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33

THE ISLAND HOME.

raising hand or foot for flight or defense, which are
alike impossible. Reason and strength are alike un-
availing ; ftdly conscious of his helplessness, submission
is his only choice.
  And yet it is not ignorance of the advantages of
other lands that makes the islander's home dear to him.
No ; he has the richest and most fertile tracts before his
eyes. Behind the dykes which protect the mainland
near him, lies a soil which affords to its inhabitants
an abundance such as few lands on earth bestow.
There ripens the heaviest grain. The cattle revel in
the most fragrant clover. There stand fine farm-houses
whose inmates, familiar with all the enjoyments of life,
and conscious of their own importance, proudly boast
themselves lords of the soil. Often too, though less
frequently than formerly, the inhabitant of the hallig
passes a portion of his youth and manhood as a mari-
ner on distant seas. By his frugality and honesty
he often rises to command ; the wealthiest commercial
ports and countries become as familiar to him as his
own home. But he has seen all, compared all, and for-
gotten all. He returns with his savings to his beloved
island home, to this comfortless soil — to this most peril-
ous spot upon earth — to this waste full of privation
and self-denial, and thanks God that his hallig is not
yet washed away. No sooner has he settled himself
there again, than he becomes in his tastes and mode
of life like one who never saw the world.
  Neither is it the freedom which endears the desert to
the Bedouin, that makes the hallig a paradise to its
inhabitant. He feels all the pressure of civilization
with its taxes and imposts, and, on the other hand,