Monday, 20 August 2012

Quotes from the Diary of John Bartram.

At night I hung up my blanket like a hammock,
that I might lay out of the reach of the fleas,
troublefome and conftant guefts in an Indian
hut ; but I found my contrivance too cool for
a place open on all fides,

About break of day it began to rain,
and the Indians made us a covering of bark
got after this manner: They cut the tree
round through the bark near the root, and
make the like incifion above 7 feet above
it, there horizontal ones are joined by a
perpendicular cut, on each fide of which they
after loofen the bark from the wood, and
hewing a pole at the fmall end, gradually tapering
like a wedge about 2 feet, they force
it in till they have compleated the feparation
all round, and the bark parts whole from the tree,
one of which, a foot diameter,
yields a piece 7 feet long and above
3 wide : And having now prepared four forked
fticks, they are fet into the ground the longer
in front ; on these they lay the crofs-poles
and on them the bark. This makes a good
tight fhelter in warm weather. The rain was
quickly over, but as it continued cloudy, we
did not care to leave our fhed. Here our Ihdians
fhot a young deer, that afforded us a
good feaft.

Their way of roafting eels is thus;
they cut a ftick about three foot long, and as
thick as one's thumb, they fplit it about a
foot down, and when the eel is gutted, they
coil it between the two fides of the ftick,
and bind the top clofe, which keeps the eel
flat, and then ftick one end in the ground before
a good fire.

the night following it
thundred and rained very faft, and took us
at a difadvantage, for we had made no fhelter
to keep off the rain, neither could we fee it
till juft over our heads, and it began to fall.
One of our Indians cut 4 fticks 5 feet long,
and ftuck both ends into the ground, at 2 foot
diftance, one from another ; over thefe he fpread
his match coat and crept through them, and
then fell to finging : in the mean time we were
fetting poles nflantwife in the ground, tying
others crofs them, over which we' fpread our
blanket and crept clofe under it with a fire
before us and fell faft afleep.
I waked a little after midnight, and found
our fire almoft out, fo I got the hatchet and
felled a few faplings which I laid on, and made
a roufing fire, tho' it rained ftoutly, and laying
down once more, I flept found all night.

John Bartram 1743. Travells from Pennsylvania to Canada.

No comments: