They contain round archipelagoes of romantic isles, even as the Polynesian waters do; in large part, are shored by two great contrasting nations, as the Atlantic is; they furnish long maritime approaches to our numerous territorial colonies from the East, dotted all round their banks; here and there are frowned upon by batteries, and by the goat-like craggy guns of lofty Mackinaw; they have heard the fleet thunderings of naval victories; at intervals, they yield their beaches to wild barbarians, whose red painted faces flash from out their peltry wigwams; for leagues and leagues are flanked by ancient and unentered forests, where the gaunt pines stand like serried lines of kings in Gothic genealogies; those same woods harboring wild Afric beasts of prey, and silken creatures whose exported furs give robes to Tartar Emperors; they mirror the paved capitals of Buffalo and Cleveland, as well as Winnebago villages; they float alike the full-rigged merchant ship, the armed cruiser of the State, the steamer, and the beech canoe; they are swept by Borean and dismasting blasts as direful as any that lash the salted wave; they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew.
And as for going as cook,--though I confess there is considerable glory in that, a cook being a sort of officer on ship-board--yet, somehow, I never fancied broiling fowls;--though once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will.
The food of the people consists as a rule of boiled rice with salted fresh or dried fish, salt, sessamum-oil, chillies, onions, turmeric, boiled vegetables, and occasionally meat of some sort from elephant flesh down to smaller animals, fowls and almost everything except snakes, by way of condiment.
These, salted and dried, are exported to all parts of the world, and form, when taken in connexion with the enormous quantity of fresh cod consumed, a valuable addition to the food resources of the human race.
It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuit, and salted pork cut up into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt.
They are also salted and eaten with rice, prepared in the form of pickles or candied and preserved in sugar.
There is some trade in furs, mammoth bones, dried and salted fish.
Being thus soluble in salt water it cannot, of course, be salted out like common soaps; but if a very concentrated salt solution is used precipitation is effected, and a curd soap is separated so hard and refractory as to be practically useless.
Of anchovies alone, to,000,000 jars are prepared annually, while salted fish is, next after bread, the staple food of large masses of the population.
Salted fish forms, along with boiled rice, one of the chief articles of food among the Burmese; and as the price of salted fish is gradually rising along with the prosperity and purchasing power of the population, this industry is on a very sound basis.