non-conductor of heat; but I do not know if there be much difference, in this latter respect, between woods of the same quality. If it be too hard, the action of the drill-stick will merely dent and polish it; if very soft, it will be worn away before the friction has time to heat it sufficiently : ivy is excellent. I find it not at all difficult to produce smoke (it is much more difficult to produce fire) with a broken fishing-rod, or ramrod, as a drill-stick, and a common wooden pill-box, or tooth-powder box, as a fire-block. Walnut, also, does as a fire-block, and the stock of a gun is of walnut. Deal and mahogany are both worthless for fire-sticks.
It is well so to notch the fire-block, that the wood-dust, as it is formed by the rubbing, should all run into one place : it will then glow with a smouldering heat, ready to burst out into an available flame with a very little fanning, as soon as a degree of heat sufficient to ignite tinder has been attained. Tinder is a great convenience, in ensuring that the fire, once obtained, shall not be lost again ; but it is not essential to have it.
There are many ways of rubbing the sticks together, in use among different nations. Those curious in the matter should consult Tyler's `Early History of Mankind.' But the traveller will not obtain much assistance from these descriptions, as it will be out of his power to obtain fire by any but the 'simplest of them, on a first trial. He is only likely to succeed at first by workiLg at leisure, with perfectly dry wood. Even savages, who practise the art all their lives, fail to procure fire in very wet weather, when the shelter is bad. Of the plans employed by savages, the simplest is that in use both in South Africa and in Australia.
The Australian blacks use the flower-stem of the grass-tree, which is of a tough pithy nature, and about one inch in diameter. The operation of making
the fire is assisted by the use of a
little charcoal-powder, which, in Australia, is found on the bark of almost every tree, from the constant passage of grass-fires over the
ground. The process is as follows : Fig. 1.
-One piece of the stick is notched in the middle, fig. 1, and