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the net drags, and is torn to pieces on the
rocks during the night. After such times as
this the shore presents a busy scene, all available
hands in the place are at work patching,
letting-in pieces of spare net where the
breach seerns otherwise irreparable, or
netting together the edges of less formidable
rents. Hard work it is, too, to get the seine
in trim to shoot again the same day, and
harder still, when it is ready, to find the
fish are gone or the weather too rough for

For many years seining has been a losing
speciilation, but formerly it was as great a
mania as mining is now, in the same districts;
but many successive years of failure damped
the ardour of the adventurers, and seines were
sold for a song. Many owners of seines, who
sold them the beginning of this year, are
lamenting their folly; and it is really hard
that, after struggling patiently against loss
so long, they should part with their nets
just at the very time when the fishery begins
to promise well again.

A seine with boats and all other belongings
costs, when new, very little less than a
thousand pounds; and when we come to
think of repairs and wages (not to mention
the expense of salting) the success must have
been very great to make it a profitable

After the run of bad luck they have met
with so long, it is no wonder that the number
of seines has decreased; not that they are
absolutely done away with, but were sold at
nominal prices to little fishing villages which,
in better seasons, could not afford to buy them.
In one case, within the knowledge of the
writer, one small sea-port, which formerly
sent out nine seines, has now only two, and
those in so dilapidated a state that the nets
are always out of repair, and the boats so
leaky, that the men are almost afraid to
venture any distance in them.

If next year comes up to the promise
of this, all these things will probably be set
to rights; but the seines have now fallen into
the hands of those who cannot run great
risks in outlay on a speculation which has
hitherto been a loss to them. Of course such
men ought to gain a little, enough to
reimburse themselves, at least; but we are not
sorry to know that the greater part of the
money gained, this year, will go to the poor
fishermen who catchand the fishermens'
wives who saltthe fish to supply food, fire,
and clothing for the coming winter.

When the fish are brought on shore, all
the women in the town gather together
(good heavens! how their tongues go)—and
set to work, bulking.

The fish are thrown down in the cellars
a square yard with sheds all round itand
the good ones picked out by boys and girls;
who carry them to the bulkers. These have
already prepared for their reception a layer
of salt under one of the sheds. The fish are
placed in a row, with their heads outwards,
and then comes another layer of salt,
followed by another of fish, and so on, until
the pile is about four or five feet high. The
last layer is salt, so that nothing is seen of
the fish when bulked, except their heads,
which are always placed outwards. A great
deal of neatness is shown in these heaps, they
diminish gradually, as they rise from the
floor, and the rounding of the corners is
entrusted to the handiest women who bring
the fish round, heads outward, with most
architectural skill. The heaps are diminished
as they rise, in order to prevent them from
overbalancing and falling down.

In this state the fish are left for about four
weeks, in the odour of anything but sanctity
(except it be that sanctity which refuses the
thirsty man a drain of beer, or a strain of
music on Sundays). During this time, the
oil is slowly exuded and caught in gutters
which lead to pits in the floor, called trainpits,
whence it is conveyed away to be sold,
no despicable part of the profit of pilchards,
which contain an immense amount of
oil. The poor people collect the entrails and
scrapings of the fish, and melt them down,
preserving the oil so obtained for winter

When the fish have lain their four weeks,
their owners break bulk,—that is, take all the
fish out of the salt, the best of which is laid
by for next season (some of it is used sometimes
three years, a hogshead of fish not consuming
absolutely more than three bushels
of salt), and the worthless part is sold for
manure. The farmer comes in for a good
share of dressing from the fisheries. Among
the fish caught in the seine are often large
numbers of scad, chad, &c., which, with the
damaged pilchards, are carted off up the
country to enrich the soil. The water, too,
in which the fish are washed (the next
process after breaking bulk) is very rich
in salt and oil, and frequently used on the

When the washing is over, the fish are
packed into hogsheads (which are ranged
under the shed where the bulk stood), and
round heads, or bucklers, being placed on
each, they are submitted to the pressure of a
rough lever. Holes (purposely left in the walls
of the shed) receive the ends of long poles,
which, passing across the bucklers, are
weighed down at the other end with heavy
stones, ready provided with iron hooks.
After a time the leverage brings down the
buckler level with the edge of the cask,
whereupon a block of wood is placed under
the lever, and when this further pressure has
brought the fish still more closely together,
the vacant space is filled up with fresh fish;
and this is repeated until there is no room

After this the casks are headed up and
shipped off to the Mediterranean, where the
principal market is.