Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

JERUSALEM TO JERICHO.

149

very narrow pass, cut through the hill, in a bed of hard rock. There was an old fort here, which had once guarded this passage, but was now deserted, and close by were the ruins of a large square building belonging to it. After going through the pass, we descended again into deeper valleys, travelling sometimes on the edges of cliffs and precipices, which threatened destruction on the slightest false step. The scenery all around us was grand and awful, notwithstanding the forbidding aspect of the barren rocks that every where met our view; but it was that sort of grandeur which excited fear and terror, rather than admiration.

66 The whole of this road from Jerusalem to the Jordan, is held to be the most dangerous about Pa. bestine ; and, indeed, in this portion of it, the very aspect of the scenery is sufficient, on the one hand, to tempt to robbery and murder, and on the other, to occasion a dread of it in those who

pass
that
way.

It was partly to prevent any accident happening to us in this early stage of our journey, and partly, perhaps, to calm our fears on that score, that a messenger had been dispatched by our guides to an encampment of their tribe near, desiring them to send an escort to meet us at this place. We were met here accordingly, by a band of about twenty persons on foot, all armed with matchlocks, and presenting the most ferocious and robber-like appearance that can be imagined. The effect of this was heightened by the shouts which they sent forth from hill to hill, and which were re-echoed through all the valleys; while the bold projecting crags of rock, the dark-brown shadows in which every thing lay buried below, the towering height of the cliffs above, and the forbidding desolation which . every where reigned around, presented a picture that was quite in harmony throughout all its parts.

"It made us feel most forcibly, the propriety of its being chosen as the scene of the delightful tale of compassion which we had before so often admired for its doctrine, independently of its local beauty.*

" One must be amid these wild and gloomy solitudes, surrounded by an armed band, and feel the impatience of the traveller, who rushes on to catch a new view at every pass and turn; one must be alarmed at the very tramp of the horses' hoofs rebounding through the caverned rocks, and at the savage shouts of the footmen, scarcely less loud than the echoing thunder produced by the discharge of their pieces in the valleys; one must witness all this upon the spot, before the full force and beauty of the admirable story of the Good Samaritan can be perceived. Here, pillage, wounds, and death, would be accompanied with double terror, from the frightful aspect of every thing around. Here the unfeeling aet of passing by a fellow-creature in distress, as the Priest and Levite are said to have done, strikes one with double horror, as an act almost more than inhuman, And here too the compassion of the Good Samaritan is doubly virtuous, from the purity of the motive which must bave led to it, in a spot where no eyes were fixed on him to draw forth the performance of any duty, and from the bravery which was necessary to admit of a man's exposing himself, by such delay, to the risk of a similar fate to that from which he was endeavouring to rescue his fellow-creature."

* Luke x. 30-34.

151'

EXTRACTS FROM “AN ACCOUNT OF THE

FAMILY OF LAPLANDERS, AND OF THEIR HERD OF LIVING REIN-DEER, &c., Exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London.

(Concluded from page 114.) “ In the winter journey from one district to another, the rein-deer will, in a light sledge, convey his master over the frozen snow upwards of a hundred miles in a day without stopping : in which case the deer is always sacrificed, being incapable of further exertion. For drawing heavy burthens, sometimes four or five are yoked lengthwise.

“ In swimming, the deer appear lighter than any animal I have ever seen, and swim with great rapidity, passing an ordinary boat with ease. It is said they will go an English mile by water without inconvenience. I have never tried them so far.

66 The small size and light form of the people almost disqualify them from following any other than the simple pastoral life they enjoy. Too weak for the hardy toil of the fisherman or of the agriculturist, nature seems to have created them and the rein-deer as partners and assistants to each other in tenanting the polar regions of the northern Alps. Accustomed from their infancy to follow the deer, they are extremely swift of foot. In running up hills, perhaps no persons are so swift. In travelling with the people now in London, I allotted a horse for their accommodation, as no carriage can be used in that part of the country ; but KARINA would frequently alight and take her son upon her back, (who seemed to like that mode of conveyance much better than riding before her,) disappear in a moment, and before our horses “could reach the top of the hill, she was nearly out of sight on the other side; and often went several miles in this way, arriving at the scheft or post-house to order horses before we came up. In' every thing relating to the herds, she seemed as much at home as her husband. In catching any that are refractory, the activity and the precision with which they cast a double rope at a considerable distance, open in such a manner as to pass over the head and avoid the horns, and catch it by the neck, are really astonishing. If the animal prove too powerful, or they think him likely to be hurt or thrown down by his exertions, by slackening, the rope it falls to the ground, and releases him in an instant.

666 Among these people the men are employed in the business of cookery, so that the master of a family has no occasion to speak a good word to his wife, when he wishes to give a hospitable entertainment to his guests. The dress of these Laplanders is as fol. lows: On the head they wear a small cap, like those used at my native place of Stenbrohult, made with eight seams covered with strips of brown cloth, the cap itself being of a greyish colour. This reaches na lower than the tips of the ears. Their outer garment, or jacket, is open in front half way down the-bosom, below which part it is fastened with hooks, as far as the pit of the stomach. Consequently the neck is bare, and, from the effects of the sun abroad and the smoke at home, approaches the complexion of a toad. The jacket, when loose, reaches below the knees; but it is usually tied up with a girdle, so as scarcely to chrea that far, and is sloped off at the bottom. The collar is of four fingers’ breadth, thick, and stitched with thread. They wear no, stockings. Their breechess.

AND OF THE REIN-DEER.

153

made of the coarse and slight woollen cloth of the country, called walmal, reach down to their feet, tapering gradually to the bottom, and are tied with a bandage over their half-boots. All the needle-work is performed by the women. They make their thread of the sinews in the legs of the rein-deer, separating them, while fresh, with their teeth, into slender strings, which they twist together. A kind of cord is also made of the roots of spruce fir. The men make use of no razor, but cut their beards with scissars. They never cut the hair of the head, and only occasionally employ a comb, or any similar instrument. They have no laundress or washerwoman. The thread is made out of the tendons of reindeer fawns half a year old. Such thread is covered with tin foil for embroidery, its pliability rendering it peculiarly fit for the purpose. The tendons are dried in the sun, being hung over a stick. They are never boiled. 2.66Of this race of extraordinary people, those who inhabit the mountains build no houses: their habi. tation is a simple tent of walmal-cloth, manufactured in Russia and Norway, supported by birch poles of the rudest workmanship; a hole is left in the top to allow the smoke to escape. The fire is made in the centre of the floor, and round it are spread the reindeer skins on a few birch twigs, on'which they sit in the day and sleep at night: a flap of cloth is left loose, to cover at night the opening used for a door. The height of the structure is about eight feet in the centre, and the greatest diameter is but twelve. This small edifice often contains a family of twelve or eighteen persons, with their effects and furniture, which consists of a kettle of copper or brass, bowls, tubs, and baskets of wood, which are generally placed

« AnteriorContinuar »