Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/283

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

East Coast of 6'reenland. 251 sitions of these children of nature, that enabled M. Graah, in his isolated situation, to overcome the obstacles by which he was sur- rounded. During thirteen months he lost only a hatchet, and this he believed that he had forgotten somewhere; and his letters and journals have been transmitted to us by a Greenlander, who carried them from ?]ugarbik to ?]enalalek. Polygamy is not common among them; they do not change their wives, and their morals appear to be irreproachable. The married people neither .fight nor dispute with one another, and no appearance of ill-humour is to be seen among them. ' Although M. Graah possessed articles that greatly delighted them, no Greenlander, not even one of the children, begged for anyth!ng, unless when service had been rendered; for on these occasions they always demanded a gratification, but were generally satisfied with a portion of tobacco. Their chief luxuries are to- bacco, coffee, and eau de vie. ' All this coast appears to be still colder, more barren and mise- rable than the west coast. It may be said to consist of one unin- terrupted glacier (g'Lsbrae), exhibiting only a few patches of vege- tation, generally o?the banks of the rivers--and elsewhere, often advancing far into the sea, and forming promontories of ice, which are passed with so much the more danger, that they frequently fall in avalanches (koeloe). ' During the whole summer of 1829, there was not one day which could be called warm; and before the 14th of June, the Centigrade thermometer had never risen above 12 �ring the winter of 18?8-9, however, the cold never exceeded --17 �18�and the south-west winds sometimes caused the temperature to rise suddenly to -t- 15 �' At Ekolumius, latitude 63 �, the vegetation appeared to M. Graah to be superior to that of any other part of the coast, even of Julianshaab, which is reputed to be the most favoured part of ? the west coast. This vegetation, however, appears to consist only in a fine grass, which withers quickly when exposed to the warmth of the sun, and in some anti-scorbutic plants, as sorrel and scurvy- grass, with one or two kinds of. flowers, and low bushes of willow, and birch, of which the maximum grox?th is two feet. ' The food of the natives is principally the dried. flesh of the seal, with a little game and fish. �M:. Graah makes mention of bears, hares, birds, and salmon; but he says that, even at the latitude of 65 �', rein-deer and hares are known only by name. ' In laying down the plan of the coast, M. G?ah defied- no assistance from his chronometers? because one of them stopped at Nenor?!ik, and the other at the beginning of the voyage, which was of a nature to expose these delicate instruments to too much casualty. "He made many observations of latitude and some of hmar dis-