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twist is absolutely essential to the cohesion of a rope, any twist beyond that which simply prevents the fibres being drawn out without breaking, is injurious. A skein of fibres, or a rope, may be twisted so hard that any further attempt at twisting would break it; and such a skein, or rope, will evidently have no power to support a weight, each fibre being already strained to the utmost extent that it will bear. In fact, whatever force is exerted by any fibre in compressing the rest, may be considered the same as a weight hanging on that fibre, and must be subtracted from its absolute strength before its useful effect can be ascertained; the available strength of a rope being the remainder of the absolute strength of its component fibres after deducting the force exerted in twisting them. Were a rope to be formed by simply twisting together, in one direction, the whole of the fibres of which it is composed, there is nothing to prevent its untwisting as soon as left to itself. It is therefore necessary to twist the fibres in comparatively small portions, and so to combine these into a rope that the tendency to untwist in one part may counteract the like tendency in another. Thus the same force which would cause the component parts, if separate, to become loose or untwisted, is employed, when they are combined into a rope, to keep the whole firm and compact.

We thus find an explanation of the reasons for the different processes. The fibres of hemp are twisted into stout threads called rope-yarns, about one-tenth of an inch in diameter; then from fifteen to twenty-five of these strands are twisted in the opposite direction, and formed into a strand; three or more of these strands are twisted in the same direction as the fibres of hemp in the yarns, and formed into a "strand-laid rope," or a "hauser-laid rope;" and lastly, for very large ropes, three hauser-laid ropes are twisted in the same direction as the yarns in a strand, to form a "cable-laid rope," or a cable.

We have confined our description to the mode of making ropes by hand, as originally practised, and as practised in many places at the present day. This will much more readily convey an idea of the nature of the processes than a description of elaborate machinery, employed for the same purpose. Indeed, these machines have become so varied that it would be scarcely possible to notice any of them here. Nearly thirty patents for improvements in rope-making were taken out between the years 1783 and 1807; and a constant succession of other patents has been since granted.

So far from complete inaction being perfect enjoyment, there are few sufferings greater than that which the total absence of occupation generally induces. Count Caylus, the celebrated French antiquary, spent much time in engraving the plates which illustrate his valuable works. When his friends asked him why he worked so hard at such an almost mechanical occupation, he replied, Je grave pour ne pas me pendre,-"I engrave lest I should hang myself." When Napoleon was slowly withering away, from disease and ennui together, on the rock of St. Helena, it was told him that one of his old friends, an ex-colonel in his Italian army, was dead. "What disease killed him?" asked Napoleon; "That of having nothing to do," it was answered. "Enough," sighed Napoleon, "even had he been an emperor."

Nature has beneficently provided, that if the greater proportion of her sons must earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, that bread is far sweeter from the previous effort than if it fell spontaneously into the hand of listless indolence. It is scarcely to be questioned then, that labour is desirable for its own sake, as well as for the substantial results which it affords; and, consequently, that it by no means lessens, but rather adds to, the general chance of happiness, that nearly all the members of society should, in some shape or other, be placed under an obligation to labour for their support.-DR. POTTER.

The fowls of Heaven,

Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which Providence assigns them. One al ne,
The redbreast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky,
In joyless fields and thorny thickets, leaves
His shivering mates and pars to trusted man
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first
Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor
Eyes all the smiling family askance,

And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is,
Till more familiar grown, the table-crumbs
Attract his slender feet.


THE Robin Red-breast is a universal favourite. His familiarity and confidence in man, together with the sweetness of his plaintive song, render him a welcome visitor wherever he goes. And as at this season of the year, pressed by cold and hunger, he ventures boldly beneath our roof, and often becomes so thoroughly domesticated amongst us as to form part of our family circle, we have abundant opportunity of watching his movements, and tracing the peculiar features in his character. Let not our readers smile: the robin, the sparrow, the lark, the wren,-all our feathered acquaint ance have their distinctive characters. According to their respective tribes and families, one is gentle and confiding, another pert and voracious; some are timid and retiring, others bold and obtrusive; but it is very evident to those who watch their proceedings, that they are not less distinguishable for characteristic differences of disposition and temperament, than for variety of form, voice, and plumage. This being the case, let us examine somewhat closely the character of our friendly little winter visitant, the red-breast.

The first thing that strikes us with respect to this bird is, his fumiliarity. The close-packed denizens of our cities may not be acquainted with the extent to which this quality is carried by the bird in situations where he may safely exhibit his confidence in man. Perhaps if we inquire a little closely into the matter, we shall find that this engaging trait in the character of our favourite is due to a cause which also prompts many a fair and pleasing action in the conduct of man, that is, self-interest. When the playful hum of insects is heard no more, and the worm is safely housed beneath the frostbound surface of the earth; when the stony fruits of the hedges begin to fail, and the young buds of trees are yet defended by their hard protecting envelope, then the robin, in common with the rest of the feathered tribes, is forced to seek far and wide for sustenance, and more confiding than they, he often ventures to take up his abode with man, and finds warmth, food, and shelter, at some hospitable hearth, from which the family are loth to drive so pretty and inoffensive a guest. he may have no better motive than his own preservation And though from the fate that befals so many of his fellows, and though we are sure that at the first indication of returning spring, he will leave the roof of his benefactor, and joyfully flee away to the neighbouring grove, yet are we glad to see the bright sparkle of his clear black and eye, to hear the sweet strains with which he rewards our hospitality.

In connexion with the familiarity of the robin, we have several pleasant recollections of our own. One winter, in particular, recurs to our memory, remarkable for its peculiar severity, and for its effects on the lower animals. During that season, we were resident in a quiet and secluded spot, where we had leisure to notice going on around us, and the results which they produced more particularly the different phenomena of nature on animal and vegetable life. Many an admired evergreen, many a cherished plant fell a sacrifice to the intense cold, and among the smaller of the feathered tribe the effects were very similar. An adventurous robin, however, resolving to escape, if possible, the miseries of

cold and hunger, established himself during the day beneath the shelter of our roof. At first, with his peculiarly rapid but interrupted hop, he ventured into the kitchen, where the warmth, and the abundance of food attracted him. Here, the bustle and the hasty movements to and fro somewhat daunted his resolution, so that he could only contrive to secure a few crumbs before he made his retreat. A second attempt, made at a more auspicious moment, was so well received by the inmates, and so encouraging to the bird, that he now fearlessly ranged every part of the room in search of food, and perching on a holly branch which adorned the wall, he sang to them a few little notes of gratitude before his departure. From this time the robin was our constant guest. Early in the morning, as soon as the door was opened, he left his roosting place in a neighbouring outhouse, to enjoy the friendly shelter of his new home. His visits, which were at first confined to the kitchen, now extended to the other parts of the house. If the door or window of the dining-room was left open for a short time, we were sure to see our little friend, who would first perform the duty of gathering up the crumbs beneath our table, and then take his favourite station on the top of an Argand lamp, which stood on the sideboard. Here he would in general content himself with watching the proceedings of the party to whose presence he had introduced himself, but occasionally we were favoured with a song, the notes of which were so sweet, clear, and yet subdued, that for the time we were wont to give precedence to his music above that of all the songsters of the spring It was now no unusual thing to find our robin in the sleeping apartments, or in those devoted to study, and when it was wished to exclude him from either of these rooms, and the window was set open for that purpose, we were sometimes highly amused to find that Lo sooner had we driven him out in that direction, than with his rapid flight he immediately entered the house again through the kitchen, and was winging his way upstairs to the very same apartment he had just been compelled to quit.

attempt to rid ourselves of an annoyance which seemed without remedy. But on the occasion of a visit of the younger members of the family to a country town about seven miles off, it occurred to the mistress of the house (whose love of order was especially outraged by the manners of the bird) that the robin might as well go too; he might possibly like the town better than the village to which we had previously sent him; at any rate, he could but come back again as before. Again we succeeded in catching the bird, and consigning him to his wicker prison. He was placed in the carriage with the children, who departed well pleased at having the charge of their little favourite. Arrived in the vicinity of the town, they opened the basket and bid adieu to the robin, half hoping, however, that they should find him at home again when they returned. In this they were deceived, for we never saw our pretty intruder again. Other birds of his kind occasionally sought and obtained our hospitality, but none were found so fearless or so troublesome as he; and none, as he did, ventured to follow the members of the family into every part of the house, and to make themselves so completely "at home." Although we ourselves have never met with another instance of such complete familiarity on the part of the robin, we have lately read of one as occurring to M Gérardin, in November, 1788. A redbreast shivering with cold, tapped at the window of that gentleman and obtained admittance. The bird perched with the utmost confidence on the back of an elbow chair near the fire. When it had recovered from the effects of the cold, its first occupation was to attempt catching the few house flies which had been awakened from their dormancy by the warmth of the apartment. It was fed upon crumbs of bread and small shreds of boiled beef; and so well did it like its lodging and its board that it not only remained during the winter, but sung its hymns of gratitude as cheerfully every morning as if it had been perched upon a twig in the spring. It was particularly familiar with M. Gérardin, and although it did not actually assist him. in his studies, it amused him while engaged in them. It perched upon his desk and sometimes upon his left hand while he was writing; in short it was more familiar than the majority of birds which are reared from the nest with the greatest care.

For a time, the excessive freedom of our guest was borne without complaint, and his visits afforded much pleasure and diversion to the younger branches of the family; but at length when every room in the house was subject to his intrusion, when he not only demanded our hospitality on his own account, but brought one of his acquaintances to share in it, and when the tarnished state of the furniture reminded us that however interesting it may be to have tame birds flying about our apartments, it is a practice wholly irreconcileable with the maxims of neatness and order; when all these things were constantly pressing upon our attention, we were at ast obliged to concur in the decision, that our presuming friend must inevitably be banished the house. But this was a thing more easily talked of than done. The doors and windows could not always be kept shut; nor could we be so constantly on the watch to exclude the bird as be was on the watch to come in. This being the case, an expedient was resorted to, which, it was hoped, might prove successful. The robin was caught, put into a wicker basket, and carried to a village, about a mile distant, where he might be likely to find another home in one of the cottages, without causing the same sort of inconve ience as among onrselves. Having set him at liberty in the immediate neighbourhood of these humble dwelngs, the messenger returned well pleased with his expedition; but long before he could reach our residence, the robin was at his former post, and taking advantage of unguarded state of the house had triumphantly acted an entrance. That it was the same bird, we Cauld not for a moment doubt, for we had, by long comonship, become so well acquainted with his form and its, that we were able to point him out as To," when associated with other birds upon the lawn. Another week was now allowed to pass by, without any



We shall have more to say respecting the habits of the robin on a future occasion; we now conclude with Dr. Jenner's lines addressed to this bird.

Come, sweetest of the feathered throng
And soothe me with thy plaintive song:
Come to my cot, devoid of fear,
No danger shall await thee here:
No prowling cat with whiskered face
Approaches this sequestered place:
No schoolboy with his willow-bow
Shall aim at thee a murderous blow:
No wily limed twig ere molest
Thy olive wing or crimson breast.
Thy cup, sweet bira! I'll daily fill
At yonder cressy, bubbling rill;
Thy board shall plenteously be spread
With crumblets of the nicest bread;
And when rude winter comes and shows
His icicles and shivering snows,
Hop o'er my cheerful hearth, and be
One of my peaceful family:
Then soothe me with thy plaintive song,
Thou sweetest of the feathered throng!


THE improvement effected by the temperance pledge in this part of the country is very striking; the people of all persuasions consider it as a great blessing. Even the public-house keepers regard it in the same light, as they say though they do not sell spirits they sell a great

deal more of everything else: the people feel their comforts increased, they can buy more meat, and more clothes, and the price of provisions has fallen. It is to be sure the most curious instance of the power of opinion; they say if they take the medal, as they phrase it, they cannot drink; and I know two men of very sober steady habits, who have taken the medal under the strongest conviction of its constraining power, and that they absolutely could not drink were they so inclined. It has happened to us to have punch refused by three men in two days. One man had fasted from five in the morning till five in the afternoon, and had walked twelve miles of most fatiguing mountain road. A meal was set before him, and punch offered, which he declined, he had taken the pledge. Another had been employed for us in a disagreeable job under a very hot sun, merely from goodnature and obligingness, and I took the tumbler to him myself, as a little acknowledgement and likely to please him more than sending it by a servant; he thanked me very much, but declined. The third had been hard at work all day, and to encourage him to make a good job a glass of punch was promised him when it was finished; he declined, having taken the pledge; he accepted very thankfully the meal of meat that was given him instead. Perhaps three stronger cases could hardly have been found: and surely ten years ago such abstinence would not have been found in the whole island. There have been fairs in the surrounding villages; they are, indeed, innumerable, and are very useful, supplying the want of shops and markets. The people return from five to seven o'clock as quietly as they go: there may be a few lovers of potheen lingering in the public-houses, but there is no noise or disturbance on the roads, and the general appearance is perfectly decent and sober.

In returning from church one evening I got into conversation with a very nice woman; her cap-border and the handkerchief tied over her cap were as white as snow, and her face and hands nearly as white, and quite as clean, and the rest of her dress very neat. She was a widow with children to support,-little means and poor health. We talked, of course, of the weather and then of the sermon, and she asked me if I did not like the evening sermon better than the morning, because it told us more of ourselves: she thought it did her more good, and right enough she was; one was a plain, kindly, gospel sermon; the other clever, lively, and amusing, with allusions and quotations, and very strong against the Roman Catholics. I was glad she felt the difference, and probably there were many more of her opinion.

I like seeing the elder women at church in caps and handkerchiefs; it is the neatest and most modest headgear I ever saw, and far better adapted to the climate than bonnets, which I know by my own uncomfortable experience are always blown to the back of the head. Welsh hats would not stand firm against our gales. The girls still wear their hair coiled behind very neatly, and some wear a little black bandeau: they put their shawls over their heads when they go out in the damp or cold, which looks very picturesque, and often elegant, when the shawl is very large. The tartans are universal, of every imaginable colour and check; and the modest demeanour of the young creatures wrapped in their warm folds as they pass on their way without so much as glancing at the passers by, is quite charming.

On Sundays the girls are ambitious of bonnets, which quite spoils their appearance, and except the old women and the police, the church has a strictly English appearance; too much so, for the bare heads and bare legs are then decked in a style so much above the week-day costume, that one can hardly recognise them, and a more equal tidiness would be much better than the too frequent holes and slatternliness for six days, and the smart bonnets and flowers, silk shawls, tight sleeves and flounces of the seventh. The taste for fashion and finery is just as strong in this obscure nook, as in St. James' Street

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We had the good fortune to meet with a wake the other night. A number of persons were seated on two benches as tight as they could be wedged; and there were neither eatables, nor drinkables, nor pipes A few were smoking, but it was evidently not a thing provided for the company. There was a great deal of chat and cheerfulness going on, and apparently a little coorting. A sort of closet door was open, and something covered with white, with two candles burning at the end, appeared, which we took to be the coffin: we inquired for the widow and children, and were told "they were in it;" and as we could not discover them in the crowd they were probably sharing the closet with the corpse. Many persons who could by no means squeeze into the room remained outside, where the jocularity was of rather a more boisterous character, but solely the consequence of animal spirits; there would be a cry to pitch such a one into the girls; whereupon, with a great "hoorush," a boy would be jerked forward into the room, and then there would be a cry to be "more dacent." We were told it was a poor wake, but that some time ago there was one held in a loft: "And that was the great gun entirely, for the loft gave way; and it was over a byre, and there were stakes in the byre, and down came the people toppling one over another; and there was scrambling, and screeching, and struggling, and many were much hurt; and sure the gun o' that wake bate everything ever I scen." About twelve the chat and laughter of our wake was fast subsiding, and we heard a man say, "Come along, Pat, out o' that, they're getting paceable now;" there was no keening, and it had more the air of a rural conversation than anything I can' liken it to. The people all say the wake is going rapidly out of use.

The police lounging about in all the little villages has rather an unpleasant appearance to an English eye; and their presence in church is sometimes curiously manifested. One Sunday there was a pause just before one of the psalms began, and as the singing is of the most awful description, when I saw the sextonwhisper to a great long policemen, and that he and another Goliath in green immediately left their seats, and proceeded up the aisle, I concluded the clerk, who acts as precentor, wanted to strengthen his choir, and wondered whether my ears would endure the increased din the men of war would make; but they stopped just short of the clerk's desk, and then returned down the aisle, nobody looking at them or their proceedings. was greatly surprised to see a little drunken man in their grasp, whom they flung from them when they reached the door, shut the door, and stalked back to their seats I don't know whether I was most surprised by the inter ference of the polish, as they call them, or by the nonchalance of the people. This was the only drunken man I had seen at the end of my first three months of residence.

So I

The police are respectable-looking men; very regular at church, and always in proper time. The irregular arrival of the congregation is very unpleasant:-to the very sermon persons continue dropping in, and they enter and establish themselves with perfect satisfaction.

One of the police duties, of course, is to clear out the public-houses, especially at fairs; and it is very satisfactory to see the calm quiet decision with which they perform the duty. When I was first in Ireland there was a strong feeling against the Peelers, as they were then rather sneeringly called, so strong, as to be constantly apparent to us in our rapid progress Now at the end of several months' quiet residence, I have neither seen or heard of any ill feeling existing towards the police throughout this part of the country.



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THE Icelanders are the genuine descendants of the old Scandinavians or Norsemen: they are rather tall, of a frank open countenance, a florid complexion, and yellow flaxen hair: the women are shorter in proportion and more inclined to corpulency than the men; "but many of them," says Henderson, "would look handsome in a modern European dress." In youth, both sexes are generally of a very weakly habit of body, which is the necessary consequence of the want of proper exercise, the poorness of their living, and the dark and confined nature of their abodes; yet it is surprising to notice the great hardships they are capable of enduring in

after life. VOL. XX

There is perhaps no country in the world where the pursuits and modes of life of all the inhabitants are so little diversified as in Iceland. The whole population is employed in rearing cattle, or in the fisheries: nor do there exist any townsmen except the small number of traders at Reikiavik, and a few other trading establishments. No manufactures are carried on as a trade. Every branch of industry is domestic, and confined chiefly to articles of clothing; such as wadmel or coarse cloth, gloves, mittens and stockings. The peasants are generally ingenious, and fabricate such articles of furniture as their simple cottages require: some even make trinkets of silver, &c., and fabricate snuff-boxes and a few other articles from the walrus tusks: they also forge implements of iron


The melancholy character of the climate and scenery has peculiarly impressed the minds of the people.

Dwelling in desolate places deprived of almost all vegetation, in dark miserable houses where the light of day can scarcely penetrate, amidst scorched rocks of rugged lava, or inclosed between the raging sea and the black cliffs, they become serious, quiet, humble, and little disposed to exert themselves, unless impelled by necessity. Influenced by these causes the Icelander of the present day closely resembles his native land, where the most destructive fires are concealed beneath its snow-clad rocks. Still and unmoved, they account it shameful to be betrayed into any violence, or to intermingle their conversation with those gestures so common in more southern countries.

But when once roused they are capable of great exertion, fatigue, and adventurous exploit, and are ready to face danger in every shape. True courage, which is never so well displayed as in long-continued patience and endurance, forms a striking feature in their character. Hospitality is also among their virtues, and although they have but little to give, they give that little freely: when the visitor receives a glass of milk or a cup of coffee at their hands, he perhaps little thinks that he is depriving a whole family of an essential article of food, or diminishing the little store which had been so carefully amassed for some family festival. Patriotism is another marked feature in their character:-wild, dreary and desolate as is their island home, yet they are devotedly

attached to it, and home-sickness is as common among the Icelandic wanderers in another, as among the children of the Alps.

Piety is no less a distinguishing feature in their character, the majestic scenery of this wild land foreing home to the soul the littleness of man, his incompetency to struggle with the mightier powers of nature, and his dependence on some higher Being. Hence those of their ancestors who rejected the cruel and absurd mythology of the Edda, did not fall into total unbelief, but turned to the worship of that God, unknown though his name might be, who created the sun. And the same spirit still animates their descendants, who, recognising the hand of Providence in all the occurrences of life, bear with resignation the numerous calamities to which they are exposed.

Christianity was introduced in the year 1000, and though combined with the superstitions of the age, and subsequently with the equally dangerous errors of popery, yet its influence was beneficial on the manners of the people During the last three hundred years the Lutheran church has been the established form. The island is divided into parishes under the spiritual jurisdiction of a bishop, resident at Reikiavik or Langanes. Under him are nineteen provosts, or deans, whose duty it is take charge of the moral and religious character of the theological students within their districts. The parishes are served by ministers, who perform divine service according to a ritual which is a translation of the Danish liturgy. The number of parochial clergy is 184, but many of them have ordained assistants. These have to supply 305 churches and a population of 50,000, scattered over 4000 or 5000 square miles. The bishop alone is paid in money: the rest of the clergy being supported by the produce of their farms, by tithes and church offerings paid in kind. Indeed, during six days of the week the clergyman is a farmer, a fisherman, or a mechanic, and on the Sabbath only can he appear in his proper character. Nothing is more common than to find him in a coarse woollen jacket and trousers, or skin boots, digging peat, mowing grass, and assisting in hay-making. The clergymen are all blacksmiths, and the most skilful farriers in the island. A smithy is attached to every parsonage house, and should any one of the numerous horses belonging to the congregation have lost a shoe, or be likely to lose one, the pastor kindles his little charcoal fire and shoes his animal.

Te estuca ton of the clergy does not greatly differ from that of the other inhabitants the elementary portion

| being conducted at home, and the course completed either by private study, or at the school of Bessestad. The students in this school, mostly peasants' sons, are from forty to fifty in number, and reside there eight months in the year; during the other four months they are assisting in the rural labours at home. The instruction at this school comprises theology, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Danish, history, geography and mathematics. When duly qualified they are licensed by the bishop to preach; but this object being attained they do not consider their studies to have terminated.

Compelled to take up their abode in some solitary place, far from all intercourse with congenial spirits, they are apparently deprived both of the means and motives for mental cultivation. No stronger instance of that inherent activity of the human mind, which makes idleness the greatest of evils, can be produced than the number of Icelandic clergymen who, amidst all discouragements, continue labouring at works which they can hardly conceive will ever see the light, or procure to them either profit or fame. The long continuance of winter may partly account for this fact, there being no other means left of escaping the weariness of the protracted gloom; but it is principally to be ascribed to the peculiar mental constitution and habits of the nation*.

The education of the people is, as we have said, conducted at home by the parents: the clergyman visits each family from time to time, and examines the young pupils. Indeed, he has the power of preventing the marriage of any female who cannot read. The information thus acquired includes history in its most extended sense, languages, and the elements of many departments of knowledge; and it is not uncommon for many a peasant to write Latin not only with accuracy but even with elegance.

Our frontispiece will convey a general idea of the dress of the Icelanders, which our readers will agree, is far from being inelegant. Their houses never exceed one story in height: the walls are built of drift wood, of stone or lava, to the height of about four feet. The roof is often constructed of whale ribs, (which are more durable than wooden rafters,) and covered in with turf: this yields its annual crop of grass and is carefully cut during the hay-making season. From the door a long passage conducts to the principal room where the family sit, eat and sleep. The kitchen, dairy, and other offices are attached to this room. In most houses, glazed windows are unknown: holes in the roof covered by a thin skin admit light, and one hole left open affords egress to the smoke. The beds consist of open frames filled with sea-weed, or feathers, over which a few folds of wadmel and a parti-coloured counterpane are thrown. The floor is the damp earth; and the bones of the whale or a horse's skull furnish seats.


Some of the articles of the Icelanders' food were mentioned in a former article. A favourite beverage with them is sour whey mixed with water, and they seldom travel without a supply of it. Butter, however, is the chief article among the products of each little farm, and of this they eat largely. They esteem it most when by being kept for several years, it has attained a state of rancidity which would cause us to reject it. Mackenzie says, "The smell and taste of the sour butter are very disagreeable to English palates, though Icelanders delight in it. When there is a scarcity of butter, the people eat tallow; I have seen children eating lumps of it, with as much pleasure as our little ones express when sucking a piece of sugar-candy."

The employments of the Icelanders are regulated by the seasons, summer and winter, and nowhere, perhaps. is the change more complete. In winter, the family rises about six or seven o'clock. One is sent to look after the sheep, another to attend the cattle; some are busy making ropes of wool or horse-hair; one is in the smithy making horse-shoes and other articles. Spinning is performe

* Edinburgh Cabinet Library, article "Iceland."

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