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  fluctuations of the markets, for their fish is sold
  daily by auction. Big catches mean, as a rule,
  low prices, and vice-ivisn, so a bumper season
  need not necessarily be better — if so good — for
  the fishermen, in a pecuniary sense, than a
  succession of small or moderate hauls. And,
  of course, the quality of the fish and the state
  of the markets in the South and elsewhere
  must regulate the ideas of buyers, thus re-acting
  in turn upon the gains of the fishermen.
  Formerly, the bulk of the season's catch was
  cured for the Continental markets, but within
  recent years, the home trade iu fresh fish has
  increased enormously. Added to this, the
  great development of " kippering," or smoke
  drying, and the decreased demand from the
  Continent, have caused the curing branch of
  the industry to assume considerably less
  important proportions.
  After June, the herring fishing is carried on
  with more or less success by local boats. A
  large number of Lewismen make an annual
  expedition to the East Coast of Scotland, where
  they sometimes do exceedingly well, enabling
  them, upon their return, to pay their debts to
  the Stornoway shopkeepers, and lay by some-
  thing against the hard winter. It is Cjuite a
  Godsend to the island generally when success
  thus meets their efibrts, and, conversely, a
  general calamity when fate is unkind towards
  In winter, line fishing for cod, ling, and
  haddock is largely prosecuted by the native
  fishermen. The incidental dangers, owing to
  the terrific gales, and the want of proper har-
  bour accommodation, are great and frequent,
  and everj' now and again one hears of fishing
  disasters on the coast of Lewis, as often as not
  of distressing magnitude.
  But the Lewisman is not only a fisherman :
  he is also a crofter, or tenant of a small holding.
  When he is away at the fishing, his wife and
  daughters attend to the land. For the Lewis
  woman is not a puny, small-boned creature ;
  but very much the reverse. Her industry is
  untiring, and its results are amazing. She is
  a true helpmeet, and it is well for the husbands
  and fathers that such is the case. I'ndoubtedly,
  the wife is the 'better half in a particular
  sense, for she does more work iu the year than
  her husband. She cuts the peat fuel, tills the
  ground, and, withal, never fails in the wifely
  duties of more highly civilised communities.
  She looks decidedly picturesque in her blue
  petticoat, wincey bodice, and gaudy handker-
  chief adorning the head. Her brown healthy
  complexion tells of constant exposure to the
  weather, and her soft eyes have the timid look
  of a frightened fawn. Her big creel of fish
  or eggs, strapped over her shoulders, appears
  a formidable load for a tramp of perhaps a
  dozen miles or njore, but she carries the weight
  as unconcernedly as she dispenses with the use
  of boots and stockings ; and she whiles away
  the time by crooning softly a plaintive Gaelic
  melody, to which the incessant click of her
  knitting-needles forms the accompaniment.
  Fishing and crofting combined too often
  barely suffice to keep the wolf from the Lewis-
  man's door, and his puverty is in many cases
  l)oth intense and chronic. The congestion of
  the rural population in Lewis is appalling, and
  is rendered more acute by the existence of a
  landless class, known as cottars or squatters,
  who ' squat ' on the crofts of their relatives,
  thus accentuating the cramped conditions of
  Kelp burnmg, once an important industry,
  has fallen into desuetude since barilla came
  into use for the manufacture of soap and glass;
  and the iodine mai-ket is now almost entirely
  in the hands of Chili.
  In certain parts of the island, Scandinavian
  characteristics are very pi-omiuent. The men
  in those parts are distinguishable from the
  purely Celtic types by their greater height and
  by their fairness of hair. Evidences of Norse
  settlement iu the island are apparent in the
  numerous place-names wnich have a Scandi-
  navian termination. The names of several
  townships end iu 'host,' meaning, in Norse,
  " an inhabited place " : a name such as Swain-
  bost, a compound of ' Sweyn ' and ' bost ' — is
  singularly suggestive of Viking days
  (Generally speaking, the Lewisman has a
  splendid physique. This was commented upon
  by H. R H. the Duke of Edinburgh, who
  publicly declared that the Lewis Naval Reserve
  force was the finest body of men he had seen,
  during his tour of inspection throughout the
  kingdom, some years ago. At a time when
  really good sailors are iu such recjuest for our
  Navy, the Admiralty might well pay special
  attention to the island as a recruiting ground
  Ukely to yield fruitful results. Lewismen are
  born sailors and would prove second to none in
  maintaining the traditions of the Navy. For
  the Army they have lost all taste, and although
  at one time the Lewis contingent was one of
  the most important in, more particularly, the
  78th Regiment ;Seaforth Highlanders) the
  recruiting sergeant now finds the island a
  hopeless field of operations. They willingly
  join the militia, but their attachment to home,
  or other reasons, preclude willing enlistment in
  the regulars.
  The home of the average Lewis crofter is of
  primitive simplicity. The walls are of loose
  stones, and the roof is of thatch, secured by
  ropes of heather, which are weighted by stones

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