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EXTRACTS FROM “AN ACCOUNT OF THE
FAMILY OF LAPLANDERS, AND OF THEIR HERD OF LIVING REIN-DEER, &c., Which are now exhibiting at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London,"
(WITH A WOOD-CUT.)
" Their rein-deer form their riches; these their tents,
With a blue crust of ice unbounded glaz'd.” THOMSON. " The rein deer is a creature of the most extraordinary and beautiful-form ; an animal whose domestication is of more importance to its master, than that of any other, or probably the whole of the quadruped species. The Laplander and his Rein-deer appear to have been created for each other. This diminutive race of human beings must long since have ceased to exist, but for the service of this friend and companion. The elephant, camel, horse, ox, sheep,
* For this Article, and for the liberal permission to copy, in the Wood-Cut which is prefixed to it, the interesting Engraving by which his “ Account” is illustrated, the Editor of the Youth's Instructer returns his best thanks to MR. BULLOCK, the publicspirited Proprietor of the Rein-deer lately introduced into this country. Vol. VI.
and dog, render to their respective masters services of the greatest importance; but without the assistance of the rein-deer, there could be no human inhabitants of Lapland ; nothing could compensate for its loss. Its flesh and its milk, prepared in various ways, afford luxury and nourishment, supplying every other article of food; its furry skin furnishing, in a simple manner, comfortable clothing, and the means of resisting the severity of an arctic winter, which nothing else could do. Wrapt in these, on the snow, or frozen ground, the Laplanders sleep with their infants in comfort and security. When the change of season requires their removal from one hut to another, the rein-deer offers the ready means of transporting them with their families and goods. In summer he carries their slender effects; and when the snow covers the ground, which is the greater part of the year, by means of a sledge he removes them with a rapidity unequalled by any other animal. A Laplander in his sledge will travel a hundred miles in a day; the broad spreading hoofs of the deer serving as snow-shoes to prevent his sinking, and apparently made to traverse this frozen and otherwise untrodden waste, as those of the camel and the dromedary for the scorching sands and deserts of Arabia and India. There is no part of the deer useless to his master; its sinews supply thread, cordage, and harness; and its bones and horns are manufactured into furniture and ornaments.
66 There are tracts of country in our island, where it is probable, with care, rein-deer might be reared at a trifling expense. The high hills of York, Derby, Cumberland, Wales, and Scotland, produce the white moss, considered essential to their existence; it is even found on the downs in the neighbourhood of London, and, I believe, is eaten by no other animal:
we might, then, be supplied with a luxurious addition to our table for a mere trifle. The flesh of the reindeer is most delicious venison ; its milk, the consistence of ordinary cream, is of the most exquisite flavour, and contains double the nutriment of that of the cow; the butter and cheese made from it are excellent; the former is made from milk only, agitated by a whisk in a wooden vessel.
" I left England for the purpose of procuring a stock of deer, and if possible a Lapland family with them. After three unsuccessful attempts, I have attained my object: a herd of rein-deer, with their natural proprietors, is for the first time in London. The people have brought their summer and winter residences and furniture with them. The man,
Jens Holm, and his wife, KARINA CHRISTIAN, are about four feet and eight inches high, which, in Lapland, is not beneath the usual height; on the contrary, KARINA is considered a tall woman ;
a half old, is not likely to be so tall a man as his father; they understand the Norwegian language.
6. They exhibit the deer decorated in the manner of their country, and drawing light carriages and sledges. Nothing can exceed the extraordinary appearance of these noble quadrupeds; in size they excel the red deer, or stag'; the enormous horns in some almost exceed belief. A cord passed round those of a fine male measures thirty feet ; in some they appear like the branches of an aged oak, stripped of its foliage. The immense brow antlers vary in some individuals, from two to four.
66 They are sleek in summer, but in winter clothed with a thick impenetrable coat of long hair, of a dry, husky appearance: their feet are large and wide, ex
tending considerably whilst resting on the ground, and covering a space sixteen inches in circumference. Every time each foot is moved, a loud clicking noise is heard, occasioned by one of the hoofs striking against the other.
“The morning after my arrival at Figeland, the young mountaineer to whose care they were intrusted, (and between whom and the deer there appeared to exist the strongest mutual attachment,) turned them out of the fold, in which they are always kept at night, to protect them from the wolves, that I might have an opportunity of seeing them. They immediately followed their leader* up the side of a mountain ; after a few moments, he demanded of me which way they should go; he called in a loud voice, and they instantly stopped: he ordered them from right to left, and back again, and then to proceed; and they were out of sight in a moment. On their arrival from the mountains on the shore of the harbour opposite Fleckifiord, Salva, the mountaineer, went into a boat, and pointed out to the leader where they were to land; they swam across in a few minutes.
“ The whole herd was in the town surrounded by hundreds of the wondering inhabitants, took food from their hands, and seemed pleased with the caresses of the women and children. They were at first quartered in the yard of the house where I lodged, and my good old landlady, MADAME BORNICK, was delighted with her new guests ; but the number of persons who collected from all parts of the country was so great, that it became necessary to remove them
* One of the Deer, it is stated, is always the Leader, or Captain, whose orders are scrupulously obeyed by the rest, and in whose experience they seem to place unlimited confidence.
to a place where they could remain a few days retired, to recover from the fatiguing journey they had just terminated. I had the use of a large island about two miles from the town, offered for their reception ; and they were marched to the shore opposite to it, where large boats were prepared by lashing them together. The deer walked immediately to the side of the quay, but the leader observing the boats move, stopped and examined them very minutely: he hesitated; and the herd became instantly-alarmed : it was the first time they had seen a boat. After some further hesitation, and a little fear, the leader walked in. The eyes
of the whole were instantly fixed on him, and they distinctly expressed their fears for his safety; and some then turned their eyes to the mountains : he was at this time examining the planks with his feet: the motion did not please him. Salva seated himself by his head, patted his neck, and laid his face to that of the deer. Jens was by this time in the other boat; upon seeing him the deer turned his head, looked attentively at his followers, and in a short snort gave the signal for them to come in. It was not obeyed for a moment; and he repeated it in rather an angry manner, stamping with his foot. In a moment the boats were all filled. In jumping in, a weakly calf fell, md lay in the bottom of the boat in such a situation that I considered its destruction inevitable; yet it received no injury. Their care and love for each other are truly admirable. As soon as they were in, the leader, observing there were more in one boat than the other, looked at one of the old males, which, appearing perfectly to understand him, instantly went into the other boat. The ropes were cast off : they remained perfectly still till they reached the island ; when, following the leader, they leaped on the rock,