We had, of course, had abundant opportunities to study the habits of the people among whom we had lived so long. The government among the Inuit tribes, where they have any at all, is patriarchal, consisting of advice from the older and more experienced, which is recognized and complied with by the younger. Parental authority is never strictly enforced, but the children readily defer to the wishes of their parents - not only when young, but after reaching man's estate. The old people are consulted upon all matters of interest. The authority of parents in their family, and of the chief, or ish-u-mat-tah, in his tribe, is enforced without fear of punishment or hope of reward.

When a person offends the sentiment of a community, or inflicts injury upon a neighbor, the matter is talked over among those interested, and reparation may be demanded in the shape of payment, not in money, for they have none, or anything that represents it, but in goods, such as a knife, a sled, a dog, gun, fish-hooks, walrus line, or, indeed, anything that comes handy. There the matter ends; or, if the offender declines to settle, the case may be referred to the ish-u-mat-tah, who will probably insist that payment be made. And yet should the delinquent still prove contumacious and refuse to pay, the matter rests there - there is no punishment for his offence. The well-behaved will talk to the refractory one and say, "ma-muk-poo-now" (no good), but that is all. Should he be hungry or his family unprovided for, the others will all assist him just the same as if he did well and obeyed their laws and customs. He can come into their igloos and chat with them upon the topics of the day, or join in the meal that is under discussion, and the stranger would never know but that the utmost harmony existed among them. If you were one for whom the community had respect, they might privately inform you that "so and so" was "no good," but you would never suspect it from their actions toward him.

So it is in the treatment of their children. Punishment for wrong-doing is almost unheard of, and as for striking a male child, all would recoil from such a thought with horror. The male child, and especially the heir, is a prince in his own family circle. Everything is deferred to his wishes unless he can be persuaded to surrender it. With female children it is different. They must submit to every act of tyranny on the part of their brothers at once, or feel the weight of a parent's hand. Nothing would seem more abhorrent to an Esquimau mind than the thought of striking a man or boy; but to strike a woman or girl is, on the contrary, quite proper, and, indeed, laudable. And when one of those powerful savages strikes his wife it is no gentle love tap, but a blow that might stagger a pugilist. I remember once seeing an Esquimau for whom I entertained the greatest respect, strike his gentle and affectionate young wife, the mother of two fine children. He struck her upon the head with an an-out-ah (a stick made for beating the snow off of fur clothing, and in form and weight like a policeman's club). Two blows fell in quick succession upon that devoted head, and made the igloo ring again. I was undressed and in my sleeping bag at the time, but it was with the greatest difficulty that I could restrain myself from jumping up and interfering to prevent the outrage. It required all the nerve I could muster. I thought I would never respect my friend again; but after a while I began to look upon it more calmly, and in the light of his early training and daily experience for years and years I thought better of him, though not of the act.

They say it is a proper thing to whip women, "it makes them good," and they might add, "it is so perfectly safe". I have often talked with them about it and tried to explain that it was regarded by white people as cowardly to strike a defenceless creature, but this was utterly beyond their comprehension. They could understand that it would be wrong to strike a male, but a female - that was an entirely different thing. Their system of government in regard to both families and communities seems to produce good results. Children are obedient and attentive to their parents, either natural or adopted, and there is but little occasion for governmental interference in the concerns of the people.

Whenever difference of opinion gives rise to difficulty and their intercourse, their usual method of settling the dispute is for those immediately concerned to assemble in some igloo, with several of the old men, and talk the matter over until some definite plan of settlement is reached. This usually proves effectual. I have seen several of these talks, and though I could not understand much of what was said, unless I knew beforehand about what it would be, I could see that the spirit of conciliation manifested itself. All seemed disposed to do what was right, not from fear of punishment for doing wrong, but simply because it was right. They are not given to ceremony on such occasions, or, in fact, upon any other occasion. All the women retire from the igloo or tupic where the talk is to be held when the men come in. Then some raw meat is produced, if there is any to be had, and after eating pipes are lighted and the subject for discussion is approached, conversation gradually drifting in that direction. Esquimaux never do anything in a hurry, and these long-winded roundabout chats are exceedingly congenial to their tastes. So imbued do they become with this idea that even "Joe," notwithstanding his long residence with civilized people, could not shake it off.

For instance, Lieutenant Schwatka would say: - "'Joe,' I wish you would tell the hunters that for the present they must save the saddles of the reindeer they kill to go upon the sleds, and feed the remainder of the carcasses to the dogs." "Joe" would invariably say, "Yes, to-night we will all get together and talk it over." "There is no necessity for talking it over, 'Joe;' just tell them what I say." But, nevertheless, "Joe" would have his powwow, and his feed and his smoke, even upon less important matters than the one mentioned in illustration.

The Esquimaux are polygamists, no distinction whatever being placed upon the number of wives a man shall have. I have never, however, known of any instance of one having more than two at a time. This is very common, however, especially among the Iwilliks and Kinnepatoos, where there is a surplus of women. At least half of their married men have two wives. Every woman is married as soon as she arrives at a marriageable age, and whenever a man dies his wife is taken by some one else, so that with them old maids and widows are unknown.

Instances of polygamy are not so common among the Netchillik nation, for the reason, it is said by the tribes in their vicinity, that they have a custom that prevents the accumulation of women to be taken care of. Their neighbors say that they kill their female babes as soon as born. The first is usually allowed to live, and one other may stand some chance, but that ends the matter. I cannot vouch for the truth of the assertion from my personal knowledge. I can only say that there were more unmarried young men among the Netchilliks and Ookjooliks whom we met than in any other tribe, and but few men with two wives. Among the children there were plenty of boys and but few girls. I understand that the mothers often would be willing to rear their daughters; but the fathers, who have supreme control in their families, insist upon getting rid of useless mouths and choke their infant babes to death, the mothers readily acquiescing. Equeesik, one of our hunters on the sledge journey, who is himself a Netchillik, denies this charge of female Herodism. He told me that it used to be the custom with his people, or some of them at any rate, but that they do not do so any more. I know he has two daughters, one of which was born within a few days' march of Depot Island, on our return trip, and has no son.

The custom of giving away their children is very common among all tribes, and a young wife who loses her first-born has seldom any difficulty in getting a substitute from some one better supplied. Infants are never weaned. I have seen children four and five years old playing, out doors, stop once in a while to run in to their mothers, and cry until they received their milk.

There is very little regard for life manifested by any of the Esquimaux. Several instances of sudden and strange deaths occurred among the infant children at Depot Island and vicinity while we were encamped there. If it were a male child that died, it occasioned some regret, but if it were a female it was considered all right. Even if it were well known that an Inuit had murdered his child, or had killed any one else in cold blood, nothing would be done about it, except that the relatives of a murdered man would probably ask to be paid for the slaughter, and if the request were complied with, that would set the matter at rest. Should it not be complied with, the probability is that the sons or brothers of the victim would embrace some opportunity to kill the murderer and give rise for a demand of payment from the family of the slain murderer, and in case of non-fulfilment a vendetta be established, as is the case now in the tribe that dwells on the coast of Baffin's Bay, near the entrance to Eclipse Sound.

Just before we left Depot Island, in the summer of 1880, there arrived several families from that section of the Arctic, who came, I as informed, to get rid of the vendetta. It seems that the present cause of trouble was a young man, quite small in stature, but very active and energetic, of whom the refugees were very much afraid. Some of their relatives had killed this young man's father, and when they refused to pay for it he took occasion to kill the murderer, for which, as is the custom, they in turn demanded payment. He refused satisfaction, and one night about a year ago some of these people went to his igloo while the family were in bed, and through a small hole that had melted through the snow, they pointed a rifle, and, as they supposed, killed their enemy, of whom they were so much afraid. Unfortunately for them they found they had made a mistake, as instead of killing him they had killed his oldest son, who lay alongside of him in bed. The father said nothing, but reached for his gun, which he had always convenient for an emergency, and shortly after the shot was fired, when the murderer returned to peep through the hole and see the effect of his aim, the father shot him dead. Then it was that the remaining members of the family found that this business was getting to be a nuisance and concluded to leave. As they told me when speaking of the matter, "So much shooting is no good."

Their method of carrying on this sort of warfare is not at all like the duello of Christendom. They don't stand up and fight it out, facing each other; but, on the contrary, appear to be good friends all the time, until the aggrieved one finds what he considers to be the propitious moment, and acts accordingly. They never do anything on the spur of the moment. It takes them a long time to make up their minds, and whatever they do they do deliberately. The rapid and just retribution that followed the killing of the child alluded to in this illustration is the only instance of the kind I know of, though I know of a number where a few weeks or years intervened, the enemies associating like the others and eating in common.

There are no wedding ceremonies among the Esquimaux, and hardly anything like sentiment is known. The relation of man and wife is purely a matter of convenience. The woman requires food, and the man needs some one to make his clothing and to take charge of his dwelling while he is hunting. Marriages are usually contracted while the interested parties are children. The father of the boy selects a little girl who is to be his daughter-in-law, and pays her father something. Perhaps it is a snow-knife, or a sled, or a dog, or now, that many of them are armed with firelocks, the price paid may be a handful of powder and a dozen percussion caps. The children are then affianced, and when arrived at a proper age they live together. The wife then has her face tattooed with lamp-black and is regarded as a matron in society. The method of tattooing is to pass a needle under the skin, and as soon as it is withdrawn its course is followed by a thin piece of pine stick dipped in oil and rubbed in the soot from the bottom of a kettle. The forehead is decorated with a letter V in double lines, the angle very acute, passing down between the eyes almost to the bridge of the nose, and sloping gracefully to the right and left before reaching the roots of the hair. Each cheek is adorned with an egg-shaped pattern, commencing near the wing of the nose and sloping upward toward the corner of the eye; these lines are also double. The most ornamented part, however, is the chin, which receives a gridiron pattern; the lines double from the edge of the lower lip, and reaching to the throat toward the corners of the mouth, sloping outward to the angle of the lower jaw. This is all that is required by custom, but some of the belles do not stop here. Their hands, arms, legs, feet, and in fact their whole bodies are covered with blue tracery that would throw Captain Constantinus completely in the shade. Ionic columns, Corinthian capitals, together with Gothic structures of every kind, are erected wherever there is an opportunity to place them; but I never saw any attempt at figure or animal drawing for personal decoration. The forms are generally geometrical in design and symmetrical in arrangement, each limb receiving the same ornamentation as its fellow. None of the men are tattooed.

Some tribes are more profuse in this sort of decoration than others. The Iwillik, and Kinnepatoos are similar, and as I have described; but the Netchillik, Ookjoolik, and Ooqueesiksillik women have the designs upon their faces constructed with three lines instead of two, one of them being broader than the others. The pattern is the same as that of the Iwilliks and Kinnepatoos, with the addition of an olive branch at the outside corners of the eyes and mouth.

Marriage with them is not the sacred institution of civilization, but exchanges are very common. If a man who is going on a journey has a wife encumbered with a child that would make travelling unpleasant, he exchanges wives with some friend who remains in camp and has no such inconvenience. Sometimes a man will want a younger wife to travel with, and in that case effects an exchange, and sometimes such exchanges are made for no especial reason, and among friends it is a usual thing to exchange wives for a week or two about every two months. Unmarried men who are going on a journey have no difficulty in borrowing a wife for the time being, and sometimes purchase the better half altogether.

It might be supposed that in such a state of society there would be no romances, no marrying for love; but that would be a mistake, for there have been several romantic little episodes that came under my observation during my residence in North Hudson's Bay. There is a poor old man dwelling with the Iwilliks, near Depot Island, named Iteguark, who had two very attractive and useful wives, or Nu-lee-aug-ar, as is the native term. The old man had been a good hunter, but a few years ago met with an accident that resulted in his right knee becoming stiffened, and his hunting days were over. He can still hunt seals through the ice, but cannot work up to them on top of the ice, nor can he chase the reindeer and musk-ox on his native hills. Then it was that Oxeomadiddlee looked with envious eyes upon the youngest and fairest of Iteguark's wives, and induced her to come and live with him. She knew that her new lover was strong and active, and better able to support her than her old love, and listened to the voice of the tempter.

Iteguark was not disposed to submit meekly to this treachery on the part of his friend Oxeomadiddlee, so one morning while the truant wife and her new husband were sleeping in their igloo, Iteguark entered and sought to take the life of the seducer with a hunting knife. But Oxeomadiddlee was on his guard, and being a man of immense strength, he caught his adversary by the wrist, and by the sheer force of his grip compelled him to drop the weapon on the floor. He then released his hold, and Iteguark rushed out to his own igloo and got his bow and quiver; but his enemy was still watchful, and took the bow and arrows away and destroyed them. Here ended hostilities. Oxeomadiddlee paid the old man for his wife, and that settled it forever. Presently another Inuit, named Eyerloo, fell desperately in love with poor old Iteguark's remaining wife, and with his arts and blandishments won her away from her husband. There was no fight this time. The poor old man gave up completely, and said the world was all wrong, and he only waited for his summons to leave it and mount the golden stairs.

A few years ago an Igloolip Inuit named Kyack won the affections of one of Ikomar's wives and this brought on a duel in which Kyack came very near leaving Mrs. Kyack a widow. Ikomar got the head of his enemy in chancery, and tightened his arm around his neck until Kyack dropped lifeless upon the snow. He gradually recovered, and would have returned the stolen wife, but Ikomar refused to take her back, and demanded payment instead. This was tendered to him, and being appeased by the offer further trouble was avoided.

Punnie, one of Armow's daughters, was, in her youth, affianced to Sebeucktelee, but when she reached a marriageable age became the wife of Conwechungk, her adopted brother. The pretext for this new arrangement was that Sebeucktelee's father had not made payment at the time he made the wedding contract, and that Punnie loved Conwechungk better anyhow, and would take advantage of the omission of the intended father-in-law. It made no difference that Conwechungk had another wife - in fact, it was all the better on that account, for he would have one for himself and another to loan around to his neighbors. When I left Depot Island I noticed that he had not only loaned his first wife away, but had traded his dearly beloved Punnie for Tockoleegeetais' wife for an indefinite period, while Sebeucktelee had taken to his bosom Netchuk, the discarded wife of Shockpenark. But life is altogether too short to allow of a complete and reliable record being made of the social gossip of an Esquimau village. Intermarriages are common, and everybody is related to every one else in the most intricate and astonishing manner. I once read of a man who married a widow, and his father, subsequently marrying the daughter of this same widow, was driven insane by trying to ascertain the exact relationship of their children. Such trifles have no effect upon the Inuit brain, or the entire nation would long ago have become raving maniacs.

The natives of Hudson's Strait dress very much like the others, the difference being in the women's hoods, which, instead of being long and narrow, are long and wide, and provided with a drawing string. Instead of the long stockings, they wear a pair of leggings that reach about half-way up the thigh, and trousers that are much shorter than those of the western tribes. The Kinnepatoos are by all odds the most tasteful in their dress, and their clothing is made of skins more carefully prepared and better sewed than that of the others, except in occasional instances.

The bedding of all these Esquimaux is made of reindeer-skins - thick untanned skins of the buck forming what corresponds with the mattresses, and a blanket to cover them is made of well-tanned doe-skins, sewn together so as to be wide at the top and narrowing into a bag at the feet. All sleep naked, winter and summer, a single blanket formed of three doe-skins covering a father, mother, and all the children.

It would astonish a civilized spectator to see how many people can be stowed away to sleep in one small igloo and under one blanket; but the proverbial illustration of a box of sardines would almost represent a skirmish line in comparison. Each one is rolled up into a little ball, or else arms, legs and bodies are so inextricably interwoven, that it would be impossible for any but the owners to unravel them. And these bodies are like so many little ovens, so that, no matter how cold it be, when once within the igloo, the snow-block door put up and chinked, and all stowed away in bed, Jack Frost can be successfully defied.

As probably many people know, an igloo is usually built of snow. The word, however, means house, and as their houses consist of a single room, it also means room. Sometimes at points that are regularly occupied during the winter months igloos are built of stones, and moss piled up around and over them, so that when covered by the winter snows they make very comfortable dwellings. This is the case at Igloolik, which means the place of igloos, and also near Tulloch Point, on King William Land, where the ruins of these underground houses were quite numerous. They had been built a great many years ago by the Ookjooliks, when they occupied the land before the Netchillik invasion. A long, low passage-way leads into each dwelling, so constructed as to exclude the wind from the interior, though ventilation is permitted by leaving open the door. This, by the way, is an Inuit custom. Even in the coldest weather the door is open, except when the occupants are asleep, and it is only closed then to keep the dogs from making a raid on the igloo. If the door faces the wind, a shelter is erected outside to cut off the wind, so that the door need not be closed. The coldest day I ever saw, when the thermometer was seventy-one degrees below zero, the door of our igloo was open all the time we were not asleep. A snow igloo is made of snow-blocks about three feet long by eighteen inches wide and five or six inches thick.

The snow-knife is simply a large thin-bladed knife, like a cheese-knife of the grocery stores, with a handle made large enough to be conveniently grasped with both hands. Before iron and knives became so plentiful as at present, snow-knives were made of bone and reindeer or musk-ox horn, but such knives are quite rare now. The Netchillik, Ookjoolik, and Ooqueesiksillik tribes are still quite deficient in iron weapons and implements, and many of their knives are marvels of ingenuity. I saw several made of a little tip of iron, perhaps an inch square, mounted on a handle two feet long, and so shaped that the iron would do most of the cutting and scratching, and the handle acted merely as a wedge to assist the operation. I also saw a man making a knife by cutting a thick piece of iron with a cold chisel, afterward to be pounded out flat and ground down on stones. The entire operation would probably take about three or four weeks with the poor tools at their disposal.

The builder selects snow of the proper consistency by sounding a drift with a cane, made for the purpose, of reindeer horn, straightened by steaming, and worked down until about half an inch in diameter, with a ferule of walrus tusk or the tooth of a bear on the bottom. By thrusting this into the snow he can tell whether the layers deposited by successive winds are separated by bands of soft snow, which would cause the blocks to break. When the snow is selected, he digs a pit to the depth of eighteen inches or two feet, and about the length of the snow-block. He then steps down into the pit and proceeds to cut out the blocks by first cutting down at the ends of the pit, and then the bottom afterward, cutting a little channel about an inch or two deep, marking the thickness of the proposed block.

Now comes the part that requires practice to accomplish successfully. The expert will, with a few thrusts of his knife in just the right places, split off the snow-block and lift it carefully out to await removal to its position on the wall. The tyro will almost inevitably break the block into two or three pieces, utterly unfit for the use of the builder. When two men are building an igloo, one cuts the blocks and the other erects the walls. When sufficient blocks have been cut out to commence work with, the builder marks with his eye, or perhaps draws a line with his knife describing the circumference of the building, usually a circle about ten or twelve feet in diameter. The first row of blocks is then arranged, the blocks placed so as to incline inward and resting against each other at the ends, thus affording mutual support. When this row is completed the builder cuts away the first and second blocks, slanting them from the ground upward, so that the second tier resting upon the edges of the first row can be continued on and around spirally, and by gradually increasing the inward slant a perfect dome is constructed of such strength that the builder can lie flat on the outside while chinking the interstices between the blocks. The chinking is, however, usually done by the women and children as the building progresses, and additional protection secured from the winds in very cold weather by banking up a large wooden snow shovel, the snow at the base often being piled to the depth of three or four feet. This makes the igloo perfectly impervious to the wind in the most tempestuous weather. When the house is completed, the builders are walled in. Then a small hole about two feet square is cut in the wall, on the side away from where the entrance is to be located, and is used to pass in the lamps and bedding. It is then walled up and the regular door cut, about two feet high, and nitched at the top. It would bring bad luck to carry the bedding into the igloo by the same door it would be taken out. Before the door is opened the bed is constructed, of snow-blocks, and made from one to three or four feet high, and occupies about three-fourths of the entire space. The higher the bed and the lower the door, the warmer the igloo will be.

The house being built, passes into the care of the women, who arrange the beds and put up the lamps for lighting, warming, and cooking. The woman's place in the igloo is on either side of the bed, and next to the wall. In front of her she arranges her lamp, which is a long, shallow basin of soapstone, the front edge straight and the back describing an arc. The wick, which is composed of pulverized moss, is arranged along the front edge, and kept moistened by the oil that fills the lamp by tilting it forward - the lamp being delicately poised, with this end in view, upon three sticks driven into the snow beneath it. If there be two women, they occupy both ends of the bed, each with her lamp in front of her. Over each lamp is constructed a frame upon which to dry stockings that have become moistened by perspiration during the day's exercise, and from which depends the kettle for melting snow or ice to make water or to cook. The distinctive Esquimau kettle (oo-quee'-sik) is made of soapstone and is flat bottomed. It is made long and narrow, so as to fit the flame of the lamp, and to derive all the benefit possible therefrom. It has the advantage over the iron and copper kettles, that have come into use through trade with the whalemen and Hudson Bay Company's posts, of cooking more rapidly and of not being injured if left over the flame without water.

It is the duty of the women to attend constantly to the lamps, to melt water for drinking and cooking, and to cook the food. They also turn the wet shoes and stockings inside out and dry them at night. A "good wife" is one who sleeps but little after a hard day's march, but attends constantly to the articles upon the drying frame, turning them over and replacing the dry with wet. When one frame full of clothing has been dried, she places the articles under her in the bed, so that the heat of her body will keep them warm and dry, and replaces them upon the frame with other articles. She gets up long before any one else is awake and looks carefully over all the clothing to see what mending is required. Her position, when not asleep, is with her bare feet bent under her in Turkish fashion, and there she sits all day long before her fire, engaged in making clothing, cooking, or other household duties, and is seldom idle. When at work she lifts up her voice and sings. The tune lacks melody but not power. It is a relief to her weary soul, and few would be cruel enough to deprive her of that comfort, for her pleasures are not many. She is the slave of her children and her husband, and is treated to more abuse than affection.