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Northern Travel - Summer and Winter Pictures of Sweden, Denmark and Lapland
by Bayard Taylor
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We passed three Lapps, with heavy hay-sleds, drawn by a reindeer apiece, and after a time issued from the woods upon a range of hills entirely bare and white. Before us was the miserable hamlet of Lappajarvi, on the western side of the barren mountain of Lippavara, which is the highest in this part of Lapland, having an altitude of 1900 feet above the sea. I have rarely seen anything quite so bleak and God-forsaken as this village. A few low black huts, in a desert of snow—that was all. We drove up to a sort of station-house, where an old, white-headed Finn received me kindly, beat the snow off my poesk with a birch broom, and hung my boa near the fire to dry. There was a wild, fierce-looking Lapp in the room, who spoke some Norwegian, and at once asked who and what I was. His head was covered with a mop of bright brown hair, his eyes were dark blue and gleamed like polished steel, and the flushed crimson of his face was set off by the strong bristles of a beard of three weeks growth. There was something savage and ferocious in his air, as he sat with his clenched fists planted upon his knees, and a heavy knife in a wooden scabbard hanging from his belt. When our caravan arrived I transferred him to my sketch-book. He gave me his name as Ole Olsen Thore, and I found he was a character well known throughout the country.

Long Isaac proposed waiting until midnight, for moon-rise, as it was already dark, and there was no track beyond Lippajarvi. This seemed prudent, and we therefore, with the old woman's help, set about boiling our meat, thawing bread, and making coffee. It was necessary to eat even beyond what appetite demanded, on account of the long distances between the stations. Drowsiness followed repletion, as a matter of course, and they gave us a bed of skins in an inner-room. Here, however, some other members of the family were gathered around the fire, and kept up an incessant chattering, while a young married couple, who lay in one corner, bestowed their endearments on each other, so that we had but little benefit of our rest. At midnight all was ready, and we set out. Long Isaac had engaged a guide, and procured fresh deer in place of those which were fatigued. There was a thick fog, which the moon scarcely brightened, but the temperature had risen to zero, and was as mild as a May morning. For the first time in many days our beards did not freeze.

We pursued our way in complete silence. Our little caravan, in single file, presented a strange, shadowy, mysterious appearance as it followed the winding path, dimly seen through the mist, first on this side and then on that; not a sound being heard, except the crunching of one's own pulk over the snow. My reindeer and myself seemed to be the only living things, and we were pursuing the phantoms of other travellers and other deer, who had long ago perished in the wilderness. It was impossible to see more than a hundred yards; some short, stunted birches, in their spectral coating of snow, grew along the low ridges of the deep, loose snow, which separated the marshes, but nothing else interrupted the monotony of the endless grey ocean, through which we went floundering, apparently at haphazard. How our guides found the way was beyond my comprehension, for I could discover no distinguishable landmarks. After two hours or more we struck upon a cluster of huts called Palajarvi, seven miles from Lippajarvi, which proved that we were on the right track.

The fog now became thicker than ever. We were upon the water-shed between the Bothnian Gulf and the Northern Ocean, about 1400 feet above the sea. The birches became mere shrubs, dotting the low mounds which here and there arose out of the ocean of snow. The pulks all ran in the same track and made a single furrow, so that our gunwales were generally below the sea-level. The snow was packed so tight, however, that we rarely shipped any. Two hours passed, and I was at length roused from a half-sleep by the evidence of our having lost the way. Long Isaac and the guide stopped and consulted every few minutes, striking sometimes in one direction and sometimes in another, but without any result. We ran over ridges of heavy, hard tussocks, blown bare of snow, which pitched our pulks right and left, just as I have bumped over the coral reefs of Loo-Choo in a ship's cutter. Then followed deep beds of snow-drifts, which tasked the utmost strength of our deer, low birch thickets and hard ridges again, over which we plunged in the wildest way possible.

After wandering about for a considerable time, we suddenly heard the barking of a dog at some distance on our left. Following the welcome sound, we reached a scrubby ridge, where we were saluted with a whole chorus of dogs, and soon saw the dark cone of a Lapp tent. Long Isaac aroused the inmates, and the shrill cry of a baby proclaimed that there was life and love, even here. Presently a clumsy form, enveloped in skins, waddled out, and entered into conversation with our men. I proposed at once to engage a Lapp to guide us as far as Eitajarvi, which they informed us was two Norwegian (fourteen English) miles farther. The man agreed, but must first go off to the woods for his deer, which would detain us two hours. He put on his snow-skates and started, and I set about turning the delay to profit by making acquaintance with the inmates of the tents. We had now reached the middle of the village; the lean, wolfish dogs were yelling on all sides, and the people began to bestir themselves. Streams of sparks issued from the open tops of the tents, and very soon we stood as if in the midst of a group of volcanic cones.

The Lapps readily gave us permission to enter. We lifted the hanging door of reindeer hide, crept in, stumbling over a confused mixture of dogs and deerskins, until we found room to sit down. Two middle-aged women, dressed in poesks, like the men, were kindling a fire between some large stones in the centre, but the air inside was still as cold as outside. The damp birch sticks gave out a thick smoke, which almost stifled us, and for half an hour we could scarcely see or breathe. The women did not appear to be incommoded in the least, but I noticed that their eyes were considerably inflamed. After a time our company was increased by the arrival of two stout, ruddy girls of about seventeen, and a child of two years old, which already wore a complete reindeer costume. They were all very friendly and hospitable in their demeanour towards us, for conversation was scarcely possible. The interior of the tent was hung with choice bits of deer's hide, from the inside of the flanks and shoulders, designed, apparently, for mittens. Long Isaac at once commenced bargaining for some of them, which he finally purchased. The money was deposited in a rather heavy bag of coin, which one of the women drew forth from under a pile of skins. Our caps and Russian boots excited their curiosity, and they examined them with the greatest minuteness.

These women were neither remarkably small nor remarkably ugly, as the Lapps are generally represented. The ground-tone of their complexion was rather tawny, to be sure, but there was a glowing red on their cheeks, and their eyes were a dark bluish-grey. Their voices were agreeable, and the language (a branch of the Finnish) had none of that barbaric harshness common to the tongues of nomadic tribes. These favorable features, nevertheless, were far from reconciling me to the idea of a trial of Lapp life. When I saw the filth, the poverty, and discomfort in which they lived, I decided that the present experience was all-sufficient. Roasting on one side and freezing on the other, with smarting eyes and asphyxiated lungs, I soon forgot whatever there was of the picturesque in my situation, and thought only of the return of our Lapp guide. The women at last cleared away several dogs, and made room for us to lie down—a more tolerable position, in our case; though how a whole family, with innumerable dogs, stow themselves in the compass of a circle eight feet in diameter, still remains a mystery.

The Lapp returned with his reindeer within the allotted time, and we took our leave of the encampment. A strong south wind had arisen, but did not dissipate the fog, and for two hours we had a renewal of our past experiences, in thumping over hard ridges and ploughing through seas of snow. Our track was singularly devious, sometimes doubling directly back upon itself without any apparent cause. At last, when a faint presentiment of dawn began to glimmer through the fog, the Lapp halted and announced that he had lost the way. Bidding us remain where we were, he struck off into the snow and was soon lost to sight. Scarcely a quarter of an hour had elapsed, however, before we heard his cries at a considerable distance. Following, as we best could, across a plain nearly a mile in diameter, we found him at last in a narrow dell between two hills. The ground now sloped rapidly northward, and I saw that we had crossed the water-shed, and that the plain behind us must be the lake Jedeckejaure, which, according to Von Buch, is 1370 feet above the sea.

On emerging from the dell we found a gentle slope before us, covered with hard ice, down which our pulks flew like the wind. This brought us to another lake, followed by a similar slope, and so we descended the icy terraces, until, in a little more than an hour, some covered haystacks gave evidence of human habitation, and we drew up at the huts of Eitajarvi, in Norway. An old man, who had been watching our approach, immediately climbed upon the roof and removed a board from the chimney, after which he ushered us into a bare, cold room, and kindled a roaring fire on the hearth. Anton unpacked our provisions, and our hunger was so desperate, after fasting for twenty hours, that we could scarcely wait for the bread to thaw and the coffee to boil. We set out again at noon, down the frozen bed of a stream which drains the lakes, but had not proceeded far before both deers and pulks began to break through the ice, probably on account of springs under it. After being almost swamped, we managed to get up the steep snow-bank and took to the plain again, making our own road over ridge and through hollow. The caravan was soon stopped, that the pulks might be turned bottom upwards and the ice scraped off, which, like the barnacles on a ship's hull, impeded their progress through the snow. The broad plain we were traversing stretched away to the north without a break or spot of color to relieve its ghastly whiteness; but toward the south-west, where the sunset of an unrisen sun spread its roseate glow through the mist, arose some low mounds, covered with drooping birches, which shone against the soft, mellow splendor, like sprays of silver embroidered on rose-colored satin.

Our course, for about fifteen miles, lay alternately upon the stream (where the ice was sufficiently strong) and the wild plain. Two or three Lapp tents on the bank exhibited the usual amount of children and dogs, but we did not think it worth while to extend the circle of our acquaintance in that direction. At five o'clock, after it had long been dark, we reached half a dozen huts called Siepe, two Norwegian miles from Kautokeino. Long Isaac wished to stop here for the night, but we resolutely set ourselves against him. The principal hut was filthy, crowded with Lapps, and filled with a disagreeable smell from the warm, wet poesks hanging on the rafters. In one corner lay the carcases of two deer-calves which had been killed by wolves. A long bench, a table, and a rude frame covered with deerskins, and serving as a bed, comprised all the furniture. The usual buckets of sour milk, with wooden ladles, stood by the door. No one appeared to have any particular occupation, if we except the host's wife, who was engaged with an infant in reindeer breeches. We smoked and deliberated while the deers ate their balls of moss, and the result was, that a stout yellow-haired Lapp youngster was engaged to pilot us to Kautokeino.

Siepe stands on a steep bank, down which our track led to the stream again. As the caravan set off, my deer, which had behaved very well through the day, suddenly became fractious, sprang off the track, whirled himself around on his hind legs, as if on a pivot, and turned the pulk completely over, burying me in the snow. Now, I had come from Muoniovara, more than a hundred miles, without being once overturned, and was ambitious to make the whole journey with equal success. I therefore picked myself up, highly disconcerted, and started afresh. The very same thing happened a second and a third time, and I don't think I shall be considered unreasonable for becoming furiously angry. I should certainly have committed cervicide had any weapon been at hand. I seized the animal by the horns, shook, cuffed, and kicked him, but all to no purpose. Long Isaac, who was passing in his pulk, made some remark, which Anton, with all the gravity and conscientiousness of his new position of interpreter, immediately translated.

"Long Isaac says," he shouted, "that the deer will go well enough, if you knew how to drive him." "Long Isaac may go to the devil!" was, I am sorry to say, my profane reply, which Anton at once translated to him.

Seating myself in the pulk again, I gave the deer the rein, and for a time kept him to the top of his speed, following the Lapp, who drove rapidly down the windings of the stream. It was quite dark, but our road was now somewhat broken, and for three hours our caravan swiftly and silently sped on its way. Then, some scattered lights appeared in the distance; our tired deers leaped forward with fresher spirit, and soon brought us to the low wooden huts of Kautokeino. We had travelled upwards of sixty miles since leaving Lippajarvi, breaking our own road through deep snow for a great part of the way. During this time our deers had not been changed. I cannot but respect the provoking animals after such a feat.



CHAPTER XI.

KAUTOKEINO.—A DAY WITHOUT A SUN.

While in Dresden, my friend Ziegler had transferred to me a letter of introduction from Herr Berger, a merchant of Hammerfest, to his housekeeper in Kautokeino. Such a transfer might be considered a great stretch of etiquette in those enlightened regions of the world where hospitality requires certificates of character; but, in a benighted country like Lapland, there was no danger of very fine distinctions being drawn, and Ziegler judged that the house which was to have been placed at his disposal had he made the journey, would as readily open its doors to me. At Muoniovara, I learned that Berger himself was now in Kautokeino, so that I needed only to present him with his own letter. We arrived so late, however, that I directed Long Isaac to take us to the inn until morning. He seemed reluctant to do this, and I could not fathom the reason of his hesitation, until I had entered the hovel to which we were conducted. A single room, filled with smoke from a fire of damp birch sticks, was crammed with Lapps of all sizes, and of both sexes. There was scarcely room to spread a deerskin on the floor while the smell exhaled from their greasy garments and their unwashed bodies was absolutely stifling. I have travelled too much to be particularly nice in my choice of lodgings, but in this instance I instantly retreated, determined to lie on the snow, under my overturned pulk, rather than pass the night among such bed-fellows.

We drove on for a short distance, and drew up before a large, substantial log-house, which Long Isaac informed me was the residence of the Lansman, or magistrate of the district. I knocked at the door, and inquired of the Norwegian servant girl who opened it, where Herr Berger lived. Presently appeared a stout, ruddy gentleman—no less than Herr Berger himself—who addressed me in fluent English. A few words sufficed to explain everything, and in ten minutes our effects were deposited in the guest's room of the Lansman's house, and ourselves, stripped of our Polar hides, were seated on a sofa, in a warm, carpeted room, with a bountiful supper-table before us. Blessed be civilisation! was my inward ejaculation. Blessed be that yearning for comfort in Man, which has led to the invention of beds, of sofas, and easy chairs: which has suggested cleanliness of body and of habitation, and which has developed the noble art of cooking! The dreary and perilous wastes over which we had passed were forgotten. With hearts warmed in both senses, and stomachs which reacted gratefully upon our hearts, we sank that night into a paradise of snowy linen, which sent a consciousness of pleasure even into the oblivion of sleep.

The Lansman, Herr Lie, a tall handsome man of twenty-three, was a native of Altengaard, and spoke tolerable English. With him and Herr Berger, we found a third person, a theological student, stationed at Kautokeino to learn the Lapp tongue. Pastor Hvoslef, the clergyman, was the only other Norwegian resident. The village, separated from the Northern Ocean, by the barren, uninhabited ranges of the Kiolen Mountains, and from the Finnish settlements on the Muonio by the swampy table-lands we had traversed, is one of the wildest and most forlorn places in all Lapland. Occupying, as it does, the centre of a large district, over which the Lapps range with their reindeer herds during the summer, it is nevertheless a place of some importance, both for trade and for the education, organization, and proper control of the barely-reclaimed inhabitants. A church was first built here by Charles XI. of Sweden, in 1660, although, in the course of subsequent boundary adjustments, the district was made over to Norway. Half a century afterwards, some families of Finns settled here; but they appear to have gradually mixed with the Lapps, so that there is little of the pure blood of either race to be found at present. I should here remark that throughout Norwegian Lapland the Lapps are universally called Finns, and the Finns, Quans. As the change of names, however, might occasion some confusion, I shall adhere to the more correct Swedish manner of designating them, which I have used hitherto.

Kautokeino is situated in a shallow valley, or rather basin, opening towards the north-east, whither its river flows to join the Alten. Although only 835 feet above the sea, and consequently below the limits of the birch and the fir in this latitude, the country has been stripped entirely bare for miles around, and nothing but the scattering groups of low, dark huts, breaks the snowy monotony. It is with great difficulty that vegetables of any kind can be raised. Potatoes have once or twice been made to yield eight-fold, but they are generally killed by the early autumn frosts before maturity. On the southern bank of the river, the ground remains frozen the whole year round, at a depth of only nine feet. The country furnishes nothing except reindeer meat, milk, and cheese. Grain, and other supplies of all kinds, must be hauled up from the Alten Fjord, a distance of 112 miles. The carriage is usually performed in winter, when, of course, everything reaches its destination in a frozen state. The potatoes are as hard as quartz pebbles, sugar and salt become stony masses, and even wine assumes a solid form. In this state they are kept until wanted for use, rapidly thawed, and immediately consumed, whereby their flavour is but little impaired. The potatoes, cabbage, and preserved berries on the Lansman's table were almost as fresh as if they had never been frozen.

Formerly, the place was almost entirely deserted during the summer months, and the resident missionary and Lansman returned to Alten until the Lapps came back to their winter huts; but, for some years past, the stationary population has increased, and the church is kept open the whole year. Winter, however, is the season when the Lapps are found at home, and when their life and habits are most characteristic and interesting. The population of Kautokeino is then, perhaps, about 800; in summer it is scarcely one-tenth of this number. Many of the families—especially those of mixed Finnish blood—live in wooden huts, with the luxury of a fireplace and chimney, and a window or two; but the greater part of them burrow in low habitations of earth, which resemble large mole hills raised in the crust of the soil. Half snowed over and blended with the natural inequalities of the earth, one would never imagine, but for the smoke here and there issuing from holes, that human beings existed below. On both sides of the stream are rows of storehouses, wherein the Lapps deposit their supplies and household articles during their summer wanderings. These structures are raised upon birch posts, each capped with a smooth, horizontal board, in order to prevent the rats and mice from effecting an entrance. The church is built upon a slight eminence to the south, with its low red belfry standing apart, as in Sweden, in a small grove of birches, which have been spared for a summer ornament to the sanctuary.

We awoke at eight o'clock to find a clear twilight and a cold of 10 deg. below zero. Our stay at Muoniovara had given the sun time to increase his altitude somewhat, and I had some doubts whether we should succeed in beholding a day of the Polar winter. The Lansman, however, encouraged us by the assurance that the sun had not yet risen upon his residence, though nearly six weeks had elapsed since his disappearance, but that his return was now looked for every day, since he had already begun to shine upon the northern hills. By ten o'clock it was light enough to read; the southern sky was a broad sea of golden orange, dotted with a few crimson cloud-islands, and we set ourselves to watch with some anxiety the gradual approach of the exiled god. But for this circumstance, and two other drawbacks, I should have gone to church to witness the Lapps at their religious exercises. Pastor Hvoslef was ill, and the service consisted only of the reading of some prayers by the Lapp schoolmaster; added to which, the church is never warmed, even in the coldest days of winter. One cause of this may, perhaps, be the dread of an accidental conflagration; but the main reason is, the inconvenience which would arise from the thawing out of so many antiquated reindeer garments, and the effluvia given out by the warmed bodies within them. Consequently, the temperature inside the church is about the same as outside, and the frozen moisture of the worshippers' breath forms a frosty cloud so dense as sometimes to hide the clergyman from the view of his congregation. Pastor Hvoslef informed me that he had frequently preached in a temperature of 35 deg. below zero. "At such times," said he, "the very words seem to freeze as they issue from my lips, and fall upon the heads of my hearers like a shower of snow." "But," I ventured to remark, "our souls are controlled to such a degree by the condition of our bodies, that I should doubt whether any true devotional spirit could exist at such a time. Might not even religion itself be frozen?" "Yes," he answered, "there is no doubt that all the better feelings either disappear, or become very faint, when the mercury begins to freeze." The pastor himself was at that time suffering the penalty of indulging a spirit of reverence which for a long time led him to officiate with uncovered head.

The sky increased in brightness as we watched. The orange flushed into rose, and the pale white hills looked even more ghastly against the bar of glowing carmine which fringed the horizon. A few long purple streaks of cloud hung over the sun's place, and higher up in the vault floated some loose masses, tinged with fiery crimson on their lower edges. About half-past eleven, a pencil of bright red light shot up—a signal which the sun uplifted to herald his coming. As it slowly moved westward along the hills, increasing in height and brilliancy until it became a long tongue of flame, playing against the streaks of cloud we were apprehensive that the near disc would rise to view. When the Lansman's clock pointed to twelve, its base had become so bright as to shine almost like the sun itself; but after a few breathless moments the unwelcome glow began to fade. We took its bearing with a compass, and after making allowance for the variation (which is here very slight) were convinced that it was really past meridian, and the radiance, which was that of morning a few minutes before, belonged to the splendours of evening now. The colours of the firmament began to change in reverse order, and the dawn, which had almost ripened to sunrise, now withered away to night without a sunset. We had at last seen a day without a sun.

The snowy hills to the north, it is true, were tinged with a flood of rosy flame, and the very next day would probably bring down the tide-mark of sunshine to the tops of the houses. One day, however, was enough to satisfy me. You, my heroic friend,[A] may paint with true pencil, and still truer pen, the dreary solemnity of the long Arctic night: but, greatly as I enjoy your incomparable pictures, much as I honour your courage and your endurance, you shall never tempt me to share in the experience. The South is a cup which one may drink to inebriation; but one taste from the icy goblet of the North is enough to allay curiosity and quench all further desire. Yet the contrast between these two extremes came home to me vividly but once during this journey. A traveller's mind must never stray too far from the things about him, and long habit has enabled me to throw myself entirely into the conditions and circumstances of each separate phase of my wandering life, thereby preserving distinct the sensations and experiences of each, and preventing all later confusion in the memory. But one day, at Muoniovara, as I sat before the fire in the afternoon darkness, there flashed across my mind a vision of cloudless Egypt—trees rustling in the hot wind, yellow mountain-walls rising beyond the emerald plain of the Nile, the white pencils of minarets in the distance, the creamy odour of bean-blossoms in the air—a world of glorious vitality, where Death seemed an unaccountable accident. Here, Life existed only on sufferance, and all Nature frowned with a robber's demand to give it up. I flung my pipe across the room and very soon, behind a fast reindeer, drove away from the disturbing reminiscence.

I went across the valley to the schoolmaster's house to make a sketch of Kautokeino, but the frost was so thick on the windows that I was obliged to take a chair in the open air and work with bare hands. I soon learned the value of rapidity in such an employment. We spent the afternoon in the Lansman's parlor, occasionally interrupted by the visits of Lapps, who, having heard of our arrival, were very curious to behold the first Americans who ever reached this part of the world. They came into the room with the most perfect freedom, saluted the Lansman, and then turned to stare at us until they were satisfied, when they retired to give place to others who were waiting outside. We were obliged to hold quite a levee during the whole evening. They had all heard of America, but knew very little else about it, and many of them questioned us, through Herr Berger, concerning our religion and laws. The fact of the three Norwegian residents being able to converse with us astonished them greatly. The Lapps of Kautokeino have hitherto exalted themselves over the Lapps of Karasjok and Karessuando, because the Lansman, Berger, and Pastor Hvoslef could speak with English and French travellers in their own language, while the merchants and pastors of the latter places are acquainted only with Norwegian and Swedish; and now their pride received a vast accession. "How is it possible?" said they to Herr Berger, "these men come from the other side of the world, and you talk with them as fast in their own language as if you had never spoken any other!" The schoolmaster, Lars Kaino, a one-armed fellow, with a more than ordinary share of acuteness and intelligence, came to request that I would take his portrait, offering to pay me for my trouble. I agreed to do it gratuitously, on condition that I should keep it myself, and that he should bring his wife to be included in the sketch.

He assented, with some sacrifice of vanity, and came around the next morning, in his holiday suit of blue cloth, trimmed with scarlet and yellow binding. His wife, a short woman of about twenty-five, with a face as flat and round as a platter, but a remarkably fair complexion, accompanied him, though with evident reluctance, and sat with eyes modestly cast down while I sketched her features. The circumstance of my giving Lars half a dollar at the close of the sitting was immediately spread through Kautokeino, and before night all the Lapps of the place were ambitious to undergo the same operation. Indeed, the report reached the neighboring villages, and a Hammerfest merchant, who came in the following morning from a distance of seven miles, obtained a guide at less than the usual price, through the anxiety of the latter to arrive in time to have his portrait taken. The shortness of the imperfect daylight, however, obliged me to decline further offers, especially as there were few Lapps of pure, unmixed blood among my visitors.

Kautokeino was the northern limit of my winter journey. I proposed visiting Altengaard in the summer, on my way to the North Cape, and there is nothing in the barren tract between the two places to repay the excursion. I had already seen enough of the Lapps to undeceive me in regard to previously-formed opinions respecting them, and to take away the desire for a more intimate acquaintance. In features, as in language, they resemble the Finns sufficiently to indicate an ethnological relationship. I could distinguish little, if any, trace of the Mongolian blood in them. They are fatter, fairer, and altogether handsomer than the nomadic offshoots of that race, and resemble the Esquimaux (to whom they have been compared) in nothing but their rude, filthy manner of life. Von Buch ascribes the difference in stature and physical stamina between them and the Finns to the use of the vapor bath by the latter and the aversion to water of the former. They are a race of Northern gipsies, and it is the restless blood of this class rather than any want of natural capacity which retards their civilisation. Although the whole race has been converted to Christianity, and education is universal among them—no Lapp being permitted to marry until he can read—they have but in too many respects substituted one form of superstition for another. The spread of temperance among them, however, has produced excellent results, and, in point of morality, they are fully up to the prevailing standard in Sweden and Norway. The practice, formerly imputed to them, of sharing their connubial rights with the guests who visited them, is wholly extinct,—if it ever existed. Theft is the most usual offence, but crimes of a more heinous character are rare.

Whatever was picturesque in the Lapps has departed with their paganism. No wizards now ply their trade of selling favorable winds to the Norwegian coasters, or mutter their incantations to discover the concealed grottoes of silver in the Kiolen mountains. It is in vain, therefore, for the romantic traveller to seek in them the materials for weird stories and wild adventures. They are frightfully pious and commonplace. Their conversion has destroyed what little of barbaric poetry there might have been in their composition, and, instead of chanting to the spirits of the winds, and clouds, and mountains, they have become furious ranters, who frequently claim to be possessed by the Holy Ghost. As human beings, the change, incomplete as it is, is nevertheless to their endless profit; but as objects of interest to the traveller, it has been to their detriment. It would be far more picturesque to describe a sabaoth of Lapland witches than a prayer-meeting of shouting converts, yet no friend of his race could help rejoicing to see the latter substituted for the former. In proportion, therefore, as the Lapps have become enlightened (like all other savage tribes), they have become less interesting. Retaining nearly all that is repulsive in their habits of life, they have lost the only peculiarities which could persuade one to endure the inconveniences of a closer acquaintance.

I have said that the conversion of the Lapps was in some respects the substitution of one form of superstition for another. A tragic exemplification of this fact, which produced the greatest excitement throughout the North, took place in Kautokeino four years ago. Through the preaching of Lestadius and other fanatical missionaries, a spiritual epidemic, manifesting itself in the form of visions, trances, and angelic possessions, broke out among the Lapps. It infected the whole country, and gave rise to numerous disturbances and difficulties in Kautokeino. It was no unusual thing for one of the congregation to arise during church service, declare that he was inspired by the Holy Ghost, and call upon those present to listen to his revelations. The former Lansman arrested the most prominent of the offenders, and punished them with fine and imprisonment. This begat feelings of hatred on the part of the fanatics, which soon ripened into a conspiracy. The plot was matured during the summer months, when the Lapps descended towards the Norwegian coast with their herds of reindeer.

I have the account of what followed from the lips of Pastor Hvoslef, who was then stationed here, and was also one of the victims of their resentment. Early one morning in October, when the inhabitants were returning from their summer wanderings, he was startled by the appearance of the resident merchant's wife, who rushed into his house in a frantic state, declaring that her husband was murdered. He fancied that the woman was bewildered by some sudden fright, and, in order to quiet her, walked over to the merchant's house. Here he found the unfortunate man lying dead upon the floor, while a band of about thirty Lapps, headed by the principal fanatics, were forcing the house of the Lansman, whom they immediately dispatched with their knives and clubs. They then seized the pastor and his wife, beat them severely with birch-sticks, and threatened them with death unless they would acknowledge the divine mission of the so-called prophets.

The greater part of the day passed in uncertainty and terror, but towards evening appeared a crowd of friendly Lapps from the neighbouring villages, who, after having received information, through fugitives, of what had happened, armed themselves and marched to the rescue. A fight ensued, in which the conspirators were beaten, and the prisoners delivered out of their hands. The friendly Lapps, unable to take charge of all the criminals, and fearful lest some of them might escape during the night, adopted the alternative of beating every one of them so thoroughly that they were all found the next morning in the same places where they had been left the evening before. They were tried at Alten, the two ringleaders executed, and a number of the others sent to the penitentiary at Christiania. This summary justice put a stop to all open and violent manifestations of religious frenzy, but it still exists to some extent, though only indulged in secret.

We paid a visit to Pastor Hvoslef on Monday, and had the pleasure of his company to dinner in the evening. He is a Christian gentleman in the best sense of the term, and though we differed in matters of belief, I was deeply impressed with his piety and sincerity. Madame Hvoslef and two rosy little Arctic blossoms shared his exile—for this is nothing less than an exile to a man of cultivation and intellectual tastes. In his house I saw—the last thing one would have expected to find in the heart of Lapland—a piano. Madame Hvoslef, who is an accomplished performer, sat down to it, and gave us the barcarole from Massaniello. While in the midst of a maze of wild Norwegian melodies, I saw the Pastor whisper something in her ear. At once, to our infinite amazement, she boldly struck up "Yankee Doodle!" Something like an American war-whoop began to issue from Braisted's mouth, but was smothered in time to prevent an alarm. "How on earth did that air get into Lapland!" I asked. "I heard Ole Bull play it at Christiania," said Madame Hvoslef, "and learned it from memory afterwards."

The weather changed greatly after our arrival. From 23 deg. below zero on Sunday evening, it rose to 8-1/2 deg. above, on Monday night, with a furious hurricane of snow from the north. We sent for our deer from the hills early on Tuesday morning, in order to start on our return to Muoniovara. The Lapps, however, have an Oriental disregard of time, and as there was no chance of our getting off before noon, we improved part of the delay in visiting the native schools and some of the earthen huts, or, rather, dens, in which most of the inhabitants live. There were two schools, each containing about twenty scholars—fat, greasy youngsters, swaddled in reindeer skins, with blue eyes, light brown or yellow hair, and tawny red cheeks, wherever the original colour could be discerned. As the rooms were rather warm, the odour of Lapp childhood was not quite as fresh as a cowslip, and we did not tarry long among them.

Approaching the side of a pile of dirt covered with snow, we pushed one after another, against a small square door, hung at such a slant that it closed of itself, and entered an ante-den used as a store-room. Another similar door ushered us into the house, a rude, vaulted space, framed with poles, sticks and reindeer hides, and covered compactly with earth, except a narrow opening in the top to let out the smoke from a fire kindled in the centre. Pieces of reindeer hide, dried flesh, bags of fat, and other articles, hung from the frame and dangled against our heads as we entered. The den was not more than five feet high by about eight feet in diameter. The owner, a jolly, good-humoured Lapp, gave me a low wooden stool, while his wife, with a pipe in her mouth, squatted down on the hide which served for a bed and looked at me with amiable curiosity. I contemplated them for a while with my eyes full of tears (the smoke being very thick,) until finally both eyes and nose could endure no more, and I sought the open air again.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] This was written in Lapland; and at the same time my friend Dr. Elisha Kent Kane, of immortal memory, lay upon his death-bed, in Havana. I retain the words, which I then supposed would meet his eye, that I may add my own tribute of sorrow for the untimely death of one of the truest, bravest, and noblest-hearted men I ever knew.



CHAPTER XII.

THE RETURN TO MUONIOVARA.

While at Kautokeino I completed my Lapp outfit by purchasing a scarlet cap, stuffed with eider down, a pair of boellinger, or reindeer leggings, and the komager, or broad, boat-shaped shoes, filled with dry soft hay, and tightly bound around the ankles, which are worn by everybody in Lapland. Attired in these garments, I made a very passable Lapp, barring a few superfluous inches of stature, and at once realized the prudence of conforming in one's costume to the native habits. After the first feeling of awkwardness is over, nothing can be better adapted to the Polar Winter than the Lapp dress. I walked about at first with the sensation of having each foot in the middle of a large feather bed, but my blood preserved its natural warmth even after sitting for hours in an open pulk. The boellinger, fastened around the thighs by drawing-strings of reindeer sinew, are so covered by the poesk that one becomes, for all practical purposes, a biped reindeer, and may wallow in the snow as much as he likes without the possibility of a particle getting through his hide.

The temperature was, nevertheless, singularly mild when we set out on our return. There had been a violent storm of wind and snow the previous night, after which the mercury rose to 16 deg. above zero. We waited until noon before our reindeers could be collected, and then set off, with the kind farewell wishes of the four Norwegian inhabitants of the place. I confess to a feeling of relief when we turned our faces southward, and commenced our return to daylight. We had at last seen the Polar night, the day without a sunrise; we had driven our reindeer under the arches of the aurora borealis; we had learned enough of the Lapps to convince us that further acquaintance would be of little profit; and it now seemed time to attempt an escape from the limbo of Death into which we had ventured. Our faces had already begun to look pale and faded from three weeks of alternate darkness and twilight, but the novelty of our life preserved us from any feeling of depression and prevented any perceptible effect upon our bodily health, such as would assuredly have followed a protracted experience of the Arctic Winter. Every day now would bring us further over the steep northern shoulder of the Earth, and nearer to that great heart of life in the south, where her blood pulsates with eternal warmth. Already there was a perceptible increase of the sun's altitude, and at noonday a thin upper slice of his disc was visible for about half an hour.

By Herr Berger's advice, we engaged as guide to Lippajarvi, a Lapp, who had formerly acted as postman, and professed to be able to find his way in the dark. The wind had blown so violently that it was probable we should have to break our own road for the whole distance. Leaving Kautokeino, we travelled up the valley of a frozen stream, towards desolate ranges of hills, or rather shelves of the table-land, running north-east and south-west. They were spotted with patches of stunted birch, hardly rising above the snow. Our deer were recruited, and we made very good progress while the twilight lasted. At some Lapp tents, where we stopped to make inquiries about the ice, I was much amused by the appearance of a group of children, who strikingly resembled bear-cubs standing on their hind legs. They were coated with reindeer hide from head to foot, with only a little full-moon of tawny red face visible.

We stopped at Siepe an hour to bait the deer. The single wooden hut was crowded with Lapps, one of whom, apparently the owner, spoke a little Norwegian. He knew who we were, and asked me many questions about America. He was most anxious to know what was our religion, and what course the Government took with regard to different sects. He seemed a little surprised, and not less pleased, to hear that all varieties of belief were tolerated, and that no one sect possessed any peculiar privileges over another. (It is only very recently that dissenters from the Orthodox Church have been allowed to erect houses of worship in Norway.) While we were speaking on these matters, an old woman, kneeling near us, was muttering prayers to herself, wringing her hands, sobbing, and giving other evidences of violent religious excitement. This appeared to be a common occurrence, as none of the Lapps took the slightest notice of it. I have no doubt that much of that hallucination which led to the murders at Kautokeino still exists among the people, kept alive by secret indulgence. Those missionaries have much to answer for who have planted the seeds of spiritual disease among this ignorant and impressible race.

The night was cold and splendidly clear. We were obliged to leave the river on account of rotten ice, and took to the open plains, where our deers sank to their bellies in the loose snow. The leading animals became fractious, and we were obliged to stop every few minutes, until their paroxysms subsided. I could not perceive that the Lapps themselves exercised much more control over them than we, who were new to the business. The domesticated reindeer still retains his wild instincts, and never fails to protest against the necessity of labour. The most docile will fly from the track, plunge, face about and refuse to draw, when you least expect it. They are possessed by an incorrigible stupidity. Their sagacity applies only to their animal wants, and they seem almost totally deficient in memory. They never become attached to men, and the only sign of recognition they show, is sometimes to allow certain persons to catch them more easily than others. In point of speed they are not equal to the horse, and an hour's run generally exhausts them. When one considers their size, however, their strength and power of endurance seem marvellous. Herr Berger informed me that he had driven a reindeer from Alten to Kautokeino, 112 miles, in twenty-six hours, and from the latter place to Muoniovara in thirty. I was also struck by the remarkable adaptation of the animal to its uses. Its hoof resembles that of the camel, being formed for snow, as the latter for sand. It is broad, cloven and flexible, the separate divisions spreading out so as to present a resisting surface when the foot is set down, and falling together when it is lifted. Thus in snow where a horse would founder in the space of a hundred yards, the deer easily works his way, mile after mile, drawing the sliding, canoe-like pulk, burdened with his master's weight, after him.

The Lapps generally treat their animals with the greatest patience and forbearance, but otherwise do not exhibit any particular attachment for them. They are indebted to them for food, clothing, habitation and conveyance, and their very existence may therefore almost be said to depend on that of their herds. It is surprising, however, what a number of deer are requisite for the support of a family. Von Buch says that a Lapp who has a hundred deer is poor, and will be finally driven to descend to the coast, and take to fishing. The does are never made to labour, but are kept in the woods for milking and breeding. Their milk is rich and nourishing, but less agreeable to the taste than that of the cow. The cheese made from it is strong and not particularly palatable. It yields an oil which is the sovereign specific for frozen flesh. The male deer used for draft are always castrated, which operation the old Lapp women perform by slowly chewing the glands between their teeth until they are reduced to a pulp, without wounding the hide.

During this journey I had ample opportunity of familiarising myself with reindeer travel. It is picturesque enough at the outset, but when the novelty of the thing is worn off nothing is left but a continual drain upon one's patience. Nothing can exceed the coolness with which your deer jumps off the track, slackens his tow-rope, turns around and looks you in the face, as much as to say: "What are you going to do about it?" The simplicity and stupidity of his countenance seem to you to be admirably feigned, and unless you are an old hand you are inevitably provoked. This is particularly pleasant on the marshy table-lands of Lapland, where, if he takes a notion to bolt with you, your pulk bounces over the hard tussocks, sheers sideways down the sudden pitches, or swamps itself in beds of loose snow. Harness a frisky sturgeon to a "dug-out," in a rough sea, and you will have some idea of this method of travelling. While I acknowledge the Providential disposition of things which has given the reindeer to the Lapp, I cannot avoid thanking Heaven that I am not a Lapp, and that I shall never travel again with reindeer.

The aberrations of our deer obliged us to take a very sinuous course. Sometimes we headed north, and sometimes south, and the way seemed so long that I mistrusted the quality of our guide; but at last a light shone ahead. It was the hut of Eitajarvi. A lot of pulks lay in front of it, and the old Finn stood already with a fir torch, waiting to light us in. On arriving, Anton was greeted by his sister Caroline, who had come thus far from Muoniovara, on her way to visit some relatives at Altengaard. She was in company with some Finns, who had left Lippajarvi the day previous, but losing their way in the storm, had wandered about for twenty-four hours, exposed to its full violence. Think of an American girl of eighteen sitting in an open pulk, with the thermometer at zero, a furious wind and blinding snow beating upon her, and neither rest nor food for a day! There are few who would survive twelve hours, yet Caroline was as fresh, lively, and cheerful as ever, and immediately set about cooking our supper. We found a fire in the cold guest's room, the place swept and cleaned, and a good bed of deerskins in one corner. The temperature had sunk to 12 deg. below zero, and the wind blew through wide cracks in the floor, but between the fire and the reciprocal warmth of our bodies we secured a comfortable sleep—a thing of the first consequence in such a climate.

Our deer started well in the morning, and the Lapp guide knew his way perfectly. The wind had blown so strongly that the track was cleared rather than filled, and we slipped up the long slopes at a rapid rate. I recognised the narrow valley where we first struck the northern streams, and the snowy plain beyond, where our first Lapp guide lost his way. By this time it was beginning to grow lighter, showing us the dreary wastes of table-land which we had before crossed in the fog. North of us was a plain of unbroken snow, extending to a level line on the horizon, where it met the dark violet sky. Were the colour changed, it would have perfectly represented the sandy plateaus of the Nubian Desert, in so many particulars does the extreme North imitate the extreme South. But the sun, which never deserts the desert, had not yet returned to these solitudes. Far, far away, on the edge of the sky, a dull red glimmer showed where he moved. Not the table-land of Pamir, in Thibet, the cradle of the Oxus and the Indus, but this lower Lapland terrace, is entitled to the designation of the "Roof of the World." We were on the summit, creeping along her mountain rafters, and looking southward, off her shelving eaves, to catch a glimpse of the light playing on her majestic front. Here, for once, we seemed to look down on the horizon, and I thought of Europe and the Tropics as lying below. Our journey northward had been an ascent but now the world's steep sloped downward before us into sunshine and warmer air. In ascending the Andes or the Himalayas, you pass through all climates and belts of vegetation between the Equator and the Pole, and so a journey due north, beyond the circle of the sun, simply reverses the phenomenon, and impresses one like the ascent of a mountain on the grandest possible scale.

In two hours from the time we left Eitajarvi we reached the Lapp encampment. The herds of deer had been driven in from the woods, and were clustered among the birch bushes around the tents. We had some difficulty in getting our own deer past them, until the Lapps came to our assistance. We made no halt, but pushed on, through deeper snows than before, over the desolate plain. As far as Palajarvi we ran with our gunwales below the snow-level, while the foremost pulks were frequently swamped under the white waves that broke over them. We passed through a picturesque gorge between two hills about 500 feet high, and beyond it came upon wide lakes covered deep with snow, under which there was a tolerable track, which the leading deer was able to find with his feet. Beyond these lakes there was a ridge, which we had no sooner crossed than a dismally grand prospect opened before us. We overlooked a valley-basin, marked with belts of stunted birch, and stretching away for several miles to the foot of a bleak snowy mountain, which I at once recognised as Lippavara. After rounding its western point and turning southward again, we were rejoiced with the sight of some fir trees, from which the snow had been shaken, brightening even with their gloomy green the white monotony of the Lapland wilderness. It was like a sudden gleam of sunshine.

We reached Lippajarvi at twelve, having made twenty-eight miles of hard travel in five hours. Here we stopped two hours to cook a meal and change our deer, and then pushed on to reach Palajoki the same night. We drove through the birch woods, no longer glorious as before, for the snow had been shaken off, and there was no sunset light to transfigure them. Still on, ploughing through deep seas in the gathering darkness, over marshy plains, all with a slant southward, draining into the Muonio, until we reached the birchen ridge of Suontajarvi, with its beautiful firs rising here and there, silent and immovable. Even the trees have no voices in the North, let the wind blow as it will. There is nothing to be heard but the sharp whistle of the dry snow—the same dreary music which accompanies the African simoom. The night was very dark, and we began to grow exceedingly tired of sitting flat in our pulks. I looked sharp for the Palajok Elv, the high fir-fringed banks of which I remembered, for they denoted our approach to the Muonio; but it was long, long before we descended from the marshes upon the winding road of snow-covered ice. In vain I shifted my aching legs and worked my benumbed hands, looking out ahead for the embouchure of the river. Braisted and I encouraged each other, whenever we were near enough to hear, by the reminder that we had only one more day with reindeer. After a long time spent in this way, the high banks flattened, level snows and woods succeeded, and we sailed into the port of Palajoki.

The old Finnish lady curtsied very deeply as she recognised us, and hastened to cook our coffee and reindeer, and to make us a good bed with sheets. On our former visit the old lady and her sons had watched us undress and get into bed, but on this occasion three buxom daughters, of ages ranging from sixteen to twenty-two, appeared about the time for retiring, and stationed themselves in a row near the door, where they watched us with silent curiosity. As we had shown no hesitation in the first case, we determined to be equally courageous now, and commenced removing our garments with great deliberation, allowing them every opportunity of inspecting their fashion and the manner of wearing them. The work thus proceeded in mutual silence until we were nearly ready for repose, when Braisted, by pulling off a stocking and displaying a muscular calf, suddenly alarmed the youngest, who darted to the door and rushed out. The second caught the panic, and followed, and the third and oldest was therefore obliged to do likewise, though with evident reluctance. I was greatly amused at such an unsophisticated display of curiosity. The perfect composure of the girls, and the steadiness with which they watched us, showed that they were quite unconscious of having committed any impropriety.

The morning was clear and cold. Our deer had strayed so far into the woods that we did not get under way before the forenoon twilight commenced. We expected to find a broken road down the Muonio, but a heavy snow had fallen the day previous, and the track was completely filled. Long Isaac found so much difficulty in taking the lead, his deer constantly bolting from the path, that Anton finally relieved him, and by standing upright in the pulk and thumping the deer's flanks, succeeded in keeping up the animal's spirits and forcing a way. It was slow work, however, and the sun, rolling his whole disc above the horizon, announced midday before we reached Kyrkessuando. As we drove up to the little inn, we were boisterously welcomed by Hal, Herr Forstrom's brown wolf-dog, who had strayed thus far from home. Our deer were beginning to give out, and we were very anxious to reach Muoniovara in time for dinner, so we only waited long enough to give the animals a feed of moss and procure some hot milk for ourselves.

The snow-storm, which had moved over a narrow belt of country, had not extended below this place, and the road was consequently well broken. We urged our deer into a fast trot, and slid down the icy floor of the Muonio, past hills whose snows flashed scarlet and rose-orange in the long splendour of sunset. Hunger and the fatigue which our journey was producing at last, made us extremely sensitive to the cold, though it was not more than 20 deg. below zero. My blood became so chilled, that I was apprehensive the extremities would freeze, and the most vigorous motion of the muscles barely sufficed to keep at bay the numbness which attacked them. At dusk we drove through Upper Muonioniska, and our impatience kept the reindeers so well in motion that before five o'clock (although long after dark,) we were climbing the well-known slope to Herr Forstrom's house at Muoniovara. Here we found the merchant, not yet departed to the Lapp fair at Karessuando, and Mr. Wolley, who welcomed us with the cordiality of an old friend. Our snug room at the carpenter's was already warmed and set in order, and after our reindeer drive of 250 miles through the wildest parts of Lapland, we felt a home-like sense of happiness and comfort in smoking our pipes before the familiar iron stove.

The trip to Kautokeino embraced about all I saw of Lapp life during the winter journey. The romance of the tribe, as I have already said, has totally departed with their conversion, while their habits of life scarcely improved in the least, are sufficiently repulsive to prevent any closer experience than I have had, unless the gain were greater. Mr. Wolley, who had been three years in Lapland, also informed me that the superstitious and picturesque traditions of the people have almost wholly disappeared, and the coarse mysticism and rant which they have engrafted upon their imperfect Christianity does not differ materially from the same excrescence in more civilised races. They have not even (the better for them, it is true) any characteristic and picturesque vices—but have become, certainly to their own great advantage, a pious, fanatical, moral, ignorant and commonplace people. I have described them exactly as I found them, and as they have been described to me by those who knew them well. The readers of "Afraja" may be a little disappointed with the picture, as I confess I have been (in an artistic sense, only) with the reality; but the Lapps have lost many vices with their poetic diablerie, and nobody has a right to complain.

It is a pity that many traits which are really characteristic and interesting in a people cannot be mentioned on account of that morbid prudery so prevalent in our day, which insults the unconscious innocence of nature. Oh, that one could imitate the honest unreserve of the old travellers—the conscientiousness which insisted on telling not only the truth, but the whole truth! This is scarcely possible, now; but at the same time I have not been willing to emasculate my accounts of the tribes of men to the extent perhaps required by our ultra-conventionalism, and must insist, now and then, on being allowed a little Flemish fidelity to nature. In the description of races, as in the biography of individuals, the most important half of life is generally omitted.



CHAPTER XIII.

ABOUT THE FINNS.

We remained but another day in Muoniovara, after our return from Kautokeino, and this was devoted to preparations for the return journey to Haparanda. My first intention had been to make an excursion across the country to the iron mountains of Gellivara, thence to Quickjock, at the foot of the Northern Alp, Sulitelma, "Queen of Snows," and so southward through the heart of Swedish Lappmark; but I found that such a journey would be attended with much difficulty and delay. In the first place, there were no broken roads at this season, except on the routes of inland trade; much of the intermediate country is a wilderness, where one must camp many nights in the snow; food was very scarce, the Lapps having hardly enough for their own necessities, and the delays at every place where guides and reindeer must be changed, would have prolonged the journey far beyond the time which I had allotted to the North. I began to doubt, also, whether one would be sufficiently repaid for the great fatigue and danger which such a trip would have involved. There is no sensation of which one wearies sooner than disgust; and, much as I enjoy a degree of barbarism in milder climates, I suspected that a long companionship with Lapps in a polar winter would be a little too much for me. So I turned my face toward Stockholm, heartily glad that I had made the journey, yet not dissatisfied that I was looking forward to its termination.

Before setting out on our return, I shall devote a few pages to the Finns. For the principal facts concerning them, I am mostly indebted to Mr. Wolley, whose acquaintance with the language, and residence of three years in Lapland, have made him perfectly familiar with the race. As I have already remarked, they are a more picturesque people than the Swedes, with stronger lights and shades of character, more ardent temperaments, and a more deeply-rooted national feeling. They seem to be rather clannish and exclusive, in fact, disliking both Swedes and Russians, and rarely intermarrying with them. The sharply-defined boundaries of language and race, at the head of the Bothnian Gulf, are a striking evidence of this. Like their distant relatives, the Hungarian Magyars, they retain many distinct traces of their remote Asiatic origin. It is partly owing to this fact, and partly to that curious approach of extremes which we observe in nature no less than in humanity, that all suggestive traits of resemblance in these regions point to the Orient rather than to Europe.

I have already described the physical characteristics of the Finns, and have nothing to add, except that I found the same type everywhere, even among the mixed-blooded Quans of Kautokeino—high cheek-bones, square, strong jaws, full yet firm lips, low, broad foreheads, dark eyes and hair, and a deeper, warmer red on the cheeks than on those of the rosy Swedes. The average height is, perhaps, not quite equal to that of the latter race, but in physical vigor I can see no inferiority, and there are among them many men of splendid stature, strength, and proportion. Von Buch ascribes the marked difference of stature between the Finns and the Lapps, both living under precisely the same influences of climate, to the more cleanly habits of the former and their constant use of the vapor-bath; but I have always found that blood and descent, even where the variation from the primitive stock is but slight, are more potent than climate or custom. The Finns have been so long christianised and civilised (according to the European idea of civilisation), that whatever peculiar characteristic they retain must be looked for mainly in those habits which illustrate their mental and moral natures. In their domestic life, they correspond in most particulars to the Swedes of the same class.

They are passionate, and therefore prone to excesses—imaginative, and therefore, owing to their scanty education, superstitious. Thus the religious element, especially the fantastic aberrations thereof engendered by Lestadius and other missionaries, while it has tended greatly to repress the vice, has in the same proportion increased the weakness. Drunkenness, formerly so prevalent as to be the curse of Lapland, is now exceedingly rare, and so are the crimes for which it is responsible. The most flagrant case which has occurred in the neighborhood of Muoniovara for some years past, was that of a woman who attempted to poison her father-in-law by mixing the scrapings of lucifer matches with his coffee, in order to get rid of the burden of supporting him. Although the evidence was very convincing, the matter was hushed up, in order to avoid a scandal upon the Church, the woman being a steadfast member. In regard to drunkenness, I have heard it stated that, while it was formerly no unusual thing for a Finn to be frozen to death in this condition, the same catastrophe never befell a Lapp, owing to his mechanical habit of keeping his arms and feet in motion—a habit which he preserves even while utterly stupefied and unconscious.

A singular spiritual epidemic ran through Polar Finland three or four years ago, contemporary with the religious excitement in Norwegian Lapland, and partly occasioned by the same reckless men. It consisted of sobbings, strong nervous convulsions, and occasional attacks of that state of semi-consciousness called trance, the subjects of which were looked upon as having been possessed by the Spirit, and transported to the other world, where visions like those of John on Patmos, were revealed to them. The missionaries, instead of repressing this unhealthy delusion, rather encouraged it, and even went so far as to publish as supernatural revelations, the senseless ravings of these poor deluded people. The epidemic spread until there was scarcely a family some member of which was not affected by it, and even yet it has not wholly subsided. The fit would come upon the infected persons at any time, no matter where they were, or how employed. It usually commenced with a convulsive catching of the breath, which increased in violence, accompanied by sobbing, and sometimes by cries or groans, until the victim was either exhausted or fell into a trance, which lasted some hours. The persons who were affected were always treated with the greatest respect during the attack no one ventured to smile, no matter how absurd a form the visitation might take. The principle of abstinence from strong drinks was promulgated about the same time, and much of the temperance of the Finns and Lapps is undoubtedly owing the impression made upon their natures by these phenomena.

The same epidemic has often prevailed in the United States, England and Germany. The barking and dancing mania which visited Kentucky thirty or forty years ago, and the performances of the "Holy Rollers," were even more ludicrous and unnatural. Such appearances are a puzzle alike to the physiologist and the philosopher; their frequency shows that they are based on some weak spot in human nature; and in proportion as we pity the victims we have a right to condemn those who sow the seeds of the pestilence. True religion is never spasmodic; it is calm as the existence of God. I know of nothing more shocking than such attempts to substitute rockets and blue lights for Heaven's eternal sunshine.

So far as regards their moral character, the Finns have as little cause for reproach as any other people. We found them as universally honest and honourable in their dealings as the Northern Swedes, who are not surpassed in the world in this respect. Yet their countenances express more cunning and reserve, and the virtue may be partly a negative one, resulting from that indolence which characterises the frigid and the torrid zone. Thus, also, notwithstanding physical signs which denote more ardent animal passions than their neighbors, they are equally chaste, and have as high a standard of sexual purity. Illegitimate births are quite rare, and are looked upon as a lasting shame and disgrace to both parties. The practice of "bundling" which, until recently, was very common among Finnish lovers, very seldom led to such results, and their marriage speedily removed the dishonour. Their manners, socially, in this respect, are curiously contradictory. Thus, while both sexes freely mingle in the bath, in a state of nature, while the women unhesitatingly scrub, rub and dry their husbands, brothers or male friends, while the salutation for both sexes is an embrace with the right arm, a kiss is considered grossly immodest and improper. A Finnish woman expressed the greatest astonishment and horror, at hearing from Mr. Wolley that it was a very common thing in England for a husband and wife to kiss each other. "If my husband were to attempt such a thing," said she, "I would beat him about the ears so that he would feel it for a week." Yet in conversation they are very plain and unreserved, though by no means gross. They acknowledge that such things as generation, gestation and parturition exist, and it may be that this very absence of mystery tends to keep chaste so excitable and imaginative a race.

Notwithstanding their superstition, their love of poetry, and the wild, rich, musical character of their language, there is a singular absence of legendary lore in this part of Finland. Perhaps this is owing to the fact that their ancestors have emigrated hither, principally within the last two centuries, from the early home of the race—Tavastland, the shores of the Pajana Lake, and the Gulf of Finland. It is a difficult matter to preserve family traditions among them, or even any extended genealogical record, from the circumstance that a Finn takes his name, not only from his father's surname, but from his residence. Thus, Isaaki takes the name of "Anderinpoika" from his father Anderi, and adds "Niemi," the local name of his habitation. His son Nils will be called Nils Isakipoika, with the addition of the name of his residence, wherever that may be; and his family name will be changed as often as his house. There may be a dozen different names in the course of one generation, and the list soon becomes too complicated and confused for an uneducated memory. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Finn knows very little except about what happened during his own life, or, at best, his father's. I never heard the Kalewala spoken of, and doubt very much whether it is known to the natives of this region. The only songs we heard, north of Haparanda, were hymns—devout, but dismal. There must be ballads and household songs yet alive, but the recent spiritual fever has silenced them for the time.

I was at first a little surprised to find the natives of the North so slow, indolent and improvident. We have an idea that a cold climate is bracing and stimulating—ergo, the further north you go, the more active and energetic you will find the people. But the touch of ice is like that of fire. The tropics relax, the pole benumbs, and the practical result is the same in both cases. In the long, long winter, when there are but four hours of twilight to twenty of darkness—when the cows are housed, the wood cut, the hay gathered, the barley bran and fir bark stowed away for bread, and the summer's catch of fish salted—what can a man do, when his load of wood or hay is hauled home, but eat, gossip and sleep? To bed at nine, and out of it at eight in the morning, smoking and dozing between the slow performance of his few daily duties, he becomes at last as listless and dull as a hibernating bear. In the summer he has perpetual daylight, and need not hurry. Besides, why should he give himself special trouble to produce an unusually large crop of flax or barley, when a single night may make his labours utterly profitless? Even in midsummer the blighting frost may fall: nature seems to take a cruel pleasure in thwarting him: he is fortunate only through chance; and thus a sort of Arab fatalism and acquiescence in whatever happens, takes possession of him. His improvidence is also to be ascribed to the same cause. Such fearful famine and suffering as existed in Finland and Lapland during the winter of 1856-7 might no doubt have been partially prevented, but no human power could have wholly forestalled it.

The polar zone was never designed for the abode of man. In the pre-Adamite times, when England was covered with palm-forests, and elephants ranged through Siberia, things may have been widely different, and the human race then (if there was any) may have planted vineyards on these frozen hills and lived in bamboo huts. But since the geological emeutes and revolutions, and the establishment of the terrestrial regime, I cannot for the life of me see whatever induced beings endowed with human reason, to transplant themselves hither and here take root, while such vast spaces lie waste and useless in more genial climes. A man may be pardoned for remaining where the providences of birth and education have thrown him, but I cannot excuse the first colonists for inflicting such a home upon centuries of descendants. Compare even their physical life—the pure animal satisfaction in existence, for that is not a trifling matter after all—with that of the Nubians, or the Malays, or the Polynesians! It is the difference between a poor hare, hunted and worried year after year by hounds and visions of hounds and the familiar, confiding wren, happiest of creatures, because secure of protection everywhere. Oh that the circle of the ecliptic would coincide with that of the equator! That the sun would shine from pole to pole for evermore, and all lands be habitable and hospitable, and the Saharan sands (according to Fourier) be converted into bowers of the Hesperides, and the bitter salt of the ocean brine (vide the same author) become delicious champagne punch, wherein it would be pleasure to drown! But I am afraid that mankind is not yet fit for such a millennium.

Meanwhile it is truly comforting to find that even here, where men live under such discouraging circumstances that one would charitably forgive them the possession of many vices, they are, according to their light, fully as true, and honest, and pure, as the inhabitants of the most favoured countries in the world. Love for each other, trust in each other, faith in God, are all vital among them; and their shortcomings are so few and so easily accounted for, that one must respect them and feel that his faith in man is not lessened in knowing them. You who spend your lives at home can never know how much good there is in the world. In rude unrefined races, evil naturally rises to the surface, and one can discern the character of the stream beneath its scum. It is only in the highest civilisation where the outside is goodly to the eye, too often concealing an interior foul to the core.

But I have no time to moralise on these matters. My duty is that of a chronicler; and if I perform that conscientiously, the lessons which my observations suggest will need no pointing out. I cannot close this chapter, however, without confessing my obligations to Mr. Wolley, whose thorough knowledge of the Lapps and Finns enabled me to test the truth of my own impressions, and to mature opinions which I should otherwise, from my own short experience, have hesitated in stating. Mr. Wolley, with that pluck and persistence of English character which Emerson so much admires, had made himself master of all that Lapland can furnish to the traveller, but intended remaining another year for scientific purposes. If he gives to the world—as I hope and trust he will—the result of this long and patient inquiry and investigation, we shall have at last a standard authority for this little-known corner of Europe. We were also indebted to Mr. Wolley for much personal kindness, which I take pleasure in acknowledging in the only way he cannot prevent.



CHAPTER XIV.

EXPERIENCES OF ARCTIC WEATHER.

We bade a final adieu to Muoniovara on the afternoon of the 24th of January, leaving Mr. Wolley to wait for June and the birds in that dismal seclusion. Instead of resuming skjuts, we engaged horses as far as Kengis from Herr Forstrom and a neighbouring Finn, with a couple of shock-headed natives as postillions. Our sleds were mounted upon two rough Finnish sledges, the only advantage of which was to make harder work for the horses—but the people would have it so. The sun was down, but a long, long twilight succeeded, with some faint show of a zodiacal light. There was a tolerable track on the river, but our Finns walked their horses the whole way, and we were nearly seven hours in making Parkajoki. The air was very sharp; my nose, feet and hands kept me busily employed, and I began to fear that I was becoming unusually sensitive to cold, for the thermometer indicated but 15 deg. below zero when we started. At Parkajoki, however, my doubts were removed and my sensations explained, on finding that the temperature had fallen to 44 deg. below.

We slept warmly and well on our old bed of reindeer skins, in one corner of the milk-room. When Braisted, who rose first, opened the door, a thick white mist burst in and rolled heavily along the floor. I went out, attired only in my shirt and drawers, to have a look at the weather. I found the air very still and keen, though not painfully cold—but I was still full of the warmth of sleep. The mercury, however, had sunk into the very bulb of the thermometer, and was frozen so solid that I held it in the full glare of the fire for about a minute and a half before it thawed sufficiently to mount. The temperature was probably 50 deg. below zero, if not more—greater than any we had yet experienced. But it was six o'clock, and we must travel. Fortifying ourselves with coffee and a little meat, and relying for defence in case of extremity on a bottle of powerful rum with which we had supplied ourselves, we muffled up with more than usual care, and started for Kihlangi.

We devoted ourselves entirely to keeping warm, and during the ride of six hours suffered very little except from the gradual diminution of our bodily temperature. It was a dreary journey, following the course of the Muonio between black, snow-laden forests. The sun rose to a height of seven or eight degrees at meridian; when we came over the same road, on our way north, he only showed half his disc. At Kihlangi the people recognised us, and were as well disposed as their stupidity would allow. The old woman cooked part of our reindeer joint, which, with half a dozen cups of strong coffee, brought back a comfortable warmth to our extremities. There were still twenty-four miles to be traversed; the horses were already exhausted, and the temperature only rose to -42 deg. at midday, after which it fell again. We had a terrible journey. Step by step the horses slowly pulled us through the snow, every hour seeming lengthened to a day, as we worked our benumbed fingers and toes until the muscles were almost powerless, and yet it was dangerous to cease. Gradually the blood grew colder in the main channels; insidious chills succeeded, followed by a drowsy torpor, like that which is produced by a heavy dose of opium, until we were fain to have recourse to the rum, a horrid, vitriolic beverage, which burned our throats and stomachs like melted lead, yet gave us a temporary relief.

We almost despaired of reaching Jokijalka, on finding, about ten o'clock at night, that our postillions had taken us to the village of Kolare, and stopped before a large log house, where they seemed to think we would spend the night. Everybody had gone to bed, we knew not where we were, and had set our hearts upon the comfortable guest's room at Jokijalka. It was impossible to make the fellows understand me, but they saw that we were angry, and after a short consultation passed on. We again entered the snowy woods, which were dimly lighted up by an aurora behind us—a strange, mysterious, ghastly illumination, like the phosphorescent glow of a putrefying world. We were desperately cold, our very blood freezing in our veins, and our limbs numb and torpid. To keep entirely awake was impossible. We talked incessantly, making random answers, as continual fleeting dreams crossed the current of our consciousness. A heavy thump on the back was pardoned by him who received it, and a punch between the eyes would have been thankfully accepted had it been necessary.

At last, at last, Kolare church on the river bank came in sight; we crossed to the Russian side, and drove into the yard of the inn. It was nearly midnight, 47 deg. below zero, and we had been for seventeen hours exposed to such a temperature. Everybody had long been asleep. Locks and bolts are unknown, however, so we rushed into the family room, lit fir splinters, and inspected the faces of the sleeping group until we found the landlord, who arose and kindled a fresh fire in the milk-room. They made us coffee and a small bed, saying that the guest's room was too cold, which indeed it was, being little less than the outside temperature. On opening the door in the morning, the cold air rushed in as thick and white as steam. We had a little meat cooked, but could not eat enough, at such an early hour, to supply much fuel. As for taking anything with us for refreshment on the road, it was out of the question. One of our Finns turned back to Muoniovara with the laziest horse, and we got another from our Russian landlord. But it was a long, long journey to the next station (twenty miles), and the continuance of the extreme cold began to tell upon us. This part of the road was very heavy, as on the journey up—seemingly a belt of exposed country where the snow drifts more than elsewhere.

At Kexisvara we found two of the three pleasant women, who cooked our last fragment of reindeer meat, and sent off for horses to Kardis. We here parted with our other Finn, very glad to get rid of his horse, and take a fresh start. We had no difficulty now in making our way with the people, as they all recognised us and remembered our overpayments; besides which, I had enlarged my Finnish vocabulary at Muoniovara. Our horses were better, our sledges lighter and we were not long in reaching the iron-works at Kengis, which we passed at dusk. I should willingly have called upon the hospitable bruk-patron, but we were in too great a hurry to get out of the frigid zone. We were warmed by our meal, and sang lustily as we slid down the Tornea, finding its dreary, sparsely-settled banks cheerful and smiling by contrast with the frightful solitudes we had left. After some hours the postillion stopped before a house on the Swedish bank to hay his horses. We went up and found a single inhabitant, a man who was splitting fir for torches, but the conversation was limited to alternate puffs from our pipes. There was a fine aurora behind us—a low arch of white fire, with streamers radiating outward, shifting and dancing along its curve.

It was nearly ten o'clock before we reached Kardis, half unconscious from the cold. Our horse ran into the wrong place, and we lost sight of the baggage-sled, our only guide in the darkness. We could no longer trust the animal's instinct, but had to depend on our own, which is perhaps truer: at least, I have often found in myself traces of that blind, unreasoning faculty which guides the bee and the bird, and have never been deceived in trusting to it. We found the inn, and carried a cloud of frozen vapor into the kitchen with us, as we opened the door. The graceful wreaths of ice-smoke rolled before our feet, as before those of ascending saints in the old pictures, but ourselves, hair from head to foot, except two pairs of eyes, which looked out through icy loop-holes, resembled the reverse of saints. I told the landlord in Finnish that we wanted to sleep—"mia tarvi nuku a." He pointed to a bed in the corner, out of which rose a sick girl, of about seventeen, very pale, and evidently suffering. They placed some benches near the fire, removed the bedding, and disposed her as comfortably as the place permitted. We got some hot milk and hard bread, threw some reindeer skins on the vacant truck, and lay down, but not to sleep much. The room was so close and warm, and the dozen persons in it so alternately snoring and restless, that our rest was continually disturbed. We, therefore, rose early and aroused the lazy natives.

The cold was still at 47 deg. below zero. The roads were so much better, however, that we descended again to our own runners, and our lively horses trotted rapidly down the Tornea. The signs of settlement and comparative civilisation which now increased with every mile were really cheering. Part of our way lay through the Swedish woods and over the intervening morasses, where the firs were hung with weepers of black-green moss, and stood solid and silent in their mantles of snow, lighted with a magnificent golden flush at sunrise. The morning was icy-clear and dazzling. There was not the least warmth in the sun's rays, but it was pleasant to see him with a white face once more. We could still stare at him without winking, but the reflection from the jewelled snow pained our eyes. The cold was so keen that we were obliged to keep our faces buried between our caps and boas, leaving only the smallest possible vacancy for the eyes. This was exceedingly disagreeable, on account of the moisture from the breath, which kept the squirrel tails constantly wet and sticky. Nevertheless, the cold penetrated through the little aperture; my eyes and forehead were like marble, the eyeballs like lumps of ice, sending a sharp pang of cold backward into the brain. I realised distinctly how a statue must feel.

Beyond Pello, where we stopped to "fire up," our road lay mostly on the Russian side. While crossing the Tornea at sunset, we met a drove of seventy or eighty reindeer, in charge of a dozen Lapps, who were bringing a cargo from Haparanda. We were obliged to turn off the road and wait until they had passed. The landlord at Juoxengi, who was quite drunk, hailed us with a shout and a laugh, and began talking about Kautokeino. We had some difficulty in getting rid of his conversation, and his importunities for us to stay all night. This was the place where they tried to make us leave, on the way up. I replied to the landlord's torrent of Finnish with some choice specimens of Kentucky oratory, which seemed to make but little impression on him. He gave us excellent horses, however, and we sped away again, by the light of another brilliant auroral arch.

Our long exposure to the extreme cold, coupled as it was with lack of rest and nourishment, now began to tell upon us. Our temperature fell so low that we again had recourse to the rum, which alone, I verily believe, prevented us from freezing bodily. One is locked in the iron embrace of the polar air, until the very life seems to be squeezed out of him. I huddled myself in my poesk, worked my fingers and toes, buried my nose in the damp, frozen fur, and laboured like a Hercules to keep myself awake and alive—but almost in vain. Braisted and I kept watch over each other, or attempted it, for about the only consciousness either of us had was that of the peril of falling asleep. We talked of anything and everything, sang, thumped each other, but the very next minute would catch ourselves falling over the side of the sled. A thousand dreams worried my brain and mixed themselves with my talk; and the absurdities thus created helped to arouse me. Speaking of seeing some wolves in the woods of California, I gravely continued: "I took out my sword, sharpened it on the grindstone and dared him to come on," when a punch in the ribs stopped me. Another time, while talking of hippopotami in the White Nile, I said: "If you want any skins, you must go to the Hudson's Bay Company. They have a depot of them on Vancouver's Island." Braisted gave me much trouble, by assuring me in the most natural wide-awake voice that he was not in the least sleepy, when the reins had dropped from his hands and his head rocked on his shoulder. I could never be certain whether he was asleep or awake. Our only plan was not to let the conversation flag a minute.

At Torakankorwa we changed horses without delay, and hurried on to Matarengi. On turning out of the road to avoid a hay-sled, we were whirled completely over. There was no fun in this, at such a time. I fell head foremost into deep snow, getting a lump in my right eye, which completely blinded me for a time. My forehead, eyebrows, and the bridge of my nose were insufferably painful. On reaching Matarengi I found my nose frozen through, and considerably swollen. The people were in bed, but we went into the kitchen, where a dozen or more were stowed about, and called for the landlord. Three young girls, who were in bed in one corner, rose and dressed themselves in our presence without the least hesitation, boiled some milk, and gave us bread and butter. We had a single small bed, which kept us warm by obliging us to lie close. Sometime in the night, two Swedes arrived, who blustered about and made so much noise, that Braisted finally silenced them by threats of personal violence, delivered in very good English.

In the morning the mercury froze, after showing 49 deg. below zero. The cold was by this time rather alarming, especially after our experiences of the previous day. The air was hazy with the fine, frozen atoms of moisture, a raw wind blew from the north, the sky was like steel which has been breathed upon—in short, the cold was visible to the naked eye. We warmed our gloves and boots, and swathed our heads so completely that not a feature was to be seen. I had a little loophole between my cap and boa, but it was soon filled up with frost from my breath, and helped to keep in the warmth. The road was hard and smooth as marble. We had good horses, and leaving Avasaxa and the polar circle behind us, we sped down the solid bed of the Tornea to Niemis. On the second stage we began to freeze for want of food. The air was really terrible; nobody ventured out of doors who could stay in the house. The smoke was white and dense, like steam; the wind was a blast from the Norseman's hell, and the touch of it on your face almost made you scream. Nothing can be more severe—flaying, branding with a hot iron, cutting with a dull knife, &c., may be something like it, but no worse.

The sun rose through the frozen air a little after nine, and mounted quite high at noon. At Packila we procured some hot milk and smoked reindeer, tolerable horses and a stout boy of fourteen to drive our baggage-sled. Every one we met had a face either frozen, or about to freeze. Such a succession of countenances, fiery red, purple, blue, black almost, with white frost spots, and surrounded with rings of icy hair and fur, I never saw before. We thanked God again and again that our faces were turned southward, and that the deadly wind was blowing on our backs. When we reached Korpikila, our boy's face, though solid and greasy as a bag of lard, was badly frozen. His nose was quite white and swollen, as if blistered by fire, and there were frozen blotches on both cheeks. The landlord rubbed the parts instantly with rum, and performed the same operation on our noses.

On this day, for the first time in more than a month, we saw daylight, and I cannot describe how cheering was the effect of those pure, white, brilliant rays, in spite of the iron landscape they illumined. It was no longer the setting light of the level Arctic sun; not the twilight gleams of shifting colour, beautiful, but dim; not the faded, mock daylight which sometimes glimmered for a half-hour at noon; but the true white, full, golden day, which we had almost forgotten. So nearly, indeed, that I did not for some time suspect the cause of the unusual whiteness and brightness. Its effect upon the trees was superb. The twigs of the birch and the needles of the fir were coated with crystal, and sparkled like jets of jewels spouted up from the immaculate snow. The clumps of birches can be compared to nothing but frozen fountains—frozen in full action, with their showery sheaves of spray arrested before they fell. It was a wonderful, a fairy world we beheld—too beautiful to be lifeless, but every face we met reminded us the more that this was the chill beauty of Death—of dead Nature. Death was in the sparkling air, in the jewelled trees, in the spotless snow. Take off your mitten, and his hand will grasp yours like a vice; uncover your mouth, and your frozen lips will soon acknowledge his kiss.

Even while I looked the same icy chills were running through my blood, precursors of that drowsy torpor which I was so anxious to avoid. But no; it would come, and I dozed until both hands became so stiff that it was barely possible to restore their powers of motion and feeling. It was not quite dark when we reached Kuckula, the last station, but thence to Haparanda our horses were old and lazy, and our postillion was a little boy, whose weak voice had no effect. Braisted kept his hands warm in jerking and urging, but I sat and froze. Village after village was passed, but we looked in vain for the lights of Tornea. We were thoroughly exhausted with our five days' battle against the dreadful cold, when at last a row of lights gleamed across the river, and we drove up to the inn. The landlord met us with just the same words as on the first visit, and, strange enough, put us into the same room, where the same old Norrland merchant was again quartered in the same stage of tipsiness. The kind Fredrika did not recognise us in our Lapp dresses, until I had unrobed, when she cried out in joyful surprise, "Why, you were here before!"

We had been so completely chilled that it was a long time before any perceptible warmth returned. But a generous meal, with a bottle of what was called "gammal scherry" (though the Devil and his servants, the manufacturers of chemical wines, only knew what it was), started the flagging circulation. We then went to bed, tingling and stinging in every nerve from the departing cold. Every one complained of the severity of the weather, which, we were told, had not been equalled for many years past. But such a bed, and such a rest as I had! Lying between clean sheets, with my feet buried in soft fur, I wallowed in a flood of downy, delicious sensations until sunrise. In the morning we ventured to wash our faces and brush our teeth for the first time in five days, put on clean shirts, and felt once more like responsible beings. The natives never wash when the weather is so cold, and cautioned us against it. The wind had fallen but the mercury again froze at 47 deg. below zero. Nevertheless, we went out after breakfast to call upon Dr. Wretholm, and walk over the Tornea.

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