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miles to inspect the remains or ves. child comes, and sups a few spoon. tiges of a Danish light-house upon a fuls ; then Mrs Sow takes her share ; distant hill, called, as usual, the Ward. then the rest of the children or the hill, and returned with specimens of parents, and all at pleasure ; then copper ore. I went to see two re, come the poultry when the mess is markable indentures in the coast called more cool; the rest is flung upon Rivas, perhaps from their being rift. the dunghill, and the good-wife woned or riven. . They are exactly like ders and complains when she wants the Buller of Buchan, the sea rolling meal in winter. They are a longinto a large open bason within the lived race, notwithstanding utter and land through a natural arch-way. inconceivable dirt and sluttery. A These places are close to each other, man of sixty told me his father died one is oblong, and it is easy to de- only last year aged ninety-eight, nor scend into it by a rude path; the was this considered as very unusual. other gulph is inaccessible from the The clergyman of Dunrossness in land, unless to a crags-man, as these Zetland visits these poor people once venturous climbers call themselves. a-year for a week or two during sum I sat for about an hour upon the mer. In winter this is impossible, verge, like the cormorants around and even the visit in summer is occa. me, hanging my legs over the preci. sionally interrupted for two years. pice; but I could not get free of Marriages and baptisms are perform. two or three well-meaning islanders, ed, as one of the isles-men told me, who held me fast by the skirts all by the slump, and one of the children the time,-for it must be conceived, was old enough to tell the clergyman that our numbers and appointments who sprinkled him with water, “Deel had drawn out the whole population be in your fingers.” Last time four to admire and attend us. After we couple were married ; sixteen chil. separated, each, like the nucleus of a dren baptized. The schoolinastēr comet, had his own distinct train of reads a portion of Scripture in the attendants. We then visited the ca church each Sunday, when the cler. pital town, a wretched assemblage gyman is absent. The women koit of the basest huts, dirty without, and worsted-stockings, night-caps, and still dirtier within ; pigs, fowls, cows, similar trifles, which they exchange men, women, and children, all living with any merchant-vessels that ap. promiscuously under the same roof, proach their lonely isle. In these and in the same room the brood-sow respects they greatly regretted the making (among the more opulent) a American war; and mentioned with distinguished inhabitant of the man- great unc:ion the happy days when sion. The compost, a liquid mass they could get from an American of utter abomination, is kept in a trader a bottle of peach-brandy or square pond of 7 feet deep ; when I rum in exchange for a pair of wor. censured it, they allowed it might be sted-stockings or a dozen of eggs. dangerous to the bairns ; but ap- The humanity of their master interpeared unconscious of any other ob feres much with the favourite but jection. I cannot wonder they want dangerous occupation of the island. meal, for assuredly they waste it. A ers, which is fouling, that is, taking great bowie or wooden vessel of por- the young sea-fowl from their nests ridge is made in the morning; a among these tremendous crags. A. bout a fortnight before we arrived, a The tradition of the Fair Isle is fine boy of fourteen had dropped from unfavourable to those ship-wrecked the cliff, while in prosecution of this strangers, who are said to have com. amusement, into a roaring surf, by mitted several acts of violence to ex. which he was instantly swallowed tort the supplies of provision, given up. The unfortunate mother was them sparingly and with reluctance labouring at the peat-moss at a little by the islanders, who were probably distance. These accidents do not, themselves very far from being well however, strike terror into the sur supplied. vivors. They regard the death of an individual engaged in these desperate exploits, as we do the fate of a
Uamh Smowe. brave relative who dies in the field of battle, where the honour of his death 19th August, 1814, Loch Eribol furnishes a balm to our sorrow. It, near Cape Wrath. Went off before therefore, requires all the tacks. eight A.M. to breakfast with our man's authority to prevent a practice friend Mr A- His house of 80 pregnant with danger. Like all Respand, invisible from the vessel at other precarious and dangerous em her moorings, and, indeed, from any ployments, the occupation of the part of the entrance into Loch Eri. crags-men renders them unwilling to bol, is a very comfortable mansion, labour at employments of a more lying obscured behind a craggy emisteady description
nence which interferes between the We must not leave the Fair Isle house and the lake. A little creek without remarking, that the flag-ship winding up behind the crag, and in of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, was front of the house, forms a small har. wrecked here in 1688; and the High bour, and gives a romantic air of Admiral of the Invincible Armada concealment and snugness to the spent some weeks in this wild and house. There we found a ship upon sequestered island before he could find the stocks, built from the keel by a the means of transporting himself to Highland carpenter, who had magnaNorway. Independently of the moral nimously declined receiving assistance consideration, that, from the pitch from any of the ship-carpenters who of power in which he stood a few happened to be here occasionally, lest days before, the proudest peer of the it should be said he could not have proudest nation in Europe found finished his task without their assisthimself dependent on the jealous and ance. An ample Highland breakfast scanty charity of these secluded island. of excellent new.taken herring, equal ers, it is scarce possible not to re- to those of Lochfine, fresh haddocks, flect with compassion on the change fresh eggs, and fresh butter, not forof situation from the palaces of Estre- getting the bottle of whisky, and madura to the hamlets on the Fair bannocks of barley and oat cakes,
with the Lowland luxuries of tea and
coffee. After breakfast, took the Dost thou think on thy desarts, son of long-boat, and under Mr A 's Hodeirah?
pilotage, row to see a remarkable nae · Dost thou long for the gales of Arabia ?
tural curiosity, called Uamh Smowe, or the Largest Cave.
After rowing about three miles to or eight feet, neatly formed into a the westward of the entrance from Gothic portal by the hand of Nature. the sea to Loch Eribol, we enter à The lower part of this porch, or encreek, between two ledges of very trance, is closed by a ledge of rock, high rocks, and landing, find our rising to the height of between five selves in front of the wonder we came and six feet, and which I can comto see. The exterior apartment of pare to nothing but the hatch-door the cavern opens under a tremendous of a shop. Beneath this hatch a brook rock, facing the creek where we land. finds its way out, forms a black deep ed, and occupies the full space of the pool before the Gothic archway, and ravine where we debarked. From the then escapes to the sea, and forms top of the rock to the base of the ca. the creek in which we landed. It is vern, as we afterwards discovered by somewhat difficult to approach this plumb, is 80 feet, of which the height strange pass, so as to gain a view into of the aperture, or arch, is 53 feet; the interior of the cavern. By clam. the rest, being 27 feet, is occupied bering along a broken and dangerous by the precipitous rock under which cliff, you can, however, look into it it opens; the width is fully in pro. but only so far as to see a twilight portion to this great height, being space filled with dark-coloured wa110 feet. The depth of this exterior ter in great agitation, and representcavern is 200 feet, and it is apparent- ing a subterranean lake, moved by ly supported by an intermediate co. some fearful convulsion of nature. lumn of natural rock. Being open to How this pond is supplied with wa. day-light and the sea air, he cavern is ter you cannot see from even this perfectly clean and dry, and the sides point of vantage, but you are made are incrusted with stalactites. This im. partly sensible of the truth by a sound mense cavern is so well proportioned, like the dashing of a sullen cataract that I was not aware of its extraor within the bowels of the earth. Here dinary height and extent, till I saw the adventure has usually been abantwo of our friends, who had somewhat doned, and Mr A only mens preceded us, having made the jour- tioned two travellers whose curiosity ney by land, appearing like pigmies had led them farther. We were reamong its recesses. Afterwards, on solved, however, to see the adventures entering the cave, I climbed up a of this new cave of Montesinos to an sloping rock at its extremity, and end. Our friends had already secuwas much struck with the view, look. red the use of a fisher's boat and its ing outward from this magnificent hands, our own long-boat being too arched cavern upon our boat and its heavy and far too valuable to be ven. crew, the view being otherwise tured upon this subterranean Coca bounded by the ledge of rocks tus. Accordingly the skiff was drag. which formed each side of the creek. ged up the brook to the rocky ledge We now proposed to investigate the or hatch which barred up the interior farther wonders of the cave of Smowe. cavern, and there, by force of hands, In the right or west side of the cave our boat's crew and two or three fishopens an interior cavern of a different érs first raised the boat's bow upon aspect. The height of this second the ledge of rock, then brought her passage may be about twelve or four to a level poise upon that narrow teen feet, and its breadth about six hatch, and lastly launched her down into the dark and deep subterranean effect is indescribable. The length lake within. The entrance was so of this pond, or loch, as the people narrow, and the boat so clumsy, that here call it, is seventy feet over, the we, who were all this while clinging breadth about thirty at the narrowto the rock like sea-fowl, and with est point, and it is of great depth. scarce more secure footing, were As we resolved to proceed, we di. greatly alarmed for the safety of our rected the boat to a natural arch on trusty sailors. At the instant when the right hand, or west side of the ca. the boat sloped inward to the cave, taract. This archway was double, a highlander threw himself into it a high arch being placed above a very with great boldness and dexterity, low one, as in a Roman aqueduct. and, at the expence of some bruises, The ledge of rock which forms this shared its precipitate fall into the lower arch is not above two feet and waters under the earth. This dan- a half high above the water, and ungerous expedient was necessary to der this we were to pass in the boat; prevent the boat drifting away from so that we were fain to pile ourselves us, but a cord at its stern would have flat upon each other like a layer of been a safer and surer expedient. herrings. By this judicious disposi
When our enfant perdu bad reco. tion we were pushed in safety bevered breath an, legs, he brought the neath this low-browed rock into a boat back to the entrance, and took region of utter darkness. For this, us in. We now found ourselves em however, we were provided, for we barked on a deep black subterranean had a tinder. box and lights. The pond of water of an irregular form, view back upon the twilight lake we the rocks rising like a dome all around had crossed, its sullen eddies wheelus, and high over our heads. The ing round and round, and its echoes light, a sort of dubious twilight, was resounding to the ceaseless thunder derived from two chasms in the roof of the waterfall, seemed dismalenough, of the vault, for that offered by the and was aggravated by temporary entrance was but trilling. Down one darkness, and in some degree by a of those rents there poured from the sense of danger. The lights, how. height of eighty feet, in a sheet of ever, dispelled the latter sensation, if foam, the brook, which, after sup- it prevailed to any extent, and we plying the subterranean, pond with now found ourselves in a narrow ca. water, found its way out beneath the vern, sloping somewhat upward from ledge of rock which blocked its en- the water. We got out of the boat, trance. The other sky-light, if I proceeded along some slippery places may so term it, looks out at the blue upon shelves of the rock, and gained clear sky. It is impossible for de. the dry land. I cannot say dry, exscription to explain the impression céping comparatively. We were made by so strange a place, to which then in an arched cave, 12 feet high we had been conveyed with so much in the roof, and about 8 feet in breadth, difficulty to witness so strange a scene. which went winding into the bowels The cave itself, the pool, the cataract, of the earth for about an hundred would have been each separate ob- feet. The sides being (like those of jects of wonder, but united all toge- the whole cavern) of lime-stone rock, ther, and affecting at once the ear, were covered with stalactites, and with the eye, and the imagination, their small drops of water like dew, glan.
wing like ten thousand thousand sets cipice, but hideously black, and slipof birth-day diamonds under the glare pery from wet and sea-weeds. One of our lights. In some places these of our sailors, a Zetlander, climbed stalactites, branch out into broad and up a good way, and by holding up a eurious ramifications resembling coral, light, we could plainly perceive that and the foliage of sub-marine plants. this vent closed after ascending to a
When we reached the extremity considerable height; and here, thereof this passage, we found it declined, fore, closed the adventure of the cave suddenly to a horrible ugly gulf, or of Smowe,' for it appeared utterly well, filled with dark water, and of impossible to proceed further in any great depth, over which the rock direction whatever. There is a traelosed. We tþrew in stones, which dition, that the first Lord Reay went indicated great profundity by their through various subterranean abysses, sound; and growing more familiar and at length returned, after ineffecwith the horrors of this den, we tually endeavouring to penetrate to sounded with an oar, and found a. the extremity of the Smowe cave ; bout ten feet depth at the entrance, but this must be either fabulous, or but discovered, in the same manner, an exaggerated account of such a that the gulf extended under the journey as we performed. And unrock, deepening as it went, God der the latter supposition, it is a cu. knows how far. Imagination can rious instance how little the people figure few deaths more horrible than in the neighbourhood of this curiosity to be sucked under these rocks into have cared to examine it. some unfathomable abyss. A water In returning, we endeavoured to kelpy, or an evil spirit of any aquatic familiarise ourselves with the objects propensities, could not chuse a fitter in detail, which, viewed together, had abode ; and, to say the truth, I be struck us with so much wonder. The lieve at our first entrance, and when stalactites, or limy incrustations, upall our feelings were afloat at the on the walls of the cavern, are chiefly novelty of the scene, the unexpected of a dark-brown colour, and, in this plashing of a seal would have routed respect, Smowe cave is inferior to the whole dozen of us. The mouth the celebrated cave of Maccalister, of this ugly gulf was all covered with in the Isle of Sky. In returning, the slimy alluvious substances, which led men with the lights, and the various one of our party to observe, that it groups and attitudes of the party, could have no separate source, but gave a good deal of amusement. We must be fed from the waters of the now ventured to clamber along the outer lake and brook, as it lay upon side of the rock above the subterrathe same level, and seemed to rise and nean water, and thus gained the up. fall with it, without having any thing per arch, and had the satisfaction to to indicate a separate current of its see our admirable and good-humourown. Rounding this perilous hole, ed commander floated beneath the or gulf, upon the aforesaid alluvious lower arch into the second cavern. substances, which formed its shores, His goodly countenance being illu. we reached the extremity of the ca. mined by a single candle, his recum. vern, which there ascends like a vent, bent posture, and the appearance of or funnel, directly up a sloping pre, a hard-formed fellow guiding the