Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/236

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

eter, with half a large blue-glass bead glued to the middle of each. Others are shaped like plugs, and are made of black, white, or gray stone. They used to pick up the stoppers of Worcestershire-sauce bottles that we threw away, and make labrets of them. All they had to do was to grind off the knob on top a little, to make it fit comfortably between the lip and gum.

Their clothes are made almost wholly of the skins of wild animals, though they sometimes wear outside frocks of calico or drilling. The skin which is most commonly used is that of the reindeer, which is perhaps the best material that could be found for clothing in a cold climate. It is very warm and at the same time very light, and can be had of various thicknesses, from the short-haired fawn-skin, fit for making handsome thin clothing, to the heavy winter coat of the buck, suitable for blankets or thick clothing, to wear in the very coldest weather.

A man's full suit of clothes consists of a loose frock, with no opening except at the neck, provided with a hood that can be drawn up over the head, and a pair of close-fitting knee-breeches, tied down with draw-strings over the tops of the long boots. In cold weather a second frock is worn under the first, with the hair side next the skin, and an extra pair of breeches. On the feet are worn long stockings of thick deer-skin, with the hair next the skin, and outside of these the tight-fitting boots, which in winter are made of the short-haired skin of the deer's legs, with soles of sealskin tanned white, and in summer of water-proof sealskin, with the hair carefully scraped off without removing the black epidermis, with soles made of the skin of the bearded seal or the white whale. These boot-soles are very neatly crimped up all round the foot, like the soles of moccasins. The crimping is done with the teeth, which is one reason why the women's teeth wear out so quickly.

I know of no warmer and more comfortable foot-gear for a cold climate than the Eskimo fur stocking and deerskin boot, with the elastic pad of whalebone shavings worn under the foot, between the stocking and the boot as they wear it.

The man's frock is cut off square across the skirts, and reaches about to the middle of the thigh. The women wear a good deal longer frock, which comes down in two rounded flaps, one in front and one behind, nearly or quite to the knees. This frock, too, is made looser in the back than the man's, so as to make room for the mother to carry her little baby inside, and there is a special bulge in the hood just at the back of the neck to make room for the youngster's head. Instead of breeches and boots, the woman wears tight-fitting pantaloons all in one piece with the shoes, which have soles like those of the men's boots. These pantaloons are made of deer-skin in winter, but in summer they are made of