John Muir


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them at close quarters and suggested that a mission conference or any other while the poor sufferers were afire could not possibly be of any good use – as well preach in pandemonium. Even our Indians hesitated as to whether they should land, though these were sounds they were well acquainted with. We did land, however, and precious glad we were an hour or two later to get away. The largest house, just opposite our landing point has a round hole of a door about two and a half ft. in dia., well marked and blackened about the rim by the grim passers in and out. A few demoniac faces appeared and were suddenly withdrawn, and then a couple of old crouching black men came out and stared, then looked in the black hole with sounded like hell and threw in a few loud words which brought out others to stare for a minute or two. Then all crawled back and began to thicken the howling. Three women with black faces and four men came down to the beach, grinning and swaggering and smelling villainously with their vile home-made whisky. They asked whence we came, jabbered and coaxed us to come to their house. We all walked up the bank and along the front of the main street, intending only to look over a narrow ridge into an inlet that nearly cuts the island in two. The doors of all the houses were closed, the inmates evidently all drunk. Some had drums which made all the more unnatural sounds cohere into the grim pandemonium that it was. While we were taking a hasty view of the inlet Toyatte had strolled up to the door of the main house and was there discovered by an Indian with whom he had [had] some former difficulty, and who in his present drunken condition began to accuse and abuse him, jumping and jerking and howling and threatening as only a drunk[en] Indian can, while Toyatte stood erect in grave and severe majesty like a lion at bay, answering not at word. Thus he stood for half an hour or so, his enemy joined at times by one or two others who worse confounded the devilish uproar. I feared a fight, but at length the storm somewhat abated and our captain came down unpursued to the boat. But we were not thus to escape, for as we were about to push off Kadachan was caught and hugged and kissed by an old gray Tillicum of his father, and urged to remain with him. “Ah! Oh! Kadachan, Kadachan.” While he slobbered and lavished his affectionate caresses. Then a blackened old crone came and seized the man and tried to drag him away, without success. I feared we would all be held by main force, but taking advantage of a lull in the shrieking howling storm we all got aboard, hoisted sail and escaped to the clean wilderness. This was about two o’clock. The wind was favorable and we ran about 15 ms. Us the coast and camped in a narrow mouthed bay with a beautiful curving pebbly beach, our bed under a large tree [M. Spruce] 5 ft. dia. with broad wing branch overhead. The picture in the night, the fire-glow on the viv[id] broad branch and sturdy trunk grasping the swelling bank, and a lit[tle] spruce and bushes with light on the tops of their sprays was very effective. Toyatte slept in the canoe and reported in the morning that he could not sleep much on account of the noise of the wind and waves on the rocks and in the high woods. The rock here and on all or nearly all of the coast of Kupreanof Island are marble, some of it quite handsomely vegetated. Farther south and all through the straits of Kuki, black lava. Oct. 22 – As soon as we were out of the harbor we were caught in a fitful gust of wind that dragged us on over the rough sea in a passionate hurry, though our sail was close-reefed. {sketch: Snow mtns. bearing S. from Deer Bay. 75 ms. dist.}

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 18 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist