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Chilly Fanaticism

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I found myself at the Serpentine at an nntisually early hour in the morning. A littfe way out in the water, in front ol the diving board, was a ladder lying on the ice, and in front of thi ladder were two trestles. Between these two trestlas i the ice was broken away, leaving a space of water 10 dive into about ten feet long by iive or six wicle, the trestles being placed there for the purpose ol keeping tho miserable little plunge bath seloci, from I tte skaters. To the loft of the tivstles was another ladder lying on the ice. Near the bank I found a poiiccman who was coinmunicative. The bathers fonn a kind of club, and nuinber abont twenty, he told me. They bathe every morning. No matter what the weather is, in they go just the same. All classes of people belong to the club, I was further told, and some carne from a good distance. One enthnsiast is 75 years old. His hair and beard are white as snow. Just behind us was a very fine old elm tree. "That," said the policeman, "is their favorite tree. That is where they dress and undress." I soon found that this was the case, as the bathers carne np. The first man to arrive lost no time in nndressing. but went to the tree and threw off his clothes, chatting to the policeman the while. Then he sped gayly to his little patch of water between t Je trestles. Into the water he jumped - it is very shallow here - and dipping underneath it began to throw out soine very large blocks of ice to the right and left of him. This done, he leaped niinbly on to the diving board, poised hiniself, plunged I and disappeared beneath the water, but only for a few moments. He was out again in that space of time and ran nimbly to the tree, where he quicldy dried himself and rather shyly dressed. The others also undressed quickly, mounted the board and dived, but onlv once, and they were out like the other man and rapidly drying themselves. Thdy never take more than one plunge in the cold weather. This was the general routine of L'1 the bathers, who seemed to enjoy the bath immensely, uttering delighted 'Ahs!" as they went in and carne out. "How do you feel?" said I to one who was drying himself, "cold?" "No; all of a glow - warm all over." "How do you feel when you go in first - cold?" "No, not at all. Of course it's use." He went on to say that he had indulged in the cold plunge bath for twelve years and never missed a day. Nor did any of the others miss if they could help it. Rain, hail or snow- in he went and in they went. 'Tve been in when it's b"en 20 degs. below freezi"? point," he said delightedly; "it's omy about five now," and he seemed sad because it was +oo warm. . "And you like it?" "Rather - most healthy thing in the world- feel quite fresh for the day. ah!" The bathers are allo wed by the authorities to have this special lot of water all to themselvs, and very jealously they guard their privilege. On Christmas day they have a swimming race of a hundred yards, with first, second and third pnzes - trat not for