John Muir


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the trip and for winter clothing in case we should be caught in the ice and compelled to pass a winter in the Arctic. We presented them with a bucket of hardtack which no one of the party touched until the old orator gave orders to his son to divide it. This he did by counting it out on the deck, laying down one biscuit for each person and then adding one to each until all was exhausted, piling them on each other like a money-changer counting out coins. The mannerly reserve and unhasting dignity of all these natives when food is set before them is very striking as compared with the ravenous, snatching haste of the hungry poor among the whites. Even the children look wistfully at the heap of bread without touching it until invited and then eat very slowly as if not hungry at all, than craving food like a schoolboy returned from his games. Nor do they even need to be told to wait. Even when a year of famine occurs from any cause, they endure it with fortitude such as we would be sought for in vain among the civilized, and after braving the most intense cold of these dreary ice-bound coasts in search of food, if unsuccessful, wrap themselves in their furs and die quietly as if only going to sleep. This they did by hundreds two years ago on S.L. Island. [Drawings - 6 “Eskimo girl, St. Lawrence Island,” “Eskimo belle.” “Eskimo mother,” “St. L. I. Eskimo hunter,” “Ohnah, Chief of St. L. Island village, and a marry old soul is he,” “Olema, St. Lawrence Island.”] May 30. Arrived at the W. Diomede early this morning in a thick snow storm and dropped anchor opposite a native village, hoping to obtain furs and dogs. Men, and women, and children came joyfully out through the ice that blocked the shore and through the falling snow in their sloppy skin boast and climbed aboard and greeted us with smiles like children on a sunny day enjoying a holiday picnic. We obtained boots for winter and a few furs and dogs,

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11 x 18.5 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