Small wonder, then, that Sophy, the plain, with a gift for hat-making, a knack at eggless cake-baking, and a genius for turning a sleeve so that last year's style met this year's without a struggle, contributed nothing to the sag in the centre of the old twine hammock on the front porch.
He was careful to open the cleft at some distance above the large opening. For the air was damp and impure in the shelter. But with the opening made high above, fresh air was constantly passing into, and impure air out of, his cave. Light, too, was admitted in this way. Several days passed with Robinson's hat-making and his calendar-making and his watching the sea.
In short, he was a thorough boy, adventuring all things, daunted by nothing, and protected from the results of his reckless endeavors by that Providence which watches over small boys. But such a temperament finds play in useful work also. The boy learned every department of the hat-making business, beginning, when he was very young, with pulling the fur from the skins of rabbits.
And his name, in stout gold letters, blinked at you from the plate-glass windows of the office at the corner of Elm and Winnebago: NORTHERN LUMBER AND LAND COMPANY. H. CHARNSWORTH BALDWIN, PRES. Two blocks farther down Elm Street was another sign, not so glittering, which read: MISS SOPHY DECKER Millinery Sophy's hat-making, in the beginning, had been done at home.
Full of gratitude to the hat-making trade, he always declared that it was his efforts in behalf of the exterior of the human head which had enabled him to understand its interior: he had capped and crowned so many people, he was always flinging himself at their heads, etc. His jokes about hats and heads were irrepressible, though perhaps not dazzling.
She was not unhappy at going off with him. Father and mother walked home alone, communing together in that pride-tinged-with-sadness that must, at times, come to all parents. Mother said: "And to think I was so worried! That hat-making, and then that special spell of idle mooning over something-or-nothing, nearly drove me frantic." Father smiled through the darkness.
This affords yet another illustration of the fact that the various specialised handicrafts are traditional in certain tribes and sub-tribes, and are practised hardly at all or in an inferior manner only by the other tribes, who seem to find it impossible to achieve an equal degree of mastery of these crafts. Hat-making
Besides those already mentioned, there are several other branches of manufacture successfully pursued in different places throughout the country, although none of them are very extensive. Among others, that of hat-making may be mentioned.
He saw too, that if the leaves had their veins running parallel with the midrib they would be stronger. He made search and at length found leaves that seemed made for his purpose. They were thick and leathery and tapered from base to apex like a triangle. He now proceeded with his hat-making. He would take a leaf and lay it on the ground with the base toward him.
Here the two ladies of the Stevenson party took lessons from the niece of a chief in plaiting hats of bamboo shavings and pandanus, and Mrs. Louis learned how to make them beautifully. This hat-making is the constant "fancy-work" of all Tahitian women, and serves in lieu of the tatting and embroidery of civilized lands. The best hats are made of the stalks of the arrowroot plant.