John Muir


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...Molasses is a favorite article of trade with them. Mixed with flour and blocks of “black skin”, it is esteemed by Eskimo palates, a dish fit for the gods. A group of listeners laughed heartily when I described a mixture that I thought would be to their taste, and shouted “yes! Yes!” They smacked their lips. One brought a chunk of “black skin” that in color and odor seemed to be more than a year old as a present to our Chuckehi, the reindeer man. He no doubt judged that over Chuckehi, if not starving, was at least fairing poorly on civilized trash. A study of the different Eskimo faces, while important trades were pending, was very interesting. They are better behaved than white men, not half so greedy, shameless or dishonest. I made a few sketches of marked faces. One, who received a fathom of calico more than was agreed upon, seemed extravagantly delighted and grateful. He was lost in admiration of the Captain, whose hand he shook heartily. We continued at anchor here the following day, June 9. It was snowing and the decks sloppy. Several canoe loads of Eskimo came aboard and there was a brisk trade in furs, mostly reindeer hides and parkas for winter use; also fox skins and some whalebone and walrus ivory. Flour and molasses were the articles most in demand. Some of the woman, heedless of the whaler, brought their boys and girls, and babies. One little thing that the poor mother held proudly up for our admiration smiled heartily and showed her two new teeth much

Date Original



Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 21 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