Page:Eskimo Life.djvu/230

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188
ESKIMO LIFE.

and rooted it out. Dalager even teils us that 'there is scarcely any vice practised among the Greenlanders against which our missionaries preach more vehemently than they do against this dance, affirming that it is the occasion of all sorts of misbehaviour, especially among the young.' This policy he did not at all approve. He admits, indeed, that the dances may be the occasion of a few irregularities, but adds that if a girl has made up her mind to part with her virtue, she is not likely to select so unquiet a time and place; and one cannot but agree with him when he exclaims, 'And in truth, if people danced to such good purpose among us, we should presently see every second moralist and advocate transformed into a dancing-master.'

The result of this inconsiderate action on the part of the missionaries is that, in reality, no law and no forms of justice now exist in Greenland. The Europeans cannot, of course, or at any rate should not, mix themselves up in the Greenlanders' private affairs. But when, on some rare occasion, a crime of real importance occurs, the Danish authorities feel that they must intervene. The consequences of such intervention are sometimes rather surprising. At a settlement in North Greenland some years ago (so I have been told), a man who had killed his mother was punished by banishment