Group of Lapps Norway about 1892

Group of Lapps Norway about 1892

GROUP OF LAPPS NORWAY — Near the North Cape, on the Northwestern coast of Norway, are settlements of Laplanders, frequently visited by travelers in their tour through the “Land of the Midnight Sun.” One visit usually satisfies the tourist’s curiosity. The Lapps are by no means beautiful, attractive or cleanly. They are short in stature, the men being about five feet high, and the women four. They usually have high cheek bones, wizened faces, flat noses, and small almond-shaped eyes. They wear garments made of reindeer skin with the pelt turned outwards. These garments last indefinitely and are handed down from parents to children. The lower limbs of the Lapps are usually covered with bands of worsted wound about the ankles, and leggings of whale skin, which fit their forms almost as tightly as if they were their own skin. The Lapps live in miserable huts made of wood, turf and straw, and lined with reindeer hide. One of these will often contain two or three families. They sell to tourists bone knives, fur purses and other objects of their own manufacture. They are tough and hardy like most dwarfs, and Dickens could have found among them many models for his character of Quilp. They are great smokers, and, as their huts are also filled with smoke, they apparently become at last thoroughly smoke-dried within and without. This creates an ardent thirst, and they are in consequence very fond of intoxicating liquors. When a Norwegian wishes to remonstrate with a friend for drinking to excess, he will say to him: “Don’t make a Lapp of yourself.” (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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