[from A Six Day Tour, 1836]
I WAS somewhat sore and stiff this morning; nevertheless made one of a party to Peel. We set off at nine, about a dozen together, in a sort of omnibus, called the Governor; a capital conveyance this for a party of pleasure.
" For sometimes they contain a deal of fun,
Like mourning coaches when the funeral's done."
As we get to Kirk Braddan Bridge, the road to the right leads to Leece Lodge, Mount Rule, &c.
The lovers of fine inland scenery will do well to visit the valleys of East and Baldwin
West Baldwin, which, though not much known, even to those who have resided for years on the Island, will yet repay the visitor. Looking down from below the new church of St. Luke towards Douglas, the scene is really bewitching a rich open valley, sloping over a space of four miles, gradually down to the sea, at the bottom of which murmurs along its stony bed the river Glass, which takes its rise from among these hills.
The estate of Injerbuck, too, deserves a passing peep, £25,000 having been laid out here some few years back by a Colonel Wade, in decorating this lonely retreat, where, indeed Sadoc might have gone on his journey in search of the waters of oblivion, though in the centre of the British dominions. About a mile beyond Kirk Braddan is the Union Mills cloth manufactory, conducted by A. M. William, Esq. The Manx manufactured cloth cannot compete with that of the English market in fineness of texture, but is known to wear well. The extensive plantations which surround the mills are occasionally resorted to by pic-nic parties. About half a mile further on, we have on our right
Ballavar, the country seat of Thomas Howard, Esq., better known as the Duke of Norfolk, who, in his younger days, occupied a similar post in society to that of Beau Nash at Bath, and took the lead in all kinds of devilment. He is the only man in the country who literally lives upon his wits, and who is consequently considered one of the cleverest fellows in it, whose vocation may be said in many respects to resemble that of the Eastern story-teller, so welcome in every company, and who gains a very genteel livelihood by the mere relation of the marvellous
" Of moving accidents, by flood and field, ?
Of Antres vast, and deserts idle,
Rough quarlies,rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven,
It is his wont to speak;
And of the cannibals that each other eat,
The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders."
If any wag would wish, in this country, to have a peep behind the curtains, and become intimate not only with the characters of the stage, but the managers of the machinery, let him apply to my friend THE DUKE, who is in fact the index, the table of reference, the walking geography of Man, and, to the stranger and tourist (with reverence be it spoken) what the lion's provider is to the king of the forest; and, moreover, an author. Who has not heard of Howard's Vade Mecum ? which comprises in the compass of a nutshell, what has hitherto taken some hundreds of pages to depict; thus verifying the observation of Addison, that if every thing were reduced to its quintessence, many a bulky volume would make its appearance in a sixpenny pamphlet. A regular 'Bon Vivant,' who yet, in his sixty fourth year, can sing a song, crack a joke, give a bottle a black eye, or make a beefsteak look foolish, with any man in the country. To all these accomplishments he adds but one detracting quality, " his worst fault is," as Mrs. Quickly said of her master, Dr. Caius, `' he is too much given to praying." Behind Balava are the Groves, and Ballafurt; still further (about four miles from Douglas), in the bottom of the valley on our left, is Balla Quinnea Moar, late. the residence of James M'Crone, Esq., now in the occupation of Mr. Miller, where cheese equal to the best Stilton may be had for half the price. A little higher up on the hill side, Ellerslie, the residence of Mr. Faulder, who has done more to advance the agricultural interest in this island than any man in it. That fantastic building on our right, affecting to raisin the massy grandeur of the castellated mansion was the late residence of the Reverend Robert Aitken, a sort of spiritual Quixote and experimentalist on the gravity of mankind, who conceived himself moved by the Spirit, some few months back, to become the mouthpiece of a new fraternity in Liverpool.
We come now into the small village of Crosby, consisting almost exclusively of a colony of retired doctors, no less than five Sangrados having resided here at a time.
There is no spot in the British Empire so bountifully supplied with medicine as Douglas no less than fifteen sentinels of free public health being on " watch and ward" night and day; nor are these the only individuals who exist by the simple operation of bleeding.
The tavern on our left is called the Half-way House, kept by Mr. Burrows, a great resort for shooting parties; just beyond which you perceive the valley begins to open out more beautifully. That ruin before us is the remnant of a church, dedicated to St. Trinian, which tradition says was never completed. Could a more desirable inland site than this be picked out for a snug country villa? Situated just half way between Peel and Douglas, five miles from either; with a fine aspect, good shelter, rich soil, and beautiful precincts; with a little art and labour this might be made one of the sweetest retreats in the country for a man of domestic, unambitious, and unostentatious temperament, whose greatest felicity would be his home.
The rugged rock above us is Greeba. Plants and shrubs are said to grow beneath its foot, which cannot be reared in such perfection elsewhere. If rain is to be found in any part of the Island, you must look for it first at Greeba. It has acquired a reputation in this respect similar to what is enjoyed by Manchester, and the same epithet as applied to one may suit the other, with reference to each country. Half way up this hill, some classic virtuoso has misnamed his seat among the clouds Monte Cassino. The neat, English looking establishment on our left is Northop, the residence of Captain Hayes.
The valley along which we are now travelling, and which runs uninterruptedly from Douglas to Peel, is well adapted for a canal, should circumstances ever make a water communication necessary between the two places, being so perfectly level. There is a tradition, and some scattered historical remnants to confirm the same, that the Isle of Man was once intersected by water in two or three different ways, forming in fact two or three distinct islands. It is easily perceived that the lines of such intersection must have been the valley between Douglas and Peel, and what is called the Curraugh in the north, between Ramsey and Ballaugh; the contiguous hills being shale, easily abraded by water, these valleys have been filled up in the course of centuries, by the continued washings of rains and torrents, and the sediments of floods and inundations. This position has moreover been almost undeniably established, by the discovery of ancient anchors and remnants of vessels half way between Douglas and Peel, in digging for peat or turf some feet below the bottom of the valley. The very nomenclature of Port-y-chee (Harbour of Peace) would confirm the opinion that an arm or channel of the sea once occupied the entire of this valley, or, at any rate, covered that beautiful plain. There is no accounting for the manner in which the ocean has sometimes swept away whole tracts of the globe; and at others deposited rich and exuberant valleys and plains where none before existed; but such is the fact. Not a portion of the earth but what has in its turn been submerged and uplifted again, distorted by internal convulsions, or left to sleep for centuries in beauty and repose. Those fertile and well-wooded plains which in ancient days covered the space now occupied by the Bays of Beaumaris and Cardigan and the Straits of Menai, have been gradually swept away by the continued action of the sea changing for ever its tides, its currents, and its levels; those beauteous islands which now in such numbers adorn the vast basin of the Mediterranean, gay with fruit, and flower, and foliage, have on the contrary all been thrown up within the records of ancient history or tradition, by internal fires, and were at one time but distinct groups and masses of cinder,'lava, and scoriae. The volcanic process at work i n the bowels of the earth may be said to be the vital principle of this plane tary body, by the agency of which is accomplish ed the destruction and new modelling of world after world; the smiling creation of to-day, built upon the ruins of the one of yesterday.
We now come to the cross-four-ways of Ballacraine; that to the right leads to Bishop'scourt and Kirk-Michael; the one on the left to Castletown, through Foxdale, and over the mountains; the way to Peel is before us.
A little further on is the chapel of St. John, contiguous to which is the celebrated Tynwald Hill, or Mound, from the summit of which the insular laws, after having received the sanction of the King in Council, are proclaimed to the people; a custom evidently derived from great antiquity. The hill or mound is cut into terraces or steps, on which the different classes and grades of authority assemble when the laws are promulged. It may not be uninteresting to state the order of the ceremony of the ancient Tynwald Court, the skeleton of which subsists in a great measure to this day. On the summit of the mound sat the Lord or his Lieutenant, with his face fronting the east, and his sword upright in his hand; before him sat the two Deemsters; on the highest circle, his barons and beneficed men; in the middle, the twenty-four Keys, "formerly styled the worthiest men in the land ;" and on the lowest circle the knights, squires, and yeomen; while the commons stood without the circle, with three clerks in their surplices. The hill was guarded by the Coroners and Moars, armed with their swords and axes; and a proclamation was issued by the Coroner of Glenfaba, denouncing those who should in the time of Tynwald murmur in the King's presence.
As this is a ceremony particularly interesting to strangers, some more pains should be taken to give dignity and effect to the process, than what is now thought desirable. As the laws are now promulgated, there is more of the ludicrous than the grave in this formerly august court; there wants only an old fellow beating on a tin kettle, to give the finishing touch to this ridiculous picture. A procession without music is like a regiment of soldiers without uniform, a judge without a wig, a clergyman without his surplice, religion without form, or government without state.
Near the ruins of Memphis is a hill or pyremid, very similar to this, and which is at this day called the "seat of Pharaoh," from which, also, the laws were in ancient times proclaimed to the people. Whether the customs of these countries have any remote connexion with each other, is more than I can say perhaps one common origin. It is well known that Mona (both the Mona of Tacitus and Caesar, Anglesea and Man) was the last strong hold and resort of the fugitive Druids before the Roman army, relics of whose power and supremacy in this country are every where to be discovered. The Druids originally were nothing less (if any credit is to be attached to the profound and elaborate Celtic researches of Davies) than Egyptian missionaries, sent forth in the spirit of universal philanthropy, to carry the light of learning and civilisation among less favoured nations, and to teach uncultivated man the benefits of art and science. The character and history of the ancient Druids and Egyptian priests minutely conforming.
The most singular circumstance connected with this Tynwald Hill is, that it is formed of soil collected from every parish in the Island. This extensive green or common, on which the mound is situated, should be enclosed and bordered with plantations. It must certainly be a mater of some interest to the inhabitants of this country, to preserve sacred so singular a memorial of their ancient liberty and independence, instead of suffering, it to be torn up and polluted by geese and pigs; here, too, might be deposited the many ancient runic monuments, which are now sacriligeously converted into stiles and gateposts, round every church-yard in the Island.
'I'he Tynwald Court does not appear to have been invariably held here; one was held at Cronk Urleigh (the hill of the eagle), in Kirk, Michael, in 1428.
From the Tynwald Hill the view before us is that of a fine open valley; with the Peel river, or Neb, in many a mazy turn winding its sluggish way to its ocean-home. If we carry our imagination back five centuries, we might fancy we saw yon plain below occupied by two contending armies, led by two brothers, Reginald and Olave, disputing for the crown of Man.
" Lo! where the giant on the mountain stands,
His blood-red tresses deepening in the sun,
With death-shot glowing in his fiery hands,
And eye that scorched all it glares upon;
Restless it rolls; now fixed, and now anon
Flashing afar and at his iron feet
Destruction cowers to mark what deeds are done."
By the fortune of that day, that peculiar law which awards to the surviving wives of Manx men of the north of the Island a life-rent of two thirds the property of the husband, (while those of the south are entitled to a moiety only of one half, ) was first made. The adherents of Olave, whose interest lay principally in the north of the Island, were on this day assisted by their wives; who, perceiving their husbands lose ground, made their appearance on the adjoining high lands, bearing branches and arranged apparently in military order, to the dismay and discomfiture of the enemy. And as a reward for their services, the victor decreed them the privilege above mentioned.
Those fine ancient trees in the distance form part of the domain of Balla Moore, the seat of Phillip Moore, Esq., whose hospitality is well known. Balla Moore has more the appearance of an English mansion of the eighteenth century, buried in wood, than any spot in the Island, and " where the good old English gentleman, one of the olden time," might have dealt out his cheer with much propriety and dignity.
Till within the last few years a pack of hounds was kept here; but the Island has not much attraction to the sportsman at the present moment; the country having been well nigh cleared of game, before it was thought desirable to afford them any protection. Every ragamuffin that had a gun being at liberty to sport without restriction, shooting indiscriminately cats and hares, snipes and poultry; whichever was nearest or most convenient.
Game abounded here at the latter end of the last century. A bill for its preservation has latterly been introduced, which (though on the other side of the water a noxious law) will, it is hoped, prove beneficial here, as far as the restoration of the sports of the field go. To make some amends for the deficiency of birds, the rivers abound with fish; and the disciples of old Isaac Walton may indulge themselves ad infinitum, both in the interior of the country and on the coast.
Yon beacon or column on the top of the hill, which overlooks the valley of the Neb, and stares us in the face in every direction, is called Curran's Folly[Corrin]. Almost every country possesses some such testimonial of mistaken wisdom. Some freak of fancy induced that gentleman thus to commemorate his name; where, also, he deposited the resuscitated remains of his better half, for the very solid reason of her being so much nearer heaven, and consequently much more handy at the resurrection.
About three miles beyond the Tynwald Hill, and ten or eleven from Douglas, is Peel, called, during the Norwegian dynasty, Holme Town. A long narrow street leads into the market-place, in which is situated the Peel Castle Hotel, kept by a blooming widow, Mrs. Thomas, a very comfortable house, lately fitted up in a superior style by the late Mr. Thomas. Since the decay of the herring fishery, Peel has gradually declined, and is now of insignificant importance; the curiosity of strangers and a few surrounding families infusing into it what little life remains. A number of idle fellows standing all day with their hands in their pockets or arms akimbo, in the market, basking like dogs in the sun; and a few others, more respectable, listlessly walking to and fro on the earth, seeking what they might devour, for ever enquiring, like the Athenians of old, for something new, will give you at once a correct impression of the place. Even the very dogs seeming impregnated with this local epidemic, lounging at full length in the very centre of the " ways and by-ways." Thompson might have had an eye to Peel when he wrote his " Castle of Indolence."
" Here nought bill Candour reigns, indulgent Ease,
Good-natured, lounging, watering lip and down:
They who are pleased themselves, must always please;
On others ways they never squint a frown,
Nor heed what haps, in hamlet or in town."
is in every other country town, the arrival of a coach or carriage is an era in the day, and a stranger a sort of passing miracle or meteor, to be wondered at. You perceive these intellectual rustics, on your first alighting, crowding round you in every direction, with their open countenances (having mouths from ear to ear, like a Cheshire cat) staring as if they had dragged a hippopotamus ashore. Travellers come here for no other purpose than to see the castle and cathedral, romantically situated on a small island at the entrance of the bay.
Thither we immediately directed our steps. From the end of the pier visitors are ferried over the river to the castle, but when the tide is out, carried over on the brawney backs of boat-men, who wade knee deep for this purpose, affording an eligible moment for the display of fine legs and ankles. It was low water when we passed, we were therefore under the pleasing necessity of submitting to this ordeal. While mounted in this manner, you feel like one going up or down the shaft of a mine in a bucket, not quite comfortable until the ceremony is over. We were not a little gratified at finding ourselves at last safe across. Among the party that followed us, whom we saw from the battlements of the entrance tower, there was one poor unfortunate fellow fell headlong from the back of his bearer into the river, while in transit. The cursing and swearing that followed surpassed any thing of the kind I had ever heard before. It was certainly no very agreeable interlude to have a cold bath at a moment so unseasonable, but the horse was to be pitied as well as the rider. A big steam engine of a fellow, that might have matched even Daniel Lambert in amount of ballast, is no joke on a man's back wading through a river. I saw some hesitation on the part of the boatman before starting, upon casting his eyes over the dense figure before him, but, tempted by the love of gain, he undertook more than he could accomplish, and this catastrophe ensued, which sadly spoiled the big man's hilarity of spirits. He came out of the river like Dr. Syntax from the horse pond.
At the landing place under the castle there were, some few years back, a flight of steps which led from the water's edge to the gates but it has been almost totally swept away by the sea, a very small remnant being left to testify that such a thing once existed.
At the entrance into the castle, like another St. Peter with the keys in his hand,
"His lock was rusty and his key was dull,"
sat the guardian angel of the place, in the shape of an old soldier, wearing the artillery uniform to whom is consigned the care of these ruins.
He had been waiting our arrival. In the season, as it is called, the old chap is kept on a dog's trot from sun-rise to sun-set, shewing visitors over his domain; and a pretty thing he makes of it during the summer months, which is all, however, dedicated to "juniper sucking," he being no tee-totaller.
We had no sooner passed the gates and gave him his cue, in the shape of a simple question, than he began his usual chime, the changes of which are rung on an average ten times a day, for one hundred and fifty days in the year, any interruption of which imposes on you the necessity of a rehearsal. The old man has so repeatedly told his tale, and imposed it as a truth on the world, that I verily fancy he believes the thread of it as firmly as his own existence; and the real presence of the ghost of the "black dog," the spirit of the " Duchess of Gloucester," or the ashes of the " Giant in his grave," are to him as the gospel, or the law of Moses.
The wife of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, it is related, was confined in the ecclesiastical dungeon under the cathedral for fourteen years, for associating with witches; hence has arisen the superstition that since her death, as the clock strikes twelve at night, her spirit mounts the stone staircase to the battlements of the tower.
It is related in Hollinshed's Chronicles, that the women in this country were so much to witch-craft, that they would sell wind to mariners, enclosed in knots of thread.
Even so late as Bishop Wilson's time, this dungeon was used as an ecclesiastical prison, that eminently pious man being, as far as the discipline of the church was concerned, an uncharitable tyrant. Indeed, it is very well exemplified, both in this instance, as in the lives of Cranmer and Calvin, that the most pious men cannot be entrusted with power without abusing it. Before superstition can be made harmless and inoffensive, we must take from it its teeth and claws. Deprive men of the power of injuring each other, and they will necessarily become charitable and forbearing.
The dungeon is damp, from a spring in one corner; and the sea washes its base. The prison of Chillon might convey an apt idea of this ecclesiastical place of purgatory.
" A double dungeon, wall and wave
Have made it like a living grave."
The Cathedral itself is nowise remarkable, except in having embattled parapets, so constructed that the garrison of the castle might pace behind them to defend any attack of the place. Besides the Cathedral or Parish Church of German, there are the ruins of another chapel, dedicated to St. Patrick, the Lord's House, &c. &c., all enclosed within the Castle Malls, which are built on the edge of the precipitous rocks all around the Island, and from which, in one or two places where the situation admitted it, are sally ports.
The Square Tower over the entrance gateway was the keep. The most conspicuous object is the Signal Tower. We were informed by one of our party, who appeared to have dipped up to his chin in antiquarian lore, that the Signal Tower was much older than any other part of the building, and in fact was one of the Round 'mowers (known by that name) so common in Ireland, whose date and age are buried in the most profound oblivion. It is said by Holmes, in his Account of the Round Towers of Ireland, that similar buildings are observed to be very common in the ancient empire of Iran (of which Persia was only a province), and from whence the first or aboriginal inhabitants of Erin can be traced. How far this is correct, is more than I can say; but the coincidence between this Signal Tower and those before mentioned cannot be doubted, in its singular construction and peculiar access. The parapet seems, however, to have been built at the time of the Castle, the masonry of which differs from the rest.
Tradition will have it that Peel Castle is much older than Castle Rushen; but the style of the Cathedral, with its lancet windows (early English), and the character of the other ruins (that of our Edward the First), mark the building to be of the thirteenth century; the chronological account of it being also 1247. It is fast falling into a mass of undistinguishable ruins. The whole seems to have been slovenly built and badly put together, bearing no comparison vith the beautiful and everlasting masonry of Castle Rushen, which shall continue to brave the storm and the tempest when that town itself probably shall have no other vestige.
The stained glass which anciently filled the windows of the Cathedral, is now in the possession of John M. Hutchin, Esq., Clerk of the Rolls, it having been conveyed, by some means or other, to Dronthein in Norway (probably when the Island was under the Metropolitan of Drontheim; it was attached to the See of York by 33 Henry VIII.), whence it has been obtained through the medium of the British Consul there.
The space included within the walls of the Castle comprises about five or six acres, the whole covered with a soft turf. This is the most picturesque spot in the whole country for a picnic party. The old gentleman who presides over these ruins, a sort of dried mummy, that wants re-boiling, has provided a table and benches of sods and stones, on which his guests may luxuriate on cold victuals; and here too is a fine flat velvet surface, on which the lovers of the mazy dance may freely trip the light fantastic toe; and many a revel is kept up here,
" When the bright moon, refulgent lamp of night,
O'er heavens dear azure spreads her sacred light,
And not a breath disturbs the deep serene,
And not a cloud o'ercasts the solemn scene;
Around her throne the vivid planets roll,
And stars unnumbered gild the glowing pole."
And oft resounds from this sweet and solitary Isle the voice of mirth at the midnight hour. I was subsequently at one of these parties of pleasure, such a night as I have described. Never indeed had I experienced such romance in real life; interspersed among the monotonous prose of every day living, such golden moments may be called the poetry of existence. I would advise a young man, desirous of retaining the peaceable supremacy of his own breast, to absent himself from such scenes and circumstances, more especially if enveloped with beautiful girls.
"There is a dangerous silence in that hour,
A stillness which leaves room for the full soul
To open all itself, without the power
Of calling wholly back its self-control."
In Gough's edition of Camclen, this small island is called Sodor; Buchanan also says, that Sodor is the name of a town in Man; it has also been fancied that Sodor was situated on the point of Langness; but these are only conjectures without foundation, in endeavouring to account for the episcopal title of Sodor and Man. It is very evident some tradition of the kind would have remained with the natives, had either the island been originally called Sodor, or had there been a town of that name in Man.
Many and contradictory are the opinions as to the origin of the above title. It appears that " the prelates of the western isles had three places of residence, Icolumbkill, Man, and Bute, and in ancient writs are promiscously styled Episcopi Manniae et Insularum, Episcopi Sudarum, and Episcopi Sodorensis; which last title the bishops of the isles retain, as well as the bishops of :Man. The cathedral of Iona, or Icolumbkill, was dedicated to our Saviour, in Greek, Soter; hence Soterensis, a name frequently given by Danish writers to the western isles, and now corrupted to Sodorensis." But very little can be proved from etymology.
The most rational and common-sense view of of the matter is this; the western isles were divided into two clusters, northern and southern, in the Norwegian language, Norder and Suder; the point of demarcation being Ardenamurchan, a promontory in Argylestire, and hence originated the title of Suder, or Sodor, and Man To confirm this idea it is only necessary to add, that in 1158 Goddard and Summerlid (of the Norwegian dynasty), after a broody battle at sea, in which the victory was doubtful, agreed to divide the kingdom of the Isles between them; the northern part fell to Summerlid. The isles were three hundred in number, of which one hundred were attached to Man. At this time originated the title of Bishop of Sodor and Man, given to Wymundus, or Hamundus. The bishop of Norder was at that time Reginald, residing at Lewis.
Within the castle walls is a well of fresh water, which has never been known to fail. From the summits of these ruins the Bay of Peel is seen to much advantage, the northern boundary stretching in one bright undulating line, far as the eye can reach, to Jurby.
But the most interesting view of the Bay is from the hollow basin to the north-east, whence the picturesque outline of these venerable towers forms the most conspicuous feature. There, too, are many advantageous sites for marine cottages; which in the space of a very few years will be taken up and built upon. The sea has made great encroachments on the town of Peel; but a few years back many well known properties occupied a site on the margin of the bay, not a vestige of which is now remaining. During the last summer two jetties were thrown up here, with a view of counteracting, if possible, the progress of the waves; but the only effectual way of supporting the veto, " hitherto shalt thou come, but no further," is by constructing a breast-wall all along the shore below the town, and turn the houses to the right about, facing the sea. Some acres of land might thus be rescued from the devouring element, and the rest permanently secured.
On descending again from the castle we took a boat from the harbour to examine the cave, which on the western side of the Island extends under these ruins to the centre.
It is well worth exploring, as well as the many caverns along the precipitous shore to the south, which cannot well be approached but from the water, the proper investigation of which would take up some two or three hours. 'I'he rich and variegated colours of the different strata of rocks within these ''wild and worn receptacles," encrusted over with a vegetable or mineral substance, surpasses any thing that could otherwise be conceived The artist should by no means omit to visit these caves, he would there find an inexhaustible field for the luxuriance of pencil and palette.
On our return from this aquatic excursion, we found ourselves in a condition to do justice to the dinner we had previously ordered at the hotel to be ready by five.
As we passed one of the lower rooms in the hotel, we saw the poor Gentleman who was so unfortunate as to make a summerset in the water, waiting for his clothes to dry; he was ad interim dressed in the largest suit of the late landlord's, who though a bulky fellow, was nothing compared with our hero, who in consequence presented the appearance, in his borrowed plumes, of a growing lad who has been absent from his home three or four years, and comes back to wear his old clothes again; the cuffs of his sleeves coming a little below his elbows, and the lowest part of his breeches reaching a little below the knees. The poor soul was hedged in as though in a vice or strait-jacket, and was totally unable to sit down for fear of rupture.
Nothing can exceed the delicious sweetness of the Peel herrings. An epicure might with much satisfaction make a pilgrimage here for the sole purpose of tasting them. In being conveyed to Douglas in carts they get sodden or shaken. No where round the coast are such fine fish caught as off here.
The migration of the herring-shoals is somewhat singular. They first make their appearance to the north-west of the island, and come gradually down the Irish Channel, rounding the Calf of Man. By the time the fishery extends about Langness Point, and spreads over the eastern coast of the island (which is about the latter end of September), the herrings are not worth the eating, being full of spawn. It is to be hoped the Commissioners appointed by the Government to enquire into these fisheries, and who visited the island but a short time back, will be able to rectify much that is amiss in the time and season for fishing. There are altogether three hundred herring-boats. This little fleet is commanded by an admiral, and is noted for its discipline and regularity. They present a beautiful and animated appearance when clearing out for their evening labours, and also when returning in the morning, laden, home; or when at anchor in the bay, their slackened sails flapping in the breeze, and like a city upon the waters, sleeping on the tranquil mirror of the cradled sea.
"The most melancholy part of our lives," says Rabelais, "is when a reckoning is called for." It was not so, however, with us in this instance, being literally astonished at the moderate charges for our sumptuous entertainment. I must take this opportunity of passing a compliment upon the excellent cooking displayed in this establishment.
An idle fellow might very well spend a week or two in the summer at Peel, and live in clover; nor would he want much to while away his time; for though the town itself is wretchedly dull, the Ultimata Thule of the civilized world; yet is there the beautiful scenery of the coast, and many hospitable and agreeable families in the neighbourhood, which might amply remunerate him for the sacrifice of a few weeks. There is a charm, too, in seeing the sun set beyond the mountains of Mourne, to a poetic temperament unspeakable pleasing
" When not the faintest breath
Steals o'er the unruffled deep; the clouds of eve
Reflect unmoved the lingering beam of day,
And vesper's image on the western main
Is beautifully clear."
We again proceeded on our way, directing our course to the water-fall of Glenmoi;, which lies about three miles from Peel, through the village of Kirk Patrick. On our right, beyond the Peel Bridge, is the Raggatt, the residence of Mrs. Bridson and her fair daughters. The view of the valley before us, terminating in the distance with the rugged back of Gruba, the wide-sweeping plain converging there into the narrow pass to Douglas, is singularly beautiful. Yon clump of wood, which somewhat interrupts our range of prospect, yet adds beauty to the scene, overshadows the mansion of Balla Moore behind which is the vicarage, whose worthy occupant, overflowing with the milk of human kindness, and breathing goodwill to all mankind, adds grace and dignity to his profession, and example to theory and precept. A little above the vicarage, by the side of you beautiful Scotch firs, which, like palm trees in the desert gracefully tower above every surrounding object is Ballacosnahan, the seat of Mrs. Gelling. And on our right again, a little beyond the Raggatt in the background, as if ashamed of strewing its face, or, as Ovid says of the lost pleiad, covering its face with its hand, we have Knockaloe the residence of A. Sawers, Esq.
The church of St. Patrick is of It common description, whitewashed over, " body and sleeves," as almost every other building of this description in the island. I must not fail to notice one particular feature of this neighbourhood, which travellers are not frequently apt to forget, and that is, the beauty of the girls; indeed, this parish may be said to he a sort of green-house of beauty, where this rich and luscious fruit attains a superior develoyment and perfection.
Some considerable distance beyond Kirk Patrick, passing through a wild country, without hedges or trees, is Glenmoij, a very sequestered and beautiful dell, in. which is the principal fall of water in the country, and consequently much visited. From the slippery and insecure footing below, it not unfrequently happens that the over-frisky get a dip, after the manner of the Baptists.
Just beyond Glenmoij is Dalby, which on account of its total seclusion from all society may be denominated " the fag end of a God forgotten-world". The uncontaminated Manx breed of men and cats may be found here in all purity. The most singular feature in the natural history of this country is, that the genuine, aboriginal, orthodox cats have no tails; there is also a kind of poultry without this appendage, .and they are both called, by way of distinction, " runtties." But as they intermarry with the more favoured English breeds, they have a quarter of a tail, half a tail, three quarters of a tail, and full tail; according to some scale of deserts with which I am unacquainted.
The Manx have also a language peculiar to themselves, a dialect of the Celtic, of the same parent stock as the Welsh, Irish and Gaelic If there are any natives here yet remaining unacquainted with English, we must look for them at Dalby. Like all other provincial tongues, this is fast falling into desuetude, and all efforts to retain it much longer in existence will be vain.
In this neighbourhood, overlooking the wild and savage shore, is the ancient burying place of the Kings of Man, overgrown with weeds and thorns, amongst which are some indistinct remains of a chapel. Persons desirous of making a pilgrimage here, must have a guide The view from hence, looking to the Calf, may vie with the most romantic parts of North Wales
We now turned our steps again towards Douglas; but before we reached the Castle were thoroughly saturated with rain. After taking a plentiful potation of hot punch, to keep out the cold, I retired to rest.