A Flight To St. Kilda - by Rev. R.L. Lawson - Page 18
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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                     18

try to make the pathway in front of the houses a little smoother and more respectable for the sake of the bare-footed women and children (for the women generally go barefoot as well as the children).  The pier is quite decent now; and as to the Church and School, the same may be said of them as the Ayrshire farmer said of his wife — “She was as good a woman as there was any use for.”  When I spoke to the men about their nettley churchyard as a disgrace to them, they merely replied — “You see, sir, there is nobody paid for it.”  For they have a keen eye on money; and when one of our amateur photographers on board proposed to take a group of them, they coolly asked, “What will you give us for it?” 

I did not see any domestic fowls going about; and perhaps the reason is that, as on Ailsa Craig, the fowls are apt on stormy clays to be swept into the sea.  Although there are no fowls, there are plenty of dogs — a mongrel species of Collie — which help them with the sheep, as well as with catching young sea-birds at the breeding-time.  There are no rabbits that I could hear of, though they abound on Ailsa; but I daresay the St. Kildians have found that sheep are more profitable than rabbits. 

I asked Mr Ross what he thought of the future of St. Kilda, seeing they are constantly on poortith's brink, and the world is wide, and lands elsewhere much more fertile; but he said that the people were attached to their home, and he did not see why affairs should not go on as at present for many years to come.  But this is too optimistic a view, I fear.  Besides, the population is steadily diminishing; and 200 years ago, it was more than twice what it now is.  About seventeen years ago, the island was rather painfully brought under public notice by a “message from the sea” which was washed ashore on the island of Lewis, stating that the people of St. Kilda were starving, owing to a storm having destroyed all their crops.  This message was followed by others of a similar tenor, and finally by a letter from MacKay the minister, addressed to Dr Rainy.  In answer to this appeal, a steamer was chartered in Glasgow, and sent out with about £100 worth of provisions and seed. On arriving, however, they found that the news was exaggerated, and that the people were in no

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