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Richard of Jamestown by  James Otis

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A CRUDE KIND OF CHIMNEY

FIRST you must know, however, that when our houses of logs had been built, we had nothing with which to [95] make a chimney such as one finds in London. We had no bricks, and although, mayhap, flat rocks might have been found enough for two or three, there was no mortar in the whole land of Virginia with which to fasten them together.

Therefore it was we were forced to build a chimney of logs, laying it up on the outside much as we had the house, but plentifully besmearing it with mud on the inside, and chinking the crevices with moss and clay.

When this had been done, a hole was cut for the smoke, directly through the side of the house. The danger of setting the building on fire was great; but we strove to guard against it so much as possible by plastering a layer of mud over the wood, and by keeping careful watch when we had a roaring fire. Oftentimes were we forced to stop in the task of cooking, take all the vessels from the coals, and throw water upon the blazing logs.

The chimney was a rude affair, of course, and perhaps if we had had women among us, they would have claimed that no cooking could be done, when all the utensils were placed directly on the burning wood, or hung above it with chains fastened to the top of the fireplace; but when lads like Nathaniel and me, who had never had any experience in cooking with proper tools, set about the task, it did not seem difficult, for we were accustomed to nothing else.


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