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Employment and Commerce of the Laplanders.
Their summer tents are framed with poles and covered with skins ; in the structure and situation of these they endeavour to display some finery and taste. Guests on a visit are welcomed with singing, and presented with soft clean skins to sit upon; the men talk gravely and considerately of the weather, and of hunting and fishing; the women mutually bewail their deceased relations with an harmonious howl, and then divert themselves with little stories, in the meantime a horn with snuff goes constantly round. When the victuals are brought in, the guests let the host press them often, pretending an indifference, lest they should appear poor or half-starved.
Their household furniture consists of iron or copper kettles, wooden cups, bowls, spoons, and sometimes tin or even silver basins ; to which may be added the implements of fishing and hunting. That they may not be obliged to carry these with them in their excursions, they build buts like pigeon-houses in the forests, placed upon the trunk of a tree, where they leave their goods and provisions ; and though they are never shut, yet they are never plundered.
Food of the Laplanders. REIN-DEER supply the Laplanders with the greatest part of their provisions ; the chase and the fishery afford the rest. The flesh of the bear is considered as the most delicate meat. Their winter provisions consist chiefly of Aesh and fish dried in the open air, both of which they eat raw, and without any sort of dressing. Their common drink is water : brandy is very scarce, but they are extremely fond of it.
Language and Manners of the Laplanders. The language of the Laplanders comprehends so many different dialects, that it is with difficulty they understand each other. They have neither writing nor letters among them, but a number of hieroglyphics. Their voices, however, are musical, and they readily oblige strangers by making use of them. According to Von Buch, the Laplanders may be divided into two classes ; those who inhabit the woody region ; and those who inhabit the lofty mountainous region. The former have fixed habitations, but the latter live in tents, and move from place to place to find pasturage for the herds of rein-deer which constitute their principal wealth. Of these migratory people, Mr. de Capell Brooke, in his Travels to the North Cape, in the summer of 1820, has given a very interesting account. Among other curious particulars relative to their domestic economy, he describes the operation of milking the deer; which is attended with some trouble, as many of the animals are very refractory. The quantity of milk yielded by each, rarely exceeded a teacup-full, but it was extremely luscious, of a fine aromatic flatour, and excelling cream in richness. Cheese is made from this milk, after a very simple and not very cleanly process, which to a stranger is the more disagreeable, from the stifling smoke of the green wood used as fuel. The following is Mr. Brooke's sketch of a night-scene, in a Lapland tent. “ Opposite to us, around the fire, were the uncouth figures of the Laplanders, squatting upon their haunches, as is their constant custom. In one corner were two children asleep on deer-skins ; and more than twenty small dogs were also taking their repose around us.”
Employment and Commerce of the Laplanders. The following is a real picture of a Laplander, with a family attending upon his herds. " It consisted of an old man, his wife, a young man and his wife, with a child about two months old. The infant was curiously trussed up in a cradle or machine, almost reReligion and Superstitions of the Laplunders. sembling a fiddle-case, made of the thick bark of a tree, so formec that it exactly contained the child which was fixed in it with a kind of brass chain. It was not covered with bed-clothes, but with soft and fine moss ; over which they spread the skin of a young rein-deer. They rocked the child by fastening the cradle with a rope to the top of the hut ; and tossing it from one side to the other, lulled it to sleep."
Besides looking after the rein-deer, the fishery, and the chase, the men employ themselves in the construction of their canoes, sledges and harness. The business of the women consists in making nets, in drying fish and flesh, in milking the rein-deer, in making cheese, and tanning hides ; but the men attend to the kitchen, in which the women are seldom allowed to interfere. The principal articles of commerce among the Laplanders are white, black, and grey fox skins, grey squirrels and sables, which they willingly exchange with foreigners for cloth, tobacco, and spirituous liquors.
Of the Rein-Deer. The rein-deer have been wisely reduced by the Laplander to a state of domestication and servitude ; and in these creatures alone he finds almost his wants supplied ; they feed and clothe him ; with their skins he covers his tents and makes his bed ; of their milk he makes cheese, and uses the whey for his drink. Every part of this valuable animal is converted to some use or other : their sinews make them bow-strings, springs for catching birds, and threads for sewing; their horns he sells to be converted into glue ; their skins also, and their tongues, which are accounted a great delicacy, are sent to the southern parts of Europe, and procure him toys and luxuries.
The rein-deer, yoked to a sledge, carries him in his journeys; it is easily guided with a cord fastened round the horns, and encouraged to proceed by the voice of the driver, who sometimes urges it on with a goad. When hard driven, it will run between fifty and sixty miles without stopping ; but this degree of exercise endangers the life of the animal. In general, rein-deer can go about thirty miles without halting, and without any great or dangerous efforts.
The food which this faithful domestic lives upon is moss; and, while the fields are clothed with this, the Laplander envies neither the fertility nor verdure of the southern landscape. Wrapt up in his deer-skins, he defies the severity of his native climate ; and in the midst of snows, fearless, and at his ease, he drives his herds along the desert, and subsists where another would perish, while his catt, root up their frugal but favourite fare from under the snow. Car.. vans of these people diversify their long tedious winter in excur ions. to the Finland fairs.
The Laplanders are averse to war, and will forsake their native homes, rather than engage in it; they are more harpy and contented with their lot, than almost any other people.
Religion and Superstitions of the Laplanders. ALTHOUGH great pains have been taken by the Danes and sendes. to inform the minds of the Laplanders on the subject of religion, yet the majority of them continue to practise superstitions and idolatries, as gross as any that are to be met with among Pagans. Augury and witchcraft are practised among them ; and they have been con-ited by many of our morlern traders as very skilful in magic and divination. They are professedly Christians of the Luther .
Marriages, Funerals, and other Customs.
persuasion, but so superstitious, that if they meet any thing in the morning esteemed ominous, they return home, and do not stir out the whole day : they pray to their ancient idols for the increase and safety of their herds.
Their magicians make use of what they call a drum, an instruinent not very dissimilar to the tambourine. On this they draw the figures of their own gods, as well as those of Jesus Christ, the apostles, the sun, moon, stars, birds, and rivers. On different parts of this instrument and its ornaments are placed small brass rings, which, when the drum is beaten with a little hammer, dance over the figures, and, according to their progress, the sorcerer prognosticates. When he has gone through all his manæuvres, he informs his audience what they desire to know.
A black cat in each house, is reckoned as one of the most valuable appendages ; they talk to it as to a rational creature, and in hunting and fishing parties it is their usual attendant. To this animal the Danish Laplanders communicate their secrets; they consult it on all important occasions ; such as whether this day should or should not be employed in hunting or fishing, and are governed by its accidental conduct. Among the Swedish Laplanders, a drum is kept in every family, for the purpose of consulting with the devil !
Marriages, Funerals, and other Customs. WHEN a Laplander intends to marry, he or his friends court the father with presents of brandy: if he gain admittance to the fair one, he offers her some eatable, which she rejects before company, but readily accepts in private. Every visit to the lady is purchased from the father with a bottle of brandy, and this prolongs the courtship sometimes for two or three years. The priest of the parish at last celebrates the puptial ; but the bridegroom is obliged to serve his father-in-law for four years after marriage. He then carries home his wife and her fortune, which consists of a few sheep, a kettle, and some trifling articles. It is a part of the ceremony at a Lapland wedding to adorn the bride with a crown, ornamented with a variety of gaudy trinkets ; and on these occasions the baubles are generally borrowed of their neighbours.
When a Laplander is supposed to be approaching his dissolution, his friends exhort him to die in the faith of Christ. They are, however, unwilling to attend him in his last moments ; and, as soon as he expires, quit the place with the utmost precipitation, apprehendDr some injury from his ghost, which they believe remains in the korpse, and delights in doing mischief to the living.
The sepulchre is an old sledge, which is turned bottom upwards over ihe spot where the body lies buried. Before their conversion to (hristianity, they used to place an axe, with a tinder-box, by the sade of the corpse, if it was that of a man ; and if a woman's, her scissars and needles, supposing that these implements might be of use to them in the other world. For the first three years after the decease of a friend or a relation, they were accustomed, from time to time, to dig holes by the side of the grave, and to deposit in them either a small quantiiy of tobacco, or something that the deceased was fondest of when living. They supposed that the felicity of a future state would consist in smoking, drinking brandy, &c. and that the rein-deer, and other animals, would be equal partakers of their joys.
They are seldom sick, and generally arrive at extreme old age. Even the old men are so hearty, that it is not easy to distinguish them
from the young. Blindness is the only malady to which they are subject. As their eyes are perpetually dazzled with the reflection from snow in winter, autumn, and spring, and involved in smoke during summer, few of them retain their sight, with any degree of vigour, after they are advanced in years.
The Climate of Lapland. TAE account given by Maupertuis the French philosopher, of the rigour of this climate, when he went to the polar circle, to ascertain the real figure of the earth, deserves the notice of the youthful reader, though his observations were made in the southern part of this country. He observes, that in December the continually falling snow hid the sun during the few moments he might have appeared at midday. Spirits of wine were frozen within the house : and if the door of a warm room were opened only for a moment, the external air instantly converted all the vapour in the room into snow, whirling it round in white vortexes. When they went abroad, they felt as though the air was tearing their breasts in pieces; and within doors, the cracking of the wood, of which the houses were built, continually warned them, by its contractions, of an increase of cold.
The frost, which, during the winter, is always very great, increases by such violent changes as are almost infallibly fatal to those who have the unhappiness to be exposed to it; and sometimes sudden tempests of snow rise that are still more dangerous. The winds seem at once to blow from all quarters, and drive about the snow with such fury, that the roads are in a moment invisible and unpassable. How dreadful is the situation of a person surprised in the fields by such a storm : his knowledge of the country, and even the mark he may have taken by the trees, cannot avail him ; he is blinded by snow, and if he attempts to return home, is generally lost.
In 1719, seven thousand Swedes, part of an army of ten thousand, retreating over the Lelbo mountains were frozen to death. When found, some were sitting up, some lying down, others on their knees, all stiff and dead !
Though the days in winter are extremely short, and the nights long and tedious, yet this evil is in some measure compensated by the pleasant luminous summers, when the sun is for six weeks together constantly above the horizon. Even in winter, the brightness of the moon-light, and of the stars, and the effulgent coruscations of the aurora borealis, afford light sufficient for most occasions of life.
Maupertuis observes, that the short days are no sooner closed, than meteors of a thousand figures and colours light the sky, as if designed to make up for the absence of the sun. These lights have not a constant situation. Though a luminous arch is often seen fixed towards the north, they more frequently possess the whole extent of the hemisphere. Sometimes they begin in the form of a great fan of bright light, with its extremities upon the horizon, which, with the motion resembling that of a fishing-net, glides softly up the sky, preserving a direction nearly perpendicular; and, commonly, after these preludes, all the lights unite over head, and form the top of a crown. It would be endless to mention the different figures which these meteors assume, and the various motions with which they are agitated. Their motion is most commonly like that of a pair of colours waved in the air, and the different tiots of their light give them the appearance of so many vast streamers of changeable silk. I saw, continues the philosopher, “ a phenomenon of this kind, that, in the midst of all the wonders to which I was every day accustomed, exc
ted my admiration. To the south a great space of sky appeared tinged with so lively a red that the constellation of Orion looked as though it had been dipped in blood. This light, which was at first fixed, soon moved, and changing into other colours, violet and blue, settled into a dome, whose top stood a little to the south-west of the zenith. The moon shone bright, but did not efface it. In this country, where there are lights of so many different colours, I never saw but two that were red ; and such are always taken for presages of some great misfortune. It is not, indeed, surprising, that people with an unphilosophic eye should fancy they discover in these phenomena armies engaged, fiery chariots, and a thousand other prodi
Another advantage is the twilight, which begins four or five hours before sun-rise, and lasts as long after that luminary is set. Many of the inhabitants sleep away most of the dark season, and employ the luminous part of the year in their respective occupations without any particular injury to their health.
In summer the therinometer rises as high as ninety degrees, which is equal to many parts of the West Indies; and in winter it has been known to fall to forty degrees below the freezing point, which is twenty-five degrees below what is usually felt in winter in London. Their summers last three months, from the beginning of June to the beginning of September.
A lake of Lapland presents singular appearances from the ascent of gaseous vapours. M. Maupertuis says, that " the fine lakes which surround the mountain of Niemi, give it the air of an enchanted island in romance. On one hand you see a grove of trees rise from a green, smooth and level as the walks of a garden, and at such easy distances as neither to embarrass the walks, nor the prospect of the lakes that wash the foot of the mountain. On the other hand are apartments of different sizes, that seem cut by art in the rocks, and to want only a regular roof to render them complete. The rocks themselves are so perpendicular, so high, and so smooth, that they might be taken for the walls of an unfinished palace, rather than for the works of nature. From this height,” he adds, “we saw those vapours rise from the lake which the people of the country call Haltios, and deem the guardian spirits of the mountains. We had been frightened with stories of bears haunting this place, but saw none. It seemed rather indeed a place of resort for fairies and genii, than for savage animals."
rienmark consists of several large islands, lying between the Catfeat and the Baltic, and of a peninsula which is bounded W. by the North sea, or German ocean; N. by the Skager Rack ; E. by the Cattagat and the Baltic; S. E. by the dutchy of Mecklenburg, in Germany: and s. by the Elbe, which separates it from the kingdom of Ilanover. It extends from 53° 34' to 57° 45'N. lat. and containe 21,415 square miles. Population 1,565,000. Pop. on a square mile, 72
Persons, Dispositions, and Amusements of the Danes. "He natives of Denmark are in general tall and well made; their