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Title: With the Harmony to Labrador - Notes of a Visit to the Moravian Mission Stations on the North-East - Coast of Labrador
Author: La Trobe, Benjamin, 1725-1786
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     [Illustration: "THE HARMONY"]

     A VISIT
     TO THE
     ON THE

     32, FETTER LANE, E.C.


       *       *       *       *       *


     BY THE
     TO THE
     ON THE

     32, FETTER LANE, E.C.



     INTRODUCTORY REMARKS                              1
     HOPEDALE                                          5
     A STROLL "TO THE HEATHEN"                         5
     THREE NATIVE HELPERS                              9
     ZOAR                                             14
     FROM ZOAR TO NAIN BETWEEN ISLANDS                16
     THE FIRST EVENING AT NAIN                        17
     TWO ESKIMO GROUPS TAKEN AT NAIN                  21
     "GOD'S ACRE"                                     23
     A BUSY WEEK AT NAIN                              25
     FROM NAIN TO OKAK                                27
     FROM OKAK TO RAMAH                               34
     "RAMARSUK" (NEAT LITTLE RAMAH)                   35
     AN ESKIMO VILLAGE                                38
     ON THE BEACH AT RAMAH                            41
     A FAITHFUL NATIVE HELPER                         42
     LEAVING RAMAH                                    43
     ARRIVAL AT HEBRON                                45
     THE VISITING MISSIONARIES' LEVEE                 46
     A SLEDGE DRIVE                                   47
     MY LAST SUNDAY IN LABRADOR                       51
     MUSIC ON THE WATER                               53
     HOMEWARD BOUND                                   53



     "THE HARMONY"                          1
     HOPEDALE                               4
     ESKIMO HOUSES                         19
     A GROUP OF WIDOWS AT NAIN             21
     THE CHOIR AT NAIN                     22
     ICE AGROUND                           29
     RAMAH                                 36
     TENTS AT RAMAH                        37
     AN ESKIMO IN HIS KAYAK                42
     TRAVELLING IN LABRADOR                49


Is an extensive triangular peninsula on the north-east coast of
British North America, Lat. 50° to 62° N., Lon. 56° to 78° W.; bounded
N. by Hudson's Straits, E. by the Atlantic, S.E. by the Strait of
Belle Isle, separating it from Newfoundland, S. by the Gulf and River
St. Lawrence and Canada, and W. by James' Bay and Hudson's Bay. Its
area is estimated at 420,000 sq. miles. The vast interior, inhabited
by a few wandering Nascopie Indians, is little known; the coast,
mainly but sparsely peopled by Eskimoes, is rugged, bleak and
desolate. Seals abound, and the sea is well stocked with cod and other
fish. The wild animals include deer (caribou), bears, wolves, foxes,
martens, and otters. The Eskimo dogs are trained to draw sledges, to
which they are attached in teams of from eight to fourteen.

The temperature in winter ranges lower than that of Greenland, the
thermometer often showing a minimum of 70° below freezing-point of
Fahrenheit. The climate is too severe to ripen any cereals, and the
flora is very limited.

The Moravian Mission to the Eskimoes on the north-east coast of
Labrador was established in 1771 by a colony of brethren and sisters
from England and Germany, who on July 1st reached Unity's Harbour, and
at once began the erection of a station, calling it NAIN. An earlier
attempt in 1752 under the direction of John Christian Erhardt had
failed, the leader of the little band of missionaries and the captain
of the ship, together with several men of the crew, having been killed
by the natives. Five more stations were subsequently added--viz., ZOAR
and HOPEDALE to the south, and OKAK, HEBRON, and RAMAH to the north of
Nain. The distance from Ramah to Hopedale is about three hundred

Since the year 1770, when the "Jersey Packet" was sent out on an
exploratory trip, the Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel has
maintained regular communication with Labrador by despatching each
year a ship, specially devoted to this missionary object. Eleven
different ships have been employed in this service, ranging from a
little sloop of seventy tons to a barque of two hundred and forty
tons. Of these only four were specially constructed for Arctic
service, including the vessel now in use, which was built in the year
1861. She is the fourth of the Society's Labrador ships bearing the
well-known name "THE HARMONY."

[Illustration: "THE HARMONY."]



What can a summer visitor tell of Labrador, that great drear land
whose main feature is winter, the long severe winter which begins in
October and lasts until June? I have been sailing over summer seas,
where in winter no water is visible, but a wide waste of ice
stretching thirty, forty, fifty or more miles from the snowy shores.
In the same good ship "Harmony," I have been gliding between the
innumerable islands of the Labrador archipelago and up the fine fjords
stretching far inland among the mountains, but in winter those bays
and straits and winding passages are all white frozen plains, the
highways for the dog-sledge post from station to station. I have
visited each of our six mission-stations, dotted at intervals of from
forty to ninety miles along some 250 miles of the grand, rocky coast,
but I have seen them in their brightest and sunniest aspect, and can
only imagine how they look when stern winter has come to stay for
months, and the thermometer frequently descends to forty, fifty,
sixty, sometimes even seventy degrees below freezing point,
Fahrenheit. I have spent happy, busy days in those Christian villages,
nestling close by the shore under the shelter of one or another hill
that cuts off the icy northern blasts of winter. But I can fancy that
their ordinary aspect is very different to the bustle and interest of
the "shiptime." I have enjoyed the kindly hospitality of successive
mission-houses, one as neat and clean as the other. But I have seen
none of them half buried, as they often are, in snowdrifts of fifteen
or twenty feet deep. The summer sun sent down powerful rays into the
windows of the pleasant guest-chamber usually facing southward, but in
mid-winter the Okak mission-house lies in the shadow of a great hill
for weeks, and at other stations the sun describes a low curve over
the opposite mountains, and does little more than shed a feeble ray of
cheer upon the mid-day meal.

One unpleasant experience of the warmer season I have shared with our
missionaries, which they are spared in winter. That is the
inconvenience of the swarms of mosquitoes and sand flies, which make
them almost glad when the brief summer yields to a cooler autumn.

On the other hand many phases of Labrador life do not change with the
season of the year, least of all the spiritual verities which there,
as elsewhere, concern the welfare of the bodies and the souls of men,
and the eternal principles which should rule the life that now is, as
well as that which is to come. The Christian life of the dwellers in
those mission-houses, and, thank God, of the goodly congregations
gathered around them, has its source in a perennial fountain, flowing
summer and winter from the upper sanctuary. _This_ is the matter of
main interest to my readers, therefore I will transcribe, or rather
adapt, some diary pages, hoping they may convey correct impressions of
the daily surroundings and local conditions under which our dear,
self-denying missionaries are constantly toiling to win souls, and
build up truly Christian congregations.


Hopedale, Zoar, Nain, Okak, Hebron, Raman; these are our Labrador
mission-stations in order from south to north, and as we visited them
in the "Harmony," with one exception. From Okak we went straight to
Ramah, and returned southward to Hebron, whence we sailed for Europe.
Each station consists of the mission premises and a group of Eskimo
dwellings, situated on the shore of a bay, affording safe and
convenient anchorage for the ship which brings supplies. From Hopedale
to Ramah is about 250 miles, "as the crow flies," but the ship
traverses a hundred miles more in its passages from place to place.
The distances between the stations are about as follows:--

     Hopedale to Zoar 90 miles  Okak to Hebron  70 miles.
     Zoar to Nain     40  "     Hebron to Ramah 60   "
     Nain to Okak     80  "

The accompanying log of our voyage gives a _résumé_ of its history. I
will take up my more detailed sketches on the day when we arrived at
Hopedale, the southern station.


(28th of present barque "Harmony.")

     June 20. Wed.--_Farewell Service in London Docks._
       "  23. Sat.--Left LONDON.
     July  3. Tues.--Arr. at STROMNESS (Orkney Isles).
       "   6. Fri.--Left STROMNESS.

     (_London to Labrador, 41 days_.)

     Aug.  3. Fri.--Arr. at HOPEDALE.
       "  13. Mon.--Left       "
       "  14. Tues.--Arr. at ZOAR.
       "  19. Sun.--Left      "
       "  19. Sun.--Arr. at NAIN.
       "  27. Mon.--Left     "
       "  29. Wed.--Arr. at OKAK.
     Sept. 5. Wed.--Left     "
       "   9. Sun.--Arr. at RAMAH.
       "  14. Fri.--Left      "
       "  17. Mon.--Arr. at HEBRON.
       "  25. Tues.--Left     "

     (_Stay in Labrador, 53 days_.)

     Oct. 26. Fri.--Re-entered LONDON DOCKS.

     (_Homeward Voyage, 31 days_.)

     The whole voyage occupied 125 days, or close upon 18 weeks.

_August 3rd_, 1888. It is six weeks all but a day since we left
London. We might have reached Hopedale three days ago, for we were
within eighty miles. But a dense fog made it impossible to venture
among the islands, where drift ice might be added to the dangers of
rocks. So we have been driving to and fro for the last three days and
nights over a high sea, studded with icebergs hidden from us by a
thick white mist, which made everything wet and cold. It has been the
least pleasant and most anxious part of our voyage hitherto. This
morning the fog cleared away, and we could see how good the Lord had
been to us, for the icebergs were still surrounding us, but had never
been permitted to come nigh our vessel. (Not till later did we know
how well He had not only protected but piloted us. Drift ice beset the
whole coast, but during those three days it cleared away southward.
Nor could we have reached Hopedale by the usual southerly route, past
the Gull Island, even on August 3rd. The course by which we were
taken, _nolens volens_, was the only one open).

As morning wore on our swift progress brought us to the outer islands,
bare bleak rocks, at whose base the sea was breaking terrifically. The
first was Ukalek (the hare), about equal distance from Nain, Zoar, and
Hopedale. We turned southward, our good ship speeding along before a
favourable breeze and rolling heavily. Many icebergs of all shapes and
sizes were visible around our now widened horizon. Tremendous waves
were beating against their gleaming white sides, and sending the spray
high towards their towering pinnacles, in one case clean over a huge
berg perhaps 150 feet high.

Presently the Eskimoes at their northern fishing-places caught sight
of us. Yonder are two boats sailing from that barren island, and we
can now see three or four Eskimoes in each. As we overtake them they
fire their guns and shout. See, on that island to the right is a
regular little encampment, two or three tents, and men, women, and
children running about excitedly, waving their arms and hallooing.
Soon they launch their boats and row after us. The Ship Hill has been
visible for some time. Now we see the red roof of the mission-house,
and the little cupola of the church. Thank God! the flag is flying at
the mast-head, _i.e._, at the top of the station flagstaff; no death
has occurred in the mission circle. Yonder Eskimoes on the rocks,
congregated about their little cannon, fire their salutes and shout
their welcome. Now we are sailing into the harbour. With mingled
feelings I scan the mission-house. Yes, there are some of the
missionaries at the door. They run down to the pier, launch their boat
and are coming off to us, rowed by two men and two women. I recognize
old Boaz from his photograph; and that is Verona, good faithful soul.
But there are only Mrs. Dam, and the Brethren Kaestner, Asboe, and
Hansen. Where are the rest? Mr. Bourquin has not arrived from Nain; no
news from the North; Mr. Dam is ailing, and must return to Europe with
us. Mrs. Asboe and Mrs. Kaestner await us, so we are soon off in the
boat to get another warm welcome at the door of the mission-house,
about half-past five.

[Illustration: HOPEDALE. (_See next page._)]

I am conducted to the guest-chamber, and ere long we meet at the tea
table, around which the whole mission family is assembled with their
visitors. First our gratitude is expressed for the many mercies to
each and all, included in the safe arrival of the "Harmony," and then
ensues a lively interchange of news and mutual interests.


I will content myself with a few explanations of the accompanying view
of the station from the bay. In winter the aspect of the whole
landscape would be very much whiter, and the foreground not water, but
ice. The bare, rocky ship hill which forms the background still had
considerable patches of snow when we arrived early in August, but it
melted from day to day during our stay, for the summer sun asserts its
power during its brief sway. The mission-house in the centre of the
picture is connected with the church by a covered passage, and the
building with the three gable-ends, on the other side of it, is the
store. The gardens, really wonderful in results when the climate is
considered, are situated at some distance to the rear of the mission
premises. The Eskimo village lies mostly to the right, where only one
or two log huts are visible in the picture. Some of the native houses
are behind the mission premises, including that of Jonas and his
capable wife Lydia, perhaps the neatest and best furnished home of an
Eskimo to be found in Labrador. The three windows to the right of the
front door of the mission-house belong to the rooms occupied by Mr.
and Mrs. Asboe. If there be as much snow this winter as last, they may
be in the dark, part of the time. The three centre windows of the
upper story show Mr. Hansen's rooms, and on each side of these are the
dwellings of Mr. and Mrs. Kaestner and Mr. and Mrs. Lundberg.


The only "road" in all Labrador is the broad path at Hebron traversed
by the only wheeled vehicle in the country, a queer little wagon drawn
by dogs, and used to fetch water for the house. But great service to
succeeding generations of missionaries has been rendered by those who
have employed some of their leisure in making pleasant paths leading
to points of view or places of interest. For such a remote settlement,
Hopedale is rich in well-made walks, though they are by no means so
extensive as the winding paths in the fir woods behind Nain, the
oldest station. And as I can bear witness, the present generation of
missionaries have at each station fairly done their duty in adding to
the roads along which their successors in the service shall take their
social strolls or their lonely prayerful walks in communion with the
best of friends.

What an illustration of the spiritual service in such a land! The
pioneer finds all in the roughest phase of nature. With infinite
trouble and pains he prepares the way of the Lord, making the rough
places plain; here he takes away the rocks and stones which bar the
way, there he builds up, so making His paths straight. And where the
good-work has been begun, other missionaries follow on the same lines;
and so by grace it shall go forward, until the glory of the Lord shall
be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

One of the Hopedale paths leads "to the heathen," and what more
interesting spot could we visit than those three mounds, which are all
that remain of the former winter dwellings of the original heathen
population. One by one, and sometimes several at once, when the Spirit
of the Lord was powerfully bringing home to their hearts the Gospel
preached by the early missionaries, the inmates of these abodes moved
from their pagan surroundings and began to make themselves Christian
homes around the mission-houses.

On our way to the long uninhabited ruins of this older group of
abodes, we will pass through the Christian village, which has thus
sprung up at Hopedale as at all the other stations. It consists of
irregular groups of little log houses, planted with little attempt at
symmetry. Their Eskimo owners have no idea of a street. Perhaps some
day the conception may occur to them as they read in their Bibles of
"the street which was called straight." Nor do they need any words in
their language for "rent," "rates," or, "taxes." Here in the south and
at the station most influenced by civilization, the majority of the
little houses are built of logs and even roofed with wood. Some are
covered with turf. The dwellings of our people in the north are much
more primitive. Each house has its low porch, a very necessary
addition in this land of "winter's frost and snowing."

Between the houses and in their porches lie many dogs. One of these
wolf-like creatures follows us over the rocks to the burial-ground,
and then runs off to fish on his own account. The dogs scour the shore
for miles in search of food, for, with the exception of those
belonging to our stores, they mostly have to forage for themselves.
They like seal and reindeer meat, but there are times when they can
get neither flesh nor fish. Then they turn vegetarians, spring over
the fences of the mission gardens and help themselves.

We enter the irregular enclosure, where lie the bodies of many, who
have fallen asleep during the hundred years that Hopedale has stood.
Here are some Eskimo graves with little headstones, bearing brief
inscriptions, but more mounds without identification. In one corner
lies a group of graves of touching interest--the missionaries and
their children--who have taken sepulchre possession here.

Thence our way lies along the shore. What is that noise? It is a whale
blowing in the smooth water. Look, yonder rises the column of spray,
and now a great fin appears for a moment over the surface. Wait
awhile, and the monster will blow again. Yes, there he is, spouting
and diving; on the whole, we can hear more than we can see of him.

Over rock and moss, variegated with lovely little flowers, we reach
the path which skirts the old heathen sites. Little more than the
outline of the former turf houses is visible. The turf roof has fallen
in, or been carried away, but the low mounds which formed the walls
remain, as also the roofless curving porch, which in each opened out
to the sea. More than one hundred persons of both sexes and all ages
are said to have inhabited these three houses, and their heathen life
here, with its cruelties, sorceries, and other unhallowed phases, can
better be imagined than described. It must have been a great advance
for them in every respect when they moved to the mission-station,
established nearly half a mile away, and began to learn the faith and
hope which have given it its name. In those days there must have been
a good many such heathen villages along this coast with a nomad
population far more numerous than now.

Thence we easily ascend the ship hill, over rock and moss, and
occasional patches of snow. The view is really grand, though bleak and
bare. Hundreds of rocky islands lie between us and the seaward
horizon, while to north and south one can scarcely distinguish them
from the bold headlands which stretch out into the ocean. Northward,
the white sails of from thirty to forty fishing schooners are gleaming
white in the sun. Hundreds of these craft pass up the coast from
Newfoundland every summer, and the spiritual interests of their crews
are faithfully sought at Hopedale. Sometimes the Sunday afternoon
English service is attended by more than two hundred such visitors. As
we descend the hill and return to the station past the well-kept
gardens, we make our first acquaintance with mosquitoes, but they do
not trouble us much to-day.


Each mission-station is a little world in itself; it has its own joys
and sorrows, and complete cycle of events in the human lives lived
here for a time by the will of God, who has His purposes of love in
each and all. I have touched many of these joys and sorrows during my
brief stay here.

In the godly family of this Hopedale mission-house, it is a time when
the clouds return after the rain. Little Hildegard Kaestner has been
lying for some days between life and death, but at last we can rejoice
with her parents in a degree of hope. The child has even shown a faint
interest in her toys. (I am grieved to hear on my return that the
little one passed away while her father was absent with me on duty.)
Our English missionary sister has also been passing through woman's
time of trial and honour, and we are now able to rejoice with her and
her husband in the gift of a little girl, their firstborn. God bless
and keep mother and child!

My visits with Mr. Dam, the pastor, and his wife, to some of the
Eskimoes' houses have been singularly sad. Titus' wife, Katharina,
formerly a good and able woman, has fallen into a pitiable state of
insanity, which is not only a sore sorrow to the good man, but also a
great hindrance to his earning a livelihood. Then we were suddenly
summoned to the next house, where we found Hermine dying. In the
morning she went out fishing with her husband, Wilhadus. Both were
taken very ill with one of those colds which are so fatal to the
Eskimoes, and he feared he should not be able to bring her home alive.
She was nearly gone, and he very ill, when they did arrive. We found
her on the floor, surrounded by sympathizing and helpful neighbours.
But there was little to be done; life was fast ebbing. Mr. Dam knelt
and prayed beside her, then blessed her, and she feebly responded to
his words. The women laid her down comfortably, and as they sang
hymns, amid tears and sobs, she passed away to be with the Lord, on
whom she believed. God be praised that there is such hope and comfort
in this event.

Hermine died on Thursday, and the funeral was on Saturday afternoon,
when a little child was also buried. The first part of the service was
in the church. Then the congregation reassembled just outside, the men
by themselves and the women apart. The larger coffin was borne on the
shoulders of six men, the little one was carried by two. The whole
congregation appeared to be the mourners, nor was poor Wilhadus well
enough to follow his wife's remains to their last resting-place. After
singing a verse in front of the church, the procession moved slowly
onward to the burial ground, where Mr. Kaestner read the litany, and
the responses and singing were beautifully reverent. At his signal the
coffins were lowered into the graves, and he spoke the concluding
blessing at each.

I was present at a marriage service last Sunday. The young bridegroom
and bride sat together on two stools in the middle of the church. They
were simply and plainly dressed in clean white "sillapaks," _i.e._,
light calico tunics edged with broad braid, mostly red. The woman's
was rather more ornamental than the man's, and had a longer tail
hanging over her skirts. She had a ring on one finger, but that played
no part in the ceremony. In his opening address the minister named the
pair. William Tuktusna comes from the South, and possesses both
Christian name and surname, which is unusual for an Eskimo. The woman
is called Amalie. Both replied with a clear "Ahaila" (yes) to the
usual questions of the marriage service. They then gave the hand to
one another, and, kneeling down, a prayer and the Old Testament
blessing confirmed the solemn contract, into which they had entered
before God. As usual the congregation sang the response, "Jêsum
akkâne, Amen." (In the name of Jesus, Amen).

Amalie cried a little during the ceremony, and more as she followed
her husband out of the church, but the heathen custom of feigning
sorrow on such an occasion is dying out. At first she refused
William's offer, made through their missionary, but afterwards she
thought better of it. May the Lord give them a happy and holy union of
heart and life!


I had a visit this afternoon from the three "native-helpers" here at
Hopedale. They came to interview the angajokak from London
(anga-yo-kâk = chief or elder) and their pastor kindly interpreted. I
am pleased to know these worthy men. They are true Eskimoes in modes
of thought and expression, and they are true servants of God,
faithfully serving this congregation of their countrymen in many ways.
Among the duties of their office are, visiting the sick, admonishing
the negligent, settling disputes, and affectionately exhorting those
who are under Church discipline. They are also chapel-servants, and
evidently glad to be door-keepers in the house of their God. At the
fishing or hunting places they often hold services, and sometimes they
preside at the meetings at Hopedale. At the celebration of the recent
centenary each of the three delivered a powerful address.

Let me introduce them to my readers.

The first and oldest is JOSHUA, a decided Christian of many years'
standing. His wife Bertha is also a chapel-servant, a real mother in
the congregation, and a true helpmeet to her husband. They are a
thrifty, diligent, much respected couple, whose influence and example
is blessed to those around them. Next February 4th they will, D.V.,
celebrate their golden wedding, an event unknown as yet in Labrador.
Though Joshua cannot read, he frequently addresses the congregation
with power, suitability, spirituality, and some originality. In his
public prayers he almost invariably adds a petition "for our Queen
Victoria; because she is only a woman." On one occasion he said to his
countrymen: "Those of you who can read know that it says, they shall
come from the East and the West, and the North and the South, and
shall sit down in the kingdom, but the children of the kingdom shall
be cast out. Our fathers were heathen, but we are children of the
kingdom. If _we_ fail of the grace of God, we shall not only be cast
into hell, but into outer, _outer_, OUTER darkness." It made a great
impression on them. At another time he drew a comparison between the
Israelites, who entered Canaan with Joshua, and the spiritual
Israelites, who with Jesus shall enter on the millennium.

The second is DANIEL, a gifted man with a humble spirit and
considerable missionary zeal. Year by year, as Epiphany, "the Heathen
Festival," comes round, he has sleepless nights of deep sorrow in his
heart for those who know not Jesus, the Salvation of God. Twenty years
ago, stirred by the example of John King, the bush-negro evangelist in
Surinam, Daniel went in his own boat to his heathen countrymen in the
far north of Labrador. He found a companion of like sentiment in
Gottlob of Hebron, who afterwards rendered such excellent service at
Ramah. More recently Daniel induced Titus of Hopedale to accompany him
on a winter journey to some of the European settlers and half-breeds
in the neighbourhood of that station. When they arrived at the
log-house of one or another of these dwellers in the remote bays,
Daniel at once told their errand with as much humility as
earnestness. Their simple testimony of the Saviour from sin was well
received. When they returned to Hopedale Daniel had a great deal to
tell the missionaries of the utterances of his companion, but very
little to remark about his own sayings and doings. He frequently
accompanies his missionaries on their evangelistic or pastoral
journeys not only as driver of the dog-sledge, but as helper of their
spiritual work.

[Illustration: TITUS. _Native Helper at Hopedale_.]

The third of my visitors is the above mentioned TITUS, also a man of
ripe years and Christian experience. The way in which his zeal and
spirit of service supplement the gifts of his friend Daniel is a
striking illustration of the Spirit's dividing to every man severally
as He wills. Daniel is a man of quick perceptions, Titus of prompt
action. The two may be walking together and talking of the spiritual
welfare of the congregation so much upon their hearts and prayers.
Daniel mentions some matter which he fears is displeasing in God's
sight. "Yes, yes, that is so," says Titus; "I had not perceived it, but
you are right. We must testify against that." And testify he does, on
the first opportunity, with such vigour that the abuse is rebuked and
stopped, yet with such tact that none can be offended at his faithful

For some years Titus has served as assistant schoolmaster, and like
his friend Daniel he takes part in the music of the sanctuary, having
a good bass voice. Daniel sings tenor in the choir, or plays the


_Sunday, August 12th_.--To-day the festival of the thirteenth of
August, the spiritual birthday of the renewed Brethren's Unity, has
been celebrated in this far northern congregation, incorporated in the
one bond with those in Germany, England, America, and our various
mission-fields scattered thousands of miles apart over the surface of
the globe.

In the early morning the congregation band played suitable chorales in
good time and tune, and the solemn strains were well adapted to
prepare hearts and feelings for the spiritual privileges of the day.

At nine o'clock Daniel kept the morning blessing. Picture the neat
clean, church, simple and suitable for the worship of an Eskimo
congregation. Behind the table sits the worthy native-helper. To his
right hand the missionaries face the men and boys; to his left are the
missionaries' wives, and opposite them a more numerous company of
women and girls. The benches are without backs. The little organ is
played by Ludolf, an Eskimo, well and devotionally, and the singing is
further accompanied by other musicians with one clarionet, five
violins, and a violoncello. The choice of tunes is such as would
puzzle most congregations in England. The people are very devout in
their demeanour and sing well. Their faces are mostly brown, with high
cheek bones, but on the whole they are much lighter in complexion than
photographs had led me to conclude.

Daniel did his part reverently and simply, for, as he had told me
before by word and gesture, God has made the heart and the mouth. His
long and earnest prayer, spoken extempore in his own language, was
evidently well prepared, and thoroughly suitable to the occasion. He
asked the Lord to be among us with His blessings, His faithfulness,
and His mercies. He continued: "O Saviour, Thou hast all fulness; Thou
wast able and willing to bless the brethren at Herrnhut a hundred and
fifty years ago, bless us now. True, we are worse and much lower than
they were, but Thou canst do it. Bless us to-day. We are very bad, but
Thou wilt bless those among us who believe. As to those who do not
believe, bless them too, and, if possible, let them be partakers of
Thy salvation.

"We think of our teachers, those who have come to us and those who are
about to leave us by the 'Harmony.' O bless them for their works'
sake. We do not always obey them as we ought. Help us to be more
obedient. Lord, do these things for us, and though we are not able to
praise Thee sufficiently here on earth, we will praise Thee in heaven
for ever."

The next service was commenced with a choir piece, when the organ and
other instruments accompanied seven singers, four women and three men.
The women especially had voices of power and compass. Alto, tenor, and
bass were fairly sustained, as well as soprano, and the whole effect
was good. The piece, which was not easy, but suitable in liturgical
character, was well rendered both in forte and piano passages. This
time Ambrose, another native, presided at the organ, and Ludolf played
the first violin.

Mr. Kaestner's sermon on 1 John iii. 1 was followed by a baptism, in
Labrador suitably the closing part of the public service. The
congregation as ever take up the long responses well and devotionally,
and in this service the children repeat portions of Scripture (1 Pet.
iii. 21, Tit. iii. 5, and Matt. xix. 14). These were spoken distinctly
and simultaneously by the boys and girls. The infant having been
brought up to the table by the parents, the minister baptized it with
the formula Susannah, Jesusib tokkun-ganut baptipagit Atatab,
Ernerublo, Anernerublo ajunginerub attinganut. (Susannah, into the
death of Jesus I baptize thee, in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost.)

I took the English service at three o'clock. Soon after we again
assembled in the church, for the Eskimo choir had sent a deputation to
request that they might sing some more of their pieces for us. The
programme of their really excellent performance included such pieces
as Hosanna, Christians Awake, Stille Nacht, Morgernstern (Morning
Star), and an anthem (Ps. 96) containing effective duets for tenor and
alto. When they had finished I spoke a few words of thanks and
farewell, and then Mr. Dam bade good-bye to the people he had loved
and served for ten years. They were much moved at the thought of
parting with their faithful pastor and his wife.

Shall I ever forget that communion at seven? I felt it a great
privilege to partake of the Lord's Supper with my brethren and sisters
in Labrador. How much He has done for these dear missionaries, simple
earnest Christians, experienced in the things of God, men and women of
mighty faith, who do "move mountains." How much hath God wrought for
these dear Eskimo Christians, who sit down at His table with beautiful
reverence and real appreciation of this act of faith.

The benches not needed for the communicant congregation had been
removed from the centre of the church. On the men's side two empty
benches stood together, on the women's three or four. After the
trombonists had played a solemn chorale outside, the first chapel
servant Joshua and his wife Bertha opened their respective doors, and
about twenty men and more than thirty women entered from right and
left and took their seats. Both men and women were all attired in
their light braided sillapaks, and they are very particular to have
clean ones for this service. The women who are communicants have a
lock of their hair plaited in front of each ear. The vessels used on
this occasion were presented to this congregation by two American
ladies, who recently visited Hopedale. They were present on a similar
occasion and were much struck by the solemnity and reality of the
service. In grateful remembrance of the kindness of our missionaries
they have sent this valuable and beautiful gift of communion plate.

Though unacquainted with the language, I was able to follow the
simple, familiar communion service. The words of institution sounded
solemn, as pronounced in Eskimo, and truly when one knelt with the
congregation, and partook of the bread and wine, one could discern the
Lord's body, and feel that, though these dear people have their
temptations and their failings, yet there are many souls here who feed
on the Bread of Life and live by Him. When He cometh it will be
manifest, and even now He is glorified here in them that believe.

After the communion we went down to the boat to embark. The rock that
stretches out into the harbour was crowded with Eskimoes, who had
hurried to bid their departing missionaries a loving farewell.


_Tuesday, August 14th._--We are nearing the second station. Leaving
Hopedale about dawn yesterday we made good progress northward, sailing
quietly between innumerable islets, all bleak, bare, uninhabited
rocks. We saw many small icebergs. In the evening one singularly
shapely and beautiful berg floated past us, tipped with violet, which
contrasted with the curious yellow tint of one side, the pure white of
the mass and the living green of the waves rippling at its base. The
sunset and the northern lights were very fine.

When I went on deck this morning the island of Ukalek, or "The Hare,"
was astern, various rocky islets, imperfectly marked, or altogether
omitted on the chart, were on both sides of us, and Zoar far ahead
among the distant hills. Our vessel was almost imperceptibly gliding
in that direction. May the Lord, who alone knows the rifts and rocks
of this marvellous coast, bring us safely thither, and guide me aright
amid the difficulties of the present situation there! These people
have learned no wisdom or thrift, in spite of all the love and
patience shown them, and they have made the past winter a most trying
time for their devoted missionaries.

The mirage yesterday and to-day is a wonderful freak of nature. At
times, nothing can be seen as it really is. Icebergs and islands are
flattened to one dead level, or doubled, so as to appear now like long
bridges, now like high towers. The rapid changes in the appearance of
solid masses are marvellous. All day we have been slowly sailing
westward, new prospects of distant hills ever opening up as we passed
headland after headland. Presently the barren rocks began to be
clothed with firs here and there, but the lifelessness of the scene
was striking. Once we caught sight of two or three Eskimo tents on a
little island, but no human beings were visible. Only a solitary
grampus made the circuit of our ship.

At length we round the last cape, and enter Zoar Bay. Presently we
come in sight of the station buildings between the fir-clad slope and
the shore. There is the store, now the mission-house and church appear
from behind yonder rock. The Eskimoes are firing their shots of
welcome, answered by rockets from the ship. Thank God, the station
flag is flying at the mast-head! That tells us that neither illness
nor accident have been permitted to carry off any of the missionaries.

Look behind you. The hills are glowing with a glorious
"Alpenglühen"--an evening effect as splendid as it is surprising.

Now we are nearer. They are launching the "Emily," the station boat.
Rowed by natives, she comes alongside almost as soon as our anchor is
down, and all the resident missionaries climb on board, followed by a
number of Eskimoes.

Soon our hosts carry us off to the hospitable little mission-house,
which somehow or another manages to find comfortable quarters for all
the visitors. I am writing up my diary in Mr. and Mrs. Rinderknecht's
pleasant rooms, which I am to share with Mr. Kaestner, who is on his
way to Nain to take part in our conference there. Mr. and Mrs. Martin
are occupying the spare room below us, and the Lundbergs have also
turned out to make room for Mr. and Mrs. Dam. Where our hosts have
taken up their abode meanwhile remains a riddle for the present. (The
riddle was solved in a subsequent tour of inspection of the house,
when I found that the one resident couple had retired to the garret
and the other to a workshop on the ground floor.)


In its summer aspect this is a singularly lovely place. Yet, I see
each station at its best, and can only guess at the changes which snow
and ice will work in the landscape. Were this spot in Europe, it would
soon be a favourite summer resort. Being in Labrador, however, the
summer visitors would speedily fly from the swarms of mosquitoes and
sand-flies. These appear as soon as the weather is at all warm and are
a veritable plague in the summer evenings, which would else be so
enjoyable. And when these myriad tormentors with wings and stings are
gone, rude winter cuts short the autumn.

As usual in Labrador, the little mission-station lies on the north
side of the bay, so that the wooded hill behind shields it from the
northern blasts. This fir-clad slope makes Zoar much more friendly in
appearance than any other station. Hopedale is bare and treeless in
its general aspect and so in less degree are Nain and Okak, though all
three have fir-trees in their neighbourhood. Ramah and Hebron are
beyond the limit of even these hardy evergreens, and the latter looks
very bleak and rocky. Pleasing as is the first impression of Zoar,
the conviction soon grows upon one that the site has its serious
disadvantages. First and foremost among these is the fact that it is
not favourable to success in sealing and fishing, so that it is not
easy for the inhabitants to make a livelihood.

The pretty mission-house affords convenient accommodation for two
missionary families. It is, as usual, connected with the church by a
covered passage. To the right of these buildings the little Eskimo
village stretches along the shore, to their left are situated the
well-stocked mission-gardens, from which pleasant paths have been made
through the woods beyond. Between the church and the rocky beach
stands the store, and not far off the salt-house and the boat-house.
The powder-house is always situated on some rock at a safe distance
from the station, for the Eskimoes burn a considerable quantity of
this dangerous material in their ceaseless war with seals, walrusses,
reindeer, and other animals, including an occasional black or white


The ascent to the spot whence the approach of the ships can best be
descried is by no means so easily accomplished at Zoar as at Hopedale.
But the hour's stiff climb is richly rewarded by a magnificent
prospect. Our path lies first through the fir woods, then over a bare
plain on which tufts of beautiful and very variegated mosses alternate
with rocks and withered roots. This is evidently the site of a forest,
which at no very distant date has been killed by the terrible climate.
Up again through low thick brushwood and over great rocks, till at
last we reach the summit. Seaward we can see the course by which the
"Harmony" came in. Northward the eye ranges along the rugged coast
with its innumerable islands and deep fjords. Yonder sheet of water is
not an arm of the sea, but a great freshwater lake, long an object of
superstitious dread to the Eskimoes. Neither in summer or winter dared
they cross it, until their missionaries did so, for they believed a
monster dwelt in it, who could eat up the man and his kayak, or
sledge, dogs and driver. Inland one sees mountain after mountain,
whose wild slopes are traversed by no human foot unless the Nascopie
Indian, or "mountaineer," may pass that way in pursuit of the
reindeer. None of these natives of the great unknown interior have
visited our stations this year. In the Zoar bay beneath us the
"Harmony" is riding at anchor near the mission premises, and now we
can see the whole curve of the other great bay, which approaches Zoar
from the north. The "itiblek," as the Eskimoes call a low narrow neck
of land between two such arms of the sea, is but a few hundred yards
across. To the east of yonder waterfall is a level place on the shore
of the larger fjord, which was once thought of as a site for this
station. But it would have been too much exposed to the east wind.

What a different landscape this will be in winter, when all those
waterways among the islands are frozen! It must be very difficult even
for an Eskimo sledge driver to know his way through the snow-covered
labyrinth on so large a scale, indeed almost impossible when the
driving snow hides his landmarks. But He, to whom we are wont to
commend our travellers by land and sea, cares also for those who
traverse the ice-plains of Labrador, that they may serve Him or join
His people in worship. Not only our missionaries but the settlers have
often experienced His goodness in answer to prayer in moments of
perplexity or danger. It is indeed praiseworthy that, to gain a
blessing for their souls, the latter are willing to run the risks and
bear the expenses of a two or three days' sledge journey to the
stations, often in terrible cold. Sometimes their children are sorely
disappointed when the parents cannot venture to take them to the
Christmas or Easter Festival. Last Christmas Eve, two boys, aged
sixteen and fourteen, started from their home in Kamarsuk bay and
walked through deep snow to Zoar, which they reached after ten
laborious hours. English services are held for the settlers at this
station as well as at Hopedale, though they are more frequent at the
southern place owing to the visits of the crews from the Newfoundland
fishing schooners.


Our voyage from Zoar to Nain occupied just twelve hours. We left about
5.30 A.M., and our anchor went down again before 5.30 P.M. The day was
fine and warm, and the scenery changed continually. Often the way
seemed barred before us, but, as we sailed on, a narrow strait opened
to right or left, and as we neared Nain our voyage between the islands
became more and more interesting. Presently some Nain Eskimoes caught
sight of the "Harmony," and posted off to the station in their sailing
boat, which kept ahead the whole way. Two men came to meet us in their
kayaks, and paddled alongside for some time, their light skin boats
skimming over the water as easily as the flock of ducks which had just
crossed our bows. Passing the island Tâktuk, a salute fired by the one
Eskimo visible was followed by such a concert of howls from his dogs
seated in a row on a rock as made us all laugh. Next the Kauk came in
view, a great rock looking like a skull, or, as its name implies, "a
forehead," a very recognizable landmark often anxiously looked for on
sledge journeys. Paul's Island, with its deep inlets, was to our
right, and now a good wind sent us forward past headland after
headland till Nain came out from behind the Süderhucke. First we could
see the Eskimo village, whose inhabitants were, as usual, firing their
guns and shouting; then the church came in sight, and the
mission-house with flag at the mast head; then the store and the
little pier, which, as we approached, was crowded with Eskimoes
singing, "Now let us praise the Lord."



Nain was the third station visited on our voyage northward along the
bleak but grand coast of Labrador. Hopedale and Zoar had already been
left behind in the south; Okak, Hebron, and Ramah, all to the north of
Nain, had yet to be touched at in their turn. Each successive station
has its own distinctive features and so presents fresh interest to the
visitor. Nain, the oldest of all, is rich in associations with the
past as well as very interesting in the life, spiritual and temporal,
of the mission-house and the Eskimo dwellings, which constitute this
little Christian village of three hundred inhabitants.

_August 19th._--I take up the story on the Sunday evening, when, about
a quarter past five o'clock, the "Harmony" came to her anchorage some
three to four hundred yards from the mission premises on the north
shore of the Nain bay. It is a mercy when no accident occurs on the
arrival of a ship at a station, for the Eskimoes are rather wild in
their expression of their joy, and rather careless in handling powder.
Just a year ago they burst a little cannon in welcoming the "Gleaner."
The pieces flew in all directions about the heads of those standing
round. Yet by God's great goodness not one was hurt. One man's cap was
knocked off by a flying fragment of iron.

Our first welcome to Nain was from some members of the mission-band,
who at once came aboard the "Harmony" in their boat. Rowing ashore
with them, we visitors received a second kind welcome at the
mission-house. It was rather curious that my fellow-travellers, the
Martins, should arrive at their destination five-and-twenty years to
the day after Mr. Bourquin, whom Mr. Martin is eventually to succeed
in the presidency of this mission. I was conducted to the pleasant
guest chamber. On my table lay two dear letters from home, the first
and last received after leaving Stromness. During our stay at Zoar the
mail steamer came from Newfoundland to Hopedale where she is due every
fortnight, while the coast is free from ice. This time she came on to
Nain, which she is bound to visit twice in the season at the captain's
discretion. She never touches at Zoar between these two stations.

When we met as a family for the evening meal, Mr. Bourquin expressed
our thanks to the Lord for all his goodness and mercy involved in
another safe arrival of the mission-ship. The congregation did the
same at the thanksgiving liturgy, which commenced at 7 P.M. The Church
here is older and larger than any other in the land. The singing was
good, rather quicker than at Hopedale. About forty men and sixty women
occupied the same relative positions to the minister behind the table
and to the missionary brethren and sisters to right and left of him,
as at Hopedale and Zoar. The short benches at each end of the long
church were respectively occupied by three male and three female
chapel servants. The latter were dressed, not in European fashion, but
in the national costume of skin trousers with the fur outside.

9 P.M. I am seated in my room after a pleasant social hour with
interchange of mutual tidings. Every provision has been made for my
comfort in this neat, clean guest-chamber. What interesting scenes of
human life as well as fine views of Labrador scenery are visible from
its windows south and west! Grand rocks from five hundred to eight
hundred feet in height rise nearly perpendicularly from the opposite
shore of the bay. Here comes a man paddling his kayak past the
"Harmony" as she lies at anchor. What is up among the dogs? They are
all howling and running along the beach, and now they have set on one
unfortunate, which is hustled and bitten until he escapes and hobbles
away yelping.

Here is a woman coming to fetch water from the trough. I wish I could
draw her, for she is an odd figure in trousers and high boots. The
tail of her sillapak almost trails on the ground, and in its capacious
hood, a baby is seated looking out on the world with great content.

10 P.M. It has grown dark whilst I have been writing up my diary. What
a concert the dogs are giving us now. They are howling, barking, and
sometimes fairly screaming, each and all contributing their full share
of the unearthly noises. 10.10. All is still: may it last! It is time
I retired to rest, for one must be up betimes; 6 A.M. is the hour in
all these mission-houses, for morning prayers are at 6.30 sharp. One
more look out of my window. The moon is rising above the opposite
hills and casting a broad band of light across the rippling waters.


"Good luck to you, sir!" That was meant for "Good-bye," and is the
sort of English the Eskimoes to the south of Hopedale have learnt.
Both at that station and here at Nain I have had curious visits from
such as prided themselves on their knowledge of my mother-tongue. Some
spoke it very fairly, but my conversation with the natives was, of
course, mostly through an interpreter. These visits are quite a
feature of mission-house life. One afternoon at Hopedale Jonas and his
wife Lydia came to see me. The good man said: "As there are so many
souls here, I would ask our angayokaks (elders or superiors) in London
and Berthelsdorf for God's sake to let us have teachers, as long as
there are people here. We cannot do without them. We have undying
souls, and must be cared for." With tears he added, "When I cannot
sleep, I ask God for this. We thank the angayokaks very much. I hope
God will grant those who are leaving us a good passage. We may never
meet again on earth, but I hope we shall in heaven."

I had specially interesting visits from some of the native-helpers at
different stations. They expressed their humble sense of unworthiness,
and their gratitude for the benefits which come to them and their
countrymen through the mission. They also promised faithfully to stand
by their missionaries. My conviction is that the spiritual life of
each congregation very much depends on the Christian character,
stability, and influence of its native leaders.

[Illustration: ESKIMO HOUSES.]

Visits of the Eskimoes to my room, however, took up much precious time
of the missionary requested to interpret, so I preferred to get one of
the pastors to accompany me on a round of calls in the village. Let my
visits to the native-helpers at Nain give a view of the interiors of
some of the better dwellings.

_Wednesday, August 22nd._--Mr. Bourquin kindly conducted me to the
homes of Jonathan, Abraham, and Matthew. Through the little porch or
vestibule, where the dogs lie, one enters the house. Sometimes there
are two rooms, one for sleeping and the other the dwelling room; but
mostly the beds are in corners, more or less partitioned or curtained
off. A little stove serves for warmth and cooking. A small table
stands by the wall, and there are one or two short benches, but the
articles of furniture most frequent are the boxes, which accompany the
Eskimo in his nomad life, and hold his possessions, whether he be in
his house at home, in his boat fishing, or in his tent at some distant
hunting place. The walls of the houses are ornamented here and there
with pictures cut out of old _Illustrated London News_ or _Graphics_.
Some remains of Christmas ornamentation showed considerable taste. The
present is not a favourable season to gain a good impression of the
houses, as their owners are most of their time away from home hunting
and fishing. Before Christmas they have a thorough turn out and clean
up, and then await the usual visit from their missionaries, who wisely
speak a word of commendation where it is deserved. Undoubtedly the
invariable neatness of the mission-houses, and the special care
bestowed upon the churches, have a great influence on the cleanliness
of the Eskimo dwellings.

Husbands and wives were at home in all three houses visited to-day.
Jonathan spells his own name "Jonatan." He is a godly and worthy man
of mild disposition yet decided Christian character. His Leah is also
a native-helper among her sex, and a chapel servant. They gave us a
friendly welcome. True, it did not occur to them to ask us to sit
down; but our Eskimoes are pleased if one takes a seat in their houses
without the asking. Jonatan's grandchild was sleeping on one of the
beds, and its young mother sat in a corner sewing. The little
harmonium by the wall belonged to her husband, who lives with his
parents. The older people thanked me for the visit, and desired their
greetings to the great teachers over the water.

Our second call was on Abraham, or more correctly "Abraha," for the
genius of the Eskimo language always requires a name to end with a
vowel. He is also an excellent and intelligent native assistant. He
and his Pauline were very pleased to see us, and expressed themselves
in the same strain as the former couple. As his harmonium and violin
show, he is very musical; indeed, he is a leading member of the Nain

Lastly we called on Matthew and his young wife. His quiet, rather shy
demeanour and humble estimate of himself, as a recently appointed
office-bearer in the congregation pleased me well. Perhaps his house
was the neatest and best furnished of the three.

I wish I could have heard Abraham or Jonathan speak at some service. I
am told their addresses correspond with their dispositions. The former
is warm, and vigorous, the latter more calm and affectionate in tone.
Matthew has yet to overcome his diffidence.

By the way, when I went over to the ship to-day. I found Abraham and
his family on board. His little two-masted smack was lying alongside
the "Harmony," ready for a start to his fishing place. It contained an
interesting variety of possessions. Tent-poles and oars lay along both
sides, and his kayak was lashed to the right gunwale. Tackle, tent,
skins, utensils, and boxes were secured in the bottom of the boat, and
in a small pen at the bows lay his seven dogs.


[Illustration: A GROUP OF WIDOWS AT NAIN.]

Mr. Jannasch is the photographer among our Labrador missionaries, and
we have to thank him for some excellent pictures of persons and places
in that cold land. Copies of these may be obtained at our Agency (No.
32, Fetter Lane, London, E.C.), and we should be glad to encourage
him by a larger sale for his interesting cabinet, stereoscopic and
_carte de visite_ photographs. As he is resident at Nain, most of his
scenes or groups are taken at or near that station, but last-winter he
took his camera with him on a sledge journey to Hopedale.

[Illustration: THE CHOIR AT NAIN.]

The two groups which we have had reproduced for our pages are
characteristic, but those whose portraits are given might remark that
justice has scarcely been done to their faces. The first is a group of

WIDOWS AT NAIN. It was a good day for lonely Eskimo women of this
class when the Gospel came to their shores. I made a point of
inquiring at each station as to the status of the widows and the
fatherless, and found that everywhere they are well cared for. Indeed,
the widows invariably stand in the first rank of those for whom
regular employment is found by the Society for the Furtherance of the
Gospel. They gratefully acknowledged this. Several of them also gave
me a special commission, which I hereby discharge to the best of my
ability. It was this, "_Give my greeting to all the widows in
Europe._" Perhaps they thought it would be as easy for the visitor
from England to do this on his return, as to inquire after all the
widows in Labrador.

The five aged women in our picture are Adolfina (standing behind),
Marta (seated to her right), and Hulda and Beata (to her left). Amalia
(in the centre of the foreground) is attired in skirts after European
fashion, though she has on a pair of the Eskimo boots indispensable in
such a land. The rest are dressed in full Eskimo costume. It will be
seen that their sillapaks and trousers are ornamented with broad
coloured braid, and the hood, which falls back over their shoulders,
is edged with dog's skin and adorned with a strip of embroidery. Hulda
is a worthy door-keeper in the church, and a valued servant in the
mission-house of many years' standing. The other group represents

THE CHOIR AT NAIN. We have already referred to the musical taste and
ability of many of the Eskimoes, and those at Nain are not behind the
Hopedalers in this respect. The man with the violoncello seated in the
centre is Abraham, the native helper mentioned in a previous
paragraph. To his right is Nathanael, with a violin. He is the
schoolmaster at Nain, and his wife Frederika is seated at his right
hand. One day in 1887, Nathanael was seen shaking his fists at the
mission house. What had ruffled his temper? He had been told by some
fishermen that Queen Victoria, to mark her Jubilee, had sent a present
of a suit of clothes to every schoolmaster in her dominions. As his
had not reached him, he suspected the missionaries of withholding it.
This is a characteristic instance of the credulity with which the
Eskimoes accept the statements of strangers and the mistrust they are
too apt to show towards those who have long proved themselves their
most disinterested friends.


The burial ground at Nain is the best kept in Labrador. Others are
neat and tidily arranged, but this decidedly bears off the palm. It is
finely situated, commanding a view seaward, and an Easter morning
service in this peaceful resting-place of the departed must be
impressive indeed, as the rising sun sheds his first rays across
frozen sea and snowy islands on a company of Christian Eskimoes,
rejoicing in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, and not
sorrowing hopelessly for their dead. I know no better name for such a
sacred enclosure, where the bodies of those who have died in the Lord
are sown in hope, than the beautiful German term, "God's Acre."

      ______________       ______________
     |              |     |              |
     |     805      |     |     741      |
     |  _Harriott_  |     |  _Eleonora_  |
     |  1865-1882   |     |  1819-1879   |
     |______________|     |______________|

Scarcely any grass grows within the oblong space surrounded by wooden
palings, but here and there patches of moss or low berry bushes
threaten to hide the neat little slabs of wood placed by the
missionaries on the graves of the native Christians. If left to the
Eskimoes, this duty to their departed relatives and friends would
either be done carelessly or forgotten. These simple "headstones," of
which I give two specimens as copied into my notebook, are perhaps
about twelve inches by eight. The place for the next grave in each row
(men, women, boys, girls) is indicated by long poles likely to appear
above the highest snow in winter. Here at Nain, and indeed at all the
stations except Okak, where the soil is clay, it is possible, though
in winter very troublesome, to dig a grave all the year round. At Okak
the coffin must be laid in the snow until returning spring thaws the
frozen ground. As already stated, the Eskimoes have no surnames, and
their graves show a great repetition of certain Christian names, as
Abel, Abia, Zecharias, Thomas, Susannah, Katarina, &c. There is a
greater variety on the female side. At Zoar I noted some curious
ones--Persida, Botille, Teresia Dina, and Justine. "Helena-Helenalo"
evidently means mother and child, both bearing the name Helena.
"Fillipusib-kitornganga" and "Davidib-kitornganga" mean the child of
Philip and the child of David. Mostly, the little wooden "headstones"
lie flat on the grave; those at Okak are placed upright, as in the
accompanying sketch, and record the names of several persons buried

     /          \
     |   644    |
     |  Andrew  |
     |  1862    |
     | -------- |
     |   959    |
     |  Marcus  |
     | -------- |
     |   642    |
     | Heinrich |
     |   1873.  |
         |  |
         |  |

Where the paths cross one another at right angles, in the older
Labrador churchyards, there is always a specially interesting group of
graves. There lie, in sure and certain hope of a joyous resurrection,
the bodies of good men and women, who have taken sepulchre possession
of this land for their Lord. Here, too, many sorrowing missionary
parents have had to lay little ones, early taken home in this bleak
climate. Ah, what stories are written on those simple gravestones,
when one can read between the lines!

The "God's Acre" at Nain is as rich in historical associations as any.
Christian Larsen Drachard, one of the pioneers of this mission was
buried here in 1778; and beside the stone, on which is inscribed his
honoured name in full, is a rough slab from the shore, placed on his
grave by his own desire. Side by side to right and left of the path
separating the last resting-places of the married men from those of
the single missionaries lie Christopher Brasen and Gottfried Lehmann,
drowned in 1774 on their return voyage from finding a site for Okak,
the second station in this land. Not many days after I stood beside
their graves I sailed close by the island on which their sloop was
wrecked, and on whose rocks the angry sea cast their bodies.

          /  \
         /    \
        /   D. \
       /        \
      /   1778.  \
     /            \
     \ _Sep. 18._ /
      \          /
       \        /
        \      /
         \    /
          \  /

I will close this chapter with a contrast. Leaving the peaceful
Christian burial ground, we climb the hill behind the station. In a
lofty, lonely valley we find many heaps of great stones. We will
examine one. Remove one or two of the boulders, and look in. On the
ground, rather than in it, lies a human skeleton, perfect with the
exception of the skull. We go on to the next heap; it is empty. In a
third we find a skull and one or two bones. Others contain scarcely
any human remains, but some Eskimo utensils were evidently the
property in life of the natives whose bodies were laid there by their
countrymen. It was customary to bury the possessions of the dead with
them, and very interesting curiosities used to be found in all these

Yes, these are _heathen graves_, and the bodies in them are those of
Eskimoes who have died, ere they heard the words of life from the lips
of missionaries sent by the Church of Christ to proclaim His salvation
at this end of the earth. No inscriptions mark the tombs of these
nameless pagans, yet those rude stoneheaps have a voice for those who
have ears to hear. Methinks they appeal loudly on behalf of myriads
still living without God and dying without hope. "How shall they
believe in Him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear
without a preacher, and how shall they preach except they be sent?"


The week spent at Nain may serve as a specimen of my stay at each
station in turn. We arrived here on Sunday, August 19th, in the
evening. Monday and part of Tuesday were taken up by conferences on
the spiritual prosperity and temporal regulations of the. Labrador
Mission. Tuesday afternoon proved the most convenient time for my
special meeting with the congregation, when, as at every station, I
gave the assembled men and women the greeting and message sent them by
the mission authorities at home. Opportunity being afforded them to
reply, some of the native helpers and others expressed their pleasure
that a visitor had come from Europe, and their gratitude that
Christians on the other side of the ocean had sent missionaries to
their forefathers, and still maintained teachers among them. They
also asked questions and gave their opinions on very various topics. I
promised to convey their salutations to "their angayokaks in London
and Herrnhut." This meeting lasted about two hours, and was, as
elsewhere, an arduous time for the missionary who acted as my
interpreter. It seemed easier to him to render into Eskimo my own
address given in English, than to interpret all the speeches made by
the natives in reply.

Inspection of the premises, stores, archives, &c., continued
conferences, and other businesses filled up the remaining days of the
week during which the "Harmony" lay at anchor near the station.
Meanwhile the disembarking and embarking of her outward and homeward
cargoes went on, and when she was ready to sail we were ready to go
northward with her. In the intervals of daily duty I enjoyed pleasant
walks and talks with one or another member of the mission band in the
extensive plantation behind the station, the growth of more than a
hundred years of careful cultivations, Not till Saturday did we find
time for more distant expeditions, when grand views rewarded our
ascent of two hills to the north and south of the Nain Bay. They are
about 700 or 800 feet in height.

Most of the week the majority of the natives were away fishing, but
several of the men and boys were earning daily wages by assistance
with the cargo. For those at the station evening services were held in
the church. These varied in character, one was a singing meeting,
another a liturgy, a third a Bible reading, when the two last chapters
of II. Corinthians were the portion of Holy Scripture taken in course.
When there was no Eskimo service, the mission family and their guests
met in their dining-room for mutual edification with the German Bible
and hymn-book. As to the latter, by the way, the book itself was
seldom needed, for most of the company knew the hymns by heart. So the
week sped away, bringing the Sabbath again.

_Sunday, August 26th._--The Church Litany, and not the so-called
"Catechism Litany," was used at the 9 o'clock service. At 10 A.M. Mr.
Dam preached with fervour on the text for the day, John X. 16, of
course in Eskimo. The sermon was followed by the baptism of little
Esther, the infant daughter of Joash and Wilhelmina. After the service
the parents passed me on their way home. But where is the baby?
Nowhere visible, but the hood on the mother's back is bulky and moves.

At three o'clock I conducted the usual English service on the deck of
the "Harmony." A good many natives were present, rather out of
curiosity than as able to understand, though it is astonishing to find
how many have managed to pick up a little English, especially at the
southern stations.

At five we again gathered in the church for a short Eskimo liturgy of
praise to the Triune God, when our vessel and her passengers were
commended to the renewed care of the faithful Creator. Our evening
meal, the last in this hospitable mission-house, was followed by
farewell words and some commendatory hymns in German. Then we "parting
guests" went on board the "Harmony," accompanied by most of our hosts,
who lingered long with us. As we got into the boat, the Eskimoes bade
us an affectionate good-bye, "Aksunai, aksuse." (Aksunai, Be thou
strong, or its plural, Aksuse, Be ye strong, are used both for "How do
you do?" and "Good-bye.")


_Monday, August 27th, 1888._--When I rose, our ship was being slowly
towed by her boats out of the bay in search of a fair breeze. About
eleven we had to put down the anchor, as wind and current forbade our
attempting to pass between "the Turnpikes," two rocks in the narrow
channel before us. Here we lay all the day among islands. Barth, to
our left, is so called in honour of Dr. Barth of Calw, the compiler of
a Bible history translated by our missionaries into Eskimo, as well as
into the languages of several other people evangelized by our church.
Rhodes, to our right, is named after James Rhodes, a native of
Gomersal, Yorkshire, who was a missionary here for twenty-six years,
1771-1797. Lister, the snowy hill beyond, perpetuates the memory of
Christian Lister, another Yorkshireman, who crowned seventeen years of
service in Labrador by thirteen in Jamaica. It is well to be thus
reminded that the British Province of four missionary Unitas Fratrum
had several representatives in this mission field a hundred years ago.
William Turner (twenty-two years' service, 1771-93) was a native of
Halifax; and James Bramagin (1775-94) of Lurgan in the north of
Ireland; Samuel Towle (1782-91) came from the neighbourhood of
Ockbrook, Derbyshire, and Henry Shaw (1806-13) was again a
Yorkshireman. Further, Mary Butterworth (1771-84), of Birstal in
Yorkshire, gave herself to this mission as the wife of Jens Haven, its
founder; and later Mary Waters (1812-31), of Dukinfield in Lancashire,
married George Kmoch for similar service.

Yonder fjord running far inland is the _Nunaingoak_ Bay, which,
conveniently for the natives, embodies the foreign name given to their
station. Nain itself is behind that neck of land, on which our friends
have lit a fire as a signal that they perceive our vessel has not as
yet been able to leave them very far behind.

What a study of colour this evening effect would make! The sun has
just set and the sky to the north and west is orange, shading off into
yellow along the horizon. Between these curiously bright hues and
their fainter reflection on the rippling water, the nearer islands are
black as ink and the further mountains indigo.

_Tuesday, August 28th._--Besides the missionary pair, who are
accompanying me all the way from Hopedale to Europe, my fellow
passengers are now the superintendent, who has acceded to my request
to go with us to Okak, and a young missionary, transferred from Nain
to Ramah.

When I went on deck this morning we had passed the Turnpikes and were
gliding very slowly seawards between islands. The one which faced us
all the morning is called Tappé, after a worthy missionary, still
living, who served some years in Labrador, before going to Jerusalem
in 1867, to be the first "house-father" of the Leper Home. About noon
a fresh breeze sent us northward swiftly and safely through several
narrow and awkward passages. We passed two or three Newfoundland
fishing schooners, whose crews were doubtless interested to see the
"Dutch Bark," or the "foreigner" as they called the "Harmony." Our
other vessel, the "Gleaner," calls at St. John's, so she is not a
foreigner in the estimation of Newfoundland mariners. About two
o'clock we were off the island memorable for the shipwreck in which
Brasen and Lehmann lost their lives. Later we passed the rocks on to
which Liebisch and Turner escaped as by a miracle, when a sudden storm
broke up the ice over which they had been travelling. The scene must
have been terrific. One moment the frightened dogs drawing their
sledges were being urged at utmost speed over the leagues of heaving,
cracking ice. The nest, the shore was reached, and the missionaries
were overwhelmed with astonishment as they turned and looked upon a
raging, foaming sea, whose wild waves had already shattered the frozen
surface as far as the eye could reach. Even the heathen Eskimoes with
them joined in praising God for the wonderful deliverance.

This part of the coast is rugged and grand. There is a good deal of
snow on the heights of Aulatsivik and the northern extremity of that
great island is a bold precipitous cliff. Port Mauvers, at the mouth
of the narrow strait, which separates Aulatsivik from the mainland,
figures so prominently as a name upon most maps of Labrador, that one
might suppose it to be at least the capital. But there are no
inhabitants there, nor indeed all along the coast between Nain and
Okak. Kiglapeit, to the north, is so splendid a mountain range that I
am quite sorry we shall pass it in the dark. We are getting more into
the open sea as evening advances, and there are icebergs to be seen
here and there.

Come into the captain's cabin and look at this little budget of
letters. They are notes from Eskimoes at our southern stations to
their relatives and friends in the north. Some are funny little
pencilled scraps folded and oddly directed, e.g. "Kitturamut-Lucasib,
Okak." That means "To Keturah (the wife) of Lucas or Luke, at Okak."
Our Eskimoes seem to have a talent for phonetic spelling;
"ilianuramut" is evidently "To Eleanor," and "Amaliamut-kuniliusip,
Okak," is meant for "Amalia (the wife) of Cornelius at Okak." Some are
very respectable epistles, and I doubt not the Christian tone of most
would please us could we read the Eskimo language, with its strange
long words. Here is a good-sized letter folded and directed in a bold
clear hand, "Sosanemut-Andoneb, Hibron" (To Susannah, the wife of
Antony at Hebron). It is not sealed, so, as we shall scarcely
understand a word of its contents, we will venture to open it and
glance at them. It is a well-written letter, covering three pages of
blue foolscap paper, so it must be conveying a good deal of news to
Antony and Susannah. The writer names himself at the commencement,
"Boas-Kedoralo." "Lo" is Eskimo for "and," and "Kedora" is another
phonetic version of Keturah. He closes his long epistle with "Amen."

The Eskimoes also write the names of their missionaries with
considerable variations as to spelling. "Pinsilamut" might be the
address of a letter to Mr. Bindschedler, and I have seen "Karizima"'
stand for Mr. Kretschmer. The natives have no idea of such titles as
Mr. or Mrs., and they still call the majority of their missionaries by
their Christian names.

[Illustration: ICE AGROUND.]

_Wednesday, August 29th._--5 A.M. The sun just rising. We are between
Lundberg Island and the Saddle, so named from its shape. Its
"stirrups," two little rocks, are supplemented by a great, white berg.
To the south-west Kiglapeit is still visible, and to the west are the
hills on Okak Island, including "Smith Hill," so called after Tiger
Schmitt[A] of South African fame. I did not know before that the good
man had also been a missionary in Labrador. How ready our forefathers
were to go anywhere, everywhere, if only they could "win one soul for
the Saviour!" The grandest mountain in the landscape is Cape Mugford.
Yes, it does look like Salisbury Crags on a large scale, as a
missionary remarked to me last year on the Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

In the course of the morning Okak came in sight, visible at a much
greater distance than any other station. Another hour and we had
entered the bay and were approaching our anchorage. A very numerous
company gathered on the pier and sang; how or what I could not hear
for the rattling of our iron cable. Then the "Kitty" came off to us,
bringing the missionaries Schneider, Stecker, and Schaaf, and
seventeen natives.

Soon after we got ashore to be welcomed also by the three sisters, the
mist, which we had seen gathering round the Saddle, came in from the
sea, first drawing a broad, white stripe straight across the entrance
of the bay, then gradually enveloping everything. Experience of
driving to and fro off this coast in such a fog makes one doubly
thankful to be safe ashore, with our good ship riding at anchor in the


[Footnote A: See "Conquests of the Cross" (an admirable Missionary
Serial, published by Cassell & Co.), Part I., p. 20.]


Our dear missionaries who dwell in Labrador for the King's work have
certainly not much space in their small sitting-rooms and smaller
bedrooms, for each family is content with two apartments, easily
warmed in winter. They meet in the common dining room for meals, the
household worship or conference, and the sisters take it in turns, a
week at a time, to preside over the kitchen department, where they
have the aid of an Eskimo servant. Besides the ministry and the
pastoral care of their congregations, the brethren share between them
a vast variety of constantly recurring temporal duties, for in
Labrador there is no baker, greengrocer, and butcher round the corner,
and no mason, carpenter, plumber, painter or glazier to be called in
when repairs are needed. The missionaries must discharge all these
offices, as well as be their own gardener and smith, and on occasion
doctor, dentist, chemist, or anything else that may be necessary.
These general remarks hold good of mission life at every station, but
in many respects Okak is the most primitive of the six, and not least
in the appointments of the mission-house, like all the rest, built of

Glance round the two rooms kindly set apart for the English guest.
They are the same size as the simple domain of any one of the three
mission families resident here. The sitting-room is about fourteen
feet by twelve; its panelled walls are coloured a blue-green. The
floor is boarded, and over the middle a carpet is laid. In front of
the sofa, the seat of honour, stands a little table, and the high back
of my antique chair is within a foot of it as I write at the bureau
against the opposite wall. By the way, what convenient pieces of
furniture these bureaus are, especially to a visitor who has so much
writing to do! The other chair is of like pattern, with seat stuffed
and covered with sealskin. It stands between the door into the
bedroom and the high, white stove. Of course open fire-places are
unknown in Labrador, nor would they effectually warm the rooms. In the
corner by the door the Eskimo bench is the regular institution.
Sometimes my door opens, a native enters, sits down and smiles at me.
When we have exchanged the usual greetings, "Aksunai" (be strong) and
"Ahaila" (yes), my Eskimo vocabulary is nearly at an end, and I have
to fetch an interpreter. A cupboard and a stool complete the inventory
of my furniture. Do my readers wish to look into the bedroom about
fourteen feet by six? Two little bedsteads and another bureau scarcely
leave room to pass to the window. The prophet's table, chair, and
candlestick are there, also a washstand, a strip of carpet by the bed,
a little looking-glass, and some useful rows of hooks: I think that is
all; but in my endeavour to give a correct idea of the godly
simplicity of such a mission-house, I would not for anything
misrepresent the hospitable care, of which at every station I have the
most pleasant and grateful remembrance.

Now look out of my window. High hills close in the bay where the
"Harmony" lies at anchor some distance from the shore. Yesterday a
strong wind made her roll even in the harbour. The mission premises
stand within a few yards of the beach and the little pier runs out
into the water just in front of the gate. The tide is out now, and the
lighter which is bringing the stores from the ship has got aground.
The mate and some Eskimoes are trying to push it off, and among the
rest two women are standing in the water and pushing manfully. Their
position and occupation illustrate the utility of their national
female costume of trousers and boots. Skirts would be impracticable
when they go out boating and fishing with their husbands or trudge
through the deep snow, which lies on the ground more than half a year.
Nevertheless they look odd to an unaccustomed eye. The children are
comical miniatures of their fathers and mothers, and sometimes it is
difficult to tell whether they are boys or girls.

Do you see the station boat lying a little way from the end of the
pier? She is named the "Kitty," and has an interesting history. Many
years ago she brought to Okak the five survivors of the ship "Kitty"
lost in the ice of Hudson's Bay. The captain and ten men escaped in
the larger boat, but fell into the hands of heathen Eskimoes, who
treacherously murdered them all. Those in the smaller boat rounded
Cape Chudley and were driven by the wind among the islands near Okak.
Here they were seen by Eskimoes belonging to the station. Emaciated
and famished, they feared a cruel death, but to their astonishment the
natives helped them ashore, took them into their little hut of sods,
wrapped them in skins, and supplied them with food. Very beautiful to
those ship-wrecked mariners sounded the singing and very solemn the
prayers at the morning and evening devotions of their Eskimo
deliverers. As soon as the wind permitted, the natives brought them to
the station, where they were carried ashore to this mission-house and
received every attention. They were in a deplorable condition and the
missionaries had to perform some surgical operations on severely
frost-bitten limbs. When recovered, three of them went to the south,
and the other two worked their passage home in the "Harmony."

Here come a number of women and children running to the pier. Several
of the women have babies in their hoods. There must be something of
special interest. Yes, the fishermen from the schooner are coming
ashore in their boat, and I perceive their flag is flying half-mast
high, indicating a death aboard their vessel. They came into the bay
yesterday, piloted by some of our Eskimoes, and bringing a dying
comrade. Their request for medicine was at once granted, but the poor
man lay unconscious. His "mates" said he had not lacked spiritual
exhortation and comfort, adding simply and humbly, "several of us know
the way, sir." So they did, as was evident from further observation
of, and conversation with them. They were very grateful for Christian
literature.[B] Now they have come for boards to make a coffin for
their dead comrade, and the Eskimo women and children watch the
strangers with curiosity, but not rudely. On the whole, I think our
Eskimoes very well behaved. Their Christianity has certainly improved
their manners in everyday life, as well as made them remarkably devout
in church.

There is the church bell. Being the first Monday in the month, it is
the missionary prayer-meeting. Let us go. The interior of the church
is similar to that at Hopedale already described, and the congregation
is more numerous. Edification predominates, but one or two amusing
items may be noted. The babies are rather noisy. Should one or another
get too obstreperous, however, the mother slips it into her hood
behind, and marches to the door on the women's side. The worthy widow,
who acts as chapel servant, opens the door and then closes it upon the
little disturber of the peace. It is also amusing to a stranger to
watch the organ-blower, for this humble but important service to the
sanctuary has a prominent place here. The office is fulfilled by a
woman, clad in Eskimo fashion, and when the hymn is given out she
places one booted leg on the lever of the bellows and then, hymn book
in hand, treads wind into the instrument as vigorously as she sings.
During the concluding hymn a number of little heads and muffled up
little bodies appear above the four or five rows of women; they belong
to the babies who have already been heard and now are seen as their
mothers lift them up to slip them into the hoods of their sillapaks.
The babies being thus stowed away on their backs, the mothers are
ready to stand up and file out at the end of the service.

But, as I said before, edification predominates, and truly it is
edifying to hear the hearty singing and see the reverent demeanour of
all classes of this Eskimo congregation. I may here add that after
being present at between thirty or forty services at our six stations,
I do not remember seeing a single boy or girl talking or laughing with
a neighbour in church. Had one done so, no doubt he or she would have
received a timely rebuke from some native-helper. The Eskimoes at
Hopedale have been known to take the Newfoundland fishermen to task
for irreverence.


[Footnote B: This gives me an opportunity of recording thanks to the
Drummond Tract Institute for a free supply of bright Christian
publications in English, which have been distributed, and will, I
trust, bear some fruit. From the Religious Tract Society and other
benefactors we have also received valuable help for evangelistic
efforts among English-speaking sailors or settlers on the Coast of


The word Okak signifies "the Tongue." The station is situated on a
hilly island, which for nearly half the year is practically part of
the mainland, for the broad straits are bridged by thick ice. The
heights around our little settlement command fine views of the
surrounding mountains and fjords. The island of Cape Mugford is one of
the grandest objects in the barren landscape, and the Kaumajets, a
noble range, stretch away to the north of it.

_Thursday, August 30th._--Had an interesting walk over moorland in
search of the site of Kivalek, one of the old heathen villages, from
which the population of Okak was drawn. On a grassy plain we found the
roofless remains of many turf huts. They are similar to the mounds
near Hopedale, already described, but larger and more numerous. One
cannot but view, with a sad interest, these remnants of the former
abodes of pagans without hope and without God in the world. "Let them
alone, they are very happy in their own religion." So some would tell
us; but was it so here? Is it so where the true light has not yet
shined into pagan darkness? No, here, as everywhere in heathenism, the
works of the flesh were manifest. And these, as the Bible plainly
tells us, and as missionary experience abundantly confirms, are
"fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery,
enmities, strifes, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,
envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like." But through the
power of the Gospel old things have passed away. Heathen Kivalek is
uninhabited, and though the flesh yet lusteth against the Spirit in
the lives of the dwellers at Christian Okak, yet, thank God, the
Spirit also lusteth against the flesh, and the fruits of the Spirit
are manifest there, as at the other stations.

_Tuesday, September 4th._--Before we had done breakfast the flag was
flying at the mizen-gaff of the "Harmony," summoning her passengers to
start for Ramah. We speedily packed our baggage, but the wind died
away ere the anchor could be lifted, and we did not sail out of the
bay till the next morning. So some of us utilized the interval for the
ascent of the Sonnenkoppe, so called because it hides the sun from
Okak for several weeks of the year. High on the hill was a pond, which
superstitious natives believe to be inhabited by a sea-monster left
there by the flood. A larger lake is named after our Irish missionary
Bramagin. Arrived at the summit, a very wide prospect over innumerable
mountains and blue sea, dotted with white icebergs, rewarded our
climb. Far below us we could see the mission-house, centre of blessed
influence, for the Eskimo village, divided into Lower Okak by the
beach, and Upper Okak on the slope beyond. Strange to think that, with
the exception of one settler family in Saeglek Bay, the nearest group
of fixed human habitations is at Hebron, seventy miles to the north.
Easier than the ascent was the descent, over rocks and stones,
beautifully variegated mosses, and low vegetation changing its hue to
a brilliant red as the autumn advances.


_Wednesday, September 5th._--About ten o'clock this morning a strong
breeze sprang up, and we speedily left behind us the friendly
red-roofed mission-house at Okak. When we entered the open sea and
turned northwards we passed near a grounded iceberg, curiously
hollowed out by the action of the waves. The seaward face of Cape
Mugford is even grander than its aspect from the heights around Okak.
It seems to be a perpendicular precipice of about 2000 feet, with
white base, and a middle strata of black rocks surmounted by
castellated cliffs. Presently the remarkably jagged peaks on the
island of Nennoktuk came out from behind the nearer headland. There's
a sail to the right of it! No, she is not another schooner; she is
two-masted and square rigged, and therefore the "Gleaner," the only
brigantine in these waters. So the two Moravian vessels pass one
another within a mile or two, the "Gleaner" on her way southward from
Hebron to Okak, whence she will take Mr. Bourquin home to Nain, the
"Harmony" pursuing her northward course past Hebron to Ramah. The
captains, who are consigns, exchange a salute by running up their
flags, but the sea is too rough to put down a boat.

_Thursday, September 6th._--We have had a rough night. This morning we
are off Hebron, but twenty-five miles out to sea. We have just passed
"the Watchman," an island which serves as a waymark for the entrance
to that station. I asked the mate, who once spent a winter there,
whether the missionaries or the Eskimoes could see us from the heights
near it. He replied that there was no doubt of it, but that he had
looked out in this direction from those hills, where no drop of water
was visible, nothing but an illimitable plain of ice stretching far
beyond where we are now sailing.

_Sunday, 9th._--Safe at Ramah, thank God, and not out in the fog,
which now envelopes sea and land. The last two days have been a trial
of patience. We have seen the entrance to this Nullatatok Bay all the
time, and longed to reach the desired haven, yet have not been able,
owing to calms and contrary currents. This Labrador coast becomes ever
bolder and grander as one sails northward. Here the snowy mountains
are quite Alpine in appearance. This morning the thick mist hides all
but the base of these magnificent hills, but the enormous rocky
masses, rising so quickly from the water's edge into the heights
veiled from us, give some idea of their grandeur. Our captain is,
indeed, well acquainted with their aspect or he would not have
ventured to enter this bay under such circumstances.



Missionaries all over the world are perhaps too fond of multiplying
Scripture names of their stations. In our own fields we have already
three Bethanys and three Bethesdas. We should have had three Ramahs
too, had not the natives of Australia themselves greatly improved the
appellation of theirs by adding to it a syllable meaning "home" or
mother's place. It seemed so homelike to the Christian Aborigines, who
moved thither from Ebenezer, the older station, that they at once
called it Ramahyuck (Ramah, our home). Perhaps as the Ramah on the
Moskito Coast is also known as Ramah Key, the northern station in
Labrador, founded in 1871 to mark the cenutry of that mission, should
abide plain, simple "Ramah," otherwise the above combination would, I
understand, have suited the genius of the language, and its
significance. "Neat little Ramah" certainly expresses the character of
the lonely missionary settlement.

The village, if one may dignify this small group of human dwellings by
that name, stands on a little plain evidently won by degrees from the
sea for the successive beaches can be traced. The mission premises,
the old house, the new house, and the church with its little belfry,
are one continuous building facing the bay southward, and exactly one
hundred feet in length. Behind are the store buildings, and the low
turf huts of the natives stretch westward along the strand. They are
so like grassy mounds, that from any distance one would ask, "But
where do the Eskimoes live?"

The missionary dwelling is primitive enough, even as enlarged. During
our brief stay here, I have the honour of occupying the original
house, built about twenty years ago. It is but a room divided by a
curtain, but it served the first missionary couple here as
dwelling-room, bedroom, church, and everything else. What a grand view
there is from the window over the deep land-locked bay, in which the
"Harmony" is lying at the only available anchorage. No one would guess
that it would take more than half-an-hour to row across the smooth
water, or in winter to walk over its frozen surface to the opposite
shore, where, as on this side, precipitous bluffs rise almost from the
water's edge. All nature around is on a grand scale, and those
snow-clad mountains, which look over the shoulders of the nearer
cliffs, are quite Alpine in effect. Climb to the dizzy heights, which
tower threateningly six or seven hundred feet above the station and
you find you are not half way to the summit of the nearest hill. It
must, indeed, be a magnificent view from thence towards the great
mountains in the interior, whose everlasting snows cover long ridges
at least five or six thousand feet in height. Seawards, the Ramah
Hill, a remarkable perpendicular rock, surmounts the nearer cliffs. It
looks as if, standing on the crag, one could drop a stone into the
water at its base, 1000 feet below.

All this is grand, but grander still is the quiet, unconscious
devotion of the worthy missionary pair, who live in this lonely bay,
tending the little Christian congregation already gathered, and
seeking the salvation of the heathen Eskimoes to the north. Of these
there are perhaps sixty or seventy dwelling between Ramah and Cape
Chudley; the northern point of Labrador. I am heartily glad Mr. and
Mrs. Schulze have now a helper in Mr. Eckhardt, and trust the little
missionary band will have increasing joy in souls won for the Lord.

[Illustration: RAMAH.]

It will be remembered that the fourth morning after leaving Okak we
entered Nullatatok Bay through a thick mist. Beautiful days followed,
showing the Ramah scenery to advantage, but the weather was rather
wintry. Snow fell once or twice, though not in sufficient quantities
to lie, and one morning we had ice on the bay. Yet at midday the sun
was quite hot. The arrival of the "Harmony" at Ramah on Sunday
(September 9th, 1888), interfered with the usual morning worship. We
passengers came ashore for the afternoon service, Mr. Schulze read the
Litany and then Mr. Dam addressed the congregation in Eskimo,
centreing nearly all the black eyes in eager attention to the Word
preached. The chapel being small, the people were rather near to the
benches occupied by the missionary brethren and sisters, and this
proximity was evident to the organs of smell. Several being away at
their fishing places, there were only about a dozen men and boys and
rather more women and girls with an extra sprinkling of lively and
healthy-looking babies. Most were characterized by an air of
independence amusingly illustrated at the close by the oldest man,
who asked aloud when the visitor from London was going to speak to

[Illustration: TENTS AT RAMAH.]

And what of the spiritual life of this little congregation? In reply I
will give neither my own impressions, nor the missionary's testimony
to his flock, apt sometimes to be influenced by his estimate of what
they should be. I will call in a casual witness. Last year Eugenia, a
Christian Eskimo from Hopedale, visited all the congregations,
travelling to and fro by dog-sledge with the post-sledges. She
remarked to her missionary: "The Ramah and Okak people, those are the
best in the country. At Ramah I was quite shamed by their desire after
truth. They said, 'You know these things; teach us, we are so


Now for a visit to our Eskimoes in their own dwellings, as the two
missionaries are ready to accompany me and interpret for me. It may
not be a pleasant expedition in every respect, as within and without
there is a pervading fishy smell. Rows of drying fish hang on frames
high enough to be out of reach of the dogs, who sniff about
everywhere, sometimes climbing into the boats to see if any fish be
left. Those red rows are trout, the white ones are cod.

When we arrived here last Sunday, two families were living in skin
tents. One has now taken down the temporary abode and removed into the
more permanent winter residence, a low turf hut. We will enter the
other tent. Frederick, the owner, is not at home, but his wife,
Susannah, is there with her two children. Whilst she inquires after
her former missionaries and sends a grateful greeting to the widow of
the late Samuel Weitz, take the opportunity to glance around the tent.
It is more spacious and better furnished than one would think. We can
all three stand upright in the middle of it, which is not possible in
every house. Deer skins spread on a raised platform at the further end
make two beds. In that open box are hymn-book, liturgy-book, and some
volumes of the Eskimo Bible. Next it are a set of very fair cups and
saucers, but it seems incongruous for the china to stand on the mud
floor. Various utensils lie about, but there is neither chair nor

We cannot stay long, however, for we are going to visit every house in
the place. The first house is Gottlob's. He came hither from Hebron,
and has enjoyed a better education than the Ramah people, most of whom
grew up in heathenism. His wife's baptismal name is Lydia; as a
heathen, she was Auinasuak. This is one of the best huts, but the best
are poor inside as well as outside, compared to many log-houses I have
seen further south. Through the low porch, without any remonstrance
from the dogs, we reach a lower door. It is hot inside. Yes, there is
a stove to the left, and it appears to be the only article of
furniture in the room entered. Behind the partition is a very
different chamber. It is furnished with the usual couches spread with
skins, and on the edge of one of these, Lydia is seated. She does not
rise to greet her visitors, nor does it occur to her to offer a seat.
What shall she offer? A box? As with the rest of those visited, her
welcome takes the form of a good-humoured laugh. One or two objects in
her room testify to a refinement unusual for this station. A guitar
hangs on the wall near a cage with a bird in it, and against the
partition stands a piano. Fancy such an instrument in a low turf hut,
even though it be but an old square piano! Here, as elsewhere, we
speak a few words of kindly greeting and spiritual interest, and then
take leave with "Aksunai."

The occupant of the next hut is not at home. This is indicated by two
great slabs of slate, one at the entrance to his porch and one over
his front (and only) window. These are more for protection against
prowling dogs than dishonest men.

Now we come to the dwelling of the oldest couple, William and Hulda,
whose heathen names were Nochasak and Aksuana. They are, respectively,
fifty-five and fifty, but look older. Two sons live with them, of whom
the elder is married. Both parents are at home, and the
daughter-in-law with her first baby in her arms. Here first I notice
the curious lamp, a sort of dish hollowed out in a soft stone. The
wick is a kind of moss which floats in seal-oil, and gives a feeble
flame apparently more for warmth than for light, for the houses are
not dark.

Next to William's stand the roofless remains of an unoccupied
dwelling, which may serve to show how these huts are built. It is a
square enclosure three or four feet in height; the back is dug out of
the sloping bank, the front wall is built up with turf. Put a roof
over this and your house will be made. Two upright posts in the
middle, about seven feet in height, will serve as the supports for the
frame of your roof, which will also be covered with turf. The low door
must be in front, facing the bay, and, both for warmth and as a
shelter for the dogs, must invariably be protected by a low covered
porch. Whether he be dwelling in his turf hut or sheltering in some
snow hut, quickly built for a night away from home, the Eskimo enters
his abode by a little tunnel, at the further end of which is the door.
Just above this comes the window-frame, sometimes on a slant, better
perpendicular. The window of his turf hut is semi-transparent seal
bladder unless the owner of the mansion can afford and obtain glass.
Now your house is complete, but lacks interior fittings. If you are an
Eskimo, you do not want many. Your two poles supporting the roof may
help you to partition off the sleeping places, either with boards or
with curtains. These are raised about a foot from the ground, and the
edge of the bed is the general seat.

Let us continue our visits to the inhabited houses, one next the
other, in an irregular row. Outside them the children are playing
about and seem to enjoy life. Here and there one may see a sledge, or
a kayak, the skin-covered boat such as is used, by the men. The larger
umiak, or women's boat, is now scarcely met with in Labrador. There
are one or two light wooden skeleton frames of kayaks, but most are
tightly covered with white smooth skins, cleverly sewn together by the
women. Look at this one lying on the grass; it is about fifteen feet
long, but you can lift the end of it quite easily. The owner paddled
home in it this morning from his fishing-place at the head of the
fjord, and sold fifty-two trout off the top of it to the captain, as
he passed the "Harmony." His bone-pointed harpoon and a hook with a
long handle are strapped on top of the canoe. Beside it lies his
paddle, which the Eskimo wields so deftly and silently that even a
seal may fail to detect his swift approach. Its blades at both ends
are beautifully finished off with bone. I see his gun is carelessly
left in the round man-hole in which he sits when afloat. It may be
loaded; I hope the children will let it alone.

Passing Daniel's empty hut, for he and his family are away fishing, we
call on Ikkaujak and Sakkearak (now John and Ernestine), and then on
Matthew and his wife Verona, who not long ago were known as Swanzi and
Akkusane. Matthew is interested to show and explain the weapons of the
chase. His racket-shaped snow-shoes are the shortest I ever saw.
Longer ones, unless like the Norwegian skydder, would be unpractical
among these mountains. His harpoons hang on the wall next his gun. The
blunt one, pointed with a walrus tooth, is used in the body of a seal,
but the iron-pointed one is needed when the animal's head alone is
above the water or the ice. Both are cleverly put together with wood,
bone, and thongs, so arranged that when necessary head and haft easily
come apart.

Some of these Ramah Eskimoes are perhaps 5 ft. 10 in. in height, and
most of them look robust and strong; but little Paul's door is very
low, and I must bend double to enter his hut. His heathen name was
Simigak and his wife's Ikkinek when they came from Nachvak in 1881. He
is not at home, but his Adolfine gives us a welcome in Eskimo fashion.
There is a stove in the corner, and on it a pot with some pieces of
salmon in it. A few trout are strung up to the roof. I notice a clock
in the corner, but am told that it is broken. Perhaps Paul can mend
it; at any rate, while I was at Hopedale some Newfoundland fishermen
entrusted their ship clock to an Eskimo for repairs.

The last hut in the village is Frederick's. Some of his goods are
here, but most are in the tent where we found his wife and family. A
few pictures are pasted on his walls. Many houses at other stations
are almost papered with pages from the _Graphic_ and _Illustrated
London News_.

What is your impression of Eskimo abodes now you have seen their
interiors? Well, they are not prepossessing to a European with the
ordinary notions of what belongs to the necessaries of life, yet they
are airier and cleaner than I had expected from their exterior aspect.
I am assured that there is much Christian life in those queer homes,
and that in many a heart there a "candle of the Lord" has been
lighted, which shines for the illumination of the dark North. If
honoured with an invitation to a meal in some Eskimo hut, I would
rather it were not at Ramah. In the southern stations there are some
tidy log-houses, where one need not hesitate to sit down to table with
Christian Eskimoes, who have learnt cleanly and tidy habits from
intercourse with and the example of missionaries. Here there are no
tables; the people have scarcely learnt the use of forks, and are apt
to handle the knives in eating in a somewhat uncouth fashion. The meat
is taken in the teeth and cut off near the mouth, so that the upward
motion of the blade seems to endanger the nose at every bite,
especially in the case of very small children with a very big knife.

Do my readers want to know about the gardens? There are none.
Gardening is no employment for the Eskimoes; the severity of the
climate and their migratory habits forbid it. Nor do they seem to have
much taste for flowers, though they see them in the missionaries'
gardens. They appreciate the vegetables grown there, but they do not
care for the trouble of raising them for themselves.


Returning along the beach we see Matthew's skin-covered canoe lying
upside down on the grass, and we induce him to give us a specimen of
kayak navigation. He picks up the end of his light craft, runs round
so as to bring it right end foremost to the sea, and pushes it over
the beach till three-fourths or more are in the water. Then he steps
lightly over the flat top, paddle in hand, sets himself deftly in the
man-hole, and in a moment he is afloat, paddling to and fro with quiet
powerful strokes. Returning at full speed, he runs his kayak, which
only draws a few inches, straight on to the shore; stepping lightly
over the front of it, he stands dry shod on the beach and drags his
kayak out of the water.

Further along a little group of Eskimoes have just finished unloading
a boat, which has brought goods from the ship. Let us join them, for I
want to see a whip, such as they use in driving the dog-sledge. My
request is interpreted and one of the natives runs to fetch his. Truly
it is a formidable instrument. The wooden handle is only a few inches
in length, but the lash is more than thirty feet. It is made of many
thongs of stout, tough sealskin sown together, and tapering till a
single thong goes off almost to a point. The owner gives us a specimen
of its powers by cracking it, but I am glad he does not practice on
anything living. Stepping backwards from us, he drags the whip out to
its full length, so as to be sure he is beyond reach of us, then
deftly throws the lash behind him. Now a rapid movement of the hand
and arm sends the long lash back towards us, and a quick turn of the
wrist makes the end of it crack like a pistol. I have purchased that
implement, but I doubt if any amount of practice would enable me to
perform the feat of cracking it with safety to myself and the

To the east of the mission-house there is a pretty waterfall about ten
or twelve feet in depth. It is the last leap of a mountain brook,
which in summer flows swiftly down the deep ravine, which it has cut.
Higher up, a part of the pure, clear stream is diverted as the water
supply for the mission-house and the native huts. As at Hopedale and
Zoar, this runs off a trough about a hundred yards from the house. At
Nain and Okak it is conducted straight into the kitchen, when desired.
In winter every station is liable to the freezing of the ordinary
supply, and then water must be fetched from a distance, or if none can
be found, snow or ice must be melted. Icicles are hanging from the
trough here to-day, for though the sun is warm now, there were four or
five degrees of frost last night, and the wind is still keen. In
spring, when a thaw sets in, this little stream is a source of danger
to Ramah. Its deep channel is filled with snow, and the pent-up
torrent, seeking an outlet, is apt to escape from its usual bounds and
start an avalanche down the steep declivity. When the thaw becomes
general, there is a grand series of leaping cataracts and roaring
rapids in that ravine.

[Illustration: AN ESKIMO IN HIS KAYAK.]


I would that young Gottlob, now living at Ramah, might turn out as
good a man as his late namesake. Let me take you to old Gottlob's
grave, and there tell you the story of himself and his family. The
little "God's acre" is scarcely an acre, and it should be enclosed.
Flat slaty stones, suitable for wall, lie around in abundance, brought
down by the avalanche, which a year or two ago endangered the station,
but happily did no more damage than destroy the powder-house and
devastate the burial-ground. Kegs of powder and tombstones were
carried far out on to the ice of the bay. Most of the latter were
recovered unbroken and replaced, and among them the one of which we
are in search. Here it is, a simple square slate tablet of touching
interest. The Eskimo inscription informs us that Gottlob was born in
1816. He was the child of heathen parents at Nachvak, and grew up in
paganism. Presently he came under the influence of the Gospel and was
baptized at Okak, exchanging his heathen name of Nikkartok for the
Christian name which his subsequent life adorned.

     |                  |
     |     GOTTLOB.     |
     |                  |
     |   unulilanktok   |
     |                  |
     |       1816.      |
     |                  |
     |    angerarpok    |
     |                  |
     | 14 Septbr. 1878. |

In 1867 he joined Daniel of Hopedale in an endeavour to evangelize the
northern heathen, among whom his childhood had been spent. After this
he settled with his family at Hebron, but when Mr. and Mrs. Weitz
commenced the station at Ramah in 1871 Gottlob volunteered to
accompany them. He and his family proved useful helpers of the
missionary effort. His wife Marianna was also born a heathen, and
named Nukupjuna. She is now a native helper at Hebron. His daughter
was exceedingly valuable as the schoolmistress, and when an organist
was needed Nicholina fulfilled the office to the best of her ability
by playing the melody with one finger on the very little harmonium,
which still does duty at Ramah. That was a simple service rendered in
simplicity of spirit, yet in such a climate possibly attended with
suffering. A missionary sister lately resident at Hebron told me she
had often played the organ there with a blister at the end of each
finger, for the intense cold made the touch of the keys like contact
with red-hot iron. But to return to Gottlob. For seven years he lived
and laboured among his countrymen, from whom he had at times to bear
obloquy on account of his Christian fidelity. He died September 14th,
1878, and this is the comprehensive record of him in the Ramah Church
book: "In life and death Gottlob placed his whole trust in the
crucified Saviour, in whom he found pardon, peace, and joy."


_Friday, September 14th._--Came aboard last night for an early start;
weighed our anchor about 6 o'clock this morning. The wind was light
and several of the natives towed us out of the bay in the ship's
boats. Ere we started the resident missionaries brought their last
batch of letters for Europe, and bade us farewell. They had been
writing most of the night. Now the good folk will rest after the
excitement and bustle of shiptime. It will be a year before they have
visitors again, unless it be a missionary brother from Hebron or Mr.
MacLaren, the Hudsons Bay Company's agent at Nachvak.

It was most interesting to move slowly out of the bay, passing point
after point, each headland opening up new vistas of grand, snowy
mountains at the heads of the bays southwards, whilst northwards the
great cliff of the Ramah Hill looks down upon us. Having brought the
"Harmony" round the first point into more open water, where she can
better avail herself of the occasional light puffs of wind, our
Eskimoes came aboard for their breakfasts and presently rowed away in
their boats. They bade us a hearty "Aksunai" and went down the side
evidently well pleased with their wages. Nor were they sorry to leave
the ship, which was beginning to roll a little. Accustomed as they are
to brave high waves in their kayaks or flats, they nevertheless felt
the motion of the vessel and were afraid of seasickness. Before
starting John had to splice his oar with a strip of seal hide. I
watched him put it round the handle, then holding on to the oar with
both hands get the rope in his teeth and pull his lashing tight with
all the strength of his back. So the teeth served him at each turn.


Now we have got fairly out to sea. The light land breeze has ceased
and we are lying becalmed. What a sunset there is over that Alpine
range of snowy mountains! Yonder dark hills to the north of Ramah are
glowing as if they were red hot through and through. True this is a
glory that fadeth, yet the cloudless sky long retains the brilliant
hues, and the seaward horizon has a broad red band shading off above
and below into blue. Still more beautiful is the paler pink
reflection, tinting the smooth surface of the water on all sides of us
save the west. There the sun has just gone down, and the lingering
glories of the sky are reflected on the rippling waves in a wonderful
network of bright yellow and deep orange. Look southward again, now
that the darkness is beginning to tell on the scene. Over yonder great
iceberg the rising moon sends a path of silvery light across the
water, now a broad waving band, now innumerable sparks and circlets
dancing like fairy lights upon the gently swelling sea.

All this is beautiful, but what follows is a rarer sight.

"Mr. La Trobe, the northern lights."

"Thank you, captain, I will be on deck in a moment."

I have seen many pictures of the Aurora Borealis, and we have already
had some fine displays during this voyage, but I never witnessed
anything like this. Truly the heavens declare the glory of God and the
firmament sheweth His handiwork! Undulating bands of bright white
light are swiftly scintillating across the sky, now curving upwards
from the horizon, now stretching in broad stripes right over the
zenith. Sometimes the Aurora is stationary and the smooth surface of
the sea reflects the steady light; in the next moment it is moving
rapidly all over the heavens. The swifter the motion the more
brilliant the red or pink or green, which at times fringes the lower
edge of the broad white bands of light.

_Monday, September 17th._--Early this morning I went on deck and found
we were a considerable distance outside the Kangertluksoak Fjord. We
were much nearer the entrance for the greater part of yesterday, but a
strong contrary wind kept us tacking to and fro the whole day, till
the darkness made it impossible to reach Hebron, which lies in a
little side bay to the north of the great fjord. There were many large
icebergs around us, and we passed quite close to some floating
fragments, which proved to be great lumps of ice, necessitating a turn
of the helm to avoid collision with them. It was evident from the
number of these, that a berg had recently broken up. I was told that
yesterday a large piece fell off one near us with a crack like a
cannon shot. I would like to see an iceberg turn over, as they
sometimes do, but I do not wish to be too near it in that case. Last
night the wind fell and the currents drifted our little vessel
perilously near one of the great bergs, which was probably aground. It
was an anxious time for those on the watch, but the Lord preserved us.

The headland to the north of us is Cape Uivak. Uivak is simply the
Eskimo word for promontory, and the names of Cape Webuck on this coast
and Quebec in Canada, are evidently derived from it. There is a board
on that little island, and through the glass one can read the betters
S.F. What does that stand for? Well, that identifies "Friday Island,"
so-called after Sophia Freitag, the wife of a worthy missionary. Once
the captain of a steamer read it S.E., so he steered north-west, and
safely entered Hebron Bay. He afterwards congratulated our captain on
having put up so good a way-mark.

To-day the wind has veered round a little to the north, which enables
us, at last, to run straight in at the mouth of Kangertluksoak Fjord,
past three great icebergs, which stand in a row as if to defend the
entrance. The sailors call them "men-of-war." Our rapid progress soon
brings us in sight of the mission premises, whose red roofs stand out
against the bare rocky background of the steep hillside, tinted a warm
red-brown by the autumn hues of the mosses. There is the church with
its cupola in a line with the long one-storied mission-house. The
store buildings and the boat-house are nearer the landing stage. Some
skilful tacks bring us into the Hebron Bay, and ere long the "Harmony"
lies at her anchorage, here farther from the station than at any other
place on the coast. What a lively scene! Ten or a dozen boats have
already came round us--these Eskimoes are bold sailors--and our anchor
is scarcely down before we are boarded in friendly fashion by numerous
natives. Yonder white boat is the "Harp," and it brings four good
gentlemen in sealskin coats. The patriarch of the band is our
venerable Mr. Kretschmer, who came to Labrador in 1852. This year he
leaves his loved land after thirty-six years of service, during which
he has been home once, twenty-seven years ago. He is followed by the
missionaries Kahle, Wirth, and Hlawatschek, who report their wives and
children all well.

Ere long we visitors, Mr. and Mrs. Dam and myself, are ready to go
ashore with them. Landing from the boat, we climb the hill to the
mission-house, farther from the shore than any other. The sisters and
children welcome us at the door, and for the sixth time I enjoy the
hospitality of a Labrador mission family.

The chapter entitled "A busy week at Nain" would serve as a general
description of the time spent at this or any of the stations.
Conferences with the missionary band, daily services in the Church or
the house, the special meeting for my address to the congregation,
visits to and from the natives, inspection of the mission premises and
their surroundings, pleasant strolls in the intervals of daily duty
and the routine of a mission-house, one or two more extensive walks on
the hills around, profitable evenings in the mission circle, all these
made eight days at Hebron pass very quickly, whilst as ever I was
lovingly cared for by my hosts. Hebron is, to use the expressive term
of the Newfoundland fishermen, a "blusterous" place. It is beyond the
northern limit of trees on this part of the coast, and the wind sweeps
down the bare, rocky slopes with great force. This is the reason for
the exceptional construction of the mission premises.


My dear fellow-travellers from Hopedale used to be stationed at
Hebron, and it is astonishing to see how affectionately these people
gather around them. Their temporary abode here is the schoolroom, and
it is just as well that it is a good size and easily accessible. Look
in upon them at any hour of the day, and you will probably find that
they have Eskimo visitors. Last Sunday they held quite a levee, for
men, women, and children flocked in after service to greet them.

Come and make acquaintance with some of these Eskimo brethren and
sisters. Several are introduced as relatives of Abraham and Tobias,
who visited Germany and France in 1880. In their letters home the poor
fellows confessed that there was far more sea between Labrador and
Europe than they had any idea of, before they and some heathen from
Nachvak were induced by an agent of Hagenbeck's in Hamburg to allow
themselves to be brought over and exhibited. They were very home-sick
for Labrador, but they never returned, for one after another was taken
fatally ill. The last survivors died in Paris early in 1881. The
Christians among them did credit to their profession, had their daily
worship, exercised a good influence over the heathen members of the
party, and died in simple trust in Jesus as their Saviour.

Sarah needs no introduction. I had heard of her before reaching
Hebron, and one cannot be in the place long without making her
acquaintance. She is a woman of energy and resource. Last year she
lost her good husband Hieronymus, the oldest native helper at Hebron.
She continues, however, to be a leader in the concerns of the
community, and her influence is good. She is a prominent chapel
servant, and a leading singer in the choir. To be sure, tact is
needed to keep Sarah in good humour, and direct her energies into
useful channels. She has a turf house for winter occupation, but when
I visited her she was living in her summer abode--a log hut. The
interior was very tidy. In the outer room I noticed a harmonium; and
in the inner one, besides a table and some chairs, there were pictures
and ornaments and a sewing machine, on which she kindly did some work
for me.

Seated near us, among the numerous visitors in the schoolroom, are a
mother and daughter, whose names are already well known to us. That
dark-looking old woman is Marianna, the widow of Gottlob, whose grave
we saw at Ramah. She is now a valued native helper here. The younger
person is Nicholina, bright and strong in mind and heart though rather
bent and crippled in body. Here, as formerly at Ramah, she serves as
school mistress, and I am told has considerable capacity both for
imparting knowledge and for maintaining discipline. She stands in
regular correspondence with several friends of the mission in Europe.
She had something to tell them in her last letters, for not long ago
she and her mother with eight other Eskimoes were nearly drowned in
the bay about where the "Harmony" lies at anchor. A sudden gust of
wind capsized the sailing boat, in which they were coming home from
their fishing place. One good feature of the Eskimo character is their
presence of mind in danger. There was no panic, though the boat sank
instantly. Happily she was towing a little flat. One of the men
promptly cut the rope, and so all were brought safe to land, some in
the flat, others hanging on to its sides. Old Marianna was one of the
latter, and when her numbed hands lost their hold, they tied her
wrists to the gunwale of the little boat. She has recovered from the
shock and exposure, but like the rest has been impoverished, for they
lost their all in the boat, which went down.

Thomas, Enoch, and John are the three native helpers. Since the death
of Hieronymus, Thomas has been the oldest in the office, but, as he
feels, has not yet sufficient influence or force of character to lead
his countrymen at critical times. He is, however, a humble child of
God, and growing in grace as well as experience. John has a little
speech to make, and here is the literal translation of it:--"Sometimes
when we are busy, we do not always use the Scriptures daily. Mostly we
do. The distress of our body often causes us to seek the Word of God.
If the everlasting Gospel were well considered by all, there would be
visible love."


_September 22nd, 1888._--My good friends are determined that I shall
see a real sledge and team of dogs start and travel. So after dinner
the sledge is brought to the gate of the mission premises. It consists
of a couple of iron-bound wooden runners about fifteen feet long and
eight inches high, across which many cross-pieces of wood are secured
with thongs. Nails would soon be pulled out or broken off on a journey
over hummocky ice or uneven ground. First the sledge is laden with
everything necessary for a winter journey. A great white bear skin is
folded and laid along the front, making a comfortable seat. That bruin
must have been an enormous creature. The box comes about the middle;
it contains the traveller's traps. Behind it some coats, a gun, a
harpoon (we may see a seal if we go on the ice), some wood (we shall
want a fire for camping out, and I hope matches have not been
forgotten), the coats of the men, a sleeping sack and a pair of
sealskin trousers. Those two oval frames like a large lawn tennis bat
without handle, are a pair of snow-shoes. All these traps are secured
by a sealskin thong passing over the ends of the cross-boards, and
pulled tight. It would not do to lose anything on the way.

Now seat yourself there in front of the box. But the dogs are not
attached to the sledge. _Seat yourself_; they are all harnessed. Each
has a band of sealskin round his neck and another round his body, and
to this simple harness is attached the separate trace or thong by
which he does his share in pulling the sledge. In one moment the
sledge rope will be passed through the loops of all their traces, and
they will be off almost before you can say "Hoo-eet," for they, like
the Eskimoes standing round, seem to enjoy the fun. We are supposed to
start southward for Okak, and to come home, by way of Ramah. I seat
myself and get a good hold, with my back against the box and my feet
well off the ground. "Hoo-eet!" The dogs are directed by the voice,
and that is the word used to start them. Shout "Owk, Owk," and they
will run to the right, or "Ra, Ra, Ra," and you will soon find
yourself going to the left. Say, "Ah, Ah," and your dogs will lie
down. Now you have all your directions so "Hoo-eet," we are off,
gliding easily over the grass, for snow and ice there is none this
warm autumn day after a night when there were two or three degrees of
frost. So it is rather hard for the dogs, when we turn the corner of
the mission enclosure and are going a bit up-hill through the long
grass. Thomas, one of the Eskimoes, is running in front of the dogs in
his sealskin boots with the fur outside--a handsome pair. Enoch is
minding the sledge, now running beside me, now throwing himself down
on it in front of me, or lifting the front end of the runners from
right to left, or _vice versâ_ to turn a corner or avoid a stone.
"Owk, Owk," he shouts as we wish to turn the corner to the _right_. A
third Eskimo, who is running between us and the dogs with the whip,
takes up the sound and the dogs obey. But as it seems hard for them
through the long grass, I get off and run after till we come to the
corner by the church. It will go easier along the path to the _left_.
I seat myself again and the driver cries "Ra, Ra, Ra." Away we go. It
is well I was wary of the stones, another inch and that rock just
passed would have given me a sore foot or a sprained ankle. "Owk,
Owk." We leave the path on our left and turn away to the _right_ over
rocks and moss. The ground is broken but the long runners of the
sledge make it go fairly smoothly. "Ah, Ah," or as Thomas pronounces
it long drawn, "Aw, Aw." At this sound the dogs stop and lie down,
with their tails curled over their backs. We are supposed to have
arrived at a halting place where we shall camp out for the night.
The wood is unloaded; to make the fire would be the first thing and
then perhaps a snow-house for a shelter. The sleeping sack is ready to
be my night's couch on the floor. Meanwhile, the dogs lie quite
contentedly, and we use the first opportunity to count them. There are
fourteen in harness and two are running beside them of their own
accord, entering into the spirit of the thing in spite of their fear
of that formidable whip. Nine of these useful animals belong to the
mission. Their names are Yauerfritze, Purtzelmutter, Purtzel, Caro,
Pius, Fanny (an exceptionally friendly Eskimo dog), Ammi, Kakkortak
and Takkolik. The others belong to different natives.


Our imaginary night has been short enough, and we are supposed to be
preparing for a new start. "Look, see," says Thomas to me, and pours
some water on the iron of the runners, for the sledge has meanwhile
been turned upside down. Were it winter, that water would at once
freeze on the iron and form a splendid smooth surface for the sledge
to run on over ice or snow. "Hoo-eet." The sledge has been turned
right again and repacked, and the dogs get up. No, there is nothing
left behind. "Hoo-eet;" away we go. It is astonishing how widely the
dogs spread themselves in pulling. However, the course of the sledge,
as it follows them, depends more on the nimble drivers. See yonder dog
is getting to the wrong side of that post, by way of illustrating the
difficulties of travelling through a wood. Hebron is beyond the
northern limit of trees, but our missionaries at Hopedale have often
great trouble in passing through forests of stunted fir-trees. The
front dogs also have got their traces foul of the two other posts in
our forest of three trees without any branches. So we are brought to a
standstill until, all the harness being cleared, we are ready for a
fresh start down that slope to the right. "Owk, Owk," is the word, but
at the brook our wild career is brought to a sudden stop. Our specimen
sledge trip would not be complete without an accident. The bed of the
little stream proves just too wide for the sledge to clear it, and the
points of the runners have bored into the further bank. The thong of
the sledge has broken in two places with the jerk, and the dogs who
were pulling with might and main are suddenly released. Four or five
have been caught by our nimble Eskimoes, but the majority are off
home. Were the station three hours or three days distant and we were
left in the snow it would be a bit different to the present situation.
The station is about three minutes distant, and we have time for a
good laugh before our dogs are caught and brought back. What has
become of the passenger? Oh, he is unhurt; the shock did not even
unseat him. There he sits on the sledge, which stretches like a little
bridge from bank to bank. It is freed from the earth, and the dogs are
again attached, after a fierce little quarrel between two or three of
them, just to keep up their credit as quarrelsome creatures. Order and
obedience restored, "Hoo-eet," away we go homeward, but at a more
moderate pace, for it is uphill. By the mission-house the road bends
to the left, "Ra, Ra, Ra." At the corner a number of women are
standing and laughing, and as the sledge approaches, they ran,
according to their usual custom, and throw themselves on to it, so the
poor dogs finish their course with an extra load, and are quite
willing to lie down in obedience to the final command, "Ah, Ah." If
you were on a real journey, you would learn by experience to avoid
that interjection in your conversation, for the weary animals would at
once take the permission to stop and lie down.

Now the dogs are released from their harness and run away to their
respective homes with glee. The sledge is unloaded, and its contents
carried off by their owners. "When did you leave Ramah?" says the
missionary to Thomas. "Yesterday morning," replies the good fellow,
keeping up the joke with thorough appreciation. I give them my hearty
thanks, "Nakungmék," for Thomas and Co. have not only given me a great
pleasure, but provided interest for young friends at home, to whom I
may detail my winter journey on a sunny autumn afternoon at Hebron. A
real midwinter Labrador sledge journey, with the thermometer far below
zero of Fahrenheit and the wind blowing hard and cold, is not so
pleasant, especially if the dogs be quite invisible because of the
driving snow. Should the traveller then be pitched off the sledge, and
the drivers not perceive his absence at once, they may lose one
another for ever. But God has watched over our travellers by sea and
land, by ice and snow on many an errand of spiritual import to the
settlers, or journey from station to station.


_Sunday, September 23rd._--Morning prayers in German with the
house-family. Our venerable senior missionary read the texts and the
Gospel for the day, and gave out suitable hymns, which were well sung
by the company of brethren, and sisters, and children assembled in the
dining-room around the long table. Breakfast is enlivened with
cheerful, godly converse, and shortly after we join the Eskimo
congregation in the first service of the day. I like this church as
well as any in the land. It is proportionate, simple, neat and light.
Mr. Wirth takes his place behind the table, and, what with residents
and visitors, there is a goodly row of missionary brethren and sisters
to right and left of him, facing the Eskimo congregation. Among the
latter the white faces of a settler family, the Metcalfs from Napartok
Bay, are conspicuous. Though the language be strange, I have already
grown familiar with the liturgic forms of worship and can follow
either the "Church Litany," familiar to one in English and German, or
the admirable responsive compilation of tests known as the Catechism
Litany. The latter is chosen this morning, and it is quite possible
that a negro congregation in Surinam, or a Kaffir congregation in
South Africa may be using the same form of sound words, for it exists
both in Negro English and in Kaffir.

At 10 we are again summoned to the house of prayer by the bell. Mr.
Dam is the preacher, and is evidently moved by the thought that this
may be his last sermon in Eskimo for many a day. A hymn and a prayer,
fervent and brief, precede the giving out of his text, Rev. i. 12-20.
The sermon is listened to attentively by old and young, of whom
considerably more than a hundred are present. Old Zippora is, as ever,
at her place at the end of the bench. Blind though she is, she often
walks miles to church over uneven ground or hummocky ice, when away at
the fishing places. She seems to take her part in the worship of the
sanctuary thoroughly, whether in response or sacred song, or as
listener with animated face and at times an overflowing heart. While I
am looking, her fingers seek the corner of her apron, and lifting it
she wipes the tears from her sightless eyes.

But the eloquent flow of words, mostly unintelligible to me, comes to
a close. A hymn is sung, and the New Testament blessing pronounced.
Then the procession from the missionary benches files out through the
schoolroom into the mission-house and the people disperse to their
homes. Mere mounds they look as I see them from my window. But they
are Christian homes, whence rises prayer and praise.

I was mistaken. The congregation had not dispersed, for the choir
wished to give me a specimen of their powers. I returned to the church
and listened to a fair selection of sacred music, including a long
piece (Psalm xcv. 6, 7), well sustained by a choir of about a dozen
men and women, and two or three instrumentalists. When they ceased, I
spoke a few words of thanks and farewell.

Dinner was as usual very literally "the mid-day meal." Soup was
followed by a joint of reindeer venison, which was a treat to me, as
beef or mutton would be to my hosts. The vegetables had been grown in
the mission garden. After coffee I went over to the ship for the
afternoon service aboard, rowed by four Eskimoes, Thomas, Clement, one
of the organists, Daniel, and Heinrich. In their endeavour to converse
with me they brought out some amusing scraps of English, and little
Heinrich informed me his name in my language was "Harry."

Whilst I was preaching to the crew there was an afternoon meeting
ashore. I returned for our solemn farewell service with the missionary
band. Here, as at each previous station, this was an occasion of deep
feeling. My parting word was founded on (2 Corinthians xiii. 11)
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of
one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with
you." So I took leave of "brethren," who are faithfully serving their
Lord in this cold country. Truly here is the patience and the faith of
the saints. The God of all grace bless each missionary family, comfort
and strengthen them in all their work, and perfect that which
concerneth them and their people! How wonderfully He can and does
help, I have experienced on this voyage and visit to Labrador, and so
at the close of my visitation record my humble praise.


After the evening meal we went down to the shore and embarked. The
people crowded the pier, and many a hand was stretched out with a
hearty "Aksunai." As we rowed away they were singing, and when their
voices sounded fainter across the water Thomas began of his own accord
the following hymn in his own language:--

    "O Lord! lift up thy countenance
      Upon thy Church, and own us thine;
      Impart to each thy peace divine,
    And blessings unto all dispense.

    'Tis our desire to follow thee,
      And from experience to proclaim
      Salvation in thy blessed name:
    O bless thy servants' ministry."

The other Eskimoes rowing our boat sang with him, until we reached the

We were having a quiet time of cheerful converse in the cabin, when
the sound of singing again called us on deck. A procession of eight or
ten boats, the bow of one almost touching the stern of the other, was
rowing slowly round and round the ship, and the people in them were
singing sweet Christian songs to the measured beat of the oars. Sarah
was in the first boat, evidently the leader and director of the
proceedings.[C] Hymn after hymn, in well-sustained parts, sounded
beautifully over the still water, and not till it was getting quite
dark did they row away, singing "Victoria," _i.e._ "God save the
Queen," in honour of the English visitor. Her Majesty has very loyal
subjects in that unknown corner of her realm; and, by the way, some of
them charged me to bring home an "Aksunai" to her, too.

_Tuesday, September 25st._--Yes, "good-bye;" yet, when your vessel is
not a steamer, but dependent on the wind, you may have repeated
"good-byes," as often happens in Labrador. Not till this afternoon
could the "Harmony" hoist her sails and speed away to the broad
Atlantic. As soon as the Eskimoes saw our sails being unfurled, they
again came around the vessel in their boats, and anew commended us to
the Divine protection in their version of a very favourite hymn of
Count Zinzendorf's ("Jesu geh voran").

    "Jesus, day by day,
    Guide them on their way."


The story of our homeward voyage must he told in short. We had more
stormy days than bright ones, and more contrary winds than fair
breezes. We left Hebron on Tuesday, September 25th, and on the
following Sunday found ourselves among Greenland icebergs and fogs. So
we had to turn southwards and run on that tack for two days. Then a
moderate side wind followed the strong contrary gale, and we made good
steady progress eastward. This was undoubtedly pleasant after the
heavy rolling and pitching of the previous days. For two weeks and
more nothing was to be seen but sea and sky, yet both had their
interest and beauty. The sunsets were lovely, and the phosphorescent
light in the water at night especially so. The wake of the ship was
luminous for a long distance, and the crests of the waves shone all
around us. Once I was leaning over the taffrail late in the evening,
when a shoal of fish passed. There were thousands of them, and each
one was a living, moving centre of light. Bottle-nosed whales
gambolled around us when we were within a few hundred miles of
Labrador, and later on "schools" of porpoises occasionally visited us.
The latter often sprang clean out of the water, and seemed to take
special delight in crossing the bows of the "Harmony." On October
10th, we sighted the first ship since leaving Labrador, and a day or
two later tacked southward near the coast of Ireland to make the
entrance of the British Channel. There a trial of patience awaited us.
A hard-hearted east wind barred our progress, and with long tacks we
seemed to make headway only by inches. Yet the little "Harmony"
bravely held on her way, when larger vessels had given up the fight.

_Sunday, October 21st._--Up at six, to find the Scilly Isles in sight.
The Bishop's rock and St. Agnes lighthouses were plainly visible. But
the old east wind is back again. The light, fair breeze of yesterday
evening sent us forward fifteen miles in an hour or two, and seventy
or eighty miles of tacking to-day has barely secured as much progress.
Visited the men in the forecastle, a small gloomy looking place, yet
fair as such accommodation goes. The good fellows are cheery and happy
there, indeed, they have been pleasant and faithful to duty throughout
the entire voyage. God grant them the true blessedness we have told
them of in this morning's and previous Sunday services.

_Monday, 22nd._--Weathered the Wolf Rock by this tack. Sighted Land's
End, with its white houses, and the Longships lighthouse on its lofty
rock. A steamer passing us into Penzance answered our signals and will
report us we hope.

_Tuesday, 23rd._--Four weeks away from Labrador. Four months absent
from home. How much longer yet? To windward of the Lizard this
morning. That is good, for we could have run for Falmouth harbour had
it blown harder from the east. But the wind has died away altogether.
The Lizard twin lighthouses and the white walls surrounding them are
plainly visible, as we lie becalmed.

_Wednesday, 24th._--Got a fair wind yesterday, which carried us
forward past the Eddystone Lighthouse. We are now nearing Start Point,
and have shown our signals. They will be seen, and reported either at
that lighthouse or at Prawle Point, and it is quite a relief to think
our presence in the Channel will soon be known in London. What a
contrast there is between our own shores and the coast of Labrador.
_Here_ one is never out of sight of some guiding light, _there_ not a
lighthouse--not a buoy. Such a voyage makes one the more thankful for
the experience and faithfulness of our own valued ship's officers,
tried servants of the Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel, who
have the interests of that society and of the mission at heart, and
whose annual voyages to Labrador involve a full share of
responsibility and anxiety.

_Thursday, 25th._--Passed the Isle of Wight this morning, and Beachy
Head in the afternoon. As night came on the long rows of electric
lights on the marine parades of Eastbourne, Hastings, and St.
Leonard's were very effective across the water. Got our pilot aboard
at Dungeness just before midnight.

_Friday, 26th._--_Home again!_ How infinitely good is the gracious
Lord, who permits one to go on His errands, and meanwhile takes care
of all that is so dear! We were off Margate when I went on deck, about
7 A.M., and shortly afterwards secured a powerful little tug, which
towed the "Harmony" swiftly up the Thames to London Docks, where she
now lies at her usual moorings, awaiting the hundred and twentieth

    "Then, at the vessel's glad return,
      The absent meet again;
    At home, our hearts within us burn
      To trace the cunning pen,
    Whose strokes, like rays from star to star,
    Bring happy messages from far,
    And once a year to Britain's shore
      Join Christian Labrador."

I lay down the pen which has transcribed those lines of Montgomery's
as a fitting close to my chapter, "Homeward Bound." If it has had any
"cunning," it has been simply because I have described what I have
seen with my own eyes in Christian Labrador. Traversing nearly three
hundred miles of that grand, but bleak and desolate-looking coast, I
met with scarcely any heathen. Only at Ramah I found one or two who
had no Christian names, because they had not yet publicly professed
Christ. They were, however, candidates for baptism, and their few
heathen countrymen to the north of that station are, from time to
time, attracted to the sound of the Gospel. But if the mission in that
land be nearing the close of the evangelistic phase, our task is not
done, and still we hear the voice of the Divine Spirit saying:
Separate me this one and that one for the work whereunto I have called
him in Labrador.

Yet I hope and pray for a wider result from these pages than increased
interest in the one field so closely connected with Britain by the
good ship "Harmony." Labrador in its turn is linked to all the mission
provinces in the world-wide parish given to the little Moravian
Church, and I trust this glimpse into the life and labours of our
devoted missionaries there will quicken the loving intercessions of my
readers for their fellow labourers in all our own fields, and for the
whole great mission work of the Church of Christ.

I will conclude with a stirring stanza[D] from another poet, who found
a theme and an inspiration in contrasting the wretched condition of
the people of Labrador, prior to the arrival of missionaries, with the
wonderful change wrought among the poor Eskimoes through their noble
efforts under the blessing of God.

    "When round the great white throne all nations stand,
    When Jew and Gentile meet at God's right hand,
    When thousand times ten thousand raise the strain--
    'Worthy the Lamb that once for us was slain!'
    When the bright Seraphim with joy prolong
    Through all eternity that thrilling song--
    The heathen's universal jubilee,
    A music sweet, O Saviour Christ, to Thee--
    Say, 'mid those happy strains, will not _one_ note,--
    Sung by a hapless nation once remote,
    But now led Home by tender cords of love,
    Rise clear through those majestic courts above?
    Yes! from amid the tuneful, white-robed choirs,
    Hymning Jehovah's praise on golden lyres,
    _One_ Hallelujah shall for evermore
    Tell of the Saviour's love to LABRADOR."


       *       *       *       *       *



[Footnote C: For those who may be interested to know what hymns were
chosen, and what tunes were sung (without accompaniment), by the
natives on this occasion, I will append the numbers in our new English
Hymn Book, as far it contains their selection, 646, 788, 755, 834, and
1135. The melodies included our Tunes 132, 26, 69, 205, 166, and 146.]

[Footnote D: _Labrador, a Poem in three parts_, written to commemorate
the centenary of the Moravian Labrador Mission, by B. TRAPP ELLIS.]



     Length (Extreme)  120     ft.
     Breadth            27-1/2  "
     Depth              15      "  4 in.
     Length of Mast     87      "
     Tonnage           251 tons.

_Launched, April 24th, 1861._

       *       *       *       *       *

The average duration of the _outward_ voyage with the present vessel
has been 41-1/4 days, including a short stay at Stromness in the
Orkneys. The _homeward_ voyage has been accomplished on an average in
23 days, including the coarse up channel to the West India Dock. The
whole voyage, including the stay on the coast and visit to six
stations there, has averaged 117-3/4 days.


At Hopedale, the most southerly of our mission stations,
thermometrical observations during several years give + 86° Fahrenheit
as the greatest heat (July 26, 1871), -104°, or 72° below freezing
point, Fahrenheit, as the greatest cold (February 2nd, 1873). The
average temperature for the year is -5° F. For four years the month of
July was the only one in which there was not a fall of snow. The
average temperature of Edinburgh, which lies in about the same degree
of latitude as Hopedale, is + 47° F. At the Hospice of St. Bernard in
the Alps, which is situated at an elevation of 7192 feet above the
level of the sea, the average temperature for the year is not quite
-3° F. There winter and spring are much less cold, summer and autumn
much less warm than in Labrador.

       *       *       *       *       *

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