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THERE never was such a country for variety
as the United States.  In all the great
commercial countries of the world there is a
collection of representatives from all nations
who trade; but each country has a kind
of uniformity about it which makes the
various people collected within it appear
what indeed they areforeigners.  In the
United States, the variety is, in addition to
the aggregation of strangers, in the country
itself, and in the people who inhabit it.  To
apprehend fully what the diversity is, perhaps
no way is better than to survey the
whole area, and see what the inhabitants are
doing in any one particular, or how they are
faring with regard to any one article of
general use or convenience.  We might
observe on the nature of the dinner provided
on any one day, from fishy Maine to sugary
Louisiana, or the deserts where nothing is to
be had but beef; or the forest clearings
which yield nothing but corn.  We might
look in upon all the needlewomen of that
continent, and see what dresses they are
making, from the gossamer ball dress in
Broadway to the leather fringes of the
Potawatamies.  But our attention happens to have
been fixedin the existing crisis of difficulty
about the dearth of paper in England
on what the American people are writing
and printing on, all through their thirty-
one states and bordering territories.  If
we are not mistaken, the variety of
method and substance is very remarkable.
Sweeping the circumference first, this is
what we find.

On the northern limit, where the general
trader never comes, and where the alphabet
is unknown, people want to convey their
minds by marks, as people always do and
always did.  These particular people, the
Red Indians, have a "medicine man"—a
wise manto do it for them.  He may not
know the alphabet, but he can make signs.
To furnish him with a surface on which to
draw his hieroglyphics, the women are
preparing the bark of trees. We do not mean
that he is going to carve a name upon a tree.
Mankind do not wait for "medicine men" to
do that; for, in one fashion or another, all do
that for themselves, in all countries and ages.
In this case, the women are stripping off the
bark of the birch, separating the light brown
inner bark, coaxing the sheets to lie flat, and
rubbing them smooth with stones until
they almost acquire the satin-like surface of
French note-paper. They pick out, from their
fish-heaps, the strongest and sharpest bone to
write with: and there is the wise man set
up with the means of making marks as
curious as any that Colonel Rawlinson has
ever deciphered among the mounds of

Coming round to the coastthat granite
coast where the Pilgrim Fathers found freedom
of worshipthere are nooks and corners, and
especially islands, where the conveniences of
life are rarely attainable. The story goes
there, that a fisherman once brought his son
from one of those bare sea-beaten islands to
the mainland; that the boy was amazingly
struck with the barberry bushes which grow
plentifully among the granite; but that his
highest enthusiasm was excited by an apple-
tree. "Oh father!" he cried, "what is that
wonderful thing? Is it a tree? And what are
those beautiful things upon it? Are they
lemons?" In a region where such a story
could spring up, it is certain that wise men
do not write upon birch bark. And yet in such
places where the schoolmaster has found his
way, though the merchant seldom or never
comes there must be something to write on.
Slates abound; and when the stock of paper
is exhausted, the slates come abroad from
the school-house, and carry messages along
the shore.

Passing down the seabord to the south,
we come at length to those other islands
which are not granite, but which produce
the famous Sea-island cottonthe finest
in the world. There, within those islands off
the South Carolina shore, the waves make a
wide sweep, leaving broad expanses of the
smoothest sand. Who is that, at the hour
of dusk, when the sand is smoothestnow
looking round, to see if she is observed, and
then stooping down, with a cane in her hand
from the nearest brake? Who is that figure,
dusky as the night? And what is she doing
on the shore? She is drawing. That is a
bird which she is drawing, in bold strong lines;
and the bird's head is to the north. The
negro slave suspects that husband, brother,