A Flight To St. Kilda - by Rev. R.L. Lawson - Page 20
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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                          20

on the island, it is not easy to get at; so the crofters content themselves with turf, which is fast destroying the pasturage around the village.  There are no trees now on any of the islands, although the roots of trees are found in the swamps, showing that they were once common there. 

One of the curious features of all the islands is the large number of small stone huts, resembling “bee-skeps” in shape, called Cleits in Gaelic, which are scattered about, in which they dry their hay and grain; for the St. Kildians have a habitual distrust of the weather, and never attempt to dry any of their crops in the open air.  There are sundry old ruins also, probably small strongholds, like the brochs of Shetland, built of stones without mortar; but their history has perished.  There is an old-fashioned Spring-well at the end of the village (see Illustration), which supplies the wants of all and sundry; while there is not a Public House, or “Shebeen,” or even a “Wee Still,” that I could hear of.  The island, therefore, furnishes an example of a community in our midst reared on teetotal principles for generations.  They know nothing of drunkenness.  And a story is related of one of the St. Kilda men, after he had partaken of a large dose of whisky, and was feeling very heavy after it, as he was falling into a sleep, and fancying it to be his last, expressed to his companion the great satisfaction he had to meeting with such an easy passage out of this world; “for,” said he, “it is attended with no kind of pain whatever.” 

There are no doctors or druggists' shops on St. Kilda; but as all the old wives I know are rank quacks in a mild way, it is doubtless the same there.  And I am confirmed in this belief by Mr Connell, correspondent of the Glasgow Herald, affirming that he was present in the Manse one night when Mr MacKay's housekeeper administered to her old master, who seemed on the point of death, three handfuls of oatmeal moistened with cold water and Port wine.  The minister vomited the whole, which doubtless saved his life; and then the visitors interfered, and turned the natives out of the house. 

As to Law, there is no Sheriff or Justice of Peace Court, but all the men assemble in Parliament every morning and decide on every case brought before them

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