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LXIV.--DON ISOZAKS.......... ...
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F R E E R U S SIA.
CHAPTER I. - UP North.
66 HITE SEA s” laughs the Danish skipper, curling his W thin red lip; “it is the color of English stout. The bed may be white, being bleached with the bones of wrecked and sunken men; but the waves are never white, except when they are ribbed into ice and furred with snow. A better name is that which the sailors and seal-fishers give it—the Frozen. Sea 1" ; Rounding the North Cape, a weird and hoary mass of rock, projecting far into the Arctic foam, we drive in a south-east course, lashed by the wind and beaten by hail and rain, for two long days, during which the sun never sets and never rises, and in which, if there is dawn at the hour of midnight, there is also dusk at the time of noon. Leaving the picturesque lines of fiord and alp behind, we run along a dim, unbroken coast, not often to be seen through the pall of mist, until, at the end of some fifty hours, we feel, as it were, the land in our front; a stretch of low-lying shore in the vague and far-off distance, trending away towards the south, like the trail of an evening cloud. We bend in a southern course, between Holy Point (Sviatoi Noss, called on our charts, in rough salt slang, Sweet Nose) and Kanin Cape, towards the Corridor; a strait some thirty miles wide, leading down from the Polar Ocean into that vast irregular dent in the northern shore of Great Russia known as the Frozen Sea. The land now lying on our right, as we run through the Corridor, is that of the Lapps; a country of barren downs and deep black lakes; over which a few trappers and fishermen roam ; subjects of the Tsar and followers of the Orthodox rite; but speaking a language of their own, not understood in the Winter Palace, and following a custom of their fathers, not yet recognized in St. Isaac's Church. Lapland is a tangle of rocks and pools; the rocks very big and broken, the pools very deep and black; with here and there a valley winding through them, on the slopes of which grows a little reindeer moss. Now and then you come upon a patch of birch and pine. No grain will grow in these Arctic zones, and the food of the natives is game and fish. Rye-bread, their only luxury, must be fetched in boats from the towns of Omega and Archangel, standing on the shores of the Frozen Sea, and fed from the warmer provinces in the south. These Lapps are still nomadic; cowering through the winter months in shanties; sprawling through the summer months in tents. Their shanty is a log pyramid thatched with moss to keep out wind and sleet; their tent is of the Comanche type; a roll of reindeer skins drawn slackly round a pole, and opened at the top to let out Smoke. A Lapp removes his dwelling from place to place, as the seasons come and go ; now herding game on the hill-sides, now whipping the rivers and creeks for fish; in the warm months, roving inland in search of moss and grass; in the frozen months, drawing nearer to the shore in search of seal and cod. The men are equally expert with the bow, their ancient weapon of defense, and with the birding-piece, the arm of settlers in their midst. The women, looking any thing but lovely in their seal-skin tights and reindeer smocks, are infamous for magic and second sight. In every district of the North, a female Lapp is feared as a witch—an enchantress— who keeps a devil at her side, bound by the powers of darkness to obey her will. She can see into the coming day. She can bring a man ill-luck. She can throw herself out into space, and work upon ships that are sailing past her on the sea. Far out in the Polar brine, in waters where her countrymen fish for cod, stands a lump of rock, which the crews regard as a Woman and her Child. Such fantasies are common in these Arctic seas, where the waves wash in and out through the cliffs, and rend and carve them into wondrous shapes. A rock on the North Cape is called the Friar; a group of islets