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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 658 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.

The village at the entrance of the Sound stands on the side of a rising ground, which has a pretty steep ascent from the beach to the verge of the wood, in which space it is situated.

The houses are disposed in three ranges or rows, rising gradually behind each other, the largest being that in front, and the others less, besides a few straggling, or single ones, at each end.  These ranges are interrupted or disjoined at irregular distances, by narrow paths, or lanes, that pass upward; but those which run in the direction of the houses, between the rows, are much broader.  Though there be some appearance of regularity in this disposition, there is none in the single houses, for each of the divisions, made by the paths, may be considered either as one house, or as many, there being no regular or complete separation, either without or within, to distinguish them by.  They are built of very long and broad planks[1], resting upon the edges of each other, fastened or tied by withes of pine bark here and there, and have only slender posts, or rather poles, at considerable distances on the outside, to which they also are tied, but within are some larger poles placed aslant.  The height of the sides and ends of these habitations, is seven or eight feet; but the back part is a little higher, by which means, the planks that compose the roof slant forward, and are laid on loose, so as to be moved about, either to be put close to exclude the rain, or, in fair weather, to be separated, to let in the light and carry out the smoke.  They are, however, upon the whole, miserable dwellings, and constructed with little care or ingenuity.  For, though the side-planks be made to fit pretty closely in some places, in others they are quite open, and there are no regular doors into them, the only way of entrance being either by a hole, where the unequal length of the planks has accidentally left an opening, or, in some cases, the planks are made to pass a little beyond each other, or overlap, about two feet asunder, and the entrance is in this space.  There are also holes, or windows, in the sides of the houses to look out at; but without any regularity of shape or disposition; and these have bits of mat hung before them, to prevent the rain getting in.

[Footnote 1:  The habitations of the natives, more to the north upon this coast, where Behring’s people landed in 1741, seem to resemble those of Nootka.  Muller describes them thus:  “Ces cabanes etoient de bois revetu de planches bien unies, et meme enchainees en quelques endroits.”—­Muller, Decouvertes, p. 255.—­D.]

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