Page:Eskimo Life.djvu/183

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141
LOVE AND MARRIAGE

more becoming for her to answer No, for they regard it as a shameful thing for a young lady to reply to such a question in the affirmative. When assured that this was the custom among us, they were of opinion that our women-folk must be devoid of modesty.

The simple method of marriage above described is still the only one known upon the east coast of Greenland, and a good deal of violence is sometimes employed in the carrying off of the bride. The lady's relations, however, stand quite unmoved and look on. It is all a private matter between the parties, and the Greenlanders love of a good understanding with his fellows makes him chary of mixing himself up in the affairs of others.

It sometimes happens, of course, that the young lady really objects to her wooer; in that case she continues her resistance until she either learns to possess her soul in patience, or until her captor gives her up.

Graah relates a curious instance[1] proving how difficult it is for an onlooker to determine what are really the lady's sentiments. An able-bodied young rowing-woman in his boat, an East Greenlander named Kellitiuk, was one day seized and carried to

  1. W. A. Graah, Narrative of an Expedition to the East Coast of Greenland, London, 1837, pp. 140-143.