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BIRD LIFE IN SHETLAND.
BY ROBERT SCOT SKIRVING,
Seeing a number of eider ducks creeping down its sides to reach the water, we took the boat to see if they had their nests in any of its crevices. There were none, but the surface of the rock was absolutely covered with the shells of the sea-urchin, which it was evident the cormorants were accustomed to feed on. The shells had not been broken by being dropped on the rock (as gulls frequently do with shell-fish), but the contents had been extracted by a hole made by the bird's bill, as a crow sucks an egg. No doubt these urchins must be very numerous around this rock, and we conclude that the cormorants, after fishing them up, carry them to the shelves in order conveniently to break them.
Whilst thus becalmed, several boats came near us in the evening, when, for the first time, we saw herrings caught with a hook. Each man held in his hand what is called a dandy line—a cord furnished with a sink and half-a-dozen hooks of shining metal, but without any bait upon them. Standing upright in his boat, the fisher jerked his line
up and down in the water, throwing his arm upwards to its full stretch, and the herrings, attracted by the glittering hooks, seized them, and were caught, three or four at a time, with great rapidity. Having slept away the night hours on deck, we awoke in the morning to the consciousness that we still lay moveless on the water, rocked only by a ground swell
. Peering out from under the tarpaulin, there was the un. approachable headland in the distance, and the hearse-like rock close by, with all its wind-shaking cormorants just as they were, only the boat and the rocks bad reversed their relative positions. During the night we had advanced backwards with the turn of the tide, and were now slowly floating towards the port we had left on the previous day. The skipper, a cheery fellow, who had hitherto put a good face on it, telling us he was sure a breeze was "just coming,” now advised us to go back to Reawick, and wait for it there. We might be a week, he said, in the sloop, swinging backwards and forwards in the tides; and as we knew Reawick was much pleasanter quarters, thither we returned.
We had begun to think Foula little else than fabulous, but during an afternoon walk to the top of a hill-the Wart of Reawick-there we saw the veritable island, with all its five peaks standing out with a distinctness that seemed to mock the efforts we had made to reach it. Next morning the breeze tempted us, just as it had formerly done ; and, with much kindness, our host suggested that, as he was about to send a sloop to Kirkwall, we might take her to Foula, and bring her back again, too, if we found it necessary. As on the previous day, we sailed for a time very merrily along, and then, as our Irish friends Bay, it became as “bad as before, and a great deal worse.” After
getting well out to sea, the light breeze chopped round till it was right against us, and as night fell a new difficulty arose-we became enveloped in one of those impenetrable mists for which Shetland is unfortunately famous. In such weather it is very difficult to hit Foula, as a single point missed would send a ship wandering out into the Atlantic ; and the skipper, exercising a prudent discretion, advised us to turn and steer for the magnificent harbour of Vaila Sound. To reach this haven was, however, no easy matter, for though the tide, and what air there was, favoured us, the mist had completely shrouded the coast. As we neared the shore, every eye was strained to catch the first glimpse of the breakers, which a strong tide and a heavy ground swell made considerable. We heard the dull, heavy, continuous sound, but could see nothing. Once we thought we had descried the white foamline, but on cautiously approaching it, we found it only a long stream of froth, which, like a river of soap-suds, stretched out into the se&.
At length the actual breakers became visible, and most strange and weird-like was the appearance they presented. It seemed as if a pale grey curtain was slowly and continuously lifted up and down, and the roar of the surge had a dull, deadened, distant sound that seemed to have no connexion with the long grey phantom shape that so solemnly danced in front of us. In spite of its sombre hue and uniform movements, the dream-like thing before us reminded the spectator of the fliting silent motion of the aurora borealis. Certainly no one could have conjectured that what he saw were living waves, spurned into spray, and flung from precipitous rocks, making tremendous turmoil and continuous thunder.
“I'll tell ye, Magni, man,” said the skipper to his mate, who looked out from the bow, “ye'll take the boat and the laddie, and see if
ye can find whereabouts we are."
“Aye,” replied Magni, and continued to stare out into the night.
“ Did ye hear what I was saying'?” sung out the skipper ; but Magni was now so intently straining his eyes, that it is to be presumed his ears were closed, as he answered not. It was clear that Magnus "did not see it," and the skipper, finding how it was, said, “ Ye'll come and take the helm, Magni.'
This time Magni heard what was said, and the old man and the boy got into the boat and rowed out into the darkness.
“Whatever you do, don't lose sight of the sloop !” we cried, as he left us, as we had no fancy to be separated, for our own sake as well as his. In a few minutes we had the pleasure of seeing him wave bis cap and return. It was all right. We had hit the very spot he had steered for, and sailing close by a cliff, round which the swell seethed and surged, we glided into the still waters of the Sound, -Journal of Agriculture.
SALES OF BLOOD STOCK.
By Messrs. Tattersall, at York, in the Race Week ;
MR. T. HEWETT'S YEARLINGS.
Baron (Mr. R. Peck)
The RAWCLIFFE YEARLINGS,
MR. PLUMMER'S YEARLING.
CAPTAIN F. THOMPSON'S YEARLING.
COLONEL TOWNELEY'S YEARLINGS.
MR. Eastwood's YEARLINGS.
THE HON. E. LASCELLES'S YEARLING.
MR. C. VYNER'S YEARLINGS.
MR. T. Dawson's (OF DRIFFIELD) YEARLINGS.
MR. W. PANSON'S YEARLINGS.
MR. J. WATSON'S YEARLINGS.
70 250 100
By Messrs. Tattersall, at Albert-gate, on Monday, Sept. 20 :
MR. C. ALEXANDER'S BROOD MARES,
Blanche de Nevers by Vengeance, out of Device by Springy Jack; served by Robin
Hood (Mr. Maurigy)
Thunderbolt (Mr. Betagh)
Thunderbolt (Mr. Ellam)
, out of Julia ; served by Thunderbolt (Mr. Abel) Catherine by The Prime Minister, dam by Camel (Muscovite's dam); served by Thun
derbolt (Mr. Ellam)...
Thunderbolt (Mr. Betagh)
MR. G. W. MORRIS's YEARLING.
THE CROFT YEARLINGS.
CAPTAIN BARLOW'S YEARLINGS.
Mr. A. HARRISON'S YEARLINGS.
MR. COLLINSON'S YEARLING.
MR. WRIGHT'S YEARLINGS.
Hon. C. FITZWILLIAM'S YEARLINGS.
MR. J. Scott's YEARLING.
MR. J. G. SIMPSON'S YEARLINGS.
MR. G. HESLOP's YEARLING,
MR. JAMES DAVIDSON'S YEARLING.
MR. J. NEWTON'S YEARLINGS.
30 100 50 140
50 165 10
50 600 200 150
York and Lancaster, b c by The Marquis, out of Moss Rose by Van Dieman (Mr
LORD FEVERSHAM'S YEARLING,
LORD SCARBOROUGH'S YEARLINGS.
THE WHITEFIELD YEARLINGS,
THE BOYTHORPE YEARLINGS.
covered by Strathconan (Mons André)
covered by Strathconan (Mr Lincoln)
MR. W. SADLER'S YEARLINGS.
THE EARL OF BRADFORD'S YEARLING.
SIR TATTON SYKES' YEARLINGS.
35 105 155 100
70 370 100
Prince Royal, ch c, by Orpheus or Cramond, dam by Sleight-of-Hand (Mr I Woolcot)... 200
MR. CROWTHER HARRISON'S YEARLINGS.
210 Grand Coup, ch c, by Gladiateur, out of Aline by Stockwell (Mr T S Dawson)
300 Mr. Cookson's YEARLINGS. Metheglin, bf, by Caterer, out of Hybla (Mr Becher)
500 Rose of Athole, br f, by Blair Athol, out of Violet by Voltigeur (Capt Machell)
165 Bill of Fare, b f, by Caterer, out of Queen of the Gipsies by Chanticleer (Mr Weever) 70 Clanronald, ch c, by Kettledrum, out of Lady Macdonald by Touchstone (Mr C Peck)... 420 The Jackal, ch c, by Caterer, out of Maggiore by Lecompte (Mr M Dawson)
350 Pontine, chc, by Lord Clifden, out of Pestilence by Daniel O'Rourke (Mr Heene) 300