Page:The cruise of the Corwin.djvu/54

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THE CRUISE OF THE CORWIN

A good hunter makes from four hundred to eight hundred dollars per annum. In this pursuit they go hundreds of miles in their frail skin-covered canoes, which are so light that they may easily be carried under one's arm. Earning so much money, they are able to support themselves with many comforts beyond the reach of most of the laboring classes of Europe. Nevertheless, with all their advantages, they are fading away like other Indians. The deaths exceed the births in nearly every one of their villages, and it is only a question of time when they will vanish from the face of the earth.

On the way back to the ship I sauntered through the town. It contains about one hundred buildings, half of them frame, built by the Alaska Commercial and Western Fur and Trading Companies. Aleutian huts are called "barábaras." They are built of turf on a frame of wood; some of them have floors, arid are divided into many rooms, very small ones. The smells are horrible to clean nostrils, and the air is foul and dead beyond endurance. Some of the bedrooms are not much larger than coffins. The floors are below the surface of the ground two or three feet, and the doors are at the end away from the direction of the prevailing wind. There are one or two small win-