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Reykjavik. 21 scarce in Iceland; but it would almost seem that dried fish would do as well. It seems that their mutton is very good,—so good as to be declared by the Governor to be equal if not superior to any produced elsewhere; but it is not plentiful, and therefore of course dear. It is very generally salted,—as must of course be necessary for winter consumption in a country in which the winter lasts for more than six months, and in which the stock must be kept alive during the period by fodder provided for them. I do not think that any one of our party ate a morsel of Icelandic food during our sojourn beyond curds, cream, and milk,—unless it might be a biscuit taken with a glass of wine. Our provisions had all been brought from Scotland, and from our ship’s stores we carried with us up to the Geysers what was needed. The “Mastiffs” therefore are not in a position to say much from their own experience of Icelandic delicacies or Icelandic nutriment. But the look of the people, which is better evidence than personal trials, declare the viands to be generally wholesome. They are a healthy, comely race to the eye, though of course they have their own sanitary troubles, as do other people. Scurvy, cutaneous diseases, and even leprosy are to be found; but then, so in other countries are consumption, and heart disease. Considering the sparseness of the population, and the difficulty as to medical advice which must be incidental to such a state of things, they are a healthy strong race in spite of their want of cereal foods. It was whispered into my ear that drunkenness is not uncommon. I saw no one drunk, nor do I think that any case of intoxication was seen by any “Mastiff” during our sojourn. Lord Dufferin speaks of a high state of conviviality on a certain occasion; but, if I remember rightly, it was his own conviviality which has been chiefly described. The “ Mastiffs themselves, though jovial dogs, were nevertheless sober dogs. The real condition of a people, as to happiness and civilization, may very generally be told from the state of education among them. Everybody, almost everybody, in Iceland can read. I quote as follows from Sir George Mackenzie’s work on the country, published as long ago as 1811, when educa-
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How the Mastiffs went to Iceland

Ár
1878
Tungumál
Enska
Blaðsíður
98