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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/700

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the borders of the sea or the rivers, where they are sure of enough food. The tribes of the interior, where water is extremely scarce, are miserable, repulsive, and feeble, their encampments are more primitive, their arms are less well cared for, their dialect is ruder, than among the inhabitants of the coast.

It has been represented that these natives have not the virtue of providence; but they know how to make provision for a bad season. Grey affirms that they save the nuts of the zamia, and Coxen describes the methods which the natives of the northeast employ for preserving oily seeds, gums, and other kinds of food. Whenever a whale or a large fish is stranded on the shore, fires are kindled, and all the families around assemble to get a share of the windfall.

Fig. 3.
PSM V19 D700 Tree climbing by rope support.jpg

Families settling down choose a situation near a forest where they can get the wood they need for their cabins, which are sometimes made of limbs covered with earth, sometimes of the bark of a tree called the stringy-bark. This bark, according to Baron de Bougainville, is very thick and incombustible; it serves both for the Avails of the cabins and their roofs, and, as it can be taken off in large slabs, only a few hours are needed to make with it a habitation which gives a perfect shelter. When a savage has found a tree suitable for his purpose, he, with his stone hatchet (kul baling-carek, Fig. 1), cuts a