Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

existed for centuries, any difference in construction being accidental, as in the exact form of the bowl or the length of the shank.

The skin bottle, which is well known in the south of Europe, and in the East, is not unusual on the West Coast; and while it is in process of preparation one may often see it hanging inflated at the cottage doors, but turned inside out. The beautiful allusions in Scripture, to bottles of this material, are well known ; * but it is not so well known that bottles and

other vessels of leather were common in this country three centuries ago. The black jackt was a huge leathern jug, and the gill was a small leathern drinking cup, with a handle of the same material, accompanying it. Hence we have a well known nursery rhyme, I founded on the double meaning of

“Jack and Gill.” Along with these 69. Flagon resembling the was the leathern bottle, or as it was

invariably called “the leathern bottél :"

[graphic]

“ Jack."

• Josh. ix. 4. The Gibeonites“ did work wilily, and took wine bottles "old, and rent, and bound up.”—Psal. cxix. 83. “I am become like a bottle “in the smoke.”—Matt. ix. 17. “ Neither do men put new wine into old “bottles.”

+ Each took a smack

Of the cold black jack,
Till the fire burned in his brain;

'Tis merry in hall,

When beards wag all,
But we'll ne'er see the like again.

Jack and Gill

Went up the hill,

To fetch a pail of water. In the Pictorial Vocabulary, there is a rude drawing of both, the "jack" under the name “ Olla, a flaget,” and “ gill" under that of “ Cifus,

solid alle manyr copys.” There is on the same page a larger "olla,” with a flower placed in it; but this latter is evidently not of leather. The Spanish word olla denotes a pot such as meat is boiled in; but on the West Coast the name is applied to small earthenware cups with two handles, each of which would contain about a wine-glass full.

70. Jack and Gill.

refund

whose praises were sung in almost every shire in England, * and which might have been seen till within the last twentyfive years, holding the family supply of ink in remote country houses. It was superseded, however, in common use, by the tin flask, the stone bottle, the black bottle, the clear glass bottle, &c.

But, the term uter meant something more than a skin bottle, it signified an inflated hide, used for the purpose of crossing rivers. These must have been useful in passing through a primitive country, when rivers were too deep for fording or too broad for swimming, and when there was no coracle or “hollow oak” at hand. The inflated skin, which formed the traveller's pillow by night and his seat by day, was his substitute for a boat; and its habitual use may be inferred in some degree from the proverbial English expression, applied to a man who acts independently, that he is “able to swim “ without bladders.” If our pictorial illustrations of ancient manners were as minute as those of other countries,t we should no doubt see, both in fact and manner, this use of the inflated skin by our ancestors.

Now on the West Coast, there is a species of boat called a bolsa. It is made of the skins of two sea lions or large seals, inflated and placed side by side. Boards to form a rude deck are then laid across these, and the plugs which close the holes

* There is a short Somersetsbire version in Dizon's Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England; and a longer one in Chappell's National English Airs. The burden is

And I wish his soul in heaven may dwell,

Who first invented the leather bottél! In Alfric's Colloquy, the shoemaker is represented as saying, “Ego emo cutes "et pelles, et preparo eas arte mea, et facio ex eis utres flascones,

et nemo vestrum vult hiemare sine mea arte.” In Neckam's treatise De Utensilibus, he describes utres, cadi, dolea, ciphi, &c., as necessary for the cellar; and John de Garlande gives the etymology of “onophora” thus-—" De “corio facta, et dicuntur ab onos quod est vinum, and foros, quod est ferre, quia “intus vinum defertur." Skin bottles appear to have been in common use till the fifteenth century.

+ Layard's Illustrations of Nineveh, Crossing a River.”

[ocr errors]

for inflation are in front of this frame, as it were in the backs of the animals' necks. These are not for use on rivers, but on the Pacific ; and though they may not perhaps bear a heavy load, they pass in safety through places of great difficulty. They are said to be similar in structure and use, to the catamaran of the southern and eastern coasts of India.

A species of boat early in use in this country was that which was carved out of a solid oak. Naval architecture was in its infancy; yet the interior was not burned out as Friday recommended to Robinson Crusoe, but carefully chopped and chiselled out. Though the specimens which are turned up in bogs and marshes are preserved with great difficulty, from their tendency to split, warp, and rot, they are still sufficiently numerous to be well known. By a careful reference to books, probably more than a hundred might be noticed which have been found at various places. It may be sufficient, however, to enumerate a few. In England, such canoes have been found imbedded in the soil of the Medway and the Arun ; and at the draining of Martin Mere near Southport, on the Lancashire coast, so many as eight were found. In Scotland, they have been found in Lochar Moss, by the Clyde, far up in the city of Glasgow where water formerly flowed, and at numerous other places. In Ireland, they have been found in the counties of Down, Wexford and Monaghan ; in the rivers Brosna, Bann, Boyne and Shannon, and in numerous “blind lakes," or quagmires formed by the gradual filling up of small lakes. The one from the Medway was in such good preservation, that it was used as a canoe ; but then Sir James Ware, who died only two hundred years ago, tells us that they were in use in his time. They have no seats, and seldom any appearance of rowlocks; so that they were probably moved forward by a double or alternate paddle. In some specimens, the stern was moveable, and slipped into a groove like the sliding lid of a

box. This could be made water-tight, when necessary, by a wadding of grass and clay; or it could be removed on the river's bank, and the accumulated water emptied out. The adjoining woodcut shows one of this kind. It was found imbedded in a marsh, the site of which had formerly been overflowed, at a depth of twelve feet; and it contained “a “small bowl for baling, and also two rollers, apparently for

getting the canoe to sea." It is 22 feet long, 21 broad, and 11 inches deep. It must have been hewn from a tree between 30 and 40 feet long, and at least four feet in diameter.*

ANS

71. Boat with moveable stern.

Another variety is that which is shewn here. It is sharp at both ends, flat bottomed, and with knees or pieces of wood left in three places to strengthen the whole. It is 22 feet 3 inches long, 12 inches broad, and 8 inches deep on the inside.t

72. Boat, sharp at both ends.

Believing that objects of this kind were antiquities only, I was not a little surprised and pleased to see a whole fleet of them drawn up on shore at Caldera, in North Chile. I reckoned twenty-nine, but was told that there were several more stowed away in yards. I do not know the wood of which these were made, but it was light and porous. The manufacture consisted in scooping out the centre, and giving a slight conoid, or fish-head form to each of the extremities.

I have made no mention in the preceding sections, of the

[blocks in formation]

lasso and the bolas, because, so far as I know, neither of them was ever commonly used on English soil. But the lessons of experience shew us daily, how very little there is new under the sun; and that it would be dangerous to assert, positively, that they were quite unknown to our forefathers.

IX. CONCLUSION. The manners and customs of the past, like the dead whom we have buried out of our sight, are soon forgotten. Almost all our thoughts are absorbed by the present; and civilization seems to lay upon us an additional load from day to day. Mankind have little leisure to speculate on the future, and but small inclination to prepare for it, in its best sense ; while only a few have either time or taste to make a minute retrospect of any portion of the past.

There is a period at which both books and objects become comparatively valueless. It is soon after they have been superseded by better ones; and they become first unfashionable, second useless, and third mere lumber. But age, as in the case of wine, brings them up to a new standard of value; for they rise in importance with their rarity, especially if they can be used in illustration of a principle. It is during this intervening period that they disappear; that an acquaintance with them is regarded, by a certain class of vulgar minds, as impairing one's claim to respectability; and that it requires the privilege of the antiquary, or observer and collector, to allow of their being noticed.

Sometimes several implements, indicating successive stages of social progress, and in the same department, have passed away; and it is interesting to see one or more of these exemplified at the present day. Thus, the triturating stone and quern have found their places in the museum, and wind and water mills will also pass away as they are gradually superseded by steam.-In like manner, the spindle and whori,

« PoprzedniaDalej »