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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 dark hole about two feet and a half in dihurried hoofs beat the hard snow, and the ameter, motioned to them to enter. hoarse deep barks of the deer added When, having crawled on their hands and themselves to the frantic baying of the knees a distance of about fifteen feet, dogs! When the deer and the dogs had they entered the large open circle in the been reduced to submission/" when the centre of the tent, this was the spectacle tumult dwindled to a calm".- the Ameri- disclosed : "A crackling fire of resinous can travellers turned to the contemplation pine-boughs burned brightly upon the of the men before them, specimens of one ground in the centre, illuminating redly of the strangest tribes numbered among the framework of black, glossy poles, and the wild peoples of the earth--dwellers in flickering fitfully over the dingy skins of the awful Siberian wastes, but yet a kind the roof, and the swarthy tattooed faces ly, honest race—the Wandering Koraks. of the women who squatted around. A
The conditions of their existence are large copper kettle, filled with some mixterribly hard, but they are not stunted or ture of questionable odor and appearance, puny, like the Esquimaux, but athletic, hung over the blaze, and furnished occuable-bodied men, of the average height of pation to a couple of skinny, bare-armed Europeans, with coal-black hair, bold, women, who, with sauce-sticks, were alalert eyes, and high cheek-bones. Their ternately stirring its contents, poking up costumes and equipments must have look- the fire, and knocking over the head two ed very picturesque, in the moonlight, in or three ill-conditioned dogs. The smoke, that far-off corner of the world. “Heavy which rose lazily from the fire, hung in a hunting-shirts of spotted deerskin, con- blue, clearly defined cloud, about five fined about the waist with a belt, and feet from the ground, dividing the atmosfringed round the bottom with the long phere of the tent into a lower stratum of black hair of the wolverine, covered their comparatively clear air, and an upper rebodies from the neck to the knee, orna. gion where smoke, vapor, and ill odors mented here and there with strings of contended for supremacy.” Around the small colored beads, tassels of scarlet inner circumference of the tent are conleather, and bits of polished metal. Fur structed small, nearly air-tight apartinents pantaloons; long boots of seal-skin, com- called “pologs," about four feet in height, ing up to the thigh; and wolfskin hoods, and six or eight feet in width and length, with the ears of the animal standing erect They are made of the heaviest furs sewn on each side of the head, completed the carefully together to exclude the air, and costume. Each man was armed with a are warmed and lighted by a burning fragong bright spear." The conical tents ment of moss floating in a wooden bowl vhich form the camps of the Koraks are of seal-oil. In this dreadfully vitiated air rery ingeniously constructed. They are the Korak women spend nearly the whole. brmed of a framework of poles, covered of their time, and yet they live to an advith loose reindeer skins, confined in their vanced age, and are no uglier or more laces by long thongs of seal or walrus unhealthy than the old women of other lide, stretched tightly over them from the countries. pex of the cone to the ground; the se. The strangers were observed with great erest gales cannot tear these coverings curiosity; and when they retired to one rom their fastenings. The first camp of the pologs, the natives lay flat down on een by the travellers consisted of four of the ground, and watched them, with gleamhese tents, around which neatly con- ing eyes, under the edges of the fur curtructed sledges were scattered here and tains, as they laid out, as best they could, nere upon the snow ; two or three hun- in the total absence of furniture, their prored pack-saddles for the reindeer were visions of hard bread, raw bacon, and iled up in a symmetrical wall near the steaming tea. The food proffered by lrgest tent.
their wild entertainers was contained in a The strangers were received with great long wooden trough containing reindeer vility; and having explained their mo venison, and in a bowl, whose contents, ves, through an interpreter, they were when they summoned up courage to taste pproached by a tall native with a shaven them, they found remarkable only for their ead who lifted the curtain of skin belong. “grassiness.” The mess known as ig to the largest tent, and revealing a “manyalla" is compounded of clotted NEW SERIES.— VOL. XIV., No. 4..
blood, tallow, and half-digested moss, grandeurs and wonders of the Arctic sky. taken from the stomach of the reindeer, Orders were given for the capture of where it is supposed to have undergone twenty reindeer; and the strangers went some essential change. These materials out to see how twenty trained deer were to are boiled up together with a few handfuls be separated from a herd of four thousand of dried grass, and the dark mass is then wild ones. “Surrounding the tent in every 'moulded into loaves, and frozen for future direction were the deer belonging to the use. At supper, the men of the band band, some turning up the snow with their gather round the trough of reindeer meat sharp noses in search of moss; others and the kettle of manyalla, and, between clashing their antlers together, and barkmouthfuls of meat or moss, discuss the ing hoarsely in fight, or chasing one ansimple subjects of thought which their iso- other in a mad gallop over the steppe. lated life affords. These bands are held Near the tent, a dozen men with lassoas together only by mutual consent, and arranged themselves in two parallel lines. recognize no governing head. They have while twenty more, with a thong of scalno particular reverence for anything or skin three hundred yards in length, eaanybody except the evil spirits who bring circled a portion of the great herd, anc, calamities upon them, and the “shámans," with shouts and waving lassoes, began dr or priests, who act as mediators between ing it through the narrow gauntlet. The these devils and their victims. Mr. Ken- deer strove with frightened bounds to es nan gives an amusing instance of the con cape from the gradually contracting circle, tempt with which they treat the notion of but the sealskin cord, held at short dis difference of rank and inequality of condi- tances by shouting natives, invariably tion. Major Abasa, the chief of their turned them back, and they streamed in a expedition, had, he says, conceived an idea struggling, leaping throng through the nathat, in order to get what he wanted, he row opening between the lines of lassoes must impress them with a notion of his Ever and anon, a long cord uncoiled it power, wealth, and importance in the self in air, and a sliding noose fell over the world. “He accordingly called one of antlers of some unlucky deer, whose sut the oldest and most influential members ears marked him as trained, but whose of the band to him one day, and proceed tremendous leaps and frantic efforts to es ed to tell him, through an interpreter, how cape suggested very grave doubts as to the rich he was, what immense resources in extent of the training. To prevent the the way of rewards and punishments he interference and knocking together of the possessed, what high rank he held, how deer's antlers when they should be har important a place he filled in Russia, and nessed in couples, one horn was relent how becoming it was that an individual of lessly chopped off closed to the head by a such exalted attributes should be treated native armed with a heavy sword-like knife. by poor wandering heathen with filial re- leaving a red ghastly stump, from which the verence and veneration. The old Korak, blood trickled in little streams over the squatting upon his heels on the ground, animal's ears. They were then harnesset listened quietly to the enumeration of all to sledges in couples, by a collar and trace our leader's admirable qualities and per- passing between the fore-legs ; lines wek fections without moving a muscle of his affixed to small sharp studs in the beat face ; but finally, when the interpreter had stall, which pricked the right or left side finished, he rose slowly, walked up to the of the head when the corresponding tot Major with imperturbable gravity, and, with was jerked, and the equipage was ready the most benignant and patronizing con- What a weird sight that must have bedi descension, patted him softly on the head! as the deer-drawn sledges swept out upot The Major never tried to overawe a Korak the limitless expanse of the snowy steppe again.”
heading northward into the terrible regor The expedition found no difficulty in of eternal winter, on towards almost man arranging for their transportation to the dening suffering and hardship-such as next Korak encampment, a distance of indeed, later, and by repetition, drive ose forty miles. It must have been a strange man to madness and suicide ! realization of the things one reads and The reindeer did not come up to dreams about in childhood, that wild Kennan's expectations, chiefly founde journey over the moss steppes, on rein- upon the galloping Lapland deer of the deer sledges, under the ever-varying awful old geographies. These were not pe
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.