Puslapio vaizdai

"Oh, it is very exciting," she replies enthusiastically-"the darkness and the funny Greenlanders and the hunting. I have my own team and I have shot a seal. I hope to use a kayak next summer, and-"

"I know," you break in; "I have read about all that. But there's nothing heroic in it. Don't think I am cynical. Tell me about the rest-your people."

She does n't speak for a moment. Perhaps it is the deep snow through which you both have been plowing that has used her breath. Probably, though, she is revolving your question in her mind. Suddenly she stops in the trail and kicks the snow from her kamik thongs. Then she turns, and by the tears that come into her eyes and voice you may know she sees what you


"I have read like a man," she says quietly. That kind do. "The English go to India and to Egypt, and they come home to die. The French go to Africa and to China; come home to die.

have the Philippines spot or two besides. young to die. The

beneath her like some white giant asleep. A berg splits sharply, topples, and thunders over into the pack, while echoes boom across the ice battlements above. Floes grind slowly over the wreckage, pressed ever onward by the great glacier behind; and over all the incandescence of arctic sunshine.

"Do you remember," says the maiden, sadly, "the ancient sacrifice of women year by year, how the ship sailed away with those selected for the dreadful honor? I go home this summer. Later I shall see the little ship leave Copenhagen for the colonies. There will be women aboard her selected for the sacrifice to this monstrous thing creeping at our feet. But no one knows they are to be sacrificed. Later, when their bodies return, we shall think only that the great North has quieted them. It will have slain them; the hearts and souls of them, at least."

Her skin hood falls back, letting the fair hair of her race tumble unheeded down the streaked native shirt she wears. Something in her tall strength, in the tragedy of her look and speech, holds you. And as you gaze you see the embodiment of the Scandinavian, the eternal woman of the viking king.

She pulls herself together and tries to smile.

mostly they, too, You Americans You Americans and Hawaii and a You are all too You are all too Danes, my own kind, come here to Greenland to live; we at home think they come to live. But they come to die-to die in Greenland. Their bodies come home. In Denmark we ask their bodies, 'Why so sad?' And the bodies cannot answer, except, perhaps, to say it is homesickness for the snow. We say to ourselves, 'How wonderful must be Green- "My father taught me. He was a land to make such homesickness!' So clergyman. His health had been the young men race to come. When wrecked in foreign mission work. In they send back for wives, we women the army or the navy he would have weep if we are not chosen for the been pensioned. As it was, he died in happiness." harness. Near the end he lived over She looks at the Isfiord spread out past years. There had been two other

"You did n't think I knew, did you?"

"Not so clearly," you confess.

families where he was stationed. They hated one another. They hated themselves. Natives were a consolation in a bitter sort of way. One woman died in childbirth. The second went mad. Both men brought out new wives. My mother was one. She lasted nearly three years. Then she broke, and my father broke. When he was dying he spoke very plainly to me.

"You may wish to go to the colonies,' he said. 'Go in the beginning, and go unmarried. Do you promise?' Of course I did; and here I am."

Her cheeks have become white with frost in her emotion. While she warms them, ask her what she thinks of the others, the traders and doctors. She will shake her head after each.

"No, he is cruel to his boy. No, he is too silent." Another has killed his team in insane anger. One is feared by the natives for unspeakable reasons. And so on. Possibly there may be one -she knows him scarcely at all whom she will admit is normal. "Perhaps," she hesitates, "he is stronger than the others. Spiritually, I mean." "Nerves, is n't it, you have in mind?"

"Yes, it can be so called. I have nursed. I know neurasthenics. Never have I seen more perfect examples in my life than up here. That is, those who try to keep their civilization instead of becoming contented Eskimos. It's the same all over the world where

missionaries and soldiers and sailors must live secluded lives."

She glances back at the squalid settlement and lowers her voice.

"Cold does n't kill them in the Arctic. Heat alone rarely brings death in the tropics. Nor darkness nor strange food nor hardship. Why, there are poor wretches in New York and London and Paris this minute enduring privations we pioneers are never called upon to face."

"I know; I have seen."

"The trouble goes back to our average life. It is deadly, like a drug. We have so much travel in trains and subways. We have so much entertainment in theaters and cafés. We jostle our way through an existence crowded with excitement and action. Then, suddenly, all is gone; the drug has been stopped. The colonist, the missionary, the soldier, you and I, and our neighbors in this cell have abruptly lost the stimulant our nerves had learned to depend upon. depend upon. What happens when the nerve habit is stopped? You have your English De Quincey-"

She shivers, though not with the cold.

And because she has not been altogether untouched by the North she can find no competent civilized word to utter for the pain of the fingers that are meshed in her heart-strings. She sighs, and the sigh is the native's lament.


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T Sunday.

HE Eskimos would love Billy "Ai-O! pibloktosuaq!" ("Heavens! he 's throwing a fit!") they'd say. But they would n't be deprecating the great evangelist's sincerity. Religious fervor is to them a fortuitous spectacle of human sublimity. In their experience only a human being can get into hand-to-hand conflict with the almighty devil and come out alive! A dog or a caribou, even the mighty bear or musk-ox, are known always to succumb when they become pibloktoq; that is, when they fall into the clutches of the devil. Briefly, the Eskimo places arctic hydrophobia and a missionary's sermon in the same category of madness.

Mission literature defines religion of the frigid zone as animistic. That is to say, each hill and berg, each wind, season, bowlder, swollen stream, and tempest, has its particular god or devil. Literally, it is neither god nor devil, for each term in English implies extreme of good or evil; whereas the Eskimo "spirit" is a kind of invisible snob, easily irritated by the trifling human being, and to be feared lest this irritation culminate in bodily harm or

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ill luck. Altogether, animism is a kind of stand-from-under doctrine, which, by the way, could n't be beaten for Greenland, where a misstep day or night may easily mean terrible death.

Obviously, such a state of affairs is not in accord with the monotheism of Christianity. So the Danish Church provides a "pastor," or missionary, for each south Greenland colony. Besides his usual training for the priesthood, the holy man receives at Copenhagen a course in the Eskimo language.

Now, it so happens that for all their study of the tongue, Danes have found it exceedingly difficult to record with any accuracy the true texture of tribal speech. It is easy to compile a dictionary of meanings, even a sort of grammar may be educed; but when one appreciates the fact that Eskimo is thoroughly agglutinative, that it supplants most abstractions like the emotions by tangible and figurative expressions, and, finally, that its speakers drift through a generation of slang even faster than a tribe of flappers could, it is easy to see how handicapped the earnest missionary is.

His last admonition received before

leaving home is on how unmoral the Northern people are. He is impressed with the fact that convention and modesty, as he has known and revered them, do not exist north of the arctic circle. Thus, instructions run, basic among his duties is to regulate the social life of the community to which he is attached.

Consult the official reports of missions. It is observed that natives will travel hundreds of miles to crowd the little wooden church, and their effort to catch every word is marvelous.

But who would n't? The good man stands there in his pulpit, where all can see. First of all, he warms up, "goes pibloktoq." And having passed a few remarks on the white man's spirits and how to keep on the good side of them, he begins, according to directions, to discuss the marital state and other delicate subjects. Billy Sunday could succeed with an American audience, because he is master of colloquial English; but imagine the ecstatic joy of the Eskimos, whose sense of humor is as keen as a razor, putting these inapt, halting phrases into juxtaposition with their lively meanings in the day's best wit! At once the priest becomes no less than a personified edition of an arctic "Vie Parisienne," and the way the tribe awaits the next issue is shocking.

Probably nowhere else in the world does the missionary face so difficult a task as in Greenland. The Eskimos are hospitable, happy, generous, and receptive. For centuries their favorite indoor sport has been subversion of an old belief to make room for the latest fad in spirits. Only the general tone of things remains: there is the Great Spirit of the dreaded Inland Ice, the cruel Spirit of the Cold, the savage Spirit of the Storm. Any one, even a

child, can see them; a man would be a fool to dispute their existence, and doubtless be gobbled up on the spirit's next visitation. So they welcome the new angekoq, or medicine-man. He's full of new ideas about new spirits. Indeed, his advent may be almost likened to the release of the latest Chaplin film. And his incantations travel up and down the coast with the speed of scandal.

It is the Eskimo's enthusiasm over the whole performance that is so glorious. The inexperienced disciple will at first set great store by the warm welcome he gets. Maybe for a year he will be deceived into thinking he has won the brown hunters away from their pagan beliefs. Then, one sad day, he will awaken to the fact that he is only a better angekoq than their last one, and on a quiet night, with the snow crunching under his feet, he will hear from some crowded igloo the mingled strains of his best-loved psalm and a chant to the almighty devil for succor against the storm.

Yet the pastors are true missionaries. What is written above must not be construed as criticism of their fundamental goodness, faith, and zeal. Not only does their ideal of achievement include conversion of the native to Christian belief, but they strive conscientiously for a mental and moral uplift of the race that will some day give it religious and political freedom, and insure a sturdy independence of environment that even we civilized races have not. At the forefront of their creed is the almost fanatical dread of all horrible unhappiness, suffering, misery, and death that have befallen other tribes on the earth's surface that man in his greed or even in his kindness has sought to uplift.

Furthermore, their succor is of a practical sort. Unyielding as native superstition is, fruitless as the teaching seems, the great fight goes on. And in all man's travels to the ends of the world he may never see a more inspiring sight than a poor, half-fed, homesick Danish priest imploring a mob of filthy, vermined Eskimos not to believe as he believes, not to risk the anger of their own devils by feigning interest in the white man's sorcery, but to join him in little kindnesses among them

selves, their brethren, and with their children, to the end that certain everyday evils be cast out.

Slowly, subtly, progress comes. One hundred and fifty years ago Hans Egede established the first chapel in an igloo on the southern coast. His name has been perpetuated in the colony of Egedesminde, and his spirit goes marching on in the breasts of the heroic little band that has kept his candles burning. May God keep them through the long night!

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