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344

Art of Travel.

pickles the hides, and in this they lie 48 hours : the use of the sea-water into which they are first put being merely to soften and clean them.

" From these vats they are taken to lie on a platform 24 hours, and are then spread upon the ground and carefully stretched and staked out, so that they may dry smooth. After they were staked, and while yet wet and soft, we used to go upon them with our knives, and carefully cut off all the bad parts : the pieces of meat and fat, which would otherwise corrupt and affect the whole if stowed away in a vessel for months, the large flippers, the ears, and all other parts that prevent close stowage. This was the most difficult part of our duty, as it required much skill to take off everything necessary, and not to cut or injure the hides. It was also a long process, as six of us had to clean 150; most of which required a great deal to be done to them, as the Spaniards are very careless in skinning their cattle. Then, too, as we cleaned them while they were staked out, we were obliged to kneel down upon them, which always gives beginners the back-ache. The first day I was so slow and awkward that I only cleaned eight ; at the end of a few days I doubled my number, and in a fortnight or three weeks could keep up with the others, and clean my proportion-twenty-five."

CORD, STRING, THREAD.

General Remarks.-I have spoken of the strength of different cords in " Alpine outfit," p. 48. All kinds of cord become exceedingly rotten in hot, dry countries : the fishermen of the Cape preserve their nets by steeping them occasionally in blood. Thread and twine should be waxed before using them for sewing, whenever there is reason to doubt their durability.

Substitutes.-The substitutes for thread, string, and cord, are as follows :-Thongs cut spirally, like a watch-spring, out of a piece of leather or hide, and made pliant by working them round a stick ; sinew and catgut (pp. 346, 847); inner bark of trees-this is easily separated by long steeping in water, but chewing it is better ; roots of trees, as the sprucefir, split to the proper size ; woodbines, runners, or pliant

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