only of bacon, beans, coffee, bread and molasses, but we had stewed dried apples every day in the week just the same as if it were Sunday. But this palatial life, this gross and luxurious life, had to come to an end and there were two sufficient reasons for it. On my side I could not endure the heavy labor; and on the companys side they did not feel justified in paying me to shovel sand down my back; so I was discharged just at the moment that I was going to resign.Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872