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a few scattered Iceland-built houses; but, with the exception of these, almost all the
fit for a kitchen: such as parsley, celery, thyme, marjoram, cabbages, parsnips, carrots, turnips, peas, beans, in short, all sorts of greens wanted in a family. I can vouch, with the greatest truth, that I never saw a garden with better things of the kind in it. They were all of good growth, and had all the properties that good garden-stuff ought to have. They were all in such plenty, that considerable parcels of them were dried and laid by for the winter, such as sugar-peas, and the like. I, myself, have taken up a turnip that weighed two pounds and a half. Hereby, I do not intimate that all were so big, but, only, that they are of a very good size. They have gooseberrybushes, that produce fine and ripe berries."—I should be sorry to contradict any assertion of Mr. Horrebow's (who, in many respects, is entitled to considerable attention, and who appears to me to endeavor to separate truth from error, in several instances), to which he says, he was an eye witness; but this I must be allowed to say, that I never heard at all, in the island, of many of the vegetables which he mentions, as coming to such perfection; and, as to gooseberries, I have the authority of the Tatsroed, for stating, tliat. they cannot be cultivated to the least advantage. Kerguelen, in confuting Mr. Horrebow's afrbmation, that he ate currants from the garden at Bessested, inclines too much to the opposite extreme, when he says, " I believe it to be as difficult to raise turnips in Iceland, as pine-apples at Paris."
houses of Reikevig, are of Norwegian con^ struction, and, indeed, principally inhabited by Danes; so that this cannot properly be called an Icelandic town: nor is there such a thing in the whole country; for, depending, as the natives must do, almost entirely upon the scanty produce of their own island, and requiring a considerable tract of country for the maintenance of a few half-starved sheep, such societies, as would form a town, or even a village, would be highly prejudicial and unnecessary. There are merchants, who reside in other parts of the coast; but by far the greatest number of Icelanders bring their produce to this place; some Coming from the most northern and eastern parts. Iron is what they are most anxious td procure, for their horses shoes, their scythes^ and implements for cutting turf and digging. Those who live in the interior of the country, and have no opportunity of going down to the coast in the fishing season, take back, in exchange for their tallow and skins, the dried heads of the cod-fish, and such of the fish themselves, as are injured by the rain, and not fit for exportation. These form the principal article of their food, and are Vol. i. p
eaten raw, with the addition of butter, which, after the whey has been expressed, is packed down in chests, and kept for several years, Their drink is either water, or sour milk, or whey, and sometimes, but rarely^ new milk; from their cows or ewes.. Skiur, which is. thick curd, may also be reckoned a common. article of food: this they prefer after it has, acquired a sour, and even a rancid, tastej though, when fresh, or when it has attained only a slight degree of acidity, and is eaten, with cream and sugar, it is really an enviably article of luxury. The country immediately about Reikevig, and, indeed, for twenty Q» • thirty miles from it, is ugly, barren, and scarcely to be called hilly. An extensive fresh-water lake comes close up to the back part of the town, but is on every other side, except that nearest the town, surrounded by bog, with here and there a piece of rock interspersed. Not a tree or shrub is any where to be seen, and all attempts that have been made in the most sheltered parts of the place to cultivate firs and other hardy trees, have universally failed, as have those which have been made for the cultivation of corn. This lake empties itself into the sea by a
small stream which runs by the side of the town, in a course of not more than a few hundred yards. Towards the east side of the lake, on a gentle elevation, where a tolerably rich herbage is produced, a prodigious number of great pieces of rock are scattered about, in the utmost disorder: some of them are of vast size, three or four times the height of a man, and about as wide as they are high; yet there is no mountain in the neighborhood from which they could have rolled; nor could I find any cavities near the place on which they stood, that would render it probable they were thrown up by an earthquake; neither do they appear, just in that spot, to have undergone the operation of fire, although some rocks, close by, have evidently been in a state of fusion. On the shore, in several places near the town, are many rudely-formed basaltic columns, standing close together 4 in a perpendicular direction, some from one to two and three feet in diameter: they are obscurely angular, and, on the top, are generally either concave or convex. They appeared to me exactly of the same nature as those of StafTa, and are found, also, on many of the islands near Reikevig. Being
anxious to visit the boiling spring, about two miles and a half to the eastward of Reikevig, the steam from which was pointed out to me from a little eminence near the town, I set out about one o'clock for that purpose; but, after getting enveloped in a labyrinth of bogs during a heavy rain, I was obliged to return without being able to reach it, and with but a few plants, which I had not found the preceding day. This, however, was not to be wondered at, since the most part of the tract I went over was either barren rock, or a morass, where the grasses showed no appearance of coming into flower. Near the shore, I saw several different sorts of the duck tribe, and, especially, a number of the eider-fowl. Cormorants were abundant. Cast upon the beach, were scarcely any but the more common sea-weeds of Scotland, as Fucus palmatus, esculentus, digitatus, ciliatus, dentatus, purpurascens, saccharinus, and a variety of the latter, with a twisted frond, plumosus, flagelliformis, rubens, and Conferva foeniculacea of Hudson. Fucus ramentaceus, which has hitherto been found no where but in Iceland, was the only rare species, and this was here in great