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There, too, stood the little town of Norden, to the islanders a city of marvellous importance, though few had ever set eyes
A couple of shops there supplied material for clothing, but the garments were generally made up by the men and women themselves. This had not, however, to be done very often, as the tissue was of the most durable description, and often lasted half a lifetime.
Other indispensable implements for daily use were for the most part made by the islanders themselves. They adapted the untanned skins for boots, they carved wooden spoons, worked as their own masons, carpenters, joiners, and potters, made their own nets, and calked their own boats, with such skill as each possessed. Only on a few of the larger islands were some individuals beginning to train themselves for special handicrafts, but the demand for these remained as small as the need. Litigation was almost unknown, and a physician was nowhere to be found. Should such help be needed, it was the business of the pastor to interfere as arbitrator in the one case, or, in the other, with some remedy furnished by the experience, and from the medicine-chest, of his wife. The sick usually recovered through this means, or of their own accord; if not, why, it was the will of God, and the dead were buried with little trouble in the churchyard sands. But the island air and their abstemious mode of life were undoubtedly conducive to health. Men and women lived to a good average age, and were generally free from infirmity to the very last.
All were Frisians, and, almost without exception, still as fair-haired and blue-eyed as in the ancient Roman days. They were, too, generally tall and muscular in build. They had no idea of danger, so far, at least, as the sea was concerned. The salt water was to them what the air is to the bird, more familiar than the land on which they toiled with much greater difficulty. Sometimes a sudden storm dashed a bird on to the sands, or buried a man in the depths of ocean; both were in the very nature of things.
From childhood upwards, the sphere of thought in most of the inhabitants was confined to a few and the same main objects-sand and sea, wind and welkin, skiff and sail, net and fish, toil and rest, birth and death. Before the bodily eye stretched a vast horizon, but the mental view was confined to very narrow limits. Just as they never cared to thrust their face into a thick fog, so did they, with cool indifference, abstain
from thought when it might entangle them in a web of mystery. To reflect on matters apart from the daily needs was the pastor's business, not theirs.
Six days of the week were spent in the continuous struggle from morn till eve to earn a livelihood. On Sunday morning they went to church; then came the pipe of tobacco and the spare hours for enjoyment. This was characterized by a remarkable stillness. In the week, amid their general occupations, they were obliged now and then to open their lips for the purpose of giving directions or some explanation, so they indemnified themselves by taking on the Sunday a complete
They lolled about together on the downs, puffed out clouds of smoke, gazed at the sea, but uttered not a word. They enjoyed themselves, nevertheless, to their hearts' content.
The separation of the islanders from their kindred on the mainland had enabled them to preserve, less affected by the lapse of time, the old Frisian customs and ways of life. Not a trace of city manners was to be found in their dress or their behaviour. The women and girls wore gowns made by their own hands, their head-gear was a hood or handkerchief, tied as it had been in bygone ages, and on festal days, for churchgoing, they decked themselves with the silver buttons, clasps, and chains, which had been presented to their great-greatgrandmothers as bridal gifts by the mariners of the island on returning from the foreign lands where they had picked them up.
Parlour and kitchen were furnished in the simplest style, but were kept in the greatest order and cleanliness. Their behaviour in the house and at table was free and easy, but never coarse. There was no distinction of rank, and very little as regards wealth, hence arose no obstacle to the matrimonial designs of the young people; still, marriages took place for the most part between the inhabitants of the same island, and intercourse was almost entirely confined to the adjacent islands. Many were able to read, especially among the girls ; few knew how to write. No schools had been established by the government. The nearest pastor gave the most elementary instruction, but attendance was not compulsory. In consequence of this limited education, they were still under the influence of many superstitions and prejudices which had been bequeathed to them by their Frisian ancestors.
In the men, the character of their race was displayed at an early age in a firm spirit of independence, in the consciousness of being able to do or not to do, just in accordance with their own free will. Reared on the very bosom of ocean, familiarized with every danger, they had sucked in this spirit of self-reliance, twin characteristic of their fearlessness.
The gradual decay and disappearance of the ancient language formed an unexpected contrast to their otherwise sturdy adherence to the customs of their forefathers. It is true, they still understood the old East Frisian dialect, but, except on the island of Wangeroog, it was no longer generally spoken. In this respect they differed essentially both from their kindred in the low countries, and from those of North and West Schleswig, who had all retained their original dialects. Here, on the contrary, though it is difficult to comprehend how, Low German had crept in and become completely dominant, only retaining here and there a few old Frisian terms. High German, in which their pastor preached, they also understood. This departure from their ancient dialect did not, however, extend to family names. To these they clung persistently, as to a treasure transmitted to them centuries ago, with which, in variety or sound, no baptismal name of the Christian calendar could for a moment compare. They consisted originally of the Christian name alone, to which, for distinction's sake, that of the father was afterwards added.
Thus was formed a chain, in which the grandson generally bore again the name of his grandfather. The latter, for instance, might be Hajo Eggen— the son of Egge '—then came the son of Egge Hajen--i.e., the grandson of Egge's son. But in reality each bore only the name of Hajo and Egge; the exceptionally large number of names favoured the omission of any more exactly distinctive epithet, and they thus gave further expression to that spirit of independence which disposed each individual to stand upon his own legs. The relationship to the father was alone indicated ; family names were unknown up to the beginning of this century.
They were then compulsorily introduced from a quarter of which no one had ever dreamed ten years before. The new Emperor of the French drew on the map of North-west Germany, between the Elbe and the Rhine, a straight line at a venture, and annexed the country south of this line to the newly-formed kingdom of Westphalia, which he had bestowed on his brother
Jerome, whilst that to the north was given at first to Holland, but was subsequently added to his own possessions. Thus it came to pass that the district of East Friesland, which had hitherto belonged to Prussia, became a portion of the French Empire, and a decree was issued to the following effect :
· Napoleon, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederacy of the Rhine, Arbitrator of the Swiss Confederacy,' etc., that such of our subjects, in the district formerly belonging to Holland, who have no family or distinctive Christian name, are required to assume one in the year of the publication of this edict, and to notify the same to the Government officials of the commune in which they dwell.' And further, ‘Such persons as shall not have conformed to the prescriptions of this edict within the term appointed, and in accordance with the decree passed on Germinal 2nd of the xith year, shall be punished according to the law.' This imperial decree, issued mainly for or against the Frisians, also affected the inhabitants of East Friesland, and hence, for the most part, arose the many strange, outlandish names, ending generally in a - Addena, Onnega, Hajunga, Yewekana, Dokkuma, Terwisga, some borrowed from nanies of persons, others from names of places, which many families have borne since that time. Free choice was allowed to everyone. This led to many strange conceits. A maker of spoons adopted the name of Spooner ; a baker was, of course, Baker; and a weaver became Mr. Bobbin. The Prefect Janneson, who resided at Aurich, the principal town of the district, carried out the edict with great zeal and rigour, as far as the East Frisian mainland was concerned; but he troubled himself very little about the islands. They lay beyond the limit of the world that was rising into importance; they had with it no official connection, and no Government officials were there at hand. The prefect simply sent a notice to the pastors to see that the new law as to the adoption of family names was carried out in their parish, just as they were expected to supervise most other worldly affairs. Whether the messenger charged with this notice ever managed to make his way to the islands in the face of wind and waves, no one in Aurich ever knew, or even took the trouble to inquire.
The old States of Europe were being continually rent asunder for the purpose of forming new gigantic confederacies, and the
little shreds beyond the sea, around which storms and mists for ever swayed, possessed neither interest nor importance for anyone.
THE ISLAND PASTOR.
One of the islands—even in our time its name is scarcely known beyond the borders of East Friesland-differed somewhat in structure from the rest. It consisted of two parts — really two islands—connected by a flat strip of land, which was submerged at high tide. The circumference of the two together was not very great, and their population comprised little more than a hundred souls. They possessed, however, a small, antiquated church, gray as the ages primeval and the mists of the northern seas. From the vessels steering their course through the deep channels of the East and Western Ems towards the Dollart and harbour of Emden, it could just be discerned as a dark speck on the ocean. It stood, as it were, a watchguard of the Frisian coast. The church, situated on a hill, overtowered with its stunted pinnacle the surrounding downs; nothing, however, was to be seen of the low, scattered dwellings until the wall of sandhills had been climbed.
The church register indicated a high average of life, both for men and women, so far, at least, as the former had not perished in storms at sea. The pastors, too, holding office here attained a good old age. In the whole course of the last century there had been but three changes. In spite of this there were, on the occurrence of a vacancy, very few candidates for the pastoral office, whilst on Norderney, and even on Wangeroog, it was eagerly sought after by young divines.
The distance from the mainland was here much greater, and the exclusion from social intercourse more complete ; at the same time the pastoral revenues were considerably less. Either a special yearning for retirement from the world, or extraordinary Christian self-denial and devoted religious zeal, were needed to induce anyone to undertake the care of souls and the office of