A Flight To St. Kilda - by Rev. R.L. Lawson - Page 16
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The images and text of Rev. Lawson's booklet - A FLIGHT TO ST. KILDA - contributed by Ewen McGee whose grandfather was captain of the SS Hebrides from 1899 to 1921.

Pages: Cover | Publications | 3 |  4 |  5 | 6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11 |  12  | 13  | 14  | 15 | 16  |  17 | 18 | 19  | 20 | 21  | 22  | 23 |  SS Hebrides | Photos

                           A FLIGHT TO ST. KILDA                           16

the people subsist on sea-fowl and their eggs, the former being salted for winter consumpt.  With us, this would be considered rather unsavoury food, but with them it is considered toothsome.  In addition, they have their sheep and cattle, with the small crops of watery potatoes and oats they grow.  The weather is almost constantly moist, insomuch that Mr Ross, the minister, who had taken a camera with him, could not use it the whole fortnight he was there, with the exception of the day our steamer arrived, when he was too busy to bring it out.  The people all seem fat and healthy, however, and rags are unknown. 

Some years ago, the infant mortality was great owing to a species of lockjaw that set in about the eighth day after birth.  It was not known at the time what was the cause of it; but it was so universal and so deadly, that no clothes were prepared for the children till it was seen whether they would survive the crisis.  Mr Ross told me, however, that the cause of the plague has been discovered, and that no infants now die of the old disease.  For many years, also, it was observed that when a strange vessel like ours touched at the island, most of the inhabitants were seized with a cough which they called "the boat cold"; but this inconvenient weakness seems now to have been got rid of, although, to allay their fears, it is considered wise for strangers to sneeze in private !

The worst feature of the little community, to my mind, is their lack of independence.  They seem to think it is the business of the people of this country to attend to their wants; and their wants are not few.  Nets, lines, boats, a safe harbour, regular mails, and a great many things beside.  Mr Young of Kelly visited the island in his yacht Nyanza about twenty years ago, and although he gave a good deal, he could not satisfy them.  “We are only tourists.”  “True; but perhaps you can do something.”  A nine-ton boat was suggested to take them across to Harris, but this would require a safe harbour, so the idea had to be abandoned.  Highlanders usually are too proud and dignified to make requests of this kind; but not so the St. Kildians.  "It is hoped that you may be able, when you return, to do something for the poor people of this island."

Pages: Cover | Publications | 3 |  4 |  5 | 6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11 |  12  | 13  | 14  | 15 | 16  |  17 | 18 | 19  | 20 | 21  | 22  | 23 |  SS Hebrides | Photos