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and broken Norwegian constituted him one of the
enlivening spirits of the expedition. Ravna was a
mountain Lapp from the neighbourhood of Karasjok,
and had spent all his nomadic life in a tent, wandering
with his reindeer about the mountain wastes of Finmarken,
often swimming them across the fjords to feed on the
islands. Apparently mountain Lapps are lazy, as Nansen
describes him as never being so pleased as when sitting
in the corner of the tent with his legs crossed doing
absolutely nothing. " He was very small, but surprisingly
strong and capable of any amount of endurance. He
could not write, and had no acquaintance with so modern
an apparatus as a watch. But he could read, and his
favourite book was his Lappish New Testament, from
which he was never parted." Nansen continues : " Ravna



LAPP BOOTS 239

and Balto were good-natured and amiable ; their fidelity
was often actually touching, and I grew very fond of
them both."

The Lapp's peculiar boots are called Jimiesko, and
are made of the skin of the legs of the reindeer buck, the
pieces with the hair on being laid for twenty-four hours
or so in a strong decoction of birch or similar bark, or
sometimes tanned in tar water. The skin of the hind
legs is used for the soles and sides, and that of the fore
legs for the upper leather, the hair being left outside
throughout the boot ; these the Lapps fill with sedge or
sennegTaes and also wrap their bare feet in the grass,
making a pre-eminently warm covering suitable for use
on " ski " or snow-shoes.

Here I feel I cannot do better than quote Andr. M.
Hansen's description of these little people, who filled us
all with so much interest. On board the ship all sorts
of questions were asked, and many of us would have
given a good deal to have a short history of the Lapps
at hand,

" Their language is nearly allied to that of the Finlanders,
more distantly to the other ' Finno-Ugrian ' or ' Ural-
Attaic.*" There is now no longer reason for upholding
the old doctrine that the Lapps originally peopled the
whole of Scandinavia ; they came to Norway later than
either of the two types that are found among the
Norwegians proper, coming from the east by a northern
route, as a hunting, fishing people with the culture of
the stone age. A special type of stone implements has
been referred specially to them — ' the arctic stone age,' —
and these implements must have been in use among them
much longer than among the Scandinavians, who in their
turn taught them the full use of the reindeer, upon which
the true nomadic Lapps are so dependent for their sub-



240 AN ENGLISHMAN'S EXPERIENCE

sistence. A Lapp is not considered eligible till he
possesses a herd of two hundred of these animals. A
thousand years ago they were found as fishers at the
head of the fjords, or wandering as nomads among the
mountains in very much the same districts as now, hardly
south of Jemtland. It is only lately that they have
advanced in any numbers worth mentioning, along the
mountain ridge, south of 64°, The Lapps cannot be said
to be dying out, for throughout the country they have
increased from about 7000 in 1724 to 13,000 in 1845,
and 21,000 in 1891. Barely one-tenth of these are now
true nomadic Lapps ; most of them live as fishermen in
the two most northerly provinces."

After seeing the Lapps, it was with much interest I
read the following experiences of an Englishman who,
through stress of weather, was obliged to shelter in one
of their camps : —

"The low limit of the fjeld Finns is the sea-level,
about the North Cape. In Sweden the deer only come
down in winter. There is plenty of moss pasture near
the sea, but a certain fly drives deer and men to the
snow. Farther south wild reindeer keep on the high
tops, about Romsdal. Tame deer are kept as far south
as Bergen, but they do not flourish in that wet climate,
and they are kept in the high fjeld. They never come
down to the sea or rich pasture, but seem to prefer cold,
and moss which grows in cold regions.

" By the time we got up to the kota^, we had passed
through some sharp showers. The Lapps had now
arrived, and a tent was pitched beside the conical hut.
In the K-ota I found a dirty old woman and a lot of
dirty children sitting round a fire made in the middle of
a ring of stones, and looking very picturesque in the
half light that streamed down through the chimney.



HOME LIFE AMONGST THE LAPPS 241

There was a heap of gear and human creatures, iron pots
and wooden bowls, dogs and deerskins, piled in admirable
confusion.

" I tried the other tent, and found a very fine-looking
Lapp woman sitting on a heap of deerskins, serving out
coffee and reindeer cream to the docker with a quaint
silver spoon. She had silver bracelets and a couple of
silver rings ; and altogether, with her black hair and
dark brown eyes glancing in the firelight, she looked
Eastern and magnificent. I set to work with the paint-
box instanter, but she would not sit still for a moment,
and it was almost dark. I gave it up, and went out
amongst the deer.

" There were about six hundred in the herd, and some
old stags were quite magnificent. One had fourteen
points on one brow antler, and about forty in all. He
looked quite colossal in the evening mist. A small imp
of a boy, about three feet high, and a child just able to
toddle, were wandering about amongst the deer. The
boy was amusing himself by catching the largest stags
with a lasso, to pull the loose velvet from their antlers.
He never missed his throw, and when he had the noose
round the beast's neck, it was grand to see him set his
heels on the ground, and haul himself in, hand over hand,
till he got the noose round the stag's nose. Then he
had him safe and quiet, with the nose and neck tied
together, and then they posed for a pictm'e of savage
life. The small imp was practising on the calves and
hinds, and screaming at them in simulation of the bigger
brother. He kept kicking the big stags, which lay on
the ground, with the most perfect familiarity.

" After I got packed into my nest, the whole herd
almost walked over me. I heard their heels clicking
beside my head, as they went grunting like a herd of
16



242 A WARM DRY SHELTER

swine. A Lapp followed, shouting a deep, guttural
' Ho ! "* at intervals, and several dogs followed, yelping at
his heels. It was a queer feeling to lie there on the bare
hillside, and hear the rushing sound of their feet sweep
through the low scrubby brush, and gradually fade away
as they trotted off to the sound of ' Ho ! ' Presently came
the patter of rain, and the sough of a rushing wind that
shook the willow bushes, and swept moaning over the
hill. My low shelter was warm and dry, and I slept
soundly.

" Awakened by hearing the Lapps chattering ; poked
my head out, and found everything wrapped in thick
mist. Pulled my head in again to brood over my ill-luck,
and gather courage for a plunge into air. Rolled out at
last and scrambled into a A'oto, where I found Marcus
smoking as usual. All the children were scrambling
about their mother, who was getting ready for milking
the deer. I got some food packed up, and talked about
this unattainable place, Antsik. No one who was at
home could find the way in such a mist ; so there was
nothing for it but to wait for clear weather, or the
father of the family, who was away.

" I watched the day''s proceedings till the mist changed
into heavy rain ; when I pitched my tent again to keep
a dry bed, and spent the day in sketching and studying
Lapps. The rain came through the tent, and in the
hut it was impossible even to sit on the ground without
bending forward. The children would look over my
shoulder, to my terror, so sketching was not easy.
There were five dogs, three children, the old woman,
Marcus, and myself; and all day long the handsome
lady from next door, and her husband, and a couple of
quaint, mangy-looking old fellows, kept popping in to
see how the stranger got on.



THE KOTA 243

" The hota itself was a cone of birch sticks and green
turf, about seven feet high ; and twelve or fourteen in
diameter. It was close quarters, but the scene was worth
the discomfort. No one seemed to care a rap for rain,
or fear colds, more than the deer.

"Breakfast consisted of milk and cheese and boiled
fish ; and whenever any dish had been used, the old
dame carefully wiped it out with her crooked forefinger,
and then licked the finger and every attainable place
in the dish itself. It was wonderful to see her dexterity,
and to hear her talk while she polished the dish. When
one of the children spilt some milk on its deerskin dress,
it was all gathered and licked up with the same tongue
which found time to scold the offender.

"Dinner was reindeer's flesh boiled. The children
cracked the bones on the stones after they had polished
the outside ; and they sucked up the marrow. Then the
dogs, who had not dared to steal, were called in their
turn, and got the scraps. Wooden bowls were set apart
for the dogs. There was an extra meal after dinner on
the arrival of papa, who came, dripping like a river-god,
with a supply of bread, butter, and salt fish, stowed
in a leathern bag. This was evidently an unusual treat,
so it was all consumed.

" The father was a fine man for a Lapp, forty years
old, and five feet high ; he had walked fourteen miles
in a deluge, but he only wrung his tall, conical blue
cap to keep the water from trickling down his nose ;
and then he sat down to watch his children enjoy the
feast, while a brother, and a young girl who came with
him, joined our circle. We were decidedly too thick,
so I went next door. There I found nobody at home
but a black dog. Seated myself on a pile of deerskins
to have a quiet pipe, and was startled by a loud Lapp



244 THE TENT

exclamation, which came from an old fellow on whom
I had sat. I got up, laughing, and made Marcus brew
coffee for all hands.

"The tent was about as big as the kota, made of
striped stuff, so coarse that I could almost see through
it, as through a veil. It was patched here and there,
and smoked brown near the top. It did not touch the
ground anywhere, and at the smallest disturbance three
dogs plunged out, barking. They popped in when the
row was over, and curled themselves up amongst the
gear. The door was a canvas slip, like a boat's jib, with
cross-sticks to fasten it, and M^as to windward so that
it could not blow open. No one could come in without
stooping, kneeling, and turning sideways. . . . The
canvas was stretched on poles, which were joined at the
top with considerable skill. . . . The owners of the
tent were married in winter, and had lots of gear, silver
ornaments, bone contrivances, one of which was for
weaving coloured woollen bands ; baskets of ingenious
shapes, very well made of birch and fir roots variously
coloured. They all wore long knives, and the newly
married couple smoked and drank coffee at intervals all
day.

" Next morning found the Lapps getting up, the old
woman licking the dishes clean for breakfast, the father
smoking whilst putting on the shoes ,of his youngest
child. He first spread out a handful of fine hay made
from a particular kind of grass, and then he tossed it
on the stones beside the fire till it was perfectly dry.
Then the boy was seized by his leg and laid on his back,
while foot and hay was crammed and stuffed into a
miniature Lapp shoe. It was a work of some difficulty
to make all fit nicely, and bind it all neatly round the
leg and the leather leggings. They made a good group.




IHE FJEl.D LAVPEK OK THK NO-MAN S-LAXD THAT lUVIUKS NORWAY
FROM SWEDEN



A PICTURESQUE GROUP 245

the father and son, and a black puppy that would nibble
the boy's rosy cheeks as he lay sprawling on the ground.
The Lapps are small of stature, very hardy, good sturdy
walkers, utterly careless about wind and weather. They
are not free with their goods ; they are not hospitable.
No Lapp ever offered me milk or coffee when he helped
himself. They gave what I asked for, and I paid ;
but other hill-folk offer their best to the stranger."

From a topographical point of view, Norway does not
seem to have any natural boundaries, in a general sense,
on her land side. It was proved to be utterly impossible
to draw a reasonable frontier-line that really followed the
parting of the watersheds. No marked division exists, no
chain of mountains, no separating keel. It has never
been a definite natural line that has divided Norway from
her neighbours on the east. It has been a band of
desert land, some hundreds of miles in width ; so utterly
desolate and apart from the area of continuous habita-
tion, that the greater part of it, the district, a desolate
boundary, north of Trondhjem, was looked upon so late
as the last century as No Man's Land. Heathen Lapps
wandered about in it, sometimes taxed by all three
countries.

This district was parcelled out to Sweden in 1751 and
to Russia in 1826. It was partly on account of the
geographical ideas prevailing at that time on the subject
of mountain ranges and watersheds, that the boundary
was drawn so far west on the mountain plateau as it lies,
without following any well-defined ridge. The width of
this desolate region is about 200 miles, with a population
of one per four square miles. Along the Swedish
frontier southwards to 60 degrees N. latitude, the
desert strip, serviceable only to the nomads, is about 120
miles wide, double the width of Norway itself.



246 NORWAY'S DESERT BOUNDARY

Altogether Lapland sends down a wedge between
Norway and Sweden calculated to be 150,000 square
miles in area, with only 15,000 inhabitants, — a lonely
off-shoot from the tundra belt of the shores of the Polar
Sea. This Lapland strip is almost broken off by the
depressions round the Trondhjem Fjord. The forests
from both sides meet here in the glens between the
valleys. Thus, as a whole, Norway's land boundaries
towards Sweden, Russia, and Finland are defined by
a broad band, desolate, trackless, uninhabited, or only
occupied by the nomadic Lapp and forest Finn, — a
band that forms a very complete isolation for the home
of the Norwegian people.



CHAPTER XIII
HAMMERFEST AND NORTH CAPE

WE had left Lyngen and all its beauties behind,
and were just passing Hasvik point, that lay
to our left dark against the sky, when far ahead down
the peaceful Soro Sund we became aware of a great cloud
of black smoke rising high into the sky, and wondered
what in the world it could be.

Everything burns so readily in Norway, that at first
we thought it could be nothing but a hamlet on fire.
Smoke seemed so out of place against the thin, transparent
haze that lay over this beautiful stretch of water. How-
ever, it advanced rapidly, and we soon made out that
there were many parallel columns rising from a mass
of funnels and masts painted a soft French grey. As
they came on we knew them at once as the German
Emperor's battleships. They were in line ahead, throw-
ing the white spray of the peaceful fjord from either
side of their bows, and showing to the world at large
the sea power of the Fatherland. We soon made out
the golden eagles, the speed cones at the yard-arms, the
colours at the peaks, the men clustered round the guns,
and officers upon the bridges. They certainly kept
station well, looked as fresh as paint could make them,
and, except for the distinguishing red bands round their
funnels, seemed all exactly alike.

The masts of shipping rose in an inlet by the point,

247



248 SORD SUND

and after the quiet of Lyngen, Soro Sund seemed quite
a populous highway. To our right rose the unexplored
glaciers of Jadki in the island of Seiland, and to our left
the island of Sorii, on the head of which rested patches
of snow. Every here and there a green bank rose to the
top, alongside bare, seamed rocks. We passed a light-house
on one hand, and the curiously shaped island of Haajen
on the other, and crossed the strait of Strommen, that
divides Seiland from Kvalo, on which is Hammerfest,
the most northern town in Europe,

We are in 70° 40' 11" N. latitude. There could not
be a greater contrast between the prevalent notion of
the Arctic regions and the actual reality. Snow lay in
patches at the tops of the hills, it is true, but spring
flowers were sprouting in every sheltered nook. Big
bright patches of green grass came down to the water's
edge, and a mass of glowing buttercups filled the head
of the bay. The houses, all of wood as usual, except
those rebuilt since the great fire of 1890, are ranged in
rows, with some likeness to streets. The great warehouses
stand along the quays, running up both sides of the
town harbour, that was full of vessels of many nations.
The largest number were from the ports of the White
Sea, their yards and spars made a perfect maze. Bearded
Russians, Englishmen, Swedes, Germans, Quains, Finns,
and Lapps filled the streets, lounging about doors,
smoking and chattering in many tongues. Boat-loads
of dried cod were being tossed into warehouses. They
seemed to be as hard as sticks, but every boy had a
bit in his pocket, and as he ran about crunched and
sucked it. In every available corner hung strings of
dried and drying fish ; festoons of them were on the ships
and along the quays, and every warehouse was piled
full on each floor with fish and salt.



i




DR. DE JOHN'S COD-LIVER OIL 249

Founded in 1787, Hammerfesfs trade consists of train
and cod-liver oil, fish, whales, and furs. Large train-oil
stores line the beach. Besides the Protestant Church
Hammerfest can boast a Roman Catholic Chapel, a
Baptist one, called "Bethel," and a few shops. Here
the'sun does not set from the 13th of May to the 29th
of July, and never rises from the 18th of November to
the 23rd January ; but the electric light, introduced into
the town in 1891, saves the situation. Cod-liver oil,
prepared in numerous boilers, is the most valuable com-
modity of the place, and gives the town that smell many
of us as children knew so well, from old Dr. de John's dark
brown to what is now playfully called " tasteless,"

For some unexplained reason the population that
wandered on the quays (that were the most at-
tractive portion of the town) looked innocent. The
fishermen Lapps, that landed from their boats, con-
tentedly picked up discarded caiTot-tops and chewed
them with apparent satisfaction. Mrs. Lapp and the
Baby Bunting Lapps (nothing but balls of fur) bustled
about, whilst Father Lapp sat on the gaily-coloured box,
that no doubt contained all their valuables and ward-
robe, nursing the last new-comer in its odd-shaped cradle.
He was a proud father, and was unaffectedly pleased at
our notice of the little one. The Lapp cradle has a
great deal of sense in it. Wherever the baby is placed
it is warm, its little face shaded from the glare by the
close curtains, and its little body, that is so carefully laced
in, is on the whole free. None of its clothes are tied
or fastened. They are merely wrapped, one soft wrapping
over another, and the whole is so portable that the
mother M^alks about with it slung over her shoulder by
a thong, or carried in front. They were a happy, chatty
little people, so unfeignedly pleased to meet their friends,



250 NANSEN'S WELCOME

as they gathered at the long tables set on shore under
the lee of the warehouses, where Lapp, Quain, Finn, and
all sorts of seafarers sat down to an out-door meal. The
nursemaids looked on at the shouting, rushing, and
yelling of a madcap company of Americans, with doe-
like, wondering eyes, while small parties stood and watched
the noisy foreigner at the street-corners or gathered in
the square.

I was surprised at the quantity of telegraph cables
that left this small town, to all parts of the globe. In
the telegraph office a large map showed the whole
wonderful system. The elderly man at the desk looked
at me over his glasses as I passed in my wire. I wondered
if he was the same man who had been so electrified at
the importance of the news that he was to take to
Nansen —

" There stood a gentleman," says Nansen, " with a
telegram in his hand, who introduced himself as the
head of the telegraph office, and said that he had a
telegram to deliver to me which he thought would interest
me, so he had come with it himself. Something that
would interest me ? There was only one thing left in
the world that could really interest me. With trembling
hands I tore open the telegram — ' Fridtjof Nansen, —
Fram arrived in good condition. All well on board.
Shall start at once for Tromso. Welcome home. Otto

SVERDKUP.'' "

This was on August 24, 1896 ; at the moment that
Nansen, in Sir George Baden-Powell's yacht, was about
to sail. The two parties meeting after many months of
separation by the terrible ice-pack.

The little fountain in the middle of the square played
merrily, shooting and upholding in the air a small silvered
ball, the water splashing back into a granite basin. The



MERIDIA NSTOTTE 2 5 1

fenced-in garden grew only the homely buttercup, but
the little patch was intensely green and bright. High
above the town rose the tapering spars of the Marconi-
graph, and in a line below it was a goat tethered on
a house-top quietly browsing. The newest thing in
telegraphy, and the oldest form of roof, stood
exemplified.

At the end of the promontory of Fuglnaes, on the
opposite side to the town, is the light-house, with the
keeper's house all snug and comfortable, — a sinecure at
this time of the year. The men standing round a
cauldron told us on the 17th of August the light would
be lit for the first time since the spving. All round were
the long railings, or "hjell," for drying the fish — acres
of them. And close by a conspicuous column of granite
called the Meridianstotte, crowned with a bronze globe,
erected to commemorate the measurements of degrees
in 1852-62 by the geometers of three nations, by order
of King Oscar and Emperors Alexander i. and Nicholas i.
On the Fuglnaes Sir Edward Sabine made some famous
experiments with the pendulum in 1823. In 1818 he
accompanied Sir John Ross in search of the North- West
Passage, and that of Sir E. Parry soon afterwards, but
his most scientific work was his pendulum observations ;
he being the first to show the altogether unexpected
amount of accuracy attainable in a matter which under
the most favourable conditions is one of great delicacy.
It was mainly through Sir Edward Sabine's energy that
systems of magnetic observatories were established in
various parts of British territory all over the globe.

The fog that had so often been predicted had come at
last. It was not possible to realise that it existed at all.
The bay was clear and blue, and so was the sky, but just
outside it was as though a grey curtain had been drawn



252 FOG

across the fjord. The captain paced the deck, impatient
to be off. The pilot looked stolidly ahead into the bank
of fog that was slowly thinning, till first one peak and
then another was seen as though floating on the top —
islands in the mist. We had lain with shortened cable
for some time. As the fog lifted, the chain again rattled
and wound in round the steaming capstan, the forecastle
head crowded with nimble-footed Lascars tending and
bedding the monster anchor as its head appeared in line
with the deck. We were once more off, and carefully
threading our way northwards, when again the mist
enveloped the ship, and so closely that the water was
invisible from the deck. There was nothing for it but to
let go. The cable rattled and rattled, link after link
plunging overboard. The chain-locker must have been
well-nigh, if not quite, empty ; fathoms and fathoms deep
was the fjord, and around and ahead could be heard the
whistle of the launch that had been lowered from the ship
to find soundings, our great deep note answering the shrill
whistle with a mighty Ha-a-a.

In the Natural History of Norway 1151, Pontoppidan
tells us that the IraJicn (that died so hard) is the largest
creature in the world ; " its back or upper part, which seems
to be in appearance about an English mile and a half in
circumference (some say more, but I choose the least for
the greater certainty), look at first like a number of small
islands surrounded with something that floats and fluctuates
like seaweeds. It is said that if the creature's arm
(tentacula) were to lay hold of the largest man-of-war,
they would pull it down to the bottom." He then proceeds
to say, " If I were an admirer of uncertain reports and
fabulous stories, I might add much more concerning this


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