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present. I may also add, that the interpretation given to rells may apply to the Wells of Slain, in the fine ballad of Clerk Colvin ; such eddies in the romantic vicinity of Slains Castle would be a fine place for a mermaid.

“Our wind fails us, and what is worse, becomes westerly; the Sound has now the appearance of a fine landlocked bay, the passages between the several islands being scarce visible. We have a superb view of Kirkwall Cathedral, with a strong gleam of sunshine upon it. Gloomy weather begins to collect around us, particularly on the island of Hoy, whích, covered with gloom and vapour, now assumes a majestic mountainous character. On Pomona we pass the Hill of Orphir, which reminds me of the clergyman of that parish, who was called to account for some of his inaccuracies to the General Assembly; one charge he held particularly cheap, viz., that of drunkenness. Reverend Moderator,' said he, in reply, *1. do drink, as other gentlemen do.' This Orphir of the north must not be confounded with the Orphir of the south. From the latter came gold, silver, and precious stones; the former seems to produce little except peats. Yet these are precious commodities, which some of the Orkney Isles altogether want, and lay waste and burn the turf of their land instead of importing coal from Newcastle. The Orcadians seem by no means an'alert or active race; they neglect the excellent fisheries which lie under their very noses, and in their mode of managing their boats, as well as in the general tone of urbanity and intelligence, are excelled by the less favoured Zetlanders. I observe they always crowd their boat with people in the bows, being the ready way to send her down in any awkward circumstance. There are remains of their Norwegian descent and language in North Ronaldshaw, an isle 1 regret we did not see.

A

missionary preacher came ashore there a year or two since, but being a very little black-bearded unshaved man, the seniors of the isle suspected him of being an ancient Pecht or Pict, and no canny, of course. The schoolmaster came down to entreat our worthy Mr Stevenson, then about to leave the island, to come up and verify whether the preacher was an ancient Pecht, yea or no. Finding apologies were in vain, he rode up to the house where the unfortunate preacher, after three nights' watching, had got to bed, little conceiving under what, odious suspicion he had fallen. As Mr S. declined disturbing bim, his boots were produced, which being a little-little-very little pair, confirmed, in the opinion of all the bystanders, the suspicion of Pêchtism. Mr S. therefore found it necessary to go into the poor man's sleeping apartment, where he recognised one Campbell, heretofore an ironmonger in Edinburgh, but who had put his hand for some years to the missionary plough; of course he warranted his quondam acquaintance to be no ancient Pecht. Mr Stevenson carried the same schoolmaster who figured in the adventure of the Peclit to the mainland of Scotland, to be examined for his office. He was extremely desirous to see a tree; and, on seeing one, desired to know what girss it was that grew at the top on't—the leaves appearing to him to be grass. They still speak a little Norse, and indeed I hear every day words of that language; for instance, Ja kul, for • Yes, sir.' We creep slowly up Hoy Sound, working under the Pomona shore ; but there is no hope of reaching Stromness till we have the assistance of the evening tide. The channel now seems like a Highland loch; not the least ripple on the waves. The passage is narrowed, and (to the eye) blocked up by the interposition of the green and apparently fertile isle of Græemsay, the property of Lord Armadale.* Hoy looks yet grander, from comparing its black and steep mountains with this verdant isle. To add to the beauty of the Sou

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?. * The late Sir William Honeyman, Bart.-a Judge of the Court of Session by the title of Lord Armadale.

us.

it is rendered lively by the successive appearance of seven or eight whaling vessels from Davies' Straits; large strong ships, which pass successively, with all their sails set, enjoying the little wind that is. Many of these vessels display the garland; that is, a wreath of ribbons which the young fellows on board have got from their sweethearts, or come by otherwise, and which hangs between the foremast and mainmast, surmounted sometimes by a small model of the vessel. This garland is hung up upon the 1st May, and remains till they come into port. I believe we shall dodge here till the tide makes about nine, and then get into Stromness; no boatman or sailor in Orkney thinks of the wind in comparison of the tides and currents.

We must not complain, though the night gets rainy, and the Hill of Hoy is now completely invested with yapour and mist. In the forepart of the day we executed very eleverly a task of considerable difficulty and even danger.

“161h August, 1814.-Get into Stromness bay, and anchor before the party are up.

A most decided rain all night. The bay is formed by a deep indention in the mainland, or Pomona; on one side of which stands Stromness-a fishing village and harbour of call for the Davies' Straits whalers, as Lerwick is for the Greenlanders. Betwixt the vessels we met yesterday, seven or eight which passed us this morning, and several others still lying in the bay, we have seen between twenty and thirty of these large ships in this remote place. The opposite side of Stromness bay is protected by Hoy, and Græmsay lies between them; so that the bay seems quite land-locked, and the contrast between the mountains of Hoy, the soft verdure of Græmsay, and the swelling hill of Orphir on the mainland, has a beautiful effect. The day clears up, and Mr Rae, Lord Armadale’s factor, comes off from his house, called Clestrom, 'upon the shore opposite to Stromness, to breakfast with We go ashore with him.

His farm is well cultivated, and he has procored an excellent breed of horses from Lanarkshire, of which county he is a native; strong hardy Galloways, fit for labour or hacks. By this we profited, as Mr Rae mounted us all, and we set off to visit the Standing Stones of Stenhouse or Stennis.

“At the upper end of the bay, about half way between Clestrom and Stromness, there extends a loch of considerable size, of fresh water, but communicating with the sea by apertures left in a long bridge or causeway which divides them. After riding about two miles along this lake, we open another called the Loch of Harray, of about the same dimensions, and communicating with the lower lake, as the former does with the sea, by a stream, over which is constructed a causeway, with openings to suffer the flow and reflux of the water, as both lakes are affected by the tide. Upon the tongues of land which, approaching each other, divide the lakes of Stennis and Harray, are situated the Standing Stones. The isthmus on the eastern side exhibits a semicircle of immensely large upright pillars of unhewn stone, surrounded by a mound of earth. As the mound is discontinued, it does not seem that the circle was ever completed. The flat or open part of the semicircle looks up a plain, where, at a distance, is seen a large tumulus. The highest of these stones may be about sixteen or seventeen feet, and I think there are none so low as twelve feet. At irregular distances are pointed out other unhewn pillars of the same kind. One, a little to the westward, is perforated with a round hole, perhaps to bind a victim; or rather, I conjecture,

for the purpose of solemnly attesting the deity, which the Scandinavians did by passing their head through a ring ,-vide Eyrbiggia Saga. Several barrows are scattered around this st'ange monument. Upon the opposite isthmus is a complete circle, of ninety-five paces in diameter, surrounded by standing stones, less in size than the others, being only from ten or twelve to fourteen feet in height, and four in breadth. A deep trench is drawn around this circle on the outside of the pillars, and four tumuli, or mounds of earth, are regularly placed, two on each side.

Stonehenge excels these monuments, but I fancy they are otherwise unparalleled in Britain. The idea that such circles were exclusively Druidical is now justly exploded. The northern nations all used such erections to mark their places of meeting, whether for religious purposes or civil policy; and there is repeated mention of them in the Sagas. "See the Eyrbiggia Saga, for the establishment of the Helga-fels, or holy mount, where the people held their Comitia, and where sacrifices were offered to Thor and Woden. About the centre of the semicircle is a broad flat-stone, probably once the altar on which human victims were sacrificed.-Mr Rae seems to think the common people have no tradition of the purpose of these stones; but probably he has not enquired particularly; He admits they look upon them with superstitious reverence; and it is evident that those which have fallen down (about half the original number) have been wasted by time, and not demolished. The materials of these monuments lay near, for the shores and bottom of the lake are of the same kind of rock. How they were raised, transported, and placed upright, is a puzzling question. In our ride back, noticed a round entrenchment, or tumulus, called the Hollow of Tongue.

“The hospitality of Mrs Rae detained us to an early dinner at Clestrom. About four o'clock took our long-boat and rowed down the bay to visit the Dwarfie Stone of Hoy. We have all day been pleased with the romantic appearance of that island, for though the Hill of Hoy is not very high, perhaps about 1200 feet, yet rising perpendicularly (almost) from the sea, and being very steep and furrowed with ravines, and catching all the mists from the western ocean, it has a noble and picturesque effect in every point of view. We land upon the island, and proceed up a long and very swampy valley broken into peatbogs. The one side of this valley is formed by the Mountain of Hoy, the other by another steep hill, having at the top a circular belt of rock ; upon the slope of this last hill, and just where the principal mountain opens into a wide and precipitous and circular corrie or hollow, lies the Dwarfie Stone. It is a huge sandstone rock, of one solid stone, heing about seven feet high, twentytwo feet long, and seventeen feet broad. The upper end of this stone is hewn into a sort of apartment containing two beds of stone and a passage between them. The uppermost and largest is five feet eight inches long, by two feet broad, and is furnished with a stone pillow. The lower, supposed for the Dwarf's Wife, is shorter, and rounded off, instead of being square at the corners. The entrance may be about three feet and a-half square. Before it lies a huge stone, apparently intended to serve the purpose of a door, and shaped accordingly. In the top, over the passage which divides the beds, there is a hole to serve for a window or chimney, which was doubtless originally wrought square with irons, like the rest of the work, but has been broken out by violence into a shapeless hole. Opposite to this stone, and proceeding from it in a line down the valley, are several small barrows, and there is a very large one on the same line, at the spot where we landed. This seems to indicate that the monument is of heathen times, and probably was meant as the temple of some northern edition of the Dii Manes. There are no symbols of Christian devotion--and the door is to the westward; it therefore does not seem to have been the abode of a hermit, as Dr Barry * has conjectured. The Orcadians have no tradition on the subject, excepting that they believe it to be the work of a dwarf, to whom, like their ancestors, they attribute supernatural powers and inalevolent disposition. They conceive he may be seen sometimes sitting

* History of the Orkney Islands, by the Rev. George Barry, D.D. 410. Edinburgh : 1805.

at the door of his abode, but he vanishes on a nearer approach. Whoever inhabited this den, certainly enjoyed

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“Duff, Stevenson, and I now walk along the skirts of the Hill Hoy, to rejoin Robert Hamilton, who in the mean while had rode down to the clergyman's house, the wet and boggy walk not suiting his gout. Arrive at the manse completely wet, and drink tea there. The clergyman (Mr Hamilton) has procured some curious specimens of natural history for Bullock's Museum, particularly a pair of fine eaglets. He has just got another of the golden, or white kind, which he intends to send him. The eagle, with every other ra. venous bird, abounds among the almost inaccessible precipices of Hoy, which afford them shelter, while the moors, abounding with grouse, and the small uninhabited islands and holms, where sheep and lambs are necessarily left unwatched, as well as the all-sustaining ocean, give these birds of prey the means of support. The clergyman told us, that a man was very lately alive in the Island of

who, when an infant, was transported from thence by an eagle over a broad sound, or arm of the sea, to the bird's nest in Hoy, Pursuit being instantly made, and the eagle's nest being known, the infant was found there playing with the young eaglets. A more ludicrous instance of transportation he himself witnessed Walking in the fields, he heard the squeaking of a pig for some time, without being able to discern whence it proceeded, until looking up, he beheld the unfortunate grunter in the lalons of an eagle, who soared away with him towards the summit of Hoy. From this it may be conjectured, that the island is very thinly inhabited. In fact, we only saw two or three little wigwams. After tea we walked a mile farther, to a point where the boat was lying, in order to secure the advantage of the flood-tide. We rowed with toil across one stream of tide, which set strongly up between Græmsay and Hoy:, but, on turning the point of Græmsay, the other branch of the same flood-tide carried us with great velocity alongside our yacht, which we reached about nine o'clok. Between riding, walking, and ranning, we have spent a very active and entertaining day.

Domestic MemorandaThe eggs on Zetland and Orkney are very indigerent, having an earthy taste and being very small. But the hogs are an excellent breed-queer wild-looking creatures, with heads like wildboars, but making capital bacon."

CHAPTER VI.

Diary continued-Stromness-Bessy Millie's Charm-Cape Wrath--Cave of Smowe

The Hebrides-Scalpa, &c.-1814.

" Off Stromness, 17th August, 1814.-Went on shore after breakfast, and found W. Erskine and Marjoribanks had been in this town all last night, without our hearing of them or they of us. No letters from Abbotsford or Edinburgh: Stromness is a little dirty straggling town, which cannot be traversed by a cart, or even bv a horse, for there are stairs up and down, even in the principal streets. We paraded its whole length like turkeys, in a string, 'I suppose to satisfy ourselves that there was a worse town in the Orkneys than the metropolis, Kirkwall. We clomb, by steep and dirty lanes, an eminence rising above the town, and commanding a fine view. An old hag lives in a wretched cabin on this. height, and subsists by selling winds. Each captain of a merchantman, between jest and earnest, gives the old woman sixpence, and she boils her kettle to procure a favourable gale. She was a miserable figure; upwards of ninety, she told us, and dried up like a mummy. A sort of clay-coloured cloak, folded over her head, corresponded in colour to her corpselike complexion. Fine light-blue eyes, and nose and chin that almost met, and a ghasily expression of cunning, gave her quite the effect of Hecate. She told us she remembered Gow the pirate, who was born near the House of Clestrom, and afterwards commenced buccanier. He came to his native country about 1725, with a snow which he commanded, carried off two women from one of the islands, and committed other enormities. At length, while he was dining in a house in the Island of Eda, the islanders, headed by Malcolm Laing's grandfather, made him prisoner and sent himn to London, where he was hanged. While at Stromness, he made love to a Miss Gordon, who pledged her faith to him by shaking hands, an engagement which, in her idea, could not be dissolved without her going to London to seek back again her faith and troth,' by shaking bands with him again after execution. We left our Pythoness, who assured us there was nothing evil in the intercession she was to make for us, but that we were only to have a fair wind through the benefit of her prayers. She repeated a sort of rigmarole which I suppose she had ready for such occasions, and seemed greatly delighted and surprised with the amount of our donation, as every body gave her a trifle, our faithful Captain Wilson making the regular offering ou behalf of the ship. So much for buying a wind. Bessy Millie's habitation is airy enough for Æolus bimself, but if she is a special favourite with that divinity, he has a strange choice. In her house 1 remarked a quern, or hand-mill. A cairn, a little higher, commands a beautiful view of the bay, with its various entrances and islets. Here we found the vestiges of a bonfire, lighted in memory of the battle of Bannockburn, concerning which every part of Scotland has its peculiar traditions. The Orcadians say that a Norwegian prince, then their ruler, called by them Harold, brought 1400 men of Orkney to the assistance of Bruce, and that the King, at a critical period of the engagement, touched him with his scabbard, saying, “The day is against us.'- I trust,' returned the Orcadian, “your Grace will venture again; which has given rise to their motto, and passed into a proverb. On board at kialf-past three, and find Bessy Millie a woman of her word, for the expected breeze has sprung up, if it but last us till we double Cape Wrath. Weigh anchor (I hope) to bid farewell to Orkney. *

“ The land in Orkney is, generally speaking, excellent, and what is not fitted for the plough, is admirably adapted for pasture. But the cultivation is very bad, and the mode of using these extensive commons, where they tear up, without remorse, the turf of the finest pasture, in order to make fuel, is absolutely execrable. The practice has already peeled and exhausted much fine land, and must in the end ruin the country, entirely. In other respects, their mode of cultivation is to manure for barley and oats, and then manure again, and this without the least idea of fallow or green crops. Mr Rae thinks that his example--and he farms very well—has had no effect upon the natives, except in the article of potatoes, which they now cultivate a little

* Lord Teignmouth, in his recent “Sketches of the Coasts and Islands of Scotland,” says-" The publication of the Pirate satisfied the natives of Orkney as to the authorship of the Waverley Novels. It was remarked by those who had accompanied Sir Walter Scott in his excursions in these Islands that the vivid descriptions which the work conta ns were confined to those scenes which he visited.' -Vol. i. p. 28.

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