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beautiful than many other portions of internal Lapland, on the other hand, the Norwegian portion of the line, which winds round and round the precipitous cliffs of the Ofoten Fjord, is as magnificent as anything in Norway. The man who is in search of a new sensation might do worse than perform this journey, as the writer did, in the brake-van of a metal train. And if a couplingchain should break at certain points during the downward passage to the sea level, he will obtain most assuredly some wholly unexpected experiences.

The immediate results of this new railway are easy to foresee and to foretell. The most obvious of these is the immediate growth and increase of the populations at the great iron centres of Gellivara and Kiiruna, to be followed at intervals by the creation of similar, though perhaps less important, centres here and there, within reach of the main line, as new iron fields are explored. It may, however, be safely predicted that the increase of population will be mainly confined to the industrial centres themselves. It is not possible that these mining centres should call into existence an agricultural population in the immediate neighbourhood to supply their needs, because nature has set her veto against such developments except upon the very smallest scale. The spots of land on which the Swedish settler, most industrious and most capable of his sort in any land whatever, could extort a living out of the soil, are few and far between, and even the most successful settler in such circumstances can rarely produce enough to do more than to keep his family. Of surplus production there is always so little that it need scarcely be considered, and the future mining towns of Swedish Lapland, destined without doubt to reach a high degree of prosperity, will have to depend for their support mainly on supplies brought either from the Norwegian coast or from the Gulf of Bothnia. Indeed, there is one point of view, very little taken into account so far, which would lead us to expect for many years to come an actual diminution of the inhabitants of Norbotten, exclusive of these said mining centres. The nomad Lapps, destined doubtless to pass away from among the races of mankind, will, I venture to prophesy, find their extinction accelerated by this very railroad. The Lapp, who is the most improvident of creatures, and who, like all half civilised races, is absolutely without control if drink be brought within his reach, has the habit, say rather the necessity, of driving down his reindeer off the high fjeld, where they roam

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over the reindeer lichen in the summer, to the nearest towns (so called), where his reindeer are sheltered and his children taught during the winter. It is this contact with civilisation that kills him out-partly by intermarriage, which causes him slowly to be absorbed in the stronger races ; but far more rapidly and completely by a literal killing out. He meets the dealer there, and improvident as he is he is easily tempted to part with many of his reindeer for ready money, or too often for drink. I have heard it said that a Lapp far gone in liquor will sometimes part with one of his best reindeer for a bottle or two of brandvin.' And many a Lapp goes back to the fjeld with a sadly diminished herd, a poor man instead of a rich.

In the district which I know best, and to which I resort most often, in twelve years the reindeer have diminished from 37,000 to an approximate 7,000. Moreover, strange to say, as the quantity of reindeer diminishes the difficulty of keeping them increases, not of course by the diminution of pasture, but through the increase of wolves. I am assured by evidence taken in the same district that wolves have notably increased in number since the reindeer herds dwindled. The explanation is, that the Lapps themselves diminish in numbers, and no longer wage war upon their natural enemy the wolf. The latter does not depend upon the reindeer for his existence or his increase, but upon the supply of young birds, small animals and the like, and his numbers do not decrease pari passu with the reindeer. Now these causes, which have been acting strongly in some of the districts adjacent to the lower portions of the line, near Pité, and Sorsele Lappmark and similar districts, will be certain to act with even greater rapidity in the districts adjacent to, or within reasonable reach of, these mining centres. The miner and the railway navvy receive very high wages. The demand for reindeer meat will be constant, and the prices paid will be high. The result will inevitably be the steady disappearance of the reindeer herds. And that means the steady extinction of the Lapp. No animal save the reindeer can be pastured on or can make a living out of the mosses of the high and barren fjeld of which millions of acres consist in Upper Sweden. And the Lapp, with very very rare exceptions, can live by no animal save the reindeer. Fifty years is the span which some Swedish ethnologists allow to their interesting little neighbour. He may, however, like his reindeer, survive as a curiosity for even a few years longer than that in very remote districts. But I would rather prophesy that his extinction will be an accomplished fact in a far shorter time.

Yet even more interesting than this sad result upon one of the races of Europe is the possible effect upon the future political map of Europe. If the reader will consult any good atlas he will accept my statement that the outline of the frontiers of Russian Finland, where it abuts on Norway and Sweden, is one of the most suggestive and astonishing things in the map of Europe. The Lulea-Ofoten line runs its whole length at about a distance of forty to fifty miles on the Swedish side of the Russian boundary line, following it with curious regularity and leaving a broad strip of Swedish territory between itself and the said boundary. That boundary follows the line of the Torné River and the Muonio River right up to the divide. Now at that point the Russian territory makes a most extraordinary little arm outstretched across the high and barren fjeld to the Norwegian frontier, which is at no great distance from the sea. This remarkable outline of frontier was permitted to Russia in the early part of the nineteenth century after her conquest of Russian Finland from Sweden—à conquest, it is interesting to remember, which was made by a sudden and masterly stroke without any declaration of war. Why, it must be asked, did Russia provide this extraordinary little narrow band, this little arm or finger which stretches across a piece of absolutely desolate and useless uninhabited fjeld ? I do not think it is possible for anyone who looks at the map to hesitate for one moment in the reply. It was that Russia might bring her border as near as possible to the Atlantic Ocean, and wait upon events to give her her outlet across that narrow strip of Norway which alone bars her from a deep water harbour at Narvik, on the Ofoten Fjord. The draughtsmen of that frontier line-long ago in their graves-were as farsighted as Russian treaty makers have always proved. The feeling has long been strong amongst the more thoughtful and less reckless of the Norwegians that Russia aims at possessing the upper portion of Norway which shall give her her wished-for outlet. The harbour of Narvik, in spite of its high latitude, has open water all the winter through, and even if an exceptional winter should block it, navigation could easily be kept open by ice ships. The harbour is finely sheltered by high land, the water is deep enough to hold in parts a full-sized battleship. That is exactly what Russia desires and needs. And Russia has always had a way of getting what she needs and desires, and she has always shown

berself capable of waiting. She knows how to help on her opportunities, but she never needs to hurry them. And her opportunity will probably come before the century which we have just entered upon is closed. It is by no means difficult to imagine a combination of circumstances which should put it within the power of Russia to realise the ambition by which her Northern Empire shall stretch across the whole of the map of the Eastern Hemisphere from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The great White Bear already lies at full length across it: nothing but the tips of her toes remain inside that narrow strip of Norway which separates her from the sea.

It is no doubt from those unhappy internal dissensions which have caused bad blood between Norway and Sweden that Russia may take her best hope of obtaining her result. It is easy enough to make answer to the suggestions of the previous paragraph, that it is merely one more of the gratuitous accusations which are so often made against Russia ; easy enough to ask how Russia could ever carry through a scheme to which none of the Great Powers would consent. But one only has to imagine & moment hereafter in which Great Britain is once more engaged in a struggle for life and death, such as the late Boer War, in some part of her enormous Empire; to imagine Germany kept quiet by the knowledge that an armed opposition to Russia means an armed opposition to France; to imagine at the same moment that the unhappy jealousies between the two Scandinavian countries have set these brothers by the throat. There would be Russia's welcome opportunity. To whichever country she should lend her strength in that dispute, she would equally hold the winning card. One cannot doubt that her policy, in either event, has long ago been foreseen and is probably long ago pigeonholed at St. Petersburg. Probably she would throw her weight upon the side of Norway, in which case Sweden, easily vulnerable to Russia at Stockholm and the trading ports of the southern coast, and shut in between two enemies, could not hope to sustain the struggle for two months. And the price wbich Russia might bargain for in thus helping to establish an independent Norway under Russian protection would be, first, Narvik, with that narrow band of barren Norwegian fjeld which should suffice to unite her present Finnish border with the sea. It is not necessary even to imagine Russia possessing herself also of the slice of Northern Sweden through which the Lulea-Ofoten railway passes. Russia

can easily make, and probably will make, a line within her own Finnish territory. Such a railway carried from the town of Tornea, already connected by rail with St. Petersburg, up the line of the Torné and Muonio rivers to that interesting little corner of the great divide which we have already spoken of, presents no insuperable difficulties to the engineer-probably none greater than the Swedes have already overcome. It would be costly, and commercially quite unprofitable, unless rich deposits of iron ore should be discovered within Russian territory. But as a means of transporting her troops from the already Russianised Duchy of Finland to her port on the Atlantic it would be very valuable and far less costly perhaps than the extra outrage to European feeling of annexing a great slice of Sweden so as to obtain the Lulea-Ofoten Railway. Once arrived at the end of that little projection which represents the present limit of Russian Finland to the west, they are within easy reach of Narvik.

The alternative method by which Russia should throw herself on the side of Sweden to repress Norway would be a much less promising policy. But in that case also the price of her assistance might be the same, namely, access to the western sea somewhere on Ofoten Fjord.

Viewed in the light of these suggestions, the recent events in Finland become a coherent and even necessary portion of Russia's policy. Without that policy to account for them they remain inexplicable. Anyone who knew Finland even so recently as ten years ago, before the day of her calamity, knows perfectly well that Russia had no more loyal province, in spite of free speech and of occasional vapourings. There was no portion of the Czar's dominions more prosperous, more progressive and more fit to be pointed to as an example of an enlightened policy in allowing a country to develop on its own lines, to its own great advantage and that of the empire of which it formed a part. There was no desire on the part of the vast majority of Finlanders, even of the Swedish party of the population, to exchange the rule of Russia for that of any of her nearer neighbours. She had proved herself quite worthy of the degree of freedom which had been granted to her by the charter of her constitution. She had even been spoken of frequently as a valuable buffer State between Russia and Sweden, and though the title was not exact, since a buffer State in the ordinary acceptance of the term should belong to neither nation, yet she had shown no tendency to coquet with Sweden, and had

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