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sustain his weight, and thus lets him fall, or is himself drawn over the rock, and shares in his companion's miserable death.—Ocean, by Gosse.
myriads, large numbers.
Give a description of the Holm of Noss. How do the inhabitants scale the rocks? Why do they run these risks? Describe the mode of getting to the nests from above. Relate the story told of the fowler who lost his hold of the rope.
LOVE OF COUNTRY AND OF HOME.
1. There is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved by heaven o'er all the world beside;
2 The wandering mariner, whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores,
3. For in this land of heaven's peculiar grace,
The heritage of nature's noblest race,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest,
4. Here woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
Strews with fresh flowers the narrow way of life;
supremely, in the highest degree. pageantry, pompous exhibition. benignly, graciously or kindly. patriot, a person who loves his
country and zealously defends it.
RURAL LIFE IN ENGLAND.
1. The taste of the English in the cultivation of land, and in what is called landscape gardening, is unrivalled. They have studied nature intently, and discovered an exquisite sense of her beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. Those charms, which in other countries she lavishes in wild solitudes, are here assembled round the haunts of domestic life. As a people they seem to FOWLING IN THE ORKNEYS.
1. Many of the islands which stud the sea around the north and west coasts of Scotland are remarkable for the stern grandeur of their precipitous cliffs. One might almost imagine that the surges of the mighty Atlantic, dashing against them for ages with unbroken fury, had undermined their solid foundations, and worn for themselves numerous passages, leaving only columnar rocks of vast height, detached from one another, though of similar formation and construction.
2. Such a rock is the Holm of Noss, apparently severed from the isle of Noss, from which it is about a hundred feet distant; but the cliffs are of stupendous height, and far below in the narrow gorge, the raging sea boils and foams, so that the beholder can scarcely look downwards without horror. But stern necessity impels men to enterprises from which the boldest would otherwise shrink. To obtain a scanty supply of coarse food for himself and family, the hardy inhabitant of the Orkneys dares even the terrors of the Holm of Noss.
3. In a small boat, with a companion or two, he seeks the base of the cliffs; and leaving them below, he fearlessly climbs the precipice, and gains the summit. A thin stratum of earth is found on the top, into which he drives some strong stakes; and having descended and performed the same operation on the opposite cliff, he stretches the rope from one to the other, and tightly fastens it. On this rope a sort of basket, called a cradle, is made to traverse, and the adventurous islander now commits himself to the frail car, and, suspended between sea and sky, hauls himself backward and forward by means of a line.
4. And do you ask what prize can tempt man to incur
such fearful hazard ? It is the
of a scabird, the fishy taste and oily smell of whose flesh would present little gratification to any whose senses were not made obtuse by necessity. The gannets and guillemots dwell in countless myriads on these naked rocks, laying their eggs and rearing their progeny wherever the surface presents a ledge sufficiently broad to hold them. Their immense numbers render them an object of importance to the inhabitants of these barren islands, who derive from them, either in a fresh state or salted and dried, a considerable portion of their sustenance.
5. In some other situations the fowlers have recourse to a still more hazardous mode of procedure. The cliffs are sometimes twelve hundred feet in height, and fearfully overhanging. If it is determined to proceed from above, the adventurer prepares a rope, made either of straw or of hog's bristles, because these materials are less liable to be cut through by the sharp edge of the rock. Having fastened the end of the rope round his body, he is lowered down by a few comrades at the top to the depth of five or six hundred feet. He carries a large bag affixed to his waist, and a pole in his hand, and wears on his head a thick cap, as a protection against the fragments of rock which the friction of the rope perpetually loosens; large masses, however, occasionally fall and dash him to pieces.
6. Having arrived at the region of birds he proceeds with the utmost coolness and address; placing his feet against a ledge he will occasionally dart many fathoms into the air to obtain a better view of the crannies in which the birds are nestling, take in all the details at a glance, and again shoot into their haunts. He takes only the eggs and young birds, the old ones being too tough to be eaten. Caverns often occur in the perpendicular face have caught her coy and furtive graces, and spread them like witchery about their rural abodes.
2. Nothing can be more imposing than the magnificence of English park scenery. Vast lawns that extend like sheets of vivid green, with here and there clumps of gigantic trees, heaping up rich piles of foliage; the solemn pomp of groves and woodland glades, with the deer trooping in silent herds across them; the hare bounding away to the covert; or the pheasant, suddenly bursting upon the wing; the brook, taught to wind in natural meanderings, or expand into a glassy lake; the sequestered pool, reflecting the quivering trees, with the yellow leaf sleeping on its bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters; while some rustic temple or sylvan statue, grown green and dank with age, gives an air of classic sanctity to the seclusion.
3. These are but a few of the features of park scenery; but what most delights me is the creative talent with which the English decorate the abodes of middle life. The rudest habitation, the most unpromising and scanty portion of land, in the hands of an Englishman of taste, becomes a little paradise. With a nicely discriminating eye, he seizes at once upon its capabilities, and pictures in his mind the future landscape. The sterile spot grows into loveliness under his hand; and yet the operations of art which produce the effect are scarcely to be perceived. The cherishing and training of some trees; the cautious pruning of others; the nice distribution of flowers and plants of tender and graceful foliage; the introduction of green slope of velvet turf; the partial opening to a peep of blue distance, or silver gleam of water: all these are managed with a delicate tact, a pervading yet quiet assiduity, like the magic touchings with which a painter finishes up a favourite picture.