SKIPPER ED AND HIS PARTNER
On that part of the Labrador coast where Abel Zachariah lived the cabins, with small variation, are fashioned upon one general model. The model is well adapted to the needs of the people and the exigencies of the climate. At one end of the cabin is an enclosed porch which serves as a woodshed and general storage room. Here the dog harness, traps, and other tools and equipment necessary to the hunter’s life are kept.
A door opens from the enclosed porch into the cabin proper, which usually consists of a single room which serves as living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom. This room commonly has two windows, one on either side.
The floor of the cabin is of uncovered planks. In the center stands a stove shaped like a large box. In the lower half of this stove is the fire space, adapted to receive huge blocks of wood. The upper half is an oven.
Against the wall, and not far from the stove, the table stands, and built against the wall at one side of the door, the kitchen closet. In the farther end of the room are the family beds, usually built into the cabin after the fashion of ships’ bunks. In Abel’s cabin there was but one bed, and this of ample breadth to accommodate two. Now there was to be another for Bobby.
Home-made chests, which answer the double purpose of storage places for clothing and whatnot and seats, take the place of chairs, though sometimes there are rude home-made chairs and Abel’s cabin contained two. Guns always loaded and within reach for instant use, rest upon low overhead beams, or upon pegs against the wall. On a shelf, at some convenient place, and specially built for their accommodation, the Bible and hymnal are kept. Abel’s Bible and hymnal, as in all Christianized Eskimo houses, were printed in the Eskimo language.
This, then, was the kind of home that Bobby entered, and which, as the years passed, he was to love, for it was a haven of affection.
The cabin was cold and damp and stuffy now, and filled with unpleasant odors, for it had been unoccupied since early in July. But soon Abel had a roaring fire in the stove, and the things in from the boat, and Mrs. Abel had the room aired, and before the candle was lighted the room had taken on the cozy comfort of occupancy.
Then there was supper of stewed duck and hot dough-bread and tea. When Bobby had eaten heartily and his eyes grew heavy with sleep he was undressed and tucked away into bed, with Mrs. Abel lying by his side for a little, crooning an Eskimo lullaby before she washed her dishes. And at length, when the dishes were washed, and all was made snug for the night, Abel took down, as was his custom, the Bible, and read by the flickering light, and he and Mrs. Abel sang a hymn, and knelt in family devotion, before they joined the sleeping Bobby in their bed.