The prospector is not usually a business man; hence in dealing with business men who, like Hamlet, are “indifferent honest,” he frequently comes to grief through not having a copy of his correspondence. It is most desirable, therefore, either to carry a carbon paper duplicating book and a stylus, or by adding a little sugar to good ordinary black ink you may make a copying ink; then with the aid of a “yellow back” octavo novel, two pieces of board, and some ordinary tissue paper, you may take a copy of any letter you send.
Buy a couple of cheap small dictionaries of the same edition, send one to your correspondent with an intimation that he is to read up or down so many words from the one indicated when receiving a message. Thus, if I want to say “Claim is looking well,” I take a shilling dictionary, send a copy to my correspondent with the intimation that the real word is seven down, and telegraph—“Civilian looking weird;” this, if looked up in Worcester’s little pocket dictionary, for instance, will read “Claim looking well.” Any dictionary will do, so long as both parties have a copy and understand which is the right word. By arrangement this plan can be varied from time to time if you have any idea that your code can be read by others.
Wood ashes from the camp fire are boiled from day to day in a small quantity of water, and allowed to settle, the clear liquid being decanted off. When the required quantity of weak lye has been accumulated, evaporate by boiling, till a sufficient degree of strength has been obtained. Now melt down some mutton fat, and, while hot, add to the boiling lye. Continue boiling and stirring till the mixture is about the consistency of thick porridge, pour into any convenient flat vessel, and let it stand till cool. If you have any resin in store, a little powdered and added gradually to the melting tallow, before mixing with the lye, will stiffen your soap.
Take a half-gallon, or larger, tin “billy can,” enclose it in a strong cotton handkerchief or cotton cloth, knotting same over the lid, invert, and, taking the knot in the hand, you have a floating appliance which will sustain you in any water, whether you are a swimmer or not. The high silk hat of civilisation would act as well as the can, but these are not usually found far afield.