Imágenes de páginas




The number of individuals composing the tribe of Esquimaux assembled at Winter Island and Ig. loolik was two hundred and nineteen, of whom six. ty-nine were men, seventy-seven women, and sev. enty-three children. Two or three of the men, from their appearance and infirmities, as well as from the


of their children, must have been near seventy; the rest were from twenty to about fifty. The majority of the women were comparatively young, or from twenty to five-and-thirty, and three or four only seemed to have reached sixty. Of the children, about one third were under four years old, and the rest from that age upward to sixteen or seventeen. Out of one hundred and fifty-five individuals who passed the winter at Igloolik, we knew of eighteen deaths and of only nine births.

The stature of these people is much below that of Europeans in general. One man, who was un. usually tall, measured five feet ten inches, and the shortest was only four feet eleven inches and a half. Of twenty individuals of each sex measured at Ig loolik, the range was :

Men.-From 5 ft. 10 in. to 4 ft. 11 in.

The average height, 5 ft. 51 in.
Women.-From 5 ft. 3. in. to 4 ft. 8} in.

The average height, 5 ft. 0; in. The women, however, generally appear shorter than they really are, both from the unwieldy nature of their clothes, and from a habit, which they early acquire, of stooping considerably forward in order to balance the weight of the child they carry in their hood.

In their figure they are rather well formed than otherwise. Their knees are indeed rather large in proportion, but their legs are straight, and the hands and feet, in both sexes, remarkably small. The younger individuals were all plump, but none of them corpulent; the women inclined the most to this last extreme, and their flesh was, even in the youngest individuals, quite loose and without firm.


Their faces are generally round and full, eyes small and black, nose also small and sunk far in between the cheek bones, but not much flattened. It is remarkable, that one man -ă, his brother, his wife, and two daughters, had good Roman no. ses, and one of the latter was an extremely pretty young woman. Their teeth are short, thick, and close, generally regular, and in the young persons almost always white. The elderly women were still well furnished in this way, though their teeth were usually a good deal worn down, probably by the habit of chewing the sealskins for making boots.

In the young of both sexes the complexion is clear and transparent, and the skin smooth. The

colour of the latter, when divested of oil and dirt, is scarcely a shade darker than that of a deep brunette, so that the blood is plainly perceptible when it mounts into the cheeks. In the old folks, whose faces were much wrinkled, the skin appears of a much more dingy hue, the dirt being less easily, and, therefore, less frequently dislodged from them.

By whatever peculiarities, however, they may in general be distinguished, they are by no means an ill-looking people; and there were among them three or four grown-up persons of each sex, who, when divested of their skin-dresses, their tattooing, and, above all, of their dirt, might have been considered pleasing-looking, if not handsome, people in any town in Europe. This remark applies more generally to the children also ; several of whom had complexions nearly as fair as that of Europe. ans, and whose little bright black eyes gave a fine expression to their countenances.

The hair, both of males and females, is black, glossy, and straight. The men usually wear it rather long, and allow it to hang about their heads in a loose and slovenly manner. The women pride themselves extremely on the length and thickness of their hair; and it was not without reluctance on their part, and the same on that of their husbands, that they were induced to dispose of any of it. Some of the women's hair was tolerably fine, but would not, in this respect, bear a comparison with that of an English woman. In both sexes it is full of vermin, which they are in the constant habit of picking out and eating; a man and his wife will ‘sit for an hour together performing for

each other that friendly office. The women have a comb, which, however, seems more intended for ornament than use, as we seldom or never obsery, ed them comb their hair. When a woman's hus. band is ill, she wears her hair loose, and cuts it off as a sign of mourning if he dies; a custom agreeing with that of the Greenlanders. The men wear the hair on the upper lip and chin from an inch to an inch and a half in length, and some were dis. tinguished by a little tuft between the chin and

lower lip.

In winter every individual, when in the open air, wears two jackets, of which the outer one (Cappe tēggă) has the hair outside, and the inner one (At. tēēga) next the body. Immediately on entering the hut the men take off their outer jacket, beat the snow from it, and lay it by. The upper garment of the females, besides being cut according to a regular and uniform pattern, and sewed with exceeding neatness, which is the case with all the dresses of these people, has also the flaps ornamented in a very becoming manner by a neat border of deerskin, so arranged as to display alternate breadths of white and dark fur.

This is, more. over, usually beautified by a handsome fringe, con. sisting of innumerable long narrow threads of leather hanging down from it. This ornament is not uncommon also in the outer jackets of the men. When seal-hunting, they fasten up the tails of their jackets with a button behind.

Their breeches, of which in winter they also wear two pairs, and similarly disposed as to the fur, reach below the knee, and fasten with a string drawn tight round the waist. Though these have

« AnteriorContinuar »