Imágenes de páginas


with snow,


pidly to seal

the waters. The hardy rein. houses." + The following description of this deer, assembling themselves in large bands, singular architecture is taken from Sir W. E. begin to remove from these lands—too wintry | Parry’s “ Account of the Esquimaux of Melville even for them-to more southern localities. Peninsula," &c. Yet man remains behind, and women and

“The work is commenced by cutting from a drift of children brave a temperature too low for one

hard and compact snow a number of oblong slabs, six of the hardiest of beasts.

or seven inches thick and about two feet in length, Unlike the unthinking Indians, the Esqui. and laying them edgewise on a level spot, also covered maux spend their short summer in diligent

in a circular form, and of a diameter from provision of food against the winter. They eight to fifteen feet, proportioned to the number of waylay the deer, in their transit southward, occupants the hut is to contain. Upon this, as a founat narrow passes by the rivers or lakes; or, dation, is laid a second tier of the same kind, but with armed with the katteelik, pursue the whale in

the pieces inclining a little inwards, and made to fit their light kayaks ;* or retire for a season

closely to the lower slabs, and to each other, by running from the coast to interior lakes, where the

a knife adroitly along the under part and sides. The

top of this tier is now prepared for the reception of a salmon abounds. In the beginning of Sep

third, by squaring it off smoothly with a knife; all tember they abandon their tents, and retreat

which is dexterously performed by one man standing within their winter houses. Some of these are

within the circle, and receiving the blocks of snow of permanent construction, framed strongly of

from those employed in cutting them without. When drift-wood, or if this be not available, of the the wall has attained a height of four or five feet, it bones of whales, the whole covered thickly with leans so much inward as to appear as if about to tumble earth. A low door in the side, or a trap-door every moment ; but the workmen still fearlessly lay from the roof in localities where the snow their blocks of snow upon it, until it is too high any lies deep, gives access to these windowless

longer to furnish the materials to the builder in this habitations, in which a lamp, placed on a stone

Of this he gives notice by cutting a hole in the centre of the timbered floor, serves to

close to the ground in that part where the door is

intended to be, which is near the south side, and give light and cook their food-a process by

through this the snow is now passed. Thus they conno means essential to these people, whose

tinue till they have brought the sides nearly to meet European name, Esquimaux, is by some thought

in a perfect and well-constructed dome, sometimes to be a corruption of the Abenaki term,

nine or ten feet high in the centre; and this they take Eskimantik, which signifies ' eaters of raw considerable care in finishing, by fitting the last block flesh.'

or key-stone very nicely in the centre, dropping it But even if drift timber, or the bones of into its place from the outside, though it is still done whales, be not available, there are other ma- by the man within. The people outside are in the terials to be found in these regions which

meantime occupied in throwing up snow with the suffice to the Esquimaux for the construction

pooalleray, or snow-shovel, and in stuffing in little of a house. The snow which lies so thickly

wedges of snow where holes have been accidentally

left. around is made subservient to his use. It is

“ The builder next proceeds to let himself out by this which enables him, with the approach of

enlarging the proposed doorway into the form of a spring, when the hard-frozen stock of food,

Gothic arch three feet high, and two feet and a half the results of his summer labours, is nearly

wide at the bottom, communicating with which they exhausted, to move seaward on the ice to hunt

construct two passages, each from ten to twelve fect the seal.

At that season—when the intensity long and from four to five feet in height, the lowest of the cold precludes the use of tents, and the being that next the hut. The roofs of these passages shifting nature of his occupation is irrecon. are sometimes arched, but more generally made flat cileable with any permanent habitation—the by slabs laid on horizontally. In first digging the snow house precisely responds to his require. snow for building the hut, they take it principally ments, combining facility of erection with from the part where the passages are to be made, sufficiency of warmth. The pure white snow,

which purposely brings the floor of the latter conunder the influence of keen winds and frosts,

siderably lower than that of the hut, but in no part do

they dig till the bare ground appears. has become firmly indurated, and, as light as

“The work just described completes the walls of a it is hard, presents an admirable building ma

hut, if a single apartment only be required; but if, on terial, “ with which the Esquimaux master

account of relationship, or from any other cause, mason erects most comfortable dome-shaped feveral families are to reside under one roof, the pasVide Frontispiece, showing the mode of carrying the

sages are made common to all, and the first apartment kayak.

† Vide Frontispiece,

in that case made smaller-forms a kind of ante

reception of any wet things, and is usually loaded with chamber, from which you go through an arched door- boots, shoes, and mittens. way, five feet high, into the inhabited apartments. “With all the lamps lighted, and the hut full of When there are three of these, which is generally the people and dogs, a thermometer placed on the net over case, the whole building, with its adjacent passages, the fire indicated a temperature of 38°; when removed forms a tolerably regular cross.

two or three feet from this situation, it fell to 31°, and “For the admission of light into the huts, a round placed close to the wall stood at 23°—the temperature hole is cut on one side of the roof of each apartment, of the open air at the time being 25° below zero. A and a circular plate of ice, three or four inches thick greater degree of warmth than this produces extreme and two feet in diameter, let into it. The light is soft inconvenience by the dropping from the roofs. This and pleasant, like that transmitted through ground they endeavour to obviate by applying a little piece glass, and is quite sufficient for every purpose. When, of snow to the place from which a drop proceeds, and after some time, these edifices become surrounded by this adhering, is for a short time an effectual remedy; drift, it is only by the windows, as I have before but for several weeks in the spring, when the weather remarked, that they could be recognized as human is too warm for these edifices, and still too cold for habitations. It may, perhaps, then be imagined how tents, they suffer much on this account." singular is their external appearance at night, when they discover themselves only by a circular disc of The Esquimaux winter costume, at the light transmitted through the windows from the lamps Whale-fish Islands, is amusingly described in within.

M'Dougall's “ Voyage of the Resolute to the The next thing to be done is to raise a bank of Arctic Regions in Search of Sir John snow, two feet and a half high, all round the interior Franklin." of each apartment, except on the side next the door This bank, which is neatly squared off, forms their The men are clad in jackets and trousers, made beds and fireplace, the former occupying the sides, and

out of the skins of the deer or seal, and in the absence the latter the end opposite the door. The passage left

of caps have attached a hood to the former article of open up to the fireplace is between three and four feet clothing. Their mittens and boots are made of the wide. The beds are arranged by first covering the same material. snow with a quantity of small stones, over which are

“The costume of the women is the strangest I ever laid their paddles, tent-poles, and some blades of whale- saw, excepting that of the 'Bloomers,' which is bone; above these they place a number of little pieces nothing more than a modified Esquimaux dress. of network, made of thin slips of whalebone; and,

“It consists of a sealskin frock and trousers, or lastly, a quantity of twigs of birch and of the Andromeda rather drawers (for they do not come within six tetragona. Their deer-skins, which are very numerous,

inches of the knee) and are ornamented down the sides can now be spread without risk of their touching the by strips of brightly dyed leather. snow; and such a bed is capable of affording, not

“Their hair, which is of a glossy black, is carefully merely comfort, but luxurious repose, in spite of the turned up to the back of the head, and there secured rigour of the climate. The skins thus used as blankets in a peculiar knot by a piece of ribbon, the colour are made of a large size, and bordered, like some of

serving to identify the social position of the wearer. the jackets, with a fringe of long narrow slips of The maidens are distinguished by a red ribbon only, leather, in which state a blanket is called kēipik.

whilst the married women, being, I presume, 'the “The fire belonging to each family consists of a better horse,' wear any colour they please : the fact of single lamp or shallow vessel of lapis ollaris, its form their wearing breeches tends to confirm this supposibeing the lesser segment of a circle. The wick, com

tion." posed of dry moss rubbed between the hands till it is quite inflammable, is disposed along the edge of the

In providing for their physical wants, these lamp on the straight side, and a greater or smaller

people display much ingenuity, courage, and quantity lighted, according to the heat required or the patient endurance of fatigue. In daily peril fuel that can be afforded. When the whole length of they seek the food which is needed for this this, which is sometimes above eighteen inches, is life; and in their light kayaks go forth to con. kindled, it affords a most brilliant and beautiful light, tend with the walrus, which when wounded without any perceptible smoke or any offensive smell. often turns with fury on bis aggressor; or, in The lamp is made to supply itself with oil by sus- pursuit of the seal, entrust themselves to the pending a long thin slice of whale, seal, or sea-horse

treacherous ice, which not unfrequently, yieldblubber near the flame, the warmth of which causes the oil to drip into the vessel until the whole is ex

ing to the power of the tide, breaks off from

the main floe, and is swept away into the sea. tracted. Immediately over the lamp is fixed a rude and rickety frame-work of wood, from which their

Yet, fearless and inured to hazard, they pursue pots are suspended, and serving also to sustain a large

their customary toil. hoop of bone, having a net stretched tight within it.

As the winter draws towards its termination, This contrivance, called innetat, is intended for the and their stock of provisions decreases, the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small]

necessity of fresh supplies becomes apparent. are singular. He inserts into the snow little The practised eye of the Esquimaux perceives forked sticks, on which depositing his spears, on the level surface of the ice a small elevation, lines, and other implements, he is enabled to in shape and size such as the mole throws up move them in silence as he wants them. He in pasture lands. It is the work of the seal, makes use, also, of a little instrument called who is forming for himself a breathing hole in keipkuttuk, formed of a slender piece of bone the ice. There the native stations himself, nicely rounded, and having a point at one end, building in the first instance a snow-wall about and a knob or laniard at the other. This is four feet high, to shelter him from the cold thrust through the ice. Delicate in its forma. wind. His precautions against the least noise tion as fine wire, it escapes the observation of

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

the seal, while the movement of that portion The capture of a walrus, after a season of of it which is above the surface indicates to scarcity, is the occasion of intense excitement the fisherman that the animal is at work. His in an Esquimaux village. Every lamp swims spears are of different kinds, increasing in with oil; the huts become a blaze of light; strength and power according to the prey he and the cutting up of the spoil is a scene of has to contend with. These spears are tipped joyous festivity, terminating too frequently in with the point of the narwhal's horn. But the gluttony of a most disgusting character. most curious portion of them is an appendage Sickness follows as the result, and death called siātko, consisting of a piece of bone three removes many. inches long, and having a point of iron at one The filthy habits of the people form a painful end, and at the other end a small hole, or feature in their character. Mr. M‘Dougall's socket, to receive the point of the spear. description of what he witnessed at Cape York Through the middle of this instrument is must close our present paper :secured the āllek, or line of thong, of which “ The natives received us without betraying every man has, when sealing, a couple of coils, any great degree of interest or curiosity. The each from four to six fathoms long, hanging at shape of their garments, made of bear and deer his back. These are made of the skin of the skins, was essentially the same as their more oguke, the larger seal, as in Greenland, and southern neighbours, but they outvied all we are admirably adapted to the purpose, both on had previously seen in want of cleanliness, and account of their strength, and the property were, without exception, the most disgusting, which they possess of preserving their plia. filthy race of human beings it has been my lot bility even in the most intense frost. When to encounter.

the spear is about to be used

, the siātkő is | "The men might possibly at some remote



fitted on its point. In this situation it is re- period have indulged in a wash, but it is my tained by bringing the āllek tight down, and firm conviction that the boys, apparently ten fastening it round the middle of the staff by or twelve years old, had never undergone any. what seamen call a "slippery hitch,” which thing in the form of an ablutionary process. may instantly be disengaged by pulling on the It is, however, almost impossible to convey an other end of the line. As soon as the spear idea of the personal appearance of these de. has been thrown, and the animal struck, the graded creatures, who, though to us objects siātkö is thus purposely separated, and, being commiseration, were by no means of that slung by the middle, now performs very effec- opinion themselves. tually the important office of a barb, by turn. It was from this place that Erasmus York ing at right angles to the direction in which it was, with his own consent, taken on board the has entered the orifice.

Assistance, Captain Ommanney, in August, Thus armed, the Esquimaux watches until 1850. He was brought to England, and edu. the ice becomes so thin that the blowing of the cated at St. Augustine's College, Canterbury. seal is distinctly heard, when he drives his In 1855 he was sent to Newfoundland, with a spear through the thin crust into the animal, view of being useful among the Esquimaux of whose labours have thus facilitated its own Labrador; but he died the following year of destruction. With his panna, or iron knife, consumption. He was of a mild and amiable which is straight, flat, pointed at the end, disposition, and made himself everywhere beground equally sharp at both edges, and firmly loved by his warm and single-hearted affection secured in a handle of bone or wood, he cuts for all who were kind to him. away the ice so as to secure his prey. The “Naturally supposing his friends would make neitiek is the only seal killed in this manner, eager inquiries concerning their absent rela. and, being the smallest, is held while strug. | tive, one of the officers had considerately kept gling, either simply by the hand, or by putting an Illustrated London News, with the portrait the line round a spear with the point stuck into of York, for the express purpose of showing it the ice. For the oguke the line is passed to these poor people, in the event of communi. round a man's leg or arm; and for a walrus, cating with them; but they appeared to have round his body, his feet being at the same time forgotten him, and although his native name firmly set against a hummock of ice, in which was pronounced, they repeated it without any position these people can, from habit, hold emotion. This want of curiosity respecting against a very heavy strain.*

him surprised us, for they must have imagined . Vide Frontispiece.

we were the same vessels by the presence of the steamers, which appeared to fix their a quantity of putrid seal flesh and intestines, attention,

sending forth an offensive smell. “The so-called village consisted of three seal. “We, of course, considered this to be the skin tents erected on the inner slope of Cape refuse on which, probably, the dogs were fed; York, close beside a huge glacier. The inha- but were soon enlightened by seeing one of the bitants consisted of two old women, and three ancient ladies take a portion of the entrails, younger and more comely women, each with a and swallow a quantity of it as Italians do child at her back, whom we presumed were the maccaroni. Being, however, of considerable wives of the only three men we observed. length, she was unable to swallow the whole, Besides these, there were nine children of dif- and therefore contented herself with a foot or ferent ages, all as healthy as they were dirty. two, which was severed with a knife. This "The appearance of the interior of the tents

feat completed our disgust; and after the was quite in keeping with their persons. The captain had distributed a few presents, we skins strewn around were anything but in. retraced our steps towards the boats, pitying viting, and although not very fastidious, it in our inmost hearts the sad lot of these poor would take a considerable time to reconcile one wretches, whose only means of subsistence to the thoughts of seeking repose amongst so must be very precarious; for, having no boats, much filth. Strewn around on the outside of they are necessitated to trust to killing their the tents were bones of birds and seals, besides prey between the cracks in the ice."


HE German city of Nuremberg has Be this as it may, however, there have been

always claimed the invention of pocket watches made of many sizes and many shapes. clocks, as watches were first named ; There have been skull watches, tulip, apple,

and the fact that they were, in early rose, giant watches, and liliputian watches. times, called Nuremberg eggs, from their shape In the Exhibition of 1851, a Mr. Funnel, of being oval, and that this town stood pre-emi. Brighton, exhibited a small lever watch of no nent for the numbers and quality of its watches, more diameter than that of a three-balfpenny seems to favour if not quite to justify the piece. A rose watch of the greatest beauty claim, which

goes back to the year 1477. Blois, was exhibited by Mr. Jones, of the Strand. A in France, however, also claims the merit of century ago, Mr. Arnold, also of the Strand, the invention, and so does China, which is said presented to George III. a repeating watch to have introduced the invention into Germany, of his own manufacture, set in a ring. The whence it passed to France, and thence into size of this curiosity did not exceed that of a England.

twopenny-piece, although it contained one The invention of this instrument was the hundred and twenty different parts, which culminating point of horometry, and it was altogether did not weigh more than five penny. developed out of the increasing needs and ex. weights, seven grains, and three-fourths; the periences of mankind. A volume might be tools employed in its manufacture had to be written about the steps of the delicate art all made for it, and the watch contained the which, in due order, shaped and applied the first ruby cylinder ever made. The King was coiled spring, the spiral balance spring, so pleased with it that he presented Mr. Arnold the repeating movement, the varied escape- with five hundred guineas as a recognition of ments, the jewelled pivots, and all the other his skill. Some time after, the Emperor of mechanisms that are now combined in a good Russia, having heard of this wateh, offered watch-an instrument which, although it is so Arnold a thousand guineas if he would make small that it may be hidden from view in a another like it for him, but Arnold declined lady's hand, represents the consolidated genius the commission, that he might not depreciate of the horologists of four centuries.

the value of his own gift to his own Sovereign.

« AnteriorContinuar »