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22 How the “ Mastiffs''’ went to Iceland. tion was much less rife in the world at large than it is now;—“By the super- intendence of the priests and the long-established habits of the people, a regular system of domestic education is obtained.” . . . “The instruction of his children” —that is, the ordinary Icelander,—“ forms one of his stated occupations; and while the earthen hut which he inhabits is almost buried by the snows of winter, and darkness and desolation are spread universally around, the light of an oil lamp illumines the page from which he reads to his family the lessons of know- ledge, religion, and virtue.” He goes on to say that by an old law of the land the clergy are empowered to prevent a marriage when the betrothed female is unable to read. The strictness of this latter rule we in England would not be prepared to recommend; but the feeling, the desire for and practice of education from which it emanates, tells us of a condition of things which even yet we ought to envy in parts of Great Britain. The amount of reading which certainly does prevail throughout Iceland is marvellous. There is hardly in the island what can be called an upper class. There is no rich body, as there is with us, for whose special advantage luxurious schools and aristocratic universities can be main- tained. But there is a thoroughly good college at Reykjavik, with a rector and professors, at which a sound classical education is given; and there are now also minor schools. The result is to be seen in the general intelligence of the people. “Macbeth” has been translated into Icelandic, and published at Reykjavik, which would not have been done unless there had been some one there to read “ Macbeth.” There are five newspapers published in the island, two of them at Reykjavik. J. B. caused some hymns to be printed at a day’s notice, in order that they might be sung during Divine service on board the Mastiff. The work was excellently done. The one deficiency in Reykjavik which the most surprised me was the want of a bank. There is no such thing as a commercial bank in Iceland. The popula- tion of the island was stated to me to be 90,000, and of the town to be 2,500. The latter probably was overstated ; but there is a body of intelligent well- educated men and women quite sufficient, one would have said, to demand the
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How the Mastiffs went to Iceland

Ár
1878
Tungumál
Enska
Blaðsíður
98