The Bark Of This
Tree Is Of Great Thickness, And Composed Of A Series Of Layers, Each Of
Which Can Be Easily Separated From Its Neighbours, And, In Fact, Much
Resembling A New Book, Just Issued From The Hot-Press Of The Binder.
a portion of this - the inner skins, I imagine - the blacks manage to
make a flexible, though not over warm, covering for the winter nights, or
for the newly-born piccaninnies.
The whole of the process I am not
acquainted with, but from all I could gather from Lizzie, the bark is
stripped in a large sheet at the end of the rainy season, the inner cuticle
of several leaves carefully separated from the remainder, and placed in
fresh water, weighted with heavy stones to retain it in its position.
After the lapse of a certain time, known only to the initiated, it is taken
out, hung up to dry, and at a peculiar stage, before all the moisture has
evaporated, it is laid on a flat rock, and cautiously beaten with smooth
round stones, which operation opens out the web sufficiently to make it
quite pliant, after which it is allowed to dry thoroughly, and is then
ready for use. These vegetable blankets are very strong, and must be a
great protection to the naked savages, but, despite the ease with which
they can be obtained, and the small time and labour occupied in their
preparation, but few of the gins have them, and none of the men.
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