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such books gathered into one place, are objects, it seems to me, greatly to be desired.

One may not choose Pearls or Virgil. Let him select Bibles, Hymn-books, Almanacs, American Colleges, money, Artesian Wells -there are thousands of important subjects on which the world demands from time to time the fullest possible information; and when one comes to study such a subject in order to impart such information he naturally asks, "Where is the literature of this subject?" And the only reply that can be given is (generally speaking), it has never been collected. It is scattered all over the civilized world." Persons object that they have not means for special collections; but every one who buys books will find when he is fifty years old that he has wasted a great deal of money on those that are, after all, of very little value. Supposing a large part of this money had been expended on a special collection? It is not so much the lack of means, as a lack of the necessary disposition.

Newspapers, periodicals, and the town libraries furnish far more reading matter than one needs; so that one is not obliged to buy many books for reading. As a rule, one's private library, however proud he may be of it, is not of much value to the world, and has in fact very little money value, although it has cost, it may be, a large sum. Go to the auction rooms where the fine library of some "gentleman deceased" is being sold. Its owner prized beyond measure this little volume, and that one, and that one; he would not have parted with them for money. Now half a dozen of these treasures are tied together in one bundle, and the lot sold for twenty-five cents. I have books that are precious to me partly because I use them, and partly because they have been my companions so long. Some of them have been twice around Cape Horn. They have made the journey between Boston and Jerusalem no less than six times, and have traveled with me thousands of miles besides. They have outlived many ocean storms, and so have I. Why should not I be attached to them? They begin to look a little battered, and, were I to sell them at auction, it is not likely that they would bring much more than enough to pay for printing the auctioneer's catalogue. Miscellaneous collections are of very little use to the world, while special collections are invaluable. If young persons would commence the collecting of books, articles, pamphlets, etc., on any given subject, and follow it up for a period of years, they would be surprised at the results. It would be a far more noble and useful work than indulging the stamp-collecting mania.

What to do, where to look for books, how to go to work, and other such topics, I have left myself no room to discuss. I would like to speak, also, of my own experience; for in a small way, and according to my limited means, I am making a collection which

will be of great use to somebody, even if I should not live to make much use of it myself.

Books, pamphlets, discussions, essays and articles scattered in different periodicals and newspapers, sometimes a dozen pages, more or less, in a book wholly foreign to the subject in which you are interested-all these belong to the literature of a subject. Quite likely some person will tell you, "Oh, there are only two or three books on that subject that are good for anything!" In following up the literature of a subject, do not be balked by any such nonsense as that. The chances are ten to one that the person does not know the literature of the subject fully, and is referring to books that he happens to know about; for certainly that would be a very insignificant subject which should be thus circumscribed and meager in its literature.-SELAH MERRILL.


THERE is probably no Arctic subject so interesting, and yet so little understood, as the one which heads this article. There is a general idea, no doubt founded on the supposed simplicity of the Eskimo constructors, and the very little that is done with the same material in our own land, that these snow-houses are of the most simple construction, and that the building of the same may be learned at once or in a short while, when the real truth of the matter is, that a farmer's boy could construct as good a Fifth Avenue brownstone house at first trial, as the average white man could build the Eskimo igloo, or snow-house, with such limited information. The most prevalent idea that I find regarding these hyperborean habitations is, that they are simply dug out of the side of a deep bank of snow, with probably a few flat blocks of snow covering the top. Some people give these constructors of the snow-house the credit of building wholly of blocks laid flat-wise, but requiring no more skill than the laying of bricks or wooden blocks in building a toy playhouse by the children. None of these ideas can be said to be at all correct, in giving due credit to a class of constructors that in ingenuity and dexterous handicraft equal those of almost any in the world; however hard it is to compare such radically different methods together.

The igloo is a comparatively thin dome of snow, built of blocks of that material, and, considering the very fragile character of its constituents, the rapidity of its construction, its great strength when made, the architectural knowledge of the dome displayed, and its

almost perfect adaptation to the people, climate and purpose for which it is constructed, it is a masterpiece of handicraft.

The snow-house is a habitation of sheer necessity, and does not exist in any part of Eskimo-land where other kinds of material can be had, so it is not co-extensive with the race of people as many suppose. They are almost wholly a sea-coast abiding people, and in many parts of their country the ocean beach furnishes them with driftwood, carried there by the currents, and if this is in large quantities it is always used for the construction of their dwellings. Many of the rivers emptying into the Arctic Ocean have their upper portions in more or less heavily wooded countries, and the trees they bring down in the spring freshets are spread over the coasts for many miles on either side of the mouths, while no little quantity gets caught in the great ocean currents that course for long distances over the polar area, and is thus carried far beyond any local limits of distribution. This is well shown on the west coast of Greenland, where driftwood is brought by an ocean current that swings around Cape Farewell from the Polar Sea, and into which it has never been; nor is it well known from whence the driftwood comes, whether Europe, Asia, or America. On King William's Land I found drift logs (but not enough to construct houses) among Eskimo who had never seen or heard of standing timber, and who believed that this grew on the bottom of the sea, and was pulled up yearly when the ice broke up, and was thrown upon the beach. As the Eskimo-the only builders of snow-houses-live only in North America, no other country concerns us here. The Mackenzie River is the only river of this continent worthy of the name, which empties into the Arctic Sea and whose headwaters are in timbered regions. All of Eskimo-land to the west is supplied with wood, and for many miles to the east, after which the snow-builders are met. is, therefore, the unsupplied Arctic coasts of North America that nearly wholly determine the geographical limit of the snow-house. It was my fortune-or misfortune-to have my first Arctic expedition thrown into the very heart of this region, and to live for two winters a little over one year in time-under the dome of Eskimo snow-houses. Nearly one whole winter was spent in traveling, and the making of an igloo every night for camp during that time-for the snow-house is as much the Eskimo's tent when traveling, as it is his house when stationary-gave me an unusual chance to see these curious habitations, in about all the phases through which they could pass.


Let us now describe the building of a snow-house; and, to do so clearly, we will begin at the very first principles, and imagine a sledging party during a winter's trip to be near the end of their day's journey, at a point where no snow houses exist, and where they

must, of course, be built. Let it be a single sledge, and a single snow-house to be built, in order to simplify matters. As dusk commences falling, or the dogs show great fatigue, or anything else determines camping time, the Eskimo man or men begin a sharp lookout for a favorable camping spot. This, as one would expect, is where there is a large bank of snow, and this must be on the shores of a lake of sufficient depth not to have frozen to the bottom (eight feet four inches was the thickest lake of ice I ever encountered and measured). The object of this is to get water for the evening's meal, digging through the thick ice to obtain it; otherwise snow or ice would have to be melted, entailing about an hour's loss of time, and also considerable waste of oil, which is very valuable to them, especially on an inland journey. As the igloo is being built by one man, if there is another spare one in the party, or even a boy, he will be digging through the ice to the water underneath.

But the eye alone cannot determine whether the snow-bank is favorable or not for the building of the igloo, as its texture, on which more depends than any other quality, is wholly beyond the power of sight to foretell. To determine this consistency a rod about the diameter of a lead pencil, and two or three feet in length, is used to thrust into the snow-bank and determine its texture. This rod was formerly made of bone, but they now use the iron rod of their sealspears, the metal being procured from the whalers. They may thrust their spears into the snow clear around the shore of a large lake for a mile along the bank of a river, and then have to move on further. While nothing looks more silly and absurd than this jabbing away at the surface of the snow it is a really very necessary preliminary operation. The snow, which is good on top, may be found friable and worthless underneath, and this will be revealed by thrusting in the tester to the lower strata. More commonly an apparently good bank of snow is resting on a mass of boulders at the foot of the hill, where large enough blocks cannot be cut. On the other side a thin covering of loose powdered snow, that the eye would reject, may cover a splendid bank of the very best material for building. The testing finished, and a good spot found, the sledges, which have generally been stopped on the middle of the lake or river, are brought up alongside, where it is easier to watch the dogs and prevent their stealing anything from the sledge, which they are very prone to do if they have not been fed for a couple of days.

The construction of the snow-house now begins. The only implement needed is a snow-knife. Formerly these were made of bone from the reindeer; but now, where they are in contact with white men, as whalers or fur traders, or can obtain them by inter-tribal barter, they use the largest butcher-knives they can secure, and put

on a handle large enough to grasp with both hands. With this snow-knife the builder cuts a wedge-shaped piece from the bank of snow, the perpendicular face of which is the size of the front of the contemplated blocks. This is thrown away. The blocks are now cut and laid alongside of the trench from which they are taken. Geometrically they are about two to three feet long, a foot to a foot and a half deep, and five to ten inches thick; more popularly described, they are about the size of a common bed pillow, the faces and edges, of course, being flat as the knife cuts them. There is considerable variation in the size, however, as some Eskimo pride themselves on the large blocks they can cut, while the less ambitious builders content themselves with smaller ones that are not so liable to break. The former class generally construct the better igloos, as my experience goes. There are nearly always two or three men with each sledge and one or two women, so while one man makes the igloo another cuts the blocks and a third is digging at the well. The builder having selected his spot for the contemplated house, he stands upon it and, with knife in hand, leaning forward, he sweeps its point over the snow describing a circle on its surface, with his feet as a center. This is the line to be followed by the base-course of snow-blocks. If the igloo is to be a temporary one, used only for the night, the circle will be a small one, not over (and probably less than) ten feet in diameter; and if for a permanent or semi-permanent occupation, it will be larger, giving more room and comfort inside. This circle is made on a bank sloping at about thirty degrees from the horizontal, and this would have a tendency to pitch" the axis of the igloo forward or toward the door, which is always at the lowest or down-hill" point of the circle. The first base-block on the circle is always placed on the extreme righthand side as the constructor looks toward the door. The next one is further down hill, and so on around till the circle is completed. Now, one of the most common ideas of the igloo, even by those who have read almost every Arctic description about it, is that it is made up of continuous layers of these blocks superimposed upon each other, like brick work in making a chimney; an idea which is not correct. This line of blocks is rather a continuous one from bottom to top, or a spiral, one very similar to the old-style beehives, made of a continuous rope from bottom to top; so that, when the base course of blocks is finished, the first block laid in the course is cut in half by a diagonal from its lower right corner to the top left one, and on this diagonal edge the next block is laid which begins the spiral, which, when finished, completes the igloo; the spiral running in the opposite direction from the hands of a watch laid horizontally.

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