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of the Starosta, and found the Major and Dodd at their supper. All the horses in the village were disabled; the mountain guide was blind from inflammatory erysipelas, brought on by exposure to five days of storm; one-half of Mr. Kennan's party were unfit for duty; and the Major had rheumatic fever. Under these circumstances, it was decided that they must wait at I.esnoi until winter, when, with the aid of dog-sledges, they would enendeavor to cross the mountains, and explore the country of the Wandering Koraks.
The Siberian dog—an animal which plays almost as important a part in the lives of the inhabitants of the Kamtchadal peninsula as the wonderful reindeer—is nothing more than a half-domesticated Arctic wolf, and retains all his wolfish instincts and peculiarities. He will sleep out of doors in a temperature of seventy degrees below zero; draw heavy loads until his feet crack open, and print the snow with blood ; and starve until he eats up his harness—but his strength and his spirit seem alike unconquerable. In general, these invaluable creatures are fed during their journeys, once a day; their allowance being one dried fish, weighing perhaps two pounds. This is given to them at night, so that they begin another day's work with empty stomachs. Two hundred of these dogs, eighteen men, sixteen sledges, and forty days' provisions, formed the material of the expedition to the land of the Wandering Koraks, commenced by Mr. Kennan and Major Abasa, on a day in November, and whose first danger was the descent from the summit of the Samanka Mountains to the dreary expanse of snow, two thousand feet below. The long northern twilight faded into the steely blue of an Arctic night; the moon rose, and threw the shaggy outlines of the great peaks into strong relief. In the ravines below, the dense thickets were full of the gloomy indistinctness of night. Into that gloom and indistinctness the travellers must plunge; so they rouse up their dogs, and are off into the mouth of a ravine which leads to a steppe.
Could the wild legend of the Phantom Huntsman produce a wilder picture than this one: "The deceptive shadows of night, and the masses of rock which choked up the narrow defile, made the descent extremely dangerous; and it required all
the skill of our practised drivers to avoid accident. Clouds of snow flew from the spiked poles with which they vainly tried to arrest our downward rush; cries and warning shouts from those in advance, multiplied by the mountain echoes, excited our dogs to still greater speed, until we seemed, as the rocks and trees flew past, to be in the jaws of a falling avalanche, which was hurrying us with breathless rapidity down the dark canon to certain ruin. Gradually, however, our speed slackened, and we came out into the moonlight on the hard wind-packed snow of the open steppe. The disturbed, tornup condition of the snow usually apprises the traveller of his approach to the haunts of the Koraks, as the reindeer belonging to the band range all over the country within a radius of several miles, and paw up the snow in search of the moss which constitutes their food. Failing to find any such indications, we were discussing the probability of our having been misdirected, when suddenly our leading dogs pricked up their sharp ears, snuffed eagerly at the wind, and with short, excited yelps, made off at a dashing gallop towards a low hill, which lay almost at right angles with our previous course. The drivers endeavored in vain to check the speed of the dogs; their wolfish instincts were aroused, and all discipline was forgotten as the fresh scent came down upon the wind from the herd of reindeer beyond. A moment brought us to the brow of the hill, and before us, in the clear moonlight, stood the conical tents of the Koraks, surrounded by at least four thousand reindeer, whose branching antlers looked like a perfect forest of dry limbs. The dogs all gave voice simultaneously, like a pack of fox hounds in view of the game, and dashed tumultuously down the hill, regardless of the shouts of their masters, and the menacing cries of three or four dark forms, which rose suddenly up from the snow between them and the frightened deer. The vast body of deer wavered for a moment, and then broke into a wild stampede, with drivers, Korak sentinels, and two hundred dogs in full pursuit." What a sight that must have been, when the dark silent tents suddenly swarmed with life, and tall dark forms joined in the chase, shouting, and hurling lassoes of walrus-hide at the dogs; when thousands of antlers dashed together in
the confusion of flight; when countless hurried hoofs beat the hard snow, and the hoarse deep barks of the deer added themselves to the frantic baying of the dogs! When the deer and the dogs had been reduced to submission—" when the tumult dwindled to a calm"—the American travellers turned to the contemplation of the men before them, specimens of one of the strangest tribes numbered among the wild peoples of the earth—dwellers in the awful Siberian wastes, but yet a kindly, honest race—the Wandering Koraks. The conditions of their existence are terribly hard, but they are not stunted or puny, like the Esquimaux, but athletic, able-bodied men, of the average height of Europeans, with coal-black hair, bold, alert eyes, and high cheek-bones. Their costumes and equipments must have looked very picturesque, in the moonlight, in that far-off corner of the world. "Heavy hunting-shirts of spotted deerskin, confined about the waist with a belt, and fringed round the bottom with the long black hair of the wolverine, covered their aodies from the neck to the knee% ornamented here and there with strings of small colored beads, tassels of scarlet eather, and bits of polished metal. Fur pantaloons; long boots of seal-skin, coning up to the thigh; and wolfskin hoods, A-ith the ears of the animal standing erect )n each side of the head, completed the rostume. Each man was armed with a ong bright spear." The conical tents vhich form the camps of the Koraks are rery ingeniously constructed. They are brmed of a framework of poles, covered k'ith loose reindeer skins, confined in their >laces by long thongs of seal or walrus ide, stretched tightly over them from the pex of the cone to the ground; the seerest gales cannot tear these coverings -om their fastenings. The first camp sen by the travellers consisted of four of lese tents, around which neatly contracted sledges were scattered here and lere upon the snow; two or three hunred pack-saddles for the reindeer were iled up in a symmetrical wall near the irgest tent.
The strangers were received with great vility; and having explained their mo ves, through an interpreter, they were Dproached by a tall native with a shaven ead who lifted the curtain of skin belongig to the largest tent, and revealing a
K*w Swum.— Vol. XIV., No. 4.
dark hole about two feet and a half in diameter, motioned to them to enter. When, having crawled on their hands and knees a distance of about fifteen feet, they entered the large open circle in the centre of the tent, this was the spectacle disclosed: "A crackling fire of resinous pine-boughs burned brightly upon the ground in the centre, illuminating redly the framework of black, glossy poles, and flickering fitfully over the dingy skins of the roof, and the swarthy tattooed faces of the women who squatted around. A large copper kettle, filled with some mixture of questionable odor and appearance, hung over the blaze, and furnished occupation to a couple of skinny, bare-armed women, who, with sauce-sticks, were alternately stirring its contents, poking up the lire, and knocking over the head two or three ill-conditioned dogs. The smoke, which rose lazily from the fire, hung in a blue, clearly defined cloud, about five feet from the ground, dividing the atmosphere of the tent into a lower stratum of comparatively clear air, and an upper region where smoke, vapor, and ill odors contended for supremacy." Around the inner circumference of the tent are constructed small, nearly air-tight apartments called "pologs," about four feet in height, and six or eight feet in width and length. They are made of the heaviest furs sewn carefully together to exclude the air, and are warmed and lighted by a burning fragment of moss floating in a wooden bowl of seal-oil. In this dreadfully vitiated air the Korak women spend nearly the whole of their time, and yet they live to an advanced age, and are no uglier or more unhealthy than the old women of other countries.
The strangers were observed with great curiosity; and when they retired to one of the pologs, the natives lay flat down on the ground, and watched them, with gleaming eyes, under the edges of the fur curtains, as they laid out, as best they could, in the total absence of furniture, their provisions of hard bread, raw bacon, and steaming tea. The food protfered by their wild entertainers was contained in a long wooden trough containing reindeer venison, and in a bowl, whose contents, when they summoned up courage to taste them, they found remarkable only for their "grassiness." The mess known as "manyalla" is compounded of clotted
blood, tallow, and half-digested moss, tak':n from the stomach of the reindeer, where it is supposed to have undergone some essential change. These materials are boiled up together with a few handfuls of dried grass, and the dark mass is then "Tioulded into loaves, and frozen for future use. At supper, the men of the band gather round the trough of reindeer meat and the kettle of manyalla, and, between mouthfuls of meat or moss, discuss the simple subjects of thought which their isolated life affords. These bands are held together only by mutual consent, and recognize no governing head. They have no particular reverence for anything or anybody except the evil spirits who bring calamities upon them, and the " shamans," or priests, who act as mediators between these devils and their victims. Mr. Kennan gives an amusing instance of the contempt with which they treat the notion of difference of rank and inequality of condition. Major Abasa, the chief of their expedition, had, he says, conceived an idea that, in order to get what he wanted, he must impress them with a notion of his power, wealth, and importance in the world. "He accordingly called one of the oldest and most influential members of the band to him one day, and proceeded to tell him, through an interpreter, how rich he was, what immense resources in the way of rewards and punishments he possessed, what high rank he held, how important a place he filled in Russia, and how becoming it was that an individual of such exalted attributes should be treated by poor wandering heathen with filial reverence and veneration. The old Korak, squatting upon his heels on the ground, listened quietly to the enumeration of all our leader's admirable qualities and perfections without moving a muscle of his face; but finally, when the interpreter had finished, he rose slowly, walked up to the Major with imperturbable gravity, and, with the most benignant and patronizing condescension, patted him softly on the head! The Major never tried to overawe a Korak again."
The expedition found no difficulty in arranging for their transportation to the next Korak encampment, a distance of forty miles. It must have been a strange realization of the things one reads and ■dreams about in childhood, that wild journey over the moss steppes, on reindeer sledges, under the ever-varying awful
grandeurs and wonders of the Arctic skj. Orders were given for the capture of twenty reindeer; and the strangers va: out to see how twenty trained deer were to be separated from a herd of four thousand wild ones. "Surrounding the tent inewry direction were the deer belonging to the band, some turning up the snow with the: sharp noses in search of moss; otherclashing their antlers together, and baiting hoarsely in fight, or chasing one another in a mad gallop over the steppe. Near the tent, a dozen men with lassos arranged themselves in two parallel line, while twenty more, with a thong of sd skin three hundred yards in length, a circled a portion of the great herd, ami with shouts and waving lassoes, began as ing it through the narrow gauntlet Tfe deer strove with frightened bounds to escape from the gradually contracting cirde, but the sealskin cord, held at short distances by shouting natives, invariably turned them back, and they streamed in i struggling, leaping throng through the narrow opening between the lines of lassos Ever and anon, a long cord uncoiled itself in air, and a sliding noose fell over the antlers of some unlucky deer, whose sfc ears marked him as trained, but whose tremendous leaps and frantic efforts to escape suggested very grave doubts as to ire extent of the training. To prevent the interference and knocking together of tit deer's antlers when they should be harnessed in couples, one horn was relentlessly chopped off closed to the head bya native armed with a heavy sword-like koK. leaving a red ghastly stump, fromwhkhtht blood trickled in little streams over the animal's ears. They were then harnessec to sledges in couples, by a collar and tract passing between the fore-legs; lines«es affixed to small sharp studs in the beaistall, which pricked the right or left s*k of the head when the corresponding rec was jerked, and the equipage was ready What a weird sight that must have beet as the deer-drawn sledges swept out upc* the limitless expanse of the snowy steppeheading northward into the terrible regies of eternal winter, on towards almost nwdening suffering and hardship—such as & indeed, later, and by repetition, drive Ok man to madness and suicide!
The reindeer did not come up to M; Kennan's expectations, chiefly founds upon the galloping Lapland deer of &" old geographies. These were not "^ spirited and fleet-footed animals of his visions; these were awkward, ungainly beasts. Their trot was heavy, they carried their heads low, and their panting breath and gaping mouths were suggestive of exhaustion. The ideal reindeer would never have demeaned himself by running. with his mouth wide open. But, though his fondest fancies were thus dispelled, Mr. Ken nan was much impressed with the inestimable value of the reindeer. No other animal fills so important a place in the life of any body of men as this one does in the life and domestic economy of the Siberian Koraks. Besides carrying them from place to place, he furnishes them with clothes, food, and covering for their tents; his antlers are made into rude implements of all sorts; his sinews are dried and pounded into thread; his bones are soaked in seal-oil, and burned for fuel; his entrails are cleaned, filled with tallow, and eaten; his blood, mixed with the contents of his stomach, is made into manyalla; his marrow and tongue are considered the greatest of all delicacies; the stiff", bristly skin of his legs is used to cover snow-shoes; and, finally, his whole body, sacrified to the Korak gods, brings down upon his owners all the spiritual and temporal blessings which they need. It is a singular and inexplicable fact, that the Siberian natives do not use the animal's milk in any way; in this respect differing from the Lapps, the only other people who have domesticated the reindeer.
Among the many superstitions of the Wandering Koraks is their reluctance to part with a living reindeer. You may purchase as many dead deer as you choose, up to five hundred, for less than a dollar apiece, but a living one you cannot get for love or money. You may offer them what they consider a fortune in tobacco, copper kettles, beads, and scarlet cloth for a single living reindeer, in vain; yet, if you will allow them to kill the very same animal, you can have his carcass for one small string of common glass beads. And you can get at no explanation, except that "to sell a live reindeer wquld be at-kin— bad." "Duriug the two years arid a half which we spent in Siberia," says Mr. Kennan, "no one of our parties, so far as I know, ever succeeded in obtaining from the Koraks or Chookchees a single living reindeer. All the deer we eventually owned—some eight hundred—were obtained from the Tungoos."
What a terrible life it seems to us, the life of these harmless and intelligent people —hospitable, gentle, honest, and so uncivilized that they do not think it possible to ill-treat a woman or a child. Tht^y have no notion of a beneficent Creator; their only supernatural belief is in demons, their only worship the propitiation of fear. They kill the old people, partly because they cannot carry them about, and partly because, to the feeble and infirm, the cold brings terrible suffering. They have one revolting form of enjoyment. It is rapid and mad intoxication, produced by eating a species of fungus resembling that which we call toadstool. Taken in large quantities, it is a violent narcotic poison; in small dozes it acts like alcoholic liquor. Its habitual use completely shatters the nervous system, and its sale by Russian traders to the natives has been made a penal offence by Russian law. Nevertheless, the trade is carried on, and Mr. Kennan has seen twenty dollars' worth of furs bought with a single fungus. "The Koraks," he says, "would gather it for themselves, but it requires the shelter of timber for its growth, and is not to be found on the barren steppes over which they wander, so that they are obliged for the most part to buy it at enormous prices from the Russian traders. A convivial Korak does not say to a passing friend: 'Come in and have a drink;' but: 'Won't you take a toadstool?'" Removed to an infinite distance, both physically and intellectually, from all the interests, ambitions, and excitements which occupy the world beyond his moss steppes, the Korak lives only for the care of his herds, travelling to procure them food, watching day and night to protect them from the wolves. The worse the weather is, the greater the need of vigilance. There is literally nothing else in the lives of these strange people: a wonderful race of animals supplying every need of the uncivilized men who own them, but, in their turn, demanding the whole life of the men for their maintenance and protection.
With all its tremendous hardships, there must have been something dream-like and romantic in the wonderful journey of the American gentlemen, to plant among this wildest, most isolated, most ignorant of peoples the greatest marvel of science, the most expressive symbol, and powerful instrument of civilization—the electric telegraph.
MacmUIan's Magazine. THE STATE PAPERS OF FRANCE.
Among the irreparable injuries inflicted on France and on the world by the rabid and malicious fury of the "Commune" is one which will be more keenly felt by the historian and the antiquarian than even the demolition of the noble and storied edifices of Paris, swept ruthlessly away, with their intensely interesting associations and traditions.
At the moment when the demon of destruction let loose in Paris was sparing neither life nor property, and popular fury, venting itself with special satisfaction upon every object connected either with authority or tradition, went so far as to set fire, among other time-honored monuments, to the Palais de Justice, it was natural we should ask ourselves with consternation, What—in this universal cataclysm—can have been the fate of the Archives of Paris? What also can have become of the venerable Archivist, the faithful guardian and zealous protector of these unique and priceless historical treasures—the living glossary of these authentic and suggestive documents, the intelligent interpreter of their often mysterious significance?
What a treat it was to spend a morning at the Prefecture—to talk history, the stirring and romantic history of France, with this zealous and learned consignee, in every way worthy of his trust! What a feast he could provide out of his vast storehouse, filled as it was with the very concentrated essence of historic lore!
There is something more than mere sentimentality in the enthusiasm which fires us when we see beneath our eyes, and hold in our hands, the genuine, original documents from which'all history has been taken—the raw material out of which the web of fiction and fact, poetry and prose, romance and history, have alike been woven—the terse, simple, honest statements which have been so distorted by the interests, the party spirit, or the prejudices of those through whose hands they have been transmitted to us, that when we see them in their virginal purity we find it difficult to believe they can have any connection with the inflamed and exaggerated, the coarse and passionate, forms under which we have been taught to know them.
There were, however, among these same
State Papers of France some records so hideous in their naked truth that no historian could render them more ghastly; so 'fiery in their native coloring that even a modern dramatist would have found it difficult to make them more sensational; and, strange to say, in these days of boasted progress and civilization, the very fiercest of them are vividly recalled to us by the not less sanguinary and diabolical acts we read of as occurring at the present hour.
Little, indeed, did we dream when studying those fearful details, that a second Reign of Terror was in the future of our own experience, and that scenes as revolting were about once more to disgrace the same nation.
Since the date of the petroleum-incendiary fires in Paris, grave have been the conjectures and various the reports as to the destiny of this invaluable portion of what we may term the " properties" of the State; it is therefore with no small satisfaction that we learn from an authentic source the safety of the greater part of the "Archives Historiques," rescued, strange to say, by the merest accident, the details of which are as follows :—
In the month of January last, during the siege of Paris by the Prussian troops, a fire suddenly broke out one day at the Prefecture de Police, at that time under the direction of M. Cresson, whose coadjutors were M. Choppin, now Prefet de l'Aisne, and M. L6on Renault, now Prefet du Loiret. The conflagration was promptly arrested and proved to have been the result of an accident; it, however, aroused the fears of M. Cresson, and suggested to him the possible occurrence of man)' disasters, which he prudently resolved to forestall. He immediately 'caused the most valuable of these MSS. to be removed to a place of safety, selecting for that purpose a vault, in which he had them bricked up, enclosing with them the celebrated Venus of Milo, one of the choicest of the antiquities from the Louvre; to this precaution alone do we owe their preservation from the destruction in which they must have been involved when, on the 24th of May last, the wing of the edifice whence they had been abstracted was maliciously fired.