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in the socket, soon sank to burn no more, when the spirit of our lovely youth, we humbly hope, entered on a new and happy state of being.
"He died in Jesus, and is blest,
How sweet his slumbers are."
And now, my young friend, just about to lay down this paper, let me detain you one moment longer. Were the cold hand of death laid upon you, would your faith, your hope and joy, sustain you, as did this poor Indian boy's? Would your parents be justified in softening their grief over your death, by a glad reference to your happy state in glory, as did the parents of David Naughan? See, then, that you love the Saviour whom he loved, and exhorted others to love; for Christ says, in the language of wisdom, "I love them that love me, and they who seek me early shall find me."
No point of the Shetlandic group is more than ten miles distant from the sea; and the cottages are always situated on the shores of the island, and scattered round the numerous firths with which those shores are in all directions indented. Some of these firths, or voes, run several miles into the land, and are in general, from a quarter of a mile to a mile broad; the islands are for the most part very close to each other, none being farther than five or six miles; such being the topography it will be readily imagined that the population is exclusively maritime. They are not, indeed, amphibious, like the seals of their own coasts, or like the natives of the lovely South Sea Islands. Strange to say, the Shetlanders though expert seamen, and industrious fishermen, very seldom bathe, or learn to swim ; though the latter acquirement would very frequently be the means of saving valuable lives in the many accidents to which they are liable. But the Shetland men, with the exception of a very few masons and carpenters, all seek their means of livelihood on the bosom of the deep. Many of the young men leave their homes to enter the navy, or the merchant service as seamen, and are found in every corner of the globe, where British commerce has penetrated, or British enterprise carried her ships.
In his native country, also, the Shetlander is naturally, and of course, a fisherman. He has, indeed, a few acres of land attached to his cottage, where he may raise potatoes, beans, and oats, and feed a few cows; but he pays his rent, and provides most necessaries, by means of fishing; and if to these bleak isles are denied the genial climate and fertile soil, to clothe them with beauty, and cause the earth to pour forth food, yet the bounteous Father of his creatures, and the bestower of every good thing, amply compensates for these deficiencies, by an abundant supply of fish of every kind. Though storms are frequent, it is not often that a week passes during which the inhabitants have not the opportunity of fishing. In the summer months especially, ling, cod, and other varieties are taken, to be cured for the supply of British and foreign markets. From May till August the fishermen are assembled at the different stations, where the factor is appointed to receive and cure the fish, either for the landlords, or for any company, or individual, who may have engaged in this undertaking. Huts of stone and turf are erected, where the men lodge when ashore, and it is only on Saturday and Sunday that they are with their families, from whom they are often thus separated by several miles. The family and little farm are left to the care of the females, one of whom goes to the station each morning when the boats are expected to arrive from the sea, to carry their fathers, husbands, or brothers, the little comforts they may stand in need of, and to receive in return any of their unmarketable fish for the family's use. This deep-sea fishing is carried on chiefly through the night; the boats leave the shore in the afternoon, remaining out till next morning, or if the weather be very fine and settled, they often are out two nights, many miles from land, in an open boat of eighteen feet of keel; and with no other refreshment than a jar of butter-milk whey, and a cake of oatmeal.
The old men and young boys, on the other hand, go off each evening in small skiffs upon the bosom of the sheltered bays and creeks, where, with a rod and shell-fish bait, they take the smaller fish, with which these bays abound; rock cod and the young of the coal-fish, (Gadus carbonarius,) which are called sillacks in their first year's growth, and piltacks in the next two. The sillacks set in shore frequently in shoals, when even the
women and children take them with rods and short lines from the rocks; these fish are from six to twelve inches in length, and are very nutritious, wholesome, and even delicate eating; they are used fresh, or hung amidst the peat-smoke till dry; or salted, or half putrid, in which last state all fish are preferred by the Shetlanders. Having been carefully washed, the fish are hung up in the open air without salt, for a week or more, when they acquire an ammoniacal flavor, and when habit has reconciled to this taste those who have not been early accustomed to it, they are considered preferable, and more easily digestible than in any other state.
Fish with oat-bread or potatoes, forms the three daily meals of the poor Shetlanders, varied occasionally with oatmeal porridge, and churned milk; and on rare holidays only, with animal food and broth. The coal fish, of which such a bountiful supply is sent to every cottage door in Shetland, have moreover, very large and fat livers; these are used partly, when quite fresh, baked in the oatmeal bread, or dressed with the fish instead of butter; but by far the greater part are suffered to become rancid, and then boiled down for oil, to feed the lamp that is to cheer the long winter evenings. The livers, indeed, of all the fish that are caught, are the perquisites of the men, who thus add considerably to their gains, beside supplying their own households with light.
Each cottage may have fuel in abundance; the peat moors are apportioned to the tenants along with their little farms, and during the months of June and July, the peats are cut, dried, and carried home on the backs of ponies, by the industry of the young women and boys, and at no other expense.
There are two remnants of ancient usage, which, I believe are peculiar now to these islands. The one is the use of the old style in their reckoning of the days of the month; and the other is, the retaining the custom of patronymics; thus, the children of James Johnson, are "Jamesons," or "James-daughters;" sometimes those of Magnus Robertson are "Magnusson" or its abbreviation, "Manson." The same custom obtained in England in days of yore, and gave rise to the Jacksons, and Smithsons, or the more courtly Fitzgeralds, or Fitzroys; in Scotland, to the tribes of MacDonalds, MacPhersons, &c.; and in Ireland, to
the O'Briens, O'Connells, &c. But the Shetland seaman is beginning to find it inconvenient to bear in other countries a different surname from his father; and therefore, the families are more generally adopting their parents' surname. The wives of the peasantry never assume their husbands', but retain their own maiden-names.
Shetland is divided into twelve parishes, over each of which is a clergyman of the established church of Scotland, one or two of whom have also assistants on the church extension scheme. There are a very few who profess other creeds, consisting of methodists, and dissenters from the Scottish establishment.
On the whole, the Shetlanders are by no means a religious people; though universally sober, decorous, intelligent, and respectful in their outward demeanour. They do not appear to be actuated by the principle, or animated by the sentiments of the blessed religion they profess. On the one hand, overt crimes of serious magnitude are very rare; we leave the outward doors of our dwellings during the whole year, without lock or bar, but simply on the latch; we allow linens to remain out all night to bleach or dry, in perfect security; and have very rarely to mourn over such revolting acts of cruelty and recklessness as disgrace the cities and villages of England. On the other hand, truth is utterly disregarded; even the sacred sanction of an oath in evidence, has not its due weight in inducing adherence to verity; the passion for gossip begets and fosters habits of slander and evil speaking; and the practice of secret pilfering prevails to a great extent.
The young reader cannot observe without the deepest pity and commiseration, how the lamentable deficiency of religious feeling acts upon these interesting islanders. From their manner of life, they are constantly exposed to the most deplorable accidents; where then are the blessed consolations that ought to sweeten the unexpected and overwhelming bereavements to the survivors? Possessed naturally of susceptible and acute feelings, and ardently attached to each other, where is the guardian angel to still the agonizing throb of anxiety and suspense? Where the soothing balm for the wound of sad and sudden separations? A storm overtakes the fisherman when many miles distant from land, and from the too common custom of members of one
family forming the crew of the same boat, we see the pitiable case of a wretched female losing at a stroke, husband, sons, and brothers; and youthful widows left to mourn the short period of wedded love and happiness they had been permitted to enjoy ; while numerous helpless children are thrown on the charity of the neighbourhood, and the guardianship of the orphan's God. In such cases long and bitterly do the survivors mourn. It is generally months ere they can present themselves in the house of God; their loss is never alluded to without floods of tears, even after years have elapsed; and the names of those they have lost, never escape their lips. However long the span of life that may be allotted to her, the young widow never lays aside the badge of her desolate state-“the garments of her widowhood," except in rare cases, where she makes a second choice; and even then her apparel is plain and sad colored: she never seems to forget that she has been a "widow and desolate ;" and should she have a pledge of her early love, she bestows the father's name upon it, and clings with passionate fondness to her first born, perhaps, only to lose him in like manner, and to mourn over him with yet more intense and inconsolable sorrow. This is no constrained or imaginary description, but what is familiar to every one in the least degree acquainted with the character and manners of the Shetland peasantry. Were the hearts thus shrouded in the darkness of desolate affliction, more open to the holy light of religion; were its impressions more vivid and permanent, its influences more exerted on the conduct and occurrences of every-day life, would not even the lamentable dispensations we have alluded to, be more composedly, more hopefully borne, and the everlasting consolations of the gospel shine through the thickest clouds of sorrow and adversity, to the glory of God, and the unspeakable benefit of the souls of the mourners! E.
REMARKS ON DISTRICT VISITING.
(To the Editor of the Youths' Magazine.)
DEAR SIR,-It is with great pleasure that I noticed in the November number of your valuable magazine, a letter addressed to those young ladies who are engaged in "District Visiting.' "A Few Words to Youth," p. 382.