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hundred persons directly employed in catching
and curing the fish; while the whole outlay
for boats, seines, curing-cellars, &c., was
estimated at nearly half a million sterling. A
seine, with its boat complete, costs as much
as seven or eight hundred pounds. There is
a curious mode adopted of dividing the
produce. Supposing the exact value of the
capture to be ascertained, this is divided into
eight equal parts; one part goes for the boat,
or is reckoned as interest on its original cost;
three other parts go for the seine, as interest
in like manner; and the remaining four parts
as wages or earnings for the men. There is
an attendant boy, who renders sundry bits of
service, for which he is rewarded in an
intercalary sort of way: he is entitled to the
pilchards which happen to fall into the sea as
the nets are drawn; and to secure them he is
furnished with a bag-net, fixed to the end of
a rod. When the take is large, the men's
share may amount to something respectable.
Sometimes, the shoals have been enormous.
Mr. Yarrell speaks of one particular occasion
when twenty-two hundred hogsheads of
pilchards were caught in one seine at
one time; and Borlase, in earlier times,
recorded a haul of three thousand hogsheads.
Estimates vary from two thousand five
hundred to three thousand five hundred as
the number that would fill a hogshead.
Taking a medium between these two numbers
we arrive at the astounding total of nine
millions of pilchards as having been taken at
one haul. An instance has been known of
ten thousand hogsheads having been taken
in one single grab in one day a mighty
increase, certainly, in the available food for the
catchers or for those to whom the catchers
sold; for although a pilchard is but a humble
affair, thirty millions of pilchards become
in the aggregate rather a substantial fact.

Then comes the curing a rare busy
scene. The boats row speedily to land, and
deposit their cargoes. The fish, such as are
not wanted for immediate consumption in the
fresh state, are taken to the curing cellars.
Here they are arranged in rows, with salt
between: eight bushels of salt to the
hogshead. The pilchards thus remain a month;
after which time they are packed in
casks, in regular layers, and pressed down
closely; the pressing is continued until the
casks are quite full, and then the cask-heads are
fastened down. The oil of the pilchard is by
this time, to a considerable extent, pressed
out. Much of the salt can be used a
second time; and after this it forms a capital
manure. The pressure upon the fish in the
hogshead is produced by a weighted lever
acting upon a block or stone placed upon a
circular board on the fish. A hogshead of
pilchards pressed and packed in this way
will weigh somewhat under five hundred
pounds; and there will be three or four
gallons of oil pressed from them, worth four
or five shillings. This oil is no great treasure;
still it will always find a market, and it
assists in rendering the pilchard fishery
profitable. The oil is used in the manufacture
of cart-grease, and for many purposes similar
to those wherein the commonest whale oil is
employed. Attempts have been made to
purify it, and render it serviceable to curry
leather; but, the attempts have not met with
much success.

The Cornishmen having caught their
pilchards; eaten some; disposed of others in a
fresh state to their neighbours; squeezed the
rest; sold the oil obtained by the squeezing;
and prepared their filled hogsheads in a proper
way; what becomes of the hogsheads and
their contents? Pilchards, like prophets,
gain little honour in their own country.
They are sent abroad, and have been so sent
at least since the time of Queen Elizabeth;
for an act passed in her reign states that
"No stranger shall transport beyond seas any
pilchard or other fish in cask, unless he doe
bring into the realme, for every six tunnes,
two hundred of clap-boord fit to make cask,
and so rateably, upon paine of forfeiting the
said pilchard or fish." This clause was
probably introduced on account of the great
scarcity of timber in Cornwall. The two
best customers for salted and barrelled
pilchards are: first, the slave-owners of the new
continent, and the free blacks, among whom
the pilchards are eaten in considerable
quantities; secondly, the Roman Catholic
countries in the Mediterranean, where pilchards
may be eaten on fast days without danger to
the soul.


I WAS drooping, I was grieving,
O'er life's ills, a hideous train;
All, I said, is but bereaving;
All is loss without a gain!

There is not one stable blessing
For our weak and sinful clay:
In the moment of possessing
Every joy is snatched away!

Suddenly there came a splendour
Richly gushing from the skies;
As a Maiden, bright yet tender,
Streamed upon my wondering eyes.

"Cease," she said, "thy strain of sorrow!
Mortal, turn thy looks on me!
I am daughter of To-morrow,
And my name is Remedy!

"Nothing is, that is without me;
I was present at the birth
Of the Universe about me;
Mine is Heaven; mine is Earth!"

"Sphere," I cried, "sublime of action!
Yet a doubt suspends my breath:
For disgrace, despair, distraction,
What thy cure?" She answered, "Death!"

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