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A Journey in Russian Lapland 

and Karelia. 


Author of The Land of the North Windy 
and The Country of the Moors. 




J ■* J ' 

7J§/ right of Translation is reserved. 



. •••:::t 

• • » • • • 

* • • • • • • 

••.;•• • PrinUd ^ R. & R. Clakk, Edinburgh, 

.•:.•'•••. • 

k • 







Dear Reader — If you are willing to embark on 
this expedition to The White Sea Peninsula^ I must 
ask you to regard the account of our journey simply 
as a sketch-^as accurate as, under many difficulties, 
I have been able to make it There appear to be 
two ways of writing : one, to seek after somebody 
else's style — the other to write as you talk yourself. 
The latter is all that lies within my capabilities, 
and it must be the excuse which you will require to 
make for many things in the following pages. An * 
indifferent Russian scholar, I found it fatiguing to 
extort information word by word from the natives 
with whom we associated : and the result by no 
means represents the labour undergone. 

I have taken certain details and statistics, chiefly 
of the fisheries, from En Sommer i Finmarken og 
Nord Karelen^ by the modest and talented Nor- 
wegian Professor Friis, who skirted the region 


which I am about to describe. For the map I am 
indebted to the courtesy of the Royal Geographical 
Society. Originally a Russian chart, amended by 
Middendorf, reduced by poor Dr. Petermann of 
Gotha for Stiehler's Atlas, revised by Professor 
Friis, and rendered into English by Lieutenant 
Temple, F.R.G.S. — I have made various additions 
and corrections based on observation : and I do 
not hesitate to say it is a good map. 

Some of the woodcuts are from En Sommer 
i Finmarken : the others from the Expedition's 
photographs, transferred to wood by Mr. Arthur 
E. Smith's interesting and valuable process. Crypto- 
type. Of the etchings, with one exception, I can 
say little : they were experiments, made in haste, 
perhaps to be repented of at leisure. 

My first acknowledgments must be to my 
friends Mr. Murray and Mr. John Murray, whose 
unvarying kindly consideration ha3 helped to 
transform a labour into a pleasure. For friendly 
assistance in Natural History, I have to thank 
Messrs. Higgins, Moore, Rye, and Eraser. 

Reader, I do not know if we shall meet again. 
I had contemplated one more journey for the past 
summer, to the lonely White Sea. My old com- 


panion * the Doctor/ whose unshaken courage and 
monumental patience survived many a trial, seemed 
at last to feel that his taste for Arctic hardships had 
expired : and I have to express to my good friend 
Mr. Archibald Williamson my regret that the 
journey, which he readily agreed to share in the 
Doctor's stead, could not be carried out, 

I am happy to think there are many humble 
acquaintances in the far North who would be glad 
to see us once more. The more languages we 
learn, the more races and classes of human beings 
we see, the more we feel that their distinctions are 
skin deep. We have but to identify ourselves with 
our fellow-creatures, to find warm hearts, virtues, 
and refinement among the very outcasts of mankind. 
Friendliness and courtesy will go farther than money, 
and a joke is a better weapon than a revolver. 

And so the Doctor and I resign to others the 
regions through which, in more than one instance, 
we have been the pioneers : only cautioning our 
successors that such journeys call for more thought, 
nerve, and endurance than might be imagined. 
Apart from incessant impediments and frequent 
risks, the journey to The White Sea Peninsula was 
a hard one : and details which you, gentle reader. 


will find wearisome, may, perhaps, serve as foot- 
prints to a future wanderer in one of the least 
known countries in the world, when the good 
Doctor and I shall have been long forgotten. — 

Believe me, yours faithfully, 


Redcourt, Birkenhead, 
Christmas 1881, 




Sail from tlie Tyne — ^Pnrchas' pilgrims — ^The North Cape — Inventory of 
provisions — ^Various preparations — An Interpreter — Mosquito pre- 
parations — ^Vardo— A Latheran baptism — Fort of Vardohuus — ^We 
charter a steamer — ^A bird rock 


We saU to Vadso— The Penvodtckik--h Lapp idol-— Valit— Voyage to 
Kola — ^Vaidda G(^ba — Neutral ground^ A zealous monk — Peisen 
Kloster — ^Trifan's mission— A sacred painting — SkolU Lapps — Sibt 
Navolok — A Viking's grave — Legend of Anika — ^The Kolafiord — 
Kola — ^Bombardment by the White Sea squadron . .11 


Malmys— Walrus fishery— Position of Kola— The IVhite Sea Pemmuia 
— Churches — Persecution of the Lapps — A Kola house — ^Visit to the 
Ispravnik — Plans for journey — A passport — An archaeological in- 
vestigation — ^A failure — ^A naturalist ... 26 


Expedition up the Tilloma river—- A cataract— Fish— TiUoma— To the 
Nuot Lake — Nuotosero — Farewell to the Lapps — ^A reception — ^A 
bargain — A misfortune— Departure from Kola • • • • 39 




Kildtn Island — ^The MOrman coast — ^A Lapp ally — St Gabriel's — Fishing 
stations — ^MOrman fishes — L6vosero — Investigations — Corrnption — 
A sufferer — ^Zakkar's Farewell 52 



Departure from Gavrilova — A luxury — A storm — The Irisjevemaya 1 
Sidnya — ^Arrival at Seven Islands — ^Wredc of the AUxei — Our camp 
— Visitors — ^Sir Hugh Willoughby — Expedition to the River Kar- 
lovka — A rainbow — Lapps of the Karlovka — A mistake — Interroga- 
tions — ^The Mink — ^We appoint a secretary 66 


A naughty boy — Camp life — Origin of the Lapps — A piece of mischief— 
An ornithological discovery — Temperature — Pdrahod — Holy Cape 
— A risk 81 


The Ponoi river — ^A lonely grave — ^A reinforcement — ^Lachta — ^The great 
river — Hyperborean manners — ^Voyage on the Ponoi — ^The river's 
bonks — ^Mutiny — Birds — A late meal — First cataract — An indenture 
— Ponoi in the winter — ^Vaccination — Farewell to Ponoi — ^Vokkonga 
— Lachta— The last of the Ponoi 91 


The White Sea coast — Lapp costumes — ^A storm — ^A harbour of refuge 
— Terski Villages — Matthias Alexander Castren — ^A dispute — The 
Terski fisheries — The Terski rivers Ill 




Kouzomen — Feodor Andrevitch — Samoyedes — ^The Varzuga river — ^Vil- 
lage of Vaizuga — ^A pioneer — A contract — ^Yekim's journey — Sei^o- 
sero— Kamensky — The Upper Ponoi — ^The Bolshoi rapid — ^A letter 
from Lachta — Overtures for photography — ^White Sea midnight 122 


Samoyede studies — Characteristics — ^Worship — Superstition — Religion — 
A recognition — A risk — ^The bear — Weariness — Samoyede gods — 
Wizards — [Sacrifices — Burials — Samoyede Folk-lore — Story of the 
thirty old men — Marodata — ^Tanako — The one-armed servant — 
Samoyede song — Connections of the Samoyedes — Departure from 
Kouzomen — ^Vassili Ivanovitch Rogolofif 139 


K passepartout — A rich establishment — Coming events — The White Sea 
monastery — ^A misunderstanding — ^The God -worshippers — Selfish- 
ness — History of Solovetsk — Its churches — Sacred paintings — 
Devotion 164 


Kem — Its founders — A perquisition — An arrest — The Kem post-office 
— A Karelian aquaintance — The Samovar — Release of the Pere- 
vodtchik — The Old Believers — Dogmas and characteristics — Fish 
and dogs — Virtues of the Karelians 176 


Appearance of Kem — An inflammable village — Old silver — An acquisition 
— Departure from Kem — An escape — Ianotka*s after career — A 
launch — Pongamo — Government posting stations — Stray Lapps — A 
deserted isba — ^Wild flowers 189 




Kalgalaks — A pleasant evening — Literary possibilities — A 6shing spot 
— Somostrova — An anxiety — Qualities of the peasants — Keret — 
The Korelak — A selfish priest — A human spider — Suggestions — 
Wonders 201 


A misconception — Laziness — ^Return to Keret — ^The rapid — A difficult 
operation — ^An apparition — ^Kovda — Public baptism — Prejudices — 
RusAnova — Kandalaks — An unexpected meeting — A beautiful pano- 
rama — A wrangle — ^Transport — ^An inventory 213 


Through the forest — Kxc\iz flora — Neglected advantages — A travelled 
native — Mosquito precautions — Imandra — Sashyeka — Babinsky 
Lapps — Habits of the Lapps — Resources — Miron Yefimovitch 
Arkipoff— A storm on the lake — ^The Island of Graves — ^The ritual 
of the dead 225 


Lapp sayings — Folk-lore — Ivan, son of Kupiska — The King of the 
Lapps — ^A story of Yokkonga — ^The priest's wedding— The fox and 
the bear — ^The salmon and the Xxoai—Jetanas — The giant's life — 
The giant and his boy— The Stallos— The fisher Lapp— Patto 
Pwadnje's revenge — Stallo's marriage — The beaver traps — ^The Sea 
Folk— The Goveiter— Dog Noses— Ruobba 238 


The Umpdek Dunder — ^A novel bird — Rasnavolok — An unprofitable 
sacrifice — Pleasant companions — ^Arctic solitudes — ^The journey to 
Ldvosero— Talk with a Lapp— The Russian Lapps — The Northern 
Lights 252 




Mythology of the Lapp»— The Noolds-— The JCobdas^K felf-iacrifice— 
The Lapp divinities — ^Tiermes — Sun- worshippers — The formation of 
a soul— The Zra/<^>6— Heaven and hell— The flood ... 262 


Maselsky — ^The snowy mountain ridge — Education — ^Wild flowers of the 
Kola River — ^A Lapp gentleman — ^Tschongai — A profession of faith 
—Kola— The route from the White Sea 278 


On^sime — ^The MassUnitsa — Obtainable necessaries in the White Sea 
Peninsula and Karelia — Negotiations with Laplanders — Michieff'— 
An enquiry — Baseball — An international cricket match — Farewell 
to Kola 286 


The Kola Gi^ba— The Mutke Gilba— Difficulties and studies— A Lapp 
artist — Novaya Zemlia — ^Zakkar — CuUx /o^m/ii/^—- Pursuit of the 
Perevodtchik — Farewell to the Lapps — Astray in the swamps — 
Vaidda Gilba — A swift voyage — Studies of the midnight sun — 
Departure from Vardo— The hist of the Arctic — Greenwich . 298 


Some OF THE Flowers OF Russian Lapland 315 

Birds observed in the Kola Peninsula and Karelia . .322 

Birds observed by a Swedish Naturalist in the parts of 
Russian Lapland lying between Enara Lake, t6loma 
River, and the Mutke GOba 326 

Minerals found in Russian Lapland 327 

Vocabulary in Samoyede, Russian-Lapp, and Russian . .328 


Etched by Uon Richeton, 



Etched by the Author. 

A LAPP VILLAGE . . . fVoodcut 


THE RIVER PONOI . . do. . 


Etched by the Author. 

Etched by the Author. 


Etched by the Author. 

EUhed by the Author. 


Etched by the Author, 

Etched by the Author. 




To face page 19 























LAKE SCENE IN KARELIA Woodcut . . T^o fact page 205 

KANDALAKS , , . . do. , . ,,221 

SASHYEKA ..,.<*»,.., ,,231 

YEKOSTROVA ...<&. 236 

A RUSSIAN LAPP ...<*>.... ,,254 



Etched by the Author. 


Etched by the Author. 


EUhed by the Author. 


Etched by the Author, 

A LAPP GAMME . . Woodcut . . . „ 308 




Sail from the Tyne — Purchas' pilgrims — ^The North Cape — Inventory of pro- 
visions — Various preparations — An Interpreter — Mosqaito preparations 
• — Vardo — A Lutheran baptism — Fort of Vardohuus — We charter a 
steamer — ^A bird rock. 

We left the Tyne on the 31st of May, passed Aberdeen 
on Whitsunday 1st of June, lost the Shetlands on Monday, 
and came out into the Atlantic, with a fresh northerly 
wind and a moderate sea. For four long days and nights 
the Aurora pitched steadily, the wind gradually increasing. 

An African homed sheep was one of our enter- 
tainments on board : an eccentric creature, who liked 
human companionship, and enjoyed rope ends, small pieces 
of coal, wood, or canvas, and especially relished wet paint. 
A poor tired little snow-bunting, blown from the coast, 
visited us on the third day : that night, as we were near 
the polar circle, the sun did not set We saw numerous 
whales, and passed the circle on the fourth day. On the 
forenoon of the 5th of June we coasted past the Lofodens, 
the wind still dead ahead and increasing to a gale. 

They proceeded to sea, and Master Chancellor held 



on his course towards that vnknowne part of the world : 
and sayled so farre, that hee came at last to the place 
where hee found no night at all, but a continuall light 
and brightnesse of the sunne shining cleerly vpon the 
huge and mightie sea. Note, that there is between the 
Rost Is. and Lowfoot, a whirlepoole called Malestrand, 
which from halfe ebbe vntill halfe floud maketh such a 
terrible noyse that it shaketh the rings in the doores of 
the inhabitants' houses of the said ilands ten miles off. 
Also if there cometh any whale into the current of the 
same, they make a pitifull cry. Purcha^ Pilgrims. 

On the sixth afternoon we passed Tromso and Ham- 
merfest On the seventh morning the Aurora was 
steaming at the top of the world under the North Cape, 
the solid old cliff rising a thousand feet from the cold 
Arctic Sea. Snow covered more than one-half of the 
purple mountains of Finmarken, the Arctic waves glittered 
in a crystal atmosphere and in cloudless sunlight Mid- 
summer and midwinter were face to face. Whales were 
peacefully spouting on the horizon, and the keen frosty 
breeze blew in our faces. We were in the latitude of 
Jan Mayen. We expected to reach Vardo at some incon- 
venient hour after midnight 

We made more comprehensive arrangements for this 
than for any previous journey. To travel with a vast 
quantity of baggage has the advantage that you are never 
tempted to touch a package yourself. I give for the guid- 
ance of that eccentric and misguided human being — the 
future traveller to Russian Lapland — an inventory of the 
few bare requisites of life which our boxes contained : — 


48 lbs. tinned beef and mutton : the most neglected 

of our stores as it proved. 
36 tins of potted meat and game, of which we grew 

thoroughly tired. 
72 tins of consolidated German army soups, 
6 tins of sardines : given away. 

2 tins of pkt6 de foie gras. 

1 2 tins of Johnston's fluid beef : useful. 

1 2 tins of ham and chicken. 

24 packets of custard powder : given away. 

40 lbs. captain's biscuits : very welcome. 

4 tins of Swiss milk : unnecessary. 

24 tins of jam : indispensable. 

I tin of cocoa : given away. 

3 lbs. of chocolate : should have been 30 lbs. 

4 lbs. Stilton cheese : given away. 

I box of muscatel raisins : given away. 

I box of figs : given away. 

1 2 lbs. sugar : less would have done. 

10 lbs. tea and coffee : less tea would have done. 

A quantity of lemons : not necessary. 

I bottle of brandy, with a lock cork. 

We hoped with these, and with salmon and other 
fish, game, wild -fowl, reindeer, eggs, cream, and bread of 
the country, to keep the wolf from the door. 

We further took several gallons of spirits of wine, in 
tin canisters, for the service of our cooking apparatus: 
but as we never lacked wood or turf fuel, we often wished 
we had taken several gallons of curagoa instead. We had 
three watertight wooden boxes, measuring two feet by one 
foot, — ^numerous handles being attached to each, for con- 


venience of carrying or lashing. Two japanned tin boxes, 
also supplied with rings, and waterproofed : two japanned 
tin portmanteaus : two seamen's canvas bags— one water- 
proofed, for carrying quilts, pillows, coats, rugs, etc, 

The tent case enclosed the Expedition's umbrellas 
and the camera tripod. Then came two mattresses 
specially made, and covered with American cloth. These 
we exchanged for two more portable Russian quilts. 
We had pillows, and air-cushions, a waterproof sheet, and 
a sheet of canvas to use in roofing boats, etc. Then we 
had brass eyelets, and a punch and die wherewith to insert 
them as required in the canvas sheet, or in the edges of the 
Doctor's pilot jacket, to make him fast to sledges or horses. 

We took a good saw, gimlet, file, axe, a hundred or two 
of spare nails, an auger for sledge and raft building, or for 
constructing cabins on our boats. Our tent was similar 
to that we used on other journeys, but stouter and larger : 
its ground-plan measured nine feet by five feet, and its 
weight, including galvanised iron tent pins, was twenty 
pounds. It folded into a case measuring about four feet 
by nine inches. We carried our old Arctic ensign, some 
hundreds of yards of spare rope, cord, and twine : needles, 
thread, compass, aneroid barometer, revolver, boxes of 
matches in metal cases, swimming collars, a case of medi- 
cines : Griffith's cooking apparatus, table-napkins and 
towels, Indiarubber bath, a sleeping bag which had served 
a good-natured friend in the frosty Caucasus : a hundred 
and fifty cartridges, including some with buckshot and 
ball for wolves, reindeer, or brown bears. We had each 


a pair of rubber boots reaching to the hips, for fording 
rivers and swamps, or for open boats at sea. We took 
a photographic apparatus : eight dozen plates stowed 
in cedar-wood boxes — pine having in heat or damp a 
tendency to fog the plates : and a small developing tent, 
folding into the space of a waterproof coat 

Finally, we had the gun -case, and a leather port- 
manteau — the whole weighing a quarter of a ton : and we 
looked forward with some apprehension to the difficulties 
likely to encompass its transport 

We hoped to get at Vardo some one who could speak 
Lappish, do carpenter's work, pack and unpack our bag- 
gage, cook, take an oar in a boat, harness a reindeer, 
assist us in botany and minerals, light a fire, catch a iish, 
and do other small trifles, such as going first into a river 
or swamp to try the depth. I had written to Vardo on 
the subject. The Vice-Consul suggested a student, but I 
feared a student might have feelings, and expect to share 
our jam, and the tent which was constructed strictly to 
hold two persons. Among other money we carried a 
thousand roubles in Russian notes, a hundred and fifty 
roubles in small Russian silver, and a hundred marks in 
small Finnish coin, for use in the event of travelling home 
through Finland. 

We took several dozens of pocket-knives and pairs 
of scissors, for the Lapland and Karelian ladies : and half- 
a-dozen musical boxes, to bestow upon children at crises 
when it should seem hard to reach their parents' hearts. 

Our mosquito preparations were as follows. A flapper 


made of wood and leather : coffee-coloured net veils, of cir- 
cular cage form, passed over the hat and tucked in under 
the coat collar, having two hoops of whalebone to keep the 
nets from the features or neck. Canadian veils, for which 
we were indebted to the kindness of some benevolent ladies 
— and which covered all but the mouth, eyes, and nose. 

A preparation of tar and oil in equal parts, for anoint- 
ing the features unprotected by the veil. Carbolic acid 
and sweet oil, in the proportions of one to five, to neu- 
tralise the stings. A second dilution of alum with 
aromatic vinegar and glycerine, in the relative proportions 
of four, two, and one ; lastly, strong aromatic vinegar and 
oil, this latter taken in the faint hope that, by being dis- 
agreeable to the mosquito, we might be spared the last 
resource of tar. We had gauntlets reaching to our elbows, 
stiffened with whalebone — so stout that they would turn 
a sword cut, and so huge that they stood out from our 
fingers farther than* mosquito's proboscis could ever reach. 

I bought a steam lifeboat for the journey ; but the 
difficulty and risk of transport, scarcity of fuel, and chances 
of breakdown with the engines, decided us to leave her at 
home. Besides, a steamer, however small, might have given 
the Russians the idea that we were in comfortable circum- 
stances and able to pay liberally. After this I bought a col- 
lapsible punt, for crossing rivers or lakes on an emergency : 
but after consideration — fearing to add to the weight of our 
baggage — ^the coUapser was left behind with the lifeboat 

Finally, we arranged to sail from the Tyne in the 
Dundee steamer Aurora, bound for Archangel: Messrs. 

t ' 

I if 


« Mudie, her owners, kindly agreeing to land us at Vardo, 
or, if the weather should be unfavourable, at some spot 
on the adjacent coast. I have occupied some time in 
detailing our preparations. Whether they may prove 
useful to any future traveller, or whether there ever will be 
a future traveller, I do not know : but I may say that had 
we had any source from which to inform ourselves, we 
should have saved much time and trouble. 

A fair north-west wind sprang up in the afternoon, 
and before lo p.m. the Aurora was in sight of Vardo. 
We sounded our whistle loudly: and after steaming 
patiently down the channel, in sight of the old fort, a 
Norseman put off in his boat, and we took leave of 
Captain Sangster and the worthy Scotch officers of the 
Aurora. Though late at night, there was a large assem- 
blage on the wooden quay : our steam whistle had ex- 
cited high expectations. The little town lies about a short 
and narrow neck of land, connecting two long strips of 
rock and forming the H-shaped island. The gray mossy 
rocks are lined, and in many places hidden, by racks 
of drying fish. The little wooden warehouses reek with 
fish, the boats are steeped in the smell of fish, and the air 
is full of it Vardo lives upon fish and fishing. There 
are no old men there, it is said : few of the poor fishermen 
end their days in bed. 

We sought, with our baggage, Hansen's Hotel og BiUard^ 
where we made ourselves comfortable for some days. We 
retired at i A.M. in brilliant daylight, and slept profoundly 
in two small box-beds measuring five feet seven inches 



long enough only for the Doctor, who has the advantage ^. 
of me by five inches. We were smothered in eiderdown 
quilts ; and if, as the hostess had threatened, the stove 
had been lighted with birch faggots, we should have dis- 
solved and been seen no more. 

We were awakened by a clock which struck XIII.| a 
mistake we attributed to the constant daylight It was 
Sunday, and we strolled up on to the rocks overlooking 
the Sound and the snowy coast of Finmarken. Then to 
the clear white wooden church, where we heard a sweet- 
voiced Lutheran pastor preach, and afterwards baptize two 
infants. The ceremony over, the parents and god-parents 
marched round behind the altar, reappearing on the other 
side. In passing, each placed on the altar a coin or note, 
and what seemed to be a visiting card at the gate of the 
chancel. In two instances I saw the donors help them- 
selves to change out of the money lying on the altar. 
The Vice-Consul dined with us at our Hotel og Billard, 
and we had a good meal of fish, reindeer-venison, Nor- 
wegian pancakes, and a fruit dish drenched in cream. 

In the afternoon we sallied out with a Norwegian 
doctor, who took an interest in our journey, and had 
called upon us. He had been in the Red Crescent service 
at Erzeroum when Ghazi Mukhtar so ably rallied his 
forces after the severe defeat on the Aladja Dagh. He 
saw the poor Turkish soldiers die by the hundred in the 
hospitals, of wounds and fever — patiently and nobly. 

We went to the old castle of Vardohuus — the most 
northerly fort in the world, once the bulwark of Northern 


Scandinavia, and the terror, now the jest, of the Mus- 
covites. After wandering half round the ramparts of this 
superannuated battery, we were dislodged by an indig- 
nant sentry. Once, many years ago, when an heir was born 
to the throne, the fort of Vardo was directed to fire a 
salute of one hundred guns, or as many as were practicable 
before sunset, and to recommence at daybreak. Fifty shots 
were fired, and that was the last day of autumn. The sun 
set for the winter, and ere it reappeared the royal baby 
had died, to the terrible perplexity of the commandant, 
who did not know whether to complete the salute. 

We spent our days in endeavouring to extort informa- 
tion from Miirmansk mariners, and from one or two natives 
of Kola. One man told us we should find wooden roads 
throughout the Kola peninsula : but he proved to be an 
enthusiast — ^that is, a person who believes about four times 
as much as he can prove. We had heard of a linguist 
and interpreter who seemed to realise in his single person 
all we had ever hoped for, and we determined to go in 
search of him to Vadso. 

We first chartered a small Norwegian steamer for the 
voyage to Kola, at a cost of ;f 24 — about half the value 
of the vessel. The Vice-Consul wrote a special visi to our 
passports — describing us as inoffensive wanderers, uncon- 
nected with any mercantile business, and in search of 
pleasure and information. Russian traders and others are 
apt to be suspicious of travellers when they profess to 
travel for pleasure to such countries as the White Sea Pen- 
insula. Geologists and naturalists they look upon as half- 


crazed and harmless^ but otherwise the erratic Englishman 
must be travelling for commercial or political objects. The 
Doctor generally passed for a naturalist, and I for a geologist 
or antiquary — whichever word happened to be understood. 

There was tribulation this morning at the breakfast 
table. A poor little German was travelling, and exhibiting 
to children in the coast towns some papagaxs or parrots, 
canaries, and an abekdt or ape. The enterprising abek&t 
had devoured the phosphorous heads of an entire packet 
of matches, and was no doubt being consumed internally. 
The Norwegian doctor prescribed for him, we got the medi- 
cine from the apotheky and I poured it down the abek&t's 
throat, while his master held the poor little creature's mouth 
open. His death meant ruin to the poor naturalist's show, 
and we were glad that the treatment succeeded. 

One day we rambled round the island, and found a 
beautiful chasm, where ravens hovered, and the waves broke 
some hundred feet beneath us ; then to a manufactory of 
guano and cbdliver oil. The heads and bones of the cod- 
fish are steamed, dried, and ground into coarse resin-like 
powder — costing ;^io a ton. The liver is steamed and 
pressed, till the oil fills immense wooden butts. 

Another day we went in a boat to Homo, a rocky 
island lying to the north of the harbour, where was a 
breeding-place of sea-birds. Here we hunted among the 
rocks and moss for eiderducks' eggs and down. Those 
birds abound, and gulls, razorbills, cormorants, oyster 
catchers, puffins, and suchlike swarm. We enjoyed at 
supper a variety of sea-fowls' eggs. 


CHAP, n.] VADSd. It 


We sail to Vadso — The Perevodichik — A Lapp idol — Valit — Voyage to 
Kola — ^Vaidda Gdba — ^Neutral ground — ^A zealous monk — Peisen Kloster 
— Trifan's mission — A sacred painting — Sholte Lapps — Sibt Navalok — 
A Viking's grave — Legend of Anika — The Kolafiord — Kola — ^Bombard- 
ment by the White Sea squadron. 

At two o'clock one morning we sailed for Vadso in the 
steamer Orion. Here we found the treasure, a decent 
little man with a red beard — our interpreter, we termed 
him, as he didn't speak a word of English. It seemed 
we should have to take him for a pleasure journey round 
the Kola peninsula, in order that he might amuse him- 
self by talking to the Russians ; and it fell to my lot 
throughout the journey to interpret the interpreter — ^which 
was the next simplest thing to speaking direct How- 
ever, the idea of an interpreter — Russian, Perevodtchik — 
of this kind seemed humorous, and we engaged him, 
dimly hoping he might prove useful in other ways. 

One of the Vadso whaling steamers returned that 
afternoon, towing a whale sixty feet long ; and at night 
a second steamer came in with a still larger fish. Poor 
whales I frolicking about only a few hours before, in the 
enjoyment of their prodigious strength — ^gentle, harmless 


creatures. Vadso market would be full of whale-beef for 
a week to come. 

We sailed from Vadso in a small steamer to Mortens 
Noes, on the north side of the Varanger Fiord, to visit a 
Lapp burial-place. We found a few downcast Sea Lapps 
on landing, and a comfortable wooden house looking out 
on the mountains of Syd- Varanger. Close at hand there 
stands an ancient Bauta, or Paata, or PahtUy called by 
the Lapps Idol stone — Z(Bvdse Gcedge : also Lapp places 
of worship and burial. 

Looking towards the setting sun, and patched with 
orange lichen, stood the idol stone — a gray slab, slanting 
a little edgewise. It stood eight and a half feet above 
ground, and measured two feet nine inches at the base, 
tapering a little upwards. Its thickness was rather less 
than six inches. Round the Bauta stone were concentric 
rings, thirteen in number, of stones carefully placed. The 
rings stood two or three feet apart, and the outer one 
measured twenty-five yards across. I could find no trace 
of cutting either on surface or edge of the Bauta stone. 
Adjoining the large circle was a smaller one, paved with 
small stones. It measured thirty-two feet in diameter, 
and the centre had been opened, probably in the belief 
that it was a burial-place. I think it was the altar, or 
place of sacrifice to the idol : and the ceremonies may 
have been solemnised while the Laplanders stood in the 
circles round the idol. 

Nearer to the farm we found numerous stone circles 
and mounds — no doubt the place of burial, as the other 


was of worship. I found one very complete group of rings 
here. The central ring or mound, measuring six yards 
across, was encompassed on all sides — save the west — by 
stone circles of five yards in diameter. At the western 
side was, in place of a circle, a sort of paved approach. 
A king and his family lie here, perhaps : and their simple 
monument has been kept sacred in this cemetery of the 
Lapps. There were stone rings, more or less regular and 
well defined, scattered about for a considerable distance. 
In some of these graves were found the remains of Lapps, 
wrapped in birch bark. Most of them were empty — ^the 
bodies having been probably removed, since the spread of 
the Gospel, to Christian burial-places. 

It is not likely that the Lapps themselves erected the 
Zavdse Gcedge : their faith taught them rather to worship 
strange or supematurally-formed objects already set up 
by nature's hand. Their stone idols were, as a rule, of a 
conveniently portable size. But finding this old Scandi- 
navian monument, they must have taken it for a god, and 
sacrificed to it. Indeed, one old Lapp woman is said to 
have offered to this idol within the memory of man. 

The Russians claim this monument In the ancient 
days when Holy Novgorod ruled from the Neva to the 
White Sea, there lived a man named Valit, who became 
chief of Karelia. He went to the Arctic coast to make 
war on the Miirmans, who called for help to the Norse- 
men. Valit fought a victorious battle in Varanger, and 
on the spot, which that great warrior himself named 
Babilon, this stone was erected in his honour. Valit 


settled on an island in Salimosero, and there ended his 
days. In consequence of their defeat, the Norwegians 
abandoned Russian Lapland, and thenceforth the Lappa 
paid tribute to the Grand Dukes of Moscow and Novgorod. 
Verestchagine, the Russian author, learnt this legend from 
Feodor Ivanovitch — the deputy sent to Kola in the year 
1 592, to treat with King Christian IV. about the boundaries. 

In the night, we returned in the Orion to Vardo. 

The Vice -Consul's recommendation ran thus: — 
The bearers of this document, the English subjects, Ed- 
ward Rae and H. P. Brandreth, both for scientific objects 
and for pleasure, intend to travel in Russian Lapland : 
but do not know the localities. I take myself the obe- 
dient liberty to ask most respectfully the Ispravnik Ab- 
ramovitch Panikarovsky, to give those gentlemen the 
benevolent assistance which may be necessary for security 
and despatch, to make the journey in the desert parts 
';! • of the country where no man dwells. These parts they 

purpose to visit Sure that your Excellency will in all 
ways consent to my request, I take with pleasure this 
opportunity of, etc. etc. 

We had telegraphed from Vadso, to have our steamer 
ready to sail for Kola on the Orion's arrival : though we 
were not simple enough to expect so much in Norway. 
When the Orion anchored at Vardo, we found steam was 
not up, and only after three hours were we ready to weigh 
anchor. The Pram steamed out of the north harbour of 
Vardo, and turned away to the south-east 

Several of our crew are Russians — as good-natured 


and useless a set as ever went to sea. There is a certain 
antipathy to water in the mind of the Muscovite — whether 
for toilet, beverage, or travel. Any other nation would 
h^ve long since explored its own northern coasts and seas. 
Not ice, nor snow, nor fatigue will prevent the Russian 
from patiently traversing vast distances by land. His 
bugbear is water. The White Sea was first opened to 
commerce by Chancellor and other foreigners: and the 
only Russian possession beyond the seas, Alaska, was 
cheerfully bestowed upon the United States. 

Our steam yacht, the Pram, is small : and we live in 
the cabin in the stem, surrounded by our effects, which 
leave very little space for ourselves. The barometer was 
falling, and wind, hail, and rain came in sudden gusts. 
The Pram did not take kindly to the waves of the open 
Arctic, but rolled and heaved. Writing, or dreaming on 
deck, hour after hour passed somehow. 

We approached Ribatschi, the north-western extremity 
of the great lonely Kola peninsula, after many hours* 
steaming against the tide : and rounding the headland of 
Niemetski, entered the little roadstead of Vaidda Giiba. 
It was a busy fishing spot : one or two schooners lay there, 
and numerous boats. We saw on shore a little wooden 
settlement. We had put in here to find the Ispravnik, 
who constantly travels hither to survey with a paternal 
eye the fishery revenue of these, the Kola and Western 
Fishing Districts. The former extends from this cape to 
the Kola Fiord ; the latter from hence to the Norwegian 
frontier village, Yakobselv. 


Fifteen miles south of us lay Henoerne, rocky islands, 
with vegetation somewhat profuse from the guano of sea- 
birds — the Archangelica growing to the height of nine 
feet. The Lapps call the islands Ainak — the Russians 
Aifwva. Hither came Finns, Lapps, Karelians, and 
Norsemen, in search of eiderdown and birds* eggs. It 
was a neutral spot, and whoever came first made himself 
at home. Five and twenty miles south from Vaidda 
G(iba lies the mouth of the Peisenfiord — the nearest point 
of the neutral ground between Norway and Russia. 

In 1826 Count Nesselrode and Baron Palmerstjema 
signed the treaty which put an end to the five centuries' 
strife between the two powers. So far back as 1326 
Norway was mistress of the Kola peninsula : while the 
Russians collected taxes from the nomad Karelian hunters, 
as far as Lyngstuen in Norway. The old debateable ground 
stretching from Bugofiord to the centre of Ribatschi, was 
by this treaty unequally divided — Russia taking two-thirds 
of the one hundred versts of coast line, and Norway's 
authority ending at the Pasvig. Beyond this concession 
to themselves, the Russians not unfairly claimed a square 
verst of land lying west of the Pasvig : for there stood 
the Russian shrine of Boris Gleb. This the Norwegians 
still seem to grudge very greatly. 

The chapel, named in honour of the Muscovite Saint 
Boris — Gleb meaning Shrine or Retreat — was built in the 
sixteenth century. Trifan, a monk of Novgorod, says 
tradition, alone hewed and carried the timber, and erected 
the building : showing zeal and devotion to his faith 

CHAP, n.] A MISSION. 17 

worthy of Abderrahman Khalif of Cordova, who with his 
own hands laboured at the building of his wonderful 
mosque. Trifan was commanded in a vision by the 
Saviour to come and spread the Gospel among the savages 
in a thirsty and inaccessible land. This apostle to the 
Lapps also built the monastery at the mouth of the 
Peisen Fiord ; and such was his energy, that he travelled 
to Moscow to obtain from Ivan Vassilivitch a faculty to 
add certain lands to the property of the monastery. 

Trifan's fame and sanctity attracted crowds of monks 
and pilgrims. The Peisen Kloster became rich and powerful 
under the privileges of its charter. The monks had whale 
and other fisheries; shipbuildings at the Peisen mouth, 
and sent 800,000 lbs. of salt yearly to Kola in exchange 
for flour, wax, linen, etc. They had considerable herds of 
cattle, and sent yearly abroad dried fish, train oil, and 
salmon. In fact, they possessed the remarkable gift, in- 
herited by the present religious orders in Russia and else- 
where, of profitably blending temporal and eternal interests. 
In 1590 they were important enough to be attacked by 
the Swedes, who burnt the monastery and put to death 
fifty-six monks and sixty-five servants. Some say two 
hundred lost their lives. 

Trifan found the Lapps worshipping idols, as well as 

snakes, and other reptiles. His preaching met with much 

opposition from the Lapp NoaidSy or wizards : who attacked 

him, tore out his hair, felled him to the ground, and 

threatened him with death should he persist in remaining. 

Providence alone prevented the threat from being carried 



out By continual preaching and gentleness, and by a 
God-fearing life, Trifan succeeded in softening the Lapps : 
then he went to Novgorod and returned with letters of 
consecration from the Archimandrite for his contemplated 
church. He also brought a builder, who constructed the 
church on the Peisen Fiord. It remained long uncon- 
secrated ; but Trifan at lengfth found at Kola the Hierono- 
mach Elias, and carried him off to consecrate the spot, 
and baptize the Lapps. Trifan's name is still familiar to 
the Greek-Catholic Lapps of the Peisen: but their reverence 
and their disregard for hfs memory are sometimes 
curiously mixed. 

He took up his abode in a half natural cave, Trifan- 
raige^ near the entrance of the fiords This disconcerted the 
wizards, who hitherto had made the point of Holmengraanoes 
dangerous to mariners^ forcing them to drag their boats over- 
land across the neck of the promontory, to avoid rounding 
it. The cave is like that of AduUam — midway up the face 
of an abrupt cliff. It still contains the shrine, and a small 
picture representing the Mother of God, and having a 
white cloth hanging from it, embroidered with a gold cross. 
Tapers stand before the shrine. Russian Lapps, when 
going a hunting or iishing, or before rounding the cape, 
come and offer some trifle to the saint's memory, and one 
would fancy the shrine would become rich accordingly. 

But it does not, because the Lapp, if unsuccessful, 
returns to the shrine, and recovers not only his own offer- 
ing, but anything else he may happen to find there. A 
Vadso merchant had a picture of St. Michael of peculiar 


sanctity, since presented to the museum of Christiania. 
The Russians frequenting Vadso would constantly come 
to adore the picture, bowing and crossing themselves, and 
offering some small gift : but the merchant found that, as 
a rule, the devotee appropriated not only what his pre- 
decessor had offered, but often something that the owner 
of the house had neither offered nor intended to offer to 
Saint Nicholas. The Russians called the chapel at Boris 
Gleb, MonasHr^ though there were no monks there. It 
stands by a beautiful birch grove, and contains a few 
paintings, some very old. The pope goes only twice a 
year from Petschenga to read service and to baptize there. 

Ten or twelve families of Skolte or Bald Lapps — so- 
called from the results of scurvy, or some such depilatory 
disease, which attacked the natives of these parts many 
years ago — ^live near the Kloster, in poor huts. There are 
but few bald heads among them now. Providence in its 
mercy has restored the covering so necessary in these 
latitudes. Some of these Lapps are tall, and have reddish 
hair, suggesting a semi-Russian origin. They, however, 
singularly enough, have retained more of their national 
habits and traditions than any of the tribes of the Kola 
peninsula. In taking a wife, a Skolte Lapp to this day 
prefers to steal his bride from a stranger or an enemy. 

Pasvig is the most easterly Norwegian fishing station 
on the north coast Basse^ in Lappish, means holy, and 
probably the natives had a place of sacrifice here. At 
Petschenga, fifteen miles up the Peisen or Petschenga 
river, is a small village or collection of huts where a Kola 


merchant has a store. This is, and always has been, a 
rich fishing station. There are traces of an old Norsk 
colony. In the year 1612, it is recorded, the monks of 
MalmySy Kola, on the feast-day of St Philip and St. 
James, collected revenue from this colony. The monks 
of Peisen Kloster, on the other hand, for the privilege of 
using the lands and rivers of Ora, Litsa, and BClmands- 
fiord, used to pay a yearly tribute of eighteen marks to 
the Norsk crown. 

Professor Friis when at Petschenga engaged a young 
Lapp to travel with him. The son and his old mother 
parted, with the usual ceremony of rubbing their cheeks 
together. May God's sun shine for thee wherever thou 
goest, she cried. The peace of God go with thee, and bring 
thee back unhurt Then, as the boat sailed out to sea, the 
poor old woman followed along the beach, finally standing 
on a projecting point, till the boat and her son were lost 
to sight 

We put out to sea again, and coasted hour after hour 
along the shores of this forlorn Fishermen's Peninsula. 
The gray shore rose gently from the sea, and sloped into 
brown and orange hills. Behind, rose high purple hills, 
patched with snow. In two places we saw lonely fisher- 
boats, toiling on the gusty sea. Squalls swept along the 
land, driving sleet and hail across our track. We saw, 
after many hours, the domes of a little church : and in 
another hour, rounding the north-eastern point of Ribatschi, 
we steamed into the little roadstead of Sibt Navolok — 
Anchor-haven. The Russians call it also Anikievka: the 


Lapps, Sabbe Njarg, In the days of the old Norwegian 
colony here, they called it Stangenaes, 

The Ispravnik was at Kola — we learned from a 
friendly Norse farmer, in whose house we made ourselves 
comfortable. The hostess pressed bowls of cream and 
milk, biscuits, bread, cheese, coffee, upon us, and eventually 
refused payment altogether. We asked the farmer for 
old silver in vain : but as we said we loved old things he 
took us up over the moss-covered hills to a spot where, 
overlooking the little bay and the wild Lapland coast, was 
the grave of Anika the giant Viking. There was what 
at first sight seemed a circle, but on examination proved 
to be a heptagon of stones, having at each angle a small 
heap of stones. I found the heaps stood seven yards 
apart Seven spaces of seven yards each must have meant 
something — perhaps the days of the week. In sight of 
the tomb is an island, half a mile below, Anikief, where 
the pirate moored his galleys. The tomb here was opened, 
but nothing was found : Anika was buried some hundreds 
of yards to the northward, in a stone-covered mound, 
measuring seven yards across. Here his huge skeleton 
was found : the leg bone from knee to ankle measured 
nearly twenty-four inches. The remains were sent to the 
Museum in Christiania. 

The legend is very familiar throughout Archangel 
province and among the Lapps. Anika came yearly to 
take tribute of the fishers. None knew of his coming or 
going, but he was always seen on the shore when the boats 
came in from the sea. He periodically challenged the 


fishermen to fight, but his enormous size frightened 
them. For many years he was the terror of RibatschL 
One day a young man presented himself, and induced the 
fishermen to take him fishing with them. On landing, the 
stranger cleaned the fish with incredible rapidity : a fisher- 
man's gloves being wet, the youth, in squeezing them be- 
tween his hands, crushed them to dust, while the fisher- 
men marvelled at his strength. Anika appeared, and the 
youth spoke boldly to him, and slightingly. He! he! 
laughed the giant : be careful or I'll demolish thee. 

They agreed to fight in this ring on the hill, and in 
the following fashion. Each combatant was to turn a 
somersault, and strike his enemy in the chest with his feet 
Anika took the first turn, and struck the youth, who did 
not budge. A second blow, and the young man recoiled 
a yard : the third time a fathom. It was the stranger's turn 
now. At his first somersault he drove the Viking back a 
fathom : at the second, three fathoms ; at the third, he 
flung the huge sea robber seven fathoms outside the ring 
— dead. They buried him, and erected the stone heap 
over him. Thank God, each of you, said the youth : your 
enemy is no more. Henceforth none shall molest your 
fishery. God be with you. Then he disappeared. 

We saw two lovely little Lapp calves, with black muzzles 
and 'Soft furry coats like sable. On the hill were black 
tern, curlew, Arctic tern, and golden plover, among the 
withered reindeer moss of last summer, and that newly 
sprouting: bilberries, Alpine lycopodium, Arctic willows 
with sweet-scented catkins, and many other Arctic plants. 


Late in the evening we weighed anchor, passed Anikief, 
a small island, where are numerous slabs — tombstones of 
Schleswig Danes, skippers of Flensborg, who had traded 
hither when Norway and its dependencies were under the 
Danish crowa We steamed past Karabella, a better shel- 
tered anchorage than Sibt Navolok. Here we saw a few 
houses, and several fishing vessels lying at anchor. The 
wind grows fiercer as we leave the shelter of Ribatschi — 
blowing heavily from the west, and more piercingly than 

At early morning we approach the Kelafiord Rocky 
hills line the desolate coast, and rise some few hundred 
feet Eastward are the bluff gray cliffs of Kildln. The 
wintry wind sweeps along the wild coast Then comes a 
storm of hail and driving snow, which whitens the decks 
of the plunging steamer. The coast is almost blotted out, 
we have only glimpses of the rocks through a dense 
curtain of snow : and thus, within a week or two of mid- 
summer, the Pram staggers into the smooth waters of the 

The fiord measures here five miles, or so, across. 
Cliffs and hills line it — as lifeless, and almost as wild, as 
those on the coast We ran till two or three in the morn- 
ing, and ordered the captain to anchor for a few hours 
so that the Expedition might sleep. The engine drove a 
noisy jangling screw propeller, close under our pillows in 
the little cabin in the stem. We approached lekaterinsk, 
and here we cast anchor. 

When we awoke we were under weigh again, and steam- 


ing up the long Guolle Vuodna or Fishfiord. Thin starved 
firs half-clothed the sloping hills — and the Pram ploughed 
up the brackish yellow-brown water poured down by the 
Kola and the Tfiloma rivers. The sun shone brightly, 
but the wind was freezing cold. We stopped to buy a 
salmon at the rate of threepence a pound. Learning that 
the water above us shoaled, we anchored for a couple of 
hours for the rising of the tide. Then, taking a fisherman 
as pilot, we crept slowly up past the shallows. 

Soon there appear, some few miles away, the green 
cupolas of Peter the Great's white church in Kola : then 
the gray houses come in sight The fiord narrows as 
we approach the town, and we find ourselves in the fine 
stream of the Tfiloma : which meets the much less con- 
siderable stream of the Kola, and forms a spit of low 
land, on which the town lies. Across the shallow stream 
of the Kola lies an island with a small yellow church. 
Round this stand the many hundred gray wooden crosses 
of the burial-place : a sad -looking little island. The 
TAloma rolls past the town on the west — many hundred 
yards in width, and rapidly widening above Kola. Its 
banks are sloping cliffs or hills, now clad in the tender 
green of freshly sprouting birches. The Kola comes down 
with a rush from a narrow gorge lined with boulders in the 
cliff of Suolavar^ka — Solavia raika^ Nightingale River, and 
is quite unnavigable for some distance even by small boats. 
The summer aspect of Kola, in this amphitheatre of green 
slopes, with the background of bluish-purple hills, is bright 
and comfortable. There lies scarcely any snow in sight 


The Pram sounded her whistle, and we dropped anchor 
in the stream of the TAloma, abreast of the town. It was 
a rare circumstance, and we could see the inhabitants by 
the score crowding to the point 

Kola was twice visited by English men-of-war: in 
1809 ^i^d iS54- On the last occasion the gunboat 
Miranda bombarded the town, and almost destroyed it. 
In all, nearly a hundred houses, the old battery, two 
churches, and the Government stores of com and salt, 
were destroyed. The inhabitants are said to have shot 
two English sailors, sent on shore for water, and the com- 
mander of the gunboat gave twenty-four hours' grace to 
the inhabitants to remove what they could. 

The people of Kola had heard of disputes between 
their Government and ours : and their fears suggested, we 
learned afterwards, that the Pram was another British gun- 
boat If we had chanced to fire a gun, they would have 
taken to the woods. 



Malmys— Walrus fishery— Position of Kola— The White Sea Pemnsula— 
Churches — Persecution of the Lapps — A Kola house — Visit to the 
Ispravnik — Plans for journey — ^A passport — An archaeological investigation 
— ^A failure — ^A naturalist. 

Kola, Lapland's oldest village or town — called in old 
Norsk writings Malmys : by the Lapps GuoUadaky fishing 
place : by the Finns or Karelians Kuolaniemi — is over 
four centuries old. In 1475 the Monastirvfzs founded 
on the small island, which is said to have been then con- 
nected with the promontory : the Kola river flowing in its 
present easterly channel only. In 1505 it had only three 
fishing huts : in 1 582 it was a small town with over three 
hundred houses, and nearly nineteen hundred inhabitants. 
In 1582, when Kola was in course of building, the Norse- 
men sent deputies to protest against the construction of 
fortifications. The monks' reply was that they were only 
wishful in good faith to protect the fishermen against the sea 
rovers. The same year the Danish king demanded tribute 
from the monks of Kola. They replied, acknowledging 
the king's sovereignty, but asked to be excused from 
paying tax, as they had built here as poor people, and 
only lived on God's gifts of fishery, etc. 


In 1556 Burroughs visited Kola in search of news of 
the unfortunate Willoughby^ and sailed hence to the 
mouths of the Petschora. He found no less than thirty 
lodjes in the Gulf of Kola, destined for walrus hunting in 
Novaya Zemlia. In 1594 Barents sailed hither — finding 
numerous Russian vessels. Ever since those days these 
North Russian vessels have continued to pursue this 
lucrative trade. Archangel, Onega, Kem, Mez6n, and 
other White Sea ports, have vied with Kola in fitting out 
vessels for Spitzbergen, Nova Zemlia, and Jan Mayen — 
despatching them yearly at mid-summer in search of rein- 
deer, bieluga^ or white dolphin, seal, and walrus. In the 
year 1835 no less than eighty vessels, carrying a thousand 
men, left these ports for Nova Zemlia alone. In 1837 
but twenty vessels sailed : and of these only one earned 
enough to cover its expenses. 

The ships carry eighteen months' supply of rye flour, 
oatmeal, barley meal, peas, salt- beef, and fish, curdled 
milk, honey, linseed oil. Kvass^ made from rye flour 
and water, is the sailors' drink. They break up into 
parties, erect and inhabit small isolated huts, and kill 
seals, walrus, deer, bears, foxes. The bulk of the vessels 
return in the autumn. Scarcely a year used to pass, but 
some poor sailors were left, castaways, to spend the long 
dark winter in Spitzbergen. One party of sailors rather 
than face such a winter sailed in an open boat across to 
Nordkyn — an eight days' voyage. Kola has abandoned 
most of this trade in favour of the White Sea towns. 

In 1 704 Peter the Great built a square battery with 


a tower here, and a lai^e wooden church. In 1780 Kola 
was dignified by the official title of town. A century has 
passed, and Kola has shrunk to a moderate-sized village 
of perhaps eighty houses and huts, and five hundred 
inhabitants. It is most inconveniently placed as regards 
the richest Mflrman fisheries. It might very wisely be 
transferred to Gavrilova or lekaterinsk, where there is 
open water through the winter, and where fish can be 
caught in front of the merchants' houses. It is not even 
conveniently placed for the interior. A few years ago no 
steamer ran from Vadso to Kola, and a letter took four 
months between Kola and St Petersburg. Registered 
letters came only as far north as Kem, and a Kola mer- 
chant, if he expected such a letter, must either send a 
deputy, or travel himself to Kem to claim it The duty 
on sugar and salt imported at Kola must be assessed 
at Archangel : nevertheless half-a-dozen traders make a 
living here. 

A few words before we land about this peninsula of 
which Kola is the capital. It has an area of 40,000 geo- 
graphical miles, and forms part of the Ouyesda of Kem, in 
the Archangel Government It is divided into two Stanovoi 
Pristav, or bailiffs* districts, and contains eleven parishes, 
with twelve priests and twenty-four churches. In 1834 
the population was officially returned at 9134. 

Russians . . 4970 

Karelians . . 1950 

Lapps . . . 2214 

The latter item is somewhat uncertain. Many believe 

CHAP, iil] the white sea PENINSULA, 29 

that the total number of Lapps does not exceed 2000. 
The priest of Ldvosero told me this was his belief. 

It is bounded on the south by North Karelia and the 
White Sea : on the east by the White Sea : on the west 
by the Norwegian territory and Finland : on the north 
by the Polar Sea. I have called it the White Sea Penin- 
sula, because, as the map shows, it is the peninsula which 
contains the White Sea and shuts it off from the Northern 
Ocean. The coasts are divided into the M'Armansk, 
or Normansk — that lying between the Ribatschi Penin- 
sula and Sviatoi N6s : the Terski, stretching from the 
entrance of the White Sea to the Varzuga River : and 
the Kandalaksk coast, extending to the north-western 
angle of the White Sea. The name Terski may be Tatje^ 
promontory, in the Lapp tongue: or Tershky^ in the 
Russian — heavy, difficult This thinly-peopled land com- 
pares thus with the other Laplands. 

Norwegian Lapland has twenty-six inhabitants to the 
square mile : Swedish Lapland has thirteen : Finnish Lap- 
land, five : while Russian Lapland has but three. Of the 
total surface of the White Sea Peninsula, about nine-six- 
teenths consist of t^ndrUy ix. moor and wilderness : six- 
sixteenths of forest : and the remaining sixteenth of lake, 
mere, and marsh. 

The churches are distributed as follows : — 

Kola has three churches and Sibt Navolok— one church. 

two priests. Siem Ostrova— one chapel. 

Petschenga — one church and Nuotdsero — one church. 

the chapel at Boris Gleb. Tfiloma — one chapel. 


Gavrilova — one chapel. Virzuga— one church. 

Ldvosero— one church, Kouzomen — three churches. 

Vrinda — one church. Umba— one church. 

Ponoi — two churches. Porzha Gflba— one church. 

Pidlitsa — one church. Ol^nets — one church. 

T^trina— one church. Kandalaks — two churches. 
Tschdvanga— one church. 

It was by the persevering building of churches, and by 
baptizing, that Russia gradually won the Kola Lapps to 
her influence — Norway having made no corresponding 
efforts to retain them. The priest of Kola received 150 
roubles a year until his flock should exceed fifteen hun- 
dred : when above that, 200 roubles. 

Until dispossessed by the companions of Odin, the 
Lapps held all the Scandinavian peninsula. In the thir- 
teenth century the Birkyarls, living round the Bothnian 
Gulf, oppressed them and completed their subjugation. 
Gustavus I. gave the persecuted savages more equitable 
laws, and sent missionaries among them. In 1 600 Charles 
IX. ordered churches to be built Gustav Adolf, his son, 
had schools built, and some of the Lapp books translated. 
In 1602 Christian IV., king of Denmark and Norway, 
persecuted the poor idolaters cruelly. Some of the 
younger Lapps, taken for education to Sweden, and re- 
turning as missionaries, were murdered by their country- 
men. In 1 7 16 the pious Westen nobly preached the 
Gospel in the wildest parts of Lapland. Christianity 
reached the Norwegian Lapps in the eighteenth, the 
Russian in the sixteenth century. 


One or two hundred people had assembled to see us 
land. The clean well-dressed women wore red skirts and 
red or bright coloured handkerchiefs on their heads and 
shoulders: the children were cleanly, and seemed well cared 
for : there were a few uniforms among the crowd — gray 
overcoats, high boots, and the familiar flat-topped caps. 
The under magistrate was among the crowd. All saluted 
us with a pleasant Sdrastvuitje, and each man took off 
his cap as we raised ours. 

We were taken to a large room in a beautifully clean 
house, shared, as is the custom, by two or three families. 
These houses are generally built alike, having inner cor- 
ridors, closed by small doors thickly padded for warmth. 
Each room has windows of double glass — perhaps six or 
eight of them — ^which give a wonderful cheerfulness, but 
are rarely opened. We were always at war on this point 
with our hostess, who protested against our keeping the 
windows perpetually open, and closed them whenever 
we left the room. The furniture was neat and clean : 
in one comer, or more, of every room, stood the Sviati 
Obrasi — the invariable little shrine of silver or brass- 
covered pictures — with small hanging lamps in front of 
them. The room smelt continually of incense and tapers. 
On the walls hung coloured engravings of Pieter Veliki, 
Nasr ed Din, Shah of Persia, the poor Tsar Alexander 
Nikolaievitch, and his eccentric father Nicholas. 

The following has nothing to do with Russian Lap- 
land, but it is characteristic of Nicholas. He was one 
day rambling in the fields near Moscow, accompanied by 


a gorgeously dressed aide-de-camp, one of the flower of 
the nobility. The Tsar called to a peasant who was 
working in a broad trench, Carry me across on thy back. 
The peasant bowed to the ground with pride, and rever- 
ently carried the Tsar across, returning for the prince. 
When half-way over, the Tsar cried. Stop, I will give thee 
ten roubles to drop the prince in the mud. I'll give thee 
twenty, not to drop me 1 cried the aide-de-camp in con- 
sternation. Thirty! said the Tsar. Forty! cried the 
prince. Finally the Tsar bid ninety roubles: and the 
prince, whose uniform and caste were both at stake, 
offered a hundred. Yezheli on tibia dost sto rubli^ toghda 
nii bross yevOy said Nicholas. If he gives thee a hundred 
roubles, then drop him not 

I went to call upon the Ispravnik, an amiable looking 
man, who gave me a kind welcome, and kept me drinking 
tea and smoking cigarettes for two hours. He wrote a 
letter of recommendation, but expressed himself strongly 
about the difficulties of any journey in the Kola peninsula, 
the emptiness of the interior and the dangers of the coast : 
but he pn^mised to do anything in his power for us. He 
considered the various plans I suggested. One was to 
travel at once to Kandalaks by river, lake, and forest : 
but it was uncertain whether the Lake Imandra were yet 
open. Four days before, we knew it to be frozen : our 
journey thither need only occupy three days, and a week 
would not thaw it 

Then I proposed to move eastward over the tundras 
from the northern end of Imandra : transporting our 


effects as in similar regions, on reindeer sledges. We 
should reach in this way the central lake Ldvoserp, and 
descend either one of the north-flowing MArman rivers, 
Tiribirka, Voronje, Karlovka, Yokkonga: the only river 
flowing eastward, the Ponoi : or, one of the White Sea 
rivers, Varzuga or Umba. The Ispravnik said the rein- 
deer were all sick, and unfit for work. Then I suggested 
Lapps as bearers instead : and he said this was the better 
plan. There is but one horse in Kola. Dogs draw the 
sledges in the winter : as many as twenty-five may be seen 
in a train, each drawing his sledge assisted by a man. 
The Ispravnik thought there would be no diflSculty in 
finding men enough to accompany us — even on a short 

I returned to the housie of our host the Stanovoi, 
Anton Moldvistofl*, and despatched the Perevodtchik sud- 
denly down the fiord by boat, so that he might take 
advantage of the Frames sailing, and be towed. He was 
to go to a settlement of Lapps, and engage them if 
possible to come inland with us. Then, seeing that we 
must reduce our baggage to more moderate compass, we 
set to work and repacked everything — from the commis- 
sariat to our personal eflects. 

We had brought too many comforts with us. Instead 

of having several Lapps for one piece of baggage, we 

could only have one Lapp for several pieces of baggage. 

We were travelling like Soubise, when we should have 

travelled like Frederick the Great How could I fail to 

win ? said Frederick, after the battle of Rosbach : Soubise 



had seven cooks and one spy — I had seven spies and one 

This was the letter of Ivan Abramovitch : 

From the Ispravnik of Kola. 

The bearers of this are the English subjects Edward 
Rae and H. P. Brandreth, who have the intention of 
travelling in the Half-Island of Kola : and spending some 
time in the places of Nuotosero, Sviatoi Nos, Ponoi, 
Kouzomen, Kandalaks, with a scientific object And 
herewith I request you to acquaint them with the condi- 
tions of the same, 

J , ^ J Ispravnik of Kola, 

2nd day of June. ' 


Rambling one cold evening up towards the gorge of 
the Kola, I came upon a group of remains. In a quad- 
rangle, measuring forty yards each way, stood square 
grass-covered mounds, slightly hollowed on top — ^which 
might have been the ruined foundations of diminutive 
huts. Whether this were the old Battery, and the squares 
represented the soldiers' huts, or whether they were the 
monks' dormitories in the little early monastery of Malmys, 
was at the moment not very clear. Close by, were series 
of rude concentric rings of small stones — much like those 
at Morten's Noes — and which appeared to be Lapp 

I thought the matter interesting enough to justify an 
appeal to the Ispravnik's local knowledge. I called upon 
Ivan Abramovitch, and said : Ya nashoU Svietskauyou 


batterioUf I have found a Swedish battery. Etto gdjcd! 
Where I said the Ispravnik, starting as if a body of 
Swedes had established an earthwork in front of his 
windows. Podi^ smotri: Come and look. Ivan Abramo- 
vitch wrapped himself in his long gray overcoat, and we 
went out together to the spot Etto batten, I said. The 
Ispravnik stared all round the horizon, without displaying 
in his countenance any token of intelligence or of recog- 
nition, I pointed to the green lumpy turf, and Ivan 
Abramovitch began to think I had softening of the brain. 
Or Monastir ? I suggested. Ispravnik, shaking his head : 
There is no monastery here. Lappish burial-place, 
there, I said, pointing to the stone rings. The Ispravnik 
cleaned his spectacles, and stared at the cemetery lying 
on the low ground across the rapid Kola, He began to 
have forebodings that I was a Nigilist^ who had lured him 
out to this lone spot in the chilly evening. 

Traveller — pacing round the quadrangle : One, two, 
three, four — forty. One, two, three, four — forty. Is- 
pravnik, banning to conceive : Aha ! Svietskai batteri ! 
The gentle Ispravnik would as readily have accepted the 
mounds as volcanic, had I happened to know the Russian 
word for volcano. It was clear I could learn nothing 
from him ; and taking the battery, monastery, and burial- 
place together, I don't think Ivan Abramovitch believed I 
was of sound mind. 

I have no doubt, now, that this small square marks 
the site of the long since demolished fort of Peter the 
Great, or a fort of his predecessors the Swedes. 


Some little way off lay a bed of perpetual snow, the 
sole right and appurtenance of an old lady in Kola. The 
housewives entrust her with their linen, and she brings it 
here to bleach, while she watches it : receiving some small 
remuneration for doing so. 

This evening the Stanovoi came to me for medical 
advice. I could not make out what was wrong, and was 
inclined to think he wished — as many of these poor 
people did — for some medicine as a treat I had some 
thought of applying a synapism, or portable mustard 
plaster, to his throat, which would have more than enter- 
tained him. Kola, I am sorry to say, abounds with 
drunken men — demoralised creatures, who wrestled in 
the street, kissed one another, or cursed helplessly in the 
vodka shops. It is a pitiful vice. At the commencement 
the stupidest of all weaknesses — in the end the most repul- 
sive : reducing a human being to the lowest level of all. 

We traded away our mattresses to Stepanina Mold- 
vistoff, our hostess, for some thick warm quilts, which 
would serve the alternative purpose of wraps or mattresses. 

We spent an excellent night on the floor of our room : 
and in the forenoon the Linguist returned. The Lapps 
were under contract to a Russian fisher, and could not go 
with us. We sent him then for Russians, or any outcasts 
he could find. He came to say no man would go as far 
as L6vosero. Get them to come to Rasnavolok, I said : 
knowing we could, if once there, make it worth their while 
to go farther. The Perevodtchik came back exhausted : 
no men would go beyond Kitsa — forty versts from Kola. 


The chance was that at Kitsa we should not find people 
enough to go on, and should be stranded there with our 
quarter of a ton of baggage, while the porters returned to 
Kola. I told the Perevodtchik we would have men, and 
sent him to the Ispravnik for assistance. 

In an hour he returned, saying we could have as many 
men as we wished — as far as Kitsa: but that Ivan 
Abramovitch himself could compel them to go no farther. 
Thiis threw the Expedition into a state of mental oppres- 
sion : it was against all their antecedents and convictions 
to allow themselves to be defeated. In four or five days 
a Russian steamer would call at Kola on her way to 
Archangel, and we determined to go meantime up the 
Tftloma River to the Nuot Lake. We sent the Out^iadnik, 
the Magistrate's factotum, to engage men and a boat — to 
be ready to start within three hours — at the begfinning of 
flood tide. The tide affects the river for about twenty 
versts above Kola. 

We learnt that a young Swedish naturalist was in 
Kola: having spent the winter here and in the Enara 
district We went to call upon him, and found him in a 
small room, surrounded by his specimens. These were 
beautifully prepared, and packed in boxes. I made a list 
of those birds which he observed — apart from the classes 
we saw ourselves. We asked him to call upon us before 
our departure from Kola, and we had hardly got back to 
the house before he appeared. A Japanese student at 
Yale College visited a lady, and was invited to repeat his 
call soon. He called again in half-an-hour. 


After we had had supper together, we gave the poor 
student of science what he had not seen for months, and 
what were now a mockery to us — some tins of beef, all 
our cheese and custard powders, coffee, and some cigarettes. 
Stepanina came to consult first the Doctor, who proved 
disappointing, owing to his replying Harosho I and WoUen 
Sie t to all her inquiries : and afterwards myself, about 
her rheumatism. I was able — unfortunately from ex- 
perience — to give the good woman some advice, besides 
one or two remedies. Shortly before midnight we issued 
from the house of Stepanina MoldvistofT with a small 
portion of our baggage. 



Expedition up the TiUoma river^-A cataract— Fish— -TiUomar-To the Nuot 
Lake— Nuotosero — Farewell to the Lapps — A reception — ^A bargain — 
A misfortune — ^Departure from Kola. 

The sun was low in the sky as we b^an our expedition 
up the Tflloma with the first of flood-tide. We were lying 
in the stem of a small boat, under a little, a very little, 
canvas roof: so low, that we could scarcely support our- 
selves on our elbows without crushing our heads against 
the birch-bough rafters. It was a broad clear stream 
fringed with larch, mountain ash, pine, willow, alder, and 
birch« We saw the redshank, sandpiper, and the shore 
lark. Fish jumped frequently. The njelma or white 
Siberian salmon is found here: weighing occasionally 
twenty pounds. The character of the stream continued 
much the same. 

We travelled all that night, and came in the morning 
to the rough oval earth-hut— called a balagan—^oi Krimi- 
&cha, where a Skolte Lapp fisher family lived. These huts 
have a flat mud floor and a small platform round, for sitting 
or sleeping. The Lapps squat down to eat — as Orientals 
da In front of the hut the river was gliding smooth and 


broad like a mirror, and snowy hills lay beyond it, standing 
in a cold gray sky above a dull yellow forest of silver birch. 
Here we spent some hours, so that the boatmen might 
rest Late in the day we came to what an American 
lady would have called a stylish cascade — a broad and 
rather dangerous rapid. We disembarked, and transported 
our luggage by land : while the Lapps poled and dragged 
the boat up as best they could, in slack water and eddies 
among the rocks. Ondsime Simonovitch, a bright good- 
looking little Lapp, and as clever as he could well be, was 
our chief boatman. His intelligence and agpility were 
singular. Nikolai Susloff, an elderly and rather drowsy 
Laplander, was second in command: then we had an 
arrestant or police culprit and a Korelak, or Karelian — 
to complete the ship's company. 

At the head of the cataract we met two Lapp boats, 
each heavily loaded with three-quarters of a ton of salmon, 
bound from Tfiloma to Kola : and I was curious to see how 
they would bear the passage of the rapid. The steersman 
of each boat sprang on to a rock — ^shading his eyes, and 
taking a brief survey of the track he meant to follow 
through the boiling waters. Then, leaping into the boats, 
they pushed out into the stream. Down flew the boats — 
right — left — plunging, swerving, dashing through the 
tumbling waters — ^sometimes seeming to take a final and 
fatal plunge : but again tossing themselves pluckily like 
ducks after a bath. 

It was a most exciting scene — like watching a run- 
away carriage down a hill : far more exciting to me than 


the actual descent of comparatively awful rapids else- 
where : and I was quite relieved and drew a long breath 
when the boats shot on to the smooth water below. 
Apparently, the imposing sight and sound of a falling 
river are in the act of descent lost in the interest, and a 
certain mischievous enjoyment, of the danger. 

We bought a salmon from the Lapps for a small sum 
of money. The first salmon fishery is below Krimidcha, 
eight versts above Kola. The Lapps used to fish on 
behalf of the priests of Kola. The salmon fisheries of the 
White Sea and Mflrman coast were once immense, but 
the clumsy defective method of fishing, and the absence 
of restriction or protection, has sacrificed the salmon and 
the fishers' interests. The fish are very fine : we saw mag- 
nificent salmon of over 40 lbs. weight The fishing 
begins here later than in Norway, and earlier than in the 
White Sea rivers. Besides salmon, char, trout, gwiniad, 
grayling, perch, and pike seem to abound in the lakes and 
rivers. There are no falls high enough in the rivers to 
impede the passage of the salmon. In the Kola River 
they run up to GuoUej^rvi, in the Kovda to Paajarvi. 
They are not often found in the Niva above Kandalaks. 

The Lappish name for thid stream is T^lomjokiy 
Flood River. Great portions of the low banks are sub- 
merged in the spring and autumn. There are numerous 
grassy and wooded islands : a larger population might 
subsist upon the Tfiloma's banks. The land and fisheries, 
from four versts outside Kola, all belong nominally to the 
Lapps. Game is scarce. We saw the golden-eye and 


other ducks, geese travelling overhead, a capercaillie, and 
heard the notes of the sedge warbler and the cuckoo. 

At times we would set off a musical box beneath our 
coverings, and watch the pleased looks of wonder and 
incomprehension which preceded the boatmen's hearty 

As we lay hour by hour in the boat reading, or hand- 
ling such things as writing materials, watches, aneroid 
barometer, cooking apparatus, and suchlike — all of which 
must have been novel and striking to these and other 
poor Lapps — ^we wondered at the good breeding which 
prevented them from asking the fifty eager questions that 
would occur to a Russian* The cost and use of each thing 
the Lapps were happy to know, if we volunteered to tell 
them, but they were too well-mannered to be inquisitive. 

We pushed on as rapidly as was practicable. The 
current, though rarely swift, made the task of rowing con- 
siderable. It was astonishing for how many hours the 
boatmen, stimulated by promises of additional payment, 
would continue to row without rest At intervals we 
would land and bivouac in the lovely woods, and sit look- 
ing from our camp fire on to the smooth broad stream, 
through the atmosphere of crystal The merry, good- 
humoured Lapps would cook their fish, while we made tea 
for them : and the blue smoke would curl up among the 
foliage of the larch and birch. 

For two days and nights we were on the river. At 
length we came to the end of our voyage — ^the Lapp 
fishing station of Tflloma — Ultima TMoma, We left our 


boat a mile below the falls, and, loading ourselves with its 
contents, ofiarched along the banks up to the little collec- 
tion of huts, the homes of a score of Lapp fishermen. 
There we pitched ouf new tent for the first time, hoist- 
ing the Arctic ensign above it 

It was on the brow of a high abrupt bank, looking 
down on the falls of the Tfiloma — a romantic and beauti- 
ful scene. The river is broken by two or three rock-islands, 
and it tumbles roughly down among them with an im- 
pressive roar that echoes through the woods. A rude 
stake weir ran across the stream near the falls^ and on the 
bank below us stood a few huts where the salting and 
cleaning were done. The Lapps were greatly interested 
in our doings, and came offering to help us, and to chat 
in a pleasant way. 

We clambered down to the vrater's edge to watch the 
fishing. They were about opening one of the salmon 
traps, and hoisted it up with a rude tackle. In the box 
were three dozen magnificent salmon, some weighing six- 
and-thirty pounds, and glittering like polished silver. 
Poor creatures, a Lapp dropped down into the box, and 
with a club put the salmon to death : a sight very cruel 
and pitiful Higher up the island we found a Lapp 
posted on a rock, with a long kind of boat-hook, which 
he used with surprising skill — jerking it like lightning, 
and. hooking the salmon escaped from the weir, that were 
attempting to ascend the cataract The Lapps said that 
the salmon, after passing the falls, traverse the Nuot Lake, 
and even go up the Nuot River to its source in Finland. 


The Nuot Lake lies about eight versts above this 
spot. The river is broken and unnavigable. The Nuot 
is the second largest lake of Russian Lapland — measur- 
ing thirty odd miles by seven. It is full of islands, and 
has low wooded shores. The lake receives two rivers — 
the Nuot and the LAt — -the former at its southern, the 
latter at its western extremity. The LAt is rather a suc- 
cession of swamps than a stream. These stretch all the 
way to Enara Lake — apparently only sixty miles distant : 
but the Swedish naturalist told me it had cost him a fort- 
night, with extreme toil, to drag and float a boat from 
Enara to the Nuot Lake. 

The other SMramps important for travellers to know 
lie, one between the Ponoi and PoAlonga : another be- 
tween the Ponoi and the Serg Lake : a third between the 
Mensche Dunder and Kola. Some are bare, others covered 
with spongy moss, and tall grass, Carex^ suitable as 
fodder for cattle. At Mez^n, one or two degrees farther 
south, all through the summer, swamps and ground con- 
tinue frozen within six feet of the surface. This is a 
feebly comforting reflection to some few of us» In Russian 
Lapland it is not so, and travellers, whatever may be their 
stature, must avoid swamps. 

We set off on foot for the Nuot Lake. We were 
accompanied by two pleasant, intelligent Lapps, who 
chatted all the way through the forest Dressed as they 
were, with tunics and belts, in which hung small axes, like 
tomahawks, and wearing soft skin boots : they might have 
been taken for a couple of red Indians. Our foot- 


steps did not sound on the soft reindeer lichen. This 
vast white carpet was so delicious to the eye, that I could 
hardly refrain from eating it — or at least from rolling 
on it I gathered the blue Andromeda and the wild 

Far in the middle of the wood stood a great granite 
boulder, twenty feet high, transported, without abrasion, 
in some great movement in the Ice Period, and deposited 
quietly here. One of the Lapps told me a long legend 
about it It is called Okladnik Kamen^ or the rock of 
the burial-place. There was a fight here, I gathered, be- 
. tween the Lapps and the Swedes, or between the Russians 
and the Swedes : and there was some buried money mixed 
up with the story. There was an adventurer, OkladnikofF, 
who founded Mez^n, and called it Okladnikova. He may 
have wandered this way, and crossed swords with the 
Swedes on this spot There was no conflict here now, 
except between Nature and the fallen rotting trees : the 
forest was as silent as death. 

The circumstance showed that our companion Ivan 
Mikiilovitch Titoffhad some little historical intelligence — 
a rare thing among the apathetic hyperboreans. I asked 
him if this Okladnik Kamen were treated as a Bauta Stone. 
No, he said : but there is a Pahta kamen on the Kola GAba. 
There are many bears here and on the Kola tundra: 
but they, no doubt, migrate to the summer haunts of the 

For two hours we marched through the silence of the 
woods. From our left came the hoarse sound of the river. 


We saw the bilberry and crakeberry in profusion : and 
gathered black juicy berries which had lain preserved in 
the snow all winter through. We heard the cries of a few 
birds, and found the nest of a falcon, or perhaps a fishing 
hawk. The salmon in the Nuot Lake are smaller than in 
the TAloma: the finest do not escape the weir. They 
cost at TAloma two and a half roubles for forty pounds. 
Then bread was this year correspondingly cheap ; forty 
pounds cost two shillings and fourpence. A reindeer costs 
from ten to fifteen roubles: a ptUka^ or sledge, seven 
roubles. A reindeer will draw a sledge from sixty to a 
hundred versts in a day. The dainty reindeer won't touch 
other moss than the greenish-white lichen rangiferinus^ 
which carpets these woods : but fish or bread tempts them. 
Fastidious animals and human beings often deprive 
themselves of pleasures. There was a Count of Paris who 
was so particular, that it was said he could only accept 
the crown of France on condition that all Frenchmen 
became Kights of the Legion of Honour. We could have 
no reindeer milk at TAloma, because it was needed for 
the Lapp children : and we respected the Lapps for keep- 
ing it for their children, instead of offering it to us for 

We emerged from the woods, and came upon the 
Nuot Lake, not — so far as we could see — an extensive 
sheet of water : so strewn was it with small wooded islands. 
We found a Lapp boat, and getting into it, rowed for a 
few versts to the northern shore : where stood a wooden 
church of good size, and a few farm buildings, on a sunny 


clearing by the water's edge. This was the priest's little 
farm, as it may be called, of Nuotosero. The pope was 
absent : and his boy took us into the cheeriess empty 
church, and into the high belfry. For a great distance 
round us stretched undulating forest : at our feet lay the 
Nuot Lake, silvery in the glancing sunlight 

After a rest in the warm sun, we returned to the boat 
Again through the woods — a walk shortened by the cheer- 
fulness and intelligence of these most pleasant companions 
— and we reached the camp, quite ready for our evening 
meal. We took some photographs of the Lapps, .and 
showed them copies of groups of Samoyedes as the 
results : but these Lapps were too quick-witted, and 
laughed heartily at the imposition. 

We left Tuloma after a formal farewell to the little 
colony. We called them together, and I made them a 
short speech in Russian : finally handing to several of 
them pocket-knives : but to Ivan Mikailovitch a musical 
box, which played the air, as I explained to him, of 
Prostchm Ivan^ or Good-bye, John. 'I showed him how to 
use it, and said it was to be a souvenir for the community, 
left in his charge. Nie ! Ya za derzhou gla sibia — 
vsiaki marzhat slushat : No, said Ivan : I shall keep it 
for myself — but all may listen to it 

Gift deserves gift, says a Lapp proverb : and a fair 
word an answer. Accordingly, at intervals during the 
leave-taking, Lapps would disappear, and return with 
salmon, to press upon us as parting gifts. Our tent 
was struck, and the baggage packed : the Lapps con- 

48 the; white sea PENINSULA- [chap. nr. 

tending for the pleasure of carrying it to the boat We 
pushed off, amid a chorus of Prostchaitye and Da svidania^ 
and paddled away rapidly down the Tuloma. Poor 
honest Lapps — doing their duty in the state of life to 
which it has pleased God to call them. 

We were in motion all through the night, and in the 
morning drew near to the cataract Our boatmen asked 
whether we wished to go down in the boat, or to walk 
through the woods. We had foolishly descended rapids 
enough on previous journeys : and, desiring to make a 
moral stand, told the Lapps we should get out and walk. 
We then found we had come so near the rapid that, to 
our inward satisfaction, the stream took hold of the boat, 
and down we went — ^safely enough. We take, however, 
all the credit of our good resolution. On the fourth day 
we came to Kola. 

The Ispravnik sent his cossack to say that he wished 
to call upon us as soon as we had rested : and the Pere- 
vodtchik was accordingly set to work to impart to our 
room more of the appearance of a saUm^ and less of a 
hospital or store, than it possessed. He was also instructed 
to rush in with tchm and Laferme cigarettes, as soon as the 
great man should have taken breath : to have matches at 
hand : to watch the Ispravnik's cup, seize it as soon as 
empty, and bring clean cups with hot tea. Meantime to 
make chocolate ready, and to ply Ivan Abramovitch 
with it, as soon as the tchm should seem to pall upon 
him. To hold himself within respectful earshot, and 
prompt me when at a loss for a word. 


Then the Ispravnik arrived, dressed in his becoming 
full-dress uniform. Dark -blue trousers, dark -green coat 
with military buttons — having the single silver star, de- 
noting PrAprostchik rank, on his gold shoulder-strap : a 
flat cap, and long military overcoat His small retinue 
stood at the gate to subdue any chance Nihilist tenden- 
cies. Ivan Abramovitch sat, until I began to think he 
would never go. He saw all our outfit — from the cooking 
apparatus, of which he approved highly : to the tinned and 
lotted meats, of which, poor fellow, he approved still more. 
The Perevodtchik assiduously supplied him with tea and 
cigarettes : and we had a long talk over our altered plans. 
He had never left the province: had never travelled 
farther than Archangel He could not afford to, as he 
told me. A poor Russian Ispravnik generally means an 
honest one. 

I asked his permission to take On^sime Simonovitch 
round the Peninsula with us : but he explained that he was 
engaged to work the boat traffic in the summer, under 
contract to the Stantsia keeper. He sent for the man : Ro- 
mdnoff Michieff by name, freebooter by profession. This 
gentleman asked three hundred roubles for the use of his 
boat as far as Gavrilova. We said, Oh. Then for selling 
us On^sime, he wanted fifty roubles : this being condi- 
tional on our finding at Gavrilova a man to replace him 
here. No better, or indeed other, arrangement could be 
made : so we accepted it, on the pledge that the boat and 
crew should be ready within two hours. 

One of this country's undeveloped resources is lead : 



of which, Ivan Abramovitch said, ore is found near Pasvig, 
containing sixty-six per cent of pure metal. He told me 
that a Russian professor, who came years ago to Kola, 
had the misfortune to shoot a Laplander. I asked how 
much it cost, and the Ispravnik said thirty roubles. Then 
it became clear that the Doctor's g^n was one of the 
articles of baggage for which we could not find transport 
Thirty roubles a head for Lapps was out of the question. 

At length Ivan Abramovitch tore himself away, and 
we made him happy by sending the Perevodtchik after him 
to his house, bearing a box of cocoa for himself and of 
raisins for his children. We bought from our motherly 
hostess a silver cross and chain, and two brass satnovars : 
then we went out to watch for the signalling of the steamer 

It was a melancholy evening. Gray clouds floated over- 
head, and rain fell in a gray mist Kola seemed deserted. 
An owl sat on a tall rude wooden cross beside us : a poor 
priest, and one or two peasants wrapped in sheepskin 
coats trudged past. At length word came that the 
steamer was off the Point, three miles away. We got into 
a boat, and were rowed down to the Arkhangelsk, The 
captain, Braun, received us kindly : and we arranged that 
he should tow us down to the sea, on his way to Vardo. 
He recommended us to hasten our preparations, as he 
must sail in three hours. It took four hours of incredible 
trouble to get the miserable rickety old snika ready and 

The arrestant hesitated, the Korelak refused, Nikolai 


Susloff agreed at once, On^sime was the soul of the 
preparations. As the arrestant would not come spon- 
taneously, I had to go and engage Feopentovioff, the 
Ispravnik's Ouriadnik^ at a high salary, to accompany us : 
and, as he must not lose sight of him, to bring the 
arrestant whether he liked it or not Nobody else could 
be found : so we could not consider feelings which be^ 
longed, under the circumstances, not to an individual, but 
to the State. We were in despair for a fourth man, 
though we had hunted all Kola through. 

I saw on the beach a queer yellow smoky obscure 
shrivelled little man, staring stupidly at me. Brother, I 
said, taking him by the arm, come to Gavrilova. Harosho^ 
he said quietly : and in ten minutes more we were pro- 
pelling the lumbering old boat down the fiord. We 
went on board the steamer, and slept comfortably. We 
saw Abrampaatay a cliff on our left hand, as we steamed 
away from the anchorage — a sacred rock of the Lapps : 
worshipped in old days by throwihg stones up at its face. 
When we awoke we were in sight of the sea. As we 
approached Leshin Point, the ArkhangelsJfs engines were 
stopped within a few hundred yards of the rocks. Here 
the mariner's compass indicates true North. We embarked 
on the sfUkay cast off from the steamer, and with a strong 
wind set sail for the east. 



Kildln Island— -The Mflrman coast— A Lapp oUy— St Gabriers— Fishing 
stations — ^Mibrmon fishes — ^Ldvosero— Investigations — Corruption — ^A suf- 
ferer— Zakkar's Farewell 

The venerable Laplander Nikolai Susloff had been de- 
tailed to superintend the boat's outfit As we went down 
the Arkhangelsk's gangway, I asked whether he had filled 
the water-casks. Yes, he said. With fresh water ? I asked, 
having a presentiment No, he said : with salt water. 
We sailed between Kildfn Island and the cold iron coast 
of Lapland Dull volcanic rocks, red and rounded : abrupt 
gray cliffs split and fissured, with misty snow crowning 
,them — rose hundreds of feet from the dark sea. Here 
and there green and orange lichen brightened the cliffs. 
Gulls rose from their bazary as the Russians call a breed- 
ing-place : and ducks flew hurriedly past us. Foam blew 
in white streaks, driven by gusts that swept down between 
the hills. The island of Kildtn lay to the northward 
of us, with a clear table-shaped outline : intensely purple 
in the distance, and relieved by brilliant white snow. 
On the N.E. side of Kildln live two Norsk settlers, near 
Mogilnyi Nds, the Point of the Graves. Behind Mali 
Olenyi live some Russian fishers. 


At intervals we passed a fishing boat as we flew 
swiflly along the -AWrww^— corruption of Norman — coast. 
Squalls are sudden and violent here. A short time since, 
two fishing boats lay quietly at anchor : a hurricane struck 
them, and the boats disappeared from mortal sight 

Castren had to abandon his contemplated journey to 
this coast : and could, as he says, only glance at the Lapps 
between Kola and Kandalaks. We passed Zel^nets or 
Green Point : then Tchomi or Black Point : scudding along 
to the eastward in deep water. 

We left the cigar-shaped Mali Olenyi to seaward of 
us, sailing through the narrow channel which makes it 
an island Next we passed the Tinunko Islands, ap- 
proached Dolgaia GAba, Long Bay, and entered Tiribirka 
Bay. We crossed the mouth of the river of this name, 
— a good anchorage, and a considerable fishing stream — 
flowing northward from the common watershed of all the 
rivers of the White Sea Peninsula. Tiribirka is frequented 
by three hundred fishermen, with thirty boats : and has a 
wiqter population of perhaps eighty. 

' *f he wind fell, and we sent the men to the oars : then 
to light a fire and cook. We had more space in the 
snika than in the boat on the TAloma : but far less, rel- 
atively, than a dog has in his home — and were cramped 
enough. Our kennel measured seven feet in length, five 
in width, and four in height After dinner we sailed 
again, and the crew turned over, I can't say in, to sleep. 
They turned over in the bottom of the boat 

The little Lapp I engaged last at Kola had fallen 


asleep, somewhere under a thwart, with his great boots 
alone visible. He had a small orange-tanned wrinkled 
face, with dull eyes, yellow hair growing over them, and 
narrow sloping shoulders. He wore an old yellowish drab 
soldier's overcoat, and looked as if he had fallen by chance 
into a pair of boots, whose huge bulgy soles and footprints 
resembled those of the elephant The little man looked 
like a dry fig in a roll of brown paper. He seemed half- 
tipsy, but was only odd and queer. His gait was one of 
his best points. He stooped forward, and his arms hung 
quite loosely at his sides. The crew despised and jested 
at him : he was ah outcast to all but myself. They made 
sport of the eccentricity and queer ways which endeared 
him to me : I was his only ally. I asked him his name. 
Zakkarandreizitkikoff, Hadn't he any other names? What 
was his front name ? Zakkar. Family name ? Zitkikoff. 

We landed in a small creek on Tiribirka Point Be- 
side us lay a granite pebble, which had rolled down from 
the ice-covered ridge above. We found it measured 
twenty-eight feet, by twenty-one, by eighteen. The men 
dispersed in search of driftwood. Zakkar Andrei Zitki- 
koff was to go too : but as I stepped on shore I heard a 
noise, and profane muttering. Zakkar Andrei Zitlcikoff 
had slipped, and fallen into the bottom of the boat We 
clambered up among the granite boulders and snow : find- 
ing a small lake, round which we gathered wild flowers, 
and where we spent a happy hour in throwing stones into 
the water. Overhead hung cliffs of frozen snow. 

Returning, we found an Arctic picture: the boat 


moored to the rock : the Lapps hewing wood, or grouped 
round the fire, cooking their fish and ours. Snow and 
granite lay all round, and the cold sea beneath. We found 
granite, gray, blue, white and red, white and green, and 
blood-red. We had to hurry away, for the tide was ebbing. 
One man was nearly left behind on the desert shore. It 
was Zakkar Andrei ZitkikofT. 

We finished our meal when under way. I found 
Zakkar, half- an -hour after the men had finished their 
dinner, drinking tea absently, and munching black bread. 
When I put some sugar into his cup, Zakkar Andrei 
ZitkikofT smiled for the first, and, with one exception, 
the only time — ^a quaint comical smile, and doffed his cap. 
When the wind increased and grew colder and shriller, 
I passed Zakkar my quilt He took off his cap, and 
smiled again. The wind now increased, and blew in gusts. 
The old snika flew along, her gunwale hissing through the 
water as though it had been red-hot In a quick squall 
the old patched rag which served as a sail blew away 
from the mast, and the boat reeled. One man got mixed 
up with the tackle, and was nearly swept overboard : this, 
of course, was Zakkar Andrei ZitkikofT. Fortunately, 
the hurricane could not lift him out of his boots, or he 
would have gone finally. 

We passed Oposdva and ZeWnetsky. Then, carrying 
on as well as we could, shortly before midnight we passed 
the mouth of the Korodok, as the Lapps call the Voronje 
River : and rounded the rocks lying outside the harbour 
of Gavrtlova. 


The Russian thinks much of names. Each Tsar names 
a son Constantine, in the hope that he may inherit the 
throne of Byzantium. Each Russian receives the name 
of the saint on whose holy day he comes into the world. 
Some fisherman, too reverent to give directly to his haven or 
village the name of the saint, calls his Stanovitsche after 
himself — Gavril, the adopted of the messenger angel Gabriel. 

In the Cathedral of Tarragona is an old column, having 
a capital carved with the representation of three kings 
in one bed : one awake and watching, with a pleased, 
tranquil face, an angel who is approaching the bed with 
the news of Christ's birth. Here is the legend again in 
the white North. Over the Russian peasants' doors are 
carved, together with three crosses, the letters B. M. G. 
initials of Balthasar, Melcon, Gaspar, kings of Mesopo- 
tamia, Persia, and Arabia. In the Russian churches is 
sung at Christmas a kind of Litany — the Kalenda : and 
one part describes the awakening by the angel Gabriel of 
the Tri Karelya^ three kings. 

We entered the little cross-shaped harbour. The gray 
rocks were covered with drying fish, and the air was 
saturated with the smell. Heads and refuse of fish tainted 
the water, and clouds of gulls were hovering about : some 
angry, all hungry, some squawking hoarsely, others with 
the snapping bark of a small dog. We walked round the 
harbour, past fish-racks and wooden huts, to the small 
wooden house of the chief fisherman, Ivan Retkin. We 
found the family asleep : the house was like a rabbit- 
warren — one small room leading to another, and all were 


Stifling. Our room was a highway for the family, or rather 
families : for two or three shared the house. 

It was a lonely spot : far out of the world, looking out 
on the North Polar Sea, the Sjivemaya Mori, We sat 
at the open window : it was past midnight We looked over 
the little harbour to the golden sea : only the sea-gulls 
broke the silence. Our boat lay on the wet sand : On^sime 
and his crew had their quarters in her. We lay down for 
the night : young Retkin, in his high boots, slept across 
the doorway. 

Piotri Ivanovitch has much intelligence, and even 
• reads much : he lives here throughout the year. There is 

far more life here than in Kola. Gavrilova swarms with 
busy fishers. Four hundred men come here in the sum- 
mer, using eighty snikas. There are but few women : 
only those who stay through the winter. In winter seven 
houses only are occupied, by about forty persons. They 
use traps instead of nets in the winter. 

There are forty-one fishing stations on the MArmari 
coast : eleven between Sviatoi N6s and Litsa, the eastern 
g^oup: seventeen between Litsa and Kola, the middle 
group : seven between the Kola Fiord and Vaidda Guba, 
the Kolsky group : and six between Vaidda Guba and 
Yakobselv, the western group. There are from two to 
three thousand fishers on the coast, of whom perhaps 
one-fourth are Norwegians : and there are some of the 
best sheltered anchorages in the world. The Kola Fiord 
in January and February never freezes farther than thirty 
versts below the town : sometimes not at all. lekaterinsk, 


one of the finest harbours, never freezes — thanks to 
the Gulf Stream. The midsummer temperature of the sea 
on this coast is about S"* Centigrade, or 46'' Fahrenheit 

Litsa has many huts, fifty ketschmari or ransikiy and 
a hundred and fifty boats. 

Siem Ostrova is an important Stanavitsche, having the 
advantage that the cod and herrings frequent the coast 
more closely than at the western stations. 

Gavrilova employs a hundred Russian, and several 
Norw^ian boats from Vadso. 

Tiribirka, known to the Norsemen in the sixteenth 
century as Tiribir, is one of the oldest and most im- 
portant stations. Great catches of herrings are made at 
the mouth of the considerable river the Tiribirka, and 
hither most of the Pomorian fishermen come. 

leretik has several houses and a splendid harbour. 

Karabella, visited chiefly by Norsk boats, is a lucra- 
tive station. 

Vaidda Guba is visited by Kolsk, Fomorsk and Norsk 

The chief StanavitscheSy Siem Ostrova, Gavrilova, 
Tiribirka, have numerous wooden huts, baths, stores, 
boiling caldrons : and each has a chapel. 

The best fishing years on record have been 1828, 
1837, 1840, 1842-3, 1 85 1, 1867-8. The worst have 
been 1831, 1844, 1849. In 1S54-55 the English naval 
demonstrations hindered the poor people's fishing opera- 
tions. In 1 782-1790, 1 50,000 /ow^/iW or, roughly speak- 
ing, 50,000 cwt of salted or dried cod, and 63,000 cwt 


of train oil and various fish were sent from the Mfirman 
coast to the White Sea ports. From 1826 to 1835 the 
average export from the Norway fisheries to the Mediter- 
ranean was 15,000 cwt. : from the MCirman fisheries 
59,000 cwt: from 1836- 1845, 43,000 cwt against 
Norway's 37,000 cwt: from 1855-65, 106,000 cwt 
against Norway's 126,000 cwt — showing that Norway 
has steadily overtaken Russian Lapland in the matter 
of trade with the Catholic countries. From 1865 to 
1870 the annual trade between Norway and Russia 
averaged ;^ 12 5, 000: Norway importing as much again 
as she exported. 

There have been as many as three hundred vessels at a 
time employed here in the shark fishery : some of which, 
costing four hundred silver roubles, have been known to 
earn three or four hundred roubles in ten days. The 
Norwegians taught the Russians this industry. The poor 
shark — ^the most friendless of all fishes, and whose only 
failing is his appetite — is also snared from the edge of 
the ice at Seredni in the winter. In 1867 a Nor- 
wegian named Suul, who introduced this fishery, be- 
came a Russian subject, and settled in Kola. A few 
years later, Ikonikoff, a native of Soroka in Pomoria, 
joined Suul. The fishery is not fully developed, owing 
to imperfect tackle and the difficulties of communication. 

There have been for centuries whale fisheries on the 
M6rman coast An old charter exempts the Peisen 
Kloster from duty on whale oil. The Dutch for many 
years shared the fishing with the Russians. 


In 1723, by ukase of Peter the First, a Kola whale 
fishery was established at the cost of the State : and in 
1 827-1 831 three whalers were sent yearly, supplied with 
Dutch harpooners. But as in those five years the whalers 
took only four whales, the patience of the Commerce 
Collegium became worn out, and they declared the Dutch 
harpooners to have been suborned by their countrymen. 
The undertaking was soon abandoned, owing to the ex- 
pense and loss. Half-a-century later. Count Voronzoff 
fitted out a vessel, with White Sea mariners, for the whale 
fishery about the Kola Fiord, This expedition wounded 
eleven whales, but killed none, owing to the defective form 
of harpoon. In 1 806 a whaler fitted out from Kola was 
taken by privateers and burnt Now, once again, a 
Russian company — so Ivan Abramovitch tells me — are 
competing with the Norwegians for the profits of the rich 
whale fisheries of this Arctic sea. Every year some dead 
whales drift on shore near Kola Fiord : the Lapps sell the 
meat to the Kola merchants for a trifie. 

The Mfirman fishes are as follows \ — 

Gadus morrhua . Torsk Common Cod. 

„ oeglifinus • Pikshju .... Haddock. 

„ virens . . Satda . . 
Sebastes Norvegicus Morskoi okonj 
Anarrhichas lupus . Subatik • . 
Scymnus borealis . Akula . . 
Hypoglossus max- Paltus . . 

Pleuronectes flesus. Morskaya kambala Flounder. 

. Coal fish. 

. Bergylt 

. Wolf-fish. 

. Greenland shark. 

. Halibut 


Pleuronectes limanda Tersch • • . . Common Dab. 
Brosimus vulgaris . . Morskoi njalim • . Tusk. 
Mallotus arcticus . . Moiva .... The Capellin. 
Ammodytes lancea . Pestchanka . . . Sand Launce. 
Rorqualis borealis Blue Whale. 

Cod are not found in the cold waters east of Sivatoi 
Nds, but herrings travel as far as the mouths of the 
Petschora, the Ob, and the Yenesei. 

Not a human being makes his appearance here — or 
ever a vessel — in the long winter months. There is no 
post Sometimes one of the inhabitants goes for 
necessaries to Kola, and brings letters or news. He must 
travel for two or three days, in the three hours' daylight, 
with thirty or forty reindeer. The route is up the 
Korodok River, a hundred and fifty versts, as far as 
Voronsky, ^pogost of twenty Lapps. This takes a day and 
night Thence the journey lies over the wilderness, for 
another day and night, to Kildinski/^i£?j/ — a winter settle- 
ment of the Lapps. Thence twenty versts along the Kola 
river to Kola. Not a tree is to be seen between Gavrilova 
and Kildina. 

The winter journey to Ldvosero is made in about 
three days. We travelled with Otiets Gorg Kvalovitch 
Terentieff, priest of Ldvosero, a singular man with an 
abrupt and impetuous manner of speech. Father George's 
political eloquence had outstripped his prudence, and, 
finding expression in some of the journals, had led to 
Ldvosero parish being assigned to the poor priest for 
seclusion and reflection. 


He readily gave us information about Inner Lapland. 
The Voronje is navigable, but with toil and difficulty, by 
small boats. Ldvosero is a small pogost of the Lapps, 
having a church, and lying on the east bank of the L6v 
Lake. A stream, practicable to boats, and which is pro- 
bably the V&rzuga River, leaves the southern extremity of 
the lake. 

Next day there came at our bidding, from the Lapp 
settlement at the mouth of the Korodok, an aged 
Laplander in a dirty, odorous, smoked sheepskin coat : 
accompanied by a younger but even more highly cured 
Lapp. These were to be our advisers and pilots for the 
Korodok. It was very hopeless. First the stuffy old 
Lapp said there were no boats. When we had defeated 
him on this point, he said there was no river. Eventually 
he said it was one long rapid — ^up which no boat could 
be taken. 

Every hour or so — for the interview lasted for half the 
day — I went out to breathe, leaving On^sime to examine 
the old Troglodyte. When I gave him some silver, the poor 
old gentleman cheered up, and gave me details of the 
river. The Tomdnosero, he said, lay thirty-five versts up, 
and this proving correct, my confidence increased. Then 
he committed himself to stages and rapids, so vastly 
distant from one another, that when I added them all 
together, I found the Korodok must have its source in 
the centre of the White Sea. Then I disbelieved the old 
Laplander. TV bweel na raiki t Thou hast been up the 
river ? Nie bweel. Never been (!) We paid the two 


Lapps for our time and trouble, and sent them away 

Then we went to search for a boat, to ascend the 
river with On&ime and other boatmen. Traveller : We 
want to hire two small boats. Group of natives in chorus : 
There are not two boats to hire. Traveller: We will 
buy them. Natives : It is not possible. Traveller : One 
boat Natives : No one has a boat to sell. Traveller : 
We will wait for three days and have a boat built 
Natives : No man here can build a boat : all are made in 
Kola. Traveller : We will give a rouble to any one who 
will find us a boat for sale. Crowds consulting: Ask 
Piotri Ivanovitch Retkin for one of his boats. 

I went to Retkin and said we wanted his small boat 
Retkin said he could not do without it I told him that 
we could not do without it either. He refused point- 
blank to hire or sell it Then we knew we must approach 
him by the circular method. First came the Ouriadnik 
to say that as he could not, in all Gavrilova, find a man 
to replace Ondsime, the little Lapp must return with him 
to Kola. I took the Ouriadnik aside and showed him 
absently a five rouble note. Ondsime must come with 
us, I said. The Ouriadnik turned Gavrilova upside down, 
but came back in despair. Then we immediately decided 
to abandon the Korodok, and to sail round to the Ponoi : 
taking a boat in order to make ourselves independent on 
that river. 

The summer fishing contracts, embracing nearly the 
whole male population of Russian Lapland, are a traveller's 


difficulty. I may say that, as far as payment went, we 
should have rarely hesitated : but no temptation could 
release a man working by contract We went after con- 
sideration to Retkin, and chartered his large snika to 
take us to Siem Ostrova : and when he had made all his 
preparations for several days' absence, and fitted out the 
sn/ka, we declined to start until he sold us his small boat 

We parted reluctantly with On&ime, and made him 
happy with various gifts. I paid the hire of the old boat 
to the Ouriadnik, and he drew out a receipt in good 

June Jth. I the undersigned Ouriadnik Feopentovioff, 
give this quittance to the Gospodin Anglitchanin^ for that 
I have taken the money from him fifty roubles for the 
balance of hire from the town of Kola to the Stanovitsche 
Gavrilova, and for pay of rowers. Herewith I give the 
receipt for this money, and I shall account for it to 
Romanoff Stepanovitch Michieff. 


Sitting writing at the window, I heard a sound — 
Nozhik ! Knife ! It was Zakkar Andrei Zitkikoff, who 
unceremoniously demanded a pocket-knife such as I had 
given to On^sime. I gave him a knife, because I could 
not collect my thoughts when he was in sight : but he 
said nothing, and went away. 

A child came to be cured of the toothache : and we 
daily dressed the hand of a poor boy, living in the room 
next to us. He had torn it with a fish-hook, and the in- 
flammation was spreading up his whole arm^. Taking his 


arm off would be the only chance for him. His brother, 
one day, grateful for the little trouble we had taken, 
brought us a beautiful coral-like Arctic mollusk, attached 
to a stone — ^the Hamera Lichenoides of Linnaeus. It was 
like a miniature fern in ivory. We gave the sick boy a 
musical box in return. I hear the Perevodtchik asked 
constantly whether I am a Professor : the Doctor's ca- 
pacity is taken for granted. The Expedition is variously 
suspected : few believe that we have come for peaceful 
and uncommercial objects to the White Sea Peninsula. 
The Linguist himself, who associates all English travellers 
with sport alone, is not able to entirely satisfy the public 

I saw Zakkar Andrei Zitkikoff once again. He was 
standing silently under the window : and I was on the 
point of hardening my heart, preparatory to refusing him 
a second knife. When he caught my eye, he suddenly 
took off his cap and ducked his head. Then he went 
away. He had only come to say good-bye. 



Departure from Gavraova— A luxury— A storm — ^The Irisjtvemaya Sidnya^ 
Arrival at Seven Islands — ^Wreck of the AUxei—OMX camp— Visitors — 
Sir Hugh Willoughby — ^Expedition to the River Karlovka— A rainbow — 
Lapps of the Karlovka — A mistake — Interrogations — ^The AfinJk-^Vfe 
appoint a secretary. 

We left the Retkin's house on the third day, each of us 
carrying something. The Perevodtchik was armed with 
the backbone and one side of the body of a huge salmon, 
which at times he shouldered like a battle-axe, and at 
others carried under his arm like a gun. We sailed from 
Gavrilova, through the ever-hungry swarm of gulls. The 
bright sun shone on the crested waves. A la^'e or lugger 
rocked at her anchor, and we could hear the creak of oars. 
Two wooden crosses, fixed on a bare pink granite cliff, 
struck the eye from every direction. A group of placid 
dove-coloured, white-breasted gulls sat beneath them, like 
a congregation of Puritan girls with gray gowns and white 
handkerchiefs : fluttering when the waves splashed spray 
over them. 

We turned away to the eastward, and the wind blew 
with some force. We were towing our boat, but finding 
the sn/ka would not obey her helm, Piotri Ivanovitch and 


his comrade Lazari Ivanovitch, with our help, hoisted it 
on board. Our snika then presented an original appear- 
ance^ carrying athwart-ships a boat two-thirds of its own 
length. We looked so singular that we saw a schooner 
bear down, apparently to inspect and hail us. 

We see in the small navolok of Podinakta two 
schooners at anchor, waiting for cargoes of fish, or for 
better weather. Then we pass in a short time the island 
of Kous^nety having a large bazar of sea*birds^^razor- 
bills, little auks, cormorants, puffins, etc. Then Demiznaya 
Gftba: then Shilpine, where a Russian trader, Matvei 
Franasovitch Savin, has a faktori or store. The. coast is 
lower, and the seas break upon more rounded rocks. We 
next pass Bieloi N6s, White Point, where lies perpetual 
snow. Behind Ol^nyi Island is excellent anchorage, well 
sheltered from all winds, 

A dense cloud overshadows the cliiTs, and the weather 
to seaward looks very mixed. The wind is steady in the 
north-west, and the snika tears rapidly along. At inter- 
vals we see a lonely MCirman navolok such as Tcherbinka 
or Triastina, indicated by a few wooden crosses set up on 
the rocks. We watched the gulls pouncing upon the 
herrings, and the skuas and great northern divers enjoying 
themselves. There are no sharks at this part of the coast, 
but numerous seals, especially at the Voronje river. 

We noticed that Piotri Ivanovitch was, with the assist- 
ance of a clasp-knife, consuming a fish-pie — a huge piece 
of halibut, hypoglossus maximus^ baked inside a shell 
of black bread : called in Russian a pirbg^ in Karelian 


kolybaka. We determined to ask for some of it Piotri 
drew a second one out of a sealskin bag, and made us 
accept It. We lived for two days upon the hypoglossus 
maximus pie, in Byzantine luxury. Our attention was 
directed at this stage of the journey to a monstrous cylin- 
drical sealskin trunk, which had inconvenienced us on the 
last stage, and which we took to belong to the Ouriadnik. 
It was the Perevodtchik's notion of a moderate outfit for 
Russian Lapland. We had seen the Linguist with a small 
carpet-bag, which we admitted to be modest : but here 
was a case as large as half the body of a walrus. We spoke 
mildly to the Perevodtchik, and begged him to take an early 
opportunity of expressing his trunk to the West. 

We sailed past Shil^bina, where were Lapp huts and 
about two dozen fishermen : then passed Vrinda and its 
outlying reef of rocks. There was a large church there. A 
corvette — carrying the patriarch, priests, deacons, choristers, 
vice-governor, and many officials of Archangel province, 
coming here to the consecration, — ^had a narrow escape in 
the same gale which nearly lost our Expedition of 1874. 
The corvette reached Archangel many days after she 
was given up for lost The same gale was disastrous to 
Russian vessels at Vardo : six were capsized, and all lives 
lost The storm extended to the White Sea. A vessel 
lying at anchor in a creek on the Lapland coast, with a 
cargo of codfish, was capsized in a minute. 

The Government seem to contemplate attracting a 
population to the Mfirman coast by church-building : but 
a single rapacious trader like Savin will do more to check 


colonisation than a dozen churches will to aid it Ten 
miles eastward from Vrinda lies the Stanavitsche of Zolotaia 
— ^the Golden. Here are eighty fisher-people and twenty 
boats in the summer. 

We met abroad an engineer of the Russian steamer 
Alexei^ wrecked on the island of Kouvshin, at Siem Os- 
trova, in the autumn of 1876. The shipwrecked crew 
for many days ate nothing but gulls' ^gs. As the fisher- 
men remain at Siem Ostrova until the end of autumn, 
and, when they go, leave sacks of meal in the huts for the 
necessities of seafaring men, the castaways must have 
managed very badly. 

I asked Piotri Ivanovitch about the Northern Lights, 
called by the Mfirmanski Lunosidnya^ by the Russians 
Irigevemaya Sidnya. The Mflrman fishers believe they 
are the souls of the dead floating in the air. In Volhynia 
the peasant mothers throw bread and honey to the first 
spring swallows. 

For they think that their dear lost children^ 

The little ones who are gone^ 
Come back thus to the heartsick mothers^ 

Who are toiling and sorrowing on. 
And those sunlit wings and flashing 

White breasts^ to their tear-dimmed eyes, 
Bring visions of white child-angels 

Floating in Paradise, 

Racing along hour after hour, we sighted at length 
Karlova, the westernmost of the Seven Islands ; and at 


length we came among them — Karlova, Litska, Vishniak, 
ZeHnets, Malo Zeldnets, Kouvshin, and Gossogorou. Inside 
the latter island is the Stanovitsche. The islands lie in a 
string, east and west, forming a partially-sheltered sea one 
or two miles broad and eight miles long : with good and 
sheltered anchorages. Litska lies more apart-^six miles 
east of the rest Four miles beyond it is Lltsa, a Stano^ 
vitsche^ whither numerous fishing vessels come in the 
summer. Fifty miles farther eastward stands the light- 
house of the Holy Cape-^Sviatoi Nds. On this part of 
the coast the tide runs from one and a half to two knots. 

Gray huts and a group of crosses stood on gray rocks, 
upon which the water was lapping. A dozen storm-bound 
vessels lay in the little harbour, and the few mariners on 
board stared at us as we sailed past. Our crew crossed 
themselves as we ran alongside the rocks, close to the 
Stanavitsche of Seven Islands — Siem Ostrava^ and landed. 
We sought in vain for a cleanly hut as our home. All 
were swarming with human beings who spend the summer 
there : hot with stoves, stifling for want of fresh air : and 
we were forced to pitch our bardk quickly, to shelter us 
from the bitter, icy North Wind. 

The spot we chose, a hundred yards from the sea, and 
under a cliff where thick snow lay, proved to be the dry- 
est in Siem Ostrova. Only shallow turf covered the rock, 
and we had to drive in our galvanised iron tent pegs 
diagonally, and cross-pin them with others. There our 
tchoum withstood for several days and nights, Arctic gales, 
Arctic cold, and Arctic rain— a picture of diminutive 

CHAP, vl] a fire worshipper. 71 

comfort The fishermen and boys came up in turns to 
watch us establish our camp, and stood respectfully round 
while the Doctor lighted a fire, and the Perevodtchik and 
boatmen carried up our effects* 

22d June. — As I write, I can look out from our snug 
tent down to the dove-coloured sea. We are encamped 
in a little amphitheatre of soft brown moss and gray rock, 
above the huts of Seven Islands. About the tent door 
are boxes, cooking utensils, sacks, tins, riding boots, 
etc Transparent blue smoke floats away from the fire, 
at which the Perevodtchik has cooked our midnight 
dinner : and which the Doctor, pipe in mouth, is feeding 
with silver-birch faggots. The Doctor Is a fanatic for 
fires : he considers the construction and maintenance of a 
fire preferable to the acquisition of much wealth. He 
hovers round and cannot leave it : he nurses and feeds it, 
like a pelican with an only young one. He brought a 
bill-hook with him — to cut through forests, he said. He 
also hinted unsuccessfully at jungle. He has already 
singed the hair off his right hand, and the wool off his 
sleeve : and his hands are as black as jf I had coated 


them with the mosquito preparation. 

Below us, near the water's edge, are rude unpainted 
block huts, roofed with birch bark and turf. We can 
see the wreck of the unfortunate AlexeL Codfish hangs 
to dry on long racks : gulls hover round a boat in which 
the Russians are cutting up freshly-caught fish. Other 
men are spreading sails to bleach on the snow. It is 
Saturday evening, aiid we hear the Angelus, Vitchemi 


kolokol^ reminding the fishermen that their six days' toil 
is over. Our blue Arctic ensign flutters above the little 
white tent. Against an orange patch in the sky a distant 
schooner is outlined. Behind the orange cloud lies the 
chartless Polar Ocean. 

Above us^ to the right, is a tall rocky clifi) our Royal 
Observatory. Night and day a grave-looking fnoujik is 
stationed there, watching for a chance steamer, which may 
pass miles to seaward — bound to the White Sea. We 
can see him kneeling there, watching the unsetting sun, 
with his hands on his knees, like a Moslem at his prayers. 

We are enjoying our camp by the snow in the Land 
of the Midnight Sun. The ground is dry : no dew falls. 
The moss is a dry cushion. Upon the moss we have 
spread brushwood, on the brushwood a waterproof sheet, 
on the sheet a double canvas carpet, on that our ulsters 
and the Kola quilts. Over us are waterproofs and a 
familiar travelling companion, a Barbary rug — brown, 
with el^^t red stripes and fringe — altogether highly 
ornamental. So we fear no cold nor rheumatism. Our 
effects are stowed for the night in front of the tent : the 
more perishable ones inside. Our astronomer gets one 
rouble a night, or two roubles if he sights a steamer : so 
he is tempted to stay awake; keeping one eye upon our 
movable property, and the other upon the melancholy ocean. 

Piotri, son of Ivan, is much attached to us, and often 
comes up for a chat He brought us another very ex- 
cellent halibut tart as a present The weather is bad, 
and threatens to be worse : so Piotri must wait here. 



We have an intimate friend, too, who is dressed like 
a Kalmuck, in a sheepskin coat and a high fur cap. He 
came up with a deputation of citizens on the Sunday 
afternoon, and we gave him some chocolate. To eat ? 
he asked To eat, I said He crossed himself — partly 
for grace, partiy for protection — and then cautiously 
munched the chocolate. Horosho I he said. 

We are in the latitude of Disco Bay in Greenland, of 
Kol3rmsk in the Koriak country^ and of the North Cape 
of Asia : in the longitude of Moscow, Azov, Trebizonde, 
and Palmyra : thirty-eight degrees east of Greenwich : 
three hundred miles from Nova Zemlia: five hundred 
from the Kara gates. 

Seven-and-thirty miles east of us lies the Arzina — the 
Riuer or Hauen wherein Sir Hugh Willoughby with the 
companies of his two ships perished for cold. The two 
ships attempting farther north, were in September en- 
countered with such extreame cold that they put back to 
seek a wintring place: and missing the said bay — the 
White Sea — fell upon a desart coast in Lappia^ and enter- 
ing into a Riuer were immediately frozen up— since dis- 
couered named Arzina Reca — from whence they neuer 
returned, but all to the number of seuentie persons perished, 
which was for want of experience to make caues and 
stores. These were found with the ships the next summer, 
anno 1554, by Russe fishermea 

Anno 1556 the Muscovie Company sent two ships, 
with extraordinarie masters and saylers, to bring home the 
two ships frozen in Lappia in the Riuer Arzina aforesaid. 


But SO it fellout that the two which came from Lappia 
with all their new masters and marriners neuer were heard 
of: but in foule weather and wrought seams, after their 
two yeeres wintring in Lapland, became as is supposed 
vnstanch and sunke. A third ship, the Edward aforesaid^ 
falling on the north part of Scotland vpon a rocke, was also 
lost ; and Master Chancellor with diuers others drowned. 

We were in some difficulty about the Arctic ensign, 
there being no sunset at which to haul it down. The 
fishermeti often came up, and squatted at the tent door, 
watching our habits and asking to learn a little English. 
One pleasant man told us that at Kouzomen we should 
find a party of K&nin Samoyedes and reindeer. He 
brought us a handsome halibut as a present There also 
came a good-looking boy in a Samoyede fndUtsa^ a native 
of Mez^n, working as a sailor on a Russian schooner. 

One morning I set off on foot with the Perevodtchik 
and a Karelian fisherman, for the Lapp village of Karl- 
ovka near the mouth of the Karlovka River : seven versts 
away, I was told. It blew a heavy gale in our faces, and 
we were four long hours in getting to the river. Crawling 
down precipices, dragging ourselves up cliffs, fording 
streams, staggering across swamps, or from one boulder 
to another — ^we were very grateful .to come to the end of 
the journey. We saw among the cliffs two immense 
Arctic hares. They seemed to be as large as young 
reindeer. They had patches of gray near the shoulders 
and ears, but were otherwise quite white. 

At the river Ri^ka, on a tongue of rock, I found 

CHAP, vl] a celestial ring. 75 

what appeared to be a Lapp Paata, There were stones 
of a considerable size, placed on the smooth rounded 
.granite and moss, in the form of a rude ring. At 
intervals there came storms of driving hail, snow, and 
rain, then the sun would issue from the clouds and shine 
brilliantly. I saw, while lying on the soft white reindeer 
moss, a coloured rainbow extending from the zenith : 
and within the rainbow to the North, 45"" above the sea, a 
horizontal ring of pure white light — ^which hung steadily 
while the gray clouds drove past it We were on a cliff 
facing K&rlova, a long island two miles from the coast, 
one of the Seven Islands. Under its lee were nine 
Russian lodjes^ sheltering from the gale. 

The granite became more and more precipitous, 
assuming almost the forms of dolomites. The Karlovka 
runs in a deep bed. The huts, four in number, lie on the 
western bank, and stand a half verst from the sea. There 
are here eighteen Lopparee^ who have some reindeen A 
beautiful fawn-coloured reindeer with dark horns and 
black muzzle, accompanying a white calf, came grazing 
beside us while we lay at luncheon on the moss. 

The land of Lappia is an high land, hauing snow lying 
on it commonly all the yeere. The people of the countrey 
are half Gentiles : they liue in the summer near the 
sea-side and vse to take fish, out of the which they make 

The Lapps of the Karlovka are chiefly occupied in 
fishing salmon, of which they take a considerable quantity 
in the riven The Karlovka rises in a small lake fifty 


miles inland. It is a fine stream, but is barely navigable 
for boats up to the pogost I took a photograph of the 
really beautiful spot from the cliff above : then we went 
down to the river. By the river bank among the rounded 
stones, carried down and accumulated by the stream, ap- 
peared to be stone rings, very numerous. Some had 
been opened, and of others I was told the stones had been 
used by Russians in building fires, while fishing at the 
river's mouth. 

We wished to go back to Siem Ostrova by boat : but 
as a sea was breaking on the river bar, the Gentiles said 
it would not be possible to get out for hours — ^that is, 
until the tide should rise. I was too tired and hungry to 
wait for hours, having shared my biscuits^ brandy, and 
chocolate with the men \ and we could get nothing eatable 
from the Lapps. The gale was in our favour, and we 
set out homewards on foot 

I never so much repented the grudging a few hours' 
waiting. Exhausted with the storm, cold, hunger, and 
unexpected exertion, I fell upon the snow every few 
hundred yards, and was perpetually going to sleep. We 
crossed — how, I don't remember — the faces of almost 
perpendicular snowdrifts, where a slip would have pre- 
cipitated us a hundred feet down among the boulders. 
After many hours, we crawled down on to the shore. 
The falling tide had left a beach on which we could walk. 
White shells in drifts, coloured pebbles, and bleached 
drifbvood were all that lay on the white sand. An Arctic 
beach has little life ; this was the shore of a dead sea. 


I must have looked like the native of such a shore 
as I came into camp, and dropped on to a mattress, with 
my eyes dim and the gale still singing in my ears. The 
Doctor made me a bowl of consolidated German army 
soup, of double strength, and restored my forces. 

One morning I was helping the Perevodtchik to feed 
the fire, when he let a log of wood fall on my fingers. 
He said he hoped I was not hurt, and I said mildly that 
anything which squeezed the blood of the fingers into a 
bubble must hurt In his agitation he handed me 
directly afterwards a frying-pan, of which the handle was 
to all intents and purposes red-hot. I laid it down on 
the ground, after it had taken the skin off the thumb and 
two remaining fingers. The Linguist said he felt very 
sorry, and I could only tell him that I felt sorry too. 

The heavy rain which fell at intervals reduced our 
neighbourhood to a swamp: but we had hit upon the 
one naturally drained spot We had, in spite of wind and 
snow, a constant group of respectful visitors, who would 
ask the Perevodtchik and myself sixteen or seventeen 
hundred questions in a day. The Doctor afforded them 
great hopes for some time, as he always amiably replied to 
their questions — Horosho, Mfirman : Where do you come 
from ? Doctor : Horosho. Mfirman : What are you 
cooking there ? Doctor : Harosho, 

The Doctor's interrogative harosho means no fewer 
things than the following : — What do you think of this 
sort of thing ? Shall I do it thus ? How do you like 
the biscuit ? Not bad, is it ? Will the fire last for half- 


ati'hour, if I leave it? Don't we look snug in here? 
First-class tent, isn't it ? Is It going to be a fine day ? 
Those eggs are sound, aren't they? Is that driftwood 
dry? Each separate meaning he conveys by gesture 
and the use of the comprehensive enquiry — harosho f If 
the Doctor would only apply his mind to learning 
twelve words of Russian, he could talk politics and 

We were asked whence, why, how we came : whether 
for geology, fishery, timber-surveying, or what: and in* 
numerable other questions* It is the foolishest occupation 
on earth, minding other people's business. Still we were 
very friendly with the poor people, and would always 
humour them within reason — even if they came ten times 
a day to the tent door. 

Strolling out one afternoon I found close to the tent 
a titlark's nest with four eggs, among long dry grass : and 
a black rat, Mus lentnus — called by the Finlanders, and 
also, curiously enough, by the Americans, Mini^^ran out 
of a hole in the grass. Not a good neighbour for eggs 
or young titlarks, I should have thought : only the minJk 
feeds only on grass and reindeer moss. These Lemming 
rats cross the country in the Botbnian basin in thousands ; 
travelling straight across rivers and swamps. They are 
the prey of the white fox. 

A great bee, Apis arctica^ hummed about the cloud- 
berry, which was forming into beautiful white blossom : 
and I gathered the Diapensia Lapponica. I saw bilberries 
between Siem Ostrova and Karlovka, which had lived 


fresh and juicy under the winter's snow — enough to fill a 
boat White gulls had deserted the stormy water and the 
floating relics of fish, and were crowding on the snow, 
which lay a hundred yards from our tent 

In August 161 1, on the four-and-twentieth day, the 
boat s crew of the English ship Aniitie reached the Seven 
Islands. Here wee found many fishermen of whom wee 
enquired after Cool — Kola — and Kildina, and they made 
signs that they lay west from us — ^which wee likewise ghest 
to bee so— and with that they shewed vs great friendship, 
and cast a codde into our scute : but for that wee had a 
good gale of wind, we could not stay to pay them for it — 
but gave them great thankes, much wondering at their 
great courtesie. 

Poor sailors and fishermen, gone over two centuries 
ago to their account I wonder if any one — encamped 
where we are now, two centuries hence — ^will know or 
care that the Doctor and I came to the Seven Islands. 

I asked the Perevodtchik to be so kind as to keep 
a minute record of the journey : and I often watched him 
biting his pencil end, at a loss for ideas. He was to make 
a clean copy on his return home : and after a month or 
two I received a neatly-written MS., which a neighbour 
had translated for him into English. 

After photographs were taken — he writes— of the tent 
at Tiiloma, with Laplanders and the waterfall, Mr. Rae and 
the physician went with Laplanders seven versts, to the 
Laplanders* winter quarters. On their return presents 
were distributed, whereas the Laplanders paid (or gave) 


US salmon, accompanied us to the boat, and g^ve us many 
congratulations with on the journey. 

Then the secretary goes on to Tiribirka Bay. We 
set the course for Gavrila, but before we arrived, a storm 
arose, and took the sail from us. At last we arrived at 
Gavrila. One day a tipsy Russian came up to me, and 
took me for a Jew who had escaped from Kem: but 
this was .cleared up in this way — a Russian from another 
place who knew me from former years came up, wherefore 
he saluted me, and mentioned my name. Then all com- 
menced to make inquiries if we were functionaries, if we 
were in the service of the State, how far we intended to 
travel, until we were quite annoyed thereof, and gave them 
evasive answers, wherefore they left us as they could not 
get any information. 

Piotri Ivanovitch came to wish us good-bye. Poor 
Piotri, he told the Perevodtchik a sad love story. It was 
of years before, and Piotri was well off, and envied by 
his neighbours : but, as the little secretary expresses it : 
There rested always a sorrow over him. 



A naughty boy — Camp life — Origin of the Lapps — ^A piece of mischief— An 
ornithological discovery — ^Temperature — Parahod — Holy Cape — ^A risk. 

A BOY came one evening with a cap full of cormorants', 
puffins', eider-duck^ and gulls' eggs. He appeared to be the 
naughty boy of the village. He would whistle, and look 
at me with a knowing confidence, as if to say it was not so 
long since I had been a naughty boy with weaknesses too. 

Naughty boy : I want to sell the eggs. Traveller : 
How much ? Thirty-five kopecks, to buy half a botelka. 
Traveller: Rum? Naughty boy: I often drink it. 
Traveller : How many summers hast thou ? Fifteen, give 
me some tobacco. Traveller : To smoke ? Naughty boy : 
I smoke whenever I can. Traveller : It is wrong to smoke 
and drink — here is a knife instead of money. Boy, 
confidentially to Perevodtchik : How much is it worth ? 
Perevodtchik : A rouble. Boy : Dost thou want more 
eggs ? Traveller : What eggs ? Boy — imitating exactly 
the cry of a tern : Little ones. Traveller : Are they good 
to eat ? Boy — smacking his lips : Horoshohoroshd ! 

In an hour he was back again with a cap full of terns' 
and puffins' eggs, and on his knees in front of the tent 


82 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. vii. 

I gave him a pair of scissors, which he again submitted to 
the Linguist's valuation. Stoyt aneeli polbotelki f are they 
worth half a botelka ? Yes, said the little man impatiently : 
Oubiratsa! be off! I saw the boy afterwards kneeling 
and endeavouring to cut the long grass with the scissors. I 
sent for him another day, and he came to kneel as usual at 
the tent door, chewing a piece of grass between his replies. 

Traveller: Thy name? Naughty boy: Lavrenti 
Petrovitch Balakin. Bom ? In Kem. Been to school ? 
No. Read or write ? No. Go to church ? Yes, every 
Sunday. Why ? Boghou ntalitsa — To pray to God. Kak 
znayesh Bogha f How knowest thou of God ? From my 
father and mother. Dost thou believe in a future life ? 
Ya vierau posslai smertje shto paydou Boghou — I believe 
I shall go to God after death. Did he know good from 
bad ? Yes. His occupation ? A fisher. His pay ? Only 
food in return for his work. Would he live here always ? 
He did not know where else to go. What would he do 
with twenty kopecks ? Buy biscuit — no, rum. Had he 
smoked and drunk for long ? Yes. His food ? Bread, 
fish, tea. Had he seen Anglitschani before ? No. Tra- 
veller: What dost thou think of us? Naughty boy: 
Nie shto — Nothing at all. 

His body was swaying curiously about as he knelt, 
and he began to answer at random. He was drunk already. 
Poor fatherless boy : no one to teach him : no one to show 
him a good example. Many of the Russians here were 
the worse for drink. They could buy rum for a shilling and 
fourpence a bottle, and did so only too freely. 


I dressed a fisherman's hand this day, and bequeathed 
a large roll of diachylon plaster to the Stanovitsche. Flesh 
wounds are frequent among the fishermen, from the use 
of hooks and knives. 

The weather at Seven Islands does not improve, though 
it changes. The wind goes to the north-west, but still 
brings sleet and rain. We spend the hours in the little 
tent, which keeps us famously warm and dry. The Arctic 
is a dull gray beaten up into white, and the Seven Islands 
stand coldly and sullenly in it It rains and blows all 
through another night, and as we lie awake we hear the 
moaning of the winter sea. 

We have not seen the sun since we encamped here : 
but the few days spent in this dreary and forlorn spot, 
with gale, cold, sleet, rain, and the noise of the sea, have 
been among the very happiest of our lives. We cannot 
explain why : unless that the Doctor and I in our secret in- 
stincts enjoy and appreciate the primitive life of our nomad 
predecessors who have long since vanished from the earth. 

The camp will be struck on. the arrival of the Arkh- 
angelsk, I saw but two women in the Stanovitsche : none 
stay here : they must have come from the vessels. We 
pack, of course, I mean the Doctor packs, the fire with 
turf, which smoulders slowly all through the night in spite 
of rain or wind. In August 1 6 1 1 the weather here was 
tempestuous, foule, cloudie, mystie, snowy, and dismall. 

Some little way from our tent I found what seemed 
to be a Lapp burial-place. The Russian dead have 
been buried, probably for centuries, on Gossogorou, the 

84 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. vii. 

little island which helps to form the harbour. There the 
wooden crosses stand thickly. When the Lapps came to 
this region, it is hard to say : but that they are the original 
inhabitants I have little doubt. On the banks of the 
Yokkonga, sixty miles eastward, have been found stone 
knives and axe heads. We find traces of their past strewn 
all along this Arctic coast ; but none of a lost civilisation. 
I think the Lapps never had any civilisation to lose, but 
are very much now what they were when they used their 
stone implements in the forests of the Yokkonga. 

In form and feature the Russian Lapps vary much 
from those of Norway, and from the Samoyedes of 
Siberia in Europe, only a hundred miles distant Their 
average intelligence is far greater, and their features have 
but little of the Mongolian type. Intermixture with the 
Russians may have modified the race characteristics 
among a large proportion, but the Lapps of pure descent 
are distinguished by the same energy and vivacity. I 
should take them, accordingly, for a race distinct from 
Norwegian, Lapp, or Samoyede, who much resemble each 
other. They seem to interrupt the links of continuous 
relationship extending among the Arctic tribes from the 
Atlantic to the Pacific. Only, their traditions and 
religious observances are, or have been, very similar. 
Possibly the paucity of reindeer, and the absence of the 
accompanying habits of life, may have imparted a neces- 
sary energy to these people : and made boatmen and 
fishers of them. 

Early one morning I was awakened by a loud voice 



and the appearance of an ugly face at the tent door. It 
was a boy of dirty looks, who greedily and impudently 
demanded twenty kopecks. Fancying he must be in 
want, I was about to give him money, when he thrust 
himself inside, and begged more rudely than before. Then 
' I told him to go away, and at last he went So did the 

Expedition's paUmik, omelette pan, and all our eggs : 
the former perhaps borrowed to cook the latter. A 
Chinaman in San Francisco stole a few yards of india- 
rubber hose. Its proprietor dragged him all the way 
down the street, striking him at intervals, until quite out 
of breath. Then the Chinaman turned placidly round 
and said : What for } You no likee lend 'um } 

One morning when I arrived at the tent, writes the 
. secretary, Mr. Rae asked me to fry a little salmon. I 
therefore ask, If you have taken in the pan, for it was not 
outside. No, said Mr. Rae, the pan is outside with the 
eggs : you will be kind enough to look. I seek round the 
tent, but find nothing. A boy was suspected : I therefore 
went out to examine how it be, but find no boy according 
to the signal. 

I determined to open one of the Lapp graves, and 
taking two boys up to the spot, set them to dig. 
Though my hopes were raised by the appearance of layer 
after layer of stones, we came upon no traces of the 
Laplanders. While the boys were digging, my attention 
was attracted by a little bird which ran about the moss 
within a few feet of us. 

It was of the size of a small titlark, snipe-shaped, 

86 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. vii. 

having a black bill three-quarters of an inch long, slender 
black legs, black eyes, brownish head, snowy breast, 
faintly speckled throat, wings speckled like those of the 
golden plover, and tail short like a starling's. I could 
not hear its note. It ran quietly and seemingly uncon- 
cernedly about : often picking up small seeds, or approach- 
ing us. At last, within three yards of us, I found its nest : 
a simple little hollow on soft moss, with a few dry tnar- 
osckka leaves, and containing two eggs. One was broken 
and much incubated, the other entire. This I brought 
home. The eggs were slightly over an inch long, brownish 
in colour, pointed at one end, and at the other covered with 
close brown blotches. 

I supposed the bird to be the little stint, not before 
known to breed in Russian Lapland. The bird made one 
or two quick little runs towards the nest whence I had 
taken the egg : finally snatching up one -half of the 
broken egg and flying off with it Afterwards it carried 
off the remainder — ^whether to clean the nest or to save 
the egg from us, was not clear. I sent the egg to Henry 
Seebohm, author of that pleasant book, Siberia in Europe^ 
who confirmed my opinion. 

The little stint, he says, seems a very quiet bird at 
the nest — quite different from Temminck's stint When 
you awake a colony of the latter birds, they fly wildly 
round and round, crying vociferously or hovering in the 
air trilling. We saw none of these habits in the little stint 
Its eggs can hardly be mistaken for those of Temminck's 
stint, but are in every respect miniature dunlin's eggs. 


The average size of the twenty eggs we obtained of the 
little stint is about i-jV^f ^^^ — ^ ^^ smaller than 
the eggs of Temminck's stint The ground colour varies 
from pale greenish-gray to pale browa The spots and 
blotches are rich brown, generally large, and sometimes 
confluent at the lai^e end. 

It rains and blows again : our tent has withstood for 
several days and nights gales, rain, squalls, and snow, in 
turns. Not a dry or quiet hour has there been at Siem 
Ostrova The wind moves from the east to the south, but 
does not improve the temperature. All winds are cold 
on this coast The north wind comes from the polar 
ice : the east wind from the Kara Sea, Siberia, and the 
Our41 : the south from the White Sea, the half-frozen 
lakes and the tundras behind us : the west from the snow- 
covered f jelds of Norway. 

In the afternoon a boy, one of my excavators, came 
to say that there were persons who knew where our 
palemik was : and that they wanted twenty-five kopecks 
for the information. I set out with the boy, and he drew 
the omelette pan from behind some rocks, a short distance 
from the camp. This was the only instance of theft that 
we have met with among the Russian peasants. It may 
have been only spite. 

In the night the Perevodtchik came running up, 
shouting Parahod! steamer! In ten minutes the tent 
was struck : rugs, quilts, boxes, and fifty other things were 
packed up: and men were carrying them down to the 
Expedition's gig, which lay afloat in readiness. In half- 


an-hour after the Arkhangelsk was sighted we were afloat 
in one boat, and the Perevodtchik and the baggage in 
another. The worthy Dane, Captain Braun, welcomed 
us and had our boat slung up on deck. 

We nearly had to deplore the loss of our baggage 
and the Perevodtchik, who persisted in hanging so closely 
to the ArkJiangelsKs gangway ladder, that at every roll of 
the steamer our gig was swept under it by the swell : and 
thrice the gunwale was under water. We roared to him 
to let the boat fall astern, and eventually secured him and 
the baggage. We were soon off to sea, and saw the last 
of the friendly little Stanovitsche. 

It is very shameful that the poor Murmansk fisher- 
men should be deprived of all medical assistance. The 
captain told me he feared a doctor sent here would infal- 
libly take to drinking. I said he might be kept on board 
the steamer, and travel backwards and forwards among 
the fishing stations. It is hard that not even an apothe- 
cary's assistant can be found on these thirteen hundred 
miles of coast between Vardo and Archangel. A poor 
sick or wounded fisherman, if he would save his life, must 
sacrifice the bulk of the earnings which should keep his 
family from hunger in the winter months, and travel to 
the hospital in Archangel. 

An inspector was appointed two years since to report 
on the matter. After enjoying himself for a month at 
Tiribirka, this gentleman returned to Archangel to draw 
out a report, and his pay. Captain Braun sees many cruel 
cases of suffering here. 


As we dined, it occurred to us that on that day a very 
agreeable event was taking place at the Doctor's home : 
and after dinner I rose, and had the happiness of making 
a speech in broken Russian in honour of the good friend 
whose wedding day it was. At breakfast time we rounded 
the Holy Cape, and steamed into the White Sea. 

At this cape lyeth a great stone, to which the Barkes 
that passed thereby were wont to make offerings of 
Butter, Meale, and other Victuals, thinking that vnlesse 
they did so, their Barkes or Vessels should there perish : 
and there it is very darke and mystie. 

The Lapp witches of the Yokkonga used to frequent 
the promontory to assist in the worship of the Paata of 
the Holy Cape : and they would sell a fair wind to the 
English sailors who traded to the White Sea. 

This was a wide-spread superstition. In the Capitul- 
aries of Charlemagne at Aix-la-Chapelle were penalties 
against tempestarii^ such as raise storms and tempests : in 
the ancient Norwegian statutes were similar provisions. An 
Icelandic chronicle relates how the Bishop of Skalholt 
allayed a storm with holy water. Mela tells how on the 
lies de Sein, off the Brittany coast) lived priestesses who 
had the winds and tempests at their disposal 

We passed Tri Ostrova at noon on a beautiful sunny 
day. Von Baer, the naturalist, after his visit to Novaya 
Zemlia, was by thick fog driven into Tri Ostrova. Dreary 
and desolate as these shores had seemed on his northward 
journey, he was now charmed with their green slopes. 

A boat's crew from the Amiiie, abandoned on Novaya 

90 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. vii. 

Zemlia in 1 6 ii , reached K&nin N6s, and boldly crossed 
the White Sea. Hauing a good north-east wind wee set 
forward in the name of God, and when the sunne was 
north-west wee passed the point, and all that night and 
the next day sayled with a good wind, and all that time 
rowed. The next night, after ensuing, having still a good 
wind, in the morning about the east-north-east sunne, wee 
saw land on the west side of the White Sea, which wee 
found by the rushing of the sea vpon the land before wee 
saw it : and perceiving it to be full of clifts and not low 
sandie ground with some hills, as it is on the east side of 
the White Sea, we assured ourselves that we were upon 
the west side of the White Sea, vpon the coast of Lapland : 
for the which we thanked God that He had helped vs to 
sayle ouer the White Sea in thirtie houres. 

Late in the day the good captain stopped the Ark- 
hangelsk off Karabelni N6s, and we embarked with our 
effects in the family canoe. The Perevodtchik's heart 
failed him when he saw our skiff afloat We left the 
steamer, he writes, in a poor boat : all on board the 
steamer said we had too much luggage, and that we could 
not reach shore : but we pushed off and commenced row- 
ing towards the shore, which we also were happy to reach. 
The Perevodtchik rowed, the Doctor sat in the bow, with 
an umbrella hoisted as a sail, and I wielded a paddle in 
the stem. The wind rose and began to blow very stiffly, 
and the boat to leak freely : but we came in this way 
into still water behind a reef of rocks, and so into the 
mouth of the Ponoi river. 

CHAP, viil] castaways. 91 


The Ponoi river — ^A lonely grave — ^A reinforcement — Lachta — ^The great river 
— H3rperborean manners — ^Voyage on the Ponoi — ^The river's banks — 
Mutiny — Birds^A lat€ meal — First cataract— An indenture — Ponoi in the 
winter— Vaccination — Farewell to Ponoi— Yokkonga— Lachta— The last 
of the Ponoi. 

The coast consisted of undulating tableland or tAndra^ 
with patches of snow, rising from the sea a hundred feet 
or more. We were on the extremity of Karabelni Nds, 
and saw before us a majestic stream, a mile and a quarter 
in width. Granite cliffs rose abruptly from the water's 
edge to a considerable height: and between them the 
great stream of the Ponoi, reinforced by the ebb-tide, was 
pouring down at the rate of four miles an hour. Accord- 
ingly, we rounded a reef of rocks and drew the boat up. 
The Arkhangelsk had disappeared on the horizon, and we 
were outcasts on a strange shore. 

Seeing some human beings on the cliff, the Linguist 
and I hastened towards them to ask for rowers. As we 
approached they retired, and finally we had to run over 
the titndra to come up with them. They were three boys, 
who seemed to come from nowhere and to know nothing : 
so we returned to the boat On the cliff stood a few 

92 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. vxii. 

wooden crosses : beside them a lonely grave. Some poor 
mariner cast up by the sea, sleeping where the Ponoi rolls . 
past, the winds always blow, and the snow always lies. 

We gathered some driftwood, found a cleft in the 
rocks to shelter us and the fire : then made ourselves as 
comfortable as we could, intending to await the flood-tide. 
Here we were, on the dreary Terski coast, stranded be- 
tween the White Sea and the ebbing river, with only the 
fire and our provisions to cheer us. While in the middle 
of a comfortable meal, we sighted a boat making for the 
sea, borne fast by tide, stream, and wind. We sent the 
Perevodtchik to make violent signals with an open 
umbrella : and at last, attracted by our boat, fire, and 
umbrella, the stranger came sailing straight to Karabelni 
N6s where we were. A handsome young Russian and a 
boy were on their way out to the salmon fishery, which 
extends from the river's mouth some miles to the north 
and south of it The salmon, travelling from river to 
river, keep of course to the coast, and here the Ponoi 
fishers snare them. 

The young Russian agreed to await slack water and 
help us as far as Lachta, a navolok three miles, or more, 
up the stream. After some hours we set forth, towing, 
poling, rowing — with much diflficulty and little progress. 
Three hours later we found ourselves aground on a stony 
bank in the middle of the river, half-a-mile from either 
side. The Doctor and I, wearing fishing-boots reaching 
to our hips, attempted to walk on shore. Within a 
hundred yards of the right bank we found the water 


deepen : a false step would have taken us into a violent 
current and deep water. It seemed absurd, in the lonely 
night, to be walking about in the Ponoi river, far from our 
boat, with the tide very near the turn. Signalling for the 
boat, we got across, and walked to a bay on the river, 
where we found the huts of Lachta, and numerous boats 
on the sands. 

Every human being came out of bed to stare at us. 
We looked into the huts : they were uninhabitable — 
swarming' with human beings, sleeping like cattle to- 
gether. It was impossible to spend the night here, and 
only with difficulty we found a boatman to take us to 
Ponoi. We told him that if he would only get ready 
quickly, we would make him a present of our boat 

We left our pleasant young Russian roubles enough 
to make his face light up, and set out for Ponoi, sheltered 
from the piercing cold of the night by quilts and rugs. 
We saw a merlin, then a golden eagle : and on an over- 
hanging cliff the nest of a kanyiiky or sparrow-hawk. 
We were many hours in the boat, and left it, with 
the double object of lightening it and warming our- 
selves. The banks were fringed with towering ice-blocks 
and boulders : the great cliff sloped, wall-like, almost per- 
pendicularly behind them. It was impossible to walk on or 
beneath the ice: and we scaled the cliff, only with exhaust- 
ing efforts, and found ourselves on the wide lonely tUndra. 

So lonely it was, that even the lonely river seemed 
more genial. No bird, or animal, or human being could we 
see : and it seemed as if the Doctor and I were the last 


creatures in a deserted world. From the upper edge of 
the cliff projected frozen snow, like eaves, which only 
waited for a confiding and inquisitive traveller, to crash 
down into the river. At times we crossed ravines upon a 
hollow snow* crust, under which we could hear running 
water. We saw our boat below — an atom floating on 
the broad stream. A few hundred yards away from this 
great sunken river one would not know of its existence. 
It was the grandest river I had seen. We seemed 
reduced to the importance of insects. At last we found 
a zigzag sheep > track, and, beneath us, the rough gray 
roofs of Ponoi village. 

Ponoi lies on a platform left when the original con- 
vulsion split the tAndray and the two great cliffs formed 
and fell apart On the grassy bank stood a few dozen 
unpainted wooden log houses and huts, and two churches 
with green cupolas and belfries. The boat, with the 
Perevodtchik and other luxuries, had just reached the bank, 
where logs of timber and a few boats were lying. We 
walked, on a rough planked way, to a large new wooden 
building : the house of the merchant Sabotchakoff. This 
gentleman, like Savin on the Arctic and Karelian coasts, 
sells to the fishermen and Lapps, at enormous prices, stores 
and necessaries. 

We were taken into a small close room, with a stove 
and double windows : where we found our host's nephew, 
a hard-faced individual, with a loud voice. He was a 
gentleman with a simplicity of manners amounting to 
the grossest rudeness, hurling rough and impertinent 


questions at us, like the wolf who insisted upon picking 
a quarrel with the lamb. As this wretched human being's 
house was necessary to us, we determined to wear him out 
by innocent candour. 

Host, roaring as though he took us to be deaf : 
Where do you come from ? Traveller : From Lachta. 
How did you get to Lachta ? By boat Host, irritably : 
Of course : but from where ? From Karabelni Nds. 
Host : From where, before that ? and so on for half-an- 
hour. Host : Where are you going to ? Traveller : Up 
the Ponoi. Host : You can't Traveller : Oh. Host : 
There are rapids. Traveller, getting tired : Don't un- 
derstand. Host : Waterfalls. Traveller : How much 
does that cost ? Host, in a voice like a cataract : I said 
waterfalls ! Traveller : How many people are there in 
Ponoi ? Host, keeping to the point : Why are you 
going up the Ponoi? Traveller: Who told you that? 
Host : Why do you want to go up the Ponoi ? Traveller : 
I don't understand. Host, brutally : You do understand. 
Traveller, pleasantly : Can we have some milk ? Host, be- 
side himself : What the Sataoui do you want on this river ? 
Traveller, beginning to unpack : We have plenty of biscuit 

I thought we should never get rid of this inquisi- 
tive boor : but we fairly wore him out, and he went 
away cursing our stupidity. He seemed to fear we had 
come to prospect for timber and minerals, or to compete 
with him in plundering the poor fishermen. Mercifully, 
he was called away for a week : and we never saw, nor 
hope to see, him again. 

96 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. viii. 

We spent an entire day in Ponoi, endeavouring by 
direct, and indirect or corrupt means, to engage a crew to 
explore the river with us. None had ascended the river, 
and, like the unknown elsewhere, it was taken to be 
terrible. Once get an idea of danger into these Russian 
peasants' heads, and you cannot get it out if you cut them 
in pieces. An active obliging man, promising fairly in the 
morning, and undertaking to collect a crew, comes in the 
afternoon very drunk on prospective credit of our pay. 
I went from hut to hut negotiating for boatmen, and 
incidentally amassing old silver crosses. 

At length importunity and subsidy secured us a crew. 
One lovely summer evening we embarked, in two boats, 
having abandoned the secretary and much of our baggage, 
with detailed instructions for their return to Norway in 
the event of our failing to reappear after a given number 
of days. We pushed out on to the broad stream : and 
after paddling for a short way, the ascent had to be made 
by towing. 

We are sitting side by side in a frail skiff, warmly 
covered up : one handsome young boatman is staggering 
at the tow-rope, over huge stones, and under ice and 
boulders : another is poling in the stem of the boat Our 
baggage is in a second boat far astern. It is midnight 
The soft northern sunlight lingers on the top of the great 
purple cliffs which close in the river. Rosy flame dwells 
upon the snow. The banks are lined, above the boulders, 
with ice — huge uncouth masses twenty feet high — ^heaped 
on either bank when the winter ice broke up. The great 


Stream is in half shade, but glances in reflection of the h'ght 
above. Three or four hundred feet, steep as Dover cliffs, 
tower the great banks on either side of us. The stream 
is over a thousand yards broad. Two lazy Lapps 
propel our second lodia : and we wait at intervals for 
them. One Lapp is drunk : but as we forbade vodia in 
either boat, he will improve. 

The current is strong, and we progress but slowly. 

The Doctor thinks— or, what is equivalent, smokes ; while 

I scribble. We are afloat on the mighty Ponoi, the 

mysterious river, almost uninhabited, and unknown. The 

Lapps who in winter time frequent its banks abandon it 

in the summer : and from Ponoi to Kamensky there lives 

scarcely a human being. The fishing seasons are uncertain, 

and the yields precarious : so the few Lapps of Kamensky 

alone inhabit in summer the Upper Ponoi. The river 

freezes, of course, completely over, and the ice extends 

far out into the White Sea. The ice above will be fatal 

to our chance of ascent : leaving no foothold between it 

and the strong current, for towing. We have brought 

one musical box with us which plays, ' Way down upon the 

Ponoi River, This cheers us, and reminds us of the family 

plantations and of the old folks at home. Salmon leap 

constantly near the boat — small fish of perhaps three 

pounds' weight 

We went on for some hours. At one halting-place 
I asked how many days' bread they had. One loaf each. 
SlUshetye niviertsi I But listen, you idolaters ! I cried : I 
told you we were going for many days. How far can 


98 THE WHITE SEA PENIlJSULA. [chap. viii. 

you go with a loaf each ? Two days' journey. Can 
you get any on the river ? No. How far can we go in 
two days ? Yevsie Feddoroff Matrokin : To the cataract. 
Traveller : And what will you do beyond the cataract ? 
Erasim Filippoff Andreanoff : Nothing. Traveller : How 
do you mean ? Artimon Kapidonoff Gubuntzov : We are 
not going beyond the cataract — the boat can't go. Tra- 
veller : We can drag the boat overland. Vassili Dimitrieff 
Kariloff: Spassiboght Thanks — forty men might do it 
Traveller: How many hours from here to the cataract?: 
Artimon Kapidonoff Gubuntzov, Yevsie Fe6doroff Matrokin, 
Vassili Dimitrieff Kariloff, and Erasim Filippoff Andreanoff, 
together : Nine hours. Traveller : Mnyeh I 

Truly there is much that is mysterious about the 
Ponoi.* We would have given these sulky, stupid boatmen 
in a few days more than they would have earned all 
summer through. We don't like sulky, di3Contented people 
about us : they oppress our freedom of thought Under 
the circumstances, I sent one boat back to Ponoi, with 
sealed directions in Norwegian for the Perevodtchik. This 
morning at four o'clock, writes the zealous little man — to 
whom, to do him justice, day and night were alike : two 
men came back with the luggage and letter from Mr. 
Rae, saying that I should procure men and a boat to take 
us to Kouzomen : could I not get here, then I ought to 
go to Lakta. I immediately departed from Ponoi in order 
to hire a boat 

Only a day before, a post-boat sailed from Ponoi for 
Kouzomen. Sometimes one does not go for two or three 


months. The men said one would go again soon. But 
the Russian soon is not sudden enough for us. 

These boatmen devoured their black bread without a 
spasm of conscience: crossing themselves before tasting 
it : like a Russian in the cathedral at Moscow, who was 
seen crossing himself devoutly with one hand and picking 
his neighbour's pocket with the other. The remaining 
boatmen chatted pleasantly with us. Six months ago they 
paid for bread a shilling and ninepence a paud — 40 lbs. 
Now they paid half-a-crown. Within eighteen months 
Russia was for the first time in her history importing 
wheat : and bread cost In St Petersburg itself over four 
shillings a poud. In Ponoi no meat or fish, tea or sugar, 
can be bought : only salt-fish, salt reindeer-flesh, and vodka. 

We saw a nest of a kanyAk^ sparrowhawk, round 
which the parent birds were curiously swooping, attended 
by a small bird. Then we came upon a rough-legged 
buzzard teased by two ravens, who were hoarsely threaten- 
ing him. Then a solitary black crow went down the river 
on some matter of business, and strings of geese flew 
overhead. Salmon leapt more frequently. 

Above us, on the brink of the cliff, was a ledge of 
snow, pure white against the sky, ready to fall into the 
river on the first warm day. Huge blocks of ice lined the 
shore, blue and white, or brown with sand. A few versts 
higher, the river winds, so that we might be in a land- 
locked Norway fiord. Stopping for supper, we shared our 
chocolate with the men, who pressed upon us in return 
some excellent black bread. We went on shore, and 

loo THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, viii 

I found the Ranunculus Lapponicus and the cinquefoil. 
Artimon Kapidonoff returned with a handful of wild 
onions. As in the Tflloma, we found gold-like glittering 
particles of mica in the sand. We heard the cuckoo con- 
stantly here and on the Tfiloma. The kukavka comes 
here in the early summer — not in great numbers, however. 

The river still winds, always deep between the cliffs. 
We took soundings at one point The stream measured four 
hundred yards across. For three hundred and fifty yards 
of its width the soundings averaged four feet, for the last 
fifty yards eight feet Ten feet was the greatest depth. 
The current ran at three miles an hour: the volume of water 
was consequently about seventy thousand tons a minute. 
We stopped near some floating timber, and went on shore. 

There was a little camp of the raftsmen. Six 
tchouma had $tood here : but there were only two now. 
Each was a conical birch-bark tent : a heap of ashes lay in 
the centre,, and five people would sleep in one, the boatman 
said. A rough pillow and a heap of reindeer skins lay on 
one side. There was a copper pot containing a small 
flounder and a handkerchief with salt These objects 
Artimon Kapidonoff* carried off". At Kamensky, near the 
head of the river, grows timber of a considerable size, 
which is cut and floated down the river. The largest 
trees I found here measured eleven inches in diameter. 

Artimon wears a white linen jacket and rarely 
anything on his head, while we are shivering in pilot 
jackets, fishing boots to our hips, and Lapp shapkas. 
The shapka is the softest and most delightful head-dress 


possible : made of dark-blue cloth, decorated with patch- 
work of red and yellow cloth and beadwork, having a 
border of reindeer fur, and lined with soft wolf- skin 
which stands in a fringe close round the face an^ over the 
eyes, making one feel rather like a Skye terrier. 

We poled, and pulled, up numerous rapids : at length 
we came to a broad sweep of the river, lined with solid 
ice, and here we drew the boat up. Artimon found a 
floating tree nine inches thick, and cut through it with a 
small axe as quickly as if it were sugar-cane. Then he 
shaved off some thin pieces to use as tinder : while Vassili 
Dimitrieflf thrust a pole into the ground to carry the bor- 
rowed copper pot which he previously scoured with sand. 
The Doctor armed himself with an axe, rubbing his hands 
at the prospect of a fire. Then he photographed the rest of 
us, seated beneath the blocks of ice. We had a comfort- 
able supper on the lonely Ponoi at six in the morning. 

The ice lay curiously. The edge of the crust stood 
out a straight layer a foot and a half thick, fifteen feet 
above the river's present level. On this layer stood a bed 
of snow, which had fallen when the river ice was only 
fifteen inches thick, and frozen on it Beneath the crust 
was solid pack ice. While the Russians had fish and 
bread, we had devilled biscuits and p&ti de foie gras : 
our relish for the latter being impaired by a solitary goose 
which flew round and overhead, croaking dismally as if 
he had a presentiment of what we were eating. 

We could hear the heavy roar of the fall, hidden from 
us by a bend of the river. It was a wild, impressive scene. 



At the foot of the cliffs clung a shelf of ice twenty feet 
thick. The Ponoi ran at our feet, brown, and broken by 
the fall : a few trunks of fir lay stranded on the beach. 
We pushed on to the formidable cataract The Ponoi 
ran swiftly in a bed two hundred yards broad, the same 
steep bank towering on either side. The river burst 
through huge boulders : and masses of ice thirty feet thick 
lay piled up by the torrent's edge. 

It was a fine scene — an Arctic river. The descent is 
not nearly so dangerous, to all appearances, as that of the 
Muonio-koski in Swedish Lapland : but the difficulty of 
ascent is greater. In the case of the latter cataract the 
boat is dragged through the woods : here nothing short 
of strong tackle could haul a boat up the cliff's face : 
and from Ponoi to the falls there is not a single ravine 
up which a boat could be taken. The Ponoi shuts itself 
up in its wide gorge. Of course, it could be done — ^like 
most other things : but the absence of supplies on the 
higher river makes the ascent, to ordinary intents and 
purposes, impracticable. 

We clambered about the ice blocks for some time, 
and then paddled away down the stream. When in sight 
of Ponoi, we turned aside to examine a net belonging to 
Artimon Kapidonoff. One poor little salmon trout was 
caught in it Will you sell it ? I asked Artimon. No, 
he said shortly. Why not? I asked. Ya tibia dayou^ 
I give it to you, he said. Shall I do whatever I like 
with it? Certainly, said Artimon. I took the salmon 
trout and flung it into the river. Artimon Kapidonoff 


looked at me for a moment, and said nothing. Two 
days afterwards he came to me and asked : Why 
did you throw the fish away ? To save its life, I 
said Oh, said Artimon : I thought it was from super- 

Once back in Ponoi in our room overlooking the river, 
we set to work to engage a crew for the voyage round the 
Terski coast Our boatmen said in the village that they 
had been generously treated : and we found less trouble 
accordingly. The Starschina^ too, in consequence of my 
slipping rouble notes into his hand at intervals, and giving 
him knives and pciirs of scissors for his wife, was devoted 
to us. Still it was very very slow. A man would come 
in the morning, and promise to do something, or to get 
somebody else to do something: then would come at 
noon and say he had changed his mind. I have spent 
ten hours in a day talking to a succession of these tire- 
some imbeciles without tasting food. 

Every visitor, whether he came to terms or not, used 
to shake hands with me whenever he came, or went, or 
promised, or received anything : and I used to be much 
worn out and soiled after a day's work of this kind. By 
midnight on the third day at Ponoi, we had, after innumer- 
able negotiations and arguments, engaged a crew, and 
solemnly bound them by contract The Pravlennik^ a 
tall, dark, needy-looking man, prepared the bond. 

Contract at Ponoi. 
iZ7()y June 14/A. — ^We, the following peasants, Pavel 

104 THE WHITE SEA PEKINSULA. Ichap, viii. 

Ivanovitch Doseg^tch, Nikolai Kuzintzoflf, Artimon Gubunt- 
zoff, Yevsie Matrochin,Filip Afanasievitch lekaterinofF, have 
concluded the following contract with the English subject 
Edward Rae : — ^That we have agreed to take him to 
Kouzomen by boat, past PjAlitsa, for fifteen roubles each. 
And if we should take him well, then the same English 
subject will add five roubles for each. From Piilitsa to 
Kouzomen, if we do not wish to go farther, the same Eng- 
lish subject will be bound to pay the smaller sum agfreed, 
and will not be hard upon us. Herewith it is promised 
that the engaged men will not, after bringing the same 
Edward Rae to the before -mentioned places, have any 
further claim upon him. 

The marks of the five peasants, they being illiterate, 
affixed in the presence of me, 

Pravlennik Gregori Doliloff. 
Subscribed with my own hand at Ponoi. 

Edward Rae. 

A few recruits were taken even from Ponoi for the 
Turkish war. The captain of the Curfew told us the son 
of the ship's stevedore in Archangel was drawn for service. 
Alexander catch him : as the father expressed it We 
bought some Lapp mittens from a poor old woman in 
Ponoi : and as we gave her more than she asked, she went 
off to the church to return thanks and to pray for us. 

In the winter Ponoi is covered up to its chinlneys in 
snow, and sledges travel unconsciously over the roofs of 


the buried village. So do the wolves, who abound on the 
high tundras of the Ponoi, and come, desperate, poor 
animals, with hunger and cold, in search of food. They 
are often seen in the village, and carry off reindeer. No 
one but myself seems to extend any sympathy to the 
wolf. Having been intimate with a wolf, and enjoyed 
what I am sure was his strong affectionate instinct for me, 
I speak with sincerity of him. Not long since a Russian 
peasant was acquitted who, to save his own life, had thrown 
from his sledge his children one by one to a pack of wolves. 
The Doctor and I do not care for wolves in packs : they 
lose their individuality. 

In good weather the natives dig themselves out again, 
to be buried once more by the next fall of snow. The 
reindeer are turned loose now : to return in the autumn 
with their calves. Sheep are fed in the winter upon pine 
bark. The timber about Kamensky is cut by the Ponoi 
people, who travel up in the winter, and go fishing on the 
coast during the summer. The best timber lies fifty versts 
below Kam ;nsky : the logs varying from thirty to forty 
feet in length, and sometimes reaching twenty-five inches 
in diameter. The lake of Sergosero, near Kamensky, has 
salmon, perch, trout, and pike. 

Lunelsky has about thirty Lapps in the winter. Several 
families of Lapps live in Ponoi, and about a hundred pass 
through in September on their way from the fisheries. 
I was told here that on the upper river were many 
beboar. This would be interesting if we could find any 
one who would tell us what a beboar is, and what it 

io6 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. viii. 

principally lives upon. The Doctor thinks it may be a 
hippocampus or a mormylus. 

Several sick people came for advice and medicine. 
Even a herb doctor would be a Providence here. Vaccina- 
tion was introduced with difficulty into the Russian 
provinces : I quote from a Russian author. One would 
think that vaccination was a simple thing. The Tchinov^ 
nik^ or official, would go for the doctor. They would lay 
out all the instruments — a turning-lathe, different saws, 
bores, anvils, and knives as large as if they were going to 
cut up an ox. Next day, when all the old women and 
children were assembled, all these tools were set going : 
the knives were g^und, the lathe squeaked, while the 
children screamed and the old women groaned. Then 
the Tchinovnik would accept from each, a couple of roubles 
as the price of exemption. 

The Ponoi fishermen catch seal, walrus, and salmon. 
When there is abundance of fish they work steadily : but 
otherwise will settle down to drink. A man may earn 
in a whole season not more than thirty or forty roubles ; 
with good fortune he may gain three roubles in a day. 

There are a hundred and fifty people here. Their chief 
complaints are from intemperance and bad habits : disease 
in the bones is prevalent Occasionally a native lives to 
the age of eighty : but rarely. The priest spends the 
summer in salmon-fishing near Lachta. The people go 
regularly enough to the church. 

The people of Ponoi, generally speaking, are poor, and 
terribly drunken. There seemed to be a drunken man in 




every second house. The Tiflis Gazette of July 29, 1880, 
states : Nineteen members of the sect of milk -drinking 
Sabbatarians arrived at Tiilis with their families under 
military escort : the adult males being in chains. The 
sectarians state that they were condemned by the Kazan 
Tribunal to deportation on account of their having sought 
to disseminate their doctrines. 

This last paragraph does not require italics. In fact, 
the stronger a sentence is, the less it needs the weak 
emphasis of underlining. The dialect of the Russians of 
Ponoi is peculiar. Many of the villagers came to see us 
leave. Several kissed our hands in thanks and muttered 
a prayer as they said good-bye — not an ordinary Russian 
custom, in our experience. Then they stood on the bank 
and cried Tckas slivui poot ! — A fortunate journey. 

One golden midnight we pushed out on to the great 
stream gliding silently down to the sea. We paddled 
away, close under one cliff. The ice had dwindled away 
since our voyage up : it was melting fast The dark 
igneous rocks were wet: and the water, dripping from 
every snowdrift, splashed over delicate green ferns, moss, 
and lichens. We saw a very beautiful waterfall, a hun- 
dred feet high. A brown eagle flew overhead : then a 
vulture : then eider ducks paddled out of our track. The 
cliff grew more abrupt We passed a frozen waterfall, 
which, like an undermined flying buttress, was sliding 
bodily from its hold on the rock. The wind blew straight 
against us : it could not have come much more direct 
unless it had been blown through a tube. Burst and 

io8 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. viii. 

shivered rocks were ready to fall — ^split by the irresistible 
action of frost 

Yevsie, one of our boatmen, was a Lapp of Yok- 
konga, the pogost lying fifty miles to the north-west of 
Ponoi. There are two hundred Yokkongski Lapps : their 
dialect is distinct The dialects of the Kola Lapps are 
three : that of the Ponoi and Yokkonga : that of Kar- 
lovka, Ldvosero, Voronsky, Kildina, Maselsid : and that 
of Petschenga, Mutka, Yekostrova, Babinsky, Nuotosero. 
The dialect of one group is not easily comprehended by 
another. The Yokkonga rises in the Peninsula's almond- 
shaped central plateau — sixty miles long by ten wide — 
which is the watershed of all the chief rivers. For this 
reason all the rivers having an equal descent are alike 
difficult to ascend. Yevsie knew two hundred versts of 
the Yokkonga. He described it as a fine stream, as broad 
as the Ponoi, and containing much salmon : running 
through several lakes and having many rapids. He never 
heard of stone knives among his people. 

Yevsie had spent, until the last three years, the whole 
of his life at Yokkonga. There are about eight isbatishki 
or wooden huts, a small church, and forty gamme — some 
built of old boats. The pinewood used in the pogost is 
cut a hundred and fifty versts away : birch -trees grow 
close at hand. The Yokkonga Lapps own a few hundred 
reindeer, which they use with s&niy sledges, like those of the 
Norwegian Lapps. The priest of Ponoi visits Yokkonga 
once in a year : in the winter, when the snow makes travel 
easier. The Lapps get their bread from the Russian 

E<t-» P.. igsr 

no THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. viii. 

man is boonished already : I have my bocket full mit 

Lachta is deserted in the winter: and is merely a 
summer station for the fishers. It stands, like Ponoi, on 
the southern bank of the river. A fishing boat came in, 
and for a rouble we bought a number of beautiful fish« 
The annual production of train-oil on the Terski coast is, 
so Ivan Abramovitch told me, ten thousand paudav^ or 
400,000 lbs. Northward from the Ponoi mouth are found 
large quantities of haddock, cod, flounder : and southward, 
salmon, very abundantly. Our crew was reinforced by 
MakarofTs skipper and a mousse. 

We drifted away from Lachta, without wind, as the 
tide was falling. Ere we reached the river's mouth, the 
wind sprang up, and the yolU^ a small open cutter, flew 
out of the river, and scudded down the Terski coast of the 
White Sea Peninsula. 



The last of the Ponoi— The White Sea coast— Lapp costumes— A storm— 
A harbour of refuge— Terski Villages— Matthias Alexander Castem — A 
dispute — The Terski fisheries — ^The Terski rivers. 

We left the broad Ponoi, on whose stream we had navi- 
gated for four days : passing Karabelni N6s, where we had 
landed as castaways. The wind, as we had calculated, 
went round to the north-east, and freshened rapidly, while 
the yolle flew through the water. The shore gradually 
became sloping tundra, bare of trees, and almost bare of 
snow : in colour, dull greenish brown, and scarcely undu- 
lating. We coasted along : keeping a few versts out from 

We had seen water -casks, anchor, ballast, fuel, fish, 
stores, etc., put carefully on board. Russian mariners do not 
trouble themselves much about such things till they find 
the want of them. Also a half cask for our morning tub, 
we had secured with especial difficulty : and the poles for 
a temporary tchoum^ in which the Doctor and I could 
reside if storm-bound. We had sent our own tent home- 
ward by the Arkhangelsky to economise transport over 

112 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. ix. 

In six hours after leaving the Ponoi we sighted Sosnov- 
ka, and in two hours more came abreast of the island, and 
crossed the polar circle. Forty miles from the Ponoi — ^that 
is, south of Sosndvets or Fir Island — we found the northern 
limit of trees, dull dark patches of fir. This line, or tree 
border, runs north-west with a curving line through the 
heart of the Peninsula, to the north of the water-shed 
lying between Imandra lake and Kola. It divides the 
Peninsula into two very equal parts — the forests practi- 
cally abounding on the southern side of the water-shed 

The White Sea is gray, and beginning to rise : the 
change of tide will raise it At Sosndvets the tide runs 
north for five hours' ebb, and south for five hours of flood, 
at a maximum speed of two and a half knots : the 
extreme rise or fall of tide here is seventeen feet Beyond 
Sosndvets and Pi41itsa — that is, within the throat of the 
White Sea — the rise or fall is six feet, and the speed is only 
half a knot 

Beyond the White Sea, thirty-five miles away, liea 
Zolotitsa — the golden village — on the Zitnni B&ek, or 
Winter Coast Here the Mez^n fishers begin their walrus 
and seal catching at the end^ of January. The fishermen 
here talk, not by the time or the hour, but by the tide. 
So many tides ago : or, at high water : or, at the begin- 
ning of the flood. In the long winter the White Sea is 
covered with an unsightly and fearful mass of drifting ice : 
surging up against the coasts with the flood, and out to 
sea again with the ebb. 



Our little kayUta is comfortably arranged, and we 
lounge there — ^writing, sleeping, or watching the sea and 
the shore, Artimon is busy with an awl, soling one of 
his boots in a neat and clever way, while he makes 
Stepan Gregorivitch Potkoff, who acts as pSvemtk — that 
is, Tpumssey cook's boy, or galley-slave — laugh almost to 
suffocation. Yekim Afanasievitch and Yevsie Feddoroff, 
the Yokkonga Lapp, are a. heap of boots and yellow 
homespun in the bottom .of the boat 

Rain clouds swept heavily over sea and land, and the 
wind fell. We wear Lapp "shdpkaSy which we bought in 
Ponoi : mittens, very thick and warm, woven by the Lapps 
of Ponoi, and only inconvenient for fumbling in a pocket, 
taking dust out of the eye, or for .buttoning a coat Then 
the mittens must come off. . - The Lapps in winter wear, 
besides the shapka and H^kavitsi or gloves, a fur mdlitsa or 
long robe, and loose boots. In; the summer they have 
a homespun tunic, with* a" belt holding a knife : and 
peaked boots bound tightly round the ankles with parti- 
coloured cord. '. • *. 

The women wear head-dresses; very similar to those 
of the men in the winter, and like those of the Norwegian 
Lapp women in the summer. They wear boots like the 
men in all seasons. In summer, dark-blue cloth dresses, 
decorated with bright colours at the breast, and in winter 
reindeer skin mdlitsi bound round the waist The babies 
are strapped into their cradles, like small mummies, or 
Indian papooses. This keeps their little hands from 
mischief: and in the summer season the defenceless baby 


114 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. ix. 

attracts the mosquito, which would otherwise annoy the 

How little man needs. We are here squatting under a 
round-topped canvas roof, measuring six feet square, and a 
yard and a quarter in height, in the stem of a small open 
boat We have something soft to lie upon : consolidated 
German army soup, black bread, fish, and tea, for food : it 
rains thickly and threatens to blow heavily : but we are as 
happy as the day is long. The white man has too many 
luxuries at home. The sweet smell of the silver-birch fire 
comes from the bow of the boat Yekim Afanasievitch and 
the pdvemik are cooking fish-soup for the ship's company. 

At eight o'clock in the night we passed Poulonga: 
it came on to blow, and at half-past nine, by the Doctor's 
watch and chain, we were abreast of Pidlitsa. We had 
run in twelve hours a hundred and twenty versts — at the 
rate, that is, of six and a half miles an hour. Then the 
barometer dropped suddenly, and it blew a gale. The sky 
became dark, and it was drenching wet 

We drove on through the storm, which howled fright- 
fully. In two hours we ran nearly twenty miles, which in 
an open boat is considerable. Drenched and cold, we swept 
along over huge waves, with a double-reefed mainsail: amid 
hoarse blasts of the North -East wind, which shook the 
heavens, and seemed as if they would strip the sea of all 
floating things and blow them into space. We attempted to 
run in closer under the shore, but a heavy surf kept us out 

Purchas' poor pilgrims were no better off. The 
thirteenth day of September, the sunne being south, there 

CHAP. XX.] T^TRINA. 115 

began a great storme to below out of the south-south-west, 
the weather being mistie, melancholy, and snowie, and the 
storme increasing more and more. 

A storm becomes more solemn and impressive when 
you watch it from a small boat, which an instant's care- 
lessness would destroy. We know the souild of a White 
Sea gale : it is unlike other gales, seems not to know its 
own mind for many hours together, and has paroxysms 
which would give it an honourable place among hurricanes. 
At three in the morning we found deep water in a small 
bay called Moski, ten miles east of T^trina : and here we 
dropped two anchors and rested. Westward of Pi&litsa 
the coast rises, having an outline of rounded, wooded hills, 
and a level beach. I told the men to take the boat else- 
where as soon as the tide began to ebb : then we slept. 
When we awoke we were riding with two anchors in the 
little navolok of T^trina. 

It is a small village, down by the shore, with about 
sixty gray wooden houses and huts, a white painted church, 
and three hundred and fifty inhabitants. In the afternoon 
a moujik ventured his life in a small boat to come alongside 
and merely put the eternal questions — Otkauda vuieedyotaif 
Vui kto ? Gdyai vui eedyotai I Zatchem vui eedyotai I 
Whence come you ? Who are you ? Whither go you ? 
What do you go for ? 

I have a new silver watch which causes me much thought 
and computation when I have to consult it The minute 
hand works by the hour, and goes regularly round : the 
hour hand is governed by no laws of rotation, or by 

ii6 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. ix. 

any fixed astronomical principle. Thus, while the minute 
hand steadily runs through the twelve hours, and keeps 
fairly enough the apparent time at Greenwich : the hour 
hand occupies either eleven or thirteen hours for the 
equivalent, according to its convenience — and generally 
points midway between two hours. I bought it for this 
journey : and it is not unlikely to pass into the Pere- 
vodtchik's possession at the end of it, if he conducts, not us,, 
for the poor little man can't do that, but himself, welL 
The sleeping-bag is a comfort in narrow little cribs open 
to the air like this : but for a country of piercing winds, 
I prefer a reindeer-skin sleeping-bag. 

T^trina is the largest of the Terski villages. Pi&litsa 
has about twenty-five houses and a hundred and seventy 
settled inhabitants, Tschdpoma, forty houses and two 
hundred and fifty : Kouzomen and Varzuga, each fifty-five 
houses, and two hundred and fifty occupants. On the Kan- 
dalaksk coast, Umba has seventy houses, and four hundred 
and fifty inhabitants : Kandalaks itself, seventy-five dwell- 
ings, and four hundred. On the Karelian coast, Knashja 
has twenty-two houses, with a hundred and twenty natives : 
Kovda, sixty houses, with four hundred. 

Some of these villages are two centuries old, or more : 
but their population has varied little. As all the wood 
for building must, under the State regulations, be brought 
from Kovda — hundreds of versts in the case of some 
villages — the lack of expansion is not surprising. Thus 
the population of Terski Lapland, exclusive of Lapps, 
does not exceed probably three thousand four hundred 


souls. Tetrina is in the latitude of the North Cape of 
Iceland, and of Obdorsk in Siberia. 

Poor Castren sailed from Archangel, in a corn-laden 
vessel, for the Millrmansk coast, but in a sudden gale the 
ship was driven to Moski, where we anchored yesterday. 
The skipper was a Raskolniky or bigoted old believer, 
and relied on fine weather because the day following 
was the feast day of his saint Suddenly black 
clouds appeared in the north. Before the crew could 
weigh anchor, the vessel was enveloped in thick mist and 
the storm raged terribly: the vessel broke from her 
anchorage with a crash, and the Raskolnik swore aloud 
at Castren, the ship, and the particular saint : as he had 
lost his good anchor, which had cost him a hundred roubles. 

They tried to run into the mouth of the Tsch4vanga 
but were driven to sea. Towering waves rose foaming, 
and rolled one after another on deck : the seamen could 
not cross the deck. Two English sailors were once 
lashed to the rigging of their vessel in storm and rain. 
Said one to the other : Don't you pity poor devils caught 
out at a picnic in weather like this ? 

Castren's ship was next driven towards the Solovetsk 
Islands, and all hope was given up. Then the wind 
changed once more, and the ship drove to the Winter 
Coast Finally, Castren, who had been already prostrated 
by fever, reached Archangel, glad to escape with his life. 
From one of the Russian fishermen, Castren heard the 
story of Anika — described as an English viking. 

The White Sea lodjes are so built and rigged that 


they can only take advantage of winds that blow from 
half the points of the compass. All others drive them 
whither they please. The compasses are almost worthless : 
never adjusted, and as often as not hung between iron 
nails and rings. The mariners strive never to lose the 
land, otherwise they have no idea of their position. There 
is no lighthouse west of Sosv6vets on the north coast, or 
north of Solovetsk in the western part of the White Sea. 
When a crew are storm-bound they carve those crosses 
which we see at intervals along the shore, and set them 
up in honour of their patron saints. 

June 27/A. — Departed from Lachta. It was still, and 
we rode at anchor for about a half-hour : then it com- 
menced to blow well up. At 4 o'clock P.M. we went by 
Saasnaava light, the wind blew hard, so we must shrink 
the sail, yune 2ith. — I was awakened by the boat's 
being in a terrible movement : by looking out I saw it was 
breaking on all sides. The dreg was taken up, but the 
storm had grown stronger, so we must seek harbour at 
Derevna T^trina : the sea is lying in a fearful hurricane. 
Extract from Day Book round the Bay of Hvidso. 

The barometer did not recover, and the storm blew 
furiously all that afternoon and night We lay at T^trina : 
for the frightened crew would not sail. I tried persuasion, 
bribes, threats : for we could have made a wonderful run 
to Kouzomen. At ten o'clock at night I compelled them 
to sail, in spite of the savage protests of Feodor Ivanovitch, 
in whose charge Makaroff had placed the boat In two 
and a half hours we had run thirty versts. 


Then Feodor Ivanovitch grew hungry : and while we 
slept took the boat into a creek, and sent the men on 
shore in our diminutive dingey or corracle for firewood. 
This sacrificed some hours of favourable, if heavy wind : 
and I accordingly addressed Feodor Ivanovitch for up- 
wards of ten minutes. I told him we should have been 
in the Ponoi yet, if we hadn't driven him to sea : or at 
Kouzomen if he hadn't been afraid of a little wind at 
T^trina Little wind ! he cried. Ourak&n ! It's a 
tempest ! Tempest, I said : you are afraid of salt water. 
This made him frantic, and he got the anchor up : and 
we beat against wind and tide, both of which had by that 
time gone against us. Then he ground his teeth, and said 
that the boat was not a steamer : so we sailed into another 
creek near the mouth of the Tsch4vanga, and prepared for 
dinner. Feodor Ivanovitch had lost us two days for the 
want of a little nerve. 

The coast here had a sandy and stony beach : behind 
were sloping sand-hills, half covered by dull green turf. 
We saw groups of wooden crosses by the shore : but over 
the broad, gray, stormy sea we could see no sail nor trace 
of humankind. We ran from TschAvanga after many 
hours' patience, with a strong north-easterly wind, in 
smooth water, close under the low shore. The wind was 
the very breath of ice, the disembodied spirit of the Pole. 
We passed along near the shore. Woods lined it, gray 
and blasted with winter's touch. There are pearl-fisheries 
on the Terski coast : I have bought some of the pearls in 
Archangel, and they are fairly good. 


120 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. ix. 

Many huts, still untenanted, stood at intervals on 
the beach, with salmon fishers' apparatus. We saw the 
herring gull in numbers here. The Millrmansk fisheries 
open while the White Sea is still covered with ice. At 
Lachta we saw kelts which had spawned in the Ponoi, and 
were on their way to the sea : they are salted and sold to 
the poor. In the year 1826 1,200,000 lbs. of salmon 
were sold at Kouzomen, and 800,000 lbs. at the Ponoi 
fisheries. Want of restriction and indiscriminate weirs 
have sacrificed the salmon and reduced the yield : 800,000 
lbs. is now a good catch for all the rivers together. All the 
salmon fisheries of the Kola Peninsula are supposed to 
belong to the Lapps, but have been sold — too often for 
a nominal price — to Russian traders, who contrive always 
to keep the poor Lapps in their debt 

Herrings swarm, not only along this coast, as well as 
from Kola to Sviatoi N6s, but for fifteen hundred versts 
farther, to the delta of the Petschora, and even to the 
mouths of the Ob and the Yenesei. A million pounds 
have been taken in one season at the Dwina mouths. 
They are salted, of course, and are so cheap that the pigs 
are fed with them. At Soroka and other villages of 
Pomoria, the cattle are often fed upon smoked herrings. 

The Tschivanga is one of the greatest rivers on this 
coast The others are the V4rzuga, the Umba, and the 
Niva. In the winter the inhabitants of these gray huts 
take vast quantities of seals : 400,000 lbs. of train-oil, 
Ivan Abramovitch told me, are yearly sent to Archangel. 
They also hunt bears and shoot wild geese and ducks : 


in the winter they make casks and repair their houses. 
Wolves are seldom seen here. 

Walrus is no longer found, or very rarely, in the 
White Sea. Even Walrus Island, Morjovets^ is deserted 
by those poor persecuted animals. The ivory boxes, which 
for an unknown period have been carved and made in 
Archangel, are of walrus, or even of mammoth ivory : of 
which caravans used to come to Archangel earlier in the 
century from Vaigatz, the sacred island of the Samoyedes. 
There was found a deposit of these mammoth tusks also 
at Kastinskoy. As in Siberia, so round the White Sea 
shores, the wolf and reindeer have replaced the mammoth. 





Kouzomen — Feodor Andrevitch — Samoyedes — The Vanaga river — A^llage 
of Varzuga — A pioneer — A contract — Yekim*s journey — Sergosero — 
Kamensky — The Upper Ponoi— The Bolshoi rapid — ^A letter from Lachta 
— Overtures for photography — White Sea midnight 

Towards midnight we entered a broad, shallow stream. 
On our right hand lay the low shore, with a few small 
houses, a church, and the apparatus of a fishing village. 
To our left, across the stream, which is half-a-mile broad, 
stretches the river's right bank — a bare, tapering spit of 
yellow sand three miles in length. On this sandbank, 
facing the river northward, and having the sea behind it, 
stands Kouzomen, with its gray houses and numerous boats. 
One or two Russian lodjes lay in the placid stream : 
it was night, and scarcely any people were to be seen. 

We landed and went to the little house of the Star- 
schinUy Feodor Andrevitch : finding one of his two rooms 
full of citizens drinking tea and vodka. Feodor, an oily, 
apologetic man, was not accustomed to lodge guests, but 
the travellers seemed to promise a favourable opening for 
spoil : and after a short consultation, he offered us an 
oppressive welcome. The guests were all more or less 
intoxicated, but the Starschina's head was clear enough. 


We handed Ivan Abramovitch's letter to him, the Stanovoi 
being absent : and he assured us that the friends of his 
friends were his friends' friends— or something about as 
sincere. Then with pleading gestures he asked his dear 
friends and fellow-citizens to be so uncommonly kind, as 
to excuse his displacing them by two English travellers 
recommended to his hospitality. Patting one on the back, 
and stroking the hands of another, Feodor Andr^vitch 
patiently endeavoured to rid himself of probably good 
customers for his surreptitious vodka store, without giving 
them offence. 

His task was a delicate one, for each tipsy guest had 
instinct left enough to want to know all about the two 
strangers before leaving : and the Starschina feared that, 
growing impatient, we might go elsewhere. They tried 
the Doctor : the Perevodtchik, who was instructed to be 
deaf and dumb : tried me, in vain* Whence come you ? 
Whither go you ? What on the earth do you come for ? 

Eventually the plausible Feodor Andr^vitch, promising 
to ascertain the minutest details relating to us, and to 
report fully on the morrow to his dear friends and neigh- 
bours, fairly stroked them out of the room. Before going, 
the tallest guest rose, a glass of vodka in his hand. Feo- 
dor Andr^vitch, he said, Za vashai zdarova^ Feodor 
Andr^vitch filled a glass, raised it, acknowledged the toast, 
and I saw him put it behind him on a little table. Each 
man severally having shaken hands with us, wished us 
welcome to Kouzomen, and Do svidania — Au revoir. 

We established ourselves in the room, opening all the 


Windows : and our pretty hostess, Kovronia Feddorovna 
Obr^vitch brought the steaming samovar and tcfuUnik, 
The Linguist made us some pancakes, and we lay down 
on our quilts on the floor to sleep : after arranging to take 
Yekim Afanasievitch and Artimon Gdbuntzoff, in the 
Starschincis boat by the early morning tide, up the river 
to Varzuga. I also asked for some Samoyedes living here, 
tending the reindeer of the trader SabotchakofT. 

At five in the morning they came, four in number, and 
I took some photographs of them. There was an elderly 
man with a fine head and white hair straggling over it : 
a younger man, baptised as Vassili Ivanovitch R6goloff, 
twenty-four years old : a little woman, his wife, and a 
little child, their daughter, all natives of Mez^n Ouyesda 
and of K&nin Tiindra. They had come from Klnin a 
year and a quarter before. 

The quaint old Dutch traveller Le Brun, who visited 
Archangel in the beginning of last century, relates how 
he came to a wood outside that city, where, he says : We 
saw several of the people called Samoeds, which in the 
Russian language signifies Man-eaters, or such as subsist on 
devouring their fellow-creatures. There are very few of 
them but what are perfectly wild, and extend themselves all 
along the sea-coast as far as Siberia. As to their diet 
they feed for the generality upon the carcasses of oxen, 
sheep, horses, or any other carrion they meet with in their 
way, or what is given them by strangers. In one part of 
their tent was heaped up a profusion of raw horse flesh, which 
the reader may easily imagine was a most shocking sight 


The Samoyedka wore the pdnitsa of her country- 
women, a soft warm jacket and short skirt of fur patch- 
work : and dorbouri or fur boots. The men wore the 
mdlitsay a long tunic with a fur collar, made of reindeer 
skin with the fur inwards. The mdlitsa of the elder man 
had the panda or striped fur border, as may be seen in 
the frontispiece : the younger man's had none. Their boots 
were similar to those of the woman. The old man's 
gloves were sewn to the cuffs of the mdlitsa^ as is often 
the case : a passage being left for the hand indepen- 
dently of the glove. These were not good examples of 
the beautiful Samoyede dress, and the poor people them- 
selves looked shabby and forlorn. 

We set off at eight in the morning, the Perevodtchik 
constituting himself one of the crew. We had given up the 
idea of crossing to the Ponoi and descending it, as it would 
have involved either sacrificing for an uninhabited river 
what was of more importance elsewhere : or, travelling 
round and round in a circle, with all the risks and chances 
of another sea-voyage from Ponoi. Besides, on reaching 
Ponoi, we should find the only even partially safe boat 
at Kouzomen : or, if she had made a remarkably fast 
passage back, her owner probably unable to spare her 
from his salmon fishery for another voyage of uncertain 

We sailed and rowed up the shallow sandy bed of the 
VArzuga : finding constant shoals. This huge bed of sand 
appears to have been gradually accumulated by some 
easterly current, across the old mouth of the river — 


diverting and prolonging its course for three miles or more 
to the eastward. We passed several islands. The larch 
and birch were clothed in fresh and lovely green, makings 
the river's banks feathery and soft. Above them rose dark, 
tall, pointed firs. The Virzuga has none of the grandeur 
of the Ponoi : beyond the fine broad sheet of water and its 
sunny smiling banks, it has no beauty. 

We went on shore, and I gathered a bunch of 
forget-me-not — n^zabotidka—oi lovely shades of blue : a 
more universal friend, perhaps, than any other flower : 
conveying the same tender, friendly meaning in many 
different regions and many different tongues. By the 
river-side I found, too, the black-fruited honeysuckle and 
lovely white silky cotton -sedge. Mosquitoes, young and 
inexperienced yet, were beginning to find their way 
into existence. On the cold Mdrman coast we had 
seen none, and at the cataract of the Ponoi, where they 
were generating, they were a cloud of almost imper- 
ceptible insects. 

An eagle passed overhead, then a gerfalcon : a string 
of ducks at times spluttered across the water. The sun 
shone brilliantly, but the wind was piercing cold. The 
region had not yet shaken off winter's grip. The ice 
which had lately passed down to the sea had left traces 
on the banks, and at places piled up mud. 

We met occasional fisher boats with pleasant, well- 
mannered Russians in them : boats laden with moss for 
house -building : then a boat in which a moujik and his 
wife were towing a raft of timber. The inhabitants of 


this coast are remarkable for their good looks, and the 
greater proportion of them for their agreeable manners 
and hospitality. There was but a slight current : altogether 
two rivere, rising so near one another, could not be much 
more unlike, than this pleasant broad stream with its 
green banks, and the stately Ponoi with its towering 

We came, after three hours* journey, to a point on 
the right bank, from whence we could hear the sound of a 
rapid : and here we landed We walked through a much 
thinned pine forest Some of the stumps measured 
eighteen inches in diameter : but in VArzuga village we 
saw timber* logs twenty-four inches in thickness, and as 
much as eighteen arskin^ or forty-two feet long. A raven 
sat on a log, and croaked at a dragon-fly which was 
hovering in its nervous, fussy way over some oak fern. 
The sun's heat in the sheltered wood at noon became 
great Mosquitoes abounded, and took an interest in me, 
when, after a march of a few versts, we came in sight of 
V4rzuga, and I stopped to photograph it 

We crossed a meadow, a field of delicious clover, and 
reached the village, which lay on both banks of the stream. 
On the right bank stood a queer old Tartar-Byzantine 
church — ^wooden, of course. The village was full of busy 
sawyers and wood-cutters, and on the river were many 
rafts and boats. We crossed to the left bank in a skiff, 
which a drunken boatman came very near upsetting, and 
went for milk and tchai into a peasant's house. 

The heat was great, apart from the huge stove : and 





u not had a window open 
the «,om smelt as one that^^ J "^ ^^^^^ ^^ i„ , 

,or years. ^ <^-;7:r w J- ^^^^ ^ ^^ '"'' 
a Russian peasant's house, wn 

unless we opened it ourselves. ^^ Kouzotnen, 

Wesentforamanofwhomweha^^^^ Sergosero and 

Gavril Pietroff Tschunin. who h^ 1^ ^^^^^ ^^^ed 
to Kamensky on the "PPer J-- ,„ expedition 

to send, at the charge of my pn^V P ^ ^^ ^^^g^ent 
overland to Ponoi. to ^^^^"^ Jl^^^^Ue. This plan 
about, namely that *«J-";^J^^^ ,f the Ponoi boat- 
had to be subject to the faith or fe^ ^.^^ 

.en. and I felt I must ^P^^^^ ^^ J^-er man of 
lekaterinoff. familiarly called Yekxm w ^^^ ^, 


rapid, lest he should undermme ^ ^* ^^^ ^„ ^ 

Gavril Pietroff presentoi h.m^^f. ^ ^^^ ^„ ^ere 
Kamensky in the summer? I asR ^ g^^en- 

. summer. How many d^s -J^ ^,^, ,e said. 
3kyP Gavril -fleeted TWO an ^^^_^ ^^ 

How many days did I tel J ^^^^ j„^ 

saidYekim. How many days for tix ,„y did I 

hence to Ponoi P ^even ^^-d ^vr^. ^^^^^ ^.^ 

tell you? I said to Yekim. J^^^^.;.^ „j„a : he agreed 

had some reassuring influence on Yektm s 

to make the journey if Artimon would go . 

Gavril's boat for the expedition. ^^^ 

on a hot afternoon we left Varzu^ - ^ bo . 
the rapids, which we successfully descended. ^^^ 
a boat, beautifully steered by a woman. We found Artim 


asleep on the bank. He refused point-blank to go overland 
to the Ponoi : so we all embarked, and the men paddled 
down the river. At night we came to Kouzomen in warm, 
bright sunshine. It was a wonderful Arctic night 

Next day came Yekim with Artimon to say he had 
determined not to go to Kamensky without his companion. 
I had promised them twenty roubles each. I took Yekim 
aside. You will do better to go alone, I said confiden- 
tially. Why ? You get double money. Forty roubles ? 
said Yekim. I nodded : — ^And the boat at Varzuga too. 

Artimon tried to shake Yekim*s faith. He had 
heard alarming stories about the journey and its dangers. 
It might take them many days to reach Kamensky, and 
weeks to reach Ponoi. I appealed to Yekim to repeat 
Gavril PietrofFs assurances : but was amused to see 
that Yekim, having once figured to himself the forty 
roubles, grew less eager about Artimon's company. 

I pictured the risks and horrors of the wintry White 
Sea : how it might take a month to reach Ponoi, if they 
ever reached it : how they would travel by sea at their 
own expense, by land at mine : how my offer gave them 
as much each as they would earn in the next six months. 
All this even Artimon mournfully admitted, but the nego- 
tiation lasted all through a long and weary day. Finally, 
I induced Yekim to undertake the journey alone. 

Quite worn out, I drew up a contract: and next 
morning Filip Afanasievitch lekaterinoff came to sign it 
and to say farewell. I gave him categorical directions as to 
the details he was to observe and note. I paid him 



twenty roubles in advance, and was a little puzzled about 
paying the remaining twenty. Finally, I sent for Feodor 
Ivanovitch, though I had been at war with him, and en- 
trusted him with the money, to be handed to Filip 
Afanasievitch on his completion of the journey. Feodor 
Ivanovitch undertook this, and honestly fulfilled his trust. 

Contract for the Ponoi Expedition. 

In the year 1 879, June, 1 8th day, I, the undersigned 
peasant of the Archangel province, native of Kemskawo 
Ouyesda, inhabiting the Ponoi district of the Kouzomen- 
Varzuga parish, Filip Afanasievitch lekaterinoff, make these 
agreed terms, for that I, lekaterinoff, undertake to carry out 
the journey from Varzuga to Sergozero, accounted thirty 
versts. Therefrom to set forth on the journey as far as 
the river and the town of Ponoi* 

And I engage to give a detailed description of every- 
thing upon the journey to Ponoi : and therefrom to write 
directly to the British Consul in Arkhangelsk, and record 
to him all the circumstances of the journey. For this 
journey I am to receive forty roubles, whereof I have taken 
twenty roubles. Twenty roubles remain to be paid on my 
arrival at Ponoi by the Kemsky peasant, Feodor Ivanovitch 
Simeonoff. For this quittance I subscribe with my own 


If I, lekaterinoff, should fail to carry out this undertak- 
ing, I agree to pay back the received twenty roubles, 
sending them to the English Consul in Archangel. 


Filip lekaterinofT subscribes with his own hand in 
presence of me. 

Starschina Feodor Andrevitch. 

This was the contract, and the sequel was satisfactory 
and interesting. Filip Afanasievitch sent the manuscript 
of his journal to the Consul in Archangel, who sent me a 
literal translation. 

Journal of Filip Afanasievitch Iekaterinoff. 

To the British subject Edward Rae, travelling in Russian 
Lapland, from the peasant of the Kouzomensk district, 
Filip lekaterinofT. 

I have the honour to inform you that I, in consequence 
of your having engaged me for a route from the village 
Varzuga, of the Kouzomensk circuit in the Kem district, 
as far as Loparsk^Kamensk parishes, lying in the Fonoi 
circuit of same district, started the 2 ist June from Varzuga 
as far as Sergozero. 

The road was two versts froni Varzuga by water as far 
as the rapid Porokushki, on the River Varzuga. This 
rapid is swift, not high, sloping for one hundred fathoms : 
it is possible to pass with a boat Further proceeded on 
River Varzuga by a straight channel of two versts as far 
as the rapid Stoodeno, which is also swift and sloping : it is 
likewise passable in a boat This rapid is fifty fathoms 

From here, as far as the mouth of the River Sergi, 
originating from Sergozero and flowing into the River 
Varzuga, by a ^straight rapid channel of three versts in 


length : then on the River Sergi by a straight rapid channel 
of ten versts, as far as Sereshnoi Fall, which is falling from 
the height of three fathoms vertically : its ascending is im- 
practicable. Half-a-verst distant from this fall there is 
another called Nadpadun : then comes a channel three 
versts long, in the course of which there are rapid places. 

There is a sloping, quiet rapid called Bashenka : it is 
passable with a boat This rapid is followed by a channel 
of two versts long, with strong current Then comes the 
Krasnoy rapid : its ascending with a boat is combined 
with great trouble : from Krasnoy is a quiet channel of three 
versts in length : then not a large rapid, called Dvinskoy, 
of one verst in length, swift and stony, the banks of which 
consist of rocks. 

From the Dvinskoy leads a calm channel of eight 
versts, to the Klobuk rapid, one hundred fathoms in length, 
sloping, stony, and very swift : going up is possible, though 
difficult From here comes a channel of five versts with 
strong current, as far as the Bielonoska rapid, also sloping, 
but swift : its going up with a boat is possible. Then a 
channel of ten versts, whereof five versts strong current and 
five versts quiet, as far as the Lake Sergozero. 

The banks of this channel are flat, and are covered 
with a dark and gloomy forest of pine and red-pine. To 
approach the lake one must pass swampy ground with 
great difficulty, as one's feet are sinking down almost to 
the knee. This route I accomplished in thirty-six hours. 

From Varzuga as far as Sergozero by water the dis- 
tance is forty versts. There originates from Sergozero 


the River Sefgi, from the origin of which I proceeded on 
the left bank upon moss, overgrown with small bushes for 
the distance of twenty versts. 

On the banks in that place were living temporarily 
Russian fishermen, who brought me to the island called 
Kuropteff, distant from the shore twp hundred fathoms, 
occupied by Laplanders, fishermen, who are living at 
different times of the year either on the island or on the 
shores of the lake for fishing, and nourish themselves with 
dried fish and reindeer flesh dried in the air : they eat 
very little bread, and do not keep many reindeer. A 
family is living here consisting of six members. 

On this lake there are six islands covered partly with 
pine, partly with red-pine forest. The lake is twenty versts 
in length, fifteen in breadth, and fifty in circumference : on 
its shores trees are growing. Into, the lake are owing 
two rivers, Sinka and Pikomka, deep enough but arrow, 
originating from the lakes of similar name. Fiom the 
island to the continent the passage is three versts. 

From here there is a summer road leading to the 
Kamensky parishes, following which, on the extension of 
about sixty versts, there are large forests, sometimes inter- 
rupted by swamps : in the middle of this road there is a 
rather high hill of one hundred and fifty fathoms in height 
and two versts in circuit, called the Vonzuya 

From the Vonzuya, four versts before reaching the 
Kamensk parish, is a hill with a comb-like ridge of one 
hundred fathoms in height, called by Laplanders Kelchal- 
pahke : it has no Russian name. Here is the first Kamensk 


summer parish situated on the river Ponoi : in this parish 
there are two huts, in which are living two families, con- 
sisting of three males and four femalesi Ten versts up 
the river from this parish is another parish, containing 
four huts, with four families, consisting of ten male and 
nine female persons. 

Ten versts farther up the Ponoi is a third parish of one 
hut with one family-^man and wife. These Laplandish 
families are living badly, subsisting only on fish in a dry 
or raw state, and possess one hundred and twenty-five 
reindeer. Around these parishes is forest and good grass. 

Down the Ponoi from the first parish there is a calm 
channel of seven versts ; here the Ponoi runs through two 
lakes, which are stony and shallow, and it is very difficult 
to cross them. Here is a parish consisting of two huts, 
with two families, consisting of eight male and seven 
female persons : they possess fifty reindeer. They nourish 
themselves as above mentioned, and sometimes use bread. 
These lakes are five versts in length and one and a half 
versts in breadth : there is no forest near them, only 
meadows with good grass. 

Ten versts farther down the River Ponoi are two huts 
with two families, consisting of three male and three 
female persons. Seventy versts farther down the River 
Ponoi, the River Lebyashja flows into it from the left side, 
on the banks of which from time to time are living fisher- 
men, Laplanders, and where I eng^ed a guide to take 
me in a boat as far as the village Ponoi. The river, a 
hundred and fifty versts before reaching the village Ponoi, 


flows slowly, calmly, and in some places exceptionally 
rapidly : its banks are low. 

From the left and right sides of the River Ponoi 
besides the Lebyashja, many other small rivers and 
rivulets flow into it The principal and largest of them 
are : Atcha-ricic, Tomba, Kolmack, and PumatcL From 
the Pumatch and Tomba, forty versts before reaching the 
village Ponoi, there are swift large rapids, to ascend which 
it is quite impossible, and going down scarcely possible 
with great danger. The banks of the River Ponoi as far 
as Tomba are low and covered with red -pine trees, and 
nearer to the village Ponoi hilly with fir forest : the hills ' 
are stony and steep. 

At the time of my voyage the water in the river was 
very high, which made it most difficult to go down the 
rapids. Fifteen versts before reaching the village Ponoi 
there is a rapid, called Bolshoi, which is known to you. 

At Ponoi I arrived in the night of the 30th June. 
In all I was on the voyage nine days : one might have 
made this journey in a shorter time, but there were no 
people who had spare time, they were all out fishing. 
The whole distance from Varzuga through the Kamensk 
parishes, as far as the village Ponoi, is nearly four hundred 
and twenty versts. 

To the guide from Varzuga to Sergozero I paid four 
roubles twenty kopecks : from Sergozero to the Kamensk 
first parish four roubles : from the first to the fourth parish 
three roubles : from the latter as far as Ponoi twelve 
roubles : in all twenty-three roubles twenty kopecks. 



For the passage to the village Ponoi I was obliged to 
buy a little boat for ten roubles — ^which makes a total of 
thirty- three roubles twenty kopecks, which money, in- 
dependent of the payment of forty roubles, I have the 
honour to beg you to send me to the address of the chief 
of the district at Ponoi — for transmission to Filip 

I remain respectfully, always at your service. 

Peasant, FiLiP Iekaterinoff. 

I wrote to Makaroff at Lachta about flint implements 
and embroidered birch-bark and reindeer-skin coverings : 
and from his reply it would not appear that I had inspired 
him with much confidence : — 

Village Ponoi, 2nd August. 
To the British subject Edward Rae. 

I hasten to inform you, Mr. Rae, that I received your 
letter from Kouzomen of the 20th June, and present you 
my deep respect As to sending out to you ancient stone 
goods and other things, I cannot execute your desire at 
present for the reason that it is combined with outlays, 
and the Laplanders do not give away such things without 
money. I remain, with due regard, 

Vassili Makaroff. 

We passed some days in Kouzomen. I used to learn 
from the Samoyedes : or for a rest go out and use Feodor 
Andr^vitch*s axe, helping him to build an addition to his 
log-house. He used an axe with perfect skill, making it 


serve the purposes of saw and plane. One day Kovronia 
brought her child to ask about some of its simple ailments. 
Then she wanted to buy one of our enamelled iron plates, 
which we couldn't spare : then a pocket-knife and a box 
of matches, both of which I gladly gave her. She used 
to buy fish and cream for us, and help the dilatory Pere- 
vodtchik to cook our simple meals. 

A small steamer calls here on her way from Umba to 
Solovetsk every ten days : as punctually, that is, as the 
weather allows. 

One day the Perevodtchik came in. He said that a 
certain Simeon Petrovitch had seen me photograph the 
Samoyedes, and wished his own portrait taken. Ask 
Simeon Petrovitch what he will pay me, I said. The 
little man burst into the preliminary of a smile, but seeing 
me unmoved he was overcome with fear : and hastily 
transformed his expression into one of ludicrous solemnity. 
I heard no more of Simeon Petrovitch. 

Another day I was seated writing, when there entered 
a gentleman with a long Sunday coat, a pewter badge 
of military service, tall boots newly greased, and a lately- 
washed countenance. He said he wished to have his 
portrait taken. It was not convenient, I said. But he 
wanted it at once. I asked his name. Dimitri Makivoff. 
Are you a Samoyede? I asked. Dimitri, scarcely con- 
taining himself: I am Russian! Ah, not a Samoyede? 
Dimitri, suffocating: I am a Russian — was a soldier! 
Then he added the Russian words for abomination, male- 
diction ! and rushed out of the room. 


Late one night we walked down to the beach for fresh 
air. We passed two white wooden churches with red 
roofs. Round them, out of the bare yellow sand, rose a 
thick crop of wooden crosses — an unenclosed burial-place. 
We walked over the dry flat sand for a mile, and came 
to where lay the delicate summer sea, flushed with pale 
pink. Rounded waves curled and broke musically, and 
white foam swept silently on to the smooth sand. The 
sea became, as it sometimes did towards midnight and 
dawn, smooth and white as milk. Behind us northward 
lay Kouzomen, a low line of black dots in intense shade, 
under a delicious pink sky : and on the horizon lay the 
misty golden light of the scarcely obscured midnight sun. 

The beauty of the white sea and the sky seemed to 
mock by contrast the darkened clouded lives of the 
natives of this Peninsula : life seems one long Arctic 
winter to them. Some of us have sorrows harder to bear 


than theirs : but they do not know, poor people, of the 
country where there shall be no winter and no night 
Perhaps for some of them the time and the knowledge are 
not postponed for long : 

TAe sad dark clouds of life shall rise^ and there 
Reveal the white sea of Eternity. 



Samoyede studies-^ Characteristics^ Worship — Superstition*- Religion — A 
Recognition^A risk — The bear — ^Weariness— Samoyede gods— Wiiards 
-•-Sacrifices — Burials— Samoyede Folklore — Story of the thirty old men 
^^Marodata — Tanako — The one-armed servant — Samoyede song — 
Connections of the Samoyedes— Departure from Kouzomen — ^Vassili 
Ivanovitch Rogoloff. 

The younger Samoyede, Vassili Ivanovitch Rogoloff, used 
to spend the days wiA me. I was at breakfast the first 
time he came : he took a seat, and with a bow and motion 
of his hand begged me to continue eating. I offered him 
a plate of pancakesh— made, like the black bread, with 
coarse rye flour : and he tried to excuse himself, though 
probably hungry, poor fellow. Finally he accepted the 
dish, crossed himself, and began to eat Perhaps he did 
not like the look of the Perevodtchik's black pancakes. 
Ultimately he grew to respect me as the introducer of 
pancakes, bliniy to the White Sea. There was urgent 
necessity for the introduction of something : for the biscuits 
and jams were rapidly dwindling away. We expect to 
see the blin in ev^ry isba. Sir Walter Raleigh intro- 
duced the potato to Great Britain, and we popularised the 
pancake on the White Sea shores. Vassili stopped care- 

140 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

fully whenever he thought I wished to ask him a question. 
It was a rare thing for us to get a warm meal — what 
with prescribing for sickness, making contracts, buying 
old silver, learning Lappish or Samoyede, making plans, 
gathering information, bargaining, and holding interviews 
enough for directing an army in a strange country. 

Vassili Ivanovitch had never been taught, but he had 
a superior intelligence and swift perception, combined with 
much dignity and unaffected courtesy. One of the most 
striking characteristics of the Samoyedes is this quiet 
dignity. They are calm and unruffled by passing circum- 
stances : accepting stoically, and not with the morbid It 
is written, of the Mussulman, or the cjmical indifferent Eh 
mon DieUy of the Frenchman — whatever befalls them. 
Agitation and emotion are almost unknown to them. 
They are Nature's philosophers, and have by nature all the 
tranquillity and composure of good breeding. 

Vassili habitually used the word Christian curiously. 
In helping me with translation he would say for, In 
Russian — Pa Khristianskiy Among the baptized. Early 
in our intercourse I received very agreeable encouragement 
by hearing Vassili say in an undertone to his wife : Kak 
skoro on ponimayety How quickly he understands. One 
must be dull to fail to understand with a teacher so 

I asked him of his religion. Maya viera tozhe samaia 
shto drugovo narodau. My religion, tie said, is the same 
as others' teaching. He did not care to speak of his 
religion, but talked readily about that of his countrymen. 


His father, who, with his wife and second son, was 
tending reindeer at Bibosero, was still a Tddibe or magi- 
cian. His drum and clothes were with him : also wooden 
hake or idols, as many as two reindeer could carry. I 
asked Vassili of the prayers to the hahey and record his 
replies as I heard them : they are not all consistent, but I 
quote them literally — not as a general statement of the 
Samoyede belief, but as an example of the extent to 
which the views of a very superior Samoyede, regarding 
his people's faith and practices, are defined. 

Did he pray to the hahet Niet: anee tchertovskoi 
vieri. No : they are of the devil's faith. When does a 
Tddibe operate ? When his son is in pain : when another 
Samoyede is sick. When reindeer are sick? I asked. 
They cannot personally help the reindeer in sickness, but 
pray for them to the hahe: and when wolves come 
the hahe can drive them away from the reindeer. 

When the Samoyedes lose anything they use the 
divining drum at once, so that the thing may return. 
If a man steals anything, and hears the drum, seytchass 
he brings it back. Many, however, are so obstinate that 
the drum and such like means do not answer : then all 
the tribe must go together and find the missing object. 

If no hahe is at hand, if all are far away, a sick Samo- 
yede cries, Yal Hahet Pomiluiy ya bolin. Be so good 
as to help me : I am sick. Pomagi mnya k'zdaravyou. 
Help me, that I may be well again. Ta padaryou tibia 
shtoto posslaL I will give thee something by and by. 
If anything happens to a Samoyede, he prays : and thinks 

' 142 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

he will get better the next day, or after the next, but at 
no fixed time. If good comes, he thanks the idol. 

When the hahe is appealed to for a sick reindeer, 
the TAdibe takes blood from it and smears the hahe^ 
praying for its recovery. When a reindeer is missing, all 
the idolaters assemble round the hahey and while the idol 
is smeared with blood by the TAdibe^ one cries : I pray 
thee, Hahcy that thou wilt secure the reindeer, so that it 
may not go astray : I will smear thee with blood : I will 
bring thee meat : I will cook meat for thee. Then the 
meat is cooked, the idol is anointed with fat, the meat is 
left, and the devotees go away. When they come again, 
the meat is always gone. Who eats the meat ? I asked 
The hahe. Not some other Samoyede ? No, the hahe. 

When a man is sick, an unregenerate Samoyede, he 
stands in front of the hahe : his hands and arms straight 
by his side as in military position, thumbs in front of 
his hips, and so repeats his prayer. He does not pros- 
trate himself, so said Vassili, as the Laplanders of old. 
However, I saw a Samoyede, wishing to show me the 
ancient method of devotion, crawl on hands and knees 
before an idol. 

Many Samoyedes in Kinin Tfindra are unbaptized : 
all of these pray to the hahe : many more pray to the 
hahe than to God. It would be a heavy sin for a bap- 
tized Samoyede to go to the hahe : he prays to God for 
his reindeer or for anything belonging to him, as well as 
for himself or for his health. 

When a Samoyede prays to God he says : Pamagi 


mnya Bozhe^ natti moyo olenya. Help me, God, to find 
my reindeer again. Ya k&uplou tibia svcdtchou: ya 
prinyasou tibia miri, I will buy lights, and I will bring 
Thee incense. After the reindeer is found : Gospod Bozha 
blagadaryou tibia: blagadaryou da Troitsi — Lord God, 
thanks to Thee : thanks to the Trinity. One old Samo- 
yede woman having lost a reindeer calf, and having vainly 
applied to the TddibCy went to the church at Pustosjersk, 
and promised the God of the Russians a silver rouble if 
He would undertake to recover the missing calf. 

I asked Vassili if he remembered any stories his father 
had told him. He said his father never used to talk with 
him. Did his mother ? No : only of the present— of what 
they have, and what they want Did he know of any 
Samoyede writings ? No : no San^oyede could write. 
Had they proverbs or common household expressions? 

I asked what he thought of the Northern Lights. He 
said, I do not know whence they are. God sends them. 
I believe they are hurtful, and bring sickness or evil to 
people, loss of reindeer, or perhaps death. I asked him 
if he fancied they were the souls of the dead. He said 
his people did not think so. 

On the second day Vassili stopped and said : I remem- 
ber seeing you before. Where? I asked. At Schoina, 
in Kelnin Tflndra: I do not recollect the other Ang-^ 
litch&nin so well. My wife Piribtyah remembers you too : 
she taught you our language at Mez6n. 

I then recalled the poor little woman with a shrill 

144 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

voice and dull eyes, whose patience I had tried in that 
dreary village in Siberia in Europe. I remembered, too, 
a beautiful midsummer night, when, after a long sledge 
journey, we reached the hospitable Samoyede village of 
Schoina. Vassili and his neighbours had offered us a kind 
and courteous welcome, cooking reindeer flesh for us, 
offering us their fish soup, and trying to make us com- 

I asked him what the Samoyedes thought of us. They 
were displeased that the strangers should go into their 
country : they were frightened. The news spread all 
over K&nin TAndra. What did the people say ? I asked. 
They said : Why do the strangers come to our tUndra f 
they have no occasion to. Why do they photograph our 
reindeer ? I asked Vassili what they thought about the 
photograph. They believed their reindeer would die. 
They feared for a long time afterwards that something 
terrible would come to them — cholera, loss of reindeer, or 

Did we run any risk from their fears ? How do you 
mean ? Would the Samoyedes have hurt us — ^with knives, 
or sticks ? No, he said with some hesitation : but they 
thought of binding stones to you and casting you into 
the sea. As we were warned at the time, we ventured 
perhaps too much, in going, with the enthusiasm of young 
travellers freely among the Samoyedes on the tundra: 
for the peaceful, apathetic Samoyede, when labouring 
under fear or excitement, becomes once more a savage. 

The Samoyedes suffered during the years 1 83 1 and 


1833 from a plague, which first destroyed twenty thousand 
of their reindeer : and then, in consequence of their eating 
the diseased meat, attacked themselves. They attributed 
the latter ill to intercourse with the Russians, however. 
Great numbers of them died, and now there remain — 
scattered along the Siberian tundras from the Mez^n to 
the Khatanga, from Kinin to Taimurland, from the 45 th 
degree of East longitude to the iioth — only about 
10,000 of their race, possessing, in all, perhaps 70 to 
1 00,000 reindeer. 

Of these, the Russian settlers, grasping and crafty, 
are g^dually getting possession. On the Petschora about 
two-thirds of the reindeer have passed out of the hands of 
the Samoyedes, who are now, like Vassili and his father, 
employed only as shepherds. What precious stones and 
silver they had have gone the same way, and it seems likely 
that before very many years the Samoyedes will, as a 
distinct race, have almost disappeared. Is it strange that 
the poor people suspected and dreaded strangers of whom 
they never saw the like before: and who, for all they 
knew, might be only an aggravated form of Russian trader, 
or the authors of some new pestilence ? 

Did Vassili think his people would hurt us if we 

returned to K4nin TAndra ? No, he thought not We 

had better take money with us : but we should be wise 

to take no vodka. His people were honest, and, when 

sober, not dangerous. He told me he had seen stone 

knives in Kinin, years ago : and many of his tribe have 

silver crosses. 


146 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xr. 

The bear, Vassili said, was a good animal : an oath 
taken on the snout of a bear was sacred. This might 
easily be. The Doctor would keep any oath he might 
happen to make over a bear's snout, and would be pleased 
to have a friend to hold the bear. Wolves are good 
animals when they don't eat the reindeer. 

Vassili was to go to B&bosero, in a day or two, a 
journey of two days eastward through the woods. He 
gave me an account of B&bosero and the adjoining lakes. 
They lie as near together as the English Lakes, and as a 
herdsman must accompany the reindeer in their wander- 
ings, no doubt the district was very familiar to the Same- 
yede. He displayed more geographical intelligence than 
all the Russian peasants I ever met put together. 

I made studies in Samoyede long and exhausting to 
Vassili, his wife, and myself Their little child would 
come in from time to time, as if to appeal for her parents' 
release. Piribtyah had less endurance than her husband : 
his patience and courtesy often made me feel ashamed. 

I gave him constant cigarettes, refreshment at inter- 
vals, and sent him for an occasional rest We compiled a 
vocabulary, which would serve an ordinary traveller in the 
Samoyede country. I have included the results of Pirib- 
tyah's former teaching — of which Seebohm writes in 
Siberia in Europe : we went through most of the vocabul- 
ary given in the Land of the North Wind, and found it 
on the whole correct. 

There can be no such thing as strict accuracy of 
grammar or expression among an illiterate people : nor 


can there be among these simple creatures any consistent 
or fixed appreciation even of their own forms of supersti- 
tion or belief. Local practices have been perpetuated, 
and it would be difficult to take any version of the Samo- 
yede belief as universal. I have, as an instance, quoted 
a man far superior in intelligence to any Samoyede I ever 
knew. But, having no object in arriving at a common 
view of such matters, each Samoyede, if questioned sepa- 
rately, will give more or less his own disconnected impres- 
sions of his faith. 

To sum up, the Samoyede religion can only be regarded 
as idolatry, with a slight varnish of Christianity : Our 
Lord being only considered as a kind of Russian Naum, 
The Samoyedes are too ignorant to understand otherwise : 
but Russia will not educate her own peasants, much less 
the savages inhabiting her borders. I will therefore say 
what I believe to be the still prevailing faith, whatever 
may be the practice, among the greater part of them. 

Those who have come much in contact with the 
Russians have discontinued in cases some of the old prac- 
tices ; but I do not believe they have replaced them by 
substantial progress in a higher direction. 

The chief deity is Yliambertje, supreme and absolute. 
Next come the Nouma — inferior spirits, who can be per- 
suaded, and propitiated by prayer or sacrifice, and to 
whom the Samoyede applies for relief when suffering 
under some infliction of Yliambertje : or of whom he asks 
health, means, success in hunting, etc. The Nouma are 
represented by hahe^ small natural objects of wood or stone: 

148 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

and in default of either, earth or snow, rudely representing 
sometimes human or animal forms. They are roughly 
decorated, and generally carefully put aside. Each tribe 
used to have a special sledge for the transport of these 
idols. They can be approached by the Samoyede him- 
self: while access to one of the Nouma must be through 
the mediation of a Tddibe, 

The Tddibe of the Samoyede is, or was — for, like 
other superstitions, this is slowly fading out — equivalent 
to the extinct Laplandish Noaid^ to the Siberian Schaman^ 
the Esquimaux Angakoky the American Indian Medicine- 
man, the Marabout of Barbary. His incantations and the 
use of a drum have the effect of summoning the deity. 
I have seen one of thesq drums, and, unlike those of the 
Laplanders, which were covered with figures and rude 
characters, they have no ornamentation whatever. 

Armed with this drum, and covered with a cloak of 
reindeer skin, adorned with red cloth : a polished plate 
of metal shining upon his hreasit, the Tddibe takes his seat, 
and beats the drum, at first slowly, then faster as his 
excitement increases : he and his assistant chanting mono- 
tonously. Then the spirits are understood to appear : 
the Tddibe pauses from time to time to listen to their 
words. Suddenly the song changes to a wild howling, the 
drum is furiously beaten, the Tddibe foams at the mouth, 
and writhes upon the ground, till the noise ceases, and the 
spirit's decision is given. 

A story is told of three Samoyedes and a Russian 
upon the Timdn TOndra : one of the Samoyedes was a 


Tddibsy and in his spiritual exaltation challenged the others 
to discharge a loaded gun at him. The first Samoyede 
fired, and the ball rebounded, so they say, from the Tddibe's 
body. The gun was again loaded, and the second 
Samoyede fired, with the same result Astonished at this, 
the Russian loaded, aimed, and fired. The Tddibe fell 
dead on the spot They relate many things of the Tddibes 
of old times. They flew, they swam under water, they 
mounted into the clouds, descended into the earth, and 
assumed whatever shape was agreeable to them. 

The Tddibe is generally a man of the world, and when 
consulted in cases of loss of reindeer, of sickness, etc., he 
begins by shrewdly informing himself of the circumstances 
of the loss : when and where it happened, whether the 
Samoyede has reasons for thinking it was a theft : what 
neighbours he has, whether any of them is his enemy, 
and so on. This is all before he betakes himself to the 
drum, and he has probably by that time ascertained from 
the simple Samoyede what he pretends to learn from the 
Noum. The questions to a sick man are : When he was 
taken ill, what he had partaken of, whether he had been 
quarrelling, whether he had an enemy likely to injure 

If the spirit can do nothing, the Tddibe begs him to 
go to YUambertjey and prevail upon him. Yliambertje 
dwells in the air, and sends forth thunder and lightning, 
rain and snow, wind and storm. The stars are considered 
as his property, and are called naumgy. The rainbow 
is the border of his mdlitsa, and is call naum-panda. 

150 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

Panda is the name of the patchwork border, of alternate 
stripes of white and dark fur, which every complete fn&liUa 
bears. The idea was suggested to the Samoyedes by the 
rainbow. The sun is respected almost as much as YUam- 
bertje, and by some the earth, sea, and Nature are 

regarded as divinities. 

Everything that happens upon the earth, Yliambertje 
sees and knows. He sees the good that men do, and gives 
them health, prosperity, and long life. But when they 
commit sin, he throws them into poverty and suffering, 
and sends them an early death. The Samoyedes believe 
that in this life men are requited for their works, good or 
evil. A suspected thief is brought before a kahe, which 
has been smeared with blood, and is asked solemnly 
whether he is guilty. An oath of innocence if taken thus 
may be relied upon, for no Samoyede dare perjure himself 
under such grave circumstances. However, crime and 
dishonesty are very rare among them. 

The sacrifice to the kahe is generally a reindeer, 
of which the hoofs, hide^ and head are hung near the 
idol : its countenance is smeared with blood, and part of 
the fat is thrown into the fire. That is the hake's meal 
The Samoyede's own share is the whole of the effective 
portion of the reindeer. 

I speak of all this in the present tense, rather than in 
the past, for though superseded in places, and in part, by 
a faint approach to Christianity : these idolatrous practices 
are still openly maintained by the remoter tribes, and must 
therefore still be considered as characteristics of this un- 



fortunate race. I hope I have made it clear that they are 
partial, and that among the Russianised Samoyedes open 
evidences of the old life and faith are becoming more and 
more rare. The change is not to be attributed to any 
special effort of the Russians, but to the effect of example 
and the insensible influence of civilisation. 

The Samoyedes reverence their dead superstitiously, 
and honour their memory long. The graves of the 
unbaptized are furnished with a knife, an axe, a lance, etc., 
for the maintenance of the dead in the other world. When 
a T&dibe died, the custom was to fence in the spot of 
burial, and lay the body on a wooden framework, stretched 
out at full length, carefully dressed, with his bow, arrow, 
and hatchet : and to fasten up two live reindeer to the 
tomb to starve to death. Le Brun says that the children 
who happened to die before tasting meat, were tied up in 
a cloth and hung to a tre^. Those that died later were 
placed between two boards and buried in the earth. 
Parents' bones were preserved, and never interred, unless 
they were very advanced in years, and then they were 
thrown into the next river : as Le Brun was informed, so 
he says, by credible eye-witnesses. 

When it was known that we were about to travel to the 
country of the Samoyedes, a gentleman wrote entrusting 
me with a commission. It was to procure an authentic 
Samoyede skull, for which I was authorised to pay £^ : 
but I regret that my efforts did not bear fruit The 
constant daylight in the Samoyede country was an 
impediment to anthropological research. 

152 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

Here are a few literal examples of Samoyede stories, 
and a song which Piribtyah and Vassili sang to me. 

First Samoyede Story. 

By a lake were thirty hills, thirty islands, thirty 
streams, thirty graybeards, thirty iron tents, thirty gray- 
headed women, and thirty sledges — one for each. There 
they lived : there were their tents set 

The thirty old women each bore a child. The 
youngest bore the smallest Said each old man to an old 
woman : Is it a boy, a girl ? A boy, said the old 
woman. Then I shall try to get him a wife, because it is 
a son : where may Bolshaya Zemlia be ?. The old 
woman replied : I know not If thou dost not know, I do. 
Near the head of the Great Land's mountain ridge will 
r get the boy a wife. Thereupon they went to sleep. 

The sky g^ew gray, the day broke : they harnessed the 
thirty reindeer, set the thirty old men on the sledges : 
but over each cradle a cross stay. The old heads were 
white as leaves. The gray-headed old women took their 
seats — on the g^ay old men they sat down : thirty rein- 
deer they harnessed. 

They wandered, they went to marry their sons : came 
to the mountain ridge in the Great Land. One old 
woman went to negotiate about the marriage, saying : For 
a son seek I a wife. The stranger promised a daughter. 
The marriages took place. They killed a reindeer, its 
flesh to eat At the wedding they ate ; the thirty gray- 
beards, however, could eat no flesh — ate only the fat 


The wedding was over. They went home to their 
country — left the thirty reindeer behind for the daughters- 
in-law. Themselves without reindeer bound the sledges 
tc^ether, loaded their companions on them, went : them- 
selves drew their companions along. They came to the 
Little Land, came to their tents. There lived the thirty 
gray old men : there they live to this day. 

Second Samoyede Story. 

Marodata harnessed two reindeer, followed his father's 
sledge track. He went forward, approached his father. 
Said the father : Whence comest thOu ? Where the three 
men came from. The father asked : Whither ? Nowhere 
—after reindeer. The father said : Reindeer — what for ? 
thou hast plenty already. The other said nothing : drove 
his reindeer on. 

Farther on he found the train of Wahapta, his elder 
brother: remained standing near him. Wahapta the 
elder brother said: What for — these reindeer? Thou 
hast already as many as sense requires, shouldst thou use 
them. This one scorned his companion's word : went 
farther. The day became evening: near the tent he 
remained waiting : lay down to rest 

The next day they struck the tent Yambhan bound 
a g^eat reindeer to Marodata's sledge : he gave him cloth 
and a woman's dress. Yambhan's wife said : What for — 
the cloth ? Why, these reindeer ? To the beast she gave 
a blow, let it run loose. For the cloth I don't care, said 

154 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

Marodata : but the woman will I take. He bound the 
woman's reins to his sledge, returned to his tent 

He wandered : there met him his elder brother's 
sledge. His brother spake: Why hast thou stolen a 
strange man's wife ? The elder brother smote the younger 
with the driving pole, so that the staff broke in pieces. 
The younger went towards his tent : reached the tent 

Day dawned. Then said he to his servant : Go we to 
my elder brother's tent : make the bow ready. Yesterday 
he struck me : to-day kill I him. The father came up 
from one side, broke the arrows, and said : Should com- 
panions shoot one another dead ? art thou become mad ? . 
The arrows were broken : the son abandoned his in- 

Third Samoyede Story, 

Tanako's daughter had hunted courageously : she 
watched awhile and fell asleep. As day broke, the 
maiden awoke alone : her companions had vanished. She 
looked round the tent : there was no one to be seen. On 
the heath she donned her snow-shoes, and made ready : 
went forth on foot — ^for her reindeer were seven days' 
foot-journey away. She found a trodden spot — found a 
tent-place : there was a man dead : he was her younger 
brother — ^was her father's child. There wailed she much 
and wept 

The tents had wandered farther. Agfain went she for 
seven days. There was a tent to be seen : she came to 
the tent Then said her elder brother : Where hast thou 


left the brother ? The brother is slain by death : I have 
not killed him — here she wailed. The wolf has strangled 
the wild reindeer: there are traces to be seen. The 
servants went on watch : they fell asleep. 

At night came robbers : surrounded the tent Man, 
thou diest while thou sleepest But the father sprang from 
his couch : climbed out by the chimney. The robbers 
shot arrows* He lacked bow, knife, axe. They fought all 
night : he overcame one robber : slew him, tore his heart 
out: the robber was dead. He slew another: slew his 
fellows — twice seven in number : put all to death : tore all 
their hearts out Then he stopped. 

He sat down on a sledge : took the pole in his hand : 
drove with reindeer to the watchmen. Struck one 
with the staff — he was dead : struck the other — he was 
dead. Other robbers came, and met with the same fate. 
Again came robbers. Let us steal his bow and sling : 
in an earth-hole let us live. They stole the bow and 
sling : lived in a cave. His reindeer went over to them : 
they caught them, killed them, nourished themselves on 
them. Bones and horns were heaped up tent-high. 

Three years they lived so: then spake the leader: 
His bow will I steal : maybe now am I strong enough to 
kill my father — ^shall undertake it The father sat back- 
wards : the son shot two arrows at him. Began to shoot 
again : could not kill his father. But the father caught 
him by the bow. I am getting tired of this, said he to 
his son : be thou master here, and for whatever thou 
sharest with me I shall be grateful. 

156 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

Fourth Samoyede Story. 

There lived once seven brothers, seven rich men in 
the land : and had reindeer over and above — so many as 
they could wish. Also, to tend the herds, they kept a 
servant, whose sister led the sledge -train. So once went 
the seven brothers on their light sledges — always forward, 
without looking about them. 

But the long train followed, and the servant drove the 
countless herd behind. He sat himself on a cross-board, 
on a bad pack-sledge, which had no seat He used, too, 
a single reindeer for his sledge. 

This servant had but a single arm, which g^ew in front 
of his breast, and with which he guided his light sledge. 
As driving-staff he used a tent-pole, which he supported 
against his chest and the back of the sledge when he 
wanted to drive : for he had but one hand, and that 
already held the reins. 

The seven brothers went always forward, without 
looking round, and crossed seven rivers. Then they 
reached a very steep cliff which they must traverse. But 
as the servant came to the cliff, behold ! there fell down 
from the height a man through the frame of his bottom- 
less pack-sledge, so that his reindeer stopped suddenly in 
its course. 

But the servant said to the man : Why fallest thou 
right through my pack-sledge ? Is the space not wide 
enough for thee on the TAndra to fall on one side ? The 
stranger answered : Do not get angry, wait : I tell thee 
a sensible word : give me that straight -homed deer 


Said the servant : No, but thou canst catch that outside 

How shall I catch him? said the other, t don't 
understand how to catch him. Stupid ! said the servant : 
wandering about the earth's ground, and not understand- 
ing how to catch a reindeer I Then the stranger asked to 
have the reindeer harnessed for him, and disappeared. 

Suddenly there came a fearful storm and whirlwind. 
Beyond the river the servant saw a sledge appear with a 
dark and monstrous man on it, bearing a driving-pole a 
hundred fathoms long. The reindeer drawing him reached 
with its horns to the stars : when it snorted, it blew mist 
and darkness before it, seven days' journey on. 

Then thought the servant in his mind : He looks 
angry and fearful : won't leave a poor wretch like me 
alive long. The monster proves to be the stranger whom 
the servant had befriended, and they live happily together 
ever afterwards. 

Such are the stories, half -real, half- imaginary, to 
which the Samoyede loves to listen in the dark winter 
nights when the winds sweep over the snow. 

Samoyede Song. 

Oka yali manyan toukon — A many an wao! 

A manyan wao. 
Yaliy oka yali I Man pwuthyou — A manyan wao ! 
Lana pwitha pwanunganya — A manyan wao! 

A manyan wao. 

158 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xr. 

Dawanawa Kdnin Tundra — A takkan woo. 
Pwitha harwamas hamgatha — A takkan woo I 
Blina Vassili ortagou — A many an sawo ! 

A manyan sawo. 
Pwitha damas y&ngou vodka — A manyan woo ! 

A manyan wa^a-a-o I 

The translation is as follows : 

Many hours we been here — Ahy bad for met 

Ah, bad for me. 
Hours, many hours I Am tired — Ah, bad for me ! 
Long talketh he — Ah, bad for me I 

Ah, bad for me. 
To Kdnin Tundra came he — O, bad for him ! 
What sought he there f — O, bad for him. 
His pancake hath Vassili eaten — Good for me ! 

Of good for me. 
Vodka he giveth not — Ah, bad for me ! 

O, woe is the Yellow Man. 

To the European ear this ballad sounds perhaps best 
in Samoyede. The air was original, not exactly soothing, 
and not founded on any principles of harmony. Taken 
altogether, it was about as good as if the Samoyedes had 
asked the Doctor to stand up and compose words, while 
I improvised a melody. 

These stray Mongols extend, under the name of 
Samoyedes, from the White Sea to the Obi : Ostiaks from 
thence eastward : Yakuts, Tungilsi, Koriaks, on the 


Yenisei and Lena rivers, to the borders of Northern 
China : with habits and modes of life only varying with 
the conditions of climate and existence : all nomads, 
•supporting themselves by their reindeer, horses, or dogs, as 
the case may be. Much alike in costumes, in dwellings, in 
faith, and more or less alike in language, these scattered 
races have evidences of a common origin. 

The TungAsi are Mandchous proper. They split into 
two g^eat tribes as late as the seventeenth century : and 
this migratory, illiterate race, towards the middle of that 
century, placed a Mandchou emperor on the throne of 
China, whose descendant still reigns, and whose language 
is still the court tongue in Pekin. There is, therefore, an 
affinity between these poor Samoyedes who are living in 
darkness and the shadow of ignorance, who feed like 
savages, who wander homeless over the wildernesses of 
Siberia — and the witty cultured Chinese, who regard us 
all as barbarians. 

The origin of the Samoyedes and their kindred 
Siberian races is doubtful : but their life being primitive, 
and without evidence of development, it is difficult to realise 
their having led a different existence to the present, or 
consequently their having inhabited a region different in 
conditions to this. Climate has varied in these latitudes : 
but it is difficult now to conceive any other inhabit- 
ant for it than the existing races. At the period of the 
dispersion of the races of mankind from Lower Asia, these 
Mongols may have found their way up gradually through 
Central Asia to the Altai Mountains, and thence drifted 

i6o THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xx. 

northwards to spread along the shores of the Polar 

Vassili was relieved when our long conferences had 
come to an end. I gave him a pancake, a pocket-knife, 
a box of cigarettes, a pair of scissors for Piribtyah, and 
some roubles. 

At midnight the Perevodtchik disturbed us to say the 
steamer had been sighted : she had arrived from Umba, 
and we could see her smoke over the low stretch of yellow 

In the early morning we set off on foot, each bearing 
something, for the ^hore. We met the mail officer carry- 
ing a few letters to the house of the Stanovoi. He 
showed us one directed to me — care of the official, but 
refused to part with the letter except to the Stanovoi : so 
the Perevodtchik was put upon his trail, and directed not 
to lose the mail officer out of sight for a moment 

Vassili Ivanovitch RogolofF was with me — we were 
like brothers : only if any thoughtful Russian had seen 
Vassili yesterday and torday, he must have felt some little 
shame a.t the result of his countryman's intercourse with 
the poor dependent savages. Vassili was tottering under 
the burden of a light box and two little parcels : and was 
repeating himself in a helpless, maudlin way. He was 
smoking one of my cigarettes : he smoked one like a 
gentleman yesterday, and displayed a calm, patient, 
intelligence. To-day he repeats dreamily what the 
Samoyedes of Kdnin said of us. 

Why do you come here to bring evil to reindeer, and 


sickness and death to us ? Why come ? Z^tchem prishli f 
Z^tchem f But I, Vassili, go to K4nin with you. I say 
Dobri loudyif good people. Samoyedes say : Anglitch&ni 
not good to come to our TAndra. I, Vassih*, say : 
Have come to look. Dobri laudyL My brother been 
to Pietimburgha — I been Piet'mburgha — Vassili been 
Pie'mb'rgha, Vassili Ivan'tch Rog'loff. 

We arrive at the beach and await the loading of the 
boats and the return of the mail officer. Moujiks stand 
respectfully round us : but Vassili is close at my side, like 
an old friend and fellow-grammatist — his cap on one side, 
and his face grave. As I write, he looks over my 
shoulder, then looks round and says Hort^shol He nudges 
my elbow confidentially, but I cannot catch his eye : he 
having one and a half bottles of vodka on his conscience. 
He explains to the crowd that I am a Norwegian : when 
I correct him mildly, he says : Niet, niety Anglitchdnin, 
An old woman arrives to offer me a cross — asks three 
roubles for it. Vassili nudges me : he murmurs con- 
fidentially, Two and a half — then to the woman authori- 
tatively, Dvas polavina. 

At this stage the Samoyedka heaves in sight, tacking 

over the waste of sand. Poor Piribtyah too is a victim to 

the poisonous vodka. Vassili goes to meet his wife : he 

knows she bears the remains of one bottle of vodka. They 

seat themselves on a tree trunk cast up by the sea. I 

join them and we sit together. The handsome boatmen 

and our pretty blue-eyed hostess Kovronia, in a sheepskin 

jacket and hood, stand apart waiting for the boats. 


i62 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xi. 

Vassili offers me a cigarette from the box : then offers 
me vodka. As I decline, he pours a glassful of the spirit 
down his throat : Piribtyah does the same. Vassili 
smacks his lips : Come to K4nin TAndra, he ejaculates : 
all the Samoyedes will make you welcome. Dobri 
loudyi, Vui AnglitchAni — takes off his cap — Zdrazhe- 
layoUy Welcome ! When you come to KAnin TAndra ask 
for Vassili Ivan'itch Rog'loff. 

He tries to stand on the round tree trunk, but it rolls : 
he raises both his hands and smiles apologetically. I go to 
parakody he sings : I accompany Englishman, I take him 
to K4nin TAndra. He wrinkles up his lips to his nose, 
and sings : I see good Anglitch&niny gave me blini — A 
manyan sawOy A manyan sawo. Takes off his cap and 
bows to Piribtyah : Farewell to thee : I go to parahod. 
Amanyan sawo. He smokes a cigarette three inches 
long, but the tobacco has all fallen out, and I can see the 
sunlight through the paper. 

Piribtyah is seated meantime on the log, her head 
moving to and fro. She sleeps, then sings a little, and 
sleeps again. Vassili seizes the bottle and empties it into 
his throat They had finished three bottles between them 
that morning — thanks, alas ! to my money : but how could 
I refuse the poor creatures money for their services ? A 
Samoyede when sober has too much dignity to beg : the 
only thing he will ask for is vodka. He sees your money, 
your food, your knife, but he asks for none of them. 
Drunkenness is the only habitual vice in his pure and 
simple life. 


Vassili asked me for more money for carrying the 
small parcels : but I was too disheartened to consent 
Consequently, he said he would not wish me good-bye. 
Niet diAteky nie prostchai I No money, no farewell ! 
Vassili was a materialist All our friendship wrecked over 
a twenty kopeck piece ! 

We push off in the boats, and see the last of the 
poor Samoyedes. Piribtyah falls. Vassili raises her and 
takes her by the hand. He falls, and she tugs at him to 
lift him. They trudge and totter over the desert of sand, 
and we lose sight of them in a cloud of dust and sand 
drifting with the wind. Poor souls, their sins are few. 
They have hardly the consciousness of sin — hardly a con- 
science at all, with its awful responsibility. 



A passepartout — A rich establishment — Coming events — The White Sea monas- 
tery — ^A misunderstanding — The God-worshippers — Selfishness — History 
of Solovetsk — Its churches — Sacred paintings — Devotion. 

Padorostni from the Government 

It is permitted to Edward Rae and Henry Pilkington 
Brandreth to use at all stations boats, horses, and men 
who keep the stations for the Governor, without delay. 
For assurance of this, subscribed with the State seal. 

Governor Ignatieff. 

Ministry of the Interior, 
Archangel Government, 
1 2th June, 

We were rejoiced to find a packet of letters from the 
Consul, one containing the padorostni^ others from Eng- 
land : and we read them as the Oniga steamed gaily over 
the White Sea. 

Workmen from the Terski and Kandalaks coasts fre- 
quent Solovetsk for the purposes of building schools and 
churches and doing general repairs. They come from 


June to September : and receive no pay : only their food 
and the absolution and thanks of the saints. The Oniga 
carried numerous barrels of herrings from the Terski coast 
for the use of the pilgrims. Every BoghamSlets who visits 
the monastery receives free food and lodging : but leaves 
in return a gratificadon for the Holy Church. Women 
may not remain in the island longer than three days at 
a time. 

The monastery earns much money by its steamers, 
which sail in the summer months every three days. In 
fact, it is vastly wealthy. It has its bakery, brewery, and 
other establishments. Four . thousand pounds' weight of 
bread are daily baked in the summer season, and this 
scarcely suffices for the pilgrims and the monkeys — 
as the captain of the Oniga inadvertently called the 
reverend fathers. There was no inn, he told us, where 
we could buy vodka. 

Our storm on the Terski coast blew at Solovetsk, and 
all round the White Sea with great fury, out of the North 
North East The squalls on the White Sea, as the captain 
said, are frightful. Seals abound on the Terski and 
Karelian coasts. The ice on Imandra broke up at the 
usual time, that is, in the beginning of June : and, what 
was very rare, it came floating down to Kandalaks, there 
being not enough heat to melt it in the lake. In 1867 
the lakes were covered with ice till the end of June. This 
part of the White Sea in winter is frozen for some versts 
round the coast, but outside that, is drift-ice travelling 
with the course of each tide. 

i66 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xil 

Many Karelian and Terski peasants volunteered here 
for the Turkish war, but not many were taken. A good 
number went to Archangel for the local defence. At 
the battery at Krepust, near the bar on the Maimouks 
channel of the Dvina, four thousand soldiers, with artillery 
from Petersburg, assembled when the English fleet was 
expected. The miserable bars, channels, and mudbanks 
of the Dvina are protection enough against any fleet 

The peasants here must pay eighteen, twenty, twenty- 
five roubles a year to the Government : and they often 
have no bread in the house. There are symptoms of a 
change of thought among them. They even make bold 
to ask, Why the war ? Why not a Constitution ? Why, 
indeed, no modification of the system which presses so 
heavily upon the poor people, refusing them almost the 
recognition of manhood. The King of Italy pardoned 
the pastry-cook who attempted his life : the White Tsar 
had Solovieff" beheaded. Poor Tsar ! sitting on the safety 
valve, where he might have reduced the pressure instead. 
There are two exiled gentlemen, buntovtckiki^ at Kem, 
sent to reflect on the vanity of entertaining progressive 
opinions. All political prisoners are not Nihilists, though 
they are often confounded with them. But if anything 
would convert a buntovtchik into a nigilist^ it would be 
the harsh repression which political opinions receive. 

At midnight we were off" low rounded islands, thickly 
wooded. In the centre of the largest stood a white light- 
house. Westward on the horizon lay, faintly outlined, 
the coast of Karelia. In the North the sun had dipped : 


we were i*' 30' below the Arctic circle, but the flaming 
sunlight illumined the white Inland Sea. In the whole 
heavens not a cloud was to be seen. 

We rounded the islands to the westward, and entering 
Solovetsky harbour, which lies at the southern end, came 
in front of the remarkable Byzantine group of sacred' 
buildings. We entered the harbour at two in the 
morning, and moored alongside of two steamers — one, 
the Kefriy a branch steamer sailing to Soroka and Onega : 
the other the Imperial gunboat Polamaya Zvisda^ Polar 
Star, carrying recruits for practice. 

The monastery was very like Troitsa — white churches, 
green cupolas, surmounted by gilded Russian crosses and 
chains : towering old gray walls, formed of gray granite 
stones, the interstices covered with orange lichen, like gold 
settings. On the ramparts stood circular towers, covered 
with red conical roofs : under the walls stood delicate 
silver birches. Outside the walls and on the low granite 
quay, stood one or two shrine -chapels, white on a back- 
ground of rich green turf and feathery birch woods. 

All this group of buildings and colour stood reflected 
in the glass -like water of the harbour: a most beautiful 
scene — very unlike the White Sea. Near the quay, out- 
side the monastery walls, stood a great white hospice : on 
each red mooring post stood a cross. Everything was 
neat and picturesque. The trees were trim and park -like : 
there was no look of the rugged North. The walls 
were an interesting picture, and the whole place had the 
brightness and cleanliness of a Dutch town : Solovetsk is 

i68 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xn. 

one of the few tidy spots in Holy Russia. Gentle musical 
bells chimed the quarter hours, and the whole scene was 
romantic and charming. To Solavietski^ the Islands of 
the Nightingale, comes the sweet bird which sings in the 
woods of Granada on Easter Sunday — to join in the 
singing at the White Sea Monastery on Ascension Day. 

We wished to detain the mail steamer, but the captain 
would not even consider it First I thought of a personal 
subsidy : then I offered the equivalent of first-class 
passage money of twenty persons. Eventually I left the 
Perevodtchik to make what terms he could. Judging* by 
his own account, he seems to have got a little mixed. He 
bargained for payment of so many roubles for so many 
hours : and as we did not detain the vessel so long, the 
little man maintained he would only pay in proportion. 

The captain said, writes the Perevodtchik, that he did 
not care for any account of the hours — the full sum he 
would have : he would say I was a liar, that I had 
not interpreted aright. Even Mr. Rae thought it to be 
my fault, but I was sure of it. 

We landed. On the mooring posts, on the quay at 
our feet, were huge gulls, the Larus canus^ as tame and 
self-possessed as pigeons or barn-door fowls. Their plum- 
age was lovely and soft — dove-like and white. At three 
o'clock we entered the low, old gateway as the rich 
morning bells were ringing in the belfries. Here, in the 
courtyards and gardens, were the gulls again, thousands 
of them, swarming everywhere : quarrelling with pigeons 
and sparrows for grains or odd trifles. They perched 


within a foot or two of the passer-by : squawked, cooed, 
squealed, gaped, as tame as flies. It might have been a 
vast aviary : railings, grass, pavement, steps, teemed with 
gulls — old and young. 

In rude holes or nests lay one, two, or three young 
gulls — ^gray, furry, spotted things, very simple looking and 
droll indeed : almost tame enough to be stroked. They 
were as much cared for as sacred storks. The old gulls 
assumed airs of sanctity : but if we pretended to stroke 
a young one, they were furious in a moment They 
were as arrogant as if the monastery had been built for 
their convenience. It was good to watch them open 
their mouths, say nothing, but look on the ground as if 

We went from one church to another. Here were 
crowds of Boghomdletsiy God-worshippers : the same sheep- 
skin coats, the same stuffy bundles, the same patient faces 
that throng the shrines of the Holy Land. Here was a 
Laplander, regenerate and of the orthodox faith, come 
to leave his mite for the saints. All were wrapping 
themselves up closely in the biting frosty air. A white- 
tailed sea -eagle flew overhead. I found in the little 
woods outside the walls the lovely white star on its 
slender stem — the chickweed winter-green, Trientalis 
Europcea: and within the monastery the bird-cherry, in 
full blossom. 

I sought long for old silver, but in vain. In a ware- 
house upon which I chanced, I found and bought thirty 
of the beautiful embroidered towels which the peasants 


bring to hang on the shrines : and which the monks trade 
away for the benefit of the saints. A boy had taken some 
trouble for us, and I gave him half a rouble. He went 
straight to the nearest priest, showed him the coin, and 
bowed low while the priest gave him absolution. I was 
told it was forbidden to mention money within the monas- 
tery walls. 

One would respect this delicacy if there were more 
sincerity in it The monks of Solovetsk have a reputation 
for getting rather than for giving. Almost at their doors 
live the harmless Karelians, whose families starve in the 
summer, who travel to the Arctic coast to earn their 
bread, and suffer and die by the hundred for the want of 
some little medical help. Three hundred miles away lie 
the tundras of the Samoyedes : and, with all the priests 
and steamers, these poor savages have remained almost 
untaught. A vodka manufactory was established in 
Malaya Zemlia six years before either a church was 
built, or a mission sent 

In reply to a proposal I made to him, the Consul in 
Archangel wrote me thus : No mission would be counte- 
nanced unless proceeding direct from the synod. I make 
no doubt a good, kind, and honest priest might do good : 
but should the man, as you say, not be suitable, they 
would only be perplexed. 

Solovetsk would never think of furthering any mission : 
their system being to take all they can get, and give 
nothing. Besides the long-robed gentlemen there would, 
if anything, only strive to instil superstition into the poor 

\ J •• - 



creatures* minds with a view to enriching the monastery's 
treasury — already full to overflowing. Any proposal on 
your own part would not find favour in the sight of 

The churches were like all other Russian ones, impos- 
ing and gaudy. They were crowded with meek and 
reverent worshippers, and the music and singing were, as 
usual, sweet and rich. 

The hushed low voices and the silvery belly 

The incense-laden air, the kneeling throng, 
I knew them all: and seemed to hear the cry 
Of countless myriads, rising deep and strong — 
Help us^ we faint, we die. 
And from those myriads kneeling, prostrate, bowed, 

A low moan rises to the throne on high : 
Not shut out quite by errot^s thickest cloud — 
Help us, wefaint^ we die. 

We saw some unexploded shells, and a piece of wood 
struck by a ball from one of the English guns when our 
fleet bombarded the monastery in 1854. Their only 
gunner having been killed by the bursting of his gun, the 
fathers formed in procession and marched round the walls, 
bearing aloft the sacred relics of their founder, while the 
shells flew harmlessly over their heads. We saw also a 
great picture of the bombardment, and an obelisk com- 
memorating the event We spent many hours here, and 
examined all parts of the monastery, going on board the 
Onega tired out 

172 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xii. 

Solovetsk was founded in 1 429 by St Sabbatheus, 
assisted by two other holy monks. Zosimus, one of them, 
became abbot, and the monastery grew in wealth and 
power. Novgorod, the great and rich, made large grants 
of land, and the citizens gave gold, silver, and rich vest- 
ments. It was the offspring of the old capital of Russia, 
that foundation of Ruric the Norseman in the eighth 
century — the Lord Great Novgorod, as the city was 
reverently called. This rivals Japanese ceremoniousness 
to travellers : Will the imperial strangers partake of my 
honourable rice — and my lord their dog, what will he eat ? 
Who can resist God ^nd the Great Novgorod ? was a 
common saying. 

The saintly founder's remains are in the Cathedral of 
the Preobrcestcheniay or Transfiguration. In 1485, and 
again in 1538, the monastery and its churches were 
destroyed by fire : in 1552 they were rebuilt in stone. 
Between 1590 and 1594 the monks built, of granite 
boulders, a wall four fathoms high, three fathoms thick, 
and over four hundred fathoms long. In 1667 the 
monks rebelled against the Patriarch Nicon and the Tsar. 
Their leaders were imprisoned, but the monks took arms, 
and for nine years defended the monastery against the 
Streltsi. It fell at last, through the treachery of a monk, 
when many of the rebellious monks were slain and others 
exiled. The monastery was then held for a year by a 
garrison of three hundred StreltsL 

In the sixteenth century Sylvester the Monk was 
banished here by John the Terrible, and here was buried. 


So was Abraham Palitsin of Polish fame. Nicon the 
Patriarch took the cowl here : and Simon, the deposed 
Tsar of Kazan, was sent here by John the Terrible, and 
forced to become a monk. 

Peter the Great and his unfortunate son Alexis visited 
Solovetsk in 1702. The small chapel facing our steamer 
marks the spot where he landed. Within the walls are 
models of his two vessels — one an English-built yacht 

The celebrated fortress monastery has six churches : 
The Cathedral of the Transfiguration contains the shrines 
of St Zosimus and St Sabbatheus, which are of silver, 
weighing 180 lbs., and made in Amsterdam in 1660, by 
order of the Boyar Boris Morozoff. The ikonostas was 
erected by Peter the Great Near the cathedral are two 
chapels with tombs of saints. The Church of the 
Assumption was built of stone in 1552, that of St. 
Nicholas in 1590, that of the Annunciation in 1596. 
The Church of the Metropolitan Philip in 1687, and re- 
built in 1798. The Church of St Onuphrius the Great, 
built in 1667, with a belfry a hundred and twenty feet 
high, stands outside the monastery walls. 

The sacristy is full of treasures — gifts from sovereigns 
and nobles : vestments given by John the Terrible, shrines 
of silver, a cross of gold and pearls, a rare copy of the 
Evangelists, and such things as justify what many people 
call dishonesty on the part of collectors or antiquaries. 
There are the Psalter of St Zosimus, a picture of the 
Virgin, brought to the island by St Sabbatheus, and the 
armour of Abraham Palitsin: the swords of Princes 

174 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xii- 

Shinski and Pojarski : various original charters from 
Novgorod city, and many miscellaneous old weapons. 

I was disappointed with the pictures at Solovetsk. 
In some of the old Russian churches they are full of 
beauty and feeling. There are myriads of these idol 
paintings — ^for to the masses they are little else — ^in this 
huge empire. At the time of the foundation of the 
Russian Church, prohibited by their faith from the 
worship of carved images, the early Russian Christians 
brought from the holy places of pilgrimage pictures of 
the Messiah, of Virgins, and of saints. They protected 
all but the faces from the wear of devotees' lips, by 
plates of precious metal : and their descendants, who, 
void of original genius, have a remarkable talent for 
imitation, closely and successfully copied the originals. 

Some of these pictures have the feeling and colour, 
in fact, almost everything but the originality of Cimabue, 
Giotto, and Fra Angelico. One of the most revered 
subjects is the Virgin with the bleeding cheek. A priest 
once struck, it is said, a picture of the Virgin : and blood 
issued, and continued to flow from the Virgin's cheek. 
Another mych venerated subject is the Virgin with three 
hands. A monk was painting a picture of the blessed 
Lady bearing in her hands the child Christ On return- 
ing to his work one day, he found a third hand had 
been added. He painted this over, wondering much. 
The same thing happened thrice: then the monk re- 
cognised that it was the work of angels. 

I have many old Sclavonic pictures— careful repro- 


ductions, in many cases, of older Byzantine originals : 
some worn with kissing, others smeared and smoky from 
the use of tapers. 

Poor, reverent, credulous, worshippers ! This empire, 
founded in the days of Alfred the Great, by nomad 
Sclavonians, ought to have become great in the world's 
history. Enthusiasm, obedience, devotion, on such a scale 
as among the Russian people, constitute a prodigious force 
for good or evil. 

A Russian officer told his troops they were to capture 
a stronghold. It is impossible, they said. He ordered 
them to advance, and they took the place. Why did you 
say it was impossible ? he asked the soldiers afterwards. 
So it was, they replied. Then how could you take it ? 
TV nam preekazcdl I You ordered us to. This obedient 
devotion was worthy of Coeditius. Soldiers ! said he, 
before a desperate action : it is necessary for us to go, 
but it is not necessary for us to return. 

Count Golovkin was about to sell his serfs in order to 
pay his debts. Deputies from among his peasants came 
to Moscow, beseeching an audience of their lord. They 
begged to know why they were to be dismissed. Be- 
cause, said the Count, I must pay my debts. How much? 
exclaimed the deputies, all at once. About thirty 
thousand roubles. Spassi nas Bogh I Nie prodai nas I 
Mwee dienghi prinisiom. God help us ! Do not sell us ! 
We will bring the money. 

176 THE WHITE SEA 'PENINSULA. [chap. xiii. 


Kem— Its founders— A perquisition— An arrest— The Kem post-office— A 
Karelian acquaintance— The Samovar— Release of the Perevodtchik— 
The Old Believers— Dc^mas and characteristics— Fish and dogs— Virtues 
of the Karelians. 

After four hours' steaming, we entered the fiord which 
leads to the capital of Karelia, The shores were rocky, 
low, and covered with woods. The water, brought down 
by the broad River Kem from the Kuitta and the lakes of 
Finland, had the transparent brown of a moorland stream. 
Steaming past a grass-grown battery, a few salmon weirs, 
and two ships loading timber, we proceeded for several 
miles, and anchored three versts below the town. Kem was 
in sight — a pleasant-looking little town, or large village, 
standing where the Poudaz and Kem Rivers met and broke 
in a broad rapid. We could see three churches with conical 
steeples, not the cupola of the orthodox churches : and all 
round lay gently sloping land, richly wooded. 

Kem is of older date than most of the North Russian 
towns. The traditional founders of Kem and settlers of 
this region are the Tchudes — a branch of the Finns, 
connected with the Yugrians and Esthonians. Their 


reputed descendants the Karelians have their villages dis- 
tinct from those of the Russian settlers: the latter adhering 
to the coast, and the former to the interior. Sjogren, a 
Finnish writer, thinks the Karelians or their predecessors 
once extended all through the Kola district to the 
Northern Ocean. They have the legend of Valit, the 
conqueror of Lapland, whom they claim as a countryman. 

In the fifteenth century Kem belonged to Martha, the 
Possadnitsa of Novgorod, who gave it to the monastery 
of Solovetsk. In i S 8.0 the Finlanders attacked and took 
it, the Voyevoda of Solovetsk and many Streltsi being 
slain in the defence. In 1590 the Swedes captured Kem 
and its entire district A wooden fortification, built by 
the monks in 1657, was destroyed by floods. One 
grotesque hexagonal battery, built by the Streltsi at the 
command of the Empress Katharine, is in sight now : 
slanting painfully to one side like the tower of Pisa, and 
apparently ready to fall into the river. This absurd old 
block-house fired on the English war vessels in 1854. 

The inhabitants of Kem are almost entirely stareveri, 
heterodox Old Believers, to whom the greater part of the 
White Sea fishing stations and vessels belong. Their 
fishers sail for the northern coasts in clumsy lodjes, 
sn^kasy and kotschmarisy that is, ckassemar^es. In summer 
the town is almost deserted by the male population : the 
wives remain behind for necessary work, and occasionally 
make pilgrimages to the monastery of Solovetsk. 

After the custom-house officers had kept us waiting for 
four hours, we determined to go on shore in one of the 


178 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xiii. 

Steamer's boats. Half-way we met the customs' boat and 
were peremptorily recalled. The Pristavniky a small, fat, 
pompous, fussy, old man, in the Russian official uniform, 
pryed into every comer of our portmanteaus. This self- 
ioiportant little insect, probably bullied by his wife, was 
the embodiment of inquisitiveness and suspicion. 

In a voice intended to alarm and subdue, he demanded 
full and complete papers : of course he meant papers, 
small, bearing the inscription — 



and embellished with a double eagle and the Imperial 
crown : but we were vexed at the delay and recall to the 
steamer, and were determined that he should not have a 
kopeck if we kept him in hopes all through the night. 
I leisurely handed him our passports. Where is the 
endorsement? he growled. I pointed to the spedal 
Russian vis^ obtained in England. Where do you come 
from ? Vardo. Where is the Vardo endorsement ? I 
showed the Vardo vice-consul's endorsement, and began 
to suspect that this aggressive little turbot could neither 
read nor write. 

But after Vardo ? From Kola. Where is the Kola 
Ispravnik*s certificate? I gave him Ivan Abramovitch's 
letter, which rather took him aback. But how do I know 
that you have the liberty to travel here ? he exclaimed, 
as he felt his importance was dwindling away in the 
eyes of the deferential minions in uniform. He looked 


round as if to say: This will be too much for the stranger. 
I gave him the padorostni from the Governor of Arch- 
angel, which scotched the little Pristavnik, But his 
opportunity came. 

Ti kto f — What are you ? he suddenly asked the Pere- 
vodtchik. A Norwegian, may it please you, replied the 
Linguist Give me your passport. The Perevodtchik 
said reverently that he had none. No passport ! shouted 
the little man. What papers then? None: you see 
I am only the Perevodtchik : I am of no consequence. 
Papers of no consequence ! roared the Pristavnik : how 
dare you? Da, ya nie shto: I really am of no importance, 
said our unhappy secretary. Where do you live ? Why 
do you come here ? Who saw you last ? What do you 
mean? blurted out the little Pristavnik, looking indig- 
nantly round. I told the Perevodtchik to disarm him 
by saying I was a professor engaged in a scientific work 
of a mixed nature, and he my assistant This would give 
the Expedition an unpolitical and unwarlike character. 
But it was in vain. 

The Perevodtchik*s heart grew heavy as there whirled 
through his mind, like scenes in a nightmare, the pitiless 
Pristavnik, the Pravlennik, the Ispravnik, their offended 
dignity, their small salaries, their few opportunities : their 
misplaced conviction that he was indispensable to us, and 
that we would redeem him from captivity by rouble notes. 
Then the rapacious Cossacks, detention, various accumu- 
lative fees, loss of the Englishmen, his return to Vardo an 
unsuccessful man. For the Perevodtchik had lived for 

i8o THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xih. 

some years in Russia, and knew all this, as he should 
have known that to come to Russia without full papers 
was an inexcusable stupidity. 

The Pristavnik took our papers for endorsement by 
the Pravlennik : then told the Perevodtchik to find 
identification, or remain under arrest. Identification in 
Kem ! Tears rose, to the little man's eyes, and I was 
very sorry for him : because, as I was obliged to tell him, 
we could not delay our journey. 

The Pristavniky who now entertained definite hopes in 
the direction of our exchequer, became very polite. He 
offered to take us up to the town in his official boat, but 
I thanked him, and said we had our own. 

We proceeded up the stream and landed near the 
rapid, with the dejected and almost despairing Pere- 
vodtchik. We went to the Stantsia^ a white wooden 
house, with numerous little windows looking out over 
the Poudaz River. One-third of Kem lies between the 
two rivers : the remainder on the north bank of the 

A Cossack accompanied us, having one eye on the 
Perevodtchik, and the other on the small rouble notes with 
which I was making disbursements. The Cossack, though 
orthodox in point of discipline, was heterodox in matter 
of coinage. The Potchtovaiy or posting master, keeper of the 
Stantsia — ^which was also styled in large letters, KEMSKAYA 
POTCHTOVAYA KONTORA, Kem Post-office — declined to 
receive us. He was an Old Believer, of the first water, 
a Raskolniky who would have turned us away had we 


not produced the Governor's letter. Then he agreed to 
find a room for us. 

A gentleman now made his appearance, in a red 
cotton shirt and a flat cap : having a wide countenance 
shaded by yellow hair. The heterodox Cossack had 
meantime taken our crushed secretary away. Samovar f 
the stranger inquired. Seytchass^ I said : Directly. Sey- 
tckass is supposed to represent something quite sudden. 
It is, however, only the Norwegian straks in disguise : and 
IS about as forcible as by-and-by. 

I asked for milk. There is no milk in the house, said 
the Korelak : and I don't see a cow anywhere. The idea 
of catching sight of a cbw and hurrying out to milk it 
was so genial and original, that I asked the Korelak his 
name : Stepan Petrovitch Makuskin. 

The prevailing idea in the Russian peasant's mind 
concerning travellers is the samovar. The first questions 
asked are of course Otkouda f Where from, etc ? But the 
samovar comes next, and appears to comprehend meat and 
drink, though it only represents hot water. Bring eggs 
too, we said : and a salmon. There is no salmon in the 
house. Then buy one. Horosho^ he said. The variety 
of expression that this word is capable of is infinite. 
HoroskOy slowly : I will see. Horoshoy quickly : I under- 
stand. HoroshAw I My word ! Hordsko : Very excellent 
Horosho, impatiently: Don't bother me. HoroshoharoshAw : 
O goodness ! 

At this moment I caught sight of two cows, and hailed 
Stepan Petrovitch. I see them, he said : Seytchass, sey- 

i82 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xiii. 

tchass, Stepan hastened out and returned with a bowl of 
warm milk. The Karelian customs are excellent Our 
jam is rapidly failing us, and this occasions a want of con- 
fidence between the Doctor and me. He makes raids 
upon it under the impression that I blame the Perevodt- 
chik. I consequently appropriate the chocolate in the 
silent night : and the Doctor suspects our late secretary. 

We bought at Solovetsk what we call maccaroons : 
pink, sickly -looking biscuits, tasting of peppermint and 
smelling of the monastery. An old lady was taken to an 
ancient church. How solemn it smells 1 she said. We 
determined to buy more confectionery here. An Old 
Believer named Vdronoff had some, Stepan said. His 
shop was closed, but we went to his house, some distance 
away. It was one in the morning, and Stepan went up 
to his room, but the bigot refused to get out of bed to 
assist us. In no country does a traveller receive from the 
Government so many facilities for travelling, and from the 
people so few. 

This anticipates. We are waiting for the samovar, 
Stepan arrives. From one pocket he produces a small 
packet of tea: from the other a great lump of sugar, 
wrapped up in a fragment of an Archangel newspaper.* 
The samovar is not due yet All that takes place when 
the sam^yuar is wanted is this : Stepan goes to the kitchen 
or common room, and asks Feddora Martinovna to get 
the samovar ready. 

So Fe6dora gets the brass implement down from its 
shelf. Then, having no sand in the house, she goes down 


to the river bank, and has to answer, in crossing the road, 
six or eight questions about the AngUtchdni in the 
Stantsia. Then she conscientiously scrubs and cleans the 
samovar. Meantime Stepan Petrovitch goes out to select 
a dry log, and with an axe shaves off some thin strips of 
pine : or he tears some bark from birch logs, to light the 

Then Fe6dora takes from a box, of which the key was 
in the top of the house, two tumblers, and searches for a 
cloth to wipe them with. Then a tray has to be found : 
but there being no sugar, Stepan goes out and buys some : 
and the sugar basin being lost, a saucer is cleaned 
instead. Tea is put into the tchcunik^ and the 
samovar is ready. So that it really occupies one or two 
Russians for three-quarters of an hour to get hot water for 
a traveller, without their having been quite idle during 
any part of the time. The traveller who knows this will 
not give himself up to impatience, or the representative 
Stepan Petrovitch to abuse. 

We had entertained hopes that we should lose the 
Perevodtchik : but as we sat by the open window at 
supper we saw him approaching the house alone. We 
knew then that he was once more at large, and that the 
reactionary Cossack had released him. It seemed that 
by a singular happy coincidence a Norwegian was found, 
and induced to say he remembered the Perevodtchik : 
also a Russian, to state that he had been in Vadso, and 
was familiar with the detained I did not ask the 
expense of this : but in the East a witness costs about 

i84 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xiii. 

twenty-five piastres, and in this country I should not 
hesitate, in case of need, to give a higher sum. 

We rambled about with Stepan in quest of sviati 
obrasi and silver crosses, going with him from house to 
house among the Mirsky, or Orthodox families : for a 
Stareviemik will not sell a cross. I succeeded in getting a 
dozen old crosses, but no obrasiy though we saw many of 
them. The devotion of the Raskolniki to these images 
is intense. 

Their Idoles have their hearts^ on God they never call : 
Unlesse it be Nikola Bogh, that hangs against the wall. 
The house that hath no gody or painted saint within^ 
Is not to be resorted to : that roofe is full of sinne. 

An Old Believer will stand for hours crossing himself 
before one of these painted saints. He will not attend 
the Orthodox Church services, but has his own priests, 
and gives himself up to prayer and contemplation : be- 
lieving that this life's affairs are as far removed from those 
of the other life, as earthly meadows from the vault of 
heaven. To please God, man must turn his back upon 
the world : pray for persecution, treachery, hatred, ill-will, 
and thereby earn a martyr- crown in heaven. A few 
weeks ago the Tsar released from prison three Stareviertsi 
bishops, who, for the tenacity of their convictions, had 
remained in prison since 1856. 

There is a wide belief among these heterodox ascetics 
that Nicon, the famous reformer, founder of the Orthodox 
faith, lived three whole years with the devil in a cave : and 


there, under the Evil One's dictation, perverted the old 
writings of pure teaching. When ready, Nicon prepared 
to visit the reigning Tsar, Alexei Mikallovitch, to prepare 
him for the new teaching. The latter, being warned in a 
dream, shut himself up in a strongly-guarded castle. A 
blow from Nicon's cloak opened the doors of the fortress : 
the Tsar was convinced, and the present Orthodox Scrip- 
tures were adopted. The Stareviertsi "worCt read them, but 
retain the old legends and monastic works written in 

The very method of crossing among the Orthodox is 
an offence. What says the fiend - inspired innovator ? 
Cross thyself with the thumb, the forefinger, and the 
middle-finger. Here thou seest the devil's play, for well 
must thou know the forefinger represents the Earth, the 
middle -finger Heaven, and the thumb God. What a 
diabolical reasoning — a Trinity composed of God, Heaven, 
and Earth ! 

This is not all. As the three Persons of the Godhead 
are of equal rank, so must the benedictory fingers have 
the same height But the middle is higher than the index 
finger, as the heaven is above the earth : if, then, the two 
fingers are held at an equal height, the dwelling of God 
must lower itself to the sinful earth. The heterodox say, 
therefore : Cross thyself with the thumb for God, the third 
finger for the Son, and the little finger for the Holy Spirit 

An Old Believer is highly sensitive to pollution. He 
cannot tolerate that even one of his own family should drink 
from his cup or use his spoon. Castren says the Faithful at 

i86 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xm. 

Knashja took such exception to his horse's drinking out of 
the village well, that it at once became unclean, and he 
himself was exposed to difficulties in consequence. He 
acknowledges, however, the kindness and willingness of 
these silly fanatics. The Stareviertsi are respectable, good 
old-fashioned people, partly corresponding to the worthy 
Friends of England and America. Poor Castren — 
enthusiast and genius — he was seriously ill at Kem : con- 
tracting the disease which his own courage and energy 
could only battle with for a few years. 

The Raskolnik town has seven hundred inhabitants, of 
whom but two hundred are Mirsky or Orthodox. The 
fishing here consists of salmon and salmon-trout : navaghi^ 
small cod : njelmay or white Siberian salmon : and small 
flounders. A beautiful salmon of i8 lbs. cost us two 
roubles and a half, which was dear for Kem. Njclma costs 
in the season threepence a pound : they occasionally reach 
the weight of 40 lbs. The fishery is carried on in winter 
as well as in summer : the fishers hew holes in the ice to 
lay their nets. Starting from Kem or Soroka, they 
often travel sixty versts over the ice in a small sledge or 
pulka, drawn by a single dog. Corn comes from Arch- 
angel : the yeast used here is made from beer or kvass. 
The peasants of Karelia, as a rule, are so poor that they 
must mix birch-bark and even straw with the rye-meal : 
only a few of those in better circumstances can use 
unmixed flour. We found this bread difficult to eat, but 
rather better when dry and old. 

The River Kem is the line which divides Karelia from 


Pomona. The journey overland to Uleaborg, by river, 
lake, and forest, takes fourteen days : the return journey, with 
the current of the Kem River, nine. The Ouyesda of Kem 
embraces a wide district, having a population not far short 
of thirty thousand. Of these not four hundred can read 
and write : and in Karelia and the Pomorsk villages, there 
are at least fifteen hundred souls unable to support them- 

In spite of this pitiful fact, less than forty crimes have 
been committed in the Kemsk Ouyesda in five years : and 
of these only five were thefts : one, murder : one, house 
robbery : one, disobedience of officials : one, harbouring a 
deserter : and twenty-two, unlawful wood-cutting. Fifteen 
hundred starving creatures — and in five years twenty-two 
had cut wood in the Government forests. 

It is true that these persons had no other means of 
warming their children in the dreadful White Sea winter. 
Also, that the Government have in these regions twenty 
thousand square miles of untouched forest : and that they 
levy the manhood tax upon each individual whether he has 
bread in the house or not But dishonesty is so repugnant 
to the mind of a Russian official, that he must carry out 
the law even at the sacrifice of his own generous and 
merciful instincts. 

Heaven knows, if the Doctor and I had been the odd 
two of the two-and-twenty, and we had been in Karelia 
starving for five years — or, for the matter of that, in Eng- 
land — ^we should have helped ourselves to firewood or 
food, and thought it no sin. 

i88 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, chap. xiii. 

Apart from unlawful wood-cutting, among twenty 
thousand poor hard-living peasants there are three crimes 
annually : and of these one theft Drunkenness does not 
exist among the Karelians : but we saw a low Russian 
drinking-house in the chief street of Kem, said to be the 
only one in the Ouyesda. 

The Karelians are peaceable, domestic, forgiving. 
Mixed with the Russians, as in parts they have been for 
centuries, they have lost with their original Lutheran faith 
much of their energy and independence. Their language 
is closely allied to the pure Finnish — is, in fact, only a 
dialect of it : and it is hard to tell where a Karelian 
ends and a Finn begins. 

The entire population extending from Kem to the 
Arctic coast in 1861 was this : 

respec- •< 




1 7,600 



'' Horses . 

. 2,251 



Cattle . 

• 4.I2I 

4.83 s 


Sheep . 

. 10,636 




. 7>233 






Appeanmce of Kem— An inflammable village — Old silver— An acquisition — 
Departure from Kem — An escape — Ianotka*s after career — A launch — 
Pongamo — Government posting stations — Stray Lapps — A deserted is6a 
— Wild flowers. 

The village of Kem is old-fashioned and picturesque. 
Quaint old dark block-houses slant forward and sideways, 
with heavy projecting gables : green trees rise between 
them. SHops are scarce, and are dotted about in ordinary 
houses : a signboard rudely painted in the Russian fashion 
being the only outward mark of a shop. The streets are 
simply green grass, with planked side walks : there is no 
vehicle traffic in the summer, and the snow is the paving 
in winter. As the Kemski always use the side-walks, the 
streets might as well as not be planted with vegetables. 
The ground is uneven, and the old dark houses form a 
succession of picturesque perspectives. Kem has the look 
of a town of Old Believers. All about the place is water. 
First the large river and the Poudaz, then two smaller 
streams, and numerous pools and inlets of the sea. In 
some enclosures potatoes were springing up. In most of 
the windows were roses, geraniums, scented geraniums, 

190 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xiv. 

fuchsias, musk, or some such sweet flowers. In one win- 
dow lay a colossal Russian cat At the northern end of 
the town stood several painted Norwegian-looking houses. 
One of these, of considerable size, would cost about two 
hundred pounds. 

Two hundred versts up the Kem River large timber 
grows : some of the wood measuring sixty feet in length 
and twenty-two inches in thickness. A schooner lay in 
the fiord, which had brought rye-flour from Archangel, and 
was loading firewood for Vardo. The forests in Syd 
Varanger have been so much thinned that cutting is for- 
bidden, and it is cheaper to import Russian wood than to 
buy Norwegian. 

Milk and eggs are plentiful in Kem. I saw some 
lovely calves, with coats as dark and glossy as sable. 
Mosquitoes hovered about us, not very venomous yet, for 
the summer was late. In the past winter the snow lay a 
yard, where it usually lies a foot, deep. 

At midnight I had a steam bath, and afterwards went 
out to photograph the Pomorsk bank of the river, the long 
wooden bridge, and the rapid. A thick mist was rising 
from the rapid, and faint sunlight came from behind the 
trees. A watchman was on his rounds, and a watch- 
woman : both on the look-out for fires. There are eight 
watchers in this inflammable old village. In the summer 
months the women undertake the duties of the more sen- 
sitive sex, and are referred to indifferently as tcholoveka^ 
men. This is one of the few spots in Europe where 
woman can rejoice in the right of sharing man's occupations. 


I had, of course, a prolonged search for old silver. Mr. 
Howorth, the learned author of the History of the Mongols^ 
suggests that the Northern silver art has an Eastern 
character and an Eastern origin. He accounts for this 
by the progress of Arab civilisation northward — both 
east and west of the Ouril Mountains, on both sides of 
the Caspian, and as far as the White Sea : by the constant 
intercourse of the Eastern traders with the cultivated com- 
munities of the Khazars and Bulgars on the Volga : by the 
incessant presence of Norsemen in Eastern and Southern 
Russia : by the evidence of samani and other Oriental 
coins found all over the North of Europe. He might have 
further instanced the Oriental origin of Odin and his 
adventurers, and the maintenance of a Scandinavian or 
Varangian body-guard at Mikkelgard or Byzantium. 

For years past I have been struck with the similarity 
between Northern and Eastern silver. In the study of old 
silver — at the sacrifice of, at all events, too much time — I 
have collected in Syria, Egypt, Barbary, Algeria, on the 
one hand : and in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, 
Russia, Lapland, and all round the White Sea, on the other. 
The more the silver ornaments are seen together, the more 
the Northern and Eastern types seem to harmonise. An 
Icelandic belt will have a purely Eastern design : Kabyle 
neck ornaments strung together with Lapp belt plaques, 
will suit perfectly : certain classes of filigree-work approach 
one another so closely that some of the beads may 
have been brought, for all I can tell now, either from 
Russia, Iceland, or Barbary. 

192 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xiv. 

Certain classes of work are, of course, distinctive of 
the Christian countries. Spoons, drinking-cups, crosses, 
reliquaries, are not found among the Mohammedans : nor 
are charms, amulets, and the variety of elaborate and 
often ponderous necklets or bracelets, worn as much for 
security as ornament in the East, found among the Northern 
people. It is suggestive that, among the honest Scandi- 
navian races, tankards, cups, spoons, and suchlike easily 
convertible and portable objects should have abounded : 
while among the Russians crosses hung at the neck : and 
among the Orientals, rings, bracelets and anklets, worn 
about the person, and rarely out of the owner's sight, should 
have predominated. 

The presence of Byzantine art in Russia is easily 
accounted for : but there is a vast amount of pure Eastern 
design and workmanship which found its way to Scan- 
dinavia, independently of Russia or the Eastern Church. 
The subject of Oriental art in the North is worthy of 
study and development, though the practical pursuit of 
specimens is laborious and not inexpensive. 

There are numerous bears in the neighbourhood of 
Kem. A short time since a bear devoured seven sheep 
close to the town, but none of the Old Believers would 
venture out to do battle with him. Kem is full of sledge- 
dogs. I once possessed a handsome Karelian sledge-dog. 
I possessed him for about six hours and a half He was 
wolf-like, and of a light buff colour, having black patches 
above his beautiful eyes and about his muzzle. I saw him 
lying near a peasant's house, as I was buying an old 


cross. After the purchase the Korelak held up a black 
kitten at the window. Will you buy that? he said, 
laughing. Traveller: No, will you sell the dog? Kore- 
lak : Yes. Traveller : How much ? Korelak : A rouble 
and a half. Traveller : Good. This was a short intro- 
duction, lanotka, after receiving a blameless charac- 
ter, was seized and bound : and when we sailed in the 
morning he was, reluctantly, put into the boat 

Instead of being awakened at four o'clock by the 
Perevodtchik, as stipulated, I had to awaken him at half- 
past five, and to tell him that we had missed the tide. In 
the vexation which this caused me, I forgot myself, and 
called the Perevodtchik a skunk. We started on a brilliant 
summer's morning, and after being rowed for a few hours 
by our four boatwomen, we were deserted by the tide, 
and lay stranded for some hours on the mud in a broad 

The first thing the young ladies had brought on board 
was a samovar : the last were cups, saucers, and a teapot 
The Doctor and I wondered, seeing them partake of tchai 
before they would consent to start, whether we should have 
to make afternoon tea, and ask each of them whether 
she took sugar and cream. Our ancestors used to take 
sugar and cream without giving any trouble. The four 
young ladies talked from the minute they appeared on 
the river bank to the moment of the final Prostchattje : at 
least, they stopped talking only when they wanted to sing. 

We were sitting in the warm sun drinking tea, having 
made enough for the whole ship's company. The dog, 


194 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xnr. 

whose family name was Makuskin, had been reserved all 
the morning, pleasantly mannered, but refusing to eat or 
to make friends. At lO A.M.y while on the mud -bank, 
we took the opportunity of breakfasting. lanotka Rae, 
late Makuskin, cheered up a little, and ate bread and 
salmon. He was apparently beginning to understand that 
he must make the best of me. At 10.29 A.M. I heard a 
cry, and saw that the dog had stepped out of the boat, 
and was moving slowly away on the sticky mud. 

Stepan, who, I ought to have said, had come as our 
karseka or steersman, sprang after him, and his haste 
accelerated the dog's pace. SobdkUy sobdka ! the women 
shouted, but the sobdka seemed to have an instinct that 
it was now or never. The Perevodtchik, who felt that 
any misadventure owing to our missing the tide, would 
be laid at his door, had hurriedly taken off his boots and 
joined in the race. The dog was steadily gaining, 
lanotka I lanotka ! called the women : but lanotka had 
gained the land, looked round once for his bearings, and 
careered into the woods. The women said it was an 
island, and that Stepan would catch the dog. There was 
a quarter of an hour's silence. 

11.30 A.M. Some creature was sighted, half-a-mile 
away, cautiously feeling its way across the mud. It was 
the Karelian sledge-dog, lanotka Makuskin, late Rae, who 
had found he was on an island, and must make for the 
mainland without loss of time, as the tide would rise soon. 
The Perevodtchik did not appear. Stepan had seen him 
last in the woods. 


Would he never return, or would he limp back with 
some self-inflicted wound which should move me to tears 
and compassion ? At length he appeared, travelling 
towards the boat like a fly on a plate of honey. I asked 
him agreeably to let us have breakfast The Perevodtchik 
almost kissed my hand, for he knew that we had spent 
five hot hours on the sandbank, and lost the dog and the 
ebb-tide, thanks to his unpunctuality. 

I considered that the dog's intelligence and love of 
home entitled him to his liberty : but on second thoughts, 
believing he might be made happier, fed better, and 
worked less, than in Kem, I afterwards arranged to have 
him sent to England. lanotka has now been a resident 
in Cheshire for two years. At first shy and suspicious, 
he now trusts, and is popular with everybody. Gentle 
and polite, but no fonder of one than another, he is 
a thorough Russian. Often trying to escape at first, 
and still fond of roaming, he has not lost his Arctic 
instincts. A month after his coming, while still furtive 
and strange, he picked out in an excited and noisy crowd 
a lady who had been kind to him a fortnight before. 
He has a tutor to take him out for exercise and teach 
him English. He understands I am his master. But 
that we talk to one another in Russian, and that he knows 
I remember his giving me the slip on the White Sea 
shore, I should have no special hold upon him. 

We proceeded up the Karelian coast, which was low, 
wooded, and had numerous outlying islands. Ducks, 
geese, gulls, etc., were very plentiful. Landing on an 

196 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xnr, 

island, we found several nests of eider, teal, and other 
ducks : also an orange star-fish, which we never saw on 
the MArman or Terski coasts. We saw for the first time 
the black and gray Lapland crow, Corvus Lapponicus, In 
a blaze of light the sun slowly dipped for an hour, leaving 


a sky of purple and fiame colour. We were approaching 
the Arctic circle again. 

We awoke to find the boat on the beach, and the crew 
asleep round a fire. We had awakened the Perevodtchik 
to cook for us, and to make tea for the rest of the Expedi- 
tion, when we noticed that the tide was leaving the 
boat Arousing the whole party, we made violent efibrts 
to launch our great heavy boat, in vain. Here was a 
second tide rapidly slipping from us. We dragged every 
movable thing out, but the boat would not budge. With 
half-a-dozen strokes Stepan cut a young birch-tree into 
lengths for rollers : with indescribable difficulty we raised 
the lumbering boat to admit the rollers : and, using oars, 
masts, poles, and branches as levers, we thrust the boat 
into the water. 

Then we came to the small village of Pongamo, lying 
on a stream near the sea coast. Encouraged by the 
promise of a special rouble, Stepan had the new boat pre- 
pared within an hour. We spent the time in a clean 
room, whither the priest and several of the neighbours 
came to stare at us and ask questions. I bought some 
crosses, and Stepan ranged all over the village in search 
of old Karelian tankards without finding any. Then 
Stepan demanded the boat hire. This journey of thirty 


liours cost, by the Government tariff, one rouble and a 
half, or three shillings — ^that is, about three halfpence per 
mile for hire of boat and crew : the traveller being ex- 
pected to give a few kopecks to the boat people by way 
of vodkou. The poor hard-working women and Stepan 
were quite surprised when we gave them a present of 
eight roubles, and a packet of tea to cheer them on their 
journey back. 

Omx padorostni enables us to claim these posting boats 
on the same terms as the Government tax officials and 
others, for whose convenience the system is maintained. 
The khozeyn^ or master, receives, at Keret for example, 
eight hundred roubles a year : for which he undertakes all 
the duties and charges of the summer boating and winter 
sledging of his posting station. In summer he maintains 
two boats, each with a steersman and a crew of four 
women, who receive about twenty roubles each for the 
season, and their food when on service. In the winter he 
must keep two horsemen, four horses, and several rein- 
deer, all of which are at the disposal of the traveller who 
bears the Government letter. From a traveller unrecom- 
mended, the khozeyn may extort whatever terms he can. 

The winter track through Karelia from Kem to Kan- 
dalaks lies inland : it is fairly well kept, and cleared of 
snow. In summer, lakes, rivers, and melting snow make 
it impracticable. In the winter the traveller journeys for 
hundreds of versts through black woods rising from the 
sheet of snow : while the winds moan through them, the 
wolves howl through the long night, and the awful 


Northern Lights flash like diamond vapours, or shiver in 
the heavens like curtains of flame. 

On the Letna Raika, twenty -three versts north of 
Kem, live in winter two Lapp families. They stray thus 
far south of their hunting-grounds in quest of wild rein- 
deer, which frequent this country in herds of two or three 
hundred. The Lapps pursue them in SLpu/ia, drawn by 
reindeer and accompanied by dogs. Within the memory 
of man, Lapps lived habitually on the Kouto and Paa 
lakes : but, with the exception of these few souls near 
Pongamo, none now live south of Babinsky. There are 
about a hundred souls in Pongamo, of whom ten are 
Korielski. There is a newly-built wooden church of fair 
size. All our boat people, and the women and girls we 
meet on this coast, have blue eyes. 

We set out in a new but smaller boat, having an 
excellent hard-working crew: Tekla Dimitrievna, Petrovna 
Kovronia, Fe6dora Andrdevna, Peterina Alexandrevna, 
being our ladies' names : and Karili Dimitrieff the name 
of the gentleman who undertook the laborious task of 
steering. It rained thickly as we left Pongamo. We 
made steady progress up the coast against a head wind. 

The White Sea traveller must study the tides, and 
may make them useful allies. Between Kem and Pongamo 
the ebb-tide helps boats northward: from Pongamo north- 
ward the ebb sets to the south. It may be taken for 
granted that to travel southward in these regions by boat 
is easier than to travel northward. The prevailing winds 
are the North, and its cousins the North-east and North- 


west The latter blows here sometimes for two long 
summer months as steadily as a trade-wind. We landed 
on a small island, and made ourselves at home for a few 
hours in a ruinous isbUy awaiting the flood-tide. 

It was a gray sea, a gray rock, and a gray sky. Our 
log-hut measured twelve feet each way and five in height : 
an opening in the roof operated about as effectually as, or 
very little better than, modem ventilating shafts or costly 
flues elaborated with huge mental effort in our own 
country. That is to say, where the smoke should have 
gone out it came in, and where the cold air should have 
come in, the smoke tried to go out In the case of the 
hut, about three-fourths of the smoke did not go out, but 
was inspired into our systems through mouth and nostrils. 

The whole party had streaming eyes, and could barely 
eat for coughing. At times we were obliged to lie flat 
down to avoid the denser smoke at the top of the hut 
The Perevodtchik, with an enthusiasm inspired by three 
roubles and a half per day, stood gallantly to his fire- 
irons, and evolved out of the flame and smoke a dish of 
fried salmon, a black pancake, and a tin of soup, which 
we salted with our tears. 

The island had a pretty little wood, in which the 
ground was carpeted with cloud-berry, Rubus chamosmorus, 
I found also the branched dog-violet with huge blossoms, 
the heart's-ease, the delicate oak fern, the Alpine ceras- 
tium, and the lovely Antennaria alpina or pink and white 
everlastings of Switzerland and the Pyrenees, all recalling 
a different climate and different scenes. Wild flowers 

200 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxv. 


become companions, sometimes sad ones, in a traveller's 
memory. Perhaps in these Northern solitudes they have 
a beauty greater than elsewhere. The Son of Grod saw 
in the wild flowers which then as now made beautiful 
the plains and woods of Palestine, a perfectness exceeding 
the utmost glory of man : and the lovely Arctic plants 
and fruits, in which the Creator alone can take pleasure, 
are lavished by millions of acres in these regions where 
no soul or animiil lives to consume them : and here they 
spring up, blossom, ripen, die, untouched and unseen. 



Kalgalaks — A pleasant evening — Literary possibilities — A fishing spot — Somo- 
strova — An anxiety — Qualities of the peasants — Keret — The Korelak — 
A selfish priest — ^A human spider — Suggestions — ^Wonders. 

We reached, after thirty hours' journey, the village of 
Kalgalaks, which the river of the same name divides into 
two parts. Two hundred blue-eyed gobd-looking cleanly 
people live here : two dozen Korielski among them. 
About forty men go each spring to the Mdrman fishery, 
and five for seal, whale, and Walrus to Nova Zemlia. The 
river is navigable by boat for about thirty versts. While 
we sent as usual the last boatman to hasten the next 
crew, and the Perevodtchik to cruise about for old crosses, 
the priest came to read the Governor's letter on behalf of 
the Stantsia keeper, and to endorse the travellers' record 
book. We paid here for a pall of milk, some eider-duck's 
eggs, a famous loaf of bread, and some flat fish, seventy 
kopecks, or one shilling and fivepence* Two old lodjes lay 
high and dry, and an efficient one was loading wood some 
way down the, river, where the water was deep enough. 

Leaving Kalgalaks, we proceeded up a succession of 
salt water lakes connected with the sea, and opening out 

202 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. anr. 

among lovely park-like woods of fir and larch. For two- 
thirds of our journey we did not come in sight of the sea. 
We saw shoals of little fish, kolugha — not good to eat — 
and a small fish^ jaUsina^ having a spike at each side and 
on the back. We saw a white-tailed sea-eagle crossing 
over the woods, a teal with a very young brood, many 
strings of ducks, several geese, and a few divers. Our 
Karelian boatwomen were so good-looking, and their 
dress was so brilliant and pretty, that we stopped near a 
small rapid to photograph them. As they rowed they 
sang — not very perfectly, but the boat -songs were pic- 
turesque and interesting. 

We stopped at a small isbay Varovnia, and went in to 
cook our breakfast It was near midnight Again a low 
warm cabin, but not so full of smoke. Going in I found 
a woman and four girls, and I said I had the honour to 
be their servant They pleasantly replied : MUostje 
prossifHy Welcome. Our boatwomen were there too, and 
as they sat round the cabin in the firelight it was quite a 
picture. Of eight faces six were pretty, and all were 
modest and pleasant The Perevodtchik cooked salmon- 
trout, and made tea for us. 

Our crew expressed anxiety as to their portraits : I 
said they could not see the results then, but that I would 
send them from England. They were delighted with 
some English portraits : my mother was krassiva, beautiful 
— my father maladiets^ young. In point of complexion 
they slightly, but firmly, preferred light hair to dark : and 
after ascertaining my forlorn and solitary condition of life, 


they expressed a strong wish that I should attach myself 
to some lady with a fair complexion. I promised to see 
what could be done immediately I returned to England. 
On leaving, I spontaneously and delicately offered to the 
young ladies the usual modest souvenirs, which they 
received with many expressions of pleasure. Their 
names were, D&ria, Anna, Maria, Har&tina, F^dosia. 

I found near the isba two long obelisk-shaped stones, 
lying across one another. They once stood upright, but 
now lay among the stones that had helped to support 
them. I found, too, a plant which puzzled various people 
for a time — and which I consequently thought of naming 
after the Doctor the PUkingtonia impenetrabilis : but I 
afterwards identified it as the Ledum palustre. The 
Melampyrum fratense^ or cow-wheat, grew also here, and 
the mouse-eared cerastium. 

It was stormy and high sea, writes our secretary, before 
we went in at an isba where there were five women who 
were fishing little fishes. It must not be thought that the 
authors of Round the Bay of Hvidso, and of The White Sea 
Peninsula are the only members of the Expedition who 
reduce their experiences to writing. The Doctor is dili- 
gently engaged upon his journal, and illustrates it by 
pencil drawings : nor has he travelled and written without 
encouragement One of the reviewers of the account of 
our journey to the Samoyede country wrote as follows. 
Mr. Rae seems to be a young man who has little to do, 
and to succeed in doing it : we should prefer to have had 
Mr. Brandreth's account of the journey. 

204 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xv. 

We came in the morning to the Russian village of 
Gredina. There are no Karelians there. About thirty 
fishermen go yearly to Novaya Zemlia for whale, bieluga^ 
porpoise, and walrus : and twelve men to the M{irman 
coast : all returning in October. They rarely if ever write 
home, and their families are often in want during their 
absence. Poor women, half- starving sometimes, rarely 
coming to beg, waiting for the autumn and the husbands 
on the far-off Arctic coast, who too often would never 
come back. 

A clearing on the forest's edge, a small box-shaped 
log-hut with blue smoke wreathing from it, a few racks 
for drying nets, a boat drawn up on the shingly beach, 
another afloat, an apparatus for drawing the salmon nets, 
a cross standing on a rock, a sea-es^le sailing overhead, a 
sunny sky and a sunny sea, a background of spruce and 
birch, a strip of fir near the beach — ^gray and blasted as 
if by some poisonous breath : such was one out of many a 
fisherman's isba on this western shore of the Inland Sea. 

We were rowed along, hour after hour, day after day, 
changing our crew from time to time, landing to light 
fires and cook our meals : with never an hour's fair wind 
since we left Kem. We came to Somostrova, a lovely 
spot, midway to Keret, finding a superior isba and a 
respectable set of fishermen. We meant to sup in the 
boat, but were driven into the hut by a cloud of mosquitoes 
— ^so young and credulous, however, that instead of follow- 
ing us, they haunted the boat expecting us back. 

In front lay the crescent-shaped navolok or haven, in 



lovely calm sunlight Behind, through a delicious strip of 
forest, lay small and beautiful lakes, with rocky banks and 
fresh green foliage of larch, spruce, fir, and silver birch. 
We never tire of these trees : they supply a .want in the 
Northern landscapes, as no other trees could. Near the 
hut stood three crosses, carved with Sclavonic characters, 
and having at each side the emblems, the spear and the 
sponge. Outside the wood I found the sweet Primula 
farinosa or mealy primrose, the Primula Scotica or Scotch 
primrose, and the heath-like blossom of the Andromeda 

The Perevodtchik gave us some anxiety to-day. He 
had a pain. I hunted for chlorodyne for a long time : and 
found it when I was on the point of trying some mosquito 
lotion in despair. He said it was not bad : but he fell 
asleep immediately afterwards, and lay with a very drunken 
look, doubled up in the bottom of the boat, and we enter- 
tained fears for him. Shortly after, he came with a de- 
jected face, and asked me to give him kastor olen. Rather 
wondering, I said that I had none. Seeing me puzzled, 
he explained : For cooking. I thought the chlorodyne 
had taken a curious effect, and would have asked him to 
go and lie down again, but he explained further, kostroula. 
This was familiar enough, the Russian word for a 
cooking-pot : he had used the Norwegian word for the 
first time. 

In the isba a fisherman was busy making a cask in 
the cleverest way : his only tool was an axe. Using an 
axe and kindling a fire are the only duties in which a 

2o6 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. rv. 

North Russian peasant loses no time. In all other occu- 
pations of life he will dawdle till your soul becomes 
oppressed. There are two things in life that we cannot 
replace, a lost friend and a lost day. The Russian will 
rob you of the latter as if life were to last for ever. In 
all the dozens, hundreds, of Russian peasants* huts, cot- 
tages, houses, that we have visited, we have seen but one 
clock going. This was an old English clock in the 
Stantsia at Keret 

The poor people have other qualities, however, that 
entitle them to respect We have wandered again and 
again among the peasants, leaving our effects unwatched 
and unsecured : and with the exception of the small theft 
or piece of spitefulness at Siem Ostrova, we never missed 
so much as a piece of sugar. Of the class immediately 
above the peasants, those who are in the position of 
making bargains or receiving money otherwise than as 
wages, we have a different opinion. As to the miserably 
underpaid tchinovniks or officials : if they attempt to add 
to their incomes, they are hardly to be blamed. 

We sailed from Somostrova : I say sailed, for here we 
found our first fair wind. We sailed through sounds and 
bays and lovely lakes, all shining in the midnight sunlight 
We saw widgeon and mallard in numbers. Sea-eagles 
flew leisurely from rock to tree, flapping their wide wings : 
fish leapt, and the boat spun through the quiet water with 
a musical ripple. At length we reached the open sea, and 
ran before a strong east wind. At first I devoted my 
abilities and patience to managing the foresail : afterwards 

CHAP. XV.] KERET. 207 

taking the helm for the rest of the night while the poor 
boatwomen slept 

After sailing swiftly for many hours, we ran along a 
narrow river-like sound for some miles, and approached 
Keret It lies at the foot of a long cataract Many little 
wooden warehouses cluster on the river bank. Above 
them tower the new white church, and a large house of 
the merchant Savin. 

The interior of the village is most quaint and pictur- 
esque, old dark wooden gabled log-houses project and 
recede from the planked pavement It is a village as old 
as Kem, and much of the same character. The house 
doors are of double width, and are singularly low. As 
we were anxious to take advantage of the heavy easterly 
wind blowing, the Perevodtchik was sent to prepare a 
boat to take us to Umba, across the Gulf, while we went 
to the gloomy house of a Raskolnik close by. 

In Keret there are about twenty Karelians, most of 
whom go to the Arctic fisheries. In the interior live 
many Karelians, not in considerable villages, but in small 
scattered settlements by lakes or rivers. Such are the 
hamlets of Novaya on the Tchomaya Raika, forty versts 
west, where are five or six houses and forty inhabitants : 
Tikshya, eighty versts distant : Niska, on the Paa lake : 
Oulangansu, on the same lake: Skita, LoggCiba, Suolapoha, 
and LampahaYs on the Tuoppa Lake — ^all twenty or thirty 
versts apart, dotted about between this place and the 
Finland frontier, a hundred miles to the westward. 

The Korielski all live by fishing, in lake or sea. 

2o8 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xv- 

Those who hire themselves for the summer's work on the 
MClrman coast make a contract with a khozeytiy and gener- 
ally receives in the autumn in advance ten or twelve 
roubles as earnest money. This man will give to a set 
of four fishermen their food and one-third of the result 
of the fishing. The hundred and fifty men who go 
from Keret frequent chiefly Vrinda and Shilpine. The 
Korielski hunt the bear, wolf, fox, and deer, with dogs, 
of which they keep great numbers. These dogs make it 
impracticable for them to keep poultry. Having but 
few reindeer, they cannot aff'ord to eat them. They eat 
miserable bread : during the constantly-recurring famines 
it is made more of birch-bark than anything else. They 
are stupid too. In the famine of 1867 they refused 
to give up their bread and fish for fresh meat The 
Korelak is idle, and will only work when in want of 
food : so, it may be fancied, when the thriftless, indolent 
father goes to the northern coasts, after living through 
the winter on his previous summer's earnings, how poor 
his family are. Many Korielski and Finns go to Vadso 
for the summer fishery. The Norwegians are jealous of 
them, looking upon them partly as Russian pioneers. 
But where the poor people find justice, medical help, 
and free fishing, it is not surprising that they congregate. 
They spend little in Vadso : almost everything comes 
home to their poor families. 

The priest of Keret came at our invitation to drink 
coffee with us. He told us the fishermen generally take 
their boys with them to the North, leaving one or two to 



help the mother. So that in the summer months the 
school, which is free to all, but not compulsory, is quite 
deserted. In the winter, when the men and boys are at 
home, perhaps fifty children attend the school. I asked 
why the people of Keret and elsewhere, who travel yearly 
backward and forward, do not take their families and 
settle where fish and employment are so abundant: rather 
than live on as at present, half-starving here, and toiling 
on the long journeys over the snow each autumn and 
spring. Some of the M(irmanski travel a thousand versts 
to the sea, from Pomona and On^a, and even farther — 
setting out in the end of March. It is a strange sight 
to see old and young, parties of twenty or fifty, drawing 
clothes, bread, anchor, chains, etc., on hand sledges. 

He said they were fond of their homes, and that life 
would be hard in the winter on the Arctic coast I said 
not so hard as here : the sea being open, the climate less 
trying : in Gavrilova, Kola, Tiribirka, people lived in com- 
fort. I added that if the MCirmansk summer population 
were to settle there, there would soon be steamers and a 
telegraph line as on the coast of Finmarken. I asked if 
he had ever tried to persuade the people to settle on the 
MQrman coast He said. Yes. But as the emigration 
of half his flock would reduce his comforts and advantages, 
and might involve his following them to the lonely Winter 
Sea, I imagine the priest was not importunate in his per- 
suasion. I am sorry to say I think it more likely he 
would work upon their superstitious fears to detain them 

in Keret 


210 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xv. 

No doubt the present absence of communication, the 
poor facilities offered to colonists, the weakening religious 
fasts, amounting in all to something very like half the 
year, the absence of legal protection, the scarcity of v^e- 
table food, the lack of Government encouragement, have 
chilled what energy for development these poor people 
might have possessed. And men like Savin, a wealthy 
trader, who has a huge house and store here, tend further 
to burden the M(irmanski. 

This philanthropist has accumulated a large fortune 
by selling to the fishermen here and at Shilpine necessaries 
at an enormous profit, taking in payment fish, at a very 
low price. He sends fish by shiploads to St Petersburg 
and elsewhere, and has seal fisheries all along this coast 
No doubt he has a hold, too, upon many of the fishermen 
through the Russian trader's favourite habit of getting his 
dependent into his debt : so that private competition would 
not benefit those who dare not avail themselves of it 
We found the price of sugar at Savin's store was thirty-five 
kopecks a pound : in Archangel it was about twenty. 
An occasional economy of this gentleman is to engage, as 
seamen on his foreign-going ships, deserters at four roubles 
a month, or less than £S ^ year wages. 

I wrote to Mr. Shergold, Consul in Archangel, suggest- 
ing the establishment of Government stores, which, by 
exacting a fair profit, would enrich and encourage the 
population of what is now a wretchedly poor district : 
thereby directly and doubly benefiting the Government 


The Consul wrote me as follows : Your remarks about 
the food monopolies are true enough : but there seems no 
help for it The authorities here know it well enough, 
and are fully aware of the ruinous effect it has upon the 
poor population of the MArman coast : but, notwithstand- 
ing repeated representations to St Petersburg, made by 
different Archangel governors, things are allowed to go on 
in their old way. However, in my next interview with 
the Governor, I will lay the case before him. 

I also wrote begging the Consul to use his influence to 
have some medical assistance sent among the fishermen : 
saying, that so. soon after the close of the great war, there 
were probably numerous unemployed surgeons at the 
disposal of the Government Mr. Shergold replied : As 
to doctors, you seem to be greatly mistaken. There is no 
abundance of them : on the contrary, a great want, and 
besides, no doctors or surgeons are to be persuaded to take 
up their residence in those out-of-the-way regions. Such 
a place like On^a, for instance, lying close to Archangel, 
is often left without a surgeon : the salary allowed by 
Government being so trifling that no surgeon deserving 
the name of such could be found to go and live 

I am confident that if the Government were in earnest 
enough to offer a small salary, there would be found 
dozens of poor Norwegian or German, if not Russian, 
medical students or apothecaries, glad to go for experi- 
ence to the MCirman coast — at all events for the summer 
months when most needed. Soon after interesting himself 

312 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xv. 

SO kindly for these poor people, this popular and amiable 
Consul died. 

I asked the priest of Keret to urge that medical help 
should be sent to the MCirmanski^ telling him of their 
wants and suiTerings. For hours I talked to him, begging 
him as priest of a hundred and fifty of the fishermen, to 
write to the authorities of the province, or to urge Savin, 
in his own interests, to set up an apothecary's shop on 
the coast Finally, the priest half promised to write a 
letter to the Archangel newspaper Vedomastu I was 
disgusted : but as it was not polite to ask questions alone 
of our guest, I told him about our country. 

He asked for Her Royal Highness Maria Alexandrovna, 
Princess of Edinbourghi, and wished to know what Edin- 
bourghi was. I said it was the capital of the northern 
half of Velikaya Britannia, and told him what a noble 
manner of city it was. Then I told him how a railway 
ran round Londongorod, underground. How that city 
measured forty versts round. How our railway trains ran 
at the rate of seventy versts in an hour. How our 
steamers, carrying half a million poudovy could travel four 
thousand five hundred versts in seven days — ^till the priest 
began to think that Velikaya Britannia was a very remark- 
able country. 



A misconception — Laziness — Return to Keret — ^The rapid — ^A difficult opera- 
tion — An apparition — Kovda — Public baptism — Prejudices — Rus&nova 
— Kandalaks — An unexpected meeting — A beautiful panorama — A 
wrangle — ^Transport — An inventory. 

In the forenoon the Perevodtchik announced that he had 
personally superintended the preparation of the boat, and 
that it was ready. This gave us misgivings : and when I 
offered to pay the hire from Keret to Umba — forty 
miles direct across the Gulf — the Raskolnik told me 
we must travel to Umba in five stages, vid Kandalaks, 
i,i, somewhere in the neighbourhood of two hundred miles' 
voyage. In any case, the boat provided by the Linguist 
was not good enough to take the Expedition over the sea 
forty miles in an easterly gale, and no other boat could be 
hired or bought : we therefore decided to go to Tchomaya 
Raika, Black River, and try to find a better boat there. 

I first sent for the Perevodtchik, and told him he was 
a sumaschetche daurakt a helpless buffoon. He looked at 
me with fear, or at least with a certain feeling of incom- 
prehension : and I then told him that Umba was straight 
across the Gulf, and that he should ask questions when he 

314 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xvl 

didn't know things for certain. We went on board the 
boat and fell asleep. Late in the day we awoke to find 
the crew and Perevodtchik asleep, and the boat lying 
moored to a tree three versts from Keret The crew had 
slept all the afternoon. 

I called the korseka^ and told him he was a miserable 

outcast : and the Perevodtchik that his imbecility would 

end in making me ill. Young man, said Diogenes, when 

his patience was sorely tried, I am not angry yet, but I am 

in some doubt whether I should be so or no. I envied 

but could not quite imitate Diogenes. As we might now 

reach Kovda too late for the On^ga^ we returned to Keret 

We spent two days there. We sent for a Karelian 

sledge and dog, to see the method of harnessing. A 

padded leather collar is pushed over the dog's head : the 

traces are fastened to it and round the dog's middle. 

We photographed the poor dog, who had lost one eye, 

and was at first timid and suspicious : but was reassured 

by salmon steak. Many of the bystanders were ambitious, 

but as we did not want them in the picture, we encouraged 

them to stand still, and left them outside the photograph. 

We often chose this way of affording harmless enjoyment 

to inappropriate persons. 

We went to see the rapid, which by the removal of 
two small rocks might be made practicable, though not 
very safe, to boats. We walked out to some rich ground 
overlooking the river, where was abundant grass, and 
where potatoes were sprouting thickly. We gathered some 
marsh marigolds with immense blossoms, and some bios* 


som of the brosnitsa, Ledum palustre^ which grew in pro- 
fusion, the Pyrola unifloray winter green, some sorrel, white 
clover, and enormous dog-violets : then we walked up to 
where the Keret expands into a smooth broad sheet 
of water. 

The graveyard has some of the rudest aqd quaintest 
graves possible: and more than the untidiness of an 
Eastern burial-place. We saw a poor half-blind idiot and 
gave him a few silver pieces : but were beset immediately 
by other boys, also idiots, to expect mon^y to enable 
them to idle about in perfect health. We dressed the 
eye of a poor man who had been struck with the branch of 
a tree, and who, we feared, must lose his eye. The Karelian 
women rarely smoke. One told me, with something of 
contempt in her manner, that she had heard that women 
in Archangel smoked papyrosu We had qaten but little of 
our English meat for weeks, and, curiously enough, had lost 
our taste for it : preferring soup, salmon, and eggs daily. 

Our hair had grown so long, that it became an 
anxiety. I knew I could trust myself to cut the Doctor's, 
but hesitated about trusting him. At last I determined 
to confide to the Doctor the delicate task. We chose the 
largest and sharpest pair of scissors brought for the 
Lapland ladies, and the Doctor began. In less than five 
minutes my head had the appearance of having been 
gnawed by some herbivorous animal in a hurry. With 
incredible pains, and by means of two mirrors, I partially 
repaired the ravages. Then I resolved to cut the Doctor's 
hair : not from any small motive of self-enjoyment or re- 

2i6 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvi. 

venge, but from a sense of my obligations as a citizen and 
a fellow-traveller. I imagine I must have used a certain 
originality : for after ten minutes' work with the scissors 
the Doctor looked as I had never seen him look before. 

One morning we were aroused by the quaint sound of 
a horn. In the street was a fantastic mediaeval-looking 
man, wearing a hood, which covered all but his features, 
and reached down to his waist His tunic was bound 
round his waist with birch-bark, his shoes were curiously 
plaited in birch -bark, and he was blowing a birch-bark 
trumpet I took the unusual step of hailing the birch- 
bark man, and of addressing him in Karelian : Who are 
you ? Where do you come from ? Where are you going 
to ? What are you going for ? 

The birch-bark man replied in Karelian to the fol- 
lowing effect : I am the man with the birch-bark horn, 
who summon the maidens all forlorn, to milk the cows at 
five in the mom. I asked him promptly what he would 
take for the trumpet He said he must use it that day, 
but would make another for me in the woods. In the 
evening he returned with a horn made from silvery birch- 
bark. He also gave me his own, and when I asked how 
much I should give him, the poor fellow at first said : 
Nothing at all. I asked him to get us a little bear, but 
he said he knew of none at the moment This birch-bark 
trumpet will serve as a post-horn to announce our arrival 
in various places, to amuse bears, or to summon cows 
when we want milk. 

At midnight one of our Karelian boatwomen came to 

CHAP, xvij KOVDA, 217 

report that the steamer had arrived. Our effects were 
soon stowed in the boat, and we and the Karelian post- 
horn were rowed down the stream to the Oniga. In the 
early morning we sailed, passed the Arctic circle, and came 
before noon to Kovda, on the beautiful gulf of Kandalaks, 
the only romantic and picturesque comer of all this dreary 
White Sea, We landed in the mail-boat. 

Kovda lies on the east bank of the Kovda River, 
where that stream pours, in a powerful rapid, two hundred 
yards broad, into the gulf. 

The Kovda is rich in salmon : indeed, the chain of 
lakes through which it runs — the Tuoppa, Paa, Kouto, 
and others — have abundant fish. They are deep : deeper 
than the lakes of the Kola Peninsula. The salmon 
fishing begins in the Kovda River on August 12, while 
in the Kola, y farther north, it opens on the 1 6th of July, 
and in Syd Varanger, again farther north, in the middle 
of June. The Koutoyarvi is but a short distance from 
Kovda — one and a half hour's journey. Round this 
and the other inland lakes stand comfortable Karelian 
villages. The sociable, tipsy, thriftless Russian will not 
shut himself up as a squatter in the lonely backwoods. 
The Finn, Quain, or Karelian prefers solitude and inde- 
pendence. Better, he says, under one's own roof to drink 
water out of a sieve, than, in another man's dwelling, 
beer out of a silver tankard. I could hear of no such 
tankards here, though they abound in the inns on the 
western side of Finland. Indeed, I felt ashamed here 
more than once to have asked for them, when a poor 


Karelian would answer my inquiry with a mournful, 
almost reproachful, ejaculation : Serebro I Silver ! 

At the feast of Maknaveidan^ the ist of August, as 
well as on the 6th of January, Old Style, public baptisms 
are held here: where adults and others burdened with 
their sins can be rebaptized, and consequently feel freed 
from sin. The priest comes with the crucifix to the 
river bank, and, having said mass and sung, the cross is 
dipped, as Christ was, thrice in the river. Then all the 
candidates, clad in large gowns, plunge into the river, or, 
if in winter, into an opening cut in the ice : then, covered 
with furs, they run into the warm church, where they bow 
and cross themselves until they are dry and the priest 
collects the absolution fees. 

This and other superstitions linger in Karelia. A 
student of the Finnish language T^'as believed, with his 
ink-bottle, to have poisoned the wells, and the people 
compelled him to swallow his ink to prove its harm- 
lessness. It is just a question in some places whether our 
photography is tolerated. People are apt to look askance 
at the instrument : old Staroviertsi women grumbling and 
hinting at sickness and misfortune if this were to be 

The houses of Kovda were old-fashioned and pictur- 
esque: there was the usual wooden paving. One old 
house stood curiously in the middle of the rapid. Two or 
three schooners were here for repairs : one old vessel had 
come to be broken up, and lay on her side as if exhausted 
by a hard life. There was a charming view of the high, 


purple hills, some snowy, which hemmed in the Gulf, and 
the rapid broke musically past the village. Delicious wild 
flowers abounded with ferns and moss by the river-side : 
and, on the outskirts of the wood lying behind the town, 
I discovered for the first time the delicate Linnaa borealis^ 
or thyme- leaved bell flower: and, for the first time near 
the White Sea, the grass of Parnassus. 

Boats shot the rapid or skimmed across it : others lay 
at anchor. I asked for old silver crosses. A man stand- 
ing among some peasants said mockingly that I might 
perhaps like to buy a great wooden cross near us : the 
only example of irreverence to the cross that I ever noticed 
in Russia. On many houses seals' skins were pegged up 
to dry. We saw one of the inoffensive creatures swim- 
ming about as we entered the harbour. The white dol- 
phin, bieluga^ and the seal abound here. 

I share my cabin on the Oniga with a young Russian 
Nadliessnik^ or forest inspector. I wrote to Mr. Sharvin, one 
of the founders of Rus4nova, the little timber port across 
the White Sea, about the timber riches of Keret and Kovda. 
He replied : It is my intense desire to make use of some 
of the advantages the place possesses, and I wait for the 
moment when my designs may be realised Our saw-mill 
here was last year burnt down, and on its place we have 
built a much finer one. This will lead to the arrival of 
more ships, and lay foundations of more improvements of 
the little City of the Future. Immense flights of dikiye 
autki are now travelling in the neighbourhood of Rus&nova: 
they are not afraid now of being fired at without missing, 

220 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, [chap, xvl 

by their enemy the Doctor — to whom please transfer mes 
salutations favorabks. Energy and enterprise of men like 
Russinoff or Sharvin may transform Keret or Kovda. 
Already a Norwegian has a considerable trade with the 
latter place. 

At Kovda the tchinavniKs two sisters came on board : 
they might have parted from their brother last week 
instead of last winter. I have often been struck in these 
regions by the absence of any evidences of family or other 
affection. One might easily take the natives to be with- 
out feeling. You will not forget me, said a French hus- 
band, as he was leaving home : or cease to love me ? 
Never ! sobbed his wife : and she tied a knot in her pocket- 
handkerchief accordingly. The tchinovnik and his sisters 
played cards and smoked cigarettes all the way to Kanda- 
laks. Twenty miles south of that place we passed Knashja, 
a dirty village of a hundred and twenty inhabitants. 

Opposite to Kovda, on the northern coast of the Gulf, 
lies Umba, with its fine broad river, having at the village 
a depth of twelve fathoms. It is said that some of the 
inlets on the Kandalak coast have a depth of sixty 
fathoms. Turnips and radishes may be seen in Umba : 
com ceases to grow at the 66th parallel of N. latitude. 
Umba has two hundred reindeer. On the islands here, as 
well as on the mainland, are numerous lodes of silver, lead, 
copper, and calamine or zinc ore. In 1734 mining oper- 
ations were undertaken, but were abandoned in 1742. 
At night we reached Kantalakti, Kandalaks, a village 
of five hundred people : standing at the head of the long. 



I fciiiHiiJi! I 

if 'lit 


CHAP, xvi.] KANDALAKS. 22i 

tapering gulf of the same name. I asked the captain to 
see Stepan Makuskin on his return to Kem, and to send 
the dc^ to Archangel. Stepan is on board, said the 
captain. Stepan was sent for. His face was hot and 
grimy. It appeared that on his return, his master learn- 
ing the amount of our gift, declared it belonged to him as 
progonye dienghiy boat tax : and would have arrested Stepan, 
had he not disappeared, and engaged himself as fireman 
on the Onigcu I wrote a letter, stating how much I had 
given as progan and how much as present, much relieving 
the poor fellow's mind. 

The captain's boat put us on shore, and we walked to 
the Stantsia. Leaving the Perevodtchik to engage baggage- 
carriers and to cook, we went out to see the river. There 
are no shops here : vodka^ fish, and of course bread, can 
alone be had. Sugar, coffee, or tea must come from 
Kovda. Many Karelians live eastward from Kandalaks, 
on the coast towards Umba and Kouzomen. 

It was midnight. We went to the burial-place on the 
hill behind the village. It was a lovely panorama — a 
vast amphitheatre. On one side the Niva or Swift River, 
at our feet one half of the gray wooden village, on the 
tongue of land beyond the river the other half. A red and 
yellow church stood on the point. Beyond lay the Gulf, 
broken with islands and inlets, losing itself in a line of 
hazy coast Behind us, to the left, came the swift gray 
river, with a hoarse roar, down from thick pine woods. 
To the westward, under the shining sky, was an amphi- 
theatre of blue and purple mountains, rising from the 

222 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvi. 

White Sea Gulf, which shone like the silver of a salmon's 
back. Round all its margin were soft, purple reflections. 

The graveyard was on a grassy hill : all was silent but 
the river. A quaint old church stands on the hill, and a 
belfry still bearing marks, I am ashamed to say, of 
English shot. The village was bombarded in 1854, and 
one half burnt : a cowardly unEnglish cause of suffering 
to helpless, harmless people. We ascended the belfry 
among the rich-sounding bells, while swifts came sweeping 
through like bats. It was a beautiful, peaceful scene — 
our last sight of the familiar White Sea. 

The Perevodtchik, I found, had collected the men, but 
only to talk with me. After arranging terms, we had a 
long and tiresome wrangle about the weight each should 
carry. At length, in disgust, I told these foolish, greedy 
tnaujiks that they should go with us on Government terms. 
I had promised them thrice as much. Now they had 
to go, and to carry forty pounds' weight for three kopecks 
per verst 

The Perevodtchik, of course — unlucky little creature 
— was to blame for the dispute. Usually abrupt and not 
polite to the peasants, he received a reprimand on the 
subject only a day before : and consequently I found 
him to-day beseeching these cold-blooded and stupid 
ruffians, Gospoda^ gospoda ! bweetye stol dobrim : Gentle- 
men, gentlemen ! be so uncommonly kind, I consider 
that the Linguist's first exercise in politeness very nearly 
cost us fifteen roubles, 

I tried to hire or buy a horse here, having been unwell 


for two days, and not able to face a march of fifteen 
miles : but the horse, one of the only two that Kanda- 
laks possessed, was neither to be bought nor hired. The 
reindeer are sent in summer time to the White Sea islands 
near, or I should have felt inclined to try if one would 
carry me. The Doctor and I even talked of engaging a 
cow : but the only old lady who owned one sent an indig- 
nant reply to our overtures. I therefore hired four men 
to carry me. 

I had feared the transport even of the ruins of our 
baggage overland to Kola might become a serious ques- 
tion : but for a statement volunteered by the Doctor at 
Keret, and verified by an inventory I took myself, of the 
contents of the Doctor's shooting-coat and pilot -jacket 
pockets : 

A large bath sponge. 

Three pocket-handkerchiefs. 

A pocket-comb and glass. 

Two pairs of leather mosquito gauntlets. 

A pair of Lapp mittens. 

A tobacco pouch. 

A supply-bag for ditto — capacity, about l^ lbs. 

Three clean collars. 

A spare scarf 



Six boxes of matches. 

A slab of chocolate. 

A bundle of rouble notes. 

224 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvi. 

Two captain's biscuits. 

A bundle of letters and documents. 

A watch. 

A rough towel. 

A spare pair of thick woollen stockings. 

A comprehensive pocket-knife. 

Three pairs of scissors — for gifts. 

Two pocket-knives— ditto. 

A woollen muffler. 

A shooting-cap. 

A light waterproof overcoat 

A bundle of rope. 

A bill-hook. 
This saved me from some pre-occupation. The Lapland 
bearers use a slight wooden frame, with cross-netting, 
like a Canadian snow-shoe : strapped upright on their 
backs, and having the box, portmanteau, or bundle, made 
fast to it In this fashion the Lapps will carry a weight 
of eighty pounds from morning to night 



Through the forest — ktt^c flora — Neglected advantages — A travelled native — 
Mosquito precautions — Imandra — Sashyeka — Babinsky Lapps — Habits of 
the Lapps — Resources — Miron Yefimovitch Arkipoff— A storm on the lake 
—The Island of Graves— The Ritual of the 4,ead. 

At length we set out, a party of about sixteen persons, 
including two Lapp women. Our way lay past the old 
graves on the hill, and their decaying crosses, then into 
the woods of pine, fir, and brilliant green larch. We 
saw no more of the White Sea. At times we saw the 
Niva gleaming through the trees. The wild flowers 
were more lovely than ever, springing from the soft moss 
and rejoicing in their new and delicious existence. Silver 
birches, with delicate foliage, rose from a silvery carpet 
of reindeer moss. 

We filed in a long procession through the woods : 
coming, after an hour and a half, to the Plosa Lake, 
a long narrow mere, out of which the Niva whirled, 
surrounded by steep fir- and larch-covered hills. For 
considerable distances through the swamps runs a wooden 
track — three roughly-hewn planks side by side, supported 
on cross pieces. In many places the wood has rotted 


226 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, [chap. xvn. 

away : it was old when one of my companions was young, 
thirty years ago. In default of the planks, one must 
flounder through saturated sponge -coloured moss on 
either side. 

Then we reached a smaller lake, finding also a boat, 
and parting with some of our carriers. I had spent a 
good portion of the journey in defeating the efforts of 
these gentlemen to transfer what articles of baggage they 
could to the shoulders of the two women and a good- 
natured boy. They were some of the worst specimens of 
Russian peasants that I have seen. We rowed for five 
versts along this pretty lake, then set out as before in 
Indian file through the lovely forest 

The maroschka luxuriated in the warm sunny moisture, 
and surpassed itself in great blossoms, like white wild 
roses with yellow hearts : its blossom ordinarily is scarcely 
larger than that of the strawberry. My carriers gathered 
for me the dwarf cornel, Comus Suectca, the Drada Airta 
or whitlow grass, the Vaccinium vitis Idosa or red whortle- 
berry, the wood geranium, the Saxifraga Arctioides, or 
yellow mountain saxifrage, all in full blossom. Field 
violets, heart*s-ease, exquisite oak and beech fern, moss, 
and innumerable flowers, glorify the summer time in these 
Arctic woods, and help the tired traveller to forget his 
fatigue, himself, and space. 

Again we reached a lake, the Pinosero, near to where 
the river issues from it : we traversed the lake for five 
versts, and found once more the rapid Niva. This stream 
seems to have no falls, but to consist of little else than 


one long rapid. Of its length from Imandra to the sea, 
two -and -twenty miles, lakes occupy about six : and the 
river descends in sixteen miles, according to my aneroid, 
about five hundred and fifty feet 

I saw noble pines upon its banks, which, if cut and 
tossed into the river, would, with a little labour on the 
smooth water of the lakes, reach Kandalaks almost without 
assistance. None is cut here : yet the Government, who 
are lords of these huge forests, might here find revenue 
for themselves, and work and wages for the often starving 
Karelian peasantry. Fish on the coast for the seeking, 
timber for the labour of cutting: and the peasants are 
eating birch-bark bread and their wives begging piteously 
in the summer months. 

If the natives will not work on their own initiative 
under Government encouragement, they should be set to 
work in the interest of themselves and of the common weal. 
Lapland abounds in minerals : but if the natives have not 
the heart to work for timber which they see, no wonder they 
will not work for something which they don't see. If a 
juster proportion of the profits of the vast fisheries went 
to the peasants who risk their lives and health in fishing : 
if all who will not fish, or who are unemployed, were sent 
to hew timber, and were fairly paid : if the communications 
and means of life were made easier, as they readily could 
be : there are in Lapland the elements of wealth and com- 
fort for more than her population. The Government must 
do something more than build churches if they wish to 
give this province a chance. 

228 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvii. 

Norway has no more than this country — simply fish 
and timber : but she has individual liberty, active economic 
intelligence, and an honest administration. Telegraphs, 
steamers, churches, schools, medical dispensaries, abound 
on her Arctic coast, which is identical in climate with that 
of the Kola Peninsula, and no more accessible. The Nor- 
wegians, too, are a less clever race than the Russians. Of 
the present scanty population of the White Sea shores, the 
Russians are, speaking generally, the traders, fishers, and 
speculators, the Lapps and Karelians the hunters and 
fishers, the Quains or Finns the agriculturists. 

I talked for a long time to an ex-marine, who had 
been round the world in the frigate SevastdpoL He had 
been for two years at school, for four at sea, and was now 
working in Kandalaks. He was a clever, amusing fellow 
and talked of all manner of things : laughed heartily at the 
ironclad Peter the Greats which had made the fortunes of 
three different contractors, and could not venture out of 
sight of Kronstadt In addition to his own language he 
knew two words of Norwegian, which he imagined assisted 
and encouraged my feeble intelligence. He had been to 
the Amfir River — ikke god^ not good. General Heimann, 
who captured Kars, was since dead — ikke god. Govern- 
ment forbid the cutting of timber, but the peasants help 
themselves — ikke god. 

We came upon a ptarmigan — Lapp, tcher&na — almost 
under our feet : the devoted old bird covering the retreat 
of her fluttering, frightened brood of fifteen. I saw a few 
butterflies of sober colours: dull grayish black, shaded 


into coffee-brown on the wings. Afterwards the Papilio 
^mUiay dark brown with red spots : and a few specimens 
of the Apis Lapponica^ the bee-fly, as an Icelander termed 
it The bee-flies were not numerous. 

We wore with much success our mosquito-puzzlers : 
the woods abounded with these insects, but we could look 
at them without bitterness. We gave the Canadian veils 
with the tar and oil a good trial on this journey. Their 
drawbacks are these Many a mosquito settles before 
he is aware how sticky and unpleasant you are. Then he 
buzzes and flutters on your countenance till you are com- 
pelled to mash him, and either leave his remains there, or 
fumble about for him with your clumsy gauntlet 

Then in pawing over your face you absorb or remove 
some of the tar : and if you do not recoat yourself, the 
next mosquito settles triumphantly on the spot Then 
apart from the risks of conflagration with cigarettes, and 
going about smelling like a Guy Fawkes ready for a bon- 
fire, you perhaps want to use your handkerchief, or your 
nose tickles : then you remove some of the combustible 
coating, and must smear yourself again. Then a light 
gauze veil resting against the sides of the face tempts the 
mosquito to settle at those points, and convert your flesh 
to his private benefit As to keeping your hands tarred, 
it is not seriously possible. 

We have tried as a protective coating, aromatic vinegar 
and oil : but the acid evaporates in spite of the oil : and 
we prefer of the two the smell of the tar. Certainly the 
strong acetic gives the mosquito convulsions, but there is 

230 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvii. 

no enjoyment in that : if he would go away, that would be 
enough. I once gave a mosquito some aromatic vinegar : 
and his sufferings seemed fearful. He spun madly round on 
one wing as though he had drunk liquid fire, and his other 
wing appeared scorched and withered. Of course I quickly 
put him to death. I now regret the process of his end. 
This lotion, as also aromatic vinegar with alum and 


glycerine, or carbolic acid and oil, are excellent remedies 
for stings. For protection, we prefer the cage-shaped, dark 
gauze veil, with whalebone hoops which isolate it from the 
cheeks, ears, and nose. A clean white handkerchief round 
the neck, and the collar of the coat turned up, are additional 
comforts and protections. There is no sense of imprison- 
ment : the net is almost as transparent as glass, and one 
becomes insensible of its presence. As to our gauntlets, I 
should have no hesitation in watching the Doctor attack a 
wasp's nest with them. 

We had travelled for a long time through the forest, 
when suddenly we saw a great blue sheet of water in front 
of us, and a beautiful ridge of purple mountains, half 
covered with perpetual snow. We had come, before we 
were aware of it, upon the Lake Imandra, sixty miles long 
and ten wide, lying over five hundred feet above the sea. 
The stately Umpdek Dunder, seventy miles in length, 
stretches northward along the east side of the lake. We 
had come from Kandalaks, thirty-three versts, in ten hours, 
including stoppages : which is very good travelling for 
Russian Lapland. 

Before us were the huts of NUshka^ or Sashy^ka, one 


of the stopping - places on the long track followed each 
spring and autumn by the fisher people. We had seen 
the homes and families of the Mdrmanski, and were now 
following their path to the Winter Sea. We had come 
again among the Laplandsi: and it was a relief to hear 
their merry chat after the wranglings of those greedy boors 
of Kandalaks. For hours together, as they carried me, 
their only talk had been of kopecks and roubles. They 
divided, subdivided, and squabbled hundreds of times over 
the roubles I had promised them. 

By the margin of the lake stood the two buildings of 
Sashy^ka, an isba^ and a balagan or earth hut In the 
former we found the Lapp family asleep on the floor, 
lying on their faces on reindeer skins. They awoke, and 
helped the soldier to make a fire of birch logs. The rest 
of our party straggled in one after another, crossing them- 
selves devoutly, and bowing towards the comer of the hut 
I looked towards the comer shelf for the saint or Obras : 
only a cup and saucer were there, but they seemed equally 
to afford religious satisfaction to our devout companions. 

The woodcut represents the Hotel d'Angleterre where 
we were lodged, and the whole of the population and 
shipping of Sashy^ka. 

I told our host he much resembled our friend On^sime. 
He is my brother, said the Lapp : my name is Larivan 
Simonovitch. He is one of the best men in Lapland, I 
said. Yes, said Larivan, he is a good man. This Lapp 
had a short well -shaped sinewy body, a clever face, a 
tanned complexion, a fine head of hair, a thin dark 

232 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA- [chap, xvil 

moustache and small beard. He wore a home-spun gray 
tunic with a belt, and the usual Lapp cap. He and his 
brother were perfect specimens of small men. 

A Norwegian Lapp resembles a big man above the 
waist, and a small man with bow legs, below : or a small 
man whose waist has slipped down, to the disadvantage of 
his legs. The Norwegian Lapp has a dull apathetic look: 
he takes no interest in anything that does not concern 
himself. The Russian Laplander is quick, bright, and ani- 
mated : whether his intelligence is quickened by an almost 
exclusive fish diet, or not, I cannot say. He is capable of 
cultivation, as I do not consider his neighbours are. 

Larivan and his family were natives of Akkala, or 
Babinsky, an old village lying thirty versts due west of 
Sashy^ka, and the most southerly settlement of the Russian 
Lapps. Akka in Lapp, and Baba in Russian signify equally,! 
old woman. The winter settlement is Akkalaver Pogost, ^ 
where are three isboushki and one bcdagan^ on the banks of 
the Yuni River-^— a stream flowing all the way from the 
Finland frontier, a hundred and twenty miles away, into \ 
Imandra. The Lapps of Akkala have seven hundred 
reindeer, which they send in the hot season to islands on 
the lake. 

In old days the magistrate of Vardo came all the way 
to Akkala to collect tribute for His Majesty of Denmark. 
His last journey hither was in 1 613. At that time there 
were eleven tax-payers in Akkala. The unfortunate Lapps 
have gained nothing by the discontinuance of these fin- 
ancial visits. Besides the manhood-tax of ten roubles 


a year, they pay one or two roubles each to avoid the 
conscription. They pay to this day ten roubles not only 
for themselves, but, until the ensuing census, for their dead 
relatives. In 1872 a Lapp named Gregori had paid for 
ten years ten roubles a year on behalf of his dead father, 
and expected to do so for three years more. In most 
districts is a yearly census, and this hardship may have 
^, been occasioned by the Lapp's omission to register before 

the Ouyesdni Natchalnik his father's death. 

The fishing-places of the Lapps are looked upon as 
properties, and are hereditary — some of them from remote 
times. The Lapps are known as Pasvigski, Petschengski, 
Nuotovski, Lovoserski, Terski, and so on : from the river, 
lake, or district where they have their winter abode. 
None of the Greek Catholic Lapps are strictly nomads, 
though they flit three or four times in the year from one 
spot to another. In the spring from the winter pogost to a 
balagan, near some lake or stream, for fishing or bird-catch- 
ing: at mid July to the larger lake fishery: in August again 
to fishing and fowling, or hunting reindeer, martens, squirrel, 
otter, bear, etc. Finally, at Christmas, back to the pogost 
Here stand their small chapels — simple wooden huts 
surmounted by a cross : and only when firewood and rein- 
deer-moss become exhausted do they change their homes. 
Then the chapel is moved too, and reconsecrated. Their 
herds being small, they do not exhaust the moss so 
quickly : consequently they need not remove so frequently 
as the Norwegian Lapps. They have not, as the Finps 
and Russians have, bath -huts. Their food is very very 

234 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvii. 

simple — curds, fish, and soup, often made with fish and 
powdered birch-bark. For one-half of the year they are 
forbidden by the Greek Catholic faith any but fish diet. 
They cannot afford to eat reindeer, so this is not as serious 
a deprivation as, in this hard climate, it might seem to be. 
But the Samoyedes of Malaya Zemlia and the Terski 
Lapps, by special dispensation of the Church, are per- 
mitted to eat ptarmigan during fast time. Seeing that in 
the whole of Terski Lapland and Malaya Zemlia there 
are two or at most three priests, the Lapps might, without 
much risk, dispense with the dispensation. A Lapp said 
that if he might eat on a fast day an egg, he did not see 
why he should not eat the bird that laid it. 

In the western parts of the White Sea Peninsula 
are swan, geese, ducks, and other migratory birds : ptar- 
migan, wood-grouse, and capercaillie. Eastward and in 
the interior game is scarce, unless on the rivers. Nature 
is so bountiful in providing fish that the Lapps are to a 
great extent independent of reindeer : the White Sea, the 
great lakes, and the Icy Sea are better than gold-fields to 
them. The Lapps hunt the bear on snow-shoes, bravely, 
coolly, and skilfully. They honour the bear : but wolves 
they call creatures of the devil, contaminating even the 
gun they are shot with. So that a Lapp always uses a 
club to despatch the wolf, and sells the skin to Russians. 

The reindeer they mercifully kill by plunging a sharp- 
pointed knife intp the back of the head, separating the 
spinal marrow. The reindeer instantly drops and dies with- 
out a struggle. These poor savages teach us humanity. 


But, it is said, the process suffuses the meat with blood 
and spoils it The Lapp also teaches us anatomy. At 
once plunging the knife behind the shoulder into the heart, 
the blood flows straight into the stomach. 

Imandra, together with the other lakes, is . generally 
covered with ice from the end of October until the first 
half of May — sometimes longer, even up to the end of 
June. The White Sea closes and opens much at the same 
periods. Snow generally falls with the first frost : Heaven 
in its mercy makes this provision, so that the shallower 
lakes may not freeze to the bottom, destroying the fish : 
and also that the d^bdcle in the spring may be accelerated 
by the melting of the snow. Imandra was once called 
Lower, as Enara was called Upper, Imandra. It abounds 
with wild -fowl, swans — which the Lapps of Sashy^ka 
much pursue — trout, and fish of various kinds. 

I noticed at Sashy^ka and afterwards at Yekostrova, 
some fine wolf-like Lapp dogs. There are occasional 
herds of wild reindeer on the Umpdek Dunder, also round 
the shores of the lake, which are a close fringe of forest 
I wished the soldier to accompany us to Kola, but having 
no passport he had to return at once to Kandalaks. There 
was a Lapp in the isba^ rather deaf. Larivan hailed him. 
Will you go to Kola ? I will, he answered briefly. 

Miron Yefimovitch Arkipoff had a remarkable head, a 
great shaggy tangled mass of fair hair and beard, a quick 
and humorous eye, and moved like a Jack-in-the-box, or 
as if he had swallowed a spring. He was a natural 
humourist The ends of his great moustache would curl 

236 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvii. 

up towards his eyes, his nostrils would dilate, a savage 
frown settle upon his features : and Miron was on the 
point of uttering some quaint piece of humour, that would 
convulse every one about him. 

We sailed in the night from Sashy^ka — a warm sunny 
night With the morning came the wind, in g^usts and 
squalls. Our wretched Lapp canoe was pitching and 
driving into waves which looked as if they would over- 
whelm her. Larivan Simonovitch and his Lapps were 
shrieking to one another, struggling in fear and with wild 
energy to gain the shelter of some islands : but the 
northerly gale rose higher and higher, and it looked as if 
our boat would not reach the shore. To our right was 
the solemn Umpdek Dunder, to our left the Tschftnin 
Dunder, looking down upon us through the gale. 

We struggled past Mogylni Ostrov — the Island of the 
Graves, a burial-place of the Yekostrov Lapps — ^and got 
under shelter. This is one of the most forlorn spots on 
earth. The crosses are rotting, and the graves barely 
distinguishable. The Lapps only dig six feet deep : con- 
sequently, unless on an island, the dead are not secure 
from the bears. Among the trees we saw a pretty group 
of reindeer, belonging to Larivan Simonovitch. He called 
to them, and the reindeer appeared to know his voice. 
At length we landed, wet and tired, in the little haven of 
TscMk Suolo or Yekostrova : and spent some hours in the 
isba, chatting with the Lapps. Three miles only separate 
Imandra at this point from the Piringa Lake. The Piringa 
River enters Imandra at Yekostrova. 


Larivan's wife had an infant two weeks old. I learnt 
that the child must be taken to Kandalaks, the district 
place of registry. Its mother would take it soon, under 
escort of the Stdrista who would pass this way. The 
Lapps have occasionally large families. After a death, 
the deceased remains in the hut with the rest of the 
family for three days. I asked, Why? Only because 
the priest forbade an earlier burial 

Should two Lapps be on a journey, and one die, the 
survivor must try to find a witness, unless the deceased be 
his father or relative. In such case he is beyond suspicion. 
If no witness be within reach, the Lapp straightway digs 
a hole in which to place the body, and utters the words 
S'miram x* Boghom^ At peace, with God. Adding the 
simple reverent prayer : Pomeni Gospod^ tsartsvoye nebjes- 
noyCy Remember me. Lord, Thy Empire is in Heaven : or 
this, Gospod nie sabout menya da smiertiy Lord, forget me 
not, until I die — a brief and touching ritual of the dead. 
Then he fills in the earth, leaving Nature to cover over his 
friend with moss and wild flowers — 

And from his ashes may be made 
The violet of his native land. 

I have heard gentle lips express the wish that from 
our ashes might always grow sweet flowers or apple-trees. 

238 THE WIJITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvni. 


Lapp sayings — Folk-lore — Ivan, son of Kupiska — ^The King of the Lapps — ^A 
story of Yokkonga— The priest's wedding— The fox and the bear— The 
salmon and the tJO\it—/efanas—The giant*s life — ^The giant and his boy — 
The Stallos— The fisher Lapp — Patto Pwadnje's revenge — Stallo's marriage 
—The beaver traps— The Sea Folk— The Govdter— Dog Noses— Ruobba. 

I ASKED for Bauta stones, and the Lapps promised to 
show me one on the journey to Rasnavolok. It proved 
to be a simple boulder on the edge of a little creek, sacred 
for some reason or other to the Lapps. I induced the 
Lapps with difficulty to tell me stories. They said at 
first they did not remember anything of old times. I 
asked Miron whether his father or mother had ever talked 
to him of old times. Never, he said. Shortly afterwards 
he corrected himself I do remember something from old 
times. How old ? I asked About three years. 

The Lapps told me a long story, among others, of a 
bear hunt : and I spent two hours in trying to explain 
what I meant by proverbs or common sayings. Then 
they gave me the following. Shiga olmitch apas olmitch 
ey andan^ A good man, good : bad man don't give 
nothing, no matter. Otherwise : From a good man you 
get something, from a mean man nothing. 

CHAP, xviii.] LAPP STORIES. ^39 

Bochts olmitchy pwads yanni. 
Rich man, reindeer plenty. 
ShiU olmitchy shiU doddal. 
For fisherman, fisherwork. 

The Lapps are gentle and friendly among themselves, 
hospitable and afTectionate. Castren knew a Lapp woman 
who for thirty years had never received from her hus- 
band a harsher name than My little bird. They are 
neither mercenary nor deceitful. They are strangers to 
cruelty or crime, and spend their harmless lives in pro- 
viding for their daily wants. In the lonely winter nights, 
or, in the summer nights, squatting round their forest fire, 
they tell one another simple tales : some original, others 
as old as those of the Arabs, Germans, or Norsemen. 
Professor Friis, in his excellent book on Lappish Mytho- 
logy, relates much of the Lapp Folk-Lore, which is not 
easily learnt from the Lapps themselves, until confidence 
has been established between them and the traveller. I 
take the following from Lappish Mythologi. 

Ivan, the Son of Kupiska, 

A Story of Akkala. 

There was once a Lapp who died, leaving all his pro- 
perty to be divided between his son and daughter. To 
the son he left also a large dog. The children sold the 
property, gave the money to the church, and went out 
into the world to seek their fortune, followed by the dog. 
They came to a lonely house in a forest, inhabited by 

240 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xviii. 

three robbers. The sister was frightened, but the brother 
commenced to fight with the oldest robber. The dog 
seeing that his master was about to be beaten, caught the 
robber by the throat and killed him. The second robber 
was disposed of in the same way, but the girl asked Ivan 
to spare the third as he was very young. 

In the absence of Ivan, an attachment sprang up 
between the robber and the sister, who determined to take 
Ivan's life. Pretending to be ill, she sent her brother on 
various dangerous errands to procure medicine. With the 
assistance of a bear and a wolf, whom he had trained, 
and of his faithful dog, he always succeeded : until one 
day he lost the three animals in a hole in the mountain. 
On his return home Ivan was shut up in the bath-house, 
and fire was set to it. The three animals, however, escap- 
ing from the mountain, appeared and tore the robber to 
pieces. Ivan reproached his sister, and went to the nearest 
town. Here a merchant took a fancy to him, and Ivan 
married the merchant's daughter. 

The King of the Lapps, 

A Story of Koutokeino. 

The King of the Lapps one day lost his way in the 
mountains and met a large party of Tschudes. They 
inquired if he knew the Lapp King. He replied that 
he did, and, moreover, promised to bring the king to a 
meeting, at an appointed spot on the ice of a neighbour- 
ing lake. 


The Lapp King went home, collected his men, and 
made them turn their boots inside out, so that they would 
not slip on the ice. He also had a great tree cut, and 
the bark stripped off. Then the King with his men came 
to the rendezvous : hurled the tree along the ice, and 
most of the Tschudes were thrown down. The Lapps 
then ran among their enemies, who, in ordinary boots, 
could not move easily on the ice, despatched them, and 
took much booty. 

The Lapp and the Tschudes. 

A Story of Yokkonga, 

A man had three sons and a daughter. One day the 
sons went out hunting, leaving their parents and sister at 
home. Before long the dogs announced strangers, and, 
to the man's dismay, they proved to be Tschudes. He, 
however, invited them pleasantly into the hut, and asked 
his wife to bring food. Appearing anxious at the wife's 
absence, he sent the daughter out : finally, he found an 
excuse for going out to ask the cause of the delay. Then 
fastening the door, he took a long lance, went on the top 
of the hut and looked through the smoke hole. The 
Tschudes struck at the door threatening vengeance, but 
the Lapp with his long spear ran them through, one by 
one. When the sons came home and saw what their 
father had done, they praised him. My sons, he replied, 
when death threatens, then comes wisdom. 

242 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xvni. 

The Priests Wedding, 

A priest who was about to marry, invited as guests all 
the wild animals of the forest. 

The bear came first, but met on the road a boy. 
Where are you going ? inquired the boy. To the priest's 
wedding, replied the bear. Don't go, said the boy : you 
have such a fine coat that they will kill you. Whereupon 
the bear turned back. Next came the wolf. He also 
followed the boy's advice, and turned back. Then the 
lynx and the arctic fox came, and all followed the boy's 
advice, and did not go to the wedding. But the horse 
told the boy that he was too swift and strong to be kept 
prisoner, and went on : as did the cow, the goat, the 
sheep, and the reindeer. As the boy had warned them, 
they were all made prisoners and tamed. 

The Fox and the Bear, 

A fox being hungry, laid himself down on the snow 
and appeared to be dead. A raide or Lapp sledge-train 
soon came past, and the driver seeing the fox, and believ- 
ing him dead, picked him up and put him on a sledge. 
The fox, however, requiring to be placed on the last 
sledge, fell off as if by accident The Lapp picked him 
up again and placed him on the last sledge, which was 
loaded with iish. The fox managed to unfasten the sledge 
from the train, and possessing himself of the fish, started 
for his cave, there to enjoy the stolen food. 

On the way he met a bear, who asked where he had 

CHAP, xviii.] JETANAS. 243 

got the fish. I put my tail in the pond, said he, and the 
fish clung to it Can you get fish to hang on to my tail ? 
asked the bear. Yes, grandfather, said the fox : follow me. 
They came to the pond, and the bear put his tail through 
a hole in the ice as directed, the fox telling him not to 
stir. When the fox saw that the tail was frozen in, he 
shouted : Come out, Lapps, with bows and lances : the 
bear is frozen to the ice ! Out rushed the Lapps, and 
when the bear started up, his tail gave way. Thus the 
bear has a short tail to this day. 

The Salmon and the TrauU 

A salmon swimming up the Tana River met a trout, 
who challenged him to race up the cataract The salmon 
laughed, knowing well he was the best swimmer : then 
went with a rush up the rapid. The trout caught hold 
of his tail, and when the salmon reached the top of the 
fall, he turned to look for the trout The trout shouted : 
I have won : I am higher than you. 

Jetanas^ or Giants, 

The Lapps have many tales of these monsters of human 
form : and in some parts names of places, mountains, etc., 
are still associated with them. A mile below Karesuando 
a large stone projects into the river. The Lapps say it was 
placed there by a giant who wanted to step across : it 
is therefore called Jatuni-suando, giant's stepping-stone. 
A Jetanas could take a Lapp between his fingers and put 
him in his pocket 

244 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xviii. 

The Quest of the Gianfs Life. 

A young Lapp whose father had been killed by a 
giant, and whose mother had been compelled to many the 
monster, sought for revenge. He asked his mother to find 
where the giant had hidden his life. This she did, with 
difficulty. On an island surrounded by a sea of fire was 
a garden : in the garden a house : in the house a sheep : 
in the sheep a hen : in the hen an egg : within the egg 
was the giant's life. The young Lapp took a bear, a 
wolf, a hawk, a gull, and crossed the sea of fire in an 
iron boat 

The bear and the wolf rowed : hence their brown 
coats, for the fire-waves washed over and burnt them* 
They came to the island and found the house — the bear 
breaking into it with his paw. The wolf caught the sheep, 
the hawk the hen : but the egg dropped into the sea. 
Then the sea-bird dived and brought i.t back. The egg 
was burnt, and the young man returned home in time to 
see the giant in flames, at the point of death. 

The Giant and his Boy. 

A boy once served a giant, who, wanting to try his 
strength, took him into the forest The giant proposed 
that they should strike their heads against the fir-trees. 
The boy anticipating this, had made a hole in a tree and 
covered it with bark. They both ran, the boy burying his 
head in the tree, while the giant only split the bark. 
Well, said the giant, now I have found a boy who is 


Then the giant wished to try who could shout the 
loudest The giant roared till the mountains trembled 
and great rocks tumbled down. The boy cut a branch 
from a tree, saying he would bind it round the giant's head, 
for fear it should burst when he shouted. The giant 
prayed him not to shout ; and said they would try in- 
stead who could throw the farthest He produced a great 
hammer which he threw^ so high into the air, that it ap- 
peared no larger than a fly. The boy said he was con- 
sidering which sky to throw the hammer into, and the 
giant fearing to lose his hammer, asked the boy not to 
throw at all. 

In the evening the giant asked him when he slept 
the soundest, and he answered, at midnight He then 
went to bed, but getting up before midnight, placed a log 
of timber in the bed, and concealed himself. At midnight 
the giant came with a club and aimed heavy blows at the 
bed. In the morning when the boy, in reply to the giant's 
inquiries, said he had felt some chips falling on his face 
from the roof during , the night, the giant thought he 
had better send him away. This he did, giving him as 
much money as he could carry. 

The Stallos, 

These were somewhat more human than Jetanas, but 
much larger than ordinary men, and were cannibals. They 
wore coats of mail, and were very rich. Their wives were 
all short-sighted : and carried iron tubes wherewith to 
suck blood out of their victims. They often challenged 

246 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xviil 

the Lapps to fight : the two antagonists revealing mutually 
where their property was concealed, and the survivor 
taking all. A Stallo was always accompanied by a great 
dog, who guarded him while he slept If a Lapp suc- 
ceeded in killing him, he must also kill the dog : otherwise 
the latter would lick its master's wounds, and bring him 
to life. 

Stallo and the Fisher-Lapp, 

Returning from his nets, a Lapp, one day, found a 
Stallo on the beach. There was nothing for it but to 
fight. The Lapp, finding himself in imminent danger, 
promised various offerings to the gods, but Stallo also 
made promises. .At last Stallo promised to offer the 
Lapp's head to the gods, if they would give him the 
victory : but the Lapp, who was not a cannibal, promised 
Stallo's axe and the whole of his body for an oflTering : 
after which he succeeded in killing Stallo. This axe, say 
the Lapps, was found many years afterwards under a 
stone in Lulea. 

Patto PwadnjVs Revenge. 

Patto Pwadnje, an old Lapp, had several children, 
some of whom disappeared in a mysterious manner. At 
last he discovered the cause. A Stallo living in the neigh- 
bourhood laid traps, by means of which the children fell 
into the river and were drowned. Patto Pwadnje re- 
solved to be revenged ; and, pretending to have fallen 
through the traps, he lay down in a shallow part of the 
stream, awaiting Stallo's approach. 

CHAP, xvni.] STALLO. 247 

When Stallo saw Patto Pwadnje he laughed, pulled 
him out of the water, and took him home. As he appeared 
to be frozen, Stallo put him up the chimney to thaw, and 
then went out to prepare for cooking him. Meantime 
Patto Pwadnje climbed down, picked up an axe, and when 
Stallo appeared knocked him on the head. 

Stolid s Marriage. 

A Stallo sought the hand of a Lapp girl in marriage. 
The girl's father not daring to object, the day was 
appointed. During the meal a son of the Lapp took 
what appeared to be a red-hot kettle, put it on his knees, 
and ate out of it: and his would-be brother-in-law, not 


wanting to appear less brave, took a kettle off the fire, 
placed it on his knees, and was frightfully burnt To 
conceal his anguish he went out, and shortly afterwards 

The Stallo's father, unaware of this, and induced to 
go and play blind-man's-buff on the ice, was led by the 
Lapps into a hole, and drowned. His wife, who was in 
the house talking with the other women, heard her 
husband's cries. Suspecting something wrong, she seized 
her tube: but as it had been placed in the fire, she 
sucked into her mouth cinders and flame, and was so 
burnt to death. 

Stallo and the Beaver Traps, 

A Stallo went out to catch beavers. Having set his 
traps, he arranged a cord which would ring a bell. Then 

248 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xviii. 

he kindled a fire, and lay down to sleep. A Lapp who had 
watched him pulled the cord, and the bell rang. Down 
ran Stallo to the lake, only to find that he was mistaken. 
Meantime the Lapp threw Stallo s coverings into the fire: 
and when Stallo came back he was vexed with himself for 
having, as he thought, in his baste thrown the coverings 
into the fire. The Lapp rang the bell a second time. OR 
started Stallo, and when he returned, the fire had gone 
out. Commencing to freeze, he called on the moon to 
help him, but in vain : before morning he froze to death. 

Cacse-haldek or Sea- Folk. 

A Lapp boy was invited by an old stranger to go 
fishing. Soon a dense fog settled on the sea, and they 
pulled long until they got out of it At length, before 
them lay a town. The boy asked what place it was, and 
the old man replied : It is our town. The boy was 
frightened, for he saw then that his companion was not 
a human being. 

However, he went out fishing with the old man's 
sons, and received for his share of the fish a hundred 
dollars. In the streets of the town were goats : and 
great hooks attached to fishing lines hung down from the 
skies. Occasionally a goat bit at a hook, and was pulled 
up out of sight He asked the old man what this meant, 
and he told him that the goats were fishes, which real 
people above the sea were catching. In a few days he was 
taken back to his home through the same fog, but told to 
reveal nothing of what he had seen. 


Saivo Fish. 

An old man and a young one went out a-fishing. The 
old man believed in Saivo people : the young one did 
not. The old man said he knew where to get plenty of 
fish : but they must be silent, so as not to offend the 
Saivo people. The young man promised this, and they 
put out their net. When they drew it in it was full of 
fish. The young man, in spite of his promise, spoke, and 
all the fish slipped out of the net. The old man said 
that he might get angry, but was induced to try another 

This time also the net was full : but again the same 
thing happened. Now the old man got angry, and 
wanted to go : but the young man promised not to utter 
a syllable. He kept his promise, the net was safely 
landed full of fish, and from that day the young man 
was convinced. 


A Lapp accidentally built his hut above the Goveiters* 
subterranean abode. He was tormented by them, until 
at last he removed his hut The following day, while 
looking after his salmon nets, he heard some one on 
the river side opposite singing a song, thanking him for 
having moved his hut. Finding a salmon in the net, 
he placed it on a stone outside the hut, but returning in 
a few minutes, he found the fish gone. 

Next day he saw his child sitting on the spot whence 
the salmon had disappeared, playing with silver money. 

250 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, [chap, xviii. 

A search was made and a lot of money was discovered. 
In the night a Goveiter came and thanked him for having 
removed the hut, saying he had taken the salmon but 
paid him well as a mark of gratitude. 

Bcednag-njudney or Dog Noses, 

These were savage spirits, having the forms of men, 
with dogs' noses, and but one eye in the middle of the 
forehead. They were cannibals, and very dangerous. A 
little girl once came to the house of a Boednag-njudne, 
finding only the wife at home. Taking pity on the little 
girl, the wife concealed her. The husband came home. 
It smells people, he said. The wife tried to persuade him 
that he was ^vrong, and contrived to let the girl escape : 
but Dog Nose, with his keen scent, discovered her track, 
and went in pursuit. The girl concealed herself under- 
neath a bridge, and Boednag-njudne lost the track. 

Ruobba^ the Giant, and t/te Devil. 

A man had three sons, who went out into the world to 
seek their fortunes. The eldest came to a king's palace, 
and was engaged by the king to watch a tree on which 
grew golden leaves, which were being constantly stolen. 
In the evening he watched, and saw how the leaves grew 
gradually larger : then heavy drowsiness came over him, 
and he slept In the morning the leaves had disappeared, 
and the young man was beheaded. Next came the second 
brother, but the same fate befell him. Lastly came the 
third, nick-named Ruobba, or Dawdle^ from his lazy habits. 


He seated himself on a branch of the tree, and had 
nearly fallen asleep, when he heard a curious sound in the 
air. He saw two men coming towards the tree, who 
proved to be none less than the devil and a giant. They 
had only one eye between them, and when the devil handed 
the giant the eye, Ruobba quickly took it out of his hand. 
The giant asked for the eye, thinking the devil had kept 
it : but the latter declared that the giant had taken it 
The giant was exasperated, and they fought till they were 
both dead. Ruobba received next day half the kingdom, 
and the king's daughter for a wife. 

The page of the history of Lapland is almost a blank. 
In an Icelandic chronicle I have read how Grymer, a 
Swedish nobleman, wooed the daughter of the King of 
Sweden. The King promised the princess' hand on con- 
dition that Grymer should overcome Hialmar, son of Harec, 
King of Lapland. The two armies met. O Grymer, said 
the Lapp warrior : let us be friends. I will give thee 
the unmixed juice of the grape, I will seek a Swedish 
wife, thou shalt marry a fair maiden of my country, and I 
will give thee the Principality of Biarmland — ^so we do not 
fight Grymer refused with bitter words these peaceful 
overtures, and in the combat Hialmar was slain. His 
father, wild with grief, sent to ravage Sweden, and that 
country became a sheet of fire. Charles sent his son Eric 
to meet the invaders, but he was slain. Grymer then set 
out to meet Harec, disarmed him, then sparing his life, 
sent him back to Lapland contented. 



The Umpdek Dunder — A novel bird — Rasnavolok — ^An unprofitable sacrifice — 
Pleasant companions — ^Arctic solitudes — Journey to Ldvosero— Talk with 
a Lapp — The Russian Lapps — ^The Northern Lights. 

We left Yekostrova with cordial farewells, taking Miron 
with us, as we heard that the succeeding stations were 
badly provided with carriers and boatmen. It was a long 
tedious journey among the islands on the west side of 
Imandra, and against a head wind, all the way to Raika 
Taivola. Here we spent some hours with axe and auger, 
raising the roof of the diminutive cabin, under which we 
had been cramped and uncomfortable. 

There were fine pines standing by the lake. The isba 
faced the blue water, and far away beyond the lake rose 
the fine blue Umpdek Dunder — ^the Khivenski Gory di the 
Russians — with a pale cold mist clinging round its snowy 
sjummit Pines grow freely all round Imandra, and indeed 
ipuch farther north. At Pasvig in 69.30* north latitude, 
^nd on the Tana River in joi^ north, pines grow readily. 

There were eight Lapps at Raika Taivola, decent hos- 
pitable people. I wished to leave the aUger behind as a 
souvenir, and offered it to one man, on condition of his 


equalising matters by giving his brother one rouble out 
of the present of money we gave him at the same time. 
Though the auger was worth, he admitted, three or four 
roubles, he could not see how it was worth his while to give 
one rouble away. Finally, we gave it to the other, who 
readily accepted the condition. 

Among the Mdrmanski, whom these small huts serve 
in spring and autumn, exist strict principles of priority 
and etiquette. He who has carried no wood for the fire 
will be shut out from it He who cooks the bread soup 
gives way to him who cooks the fish soup. The man 
takes precedence of the woman, the woman of the boy. 
The servant gives way to the master. Masters and ser- 
vants must arrange in what order each puts his pot on 
the fire. 

Rambling by the lake, my attention was drawn to the 
note of a c\ic\iiOOygeeka the Lapps call him, who appeared to 
have been at a convivial meeting. Kuk-kuk-koo ! he cried 
feebly at intervals, from among the lovely silver birches 
which were mirrored in the lake. This stuttering or con- 
vivial cuckoo being, as far as we knew, of a novel species, 
I determined to name him after the Doctor — Cuadus 
Doctor. We took our leave of the Lapps and of the 
cuckuckoo, and paddled away northward. Still among 
islands closely wooded, no great expanse of Imandra was* 
to be seen : it might be a group of small lakes. The pure 
glorious summer atmosphere reduces space, dnd distances 
are hard to judge. 

We came, upon a delicious Sunday morning towards 

254 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xix. 

five o'clock, to Rasnavolok, and rested. The isba stood, 
with one or two earth huts, in a small clearing on the bank 
of the navolok or creek. We had still the lovely trees 
reflected in the lake, and across the lake the soft light and 
shade of the Umpdek Dunder. The isba was, as usual, 
a rough-hewn timber hut, measuring about sixteen feet 
square and six feet high. It had in one comer a fireplace 
of considerable pretensions made of rough stones, in which 
the Perevodtchik hastened to kindle a fire. Two or three 
Lapps who had been asleep on the rude bench which 
runs round these huts, good-naturedly set to work to carry 
water from the lake, and to cut firewood. 

Then a drowsy Lapp brought us a salmon-trout, and 
we fricasseed an unfortunate hen we had bought at Keret, 
and transported with us for two hundred versts. We had 
bought two : and after the word had gone forth for their 
execution, my heart smote me, and I hurried out to save 
the poor fowls* lives. In the case of one I was too late. 
We now found that the unhappy bird had long since 
passed the meridian of life, and even with our best arctic 
appetites we could make no impression upon it. The 
secretary, whose instincts were more or less wolfish starved 
and ravenous, could scarcely succeed with this fowl 

Afterwards a tall handsome elderly man came in to 
offer us welcome. He was unlike a Laplander. He wore a 
conical striped woven nightcap, and a gray home-spun suit, 
with the usual Lapp moccasins. He brought his young 
and pretty wife, Maria Ivanovna Arkipoff, a cousin of Miron. 
Two other women came in their Sunday dresses — ^red and 



yellow short gowns close to the figure, Lapp boots bound 
round the ankles : on their heads close skull-caps, worked 
with silver-gilt thread, and red and yellow handkerchiefs. 
At Rasnavolok the Gavrilova and Sviatoi N6s fishermen 
branch off to the North-east. 

We set out from Rasnavolok with our good-looking 
crew : our host, Miron, Maria Ivanovna, a pretty g^rl 
Nastasia Kotfovna ArkipoflF, and a middle-aged Lapp 
woman. A beautiful south-easterly wind blew, and our 
boat sped under sail over the ruffling waters of Imandra. 
The pretty Maria Ivanovna pointed out to me with a 
smile the Doctor, who was asleep with his mouth open. I 
then perceived that Maria Ivanovna was somewhat 
frivolous in character and deficient in reverence. 

We had seen the last of the great lake, as we landed 
near a small isba by the mouth of the Koro stream. It 
strained our consciences to see the little Lapp ladies load 
themselves with their share of our baggage and trudge 
away merrily into the forest. 

Still lonely woods : pines and silver - birches, with 
sprouting foliage, and their dead leaves still lying on the 
moss among fresh ferns. Now we saw a woodcock, and 
now a whimbrel in these almost lifeless woods. At times 
we chattered and laughed : at others we marched through 
the white solitudes, hearing only the crushing of dry 
boughs under foot. 

These great lonely spaces are impressive to a degree : 
the Arctic silence is as it were the dawn of creation, 
and as if life had still to be called into existence. Man- 

256 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xix. 

kind might inhabit some other globe, or might have 
existed only in a dream. Forests are lonelier than the 
sea. We saw no bears, reindeer, nor four-footed creatures : 
indeed, only vegetarian bears could find a livelihood here. 
Travellers are scarce, and ill-fed. 

We left the three isbaushki of Ratlombal to our left 
The journey from here over the tundras to the Umba 
Lake and Ldvosero occupies, so I learnt here, four days; 
Ldvosero has in winter about sixty Lapps : in summer, 
since many descend the Korodok to the sea, only about 
thirty. A Lapp told me that it was practicable to ascend 
the Umba River to K&nosero from its mouth in one day : 
thence in two days to Umbosero. Thirty versts below 
the latter lake are four rapids — one a difficult one. Some 
few fishermen frequent an island near the north end of 

We came in two hours to a small lake, and blowing 
the Karelian post-horn, embarked in two boats. Then we 
traversed forest for an hour, and sailed out on the Piires 
Osero— a sheet of water surrounded by rolling hills thickly 
wooded. We spent two hours upon this lake. 

Miron began to hesitate at this point of the journey 
and wanted, to return home. When Diogenes' only 
servant ran away, a friend asked the philosopher how 
he could bear to lose him. What I said Diogenes : can 
Manes live without Diogenes, and not Diogenes with«» 
out Manes? However, in this case we could not live 
without Miron, who had accordingly to be humoured 
into compliance. 


I asked Miron how long he would remember me. 
For years. If I were to give him no present would he 
remember me still ? Yes : but the larger the present the 
longer the memory, said Miron laughing. For how much 
a year would he remember me ? Miron said he would 
remember me without money. Would he give me food, 
should I come to his house without any money ? It is 
the custom of the Lapps, said the others quietly, to offer 
food to every one who visits them. 

I asked Miron if he could tell me anything old : some- 
thing that his father's father knew. Miron said simply 
that his grandfather was dead, and he couldn't talk with 
him. He added : We do not mark what is past. We 
have nothing worth remembering. If I go to Kola, what 
good to remember that ? 

I asked the Lapps if they believed all mankind came 
from two human beings, or from many. We do not 
know, they said. Have you heard your fathers say ? 
I have something like that in my memory, said Miron. I 
said that if the original couple had four children, each of 
whom had descendants, the world might be well peopled. 
True, true, said Miron. I pointed out how Miron had 
four grandparents and eight great-grandparents, and asked 
if he were pleased to have had so many relatives. Ni/ 
znayou shtobi snitni dyilat, Miron said : I don't know what 
I can do with them. Miron had never received a letter 
in his life. 

These were the best examples of Lapps we had seen : 
in speech, manner, and behaviour : quiet, modest, digni- 



fied : their voices were soft They had not the falsetto 
voices of On^sime and Larivan, and none of the Karelian 
blue eyes. The least mixed races of Lapps are said to 
be those of Southern Finmark and of Terski Lapland. I 
asked our host if either of his parents were Russian. No, 
he said briefly : they were Laplandsi^ and my fathers' 
fathers too. The suggestion of Russian birth did not 
appear to be agreeable. 

The Lapps, like the reindeer and the arctic dogs, are 
fond of their country. lanotka howls when the church- 
bells remind him of the rich Russian bells in the home of 
the Old Believers by the White Sea. Prince Yablonovsky 
took in 1850 a girl from Russian Lapland to St Peters- 
burg. She there received a superior education, was 
kindly treated, and seemed happy. Two years afterwards 
a party of Samoyedes with their reindeer were brought 
to St Petersburg : the Lapp girl saw their tent, sledge, 
and reindeer, and disappeared to her home. A young 
Lapp entered the Swedish army, served for twenty years, 
and became captain. But his home instincts were too 
strong : he returned to his country. 

The Lapps of Finland and of these regions have in 
the last three centuries diminished, while those in Nor- 
way have increased. No priest here speaks their tongue, 
no zealous missionary comes to welcome their children to 
school : no encouragement to thrift or enei^ ever reaches 
them. They are an old and primitive race. They have 
not, nor do they appear to have had, development or 
civilisation. Probably they were among the first inhabit- 


ants of the Frozen Zone, when at the end of the glacial 
period these regions became habitable. 

I measured our friends of Rasnavolok. The elderly 
man stood five feet ten inches in height, and was, I believe, 
the tallest Laplander living. Miron measured five feet 
four inches : Maria Ivanovna four feet nine inches : 
•Nastasia, the girl, four feet four inches and a half. The 
mean height of the Norwegian male Lapps is said to be 
four feet eleven : of the females four feet ten inches. 
The mean cephalic index has been found to average 
87.15 in the men and 87.64 in the women. The annu- 
laris is as a rule longer than the index-finger — an evidence, 
it IS supposed, of low culture. 

There came a rain-cloud and squall over the moun- 
tains. To our right, on the edge of the lake, was a 
square verst of forest scorched and blasted by lightning. 
Electric storms rage here in the winter with great fury. 
I asked the Lapps their belief regarding the Vose gaes^ 
or Aurora. Formerly it filled them with terror : and the 
Lapps would howl and shout during the grand pheno- 
menon, which their ignorance connected with their own 
petty existence. 

The Lapps told me they believe the Northern Lights 
bring wind and storms, woe and sickness. They are evil 
omens for mankind. The Lapps recognise, they said, hands 
and feet in them, and supernatural forms. I wished to 
ask, but could not, what they thought of a comet 

Six years ago the Northern Lights consumed a rein- 
deer at Maselsky. A man of Karelia on a Saturday 

26o THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xix. 

afternoon was in the bath-house. The Northern Fires 
came, and a loud cry was heard. The priest ran to the 
bath, and found the man cut in two. On another occa- 
sion, so it had been reported to Miron, a Laplander was 
in the bath, replacing his clothes ready to go out The 
Vose goes flashed in the heavens, and again a cry was 
heard. This man was found with a cord round his 
neck — Changed. No human presence was visible. 

Miron's face lighted up with a quaint earnestness, and 
he shook his shaggy beard to emphasise his faith in the 
preternatural energies of the Vose goes. Poor Lapps, 
timid, credulous spiritualists — as many more civilised 
people are : no wonder nvitchcraft and superstition still 
chain their simple minds. Castren was caught in a snow- 
storm. Probably, said his Lapp guide, the Seida wishes 
to exact an offering from us, and through this storm to 
show his power. Then the Lapp drank to the Seida, to 
assuage his wrath. 

Whether it were a whistling wind, writes the Solomon 
of the Apocrypha : or a melodious noise of birds among 
the spreading branches, or a pleasing sound of water run- 
ning violently, or a terrible sound of stones cast down, or 
a running that could not be seen of skipping beasts, or a 
rebounding echo from the hollow mountains — these things 
made them to swoon for fear. For the whole world 
shined with clear light, and none were hindered in their 
labour. Over them only was spread a heavy night, an image 
of that darkness which should afterwards receive them. 

The timidity of superstition, which in the case of our 


afflicted countrymen restricts itself to a childish dread 
of omens, presentiments, ghosts, and suchlike, has upon 
the mind of the Lapp an effect amounting to hysteria, 
and almost to mania. A Karelian, journeying by water, 
met a boat containing a Lapp woman with a baby in her 
arms : beside herself with terror at the Karelian's strange 
dress, the woman cast the child into the lake. 

A man sat chatting in a circle of Terski Lapps. A 
sudden sound was heard, and the Lapps fell prostrate on 
the ground, as still as corpses : rising in a minute uncon- 
cernedly as if nothing had happened. 

A merchant suddenly displayed a knife to a Lapp 
woman : she flew madly at him, and attacked him, then 
sank senseless to the ground. Another suddenly waved 
a white cloth before a Lapp woman, and she tried to tear 
his eyes out : all curious manifestations of failure of the 
faculties and of self-control. Cover the agitated Lapp's 
eyes with your hand and the ecstasy passes. 

Authors who refer to the Lappish mythology are 
Schefferus, 1673: Tuderus, 1773: Fjellstrom, 1755: 
Hogstrom, 1747: Lindahl, 1750: Jessen, 1767: Laesta- 
dius, 1 831 -3: Lars Laestadius, 1840: Ganander, 1789: 
Castren, 1853: Professor Friis, 1871. To the two last- 
named authors, I have chiefly referred, for my sketch of 
the Lapp mythology. Professor Friis seems in a great 
measure to have used Scheffer as his authority. 

262 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xx. 


Mythology of the Lapps — ^The Noaids — ^The Kobdas — ^A self-sacrifice — ^The 
Lapp divinities — Tiermes — Sun-worshippers — The fonnation of a soul — 
The Haldek — Heaven and hell — The flood. 

The wizard songs of the Lapps, and their numerous 
ballads mentioned in the Kalevala, have faded out of 
recollection : and a song or two about a bear hunt, or 
about the Paeive Bamek, Sons of the Sun, are all that a 
traveller is likely to hear among the Russian Lapps. The 
mythology of the Lapps, handed down by the missionaries 
sent among them, would have been more complete had 
they treated the Lapp wizards or Nocdds more tolerantly, 
and not driven them into reticence. The NocddSy like the 
Druids — the persecution of whom deprived us of much 
knowledge of the mythology of our forefathers — alone 
were familiar with their traditions : and with many of them 
their knowledge was buried. 

These wizards even seem to have remotely assisted in 
introducing Christianity. They adopted each new-comer's 
faith, and afraid to give offence to some unknown Almighty, 
tried to gain the favour of Rist Ibmel, the Christians' God, 
as well as of their own traditional divinities. The ability 


of a Nocdd determined the number of his followers. Some 
were very famous, and are still remembered : Guttavuorok, 
for instance, who could assume four different forms. In 
trances the NociuU souls were supposed to take flight on 
a bird or fish to Yabmi Aibmo, the Country of the Dead, 
where they gained the knowledge desired. 

As I have just instanced, the nervous system of the 
Northern races is very feeble, and ecstasy comes to them 
without much provocation or effort Lapp children, if 
unusually nervous or excitable, were sent to NoaldSy in the 
hope of their becoming adepts. One of the Norway kings, 
Suttorm the White, sent his daughter Gunhild to Motle, 
king of the Lapps, to have her instructed in magic. 

No one knew the form of instruction. Inspiration 
came partly in sleep, partly through assistant ghosts, 
Noaida Gagge^ who must introduce the candidate to the 
Country of the Dead. All the Nocads sat cross-legged 
in front of the gamme : then the novice sang, accom- 
panied by the oldest Nocudy and drummed on a magic 
drum. If during the subsequent trance the Noazda Gagge 
crossed their bodies and entered the hut, perceptible to the 
novice alone, this was the sign of his initiation. 

One Noaid could harm men and animals : another 
could find causes of ailment and their remedy : a third 
could change himself into animal forms. The Green- 
landers believe the same of the Angakok^ the Samoyedes 
of the Tddibe, and the Siberian races of the Sckdman. 
Nocdds must be perfect in form and constitution : when 
old and toothless they lost their virtues. 

264 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xjl 

The Nomds were also the medicine men of die Lapps : 
and some became skilful by experience and the study of 
nature. Like the familiars of Odin, who had bitter, favour- 
able, and medicinal runeSy the Noaids had cabalistic words 
and tokens. Dangerous illnesses were attributed to the 
influence of dead relatives — to their impatience to meet, 
or their wish to punish, the living. Thus, to seek con- 
ciliation, the Noaid must travel to the Country of the 
Dead. For this and other services he was well paid. 

The kobdUy or drum, used alike by all the Turanians for 
divining, was beaten by the Nocdd like a gong, slowly and 
gradually, to a low chant, Goy^ Goy^ Gcy^ and this sum- 
moned the familiar spirits. Spaces, painted on the parch- 
ment with reindeer's blood or a decoction of alder-bark, 
were set apart on the kobda for various deities : for the 
sun, stars, and planets, living creatures, Lapps, their abodes, 
reindeer. Christians, etc The interest and value of the 
kobda depended, of course, much upon the Noatd's skill in 
drawing, and knowledge of mythology. 

This is a fair example of a kobda. The horizontal 
lines divide the oval into spaces which represent Heaven, 
the Earth, beneath the Earth. Professor Friis interprets 
the drum more or less as follows : — 

1. The moon. 

2. Thor with a hammer and a pickaxe. 

3. Freya, with emblems of plenty — apparently a 
flowerpot and a tankard. 

4. Freya clothed in a fishing-net as the patroness of 



5. Thor's servant. 

6. Freya's little boy: who appears to have gone 

7. Ducks. 

8. The cuckoo. 

9. The Morning Star, the Evening Star, and the 
Moon Star. 

10. A cock. 

11. The cat. 

12. A bear — which appears to have come out of a 
Noah's ark. 

13. A hare. 

14. A reindeer. 

15. The ship Ringhorna^ in which the sun and moon 
are sailing over the sea by night. 

16. The ox. 

17. The sun. 

1 8. Heimdal, the messenger of the gods, disguised as 
a Saivo bird visiting Yabmi Aibmo. 

1 9. The waves of the Central Sea. 

20. The cow Audumbla, on board the Ringhorna, 

21. An alligator. 

22. Yabmi Aibmo, the Country of the Dead. 

23. Three judges. 

24. The swallow, herald of the sun's return. 

25. The swan, mourner over the sun's departure, and 
the singer of Sorrow's song. 

26. The sun beneath the earth in the winter. 

27. The melancholy hog whom the sun slew. 


28. The crane, which comes in the spring to g^ve an 
account of the birds of passage. 

29. The ferryman bearing a soul to purgatory — to 
the apparent satisfaction of a neighbour. 

30. Charon and a passenger. 

31. The moon below the earth . tossing the sun with 
its horn. 

32. Twelve judges. 

33. Thor's dog Starbo, in search of the absent sun. 

34. Lower Yotun, or Niflheim. 

35. The great worm Yormungad, whose coils repre- 
sent the sun's course through the year. Three coils show 
the sun to be in the third month. 

Some of these interpretations are hypothetical : and I 
should be inclined to modify them. The drum being 
divided into three spaces — Asgard or Heaven, Midgard the 
Earth, and Niflheim beneath the Earth — I should take the 
spiral animal to be the great serpent of Midgard : de- 
scribed in that marvellous Icelandic poem, the VoluspOj as 
encompassing the earth, and as long enough to stretch 
from Heaven to the region beneath the Earth. Thor once 
went out in a boat with the Giant Eymer to fish for the 
great serpent : and this may be the meaning of the two 
men in the boat, No. 30. Otherwise it may be the Ship 
of Death, Naglefara^ of which the Giant Rymer was pilot 

No. 23, I should take, not for the dog Starbo, but for 
the squirrel which runs up and down Ydrasily the great 
ash -tree of Midgard, seeking to sow dissension between 
the Serpent and the Eagle. 


I think the ship Ringhoma was the Skidbladner of 
Odin — so great that [it would carry all the gods, and so 
small that it could be folded into a pocket. No sooner 
were its sails unfurled, than a favourable gale sprang up, 
to waft it whithersoever the gods wished to sail. 

The unnumbered animal flying near the sun I should 
take for the black winged dragon, which flew round and 
round the Abode of the Dead, devouring the bodies of 
prisoners in Niflheim — ^the prison-like construction at the 
foot of the drum. 

Heimdal, the Mercury of Asgard, had acute faculties : 
he could see by night a hundred leagues, and could hear 
the growth of the grass on the earth, and of the wool on 
a sheep's back. 

Nos. 24 and 28 I should have taken rather for Thor's 
two ravens — Hugitty Thought, and Munnin, Memory, 
which were stationed at either side of his head. 

No. 27 I should call the boar Skrimner, on whose flesh 
all the gods supped each night, and which became entire 
again each morning. 

The cow Atidumblay depicted in the ship Ring/tor na, 
is the Oedumla of the Scandinavians. A breath of heat 
spreading over the gelid vapours of chaos formed a man 
Ymir, and this cow. Oedumla^ nourished Ymir and sup- 
ported herself by licking rocks covered with salt and hoar 

The figures 32 maybe the twelve apostles, introduced, 
like many Christian saints, to the Lapp mythology in later 
days. And the three figures, 23, so much resemble a 

268 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap.'xx. 

Trinity on an old silver plaque I found in Lapland, that 
they may be an archaic suggestion of the Christian's triple 
divinity — dwelling like departed souls in bliss, close beneath 
the surface of the earth. 

I have not heard the oval form of the kobda accounted 
for. It is so like the section of a skull that it may have 
suggested the head of the Noaid and the various inspira- 
tions contained therein. The Goy, Gay^ Gqy^ I think, must 
have been the Noaid s adjuration of Goya — ^that is, Freya 
or Vanadis, the Goddess of Hope. 

The kobda must be made from a birch, pine, or fir tree : 
grown in a spot where the sun had never shone, and stand- 
ing apart from other trees. The trunk in its growth must 
have twisted contrary to the sun's course : so as not to 
give offence to the Sun God. The kobda varied from one 
to three feet in diameter. The Kemi Lapps are said to 
have had a drum so huge, that they could not carry it 
on a sledge, and accordingly burned it whenever they 

Valnemolnen and Ilmarinen, two kings of Finland, 
went to Lapland in order that Ilmarinen might receive as 
wife the fairest girl in Lapland. She was daughter of the 
Lappish king, who as a condition demanded a kobda of 
singular properties. The two kings set to work and made 
one. It proved so wonderful and lucrative, that they 
resolved to get it back. They seized it, but on their 
return journey were overtaken by the Lapp king in the 
form of an eagle. In the struggle for its recovery, the 
drum was spoiled. Ilmarinen was a great hero : immortal- 


ised as Ilmaris on the Lapp kobdas. The hammer used 
in divining was small and T-shaped : a brass ring, which 
hopped on the parchment as the hammer tapped it, was 
the direct mouthpiece of the oracle.* 

A wizard's son was sick. Forbidden to use the drum 
himself, the father sent for his wife's brother. Drum as 
he would, the ring drifted into the Abode of the Dead. 
After the promise of a female reindeer, it travelled to the 
Christians' region. The father next promised a male deer, 
then a horse, to the Noaid of the Kingdom of Death, if 
only the ring would jump to the place of the Lapps : but 
all in vain. He then saw certain death for his son. 

His brother-in-law now went out, hung a stone round 
his neck, and fell upon his face in prayer. The stone 
intelligibly answered that a man must die in the son's 
place. The father gladly offered to do so: and the 
ring at once leapt to the Region of the Lapps. The 
son recovered, but the poor father fell dangerously ill : 
and the next afternoon went with his unfortunate soul to 
Mubben Aibmo. The son in gratitude killed a reindeer, 
so that his father in the Abode of the Dead might ride 
whither he pleased. 

The Runic tree was as much venerated by the Lapps 
as the kobda : it was a sort of household idol, kept sacredly 
in the recesses of the gamme. No woman must approach 
it If within three days she crossed the path by which a 
Runic tree had been transported, she must expect misfor- 
tune or death, and speedily make expiatory offerings. 
Svitsch was a reindeer offered at a moment of imminent 

2/2 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xx. 

breeze: two when their enemy must use a double-reefed 
sail : three when they prayed for a tempest. 

There were gods of fruitfulness of earth and sea, and 
Ailekes Olbmak^ or holy-day divinities. Sunday was the 
best day for oracles and hunting : Saturday the next, 
Friday the next. Friday and Saturday were unlucky for 
woodcutting, as blood would flow from the trees. 

The great gods used little winged gods, flying be- 
tween heaven and earth. The sun, moon, and stars were in 
a degree worshipped by the Lapps, as by the Samoyedes, 
Ostiaks, Voguls, etc. : and associated with the gods. Ursa 
Major was Tiermes' dog. The three stars in Orion, Freya's 
distaff : the Milky-way was the road of winter. An old 
Samoyede woman told Castren that each morning she 
bowed to the sun, saying : When thou, Iliambertje, arisest, 
I arise : when thou goest down, I also go to rest 

The Esquimaux thought the sun and moon were once 
human — a brother and sister. The third star in Orion's 
belt was a Greenlander, lost while out seal fishing. The 
Aurora was composed of souls of the dead floating in 
space — dancing and playing ball. Snow was the blood of 
the departed. Souls rested on the skins of young white 
bears while on the journey to heaven. The moon needed 
food, and during an eclipse was suspected of casting about 
for seals : so the Greenlanders made noises to drive the 
moon away. 

All this is more poetical and less childish than the 
horror of going to sea on a Friday, of breaking a mirror, of 
being one among thirteen at table, of having snowdrops 


or peacocks' feathers in one's room, of passing under a 
ladder, of seeing a crescent moon through a window, of 
nightmare apparitions called ghosts : and suchlike im- 

The sun and moon had children, described on the 
kobdas. The morning and evening stars shone for the 
Noazd on his journey to the Kingdom of Death. When 
the ring settled upon the morning star, it promised fruit- 
fulness and plenty : on the evening star, want and 
famine. There was a moon-star, Manno Naste : and a 
child-star, or Manna Naste. When the latter issued from 
the moon, a woman would bear a son : when the contrary, 
a girl. 

When a child was to be brought into the world, 
Radien Akke authorised his son to make a soul, and sent 
it to the assistant god, Mader Akke, who ran off with it 
round the sun and through all the sun's beams. Then he 
delivered it to his wife, if destined to be a boy : to his 
daughter, if a girl : and at length it reached the mother. 

Sarakka, one of Mader Akke's daughters, was greatly 
revered. Her abode was by the hearth, and to her the 
Lapps offered something at each meal. After they 
adopted the Sacrament and the Lord's Prayer, they had a 
sacrament in honour of Sarakka ; and each child christened 
and baptized was rebaptized in honour of Sarakka, receiv-. 
ing likewise a Lapp name. 

Leibolmak, or willow-wood-man, was the god of hunting 
and of wild animals. Barbmo Akke was the god of birds 
of passage. Barbmo was a land where the sun always 


274 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, [chap. xx. 

shone, where the birds remained during the northern 
winter. Barbmo Akke received from Guorgaf, the crane, 
king of the birds, a reckoning of the birds bom or lost 
during each migration. 

Tapio was the god of reindeer : Kakke Olbmak, the 
god of water. Samoyedes and Ostiaks offer to the River 
Ob, which is sacred in Siberia, a reindeer. The Tartars, 
before eating, throw food into the water. The Lapps pray 
to the water god : Send fish to my hook. 

A Halde was a ubiquitous terrestrial deity, appertain- 
ing to every feature in Nature. Before pitching a tent, the 
local Halde must be conciliated. The Doctor and I must 
have found our way at Tiiloma and at Seven Islands to 
the hearts of the local Haldek : for happier days we never 
spent. Haldek could, for a consideration, be engaged by 
by Nocads to watch a Lapp's reindeer on earth. The 
Greeiilanders were careful in their provision of local 
deities. There was a god whose function it was to watch 
foxes whe they went down to the beach to devour dead 
fish — an employment as close as that of the gentleman who 
said his occupation was to blacken glasses for eclipses. 

To this day a deserted child is called apparas : and 
the Lapps believe its spirit goes about tundras and woods 
seeking, with cries and wailing, for its mother. If 
encountered, it will reveal its mother's name : and the 
traveller should at once give it a name, for, unbaptized, it 
will never find repose. Laestadius says Lapp children 
thus put out of the way have been found with their 
tongues cut out, lest they should betray their parentage. 


Yabmi Akko, the Mother of the Dead, was worshipped 
in hope of a long life. Rote or Rutu was the Evil Spirit, 
the Loke of Valhalla, who haunted men with ill intent 
from the cradle to the grave. Inferior evil spirits were 
numerous. Gadflies and magical darts were superhuman 
means of human revenge. An enemy's picture was some- 
times drawn, and shot at with sharp or blunt arrows, 
according to the hatred he inspired. 

Satvo Aibmo was heaven, where good men and 
animals passed their life after death. The souls lived 
close under the surface of the earth, with ordinary human 
occupations, only in a happier and more perfect state of 
being. They were regarded as rich and fortunate : and 
compared with them the poor Lapps on earth were miser- 
able beings. In each great hill lived four or five spirits. 
Lapps would make offerings to their dead relatives in 
Sarvo, and could even visit them in company" of the 
Noaids. There were SaYvo fish, birds, and reindeer, of 
which only the most eminent Noaids could obtain pos- 

Yabmi Aibmo, the kingdom of Rutu, Prince of Evil, 
was the place of darkness, pestilence, and wailing : whither 
went such as had been guilty of anger, theft, swearing, 
quarrelling — the only sins considered serious by the 
Lapps. A sick reindeer was believed to have been milked 
by Yabmi Akke. When a child cried much, its name must 
be displeasing to some spirit, who wished it called after 
himself. It then received an additional, a SaYvo baptism, 
to assure the dissatisfied spirit that he was not forgotten. 

276 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xx. 

Lapp Bassek were holy places, cliffs, rivers, and such- 
like. Even spots in which they had been lucky or un- 
lucky in hunting, the Lapps would call Bassek : in each 
Basse was erected an idol, or Seida. The Terski Lapps, 
for success in hunting, would offer a perfect reindeer, 
skinned without a knife, and then frozen stiff: while they 
stood round and chanted. They had great autumnal and 
winter feasts, in which they offered various gifts : to Rutu 
a horse, to others black cattle, and so on. 

A Lapp bought from a peasant a black cow, and 
offered it to one of his gods. Ten days afterwards the 
peasant found the cow tied up and emaciated. He re* 
leased it, and several times sold it to the same Lapp. At 
last the poor Lapp perished in a snowdrift This 
happened in 1790. They have still an elaborate cere- 
mony in hunting the bear. They pray and chant to his 
carcase, and for several days worship before eating it 

The Lapps remained heathen long after their pro- 
fession of Christianity, owing to foolish efforts to teach 
them religion in languages which they did not understand. 
Rastus, a rich Lapp had an idol — ^within the memory of 
man — to which he used to offer brandy and reindeer 
blood. One day Rastus had failed to bring his usual 
offering, and two of his reindeer were killed by lightning. 
Enraged, he hastened to the idol, cut a limb from the 
reindeer, and, striking the Bauta violently with it, ex- 
claimed : There, thou hast what thou hast slaughtered, 
but from this day thou hast never an other offering from 
me ! This completed his conversion. 


The Lapps believed Scandinavia and all the world to 
be an island, which lay drifting on the sea Their sacred 
mountain was Sulitelma, Suolicielbma^ the Island's door. 
Yumala had once turned the whole world upside down, so 
that the water covered the earth and drowned all but a 
boy and girl, whom Yumala took in his arms, and carried 
to the top of a high hill, Basse varre^ Holy Mount When 
danger was past he let them go their ways separately. 
After three years' wanderings, they met and recognised 
each other. After another three, they met as strangers : 
then they married, and mankind are their descendants. 

Of the four millions of inhabitants of the polar regions, 

the great majority entertain to this day superstitions 

and belief of which the foregoing are fair examples : and 

as for us who live elsewhere, we are only at the threshold 

of knowledge, and must remain so until the great veil is 

\ lifted. 

i We have but faith^ we cannot knoWy 


'j For knowledge is of things we see, 

\ We shall then discover, says the heathen Seneca, the 
secrets of nature : the darkness shall be discussed, and 
our souls irradiated with light and glory : a glory without 
\ a shadow : a glory that shall surround us, and from whence 
i we shall look down and see day and night beneath us. 



278 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xh. 


Maselsky — The snowy mountain ridge — Education — Wild flowers of the Kola 
River — A Lapp gentleman — Tschongai — A profession of faith — Kola — 
The route from the White Sea. 

There runs into Guolle Yaur^ or Fish Lake, from its 
southern extremity, a tongue of wooded land, dividing it 
into the form of a lobster's claw. The other chief lakes 
of the Kola Peninsula are Imandra and Nudtosero: 
Buerinskosero, opposite to Sashy^ka: Kolvitsosero, be- 
yond the Umpdek eastward : Kinosero, on the Umba : 
Umbosero, that river's source: Ldvosero, the central lake: 
Forosero and Kolnosero, two of a chain of lakes through 
which the Yokkonga runs: Yenniosero, the origin of the 
Arzina River: Sergosero, in the marshes between V&rzuga 
and the Fonoi. 

On a brilliant, cold, windy afternoon, we reached 
Maselsky — a little settlement midway along the east shore 
of the Guolle Lake. Here, in a snug little isba^ a bright 
crackling birch-fire awaited us. Our Lapp khozeka had seen 
our boat approaching — ^the comeliest, pleasantest hostess we 
had seen yet Soon the salmon-trout were spluttering in the 
frying-pan, and we were restoring our eneigies with food. 


The Winter settlement of these Lapps is Maselstd, five 
miles away, where are ten isbaushki, and in winter forty 
or fifty Lapps. We despatched two Lapps thither that 
they might bring winter garments, and in the afternoon 
they returned. Miron and Maria Ivanovna put on the 
mdlitsi, caps, and boots, and I took their portraits. 

On the edge of the wood I found the cattle trefoil: 
the bog whortleberry : the pretty arctic raspberry, Rubus 
arcticus: and the pale butterwort, Pinguicula lusitanea: the 
latter was not growing in the rich tufts of lower latitudes. 

From the little hut we could see westward, across the 
rippling lake, the fine snowy group the Mensche, Tschyne, 
and Volsche Ddindri, standing three thousand feet above 
the sea They look down, on their westward slopes, upon 
the valley of the Tdiloma and the Nu6t Lake. Our 
route from the White Sea to the Arctic lay almost due 
north : we were travelling along the 33 rd meridian of east 

We parted very regretfully from the charming Lapps 
of Rasnavolok. They were examples'^of untrained intelli- 
gence of a high order, and of instinctive good breeding. 

The Lapps expressed their wonder that there should 
be anything in this country interesting enough to bring us 
from so far. I tried to explain that the Doctor and I ac- 
quired at school such geographical ignorance, that it had 
been necessary for us to spend much time and money in 
correcting it 

We saw many a prostrate tree, uprooted by the arctic 
hurricanes which sweep through these forests. A reindeer 

28o THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxi. 

trotted along the beach beside us as we left M&selsky, 
probably for company. We landed on the northern shore 
of the lake : our crew, pleasant and willing like the last, 
loaded themselves with the baggage — our food chests had 
grown painfully light — and away we went in Indian file 
through the forest 

Then lake for an hour — ^forest, lake — lake, forest — for 
hours, till we came by boat cold and hungry to the isba 
of Angasgory, where the Kola River leaves the lake. Here 
we failed to get any fish, and we had little left otherwise. 
The poor Lapps had nothing. They were hungry : so 
were we. On perceiving this, the Lapps and the Doctor 
were nearly moved to tears. We gladly shared what we 
had with them, and all lay down on the floor round the 
fire to rest. 

I went out into the white birch wood among the rein- 
deer moss, to see the source of the Kola River, and gather 
wild flowers. I found the small white Alpine cerastium, 
the deep violet Pyrenean butterwort, the Campanula Zoysii 
or Scotch blue-bell, the smaller gentian, the Pedicularis 
Lappotiicay or smaller liquorice, and the pale marsh violet 
Among the reindeer moss I gathered some huge Cladonia 
deformis or cup moss, and on the white carpet beside it, 
in brilliant scarlet spots, the Cladina comucopioides. 

The stream here is narrow, and falls in a rapid from 
the smooth lake — disturbing the silent woods into echoes. 
We began a midnight march from the isba. We could 
hear the murmur of the river. The flowers were asleep : 
only the sleepless mosquito watched. 


After two or three changes we came upon the Kola 
River, and for the first time descended it We left it, 
•returned to it, and travelled down as far as the hut of 
Kitsa. Here we made a long halt for food and a night's 
rest : five-and-thirty versts still separated us from Kola. 
To our left, hidden by trees, lay the Pwads Waive, or 
Reindeer Head : the plateau separating the Kola from the 
Tiiloma Riven 

In the morning, having found Lapps enough, we 
released Miron. Under our arrangement we owed him six 
roubles. I paid the other Lapps first : giving one or two 
roubles to each beyond their pay. Coming to Miron, I gave 
him a single rouble. Miron rose, bowed, took my hand, and 
sat down again — quite content, poor fellow — and not 
thinking me capable of treating him unfairly. In a 
minute I gave him another rouble. This was a welcome 
surprise : he rose, bowed, and thanked me pleasantly. 

After an interval I did the same again, and again, 
till Miron's eyebrows rose, a comical look came into his 
face, and the other Lapps began to laugh heartily at him. 
At length I gave him a three-rouble note, and Miron 
riirew up his hands. Davolno, davolno ! Enough, enough ! 
he exclaimed. Poor Miron : a gentleman himself, he 
believed the Englishman was the same : and with nothing 
in his pocket, and a wife and four children in Kandalaks, 
he could trust a stranger's honesty and cry enough, when 
he thought he had received more than he was entitled to 
for his work. We were sorry to part : I think Miron was 
exceedingly fond of us. 

282 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxi. 

The Lapp girl, who had accompanied us from M&selsky, 
wore her Sunday dress — a bright and pretty one — and 
I asked her father if I might buy her belt, from which 
hung numerous brass charms. He said that having him- 
self given it to her, he would rather she did not part with 
it : knowing, at the same time, that he might have five 
times its value for it 

The Russian Lapps have no silver now — sold, stolen, 
or buried long since. A Lapp of leretik, Ingier by name, 
is reputed to have, besides two thousand reindeer, a 
quantity of buried silver. The Skolte Lapps are said to 
have silver buried too. The Ispravnik of Kola tried to 
persuade the Lapps, but in vain, to place their money in the 
Archangel banks. Within the last few years only, the 
Lapps of Finmark have had the faith to place money in 
the Government savings banks. 

For four hours and a half on this the last day of our 
overland journey did we trudge through the forest on the 
eastern side of the Kola River. We saw a woodcock, 
and a three-toed woodpecker, Picus tridactylus, amusing 
himself on a tree. I found the snakeweed here, and the 

For some versts after leaving Kitsa the track was rough 
and steep, and as each of us carried something it was 
exhausting. Brandy, chocolate, and biscuits encouraged 
us from time to time : and after noon we staggered into 
the isba of Tschongai, a woodcutter's hut. 

I had a long talk with a young Lapp of Mteelsid. 
I suppose his views are a fair example of the extent 


of a Laplander's religious knowledge. I asked whether 
he knew what would become of him after death. He would 
cease to live — nothing more of him — nie tchevA — no mat- 
ter. Would he never meet his dead friends ? No. 

Did he know what God was ? Yes, he had been 
taught to pray to Him — ^that is, to the Obrasi But, I 
said, the Obrasi were not God, and were only good to 
recall God's presence and existence — as reindeer, rivers, 
and trees were. It was not right to pray to them. Aito 
mnya prioutchiliy y nie magau ad vikn^t — I have been 
taught, replied the Lapp, to pray to them : and I cannot 
give up doing so. 

Did he know what a cross meant ? — No. I told him 
that Khristos had once come to live in this world, and 
had been put to death upon a cross. Ya niekoghda nie 
slishol ab aitotn : ya raskazhou k^mayim drougam, I have 
never been told of this : I will tell my companions. He 
added, that whenever he worshipped the Obrasi he would 
try in future to remember God. Poor Lapp boy — 
almost as ignorant of evil as of good — one of the simple 
souls of whom little will be required. 

We passed, as we paddled down the rapid and pretty 
Kola River, some droll little fishing rafts composed of 
three logs about eight feet long. On one of these almost 
submerged vessels a Lapp was busy, setting his lines. A 
butterfly flew across the river to remind us that the summer 
had come. Six miles distant, to our right, lay the pogost 
of Gilda Sid, or Kildina, the winter home of fifty Lapps, 
and a station on the winter track from Kola to Gavrilova. 




We passed, as we descended the river, a considerable 
landslip. Silver-birches and all the lovely undergrowth 
lay piled up in a ruin by the river's brink. We landed at 
Muotkek, or Sashyok, four versts from Kola : and set off 
for a smart walk to the end of our journey. 

In an hour we stood on the cliff of Solaviarika^ look- 
ing northward to the town of Kola, three hundred feet 
below us. To the left was the splendid TAloma, sweep- 
ing down among green hills. From the right of the cliff 
came the rapid Kola : and the rivers met below the little 
gray town. Two or three lodjes lay in the fiord, which 
disappeared towards the sea in soft blue haze. It was a 
very lovely view : a delicious breath came from the coast, 
thirty miles away, and the landscape, under a cold sunny 
sky, was bathed in silvery light. 

Route from the White Sea to the Kola Gulf, 

By Land. 

By Water. 



Kandalaks to Plososei 

■0 .13 

• • • 

Tinda Taivola 








• • • 

Yekostrova . 

• • • • 


Raika Taivola 

. • a . 


Rasnavolok . 

• • • • 



. • ■ • 


Kouringsky Taivola 


• • a 






Pieres Osero 



Angasgory . 


Mordosersky Taivola 





Solovara Taivola 


By Land. 

By Water. 





• • • 













286 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, chap. xxii. 


On^sime — The Masslinitsa — Obtainable necessaries in the White Sea Peninsula 
and Karelia — Negotiations with Laplanders — Michieff — An enquiry — 
Baseball — An international cricket match — Farewell to Kola. 

We had come from the White Sea to the Arctic. Since 
leaving Kola we had made the circuit of Russian Lapland 
and sailed half round the White Sea. We scrambled down 
the face of the cliff, and trudged into the village. 

From a crowd of men, a small dark Lapp sprang for- 
ward and grasped both my hands. It was Onesime. I 
expected you this evening, he said. Only last night I 
told these men you had promised to be in Kola on this 
day. Then we walked to the house of Stepanina Mold- 
vistoff together : Ondsime's arm round my waist and mine 
round the little Lapp's neck : as though we had been 
long separated brothers. Half-an-hour after he had left 
us in Stepanina's care and disappeared, he returned bear- 
ing a salmon nearly as long as himself. From On&ime, 
he said, handing it to me with a bow and smile. 

It was the Masslinitsa or Butter Week : the three 
weeks' Fast of St. Peter was over, and it was less diflScult 
to get solid and sustaining necessaries in the village. 


Even here the reaction from the long fasts is consider- 
able : and the arctic peasants have their carnival. Nume- 
rous marriages take place in the Masslinitsa, 

Milk, cheese, and butter are forbidden in the fasts : 
and in no part of the world are religious restrictions more 
scrupulously observed than in this country. The Russian's 
instinctive obedience serves the Church well. He pays 
much money for intercession. Each new-built house, each 
newly-entered shop, must be cleansed or blessed with a 
religious ritual, at a moderate cost. Constantly the priest 
and sacristan come to purify houses with holy water. 

Day and night, from the cradle to the grave, the 
Russian lives as in the sight of God. He rises from sleep 
with a prayer on his lips, and as he lies down to rest a 
blessing fills his heart Eating or drinking, he remembers 
a saint's presence : day and night he thinks of his 
guardian angel ! Slava Boghau — Praise be to God, is 
ever on his lips. A peasant was accused of having given 
a false name. How could I do that } he exclaimed, in 
reverent horror ; I should lose my guardian saint. 

Does this external service penetrate the life of the 
Russian peasant : does this constant adoration of saints 
and images, this uninterrupted muttering of prayers, beget 
correspondingly the Christian virtues ? By no means. 
This familiarity with holy things and intimacy with pro- 
tecting saints, etc., encourage the notion of easy remission 
of sins ; and the Russian peasant, though good-natured, 
hospitable, and obliging, is as fond of taking advantage of 
his neighbour as if he had no other idol than money. 

288 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxii. 

It has been reported to us that a Russian walrus fisher 
was engaged to sail to Nova Zemlia, for so many roubles 
a month, and two pounds of butter a week. No sooner had 
the ship sailed than the fast began. The butter accumu- 
lated, and on the night the fast ended the fisherman went 
straight to bed and ate the six pounds of butter. There 
are people who are of opinion that Lenten fasts are best 
observed in the mortifying, not of the palate — which is 
easy, but of the tongue and all its works — which is less 

Necessaries obtainable in the different parts of 

Russian Lapland, 

Kola, Flounders, salt -fish and salmon, milk — good and 
plentiful, tea, sugar, eggs, white bread and biscuits, flour, 
pancakes, fowls, mutton. Black bread is universally ob- 

T^lotna. Salmon, reindeer milk, when not needed for 
the Lapp babies, wild duck, geese, capercaillie 

Kola^ Gavrilova^ Stem Ostrova. From the Russian 
steamer calling three times a month, tea, coffee, tobacco, 
white bread, biscuits, cheese, spirits, meat, potted meats, 
and butter can be had. 

Gavrilova. Tea, sugar, salmon, halibut, cod, herring, 
haddock, milk, eggs, the latter scarce in fast time. 

Siem Ostrova. Salmon from Karlovka, halibut, haddock, 
eggs of eider, puffins, guillemots and curlew, tea, sugar, etc. 
No milk. 

Ponoi. Sheep, milk, tea, sugar, eggs — scarce. 


Panoi River, Only the produce of rod and gun. 

Lochia. Salmon, salmon-trout, pike, biscuits, tea, sugar. 

KoAzomen. Sheep, ^gs, various fish: also potatoes, 
beef, and white bread from the fortnightly steamer, 

Kent. Milk, salmon, sweet cakes and sugar, tea, eggs, 
butter, beef, mutton, fowls : in winter reindeer meat 

Keret, Groceries, milk, salmon, fowls. 

Kovda, The same. Cloudberries in autumn. 

Kandalaks^ Milk, salmon, fowls. 

Karelian Coast Plentiful fish: also mallard, teal, 

Imandra District, Bread scarce, salmon trout generally 
obtainable : at M&selsky and Rasnavolok sheep. Game — 
ptarmigan, curlew, golden plover — but scarce. 

We cannot look back without wishing we had then 
the information we have now. A bag of white flour for 
pancakes or cakes would have comforted us : and con- 
solidated German army soups and fluid beef, supported 
by captains* biscuits, chocolate and jams, were the only 
positive necessaries of life required to go out from England. 
Everywhere we found timber, brushwood, driflwood, or 
turf. The latter bums fairly well, and one can make a 
noble oven with stones. 

Stepanina had not expected us so soon. The room 
smelt of incense, tapers were burning before the sviati 
obrasi: and the windows had been sealed from the 
moment of our crossing the good motherly hostess's 
threshold. While Stepanina was cross-examining us 


290 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxii. 

about the journey, the little girl Maruscha was preparing 
the samovar and the steam bath. Before many hours, the 
smallest details of our travels had been extracted from the 
Perevodtchik and were in the mouths of all the villagers. 
Ivan Abramovitch had gone to Archangel. The Arkhan- 
gelsk was not due for several days, and we determined 
to make the voyage to Vardo by small boat 

Unwilling to have further dealings with Michieflf, who 
owned the old sndka which had nearly drowned us off 
Gavrilova, I sent On^me to cast about for some other 
craft. He found four Skolte Lapps of Titovka in West 
Bumand GAba, and after long negotiation we made an 
agreement to sail with them to Nova Zemlia at the neck 
of Ribatschi. Then came difficulties, as natural in 
Russia. They could not get, they found, permission 
from the Pravlennik to embark a barrel of meal they 
meant to take home with them. I had three interviews 
vith the Pravlennik^ and after confidential financial 
arrangements carried him off prepared to sign anything 
— down to an order for the Laplanders' exile. 

Then the question of price was reopened. I offered for 
the few days as much as the yolle would earn in a 
summer : and the Laplanders said they would consider. 
On^sime was sent to watch them, lest they should con- 
sider some vodka at the same time. I went from one 
point to another : I offered to buy the boat at double its 
value, to make them a present of it afterwards : at last 
I offered to buy the Laplanders themselves : and when 
this final effort of finance failed, I sent for Michieff. 

I^PF Iff SejtMEJt DUES. 


I scored one for the Expedition by showing him the 
padorostniy which he did not expect to see: but he 
claimed that the Doctor, myself, and the Perevodtchik 
independently should pay for the boat, as though each 
of us had hired it I represented that the latter was 
Perevodtchik, and not popootchik or comrade : and as I 
volunteered to leave him behind, Michieff ceded the point. 

He had been so dishonest and rapacious, and his boat 
was so unsafe, that I inserted in the Stantsia record-book 
a rectificative note, describing the facilities afforded at this 
station to Government travellers. We were getting rather 
worn out with knaves and simpletons : our patience had 
become strained : we grew discouraged and ceased to 
laugh : the Doctor's best jokes lay n^lected. 

While talking to Michieff I saw Stepanina, the Pere- 
vodtchik, and a pretty woman enter the room. I didn't 
see him, said the Perevodtchik impati^tly : or hear of 
him, at Ponoi. I asked what was the trouble. The 
woman asks after her husband, Starschina at Ponoi, said 
the little man. I haven't heard from him for a year, said 
the poor woman : and I don't know if he is alive. I 
hoped you might have seen him at Ponoi, or brought me 
a letter. 

I saw you on the beach as we sailed from Kola, I 
said : why did you not ask us to inquire for your 
husband ? I did not know you were going to Ponoi, she 
replied. I asked the secretary who had collected our crew 
for us at Ponoi. It was the Starschina^ said the Pere- 
vodtchik : I remember now. A stout man with a large 

292 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxii. 

beard ? I asked. Yes. Not unlike Michieff there ? Yes, 
yes ! cried the poor wife. Then I said he was well, and 
would have given us a letter had he known we were 
coming to Kola. With this small consolation, and with 
much gratitude, our visitor withdrew. 

' When the herring season begins at Kola, the water is so 
full of fish that the townspeople bale them out in front of 
their houses, and wade up to their knees in herrings. They 
hardly know what to do with them. Hastily curing them 
with coarse salt, they send them to Archangel, to be sold 
for a shilling a firkin. With better salt and more care, 
they might gain a million roubles a year, where they now 
gain one-fifth of it 

On Sunday afternoons there is the usual Russian 
gathering on the plain under Solaviar^ka : when the inha- 
bitants of Kola have races and play ball — or, in winter, 
sledge in couples. We were sitting one evening in the 
delicious Northern sunlight by the open windows, when we 
became aware of a game, pa/ant, resembling base-ball or 
rounders, in which the Kolski youth of both sexes were 
rejoicing. It seemed an opportunity for a frolic, and I 
went out 

Calling them together, I asked if they would like to 
learn Angelskaya igra^ an English game. They said yes, 
and one of them brought an axe to Stepanina's wood 
heap, where I fashioned a bat and wickets. The Doctor 
joined us and picked an eleven for himself. Having the 
honour and the happiness to be at the time captain of an 
English cricketing team, more or less widely and honour- 


ably known as the C.I.C.C. : I chose my side, and the 
match partook of an international character. 

Among the players were a few girls, excellent at 
base-ball : but feeling shy about the new game, they 
sidled away, reducing the strength of each side. All 
Kola collected round us, at doors and windows, or in 
groups : and at the different events in the game roared 
aloud. It was surprising to see how readily and intel- 
ligently the young Russians and Lapps took* to the 
game, and how good-naturedly, when put out, they left 
the wickets and joined in the general laugh. Running 
was compulsory at each stroke, to make the game 
livelier : and the runs were scored by notches cut in 
the wooden wall of Stepanina's house, which served as 

The C. I. won the toss, and Alexei Stepanovitch was 
sent to the wicket to face the bowling of the All Lapland 
captain. The first ball was neatly hit to square leg : at 
the second the enthusiastic batsman uprooted the whole 
of his wickets. He was succeeded by Varsonovi Pivorofl^ 
whose first hit, three to long-off, was greeted with much 
cheering and cries of Bross nazat ! Throw it up I Bierzhi 
yeshtcho ras ! Run again I 

The next ball was sent in the direction of the first : 
but Leonti Yargine, who had been especially posted in that 
region, received and retained the ball, to his extreme 
astonishment and to the universal delight The C. L cap- 
tain added two to the score : Maxime Sinikoff was bowled 
after making three : and Samsoun Sinikoff failed to score, 



294 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, [chap. xxii. 

having returned the ball into the bowler's hands. The 
feature of the innings was the careful and masterly play 
of Spiridion TonikofT, who made four singles without a 
mistake. The innings closed for sixteen. 

Erasime Tcherkess commenced the innings for the All 
Lapland, but was run out without scoring. Andrei 
Moldvistoff and Leonti Yargine succumbed to the bowling, 
after scoring two and three respectively. The Doctor, 
after returning the first ball to the bowler, who failed to 
profit by the chance, played an effective innings of five : 
and was enthusiastically received when he retired, bowled. 
The three last wickets were disposed of for four runs, 
bringing the All Lapland total to eighteen. 

The C. L followed, with fourteen for their second 
inning^. The second innings of the All Lapland was a 
remarkable one, I refer the reader to the score. 

The match was attended, from beginning to end, with 
shouts of Horosho I Horosho igrali ! Good 1 Well 
played I and loud laughter. Heads were out of every 
window : maujiks and women were grinning from ear to 
ear at each hit or blunder. When the result was made 
known there was cheering such as Kola had probably never 
heard before. 

Thus was the Angelskaya igra introduced into Russian 
Lapland. It might have been the introduction of a 
Constitution, to judge by the popular enthusiasm. 

In an hour or two, after everybody had dispersed and 
gone to bed — that is, at one o'clock in the morning— our 
attention was directed to a noise in front of our windows. 





The members of the late C. I. and All Lapland Elevens 
were engaged in another single wicket match. Unable to 
sleep, they had got up to plunge again into the fascinating 
game. They appointed captains, chose sides, and played 
as well without us as with us. Now and then a difficult 
question arose, and they detained me at the open window 
for appeal as umpire. On the whole, it was a great 
success. Cricket had become the rage in the White Sea 


First Innings. 

Alexei Stepanovitch, Hit wicket, 

bowled Doctor i 

Varsonovi Pivoroff . Caught Leonti 

Yargine, bowl- 
ed Doctor . . 3 

Rae Run out ... 2 

Maxime SinikofT . 
Samsoun SinikofT. 

Spiridion TonikofT. 

Bowled Doctor. 3 
Caught and 

bowled Doctor o 

Run out . . 4 

Extras ... 3 

Second Innings. 

Run out . . o 

Do. . • 4 
Caught and 
bowled Doc- 
tor . . o 
BowledDoctor i 

Do. 5 

Run out . . 2 





[chap. XXII. 

All Lapland. 

First Innings. 
Erasime Tcherkess, Run out . . . o 
Andrei Moldvistoff, Bowled Rae . 2 
Leonti Yargine . Do. . 3 

Doctor .... Do. . 5 

Nikita Tonine . . Run out . . . 2 

Karlo PloginofF . 

Vassili Yargine 

L b. w., bowled 
Rae ... 2 

Thrown out, 
koflf . . . . o 

Extras ... 4 

Second Innings. 
Bowled Rae . o 
Do. . o 
Run out . . o 
Bowled Rae . o 
Caught Ste- 


bowled Rae o 

Run out . . o 

Bowled Rae . o 



In the morning, write the Pilgrims^ we saw some trees 
on the Riuer side, which comforted vs and made vs glad as 
if wee had come into a new world. In the evening wee got 
to the Salt Kettles, which is about three miles from Koola, 
and with the west-northrwest sunne got to lohn Comeli- 
son's ship, wherein wee entered and drunke: and wee 
reioyced together at that time, giuing God great thankes, 
and wee were all exceeding glad that God of His mercie 
had deliuered vs out of so many dangers and troubles, and 
had brought vs thither in safetie. 


The eleuenth, by leaue and consent of the Bayart, 
Gouemour of the Great Prince of Moscouia, we brought 
our scutes into the merchant's house, and there let them 
stand for a remembrance of our long, farre, and neuer 
before say led way: and that wee had sayled in those open 
scutes about four hundred leagues to the towne of Koola. 

On the present Expedition we have sailed three hundred 
and fifly leagues in open boats as small and ill made as 
the poor Dutchmen's scutes. 

We left the White Sea Peninsula with sad impres- 
sions. It was the scene of so much unnecessaiy poverty 
and suffering — ^the fruits of Government neglect, of ignor- 
ance and superstition : it seemed to be the abode of father- 
less children and widpws, and all that are desolate and 

298 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxin. 


The Kola GAba— The Mutke Gdba— Difficulties and studies— A Lapp artist-— 
Novaya Zemlia — Zakkar — Culex pabuiator — Pursuit of the Perevodtcfaik 
— Farewell to the Lapps — Astray in the swamps — Vaidda Giiba — A 
swiil voyage — Studies of the midnight sun — ^Departure from Vardo— The 
last of the Arctic — Greenwich. 

We left Kola in MichiefT's disgraceful old sn^ka^ at three 
o'clock one glorious sunny morning. It was a dead calm. 
Our crew consisted of On^sime, Nikolai SAsloff, a boy, a 
pretty fair-haired blue -eyed sunburnt young woman, a 
little girl, and, of course, Zakkar Andrei ZitkikofT. On&ime 
was the only able-bodied member of it They pulled 
slowly down the fiord. 

Morning came, then noon, then afternoon, and we were 
still in the Kola Fiord, thirty versts from its mouth, and 
thirty from the town. We steered to the Varlamo 
Islands, in the hope of adding to the strength of oar crew, 
and found two Lapps fishing. One was sick, another 
would not go. 

We passed Seredni Zaliv, or Middle Bay, where the 
steamer Oniga comes to lie up in the winter. In the 
month of April she begins a fortnightly service between 
Vadso, Vardo, and the Lapland coast stations as far as 


Siem Ostrova. When the White Sea opens the Arkhangelsk 
comes out to take her place. Steamers come at intervals 
in winter to Seredni Zaliv to bring supplies, which are sent 
by sledge to Kola. 

If less money were devoted in Russia to personal and 
more to national objects, Seredni might become the port 
of winter supply not only for Kola, but for Karelia and 
all the White Sea regions. Reindeer transport would be 
economical, and the traffic would afford employment to 
many poor souls who are hungry through the winter now. 

We passed St Katharine's, and late at night reached 
the mouth of the fiord, having made the journey from 
Kola at the rate of 1*23 miles an hour. Like Purchas' 
Pilgrims, we set sayle out of the Riuer of Koola, and with 
God's grace put to sea to sayle homewards, and being out 
of the riuer, we sailed along by the land, west and by 

A southerly breeze sprang up, and we hoisted our 
tattered old sail. We rounded Cape Pogdn, and made our 
way all through a long sunny night up the East BAmand's 
Fiord, or Mutke Gfiba. We passed leretik, where is a fine 
natural harbour which would shelter a fleet, and where two 
Lapp families live — one, that of the wealthy Ingfier, who 
owns two thousand reindeer. Then we sailed past Ora 
Fiord, a lonely, dismal fishing station. A Norsk settler 
is here, and does the baking for the Lapps, some of whom 
bring flour from long distances to be baked. 

At leretik two Kolski have a store. In Mutke P(^ost 
are six settled and three nomad Lapp families. In Peisen 

300 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xxiii. 

Fiord, seven nomad and three settled Lapp families — all 
Lutherans, but distinct in no other way from the Russian 
Lapps of the Orthodox Church* These Lapps live in the 
summer on the shores of the Mutke Gfiba or on Ribatschi, 
for the benefit of the reindeer. No wolf has been seen 
here for ten or twenty years. 

In 1700 there lived on this fiord, at Dawe Mutke, 
where we shall land, Lutheran Lapps who knew the Lord's 
Prayer and Creed : and who seem to have paid tribute at 
the same time to Norway, Sweden, and Russia. 

We passed the inlet of Litsa. At this place is a fine 
anchorage with deep water. The tide in the Mutke Gfiba 
flows for two hours artd ebbs for eight : its extreme speed 
is two knots. 

In the morning we landed on the bare rocky island of 
Kouvshin, to search for water^ of which we had run short 
Then we set oflT again, a fresh wind sprang up, and we 
scudded due westward up the Gulf^ 

On the Arski Islands, off the month of the Ora Fiord, 
grows the cloudberry in great profusion. The fruit is sent 
to Archangel, where one anker^ eighty pounds, can be 
bought for four roubles. 

On one cliff we saw a herd of reindeer, emerging from 
a valley to breathe the easterly wind and escape the mos- 
quitoes. We watched them marching in single file round 
and round a bare rock. The heat was very great until the 
wind came, but now we spun along before half a gale. 

On our left was the stem rocky Mfirman coast : on 
our right, seven versts distant, were the somewhat less 









rugged shores of the Ribatschi Poluostrov. At Eina, in 
the mouth of the river of that name, is one of the few 
good anchorages of Ribatschi. 

Our meals in the boats were matters of difficulty and 
of arrangement When the wind was- ahead, ' we were 
set on fire or suffocated in the kayUta : if it came from 
afl, the steersman could not see his course : if it came 
abeam, it set fire to the sail. When we gave anything 
to eat or drink to the Russians or Lapps — not only here 
but in these parts generally — they would receive it in 
silence : but afler eating or drinking, would hand back 
the cup or plate with a quiet Blagodaryou^ Thank you. 

I used to study Lappish. On^ime, who was one of 
the most intelligent Lapps I ever met, was one of my 
teachers. When we came to verbs or constructive words, 
however, the difficulty of arriving at a coherent or syste- 
matic result was evidence of how limited a vocabulary is in 
use among primitive people. 

I asked On^sime to make me some drawings, and this 
clever little man, who had never had a pencil in his hand 
before, drew a reindeer, a man, a gull, a bird on a tree, a 
Russian isba^ a Lapp balagan^ a boat, and a salmon. 
Curiously, as he drew the man he held the paper in the 
ordinary way : but for all the' other objects, at right angles 
to him. The salmon, reindeer, boat, and gull he drew as 
if they had been erect : the tree as though it grew hori- 

The Lapps draw signs, as the Arabs use seals, for 
their signatures : a practice inherited from old times. As 

302 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap. xxin. 

in the case of Odin, whose experts alone were familiar 
with the Runes, so I think the art of drawing figures and 
signs was confined to the NomdSy who gave to each Lapp 
a mark of identity. These marks closely resemble figures 
on certain of the kobdas representing deities and Russian 
saints who, in process of time, were admitted to the drums. 

Nikita Katijei Kostloska Trofim Pietr Seder NOcofor Gregori 

Fedota. Arkipoff. Afana. Maslvjnikoff. Mashjnikoffl Arkipoff. GaviiloT. Titofi: 

Each Russian receives the name of the saint on whose 
holy day he comes into the world : and the signs above of 
the Lapps baptized as Peter, Nicholas, etc., probably cor- 
respond with those saints' representations on parchment 
The mark of Gregori TitofT might suggest the monogram 
of the Sultan, or the French riddle of G crossed by I — 
translatable as J' at traverse Paris. 

We passed, to our left, Mutkovski Pogost on the 
Titova Bay — a settlement of fifty Lapps, having twenty 
huts and a church. South-west, twenty miles farther, lies 
the Stanovitsche of Petschenga. We tore before the strong 
easterly wind, for which we had longed for two days, up 
the northern extremity of the cross-headed Mutke GOba. 
Madde Mutke lay ahead of us, Dawe Mutke or Novajra 
Zemlia to our right. The strip of land connecting 
Ribatschi with the mainland is contracted at these two 
narrow points. 

To Novaya Zemlia we proceeded, at the instance of 


the secretary, who assured us there were thirty or forty 
Norsk boats engaged in fishing on the west side of 
Novaya Zemlia. Thirty or forty boats were ample, so, 
rounding Cape Tri Kor6vi or Three Cows, we steered for 
Novaya Zemlia. The mail steamer would leave Vardo 
on the following day at ten in the morning. It was not 
over-wise to cross sixty miles of open sea in an undecked 
boat in threatening weather : but we meant to chance it 

We passed the cliff of Roka Paata. The inlet con- 
tracted as we ran in : the water was still deep. There are 
admirable anchorages here, thirty-six miles from the open 
sea, in six fathoms of water. 

Of all the men I ever knew, I think I prefer, in 
memory only, Zakkar Andrei Zitkikoff. Hitherto in re- 
ceipt of an income of about five roubles a month, he had 
been tempered from head to foot in the furnace of the 
miseries of human life : but since receipt of our gift 
at Gavrilova, he had lived in affluence. From that period 
was diffused in his mind the serenity characteristic of 
persons who enjoy incomes without effort of their own. 
He had not only volunteered, but had insisted on com- 
ing upon this cruise. In fact, I think he would have 
paid something for coming, so great a fancy had he taken 
to me. He used to exchange confidential looks with me 
— ^we had formed a kind of tacit Association, The 
American lady is reported to have said of the hippopo- 
tamus : Oh my, ain't he plain ! Zakkar Andrei Zitkikoff 
was even ugly. 

His voice was hoarse and abrupt. He used to make 

304 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA, Ichap. xxni. 

Cigarettes of Russian newspaper, with tobacco and other 
dust I found him one afternoon sitting at a very smoky 
birch - bark fire which he had kindled, almost to our 
suffocation, at our feet He was boiling some tea for 
himself — using his pocket-knife first to stir the fire then 
the tea. 

Other friends had cojn^ with us all the way from 
Kola, and only vanished when a high wind came. These 
were the mosquitoes : insects about which there exists 
much prejudice. We ar^ intimate with the mosquito, and 
from behind our gauntlets and veils we watch him with 

I smear my hapd with tar and oil, and watch his 
dainty and troubled air as he approaches it He con- 
siders man a good thing, and tar a good thing : but he 
dislikes them together. I offer him sugar or jam : but he 
prefers man. He does not care for man like cucumber, 
with oil and vinegar. Vinegar makes him sneeze, and 
brings water into his eyes : tar makes the mosquito sick. 

I watch him settle on the tiller near my head. He 
raises his legs in turns, like the fingers of a pianist 
He lifts one in the air and works rapidly with the 
others. He takes two or three experimental paces, and 
then beats time with his two antennae, like the con- 
ductor of an orchestra. He examines the tiller with his 
proboscis, and finds it is not tasty : then he sits down 
on two hind legs and looks about him. He elevates his 
proboscis like a telescope, as if to look out to sea, then 
smooths it down with his forefeet 







He is a seafaring mosquito: in rough weather he 
feels no qualms. When the North Wind doth blow, he 
sheltereth below, or else to the shore he doth go. When 
hungiy, he has a thin light body, with a fur cape on the 
shoulders : but after man, he looks like a little sodawater 
bottle full of claret 

I must say I have grown to like the mosquito, 
and to appreciate the humorous side of his character. 
I believe he has no other friend. I have studied him 
as CtUex pabtUator^ Culex volanSy Culex repletus^ and Culex 

We landed on the gravelly beach at Novaya Zemlia 
in the surf which the East wind had beaten up : we saw 
the ring dotterel and some Temminck's stints. We 
loaded ourselves, each with some portion of the bag- 
gage. There was only one thing inconvenient to carry — 
On^ime's forty-pound salmon. Of course Zakkar Andrei 
ZitkikofF chose it We trudged across the low narrow 
isthmus, a mile wide, and came upon land rich and 
abounding in flowers and vegetation such as we had never 
seen in these latitudes. 

I even found a mushroom, or something very like it 
I gathered the Menziesia cterulea^ with its heath -like 
flower : the Ary^Sy with curious seeds like ostrich feather : 
the sweet wild camomile, the SUene acaulis^ and dry stems 
of Angelica, Wild flowers seem equally happy on the 
frowning Alpine passes, in such smiling spots as Argel^s 
and Gavamie, and in these awful solitudes of the North. 
My Arctic specimens were carefully preserved in a small 


306 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xxiii. 

volume, bound of course in Russia leather, decorated with 
clasps of old silver, and bestowed upon a dear lady as 
much attached to wild flowers as her son is. 

I heard a scuffle and looked round. Zakkar Andrei 
Zitkikoff had slipped from under the salmon, and lay 
beneath it on the ground, imprecating horribly in Lappish. 
He said he would carry the shtchuka no farther : and re- 
sisted all entreaties save mine — to whom he seemed 
unable to refuse anything. 

We trudged along. To our left . lay the rough cliffs 
of the Lapland coast : to our right the more softly-clad 
rocks of the Ribatschi Peninsula. Behind us the wind was 
whistling over the land-locked inlet of Novaya Zemlia. 

We looked somewhat anxiously for the Perevodtchik's 
fleet of fishing- boats crowding the Volokovskaia Giiba. 
It was a glorious east wind, freshening into a gale, and 
we thought gleefully what a run we should make over the 
salt sea to Vardo. When we could at length survey the 
whole inlet, not a boat was to be seen. 

We felt as if cold water had been thrown over us : so 
did the Perevodtchik, who hurried forward. Perhaps there 
was better shelter for boats round the Point, we said. Partly 
hope hastened the little man, partly fear — hope of boats, 
fear of me. For had I not intended to make for Madde 
Mutke ? Hope without fear, says the Spanish proverb, 
is certainty : fear without hope, is despair. The Pere- 
vodtchik was animated by a mixture of the two feelings, 
especially despair when he saw me lay down the photo^ 
graphitchok and hurry after him. 


When I say that I almost ran, mile after mile, hour 
after hour, and that I only overtook the Perevodtchik at 
about seven in the evening — ^the nature of the little man's 
feelings may be guessed. After travelling for many 
miles, I had seen a small wooden settlement and several 
boats, perhaps two miles away, and my spirits rose. But, 
rounding a point, I saw the abominable Gulf stretching 
back leagues to my left hand. I forded streams, swamps, 
muddy pools, struggled through thorny thickets : and 
exhausted all the hard Russian words I knew. 

Eventually vexation turned to pity at the surprising 
speed which terror had lent to the author of this miserable 
twelve miles' scramble : and when I staggered into the 
hut of a settler in the little Quainish village of Biimand 
Standvitsche, and found the secretary seated drinking 
milk, I spoke quite mildly to him. They offered me 
fiadbrod^ and several forms of milk, curd, cream, etc — upon 
which these Finlanders chiefly live. 

We could get no sn^ka, or femboring — five -carrier, 
i>. requiring a crew of five — to cross the sea in : and 
with difficulty found a small boat to carry us back to the 
isthmus, where that most enduring and patient Doctor sat 
upon the baggage — pipe in mouth. 

Zakkar Andrei Zitkikoff had disappeared. Whether 
he had gone to hunt for me, and been lost in a swamp, or 
had been again over -balanced by the salmon and so 
perished, has never been reported. Skto drushba^ yezheli 
trudno rastatsaf What is friendship worth, says a 
Russian proverb, if we cannot bear to part ? And so 

3o8 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xxiii. 

Zakkar Andrei ZitkikofT and I parted without a good- 
bye. We embarked after a very aifectionate farewell 
from Ondsime, who was quite willing to accompany 
us again, through Russian or any other Lapland : or 
to Kamtschatka by the North-East Passage, for that 

After crouching for some hours in the bottom of the 
boat, to shelter from the piercing wind, we passed the 
Kia Islands, where is good anchorage : and using the 
umbrellas a3 auxiliary sail power, we came on shore at 
the small Quainish fishing station of Kjoerwan, or Kair- 
wan : a spot not much resembling the Holy City of that 

While the natives whom we found sleeping were pre- 
paring to carry the baggage, the Perevodtchik overtured 
to pilot me in advance to Vaidda Giiba, five miles away. 
Some Lutheran Lapps live at Kairwan : a few of the nine- 
teen Lutheran families alone that inhabit Russian territory, 
professor Friis found a Lapp Bible here, much worn. 
Asked if they were Russian subjects, the Lapps, who 
appeared to have small respect for the Orthodox Faith, 
replied : Russian subjects we are, but heathen we are not 

After the first hour we had arrived at a mile's distance 
from Kairwan : after an hour and a half, within three- 
quarters of a mile — shaving floundered through morasses 
until brought up by a deep and rapid stream. With 
infinite pains and some risk, exercising what engineering 
talent we had, we managed to bridge the stream. . 

At the end of the second hour we were toiling amid 

CHAP, xxni.] A WRECK. -309 

brushwood, hearing nothing but the melancholy cry of 
the golden plover : and seemingly making for the centre 
of the Peninsula. I was a wreck, and was on the point 
of foundering. I had scarcely the heart to gather wild 
flowers : I saw meadowsweet, cochlearia, and campion. 

At the end of the third hour we were lost in the 
swamps. I then told the Perevodtchik that I had deter- 
mined to put him to death : and the little man was so 
appalled %t the fruit of his amazing and recurrent stupidity, 
that I think he did not wish to live any longer. 

In another hour all my forces had failed me, and I 
could scarcely totter forward. I had steered for eighteen 
hours, and walked at the close of it nearly twenty miles 
without food. A wolf passed close by me. Had he 
known how feeble I was, he would have made of me an 
unresisting prey. The Swedish naturalist at Kola 
showed us the skin of a wolf that had stood forty-two 
inches high, and measured with his tail seventy-two 
inches — ^without it, fifty-one. 

At four in the morning we entered Vaidda G6ba, 
Boundary Bay: finding that the Doctor and the rear- 
guard had arrived in good time by the proper track. We 
engaged one of the twenty Norsk boats that frequent 
the place, and went to the house of a settler. Some of 
these boats come from Lofoden, eight hundred miles away. 
There are four Norsk families here, one at ZObovka, two 
at Peisen Fiord, and one at B6mand Stanovitsche. The 
merchant put a comfortable breakfast before us, while his 
wife dried my soaking clothes. The sight of a good meal 


was almost painful, for we believed we could not eat : but 
after consulting our antecedents, we became convinced 
that we were capable of realising the hopes entertained 
of us, and our united efforts had the happiest effect 

The merchant shocked us by telling how the Prince 
Imperial of France had fallen in South Africa, and was 
being brought to share his poor father's quiet rest at 

At six in the morning we sped, from among the 
fleet of fishing-boats that were sheltering from the gale, 
out into the open waters of the Arctic. The femboring 
travelled at a magnificent pace, hurrying like a storm- 
bird over the boiling surface of the sea. We slept heavily 
in the little kayAta in the stem : and at half-past ten the 
fishermen awakened us, saying we were close to Vardo. 
We had run fifty miles through the gale in less than five 
hours, and had come within an hour of catching the mail 

We posted two pilots on the rock above the town — 
one to watch for steamers, the other to watch that he did 
so. After twenty-four hours a telegram came from Consul 
Shergold to say that the Curfew^ the last steamer left in 
Archangel, would call for us on that day. A steamer, we 
then learnt, had approached the island that morning and 
steamed away. We took it for granted this was the 
CurfeWy but left the two pilots on the rock. All our 
effects were packed upon a hand cart Two boats were 
ready, one in each harbour, for a sudden sally either 
north or south, on the approach of a steamer. 


Such a wintry summer as this had not beien known 
in Vardo for seventeen years. Dr. Pearson of Cambridge 
had been here for weeks endeavouring to observe the 
midnight sun, but his patience had been almost in vain. 
The sky was almost always obscured near the horizon, 
when the sun was at its lowest 

The errors proved to be considerable: the refrac- 
tion was invariably smaller than it should have been. In 
one instance the sun's lower limb was found to be 11' 
nearer the sea horizon than the calculation should have 
placed it The observations having been taken at spots 
of which the latitude and longitude were certain, the 
deduction from these studies is that at low elevations — ix. 
within I** 30' or 2** of the horizon — ^the laws of refraction 
become precarious in their application. The details of 
Dr. Pearson's studies were published at Cambridge in 

The study of the mysterious Aurora in these latitudes 
would be interesting and profitable. A professor asked a 
student what the Aurora was. Well, he replied, I used to 
know, but I have forgotten. Dear me ! said the professor, 
this is very unfortunate: the only man who ever knew what 
the Aurora is has forgotten. This weird and mysterious 
combination of electrical vapours could not be observed 
to greater advantage than here. They are luminous 
enough to read by : a steamer's whistle in a silent bay 
will attract and change their form. 

In the harbour lay a steamer, the Samuel Owen^ await- 
ing a cargo to carry to the land of promise — Maritime 

3xa THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xxiii. 

Siberia. There a duck costs five farthings, a pike a farth- 
ing, a calf sixpence, meat a halfpenny a pound, wheat 
one-twentieth of its cost in England, and land lets for 
threepence halfpenny per acre. When the breakwater at 
Vard5 is completed, the island will be for the Siberian 
trade what Malta is to the Indian lines. Steamers will 
call for cargo and coal. Then, traversing the magnificent 
scenery of the Matoschkin Shar, where, as in the Straits 
of Magellan, sheer cliffs rise thousands of feet, they will 
enter the yet unsurveyed Kara Sea. A permanent salvage 
station will be established on Novaya Zemlia. 

The benevolent merchant from whom we had chartered 
that poor little steamer the Pranty sent to us, hearing of 
our disappointment, and offered to send us in the Pram 
to a fiord a hundred and thirty miles away, for the sum 
of thirty pounds. I told the Perevodtchik to bear our 
compliments and the reply that we did not wish to buy 
the Pram* Besides, we had become very poor indeed : 
all our money was gone, and ^e were subsisting entirely 
upon cheques. 

At midnight the watchman gave the alarm : a steamer 
was approaching from the eastward, and making for the 
north end of the island. In ten minutes everything was 
on board of a boat, and with four good rowers we were 
racing out of the harbour. Several times it seemed as if 
the steamer were heading out to sea : but at length we 
came directly in her track, and could read the name 
Curfew on her bow. 

As she came up her good captain was on the look-out 



for US, and who should be looking over the bulwarks but 
the Perevodtchik. He had made a sortie in our southern 
boat and boarded the Curfew. It was the most spirited 
and original action of the Perevodtchik's career, and took 
us quite by surprise. We said good-bye to the good, 
honest, well-meaning little man : the Norsk pilots pushed 
off, and with scarcely the stoppage of her engines, the 
Curfew was under way again. 

Captain M'Kechnie and his son received us with real 
Scotch kindliness : and we were made most comfortable on 
this good little steamer. After being on the strain night 
and day during a journey very exhausting to the mind, 
there was a sense of reaction, almost of bewilderment, at 
finding comfortable quarters and friendly voices. We 
had been tried in patience and temper more than ever 
before, and we had not the magnificent patience of 
Regulus. It has pleased God, said he, to single me out 
as an experiment of the force of human nature. 

The sun was never clouded, the fresh North Wind 
never abated, and on the fourth day we crossed the 
Arctic circle. It was a warm golden evening, the water 
had the lovely transparent colour of chalcedony, and there 
was a glorious swell on the sea 

It must be nighty such as this that fascinate one, and, 
effacing miseries, awaken a longing for the Arctic — so 
great as to be almost unaccountable : greater even than 
the longing after old pictures, noble buildings, or the 
buried past, and equal to the unfulfilled longings of a 

3X4 THE WHITE SEA PENINSULA. [chap, xxiii. 

On the seventh evening we were in sight of Montrose, 
and among the fishing fleet : in the morning ofT Newbiggin 
Point In the afternoon we passed Flamborough Head. 
The nights were drawing in. We had gone out with the 
Aurora in the dawn of summer, and were coming home 
with the Curfew in the twilight On the ninth evening 
we steamed up the Thames, and left the Curfew below 


























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