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seriously considered. The dumping of the garbage-boats in the Lower Bay, thanks to the noses of those who live along its shores, is likely to be stopped before it shall have accomplished its full measure of mischief; but its possibilities for mischief are very great.
The water supply of New York, already taxed to its utmost, and about to be greatly increased, has one bearing on sanitary conditions which has received too little attention. The water used is surely much less than the water wasted; and, whether used or wasted, it contributes an increasing supply to the millions of defective joints of sewers and house-drains through which it escapes into the soil, aggravating the area of saturation and contamination, and giving greater effect and extension to one of the most subtle causes of local insalubrity. There is a clamor, and, under present conditions, a need, for an increased water supply, which must involve an increased foul saturation of the ground.
The foregoing description of the condition of the public and private works of New York City which have a marked bearing on the state of the public health, seems a sufficient justification for the sub-title given to this paper. New York, as a whole, is certainly subject to grave physical disorders, mainly of a chronic character, which, undermining the public health, certainly constitute a disease of the gravest kind. In so far as the community escapes sickness and untimely death, it escapes them only. It is to the fresh blood that it is constantly drawing from the country and from Europe, to the very remarkable natural advantages of its
THE writer, as an officer of Lieutenant Schwatka's Franklin Search Party, of 187880, had unusual opportunities for studying the Esquimaux character and habits, and proposes to record in this article a few observations derived from his experience.
situation, and to the exposure of its great thoroughfares to the prevailing winds, that its partial immunity is due. The only reason why it may not become as healthy as its frequent influx of fresh blood, its exposed site, and its natural facilities for drainage would indicate, is that its population does not realize, and probably cannot be made to realize, the degree to which daily life within its borders is surrounded and overshadowed by removable causes of unhealthfulness. This realization once secured, and all feasible remedial measures being carried into effect, the health of the city might easily be made as remarkable as are its prosperity, its commercial stability, and its exterior magnificence.
AMONG THE ESQUIMAUX WITH SCHWATKA.
It was early in the month of August, 1878, that Lieutenant Schwatka's party left the whaling schooner upon which they had taken passage to North Hudson Bay, and established themselves with the natives of that section of the country. Around them had clustered a village of from fifteen to
In a subsequent paper, a Remedy for the Disease will be suggested. The suggestion will not be pitched to the key of expediency. It is no part of the purpose of this writing either to flatter the people of New York with the idea that its condition, bad though it may be, is not worse than that of other great cities, nor to temper the curative prescription to what their uninformed notions may be disposed to accept. The existing facts have been stated without reserve; and the only means for the complete relief which the present state of the world's knowledge suggests as effective, will be set forth without qualification, in the hope that sooner or later the perfect sanitary standard will be accepted and enforced, and that this great metropolis may yet enter upon a new and vigorous life, untrammeled by the bondage of preventable disease, and fearless of preventable death.
twenty tupics (tents made of seal-skin), and comprising about eighty or ninety people, old and young. It is the friendly custom of the Esquimaux to gather around the white visitors in their country, in order to supply them with the much-needed antiscorbutic-fresh meat, and to eat of the crumbs that fall from the rich men's table. Surrounding the whalers in their winter quarters are the snow-huts of the natives, and in convenient proximity to the galley at meal times may be seen the inhabitants themselves, gazing with wistful eyes at the "barge" of hard-tack, and sniffing the
aroma of the luscious pork-stew. To them the hard bread, that would defy the teeth and puzzle the digestion of many people here, is like candy to our children; and the "blackstrap" molasses which is fed to poor Jack" is ambrosial nectar to them when mixed with the sailors' barley-coffee, or even with hot water, composing that time-honored beverage, "swankey." swankey." So was it around our tent at Camp Daly, but for a short time only, as the season for killing reindeer with the fur of suitable quality for winter clothing was rapidly passing, and it became necessary for the settlement to break camp and scatter through the game country, as is their custom in the summer and fall. Indeed, it is not until midwinter is upon them that they re-assemble at some convenient point on the coast, where they can hunt for seals and walrus, and get the much-needed blubber for food and fuel.
Their life in their hunting-camps is one of constant exercise. The game is roaming over the country, and the tent of the hunter remains in one place but a few days. Before leaving the shore for the hunting-grounds, most of the dogs are put upon the islands near the main-land, where they feed upon the little fish found in the sea-weed when the tide recedes. A few dogs only are taken into the country to assist in moving camp, but otherwise their presence is a nuisance, for, to prevent them from chasing the game, they are kept tied near their master's tent, and make existence in the neighborhood a burden by their constant whining and shouting for freedom. Day and night they keep up this terrible uproar with sleepless industry, so that, when the noise ceases, the hunter knows that his dog has burst his bonds and is probably already in mischief.
During the latter part of the month of August, I visited one of these hunting-camps on the southern bank of Connery River, above the gate-way through which the search party passed on the return from King William's Land, in February, 1880. In this camp were three tupics, containing four families, and when moving camp, which occurred every other day while I was with them, every one, old and young, men and women, had his load, and the dogs staggered under burdens that would fill with sadness the heart of a member of the S. P. C. A. Even a palsied old crone had upon her back the skins that comprised her bed. It was a comparatively light load, but she had to keep up with the line of march as
best she could, or fall behind and come along at her leisure. Only when we forded the river, which was accomplished at a portage over and through the stones of which the water dashed with great violence, did any one go to the assistance of the old woman. Then two young men took her light frame in their brawny arms and carried her safely through the torrent, landing her upon the opposite shore, where she was again left to follow or not as she pleased. It is astonishing what burdens these people will carry upon their backs, by means of a thong which passes across the breast and just below the shoulders, sometimes supported by an additional thong over the forehead. Besides their share of the load, the women have the youngest child in their hoods or sitting upon the back-load, with their feet around the mother's neck. The men seldom offer to relieve their partners of the infant, unless it be the heir, in which case the father will sometimes deign to take him upon his own bundle. But it always seemed to me as if the fathers would rather see their daughters left behind to become food for wolves than lower their dignity by carrying a female child.
Arrived at the spot selected for the new camp, bundles are laid aside, and all, throwing themselves upon the ground, enjoy a few moments of peaceful rest. Then pipes are filled and passed from mouth to mouth, and conversation upon the prospect of reindeer being seen is entered into by the men, while the women erect the tents, unload the dogs, and put down the bedding. If there is any meat in camp, moss is gathered by the women, and a fire is started in the doorway of the tent to cook a potful of meat, while the men lounge about and smoke, or roam over the hills to look for traces of reindeer. During the day-time, while the men are hunting, the women and children generally repair to the nearest lake, and fish for the fine salmon which abound in all the waters of that locality, and which are eaten either raw or cooked.
The rivers and lakes around Camp Daly are not only filled with salmon, but flocks of ducks inhabit the waters, laying their eggs among the rocks that bound their shores, and rearing their young upon the placid waters of the tributaries of Hudson Bay. The eider-duck, which is known to the Esquimaux as me-ah-tuk, or duck proper, is seen in great abundance wherever water can be found in the vicinity. Even at Franklin Point, on King William's Land, in June, 1878, we found it of great value to us to
know that we could subsist on ducks while, temporarily, other game appeared exhausted, and, for about two weeks, they formed our only diet. We ate a great many geese and swans, besides eggs of various weights and measures, from the snow-bunting to the cokejuke, by which name the arctic swan is known. Its egg is about the size of a pint cup, and one would afford a solid meal to at least two persons. During the first few weeks of our occupancy of Camp Daly, we frequently sought the neighboring ponds and lakes to bring fresh game to our larder, and found the ducklings and goslings most delightful food. Our incursions did not seem to affect the quantity displayed, and not until the day came when all the waters were frozen did we recognize the fact that our geese had wandered. An amusing incident occurred shortly after our arrival at this camp, and after the natives had nearly all departed to their hunting-grounds. Lieutenant Schwatka desired to establish north and south points by a culmination of the planet Jupiter, and had stationed Henry at the farther point with a pan of oil and moss to show as a light, while he himself made the observations, and, in order to distinguish his signals from all the ordinary sounds of camp-life, chose a duck call, which happened to remain in his shot-gun case, by which to indicate the direction. One "quack meant to the left, two, to the right, and three, to remain as you were. Presently came the signal "quack," and Henry stepped to the right, a little too far. "Quack, quack," sounded the lieutenant's call, and Henry started to the left with his pan of oil, but at the same time the sound smote the ears of the ducks on North Hudson Bay and adjacent waters, and quickly came the responsive cry: "Quack, quack," "Quack, quack," until the whole department of ducks responded to the call, and Henry, in his confusion running from point to point, at last asked relief, while in the meantime the planet culminated, and the desired opportunity was lost.
One of the greatest discomforts of arctic travel is the enforced uncleanliness. It is often asked, How could you associate and maintain such intimate relations with those dirty savages, living in the same tent or snow-hut with them? To this the answer very naturally assumes the form of another question: How could they live with us? For certainly we were about as dirty as they could be. In winter, water is too scarce and too precious an article to waste in washing.
Generally all the water you have is ice or snow melted over an oil-lamp-a. very tedious process. Another obstacle is the fact that you must wipe your hands and face pretty soon after washing, or they will soon be frozen; and when a towel has once been used, its future usefulness is seriously impaired. It then becomes frozen as stiff as a board, and about as available as that for wiping one's hands and face. When in permanent quarters, it is, of course, different, and a certain degree of cleanliness can be observed. Then when a towel is used it can be hung near the lamp, and will eventually get dry; but in the meantime it catches the particles of soot from the lamp, and after using it the second time it is hard to tell whether your face has been washed or not. The natives never wash, and, as they are a healthy race, suffering only from pulmonary diseases and disorders of the stomach, occasioned by overloading with rancid meat, it becomes an open question whether cleanliness is necessary to health. They have no cloth, and consequently no towels, and it is amusing to see the devices to which they are forced to provide substitutes. The men eat while sitting or standing in a circle, and pass a large piece of meat, either cooked or raw and bloody, from one to another, each in turn seizing a morsel in his teeth and cutting it off with a large knife, to the imminent peril of his nose. At the end of the meal, their hands and faces look as if they had been eating out of a trough. They don't mind the dirt, but they hate to waste the blood or gravy, so they scrape their hands, fingers, and cheeks very carefully with their knives, and then lick the knives clean with their tongues. If either the men or the women get their hands covered with oil by handling blubber, they first lick off the oil and then wipe their hands upon a napkin improvised from the skin of a bird. When a duck, goose, dovekie, or any other large bird has been killed, they skin it, gnaw the fat from the skin, and then dry it in the sun. Then these skins are put carefully away, to do service as napkins and towels.
While the spring snows are on the ground the natives suffer greatly with snow-blindness, and even after the snow has disappeared, their eyes are often terribly inflamed. There is a constant desire to rub them while in this condition, but their hands are always so dirty that to do so increases rather than diminishes their suffering. I once saw a most charming substitute, when Koo-pah came
into my tent with a rabbit's foot in his hand, which he occasionally drew across his eyelids, to remove the perspiration that would otherwise have caused him great annoyance. I was surprised to see the "hare's foot," which has for so long been the favorite paint and powder puff of the greenroom, put to a kindred use in the hands of a savage.
The Esquimaux women are exceedingly expert in the use of the needle, and make many ornamental pieces of clothing, as well as bags for various purposes. They have not yet reached that degree of civilization that makes pockets a necessity, and so each man carries a bag, more or less ornamental according to the taste or skill of his wife. Some are very pretty indeed, exhibiting agreeable contrasts of color by using the skin of several animals, or the skin from different parts of the same animal. Since the advent of the whalers in the northern waters, cloth can occasionally be obtained for the purpose of bag-making, and some made of that material show excellent taste and judgment in the choice of beads of various colors, with which they are often profusely adorned. Reindeers' teeth also are used for ornament, and dangle from the fringe that decorates the hunter's pouch or adorns the bead-work breast-plate upon his wife's coat; as may be imagined, these present a ghastly appearance, owing to their resemblance to human teeth. The hunter does not usually wear the pouch or bag hanging in front of him, by passing the string over the back of his neck, but passes the string around the front of his neck and lets the bag dangle behind. In this receptacle he carries his pipe and tobacco, his matches or flint and steel, his box of caps and the little box containing et-tu-mó-yer the leaves of a small running vine dried and chopped fine to mix with his tobacco. It is only when hunting or traveling alone that he carries the bag at all. When his wife is with him she must carry whatever is necessary, and for this purpose she uses her hood, which is unnecessarily long, or puts the articles in her loose stocking. When the lord and master wants his pipe, he turns to his obedient slave, and says: "Pay-ú-let-e-now?" (where is the pipe?)-whereupon she cuts the tobacco, fills and lights the pipe, and, after a few puffs as reward, hands it to her majestic ruler. He would, perhaps, find the cold wind disagreeable to his hands should he remove his mittens to prepare the pipe, so the wife must suffer. When building their
snow-huts, the men wear long mittens of reindeer fur, made, like gauntlets, to cover the end of the coat-sleeve, where they are tied down to keep out the snow while they are cutting and handling the blocks. These are carried on the sled during a march, and, of course, through the day are frozen stiff. Shortly before halting, the wife has to put these frozen mittens inside the bosom of her dress, and next to her bare skin, that they may be thawed out and warm by the time her husband wants to wear them. Or, if this precaution be neglected, she must put them upon her own hands first, and thaw them in that way. While the men cut the snowblocks and build the house, the women chink the cracks, and, if it is very cold or windy weather, cover the building with snow by means of a wooden snow-shovel. When it is completed, the women arrange the beds, light the lamps, and make the habitation as comfortable as possible. The husband's frozen shoes and stockings are passed over to the wife, to beat off the snow and ice, and place them over the lamp to dry. This duty often keeps the weary woman awake nearly all night, while the husband sleeps away his fatigue and arises to put on dry stockings in the morning. No wonder that the Esquimaux seldom travel without their women.
In my correspondence with the "New York Herald," a full account was given of seal and walrus hunting, but nothing was there said concerning the method of killing ducks and geese by spearing. In hunting the seal during the winter and spring, while the air is too cold for him to find comfort in sunning himself on the surface of the ice, the hungry Esquimaux has to look for his prey through ice of from two to twenty feet in thickness. Here, again, are shown the excellent qualities possessed by his much-abused dog. The little hole through which the seal inhales his fresh air communicates directly with the well-like hole by which he approaches the surface of the water. The dog's keen instinct scents the blow-hole, though, as is often the case, it be covered with snow, and conducts his master to the spot. A shelter is then built by erecting a few blocks of snow to break the force of the wind, and the patient hunter takes his place for a long and dreary watch for the return of the seal to breathe. He cannot walk around, for that would frighten away the animal, and sometimes his vigil has been known to extend over two days at one sitting. When the long spring days