July 21, 1824
According to Caption Lyon, the Sadlermiut Inuit board the HMS Hecla and devour some beef, but refuse biscuits. "Some slices were cut off and thrown down to them , and these they instantly devoured with great satisfaction ; but they refused to eat the biscuit which was offered at the same time."
The Private Journal of Captain G.F. Lyon, of H.M.S. Hecla
Topics: (click to open)
The strangers were so well pleased in our society, that they showed no wish to leave us, and, when the market had quite ceased , they began dancing and playing with our people on the ice alongside : this exercise again set many of their noses bleeding (which at their first arrival we had observed to be the case) , and discovered to us a most nasty custom , which accounted for their gory faces ; and which was, that as fast as the blood ran down, they scraped it with the fingers into their mouths, appearing to consider it as a refreshment or dainty, if we might judge by the zest with which they smacked their lips at each supply. Some of the most quiet came on board the ship, and behaved very well ; while others walked quietly alongside, gazing occasionally at the men, but more frequently at some quarters of Old English beef, which were hanging over the stern, and had a most attractive appearance. Some slices were cut off and thrown down to them , and these they instantly devoured with great satisfaction ; but they refused to eat the biscuit which was offered at the same time. One woman in particular attracted general notice by her unwearied application for presents, and by feigning to be hurt, and crying to excite compassion ; in which she no sooner succeeded, than a loud and triumphant laugh proclaimed the cheat. Of all horrible yells, this laugh was the most fiend - like I ever heard ; and her countenance corresponded with her voice. She had lost all her front teeth, with the exception of the eye-teeth; her mouth was plentifully ornamented by blue tattoo- lines ; and a vast profusion of black, straight, and matted hair, hung all round her head and face. At her back was an imp not more prepossessing in features than herself, and screaming itself black in the face . Although the countenances of the other young children were generally rather pretty than otherwise, yet, from their dress and man ner of walking, they might, without any great stretch of the imagination, have been taken for the cubs of wild animals ; particularly some who were laid for safety in the bottom of the women's boats, amongst blubber, the entrails of seals, &c. of which they were continually sucking whatever was nearest to them.