[From A Second Manx Scrapbook]
ALFRED NUTT, in his Presidential Address to the Folklore Society in 1898 (Folk-lore, vol. ix.), on " The Discrimination of Racial Element in the Folk-lore of the British Isles," said :-" Of all the Gaelic-speaking countries the Isle of Man has probably the largest admixture of Scandinavian blood. The commingling of the two most imaginative and romantic strains of our mixed population would, one must think, have produced a specially rich folk-literature. Yet as a matter of fact if such ever existed it would seem to have utterly died out. Man has retained customs and superstitions in fair abundance and vitality ; stories of the saga type, anecdotes, that is, about supernatural and half-supernatural beings, are fairly numerous, but romantic tales and ballads have disappeared. The only cause I can detect is severance from the main streams of Gaelic traditional literature." The Isle of Man, he continued, is a remarkable exception from the close community in subject-matter and treatment found throughout the rest of the Gaelic- speaking area of the United Kingdom.
The lore of the Island is an excellent illustration of his more general remark, that little difference is visible between the practices and beliefs of the Celt and those of the Teuton. The question is now, he avers, " Aryan or non-Aryan, substratum or top- dressing ? " Implied in this question, it may be added, is another: How much did the "Aryans " adopt everywhere from civilizations that preceded them ? The answer must surely be : Very much. But these wider questions must remain untouched in the present work, which is chiefly one of collection, and only in a minor degree of criticism and comparison, of the Islanders' " customs and superstitions, anecdotes about supernatural and half -supernatural beings," and the sub-cerebral reflexes called visions and premonitions.
In the early light of the world She sat remotely at the top of the Irish Sea, gazing into its polished silver mirror and combing out her golden locks to its winds ; rapt, yet ready to glide from her rocky perch and vanish at the sight of a distant sail. Did the mirror give her a glimpse of her present plight ? Most likely not. If it had done so, she would never have let herself be captured and tamed.
For the Isle of Man is in like case with Cornwall and parts of North Wales. Not only have her beauty and charm attracted the holiday - making and the residential stranger, but her own people have discovered in them a source of easier profit than the natural industries of the Island ever afforded. This misorientation has accelerated and accentuated the social changes which no country, however small and politically unimportant it may be, can hope to escape. The total effects may be less conspicuous in the national soul than in the face of the land, but they are not less destructive of its unique qualities.
These agencies notwithstanding, a leaven yet remains, for good and for less good, of the antique spirit, and some of its signs can be read in the present volume. They are, for the most part, but trifling indications of what lies beneath the surface, for as the scenery is in scale with the size of the Island so are its stories of the supernatural. It has produced nothing like " Tadhg O'Kane and the Corpse," for example, nor anything which owes, as that tale does, somewhat to conscious art in the telling. Nor is brevity compensated for by poetry or colour. Manx folk-lore wears neither the glittering spangles of Irish fancy nor the silken textures of Hebridean romance ; yet here and there a patch of either is apt to relieve the soberness of its homespun.
In order that these fragments should not become posthumous fragments, a fate to which more valuable material of all kinds is everywhere prone, they have been sifted out of note -books and some attempt has been made to classify them. The previous volume of this series particularized many haunted spots and their haunters ; in the earlier chapters of the present collection the visions, being of a different kind, are arranged, not topographically, but in accordance with their own character and content. This method has been more troublesome, and the truth of Sir John Rhys's complaint in the Manx section of his Celtic Folklore, that " it is difficult to arrange these scraps under any clearly classified headings," will be borne in upon the reader of these less authoritative pages also. One subject insists on overlapping another. Second Sight appears in the particulars of some of the cures performed by witches and charmers. The witches have been credited with certain habits of the fairies. The fairies again are not always clearly distinguishable from guardian spirits, or from evil spirits which have never been humanly embodied, or from the spirits of the dead. Nor are intelligent spirits fully differentiated from the automatic phenomena more commonly termed ghosts.
What a story-teller calls a ghost may turn out to be the manifestation of an intelligence which evinces a moral intention-a ghost in the Shakespearian tradition. For example : a farm-labourer was walking home in the small hours to Dalby from Peel, whither he had journeyed to get some medicine for his sister. He was a man who was sometimes given to drinking, but he was sober enough that night, for the public- houses were closed before he started from Dalby. On his way back he was followed from Shenvalley to near Dalby (a distance of three miles) by a " ghost " which kept singing hymns and exhorting him to lead a better life. As he passed Ballahutcheon, on the outskirts of Dalby, the invisible one tried to push him up the steps leading towards the house, but he resisted, and was then allowed to go home without further molestation. In earlier life he had had some discreditable connexion with Ballahutcheon, and the inference was that the " ghost " wanted him to make amends. Is such a manifestation as this to be classed as a ghost, a guardian spirit, a working of the conscience, or a mere phantasy of the brain ?
In a more general way, although some portion of the great mass of superstition is admittedly the ruins of various systems of religious worship, ritual and ceremonial,* much remains which can never have been other than incoherent. This is probably the oldest element of all, a parasite of pagan faiths, both dead and living, as well as of Christianity. It is the fetichistic and spiritualistic naturalism which still survives vigorously in modern life, and it has been mixed into every other kind of superstition, including the misapprehensions of the Spiritualists.
The exceptional experiences of Second Sight are at least as real to the seers as the experiences of their and our ordinary lives, and their visions, premonitions and dreams which are afterwards borne out by events must have greater significance for us, spiritually and psychically, than the visions of haunting spectres. With the latter there is more room for pure hallucination, for optical illusion, for practical joking, and for other sources of error, apart from the quite honest transformation into personal experiences of tales heard in early childhood ; a transformation which is occasionally to be suspected in elderly narrators.
The obvious weakness of stories of the Sight and of visionary experiences in general, considered as evidence, is that most of them rest on the testimony of a single individual. On the other hand, their striking resemblances in all ages and countries show them to be founded on the facts of human psychology ; and many weak threads make a strong texture.
Each of us spins spider-like his own life-web , or we are flies entangled in the universal web, and Death is the spider. We are unhappy performing animals, or temporarily - embarrassed angels. We are the bubbles on a rushing river, or the maggots in a rotten cheese. Whichever of these fascinating alternatives best represents the philosophical truth (and something might be said for each of them), we must assume, to be in a position to discuss these matters, that we are to some extent separate from each other and from our surroundings-that we exist at all, that is to say. On the other hand, if we are, in the conscious life between birth and death, unexplored islets in an uncharted sea, at the least we are peaks of a single submerged continent, and basically united ; hence arises our occasional ability to communicate with each other through a medium other than that of the senses. It is with these obscure communications that Chapter III. will be found to deal. I trust that no one will interpret them as evidence for any long continuance of what is called " the personality " after death, for in my opinion they will not bear that interpretation.
As regards the contents of Chapter V., trials for, or inquiries into, Manx witchcraft may still remain to be discovered which will upset the assumption there put forward, namely, that the witches have never been more than spell-binders and peddlers of cures and charms ; that they never were, as in Teutonic tradition, mirk-riders hurtling through the gloom over house-tops and tree-tops to secret assignations with the Evil One.
To what extent, it may be asked, do the beliefs and practices recorded in Chapters IV. and VII.- the divinations and customary observances, the superstitions concerning animals and plants, and so forth-which were living a generation or two ago, survive to-day ? The answer is: as regards the practices, hardly at all. As regards the beliefs it is more difficult to speak definitely, for such ideas lurk in a twilight of the mind which is darkness by comparison with the dazzling stream of impressions now reaching the consciousness of even the most remotely-dwelling country-folk. But though I have usually confined myself to the past tense in these pages, vestiges of the old habits of thought do still cling to the shadowy under-aide of Manx mentality. Those who harbour them may not fully realize their presence. Ideas of this kind hibernate, or lie buried alive, without quite ceasing to exist. They have faded into ghosts, many of them, but ghosts which are capable of walking on occasion.
An amusing instance of their obstinacy was related to me by a friend a few months ago. An enlightened Andreas man, to testify to his freedom from the trammels of religious faith, solemnly burnt his Bible in the presence of witnesses. The dreadful news spread quickly through the Island. When he was in Douglas one market day the mob beg followed him about, shouting " Burnt the Bible ! Burnt the Bible ! " Half furious and half frightened, he halted in Strand Street, drew a circle around him with his stick, and stood inside it, the eye-witness tells me, defying the children to do their worst. An appreciative crowd gathered round, and for the rest of his life his nickname was " Burnt-the-Bible."
If I had collected more continuously and aggressively I would have been able to reproduce a larger amount of material, but it would not have been anything like proportionately larger, and might have been, in parts, less trustworthy ; for often the quarry is shy and easily scared. It is, perhaps, needless to add that all such inquiries, except those touching upon warnings and prophetic dreaming, bring less and less to light as time goes on. A native collector who devoted himself to the work a couple of hundred years ago, or one who wrote then out of the fulness of his personal knowledge and experience, could have given us a dozen volumes of the size of the Englishman Waldron's. And would we not have been grateful for their illumination of much that is now obscure by reason of its fragmentary state ?
A moderate quantity of folk-lore, both explicit and implied, could be collected from Kelly's and Cregeen's early 19th-century dictionaries of the Manx language; Cregeen especially is rich in proverbial wisdom. His naivety is extreme, but not wholly regrettable ; when his definitions leave us puzzled, and his etymologies and archaeology, like Kelly's, leave us flabbergasted, we can study his freely-interspersed proverbs, or enjoy his declaration that " this, and the two words following, I have never seen or heard, but as the language stands in need of them and the words are purely Manks and appropriate, I have inserted them." Possibly there were occasions when Kelly was less candid.
As a specimen of the folk-lore lurking in Kelly's columns take his first definition of Scuit : " a small pipe or gun made of elder tree." What for ? He tells us no more. But it was-perhaps still is-a boys' pastime to gouge the pith out of pieces of elder bough and use them to blow water, flour or meal at each other, as the Malays (or was it the Dyaks ?) blew poisoned darts through their sumpitans.
Under Rueg, again, though he gives more details, they are only enough to apprise us of some tradition which has perished. a
Who was the Eric ny Moaney who appears in Kelly's work, and how came her name to be immortalized, more or less, in a dictionary ?
Who was the Fer Driaght in the Manx proverb which Cregeen cites under Sheayn ? " Peace (or blessing) on thy house and on thy lodging, the Chain-man is at thy door,"
What is hereafter set down is supplementary to the previous collections of others, which are quoted only in occasional comparisons and elucidations. That the personal experiences and the scraps of old traditions and practices of which I have availed myself were imparted to me in full sincerity and good faith I have no doubt whatever. What I have doubted I have omitted. Concerning the other half of my duty to the reader I can say that I have reported them with equal fidelity. If the tellers' own words have not often been given fully and literally, the chief reason is one that will be familiar to anybody who has made such a collection. It is the reason, likewise, why the words of extempore public speakers are not reported verbatim.
In quoting and alluding to passages which cast light on Manx matters I may have carried the practice of reference-giving to the degree of a fault and a nuisance, but no one is obliged to look up any of the sources indicated. If a reference is of use to a single reader its insertion is, I think, justified.
Finally, readers have a right to know how far a writer believes in the marvels he records. To see a humorous side to one here and there is not to contemn it ; while only a degree less cheap and easy than the facetious attitude of mind is the non-committal or ironical pose that is so often affected towards such matters. To put it broadly, my personal opinion is that many of these things have been seen and heard, and will be seen and heard again ; that all of them have been believed in; and that faith in many of them will awake from its present slumber. Concerning the visions other than those due to telepathy and to Second Sight in its strictest definition, and including much seeing of fairies, the explanation I would offer is, in brief, this : that both the dead and the yet unborn consist of a homogeneous substance of which we, the living, are constituted. This our eyes, when externalizing it in visionary experiences, break up into, or apprehend as, human-like and animal-like figures. These are certainly " seen." But then comes the too-familiar question, are they " real " ? Do they exist ? That I must leave to others to decide, if they can. Though I think I know the signification of the verb "to see," I am not at all sure of that of the verb " to be." And after all has been said, a definition defines, not the thing itself, but merely the mental grasp of the definer ; just as do, from age to age, the explanations of the Universe vouchsafed to us by Science.
Folk-lore, as Leland noticed in Italy, tends to run in families ; one household will have more to impart than twenty others. It is an inheritance which becomes a mental habit. The same is even truer of the visionary faculty and of psychic powers in general. Where I have met with these in the Isle of Man they have hardly ever occurred alone ; several members of the family have been thus endowed in various ways and in different degrees. These gifted ones, some of them the valued friends of many years, cannot decently be paraded here, even behind a veil of anonymity ; I can only thank them for what they have been generous enough to confide to me. Of other personalities something may be said which will convey a notion of the kind of vessel from which various descriptions of Manx folk-lore may still be drawn.
Under the King's representative, Manx society consists of two classes, a middle and a lower, which merge into each other without any clearly-marked boundary-line. Many of the better-class families which are no longer engaged in agriculture are nevertheless not removed from the land by more than a couple of generations. On the other hand, the crofter and the farm labourer of to-day live in much better circumstances than they did even a couple of generations ago. They are still " of the soil," certainly, but that is an expression which had more significance up to a century ago than it has now, when both tenants and " boys " change their farms every few years. As life was then lived, how could the folk of the land, and not the Manx land only, help clinging to the spot in which they had been born and reared ? It was the instinctive physical clinging of the young child to its mother, for they and the land were made up of the same elements. Their food was drawn by their own efforts out of the soil beneath their feet, save what they drew out of the neighbouring sea ; and over fires of the peat, ling and gorse grown on their soil they cooked it. Their coats and breeches, bodices, petticoats and stockings were made of wool from its sheep, dyed with its plants and woven with their own hands ; the carranes which protected their feet were made of the hides of their own goats and calves. They dwelt within the soil as well as upon it, for their houses were walled with sods and floored with beaten clay. They mended their nets and tools by the light of candles of pith from its rushes caked with the tallow of its animals, and they slept on beds of its ling and straw. Like the nets which caught their fish and the linen which covered their living bodies, the shrouds they were buried in were woven of flax grown in their own fields, soaked in their own wells and pools, and prepared in their own houses ; and their dead bodies helped to nourish the soil which had nourished them in life, for burial was formerly more strictly local than it is now.
By virtue of these ancient intimacies with the earth of their Island the country people were as sib to it as its rabbits, almost as firmly rooted as its bushes, save for the seasonal calls to the fishing. They were less foreign to their own particular corners of it than the water of the streams and springs for which it was but a stage of a long journey between sea and sky.
Though several years have elapsed since I met some of the subjects of the following sketches, most of them are, I believe and sincerely trust, still living. If any are not, it is because they have trespassed too far beyond the allotted span. All, with the exception of the last, were pleasant to know, and their age was the index of their charm ; for the Manx character ripens and mellows strikingly in its autumn. Though in youth and middle life Manxmen may not discover greater qualities of solidity or attractiveness than are native to other parts of the Kingdom, many of them do in the course of time, especially in the country districts, develop or revert to an almost childlike sweetness and innocence whose outward and visible sign is the candour of their whiskers. If at the start they are handicapped with a slightly heavier burden of original sin than the surrounding nationalities-I do not assert positively that it is so-eventually they overhaul their brother-pilgrims both Celtic and Saxon, and if they could live to be old enough they would surely catch up with the Saints themselves. Withal they are shrewd, sturdy fellows, well able to stand up for themselves wherever Fortune may be pleased to cast them. The naivety of old age towards God and the world is commoner in the men than in the women. In either it is a grace which is likely to be accompanied by a respectful and affectionate remembrance of old times and old ways. With it there is the shy reticence of a child. A slight droop of the head or a faint flutter of the eyelids is the only signal which tells an inquiring stranger that he is on the track of something. He may win to it with patience, or he may not.
Between twenty and thirty years ago I was fortunate enough to pass a good deal of time in the company of a Manxman of the old school, who had been born and reared in the South of the Island, had spent most of his life in England building houses, and was finally settled again on Manx soil, there to end his days in peace. I learned to know him for a thoroughly sincere, upright, kindly and God-fearing man, generous in prosperity and cheerful in adversity. His word on any matter of which he possessed first-hand knowledge I accepted absolutelywith the always needful allowance for human fallibility. He was, in short, a specimen of the best type of elderly Manxman. When days were dark for him and life a harder struggle than befitted his age, he could often be heard coming down the hill after evening milking, tired with his twelve hours' labourfor he had but little helpsinging away like a schoolboy on the first day of the holidays, except that he usually sang a hymn.
In the course of our long talks in stable and cowhouse, in hayfield and cornfield, on the high sheep-runs and in his riverside garden, and by his fireside after work was over for the day, I came to learn his opinions on most of the subjects which occupied his thoughts, and enjoyed listening to his stories, both Manx and English in subject, as much as he enjoyed telling them. Though English newspaper-topics provided a good deal of material for his discourse, the keenness and detachment of his mind were equally evident in discussing matters which interested me more deeply. To his personal reminiscences and to the traditions he had received in youth from his elders I owe a number of items which are scattered through these pages.
John, son of the gilly of Christ, is a man who has been used to solitarines for the greater part of his life, keeping sheep on hills where only sheep and birds are to be seen, or a rarely- met shepherd like himself. The thatched house of two rooms and aloft, where he lived alone after his sister's death, was reached by a green track, the offshoot of an offshoot from a narrow, unmade roadway. Around it lay half a dozen small fields that showed traces of having borne meagre crops at some previous period. Above the house the brown mountain land stretched away to an undulating sky-line; downwards the two patches of window-pane looked over a low wall into the distant river-valley, and thence up to the bluffs of the farther side with their backing of the central hills.
John is short, thick and sinewy, as tough as an old thorn-tree, and a seer of visions and signs. While alone, he coped cheerily with the loss of an arm; but it must be acknowledged that he took better care of his sheep than of himself and his home. His way of living was primitive, and there was at times something startlingly primitive in his talk. On the vehement flood of his monologue, which might be tactfully guided but could hardly be stemmed once it gathered way, surprising turns of expression and hints of an older order of things came flying past like dëbris whirled down by a mountain torrent. A blunt question was either swept unconcernedly aside or answered in terms that often left the questioner more puzzled than before. Now, alas ! poor John has grown stone-deaf. Neither questions nor diplomatic interventions are of any avail, and we too are poorer. [? John Mylchreest]
To a racial type that is plentiful in the South of Man, of Ireland and of Wales, as well as in Cornwall, belongs another friend, equally exceptional in a more comprehensible way. He is a native of a Southern port who has spent much of his life since his twelfth year on deep waters, and though now retired is never truly happy, he says, save when cruising about the Island and doing a little fishing. His greatest joy is to get clear of the land in his yawl and pass the day alone or with a friend under the open sky. The remoter seas are still in his eyes, and visionary power has always lain not far behind them, ready to take control and show him the unseen, and to put him into touch with his loved ones, distant or dead, in hours of crisis. For him this faculty has been a blessing, and not, as for some, an affliction. Even when saddening in its immediate effects, it has been a source of spiritual nourishment for his unobtrusive but fervent piety.
Though Mrs. B. is well over eighty, she is straight, slim and tall, looking a dozen or fifteen years younger than her real age, and the edge of her mind is only just beginning to dull. An ordinary exterior conceals an unquestioning faith in much that has passed, not only out of credence, but out of remembrance. A saying she once heard, that Manannan dwelt always alone among the windy mountains, seemed to perplex her mind. She felt it more fitting that he should have lived at ease in the shelter of one of the glens. Glen Aldyn, she thought, would be the kind of place he would have liked. She had once been in Glen Aldyn, and it had evidently impressed her.
She recalls the wonders of her young world lovingly and wistfully, with a depth of feeling in her tones when she speaks of them ; but she will not revisit the home of her childhood because she would find all the places she knew changed and all the people gone whom she remembers. When she has leisure she goes off by herself for a long walk among the lanes and fields ; we never know, they say at the house in the town, where in the world she gets to or what time she'll be back. Though brought up to the Gaelckh and still able to sing " Kiree fo 'Niaghtey," she had never heard of the tragedy that inspired the song, for she had been reared on the other side of the mountains. When I told her how Nicholas Raby had died broken-hearted at the loss of his sheep two hundred years ago, she was as grieved as a child might have been.
When I discovered Miss G. she was eighty-seven, keen-eyed and handsome yet, extremely clear-headed, active and cheerful. She was then living alone in a thatched cottage sheltered by trees; it stood just on the wavering line where the swarthiness of the Southern mountains meets the green of cultivation. From her windows one's gaze swept over grey-green fields and white farmhouses to Baie ny Carrickey and the open sea beyond it curving up to the clouds. On clear nights the lighthouses of the Irish coast could be seen winking fitfully, and the fainter spark of one in Anglesey, besides the strong seaward beams wheeling from Langness on the left, and the fixed lights, facing landward, which marked Port St. Mary harbour to the South-West. From the wind's unwearied shiftings between West and South the little house was screened by an evergreen hedge of mixed growths rising in a curve to form a porch. It was six feet thick, and looked and felt solid enough to be leaned against or sat upon by an elephant without showing a dent.
Miss G. spoke fluent Manx, quoted long slices in both Manx and English from the works, printed and unprinted, of Tom the Dipper, lived largely on barley-meal porridge, and was descended, though she did not know it, from the ballad-famed masters of Raby in Lonan. She wore a white sun-bonnet and her skirt was of loaghtyn wool spun by her mother forty years back and woven for everlasting at Ballakilpheric not far away. When she took me to see the beetchagh or chamber formerly kept open for the travelling beggarmen to spend a night in when they came that way, she needed no help in climbing its steep flight of unrailed and dilapidated steps. Yet she thought in her heart that if she couldn't get some person to come and live with her next winter she would have to go to some friends she had in Crosby, and it would not be easy to find anyone to come, for all the young ones were wanting now to be where there was more going on. By "young ones" she seemed to mean those under sixty. And having suppressed an inclination to offer my services, it was in the distant village that I found her a year laterin bed, alas! and with strength and memory failing. Secondary to the human pity of it there was other loss, for in her young days she had gone much about the rough country in the North of Rushen and Arbory, and consequently was richer in topographical knowledge than women commonly are.
Almost within the presence of South Barrule lives a small gnome - like man with bright, occasionally mischievous, eyes peering attentively over the crisp white bush which covers the lower half of the ivory face. He has been a tailor by trade, but an extra drop of mercury in his make-up, a lovable light-heartedness or a forgivable light-mindedness, has kept him from putting by against his old age. Through working in other people's houses, as tailors used to do, he has at least amassed a considerable hoard of old-time gossip, and it is regrettable that he did not enter more of this in the " diary " which records his bygone business affairs. His beloved " big fiddle " now lies with broken strings on the shelf. The last place where I heard him play "her" was near the top of Barrule, on which an amateur religious service was being held on the first Sunday in an August of ten years agoa Christianized revival of an old custom.
His Manx is highly esteemed by foreign students of the tongue ; in his habitual English his mind is seen zigzagging from point to point like a butterfly. From a panic terror of death he can pass (with the help of a few steadying words) to an amused account of some mid-Victorian escapade of his own or another's, to an affectedly incredulous description of a local buggane or fairy, or to the foolish doings at a wishing- well when he was a young man. He knows he ought to disapprove of such frivolities, for did he not play his 'cello in chapel? Yet when he forgets himself for a moment an undercurrent of innocent delight in them is apt to take hold of him. He never did anything wrong himself or saw anything strangeno, no, it was always the others; but he emits gleefully scandalized chuckles out of that immense drift of snowy whisker. [? this sounds like Tom Taggart of Kerrowkeil]
How many of these old standards live alone ! Another recluse well advanced in years (he is old enough to have worn carranes as a. boy, and his father always wore them) dwells solitary among the trees clustered about a ford at the bottom of what would be called a coombe in the West of England and is not exactly a glen in the Isle of Man. In the great green groove curving from the mountains to the sea, walled in on both sides by steep, rough, and partly abandoned fields, stands his lifelong home. His floors are flagged, his furniture is more antique than himself, and his wood fire, subdued by its own ashes, smoulders day and night in the cavernous chimney-mouth. The rumble of the river just beneath his low-walled terrace and the rasping of boughs against his gable blend in my memory with his histories of the surrounding farms and their tenants past and present. One of these farms his ancestors held for generations, and lost ; his sole connexion with the land about him is his surname preserved in the names of places. He meditates on these matters in his loneliness, and is glad when he can speak of them to a friend at his hearth-side, or in the short rambles which his age permits.
Mrs. X. lives with her family just above high-water mark. One not very familiar with gypsy physiognomy might take her for a true Roman, but probably it was from one shore or the other of the Mediterranean that her forefathers migrated, some thousands of years ago. She has a keen appreciation of the value of English summer-visitors and of the fearsomeness of Manx ghosts. From natural ability and long practice upon the former she tells stories about the latter right welleven a little too well ; but not all her anecdotes are dished up for foreign consumption. On a winter night, with the sea roaring just outside her three-foot- thick walls, the flavour of her talk undergoes a change, perhaps without her knowledge. [? is this Mrs Dinah Moore - Wentz describes her as living near Glen Meay]
A man not yet old, slight and ruddy, neatly clothed, civil spoken so far as he was intelligible, but with an undefinable obliquity in his looks and bearing-the disquieting impression he has left in my mind may have distorted this outline of him. He lodged in the one or two rooms that remained habitable in a gaunt and forbidding ruin ; this had been the largest house, possibly the Captain's, in a group of mines and miners' dwellings abandoned now for more than a generation. Against the dark, barren hills of the South bristle their skeletons of buildings and chimneys, while the rusted and rotten débris of the industry litters the levelled earth at their feet and protrudes corpse-like limbs out of its tainted soil. To the man who had chosen to live amid this wreckage the underground galleries of the old workings seemed as familiar and congenial as the face of the world above. The whole locality, indeed, above and below, had its epitome in his ruinous and subterranean mind. If he were to imagine a Creation it would surely be like this ; or if the place were to develop a human mentality it would resemble his own.
Though I have placed him after my shanachies, he is material for folk-lore rather than a transmitter of it.
In conclusion, for their highly-appreciated items of information on a large number of different topics my grateful acknowledgments are due to the following friends, two of whom I shall never see again : the late Richard E. Corrin and his family; Captain Walter Cowley, word of whose death has just reached me ; Mr. James Mylchreest ; and, once again, Miss Mona Douglas. The names of other helpers will be found in conjunction with the material they have contributed ; still others, whose aid has been less specific or less substantial, must remain unnamed but not unthanked.
My frontispiece, like that of the first Scrapbook, is the kind gift of Mr. William Hoggatt, R.I., of Port Erin. In addition to its intrinsic qualities as a work of art (which have necessarily suffered in reproduction from the original water-colour) it appeals to me by its suggestion of the aspect of the Island that chiefly matters.
For the use of the photographs facing pages 357 and 383 I have to thank Mr. P. G. Ralfe of Castletown, in whose delightful monograph, The Birds of the Isle of Man, they originally appeared.
Acknowledgments are also due to Messrs. Macmillan for permission to make extracts from their collected edition of the poems of T. E. Brown.
* From these ceremonies and rituals are derived acts of a more prosaic nature also. If the modern military salute was an obeisance to a god in ancient Crete, as may be seen on a piece of pottery in the Ashmolean Museum, and if our friendly hand-grasp was elsewhere a gesture of allegiance to a chosen deity, as is depicted on antique medals and coins, which of our common daily practices may not own as remote and honourable a source ?