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applied to well-known objects, is valuable when applied to such littleknown places as the Shetland Islands, and the still remoter regions.
The first complete tale, is the “ Nikkur Holl.” It is one of Shetland superstition, in itself not very new, but to us enchanting from the visions of those desolate regions which it presents to us. Spiel Trosk and Petie Winwig are two fishermen, partners in trade, but of very opposite characters. The former becomes diverted from the industry which was rapidly raising them to wealth, by the desire of arriving at it by some fortunate event. Hunting, therefore, after wrecks and their spoils, he neglects his occupations, till poverty again approaches both, and be resolves to undertake an adventure which, suggested to him by a mysterious visitor, be had at first spurned on account of its impiety. The charm consists in his suffering himself to be wrapped in the skin of a newly slaughtered cow, and exposed on the wild heath just before midnight. He persuades Petie to accompany him to the spot, and to slaughter their only remaining cow. The scene is described with much pathos. The following is the result of the exposure.
“ The simple fisherman had scarcely left his more daring partner exposed upon the wild peat bog, than, as if his departure had been a signal concerted with the demons of storm and desolation, a tempest broke forth, to which neither the experience of Spiel, nor his recollection of the reports of others, could find a parallel. It began with a glare of lightning, which exposed to his view, not only the crags and bills in his own neighbourhood, but the vallies beneath, and the sea, and the small islands which lay scattered out beyond the bay. He saw them but for a moment, but he could perceive their rocks whitened with the foam of tremendous billows, which were bursting over them; and he believed he beheld what appeared to him the vision of a large strange-built vessel, driving along, dismasted, upon the ocean. He scarcely did believe, and half doubted, that he had seen this latter object, for its figure and its crew, (whose frantic gestures he had also imagined he had distinguished,) were such as were to him before unknown. But if this sight were a mere phantom, what could have brought it before his eyes? The darkness that succeeded this wide gleam was of the deepest dye, and the peals of thunder that broke around him were as loud as though the heavens had burst in its discharge. A shower of fragments was scattered from the mountain tops, and poured down their sides, with a din and clatter more terrible than the noise of the elements. Spiel expected every moment to be crushed to pieces, or buried beneath a mass of rock, and his helpless state was now to him a source of the greatest anguish. Some of the pieces dashed nearly up to him, and others bounded past, and rushed headlong over the declivity into the dell beneath, where he could hear them rolling and splashing through the deep morass. It rained when Winwig had left him, but now a body of Auid fell down upon him scarcely divided into streams, for of drops there were none, and in an instant the surface of the quaking bog on which he lay became deluged. He suddenly found himself surrounded by water, which covered his lower extremities, leaving his head and shoulders free; for Petie had raised them on a tuft of moss, which, had be not done, Trosk wonld have been totally immersed. Still he felt the inundation rise, for the water-spout, or whatever else it was, continued to descend, and as he was unable to stir either hand or foot, he gave himself up to death. He would have called upon heaven, but the reflection of the iniquity in which he was engaged, choked his prayer. He would have invoked the powers of darkness, but a deepfelt horror thrilled through his frame at the idea. He endeavoured to struggle, but the hide of Luckie seemed to cling more closely to him, with an avenging embrace. He thought of Petie---wliere was Petie? He shouted Petie ! Petie! with all his strength, bui bis voice was drowned in the rush and turbulence of the flood, and he strained it till its sound was only a hoarser scream. A hoarser scream replied to him, or was it echo! He screamed again, in greater agony, half hoping, half in terror; but the water filled his ears, and he knew not if he were answered. "Gracious God, I perish!' murmured Spiel, as the fluid touched his lips, and passed over them: but, in the next instant, a rush, like the
hurried tumble of a cataract, faintly reached his hearing, and he felt the deluge sink from him, and leave his mouth uncovered. It subsided, however, but a little, yet enough to give him hope, and his dismay grew less. The pouring down from the clouds likewise diminished, and the pitchy blackness of the atmosphere was less intense. Gradually the fall of water became converted into a heavy shower, which continued to grow less, and glimpses of dull light broke through the mass of darkness. Spiel blessed the sight, and found his courage return; but he felt as exhausted as if he had been struggling with death, and he longed to be released from his confinement." .
“ When he recovered, the tempest had ceased, the heavens were clear and bright with a vivid illumination, and the air was still. He was lying, not where Petie had left him, but at the foot of the ridge of eminences, bounding the little plain, and his frame seemed shaken and more powerless than before. He could now distinguish the roll of the waves on the shore, flowing as they were wont in calm weather, and he attempted to discover the time by the rise of the tide ; for there was not the least sign of dawn, though the sky was brilliantly enlightened. He listened attentively, and heard not only the brawling murmur of the sea pouring among the shingles, but a burst of solemn music mingled with it---yet so faint that he was not convinced of its reality. A pause ensued---again a strain of harmony floated on the untroubled air---and again it was lost as a gust of wind swept up the dell. Again he heard it louder than before, and he fancied it approached him, and, as it continued, he believed he could distinguish the tune of a psalm he had heard sung by the crew of a Dutch herring-buss, which had been off the Skerries in the preceding summer. Nay, he fancied he could perceive voices occasionally join the notes, and sing the very words he had formerly heard ; for, as I have said before, Trosk understood the language. Although, when the winds rose, he always lost the sounds of this singular concert, yet, whenever there was a lull, he was satisfied that it gradually drew nearer, and he could now trace its advance, winding slowly up the glens from below, towards that in which he was extended.
“ At length it was so distinct, that he was persuaded it must have crossed the ledge that bounded the brink of the plain, and he endeavoured to raise his head, so that he might gain a view of the source of this extraordinary melody. There was a loose fragment of stone near him, and by dint of wriggling and pusbing himself along like a seal, he contrived to elevate his head upon it, and, looking forth, he beheld a long and gleamy procession approaching towards him, over the quaking bog on which he had at first been laid. Sorrow and dejection were marked on the countenances of the beings composing the troop, and their habiliments appeared heavy with moisture, and dripping like fresh sea weeds. They drew close up to him, and were silent. First came the musicians, whose instruments he had heard so long and so anxiously, but he could not scrutinize them much, for, as they advanced opposite to him, they wheeled off to the right and left, and took their stations on either side. The front space was immediately occupied by a varied group, who appeared, by their deportment, to precede some object of great distinction, which, when they parted and filed off in the same manner as the band, presented itself to view.
“ This was a tall, bulky, though well built man, whose capacity of belly was properly balanced by the protuberance of that part which honor has assumed to herself. His head was not little, and his face appeared rather swollen. His shoulders were wide, and were clothed in a full coat of broad cloth, fashioned after the manner of the fourth generation past. Its skirts reached below his knees, round which they curved. It was collarless, but sleeves, vastly deep, hung from the arms, the cuffs of which were adorned with cutsteel buttons, of great circumference and brightness. Broad bands of rich gold lace covered every seem and edge, more glorious in the eyes of the beholder than the setting sun, and the lappels of a quilted vest hung down from the immense orb of his bowels, heavy with the precious metal that braided them. His thighs were arrayed in breeches of scarlet velvet, silk bose disguised bis legs, and large square-toed shoes covered his feet, and lent their thongs to support gold buckles of great breadth, which glittered with precious stones. On his head was placed a long, flowing, flaxen, curling wig, surmounted by a small threecordered cocked hat, buttoned up with gold bands, and a long, straight, basket-hilted sword hung, suspended in a broad buff-embroidered belt, by his side. In his hand he held a gold-headed clouded ground rattan, of great length and thickness, and close by his side walked a black boy, bearing a long, twisted, grotesquely fashioned pipe, which he occasionally offered to his lord, who stopped and gave a solemn puff or two, and then proceeded.
“ When he came immediately opposite to Spiel, he stood still and erect, and a number of others ranged themselves on his right hand and on his left, whose dresses were fine, but not so splendid as their superior's, and they bore pipes of common form only. Behind these drew up a group of persons, many of whom were ladies, some bearing infants in their arms, others leading children by their hands, all dressed in strange and gorgeous apparel, though of fashions unknown to him who beheld them; and, lastly, came a body of men and lads, with big loose trowsers, thick heavy jackets, and red worsted night-caps, whom Trosk instantly knew to be Dutch sailors. Each of these had a quid of tobacco stuck in his cheek, and a short blackened pipe in his mouth, which he sucked in melancholy silence.
“ The fisherman lay still, and saw this grim troop assemble around him, with feelings of mingled alarm and wonder; his heart did not sink, for it was kept alive by fearful curiosity, but cold sweats gathered upon his brow. Presently, the principal figure looked round, and seeing his attendants all in their stations, he took his long twisted pipe from the hands of the negro, and began to smoke in long and deep-drawn whiffs ; and this seemed as a signal to the rest to follow his example, for, immediately, every mouth was in action, and which ever way Spiel cast his looks, he beheld nothing but glowing tubes and gleaming eyes turned towards him, while wreaths of smoke rose up from the multitude, and formed a dense cloud-like canopy above them. Nevertheless, though he could plainly distinguish the features and the dresses of this ghastly crew, he could also see the stars clearly glimmering through them, and now gleams of fire and electric flashes began to shoot across the heavens, and the sky grew more vividly bright than it had been. Still, though Trosk could behold all these appearances through the bodies of the phantoms, he could also perceive that his ghostly visitants were closing slowly upon him, that their ranks grew more dense, and the space between him and them more narrow, while their puffs became more violent, and the smoke rose up with redoubled velocity.
“ The Shetlander was naturally a bold, and, indeed, a desperate man, and he had come to the glen with the desire of conversing with beings of another world; but when he beheld this fearful, strange, and unintelligible multitude crowded round him, and pressing nearer and nearer, as if about to overwhelm him, his courage yielded, his frame shook, and the sweat ran copiously down his face. The appearance of the black boy occasioned him more terror than all the rest; for, never having seen a negro in those far distant isles, he believed him to be a little devil, and his white teeth and whiter eyeballs looked terrifie against his sable face; but his terror redoubled, when, on turning his eyes up to look at the sky above, he perccived close behind his head that little dry withered man who had accosted him in the skiff, sitting now as rigidly upright as before, but with a pipe in his mouth, which he seemed to hold there as if in grave mockery of all the assembly. Trosk started convulsively, and a choking sensation seized upon his throat ; but, summoning all his energy, he mastered it, and directing himself to the principal person before him, he exclaimed, ' In the name of him ye obey, who are ye? and what want ye all with me?'
" The great man gave three puffs, more solemnly than ever, upon this adjuration, and then, taking the pipe slowly from his lips, and giving it to his attendant, he replied, in a tone of chilling formality, 'I am Aldret Janz Dundrellesy Vander Swelter, whilome commander of the good ship Carmilham, the city of Amsterdam, homeward bound
from Batavia, in the east, which being in northern latitude 60", 10", and 17°, 51, lon• gitude east, from the island of Ters, at 12 P. M. on the night of the 21st of October, ' 1699, was cast away on the inhospitable rocks of this island, and all on board perished. • These are mine officers, these my passengers, and these the mariners forming my gallant
Why hast thou called us up from our peaceful bowers, at the bottom of the ocean, • where we rest sofily on beds of ooze, and smoke our pipes in quiet, listening to the songs • of mermaids ?---I say, why hast thou called us up ?' Spiel had expected to commune with spirits, good or bad, but he had not anticipated a visit from the captain of the vessel he wished to rifle; and, indeed, the question he had to propose was rather an awkward one to put to Mynheer Vander Swelter, for ghosts are in general tenacious of hidden treasure, and a Dutch ghost was likely to be more tenacious than any other, and, in particular, the spirit of a conmmander in whose charge a treasure had been placed, since he might still think he had a right to preserve it for the true owners, or at least for their heirs lawfully begotten and duly qualified. But this was no time for deliberation, and the prospect of gaining his wishes poured like a reviving cordial over the soul of the fisherman, and washed away his terror. "I would know,' replied he, where I can find the treasure with • which your ship was laden.'
“ At the bottom of the sea," answered the captain with a groan, which was echoed by all his crew.
“ At what place ?” said Spiel.
" 'Tis false !” exclaimed the Spirit, “ you came no further than the Peghts' Aultar Stane."
“ I did not think of that,” cried Trosk, whose eagerness for wealth did not allow him to think of any thing else ; “ but how shall I get them ?"
“ A goose would dive in the Nikkur Noss for a herring, thou idiot," answered Mynheer Vander Swelter ; are not the treasures of the Carmilhan worth a similar exertion ? ---Would'st thou know more ?"
“ Yes, how much shall I get?" said Spiel.
“ More than you will ever spend,” replied the captain, and the little man grinned behind Trosk's head, and the whole company laughed loud.
Hast thou done with me?" said the commander. “Yes I have," answered Spiel Trosk. “ Thanks, and fare thee well !"
“ Farewell, till we meet again," said Mynheer Vander Swelter, facing about and marching off, preceded by his musicians, and followed by his officers, passengers, and crew, all puffing their pipes in majestic solemnity.
Again the grave music was heard winding down the dell, accompanied by the words of the psalm, and the fisherman marked the notes grow fainter and fainter, till at length they were lost in the murmur of the waves.”
Spiel goes to search for the lost treasure, and perishes. Winwig, having first become idiotic, is supposed to have been lost in a similar expedition.
The story of Woolcroft is more common-place, both in its situations and incidents. The following song, sung at the sort of carnival which takes place on board the ship on arriving at the Greenland Seas, may amuse some of our readers.
“Oh Lord I thought I could not live,
All my eye---all my eye---my eye and Betty Martin.'
Says he, “knock off this foolish whim,
All my eye---all my eye---iny eye and Betty Martin !
Says he, 'I hear a messmate call,
All my eye---all my eye---my eye and Betty Martin !'” The second volume is chiefly occupied with the narratives of the chances of the ship and her crew in their whaling. These, to one unacquainted with such matters, are full of interest, and the descriptions of the ice are at once beautiful and accurate. The tales in this volume are “ The Charioteer,” which is about the worst of the series, although not unamusing, and “ The Goth,” a “ Tale of Italian Ban“ ditti," possessing somewhat of more interest, but even less credibility, than most of those which have lately appeared on a similar subject. The following description of the first meeting with ice, is a fair specimen of the author's narrative.
“ Early on the morning of the twenty-fourth, I was called out of bed, to see something extraordinary, as I had requested to be summoned on such occasions. I ran upon deck in my shirt, and beheld, not as I had expected, a rare bird or a fish, but a piece of ice, foating past the vessel. This was the first with which we met; but, during the morning, fragments of every size and shape encountered our view. Their colors were white, when not covered by the sea, but where they sunk beneath the water, they retlected its hues of green and blue, varying by position, and presenting occasionally tints of the richest splendor. From their rugged and craggy figures, they appeared to be fast melting, although the coldness of the weather seemed more capable of increasing than diminishing their bulk. Many of them, from the action of the waves, had acquired grotesque and singular shapes, which, as they came along. side in groupes upon the billows, afforded a thousand fanciful resemblances to the imagination. Those of the smallest size might be likened to chessmen, put in agita. tion by supernatural agency, or to the heads of a promiscuous multitude seen journeying along behind a bank or hedge, which concealed the rest of their bodies; while the larger masses seemed to be the riches of a sculptor's gallery, borne on a flood of quicksilver ; a mingled feet of statues, busts, pillars, capitals, tombs, and arches, formed of the purest marble. I do not wish to infer that the surface of the ocean was as smooth as liquid metal, far otherwise. During the last three days the motion of the Leviathan was as trying to the temper as the humors of a scolding wife. Standing or walking, unsupported by some immoveable stay, was as impracticable as progression to an infant, aud even the consolation of sitting at rest was denied us. More than once, when, during a deceitful truce, we had arranged ourselves round the store, to dry our mittens and renew our wamth, has a sudden lift on one side unshipped us all, and tumbled us, men and chairs, cats, mittens, mugs, pots, and fire-irons, to the lowest level, Woe to him thus caught in an unlucky position, for bumps and bruises, and a thousand little inexplicable miseries, were the punishment of being surprised off guard. He who sat himself down to write without precaution, would perhaps, in half a second, behold bis inkstand roll, pouring out its sable Huid into the farther comer of the cabin, --- his paper gliding after it, as if eager to wipe up the black streams which should have been its own---his knife leap into the fire---bis pen whisked off, heaven only knows where, and his patience---but who can talk of patience on such occasions ? He may hurry to repair these nischances, if he will, and when he has managed to resettle himself, in hopes of continuing his occupation, an ominous shout, followed by a long shrieking groan of yards and cordage, bursts upon his ear, and announces that the ship is put upou another tack,
,---a fact which the immediate elevation of that side on which he had humbly seated himself, as being the lowest and least liable to inconvenience, confirms. Then, while he rides leaning over the upper edge of the table, as if balanced on the ridge of a house, and endeavours to improve every momentary