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Cradle of Noss, which is a sort of run much farther into the rock than wooden chair, travelling from preci- any one has ventured to explore. We pice to precipice on rings, which run entered (with much hazard to our upon two cables, stretched across boat) one called the Orkney-man's over the gulf. We viewed this ex- Harbour, because an Orkney vessel traordinary contrivance from beneath, run in there some years since to es. at the distance of perhaps 100 fathoms cape a French privateer. The enat least. The boatmen made light of trance was lofty enough to admit us the risk of crossing it, but it must without striking the mast, but a sudbe tremendous to a brain disposed to den turn in the direction of the cave be giddy. Seen from beneath, a man would have consigned us to utter in the basket would resemble a large darkness if we had gone in farther, crow or raven, floating between rock The dropping of the sea.fowl and and rock. The purpose of this strange cormorants into the water from the contrivance is to give the tenant the sides of the cavern, when disturbed by benefit of putting a few sheep upon our approach, had something in it the Holm, the top of which is level, wild and terrible. and affords good pasture. The ani. After passing Hengcliff, or the mals are transported in the cradle by Noup, the precipices become lower, one at a time, a shepherd holding and sink into a rocky shore, with them upon his knees. The channel deep indentations, call by the natives between the Holm and the isle is pas. Gios. Here we would fain have sable by boats in calm weather, but landed to visit the cradle from the not at the time when we saw it. top of the cliff, but the surf renderRowing on through a heavy tide, and ed it impossible. We therefore row. nearer the breakers than any but ed on like Thalaba “ in Allah's name" Zetlanders would have ventured, we around the Isle of Noss, and landed rounded another immensely high cape, upon the opposite side of the small called by the islanders the Noup of sound which divides it from Brassa. Noss, but by sailors Hengcliff, or Noss exactly resembles, in shape, Hang-Cliff, from its having a pro- Salisbury Craigs, supposing the sea jecting appearance. This was the to flow down the valley called the highest rock we had yet seen, though Hunter's Bog, and round the foot of not quite perpendicular. Its height the precipice. The eastern part of has never been measured : I should the isle is fine smooth pasture, the judge it exceeds 600 feet; it has best I have seen in these isles, sloping been conjectured to measure 800 and upwards to the verge of the tremenupwards. Our steersman had often dous rocks which form its western descended this precipitous rock, ha front. ving only the occasional assistance of We had occasion to-day to make a rope, one end of which he secured some cursory observations on the state from time to time round some proof improvement in the agriculture of jecting cliff. The collecting sca-fowl Zetland. We had the pleasure to for their feathers was the object, and spend the day with a gentleman of he might gain five or six dozen, good property, who is an improver, worth eight or ten shillings, by such and a moder. ite one. He has got a an adventure. These huge precipices ploughman from Scotland, who acts abound with caverns, many of which as grieve, but as yet with the prejudices and inconveniences which usu- furrow, by throwing the earth aside ally attach themselves to the most with shovels. An antiquary might salutary experiments. The plough- be of opinion that this was the very man complains that the Zetlanders model of the original plough invent. work as if a spade or hoe burned their ed by Triptolemus ; and it is but fingers, and that though they only justice to Zetland to say, that these get a shilling a-day, yet the labour reliques of ancient agricultural art of three of them does not' exceed will soon have all the interest attach. .' what one good hand in Berwickshire ed to rarity. We could only hear would do for 2s. 6d. The islanders of one of these ploughs within three retort, that a man can do no more miles of Lerwick. than he can ; that they are not used This and many other barbarous ha. to be taxed to their work so severe. bits to which the Zetlanders were ly; that they will work as their fa. formerly wedded, seem only to have thers did, and not otherwise ; and at subsisted because their amphibious first the landlord found difficulty in character of fishers and farmers indugetting hands to work under his Ca- ced them to neglect agricultural arts. ledonian task-master. Besides, they A Zetland farmer looks to the sea to find fault with his ho, and gee, and pay his rent ; if the land finds him a wo, when ploughing. “ He speaks little meal and kail, and if he be a to the horse," they say, " and they very clever fellow, a few potatoes, it gang—and there's something no can. is very well. The more intelligent ny about the man.” In short, be- part of the landholders are sentween the prejudices of laziness and sible of all this, but argue like men superstition, the ploughman leads a of good sense and humanity on the sorry life of it: get these prejudices subject. To have good farming, you are daily abating under the 'steady 'must have a considerable farm, upon and indulgent management of the which capital may be laid out to adproprietor. Indeed, no where is im. vantage. But to introduce this change provement in agriculture more ne. suddenly would turn adrift' perhaps cessary. An old-fashioned Zetland twenty families, who now occupy plough is a real curiosity. It had small farms pro indiviso, cultivating but one handle, or stilt, and a coul- by patches, or rundale and runrig, ter, but no sock; it ripped the fur. what part of the property is arable, row, therefore, but did not throw it and stocking the pasture as a com. aside. When this precious machine mon' upon which' each family turns was in motion, it was dragged by out such stock as they can rear, with. four little bullocks, yoked a-breast, out observing any proportion as to and as many ponies, harnessed, or ra- the number which it can support In ther strung, to the plough by ropes this way many townships, as they are and thongs of raw hide. One man called, subsist, indeed, but in a pre. went before, walking backward, with carious and indigent manner. Fish. his face to the bullocks, and pulling ing villages seem the natural resource them forward by main strength. An- for this excess of population, but, be. other held down the plough by its sides the expence of erecting them, single handle, and made a sort of slit the habits of the people are to be conin the earth, which two women, who sidered, who, with “ one foot on sea close the procession, converted into a and one on land," would be with
equal reluctance confined to either Witches, fairies, &c. are as numerous element. The remedy seems to be, as ever they were in Teviotdale. The that the larger proprietors should latter are called Trows, probably from gradually set the example of better the Norwegian Dwergh or dwarf, cultivation, and introduce better in the D being readily converted into plements of agriculture. They will, T. The dwarfs are the prime agents by degrees, be imitated by the nume. in the machinery of Norwegian surous class of inferior proprietors, and perstition. The trows do not differ by their tenants, and as turnips and from the fairies of the lowlands, or hay creps became more general, a Sighean of the Highlanders. They better and heavier class of stock will steal children, dweil within the innaturally be introduced, and attention terior of green hills, and often carry paid to preserving the breed. mortals into their recesses. Some
T'he sheep in particular might be yet alive pretend to have been car. improved into a valuable stock, and ried off in this way, and obtain credit would no doubt thrive, since the for the marvels they tell of the sub. winters are very temperate. But I terranean habitations of the trows. should be sorry that extensive pas. Sometimes, when a person becomes ture farms were introduced, as it melancholy and low-spirited, the would tend to diminish a population trows are supposed to have stolen invaluable for the supply of our navy, the real being, and left a moving The improvement of the arable land, phantom to represent him. Some. on the contrary, would soon set them times they are said to steal only the beyond the terrors of famine with heart (like Lancashire witches.) which the islanders are at present oc. There are cures in each case. The casionally visited; and, combined with party's friends resort to a cunning fisheries, carried on not by farmers, man or woman, who hangs about the but by real fishers, would amply sup- neck a triangular stone in the shape ply the inhabitants, without diminish. of a heart, or conjures back the lost ing the export of dried fish. This individual, by retiring to the hills separation of trades will in time take and employing the necessary spells. place, and then the prosperous days A common receipt when a child ap. of Zetland will begin. The pro. pears consumptive and puny is, that prietors are already upon the alert, the conjuror'places a bowl of water on studying the means of gradual im. the patient's head, and pours melted provement, and no humane person lead into it through the wards of a would wish them to drive it on too key. The metal assumes of course rapidly, to the distress and perhaps a variety of shapes, from which he destruction of the numerous tenants selects a portion after due considerawho have been bred under a different tion, which is sewn into the shirt of system.
the patient. Sometimes no part of the lead suits the seer's fancy. Then
the operation is recommenced, until Superstitions of the Zetlanders. he obtains a fragment of such a con
figuration as suits his mystical purI have gleaned something of the pose. peculiar superstitions of the Zetland. The Zetlanders are a tall, manly, ers, which are numerous and potent. handsome race of people, with long
fair hair, blue eyes, and good-hu- guished as natives. One of our peomoured countenances. They are very ple told their steersman, by way of civil and temperate in their general jeer, that he must have great confihabits. Very many of them go into dence in Providence to go to sea in the navy, and remit large sums to such a vehicle ; the man very sensi. their families, under the late benevo. bly replied, that without the same lent act of parliament for enabling confidence in Providence, he would seamen to make such provisions. The not go to sea in the best tool in Engwhale-fishery always finds employ- land We take to our boat, and row ment in the summer months for for about three miles round the coast, many of these hardy islanders. The, in order to come at thę inhabited whale vessels from Hull, Leith, or point of the island. This coast elsewhere, take these hands, who are abounds with grand views of rocks supernumerary as to the navigation and bays. One immense portion of of the vessel ; go with her to Green- rock is (like the Holm of Noss) se, land, and are again put ashore as she parated by a chasm from the main is homeward bound. The wages land. As it is covered with herbage drawn by Zetlanders in this way a on the top, though a literal precipice, mount to a very large sum, upwards all round, the natives contrive to of 20,000l. yearly.
ascend the rock by a place which would make a goat dizzy, and then
drag the sheep up by ropes; though The Fair Isle.
they sometimes carry a sheep upon
their shoulders. The captain of a We are now clear of Zetland, and sloop of war being ashore while they about ten o'ciock reached the Fair were at this work, turned giddy and Isle, a solitary island lying about half sick by looking at them. way between Orkney and Zetland, This immense precipice is several and not properly belonging to either hundred feet high, and is perforated archipelago, though nominally at- below by some extraordinary apertached to the latter. One of their tures, through which a boat might boats came alongside, a strange-look- pass. After passing a bay called the ing thing, without an entire plank in North Haven, tenanted by sea.fowl it, excepting the upper one on each and seals, we came in view of the side, upon the strength of which the small harbour, in front of which is whole depends, the rest being patchthe house of the tacksman, and in ed and joined. This trumpery skiff view are three small assemblages of the men manage with the most asto miserable huts, where the inhabitants nishing dexterity, and row with re of the isle live. There are about 30 markable speed. They have two families and 250 inhabitants upon the banks, that is, two rowers on each Fair Isle. It merits its name, as the bench, and use very short paddles. plain upon which the hamlets are si.
The wildness of their appearance tuated bears excellent barley, oats, with long elf-locks, striped worsted and potatoes, and the rest of the isle caps, and shoes of raw hides; the is beautiful pasture, excepting to the frailty of their boat and their ex. eastward, where there is a moss, treme curiosity about us and our cut- equally essential to the comfort of the ter, give them a title to be distin. inhabitants, since it supplies them
with peats for fuel. The Fair Isle tain in bread, they being supplied is about three miles long and a mile chiefly from the mainland. Fish and a half broad. Mr Strong, the they have plenty, and are even nice tenant of the island, received us very in their choice. Skate they will not courteously. He lives here, like Ro- touch ; dog-fish they say is only binson Crusoe, in absolute solitude, food for Orkney-men, and when they as to society, unless by a chance visit catch them, they make a point of tor
There is a signal-post maintained on their baits from the hook, stealing the island by government, under this the haddocks from their lines, and gentleman's inspection ; when any other enormities. These people be. ship appears that cannot answer his ing about half-way between Shetland signals, he sends off to Lerwick and and Orkney, have unfrequent con. Kirkwall to give the alarm. Rogers nection with either archipelago, and was off here last year, and nearly cut live and marry entirely among them.
but the active islanders outstripped · One lad told me, only five persons his people by speed of rowing. The had left the island since his remem. inhabitants pay Mr Strong for the brance, and of those, three were presspossessions which they occupy under ed for the navy. They seldom go him as subtenants, and cultivate the to Greenland ; but this year five or isle in their own way, i. e. by dig. six of these young men were on board ging instead of ploughing (though the whalers. They seemed extreme. the ground is quite open and free ly solicitous about their return, and refrom rocks, and they have several peatedly questioned us about the names scores of ponies,) and by raising als of the whalers which were at Lerwick, ternate crops of barley, cats, and a point on which we could give little potatoes ; the first and last are ad information. The manners of these mirably good. They rather over-ma islanders seem primitive and simple, nure their crops ; the possessions lie and they are sober, good-humoured, runrig, that is, by alternate ridges, and friendly. Their comforts are, and the outfield or pasture ground of course, much dependent on their is possessed as common to all their master's pleasure ; for so they call cows and ponies. The islanders fish the principal tacksman. In the prefor Mr Strong at certain fixed rates, sent instance they consider themselves and the fish is his property, which fortunate, giving the gentleman who he sends to Kirkwall, Lerwick, or now resides among them the highest elsewhere, in a little schooner, the character for kindness and liberality, same which we left in Quendale and praying to God he might long be Bay, and about the arrival of which their ruler. After mounting the we found them anxious. An equal signal post hill, or Malcolm's head, space of rich land on the Fair Isle, which is faced by a most tremendous situated in an inland county of Scot- cliff, we separated m our different land, would rent for 30001 a year routes. Mr E- went to rectify at the very least. To be sure it the only enormity on the island, which would not be burdened with the existed in the person of a drunken population of 250 souls, whose bo. schoolmaster'; 'others went to shoot dies (fertile as it is it cannot mainsea-fowl. Our geologists walked two