Зображення сторінки


a fault or vice much more par- the south-east, must in the sumdonable here than in any other mer time be quite intense ; and part of Great Britain, or dif- however rainy the climate is, the couraged by the form of govern- corn must, for these reasons, grow ment under which they live, the very fast, and, ripen early. I people of this island study to rear saw the barley of this island about up sheep, and to kill wild-fowl, the beginning of June, and obmuch more than to engage deeply served that it was higher in the in the more toilsome business of stalk than any I had ever seen husbandry.

elsewhere at that season. All the ground hitherto culti- The harvest is commonly over vated in this island, lies round the at this place before the beginning village. The foil is thin, full of of September; and should it fall gravel, and of consequence very out otherwise, the whole crop sharp This, though naturally would be almost destroyed by the poor, is however rendered ex- equinoctial storms.-All the islandtremely fertile, by the fingular in- on the western coast, have dustry of very judicious husband- great reason to dread the fury men: these prepare and manure of autumnal tempefts: these, toevery inch of their ground, fo as gether with the excessive quanto convert it into a kind of gar- tities of rain they have generalden. All the instruments of agri- ly, throughout seven or eight culture they use, or indeed re- months of the year, are undoubt. quire, according to their system, edly the most disadvantageous and are a spade, a mall, and a rake unhappy_circumstances of their or harrow. After turning up the liỹes. The St. Kildians have ground with a spade, they rake more than an equal portion of this or harrow it very carefully, re

fore evil. moving every small stone, every Barley and oats are the only noxious root, or growing weed sorts of grain known at St. Kilda ; that falls in their way: and pound nor does it seem calculated for

stiff clod into duit. any other. Fifty bolls of the forIt is certain, that a small num- mer, old Highland measure, are ber of acres well-prepared in St. every year brought from there to Kilda, in this manner, will yield Harris ; and all the wettern islands more profit to the husbandman hardly produce any thing so good than a much greater number when of the kind. Potatoes have been roughly handled in a hurry, as introduced among that people onis the case in the other western ly of late, and hitherto they illes. The people of St. Kilda have raised but small quantities sow-andreap very early, I mean of them. earlier than any of their neigh- The only appearance of a garbours on the western coast of den in this whole land, so the Scotland. The soil, I have al- natives call their principal island ready remarked, is naturally sharp, in their own language, is no more and not spungy. The heat of the than a very inconsiderable piece of fun, reflected from the hills and ground, which is inclosed, and rocks into a low valley facing planted with some cabbages.

down every

[ocr errors]

On the east-side of the island, at narrow and low to answer that the distance of a quarter of a mile purpose. from the bay, lies the village, All their dwelling houses are where the whole body of this divided into two apartments by little people (the number of adult partition walls. In the division males amounting to no more than next the door, which is much the twenty-two) live together, like largest, they have their cattle stall. the inhabitants of a town or city. ed during the whole winter season ; Their houses are built in 'two the other serves for kitchen, hall, rows, regular and facing one ano- and bed-room. ther, with a tolerable causeway in It will be readily expected that the middle, which they call the a race of men and women, bred street.

in St. Kilda, mutt be a very slovenThese habitations are made and ly generation, and every way incontrived in a very

uncommon elegant. I confess it is impossible manner. Every one of them is to defend them from this imputaflat in the roof, or nearly so, much tion. Their method of preparing like the houses of some oriental a fort of manure, to them indeed nations. That from any one of of vast use, proves that they are these the St. Kildians have bor- very indelicate. Towed their manner of building, After having burnt'a confiderno man of sense will entertain a able quantity of dried turf, they suspicion. They have been taught spread the ashes with the nicest this lesson by their own reason, im- care over the floor of that apartproved by experience.

ment, in which they eat and sleep. The place in which their lot These ashes, so exactly laid out, has fallen, is peculiarly subject they cover with a rich friable to violent squalls and furious hur- sort of earth : over this bed of ricanes ; were their houses raised earth they scatter a proportionhigher than at present, they be able heap of that dust into which lieve the first winter storm would peats are apt to crumble away: bring them down about their this done, they water, tread, and ears. For this reason the pre- beat the whole compost into a caution they take in giving them hard floor, on which they imroofs much flatter than ordinary, mediately make new


very seems to be not altogether unné- large, and never extinguished till cessary.

they have a sufficient stock of The walls of these habitations new ashes on hand. The same are made of a rough gritty kind operations are repeated with a of stones, huddled up together in never failing punctuality, till they haste, without either lime or mor- are just ready to sow their barley ; tar, from eight to nine feet high. by that time the walls of their

In the heart of the walls are the houses are funk down, or to speak beds, which are overlaid with more properly, the floors risen flags, and large enough to con- about four or five feet. tain three perfons. In the fide To have room enough for acof every bed is an opening, by cumulating heaps of this comway of door, which is much too poft one above another, the ancient


St. Kildians had ingenuity enough any the smallest help of timber. to contrive their beds within the These cells are from twelve to linings of their walls, and it was eighteen feet in length, and a for the same reason they took care little more than seven in height. to raise these walls to an height Their breadth at the foundation, far from being common in the is nearly equal to the height. other western islands.

Every stone hangs above that imThe manure produced in this mediately below, not perpendicuway must undoubtedly be good, larly, but inclines forward, so as

, though probably rather sharp than to be nearer the opposite fide of of long duration, as it is scat- the grotto ; and thus by impertered in small quantities upon the ceptible degrees, till the two highsurface of the ground ; so that est courses are near enough to be the fiery and saline particles of covered by a single flag at the it must foon evaporate. Be that as top. To hinder the rain from it will, those who practise this art falling down between the inare abundantly lavish in its praises. terstices above, the upper part They call it a commodity in- of the building is overlaid with estimably precious ; and one may turf, which looks like a fine greenventure to affirm, that a genuine sward, while new. St. Kildian would scruple to bar- The inhabitants secure their ter it away for all the diamonds in

peats, eggs, and wild-fowl, withBrasil and Golconda.

in these small repositories : every It is certain, that cleanliness St. Kildian has his share of them, must contribute greatly to health, in proportion to tie extent of and of course longevity ; but in land he possesses, or the rent he spite of that instance of indelicacy pays to the steward. From the now given, and many more which construction of these cells, and the might have been added, I have toil they must have cost before not been able to find, that the they could have been finished, it people of this island are more seems plain that those who put Short-lived than other

them together, were, if not more Their total want of those articles ingenious than their neighbours of luxury, which have so natural in the adjacent islands, at least a tendency to destroy the constitu- more industrious than their own tion of the human body, and their successors. moderate exercises, will, together The St. Kilda method of catch with some other circumstances, ing wild-fowl, is very entertainkeep the balance of life equal ing, The men are divided into enough between them and those fowling parties, each of which who are absolute strangers to flo- consists generally of four persons venlinefs.

distinguished by their agility and Besides the dwelling-houses al- fkill. Each party must have at ready described, there are a pro- least one rope about thirty fadigious number of little cells, thoms long : this rope is made dispersed over all the island ; which out of a frong raw cow hide, confift entirely of stones, without falted for that very purpose, and



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


cut circularly into three thongs, the uncommonftrength of the
all of equal length; these thongs St. Kildians. This man, obferv- .
being closely twisted together, forming his colleague lose his hold,
a three-fold cord, able to sustain and tumbling down from above,
a great weight, and durable placed himself so firmly upon
enough to last for about two the shelf where he ftood, that
generations : to prevent the in- he sustained the weight of his
juries it would otherwise receive friend, after falling the whole
from the sharp edges of the rocks, length of the rope.
against which they must frequent- Undoubtedly these are ftupen-
ly strike, the cord is lined with dous adventures, and equal to
theep-fkins, dressed in much the any thing in the feats of chivalry :
fame manner.

I was present at an operation This rope is a piece of fur- of this kind. My curiosity led niture indispensably neceffary, and me to so uncommon a trial of the most valuable implement a skill : before it was half over, man of substance can be possessed I was greatly shocked, and most of in St. Kilda. In the testament heartily fick of it. Two noted of a father, it makes the very first heroes drawn out from article in favour of his eldest son: among all the ablelt men of the thould it happen to fall to a community : one of them fixed daughter's share, in default of male himself on a craggy fhelf: his heirs, it is reckoned equal in va- companion went down fixty falue to the two best cows in the thoms below him; and after hay. illand.

ing darted himself away from the By the help of such ropes, the face of a most alarming precipice, people of the greatest prowess and hanging over the ocean, he began experience here, traverse and ex- to play his gambols: he sung meramine rocks prodigiously high. rily, and laughed very heartily. Linked together in couples, each The crew were inexpreffibly happy; having either end of the cord but for my part, I was all the while fastened about his waist, they go in such distress of mind, that I could frequently through the most dread- not for my life run

over half ful precipices : when one of the the scene with my eyes. The two descends, his colleague plants fowler, after having performed himself on

a strong shelf, and several antic tricks, and given us takes care to have such sure foot- all the entertainment his art could ing there, that if his fellow-ad- afford, returned in triumph, and venturer makes a false step, and full of his own merit, with a tumbles over, he may be able to large string of fowls about his neck, save him.

and a number of eggs in his bø. The following anecdote of the fom. present steward of St. Kilda's de- This method of fowling, reputy, in the summer after I left sembles that of the Norwegians, as the island, will give the reader a described by bishop Pontoppidan ;' {pecimen of the danger they un but we must here take leave of the dergo, and, at the same time, of St. Kildians,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Anecdotes of Jethro Tull, esq; in- fe&tly drest ; that by frequently

ventor of the new method of hus- ploughing, hoeing, and stirring, the bandry, called the horse-hoeing, ground was kept fine and light, the or, more justly from his name, weeds destroyed, and the soil enthe Tullian husbandry.

riched : that where this care was

taken, the clusters were large and Ethro Tull, Efq; of Prosperous full, and the juice rich and highwhere he wrote his treatise on horse- were suffered to grow promiscuhoeing husbandry, was a gentleman oully, and all culture neglected, of an ancient family in Oxfordshire, fave pruning, the clusters were comhad a competent paternal estate, paratively lean and meagre, the and a liberal university education, juice poor and flat, and the annual which he improved by applying shoots far less luxuriant than in the himself to the study of the law, vineyards properly managed. From not as a profession, but to investi- these observations he concluded gate the true principles of the con- that a regular method of planting stitution of his country, in which or fowing every kind of vegetable he hoped, one day or other, to was the way to propagate it to most make no inconsiderable figure ; af- advantage, and he began with expeter being admitted a barrister in the riments upon corn and grass to contemple, he made what is called the firm or dilprove his new hypothefis. grand tour, visited the several The success of the experiments courts of Europe, and in every coun- he made in his garden, encouraged try through which he passed, was a him to extend them into his field, diligent observer of the soil, culture, and he now first began to contrive and vegetable productions natural instruments to facilitate the labour, to each ; and of the different me- and to render the whole business of thods of ploughing, sowing, plant- husbandry as expeditious in his ing, and reaping; and the various new way, as it was, after long pracinstruments made use of in various tice, in the old. countries for that purpose.

Novelty always excites curiosity; Upon his return home, he settled many gentlemen came from diffeupon his estate in Oxfordshire, rent parts on the fame of this new married a lady of a genteel family; method of farming ; some of whom and being naturally inclined to an were persuaded by the weight of active life, occupied a farm of his Mr. Tull's arguments, to go

hand own ; and applied himself to the in hand with him in the course of management of it in the way that his experiments; while others, he thought most rational.

who thought themselves more wise, In observing the vineyard cul- and more discerning, took every ture in the most fruitful parts of occasion of ridiculing the practice, France, he discovered, or thought and of representing it as a fanciful he discovered, one general method project, that after a great expence of cultivating all land to advantage would end in nothing but the ruin in all countries ; he observed, that of the projector. In general, the where the vines flourished best, the whole body of farmers and husa vineyards were moft regularly bandmen pronounced the man a planted, and the foil most per. conjurer, who, by fowing a third


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »