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about alone, his father gives him a little javelin, which he is taught to throw at a mark, and he thus speedily acquires that dexterity in the management of his weapon, on which, in after years, he is principally to depend for his own and family's sustenance. When he grows older, he is provided with a kajah, and learns to battle with the waves, to catch birds, and finally to strike the seal; and the chase of the latter is ever after his main business, and the chief resource for the supply of all his wants. Without the scal, indeed, the Greenlander could not exist; with it he has all he stands in need of. Its flesh and blood furnish him with food, its skin with clothes, boots, and tents, its blubber with light and fire, its sinews with thread, its entrails with windows and curtains, and its very bones serve to tip his darts, and shoe the runners of his sledge. It is, therefore, not surprising that such importance should be attached to this hunt, that when a youth for the first time comes home with a seal in tow, the day is made a holiday, and the friends and neighbours of the family invited to a feast, at which, while he recounts, according to established custom, all the circumstances of the chase, the maidens present lay their heads together to choose a bride for him. As for the female part of the community, they do nothing till their twelfth or thirteenth year, but play, fetch water, aud take care of the younger children. After this period, however, it falls to their lot to sew, to butcher, to tan, to row boats, build houses, and kill sharks, which last in a moonlight winter night, is their favourite employment."
Captain Graah met an old man, indeed it was the only one he saw on the coast to which these domestic sketches refer, who, in the course of his life, had performed an exploit, that forcibly illustrates the peculiar condition of the Greenlanders, as well as the strength of a universal law in human nature. The exploit is thus described
"Umik had a large scar upon his back and shoulders, of which he gave the following account. Awhite bear having once come on shore at the place where he was domiciled, had laid hold of and carried off one of his children, a girl of six or eight years of age, as she was at play outside his hut. Alarmed by the child's cries, he hurried out, together with some other Greenlanders, and pursued the monster, which, however, reached the shore, and springing into the sea with his prey, got upon the ice, whither the Greenlanders, without dogs, dared not to pursue him. Armed with a couple of spears, he, however, set out in chase of it, and speedily came up with and wounded the animal, who, turning round, struck down his enemy, and then quietly stalked off, leaving the child, as well as the parent, on the ice. Umik, however, was too much infuriated to let him off so cheaply; instead of making the best of his way back, accordingly, he again seized one of his darts, pursued the monster, and as it turned upon him, struck it to the heart."
The religious sentiments and observances, and the modes of worship of a nation or distinct race, are always matters that excite curiosity and engage the interest of enlightened, especially Chris
tianised, people. The Eastlanders, however, can hardly be said to profess or possess any religion, according to our author's testimony. He says they worship no Supreme Being, and know nothing of prayers, or sacrifices, or other rites, although they believe in the existence of certain supernatural beings, but who are not held to be altogether incorporeal. The sun, moon, and some of the stars, they believe to have been Greenlanders who have taken wing to heaven. The eclipse of the moon is owing to that luminary's freak of going into their houses in search of skins and eatables, the absurdity of the belief intimating very strongly the importance of such articles as skins and eatables in such an unproductive land. Other fancies are entertained by them which are as silly and monstrous, but all necessarily connected with their wants, or the amazing phenomena of which they are often witnesses.
The chief of their supernatural beings is Torngarsuk, who is said to dwell under the earth, and is described sometimes as a bear, sometimes as a man with one arm, and sometimes as a dwarf, no larger than ones finger. Each of the magicians or angekkoks has also his own guardian spirit, whom he conjures when consulted in cases of sickness, &c. The manner in which such conjurations are performed is exceedingly absurd and trifling, and according to our author's account seems to be often regarded by these ignorant people themselves rather in the light of a pastime or amusement than a solemnity that may appease an angry power, or secure its kind offices. Indeed we can hardly suppose that it would be difficult to cure these simple-minded and docile people of their paltry superstitions and foolish enchantments. Their land, however, is so inaccessible, as to render it almost impossible for missionaries to resort thither, nor would any, but themselves, perhaps, experience much regret if they were carried from a country that is chained by the elements, and thrown beyond the limits of national intercourse, to one more genial in its temperature, more abundant in its resources, and more open to the operations of civilization.
Intimately connected with the above sketches, is the account of the manner in which the sick and the dying are treated, and from which our readers will learn something of the desperate apathy that prevails within the domestic circle when the fell enemy approaches or threatens. With this we close Captain Graah's engaging and valuable work.
A Greenlander had wounded himself inadvertently with a knife above the wrist-a tumour of an alarming description ensued-the case was beyond the author's skill-a sage woman pronounced that he was dying-and the patient composed himself for the last scene, refusing nourishment that his sufferings might not be prolonged. After a time, however, there were hopes of recovery, and he ate readily what was offered to him, which seems to have been
partly owing to the loss of a large quantity of blood which had unexpectedly issued from the wound.
"As I conceived the artery must have been injured, and was convinced that he could not bear the loss of much more blood, I prepared a sort of tourniquet, and applying it loosely to his arm above the elbow, directed his wife how to tighten it in the event of the hæmorrhage returning. This, as I apprehended, happened in the evening of the 27th, and my directions not being speedily enough attended to, the patient lost a considerable quantity of blood, and seemed so ill in consequence, that none expected to see him alive next morning. The same scene I have described before, was now repeated, and his wife again endeavoured to prevail on him to consent to being buried under the snow, while he as obstinately insisted on being driven down to the shore, and committed to the deep. When a Greenlander is so far gone, as to seem incapable of noticing what is going forward about him, the preparations for his funeral are commenced. Our patient's wife, accordingly was asking him every moment, Do you hear? do you understand?' doubtless, in expectation of receiving no reply. As he continued, however, as often as she asked, to answer in a very audible voice, Yes,' she lost at last all patience, and though he evidently was in full possession of his senses, and saw and noticed everything, as well as heard every syllable that was spoken, she began to make up his grave-clothes without more ado, and ordered two young girls, her adopted daughters, to take down from the walls the skin in which his body was to be wrapped. The indifference with which this order was given and executed, was amazing: and the coolness with which the patient saw it done, was no less so. With perfect composure he looked on for a few moments, while these preparations for his transit to another world were being made, and then turned away his head, without uttering a word, or showing a sign that could be construed into fear of death, and fell, apparently, into a swoon. Shortly after, he was attired in his best clothes. The skin in which he was to be wrapped had already been stretched out in readiness, and the window opened through which, according to established custom, he was to be removed, as soon as the by-standers believed him to be actually dead, everything, in a word, was completed in the way of preparation, when, the patient desired them to proceed no farther, as he was better. He now called me to him, thanked me for what I had done for him, begged me to screw the tourniquet faster about his arm, (for he seemed to pin his hopes to it), and regretting that I had lost my night's rest on his account, requested to have some lemon-juice. This I brought him, together with half a glass of port-wine and water, after drinking which he felt so much refreshed, that even before morning dawned, he seemed to us all out of danger."
He recovered slowly. The author states that the Greenlanders have such a terror of the dead, that they in general attire the dying in their grave habiliments, to avoid the necessity of touching them when all is over, and that there have been instances of their burying the old and feeble alive, when they have wrestled long with death, and are a burden to those about them. This would seem to be
a strange contradiction to the domestic affections that reign amongst them; but when it is considered that a future state cannot engage their feelings, according to the accounts we have already alluded to, and that the deliverance from immediate agonies and burdens must alone be their hope, desire, and motives of conduct, something like an excuse offers itself for the barbarity. In the individual case cited by Captain Graah, it is hardly necessary to mention, he had determined mercifully to interfere had it been necessary, and to have carried the sick man to his tent.
ART. III.-Country Stories. By MARY RUSSELL MITFORD, Authoress of Our Village, Belford Regis, Rienzi, &c. London: Saunders and Otley. 1837.
HERE is another volume from the agreeable pen of a highly talented authoress, on the apparently inexhaustible subject of the sayings and doings of the good folks of Belford and its vicinity. To ordinary minds, the society of a country town, and the little incidents that vary their monotonous existence, present nothing but a weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable picture, a level surface of dullness, a wide vacuity, a collection of nothingness, that is apt to make them yawn. Haberdashers, butchers, bakers, lodging-house keepers, &c. are not people of much importance in their eyes, nor can they find any thing to stimulate their fancies in the "short and simple annals of the poor." But it is otherwise with the being whom nature has endowed with the divine gift of imagination, accompanied with a heart of expansive benevolence. To the eyes of genius, the ways of the most apparently insignificant link in the chain of humanity, presents some matter for curious contemplation: the flowers, the trees, the hills, the streams, every capricious conformation of nature, or art, speak a language to them which they alone can interpret. Their's is the magical power
"Which out of all the lovely things we see,
Such is the power possessed by Miss Mitford-the most trifling incidents, the most unpromising characters, and the most intractable localities, after passing through the crucible of her imagination and receiving the impress of her gifted mind, assume a freshness of colouring and a gracefulness of shape, that at once fixes our attention. The most commonplace occurrences are wrought into a mosaic work, which strikes us as novel and delightful. What a large debt of gratitude do the good people of Belford owe her, for concentrating her talents upon themselves and their habitations. With what satisfaction must those heroes, parish officers, beadles, paupers, butchers, bakers, &c. contemplate themselves in the
mirror of her clear and polished style. How they must exult in the idea that their eccentricities are regularly chronicled, and dished up for the amusement of their betters. How consoling to reflect that they are secure from the fate that befell the great men who lived before Agamemnon, whose deeds perished with them, for want of a poet to record them. As far as regards the general diffusion of fame, these worthies are in a better condition than many a mailed knight, or ermined courtier. Every thing around them is turned to some account, while they themselves, the real Simons Pure, are either pourtrayed for our admiration, or caricatured for our amusement.
But to come more directly to the point of the characters of the work before us; it is a volume made up of sketches and stories connected with Belford Regis, of the most simple description. The material is of the very highest class, and receives its importance from the airiness and gracefulness of the language in which it is conveyed. The effect produced by the pictures being entirely owing to a number of small strokes delicately and dexterously conjoined, it is very difficult to give an exact idea of it, without laying it before the reader exactly as it stands in the original.
The volume opens with an agreeable little sketch called Country lodgings.
The notification of apartments to be let in a pleasant country village, forty miles from London, which so often graces the pages of the morning prints, was on this occasion, indicative of the peculiar gratification to be derived from rusticating at Upton Court, a manor house of considerable extent, which had in former times been the residence of a distinguished Catholic family, but which, in the changes of property incident to a fluctuating neighbourhood, had fallen from its high estate, and was degraded into the homestead of a farm so small, that the tenant, a yeoman of the poorest class, was fain to eke out his rent by entering into an agreement with a speculating Belford upholsterer, to letting off part of the old mansion in the shape of furnished lodgings. Then we have the fine situation of this old chateau-raised on a steep archway-a valley in front-woody hills in the distance-in fine the prettiest prospect in all Aberleigh. Nature seemed to have stamped it with all the characteristics of romance-it was destined beyond all question to be the theatre of some interesting catastrophe-love, murder, or suicide. Happily for the nerves of our readers, it was only the first of this category. It was love, deep passionate love, most unromantically gliding along in a smooth course to matrimony. This is a fault in our authoress. She is not melo-dramatic enough for our taste: to be en regle, she should interweave a greater number of lendres embarras, or delicate distresses to exercise our sympathies and clear our lachrimatory ducts; but however, such was Upton Court, nor was it long untenanted by dramatis personæ, correspond