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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Yacht Voyage to Norway, Denmark, and
Sweden, by W. A. Ross

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Title: A Yacht Voyage to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden
       2nd edition

Author: W. A. Ross

Release Date: February 14, 2009 [EBook #28073]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Barbara Kosker and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's Note

Hover mouse over Greek words for a transliteration.

Errata listed on Page viii have been corrected in the text.









Ver erat: errabam: Zephyrus conspexit: abibam:

Insequitur: fugio. Ovid. Fast., Lib. v.

Second Edition.











[Pg v]


Departure from Greenwich—The History of the Iris Yacht—Sheerness—Harwich—Under Weigh—The North Sea—Sail in Sight—The Mail Overboard—Speaking the Norwegian 1
Foggy Weather—First View of Norway—Christiansand Fiord—Arrival at Christiansand—Description of the Town—The Toptdal River—Excursion Inland—The Enthusiastic Angler—Rustic Lodgings—Hunting the Bear—The Trap—The Death—Norwegian Liberality 13
Departure from Christiansand—The Pilot's Pram—Skaw Point—Delinquencies of Jacko—Expensive Cannonading—Elsineur—Hamlet's Walk—The Minister, Struensee—Story of Queen Caroline-Matilda—Legend of the Serf 46
The Pilot—Tempestuous Weather—Distant View of Copenhagen—Lord Nelson—The Battle of the Baltic—The Harbour-Master—Interest excited by the Yacht's Arrival—The Artist—The Angler—We go Ashore 58
Copenhagen—The Cape—The Dilemma—The Guard—Compliment to England—Description of the Harbour and Fortifications— Delinquent Sailors—The City on Sunday—Negro Commissionaire—A Walk through the City—Notices of the various Public Buildings 74
The Casino—The Royal Family of Denmark—Succession to Holstein—The English Consul—Visit to the English Ambassador—Colossal Statue of Christian the Fifth—Anecdote of Belzoni—Trinity Church—Extraordinary Feat of Peter the Great—Ducking an Offender—Palace of Christiansborg—The Exchange—The Castle of Rosenberg 91
Dinner at the Embassy—Manners and Customs of the Danes—The Spanish Ambassador and the English Exile—The Citadel—Story of the Two Captives—Joe Washimtum, again—A Danish Dinner—Visit to the Theatre—Political Reflections—Festivities on Board the Yacht—Merry Party at the American Ambassador's—The Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein 106
The Exile's Souvenir—The Disappointed Artist—Departure from Copenhagen—Arrival at Elsineur—Description of the Town—The Castle of Cronenborg—Hamlet's Garden—Esrom Lake—The Legend of Esrom Monastery—The French War-Steamer—Sailing up the Cattegat 140
Arrival at Falkenborg—The Storm—The Yacht in Danger—Safe Anchorage—Visit to Falkenborg—Ludicrous Adventure—A Drive into the Interior—Great Scarcity experienced by the Inhabitants—Description of the Country—The Disappointed Anglers—Kongsbacka—The Yacht runs aground—Gottenborg 154
The Casino at Gottenborg—Awkward Dilemma—The Watchman and the Northern Star—Swedish Artillery—The Grove—An Old Man's History—The Alarm of Fire—The Carriage overturned—The River Gotha—Washing in the Stream—The Narrow Streets—Description of Gottenborg—Its Decayed Commerce—The Herring Fishery 172
Return to Norway—Sail up the Gulf—Approach to Christiania—Its Appearance from the Water—Anecdote of Bernadotte—Description of the City—The Fortress—Charles the XIIth—The Convicts—Story of the Captured Cannon—The Highwayman—Prospect from the Mountains—The Norwegian Peasant Girl 204
A Drive into the Interior—Extensive and Sublime Prospect—Norwegian Post-Houses—Repair of the Roads—Preparations for Departure 215
The Yacht under sail—Jacko overboard—Fredricksværn—The Union Jack—Scenery on the Larvig River—Transit of Timber—Salmon Fishing—The Defeated Angler—Ludicrous Adventure with an Eagle—Result of the Angling Expedition—The Bevy of Ladies—Norwegian Dinner-Party, Singular and Amusing Customs 240
Another Fishing Excursion—Landing a Salmon—The Carriole—Boats rowed by Ladies—Departure from Larvig—Christiansand Harbour—Return to Boom—Sincere Welcome—Angling at the Falls—The Forsaken Angler—A Misunderstanding—Reconciliation—St. John's Day—Simplicity of Manners 260
Sailing up the Gron Fiord—Dangerous Swell—Excursion Ashore—Trout-Fishing—Mountain Scenery—Ant-Hills—Hazardous Drive—The Scottish Emigrant—Miserable Lodging—Condition of the Peasantry—A Village Patriarch—Costume of the Country People—Arrival at Fædde 287
Return to the Yacht—Poor Jacko—Ascending the Stream—Description of the Fædde Fiord—Adventures of an Angler—Sail to the Bukke Fiord—The Fathomless Lake—The Maniac, and her History—The Village of Sand—Extraordinary Peculiarities of the Sand Salmon—Seal Hunting—Shooting Gulls—The Seal caught—Night in the North 303
The Dangerous Straits—British Seamanship—The Glaciers of Folgefonde—Bergen—Habits of the Fishermen—The Sogne Fiord—Leerdal—Arrival at Auron—A Hospitable Host— Ascending the Mountains—The Two Shepherdesses—Hunting the Rein-Deer—Adventure on the Mountains—Slaughtering Deer—The Fawn 336
The Sick Sailor—The Storm—The Lee-Shore—"Breakers a-head"—The Yacht in Distress—Weathering the Storm—Return to Bergen—The Physician—The Whirlpool—The Water-Spout—Homeward Bound—Scarborough—Yarmouth Roads—Erith— Greenwich Hospital—Conclusion 397


79, line 14, for "Nelson," read "Gambier."
92, omit "to the eye."
100, line 12, for "Nelson's," read "Gambier's."
145, last line, for "Braggesen," read "Baggesen."
165, line 31, for "they had endured," read "each of them had endured."
201, line 9, read "as here at Gottenborg."
239, line 33, for "immovably," read "immoveably."
243, line 6, for "jibbed," read "jibed."
286, line 18, for "everywhere," read "ever where."
327, line 10, for "than me," read "than I."
338, line 31, for "jibbing," read "jibing."


[Pg 1]





I believe the old Italian proverb says, that every man, before he dies, should do three things: "Get a son, build a house, and write a book." Now, whether or not I am desirous, by beginning at the end, to end at the beginning of this quaint axiom, I leave the reader to conjecture. My book may afford amusement to him who will smile when I am glad, and sympathise with the impressions I have caught in other moods of mind; but I have little affinity of feeling, and less companionship with him who expects to see pictures of life coloured differently from those I have beheld.

[Pg 2]At three o'clock on the boisterous afternoon of the 1st of May, 1847, I left Greenwich with my friend Lord R——, in his yacht, to cruise round the coasts of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden; and, although the period of the year at which I quitted London was the one I most desired to remain in it, and join, as far as I was able, in the pomps and gaieties of Old Babylon, I did not like to miss this opportunity, offered under such favourable circumstances, of seeing countries so rarely visited by Englishmen, more particularly as the invitation had been pressed upon me so unaffectedly and kindly, that I could not, with any reason, decline it.

Dropping down with the tide, we arrived the same evening alongside the guard-ship at Sheerness; and, being desirous of making ourselves snug, and of landing two unfortunate friends whom we had originally promised to send ashore at Gravesend, we made fast to a Government buoy, and remained in smooth water till the following morning.

The "Iris" cutter belongs to the R.Y.S., and is the sister-vessel of the "Corsair." She was built by Ratsey for the late Mr. Fleming, with whom she was a great favourite, and for whom she won many valuable prizes. From England to the Mediterranean, she safely bore her first master many times; but with flowing canvass and with rapid keel at last enticed him once too often from his native shore; for, during [Pg 3]a cruise in the Mediterranean, after many months of pain, he died while gazing on her. Passing through several hands, serving all equally well in gale or calm, she came at last into the possession of Lord R——, who has travelled farther, and made more extraordinary voyages in her than any member of the Squadron; and in spite of all improvements adopted of late years in yacht-building, there are but few, if any, vessels of seventy-five tons, that can surpass her in speed and symmetrical beauty, or in the buoyant ease with which she has encountered the fiercest storms.

Her crew consisted of seven or eight regular seamen, a sailing-master, mate, cook, steward, and a boy to assist him. A fine Newfoundland dog, called "Sailor," and a droll little ring-tail monkey, called "Jacko," also joined in the mess for'ard. Lord R——, with Captain P—— and myself, made up the entire complement.

On Sunday morning, the 2nd, at eleven, as the church bells of Sheerness were chiming a merry peal, we commenced preparations for our departure, by sending our two friends off in the jolly-boat, in which they must have got pretty wet; for a sea was running sufficiently high to cause them some little discomfort. After a gloomy day's work, we reached Harwich, and at nine in the evening rested again in five fathoms water.

[Pg 4]We rose betimes the following day, and strolled about the town in search of stores. We collected on board every kind of preserved meat and vegetable one could think of; and every kind of wine, from champagne down to cherry cordial, the taste of man could relish. We had milk, too, in pots, and mint for our peasoup; lard in bladders, and butter, both fresh and salt, in jars; flour, and suet, which we kept buried in the flour; a hundred stalks of horseradish for roast beef; and raisins, citron, and currants, for plum-pudding.

We had rifles and guns to shoot bears and wolves; and large rods, large as small maypoles, to catch salmon, and small rods to secure the bait. We had fishing-tackle which, when unwound, went all the way into the after cabin, and then back again ten times round the main cabin.

We had water-proof boots, reaching up to the hips, for wading the rivers; and India-rubber pilot-jackets for keeping the chest and back secure from the spray of foss, or wave. Indeed, we had all that the heart of man could wish, and all that his judgment could devise.

I contrived, before the day had passed, to become very sick of Harwich and myself; for of all dull holes in this kingdom of England, does not this one claim the superlative degree? Tuesday, the 4th, still found me on the same spot, gazing on the two lighthouses; and, to enhance my gaiety, R—— and [Pg 5]P—— went to Ipswich to see a schooner yacht, being built for an old friend of R—— and at that moment on the stocks. They returned laden with turnips, carrots, radishes, and cabbages. The luckless schooner was rated in great style—berths too numerous, and cabin not lofty enough. A fiddle also was bought to-day for Jerome, a sailor, who, though self-taught, had some idea of music and afterwards, wiled away, in Norway, and on the ocean, during the calm evenings, many a weary hour, by playing to us some of Old England's most plaintive airs.

The following day came and went in the same monotonous fashion as its predecessor, since I find its events recorded thus:—"Fine day—nothing new. Went ashore. Bought fish, mutton, and beef. Eat all the fish, and some of the beef. Wind E.S.E."

Thursday dawned beautifully calm, and not a cloud was visible between earth and the blue Heaven. As I paced up and down the deck, yet damp with dew, I thought the serenity of the morning emblematic of our future wanderings—and was I wrong? As the sun gained altitude and power, the water became rippled with a light air, and nine o'clock found us fairly under weigh.

There was not a heavy heart on board; even Jacko chirupped, and, swinging by his tail from the bowsprit shroud, revelled in the warm sunshine. Being desirous of showing [Pg 6]the exuberance of our spirits, R——, who had observed an old dame and her maid plying in a wherry round the cutter—probably to take a nearer view of our beautiful craft and her adventurous crew, or, perhaps to breathe the morning air, I know not which—ordered the two quarter swivels to be loaded, and watching his opportunity, when the cautious wherry came rather near, fired both of them right over the old lady's black bonnet, and sent the wad fizzing and smoking into the servant-girl's lap. I need not describe the alarm of the old woman, nor the shriek of the young one; but the grin of the well-seasoned tar who rowed, coupled with his efforts to keep the fair freight quiet where he had stowed it, were worth our whole cargo.

We shipped from this port a man named King, who was to act as interpreter. He had been in Norway, and was well acquainted with the people and language, having been for many previous years of his life employed in the lobster fisheries. He proved a most willing, honest, good-tempered servant, and a most useful linguist.

The wind being light, the Iris found it tough work in stemming the strong tide which sets into Harwich; but we contrived at half-past eleven to pass Orfordness Light. At six, the breeze having eastern'd a little, and increased till it became what sailors term "pleasant," we lost sight of Lowestoff; and [Pg 7]lastly, being this day's work, as well as for the information of all nautical men, we sounded at half-past seven on Smith's Knoll, in seven fathoms.

Friday morning, the 7th, dawned upon our glorious craft dashing through the water in great style, with a moderate breeze from S. to S.S.E. As I cast my eye round the horizon, and descried no land, thoughts of old days crowded to my recollection, when I left home for the first time, and England for the West Indies. How all the high hopes of youth had vanished; and how unaltered my condition now from what it was then! Had an angel come down from Heaven and told me, twelve years ago, when I, a boy, stood on the hencoop of a West Indiaman, gazing at the Lizard, that I should be the same creature in feeling and condition, I should have questioned the prophecy. But the wind is fair, and this is no time for sorrowful thoughts.

"Hard-up the helm! Dick," said D——.

"Ay, ay, sir."


"Steady, sir."

"Some man there, heave the lead!" and down it went, rushing, in five-and-twenty fathoms on the Silver Pits. At nine, the vessel was hove to, and we tried our lines for fish, but did not succeed. We filled on her again, and stood away, as before, to the N.E. At two o'clock, while we were trying our lines [Pg 8]for the second time, I felt, suddenly, squeamish; and, in spite of the splendid weather and pure air, wished myself most heartily in the middle of Bond-street, or any, the most ignoble alley in the neighbourhood of Leicester-square. I closed my eyes and fancied myself seated on a bench in the Green Park, watching the sheep browsing round me, and listening to the rumbling of carriages as they passed along Piccadilly. I opened my eyes; the vision fades, and, lo!

"Nil nisi pontus et aer."

However, I plucked up courage, and remained on deck until half-past six, when the gaff-topsail was unbent and the top-mast struck; D——, the sailing-master, anticipating no good from the calm, and the dense fog, which had succeeded a fine wind and cheerful sunshine.

Early in the morning, about four o'clock, I was awakened by a good deal of laughing and shuffling of feet on deck, and by an occasional thump, as if a cargo of pumpkins was being taken on board.

I leaped out of my berth, and, putting my head above the companion, saw all the men who composed the watch hard at work with their fishing-lines, and the main-deck covered with several large codfish. Witnessing the pugnacity of one or two fish when they were hauled out of the water, I turned in again: for it was no easy matter to stand, the swell [Pg 9]increasing as we got more on the Dogger Bank.

While we were at breakfast, eating cods' sound and talking of smoked salmon, the sailing-master came below and told us a small vessel was in sight, and, by running down to her, we might speak her and send letters home by her. Of course, all the married men commenced scratching in great style both paper and their pates, and in a shorter time than could be imagined, made up a small mail. The more strenuously, however, we endeavoured to approach the vessel, the more she bore away; and, being a long way to the eastward of us, and going before the wind with her square-sail set, it was doubtful whether we should fetch her. At last, we fancied she mistook us for pirates; for, I must confess, we looked suspicious; and the squadron ensign flying at the peak made our cutter appear more warlike and determined than she really was. By eleven, notwithstanding our friend's manœuvring, we were pretty close to her, and, lowering the dingy as quickly as possible, two men were ordered to pull to the strange smack, and, ascertaining her destination, to deliver the letters. This last action on our part took the poor craft by surprise; for it was curious to observe the pertinacity with which this little vessel avoided our boat, although we used every stratagem devised by seafaring men to allay the consternation of [Pg 10]the weak: such as the waving of our caps, the hoisting of pacific signals, the lowering of our gaff-topsail, &c., &c.; nor could she be persuaded of our amicable intentions before poor King had shouted, at the top of his lungs, that we were Englishmen in search of pleasure, and destined for no marauding purpose.

She turned out to be, what our glasses had anticipated at daylight, a Norwegian, laden with dried fish, and bound to the coast of Holland; and, therefore, our letters were brought back.

Scarcely had the incident I have just mentioned come to a conclusion, than another sail, just emerging from the horizon, was discovered on our weather bow. We rubbed our hands, plucked our caps over the forehead, and walked up and down the deck more briskly than ever; for there is no man who has not been to sea can imagine the feelings of sailors when, far from land, a sail is seen.

Every minute now brought us closer, and at two P.M. we had come within hail. There was little wind, but a nasty short sea was running; and it was comical in the extreme to observe each man endeavouring to steady himself, and place his hands to his mouth for the purpose of hailing, when a sudden swell would send him rolling over Sailor's hutch, or seat him gently on the sky-light behind. After a little trouble, the speaking-trumpet was found and brought on deck, and by its assistance a [Pg 11]communication was opened with the vessel. She was a large Norwegian bark from Christiansand, and bound to London. To our request that they would take charge of some letters, the captain, leaning over the weather-quarter, assented in a loud Norwegian dialect. The question which now arose was, how were we to get the said letters on board; but necessity, being here established as the mother of invention, gave a prompt answer. P——, holding the letters in his hand, desired that a potato might be brought. The largest from the store was presented. It was then lashed with a piece of twine to the letters, now transposed into a tidy brown-paper parcel, which P——, balancing in the palm of his left hand, suggested was not of sufficient weight to reach the ship. We were not long at a loss, for the cook appeared, grim and smiling, with a tolerable-sized coal exposed to view and approbation, between his thumb and forefinger. Side by side, like a fair-haired youth with his swarthy bride, the coal and potato were placed; and P——, poising for the second time the precious parcel, rolled up his shirt-sleeve, and, throwing himself well back, hurled, with all the elegance of a Parthian, coal, potato, and parcel toward the Norwegian captain's head. But, horror! the potato and coal combined proved rather too heavy, and, retaining their impetus longer than intended, carried the luckless brown-paper bundle over the lee-side and into the North Sea.

[Pg 12]The ship immediately backed her main-yard, and, lowering one of her stern boats, sent her off in search of the unhappy letters; but having rowed about for some time without catching a glimpse of coal, paper, or potato, the search was abandoned, and the boat came alongside of us. After delivering another packet of brown paper, and presenting each man (there were four) with a bottle of brandy, we parted company with mutual good wishes conveyed through our interpreter, King, not omitting sundry well-meaning gesticulations telegraphed between the fat Norwegian captain on the weather quarter and ourselves. This was the first specimen we had met with of northern kindness; and, although we had heard a great deal of their unaffected goodness of heart, this act of civility made no slight impression upon us. At four o'clock, while our Norwegian bark was just hull down, the gaff-topsail was taken in, a strong S.E. wind with rain having arisen. The wind still increasing, at seven the first reef in the mainsail was also taken in, jibs shifted, and the bowsprit reefed.

During the rest of the evening I was a martyr to all the miseries of sea-sickness, and, stretched at full length on the cabin sofa, I closed my eyes, and, allowing my thoughts to wander where they would, hoped to cheat myself out of my present discomfort; but nausea, like no other ill to which we are subservient, is not to be pacified, and I lay the whole night sensible of the keenest pain.

[Pg 13]



Sunday, the 9th, dawned on us, tossed about on a troubled sea indeed; for a strong wind was blowing from E.S.E. However, at eight o'clock, just before breakfast, we sounded in thirty-five fathoms. We had scarcely concluded this cautious operation before the wind began to lull; and after conjecturing, both from our calculations and soundings, that land was not far away, we were confirmed in this opinion by a thick fog rising above the horizon on our lee beam. We went to dinner in great glee, and, in spite of the hazy atmosphere which now surrounded us, compensation was felt and accepted by us at the hour of six, when a perfect calm prevailed; and our peasoup and curry were threatened, for the first time this week, to be demolished in that gentlemanly and collected mode which the usages [Pg 14]of society had rendered familiar to our observation in England.

At eleven o'clock at night the haziness cleared away, and in about half an hour afterwards a light was seen. It was imagined to be the light at the mouth of the Christiansand Fiord, the name of which, amidst the bustle and joyousness of the moment, I could but indistinctly learn, and cannot now remember. As midnight approached, our old friend the fog gathered density, and effectually deprived us of the slightest glimpse of the light; and we retired to rest ill at ease, plunged into the vale of anxiety in the same ratio as we had been exalted on the peaks of expectation and joy.

Sunday at sea retains all the monotony of the shore; for the waves seem to show deference to the day, and move their crests with more solemnity and order; while the sailors gather round the vessel's bows, and, in a group, listen with wrapt attention to the sublime and poetic sentences of prophetic Isaiah.

I cannot, in all my wanderings at sea, call to mind a tempestuous Sabbath, nor the sailors who would profane it. Mark them! How solemnly the shadow of thought hangs over their countenances; and how, with cheek cradled on the hand, with pipes unsmoked in their mouths, leaning over the bulwarks, their eyes intently riveted on the clear distant horizon, as, carried away by the inspiration and fervour of the great prophet, a messmate, [Pg 15]who reads with energy of gesture, ever and anon raises his voice, which, by its tremulous intonation, tells the deep feeling of his heart, and the quickness with which its pulse vibrates in answer to the burning words he utters aloud!

Monday, the 10th, the most lovely of May mornings, fanned by the softest of south winds. Land in all its grandeur of mountain and of cloud lay before me, the towering peaks of the mountains, capped with everlasting snow, and piercing an atmosphere of the intensest blue.

I sat down on the after-lockers, and looked with swelling heart on the sublime scene. As far as the eye could reach inland, mountain over mountain, extending round half the horizon, the land of old Norway, I had read of in my earliest years, expanded itself. On my left hand the Naze hung, frowning, over the Northern Ocean. How memory, in a moment, rushed back to the quaint schoolroom at Ditton, and its still quainter little bookcases huddled up in one corner, where and whence I first began to pronounce and find the "Lindsnes!"

Just at this instant, poor old "Sailor," who had been poking his nose over the vessel's side, and snuffing and whining, rushed up to me, and, placing his head in my lap, turned his eyes towards my face, and looked as much as to say, "Are we not near our journey's end; and don't I smell the land?" Little Jacko, too, came out of his crib, and chirped, and [Pg 16]chattered, and scratched himself, and rolled about on the deck in the sunniest corners; and then, all of a sudden, up he would jump, and, seizing hold of "Sailor's" tail, pull it as if he was hauling taut the weather runner. How everything was replete with life; and how happiness, without the heart's reservation, was written on every face! I cannot conceive anything more exhilarating than a beautiful morning at sea, and land in sight; I could have passed the remaining portion of my life without a pang of sorrow, or a gush of joy, but with equanimity, on this dark blue wave, surpassed only in its dark dye and eternity by the dome on which it looked.

When I returned upon deck after breakfast, the first object that attracted my attention was the helmsman. He smiled as soon as his eye met mine, and raised, in recognition, his Spanish-looking hat. He was a stout, tall, fair-complexioned man, with a mild expression of countenance, blue eyes, a long, straight-pointed nose, high cheekbones, and light flaxen hair flowing down almost to his shoulders. He made some observation to me in a dialect which sounded as being a mixture of German, Celtic, and English; but the sense of it was incomprehensible.

"Norway?" I said in reply, pointing to the land now not three miles from us.

"Ja, ja," he answered; and, turning to King, our interpreter, begged, in the [Pg 17]Norwegian language, that some of the sails might be trimmed.

I need not say he was the pilot who had come on board to take us up to Christiansand. His dress differed not from the ordinary costume of our own pilots; but I could not help gazing on him with a feeling of mystery and interest which cannot easily be described. His whole appearance bore a close resemblance to all I had read and seen in pictures of the Esquimaux; and now I have formed their acquaintance personally, I feel assured that the Norwegians are a branch of that family.

The scenery, the nearer we approached the shore, heightened in grandeur. Though we were now not a mile from the most bold and formidable rocks, no harbour or creek of any kind could be seen where we might find shelter; yet our northern guide continued to point out with his finger and explain as well as he could in his strange but harmonious idiom, the mouth of the Fiord, up which we were to proceed to Christiansand.

The rocks along this coast of Norway are terrific, the sea breaking and rushing upon them with tremendous noise and fury. Nor do the waves ever rest peaceably here: for the tides of the North Sea and of the Cattegat both meet together at this point of the "Sleeve," and cause a fearful swell, which, when aided at times by the wind, rises to such [Pg 18]a great height that vessels are obliged to run for protection into some of the smaller fiords abounding in this quarter.

It was now mid-day, and the sun shone with more heat than I had felt in the tropics. Indeed, everything around us reminded one so vividly of a tropical climate, that it required some resolution to keep imagination in subserviency. The thermometer was at 80 on deck; and our good-tempered pilot told us it was "manga varm" in August.

At one o'clock, the gallant Iris might be seen gliding along, with her accustomed speed and elegance, in smooth water, up the Christiansand Fiord. As we sailed along we would now and then catch a glimpse of large and small vessels in all directions, in full sail, wending their way through the tributary fiords to some town in the interior. On each side of us rose from the surface of the water, perpendicularly into the clear sky, mountains of solid stone, covered to their very summits with no other vegetation than the fir, which springs out of the crevices of the rocks. We pursued our course for many miles amidst the grandest scenery, changing like a panorama, at every point of land round which the vessel wound, and amidst the most profound silence, which is a peculiarity of these fiords. Ever and anon the gulls, in flocks of thousands, would soar into the air, only the flapping of their wings echoing through these silent mountains.

[Pg 19]At three o'clock, as we sailed round an enormous rock about a mile high, with not a tree or shrub of any sort on its surface, the town of Christiansand burst upon the view.

We had no sooner anchored, and the sails were not yet furled, when Captain P——, who was an inveterate sportsman, went ashore to gather what intelligence he could about the salmon fishing, it being for that amusement Lord R—— had been induced to visit Norway.

During the absence of P——, R—— and I lay down on the deck, and feasted our eyes with the beautiful prospect around us. The novelty of every object which met the view acted in broad contrast to England. The cutter was soon surrounded by boats without number, of the most primitive construction and fantastic form. One old man, wearing a bear's-skin cap and a black frock coat, rowed off to us in the family "pram," for the purpose of recommending his hotel to our notice, the cleanliness and comfort of which, he said, were unquestionable; since, to test the verity of his assertions, he handed to us a piece of paper, not larger than the palm of my hand, containing the names of those persons who had lodged under his roof; and the Earl of Selkirk, Sir John Ross, Sir Hyde Parker, and one or two other eminent men stood in bold relief and large Norwegian type. This was the only deed approximating to British we had yet witnessed.

Christiansand is considered as a tolerably [Pg 20]important town, and is about half the extent of Dover. The houses are all painted a pure white colour, which has a fine effect when brought so immediately in contrast with the surrounding scenery. There being no ebb or flow of the sea in this part of the earth, no beach exists, and the houses are built on piles close to the water's edge, ships of 500 or 600 tons being moored at the very doors of the warehouses.

I could discover only one church within the precincts of Christiansand, and close to it a dancing academy; for the Norwegians, though they are pious, are as partial to the recreation of a dance as any of our Gallic neighbours; and, during the long and dark days of winter, the merchants and other persons employed in business of any description, close their offices, and devote their time to sleighing and dancing. The town is clean and romantically situated, being girt on the E. and the S. by the picturesque fiord, dotted with islands, which bears its name, and on the N. and W. by mountains rising one above the other until the eye loses them in the mist of distance.

The sun had already sunk beyond the mountains, when P—— returned on board; and, near as the day seemed to its end, it was determined to start for the Toptdal River, and proceed as far as Boom, a small village about twelve miles from Christiansand, where a merchant of some note had granted us permission to fish.

[Pg 21]Fishing-rods and fishing-books, and gaffs, and landing-nets, and everything piscatory, were pulled from their cupboards and packed up, that is to say, tied together in three distinct bundles by the mate; and the steward removed from the custody of the cook a large iron pot, which he filled with potatoes, as well as a smaller copper pot for stewing, but which, for the present, received a mustard-pot, some salt in paper, some black pepper, three teaspoons, and a similar number of knives and forks. A good-sized game-basket, cocked hat in shape, was then, after a diligent search, found, brought forth, and replenished with biscuits (for we had not, and could not buy, any bread), three pots of preserved meats, three bottles of champagne, the same of claret, one bottle of brandy, one of Twining's chocolate tin cases filled with tea, both green and black, and a like, though larger, one concealed from the inquisitive gaze some white sugar.

About six o'clock, these items were stowed at the bottom of the gig, under the immediate superintendence of the steward, and the men, with their oars raised aloft in the air, showed all was prepared to convey us on our excursion. After taking leave of one or two Norwegian gentlemen who had come on board to welcome us, with their characteristic kindheartedness, to their country, and, with their usual unaffected hospitality, to invite us to dine with them, we started.

[Pg 22]We had proceeded some distance when P——, after lighting his meerschaum, and looking the ideal of comfort and delight, commenced rummaging the baggage of pots and baskets; and he had not given up his energies to that occupation more than a few seconds when his pipe almost dropped, paralyzed, from his mouth, and, with much vehemence of manner and voice, he exclaimed,

"Hang that fellow! Just like him; he has forgotten the pot."

"What pot?" said R——.

"Why, the copper one, of course," retorted P——. "The knives and forks are in it, and the tea and sugar."

"Avast pulling!" said the Coxswain.

"We must go back," said R——.

"Very good, my Lord. Easy, starboard oars," again said the Coxswain; and in a quarter of an hour, we were taking the copper kettle into the gig, which P—— placed quietly away, within his reach and sight, in the stern sheets.

As we rowed on, our fingers (bringing to my recollection my school-days) would occasionally be thrust over the boat's side into the water to test its temperature; for it had been hinted to P—— at Christiansand, that the rivers might yet be too cold for the salmon to leave the sea and enter them.

The Toptdal River is narrow, shallow, and swift of current; so that it is no facile task to [Pg 23]contend with its rapidity and force. When we had proceeded about half-way, the boat and its crew were left to contend with the stream, and we commenced walking.

It was now seven o'clock; and, though we were sheltered from the sun's rays by the huge mountain-shadows, the air was warm, and I felt in a short time as greatly fatigued as if it were a dog-day in England.

P——, who, as I said before, was excessively fond of fishing, led the van; and, as we toiled along the bank of the river, would, himself insensible of weariness, scramble down declivities to its edge whenever the projecting rocks formed a kind of pool, and, scrambling up to us again, would assert with emphasis, the convincing proofs the river showed of containing much fish. He would, likewise, plunge his hand into the tide, and deem it temperate in the extreme.

"There now," he said, as we turned a point of land, and saw below us a small bay formed by the indentation of the river,—"there now; do you mean to say there's no fish there?"

"I should think there were a great many," replied R——.

The river flowed on, and brought on its surface the foam of some neighbouring foss, floating unbroken in small lumps like soap-suds; which, borne by the eddying stream, revolved round and round a piece of fallen rock elevated a little above the water. P——, with the [Pg 24]eye of a fisherman, gazed on the little bay; and it was with difficulty we could dissuade him from putting his rod together and having a cast. However, we did eventually dissuade him; but he had barely gone on in front, with his usual velocity of motion, when, at the suggestion of R——, I hurled a good-sized stone into the centre of the pool which had so riveted P——'s fancy.

"By Jove!" he shouted, and, starting back, "did you hear that? It was a rise. Holloa!" and he hailed the boat which was struggling against the stream on the opposite bank. He seemed now determined to throw a fly; but the night was so near at hand, and Boom was yet so distant, that we exhorted him to mark the spot for our return on the following day.

"Why, my dear fellow, in two minutes I shall have a bite. Walk on, I'll follow."

"No, no;" and, after a little consideration, he assented to what we said.

The stars now began to show themselves, and shone forth with great brilliancy in the deep blue Heaven. The roar of the first foss, or fall, where we intended to fish, could be heard distinctly; and, about ten o'clock, we arrived at Boom.

We presented, on our arrival, a letter our merchant friend had written to an old and confidential servant, to whose care he recommended us, and desired that every facility should be afforded us in the attainment of [Pg 25]our sport. Although it was almost dark, we walked about with the old Norwegian, who, in order to obtain our kind thoughts and inclinations, told us, that he had, in his youth, been apprenticed to a carpenter at Hull. He spoke English sufficiently well to understand what we said, and make himself understood by us.

The first check P—— received to his ardour, was the Norwegian's assertion, that the river was still too cold for angling; and that no salmon had yet been seen or caught in the neighbourhood. He then recommended us to leave Norway and go to Copenhagen, or some other capital in the south, and enjoy ourselves until the snows in the interior had melted, and return to Christiansand about the end of the first week in June, when he guaranteed we should have salmon-fishing in all its phases to our heart's content.

After a slight allusion to the letter we had delivered to him, and which he still held crumpled and soiled in his hand, he said, that his master's house was being painted, and he could not accommodate us as he had been commanded; but, if we had no objection, he would lodge us for the night at a cottage hard by. Many Englishmen, he added, had slept there, and found the people to whom it belonged, clean, attentive, and honest. We replied, that we were content and wearied enough to rest any where, and were prepared to take in good part any abode he could offer us for the night.

[Pg 26]We strolled on; and, in a few minutes, a cottage, with thatched roof, and standing lonelily at the base of one of the high mountains, by which we were surrounded, loomed through the grey tint of evening.

Its outward appearance at first, I must confess, staggered my sense of comfort and cleanliness very wonderfully; and its internal arrangements did not at all help to quiet my apprehensions. In one corner of the room into which we were shown, stood a bedstead. Implements of cookery were scattered negligently about the floor, and on a huge hob bubbled a huge saucepan. The presence of salt-herrings and other dried fish, the common Norwegian diet, could, by no art, be concealed. The ceiling was so low, that I could hardly stand upright with my hat on; and the floor being strewed with juniper leaves, the smell of which, though not ungrateful in itself, aided by the villainous compound of stale tobacco smoke, in no way prepossessed me in favour of the cottager's nicety; and, finally, to consummate the discomfort, the small windows were closed as tightly as a coffin, while the evening teemed with all the sultriness of an oriental latitude.

R—— and P—— enjoyed my long face, and each, seating himself on the only two deal chairs, laughed immoderately at my doleful complaints. The gaunt Norwegian, the owner of this humble dwelling, made such comical [Pg 27]grimaces, and winked his little eyes so frequently and eruditely, in endeavouring to fathom their mirth, that I could not restrain myself, and took a conspicuous part in the joke. After arranging, through King, who had come with us, as forming one of the boat's crew, where and how we should sleep, we went into the open air, and R—— and P——, lighting their cigars, again entered into conversation with the Anglo-Norwegian regarding the sports of the country. He told us, with brightening eyes, that, at the top of the mountain, which towered in the rear of our cot, a large bear had been seen for some weeks past, and his depredations had been so extensive, that the peasantry many miles round were terrified out of their wits. This was something to hear; but the old man went on to say, that a bait, consisting of a dead horse, had been laid, and he doubted not, but that in a day or two a shot might be had at the brute. After this narrative our sporting curiosity had reached its zenith; and mutually promising to meet at a certain hour on the morrow, we parted with our voluble informant.

Some bread and cheese, and Bass's stout, formed our supper, and reconciled us to our dormitory; and, while we smoked our pipes at the now opened window, we wandered back to old England, and talked of friends and fair ones left behind.

It was near midnight. Descending from the [Pg 28]hills, the smell of the evening air, impregnated with the sweet odour of a thousand wild flowers, refreshed us, jaded as we were by a long journey, and added delight to the novelty of our situation. The lofty mountains, too, on either hand, seemed, with their summits, to touch the stars; and, except the roar of a cataract, no sound interrupted the silence, which, amidst such vast natural creations, almost amounted to pain.

Notwithstanding my many antipathies, I went to bed, and slept soundly till the next morning, having awaked but once during the night to throw off my eider coverlet. The Norwegians hold the eider in great estimation, and, invariably, whether it be in summer or winter, place it on the bed of a stranger; but I would recommend those who travel in that part of Europe, as we did, during the three summer months, to decline this domestic attention. The eider appears very much like a feather mattress, but is so light, that, when used as a coverlet, you can scarcely feel the difference between its weight and that of an ordinary linen sheet.

At six o'clock the following morning, we were up and on the banks of the river, which flowed within sight of the cottage windows. Our old Norwegian, punctual to his appointment, was walking by our sides in the joint capacity of spectator and mentor. Captain P—— threw the first fly, and continued [Pg 29]throwing fly after fly, various as the tints of the rainbow, but with the same result as the Norwegian had anticipated. I soon became grieved at seeing the river well thrashed, and left P—— to persevere in his sport, and R——, like Charon, standing bolt upright in a punt, rod in hand, and tackle streaming in air, to be ferried about in search of some quiet nook for his particular diversion. Besides, it was now nine, and I felt interiorly that breakfast would be more pleasant than loitering on the banks of a river, pinched exteriorly by the eagerness of a N.E. wind; for the climate of Norway, in the early part of summer, is influenced by the same fickleness as the climate of England; and the wind, during the night, will visit the cardinal points of the compass, breathing as it did last night, from a warm quarter, and will blow as it does this morning, from the opposite extreme.

I had scarcely made myself a cup of coffee, and not yet added the cream, which encouraged the spoon to stand upright in its thickness, when R—— and P——, tired with their angling, came in. After demolishing nearly a dozen eggs amongst us, and two capital salmon-trout, which our fast friend, the Anglo-Norwegian, had filched from a large cistern, where they are placed during the winter, for the benefit of his master's table; and after imbibing cauldrons of coffee—so delicious was its flavour—we showed and expressed great [Pg 30]anxiety to pay Bruin the compliments of the season, and as strangers and Englishmen to testify to him, as loudly as we could, the repute his fat had obtained in England.

Our cicerone raised no objection; and, turning to one of his countrymen who had entered the room to gape at us, for I could not then, and I cannot now conceive the nature of his business, addressed him in his native language. The man immediately disappeared, and in half an hour returned with two rifles over each shoulder, and one pistol in his breeches' pocket. The rifles were larger and heavier than the fowling-pieces formerly used by our regiments of the line, and the pistol was of the horse genus, and had a rusty muzzle and a flint lock. However, we were going to annihilate a ruthless foe; and the clumsiness of our accoutrements was of little moment. A few good-natured observations passed between us and the Norseman concerning the susceptibility and quality of the powder, for its grains were coarser than those black beads of which ladies in England make their purses. The said powder for security, was poured into an empty porter-bottle, and corked down.

We started; but we had barely proceeded three-quarters of a mile before our little Anglo-Norwegian, who had abided by our good or ill fortune constantly from the beginning, suddenly remembered that some important business required his presence in the low lands [Pg 31]where dwelt industry and peace, and accordingly recommending us to the skill of two guides, shook hands cordially with us, and in a few minutes his ominous face and oval form were hidden from our sight by the shrubs and stunted firs which covered the mountain's side.

The waning of his courage did not darken ours; for, like all Englishmen, we instantly commenced a political discussion, which terminated, after an hour's duration, in the British fleet attacking, fatally, the Norwegian gun-boats at Christiansand, nemine contradicente, and the two boors grinning from ear to ear.

At length our guides, by signs, signified that silence was requisite. A quarter of an hour more elapsed when one of them motioned us to keep close, and going down on his hands and feet, intimated the proximity of our game.

We were now five and thirty yards from the brow of the mountain, and, crawling with the stealth and silence of a cat, the principal guide reached the summit, at the same moment levelling his gun, which made us imagine that Bruin was in full view; but gradually lowering his piece, till the butt reached the ground, and leaning on it with both hands, the man turned towards us, shook his head, and smiled. We were instantly by his side.

Round a hollow piece of table-land, tending to a swamp, we saw, standing at equal distances from each other, three sheds, constructed of long fir poles driven into the earth and tapering, [Pg 32]like a cone, into the air, covered scantily with the branches of the pine or fir, and having an only inlet by which a man, crouching, might reach the interior. In the centre of this swamp the carcass of a horse lay, mangled and scattered in every direction. The trunks of trees, which had been felled for the purpose, were piled on the dead body; and this was done that the bear, finding it too troublesome, for he is economical of labour, to remove the body nearer to his den, would satisfy his hunger on the spot, and offer an opportunity to overtake him at his meals; besides, the bear, being quick of sight and shy, and so sensitive of scent that he can smell a man at the distance of a mile or more if he approaches with the wind, will frequently leave his food and as frequently return to it; and, therefore, the Norwegians conceal themselves in the kind of sheds I have described above, and remain for days and nights under such precarious roofs in order to circumvent and destroy the animal.

We felt rather disappointed at not having even seen old Bruin, but a good laugh in some degree compensated us for the fatigue we had undergone. For my own part, armed as I was with the rusty horse pistol, and intent on the manufacture of my own bear's grease, I had heard so many pleasing anecdotes of the bear's noble nature, that I did not regret his retreat had been commenced in time. These [Pg 33]animals, unless severely pressed by hunger, will never attack any living creature, and will even avoid with much care those parts of the mountains where cattle are wont to feed; and it is beyond the recollection of the oldest inhabitant, or, indeed, the reach of tradition, when a child has been, in the slightest degree, hurt by the Norwegian bear. On the contrary, it is well known that these animals have met children in their track, and, though at the time much oppressed by thirst and famine, have passed them harmlessly by.

We sate down on a large rock, about twelve feet square, slightly elevated above the ground, and entirely overgrown with moss. A small fir tree, not ten inches high, grew in its centre, and the symmetry of its diminutive trunk, rendered more beautiful by the regularity with which its little branches sprung forth and drooped around first attracted our notice to the spot as one where we should rest.

It was so situated that we could see for many miles around us in one direction; but were excluded from any prospect at the other points. A bog, filled with animalculæ of all forms sporting about in the water, which was black from long stagnation, surrounded three parts of the rock, leaving but one approach to it, which was the side least raised above the level of the earth. The bog, therefore, acted as a moat; and it was with that, or some similar feeling of security, we stretched [Pg 34]ourselves at full length on the soft moss, and basked in the sun. P——, as usual, drew forth his pipe, and soothing himself with its fumes, exemplified absolute comfort and contentment in the placidity of his countenance. R—— dangled his legs over the edges of the rock; and I, assuming the same attitude, gazed with him on the mountains towering and straggling, at a great distance above and beneath us.

"What a bore it is" said R——, "fagging all the way up here, and not getting a shot at that brute."

"Why, yes," I replied, "but bears, you know, are as likely to deceive people now-a-days, as will-o'-the-wisps did monks of yore."

"That's all very well," observed R——, "but I am no monk, and I think those Norwegians tell a good many lies; and this dead horse has been only pulled about up here by a herd of famished dogs, and no bear. These fellows say there are bears to make their country appear finer than it is."

"No, no," answered P——, "the fact is, we are too late; the day is hot, as you feel, and these animals disliking the heat, feed at daylight, and then retire into the heart of the forest, where they can escape the oppression of the mid-day sun."

"Always?" R—— asked.

"Of course," replied P——.

"Oh! of course;" R—— reiterated, "that may be natural philosophy, but my way of [Pg 35]thinking seems as natural; and I take it, that, when animals, like men, know where food is to be found and eat for the mere walking, sunlight and moonlight, heat and cold are alike to them."

"I know," answered P——, "these Norwegian fellows tell enormous crammers; but you may depend upon it, if we wish to get sport we must get up earlier."

"Well," R—— replied, "all I can say to the bears and sporting animals in general is, that if they don't breakfast a little later, or indulge in luncheons, they won't hear much of me. Fun is fun, and sport is sport; but catch me out of bed at half-past 2 A.M."

"I abide by R——," I said, "I hold his logic in high repute, since its principle is good."

P—— replied not; but, removing the pin from his silk neckcloth, stirred up with its sharp point the smouldering ashes of his pipe. R—— looked in silence at the surrounding scene, and then broke into an exclamation of rapture.

"Is it not beautiful?" concurred P——, turning his eyes in the direction of the mountains. "There is nothing in the world to be compared to the sublimity of this scenery, defined as the outlines are by the clearness of the atmosphere and its deep blue tint." After a short pause he continued, "When we can see at one glance such an [Pg 36]immensity of space, and know that this vast tract of mountain and of valley must be full of animal life, is not this silence awful?"

We made no answer, but tacitly complied with his observation.

The rustling of dried leaves and the sharp crack of a breaking twig now crept upon the ear; and P——, a sportsman at all points and at all times, had already turned in the direction whence the interruption came; and, as I was about to speak, he grasped me convulsively by the arm, and, without any other intimation of danger, began slowly to raise his rifle from the ground. R—— and I immediately started up, utterly at a loss to know the cause of his dismay.

"For God's sake!" P—— whispered, without removing his eyes from the quarter where they had been fixed, "don't speak: here he is!"

"Here is what?" in imitative whispers, breathed R——; but, at the same time, cocking the trigger of his rifle, "I don't see him."

"Don't fire!" again whispered P——; "take your time."

"'Don't fire!' and 'take your time,'" said R——; "but what do you see?"

"Look there! don't you see him—close to that old stump?"

"Oh! ah! now I do. By Jove! he's a wapper!"

"Where are those fellows?" asked P——, glancing round. I guessed to whom he alluded, [Pg 37]and beckoned to our guides, who were sitting at some short distance, in ignorance of our plight, but had been watching our actions with all the attention, and listening to our conversation with all the comprehension of persons who did not understand our language. An instant sufficed to range them at our elbows.

P—— pointed to the spot he had already suggested as the focus of attention, and they both saw, with the quick-sightedness of men accustomed to live by the chase, the cause of his excitement.

"Ja! ja!" they exclaimed simultaneously, their countenances radiant with joy, "goot."

P—— bowed his head in the affirmative; and we could not help admiring the courage of the Norwegians, which seemed to merge into enthusiasm, the more imminent the risk and danger of our sport became.

An enormous bear, apparently fatigued by long travel, and panting loudly with protruding tongue, slowly stalked forth from a mound of earth which had accumulated round the stump of a beech-tree grown to maturity, but now decaying in the midst of rushes and briars of every sort. Bruin, no doubt, overheard our voices, for he stopped on his way, drew in his tongue, ceased his violent respiration; and, raising his head on high, snuffed the air on all sides, and then placing his nose close to the ground, kept it there for some little time. He was eighty or ninety yards [Pg 38]from the spot where we stood. As again his head was lifted up, his small tuft of a tail moved quickly from right to left, revealing his turbulence and hesitation.

"Don't let us all fire together," hinted P——, in an under tone; "but let those Norwegians blaze away first, as we don't know anything about their skill."

"Then, I'll follow," said R——.

"And my pistol next," I interceded.

"Very well; and I will try my luck last," said P——. "Are all ready?"

"All right," we both answered, and the two Norwegians assented with a nod.

The bear kept moving gradually near and nearer to the bait, and approached within a very short space of the rock where we lay hid, thickly surrounded by the branches of the fir and beech.

"Fire!" breathed P——, lowly.

One guide, elevating his gigantic rifle, pulled the trigger. A tremendous report was one result, and the total disappearance of the Norwegian was the other; the fowling-piece having kicked him completely off the edge of the rock into our natural moat, the bog. We heard the splash of the man's body below, and thought, at first, he was killed by the bursting of his rifle; but when his companion, who had leaped down to his assistance, helped him, reeking and muddy, from the dominions of the tadpole, and placed him, uninjured, [Pg 39]though stunned, on his legs, we could not resist a burst of merriment at his countenance of unmitigated disgust, as the liquid filth oozed from the tips of his dependent fingers.

The sound of our laughter alarmed Bruin, and revealed us to his sight, and, rising immediately on his hind-legs, he commenced moving towards the Norwegians, and hissing like a hot coal dipped in cold water.

"Hang the mud, jump up!" exclaimed P——.

"Grin and bear it, old fellow," and, saying so, R—— quietly levelled his rifle, with some misgiving, for it was of Norwegian manufacture, and fired at the animal. Poor Bruin received the ball in his left fore-leg; and, with a piteous moan, he instantly assumed his natural position on all fours, and hissed and growled, and licked the blood which streamed from the wound. The animal, nothing daunted, even in this extremity, still moved towards us with great ferocity; and, as he came within forty feet, P—— lodged a second bullet in his loin. The pain exasperated him to the quick, and he rushed furiously towards the rock.

"Where's the powder?" shouted P——.

"I don't know," echoed from every one. No powder could be found; the Norwegian having taken possession of the porter bottle, and placed it in his pocket, had doubtlessly fallen with it into the quagmire; and they had now absconded.

[Pg 40]"Don't let him get up!" continued P—— emphatically.

"Not to my knowledge," R—— replied, assuming a long recognised attitude of great military defence.

I now presented my rusty old horse-pistol at Bruin's head, at an interval sufficient under the circumstances, of three yards, and fired it; when, whether from having received its contents, or from alarm at its loud report, the bear rolled over on his back; but, recovering himself in a moment, he made an awkward spring, short of the rock, and received, in commemoration of his false agility, a blow on the head from the butt-end of R——'s rifle. The shock removed R——'s glazed cap from his head, and it fell, bounding from the rock, close to Bruin's nose. Mistaking, no doubt, this ingenious covering for R——'s especial skull, the bear, infuriated, flew at it impetuously, and seizing it in his mouth, shook it as an angry dog would have shaken a rag.

The blood was now fastly trickling down his tongue, which hung from his mouth, and through his side at every pulsation, spouted, smoking, the warm element of life. Gradually, slowly, yet reluctantly, his head drooped towards the ground, and, faint from loss of blood, the animal, tottering from side to side, sate, weakened as he was, upright on his haunches, showing his teeth, and growling until the [Pg 41]coagulated blood, accumulating in his throat, would make him cough, and threatened suffocation.

Descending from the rock, we came near to the dying creature, and, striving to reach one of us, he lifted his paw, and, as he did so, lost his balance, and tumbled over on the earth. Although, as we supposed, on the point of death, the gallant brute still growled, and attempted to rise again and renew the fight, but complete exhaustion denied what his courage prompted.

The Norwegians now reappeared, and one of them knelt down to remove R——'s cap from the bear's clutches; but the undaunted Bruin, as if desirous of giving his countryman a final embrace, seized him round the neck, and drew him tightly to his clotted breast. We were, of course, alarmed a second time for the man's safety, and by great exertions tried to release him from his perilous condition; but our efforts were not a little crippled by the legs of the Norwegian, which he flung violently about at every possible tangent; and one arm, moving with the rapid oscillating motion of a steam-engine, brought the fist in sharp contact with the other Norwegian's chest, and threw him, head over heels, into the identical pool whence he had himself but lately escaped.

The accident was so ludicrous, that in the ecstasies of mirth, we forgot the man lying prostrate and kicking in the arms of the bear; [Pg 42]until, by dint of his own exertions, he released himself, and, standing upright before us, showed his face plastered from forehead to chin, and ear to ear, with a multitude of withered leaves, which adhered to the blood he had borrowed from the animal's wounds.

The poor bear was now dead; and, behaving bravely as he did to the last, we could not help regretting his end. Though young, he almost reached an Alderney cow in height and standard, and great power was developed in the sinews and breadth of his chest. His coat to the touch and sight was soft and glossy as silk.

After standing over his body for a few minutes in silent observation, R—— wiped the gore from his cap, and placing it, shattered as it was, on his head, we all left the bear, for the present, where he lay; and wandering through the forest for some time, enjoyed the coolness of the air at this great elevation, pursuing, by a circuitous route, our descent to the cottage.

Our fame, unlike the

"Fama malum," &c., &c.

of Virgil, did, certainly, precede us with great velocity, but with beneficial effects; for the women came forth to meet us, and looking up in our faces, found out our eyes were beautiful, and our noses better moulded than their own, and called us handsome "Ingerleesh;" and the men, grasping us by the wrists, said we were brave and "goot Ingerleesh."

[Pg 43]One little blue-eyed girl, the elegance of her light form unaided by the care of art, attracted my attention; and, with finger in her mouth, sidling coaxingly to me, took my hand gently in hers, and begged in the sweet idiom of her country, and in the earnest tones of her own sweeter voice, that I would carry her with me to "Ingerlaand," where she would serve me, like a slave, till she died.

The sun had long passed the meridian before the felicitations on our success were at an end; and then, having recommended the bear's carcass to the custody of our ancient and well-tried friend, the Anglo-Norwegian, who promised to preserve the skin for us till our return, (and who, by the way, was the first to meet us and thank his pagods for our safe issue out of the skirmish,) and having made a trifling present to our host, we packed up our pots and pans, and, seating ourselves in the gig, were again floating on the Toptdal River.

P——'s first love, the pool, was not forgotten, for he gave it a wistful glance in passing; but the wind drawing aft, our sail was set, and stopping was beyond all question. We continued our course without any interruption until we arrived at the mouth of the river, when a sudden puff took a fancy for R——'s renowned cap, and, forcing it from his head, raised it high in its embrace, and kept it there for a second or two; then, as if suddenly [Pg 44]relaxing in its caresses, tossed it vehemently away into the water.

We all witnessed the gyrations of the cap, and saw it fall; but, before we could row to the spot, the great tile sank from repletion, and—for ever!

The same puff in its subtlety nearly capsized us, and completely carried away the step of the mast. No other incident befell us; and we jumped on board the Iris as the church at Christiansand was striking six.

Wednesday, the 12th, did us the kindness of showing the aspect of Old Norway under the effect of a different atmosphere than we had yet inhaled; for it rained the whole day with all the accumulated steadiness, rheumatic rawness, slowness, and obstinacy of a Scotch, or English November mist. We did not, however, heed the weather, but rowed round the Bay, and strolled on the islands in its vicinity, stimulated by the hope of getting a shot at some animal, fish or bird; but no such luck overtook us. We returned on board, wet through, after being absent for three hours, and while removing our damp boots, concluded that we were deceived on our first arrival, and, that Norway was the same "humbugging" sort of a place as the rest of Europe; and, indeed, that the whole world was subject to the identical changes of shower, fog, and sunshine.

Some Norwegian gentleman, just at this nick of time and temper, sent on board a [Pg 45]salmon, a brace of black cock, and a cock of the north, as large as a turkey, and we immediately admitted the generosity of foreigners, particularly these Norsemen, but shut out the drizzle of Wednesday, the 12th of May, from any kind of sympathy.

[Pg 46]



Thursday broke without a cloud. The wind breathed softly over the mountains from the West. We had no object to detain us longer, for the present, in Norway, and so the cutter was got under weigh. The wind gradually increased, and, at eight o'clock, we passed the Oxoe Light, at the eastern extremity of the Fiord.

The pilot, unaccustomed to the speed of an English yacht, was much alarmed about the safety of his boat towing at the cutter's stern; for, now and then, the antiquated pram would dip its nose so deeply into the water, being drawn swiftly through it, as to threaten instant submersion; and his attention divided between the tiller of a vessel, which flew up in the wind's eye with the slightest negligence, [Pg 47]and his anxiety for the well-being of his own boat,—the countenance of the Norse tar was a book on whose leaves the student might have seen how truly "the ridiculous and sublime" can be united.

"Now then, my man," said D——; "mind your helm, or you'll have her up in the wind in a minute."

"Ja; but luke at moin praam—moin Got!"

"Curse your pram,—she won't hurt; haul her on board," said D—— to some of the sailors.

"Nej, nej," exclaimed the Norwegian; "zare—luke zare! Moin Got! luke at moin praam!"

"Her timbers are good, ain't they? If they're good, and will hold together, this lop wont hurt her," observed D——.

"Ja,—goot; but ze vater ville come into moin praam. Moin Got!"

The fellow was glad to take his dollars and his leave, and, as soon as he did so, we shaped our course for the Skaw Point, the most northerly headland of Denmark. The wind now blew strongly from W.S.W., and the Iris tore furiously along, revelling with her favourite breeze, three points on the quarter; and, bounding from wave to wave, she seemed to dally with their soft white crests, which curved half playfully, half reluctantly, as her proud bows met and kissed them lightly, then threw them, hissing, in her wake.

[Pg 48]At noon, the latitude observed, was 57.54; and at five o'clock we made the Skaw through the crevices of a fog.

We had run nearly one hundred miles in nine hours, and the reader may easily understand the alarm of the pilot for the safety of his boat. At six o'clock, the fog cleared away, and we discerned with our glasses five vessels which had run ashore during the thickness of the weather. These mishaps frequently occur along this part of the Danish shore, for it is very low, and invariably shrouded in mist.

We did not lack society; as hundreds of vessels of all shapes and sizes, from the lumbering Dutchman to the trim American, were scattered over the surface of the water. We amused ourselves by signalling, first to one ship, and, then, to the other brig, and so on, in rotation, from schooner to smack; and, thus occupied, the afternoon wagged on.

Jacko was convicted of a few misdemeanours to-day, and the principal witness against him was his particular friend, Alfred, the boy. Jacko was seen to descend into the cabin, and, entering my berth, to take thence my best London-made and only remaining tooth-brush; and, after polishing his own diminutive teeth, and committing other pranks with it, such as the scrubbing of the deck, and currying of Sailor's back, left it to batten on the fish-bones in the said Sailor's hutch; and was, moreover, seen by the aforesaid complainant to remove [Pg 49]R——'s small ivory box of cold cream from the dressing-case, and, ascending the deck,—not as human creatures do by the companion-stairs, but along the companion-banisters, carrying the purloined article in his tail,—to anoint, in the first instance, his own pugged nose; and, in the second instance, to transfer the obligation to Sailor's (always Sailor!) shaggy ears and shaggier coat; and then, that his guilt might be concealed, till the day of judgment for ring-tailed monkeys should come, the little box itself was sent overboard through one of the scuppers. Jacko was found guilty of these two charges by the steward and helmsman, (whose pipe Jacko had also committed to the waters of the Scaggerack,) and ordered to the mast-head; and there he remained for three hours sitting close to the jaws of the gaff, and chattering, without cessation, his annoyances to the gaff halliard blocks.

At midnight, the Trindelen light-ship bore west, distance six or seven miles. Although Cronenborg Castle had been in sight all day, we did not anchor off the town of Elsineur (the wind being so light) until six o'clock on Friday evening. Immediately on our arrival, a boat was sent ashore to deliver the vessel's papers; for, though the ancient privileges of Cronenborg are not held with such paramount sovereignty as they used to be of yore, some form, and merely form, is, however, observed. For instance—in passing the castle, the ensign [Pg 50]of the country to which the vessel belongs must be hoisted at the peak, or at the fore, according to the character of the vessel; and, should this regulation be encroached upon, a gun from the citadel is immediately fired, and is followed by others until the flag is hoisted, and continues to be fired until the flag is seen at its proper place; and, when the commotion is at an end, an artillery officer, or his deputy, boards the refractory vessel and demands payment, (every gun, fired, at so much) for the powder expended in bringing the crew to their senses. Many droll scenes occur between the Castle and the Dutch merchant-vessels going up the Baltic; for the Dutchmen, either from their unwieldiness, or from the confused cargo they carry, cannot always be made, on the instant, to conform to some of these regulations; and the artillerymen, being desirous of profiting by the apparent negligence, knowing well the cause, open an unremitting cannonade on the passive Hollanders, and, in the course of a few minutes, will run up a tolerably long bill.

The night was most beautiful, and the sea calm as death. The fine old Castle of Cronenborg, casting a dark shadow over the water even to the vessel's side, made me dream of days and legends gone by as I remained silently gazing on its elegant tower. My mind, filled with melancholy fancies, flew to centuries long past, when the philosophic Hamlet mused, perhaps, on calm evenings like this, pacing to [Pg 51]and fro the very ramparts I was looking on, or sought, on that night of "a nipping and an eager air," the coming of him whose

"Form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
 Would make them capable."

Those old walls, too, are full of poor, Struensee's fate,—he, whose great soul, sundering aristocratic power, first gave liberty to Denmark, and added to her natural blessings the moral beauty of our own dear England. And how does history speak?

On the 16th of June, 1772, a masked ball was given at the Court of Denmark, surpassing the imaginary brilliancy of an Oriental tale. A thousand tapers threw their splendour over a scene already glittering with the beauty, youth, and power of Copenhagen. The mean and daily feelings which give impulse to the actions of political men, seemed absorbed in the joyousness of the moment; and the gravest senators might have been seen on this night, unravelling the mazes of the dance, with the speed and light-heartedness of the youngest girl. The king himself, throwing aside the apathetic reserve of his state, danced a country-dance with the queen; and, at its conclusion, he having retired to play at quadrille with General Gahler and Counsellor Struensee, the youthful queen gave her hand to Count Struensee during the remainder of the evening. At one end of the room, apart from all, and apparently [Pg 52]lost in their own thoughts, stood the Dowager-queen, and her son, Prince Frederick. While his royal mother shone with the dazzling brightness of numberless precious stones attired in all the outward pomp of her high position, the Prince was habited in the splendid uniform of a Danish regiment of horse; and the most honourable Order of the Elephant, surmounted with a castle, set in diamonds, and suspended to a sky-blue watered ribbon, passed over his right shoulder; a white ribbon from which depended a small cross of diamonds, and an embroidered star on the breast of his coat denoted him to be also a Knight of the most ancient Order of Daneburg.

Keeping their eyes intently fixed on the beautiful Caroline-Matilda, as she moved through the dance with Count Struensee, they would occasionally, in whispers, make an observation to each other, but in tones so low, that their nearest attendants could not catch its purport. The young Queen, fatigued at last, retired at two o'clock from the ball-room, followed by Struensee and Count Brandt. About four the same morning, Prince Frederick got up and dressed himself, and went with his mother to the King's bed-chamber, accompanied by General Eichstedt and Count Rantzan. As soon as they had reached the lobby of the royal chamber, the page was roused, and ordered to awake the King; and, in the midst of the surprise and alarm that this unexpected [Pg 53]intrusion excited, they informed him, that his Queen and the two Struensees were at that instant busy in drawing up an act of renunciation of the crown, which they would immediately afterwards compel him to sign; and, that the only means he could use to prevent so imminent a danger, was to validate by his signature those orders, without loss of time, which they had brought with them, for arresting the Queen and her accomplices. The King hesitated for some time, and, it is said, was not easily prevailed upon to sign these orders; but at length complied, though with reluctance and expressions of great grief. Count Rantzan and three officers were dispatched, at that untimely hour, to the Queen's apartment, and immediately arrested her. She was hurried into one of the King's carriages, and conveyed at once to the Castle of Cronenborg, where she remained until May, when the King of England sent a small squadron of ships to carry her to Germany. The City of Zell was appointed her place of residence, where she died of a malignant fever on the 10th of May, 1775, at the early age of twenty-three. Some most unjust charges, in connection with the Queen, Caroline-Matilda, were brought against Struensee, and, on the 28th April, 1772, he was, together with his old friend, Count Brandt, beheaded, his right hand being previously cut off.

[Pg 54]Caroline-Matilda was the sister of George III.; and her infant son, the late King of Denmark, Christian VIII., was at this period taken from his mother, though only five years of age; and this separation from her little son, on whom she doted, hastened to an untimely grave this innocent and unfortunate queen.

The Danish traditions say that for many ages the clang of arms, and groans of human beings, as if in torture, were occasionally heard in the dismal vaults beneath the Castle of Cronenborg. No human creature knew the cause of these strange noises, and desirous, as all people were, to learn the mystery, there was not in all the land of Denmark a man bold enough to descend into the vaults. The sentinels, as they kept watch by night, would be driven by superstitious terror from their posts, nor could they be induced to resume their duty. On stormy nights, when the rain descended, and thunder and lightning disturbed the face of nature, these unearthly sounds would begin, at first by low moans, to join the universal din; then, increasing loud and more loud, add horror to the raging elements. At last, a poor serf, who had forfeited his life, was told that all the errors of his youth should be regarded no more, and his crimes be forgiven, if he would descend and bring intelligence to his countrymen of what he saw and found in these vaults. Oppressed [Pg 55]by the ignominy of his fate, he went down, and following, carefully, to an immense depth, the winding of a stone staircase, came to an iron door, which opened, as if by a spring, when he knocked. He entered, and found himself on the brink of a deep vault. In the centre of the ceiling hung a lamp, which was nearly burnt out, and, by its flickering light, he saw, below, a huge stone table, round which many warriors, clad in armour, sate, resting, as if in slumber, their heads on their arms, which they laid crossways. He who reclined at the farthest end of the table—a man of great stature—then rose up. It was Holger, the Dane. When he raised his head from his arms, the foundations of the vault shook, and the stone table burst instantly in twain, for his beard had grown through it. He beckoned the slave to approach; and, when he had come near, said,

"Give me thy hand!"

The slave, alarmed, durst not give him the hand he had required, but, taking up an iron bar from the ground, put it forth; and Holger, grasping it, indented it with his fingers. This friendly response (for Holger perceived not the difference between flesh and iron,) to the feelings of Holger made a deep impression on his heart, unaccustomed though it had been for centuries to the sympathy of his kind, and smiling, he muttered to the trembling slave,

[Pg 56]"It is well! I am glad that there are yet men in Denmark."

The serf returned to earth as soon as permission was obtained, and, relating the story exactly as I have repeated it, received his freedom and a pension from the king.

The Castle of Cronenborg was commenced by Frederick II. in 1574, and finished by Christian IV.

The boat returned at eight o'clock, and brought off some bread; but it was so hard and heavy, we could not touch it, though some Danes, who had accompanied our men from the shore, assured us it was the best bread baked in Elsineur, and eaten by the native nobility. It was darker in colour than the brown bread in England; and so acid, that the sailors, who were cormorants at food, and ostriches in digestion, declined the loaf as a gift. Sailor ate it, and had the cholic for three weeks.

Earlier than the sun I arose on Saturday morning. From the spot where the yacht lay at anchor, the town of Elsineur had an imposing appearance; and, besides the number of fishing-vessels which kept popping out of the harbour, one by one, round the pier-head, at this early time, amidst the shouts and merry laughter of their crews, betokening the light hearts with which they went forth to their daily labour,—the wind-mills on the tops of the neighbouring hills, outvying each other in [Pg 57]velocity, showed that the inhabitants entertained, at least, habits of industry, and were not, perhaps, unacquainted with the advantages of traffic. But, since we did not land to-day, I will revert to this celebrated little town on our return from Copenhagen, when, I hope, to make myself more familiar with it.

[Pg 58]



At twelve o'clock the pilot stepped on board, and, in a few minutes, with a freshening wind from the westward, we were on our way to the Danish capital. To a warm, unclouded morning, a wet dark day succeeded; and, except between the chasms of flying clouds, the sun wholly withheld its light. The rain fell, at intervals, in torrents; and, concealing myself under the lee of the gig, which was hoisted on the davits, I endeavoured to enter into conversation with the pilot. The silvery hand of time, or heavier one of toil, had tinged his hair; and though (to judge from his sad and thoughtful mien,) life seemed protracted longer than he wished, his career, I learned by hints, had not been without excitement to himself, and could not be recited without interest and instruction to others. [Pg 59]The old man was short and stout, and little gray eyes twinkled beneath an intellectual forehead, scarred by a sabre wound. After I had watched him with attention for some time, his firmly-compressed lips and sombre countenance showed the solidity of his character, and no weak point at which I might attack him with an observation. Sailor, who had been reclining in his hutch, disliking to wet his hide, and who was still labouring from the ill effects of the Danish brown bread, now came forth to stretch himself; and, seeing a man, unknown, standing by the compass-box, approached, and, with all the diffidence of his tribe, determined to form no friendship, without previously ascertaining whence he came, and what his business was. Sailor therefore walked with resolution up to the man, and smelt his coat. The dog also applied his nose to a little bundle tied with a dark silk handkerchief stowed unintrusively away between the pumps; and then, turning round, he looked up at me, and wagged his tail. I could almost see a smile upon his face. The old man laughed, and said, half nettled by Sailor's contemptuous way of smelling his whole wardrobe, "Dat is von vine dog."

Though the allusion to the dog's well-proportioned form, or extreme sagacity, was one which answered itself, I replied,

"Yes; and that is the way he makes friends."

[Pg 60]"I know, I know," he answered, "if von maan's schmell vosh as goot, ve shoult schmell de tief vary shoon."

"True; but if we are fond of sweet scents, and had to judge virtue and vice by smell, we should very soon leave off smelling, or leave the world."

He did not seem to comprehend my meaning, for a vague expression of neither assent nor dissent passed over his countenance. He now, however, became talkative, and told me he commenced life by entering the Danish navy, and had been present in many engagements. Travelling from one end of the world to the other, though seated together under the gig's keel, and wrapped in tarpaulin, we contrived to meet in the West Indies; and the old sailor's heart opened towards me as I spoke of scenes and things familiar to him in his youth. I told him how I had been going "up and down on the earth," and "walking to and fro on it;" and he took my hand in his and shook it, because I, like him, had been a wanderer. And so we whiled away the time, and heard and felt neither wind nor rain.

P—— had gone below to arrange his flies; and I could occasionally hear R——'s voice, above the whistling of the wind through the shrouds, modulating "Buffalo Gals," "The Great Plenipotentiary," and other favourite ballads. We were now half way between Elsineur [Pg 61]and Copenhagen, and rising above a cape of level land on our starboard bow, the high buildings and steeples of Copenhagen could be distinguished. I formed, from this view, a grand idea of the Northern Capital, and, had I not done so, I might have been less disappointed, beautiful though the city is, when I found myself the following day walking through its streets. But the same event happens to man's works as to man himself. The nearer I view a picture, the harsher become those lines which, at a distance, seemed so soft; and had I seen Cæsar, I should not now worship the deity I have raised on the pedestal of Imagination. I desire to foster the poetic feeling which, like a mountain mist, surrounds the ordinary habits and character of great men, and so I stand aloof and look on them. I exist on the Pagan creed,

"Omne ignotum pro magnifico."

The pilot, pointing with his finger, showed the spot where Nelson landed some of his men the day before his action in 1801; and, as the Dane reminded me of the crafty manner in which the officers of the English fleet imposed on the credulity of the good folks at Elsineur, the sound of distant thunder was heard. He ceased to speak, and listened to the low, rumbling peals, as they swelled, now loudly on the tops of the far mountains of Sweden, then sank faintly in the valleys. [Pg 62]The old man went on to say, he remembered the action well; and, with bitterness, regretted that it ever occurred. This was the first time I had heard England spoken of discreditably, and the arrow pierced deep, and deeper, as familiar intercourse told, that the Danes, a brave and noble people themselves, always remember this battle with a sorrowful resignation, and grieving, feel, without vindictiveness, that, though Time may heal the outward wound, the moral pain remains for ever.

The scenery all along this coast of Denmark is very beautiful, the royal forests, extending nearly from Elsineur to Copenhagen, contributing with their masses of trees, and their rich green tints, to relieve the occasional gloomy aspect of the Swedish shore. These forests are strictly preserved, and are full of game; and, reared above the loftiest trees, the roof of one of the king's hunting-palaces may be seen. With its usual bounty, the wind increased to a gale, and we entered Copenhagen harbour at three o'clock, with a reef in the mainsail, and ploughing up the water in furious fashion.

The Harbour-Master came on board as soon as we had anchored, and requested, with much civility, that we would move from the berth we had taken, since we obstructed the free passage between the docks and the harbour; and the cutter, he hinted, might be injured by merchant-vessels being warped [Pg 63]from one to the other place. R—— made no demur; but turned round, and rated in good English the old pilot for his stupidity; while the old pilot, in unintelligible Danish, roared at his countryman for not coming off before the anchor had gone. When the little stout pilot was pacified, and unanimity restored, the Harbour-Master, a man of immense stature, and great personal beauty, came up to me, and said, with an excellent dialect, in the English language,

"I could perceive, Sir, your vessel was an English one, the moment she weathered that point; for none but a British vessel could dash along in such style as yours did."

I bowed, and thanked him for the compliment.

"I only hope, Sir," he continued, "that the Crown Prince will return before you leave Copenhagen; for this yacht would soon disgust him with his own."

"Is the Prince then away from Copenhagen?" I asked.

"Yes, Sir; he is gone for a cruise towards the Baltic, and that is the reason you have not met him on the passage here. He is partial to the English; and so are we. He would have chased you; but, Sir, his yacht is no better than a fisherman's smack."

After a multitude of other aspirations, that we might encounter the Crown Prince, now, by the way, king, to disgust him with his [Pg 64]property, the Dane took his leave; and, although his bland, Saxon face, with his seemingly open disposition, drew me towards him, I was not sorry to be alone.

The sun seemed at last to have gained its desire, by lulling the wind, and, instead of bursting, fretfully, through squally clouds, now shone forth with warmth and unblemished splendour. Many ladies and gentlemen walked up and down on a promenade, evidently a favourite and fashionable lounge, within the ramparts of a citadel, bristling with guns of tremendous calibre, not a cable's length from the Iris; so, that, I could see, without being much observed, the gaiety which was in vogue, and could almost hear, did I understand the language, the anxiety expressed to know what and whence we were. The ladies in their French pink bonnets, and English dresses, pointed, gathering in knots, to the white Ensign and red cross of St. George,—which drooping, dipped, like a swallow, to the water's surface, then floated lazily in the air,—and concluded at once in their sweet minds from what part of the sunny South we came, and what the errand was which had brought us so far from home to Denmark. I could almost tell, by the fervour of their manner, how the men viewed with admiration the slight downward curve of the cutter's bowsprit, her burnished copper, and low, raking hull. Boats of all sizes and shapes, each containing a cargo, varying from [Pg 65]four to thirteen persons, put off from the shore, and each individual whispering one to the other, that we were English, paddled round the cutter. Removed at a short distance from the little fleet, like the leading drake of a flock of ducks, a boat, rowed by a sailor and carrying two gentlemen, one with spectacles, standing, and the other quietly seated, steering, described continuously an elliptical circle round and round the vessel. Now and then, the gentleman, who stood, would make an exclamation to his companion, but whether of admiration or dislike, I had no other means of conjecturing than from the frequency with which he arranged, disarranged, and re-arranged his spectacles, first, fixing them tightly to the bridge of his nose, then, unfixing them, with a pettish jerk, to wipe them with his handkerchief, and, at last, refixing them with much precision, by removing the hat from his head and clasping it between his knees, till the yielding pasteboard crackled again. This circumnavigation continued for some time, much to my amusement, but more to the annoyance of Sailor, who leaped from stern to bow, following the motion of the boat, and barked, till the echo of his voice struck sharply against the bastions of Fredrikshavn, then flew, bounding, back again.

At last, the boat was pulled boldly to the gangway, and the excitable gentleman in spectacles, seizing hold of the after-braces, bowed [Pg 66]and handed me a card, and begged, in bad French, that he might be permitted to come on board. Permission was soon obtained from R——, and, with hat in hand, on board the Dane, as I fancied, jumped, accompanied, of course, by the other gentleman. The whiteness of the deck attracted his attention, and turning to me he made, smiling, an observation in a language which I did not understand, but could not help desiring to hear its silvery sounds again.

"Vous n'êtes pas Français?" he then asked.

"Non, je ne suis pas."

"Mais la langue, ne la comprenez-vous pas?"

"Pas beaucoup," I replied.

"Dat is pitty; for I have been for shome toime past in Ingerlaand, but I not learn ze langwage. Ze Ingerleesh varry difficolt."

"You seemed," I replied, "to have overcome that difficulty, and you speak it with a pretty good accent."

"No, Zare, you varry goot to say so; but I feel I can at all not—at all not,—qu'est que veut dire, 'exprimer?'—ach! ach!" he exclaimed, putting his finger in his mouth, and pressing it, meditatively, between his front teeth, "I can at all not speak moin feeling in ze vay I shoult vish."

"How long were you in England?" I said.

"En fjor—une année," he replied.

"If then, Sir," I went on, "after being one year in Denmark, I can speak the language so [Pg 67]correctly as you do the English, I should think myself no deficient scholar."

"Oh! Zare, you too goot. I am not Dane, zough; I am from Sweden—ffrān Svenska landet; but I come to Kjobenhagen for ze painting. Zare," he said, turning round, and looking from stem to stern, and from the burgee at the top-mast head to the brass belaying pins, "dish Engelskt skepp varry—ach! ach!" again he exclaimed, stamping his foot and thrusting his finger in his mouth, "fy!—vat you call 'skönt'?"

"Fine, beautiful," I said, assistingly.

"Ja; jag tackar. Det är skönt!" he exclaimed to his companion, who bowed in assent, and observed in the Swedish tongue,

"Det ser ut som en fregatt;" which, being interpreted, meant that the yacht was like a frigate.

"Ja," answered my friend; and, after allowing time that they might admire everything, which they did, walking to and fro the deck, looking down the pumps and up the rigging, I requested that they would follow me, and I would show them below. The compactness of the cabin, the comfort of the berths, the height between decks, the combination of ease and elegance in the furniture, the copper-plate drawings, the swinging table, the pantry with every drawer and cupboard exactly where they ought to be, and nowhere else, the forecastle, and, wonder upon wonder! the cooking [Pg 68]apparatus with its moveable jack, and its particular copper for hot water,—all these things, and a thousand others too minute to tell, acted so impressively on their minds, that I could hear them extolling, in barbarous grammar, to the cook the singular sagacity of an English mechanic, and the collective greatness of the English nation. They remained on board nearly three hours; and, after conversing with R——, P——, and myself as well as they could, they presented each of us with their cards, and, begging that we would honour them with a visit, took their leave. I returned on deck with them; and the gentleman, whom I have distinguished from his fellow visitor by his spectacles, before he stepped into his boat, said to me,

"Zare, I can at all not say how mooch dish skepp delight me to look at. I am von artiste, and I should like varry mooch to draw dish skepp."

"I am sure," I replied, "Lord R—— will make no objection, for you compliment him in expressing such a wish."

"I tank you, Zare; I can at all not help eet, but I look at dish skepp like von—like von—ach! ach!—" and again the top of the forefinger was lodged in his mouth, "vat is 'skönt'?—bootifool?—jag tacker;—like von bootifool flicka, gal, and ze odare skepps like old vomans."

So saying, he raised his hat and gravely wished me good day.

[Pg 69]"Good dag," he exclaimed again, standing upright in the boat—"Farväl!"

"Good dag. Farväl!" repeated his companion. And still, in an erect position, the gentleman in spectacles kept his eyes fixed on the vessel until a projecting portion of the quay hid the Iris from his sight. I then joined R—— and P—— in the cabin. We were endeavouring to settle what could be done in the evening, and at what point we should commence to see all the lions in Copenhagen, and regretting that we were unacquainted with an Englishman resident in the capital, when the steward gave a very small card, having a very large inscription on it, to R——, and said that a gentleman wished to speak to us. R—— desired that the stranger would walk below.

"Gentlemen," said a stout man about fifty-five years of age, who, with a red face, was standing uncovered at the threshold of the cabin door, "I hope you will forgive the liberty I have taken in boarding your yacht."

"Oh! yes, certainly," said R——, "I am happy to see a countryman."

"That is just my case," replied the stout man, advancing farther into the cabin. "I have been driven from my own country by adversity, and whenever I see an Englishman I cannot resist forming his acquaintance, that I might speak to some one who has come from the land where I was born. Have you seen my card? My name is A—l—r C."

[Pg 70]"Won't you sit down?" said P——, offering him a chair.

"I thank you," answered Mr. C——, and sate down. "I suppose you are come to fish."

"We are," P—— replied, "and should like to learn something about the art, and the places where it may be applied."

"You can't fish so far to the south as Copenhagen," said Mr. C. "There are no fish here. I suppose you know that?"

"Yes, we know that," interposed R——, "we are from Christiansand, and there we heard of fish, but caught none."

"That's very likely; the rivers are yet too cold, and will continue so for a month or more. I am an old fisherman," exclaimed Mr. C—— challengingly. "I have caught my sixty in a week;" and he slapped his thigh.

P—— rubbed his hands with satisfaction, and R—— rose from the sofa on which he was reclining, and looked at Mr. C—— with curiosity.

"Well, now," proceeded Mr. A—l—r C——, "I would suggest, that, you three gentlemen, being in search of pleasure or sport, should remain a few days where you are. After having worn out the enjoyments, and there are many, of Copenhagen, coast it up to Gottenborg, Falkenborg, and so on till you reach Christiania; and at Falkenborg, or Kongsbacka, you may get a few fish. Have you brought any tackle, or flies?"

[Pg 71]"Lots of both," said P——, rising at the same moment, and taking from the bookcase behind him his whole fishing apparatus. The fly-book was soon opened, and Mr. C—— scrutinized tackle and flies with the attention of an angler.

"This is too yellow," he said of one fly, removing it from the book, and placing it on the table for observation. "Here—here's too much red and blue," of another; "there are no flies of that colour in Sweden, or Norway; and all this green on the belly is rubbish,—no fish will take that. What's this? Ha! The dragon-fly,—'t won't do." After rummaging for a little while, he said, "By the Lord Harry! come out!" seizing by the wings a fourth fly about the size of a humming bird. "This'll do for the coast of Greenland where whales are caught. Shall I tell you what?" asked Mr. C——, putting an end to his criticism, and looking round at us all. "Make your own flies. It's impossible for a fellow in the Strand to put a fly together which would suit fishermen like you. Observe the flies and insects of the country as they flutter under your nose, and imitate them the best way you can."

"That's not a bad idea," was the simultaneous answer of R—— and P——; but they liked not their London-made goods rated so lowly.

"Now," exclaimed Mr. C——, glancing [Pg 72]steadfastly all round the cabin at each of us, "I hear this yacht belongs to an English nobleman, and the name is familiar to me. Which one of you is Lord R——?"

P—— and I made no reply; and R——, quite taken a-back, resumed instantly, with a comic air, his declining attitude sideways on the sofa, with his face turned next to the bulk-head.

"You are Lord R——," continued Mr. C——, pointing to me.

"As much as you have exalted me in the grade of society, so much has it pleased Fate at last to depress me," I replied. "That is Lord R——," I continued, pointing to R——, or, at least, towards the centre seam in the back of his pilot-jacket.

"I hope your Lordship," said old C——, addressing R——'s back front view, "will forgive the robbery of your due; but, had I observed your face, I could not have mistaken you."

R—— rose laughing, and told him no apology was requisite.

"You are very like the pictures I have seen, when I was in England, of the Admiral." Then, after a pause, "What can I do for you, gentlemen?" said Mr. C——. "How can I serve you? To-day is Saturday. Nothing is going on to-night; but if, after dinner, you will allow me to wait on you, I will do my best to amuse in a stroll about the town."

[Pg 73]"But won't you dine on board?" asked P——.

"I thank you; I have already ordered my own chop," Mr. C—— replied, "and I would in that case beg you to permit my meeting you after I have demolished it. Say half-past seven."

"As you like," said R——; "but I can give you a good bottle of claret."

"Thank you, my Lord; but not to-day." And Mr. C. commenced a retrograde motion towards the companion.

"Have you a boat?" inquired R——; "because you can have one of mine, if you like."

"If you will, I shall feel obliged," replied Mr. C——.

"Alfred!" shouted R——, at the top of his lungs.

"Yes, my Lord," echoed from the recesses of the pantry, and then the cause of the echo became visible at the door of the pantry.

"Man the gig!" said R——.

"Yes, my Lord," and Alfred again disappeared as quickly as a falling star. A few minutes more, and Mr. C—— was over the gangway, in the gig, and ashore.

[Pg 74]



Punctual to our engagement, we met Mr. C——, after dinner at half-past seven. After wandering over the town for some time without any definite object, I grumbled at the system of enjoyment we had adopted. The streets not being paved so well as the worst streets in London are, the stones, projecting with sharp points three or four inches above the ground, wound and irritate the feet to a serious extent; and my ankles were almost sprained several times in consequence of the high heels I had to my boots. I recommend thick shoes without heels to the traveller in all the northern capitals.

"You are always rusty, Bill," said R——. "Come on."

"Let us stop," I replied, "and determine where we are going."

We therefore stopped in a large square, at [Pg 75]the base of an equestrian statue, the beauty or imperfection of which I could not see at the late hour; and, with Mr. C—— in the centre, consulted what could be done. Being in ignorance of the habits of the people, and the haunts where amusements existed, we three could only look at each other and be mute.

"Come along," at last exclaimed Mr. C——, as if a great idea had dawned on his mind; "let's turn into this café," directing our attention to a spacious building brilliantly illuminated.

"Port your helm, Jack," said R——, in a jesting tone of voice, and moved quickly away towards the café.

We entered, and to say that we saw anything at our first entrance beyond an atmosphere of tobacco smoke, so thick as to be palpable to the touch, would be out of the question. After opening and closing my eyes twice or three times, and, wiping away the tears which the pungent tobacco smoke excited, I began to take an observation.

The room in which I found myself was literally crammed with men of all denominations and all ages, and each having a cigar in his mouth in full play. Some, in this dense hot region, were reading books full of deep thought, (for I looked over their shoulders); some meditating over a game of chess, more chattering vehemently and loudly, and many playing at billiards. Mr. C——, R——, and [Pg 76]P—— had seated themselves in the vicinity of a billiard-table, and, when I partially recovered my senses, I followed their example. The table was about half the size of the billiard-tables in England, and the pockets were twice as large. The four balls, with which they played, were not much bigger than those generally used at bagatelle. The queus were uncovered at the top with leather; and the player had the satisfaction of hearing the sharp twang of his bare-headed queu as each time it struck the little ivory ball. No chalk was in the room. The Danes possess no word in their language expressive of that convenient mineral. In Denmark, credit is never given. You must pay, or go to prison. Thank God, I am an Englishman.

We remained an hour in this café; and after tasting, each of us, a glass of maraschino, which Mr. C—— would insist on paying for, we left the oven. We did not, I promise you, go into another during the week we remained at Copenhagen; and I would urge those "troubled and disquieted spirits," who desire health and good lungs to pursue their wanderings on meadow or mountain, strenuously to avoid these gasometers and receptacles of tobacco smoke.

As it was now nearly twelve o'clock, we took leave of Mr. C——, and walked towards the harbour, when, on our arrival at the Custom House, we found the gates, through [Pg 77]which we had passed when landing, closed, and thus cutting off all communication between the yacht and ourselves. What was to be done? The Heaven, decked out in its deep blue mantle, shone brightly over our heads; and the poppy-dew of Sleep, descending on the Soul of Copenhagen, had lulled all into the profoundest silence. Lying calmly at anchor on the smooth water which reflected a thousand stars, our floating home, not a mile off, could be seen. The tramp of a sentinel struck on the ear.

"Hi! ho!" exclaimed P——, distinguishing the soldier's accoutrements. The Dane approached the iron gate, and, leering through the bars, seemed to doubt our gentility. We could not speak Danish; he did not speak English; and what was to be done with a common soldier at dead of night? P—— went near to the gate.

"Hi! ho!" a second time he exclaimed, as the soldier commenced walking the other way; "We English gentlemen want to get board jhat;" persevered P——, endeavouring, by the adoption of a broken accent, to convey his meaning.

The Dane shook his head.

"We are done," said P—— calmly, "I wish we could get him to call the officer on guard;" and, turning to the gaping sentinel again, "Officer," he continued, "appelez officer," speaking half French, half English.

[Pg 78]The man ducked his shakko, and departed. Almost immediately the officer of the guard came out, wrapped in the huge folds of a military cloak, and, gazing at us through the bars, uttered a sentence in Danish. Making no reply to him, he then said, saluting us with much politeness,

"Que voulez vous, Messieurs?"

"Nous sommes des Messieurs Anglais qui désirent passer d'ici jusqu'à notre jhat," replied P——.

"Certainement;" so saying, a second time the officer raised his cap, and, turning to two serjeants who had followed him from the guard-room, gave directions that the gates should be unlocked, and we passed unmolested through.

This was an act of courtesy and kindness which, we learned the next day, we were fortunate in receiving; for it was the stringent order of the Governor of Copenhagen, the Prince of Hesse, that the gates of the city, particularly this one, should be closed at ten o'clock, and no one permitted, on any pretence, to go in or out after this hour. The smuggling between the coast of Sweden and the town of Copenhagen being carried on to a great extent, render these restrictions very necessary; and we could only be indebted to our country for the exception which had been made to us by the officer on guard.

I rose betimes the following day, and went [Pg 79]on deck before breakfast, in order to take a view of the harbour, its position and defences. The mouth of Copenhagen Harbour opens to the eastward. In the centre of its entrance is a small island, called Armager, well fortified; and to the south of it is another battery separated from Armager by a narrow channel, which is so shallow, that, a reef of rocks may be noted by the foam of the waves as they curl and break over it; while to the North is the tremendous citadel of Fredrikshavn, and the only passage into the harbour is between this fortress and the Island of Armager.

Gambier may have effectually bombarded Copenhagen in 1807, but, I think, such an achievement would be scarcely practicable now. However, I am no judge of either naval or military tactics, but if the metal of guns, and the strength as well as position of fortifications promise to a city protection from an enemy, be he ever so mighty, Copenhagen has that promise well guaranteed to her.

In the midst of my political meditations, the steward popped his head above the companion, touched his hair, as he always did when he had no hat on, and said,

"Breakfast ready, Sir."

My appetite soon clambered to the summit on which my mind had been perched, and desired obedience to what I heard; and in justification of my health, I ate a good breakfast. I returned on deck, an hour afterwards, [Pg 80]holding little Jacko in my arms, who was surfeited with coffee, marmalade, fish, and egg, even to lethargy.

It was ten o'clock. R—— and I sitting on the taffrail aft, P—— having gone ashore, were basking in the bright sunshine of the Sunday May morning, and comparing the temperature, scenes, and manners of Copenhagen, with the variable winds, the Primrose Hill, and the exuberant Sabbath spirits of London, when the sailing-master came, with rather a longer face than usual, to the spot where we were lounging, and, after his customary greeting of "Good morning, my Lord," and "Good morning, Sir," said,

"I have a complaint to make, my Lord."

"Well, out with it" R—— replied.

"You know, my Lord," D—— continued, "old Tom, Dick, and George were allowed to go ashore yesterday, and, instead of behaving like decent fellows, as they ought to have done on arriving at a foreign port, they must get drunk, and nearly drown themselves in trying to get off to the vessel."

"The deuce they did; and when did this occur?" inquired R——.

"They got drunk last night; but they nearly got drowned this morning, my Lord," D—— answered.

"Where are the men?" asked R——.

"On board, my Lord," D—— said.

"Send them aft."

[Pg 81]Away went D—— in search of the delinquent tars; and, as soon as he had got out of ear-shot, R—— observed to me,

"Is not this like these English blackguards? I dare say they have kicked up the devil's own row ashore, and, by squabbling with the inhabitants, brought my vessel into disrepute."

"Let us hear their story before we condemn them," I said; and in two minutes more old Tom, Dick, and George, were arranged in a line before R——, who still continued sitting, cross-legged, on the taffrail, abaft the tiller. They all three looked sheepish enough, and, if one might judge innocence and guilt from the countenance, they seemed criminal in the extreme.

"Well, Tom," R—— commenced, "what is all this about?"

"The Cap'n, my Lord," said Tom, twitching up his duck trowsers on the port side, "gave us leave to go ashore; and we had barely set foot on dry land, than a sort of fellow, neither fish nor man, comes to us, and, says he, in a rum kind of a lingo, 'My lads, I'll show you about the town,' You know, my Lord, as well as I does,——"

"I don't want any of your palavering," interrupted R——; "but I want to know why the devil you went and made beasts of yourselves?"

"Wery good, my Lord, I'm coming to the sarcumstances; but we warn't drunk, my Lord—notottoll."

[Pg 82]"D—— saw you drunk," said R——.

"No, my Lord, no;" calmly said Tom, "the Cap'n carn't substanshate that air. We warn't drunk, my Lord,—notottoll."

"How can you stand there," interrupted D—— warmly, "and try to humbug my Lord in that kind of a way?"

"Not a bit of it," said R——; "he can't humbug me; and don't fret yourself about that."

"That's nothing more nor less than I would ax of your Lordship," interposed Tom; and, edging in a piece of opportune sentiment, he continued, "I have sailed three seasons with your Lordship, and I have always bore myself like a British sailor, as I be. We was joyful-like to stretch our timbers; but we warn't drunk, my Lord, notottoll."

"If you were not at all drunk," replied R——, "you were very nearly drowned; and you don't mean to tell me, that you could ever capsize that dingy without being drunk?"

"Notottoll, my Lord," persisted Tom; "Dick, my Lord, took a broad sheer to starboard, and capsized the boat. We warn't drunk, my Lord, notottoll."

"Do you intend to say you three had no spirits to drink the whole time you were ashore?" asked R——.

"Sperits, my Lord! they ain't got such gear in this air place."

[Pg 83]"How do you know?" R—— said.

"Bekase, I enkquired, my Lord."

"Oh! did you inquire in the streets?" questioned R——.

"No, my Lord; I axes in a cabbarette, as they calls it," Tom answered.

"Then you went into a cabaret, and drank nothing. Very, like, a, whale," said R—— slowly.

"Notottoll, my Lord, we had a bottle of ordonnory."

"What's that?" asked R——, a little puzzled.

"Rot-gut, my Lord," ejaculated Tom, with emphasis; "and if, my Lord, a man wants to get the jandiss, I recommends vang ordonnory;" and down went Tom's fist, with a loud report, into the palm of his left hand. I burst into a shout of laughter at the comicality of Tom's melancholy face, and the smacking of his lips, as he called to mind the acidity of the wine; and R——, judge as he was, could not resist the farce.

"I tell you what," said R——, "and I tell you all plainly, if you fellows go ashore, and get into a row, and the police take you in charge; instead of defending you, as you fancy I will, I will appear against you, and assist the law in punishing you; and, what is more, if you are sent to prison, I will up stick, and leave you there."

"Thank you, my Lord," they murmured, [Pg 84]and old Tom assisting in the thankful murmurs of Dick and George, kept reiterating till the sounds died away as he descended the fore-hatch.

"We warn't drunk, my Lord,—notottoll;" and Tom was the most notorious drunkard on board.

The story was simply this:—He and his two companions, after trudging over the town, sight-seeing, till past ten, found, to their dismay, on arriving at the outer gates, that they were closed. In self-defence, all three were compelled to take shelter for the night in some low cabaret, where, meeting with a few jovial Danes, unreluctant to shun the bout, they drank the night away. Feeling the weight of Danish grog aloft, Dick, a stalwart young fellow of six feet, lost his balance in stepping into the boat next morning, and, falling athwart the little dingy's gunwale, capsized it. Poor old Tom, out of the three, went like a 24-pounder to the bottom; but the transparency of the water allowed some bystanders to observe his carcass stretched out among the cockles as composedly as in his hammock, and to raise him, after the lapse of a short time, by applying a boat-hook to the hole of his breeches' pocket.

P—— returned at one, and told us, that he called at the guard-room, and, making the harbour-master his marshal and interpreter, had hunted up the officer so civil to us last [Pg 85]night; and expressed our gratitude for the favour which we had received. To every one who travels inconveniences must occur, or else travelling loses half its excitement. I would rather remain all my days at home, my mind compressed within its narrow precincts, and never see the sunny South, or mingle, as I do, with people whose warm hearts are softer than the genial air they breathe, and feel, that extreme nobility of soul and sensitiveness of wrong are entwined with the purest simplicity of thought and manners, than lack the slight annoyances of a Scythian life. P—— gave us to understand that he had inquired about the gates; and all the information he could collect was, that no respect could be paid to our condition; and, if we remained on shore after ten, we should run the risk of being kept out of our beds all night. The plan suggested was to write to the Prince of Hesse, and, stating our position, beg that his Royal Highness would grant us permission to pass backward and forward at any hour. Reconsidering, however, the matter, we determined not to do so; but to call on our Consul, and, through him, represent the hardship of our case to the British Minister. This determination was adopted, and ordered to be carried into execution the following day, this one being the Sabbath. Is it not strange how Englishmen long to break through all restraint, and regard the laws of foreign countries as [Pg 86]so many impediments in their path of pleasure?

As in England, many well-dressed people were walking about under the shade of the trees planted with great regularity along the ramparts of Fredrikshavn. We could hear children calling aloud, as soon as they caught sight of the yacht, decked out with all the elegance of her whitest ensign, and best Burgee "Engelskt! Engelskt!" with shrill tongues they cried; and, denoting with their little hands the object of delight, disturbed the stillness of the holy day.

The French customs are generally followed, I fancy, in this country; for to-day, being Sunday, more entertainment is to be met with in Copenhagen than on any other day of the week. The theatres are all open, and the casino, sacred by the royal presence of Christian, lures, with its sweet tones of operatic music, the prudish Englishman from thoughts of Paradise and the fourth commandment. Moses, Daniel, and the Chronicles are quite forgotten; and, putting Ecclesiastes in our pocket, we are going to the casino to-night.

"Do you know," suddenly said P——, as he closed a large chart of Norway, up and down the rivers of which he had been floating for some time on the tip of his pen-knife, "I met old C—— ashore, and he stuck to me like birdlime. He is a bore; I wonder who he is!"

[Pg 87]Like a black cloud, you sometimes see on sultry summer days, moving sluggishly across the purely azure sky; so this remark of P—— overshadowed my mind with a misgiving feeling; and Horace's Ninth Satire, seizing my memory with prophetic tenacity, made me involuntarily mutter,—

"Ibam forte viâ sacrâ, sicut meus est mos,
Nescio quid meditans nugarum, et totus in illis;
Accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantum,

"A note, my Lord," and the steward placed a most diminutive note in R——'s hand. It ran thus:—

"My Lord and Gentlemen,
"I will accompany you to the Casino this evening at 8.
I feel it my duty to show you all the attention I can.

"Yours faithfully,
"A—l—r C——."

"Deuce take him!" said R——; "let us go at six."

"From Mr. C——, I suppose," remarked P——, taking up and glancing at the piece of paper. "I see how it is. We must give him a civil hint; and if he won't take it, we must do the best we can. Poor old fellow! I should not like to hurt his feelings."

When we had made an end of the treatment it was suggested Mr. C—— should receive, I put on my best coat, and went ashore. Scarcely had I, for the second time, rested my foot on the soil of Denmark, than I caught, riveted on [Pg 88]me, two small pig-like eyes twinkling in the centre of an ebony face.

"Me berry glad to see you, Sir," said the owner of this countenance, and, accompanying the welcome voice, the removal of a high-crowned white hat exposed to the African warmth of noon a head of true African wool.

"Thank you, Solomon."

"No, Sir; me Joe—Joe Washimtum," replied the black man, proudly; "but me brudder name Dabid—him better dan Sarlaman."

Deeming this the beginning and result of our acquaintance, I walked on, paying no attention to the sable Mr. C——; but I had anticipated blacky's intentions wrongfully, for a few minutes were sufficient time to place him on my left hand.

"Hab you, Sir, no cumsidumration to see um town?" he inquired.

"Not to-day, Joe," I answered. "I have formed my plans; but some other day we will navigate the town together."

"Berry good, Sir." And, again elevating his steeple white hat, away marched Joe, Commissionaire of l'Hôtel d'Angleterre.

The day was very hot, and my feet, swollen by the heat, suffered more than they did last night from the effects of the uneven stones. I limped from one street to the other, and found the "Amalien-Gade," not much inferior in breadth and length to Portland Place. Palaces of great symmetry, though of [Pg 89]immense size, rose before the eye at every corner; and the residence of the Prince of Hesse is one of the most beautiful structures I have ever seen. The white colour, as at Christiansand, with which all these large buildings are painted, forces directly on the stranger's mind their lightness and elegant proportions.

At the end of the "Amalien-Gade," which is about a mile in length, is a large odiously-paved square intersected by four streets; and, between each of these streets, are four small palaces in the style of Italian architecture. They are inhabited by the royal family; and the old king, Christian, may be seen sometimes, of an evening, walking across to play a game of whist with the dowager-queen. Infantry and cavalry officers, gossipping in groups, and flashing in the sun's rays, their light-blue uniform embroidered elaborately with silver lace, remind you of the Court's vicinity; and the eternal sound of a sentinel's challenge, as files of men march and re-march by him, proclaims, that, deference to kings is much the same in simple Denmark, as in pageant England.

In the centre of this square stands an equestrian bronze statue of Frederick the Fifth; and, though the horse's head is considered a perfect piece of statuary, I am obstinate enough to differ, from the general opinion; and Monsieur Gorr, who executed it, will, with the politeness and generosity of his country, permit me to [Pg 90]think as I do, and pardon me, if I be wrong. Since its foundation in 1168, three awful fires in 1729, 1794, and 1795, nearly burned down the whole city of Copenhagen; but Christiansborg, the colossal palace of the Danish kings, was levelled with the ground; and Christian, deeming, perhaps, this abode of his ancestors doomed to be destroyed a second time, avoids it with superstitious care; and has selected for himself and family the four mansions, for they are nothing more, to which I have alluded. Queen Caroline-Matilda being taken from this palace to Cronenborg, her son, Frederick the Sixth, would never reside in it afterwards; and, I think, it is more from this mingled feeling of affection and painful regret, and a desire to obliterate from their memories the recollection of her fate, that his descendants have followed the filial example of Frederick, than from any dread of sudden destruction by fire.

While walking through the streets, I could hardly dissuade myself I was not in the tropics, for the capacious archways, and central court-yards were quite oriental; and the large and numerous windows of the private houses, with jalousies thrown open, at cool of day, against the wall, reminded me also of the Antilles; and, had a black face but peeped out at me, the fancy might have seemed reality.

[Pg 91]



At seven o'clock, we went to the Casino; and, trusting that we had deceived Mr. C——, renewed our acquaintance with the gentleman in spectacles.

The room, an immense one, was lighted from the lofty ceiling with four splendid chandeliers. The people sat in seats appropriated to them, and listened attentively to some exquisite pieces of music, played as exquisitely, by a large band. There was no dancing; nor indeed was the room adapted for such recreation. The king, the queen, and their niece, the beautiful Princess Louise, sat in a gallery, speaking to those around them, and watching with interest the group below. This is that princess whose hand the Crown [Pg 92]Prince, Frederick, thrice divorced, has sought in vain; for, he failing heirs, Holstein passes from the present dynasty to the Ducal House of Augustenburg. This political flaw is, while I write, being adjusted by the Danish Senate, as the impotency of Frederick, now reigning Sovereign of Denmark, has been pretty well admitted. The company took no heed of the royal presence, but walked and talked, and stood with hats on; and when I observed to my late excitable friend in spectacles, that the English behaved not so in the sight of their queen, he replied,

"Zat is nuttin. Ze king is nuttin."

"That is to say, though it be done, no feeling of disrespect is meant," I continued.


We wandered through illuminated galleries and conservatories sweetly perfumed with the most delicate flowers. Continually, on every hand, was revealed some marble statue to attract attention, or living beauty to gratify the eye. Borne away by these delightful sights and sounds, and feeling life only in the ideal, this lethargy of soul and body burst, convulsively, into common existence, as the indomitable Mr. C—— issued, gaping in all directions, from behind a fluted column; and, when his glance fell on us, the face of Minerva looked not more luminous when she leaped from the brain of Jove.

"Ah! gentlemen," delightedly he exclaimed, [Pg 93]"you gave me the slip; but the guard below told me three Englishmen were here."

P—— answered him with civility, and said that we had altered our plans, and could not communicate with him, being in ignorance of his address. He showed us great attention, and, by explanation, smoothed all those excrescences of conventional usages which we did not understand. So far, Mr. C—— was useful; but, seeming a character of doubtful respectability by the cold indifference with which some Danish gentlemen received his warm advances, we did not like to be accompanied in public by a man of whom we knew nothing. His companionship, therefore, hurried us from the Casino; and, the cathedral clock was tolling midnight, as we were rowed alongside the yacht. The closed gates again gave us trouble; and, we thanked the bright stars above us, that knowledge of the French grammar had survived the tenderness of Anacreon. Nevertheless, this brought the irksomeness of our situation to a climax, and P—— made up his mind to call on the Consul in the morning. For my part, I believe, I became feverish through the night, and in my sleep talked to the binnacle about Magna Charta.

At eleven o'clock on Monday morning, R——, P——, and I, formed a deputation, and started for the Consul's office. While R—— was giving directions to the men when to return with the boat for us, I felt a [Pg 94]gentle tap on my left shoulder; and turning round, received a nod, and "good morrow," from Mr. C——. His services were, however, required, and his pertinacity in retaining our friendship was not so unwelcome. We told him the object we had in view; he appreciated our national conduct, and begged to take us the pleasantest and shortest way to the Consul's. Many people were abroad; and hardly one person failed to stop and recognise us as Englishmen. I do not doubt that the population of Copenhagen is upwards of 100,000; but I judge from the multitudes which, in some parts, thronged the principal thoroughfares. The bee-like movements of the males,—stopping, in the bustle of business, to greet each other, then hurrying off again,—and the fondness of the females for gazing in the shop-windows where fine wares lay exposed, frequently blocking up the small foot-pavement in the gratification of this idiosyncrasy, assimilated them to my own countrymen and women. I looked under many a blue bonnet, and caught the sly glance of many a blue eye; but they were not the blue eye and bonnet of England. I gazed upon many a sweet, smiling face, and saw many an elegant form; but they had not the pouting, red lip, and roundness of England. No! wander where I will—and I have wandered far—I never saw aught to match the pure beauty of England's Daughter. Stamped on her fair brow, the [Pg 95]hand of Heaven owns no other mould for loveliness; and the die was broken when sensibility of soul blended with her tender frame the strong feelings of the heart.

Before I saw enough of life in the streets, we were under the great gateway which led to the Consul's apartments; for the houses here, as in Edinburgh and Paris, are divided between several families, and have one common staircase. The Consul heard attentively our tale, and then told us he could in no way interfere; but that we had better make a personal application to the Minister, Sir Henry Whynne.

To Sir Henry we went; and the result with him was the same as with the Consul. Sir Henry said, he could with just as much propriety interrupt for our benefit the closing of the gates at a certain hour, as the Danish Minister in London could interrupt, for the benefit of three Danes, the closing of the Horse Guards. He recommended us to make friends with the officer on duty, and he doubted not every facility would be afforded us in our ingress and regress, to and from the town at night.

On the strength of that concession by the proper authority, Sir Henry asked us to dine with him the following day; we thanked him for his information, and accepted the invitation. Before parting, he offered to introduce us to the king, who, he assured us, entertained a [Pg 96]partiality for the English, and would be happy to see us and have a game of whist with us every night at the palace. Mr. C——, who had waited for us outside, now conducted us round the town, and gave us all the information he had mustered during a residence of many years in Copenhagen.

In the centre of the second square,—better paved than the other one,—where are situated the Theatre, Hôtel d'Angleterre, and several other large hotels, stands another colossal statue of Christian the Fifth, as devoid of admiration as its prancing fellow. Its remarkable size has exceeded the bounds of elegance. The horse is about to trample on a serpent with distended mouth and forked extended tongue, being the symbol of Discord. Around the pedestal are many figures; and, amongst them, Minerva's arms and legs are sculptured in prodigious relief: but it is to be hoped the Goddess of the Fine Arts will, some day, descend to Copenhagen, and prove to the Danes how symmetrical are her limbs, since, in this allegorical group, the neck of the wild bull of Crete must have been a withe to her proportions. An anecdote is told of Belzoni, when Feldborg showed this statue to him.

"I hope this is not the work of a Danish artist?" demanded Belzoni.

"No; oh, no," replied Feldborg. "If you want to see statues executed by Danish artists, [Pg 97]go to England, or your own country; don't come here. The statue you are now looking at was sculptured, and no doubt conceived, by a Frenchman, named Amoureux, who was sent here by Louis XIV. for the purpose, Louis being excessively anxious, in every imaginable way, to promote the welfare of the Danish sovereign of that day."

"Well, the Frenchman who executed this statue has been a clever fellow," observed Belzoni; "the only animation I notice in his work, is in the horse's tail."

We clambered up the Round Tower of the Trinity Church, which was founded by Christian IV. in the year 1673, and finished five years afterwards. It is 115 feet high, and was used as an observatory about the time of Tycho Brahe. There are no steps, but the ascent is made by a gentle spiral plane; and, as we wound our way up, thinking of Peter the Great, who drove a carriage drawn by four horses to the top, and of the manner the Czar contrived to reach the bottom without backing; all the names of all the families of Smiths, Smythes, and Joneses, deeply incised on the wall, pulled us, with a jerk, to vulgarities again.

From the summit is a fine view of Copenhagen. Before we had finished moralizing about views and heights, the afternoon had slipped imperceptibly away. Where we stood, the cowherd's long whoop at intervals, and, [Pg 98]in answer to his call, the faint low of cattle, could be heard; and, from some cottages beyond the city walls, the bark of dogs, and noise of faggots being hewn, were interrupted only by the loud jests of fishermen, who sat at the cottage-doors, unravelling their nets; while the dewy mist of evening kept rising till it reached the elm-tree tops, then hung there, like a girdle of thin white gauze. It was quite an English scene.

We descended; and lagging behind, I followed my companions in silence home.

We remained on board during the evening, and played at whist. It was some time before we could muster the ace of spades; but, after diligent search, it was found, torn in twain, and the fragments stuck upright, in a pot of marmalade. A small hole bored in the centre of the skin which covered the preserve, not exceeding the dimensions of Jacko's finger, proclaimed it to be his handywork. Jacko, fortunately, had retired for the night to Alfred's hammock; and, out of humanity, the period and severity of his castigation were deferred till the morrow.

As soon as we rose on Tuesday morning, Jacko was placed in a canvass bucket, and thrice ducked in the sea; when his yells were caught up by a flock of little Danes dabbling in the water along the shore, who gave shriek for shriek.

Remembering Sir Henry Whynne's [Pg 99]injunctions, we went, after breakfast, to the guard-room; and, through the harbour-master, held a long conversation with the officer in command of the objectionable gates; and, after a while, our names were written in a large book, and we received permission to go and come as we pleased.

We went to-day to the palace of Christiansborg, which is not remarkable for anything else but its magnitude. The stables, which are built in the form of a crescent, are filled with horses, some of them most beautiful and valuable. Eight cream-coloured ponies, and a similar number of grey horses, were unsurpassed in colour and elegant proportions by those in possession of the English sovereign. There were upwards of one hundred horses; and what use King Christian, with his small Court, can find for so many steeds, may come within the corn-factor's reach, but it is certainly beyond mine.

For those who do not mind revolving to a great height by a back staircase, the pictures in this palace may be a treat, since one or two, painted by the old Dutch masters, are worthy of attention. Passing from room to room, we stumbled on Mr. C——, who, with the keen scent of a spaniel, had tracked us to our present elevation. There was no shaking him off, and so, making the best use of him we could, we beset him with questions; in answering which, by the way, he never wearied, [Pg 100]but chattered with all the perseverance of an old woman.

The only pump in Copenhagen is to be found in a vault beneath this palace. A Dane led us through numerous dark cloisters; and, arriving at last in front of this pump, stood still, and, with brightening eyes, as well as great exultation of manner, pointed to it.

By the traveller who loiters along the streets of Copenhagen, half-buried in the walls of many houses, a cannon-ball may here and there be seen. In remembrance of Gambier's action, the Danes preserve, like the apple of their eyes, these destructive missiles in the same place and position they were lodged forty years ago; and, that the stranger may not fail seeing these emblems of "British friendship," as the term goes, their visible sections are daubed all over with black paint, so that they stand boldly out from the snowy aspect of the houses.

The Exchange, opposite to the Palace windows, is an exquisite building, constructed in 1624, by order of Christian IV. It is four hundred feet in length, and sixty in breadth. The steeple is the most curious you can imagine. Three dragons, their throats resting on the roof, intertwine their bodies, and, tapering a hundred feet gradually upwards, point with their tails to the sky. At a little distance, their large heads and mouths opened to show some formidable teeth and tongues, have a very good effect.

[Pg 101]From Christiansborg we went to the Castle of Rosenberg. In the middle of a park, not larger than St. James's, rise the slender red towers of Rosenberg above the tops of the trees; and, as you catch a glimpse of it, glancing in the sunshine, down an avenue of oak and elm, you wonder not how the Fourth Christian, two centuries ago, made this his favourite abode.

Crossing a drawbridge, we arrived at an arched door; and Mr. C——, taking hold of an antique iron chain, pulled it. The noisy tongue of a hollow-sounding bell roused not the bark of slumbering hound, but had all the desolation to itself, and echoed loudly and longly, then slowly, stroke by stroke, through the deserted corridors. In a few minutes a man, courtierly and well dressed, grasping a huge bunch of keys in his left hand, opened the door; and, judging from our countenances—for I know not by what else he could judge—the nature of our visit, requested, in Danish, that we would enter. Mr. C—— replied, and told him we were Englishmen. He bowed, and addressed us afterwards in our own language.

The hall in which we now stood was surrounded, near the roof, with the escutcheons of the old Kings of Denmark; and, in niches, three or four feet from the marble floor, were bright suits of armour belonging also to the ancient Danish Monarchs. From one [Pg 102]anteroom to another, and from presence-chamber to throne-room, we passed, and found in each one some remnant of chivalry to admire, and heard of some deed to regret.

In the room where Christian IV. used to hold his councils is a Throne of state, exceeding, by a great deal, the dimensions of a large arm-chair, and composed of solid silver, and carved at the back in the most fantastic and beautiful fashion. Placed at intervals of a yard round this room, upwards of fifty feet long, are many other chairs, not so large as the first one, but also of pure silver. In these the king's privy councillors sate. Along the walls is hung the most curious tapestry, worked by the hand nearly three centuries ago, and representing battles with the Swedes, and the naval victories of Christian. Walking along, you leave this magnificent room on the left side; and, at the end of a long passage, a small door admits you, by touching a spring in the panel, to a boudoir, about twelve feet square, entirely walled, ceiled, and floored, with mirrors, so that, the face and back, the right and the left sides, the crown of the head and the sole of the foot, may be seen, simultaneously, at one glance. The ingenious and amorous Christian, being far advanced beyond the ideas of his time, conceived this room and its adaptation; for, in this Boudoir Christian's mistresses were wont to revel with their royal lord, after ablution in a bath close at hand.

[Pg 103]Adjoining this apartment is another boudoir, filed with jewels of inestimable value, not to mention swords of gold, and spurs of gold, armour, and casques of gold. In a glass-case, which is kept locked, are the entire accoutrements of a horse; and the saddle, even to the stirrup-straps and girths, was studded with pearls, emeralds, rubies, and torquoises. On the pommel, inlaid, were four emeralds, having a ruby for their centre, each stone being little less than an inch square. Every day Christian must have dismounted his horse some hundred pounds poorer than when he mounted; and yet the eye could detect no flaw in this precious saddle by the absence of a single pearl. It struck me at the time as being very astonishing that, a small kingdom like Denmark, and not a rich one, could find a surplus revenue sufficient to collect such immensity of wealth, and the resources of the country not flag by its useless accumulation. Why, the sale of all the jewellery, and gold, and silver in the castle of Rosenberg would pay off half the national debt of Denmark.

The earthenware and china, manufactured many centuries ago, are also very curious and valuable. We visited a room literally crammed from top to bottom with vases, tumblers, and glasses of all sizes and denominations; and, while we were almost speechless in the admiration of a bowl sufficiently large to admit its [Pg 104]being mistaken for a bath, and not less delicate in thickness than the rice paper made by natives of the East, the Dane drew our attention to a rent in the ceiling, and asked if we would not regret that any accident should destroy a collection so curious, and the manufacture of which was now lost to science. We replied altogether, with much indignation, that a man who attempted the deed would be no better than an assassin, and might, without reference to an impartial advocate, be hanged from one of the portcullis' spikes below.

"Do you think so, really, gentlemen?" inquired the Dane, with an odd kind of a smile.

"We do, we do," we all unanimously said; and Mr. C. wound up with monosyllabic emphasis,


"Well, then," with measured tone, answered the Dane, "that rent you see there was done some forty years ago, and a shell from Nelson's ship did it."

He stopped to mark the effect this disclosure would have upon us; and, finding we regretted the policy of our country, but could not control the cannon-balls of our ships, he continued, smiling,

"Never mind, never mind, he did no harm; and I hope no other Englishman will again."

Leading us into another small room, the Dane approached a large iron chest, and [Pg 105]raising, with difficulty, its heavy lid, shewed us the coronation robes of Christian lying at the bottom.

"In these robes," he said, "Christian, the present King of Denmark, was crowned; and they will never be removed hence until he is dead."

"Why?" we asked.

"It is an ancient custom still preserved in Denmark," he replied, "that her kings be buried in their robes of coronation."

He closed the lid.

To me, woven with their greatness, the fate of kings is ever one of melancholy; and the incident I have just recounted so shadowed, in a moment, the cheerfulness which had accompanied me throughout the day, that I could not observe with attention any other object of interest which presented itself, my only wish being to leave Rosenberg as speedily as I had entered it; nor could I forget the utter desolation of a man's soul, who, standing in the midst of all earthly magnificence, knows himself clad as he will be for the coffin. How impotent must seem all authority! how wan all mirth! how false all the envied supremacy of his birth!

Finding it was five o'clock, we gave a small fee to the Dane, who still kept chuckling at the capital trick he had played us with the split ceiling, and we left Rosenberg to prepare for dinner.

[Pg 106]The good people at Copenhagen generally dine at the early hour of our English forefathers; but Sir Henry Whynne had altered his dinner time to meet our habits.

Mr. C—— would, in spite of all the civilities we called to forbid it, see us to the boat; and, then, promising to "look us up" on the morrow, vanished as suddenly as Fortunatus would have done with his invisible cap.



At the Embassy we met, besides other guests, whose names I remember not, the Baron de B——, a Holstein noble, and the Spanish Minister, from both of whom, during the time we remained afterwards at Copenhagen, we received the most marked kindness and attention. These two noblemen had passed some brief period of their lives in London, as ambassadors to the English court; and they ceased not telling us how great were the hospitality, and how sincere the friendship, [Pg 107]which had been heaped upon them by our countrymen; and they said, they could never, either by expression or deed, show too much gratitude for the happiness they had felt.

While watching Jacko's gambols on deck this morning, I heard some one hail the yacht; and, taking up a telescope, I discerned on the quay, the Spanish Minister waving his handkerchief. The gig was immediately sent for him. He came for the purpose of conducting us over the town, and showing us all the public buildings and offices we had not yet seen. After passing an hour on board, we all started with him for the shore.

I observed to-day, that the houses in Copenhagen, like the houses in Holland, are inhabited by people equally inquisitive, and who desire to know all that is going on in the streets, without being subjected to the trouble of leaving their seats; for all the windows are supplied with reflecting glasses, which are so placed, that you may see from the top of one street to the bottom of another. This custom is peculiar, also, to Norway and Sweden; for, I remember, when I was at Gottenborg, paying a visit to a Swedish lady, she told me that she knew an Englishman was in the town, although she had never met me in the streets, or even heard of me from her friends. I begged to learn the charm. She then took me to a window, and, directing my attention to a reflecting glass, requested that I would look in it. I [Pg 108]did so; and could see upwards of a mile from the window while seated in an arm-chair. She had observed me, some days before, standing on a bridge about three quarters of a mile from her residence, looking at some Swedish washerwomen hard at their work.

A beggar is rarely to be seen in Copenhagen, since the charitable institutions for the sick, the poor, and cripple, are very numerous. Now and then, a little girl or boy, accosts an Englishman in a plaintive tone; but it is merely for the sake of gaping at him. At an early hour of the morning prisoners are made to clean the streets; and you may know them by the attendant soldier, and the heavy chain attached to their legs. After visiting several public museums, we walked towards the Spanish Minister's residence. When within a short distance of the house, turning suddenly round a corner, we met our old friend Mr. C——. His delight in stumbling upon us so opportunely, as he was on his way to the yacht, was evident both by his ecstasy of manner and voice. The Spaniard thought him an acquaintance of ours; and, when we arrived at his gate, begged Mr. C——, who needed no solicitation, to enter. After we had taken off our hats, and not yet taken our seats,

"Well, now," began the voluble Mr. C——, "have you seen every thing? Have you been to the University Library, or the Church of Our Saviour?"

[Pg 109]"No, we had not," we said; "but at any rate we were too tired to go anywhere else to-day."

"Bless me!" he exclaimed, "when I was as young as you are, I could walk to Elsineur, and back again; and did. Let's go to the Thorwaldsen Museum, eh?"

"I don't think it is open," replied the Spanish Minister.

"I'll go and see;" and away started Mr. C—— to make inquiry.

"Do you know who that is?" I asked, addressing myself to the Spanish Minister, as soon as Mr. C—— had left the room.

"Why, yes; I do know a little about him," answered the Spaniard; "but I deemed him a friend of yours." We then explained the origin of our acquaintance.

"Exactly," replied the Minister, when he had listened to all. "He is a man who makes it his habit to introduce himself to all Englishmen who may come to Copenhagen; and although he may, by his importunate bearing, torment them, he is, at the same time, of some service; and only desires to be attentive."

"Is he a respectable person?" I said. "By his dress he seems poor; but that is not fatal to his respectability."

"Why, no; you are right," the Minister said. "Mr. C—— has no enemy in Copenhagen but himself. He came here without a friend some years ago, and received, in pity [Pg 110]for his condition of poverty, a lucrative appointment from the Danish Government. Mr. C—— could have held that appointment till this moment; but his partiality for the society of Silenus, and the punctuality with which he every day mounted his ass, caused him to ride at last out of the bounds of all moderation; and the Government was compelled to deprive him of his office. From that day till this morning he has been known as an amiable, inoffensive man, and as the drunken Englishman."

"He is a man, then," we all three said, "whose intimacy it were wise to drop."

"Why, I think so," agreed the Spaniard; "for, though no one can accuse him of a dishonest action, it is as well, for the sake of appearance,—and society is made of appearances,—to be without him in public."

"But how can we rid ourselves of him without giving offence, or hurting his feelings?"

"Allow me," said the Spanish Minister, "to arrange that the best way I can."

We had scarcely spoken, and the Minister made an end of recounting this error in the life of Mr. C——, than he entered the room, hurriedly, panting with the information he had obtained.

"It is open," he uttered, breathlessly,—"it is open;—and I will conduct you. I have told—the authorities that you are three countrymen of mine,—and you will receive attention—depend upon it."

[Pg 111]"These gentlemen," interceded the Spanish Minister, "do not desire to go to the Museum to-day; they have altered their minds."

"Oh!—very well," said Mr. C——, nothing daunted; "let's go elsewhere. Time's my own—time's my own. I suppose time is yours, my Lord,—and yours, and yours?" addressing himself to us individually, and noting us, as a shepherd would count his flock, with the tip of his forefinger.

"Yes, certainly," we replied; "yes, time is ours."

"But," again interposed the Spanish Minister, "if these gentlemen do go anywhere, I have offered to accompany them, and my services have been accepted. Both of us are needless."

"Of course, your Excellency," replied poor old C——, "I yield; for you are, by your rank, abler than I am to secure for them that attention which, as strangers, they merit." He held his hand out to us, which we received with cordiality; and he took his leave, hoping that we might find gratification in everything we saw.

When Mr. C—— had gone, the Minister showed us several curiosities in his possession, and amongst them a beautiful Spanish dagger. The steel was so hard, that, a Danish copper coin, about the size and solidity of an English penny, was placed horizontally on a marble slab, and the Spanish Minister, with one blow, [Pg 112]pierced the piece of money with the dagger's point without blunting it in the least.

The cloudless sky and grateful warmth of the sun made us prefer the open air to the confined gases of museums, libraries, laboratories, cathedrals, and their vaults; and, wandering along the fortifications which surround the city till we reached Fredrikshavn, we passed through a private way and entered the fortress itself. As we sauntered along, conversing on various subjects, a culprit of some kind—for this fortress is full of them—would occasionally cross our path, and add interest to our discourse by the Minister's recital of some remarkable incident in the man's life, which had brought him to the condition of a slave. Although the inner ramparts, or citadel, of Fredrikshavn are not allowed to be approached by any one, the rank of the Spanish Minister seemed to cause an exception in his favour; for, as we came near to the drawbridge leading over the inside moat of all, the two sentinels, who were on duty, recognised the Minister, and, instead of stopping us, presented arms.

Within these ramparts, on a wooden bench, from which the Sound, spotted with the white sails of many ships,—and, faintly, the distant mountains of Sweden,—might be seen, two black men sat. Removed at a distance of twenty yards from them, four sentinels stood, resting carelessly, with folded arms, on the [Pg 113]muzzles of their fire-locks; but, even in this negligence, paying much attention to the movements of these black men. We stopped and observed the strange group; and our sympathy was moved by the dress and melancholy demeanour of the two men. The one nearest to us, who appeared the eldest, rested his chin on the back of his hands, which were clasped round the top of a large walking-stick; and in that attitude kept his eyes fixed on the blue waters of the Sound; his thoughts, no doubt, wandering to his home, some pleasant spot, far away. His hat was brown by long use, and rent at the rims, beneath which his white hair, here and there, straggled forth. His coat, once black, was now thread-bare and worn at the elbows; while his shoes, almost without soles, kept sad unison with the other parts of his dress. The other old man, whose clothes were equally squalid, sat more upright, and seemed livelier, and of a lighter heart, misfortune not having yet touched so blightingly the natural volatility of his disposition; for, now and then, he spoke in low tones to his companion, who sometimes smiled, but rarely made answer.

"You are observing those black men?" said the Spanish Minister. "They are the most interesting objects in Copenhagen."

"Who are they?" we asked.

"Those two men," continued the Spaniard, "were once men of note in their own country; [Pg 114]and their misfortune resolves itself into this simple tale. The man with grey hair, nearest to us, seemingly bent with excess of sorrow, was the king of some Danish colony in the East Indies; and the other, his favourite minister. After having reigned for many years with equity and wisdom, and having seen his little island, cradled in the lap of peace, put forth the strength of prosperity, the old monarch's bright day of happiness and glory was suddenly overshadowed by a cloud, which, though, by its insignificance, at first unobserved, gradually gained bulk and darkness, and replete, at last, with all the elements of storm and destruction, burst upon his head. A man murdered a woman, his wife; and, according to the criminal code of his country, was arrested, tried, and convicted; and this king, by the advice of his minister, ordered the assassin to be executed. The intelligence reached the ears of the Court of Denmark, and by command of Christian, the black monarch and his adviser were arrested, on the plea, that, the one being, though a monarch, a subject of Denmark, had no power to carry the statutes of his own realm summarily into effect, without the previous assent of the Danish Government; and, that, the other, being the principal minister, was as culpable as his master in permitting such an infringement of the law. They were both subsequently tried for the offence, and being found [Pg 115]guilty, were placed on board a Danish ship of war, and brought to Copenhagen, where, within this fortress, they are doomed to pass, in solitary confinement, the small portion of life which may yet remain to them."

The guns of the citadel, as I said before, are of immense dimensions; and I do not think I exaggerate when I state that the body of a child, nine or ten years old, may very easily be placed inside of them. I never saw such heavy cannon either at Portsmouth, Plymouth, Dover, or any other fortified port in England. The sentinels would not allow us to take a minute survey of these ordnance; but as soon as we walked round from the muzzle to the breech, in order to examine their really herculean proportions, a bayonet, thrust before our eyes, would be sure to interrupt the stream of information which commenced flowing through them to the mind. I suppose the soldier had read or heard of England, and thinking the people who lived in it, or came from it, were wonderful creatures, deemed it not impossible we might put a few of the guns under his charge into our pockets, and walk off with them; and unless that was his thought, I cannot conceive what mischief can arise from four gentlemen looking at four dismounted guns. However, governments, like men, have their whims; and it is of very little use trying to talk them out of their fallacies. It is as likely, [Pg 116]that, when meeting a maniac in Bedlam, who fancies himself Napoleon Buonaparte, or any other pagod, you will be able to point out the delusion under which he labours, and to assure him that his social position, though respectable, was never imperial. He will understand you as soon, and as soon assent to the truth of your observations.

Our scrutiny had been thus interrupted, when the Baron de B—— came up to us. We had expressed a desire to eat, for the mere sake of saying hereafter that we had eaten, a real Copenhagen dinner, and the Baron offered to show us an hotel, where we could gratify our wish to the utmost extent. Having made no arrangements to dine on board, we started at once for the hotel; and it turned out to be the identical one at which my old acquaintance, Joe Washimtum, held the official post of commissionaire. Like those useful and diligent bees of the great hive of mankind, Joe was standing, with his black hands in his black breeches' pocket, beneath the huge arch of the Hôtel d'Angleterre, chattering and laughing with a few other bees of a similar calling, but of a different colour to himself. Joe raised his white hat five distinct times the instant he saw our party, and, advancing towards us, he observed, still with doffed hat and bended body,

"Good accummumdashum, gentlemen!"

"These gentlemen can dine here, can they [Pg 117]not?" said the Baron de B., appealing to the exquisite Joe.

"No doubt at arl, sir, in de questchums," replied Joe quickly, and with his Æthiopian face shining like a bright boot.

After the Baron de B., and the Spanish Minister had seen that we were likely to encounter no difficulties under the protection of Joe, they left us, expressing much regret they could not remain with us, being obliged to dine at the Palace. When they had gone, "Dis way, gentlemen, dis way," Joe breathed softly, and marshalled us his own peculiar way. Joe soon put the whole hotel in an uproar by his magnificent description of our personal rank and appearance; and in about ten minutes every lacquey and scullery maid in the establishment knew that we were the identical Englishmen who had come to Copenhagen in a yacht.

Joe had ascertained, somehow or other, there was a nobleman among us; but his sagacity failed on this occasion, and he could not make out which was the substantive Briton. Joe, however, was not to be done, and so, after awhile, he addressed us all, as "my Lard;" and, though quite out of his province, he would stand at the door of the room where we dined, and see that the waiters attended properly, and were sufficiently agile in their movements. Joe, moreover, acted as interpreter.

"Waiter, some bread?"

[Pg 118]"Es, my Lard," Joe would reply to me, and transfer the command in Danish to the waiter.

"Hock, waiter;—bring some hock."

"Suttinlee, my Lard," said Joe to P.; then coming up to the table, and, leaning confidentially over it, observed.

"Me would recumdate, my Lard, de Bunseppalouse, it bery good wine, cumsiddumrately dan de hock."

"How do you know; have you tasted it?" said R.

"No, my Lard; me only go by de smell—him bery rifferous, bery, my Lard;" and Joe sniffed till the steam from the vegetables rushed up his nostrils.

"I say," R called out to Joe, as he was disappearing over the threshold in search of the Bunseppalouse, "you black pudding, you; what do you mean by my Lard? can't you pronounce your O's? what do you with your A's, when you meet them?"

"Leeb um to himself, my Lard," replied Joe, deferring his exit; "nebber trouble him; if me do, me bery quick wid him."

"Oh! that's your syntax, is it?" said R.

"Hebben forbid, my Lard, me gib de King money;" answered Joe solemnly. "Dat d— bad polumcy."

Joe had evidently mistaken the signification of the word "syntax," and, catching the last syllable, concluded that R. referred to the system universally adopted to supply the [Pg 119]pecuniary wants of a government; and therefore the solemnity of his answer.

I cannot say much in favour either of the dinner or the wine, vinegar being the dominant ingredient of both; and, do what we would with mustard and pepper, its pungent taste remained.

The evening turned out very wet, so that the only amusement we could find was to stand at the window, and criticise the different carriages as they passed on their way to the theatre. I certainly never saw such rusty old rattle-traps, and I do not except the king's equipage, since the hackney landaus have been abolished in England.

While we were smoking our cigars, Joe came into the room, and desired to know if we would allow him to show us the "Coal Holes" and "Cider Cellars" of Copenhagen; but we told him we were travelling in order to gather information and reform our morals, and not to pass the night in revelling. Convincing Joe that we were not in the vein to leave our arm-chairs, and begging him not to call us all "my Lard," since there was but one "Lard" between the three, we asked him whence he came.

"Me jist leebe Flora."

"No, no," I said; "in what part of the world were you born?"

"Oh! dat one oder ting. Me barn in Jamaikee, sir; but me leebe um two tree year ago."

[Pg 120]"What made you leave the island?" I inquired.

"Bekase him not de same kind of place, sir, as before—de niggers grow so d—— imperant."

"But you must find Copenhagen very cold and uncomfortable," I replied; "and surely impudence in one's own country is more tolerable than discomfort and winter here."

"No, sir," answered Joe, all the soul of his great namesake, Washington, beaming through his eyes; "me no tollumrate imperance; one imperant raskill make me blood cold more dan de winter do. Jamaikee no de place for de man of eddumcashum."

"In fact, you left it in disgust," I suggested.

"Suttinlee, sir," replied Joe; then seeming anxious to forget Jamaica, and every thing connected with it, he said,

"Me hope you like you dinner, gentlemen; and will disgest him," he continued.

"I hope we shall digest it," I answered; "but there was vinegar enough to stop any human creature's growth."

"Me said so, sir!" exclaimed Joe; "me tell Monsieur Sangnette so; dem French cooks, debilish fond of souring deir tings. Me nebber widout um stomick ache; d— de feller!" and Joe hurried out of the room, before his anger had cooled, to inform M. Sangnette how dissatisfied we were with the dinner, and what [Pg 121]torture, similar to his own, we should soon undergo.

Before ten o'clock I was in my berth, listening to the rain pattering on the deck, the trickling noise of which conveyed to my mind, as I lay in my warm bed, an absorbing feeling of comfort, which can only be conceived by those who have a roof to shelter their heads from the pitiless storm. I remained awake for some hours; and, beside the falling of the rain, and the sharp bubbling sound of its big drops as they fell into the sea close to the vessel's side, the night was so still, that I could hear the sentinels in the citadel of Fredrikshavn demanding the pass-word, as the officer went his rounds. When our watch, too, struck the hour, I could follow the echo of the bell, rising and sinking, half way across the Sound.

Early on Thursday morning, before I had dressed, I heard the scraping of feet on deck, and a man, in a broad Yorkshire dialect, as I thought, asking a thousand questions, one after the other, and answering himself before any person else could find time even to open his own mouth. I could hear R—— in his berth make reply to the steward; and,

"Say I am in bed," rose in muffled tones above the sheets.

I looked through the sky-light in my cabin, and saw two gentlemen standing in mid-ship on the lee side, and one of them with a [Pg 122]pencil was writing on a piece of paper, which he placed against the lee-runner block to supply the conveniences of a desk. As soon as I was dressed, I learned that the American Minister, Mr. I——, and a Captain W—— had been on board, and that the Minister had requested us to dine with him on the following day. R—— hesitated about accepting the invitation, for he had half made up his mind to leave Copenhagen to-day; but after a little consideration, it was deemed advisable to defer our departure till Saturday, and dine with Mr. I——.

At twelve o'clock I rowed myself ashore and passed half the afternoon under the shady trees on the ramparts of Fredrikshavn. At the mouth of the harbour lies a Danish frigate at anchor; and, I suppose, from the position she has taken up, is intended for the guard-ship. The Danish ships of war are in no way inferior to the British; and, at Elsineur, we brought up alongside a 36-gun frigate which was the perfect combination of elegance and strength; nor did I at Portsmouth, or anywhere else, see a finer model. From the spot where I stand, I can catch a glimpse of the dockyards, and the hulls of six dismounted men-of-war. I have been told, that the Danish Government intends to build steam-frigates, and will have nothing more to do with sailing vessels of war. The Danes may be right, or they may be wrong; but what [Pg 123]will be the result of any future naval engagement where steam alone, or canvass alone is used, is beyond the intelligence of any living creature. On all human events, such as the issues of peace and war, human beings may conjecture, but cannot determine so precisely.

When I returned on board, I found the cook very busily binding, with a piece of yarn, an immense round of beef, which had been purchased for the crew by R——, in order that they might have a regular jollification to-morrow, it being his birthday. Along the rigging were white trowsers, check shirts, and all the other paraphernalia of a sailor's wardrobe, hung up to swing to the wind, and dry; and, as Jerome sat on the windlass, scraping and screwing his fiddle by way of tuning, I could plainly be made to understand that Friday, the 21st of May, was not intended to be passed over with the indifference of any ordinary day,—at least, not on board the Iris. In a few minutes, while I still listened to the plaintive screams of Jerome's fiddle, as he urged the strings to their proper tension, the dingy shot alongside laden with bundles of brown sugar, multitudes of raisins and currants, and a small bucket of lemons. Jacko, also, mounted, as wont, on Sailor's back, rode from end to end of the yacht, like a general officer, reviewing, and sometimes descending to taste the different dainties as they arrived from the shore; while Sailor would, for no reason [Pg 124]whatever, but from mere delight, burst into a loud bark, much to the consternation of Jacko, who would leap from his seat in an instant, and standing, at a little distance, on his hind legs, chatter with excessive alarm.

We dined early and went to the theatre. A play in fifteen acts was performed. Tedious by its prolixity, the language, unintelligible to me, made it still more wearisome. The music played in the orchestra was very beautiful; and the officer, who had behaved so politely to us in permitting the gates, on the first night of our arrival, to be opened, seated on a high stool, rose conspicuously above the other musicians, and seemed indeed the first fiddle. This is an act in no way derogatory to the dignity of an officer, or a gentleman; for, throughout our travels in Scandinavia, I often recognised in the orchestra of the different theatres I visited, officers whom I had met in the streets during the day. The interior decorations of the house were tawdry, and could not for an instant bear comparison with the simple adornment of the Haymarket theatre. The body of the theatre was not illuminated as in Southern Europe; but large green tin shades cover the lights toward the audience, and, all the reflection being thrown on the stage, the blaze of light on the performers is very great and effective. The house was much crowded; and, as at the casino, the King, the Queen, and the Princess Louise were part of [Pg 125]the audience, and conversed familiarly with different people about them.

The theatres are entirely supported by the Government, and the actors and actresses receive their salaries from the same quarter. Whether this be a system which works well in Copenhagen, I have had no opportunity of knowing; but I should fancy it would be more beneficial to the Government, to the players, and the public, that individual labour, or ability, should seek and find its own remuneration; for I do not believe it is in the power of any Government to discriminate properly, and reward the services of a particular class of the community. I do not think I am at fault when I say, that England has produced more great men, eminent in every department of the professions, politics, and trade, than any other nation of the earth; and this superiority of mental, intellectual, and physical greatness, is to be ascribed to that timidity which the English Government manifests at all times to interfere with individual exertions or collective industry.

To-day was our last day at Copenhagen, and the crew seemed determined to make it the gayest. At early dawn, floating from the mast head to the bowsprit end, then down again to the boom-end, even to the water; and from the cross-trees along both back-stays, every flag and pennant on board the yacht might have been seen.

[Pg 126]"There's not a prettier craft in Denmark," I heard one man say, as he sat in the boat, hauled up close to the port-hole of the cabin, where I was dressing, "and I don't know as how there's a drier thing in a gale."

"No, nor I neither," replied another; "I'm blowed if it 'taint as good as a picture to look at her."

This short dialogue had scarcely been brought to a conclusion, when I heard some one in a raised tone of voice, as if at a distance from the cutter, ask if Lord R, or P, or I, was up, but being answered in the negative, the same person inquired what all the flags were flying for; and being told that it was R's birthday, all further interrogation ceased. It was the American Minister, who had rowed off to the yacht, to repeat his invitation. At 12 o'clock, the conviviality of the crew commenced; and as I sat down with R and P, near the binnacle, toast after toast could be heard unanimously proposed, and more unanimously drank. As the afternoon began to decline, their jollity began to rise, and ere the sun had set, the grog had risen high in their heads.

"Here's to the Governor!" I could distinguish from a multitude of noises, which issued upwards from the forecastle; and then snatches of such Bacchanalian songs as,

"He's a jolly good fellow,
 He's a jolly good fellow,"

[Pg 127]interrupted the calm serenity of the coming evening.

"Now then, 'order,' my lads," I heard D. shout aloud, "and let's drink the Governor's health, and long life to him!"

"Hurrah!" replied eight or ten voices;—"Hurrah!"

"Where's Jacko?" was then the cry; "where is he? out with the young lubber, George—give him a glass."

"Ay, give him a glass;" echoed in answer.

"Time, my sons, time," shouted D., "attend to time. One—two—three; hip! hip! hip! hurra!—hurra!—hurra!—nine times nine, my sons; hip!"—and his voice was drowned in a perfect uproar. The next thing I heard was that Jacko, confused by the din of joviality, had decamped from the middle of the table where they had placed him, and broken his glass. In the midst of all this merriment, we were rowed ashore to keep our engagement with the American Minister; and, on reaching the land, about half a mile off, we could hear the whole yacht's company joining in the chorus, and Jerome's fiddle screaming the accompaniment, of

"True blue for ever."

Our party at the American Minister's consisted of the Spanish Minister, the Baron de B——, R——, P——, Captain W——, Mr. A——, the nephew of Lord F——, a [Pg 128]gentleman farmer from Holstein, and myself. The dinner was an excellent one, and an improvement on the French system of cookery; and every fruit and wine which could be bought in Copenhagen were on the table. After we had dined, the American Minister rose, and drank the health of the Queen of England. P—— immediately replied, and proposed the President of the United States, and that also was drunk in a bumper. A pause now took place in the proposal and drinking of healths, and the conversation turned into a political current, and flowed towards the merits and demerits of Christian, King of Denmark. Public opinion was rather in opposition to the king, because he had shown himself reluctant to give the people that limit of reform which they asked.

"Well," exclaimed Captain W——, who, though a boisterous, was an amiable man, "I have not the honour of knowing King Christian; but I believe him a good fellow."

"Bravo! bravo!" and the Baron de B—— touched the table gently with his hand.

"And I believe," continued Captain W——, "any reluctance he may show in acceding to popular opinion is for the ultimate benefit of the country."

"Good, good," said the Baron de B——, and tapped his wine glass with a small salt spoon.

"And he is partial to the English," added [Pg 129]the American Minister, looking towards our end of the table, "therefore he can't fail to have some liberality of soul."

"The Danes have always been our old allies," said P——, "and I drink with sincerity to the health of Christian, King of Denmark, and long may he be so!"

P—— rose from his seat as he spoke, and held a brimming glass above his head. The whole company followed his example, and with a round of "hurrahs," quaffed to the personal welfare of the aged monarch in whose dominions we had been enjoying ourselves for the last week. The Holstein gentleman, having learned from the Baron de B—— what P—— had said, walked round the table, and, cordially shaking hands with us, said something in Danish which we did not understand, but at the conclusion of every sentence, each one, except ourselves, exclaimed "Hear, hear;" and so I am led to conclude it was complimentary. The Baron de B—— thanked us in English for the kind feeling we had shown in drinking the health of his sovereign, and which he appreciated the more, because it came from an Englishman. He drank to P——, and, of course, all present joined in the toast.

"My Lord," said the American Minister, addressing himself to R——, "I saw your yacht to-day, looking pretty—excessively—among the other vessels which lay in the [Pg 130]harbour; and, from her mast-head to the surface of the sea, I also saw streamers resting their full length on the air. This must be a day of jubilee, and one, no doubt, replete with good fortune to you, or your two friends; and my guests are desirous, and I am too, of noting this day with white chalk. If I be not exceeding the bounds of curiosity, and, in a moment of conviviality, the conventionalities of society, may I ask the reason of so much festivity?"

"Oh! nothing," replied R——, laughing carelessly; "I suppose my sailing-master has merely hoisted the signals to give them an airing."

"That won't do, my Lord. Now, gentlemen," exclaimed the American Minister, "I am not accredited minister to Denmark, without by secret sources receiving information of all that passes in Copenhagen. Lord R——, gentlemen, has done me the honour of dining with me on his birthday."

This rather staggered R——, for he had no idea the American Minister knew anything about the matter; and it was the last circumstance he would have wished the company to know.

"Therefore," continued the American Minister, "I beg to propose Lord R——'s health with all the honours."

"With all the honours," reiterated Captain W——.

[Pg 131]Of course the clatter of glasses, the rapping of knuckles, the bravos, and hears, are nothing more on all similar occasions than the reverberations of such an appeal. Captain W—— mounted on his chair.

"Come down, W——," said Mr. A——.

"Not a bit," answered Captain W——. "Let me alone. I'm all right." The Captain was elevated, and would remain so.

"I beg, with the permission of his Excellency," continued Mr. A——, "to suggest an amendment,—the health of Lord R——, and his two friends."

"My health has been drunk already," observed P——.

"Never mind. Bravo!" said Captain W——, from his point of elevation, and, stooping down, he rapped the table. "Lord R—— and his two friends—good idea!"

"It was my intention to have them one by one," said the American Minister.

"No, no;" interrupted Captain W——. "All together—three jolly chaps."

"Just as you like," answered the American Minister.

"Yes. We'll have two girls afterwards, instead," replied Captain W——.

"As you are so conspicuous, then," said the American Minister to Captain W——, "perhaps you had better do the toast with honours."

"To be sure," replied Captain W——, [Pg 132]"nine times nine, and one over for a fair breeze. Gentlemen! are you charged?"

"Yes, yes, yes," came from all quarters.

"Well, then, gentlemen," continued Captain W——, "reserve your fire, till I give the word.—Now!" and, with all the hubbub of a toast, our united healths were drunk. R—— was called upon to return thanks, which he did; and another jingling of spoons, forks, and finger-basins, rose in reply. The gentleman-farmer from Holstein now commenced a speech, which none of us, but the Baron de B——, thoroughly understood; but it evidently alluded to our three selves, for he often turned, and, looking in our faces, delivered whole sentences without wincing. The Holsteiner was much applauded. Captain W—— having come down to our level, now offered to sing a song; and he dashed headlong into a pretty air, which had an eternal chorus of

"Trik-a-trik, trik,"

or some such monotonous burden at every sixth word. The gallant Captain had executed but a small portion of his ditty, when the Holstein farmer rose quickly from his chair, and addressed the songster at the moment when he had reiterated for the second time,

"Trik-a-trik, trik."

"I don't care," replied Captain W——, who knew the Danish language slightly; "it [Pg 133]means nothing. My friends here have never heard the air, and that is the reason I sing it."

The Holsteiner still resisted. What could the matter be? The farmer must be, I thought, a married man, and the song an immoral one. The Captain made a second attempt with another song, and the Holsteiner resisted a second time. What could the matter now be? Why, that the farmer was a loyal subject, and a strenuous supporter of monarchy, and that Captain W—— had pitched, at last, upon a revolutionary song, which had been prohibited.

"It is so absurdly radical," said the American Minister, "that it carries with it its own antidote. I am sure there can arise no harm from Captain W—— singing it to our English friends, who are monarchy men sufficiently staunch to disallow any defection from royalty."

"Yes," replied the Baron de B——; "it is not for ourselves my friend from Holstein feels alarmed; but for those who attend upon us, and who, knowing us, may disseminate reports prejudicial to our position. God knows, my Sovereign has no truer subject than myself."

"Perhaps it is better," admitted the American Minister, "that the song should not be sung, W——. King Christian possesses no heart more loyal than my noble friend's," [Pg 134]and he took the hand of the Baron de B——, who sat close to him, and shook it.

"A stone," exclaimed Captain W——, "thrown into a brook dams it not, but swells the current only to make it run swifter. What will you have?

"Min skaal og din skaal,
 Alla vackra flickors skaal;"

and chanting these two lines of a Swedish drinking-song, he threw himself back in his chair, and emptied his overflowing glass. The party now began to get extremely merry; and from claret we turned to port, and, by imperceptible degrees, descended to punch. The smoke of our cigars soon accumulated in a dense mass, and, ascending to the ceiling of the room, hung like a canopy of clouds over our heads; and Satan would have envied the hot atmosphere which we now breathed and caroused in. We were all pretty well elated; and as the wine warmed Captain W——'s heart and feelings, he sang the sweetest Swedish song I shall ever hear again. The melodious air, the sweet silvery reiteration of the words, the language with its soft idioms, and the poetical beauty and liveliness of the song itself, were a combination of harmony I could never have anticipated. It would be useless endeavouring to embody "the viewless spirit" of those lovely sounds; but as the words were then translated to me, so I write them here:—

"The happy hours,
[Pg 135] Amid the flowers,
Familiar to the Spring's warm breast;
When memory burneth,
And the soul returneth,
Day dreaming, to its own unrest.
I know of looks, to me more sweet and clear,
Than Light's glad beam, than heaven's own blue,
The Spring's soft breath, the flower's bright hue;
None so true,
As his I cherish here,
Whose image is so dear.
Will he love, and love me duly?
Fairy flowers, tell me truly.
What shall be my lot hereafter?
Shall it end in sighs, or laughter?
Pull them lightly!
Count them rightly!
Yes! No! Yes! No! Yes! No! Yes!
Counted rightly."

Captain W—— received much applause, but no more than his song deserved. After awhile, I observed to the American Minister, that we had drunk the health of nearly every one present except the Baron de B——, and with his permission I would suggest that we toasted him. The hint was no sooner given than it was adopted.

The probable separation of Holstein and Schleswig from Denmark, then became the subject of discussion during the remainder of the evening; and, indeed, this was the topic common in the mouths of all men whom we met in Copenhagen.

"It is impossible to foresee the decrees of Time," said the Baron de B——, "and tell what may, or may not befall this country; but [Pg 136]all I hope, is, that my present sovereign may live for many long years to come, his life being a guarantee of peace to Denmark, and his death the beginning of disaffection."

"Do you think, Baron," observed Mr. A——, "that the people of Holstein and Schleswig are so much opposed to the rule of Denmark?"

"No," replied the Baron de B——, "I am not at liberty to say that is the general feeling of Holstein and Schleswig; for I am one among a thousand who hold, that the disunion of Holstein and Schleswig from the Parent Kingdom, would be fatal to the well-being of both, but more particularly to Denmark; for I do not doubt, but that when Holstein and Schleswig are lopped off from Denmark, some other State, like Prussia, for instance, will take the duchies under its protection, and join them ultimately to its dominions; but such a result could never happen to Denmark, and she must sink into utter insignificance as a European Power."

"Why, my dear Baron," said the American Minister, "is not care taken that these evils should not occur to Denmark? If you do not mind yourselves, you may rest satisfied no State in Europe will trouble itself about you."

"The fact is this," answered the Baron de B——, "the present ministers have not the moral courage, or mental ability to meet the [Pg 137]difficulties of the approaching crisis. When Christian dies, you may say the existing dynasty of Denmark dies too; and I do not think the Duke of Augustenburg will listen to an alteration in the law of succession to these realms, prejudicial to his interest in Holstein, at the coronation of Prince Frederick. If Denmark desires to retain Holstein and Schleswig, she must show her determination now. The same trumpet that announces the decease of Christian, will sound the proclamation of civil contention."

"Will England stand aloof," observed Captain W——, "and see Denmark mutilated? I think not."

"I hope not," said the Baron de B——; "but as years roll on, who can divine the political condition of any country. My Lord," continued the Baron de B——, turning and addressing himself more exclusively to R——, "you have, by hereditary right, a voice in the legislative community of your country, and if ever you should hear that Denmark is threatened with the loss of her dependencies, maintain her in her right; remember the position of England without the aid and protection in the West, however ill given, of Ireland; and, calling to mind the words of myself, an old Holstein noble, be assured, that the apathetic indifference of England to the dismemberment of this kingdom, her old ally, will destroy, only for a time, the balance of power in [Pg 138]Northern Europe, but will entail on future generations the misery of restoring by the sword, what can now be done with the pen, the independence of the Danish Crown."

"I do not wish, Baron," I said, "to interfere with the opinion you entertain of the intellectual refinement of men, and their inclination to have their quarrels arranged rather by the silent aid of the pen, than the roar of cannon; but of this I am convinced, that, the more enlightened the human race appear to become, the more frequently submission and order seem to be appalled by a total disregard of many social institutions. That day is distant indeed, when the legislators of two disaffected countries will sit down and calm their differences by philosophic deliberation."

"I do not quite agree with you," answered the American Minister; "but, I still think, that the irritability of human nature will overcome reason, and so, in anger, men seize the sabre while they throw down the pen; but that is only temporary. 'Ira furor brevis est.'"

"A great deal of mischief may be done in a short time," I replied. "I do not, however, wish your Excellency to take all hope from the Baron de B——, but the separation of Holstein and Schleswig from this country will scarcely be opposed by England, and, if the interference of England should be tendered, the other Powers will hardly permit it [Pg 139]to be accepted in quietude. I am no prophet, but however much Europe may boast of her intellectual advancement, and point, as she may, to her sons of mind, the innate love of destruction is so clearly marked on the character of mankind, that, at any, the least provocation, war may trample again on liberty and peace with all the increased malice and horror of the Bonaparte dynasty."

Not many of the company would support me, but thought better of their kind. I am now pleased that I then stood alone; for recent events have shown how, in the midst of the most intellectual era since the world's formation, glittering not only with the fruit of man's mental garden, but beautified by the miracles of his manual skill, the total subversion of conventional and political order is severely menaced; and how doubtful the contest is between the earnest endeavour of one faith to overcome every tenet of another, and the outrages of vulgar audacity to supersede noble sentiment and refinement of manner.

We did not part until much past midnight, and I shall not forget that last night at Copenhagen for many a long day; and for the time which is to come I shall ever, lingeringly, look back with memory on the glad faces which endear the happiness of that evening.

[Pg 140]



I rose early on the following morning, and went ashore with R——, who desired to purchase some cherry cordial, rum and brandy, since this was the last city of any importance we should visit, before our arrival at Christiania, or Bergen.

The first object which attracted our attention when we returned on board, was a large nosegay, of sweet colour and perfume, in a jar of water, standing in the centre of the cabin table; and a small note directed, to us, lay by its side. When opened, the note read thus:—

"A poor, but proud countryman, begs that you will accept this trifling present, as it is the only one within his means of offering; and, when you are again in England, think sometimes of an outcast."

It had no signature; but the hand-writing was Mr. C——'s. A large boat was seen putting off from the shore, and we hoped that it [Pg 141]was Mr. C——; for R—— was always happy to see him on board his vessel, however much he might have objected to his companionship in the streets. As the boat approached, we saw that it was not Mr. C——, but our old friend the gentleman in spectacles, who had, unhappily, selected this morning to sketch the yacht; and in ignorance of our intended departure, had evidently hired a good-sized boat for the day, and brought all the necessary appendages of his art. In a few seconds we slipped our moorings, and jib, foresail, and gaff-topsail were hauled out to the wind, and the main tack dropped, sooner than I have written it.

"Vare de skepp go?" I heard the artist exclaim to the boatman; "det blăser hărdt—de vind blow hard—moin Gud! vare de skepp go?"

We were soon out of hearing; but we could still see the mute astonishment of the disappointed Swede, as he stood bolt upright, a pencil in one hand, and a large drawing-book in the other.

Like a wild horse, startled, would fly over the plains of Pampas, and hurl with sounding hooves the turf behind him, our little bark darted through the water, and, envious of her freedom, crushed and tossed each resisting wave into foam, and a thousand bubbles. As we hauled closer to the wind, and hugged the tongue of land which forms the most easterly point of the citadel of Fredrikshavn, we [Pg 142]discerned, leaning against the flag-staff, poor old C——. He held a handkerchief in his hand, but waved it not; yet it would be raised slowly to his face, and fall heavily to his side again; and, after we had proceeded two miles out to sea, with the aid of a telescope, we could still trace his form resting in the same place and position, and his eyes still turned towards us.

When we drew further from the shore, the wind increased, and the gaff-topsail was unbent, and a reef taken in the mainsail. We were soon a second time anchored off Elsineur; and, as the sun declined from the meridian, the wind almost lulled to a calm. We went ashore; and although, on our arrival at the pier-head, the sentinels and police did not speak to us, or demand our passports, they walked round and viewed us, as a man would observe the points of a horse before he purchased it.

Elsineur appeared to me a more bustling town than Copenhagen itself; and I suppose that arises from the number of sailors connected with the vessels in the roadstead, who are to be met in the narrow lanes and alleys of the town; and here all the pilots in Denmark mostly wait for ships bound up the Baltic.

Over the door of every third house, generally swings a sign-board, villainously painted, and exhibiting, in emblematical form to the [Pg 143]stranger's eye, the proprietor's name, and the nature of the goods which may be bought of him. The streets are very long and confined; and herds of fishwomen, dogs, and children, get in your way and under your feet. Elsineur is the Wapping of Denmark, or comparable to the worst parts of Portsmouth.

We walked through the town to the Castle of Cronenborg. After wandering over drawbridges, through archways, and dark tunnels, we found ourselves in the middle of a courtyard, surrounded on all sides by the solitary walls of the seemingly deserted castle. We rang a bell several times, and could just hear its noisy clatter, stealing through narrow, longitudinal slits of windows at the top of an old tower; and, after repeating the summons several times, without waiting, we walked away as we had entered this famous citadel. From the ramparts we enjoyed a magnificent view of the Sound, and the coast of Sweden.

In Hamlet's garden, about a mile from the castle, across a dreary common, the willow-sheltered tomb is still to be seen, where, it is said, sleeps that Spirit "the potent poison quite" o'ercrew. A house stands, tenantless, in the centre of this garden, protected at the back from the north wind by a bank, on which spring here and there flowers and weeds entwined; while its front, turned to the south's warm breath, is enlivened by a few statues, [Pg 144]round the pedestals of which creep the vine and honey-suckle. Though the footfall of time is scarcely heard on the soft moss, which oozes in patches from the broad terrace where princes trod, the hand of desolation seemed to be busy here; and as I looked around me, and observed how each relic of antiquity was crumbling into dust, the oblivion of every thing connected with man, except the monuments of his intellect, crawled coldly, like a slug, over my senses, and apart from all visible objects, I felt, and saw with the mind's eye, the immortality of poetry only in the air which I breathed.

Not far from Elsineur is Esrom. Near the Castle of Fredensborg, a boat-house, on Esrom Lake, may be seen by the traveller; and there it was, on this calm summer evening, I lay down upon the grass, looking on hill, wood, dale, and water. The still air, the unrippled surface of the lake, the tops of the trees, which form the vast and majestic avenues leading to the castle, appearing to melt into the blue sky, were so imposing, that the spirit of melancholy, not unpleasing, descended on me; and leaping from scene to scene, and from one epoch of my life to another, I found myself a boy again, and the heart, like a bended bow, returning to its full length, sprung swifter to the thoughts of home; and I could not help muttering aloud these verses to myself:

"There was a time, and I recall it well,
[Pg 145] When my whole frame was but an ell in height;
Oh! when I think of that, my warm tears swell,
And therefore in the mem'ry I delight.
"I sported in my mother's kind embraces,
And climb'd my grandsire's venerable knee;
Unknown were care, and rage, and sorrow's traces:
To me the world was blest as blest could be.
"I mark'd no frowns the world's smooth surface wrinkle,
Its mighty space seemed little to my eye;
I saw the stars, like sparks, at distance twinkle,
And wished myself a bird to soar so high.
"I saw the moon behind the hills retiring,
And thought the while—'Oh! would I were but there!'
Then could my eye examine, without tiring,
That radiant thing, how large, how round, how fair.
"Wond'ring, I saw the Sun of God depart,
To slumber in the golden lap of Even;
And, from the East again in beauty dart,
To bathe in crimson all the field of heaven.
"I thought on Him, the Father all-bestowing,
Who made me, and that silver orb, on high,
And all the little stars, that, nightly glowing,
Deck'd, like a row of pearls, the azure sky.
"To Him, with infant piety, I faltered
The prayer my tender mother taught me:
'Oh! gracious God! be it my aim unalter'd
Still to be wise and good, and follow Thee!'
"For her I pray'd, and for my father, too,
My sisters dear, and the community;
The king, whom yet by name alone I knew,
And mendicant that, sighing, totter'd by.
"Those days were matchless sweet; but they are perish'd,
And life is thorny now, and dim, and flat;
Yet rests their memory—deeply—fondly cherish'd;
God! in thy mercy, take not—take not that."[1]

[Pg 146]That the placid and serious beauty of Esrom Lake might be enjoyed, undisturbed, in intimate union and rare purity, some monks of the Cistercian order built, in days of yore, a monastery in the island, the ruins of which now alone remain; and it would do the eye good to see the beautiful spot where these monks raised their dwelling.

On such an evening as the one of which I am now almost a part, a light might have been seen dancing strangely round the trunk of a beech, the oak of Denmark. It was no will-o'-the-wisp produced by exhalations of the earth; for, now it would shine brightly, and at the next moment vanish, as if it had mingled with the old tree's leaves. Reappearing, the light would assume an oscillating motion for a short time; then revolve with such rapidity, that it would seem a continuous circle of fire; and, at last, as if wearied with its gyrations, burn with the upward quivering glare of a candle. Suddenly, a slight puffing noise, like the ignition of a small quantity of gunpowder, stole on the night, and the beech, without noise, fell withered to the ground. In its stead stood the figure of a man hid in the travelling hood and mantle worn by the peasants of those days. Folding the mantle close to his form, the man moved with quick steps towards the monastery of Esrom; and, arriving, knocked gently, at the gates. He sought admission, and said that his name was Ruus, [Pg 147]and that the abbot had engaged him to be cook's apprentice. The lateness of the hour pleading in his favour, a monk, doubting not the truth of his assertion, admitted the stranger, who entered without further question on the duties of his humble office.

Being one day alone with the master-cook, Ruus showed so much disobedience, and raised the anger of his superior to such a pitch, that he received chastisement severely for his contumely. At this Ruus felt wroth; and, having previously placed a cauldron of water on the fire, and perceiving the water boiled, he seized, in the apparent frenzy of the moment, the master-cook by his ankle and the nape of his neck, and thrust him head foremost into the hissing liquid. Tearing his hair, and putting on the hypocritical garb of innocence, Ruus ran hither and thither screaming, and lamenting in the face of all his saints the irretrievable misfortune which had happened to his master. By such deception, leading the friars by the nose, Ruus caused them to see combined in him tenderness of heart and guilelessness of conduct, and to make him straightway their master-cook. This was precisely the elevated point of trust to which Ruus had aspired, since his entrance into the monastery was urged by the resolution to work out its destruction. The victuals of the friars, made savoury by every herb and spice Ruus could take from the abundant hand of Nature, or steal from the art [Pg 148]of man, were luscious to the extreme of taste; and, delivering themselves up to the enjoyment of all earth's good things, the friars allowed fasting and prayer to slip from their memories. Nay, the legend even tends to the utmost limit of delight, and asserts, that Ruus introduced the most beautiful women to the caresses of this holy fraternity; and so ingratiated himself highly with the abbot, that the old man desired nothing more than that Ruus should become one of their order, and remain for ever master-cook of Esrom monastery. Ruus consented; and, from that moment, quarrels and wickednesses marred the unanimity, and crept stealthily through all the cloisters of the monastery; and the little, childish, coaxing form of sin, by daily toleration and soft endearments, grew to such rapid maturity, that the walls of the monastery would have fallen asunder by the pressure of its bulk, and come under the sway of the Evil One, had not the Father Abbot expostulated with his children, and seasonably persuaded them to avoid their vicious ways.

Now, it so happened, that in the cool of one summer's afternoon, Ruus went forth to walk in a wood; and though the air which he breathed was pure, and the generous sun, mindless of good or bad, poured around an equal distribution of his tempered warmth, Ruus, throwing aside, nevertheless, the harsher trammels of honesty, relaxed to his genial [Pg 149]depravity; for, observing at a little distance a fine fat cow, he approached and slew her; and, taking on his shoulders a quarter to the monastery, left the remaining three-quarters hanging on a tree.

Merry and content of heart, and chanting a native ditty to some young girl he loved, a peasant, to whom the cow belonged, came soon afterwards to seek her; and, when he saw the three-quarters hanging on the tree, his mirth soon ceased, and with wringing hands, uttering sigh after sigh, he knew no bounds of grief, since his wealth exceeded not the cow's possession; but, his sorrow softening at length into moderation, he became lost in the opposite intensity of feeling; and, stung by anger, resolved to climb another tree, and, watching till the thief should come to take the rest of the animal, beat him to death.

The sun began to sink, the cool breath of evening prevailing over the warmer atmosphere of the day; and, ever and anon, the soft sighing of the air brought to the peasant's ear the faint murmur of voices. While sitting on a lofty tree concealed among the branches, and looking down through the foliage he observed, assembled round the trunk, a vast number of devil's imps playing their pranks, whispering of Ruus, and telling each other how Ruus designed to invite the old Abbot and his monks to partake of an entertainment in hell. The peasant, terrified at all he heard and saw, and, watching [Pg 150]his opportunity, descended furtively from his hiding-place, and, repairing on the morrow to Esrom, told his story to the Abbot.

When the Abbot heard the peasant's tale, in wonder and alarm, he ordered the monks to the church, and, amid the solemn tolling of the bell, throwing himself prostrate on the cold pavement, began to read and sing. Ruus, who had ever shown himself a wayward convert, liked not the lamentable voice of devotional services; and strove to sneak out from the mumbling group, but the Abbot, with resolute horror, seized him by the cloak, and exorcised him, quickly as his tongue would speak, into a red horse; and, by the sanctity of invested power, constrained him, by way of punishment for his wicked designs, to pass through the air day after day to England, and without intermission, in blistering summer, or biting winter, to return bearing on his back 320,000 pounds weight of lead for the roof of Esrom Monastery. This Ruus is supposed in the legends of Zealand, to have been the Devil, who, envious of the piety and virtue of the monks of Esrom, assumed the human form, and gained access to the monastery in the manner, and suffered punishment with the certainty, I have stated.

During the night the wind had been soothed to a mere zephyr; but its object was only to take breath, for this morning, Sunday, it blew a perfect gale, and the sea was lashed, in a [Pg 151]short time, to such anger, that no communication whatever could be held with the shore. There were many hundred vessels in the roadstead; and, packed closely together as they were, it was amusing to observe the effect of their masts rising and sinking, and tumbling from right to left, as wave after wave approached and receded from each vessel. At noon, all our cable was veered on the starboard anchor, and got ready for slipping, in consequence of a large brig driving in our way. It became doubtful for some hours, as she drew her anchors slowly home, whether the brig would not come athwart our bows, and, if she had, one of us must have gone to the bottom; and since the brig had so much more bulk, and consequently, weight in her favour, than the Iris could muster, the chances are, that my fleshless skull would have been long ago a resort for cockles under the rocks of Cronenborg; but, a friendly wave, full of feeling as of water, struck the brig to windward, and, heeling under the blow, she took a broad sheer on our starboard bow, and dropped clear of us.

At six o'clock in the morning, we got under weigh, and went up the Cattegat, with no particular plan in view, but desirous, if possible, to reach Falkenborg, or some other harbour in Sweden, before night set in. As the sun rose, however, the wind began gradually to fail, and before noon, a calm prevailed so entirely, that all hope of leaving Cronenborg out of sight to [Pg 152]day was dissipated. This being the 24th of May and the Queen's birthday; to commemorate the event and keep our loyalty in good trim, we fired, even under the ramparts of Cronenborg Castle, which is not always liked, a royal salute; and, when we had accomplished about one-half of our Lilliputian cannonade, a large French war-steamer passed within thirty yards of us, and, not heeding the approximation of such a terrible and sensitive neighbour, we continued our firing, and sent a broadside right into the Frenchman's larboard ports, much to his astonishment; for anticipating more deference to the French flag, the engines were immediately stopped, and a Lieutenant in gold banded cap, and thick moustache, started into sight, showing his chin just elevated above the bulwarks, and eying us with great ferocity over the lee-quarter; but repeating our salute with all the precision of an hour glass, which R—— held, and the apparently sublime ignorance of land-lubbers, Monsieur le Lieutenant seemed to feel some consolation for our breach of etiquette, and paddled away again as hard as ever.

Not a breath of air was abroad, and the Sound lay silent as a lake. In answer to the booming of our guns, from the town of Helsingborg, five miles off, on the opposite coast of Sweden, we could hear the sound of human tongues, and the bay of dogs, come echoing over the sea, so calm was the day. A thousand [Pg 153]vessels of all nations, some going up, others returning from the Baltic, the deep blue sky, and the hot sun, reminded me more of the Mediterranean than of the northern climate in which I was wandering.

After we had concluded our salute, R—— ordered a swivel to be charged, and, loading it with a handful of rifle balls, fired it towards the coast of Sweden. The experiment was tried in order to satisfy our speculations as to the distance our guns would carry. An immense flock of wild ducks, rather more than a mile from us, rose as we fired; but whether the report, or the bullets interfered with their fishing amusements, I know not, for we did not see the smooth surface of the water disturbed anywhere. Some of the sailors, however, were fanciful enough to assert that they heard the balls strike the rocks on the Swedish shore.

Every other object, except the high land of Sweden, lost to the eye, Cronenborg was still, for a long way, visible; and, as the sun began to descend, the old Castle, throwing its dark shadows almost across the Sound, seemed to stand forth the gigantic symbol of national protection, and type of times gone by.


[1] Translated from the Danish poet, Baggesen.

[Pg 154]



Æolus seems to be the same good-natured deity Virgil represents him to have been in the days of Æneas, and open to any supplication which may be preferred to his rocky throne, whether it be by mythological Juno, or material Jack; nor does that royal soother of waves and raiser of wind pay more attention to such poetic prayer and soft promises of a Goddess, as,

Incute vim ventis.
Sunt mihi bis septem præstanti corpore Nymphæ:
Quarum, quæ forma pulcherrima, Deïopeiam
Connubio jungam stabili, propriamque dicabo:
Omnes ut tecum meritis pro talibus annos
Exigat, et pulchrâ faciat te prole parentem,"

than he listens to the reflections of two British tars.

"I think, from the scud, we shall have wind from the south'ard, Bill."

"So I think," replies Bill; "and we shall [Pg 155]have enough of it, too. There's a bank of black clouds over the Castle, I don't like."

"Ay, I'll be d— if it does anything else but blow; but better a good deal than none at all."

"Don't swear," Bill piously answers, "but take what you can catch. We ain't got a black cat aboard; and, so, trust to Providence."

About an hour afterwards the observations of the two sailors were verified; for a strong wind sprung up from the south, and blew without intermission till nine o'clock, when we found ourselves abreast of Falkenborg. The sky, being covered by dark masses of flying clouds, made the night, now beginning to set in, more obscure than this season of the year admitted. The coast, though bold, was dangerous and unknown; and we had been told that Falkenborg, though famous for its salmon streams, had no harbour where the yacht might lie with safety, unless, by sailing through a very intricate and narrow channel, we anchored within a reef of rocks stretching three miles from the land. The nearer, therefore, we approached the shore, the more requisite was it to get a pilot on board; but ten o'clock being now near at hand, and the Swedes being notoriously negligent in the performance of their duty as pilots, the chance of speedy relief from our anxious condition was slight indeed.

Hauling our fore-sheet to windward, and [Pg 156]tricing up the main-tack, we now shot rocket after rocket with a sharp report high into the darkness, and, the roar of our guns booming above the loud storm, must have reached the shore. For upwards of an hour we lay to, dreading to put the cutter about, lest, in doing so, she should strike; for the reef of rocks I have mentioned was nigh, we knew by the chart; but could not, in the obscurity of night, ascertain the exact position of the vessel. Again, the rockets rose into the air, and threw a blaze of light around, as they hissed and flew with the velocity of lightning from the main shrouds, and then burst, a hundred feet above our heads, into myriads of blue, and green, and red sparks, which, curving like a feather, descended towards us, their gently-floating appearance mocking the turbulence of the elements, and our own inquietude. The guns, too, bellowing, an instant after, with the loud tongue of distress, seemed, when their echoes struck with angry force against the elevated points of land, to upbraid the quick exhaustion and placid beauty of the rockets.

With this land on our lee the wind still continued to blow with unabated fury, and, seeing that no assistance could be obtained without resorting to other means, King, with two men, offered to put off in a boat, and seek the aid we desired. These gallant fellows, in the teeth of a tremendous sea, jumped into a small [Pg 157]boat, and, taking several red and blue lights to show, at intervals, their position, rowed, as well as they could calculate, in the direction of the town of Falkenborg.

For two hours, the fate of King and his two companions, was unknown to us, until the whisper passed from man to man on board, that a light was imagined to have been seen. An answering signal was immediately ordered to be made, and a man, running half up the shrouds, burned a blue light; and, instantly, another blue light shone brightly about three miles to windward, on our starboard quarter, then a second followed, and a third; and, to satisfy all doubt, a fourth gleamed steadily through the night. It had been arranged, that King should show a light for every man he might have in the boat, so that if he should chance to find a pilot, a fourth light would immediately convey the intelligence to us.

It was impossible for us to do anything more than lay to as long as we could, and, to meet the boat, was utterly impracticable. In a shorter time, however, than could be imagined, from the heavy sea running, the little boat, taken, like a cork, on the top of a wave half way up our mast, then carried down again so near our keel, that, a rope could hardly reach her, jumped, and sank, and tumbled by some agency or other, for the men did not pull, to the lee-gangway, and our three men leaped on [Pg 158]board with a Swedish fisherman. To our questions the Swede replied, through King, that he was not a pilot, and would not attempt to take the cutter within the reef until daylight, and that we must weather out the gale where we were. These were no gratifying tidings to hear on such a dark and boisterous night; but, in this part of Europe, Aurora soon shows her rosy face; and, before I was up the following morning, the yacht was safely at anchor in comparatively smooth water.

The reef of rocks, which forms the only roadstead at Falkenborg, circles in the shape of a horse-shoe, having but one inlet. It is sunk half a foot under water, so that a heavy surf is always broken before it reaches a vessel lying in the centre of this curious bay. The channel into it is not more than twenty or thirty feet in breadth.

After breakfast, we rowed ashore in the gig. In compensation for the abatement of wind, the rain fell determinately, and in such big drops, that, not all the coats and cloaks we put on, could keep us dry. P—— however, had gone by daylight into the town, and hired a carriole, which was to take us some distance into the neighbouring country, where, it was said, a celebrated salmon-stream ran.

On our arrival in the town of Falkenborg, a guard of several men, with drawn swords, received us; but what their motive was in honouring us with their protection, we could not [Pg 159]conceive. Wherever we went, these men kept close to our heels, nor faltered in the strictest observance of every military evolution. This seeming honour amounted, at length, to extreme pertinacity, and became offensive to our freedom; for, it not only excited the curiosity of numberless dogs, that barked, and the admiration of ragged children, who pointed at us as we passed; but, if R——, or P——, or I, walked into a fisherman's hut, or any humbler dwelling, to inquire the way, a man, with unsheathed sword, and scowling brow, would step from this redoubted phalanx, and place himself on the threshold, watching minutely every action. Tormented at length to anger, by the pursuit of this file of armed men, P—— asked them what they meant; but receiving, of course, no reply to his common, yet, to them, incomprehensible question, he determined to seek out the Mayor, and represent to that functionary the nuisance to which we were subject.

On reaching the Mayor's residence, our complaint was laid very forcibly by P——, who was not a little nettled before that old gentleman, who, shaking his grey hairs, replied, as well as he could, in French, that the anticipated arrival of an English yacht at Falkenborg had been communicated to him some days ago, and it was, at the same time, hinted the object of the Englishman on board that yacht, was to fish. An order was [Pg 160]therefore issued by the owner of the salmon-streams near Falkenborg to prevent any foreigners from angling on his property, and, in pursuance of that order, the Mayor, fancying us to be the real Simon Pures, which, by the bye, we were, had directed much attention should be paid us, and no latitude given to our movements.

A short remonstrance being made to the inconveniences we felt by the obstinate attendance of this body guard; and on our simple assertion, without pledging our honour, that we would not molest, by fly or net, two or three rivers which were mentioned, it was promulgated by the Mayor himself, from his library window, to the populace below, consisting of four women, the man who was to drive our carriole, forty half naked urchins, and twice as many curs, that, the battalion of six men was dismissed, and the rear of the three Englishmen should be annoyed no longer.

This misunderstanding being set at rest, we got into our carriole, and started to perform a journey of ten miles into the interior of the country. The harness, which attached the two horses to our vehicle, had not an inch of leather from one end of it to the other. The collar was a plain, flat piece of wood; the traces were wood; the bit was wood; the shafts, of course, were wood; and the reins alone relieved the monotony of appointment by being of rope. Small wooden pegs [Pg 161]supplied, by some ingenuity I could not fathom, the absence of buckles. The carriole itself had not even a piece of iron to act in any way as a spring, and the agony we suffered when this wretched machine creaked, and squeaked, and jolted over the stones, is indescribable; and, to the eye, it was one of the clumsiest pieces of carpentry I ever met with; nor do I hesitate in saying, that an approximation to a civilized condition was more evident among savages I have seen, than in this first glimpse of Sweden. I could hardly persuade myself I was not more than six hundred miles from London; and when the driver began to talk to me about the result of the war in China, and ask if George the Third was dead, I was not at all astonished that the Baron Munchausen could write such travels as he did.

We arrived about three o'clock at the river where salmon were said to abound; but when the evening brought the labour of an entire day to its close, neither R—— nor P—— were able to speak to the truth of that abundance, for they had not even a bite between them. It was our original intention to sleep at a cottage on the banks of this river; but it seemed to be inhabited by a patriarch, the father of so many suspicious-looking sons, grown in want to maturity, that we thought the most prudent plan was to return and rest for the night at Falkenborg. Resuming our [Pg 162]place of purgatory in the carriole, we were soon galloping on our way home; for the Swedes, like the Norwegians, drive at a tremendous pace, and it is astounding how these carrioles, so barbarously joined together, scouring over ruts and stones, do not tumble to pieces.

At every river we had to cross, a large boat, like a coal barge, without stem or stern, is to be found, and stowing carriole, horses, and everything else connected with them into this huge ferry boat, the driver, by means of a rope made fast and extending from one bank to the opposite one, draws boat and cargo across, and, reaching the shore he desires, remounts his box, and, heeding not from which quarter the next traveller may come, drives off, and leaves the barge where he did not meet with it. I do not know how a wayfarer, following in our track, contrives to reach our side of the water; but I fancy some person, unseen, must be left in charge of these ferries, and rows across in a skiff, or other smaller boat when necessity requires.

Passing along we saw several horses dying on the roadside from hunger; and one poor brute, that we observed, in the morning, lying in a ditch, was quite dead when we reached the same spot in the evening. Our driver, who was an intelligent man, and, having been a volunteer in the English service, spoke our language fluently, said, that all the oats and [Pg 163]corn which could be spared had been shipped within a few months to England, to allay the threatened famine there; and the animals in the country were starving from the deficiency of all kinds of grain. The pastures, we could ourselves see, were dry, and in many parts burnt to chaff, while the present summer beginning with oppressive heat, and the preceding one having been equally unfavourable to the pasturage, the scarcity of food was severely and fatally felt by all cattle.

"Every thing, Sir," said the man, "would have gone on well, had the king forbidden corn to be sent to England, for Sweden can feed its inhabitants; but when we send away any part of the crop, we feel the loss very much."

"Have you ever suffered so much before?" one of us asked.

"No, Sir," he replied; "the Swedes are poor, and very little satisfies them. We feel not famine ourselves, but the animals do; and if they die now, at the beginning of summer, for want of food, what will they do when the long winter comes? There—there's another," he said, as we drove past another horse stretched near a hedge on the road, and struggling faintly for life.

"Your horses will be exterminated," I said, "if they are neglected in this wholesale fashion."

"Why, Sir," answered the Swede, "horses [Pg 164]are not of much use in Sweden, for the agriculture of the country is carried on so differently to what it is in England, that a family, with their own hands, can plough and sow a sufficient quantity of land to supply their wants through the winter; and we don't buy and sell corn here, for we all have our few acres. The farmers, therefore, allow the horses to starve, in order to apply the food they would consume to the preservation of cows and sheep."

The country through which we travelled appeared dreary in the extreme: its level, sandy surface being nowhere varied by the pleasing undulation of hill and dale. This is not the general aspect of Sweden, I know; but, perhaps, I perceive this deficiency the more, being so lately arrived from Denmark, where the landscapes are soft and beautiful, while the natural gloom of its forests is relieved by the calmness of its lakes.

We reached Falkenborg at twelve, and, by dint of much loud knocking, awoke the people at an inn, or cabaret, where we slept. The following morning, as soon as it was light, we went to fish in a river near the town, but encountered the same good fortune of which we had hitherto made no complaint, considering that the mere sport of angling for salmon had brought us to Scandinavia; and up to the present moment we had not seen the scaly snout of a single fish. We murmured [Pg 165]not; but could not resist the doubt, that the existence of salmon in Northern Europe was a reality; nor could we conceal from ourselves the absurd light in which we appeared to the simple people who each day, with mute astonishment, beheld us, late and early, in storm and calm, deliberately and untiringly flog with a long line of cat-gut their legendary streams, in the vain hope of capturing a creature not to be caught in them; and which effort on our part was, in their opinion, a striking proof of the aberration of human intelligence.

We had now travelled over a space of more than a thousand miles, and were as far removed from the object of which we came in pursuit, as the first hour when we left Greenwich; and yet our diligence had been exemplary, our inquiries most minute, and our measures, in carrying out the information we received, most prompt.

R—— and P—— went on board perfectly disgusted, and ready to start on the morrow for Kongsbacka, or Gottenborg, or anywhere else. I sympathised with their disappointment, for the desire to catch salmon had amounted to a passion; and I do not think any other feeling, even of love or hatred, sat more paramount in their breasts; and when I called to mind how,

"Patiens pulveris atque solis,"

each of them had endured all inconveniences without any remuneration, I could not help thinking [Pg 166]of those truthful lines of Anacreon, which he applied, to be sure, to softer emotions of the heart than those now depressing the hilarity of my companions, but the spirit of which was, nevertheless, identified with the tone of their minds:——

"Χαλεπὸν τὸ μὴ φιλῆσαι,
Χαλεπὸν δὲ καὶ φιλῆσαι,
Χαλεπώτατον δὲ πάντων,
Ἀποτυγχάνειν φιλοῦντα."

The period when I left school is gone so far with the past, that I can no longer bring back its lore, and, taking up my lexicon, translate; but, if some old Etonian will receive the signification of these four lines as I do, and allow their collective meaning to huddle in one confused lump round the base of some shattered classic column, and there remain, I shall feel thankful for the task I am spared in cracking each word into English.

The coast of Falkenborg is the most uninteresting I have yet seen; and, wherever I turn, the same low shore, with its solitary lighthouse, and thousands of gulls, meets the eye.

On Thursday morning we left melancholy Falkenborg for Gottenborg; but, having understood that at Kongsbacka some salmon-fishing might be obtained, we made up our minds to stop there for a few hours, and ascertain the truth of our information; for once deceived at Falkenborg, R—— and P—— had no [Pg 167]fancy for being deceived at Kongsbacka also. A fine breeze favouring us, every stitch of canvass the Iris could carry was crowded on her, and at three o'clock the same afternoon we found ourselves off Kongsbacka, and threatened with a calm. A solitary boat put off from a solitary shore, and, rowing alongside, a man tendered his services as a pilot; but replying to our inquiries for "lax[2]," that there were not any, we thanked him for his ingenuousness, and declined his assistance.

The appearance of the sky, and the quarter whence the wind came, promising a clear night and a good run, the helm was put hard up, and we stretched away from the land to get a wide offing before sunset, and to stand in a fairer course to Gottenborg. At six o'clock, however, the wind died away, and before the sun bade us "good night," not a ripple, far as the eye could roam, curled the ocean, on which, like a pool of quicksilver, the vessel appeared to stick. So smooth, so bright, so still, was the sea, that, when the sun's lower limb dipped in the west, his dilated disc, drawn out longitudinally, seemed like a blazing column, inlaid in the water, and extending from the horizon to the yacht's channels.

Either a gentle current of air or tide, which was imperceptible to us, drifted the yacht into [Pg 168]the bay again; but, beyond the inconvenience of being land-locked, no danger threatened us; for the coast in the neighbourhood of Kongsbacka is bold, and the water unfathomable within a few feet of the rocks. The bay itself, not enlivened by a house, or sign of human habitation anywhere, was grand, surrounded on three sides by rocky mountains, and studded here and there with islands, perfectly white from the multitude of gulls which were perched on them.

The bay was so calm that we could see a great way along the water. A black speck, like a hat, caught our attention; and, having nothing else to do, P—— and I rowed in the jolly-boat to it; and, when we reached it, were as much puzzled to make out its purpose as we were at a distance to conjecture its form. It turned out to be a small keg attached to a long line; and we imagined, at the first glance, it was the component part of a salmon-net; but salmon, we knew on the other hand, though of the sea, were not to be caught in it. P—— seized hold of the keg; and, both together, we commenced hauling in the line as fast as we could. The lapse of a little time brought us to the end of it, and some dozen lobsters began flapping their goose-like tails in our faces. We took two out of the trap for our trouble, and let down the rest to wait the coming of their rightful owner.

The stars now came forth, one by one, to [Pg 169]gaze about them, but slunk back slyly when their Queen, still youthful with increasing horns, peeped over the eastern wave at us; and when, in her first glance of splendour, she cast a strong white light on the rocky shore encircling the bay, its calm, clear water, taking a greener tint from the wooded sides of the mountains, looked like an emerald set in silver. The scene was still, and purely beautiful. The cutter lay like a log on the water, the reef-points rattling on the main-sail like a shower of small shot; and, every time he heard the sound, the man at the helm would raise his eyes aloft, and, fixing them steadily on the gaff-topsail for a minute or two, turn round and scan the horizon; and then, walking to the quarter, moisten his forefinger in his mouth, and hold it above his head.

"There's a breeze coming, Sir," he said aloud, but in an under-tone, to the mate, the officer of the watch; who, coming aft, stood looking, far and near, on the water, to observe the ripple of a coming wind.

"I see," he said; "it's springing up from the south'ard;" and, pacing the deck to and fro, he would also turn his eyes to the topmast-head every time he reached the quarter-deck of the vessel, to mark if the night-flag moved. Standing, at last, close to the helmsman,

"How's her head?" he asked.

[Pg 170]"North, a quarter east, Sir," replied the man. After a short pause, the mate, taking another glimpse aloft, said,

"Slack off the main-sheet."

"Ay, ay, Sir," several men replied, and hurried, with a kind of trot, to comply with the command.

"How are the head-sheets?" again said the mate.

"All taut, Sir," answered a voice.

"Ease them off," was the mate's command.

"Ay, ay, Sir," the same voice answered.

"So; belay there," the mate called out to the men who were slackening the main-sail. Going up to the binnacle, he observed the compass, and addressing the helmsman, said,

"Let her break off three points."

"Very good, Sir," replied the sailor; while the mate, still keeping his eyes on the compass, watched the needle till it reached the desired point, and exclaimed quickly, when he saw the vessel fast obeying her helm,

"Now; take her up;—don't let her break off any more."

"Ay, ay, Sir."

"How's that lee runner?" the mate asked, hearing the main-sail chafe against the runner block. "Slack it off, and take a turn or two at the weather one."

"Ay, ay, Sir."

[Pg 171]The officer then walking the deck again, all was silent as before, with the exception only of a rippling sound as the cutter began to feel a breath of air, and move through the water.

The wind fairly sprung up at midnight, and at eight o'clock in the morning, the pilot came on board. About ten miles from Gottenborg, this pilot contrived to run the yacht aground at eleven A.M., and there she stuck until half-past two P.M.; but the mishap occurred not so much through his ignorance, as through the importunity of some custom-house officers, and the lightness of the wind. We reached Gottenborg in the course of the afternoon, and, after a great deal of shouting, swearing, hauling, and entangling of rigging, the yacht was moored very pleasantly alongside the quay. We were indebted to the courtesy of the Harbour-Master for the berth we obtained, since he compelled two large American ships to alter their position, and make room for us.


[2] "Lax," in the Swedish language, is "salmon."

[Pg 172]



R—— and P—— had expressed a wish to visit the Falls of Trolhättan, and, the Iris had scarcely touched the quay, before they started in search of a carriage to convey them to the Falls. As I knew we should sail for Christiania early on Tuesday morning, I was desirous of seeing Gottenborg, and preferred remaining where I was, and allowing R—— and P—— to go to Trolhättan without me; and I was more determined when I heard they had arranged to begin their journey at five o'clock the following morning, Saturday. I learned nothing more about the matter until three o'clock in the morning, when, by the counterpane, blankets, and sheets being pulled off my bed, I was awakened from a sound sleep, and recovered my senses in time to hear R—— and P—— laughing, and scrambling up the companion-stairs.

I passed the day on board, stretched at full [Pg 173]length on the sofa, and reading; nor was it possible to employ the body more industriously, the thermometer not being much below 90. The cool evening, the bright moon, and the Casino induced me to forego all solitary confinement, and to wander in the direction of the town.

By dint of many and frequent inquiries I arrived at the Casino. This Casino resembled not the one I had visited at Copenhagen, but bore more affinity to the tea gardens of England.

There was a cottage in the centre of a flower garden, and at one extremity of another garden a building, imitative of an Indian pagoda, stood, appropriated to a fine band breathing, throughout the evening, all the pathos and melody of Italian music. The cottage itself was set apart for refreshment, and one might descend to a cup of coffee, or mount to the limitless command of a dinner. I had dined very early, and, feeling the effects of good digestion, desired to dine again. The persons who attended the guests were Swedish girls, as notorious for their inability to speak English, or any other language but their own, as they are conspicuous for their personal attractions. Beckoning one Hebe, whom I had selected, to come to me, I endeavoured, by every method I could devise, to inform her how hungry I was, and how I should like to have some food more edible [Pg 174]than muffin. She bowed her pretty head in token of her entire perception of my wishes, and, leaving the room with the agility of a fawn, returned in a short time, laden with a tray, from the level surface of which rose a tall coffee-pot that continued to taper till it kissed with its old fashioned lid her jet black ringlets.

Alarmed to mark at what a fearful distance I stood from my dinner, I looked wistfully round the room for some face on which I could read an example or two of the English grammar; but in vain. The poor girl observed that she had not anticipated my desire as well as she might have, and said something to me in a tone of regret, to which I could only make reply by a partial negative and affirmative shake of my head, and committing it to the peculiar sagacity of her sex to understand what I wanted. A little, stout man, something like a runt, saw the position to which I was reduced, and, coming up to me, said in broken English,

"What you want, Sir? can I do you help?"

"Thank you," I replied; "I want some dinner; but I cannot make this girl understand me."

"I not English," answered the man, "and I not speak te Swedish. I am Russian. I alway make sign for tings I wish."

"And so do I," I said; "but in this case I am quite at a loss what to do."

[Pg 175]"You want dinner, Sir? When I want dinner," replied the Russian, "I alway say, 'food,' vitch is, 'föda,' and put my finger down my mout; and if tey not know what I mean by 'föda,' I say, 'kött,' vitch is meat."

"That's a capital plan; but, you see, I could not adopt it, for I never heard of 'Föda' and 'Kött' before."

"Ha! Sir," exclaimed the Russian, "I alway find out te word for 'eat' in every country. I travel much. I starve if I not know. What shall I help for you?"

"Why—I will have some dinner," I said; "anything I can get—I don't care what it may be."

"Good," answered the Russian; and, turning to the girl, who had remained listening to our dialogue, but totally at a loss to imagine its drift,

"Kött! kött!" he exclaimed.

"Visserligen," said the girl, and walked away with her tall coffee-pot and tray; but, stopping when she had reached the door, she looked back as if some other idea, which she had altogether forgotten, suddenly presented itself to her mind, and she asked,


The little Russian understood her directly, and told me she desired to know if I would have some 'farkött,' mutton. I undertook the [Pg 176]task of answering for myself, and exclaimed aloud, with striking brevity,


My pretty Hebe laughed outright, and left the apartment to seek the mutton.

In ten minutes she reappeared smiling; and brought me not only what I asked for, but three or four potatoes in the bargain. I pointed to them. Nodding her head, as if she understood I meant to say "How kind of you to bring those too," she said,


"Ja; manga goot," I answered in a dialect of my own. She hurried away laughing heartily; but did not forget to glance at me over her shoulder as she passed out of the room.

Crossing, on my way home, a bridge which is thrown over one of the many canals that intersect Gottenborg in all quarters, I stumbled against an old watchman. In one hand he held the formidable "Morning Star," or truncheon, and in the other hand an implement of chastisement, of which I could make out no decisive classification, at least, so I fancied; and, led away by that fancy, I drew near to the unsleeping Swede. I requested him, as courteously and distinctly as I possibly could in tattered English and with original signs, that he would permit me to take a bird's-eye view of the instrument. It was a stick four or five [Pg 177]yards in length, to the end of which two pieces of iron were attached in the shape of a heart. The implement may be drawn thus:

Suppose Charley finds cause that a thief, who may be rather swifter of foot than himself, should be taken into custody: he proceeds after the following fashion. The instrument is seized hold of in the right hand, or both hands, firmly, at the end A, and, giving the stick the full benefit of his arm's length, the watchman runs along in the purloiner's wake. Having approached sufficiently near to guarantee a certainty of success, he thrusts the ingenious instrument either at the calves, or neck of the flying thief; and the point B coming in contact with the calf, or the nape of the neck, opens, and admits the leg, or head into the centre C, and the sides D and E, being elastic, instantly close again, the centre C being adapted to fit a man's neck, or leg, and no more. The most careless reader may easily perceive the relative positions of the guardian and the breaker of the Law, when the former is at the extremity A, the latter in the centre C, and the advantage one has obtained, without risk of injury to himself, of throwing the other to the ground, should he prove restive. The [Pg 178]watchman was as much amused by observing me, as I was by scrutinizing his wand of office.

On Monday morning I was present at a review of the Horse Artillery. The men went through their various evolutions, loading and discharging their guns without ball or powder, by applying a walking-cane, in lieu of a fusee, to the touch-hole, and, then, shouting aloud to imitate the report of cannon.

At the upper part of the town of Gottenborg is a road, curving like a crescent, sheltered on each side by trees, growing at equal distances from one another, under the shade of which are benches where the traveller may rest when tired, and enjoy the cool air, perfumed, as it sometimes is, with the pleasant odour of flowers abounding in the nursery gardens on either side of the road.

The noon of day had come with intense sultriness, and, feeling fatigued, I walked towards this shady grove, with the intention of passing an hour there, in the full enjoyment of my own thoughts, or in listening to any zephyr which might be sighing among the young leaves of the elm and cherry. Between the trunks of the trees I saw the stooping figure of a man creeping slowly, by the aid of a stick, under the thickly leaved boughs. He was dressed much after the manner of some of our English farmers, with knee breeches, white stockings, and shoes fastened over the instep with a large silver buckle. A short drab coat, and a scarlet [Pg 179]felt hat, something like a cardinal's, with large flaps, completed his costume. After a while the man crawled, rather than walked, towards one of the benches, and sat down.

He was apparently seventy, or eighty years of age. His long, silvered hair strayed down over the collar of his coat; and the soft languor of his light blue eye imparted a sad impression to his countenance, which, when he was young, must have been eminently handsome. He smiled as I approached, and seemed desirous that I should take a seat by his side, for he moved nearer to the end of the bench to make more room. The day being hot, as I have said, I received the hint, hoping by doing so to find entertainment, at least, and, perhaps, information. Soon as I had taken my seat the old man touched his hat, and bowed low as his infirmities would permit, and,

"Hur mår Herren?" he said. Knowing sufficient of the Swedish language to understand that he asked me how I was, I answered in the same tongue, and, in compliment to himself,

"Bra, Gud ske låf;" which four words I intended should intimate my gratitude to Heaven that I was well. The old man appeared pleased, that I should make reply to him in Swedish, and no doubt deemed me no deficient linguist; for, observing my eyes were wandering over the beautiful landscape, undulating with corn-fields, and terminating by gentle hills [Pg 180]clothed with the beech and elm, he ventured to say,

"Det är ett vackert land."

I knew he alluded to the pretty appearance of the country; but I was anxious to inform him that I did not understand the Swedish language sufficiently well to carry on a conversation, and, at the same time, to fall as decently as possible from the height on which I had placed myself by the grammatical answer I had previously given, and which I had accidentally learned by listening to the salutations and ordinary replies of our pilots. I therefore curtly said,


A light seemed to stream across the old man's expressive features, and he asked, leaning forward to catch my words, whence I had come;

"Hvarifrån kommer Ni?"

"Jag kommer från England," I answered.

The old man rose from his seat, and said, in tolerable English, that he was glad to see me, (at which I was also delighted) and then begged, like all the inhabitants of Northern Europe, that I would shake hands with him. I did so, and taking my hand in his, he clapsed it firmer than I imagined he could, and looked into my face.

"You are not French?" he observed inquiringly.

"I am not."

[Pg 181]"Then I am glad," and he pressed my hand again; then letting it drop, continued:

"I speak English, sir, but badly; and, yet, I always address an Englishman, and read an English book when I can get it, and, this one, in particular;" holding up to my view an old black book I had not observed.

"May I see it?" I said, and, taking the volume from his hand, a Bible fell open at the 8th chapter of Solomon's song. These two verses were marked by a line being drawn down the margin.

"Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for Love is strong as death; Jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench Love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for Love, it would utterly be contemned."

"You read, sir?" he said interrogatively; and, putting on his spectacles, glanced over my shoulder.

"Ah! sir, fifty-eight years ago, I was young like you, and it was then I noted those two verses. You are young," he continued, "and perhaps have loved."

"No," I replied; "Heaven has not given me the opportunity of participating in one of its most essential blessings."

"Then, sir, Heaven has blessed you," he said. "I am old, you see; but I am alone in the [Pg 182]world. Love has made me solitary." He sighed.

The old man seemed overcome with grief, and, desirous though I now was to hear his story, I dreaded to renew a sorrow, the intensity of which Time had not lessened. He drew forth in silence from his bosom, a miniature, suspended from his neck by a black ribbon, and with shaking hands he touched a spring, and held it unclapsed before me. It was the likeness of a girl about seventeen years of age. A loose robe partially covered her shoulders, and, the elbows resting on a kind of slab, her right cheek was cradled on the back of the left hand, the fingers of which touched her throat; and she looked, with laughing, light blue eyes, over her left shoulder. Her hair, parted slightly on one side, clustered in ringlets above a full, fair forehead; while a melancholy expression about her small, compressed mouth seemed to counteract the joyousness of the upper part of her countenance. The resemblance to the old man was striking.

"Sixty years ago, sir, I first saw that face, and it is as fresh in my memory as if I had only seen it yesterday. It was a face once to look on, to dream of for ever."

"It is very beautiful," I said, still gazing on the picture. "Was she your daughter?"

"Oh! no, sir, no. Would to God she had been!" the old man mournfully replied. "When, sir, I first saw that fair young [Pg 183]creature, I was eighteen years of age, and she might have been seventeen. Endeavouring in vain to suppress the emotions which her beauty and amiable temper caused in my heart, I ventured one day to tell the father of Thora Rensel, for that was her name, the love I bore his daughter. Eric Rensel listened; and, when I had told my tale in words as fervent as my feelings, he replied, 'Engelbert Carlson, my daughter's hand is uncontrolled as her heart; win the girl's affections, and I will not stand in the way of your union.' I thanked Rensel with a grateful heart, and went forth to seek Thora.

"Do you see yonder hill?" said my narrator, pointing in the direction of a hill skirting some corn-fields before us; "there, close to that clump of elm-trees, stood Eric Rensel's cottage. Descending that hill, I met Thora, returning homewards, laden with a little basket full of fruit and flowers. She smiled when she observed me, and held out her hand, as she always did, in token of friendship. I hastened towards her, and, seizing the offered hand, pressed it warmly, and would have raised it to my lips, but I had not the courage.

"'Are you not well, Engelbert?'" she said, in a gentle tone, "'for your hand trembles;'" and she took hold of my hand with both of hers, and looked round inquiringly into my averted face.

[Pg 184]"'Yes, Thora,'" I replied; "'I am ill at heart, and I can find relief nowhere else but when I am near to you. I have endeavoured for the many months since I have known you, to hide my grief, or forget my pain; but the more I have exerted myself to do so, the keener felt my sorrow, and deeper still I probed the wound.'

"'Alas! and why should grief, or pain be yours, Engelbert, when virtue has been attendant on you always.'"

"'Sit down here, on this stone, and listen for a little while to me, dear Thora.'"

"I led her to a large stone by the roadside, which is there to this hour, and we both sat down together. The day, sir, was bright as this; and the corn waved, as it does now, to each breath of wind, and over our heads, among the trees, the birds were warbling. Ah! even now, at this distance of time—in my old age—the tear comes to my eye, and my heart heaves and swells to the memory of that happy, happy day.

"'Hitherto, to me, dear Thora,' I said, "'life has brought no changes of excessive pain, or pleasure; for at an early period I lost both my parents, and, being then but young, I never knew the sweet joys of home. Forced to struggle with men for independence, and, tossed about whichever way the waves of fortune pleased, my heart soon became indifferent to every gentle feeling; and, in my isolation, I [Pg 185]never thought to seek for sympathy, but desired, by my industry, to live in competency, and, at the last, to leave the world as I had been sent into it, alone.'"

"The tears began to flow down Thora's face, and, nestling closer to me, she placed her hand on my arm, and murmured,

"'Dear Engelbert!'"

"'One evening, my own Thora, relieved from daily toil, I was sitting, as now, under that beech-tree, enjoying the cool evening air, heeding and listening to the sweet sights and sounds of life, and musing with softened spirit on all that had occurred to me since my dear parents' deaths, when I heard the gentle footstep of some one behind me. I turned, and, by the light of the full moon, saw a female figure approaching the spot where I was. With beating pulse I kept my eyes fixed on the form; but I soon gazed with delight on what my fluttering heart then almost bade me shun, and now droops with desire to take as its own. It was you.'"

"She replied not; and her head gradually turned from me. I raised the hand I still held, and, in a moment of passionate feeling, pressed it to my lips, and kissed it ardently. She immediately withdrew her hand, but seemed not altogether offended; for a smile—but oh! how sad and prophetic of what was to occur—passed over her beautiful face.

"'Dear Thora!'" I exclaimed, "'do not [Pg 186]torture me. Pardon me, if, in giving expression to the sweet but painful feelings which obscure my brow with sorrow, I offend you; but I love you, dear Thora; and, the first moment I saw you, I felt you were the only created thing which could revive my torpid soul; and, you, I could have fallen down and worshipped.'"

"'Do not, do not speak so, Englebert,'" she said; and, taking my hand in hers, folded it warmly to her heart. I thought, as she lifted her eyes fondly to my face, I observed a tear trickling down her cheek; and the quick movement of her heart, against which my hand was still clasped, told of all that was contending there."

The old man ceased for a few minutes, and the tears began to course each other down his face. He then said:

"It may seem strange to you, sir, that one, so old as I am, can feel so deeply and so long; but, though of a quiet temperament, I was prone in my youth to be acutely sensible of pain or joy, however much I concealed my emotions. I remember, when I was a mere child, my mother's chiding would grieve me for many days together, and I used to hear her wondering what the cause of my grief could be. She was wont then, sometimes, to call me sulky. How, sir, the characters of children are misunderstood, and how the heart, at that tender time, is trifled with, to bring remorse in after life;—but, sir, to my story.

[Pg 187]"In the summer of 1758 a French vessel arrived at Gottenborg, and on board were several young Frenchmen possessing many worldly advantages, and much personal grace. One, in particular, was remarkable for the liveliness of his disposition, and beauty of form. His name was Adolphe de Lacroix.

"By accident Adolphe saw Thora; and hers was a countenance which could not be looked on with apathy. De Lacroix saw and loved, or fancied that he loved. It would be useless, sir, to occupy your time, and increase my own pain, by relating with the garrulity of old age all that happened after the arrival of M. de Lacroix; but it is sufficient to tell you, that, he sought the affections of Thora, gained them, and married her."

The speaker stopped in his narrative, and, taking from his pocket a small packet of three letters, selected one from it, and, with tears still rolling down his cheek, showed it to me.

"In this letter, Thora," he said, "told me of her marriage. I read it then, but I have never read it since."

Observing me cast a glance at the other two letters,

"And these two," he continued, "brought the intelligence of my father's and mother's deaths. I keep them all together."

When I had read, or attempted to read, Thora's letter, which was written in the [Pg 188]Swedish language, I returned it to the old man; and, folding it carefully with the other letters, he tied the little parcel with a piece of tape, and placed it in his bosom again.

"If, sir, my story is pleasing to you," observed the old man, "I will go on with it; for though the repetition gives me pain, its acuteness is relieved when I murmur, as I do now, to some one who will listen kindly like you."

"I am sorry," I replied, "that you should feel so deeply in making me acquainted with the earlier period of your life; for I have attended with pleasure to your tale."

The old man peered with a sorrowful expression in my face, and, brushing away a tear with his hand, continued:——

"Two years had passed away since Thora had been wedded, and the time was Autumn. Almost on this very bench I rested, listening to the merriment of men and women who were gathering winter-apples in the orchard yonder. Divided between the study of this old Bible, and the recollection of the happy hopes which Thora had once raised in my heart, a sense of desolation crept so utterly over me, that I could read and think no longer, and, closing the book, I bowed my head, and burst, like a child, into tears. This attitude of excessive grief arrested the attention of two passengers, a lady and a gentleman, whom I had not seen, and who, moved by my youth, no doubt, and vehement sorrow, [Pg 189]came near to where I sat weeping; and, placing her hand gently on my shoulder, a woman, in a soft and kind tone of voice, desired to know my grief. Though two years had sadly laid waste my heart, my memory had not forgotten the source of all its affliction; and the sweet, clear tones of the voice were so familiar to my ears, that I raised my head quickly. In an instant my tears ceased; through my whole frame, passed, like a cold wire, an aching chill, which, when it subsided, left me faint and weak, and I could hardly stand.

"It was Thora who had spoken to me. Standing, motionless, for a few minutes in front of M. de Lacroix, Thora buried her face in her hands, and then fell almost insensible into the arms of her husband. I did not like to offer my assistance in restoring her, and stood aloof, prepared to perform any office which her husband might think necessary. Thora soon recovered; and when her hand was lifted to arrange her disordered hair, I saw a little ring, still encircling her finger, which I had, in token of our mutual plight, given to her years before. My wounded heart at its sight began to bleed again; but Thora, expressing a wish to M. de Lacroix that she might return home, bowed to me with a forced smile and swimming eyes, and I was spared the humility of showing how incompetent I was to conceal my tears. As Thora walked away from me, [Pg 190]I could not help casting a lingering look towards a form that I once knew at distance, however great, and that I had thought to have called my own. I resumed my seat, and, giving expression to my anguish with sighs and tears, I did not stir till evening roused me from my trance of wretchedness. Length of time, sir, flew fast away, and heaped cares upon my head; but the recollection of my youthful days was vivid still as ever. No day dawned without a thought of Thora.

"One winter's evening I sat alone over my cheerless hearth, gazing vacantly on the glowing embers, when a coal fell from a mass of others which had formed themselves into a hollow body in the fire, leaving a tinge of deeper red over the spot, in the midst of which the letter, T, appeared indistinctly, fading and reappearing for some time, till, at last it became as visible as the mark I make with my stick on this sand. Another coal was driven suddenly with a loud noise, into the middle of the room, and the little cavity collapsed. No sooner had I risen to throw the coal into the grate again, than a gentle tap at my door attracted my attention. I thought it might be my fancy, or the wind; but the visitor seemed determined to gain admittance, and the tap was renewed a little louder than at first. Rising, I opened the door, and an old woman, who had been Thora's nurse, stood before me; and, with bitter lamentations, she placed a small [Pg 191]note in my hand. It brought the dreadful tidings of Thora's sudden death.

"The mournful fact soon flew from end to end of Gottenborg, for Thora was much loved; and people whispered that she had died unfairly. This conjecture grew so strong, that a few days after her burial, Thora's body was taken from the tomb, and, after the minutest examination, no cause could be found to account for her death, but the Will of Heaven.

"A year came and went; and M. de Lacroix, wearied of his lonely condition, married again. He did not live happily with his second wife; and, from angry words, they were wont to come to blows. To be brief, sir, Madame de Lacroix, died as suddenly and mysteriously as my poor Thora. Suspicion showed a more audacious front than it had done on the previous occasion, and M. de Lacroix was arrested for murder. The loud cries of Madame de Lacroix, heard the day before her death, were sufficient to put M. de Lacroix on his trial.

"Either from contrition, or some other cause of fear or hope, M. de Lacroix confessed that the death of Thora had been brought about by his own hand. It seems, sir, by some act of the basest depravity, Heaven permits that the fallen condition of man should be forced, at intervals, on our minds, to show the necessity of keeping in subjection the vicious propensities of our thoughts and deeds; for, unless it be so, I [Pg 192]can in no way solve the reckless abandonment of all human feeling in the breast of M. de Lacroix. Ever afterwards, from the day I met Thora accidentally on this spot, her husband gave way to fits of frequent jealousy and anger; and a home, which had been one of harmony and joy, was then converted into a den of contention and the bitterest acrimony. In one of these domestic brawls, M. de Lacroix resolved to murder his beautiful wife; and the plan he devised to accomplish his purpose was as novel as it was diabolical.

"In the dead of night, when the young and innocent Thora was folded in profound sleep, M. de Lacroix arose, and, going to a small box, took thence a needle not larger than those in ordinary use, but of greater length. Returning to the bed where Thora still lay, breathing with the long, heavy respiration of slumber, he leaned over her, and the moment he did so, and but for a moment, a low, spasmodic cry was heard, a slight struggle shook the bed, and all was hushed as before. M. de Lacroix had driven the needle into Thora's heart! Wiping with his finger the trifling drop of blood which oozed from the puncture, he effaced all trace of violence from the body."

The old man paused; and, drawing a handkerchief from his pocket, hid his face in it, and, from the convulsive movement of his shoulders, I could see he was weeping bitterly, though in silence.

[Pg 193]"So ends, sir," with faltering accents the old man soon continued, "the cause of all my misery. I am old now, and yet in my old age I keep fresh the feelings of my youth; and, therefore, I wander hither every day to gaze upon the blue sky, and bask in its warmth; but never to forget her whose loss has made oblivion a desire, and created the hope, that, Death be an eternal end of sensibility."

The old man ceased to speak. The solemn manner, and the earnest tones in which he had told this sad episode of his life, made a deep impression on me; and when I looked on his frame, bent more by sorrow than with age, and saw the settled gloom of an inward grief shadowing a countenance, on which length of years and rectitude of conduct should have left the lines of happiness and mental peace, I felt how unable was virtuous thought, or strength of intellectual refinement, to secure, even, the love of life's young day, or to soothe the anguish of its loss; and, unresistingly, I yielded to the remembrance of hope's passionate farewell to joys, once dreamed of, before the world's strange knowledge fell with grief's canker on the bloom of my own heart.

The old man rose to go. When I had assisted him from his seat, he took my hand, and, sadly, wished me farewell. I watched him a long time, wending his way slowly homeward through the corn-fields; and, when his form [Pg 194]was hid from sight, I could just see his head above the blades of corn, and his silvery, white hair shining, like a wreath of snow, in the slanted rays of the setting sun.

About six o'clock, when returning to the yacht, I heard the beating of drums and discharge of cannon, the howling of dogs, the screams and lamentation of women, and, now and then, rising above the general din, the shrill blast of trumpets. As I approached nearer to the water-side, the rigging, even to the mast-heads of the different ships in the harbour and canals was crowded with sailors, who, clinging by one leg, or one arm, to the ropes, strove with outstretched necks, to catch a glimpse of some extraordinary deed to be, or being done. Presently a troop of horse-soldiers trotted by me; and it was with some difficulty I could escape being trod under foot by these impatient riders. Everybody seemed mad. One Swede, with slippered feet, without hat or coat, rushed past me with so much impetuosity, that he was like to throw me to the ground; and, seizing him by his flying shirt-sleeve, I remonstrated against his carelessness. He gave no heed to my anger, but continued headlong in his flight, and left a fragment of his linen in my possession. The maniac speed and bearing of the man reminded me of a story which is told of the Calif Hegiage, who, having by his cruelties rendered himself hateful to his subjects, one day, on a [Pg 195]journey, met an Arabian of the Desert, and asked him, among many other things, what kind of a man the Calif was, of whom so much was said?

"He is no man," replied the Arabian; "but a monster."

"Of what do his subjects accuse him?" asked the Calif.

"Of the most inhuman barbarities," answered the indignant Arabian.

"Have you ever seen him?" demanded Hegiage.

"No," the other replied.

"Look at him now!" said the Calif; "for it is to him you speak."

The Arabian, without betraying the least sign of fear or surprise, fixed his eyes on him, and said,—"And you, sir, do you know who I am?"

"No," replied the Calif.

"I am of the family of Zobair," the Arabian continued, "all whose descendants are infected with madness one day in the year; and this is my mad day."

The faster I walked to that part of the town where the yacht lay, the denser became the crowd of people; and I met regiments of foot-soldiers and troops of cavalry scampering in every direction, as if Gottenborg were besieged by a hundred thousand men, or the sun had slipped, when setting, and fallen in the market-place. A fat Swede, who stood [Pg 196]demurely smoking his pipe, attracted my attention by the indifference of his manner in the general confusion; and, noting the sagacity of his little, roguish, blue eye, which he blinked as frequently as he blew the smoke, in a horizontal spire, from his mouth, I asked him what the uproar meant.

"Eld, eld," he said; and that was all the explanation I could obtain from him. However, I soon discovered the cause of the hubbub; for, following the direction of the people's eyes, I saw, elevated higher than its fellows from the roof of an older house, an old chimney ejecting volumes of the sootiest smoke, and causing the inmates to toss beds, blankets, chairs, tables, and, even, their darling pipes out of the windows. I immediately understood the alarm of the inhabitants of Gottenborg. A chimney was on fire.

The conflagrations in Sweden and Norway have been so extensive and frightful of late years, that the natives of those two countries regard them as the most dreadful scourges of Odin, Thor, or Frey; and adopt every precaution they possibly can, in their primitive way, to prevent a fire, or to allay its fury when one does break out. I am not surprised at their consternation, for many of the houses are entirely built of fir, which is very inflammable; and a fire must bring a very fearful catastrophe to such a crowded town as Gottenborg where you can shake hands from an attic window with your opposite neighbour.

[Pg 197]In half an hour, long before the trumpery apparatus counterfeiting the shape of a fire-engine, or the water-buckets of the Corporation wrenched from the custody of locks and iron gates, could be made to act, the old chimney exhausted itself; and, at the moment when one unhappy broken-winded engine spirted a small quantity of water into a window of the first story only, the house having five stories, a column of clear blue smoke shot straight up, from the chimney-pot into the air, with the quietude and ease of a good joke. The chimney actually seemed to have got up the smoke for a jest. The folks of Gottenborg, however, did not view the matter in the same light as I did; for the bands of the different regiments, that had been called together, by sound of trumpet, to put out the fire, were mustered in a large square, and, in the presence of a vast multitude, played a psalm, in token of the whole nation's gratitude to Heaven, that Gottenborg had been spared the ancient fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The wind veering round to the south, had blown the yacht farther from the quay than when I left it in the morning. While conjecturing how I should get on board, D—— came on deck, and said, if I would jump, I should find no difficulty in reaching the vessel. King Philip, of yore, once wrote to the Lacedæmonians in the following manner:—"If I enter your territories, I will destroy everything with [Pg 198]fire and sword." To this terrible menace, the Lacedæmonians answered only by the word, "If." I certainly felt like a Lacedæmonian, and gave D—— credit for all the confidence of the Macedonian monarch. I was rowed on board in the jolly-boat.

A mob of many hundred persons surrounded the quay where the Iris was moored, charmed by the symphony of Jerome's fiddle, or astounded by the vociferous melody of the crew, as they tossed off a couplet or two of

"Rule Britannia!"

and then chanted with the recitative energy of truth,

"And there we lay, all the day,
 In the Bay of Biscay, O!"

On Sunday morning, R—— and P—— returned, unexpectedly, from Trolhättan, and, when they entered the cabin, they were so powdered with dust, and smeared with mud, that I hardly recognized them. They would not, at first, tell me the cause of their dirty plight, but I contrived to hear the whole account from King, who had accompanied them in the capacity of valet. When they arrived at Trolhättan, on Saturday afternoon, being wearied, they strove to find some cottage where they might sleep, but failed; and it was, therefore, determined to visit the Falls, snatch a hasty meal, and return to Gottenborg the same evening. Having beheld the awful [Pg 199]cataract, and eaten their humble dinner, at set of sun they started.

The moon was bright, and, not having climbed half way up the Heavens, surety of her light was promised throughout the night. The strict enforcement of the laws had cleared the roads of robbers, and no ill was to be feared from bears or wolves, for the approach of summer had driven these animals to the farthest highlands of the kingdom to seek for food and coolness.

With minds at ease, then, and drowsy by the process of digestion, R—— and P——, hushed by the rolling of the carriage, fell fast asleep. The night crept on, and the moon began to go down on the other side of the sky, and, still, R—— and P—— slumbered; and, moreover, their pleasant snores, invading the ears of King, accustomed only to the lusty roar of ocean, soon enticed him with a stupefying influence from his watchful attitude on the box, and laid his head in similar forgetfulness on the shoulder of the coachman.

They might have slept for three hours, and King and the coachman for two, when the unguided carriage gave a violent jolt, a loud creak, a revolving motion, and fell, wheels uppermost, on the road-side. King awoke in an instant, but too late to resist being plunged to the top of a high, irritable bramble hedge that showed him no mercy, while R—— and P—— found themselves, in a state of perfect [Pg 200]sensibility, on their knees and hands in a dry but deep ditch, with the cushions, the empty drawers, little pieces of old carpet, and all the other interior appointments of their travelling carriage piled mysteriously on their backs and the napes of their necks.

The riddle was soon solved. The horses being sensible of what was restraint and what was not, felt the reins dangling about their hocks, and, having had no food since they left their stables at Gottenborg, walked to the wayside, and began to crop the grass; but, as mindless of the vehicle at their tails, as desirous to swallow the green fare before their eyes, they approached too near the gutter, and one wheel, sliding plump into it, drew the other three wheels after, and immediately caused the accident I have mentioned.

With its tributary streams, a branch of the river Gotha flows through the main street, and lesser thoroughfares of Gottenborg; and along the banks are planted rows of trees, which give the town a lively appearance. As I crossed the bridges, I saw, on floating platforms, a shoal of washerwomen scouring and thrashing lustily, with an instrument like a shuttle, the wardrobe of their customers. When I first arrived at Gottenborg, I thought myself in Holland, the mode of dress, and aspect of the town bearing so close a resemblance to Rotterdam.

On Tuesday morning, the 1st of June, at [Pg 201]eleven o'clock, just one month after our departure from Greenwich, we left Sweden for Norway. The time had glided pleasantly and speedily away; and, wherever we had gone, kindness and hospitality always awaited us. We had brought from England few letters of introduction, and, at some places where we went, on our first arrival, knew no one; but here, as here at Gottenborg, not many hours would elapse before the doors of these simple and generous hearted people were opened to us; and, the greatest delight was evinced, when we entered their houses.

Gottenborg was founded by the great Gustavus Adolphus. The town is situated, like all the towns of Scandinavia, on a fiord of its own name, sleeping with all the placid beauty of a lake; but there is so much monotony in the romantic position of the Swedish and Norwegian towns, that, to describe one is to describe all. There are one or two fine buildings in Gottenborg; and the many villas in its neighbourhood, invariably bosomed in thickly wooded valleys, urged me to remember an old tradition among the Swedish Laplanders, which has not been lost on the Swedes. They maintain the Swedes and the Lapps were originally brothers. A storm burst; the Swede was frightened, and took shelter under a board, which God made into a house; but the Lapp, unappalled, remained without. Since that time, the Swedes dwell in houses, but the Lapps under the bare sky.

[Pg 202]What Venice was to ancient Italy, Gottenborg was to Sweden, the national mart; but Time, with ravages and alterations, has swept away its traffic. A Swedish fisherman told me, that the herrings, which used to be so plentiful in the adjacent waters, are now scarcely to be caught; and Gottenborg feels the defection of their extensive sale. The same man asserted, that our ships of war, going up the Baltic, were wont to fire salutes, and the noise had driven the fish away. The fisherman made this statement so roundly, that I could not have the heart to tell him how incredulous I was; but, when I got on board the yacht, I repeated the circumstance, as a jest, to the sailor who stood at the gangway to receive me.

"Well, your Honour," replied the man, after listening with attention to my narrative, "he arn't put his helm too hard a-port."

"What!" I said, "do you intend to tell me you believe that a salute will frighten herrings, from this fiord, or any other fiord, so that they never return?"

"Why, your Honour," answered the sailor, touching his hat, "I must run alongside this ere foreigner, and sequeeze [acquiesce] with him like; for when I was aboard the Racehorse, sloop o' war, we fired a salute off the Western coast of England, and I'm blowed, your Honour, if they didn't ax Sir Everard to cease the hullabaloo."

"Why?" I asked.

[Pg 203]"Ay; your Honour," said the credulous tar, "that's just what I'm bearing up to—why, your Honour, bekase we frightened away the pilchards! May I never lift another handspike if that ain't gospel, that's all your Honour!"

"You be hanged!" I muttered.

"What! your Honour," exclaimed the man, warming with his faith, "have you never heerd, that the report of a cannon will make a lobster shake off his big, starboard claw?"

"No, nor you either," I answered walking away; for I thought the man was striving to palm off a joke.

"Ay; but it's gospel your Honour," I heard the man reply; and, I believe, sailors do hand down to each other a tradition of that kind; for there is a figure of speech, and it is nothing more, with which the English men-of-war's men used to hail the lobster smacks going up the Thames.

"Smack a-hoy! hand us a few lobsters, or—you know what'll happen!"

[Pg 204]



Wednesday dawned cloudless; and the round, red Sun rose on our right hand, and glared through his magnifying lattice, the mist, to see us come back again to Norway.

The smooth and glassy surface of the tideless Fiord, hemmed in by lofty mountains, stands forth the grand characteristic of Norway. The weather-beaten rocks, rising abruptly from the water, have beauty and boldness on their broad, blank fronts; and how infinite is the loveliness of innumerable islands, clustered together, bearing vegetation of all hues and odours!

Whether it were in the air which I breathed, or whether it were caught from the solemn magnificence of the scenery, the same feeling of sublimity came over me as when I first saw the [Pg 205]land of Norway on my arrival from England; and, I do not know how to account for the impression, but during the whole time I remained in Norway, and whenever I was left alone to wander along its fiords, or over its mountains, I gave way, as in England, to no extreme sensations of delight or sorrow; but a consciousness of awe weighed eternally upon my mind, and, released from the tumultuous passions of joy or dejection, a desire, created as it were by the visible perception of perfect natural beauty, was ever present to embody itself with the sights of grandeur that soared and sank above and below me.

Silently, as if without a breath of wind, the cutter crept up the Gulf, the beauties of which increased the farther we advanced; the bays—the vessels glancing among the rocks with their white sails in the sun—the cultivated patches of land—and the neat wooden farm-houses amid the desolation of the mountains, were novel and interesting objects. The great variety of the underwood, and the diversified colours of the foliage, were beautifully blended with the darker tints of the fir which grew along the sides, and on the tops, of the high hills; and how well does their sombre gloom mate with the stern magnificence of the rocks!

On the islands, the birch, the hazel, the alder, and the ash, cast their shadows over the water, and are there reflected in their minutest lineaments; nor are their trunks and branches [Pg 206]more sharply defined in the air above, than they are imaged in the watery mirror below, the transparency of the water in no way yielding to the clearness of the atmosphere; since, as the abruptly-rising rocks tower proportionally into the air, their steep, bold sides are plunged perpendicularly into the sea, and seem to descend till the eye loses them in its green depth.

Here and there the islands are inhabited by peasants; and flocks of sheep and goats ceased, as the yacht passed them, to browse on the low herbage which springs beneath the rocky coppice; and before the cottage-doors half-clad children stood still, and gaped, then called aloud to fishermen who were hanging out their nets to dry, or setting them for fish around the shores of their sea-girt homes.

Beyond this, nowhere are seen or heard the sights or sounds of man's habitation, and, hushed in painful tranquillity and profound solitude, the interior recesses of the fiord show no signs of life. With all their storm-beaten antiquity, gaunt and inhospitable, the skeletons of land rather than the land itself,—the grey and rugged crags—alone appear between the coppice and the short scanty grass which, ever when the wind came to breathe gently on our sails, sighed and moaned amid the general repose.

About twenty miles from Christiania the fiord [Pg 207]narrows to two miles, and holds that breadth up to the city. The town of Christiania is hid by a small island from the sight of the traveller approaching it by water; but at a great distance we could, while winding up the fiord, catch a glimpse of the white houses sleeping in a valley, surrounded by high mountains. At eight o'clock in the afternoon—for there is not much night—we dropped anchor off the town.

Christiania stands low; but the land slopes gradually from the shore of the fiord till it loses itself on the hazy tops of the mountains. When the sky is partially obscured by masses of clouds, the appearance of Christiania, seen from the deck of a vessel in the harbour, is very beautiful; that part of the town, near the water, shining brightly in the sunlight, while the remoter suburbs, at the back, being canopied by the heavy vapours that hang around the peaks of the mountains, look black as night.

As soon as the anchor was let go, we went ashore, as usual, to make inquiries about salmon; and received as much encouragement as at Falkenborg and Kongsbacka. The time, however, had not yet quite arrived when the salmon-fishery commenced; and a few days devoted to Christiania would not debar us from any amusement attached to the long-desired sport. We brought several letters of introduction; and, among them, one to the Viceroy of Christiania; but we did not [Pg 208]present our letter to the old Count, all the information and hospitality we desired being amply given to us by the British Consul-General.

There is nothing to see in Christiania, the most conspicuous object being the palace, which stands, like a manufactory, on the top of a rising piece of ground. It is an enormous pile of building, painted uniformly white; and I do not believe the interior is more commodious than the exterior is monotonous and void of architectural taste, since the late King, Bernadotte, once observed, when he entered it, that he saw a multitude of rooms, but would be glad to know which apartment he was to live in.

The same kind of mirrors that I had seen at Copenhagen and Gottenborg projected outside the windows here, so that no one need move from his chair to know all that occurs in the street; and this is also an important exemption, for the casements of nearly all the houses in Christiania are double, for the purpose of warmth. Large archways lead to larger yards, into which the houses open, and street-doors are almost dispensed with. Neither do the buildings ascend to any great altitude, but two stories are, for the most part, considered the orthodox height. The shop windows are not gay, and the name and pursuit of their owners are badly lettered, and in hieroglyphics I could not read.

The largest open place is the market, and [Pg 209]that is not so large as Covent Garden. The streets are a little better paved than those of the more southern capitals of the North, but are not of greater width than Coventry Street, or St. Martin's Lane; and, being unlighted by gas, it is difficult at night, should it prove rainy and dark, to keep out of the gutters. At the point where four streets meet, you may generally observe a well, and around this well a knot of idlers, men and women, congregate and gossip, leaning against its palings; but the respectable portion of the inhabitants are never to be found in the streets, although they may be seen, on summer evenings, walking on the terrace of the fortress.

To one looking from the sea, the fortress is on the left of the town, and was the first object we caught sight of when sailing up the Fiord. It is valueless as a place of defence; and I do not think it has been of any service to the Norwegians, except when Charles XII. attacked Christiania; and, then the Swedish monarch would have battered the town to atoms, had not his attention been distracted by wars on the other frontiers of his kingdom. There is a hill on the right, nearly double the altitude of that on which the fortress is built; and an enemy, making himself master of that spot, has the citadel under his feet, and may amuse himself by rolling stones into the town.

Running parallel with one part of the Fiord, and from the quay to the castle, is a raised [Pg 210]terrace, broad enough to admit of fourteen or fifteen people walking abreast; and here, on the Sabbath summer's afternoon all the beauty, youth, and fashion of Christiania resort. It is sheltered on one side by a row of lime-trees, and, on the other, the cool air from the waters of the Fiord struggles to refresh the languor of a sultry evening.

In gangs of two and two, with drab slouch hat and jerkin, having one side of a darker colour than the other, and reaching half way down the body, the prisoners are led from their penal den, within this fortress, to their appointed toil. There were many old men among these culprits; and their great age rather sought and met with sympathy, than excited detestation of the crime that had brought them to servitude; and, perhaps, it would be a wiser enactment of the Norwegian Government to forego the system of task-work thus publicly, and adopt some other method of punishment less exposed to the popular eye; for, I believe, the spectacle of an old man submitted to daily penal labour, and burdened with clanking chains, is recognised by the public more with a tendency to sympathise with his fate, than to condemn his crime.

While viewing the fortress, we were shown a large cannon, which was captured, it is said, by the Norwegians from Charles XII. when he besieged Christiania; but the real history of the cannon is, that it did certainly belong to [Pg 211]the Swedish army; but, Charles, as I have hinted before, being obliged to raise the siege of Christiania to march with his troops elsewhere, many field-pieces, as being too cumbersome to move with celerity, were abandoned, and, among the number, this cannon was left on the heights above Christiania. The Norwegians, when Charles and his army had disappeared, scaled the summit of the hill; and, with much laudable perseverance, succeeded in removing the huge piece of ordnance to the fortress; and two sentinels ever keep guard over it, placed in a conspicuous position over which the Norwegian ensign waves, and point it out to the stranger as a trophy of the Norwegian army.

Contemplating, as we stood round the cannon, the broad expanse of the Fiord, and the distant blue mountains dissolving with the sky, a low building, like a powder magazine, arrested our attention; for numerous sentinels moved rapidly in every quarter round it, and many brass guns, ready primed, and bearing an earnest signification, flashed in the bright beams of the morning sun. In this dungeon, from which Beelzebub himself could not escape, it seems a notorious highwayman, called Ole, is confined. During the time he was master of his limbs and liberty, he struck such terror into the hearts of his countrymen, that he was imagined an immortal fiend. No prisons [Pg 212]could hold him; and the magistrates were compelled to trust to his forbearance, and not to bolts and chains; but his depredations, at length, became so glaring, and increased, year after year, to such magnitude, even to the sacking of the bank, that, come what might, Ole was arrested. Fearful of his supernatural strength and devilish craft, his captors deemed no common dungeon sufficiently secure; and this miserable abode, a pandemonium above ground, bomb-proof, and proof against every thing else, was erected for the sole reception of Ole; and, lest he should burst asunder the stone walls, he is surrounded by alert sentinels and loaded guns, and here doomed to drag out the rest of his existence.

To the east of the town there is a road, which may be seen girdling a mountain's barren side, and, following its track a mile, or so, I took then a narrow foot-path, and, wandering through a forest of firs, reached a circular green sward where, in the middle, the remnant of some natural convulsion, a gigantic black stone lay. Seated there, I beheld the whole city of Christiania crouched at my feet; and, far as the eye could travel, the mountains rose one over the other, till my vision ached, and mistook their aspiring peaks for the azure heaven. On the left hand, serenely sleeping, wound, amid a thousand green islands, the leaden-hued Fiord, bearing on its quiet surface a fleet [Pg 213]of lazy ships, whose white sails made them look, at distance so remote, like snowy swans, or froth from neighbouring rapid.

The sun had just sunk behind the mountains when I reached the spot; and, throwing myself on the grass, I watched its light, like a gold cap, blazing around the lofty summit of a mountain, rearing itself above the rest, and not less than forty miles distant to the north of the hill on which I reclined. The evening was calm as it was clear. The cathedral bells below had thrice told the approaching third hour before midnight, when I heard the voice of some one singing, in the monotonous, drawling, but melodious tone of prayer; and, at last, as the fitful evening zephyr stirred uneasily, I could distinctly catch the soft intonation of a female voice; and, whatever woman she was, she sang a sweet and touching melody.

There was no hut, or building of any kind at hand, so that I was perplexed to tell whence the voice came. I was not long in doubt. A young girl, walking quickly, with a light step, and bearing in her hand a bundle of dried sticks, came forth from the heart of the pine-forest. The moment she saw me her song ceased, and she stood still.

She wore, sitting rather back upon the head, a crimson cotton skull-cap, leaving exposed her fair high forehead. A boddice of white linen was attached from her waist to a dark blue petticoat, hemmed with scarlet [Pg 214]cloth, which descended to her ankle, but not to such undue length as to conceal her little naked feet, peeping out, like white mice, from beneath. Her silken, fair hair flowed uncontrolled over her right shoulder, off which her boddice, though fitting almost close to the throat, had fallen slightly and left bare; and silver bracelets clasped her wrists, while the image of the Saviour, carved in ivory, was suspended from her neck. A gold ring, antiquely moulded, encompassed her middle finger. She was of the ordinary height of women, and her small mouth, her short, straight nose, her large, joyous blue eye, joyous while yet the clear-complexioned, oval face was clouded with surprise, developed the simplicity, liveliness, and rare beauty of a Norwegian girl.

She gazed at me, fixedly, free from coyness, with the deliberation of an innocent heart; and, when she saw my attention was as much devoted to her, she smiled; and then, often turning round to look back as she went her way, began to descend the hill towards the town. The shrubs and filbert-trees soon took her from my sight.

[Pg 215]



On Sunday morning, we went to Krokleven, a spot about twenty miles from Christiania, and celebrated for its scenery. The journey thither was unpleasant enough, for the day was hot, and the roads were dry; and, when the Norwegian started off at the usual speed of his countrymen, the dust, disturbed by the horses' hooves and the carriage wheels, rose in volumes, which overtook and palpably descended upon us, when the driver suddenly halted the career of his steeds at the base of a hill.

The road to Krokleven was as tantalizing as it was perfect in sublimity of scenery; for, from several elevated places, we could observe our path creeping along over the mountains, and down the valleys, to the very cottage where we intended to stop.

But the same solitude prevailed as on the Fiord; and the silence is the more extreme [Pg 216]when not even the warbling of a single bird is heard to test a particle of animal existence; and nothing meets the sight but the blue sky, the bald heads of the mountains, and the yellow-tinted foliage of the fir and pine. As the traveller rises from one side of a mountain to a corner of the road, where it hurries perpendicularly down the other side, his eye may fathom a valley several thousand feet beneath, rich in vegetation, and surrounded on all points by rugged mountains covered with illimitable forests of fir, through the branches of which, here and there, the grey rocks glare, like skulls scattered over a green field; and the whole view which is thus taken at one glance may extend before, and on either hand of the spectator, over a space of twenty miles.

The forests are so extensive, and the chance of being lost in them is so probable, that on our arrival in the vicinity of Krokleven, we hired a guide. Wandering along a pleasant by-way, shaded by the overhanging boughs of the birch, the pine, and the fir, we scaled a mountain, and gaining its highest elevation, saw, about two thousand feet below us, an immense lake, chequered with islands, unequal in size, on which were farms, and on the largest small villages. Dividing its waters into two equal parts, the road to Bergen lay no broader than a pen-knife's blade, and twisted, far away, like a white thread round the sides of the mountains.

[Pg 217]From the bosom of the lake along the easy slope of this mighty valley, the ascent of an amphitheatre of mountains, skirting the horizon, takes the eye up to heaven; and while the sun shone brightly, on these mountains, hoary by lapse of centuries and contention with the storm, they seemed, although the nearest was twenty or thirty miles from us, to be tinged with a red colour, which, contrasted with the snow on their summits and the deep azure sky above, against which their huge forms appeared to lean, produced a scene as difficult to delineate as it was sublime to see.

When we had partaken of some salmon and capercaillie, cooked after the Norwegian process—where butter abounded, and had lighted our meerschaums, we went at a gallop homewards. Built by the road-side, many miles apart, the only symbols of mortality to travellers in Norway, are post-houses, stages at which the horses are generally baited, and where a book, under the protection of the Government, is kept to insert the names, occupations, and destination of the persons who alight there, or are travelling through the country. Its pages are divided into four columns, and in the fourth column, the traveller may state any complaint he has to make. At the end of every month, the appointed officers of the State inspect this book, and rectify with severity any errors which may have been brought to their notice.

[Pg 218]The highways are kept in order by the gentry, farmers, or peasants; and, along the road-side, a number of black posts are erected at certain distances from one another, on which are painted in white characters the names of the persons who are to repair the road, and the number of yards or feet allotted to each of them; and the more extensive the landed possession, or consequence of the man in the neighbourhood, so the quantity of ground which comes under his care. It is obvious how soon the person, neglecting the performance of the duty imposed upon him by the Government, may be detected; and the imposition is effective in keeping the roads in excellent order.

Though we returned at a late hour to Christiania, I walked to my old spot on the mountain; and there, looking down towards the vessels that were anchored in the harbour, like toys in a basin, the Norwegian girl, whom I had seen yesterday, stood close to the black stone, her right elbow resting on it, and her chin hid in the palm of her hand. She seemed abashed that I had caught her in such thoughtful guise, and began to move towards the path that led through the forest. I motioned to her, as significantly as I could, not to allow me to disturb her.

"Nej, tak," she said, in a low, sweet tone; and, retiring a short space from the stone, with all the delicacy of her tender youth [Pg 219]and sex, and a winning humility of manner, drew back behind me. Retiring, also, a few paces till I was in a line with her, I allowed the huge piece of granite to separate us; and dreading, that, by observing her too attentively, she might go away, I took no apparent notice of her, and kept my eyes fixed on the yacht, which had dwindled to a nutshell in size, with needles for its mast and boom. I could, but indifferently, speak the Norwegian language; and I knew not that she understood mine, though many of the inhabitants of the principal towns of Norway generally possessed a slight knowledge of English; and so, in silence, we stood.

The mournful sighing of the firs, as a current of air, escaping from the Fiord, crept gently through them, and the quietude that reigned around, inspired me with a feeling of melancholy; and after a while, "Do you understand English?" I asked.

"My father was a sailor, sir," my alabaster, statue-like companion said, sometimes speaking in her own language, and sometimes in mine, with a pretty foreign accent, "and went to England often, and he taught me English; but I do not know it well."

"You soon would speak it as well as I, if every day you tried," I answered, with courage, pleased that I could make her understand me.

"But there is no one," she replied, I thought, [Pg 220]in a sad voice, "to speak to me; and I forget all that I have learned. My dear father used to talk to me of England; and I remember still its tongue, because he told me Englishmen were good and great."

She came nearer to the stone, and looking full in my face, smiled.

"Perhaps," I said, "some one of my countrymen had been kind to your father, and he taught you a lesson too flattering not to disappoint you when you meet an Englishman."

"No, sir, I hope not," she answered, raising her little head somewhat proudly; "for an Englishman was kind and good to him: and my father used, for his sake, to pray for England when he prayed for our country, Norway; and he taught me, when a little girl, to do the same."

"And where is your father?" I asked.

"He is dead, sir," and the poor girl began to weep, but so quietly, that I was not aware of her grief until the tremulous motion of her hand, in which she had concealed her face, indicated her sorrow, and made me regret that I had asked the question. Recovering her self-possession, she went on to speak, although, without a sob, her tears still flowed abundantly.

"This cross," she said, lifting it from her heaving bosom, "my poor father gave, and bade me always wear; for baring his arm one day, he showed a cross tattooed upon the skin, and told me if he died far from his [Pg 221]own home, all barbarous men, even Indians, when they saw that sign, would not let his corpse be eaten by birds or beasts of prey; but bury it."

Her delicate frame swelled with strong emotions, and she could scarce contain her loud grief.

"He died, sir," she continued, "two years ago on the banks of a river near Rio, in South America; and some Indian tribe, in adoration, as he had surely said, to this symbol of our creed, buried him."

She had not yet made an end of speaking, when the sound of the church clocks, ascending faintly, tolled eleven. It was broad daylight; for, though the sun had set, his rays darted in orange-tinted pillars to the centre of the sky, and sustained the glory of his presence. My young and beautiful companion, starting at the sound, wiped away her tears, and seemed to regret the lateness of the hour; and noting each vibration as it fell on her ear, she commenced with her thumb, and then advancing to the tip of each tapering finger, counted, with a whisper in her native language,

"En, twå, tre, fyra, fem, sex, sju, åtta, nie, tie,—elfva!"

Her exclamation of surprise and regret that she had remained so long from home, made me strive to soothe her fears. When she was about to hurry away, I begged her to tell me [Pg 222]her name, that I might know what to call her for the future.

"I am a poor peasant girl," she said, despondingly, "and you will never desire to speak to me more."

"Are my thoughts to be known by yours?" I asked, with a slight smile; "and do you think I cannot see God's bounty to the peasant girl, and love virtue and innocence of heart clothed in any garb?"

"Yes, I think that," she answered, diffidently; "but I am not like those you are wont to converse and dwell with; and when you talk to me, you will learn my ignorance, and you will hate me then. I would have you love me."

"And why," I said, "when you do not know my character, or temper, you would have me love you?"

"That you may accept my love."

"And why yours?"

"Because it was my father's wish," she answered, with the gentleness of the most engaging simplicity of manner, "that I should love all Englishmen."

"I would not have that love," I replied.

She turned round quickly, and looked steadfastly at me; but soon as her gaze met mine, her large, round, languishing blue eye fell, and drooped to the ground.

"Will you not tell me your name?" I said, going nearer to her; "for we shall meet again. [Pg 223]Yonder lies the vessel that will bear me from your country, and it is not prepared to move for many days."

She raised her eyes, and, with a smile, turned them towards the bay, when observing that the sailors were painting the cutter's hull, and scraping the spars, she appeared pleased with the sight; and dropping her eyes towards the ground again, her tiny foot dallied with a blade of grass, and, almost inaudibly,

"Call me Gunilda," she said.

A few minutes more separated us, and I wandered down the mountain. The beauty of face and form,—the childish simplicity,—the virtue and innocence of Gunilda's heart,—gave a nobler impulse to mine. I retired to rest, but slept not; for when I dozed, the clouds would lower around the yacht, and, the wind blowing with overwhelming force, every successive wave threatened the little bark with instant destruction; then, lo! the black vapours would rise from the surface of the sea, and rolling away to the south, leave all the heaven clear and blue; and there, shining in the west, the crescent moon, not three days old, would slant quite close to Hesperus, twinkling by her nether edge, to help and show the way across the ocean; and while the fair breeze filled the sails, and all the sailors sang for joy, a linnet, blown from off the land, would, shivering, perch upon the yard; and when the boatswain strove to catch the bird, [Pg 224]for fear it flew away and should be lost, the foolish thing would stretch its wings and, fluttering, fall within the vessel's course to sink beneath her bows; and when it rose again a long way in her wake, I thought I heard Gunilda's screams for help, and I would wake.

Then when I awoke, throughout the night, scaring the timid spirit of sleep, a thousand dogs ashore howled and bayed the moon, as if all the ghosts of the million souls that had perished since the far times when Norway became the abode of men, had returned to earth, and were walking through the streets of Christiania.

The dark grey mantle of morning had only enveloped the shades of night, when I banished sleep, and the hour being yet too early to leave my bed, I lay listening to the growls of Sailor, as he remonstrated with Jacko for coming too close to him; while Jacko, in a low, murmuring twitter, pointed out how scantily the straw was spread in the hutch, and how chilly felt the Northern air to him, a little Indian born between the Tropics.

"Well, D——," I said, about five hours afterwards, when I had gone on deck, and saw the sailing-master sitting without his jacket, on the taffrail, abaft the shrouds, smoking his morning pipe, "What do you think of the day? Shall we move to-day?"

"Why, sir," replied D——, capping me, "what little wind there is, draws up the Fiord, [Pg 225]dead on end; but, as the day goes on, it's just as likely to draw down. You see, sir," he said, directing my attention to some fleecy clouds, not larger than my thumb-nail, and floating above the mountains to the north-east, "those clouds seem coming this way."

"Yes, I see," I answered; "but I hope we shall not go away to-day."

"I don't think, sir," said D——, "we shall have any more air to-day, than what there is now. The glass is high; and in these northern latitudes, during the summer months, there is little change of weather."

"However, you can make some excuse," I observed, "if there be not sufficient wind, for it is no good floating on the Fiord in a calm."

"Very good, sir," answered D——; "the wear and tear are certainly more than the pleasure. But, I think, my Lord wants to reach Larvig as soon as possible."

"I know that," I said; "but a day won't make any difference."

"As you please, sir," replied D——; and I went below to know if R——, and P——, were getting up.

"Hollo! old fellow!" exclaimed R——, when he saw me, "what the devil brought you out of bed so early?"

"Why, simply because I could not remain there later."

"I suppose so," replied R——; and then, [Pg 226]whistling, singing, and humming, he commenced his toilet.

"What sort of a day is it?" at length he asked. "The sun shines I see; but how is the wind?"

"What little there is, is southerly," I replied.

"That's a bore, isn't it?" R—— observed.

"Why, that's as one may think," I said. "I am just as happy here as anywhere else."

"What's the good of frousting here at Christiania;" asked R——, disappointed at my difference of opinion.

"Why, look at the scenery. Nothing in the world is like it," I said warmly.

"Pooh!" replied R——, disgustedly, "all my eye! I came to fish, not to look at scenery. I suppose you want to go up to that confounded hill again. But do as you like. I am for Larvig."

The sun mounted towards the zenith, and still his beams had no power upon the sluggish atmosphere; and the quiet and warmth of the day were unrelieved by a breath of air. R—— consulted D——, and found it useless to get under weigh. As soon as I learned the decision that had been come to, I jumped into a boat, and began to row myself towards the mountain where I had met Gunilda.

"Mind you keep a sharp look out," shouted R——, to me, "for should the wind get up, we'll be off."

[Pg 227]I raised my hand in the air, in token of assent, and to intimate I heard what he said.

"We'll fire a gun," he added in a louder voice. Again, I raised my hand aloft; and then applying myself to the oars, soon reached the land. I made the boat fast to a tree's stump, and commenced my ascent of the mountain. No Gunilda, as yesterday, stood near the stone.

Musing, I sat, watching the crew on board the yacht making preparations for our departure, should the wind shift fair. I saw them running, like mice, up the shrouds, as they boused up the mainsail, and heard them chaunt a cheering chorus, as they heaved in the slack of the cable. It was mid-day. I rose, and turning to the left hand, took my way through the fir forest. I had proceeded about half a mile, when I discerned the kneeling figure of a woman through the closely-planted trees. I approached. It was Gunilda.

A little mound of earth, overgrown with flowers, denoted the humble grave of some one dear to the recollection of the Norwegian girl. A crucifix of black wood, round the top of which was wreathed a small garland of wild flowers, was fixed at one end of the grave; and on the cross the two Norwegian letters "G.H." signified the initials of the dead one's name. By Gunilda's side lay a basket of fresh flowers, [Pg 228]culled while yet the morning's dew was sparkling on them.

"I did not think, sir, to see you again," said Gunilda, as soon as she had perceived me; and ceasing in her dutiful care of removing the weeds that had crept up since her last visit.

"Yes, I am here once more; but I shall not disturb you again after to-day; though I regret my departure from Christiania, now that I have known you."

"You regard me well," she replied sadly; "and, perhaps, it is, sir, because you have seen me thus dutifully employed; but I do no more than she would have done for me, had I been the first to die. This, sir, is my mother's grave."

The girl turned away her face, and busied herself with the renewal of her task, and plucked the weeds, one by one, from the grave. How great was the contrast with my own country, England, where the moss and long grass soon conceal the tomb of relative and friend, and living footstep comes no more near the spot where the dead lie; but here, in simple Norway, the ties between those who breathe, and those who are gone, are still existent; nor does "death bring oblivion to the living as well as to the dead." Strewn with the flowers of yesterday, the grave gives no evidence that death has broken the strong links of affection; and while I gazed and marked this young girl's sweet solicitude, a [Pg 229]melancholy feeling, even in the soul's desolation, came with a hope, that I too may not rest altogether unremembered.

"How can I fail," I replied, "to love one who has not only affectionate tenderness of heart, but surpassing beauty of form? God has denied you nothing."

"Oh! sir, do not say so," she exclaimed. "Heaven has been good to me; but I am also afflicted. My father sleeps in a distant land, and my poor mother here; and, look, how young I am to be alone."

The tears followed each other down her face, and the intensity of her grief was too great to allow Gunilda, for some moments, to speak. Looking up into my face, her eyes still filled with tears, she said,

"My condition is one of extreme sorrow and loneliness; and if you could hear it all, you would confess that I have cause to weep as well as others. But think me not ungrateful."

"One whose heart is so guileless can never know ingratitude," I replied. "But may I know your sorrows?"

"Would you like to hear them, sir?"

"I would."

"As I told you, then, sir," Gunilda said, rising from her kneeling attitude, and sitting at my feet on the ground, "my father was a sailor. His heart was as affectionate as his form was manly; and his was a nature not long [Pg 230]to roam the world without the sigh of sympathy. In the summer of 1832, my father's vessel sailed from Christiania, bound to the Black Sea; and he has often told me how dreary his fate felt, doomed, as he was, to leave his country without one heart to think of him when absent, or rejoice when he should return. After a prosperous voyage the Mediterranean was reached, and the ship entered, with a fair wind, the Straits of the Hellespont. On one side, sir, of the Hellespont, is a small town called Sestos; it is a spot ignoble now, but was, once, one of note. At Sestos a Turkish nobleman, removed by age from the cares of State, had retired to pass in quietude the remainder of his life; and, surrounded by his harem, desired no other felicity than the companionship of his mistresses.

"The castle of this Turk lay by the Dardanelles, and from its windows the clear blue waters might be seen.

"Beautiful, and having yet the innocence of youth, and brought from her mountain home, near the Caucasus, to pant beneath the influence of a warmer sun, a Circassian maiden pined. One day, oppressed by the heat, the Circassian stole to a window overlooking the Straits, and strove to catch the freshness of the wind that passed, cooled, from the surface of the sea. While she stood there, the barque which bore my father sailed in sight, and making her way with speed upon the water, [Pg 231]soon drew, by her gallant trim and flowing canvass, the attention of the girl; and with swelling heart she sighed to see the vessel move towards that part of earth from whence she came. That I may not weary you," Gunilda continued, "my father's vessel arrived in safety at her destined port; but, on her return homewards, a gale of wind arose, and the ship was stranded under the walls of the castle where the Circassian dwelt. My father and three other sailors were the only men saved from a crew of twenty-five."

Gunilda stopped; and, turning towards me, said,

"Were you ever, sir, in Turkey?"

"No. Why do you ask?"

"Because, sir," she answered, "they say the Turkish people are not compassionate; but I do not think that, for hear how kindly the Turkish nobleman behaved to my poor father. When the tidings flew round the country that a European vessel had been cast away, a multitude of people hurried to the shore, some to see, and some to give aid; and among this latter class, the good old Turk. My father, almost lifeless, by the nobleman's command, was taken to the castle, and with kind attention, was soon sensible of recovery. Though assiduity and tender care were shown alike by all, my father selected from the group of maidens who waited on him, a fair, slender girl, whose looks of sadness secured his [Pg 232]solicitude to learn the sorrow that oppressed her youthful heart. When all were busy to restore my father's health and secure his comfort, this young girl would sit apart, and, mutely, gaze for hours on him; but when my father caught her glance, she would smile with sadness, and then look another way.

"In our country, Norway, we are betrothed for many months before marriage; and I suppose, sir, this custom is observed, that the dispositions may assimilate; but, sir," observed Gunilda, retaining my attention by her earnest countenance of inquiry, "do you not think that two youthful creatures may love instinctively? Must the affections be always fostered by the caution of time?"

"I think not," I replied, smiling to see her face beaming with anxiety to learn my answer. "As the sun-flower turns to the sun, and the petals of the rose open to the dew, so the human heart sighs for sympathy. Nature is joined together by links identical to all; and the same law that governs the sap, and external freshness of that little herb, rules inexplicably our own affections, and visible demeanour. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, I do," she answered; and clasped my hand with much delight.

"Indeed, Gunilda," I continued, "I believe in that heart's faith which, in England, is called 'love at first sight.'"

"And so do I," she exclaimed, sidling closer [Pg 233]to my feet, "and so did my father. One day he took occasion, when all had retired, and left the youthful Circassian watching by his couch alone, to tell her how he loved her, and how devotedly he would watch over her happiness if she would become his bride. The maiden wept, and told him, in return, how reciprocal was her affection; but how insurmountable were the barriers between their union, since she had been purchased as a slave, and destined for the Turk's seraglio. Boldly defined as the forms of these mountains are against the heavens, my father's noble character yielded only to the sensitiveness of his heart; and when the Circassian made known to him her destined abjection, he turned his face away and wept in agony. Listen now to me, and hear the reason why I have been taught to love your countrymen.

"Resident in Sestos, a young Englishman met, by accident, my father a few days after his recovery, and seeing his dejected mien, entered into conversation; and desired, finally, to know if he could aid him in his return to Norway. My father told him he had no wish to see his native land again, since he had seen at Sestos that which an unhappy destiny had rendered dearer than the soil of his nativity.

"'No sorrow,' answered the young Englishman, 'is without alleviation.'

"'But this, sir,' my father said, 'is without remedy.'

[Pg 234]"'If you desire money,' observed the Englishman, 'here is my purse; and when I come, some day, to Christiania, you can then repay me.'

"'I desire not gold, sir,' and my father bowed his head in sorrow.

"'You are yet in the prime and vigour of youth,' the Englishman said; 'and, perhaps, you swerve under the infliction of a feeling to which I have not been an entire stranger. You love.'

"My father replied not.

"'I have power in the presence of the Sultan,' replied the young Englishman, 'and doubt not, if you will inform me of your grievances, the sincerity of my desire to mitigate your grief.'

"My father looked up, and taking the Englishman's hand, thanked him, in sentences broken by his sorrow, for his generous mediation. The tale was soon told; and, when my father had recounted his fear, that a happy result could never be brought to his affections, the Englishman bade him not despair; and though the task was arduous, he still would strive to master it. Two days afterwards the Englishman returned to my father, and desired, that he would repair to Constantinople, and meet him there at a certain church which the Englishman indicated by name. Faithful to his promise, my father took leave of the Turkish nobleman who had been his [Pg 235]benefactor, and proceeded to Constantinople, where at the place and hour appointed, he met the Englishman. Grasping my father heartily by the hand, and telling him how impotent were the efforts of man to contend with the decrees of Providence, the young Englishman begged that he would follow him into the sacred edifice; and grieving no longer, humiliate himself before his Maker, and thank Him, that his misfortunes had been no greater. My father entered. Near an altar was a veiled figure, and by its side a priest, clad in the snowy flowing robes of his office, seemed busy with some holy ordinances; but when my father came near, the Englishman raised suddenly the white veil, and allowing it to fall on the marble floor, lo! with palpitating heart, before him stood the Circassian slave. The Englishman had bought her for a large sum of money from the Turk, and conveying her to Constantinople, gave her in marriage to my father. My father's joy knew no bounds, and his gratitude to the Englishman became a feeling as limitless in its ecstasy.

"'I desire no thanks,' the noble Englishman replied, 'for you would have done the same for me had our positions been reversed; but I would always be remembered by you both, and, that, I may not be forgotten, take this ring, and wear it for my sake. When I was at Cairo, an Arab gave it me, and bade, when I performed a deed that pleased me by its [Pg 236]generosity, to part with it in token of the heart's content.'

"See!" said Gunilda, holding up her hand, "this is the ring;" and she kissed it. It was the same ring I had observed the first day I saw the Norwegian girl; and it was a plain circlet of solid gold, surmounted by a curiously-worked figure, having the beak and plumed wings of a bird, and the body and tail of a lion.

"Since my mother's death I have worn it," said Gunilda sadly; and added, with a faint smile, "but when I wed, my husband will make his claim, no doubt."

Applying herself again to the cultivation of the flowers planted around her mother's grave, the beautiful Norwegian informed me, while engaged in her affectionate office, that, her mother survived the intelligence of her husband's death but a short time; and on her death-bed, committed Gunilda to the care of an old friend.

Mid-day came, and brought with it the sultriness and cheerful brightness of a Norwegian summer's day. Through the fir-trees I could see the waters of the Fiord sparkling, like liquid silver, in the glare of noon; and far away, the clouds, like pieces of white wool, resting half-way up the mountains. Gunilda, perceiving my pensive mood, observed,

"To-morrow, sir, at this hour, I shall not see you; and, I dare say, you will almost have forgotten the Norwegian peasant girl."

[Pg 237]"If there be any grief that pains me," I replied, "it is the one, because it is fruitless, which reminds me how faithfully and long I shall remember you and to-day."

"Take me with you to England," she exclaimed, "I will ever serve you diligently, like a menial."

"To take you hence," I replied, "is only to lead you to destruction. A flower so delicate in its texture, will not bear transplanting, or lack of tenderness; and I would not see it droop and fade for all the gratification I may derive from its presence and sweet perfume."

"What the heart desires, the body can endure," she answered in an earnest tone. "My grief will be bitterer in your absence than all the tortures which may attend me when I am near you. Let me go with you," and she seized my hand, and clung to it with affectionate tenacity.

"It is impossible," I answered. "In a short time after I am gone, you will think of me no longer, and selecting from your countrymen one whose feelings may sympathise with your own, you will pass your days in happiness, and go to your grave in peace."

The young girl rose to her feet, for she had hitherto sat on the ground, or retained a kneeling position; and taking the ring, I have casually alluded to, from her finger, she said in her native tongue;

"The great and the humble, the rich and [Pg 238]poor, feel alike, for God has made no distinction between the peasant girl's deep affections and those of a queen. My father's name and family will end with me, but let my memory live with you."

She placed the ring upon my finger. She wept not, and not a sigh escaped her; but her whole frame trembled with excess of feeling.

"You think," I exclaimed, "that I reverence not your love, and deem your affectionate and noble heart worthy of my acceptance; but you know not the false position in which I stand, or you would favour that apparent apathy which wounds my soul. Had it been in my destiny, I could have dwelt for ever among these mountains, with no other minister to my love than your own self; but to take you hence to England, and refuse you the cheerfulness and honourable endearments of wedlock, is to humiliate my own conscience, and covet the curse of God in your hatred."

I had scarcely spoken, when a flash of light shot across the sky, and before the girl had even ceased to start at the sight, the long, loud roar of a gun succeeded. I understood the signal. The token of a sincerely cherished, and steadfast friendship, I had worn, since I left England, a valuable ring, and removing it from my finger, I took Gunilda's hand and replaced her gift with mine. Gunilda held up her hand before her for some minutes, without the utterance of a word, and gazed on the [Pg 239]brilliant jewel, then allowing her hand to fall by her side, burst into a passionate flood of tears.

Again, a sudden gleam of light glanced through the forest, and, a moment after, the booming of another gun rolled away down the valleys, and over the rocks, with a faint, and then a loudly reviving echo.

"Good bye, Gunilda," I said. She spoke not, nor moved; but her shoulders shook with a convulsive heaving.

"Will you not shake hands with me?" I asked, my voice almost indistinct with emotion. Still, she spoke not. I kneeled down, for Gunilda had reseated herself near her mother's grave, and raising her hand, I took it in mine, and pressed it. I felt the pressure returned, and allowing her small passive hand to fall gently again in her lap, I rose.

"God bless you!" I said.

She uttered a low, passionate cry, and then checking her anguish, murmured faintly,

"Farväl!" and covering her face with her hands, fell, sobbing violently, on her mother's grave.

I hurried from the spot; and hardly knew that I had left Gunilda, until the boat ran against the cutter's bow, and roused me as from a dream.

When I got on board, I found that the wind was still too trivial to allow us even to drift out of the harbour, and the cutter lay the whole night immoveably on the water.

[Pg 240]



At eight o'clock on Tuesday morning, the 6th, we started for Larvig. About sixty miles from Christiania, at the mouth of the Fiord, a fine, light air sprung up, and, delighted with the expectation that we should reach Larvig before set of sun on Wednesday, we amused ourselves by firing at bottles thrown into the sea, and afterwards by watching the gambols of Sailor and Jacko. Sailor, stretched at full length on his back, allowed Jacko to pull his ears, and bite his claws; and mindless of the monkey's antics, seemed rather to encourage, than object to his vagaries. Wearied, at last, with his pulling, and jumping, and biting, Jacko sought a variation to his amusements, by springing on the weather runner-block, and thence depending by his tail. When Sailor perceived that Jacko had removed his gymnastics from himself, and transferred them to the block, he rose from his recumbent attitude on [Pg 241]the deck, and, squatting on his haunches, observed, for some little time, with singular attention and silence, the extraordinary flexibility of Jacko's limbs; but at the moment when Jacko suspended his little carcase by his smaller tail from the runner-block, whether it was the manner in which Sailor expressed a roar of laughter, or whether it was a shout of applause at the comical likeness of Jacko's body, swinging in the air, to a bunch of black grapes, certain it is, that, at that instant, Sailor gave one, but one, tremendous bark, and, in the twinkling of an eye, Jacko fell souse into the water. He sank like a boiled plum-pudding to the vessel's keel; for when he rose again, his little round head could just be seen a hundred feet astern. Never was there such dismay on board the Iris before.

"Jacko's overboard!" shouted each man; and echo taking up the cry, "Jacko's overboard!" must have alarmed Jacko himself by its forlorn expression. Struggling with the waves, and striking out manfully with his hands, and not like a monkey, Jacko kept his head above water, and his eyes turned towards the cap of the top-mast.

"Hard a-port the helm!" bellowed D——, rushing to the tiller himself; and soon as the cutter shot up in the wind, he added,

"Now, then, two of you, my sons, jump into the dingy."

[Pg 242]The command was obeyed quickly as it was given; and Jacko has to thank his star, whichever it may be, that the boat had not been hoisted on the davits, but towing in the vessel's wake; or he might, many months ago, have been a source of entertainment at the Court of Neptune.

If a drowned rat looks sleekly wretched, Jacko looked ten times worse when taken out of the water. The brightness of his eye had fled,—his tail, which curled usually like a sucking-pig's, hung now straight down behind him, relaxed from its ringlet, like a piece of tarred rope,—and his stomach, vying once with the symmetry of the greyhound's, was distended and globular as a small barrel of oysters. Half a spoonful of brandy was poured down his throat, and having been wrapped up in some odd pieces of flannel, he was put in a soup-plate, and set down before the fire. This was all that human art could do, and the rest was left to the control of time, or Jacko's robust constitution.

At twelve o'clock we were off Fredricksværn, the Norwegian Portsmouth, which is a small town at the entrance of the Larvig Fiord. Here Jacko came on deck buoyant as a ball, and with a coat made more glossy by the chemical action of the salt water.

Looking towards Larvig, we saw, an unusual sight in this country, the Union-jack flying on a little rock; and were puzzled for some time [Pg 243]to know whether it was a compliment that had reference to us. After a tedious contention with dead water, light puffs of wind that came down the gulleys on our starboard beam, and shifted to our bows, and then veering right aft, jibed the main-sheet, we cast anchor about twenty yards from the rock on whose summit the Union-jack waved.

The Consul sent on board to say, that his house was at our service, as well as any other kindness he could show us. We understood afterwards, that the Consul had mistaken the Iris for the Fairy schooner, belonging to Sir Hyde Parker; and had hoisted the jack in compliment to his old friend the baronet.

It was not possible for us to fish to-day; but P—— hired a carriole, and drove about six miles into the country, to obtain leave from the proprietors on the banks of the Larvig River, to fish on the following morning. The task of gaining permission to fish for salmon in Norway is sometimes a tedious one; for every man is his own landlord, and possesses a few acres of land that he tills himself. All lands on the banks make the portion of the river flowing by them, the property of the landowner; and the angler may have to secure the good-will and assent of fifty persons, before he can fish in any part of a river, which is more difficult to do, as the Norwegians are jealous of their little privileges. They rarely deny courtesy to a stranger; but they like [Pg 244]to have it in their power to do so if they please. This, however, was not P——'s case; for through the hearty assistance and recommendation of the Consul, no obstruction was made to the attainment of everything we desired.

As all fishermen are aware, it is necessary to angle for salmon, and indeed many fish, either very early in the morning, or in the cool of the afternoon, the heat of noon being perfectly inimical to the sport. At two o'clock, therefore, on Friday morning, the memorable 9th of June, we started in the gig, stored with abundant provision, for the first foss, or fall, of the Larvig River.

The scenery of this river was the most beautiful we had yet seen, though not the grandest, the banks being thickly wooded, and the diversity of the foliage more striking than at Krokleven, or in the Christiania Fiord. Nearly four hours elapsed before we reached the spot selected for fishing; but our passage up the river had been obstructed occasionally by bars across the water. These bars are large stakes or piles driven, about twenty feet apart, into the bed of the river, and carried from one bank to the other, to which the trunks of trees are chained to prevent the timber from escaping to the sea; and it is no uncommon thing to meet with an immense field of timber, covering the whole surface of the river as far as the eye can see. A passage [Pg 245]is kept between two of these stakes, distinguished from the others by a mark, for the ordinary traffic of the river; and is defended by a huge bar of timber, secured by a chain, on removing which, the boats are, after a good deal of bumping, pulled through. The interior of the country being so inaccessible, the Norwegians have no other alternative but to roll the timber from the tops of the mountains, and casting it on the rivers, allow it to float to these artificial havens, where it is collected, and then, being made into immense rafts, guided by some half dozen men to the town, whence it is shipped to France or Holland.

P—— had made such excellent arrangements, that two prams were in readiness to receive R—— and himself when we arrived at our destination. In some of the salmon rivers it is quite impossible to fish from the banks, but the sportsman hires a boat, and angles in the centre of the stream, which is generally interrupted by large stones, or pieces of rock, in the eddy of which the salmon delight to sport.

P—— was the first to get his rod together, and selecting a particular fly that he had considered as "a certain killer," jumped into his pram. The men who row these prams are generally Norwegians, born on the banks of the river, and knowing pretty well under what rocks, or in what eddy, the salmon abound. The Norwegian who rowed P——'s pram was [Pg 246]a fine young fellow, but as unable to understand the English language as he was athletic. R—— and P—— divided the river in two parts, so that neither sportsman should interfere with the amusement of the other. P—— took the upper part of the stream, and R—— the lower; or, in other words, or other ideas, P—— was the wolf who came to drink of the limpid tide, and R—— was the lamb who had to put up with the muddy water.

Broiling my back in the rising sun, I took my seat on a high rock from which I had a commanding view of both my friends, and could note the praiseworthy tact and labour with which they angled. Time flew on; a quarter of an hour elapsed, and then another quarter; and to these thirty minutes, twice thirty more were added, when the heat at my back was relieved by the furious and rapid clicking of P——'s reel. I started from my seat, and lo! P——'s rod had assumed quite a new appearance; for instead of its taper, arrowy form, it looked more like a note of interrogation, and seemed to ask as loudly and plainly as it could,

"What in heavens, master, has hold of my other end?"

P——, too, no longer retained that upright, soldierly attitude for which I had always admired him, but leaned so much backwards, that, should the good rod, I thought, [Pg 247]give way, nothing on earth can save him from falling on the hinder part of his head. R—— wound up his line, and sat down in his pram to watch P——.

It is the custom, the instant the salmon takes the fly, for the rower to pull towards the shore with as much celerity and judgment as possible, neither to drive the boat too swiftly through the water, or loiter too slowly, both extremes endangering the chance of capturing your salmon. That part of the stream where P—— fished, was about forty yards below a rapid, and, indeed, ran with the current of a sluice; and the reader may imagine, that, a very little impetus given to the pram against this current, would increase the pressure of a large salmon on a small gut line. Directly the boatman discovered that P—— had a bite, towards the bank he commenced to row; but not with that degree of expedition P—— desired. Although I was some distance from them, I could perceive the energetic signals of P——'s left hand to the Norwegian to pull ashore more briskly. Every now and then the rattling of the reel would keep P——'s excitement alive, and as he gradually wound up the line, the salmon, making another start, would threaten to run away with every inch of tackle. Warily the Norwegian rowed, scarcely dipping his sculls in the water, lest their splash should startle the most timid of fish; but his cautious conduct made no impression on P——, for I [Pg 248]could still see him motion angrily to the Norwegian to be more speedy.

The bank of the river at last was reached, and stumbling over sculls and baling ladles, for these prams leak like sponges, and getting his foot entangled in a landing net, P—— contrived to step on shore; but barely had he stood on land again, than the line snapped, and the rod flew to the perpendicular with a short, sharp hiss. Imagination cannot sympathise with P——'s feelings, when, after travelling over a thousand miles, or more, for the sake of entrapping salmon, he should break, through the stupidity or slothfulness of a Norwegian boatman, his best gut line, and lose the finest salmon in the whole Larvig river. P——'s eyes wandered to the summit of his rod as it shot, like a poplar, straight into the air, and saw the remnant of his tackle, not half a yard long, flowing in every direction to the varying puffs of wind; and turning his head slowly round towards the astounded Norwegian, gave him a mingled look of inexpressible contempt and anger; and then, casting his rod violently to the ground, stamped his foot, and vowed he would never fish again.

"You stupid ass!" I heard him shout to the Norwegian, perfectly ignorant whether P—— was addressing him with excess of passion, or a tornado of praise; "didn't I tell you, as well as I could, to pull faster? Do you think cat-gut is made of iron?"

[Pg 249]"Ja[3]," said the gaping Norwegian, catching a very vague idea of his meaning.

"But it isn't, you d——d fool!" exclaimed P—— angrily. "Why don't you do what you're told?"

"Ja——," again began the unhappy boatman.

"But you didn't," shouted P——, cutting him off in the midst of his reply.

"Ja, ja," interposed the Norwegian, "I pool pram."

"Yes, you did 'pool pram,' and a pretty mess you have made of it;" and P—— put his hands in his trowsers' pockets, and began to walk up and down on the bank.

"What's the row?" called out R—— from his pram, floating in the middle of the river; "Have you lost your fish?"

He had witnessed the whole transaction, as well as I.

"It's hardly credible," answered P——, stopping in his walk, "that these Norwegian fools can live in a country all their days, and have salmon under their noses, and not know how to catch them. Curse the fools! the sooner one leaves them the better."

"So I think," acceded R——, sitting down quietly in the after part of his pram, and dangling his crossed leg. "For my part, I don't think there are any salmon at all. I can't get [Pg 250]a rise. I wouldn't mind betting an even crown you had hold of a weed!"

"Pooh! stuff!" ejaculated P——, starting off in his see-saw ambulation again. "I saw the fish;—'twas fifteen pound weight at least."

"Oh! if you saw him, that's another thing," said R——; and taking his pipe out of his pocket, began to soothe his nerves by blowing off his disappointment in the substantial form of pure Oronoco tobacco-smoke.

Half an hour afterwards, P—— was hard at work as ever, perfectly regardless of the solemn attestation he had volunteered to Jupiter.

The four sailors who had rowed the gig from Larvig, had, with the ingenuity of their class, constructed a tent, lighted a fire, and were preparing breakfast, both for us and themselves. This was the first time I had breakfasted in the open air, and it is not so unpleasant as might be imagined, particularly should the morning be so calm, and clear, and warm as this one was. Shaded by a high mountain, fresh with the foliage of fir, birch, and filbert trees, the morning sun reached not our encampment. The balmy air, the dew and early vapour upon the grass, the humming sound of the bee, the low of cattle, the lusty salutation of peasants as they met each other, proceeding to their labour, and, above all, the murmuring river, were sounds and things as pleasant to hear and see as always to remember.

[Pg 251]R—— and P—— were unwearied; nor did they yield to fatigue until the sun had risen so high, that its heat sent the fish to respire at the bottom of the river, and the animals under shelter of the trees. After we had breakfasted, R—— and P—— exchanged a few remarks on the art of angling, felt the fatigue of rising at two in the morning, and fell fast asleep. I possessed the wakefulness of a second Cerberus, and allowed not Morpheus to approach my eyelids; but loitering, up and down, under the shady boughs of the trees, listened to the sweet silvery rippling of the river, as it crept between the rocks, or bubbled over its shingly bed. Overpowered at last by the fury of the vertical sun, I entered the tent that had been formed by raising the gig's sail on the four oars.

R—— and P—— were still slumbering, and I was lying under the tent, on the ground, reading the Adventures of Peregrine Pickle. The sailors who had formed the boat's crew were sauntering about along the banks of the river; and the cockswain, who generally on such excursions as the present performed the part of cook, was seated on a piece of rock which projected into the bubbling stream, busily occupied in the preparation of dinner. Whistling, and humming, by fits, one of the sea-songs of his country, he wore the time away while peeling some potatoes, which, one by one, as his large knife, slung from his belt by a [Pg 252]piece of yarn, deprived of their jackets, he threw into an iron pot, having rinsed them previously in the flowing river. Within his sight, lay, on a white towel, a leg of lamb, bewitchingly sprinkled with salt, all prepared to be cooked, but only waiting for the potatoes to bear it company to the fire. Absorbed in my book, I paid little attention to what was passing around me, except by an occasional glance, until I heard a loud, shrill scream, and then a louder rustling of feathers, as if this was the noon of the last day, and Gabriel having blown his trumpet without my hearing it, had actually reached the earth. I jumped up, and running out of the tent, saw the cockswain standing like a nautical statue, motionless, gazing upwards, and with a stick grasped firmly in his hand. Following his example, I turned my eyes reverentially to the skies, and distinguished, from the blaze of day, a most lusty eagle, making the best of his way towards the residence of Jove with the leg of lamb in his beak; and, as if conscious of the superiority his position had given him over us, waving the white towel, grasped with his talons, hither and thither in the air, like a flag moved exultingly by conquerors after victory.

"It's gone, sir," said the sailor, lowering the uplifted club, "and, blow me, if I ever heerd him coming."

I shall not forget the utter disgust of R—— and P——, when, like a couple of Samsons [Pg 253]they awoke, and found that their hair was certainly untouched, but that the most positive support of their strength had been cut off irretrievably, and their dinner of lamb gone where all innocence should go. Some bread and cheese, together with a few eggs which the boatmen purchased for us at a neighbouring cottage, supplied the loss of our lamb. The coolness of the afternoon gave R—— and P——, an opportunity to renew their ardour, and at six o'clock they both might have been found encouraging the habit of patience in the art of angling.

The rattling of their reels, gave, at almost every half hour, the announcement of a bite, and hurrying in their prams to the shore, my friends, after the torture of another half hour, would, with the assistance of a gaff, place the unhappy salmon among the long grass growing on the river's brink.

The Norwegians, and I believe, all persons who have the sense of taste developed to a most extraordinary nicety, say that the fish which are caught with the hook, are not to be compared in flavour to those taken in the net. Though I cannot account for the exquisiteness of taste, that can distinguish between one and the other plan of catching the salmon, I can very easily suppose that the pain, more or less, given in the destruction of an animal, may increase or decrease the flavour of the flesh, when used as food. A fish drawn backwards and [Pg 254]forwards through the water with a hook piercing its gills, or the more tender fibres of the stomach, till it is almost jaded to death, and then lacerated with such an instrument as the gaff, must endure such an accumulation of the most intense pain, that the sweeter juices of the flesh escape during the throes of a protracted death, and render its taste more stale and flat. But the fish, taken in the net, suffers no injury; and free from pain is instantaneously deprived of life, while the muscular parts retain all the rigour and nutriment requisite for human food.

R—— and P—— caught eight fish between them, varying from fifteen to twenty-five pounds' weight each; and, striking our tent, we returned in the twilight of evening to the yacht at Larvig.

Nothing daunted, R—— and P—— rose again the following morning at two, and collecting their fishing apparatus, began to prepare for another jaunt up the river. They were very desirous that I should accompany them; but having had insight enough into the stratagem of salmon-fishing for the next three days, I declined.

"Well! ain't you going to get up? It's past two," I heard some one say; but not quite certain whether I was dreaming, or really awake.

"Hollo! sleepy-head!" another voice shouted, and a strong arm shook me.

[Pg 255]"Eh? what is it?" I asked, rubbing my eyes, entirely bewildered as to the cause of such rough usage.

"Come! look alive, if you're coming. The sun's up, and we must be off," the last speaker continued. I could not conceive where I had promised to go; nor could I make out what the sun had to do with my movements. A second violent shake roused me.

"I am awake!" I said pettishly. "What do you want; who are you?"

"Get up, you great muff!" the loud voice again exclaimed from the centre of the cabin. I sat up in my bed. From my berth I could see into the main cabin. R—— and P—— in their short fishing coats, and jack-boots, were standing round the cabin table, and drinking some preparation of milk, rum, and egg.

"It's capital, isn't it?" I heard P—— say.

"Splendid!" R—— replied. "Let's have it every morning."

"Ha! many a time," P—— continued, "I have swallowed this just before going to morning parade. It's the best thing in the world on an empty stomach. Here's a little more." And he filled R——'s glass.

"Where are you going so early?" I asked, quite forgetful that we were even in Norway.

"Why, to fish, of course," replied R——.

[Pg 256]"What else do you suppose we are going to do? Come along."

"No; not this morning," I said, falling back on my pillow. "I am tired."

"Pooh! what humbug! you've been in bed ever since twelve. What more do you want?" replied one of them.

"A little more," I answered, making myself as snug as I could; for I had really not slept an hour.

"That's just like you, always pulling another way," R—— observed. "What's the good of remaining here all alone, when you might gaff for me? It's so unsociable!"

"Hang the gaffing!" I answered.

"If you don't like to gaff," suggested R——, "take the little rifle and shoot an eagle or two. That's better than remaining behind; and we can go to bed early to-night."

"Why can't you go without me?" I said. "I don't care about fishing, and I do about comfort; for I feel now as if I had not been to bed at all."

This indifference to a sport, they both deemed the most exciting, caused them to upbraid me, till half-past two, with such epithets as, "an old woman," "a shocking cockney," "a fellow only fit to wear white kid gloves," "a Regent Street swell," "a land lubber," "a milk sop," and a multitude of other curious idioms, that rather made me merry than clashed with my pride.

[Pg 257]About ten o'clock, I received a note from the Consul, intimating that a party of ladies desired to see the yacht, and requested he might bring them on board. I replied that I could, in the absence of R——, undertake to say how cordially he would have granted his permission, and flatteringly he would have felt the compliment, had he been present, and I begged that the Consul would act as if the vessel were his own. Three hours afterwards, I saw several boats, filled with ladies, shoot out from a little bay, on the starboard bow of the yacht, and gliding as swiftly through the smooth water as the two rowers to each boat could force them, soon clustered round the gangway. Thirteen young ladies, the Consul being the only gentleman among them, jumped lightly on board; and as they followed, interminably, one after the other, I never felt the responsibility of any position so impressively, as I did the present one. The young ladies, however, were all Norwegian, except one; so that I had not much trouble in talking to them, their native tongue, or the German, being the only two languages they could understand, and of both of which I was almost ignorant.

Although I could not enter into conversation with them, I felt it was my bounden duty to contribute by some device, or the other, to the entertainment of these young ladies. Knowing the partiality of my own countrywomen to music, I hazarded the idea, that the Norwegian [Pg 258]ladies were filled with an equal admiration for waltzes and polkas; and being fortunately possessed of two very large musical boxes, I wound them up. When these boxes began to play, my fair visitors were much delighted with their ingenious mechanism, and for some short time listened to them with wonder and delight; but at last, in harmonious movement to their sweet notes, these children put their little arms round each other's waists and began to dance. The elder girls, catching the mood, clasped their companions by the hand, and begged them to join the merry group. In ten minutes not one girl was sitting still; and she who could not get a partner, placed her arms a-kimbo, and whirled up and down the deck alone.

A Norwegian gentleman had asked me to dine with him, and as R—— and P—— would not return much before midnight, I did not decline an invitation that was not only hospitable, but would give me an opportunity of seeing more of the habits and character of his countrymen. The dinner was prepared at an early hour, one, or two, o'clock. The style of cookery was the same as in England; except the manner in which the salmon is dressed, for it is cut up into small junks and fried; but the most ordinary, and esteemed way of eating the salmon is to smoke it, which is nothing more or less than an excuse for swallowing the fish raw.

After dinner, the host filled two glasses of [Pg 259]wine, one for himself, and one for me; and sidling close up to my chair, placed himself arm and arm with me. I could not understand his meaning, and watched with no little anxiety the next act of familiarity he would commit. My eyes glanced round the table; but the gravity of every man's face was ecclesiastical in the extreme. Without unlocking his arm from mine, the Norwegian raised his glass in the air, and motioned with his hand to me to do the same. I did so. He then drank off the wine, and bade me drink in like manner. I did that likewise. I had thus followed my friend's injunctions, and had scarcely, with a smile, replaced on the table the glass I had drained, when I received a box on the ear. Starting from my chair at the unprovoked assault, I was about to break the decanter over the Norwegian's head, when a gentleman seized hold of my right hand, and begged me to be pacified, for that it was merely the usage of the country in pledging to the health of a friend. He said my host would be highly gratified by my retaliation.

"We have simply then been drinking each other's health?" I asked.

"No more, sir," my mediator replied.

Ashamed of my hasty and most unmannerly conduct, I gave the amicable cuff, and all was merriment again.

When we rose from table, the whole company commenced shaking hands with each [Pg 260]other, and coming up to me, one after the other, each guest took my hand, and

"Tak for maden," he said.

This was another mysterious usage I could not unravel. A few days afterwards, amid the general din of the same ceremony, I asked a young lady, who spoke French, what it all meant; and she then told me it was an ancient habit of returning thanks for a good dinner.

"But I have given them no dinner," I said.

"That is true," replied my fair informant; "but they thank you all the same."

While she spoke, a Norwegian gentleman took possession of her hand, and exclaimed,

"Tak for maden!" while a second did the same with my hand, and repeating similar words, passed on all round the table.


[3] "Ja," pronounced "yar," signifies "yes," in the Norwegian language.



On Tuesday morning, at three, I joined R—— and P——, and took a second trip up the river, to indulge in this pastime of angling.

When we arrived on our fishing ground, the salmon were seen springing two or three feet [Pg 261]out of the water into the air, a sign not always good for the sportsman; for the Norwegians say, that when the fish begin to leap out of the water, they are moving up the river, and disinclined to take food. It was entertaining to observe them, as they leaped in various places, from rock to rock, up the stream of the Foss; and although they would be brought back by the immense volume of water, nothing disheartened, would repeat the leap again and again. Seated in the pram, I watched in the clear stream, the caution with which some of the salmon approached the fly, and after darting away from it, returned and sported round it, as if perfectly aware of the deceitful manner by which the hook was hid; but in a reckless moment, just as the fly was moved along the top of the water, resembling the living insect with such exactitude that I could be deceived, they would make a sullen plunge, and then as if aware of the foolish act they had committed, secure their death by running away with the whole line before they could possibly feel the hook. A slight jerk is given to the tackle, and their doom is sealed.

I saw one salmon caught through his own folly; for had he been less violent, he might have gratified his curiosity by tasting the fabricated fly, and could, when he found that it was nothing more than a macaw's feather, have quietly spitten it out; but as soon as the hook lanced his lip, the fish made a leap of several [Pg 262]feet above the surface, and on falling into the river again, shot like a silver arrow, towards any weed or rock he saw, sheltering himself behind it, as if he deemed this retreat secure. But when he felt a motive power, over which he had no control, gently drawing him by the head from his old abode, and the consequent slight, shooting pang of the hook, away he flew, right up towards the pram, flapped his tail furiously to the right and left, and then bounced about his native pool, indignant of the vile trick that had been played him. R——, was soon rowed to the bank, and I stood by his side gaff in hand.

"Look out," said R——, in an under tone; and, turning up the sleeve of my coat, I gave the gaff the full length of the handle. The fish, however, saw me move, and like a flash of lightning, clove the water to its lowest depth. The line passed with such rapidity between R——'s thumb and forefinger, that it almost cut them off.

The manœuvring of ten minutes more brought the salmon within a few feet of the bank, and crawling through the rushes, I remained ready to perform my part of the tragedy. Near and nearer, turned on his back, and panting laboriously, the fish allowed himself to be drawn towards the shore. Lowering the gaff slowly into the stream, till I guessed it was two or three inches below the fish, and then making a sudden lunge, I pierced the soft part of the [Pg 263]stomach a little behind the two fore fins, and lifted the salmon from the water.

"You did that devilish well," exclaimed R——, hurrying up to remove the hook. The salmon plunged in every direction violently; and it was with great difficulty I could keep my hold of the gaff.

"Make haste," I said, "or he will be off the gaff; see, how the flesh of the stomach is ripping!"

And so it was. The weight of the salmon was sufficient to tear the tender part of the flesh under the stomach, and the longer I held the fish from the ground to allow R—— to remove the hook, the more probable it appeared, that, the salmon by his furious struggles, would lacerate and divide the flesh, and fall from the gaff.

"Poor wretch!" said R——, as he strove to unfasten the hook from the ligaments of the jaw, "I am keeping him in his pain a long time; but I can't help it."

"I must put him on the ground," I observed, when the fish by its struggles nearly twisted the gaff from my hand.

"No; for heaven's sake, don't!" exclaimed R——. "He'll knock both of us into the water if you do. There," continued R——, holding the hook, at last, in his hand, and cleansing it from slime and gore on the cuff of his coat, "put him down;" and opening a clasp-knife, he ran the blade into the crown of the [Pg 264]salmon's head. The creaking sound of the bone as it yielded to the passage of the sharp knife, like the cutting of a cork, made my teeth ache. The fish stirred not; but the blood trickled from his mouth in small bubbles, and stretching out all his fins, as a bird would stretch its wings to fly, a spasmodic shudder succeeded, and then the fins gradually relaxed and adhered close to his sides, while the blood still oozed from the mouth and gills, and striking his tail once or twice on the ground, the salmon seemed to fix his round, staring, glassy eye on me, as if in accusation of the torture I had caused, and gaping, died.

"If I ever gaff another fish, may I be gaffed myself," I said.

"Fish do not feel so acutely as you imagine," replied R——, wiping the penknife on his handkerchief with the coolness of an anatomical operator; "all the quivering you observe is not from actual pain, but merely from muscular action."

"Well, I am not surgeon enough to know that," I answered; "but if you talk for three years, you will never persuade me that a fish does not feel, as well as every other creature, in proportion to its size, the anguish of bodily torture as sensibly as you, or I."

"Never mind arguments," cried R——, "here, let's see what he weighs."

And R—— drew from his coat-pocket, a small balance that he always carried about [Pg 265]with him, and hooking the defunct salmon on it, held it up.

"Twenty-two pounds to a fraction," he said; and took a little book from his other pocket, and noted down the weight. Casting up the figures to himself in a sort of whisper common to all calculators, R—— observed aloud, when he had concluded his addition,

"I have killed forty-five pounds myself. That's not so bad, eh? Come on;" and hurrying into his pram, was rowed away.

I did not remain much longer on the bank of the river, and desiring a change, I walked towards the road that ran parallel with the stream. A Norwegian peasant, driving a carriole soon overtook me, and asking him in the most grammatical and simple manner I could, if he were returning to Larvig, he made me a long speech in reply; but beseeching him in my second address to give me a monosyllabic answer, either affirmatively or negatively, as I was a foreigner, the man bowed his head till his chin came in contact with the bone of his chest, and said,


I then asked him if he were as desirous of letting his carriole, as I was of hiring it; and he again said,


I tendered several small silver coins, amounting to an ort, a piece of Norwegian money [Pg 266]equivalent in value to eight-pence sterling, and begged the peasant to tell me if the offer were sufficiently generous. He counted the coins in the palm of my hand. When he had done so, he smiled, and said,

"Ja, tak;" and shaking hands with me, he gave me the rope reins.

The carriole is an elegant, comfortable, but most unsociable vehicle; for it is as unfit to hold two persons, as an ordinary arm-chair. To sit properly in a carriole, you should be rather round-shouldered, as its shape is not unlike half a walnut, scooped out. The post-boy sits behind, or stands up, as a groom does in England; but his position must be uncomfortable in the extreme, as the carriole has no springs, and bounds and jumps heavily over ruts and pebbles, causing him to fidget at intervals, and make an exclamation of discomfort most irregularly. The shafts and wheels are slight, and the body painted uniformly of a chocolate colour. The foot-board is not larger than a tea-tray, about six inches square, and in order to reach it, the legs are so extended as to bring the tip of the toes and the apex of the knees on the same plane. Nor does the driver look down on his horse, as he would in England; but the eye has a level view along the back of the animal, and his neck, or wooden collar obstructs any further perspective.

I could not make the man, or skydsgut, as he is called, who accompanied me, understand [Pg 267]ten consecutive words I spoke; but asking a multitude of questions, I thought I must have collected a multitude of information. Disliking the dulness of my companion, I drove at a swift pace, but the skydsgut did not seem to like it, and several times I could guess from his manner, that he was expostulating with me. The Norwegians love their horses with the strong, feminine devotion of Arabs, and it is not an uncommon sight to see the skydsgut, if he be a boy, burst into a passionate fit of tears should you lash his horse twice in a mile. He will strive to tell his grief, but if the language of his sorrow be not understood, he will cover his face with his hands, and weep aloud by the road side. The Norwegians have given Englishmen the credit of being impatient travellers, and from their desire to pass over the greatest quantity of ground in the smallest quantity of time, they are said to use the whip more frequently than is necessary. I do not know that this is an incorrect opinion. As one man has peculiarities that another man has not, so one nation may be noted for eccentricities, of which another nation is devoid; and, for my own part, I am inclined to think, that, however superciliously Englishmen may regard the usages and habits of foreigners, there are no people who give strangers a truer idea of maniacs than Englishmen themselves.

R—— and P——, returned in the evening with a boat full of salmon, and one fine fish, [Pg 268]weighing nearly thirty-two pounds, was smoked and prepared to be sent as a present to England. I passed the whole of the subsequent day at Larvig, and the Consul begged, that as I was alone, I would dine with him. I accepted his invitation. After dinner, in the cool of the afternoon, his daughters, two very lady-like and pretty girls, requested me to join an excursion they were about to make across the fiord, to the opposite shore. These ladies would insist upon rowing the boat the whole distance, upwards of two miles, themselves. I objected for a time; but when they told me it was the custom of the country, and, that the art of sculling was as much an accomplishment as the softer allurements of the harp, or guitar, I felt more reconciled, and fully appreciated an honour that could never be offered to me again.

At half-past ten o'clock, shortly after we had returned from our trip, and while I was standing on a high rock, from which an extensive view of the fiord could be seen, and talking to the Consul and several ladies, a gun was fired from the yacht.

"His Lordship is returned," said the Consul to me, "and I think that is for you."

"If it be so, they will fire again," I replied. The echo of the cable, as the men began to heave it, left the Consul's conjecture no longer chimerical; and after a little while, the flash and report of another gun leaped one after [Pg 269]the other, from crag to crag, through the dusk of evening, and whirling above our heads, bounded over the summit of the mountain.

"Come, there's no doubt now," observed the Consul, turning round towards me.

"No," I answered; "but they don't suppose I can get on board without a boat."

"You can have mine, with pleasure;" and the Consul, addressing his little son, desired that a boat should be kept in readiness.

"Oh! there! look there," exclaimed two, or three ladies, pointing towards the cutter.

"Ay, the anchor's away," said the Consul; and the yacht, with flapping jib, began to move, like a colossal swan with erected crest, proudly through the water.

The main-sail being well brailed up, the two boats were hauled alongside to the davits, and while they were being hoisted on them, a third gun was fired. The ladies, delighted with the flash and thundering of the guns, begged me to linger a little longer, that another gun might be fired; but fearful that R—— would play some mad prank, and stand out of the fiord without me, I promised the fair dames, that the next time I came to Norway, I would comply with their request, and never leave them, or Larvig again.

The Consul's eldest son soon rowed me to the yacht. When I stood on deck, and looked towards the shore, I could see the white [Pg 270]handkerchiefs of those whom I had just left, waving through the dusky air.

"There are some of your loves," said R—— to me.

"They do not wish you well less than they do me," I replied.

The separation from Larvig was the feeling of a second regret I confessed since my departure from England. Dear old Larvig! It is the green oasis where recollection, ever loving, turns to rest; and where the springs of Friendship's warm simplicity, may quench the thirst of him who sighs for Sympathy upon the Desert of Society.

At midnight we cleared the Larvig Fiord, and shaped our course for Christiansand. The weather had been sultry and calm; and at three o'clock in the morning, a tremendous thunder-storm spent the principal part of its anger upon us. The rain descended as if it had been spouted at the yacht through water-pipes; and the uproar of the thunder among the mountains, and the frequency and vividness with which the lightning gleamed, showing every object on the sea and land, were so terrific, that, each man turned in his hammock, and rubbing his eyes, wished to know what all the noise and light on deck were about.

"Lord! how it thunders!" I heard one man growl, as the peal awoke him.

"The lightning's no better," answered another, as a strong, red flash followed close after [Pg 271]the sledge-hammer blow of the clap. The officer of the watch gave some command in muffled tones, and immediately afterwards the man at the helm muttered in a gruff voice,

"Seven bells."

When the hour had been struck, the silence was again profound; and only the pattering of the drops of rain on the deck, as the storm receded, could be heard.

The next morning, before I was up, there was an altercation on deck; and the word "stuff" seemed to prevail over every other.

"Here, D——," I heard R—— exclaim to the sailing master, "just look here;" and then a short pause ensued, until D—— reached the after part of the yacht, where the jolly-boat had been secured on deck.

"As long as you fellows can stuff yourselves," R—— continued, "that's all you care about; but, after that, my property may go to the devil."

Then there was a dialogue, in an under tone, explanatory of something that had gone wrong.

"I am sure, my Lord," pursued D——, "I am as careful as I can be, and I endeavour to make every man the same."

"It's all very fine to say so," answered R——, "but I wish you would act after the same fashion; for here's a salmon I ordered to be cured at Larvig, for the purpose of sending [Pg 272]to England as a present; and just because not one man would take the trouble to throw a piece of tarpaulin over it last night, to keep off the rain, it is perfectly spoilt."

The cured salmon had been placed in the jolly-boat the evening before, and orders were strictly given, that it should be covered during the night; but the attention paid to those orders amounted to what I have related. The salmon, however, was hung up in the shrouds, and after a great deal of trouble and attention, it was sufficiently preserved to arrive in England, three weeks afterwards, and to command the praise of every one who tasted it.

At two o'clock in the afternoon we entered Christiansand Harbour; and taking our old berth a little to the westward of the castle, fired a salute, to let our friends know we had returned. Several gentlemen came on board, and made many inquiries about our travels; and when they had learned all, arrangements were made for us to fish in the Toptdal River, at Boom, as long as we liked.

Early on Monday morning we weighed anchor, and reached up the fiord as far towards the mouth of the Toptdal River, as the depth of water would permit; and after an hour's sail, the yacht was brought up in a beautiful little bay, about three miles from Christiansand, and about four from Boom.

From a sky azure and warm as in an oriental clime, not a cloud was reflected on the smooth, [Pg 273]transparent water, and scarcely a breath of air stirred the leaves of the trees. So absolute was the stillness, that the voices of fishermen, who dwelt among the rocks, could be heard in conversation, although their forms were diminished by distance to the size of a rook.

At five o'clock we were at Boom again, and our friend the Anglo-Norwegian was shaking us by the hand. His eyes sparkled with delight at the renewal of our acquaintance; and promising us the best of sport, he led us towards the cottage in which we had lodged on our first visit. The peasant, our landlord, came forth to the cottage door, pipe in hand, to salute us; while his wife gazed at us through a small window; and, when she caught our glance, smiled, with a sunnier language on her face than she could have uttered with her tongue, the sincerity of her joy to see us once more. I felt as if I had been a long time a wanderer, and had returned home. The three beds in the cottage were ordered to be got ready for us, and a lodging in a neighbouring farm-house was secured for the four men who had rowed the gig.

The fish did not take the fly willingly, for only one or two were caught between R—— and P——; but the amazing number of salmon that kept leaping out of the water, during the whole afternoon, bade us not despair of being more prosperous on the morrow. The Toptdal [Pg 274]River is the property of a celebrated merchant resident at Christiansand, and he derives a considerable income from the sale of fish caught in it. It is one of the most famous salmon streams in the south of Norway; and its celebrity may in some way be tested when I state, that, two and three hundred salmon have been taken in the nets in the course of one day at Boom, and the same quantity has been continued through several successive days. Great numbers are still caught, but not in such multitudes as formerly; and the diminution is ascribed to the circumstance of no law existing in Norway to protect, or rather, preserve the salmon at certain seasons; and poaching has been, of late years, so extensive, that unless the Government take a little more care of a fish that has become almost a staple commodity of the country, and arrest the nefarious system at present without bounds, the extinction of salmon in the southern rivers of Norway must be immediate and complete. Indeed, we visited some places which a few years ago were famous for the beauty, size, and multiplicity of their salmon; but we were told on our arrival, that, not a fish was now to be caught or seen, from the mouths to the sources of these rivers.

Early in the morning, by daylight, I heard R—— and P—— pulling on their jack-boots, and winding and unwinding their tackle. The clicking noise of their reels awoke me.

[Pg 275]The Toptdal River is uninterrupted by rapids from Christiansand up to our cottage, but as I mentioned, there is before the door a tremendous fall, and a pool of great depth has been formed, by the eternal force and action of the tumbling water. This pool is nearly circular, and about a quarter of a mile in circumference. A large rock, considerably above the level of the water, stands in the middle of this pool; and perched on it the sportsman may presume that he has attained the most choice position for angling. From this rock, made slippery by the ascending spray of the cataract, Mr. H——, the gentleman to whom I have referred as the proprietor of this river, is wont to fish; and he is allowed to be one of the most distinguished and sagacious anglers in the vicinity of Christiansand or Boom.

Pursuant to the mode of the country, and the recommendation of the natives, my two companions embarked in a pram to seek the piscatory treasures of this pool. The surface of the water was not so clear and smooth as at Larvig; for it boiled and eddied, and the wrath of the thundering cataract made it white as Parian marble. R—— and P——, notwithstanding the difficulty of throwing their flies daintily, from the uneasy motion of the pram, discovered another more serious obstacle to this united possession of the same pram; for, now and then, P——'s silver pheasant fly would buz very close to R——'s right ear, and [Pg 276]R——'s white moth fly would hover around and settle at last on P——'s pepper-and-salt cloth cap, and whisk it into the water. In short, the danger of proximity in fly fishing was as obvious as the deductions of any mathematical problem. The union could not exist. A remedy was to be found; and P—— sat down on the grating over the well of the pram, and gave himself to contemplation. His inquisitive mind lost no time.

"Hollo!" he suddenly exclaimed, "there's that rock; can't I get on it?"

"Let's pull and see," assented R——; and the boatman was desired to row towards it. When the pram was driven by the force of the whirling stream against the rock, P—— jumped on it, but nearly slid off on the other side.

"Oh! ah! this is capital," he said, raising himself cautiously by the aid of both hands. "This will do."

And having, after several efforts, stood upright, he commenced untwisting his line from the rod.

"All right?" asked R——, impatient to begin.

"Yes, all right," replied P——; and away the pram, borne by the thousand intertwining currents, shot with R——.

The high peaks of the mountains now began to shine in the rising sun, and, like the ebbing surface of an ocean, the line of light gradually descended towards the valley. One by one, [Pg 277]the cattle came forth from their sheds; and the cock, flapping his wing, stood a tip-toe, and crew most lustily. Under the weather-vane, on the farm-house roof, the pigeons trimmed their feathers, and cooed. Unfelt the coolness of the morning air, (for they were hot with exertion,) and regardless of moving shadows, or cooing doves, my two friends gave up the sense of hearing to their reels, and that of seeing to the career of the little zinc hooks at the end of their gut lines. When I looked at the insular P——, and his active rod, I thought him like to Archimedes who had found his extramundane spot of ground, and, as he threw the fly, and bent his back to let it touch the water lightly, was endeavouring to fasten his lever to the base of the adjacent mountain in order to consummate his wish of raising the world; and the circumfluous R—— with his long tackle, that hissed when he cast it with the petulance of an angry switch, appeared an ocean god, who had selected a shorter route to the North Cape by the Toptdal River, and was urging his reluctant grampuses up the cataract.

R—— and P—— might have angled for five hours, and the result of their assiduity was as diverse as pain is to pleasure, whatever the Stoics may have said to the contrary; for P—— caught fifteen salmon, and R—— not one. Disappointed, no doubt, that such trifling profit should succeed to so much labour, [Pg 278]R—— wound up his ten or twelve yards of cat-gut, and desired the boatmen to row ashore. It was now eight o'clock; and when people rise at two in the morning, it does not require much calculation to tell how keen the appetite must become when it has grumbled five hours in vain for aliment. P——, however, was callous to hunger, or thirst; and as he made capture after capture, all thought of food decreased in an inverse ratio. When R—— had alighted from the pram, the boatman drew it up on the shore, lest it should get adrift, for it was the only available pram at Boom; and touching his slouch hat, signified to R—— his intention of going to his morning meal. R—— consented. We sat down on a piece of timber by the river's brink, and R—— watched his successful fellow-angler. P——'s very soul seemed to be diving about in the pool entirely unconscious of every earthly thing but salmon.

"By Jove! there's another bite," exclaimed R——, as P——'s reel spread the tidings with the tongue of a Dutch alarum clock. After a little play, the salmon ceased to live in the Toptdal River.

"I can't tell how he manages," said R——, in a sort of soliloquy. "I don't get a rise in two days. My flies must be bad; or, I think, P—— always takes the best place." And R—— pulled his fly-book from his pouch, and began to examine the flies attentively, one by one, from the largest to the smallest.

[Pg 279]"Your flies are very good," I observed; "but you have not application. Look at P——; he is part of that rock, apathetic to every idea of life, but the idea that he sees his fly."

"A great deal of it is luck," answered R——; "but let us go to breakfast. I am preciously thirsty; I must swill something."

We both rose, and walked towards the cottage. The sun had now risen above the tops of the mountains, and shone brightly in the very centre of the valley through which the Toptdal River wound. Not a cloud spotted the sky, and the declining languid motion of the atmosphere gave token of a torrid noon. Entering into jocular conversation with our Anglo-Norwegian friend, who was bustling about the cottage on our behalf, we became so intimate and open-hearted, that R—— begged him to partake of breakfast if he had not eaten his own; and seating himself in the third vacant chair, the Norwegian did as much justice to our hospitality, as the hungry steer does to clover. Time wore on, for the shade of the tall trees became short and shorter; and when our little stout Northern guest went from under the cottage roof, to give some orders to a labourer, I observed that the huge flaps of his felt hat sheltered his round projecting van and bulbous flank, and, that, to the contemplative man with downcast eye, his whole frame, fat though it were, would appear quashed into a circular shadow moving along the ground.

[Pg 280]After breakfast, R—— lit his pipe, and the Norwegian made a quid both round and opaque, and bowing to us, stuffed it into his mouth. Its proper arrangement with his tongue kept him silent for a second, and in that second, we heard the prolonged, faint call of a man in distress; but it was so indistinct, that the gentle rustling of the juniper leaf interrupted our attention to it.

"Is not this delicious?" observed R—— to me; and the gray-blue tobacco-smoke spouted, like a small fountain, from his mouth. "In London I should be just thinking of getting out of bed, and here I have been up these nine hours, and eaten like a bricklayer."

"I should not mind living here, and like this, all my life," I answered, "and paddling about on that river."

"Ja," interposed the Norwegian in a broken dialect, but he thought himself a good English scholar; "dat is goot, but you not tak care you roltz down de foss; one old vomans roltz down de foss."

"Ah?" said I.

"Ja," replied the Norwegian; "she row one praam cross de top of de foss, and de praam roltz over, and she vas drowntz."

The same dull, faint, long cry, fell on our ears; but we took no heed of it, for our native companion said it was the signal shout of huntsmen in the mountains.

"Did you ever find the old woman's body?" I asked.

[Pg 281]"Ja," the Norwegian answered, twisting his quid from the left to the right cheek, "she vas foundtz; and vat is droltz de bags of flour she have in de praam, dough dey been long timetz in de vater, vere quite drytz—de middle quite drytz."

"And what did you do with them?" I asked.

"I eatz dem," said my friend.

Again the long, low cry stole mournfully through the still air, and it moaned like a melancholy spirit of the night that had been left behind by its fellow spirits, as they hurried from earth at dawn of day, and which, concealing itself in some mountain cavern, was wailing their absence, and telling the torture it suffered from the glaring light.

"I say, old cock, have you any goblins in this place?" asked R——, walking close up to the Norwegian, and blowing the smoke from his pipe so voluminously in the little man's face, that he coughed till he nearly spat his quid out of the window.

"Nej, nej," replied the Norwegian, as soon as he could breathe to speak, in a tone of surprise that R—— should suppose such a thing. The Norwegians are superstitious, and believe as confidently in ghosts, as I do in the heat of fire.

"What the devil then," continued R——, "is that confounded groaning about? Some fellow has committed murder. You had better go and see."

[Pg 282]"Nej, nej," remonstrated the Norwegian, scratching his head, and moving nervously in his chair at the suggestion. The Norwegian was stable as his mountains; and R——, laughing at the man's apparent terror, resumed his seat, and increased the generation of his genuine Latakia tobacco-smoke.

It was now mid-day; and the hollow sounding tread of human feet clad thickly, made R—— and me turn our eyes towards the threshold of the cottage. Cased, like a shrimp-catcher, up to his hips in water-proof boots, his landing-net, gaff, and fishing-rod, borne on his left shoulder, P——, the very picture of impersonated anger, stood before us. Dashing landing-net, gaff, fly-book, and his only fly-rod on the table, regardless of crockery,

"A pretty trick you have played me!" he thundered out. We had never given P—— a thought until the moment we saw him, nor did we, for one instant, remember that, like Robinson Crusoe, he had been left on a desert rock, and that the doleful cry might be his.

"It's now twelve," P—— continued angrily, "and you have quietly eaten your breakfast, and allowed me to remain on that rock since six o'clock."

"But my dear fellow," said R——, "could you not call for the boat?"

"And what have I been doing these four hours?" P—— exclaimed. "No; it's just like you both; if you can satisfy your [Pg 283]confounded selfishness, the devil may take any one else's comfort."

"A boat would have put off to you," persisted R——, "if you had hailed some of the workmen about."

"What nonsense that is," said P——, with wrath. "Do you think I stood there like a fool, and held my tongue? Of course I hailed every one I saw; but I should like to know who could hear me, stuck, as I was, close under that Fall."

"Well, my dear fellow," answered R——, in a pacifying tone, "I tell you the truth, I never thought of you until I saw your face at that door."

"That's just what I say; so long as you are comfortable, every one else may go to the deuce;" and P—— snapped his finger, and walked to the window. "Besides that," he added, "I am your guest, and entitled to look for a little more respect."

"Oh! hang the respect," replied R——, quickly.

"Then you may fish alone," said P——; "for I'll be hanged if I will stand being treated in this kind of way. Suppose, for one moment, you had been in my place, and I had forgotten you, what would you have said and felt? the case is the same."

"Why didn't you come ashore with me?" R—— asked, getting rather testy himself; "am I your nurse? Am I to wait and watch for you?"

[Pg 284]"Yes, you ought," said P——; "I would have done it for you. I can't fish and have my eyes about me, in all quarters, at the same time. I think it cursed unmannerly of you both."

R—— looked at me with one of his comic faces, and I looked at him.

"As to my manners," R—— answered aloud, "whether they be vulgar, or whether they be genteel, I take no credit to myself; for an extra allowance was made for my education, that I should be polished brightly like a gentleman, and if you perceive a failure on that score, the fault is not mine, but the preparatory school's. Moreover, if a man has any mental, or personal defect, it is hardly fair to make allusion to it, and by wounding his feelings to seek the gratification of anger."

R—— gave me a wink, as much as to say, "I have the weather-gage of him." P—— spoke not in reply; but continued standing at the window, and, with his back to us, looking out upon the fatal rock and cataract.

"We have left you a couple of eggs," observed R—— pacifically.

"You had better send them back to the hen to be hatched," P—— replied.

"Come, my dear fellow," continued R——, "don't let such a little thing part us. Your being left on the rock was quite an oversight. Exercise a christian spirit, and drink this delicious coffee."

[Pg 285]Pouring out a cup of coffee, R—— held up the Norwegian wine-bottle of milk by its long neck, and said to P——, "do you like a little, or a good deal, of milk?"

"Oh! middling;" and moving from the window, P—— walked towards the table.

"There," said R——, pushing the cup across to P——, "there's some real Mocha for you."

P—— raised the cup to his lips.

"Capital!" he exclaimed, taking breath after a long pull.

"So it is!" reiterated R——, expelling a tremendous and satisfactory cloud of smoke that took the shape of a balloon, and ascending towards the cottage beams, puzzled me, by its great dilatation, to think, how such a gigantic volume of sooty exhalation, as Dr. Johnson would say, could be compressed into a small compass, like R——'s mouth.

When pacification took place, and conciliatory explanations were made over and over again, R—— and P——, tumbling out their flies, commenced to repair those that had been damaged by the fish, and manufactured others, more suitable to the transparent water, and the timidity of the salmon. While they were thus engaged, I loitered about in the open air.

The day was hot to oppression; and it required no flight of the imagination to forget that the country was Norway, and fancy myself in the interior of Congo. Numerous [Pg 286]insects, that flew with a droning noise about me, and a multitude of adders basking in the sun, or hurrying through the grass as I approached, gave new force to the illusion.

In the afternoon R—— and P—— caught thirty or forty salmon between them. Such success made them determine to remain for some days longer at Boom; but being desirous of a change of scene, as well as recreation, I returned to the yacht, and sleeping on board that night, went the next morning to Christiansand.

It was the 24th of June, known as St. John's Day; and on my arrival at Christiansand, I learned that the festival was commemorated with great ceremony by the Norwegians. Along the tops of the mountains, ever where the eye wandered, piles of faggots, and old boats were collected together, like funeral pyres. Men and women, children and dogs, congregated in multitudes around them, watching for the set of sun; and when the weary god sank down to rest, and with closing lids gave darkness to the earth, a hundred bonfires simultaneously blazing forth on the summits of the mountains, strove to reach his throne in the meridian, and imitate the day. The sight was certainly fine, but could not be compared with an ancient warlike and similar custom among the Scottish Highlanders.

I called on some ladies and gentlemen whom I knew at Christiansand, and learned a usage [Pg 287]prevalent among the Norwegians, that should still more endear their simplicity of heart, and the truthfulness of their character, since it is void of all the artfulness and social fiction of England. Approaching the house of a family, from the different members of which we had received much kindness and hospitality, a servant met me at the door, and while she was endeavouring to explain how much her mistress was engaged, the eldest daughter of my fair hostess made her appearance, and extending her hand to me, said, shaking her head,

"Herr, kan icca ta imod;" which meant, that I could not be received. This is the usual phrase; and it tells you the simple fact, that the lady of the house is at home, but her domestic occupations press upon her so much at the moment, that she is unable to receive you.



On Wednesday, the 30th, we left Boom, having, during the ten days R—— and P—— had remained there, caught two hundred and sixty-four salmon.

[Pg 288]On the afternoon of Wednesday, we landed at Christiansand for an hour, to arrange a few accounts, and then sailed for the Gron Fiord.

The night was calm, and the sea smooth as a mirror. At noon the following day, we were once more in sight of the Naze, and, signalling for a pilot, elicited an instant answer from a solitary cottage standing on the barren promontory. The swell was terrific; and as soon as the pilot could contrive to scramble on board, we ran the vessel up the lesser channel of the Gron Fiord to escape the sea. The violence of the waves was more dangerous, as scarcely a breath of wind filled the sails; and we were apprehensive that a huge spar like the boom swinging to and fro, would carry away the mast by the board.

Leaving directions with D—— that the yacht should meet us in the Fædde Fiord, R—— suggested that we should take an excursion inland. The proposal was no sooner given than it was taken up gladly; and hiring a mountaineer for our guide, who had jostled himself on board to see all that he could, we started in the gig for a small village, the name of which I forget, about sixteen miles further up the Fiord. What with rowing, and sailing, under the favour of sudden puffs of wind which nearly capsized us a dozen times, we came in sight of the village at five o'clock in the afternoon. The sail thither was very beautiful; the lofty mountains on all sides [Pg 289]giving the Fiord the romantic calmness and changing shadows of a beautiful lake. The water, too, so clear and shallow, left our minds at ease when the frequent gusts of warm air breathed heavily on our sail, and made us regard their sallies down the different ravines rather as the cause of sport, than the effect of mischief.

Being without a forbud, or courier, we waited for horses, as a consequence, several hours at a post-house on the bank of the Fiord. Time, however, did not hang heavily on our hands, R—— and P—— finding some amusement in fishing for trout in a neighbouring stream, and I was not the less entertained by observing the rapidity with which one fish was caught after the other. The surface of the water swarmed with these little creatures, and the fly was no sooner thrown to them, than they fought for the bait.

In half an hour we returned to the post-house; and three dozen trout were, in a short time, converted into a substantial dinner. The flesh, however, was so impregnated with the taste of turpentine, that I relinquished the greater portion of my share to others who were more hungry, and not so dainty. Living almost entirely on fish caught by ourselves, I had, on former occasions, incurred the loss of my dinner through this disagreeable flavour, but could not discover its cause until a glass of water, taken from the Larvig River, tasted so [Pg 290]strongly of the fir, that, I preferred the inconveniences of thirst to the means of its alleviation. So much timber is floated from the interior to the towns on the sea-coast, that the rivers retain the taste of the fir, and even take from it a particular light yellow tinge, not to be seen in those streams that are too small and shallow for rafts or boats. Some kinds of fish, deriving their sole sustenance from these rivers, are consequently saturated with turpentine.

After dinner we walked up a hill, down whose rugged side ran a rapid, murmuring brook. The Fiord, surrounded by mountains, lay beneath us, and, far away, we could see the boat that had brought us hither, floating, like a white feather, slowly homewards to the yacht. The blue-bell and fox-glove were growing on every hand, and the heath throve in luxuriance, but, flowerless, seemed to miss the golden blossoms of the furze.

Sauntering along, we could scarcely avoid stumbling over numberless ant-hills, of considerable size and height, raised around the trunks of fallen firs rent in two by the violence of the winter storms, or hewn down to be converted into charcoal. Regardless alike of the sultry summer heat and of us, how industriously the little people worked, running hither and thither with pieces of stick, ten times larger than themselves, and sometimes so ponderous, that half-a-dozen of them would put [Pg 291]their strength together, and pull them from one corner of their dominions to the other! I observed a sturdy mechanic, hurrying, like a thief, along the summit of this mound, fall headlong to the very base; but immediately recovering his senses, seized his load again, and mounted valiantly to his former elevation.

I threw my glove in the midst of them. Their confusion and dismay were beyond all description; but collecting their self-possession, they returned in a mob, and seemed to view attentively the great calamity that had befallen them. They examined it in every position, some burrowing inside and arriving at the top of the glove through a small hole between the thumb and the forefinger; others, apparently chemists, clustering round the button at the wrist, and testing its properties. Gathering in groups, they appeared to consult whether such a peculiar substance could be converted into use, or whether the glove should be drawn by main force, and precipitated to the sow-thistle below. Unlike any large assemblage of men that I have ever seen, they wasted no time in long speeches, but speedily came to a decision; and approaching the thumb of my glove, some thirty or forty stalwart artificers took hold of the seam that passes inside, and pulled stoutly. The glove moved. This was not lost on the congregated thousands; for their motions appeared to be in approval of their countrymen; and I am [Pg 292]convinced did they wear hats, they would have flourished them in the air, or owned voices, would have cheered vociferously. The whole community now took part in the removal of my glove, and in a few seconds it began to crawl pretty evidently towards the edge of the mound.

Busily engaged as all the ants were, they did not pay much attention to the proximity of danger, and, I am sure, even with their sagacity, did not think of it; but bearing the common nuisance towards the boundary of their country, they were only bent upon ejecting it summarily. The little finger of my glove first reached the side of the ant-hill, and falling, like a paralyzed limb, suddenly over the brink, cast some forty excellent folks, head over heels, with rapidity and great force to the long grass beneath. Unconscious of this accident at the other extremity, the ants who laboured at the thumb and its environs, continued with violent jerks to draw the glove towards its destination; and when it had come so near the sloping edge, that the locomotive power became its own, it slid, like an avalanche, to the bottom of the mound, drawing nearly the entire population along with it. Never were pismires so terrified before; nor did arrow ever swifter cleave the air, as these insects scrambled over the blades of grass and chips of wood. The agility with which they climbed up their pyramidical nest was perfectly astonishing; and [Pg 293]when the nimblest of them arrived at the top, the perfect state of confusion which seemed to pervade the whole community, and the continuance and fervour with which they were stopped and addressed by those who had escaped the mishap, were the monkeyism and perplexity of man truthful to a degree.

Late in the afternoon we started on our journey. The road at every corner unfolded the sublimest scenery, my imagination conceiving nothing beyond the grandeur and wild magnificence of the rugged mountains whose castellated peaks, gray and black with time and storm, were fretted into all combinations of pinnacle and turret raised like fortifications out of their perpendicular, blank sides. To allay the parching heat and sombreness of scene, the roar of falling water reached the ear, and here and there the eyes caught sight of wooden bridges clasping an angry torrent. Enclosed by mountains of great height, shooting abruptly into the air, the precipices both above and beneath the narrow highway were most frightful to contemplate, and in many places it was overhung with immense portions of rock. We were obliged to stoop in order to avoid striking our heads against them, and to keep the middle of the road, no other precaution being taken to hinder a restive horse from falling into the hideous gulf, than one or two stones piled on each other. The sharp turn of the road, too, would appear at a [Pg 294]distance to terminate at the edge of a precipice; but when the spot was reached, this was found to be mere deception, the angular corners of the road being most acute; and, should a horse plunge in turning, or back, no human interference could stay an instantaneous death.

A difficult descent brought us to a valley, shut in on all sides by lofty mountains; and stopping our jaded horses by a rivulet, we had time to observe another ascent, as steep as any we had yet encountered in Norway. Looking along a ravine on the left hand, far as the eye could see, the blue mountains, capped with snow, upon whose eminences rested the brilliancy of the setting sun, were contrasted grandly with the gloom and shadow of the nearer valley. Leaping from rock to rock, even from the mountain's peak, cascades poured down their waters in every direction, sparkling like columns of molten silver through the dark green foliage of the fir and pine.

We commenced the ascent. Left to themselves, our horses exercised much sagacity in overcoming every difficulty; for, occasionally making a strong effort, they would gain ten or twenty yards upwards, and then, halting of their own accord, plant their fore legs entirely under them to recover their wind. But in spite of every indulgence, it was disheartening to see the perspiration dripping, like a fountain, from the flanks and stomachs of the animals, [Pg 295]while they panted for breath. Toiling up the acclivity, we arrived, at last, at the summit of the mountain; and although the elevation must have been several thousand feet above the level of the sea, a plain of great extent, inclining slightly downwards to the north-west, and without the vestige of a shrub, spread before us. Alighting from our carrioles, we stood on the highest point of the mountain, and looking down the opposite side almost perpendicularly beneath us, a beautiful lake suddenly broke upon the view, the verdant banks of which, fringed with cottages, meandered for many miles along a still, romantic valley. Down the sides of the mountains that encompassed this valley, and with whose rocky heads we had an equal altitude, hundreds of cascades were seen leaping among the riven crags, and hid for a time from sight by the firs, would burst again upon the eye, and roll in one large spout of foam down the ravines, till they mingled with the sleeping waters of the lake now thrown into deep shadow by the gigantic mountains, and ended day.

Taking up our abode for the night with a Scotsman, whose cottage we found through the assistance of one of our skydsguts, we strove to make ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would admit. This gentleman, who had left his native land with the laudable motive of teaching husbandry to the Norwegians, and with the ulterior chance of making [Pg 296]his fortune, discovered that the Norwegian farmers were as steadfast to the aboriginal mode of cultivating their land, as he was ambitious of becoming rich, and so, like a sensible man, when he found that his agricultural scheme had failed, and retreat homewards, for want of means, was impracticable, he wedded a Norwegian woman, and renting a tract of land, turned farmer on his own account. All that his frugal wife had collected for household use among these solitary mountains, milk, eggs, and salmon, was freely offered to us; and having brought our own tea and sugar, together with a few bottles of beer, we easily made a wholesome meal. After we had supped, our host said that his house was small, and his sleeping accommodation still more limited; but if we could arrange between ourselves, as to the appropriation of one bed, and a small sofa, he would be proud indeed to shelter us for the night.

We cast lots. R—— won the bed, and P—— the sofa. I might sleep where I could, how I could, and when I could. However, things are so wisely ordained in this world, even the most trivial, that I do not know whether a man should not be as much elated with failure, as with success. Who can tell the result of any undertaking?

At that "witching hour of night when churchyards yawn," we also had a touch of the gaping fit, and thought of rest. The room in [Pg 297]which we had supped, was likewise our bed-room; and the bed and sofa, huddled cozily in one corner of the apartment, carried comfort and enticement on their spotless counterpanes. Joking, and suggesting all manner of plans for my repose, R—— took off his coat, and sat down on his bed. No sooner had he done so, than one might have thought his mattress was stuffed with dried leaves or panes of glass, such a rustling and crackling ensued.

"By Jupiter!" exclaimed R——, starting from his seat, and clapping the palm of his right hand to that part of his body that had caused the hubbub; and then turning about, placed his other disengaged hand on the bed, and said with an astonished voice and face,

"Damme, this is all straw, covered with a sheet!"

And pressing the mattress in all quarters, he seemed determined to ascertain whether it were the fact, or, simply, the wandering of his imagination. A piece of yellow straw, plucked from a central hole in the sheet, was amply authenticating. P—— took the alarm; and plunging both fists into the middle of his sofa, met with a soft composition of juniper-leaves and common moss. A pleasant sort of foundation to sleep upon, on a broiling summer's night, with the thermometer at 85°! However, the fun had only just commenced, and laughing heartily I made a pillow of a couple of boat-cloaks, and wrapping myself, like a [Pg 298]mummy, in a white great-coat, stretched myself on the floor. The boards were sanded, and so, when I turned, I sounded like a piece of sand-paper scrubbing a grate. That was the extent of my inconvenience. I slept soundly; and I may have done so for an hour, or two, when some one in a low tone of voice called to me. It was R——.

"Well, what is it?" I said.

"Lord!" he replied, "this bed is full of bugs and fleas. What the devil shall I do?"

"I don't know," I answered, half asleep;—"scratch yourself."

Seemingly in acquiescence with my advice, a violent scratching issued from P——'s corner of the room; and then a heavy sigh, peculiar to a sleeping person, succeeded. Twisting about and blowing his breath with a puff, as people do in hot weather, or when tormented, each time R—— moved, his straw-mattress yielded to his weight with the same noise as the skin of a roasting-pig yields to the incision of a carving-knife.

"I can't stand this any longer," at length he exclaimed, and shooting out of bed, walked up and down the room, scratching and fuming as if he had just escaped from an ant's nest. Infuriated by the irritation of the flea-bites, he could not do otherwise than stumble over everything that came in his way; and the long nails of his naked toes coming in contact [Pg 299]with my ear, soon set me on my head's antipodes.

"Gracious heavens!" I exclaimed, smarting with pain; "why don't you remain in bed, instead of stalking up and down the room all night long?"

"Go and remain there yourself," retorted R——, in no happy frame of mind. "I won't be eaten up by bugs and all kinds of beastliness, for any one."

"Yes; but you can keep your nails to yourself," I replied; and having great faith in the power of friction, commenced rubbing my ear.

The silentness of death succeeded, interrupted only by the long, loud breathing of P——, and the low, melancholy howl of wolves in the mountains.

With regrets and earnest protestations never to leave the yacht again, R—— and I wore the night away. P—— remained impregnable to the attacks of bugs, fleas, and mosquitoes; and while he told us, in a sonorous language of his own, how profoundly he slept, he sometimes gave mechanical signs of feeling by scratching obstreperously his legs and arms, and slapping himself smartly on the face.

Early the subsequent morning we took leave of our host, and regardless of the intense heat, made the best of our way towards Fædde. The peasantry along the road we travelled [Pg 300]appeared to descend in wretchedness the farther we advanced; and nothing could exceed the poverty exhibited in the outward appearance of their hovels. At every station where we stopped, misery, by exterior marks, stood dominant; and one post-house, the last before we arrived at Fædde, was divested of every comfort, and looked more dreary than all the others we had seen. The whole family were partaking of their scanty meal spread on a deal table, yet smooth as marble, and brilliant as a polished sword. Surrounded by a gang of children, some grown to maturity, men and women, and others only infants, the poor patriarch sat pale and sickly at the family board; and the melancholy shade that kept flitting over his countenance, though he smiled and rose to greet us, told of some blight that had fallen on his hopes; for he resumed his seat apart, and crossing his thin hands on his lap, gave no other notice of his presence than an occasional sigh, uttered deeply and involuntarily. Except the old man, they all eat fast and greedily of a kind of white mixture, or porridge, collected in a large wooden basin.

Leaving this place, we pursued our journey through a country intersected by rugged mountains, whose summits, denuded of all verdure, rose high and imposingly to Heaven, but their bases were clothed with the cheerful birch, the fir and pine, and here and there, a little knoll [Pg 301]of grass shining, like an emerald, amid this wilderness of rock. Herds of cattle, interspersed with goats and sheep, hung over the edges of the precipices, browsing on the tufts of green food that sprouted from the jagged crags. The road wound through narrow mountain-passes, nearly choked up with huge fragments of rock, the parent mountains on either hand rising perpendicularly to an enormous height; and where a ravine yawned, as if to cheer the heart and eye saddened and wearied by the desolate monotony of stony fell and inhospitable hill, a forest of firs would creep, sloping, to their very summits. Far above our heads, only the fleecy clouds breaking into a variety of forms as they moved slowly along the mountain sides, and the raven's hoarse cry, or the shrill scream of the eagle, broke the prevailing solitude of scene and sound.

Many of the peasants whom we encountered on the way, wore red caps and short jackets scarcely descending below their arm-pits, covered elaborately with small conical silver buttons; and while some of them concluded their attire with breeches extending to the knees and there clasped with buckles, others, more fantastic in taste, preferred the loose trowsers of the Ottoman. Hair, prodigiously long, flowing slovenly over the shoulders, was common to all. Hats were worn, but they may be exceptions. A blue petticoat, blue as their [Pg 302]beautiful sky, and a jacket bound by a scarlet sash around the waist, and a coloured silk kerchief wreathed about the head, its two ends projecting, like the wings of Mercury's cap, behind each ear, appeared to constitute the ordinary costume of the Norwegian peasant women.

On the morning of the fifth day since we had left the Gron Fiord, driving up a steep and winding road we reached the top of a magnificent range of mountains, and glancing over an intervening forest covered with every variety of shade, that fir, pine, birch, and grassy glades could afford, the eye rested on the village of Fædde, with its forty houses and single wooden church, bosomed in a luxuriant, green valley, on the opposite shore of the Fiord. A thousand feet beneath, on the blue water, floated the yacht with flapping canvass, and bearing all the appearance of having outstripped us in the journey only by a very few minutes. The picturesque beauty of the Fiord was increased by being distinctly seen from a commanding site, and the bold outlines of its frowning headlands jutted one beyond the other nearly into the centre of the Fiord, till they were mingled in colour with the distant ocean, of which a glimpse could just be caught. The sea gulls frequenting this Fiord, flew around us and screeched amid the universal silence which was broken by the roar of waterfalls, concealed from sight by the dark forest, but the sparkling stream, bursting at times upon the view, would [Pg 303]flow a little way in the broad daylight, then steal as suddenly again from observation in its circuitous course.

An immense pram, larger than the launch of a frigate, and rowed by two natives, bore us sluggishly to the cutter.



"I hope, my Lord," observed D——, as he stood at the gangway of the yacht, and handed the man-ropes to R——, "you have had a pleasanter voyage than we."

"Why? Has any accident occurred?" asked R——, anxiously.

"No, my Lord, no accident," continued D——; "but since your Lordship left us, a gale of wind has been blowing from the south-west; and knowing your Lordship would have no home until the cutter came round to this place, I thought it best to thrash our way to Fædde in the best manner we could."

"Oh! yes; you did right," replied R——; "but, I hope, you did not strain the craft."

"No, my Lord, no," answered D——.

[Pg 304]"How did she behave?" inquired R——.

"Beautifully, my Lord, beautifully," rejoined D——, rubbing his hands, and casting his eyes up the spars towards the top-mast, which was still struck. "We had three reefs in the main-sail, and still she made nine knots against a heavy sea. You see, she is wet, my Lord. The sea made a clean breach, both fore and aft."

"Ah! it won't hurt her," said R——, in a confident tone, while he approached the companion, and began to descend into the cabin. P—— and I had already preceded him. Every thing below seemed in the greatest medley. The four chairs, lying on the floor, stuck their sixteen legs right up in the air; and the books, with their covers horribly distorted, were scattered in every corner. The sofa pillows appeared to have been playing "bo-peep" with each other, for three had hid themselves under one sofa, and the fourth I found in the after-cabin, jammed between my portmanteau and the bulk-head. Nothing was in its place, and all things were suffering the completest discomfort.

"Hollo!" exclaimed R——, as soon as he entered; "what's the row?"

"The bell is broken, my Lord," replied the steward. This was a favourite hand-bell of R——; and any injury to it so entirely occupied his sympathy, that, the steward generally parried a minute cross-examination by [Pg 305]referring, when he could, to the ill, or well, being of this bell.

"Is that all?" answered R——.

"No, my Lord," said the steward, pursuing his narrative, seeing the bell had failed; "three decanters, four couples of soup-plates, and——"

"Hang the plates!" interrupted R——; "how is Jacko?"

"Not so hearty, my Lord," replied the steward.

"Why, what's the matter with him, eh?" asked R——, going to the sofa, and lying down. He was accustomed to do this when, on his return home, he desired to know what had occurred in his absence.

"He went into the pantry, my Lord," the steward continued, "when my back was turned, and while he was looking about him in one of the cupboards, the vessel took a lurch to port, and unshipping the cruet-stand, emptied the pepper-pot in his eye, my Lord."

"What was he doing there?" demanded R——.

"Up to his tricks again, my Lord," replied the steward, drily.

"Is he much hurt?" R—— asked.

"No, my Lord; not much," said the steward.

"Have you done anything for the eye?" continued R—— in his interrogation.

"Cook has put on a poultice, my Lord," answered the steward, "a piece of raw beef."

[Pg 306]"Oh! that's it, is it?" replied R——, quietly, regaining his self-possession.

"Yes, my Lord," rejoined the steward, with firmness, holding a positive belief in his own, and the cook's efficacious remedy.

"Well," observed R——, with deliberate quaintness, "don't boil it in our soup afterwards."

"No, my Lord," and the steward took his leave, understanding his master's disposition, and knowing that his dialogues with him generally resulted in a compliment to the traditionary cleanliness of persons in his office.

In the afternoon we went farther up the Fiord, about five miles to the north-east of the village of Fædde. The Fædde Fiord is of great depth, and in a circular bay to which we had now sailed, no anchorage for a vessel of the yacht's tonnage could be found. Running her, therefore, into a bight, ropes from the bow and stern were made fast to a couple of firs, and by belaying them taut, the cutter was kept clear from the base of a mountain that rose, straight as the mast, out of the water to an altitude of several thousand feet. This was the most beautiful and romantic spot of which the imagination of a poet might dream. The bay was about half a league in circumference, and a perfect circle in form. To the east, south, and west, were mountains covered nearly to their peaks with thick forests of fir; and when the dispersion of the clouds revealed their gray [Pg 307]summits, many cascades, like thin pillars of light, darted down the rocks; and the eye, following their track, could trace their increasing bulk as they rolled along from crag to glen, bounding, gliding, foaming, till they fell, roaring, with collected volume, into the waters of the bay. The sound of these cascades during the heat of the day was not only pleasant to the ear, but still more delightful was the feeling of freshness it conveyed to the mind.

To the north a piece of level land, made into an island by the severed branches of a river, bore, by its position, all the beauty and aptitude for human habitation that nature could bestow; and the clean, white cottages with their red roofs and spires of ascending smoke, its gardens with their symmetrical flower-beds, and its cultivated fields, teemed with every sign of ease and plenty, and revealed the ingenuity of man. Beyond the northern limit of this island, far away in the interior, the blue outlines of the mountains were drawn with a darker tint upon the kindred colour of the sky, and their snowy scalps thrust to Heaven, seemed to claim priority of creation and rule with patriarchal dominion over the lesser hills. The main river ran along the eastern quarter of the island, leaping and flowing over and under the rocky ledges of a mountain, and its stream, sometimes expansive, then contracted, hurried down a bed of scanty depth.

[Pg 308]As the sole pursuit of my two companions was the circumvention and death of numberless salmon, the same evening on which we arrived a start was made for the salmon pools on the other side of the island. In the course of an hour the pools were reached, and having gone through the usual forms, such as solicitation for permission to fish, and the hire of two prams, R—— and P—— began their accustomed labour. Taking, as customary, my position on some elevated spot, whence a good range of all my two friends' operations might be had, I strove to pass away the time by staking bets with myself whether one fish could be caught in thirty casts, or whether, on an average, twice as many minutes would elapse without such a result. My left hand generally took the odds, and I calculated that it won four times out of five.

The sun had set for many hours, but it was light as noon. Wearied with fruitless watching, I lay down on the grass. Stretched at full length on my back, and having read in astronomical works that, looking upwards from a dark hole dug in the earth, the stars might be seen shining at mid-day, I covered my face with my cap, and peered upwards at the sky through a small hole in the crown. But my philosophy was suddenly interrupted by the solution of another remarkable fact, and of more personal moment than the scintillation of the stars, by finding I had put my head in an [Pg 309]ant's nest. I started to my feet, affirming that I had never been so unwary before. But I am a believer in predestination, and know that this accident could no more fail of occurrence, than that from my cradle, in harmony of order, it should fail being traced, link by link, to the instant at which it came upon me. See, now, its consequences. No sooner had a score of angry ants been brushed from my hair, in which their irritability had entangled them, than I was gratified with the sight of a herculean salmon that rose completely out of the water, and sprung, like a ravenous cat, at P——'s fly, which he had just withdrawn from the water, intending to change it for another of a brighter colour. The fish leapt about a foot and a half above the surface of the stream, and was the largest salmon I ever saw, weighing, I should think, between fifty and sixty pounds. If sharks inhabit the Fædde river, I would not pledge my word it was not one. I yield, however, my opinion to that of my gallant friend, who is a better sportsman than myself and asserts, without any mental reservation, that

"It was a salmon, sir,—a salmon."

Be it as it may, the difference of classification has nothing to do with my story.

The Norwegians, I know, are a bold people, but may sometimes be taken unawares, as well as other men, and though they live and think in [Pg 310]the simple and primitive manner of the Mosaic era, they express the signs and feelings of apathy and surprise, with similarity of silence and spasmodic gestures to Indians and Englishmen. This world, too, is certainly a world of incongruities, and the more I see of it, the more I am biased in that way of reflection; and if any one will take the trouble to look at things as they are, abstractedly, and observe how good, bad and indifferent, black, white and blue, are jumbled together, he will not deny me his assent. It so happened, throughout our travels in Norway, and, indeed, whenever we went on these fishing excursions, that R——, who gave little expression to success in his pastime, nor felt annoyed at failure, invariably obtained the services of the most expert boatmen, while P——, who threw heart and soul into everything he undertook, and always swerved under discomfiture, secured with the same invariableness the aid of the most consummate clowns; and the rewardless termination of his toil, or tact, has been mainly attributable to the thick-headedness of those who should have assisted him with their sagacity. Scarcely, then, had this bulky salmon shown his mouth, literally an ugly one, above the water, than P——'s boatman, instead of keeping silence, and subduing his fears, as any reasonable being would do, raised an immediate shout of horror, and during the paroxysms of dismay, dipped his two sculls [Pg 311]negligently into the stream, and in his anxiety to make a few rapid strokes towards the shore, caught, what is nautically called, a couple of crabs, that caused him to lose his balance, and fall, legs uppermost, with a loud crash backwards to the bottom of the pram. His aspiring feet, taking P—— in the flank with the purchase of a crow-bar, raised him from the diminutive poop-deck of the pram on which he was standing; but some part of P——'s apparel giving way to the weight of his body, told its mute love of gravitation, and desire to prevent any further mischief. As it was, P—— narrowly escaped submersion; and his presence of mind alone saved the fly-rod from any more serious damage than a slight fracture of the top joint. The untimely vociferation of the Norwegian interrupted of necessity any plan P—— might have adopted to secure the salmon; for the assault made so unexpectedly on his person seemed, like an electric shock, to pursue its course throughout his whole frame, and rushing to the tips of his fingers sent the rod, at a tangent, bolt into the air.

About sixty yards from the inlet where the yacht was anchored, stood a cottage, tenanted by a woman and her daughters, two girls about fourteen and fifteen years of age, elegant as Indians, in form, and possessing the flowing fair hair, the large, round, loving, languid, blue eye, and the unaffected simplicity of bearing, and native loveliness of their clime. [Pg 312]Every morning they brought us milk, eggs, and strawberries, and seemed to find great delight in listening to our language, and, observing the routine of a vessel carried on with all the regularity of a ship of war; for, with their little bare feet that escaped from their blue gowns, and shone on the black rocks, like the white moss of the rein-deer, they would sit for hours on the crags above us, clinging to each other and explaining the reason why the bell struck at certain intervals of time, and why the firing of the evening gun made the flag to fall, as if by magic, from the mast-head to the deck.

On Sunday morning, the 11th of July, we took leave of Fædde, and started, with a foul wind, for the Bukke Fiord. Being in want of bread, we were obliged to anchor off the village, in order to supply our stores; and having accomplished our object with less difficulty than we had anticipated, we set off fairly, at one o'clock, for our destination.

The wind had been increasing the whole morning, and veering two points from the south toward the south-west, now blew with the fury of a gale. The shifting gusts, as they careered down the valleys, taking the head sheets, first, on the weather, then, on the lee, bow, made us more tardy than usual in getting up the anchor. Being the Sabbath, greater crowds of people were abroad than on other days; and we could see, with our telescopes, [Pg 313]ladies and gentlemen standing or sitting, in large numbers, in the churchyard, watching our manœuvres with much interest. On the brows of the headlands, the peasants, both men and women, viewed with surprise our determination to put to sea on such an inauspicious day, and in such stormy time; but when the cutter swung, so that the anchor could be heaved, they could not refrain from loud expressions of praise to see her gallant trim, and the pride of buoyancy with which she swam the baffling waves.

At six o'clock in the evening, when we had stood out five or six miles from the land, a calm fell; and when the sun declined, his disc, expanded by the vapours of the mighty mountains at the mouth of the Bukke Fiord, threw a gleam of golden light from peak to peak that, glancing along the water, even came and danced upon our deck, and dazzled the helmsman with its oblique light.

On Monday morning when I went on deck, I found that we had entered the Bukke Fiord; and the same ravines, chasms, and cascades, identified the sublimity of the scenery with that which I have already attributed to the other Fiords. As we sailed along, the Fiord would expand into the broad surface of a lake, and anon diminish to the narrow breadth of a river hemmed in between two rocky banks. Smiling and still as a sleeping child, and calmer than the watching mother, the water, undisturbed by [Pg 314]a breath of wind, lay without a ripple; and no cloud on the pure sky above us intercepted the vertical rays of the sun, that descended with intolerable heat; and, while panting beneath the piercing beams, we turned towards the snow-clad mountains, and strove to bear the warmth by looking on their glistening summits; but the tantalization was still greater to see large patches of snow lying low down between the crevices and deep glens, places where the sun had never shone, and to feel no breath of cool air come to refresh us. Not a human habitation rose to the sight, and no living creature, not even the gull, or smallest bird, broke with its note the solemn stillness.

The pilot told us, that this Fiord had never been fathomed, and he supposed it had no bottom. This was intelligence sufficiently interesting to rouse all on board into activity; and a lead line of eighty fathoms was nimbly brought on deck.

"I have heard say, my Lord," observed the sailing master to R——, "that if a bottle be corked ever so tightly, and lowered to a certain depth in the water, the water will find its way into the body of the bottle. Is that true, my Lord?"

"Of course it is," replied R——.

D—— rather hesitated in his credulity, and to persuade him of the fact, a bottle was tied to the line, and sunk in the water. At seventy fathoms it was drawn up, and to D——'s [Pg 315]astonishment the water had nearly filled the bottle to its neck. He took the bottle in his hand, and peering at the cork, which had been driven to float on the water inside, said that some trick had been played.

"I don't think, my Lord," observed D——, "the cork was large enough, and of course the weight of water, at any trifling depth, will force it inwardly."

"You are incredulous as Didymus," said R——. "Here, bring a champagne bottle."

A champagne bottle was brought, cork and all.

"Will you be satisfied now, D——?" continued R——. "It is quite impossible that this cork can be too small; for you see, the upper part of it overhangs the lip of the bottle."

"I see, my Lord," answered D——; "that's all fair enough."

And D—— took a piece of yarn, and lashed the cork at the sides and over the top, having previously with a small stick rammed his handkerchief into the body of the bottle, and wiped it perfectly dry.

"Let it go," said R—— to one of the men, who made the bottle fast to the line, and did as he was commanded. D—— challenged the mate with an equal shilling that the bottle would be water tight; and the mate, like a sage, accepted the bet. As balance to the overlapping cork, we gave the champagne bottle the whole length of the eighty fathoms; and then, [Pg 316]drawing it up, found the cork had not been moved an iota; but the bottle was full of water.

D—— shook his head, and paid the shilling.

I do not think D—— will ever doubt any phenomena again, as he is ready to admit the hardest truths of Science, however whimsical they may appear, or sound to him. Indeed he believes most things, and only mistrusts shoals and lee shores, to which he never fails to give a wide berth.

"Now we are about it," said R——, "let us try and find the bottom."

When King told the pilot what we were going to undertake, the old man laughed, and said we might try; but the Fiord was as deep as the mountains were high. Another line of a hundred fathoms was joined to the one with which we had been making the experiments to shake the infidelity of the heterodox D——, and lowered. No weigh was on the cutter; and two leads, being fixed to the line, were thrown over the quarter, and leaving a perpendicular track of froth, descended, hissing through the water. The whole hundred and eighty fathoms ran out; and we seemed as far from the bottom of the Fiord as we were before we commenced. Some idea may be conceived of the amazing depth of these Fiords, when I say, that the yacht was not one hundred and twenty yards from the shore, and the entire breadth of the Fiord about two miles. [Pg 317]The pilot again came aft, and through his interpreter, King, informed us that the Fiord had never been plumbed, although the endeavour had been made very frequently by scientific men, and Danish naval officers.

Not many miles from the village of Sand, the place to which we were bound, on one of the sloping woodland swards that cheer by their vivid verdure the loneliness of the Bukke Fiord, a small cottage, thatched with the branches of the fir, may attract the traveller's observation, and if he does not look around attentively he will not see it, for it is low, and sheltered by the spreading arms of an old pine. The waters of the Fiord flow not many feet from its humble threshold; and perhaps, fastened to a stake, a fisherman's pram swings to the changing currents of air. Now, however, as the cutter drifted, rather than sailed, nearer to this green point of land, we saw that the pram had been untied from the stake, and was rowed by an old woman round and round, in an unending circuit, in midway of the Fiord. Often she ceased to row, and unfolding a white handkerchief from her head bared her whiter hair to the burning sky, and waved the signal in the air. Shouting with the shrill voice of her sex and age, she beckoned us to hasten to her aid. Then, hobbling from one end of her pram to the other, and moving quickly from side to side she leaned over and looked steadfastly down in the water, as if something valuable had been [Pg 318]lost. When she saw we made no haste, she resumed her seat, and singing a native song that had more of liveliness than melancholy in its burden, again she rowed her pram round the same circle, never deserting the spot, but whistling and chanting by turns, she kept her face turned in one direction, that she might always watch the central surface of the water.

"What means that old woman?" asked R—— of several men who were observing her, and, clustering round the pilot, seemed to be gathering all the information he could give.

"She is mad, my Lord," the sailors made reply.

"Mad!—why mad?" repeated R——.

"The pilot says, my Lord, that she is so, and looking for her husband," the cockswain answered.

"Where's her husband? Is he drowned, eh?" continued R——.

"No, my Lord," the sailor said, twitching up his trowsers, and walking aft towards the quarter-deck; "her husband was a fisherman, and lived hard by, my Lord,—up there. About fifteen years ago the man was bathing hereabouts, and he was eaten up by mackerel; but the old woman thinks, my Lord, he has only dived, and soon will rise again."

And so indeed the legend goes. One morning, fifteen summers past, the poor fisherman plunged into the element, that had been his sole sustaining friend from youth, to bathe, and [Pg 319]before scarce fifteen minutes had elapsed, surrounded by a shoal of mackerel, and in sight of home and her who made it home, was devoured by these ravenous fish. When he raised his arms from out the water to show the dreadful fate that threatened him, and to rouse the alarm of his unconscious wife, a hundred mackerel hung, like plummets, from the flesh. The fisherman sank, and was never seen or heard of more. From that morning until to-day his widow, having lost her reason, ever rows her husband's pram about the spot where he perished, in the full persuasion, which she certifies in her song, that he has gone to seek a sunken net, and in a little while will emerge again; and, so, she prays the crew of every vessel sailing by to stay and see the truth of what she speaks.

We arrived at Sand the same afternoon, and after ransacking the little place from house to house, found the proprietor of the salmon river there. With the good nature and extreme courtesy of his countrymen, the Norwegian gave assent that we might angle, and not only favoured my two indefatigable friends with a prolonged dissertation on the peculiarities of the Sand salmon, but offered to undertake any duty that might lessen the difficulties and increase the chances of taking a few of these extraordinary fish.

It seems that the time when a salmon has been caught with a fly in the Sand river is [Pg 320]completely beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant of the village; nor is the task less difficult to snare this crafty species in a net. On our arrival on the banks, or more properly rocks, of the river, the salmon were thrusting their heads, like the bubbles of a boiling pot, above the water; and leaping from one ledge of rock to a higher, they were striving to make their way, in battalions, up a foss, that was of no great height, but poured down its waters in a compact flood with the din of a larger cataract. Persuaded as we had been of the improbability that success would attend our sport, our spirits became more buoyant as our attendant, by his despairing tone, made our prosperity less likely.

All the most famous fishermen have visited this little river of Sand, and after adopting every mode, all of them have failed to take the fish. Although the salmon float within sight and reach in the most transparent stream, they will not touch the fly, be it thrown even on their noses. The only reason that can be given for this notorious fact is, that the salmon, when they leave the sea, are generally gorged, and do not desire, or seek for food until they have travelled some distance up the rivers; for it is equally well ascertained that the farther the first foss is removed from the mouth of a salmon river, the more voracious are the fish. Now, the foss, or fall of the Sand river, is scarcely five hundred feet from the shore of [Pg 321]the Fiord, and the water is salt, or, at least, brackish; and salmon are not caught in salt water.

It was certainly most annoying to my two companions, to see thousands of the finest fish gamboling in the crystal water, not far from their feet, and to throw their flies with the accumulated nicety of four Waltons, absolutely in the teeth of these obstinate creatures, without the semblance of success. I, myself, took R——'s rod, which with weariness of hope he had laid on the ground, and seeing a splendid salmon two feet below the surface of the stream, moving his fins slowly to resist the current and remain stationary, I placed the fly above his head, allowing the bait to sink gradually till it touched the top of his snout. The fish did not, verily, alter the motion of its fins, either more slothfully or quicker; but with perfect indifference permitted me to keep the fly dangling before its eyes as long as I pleased.

To fish, therefore, at Sand was an absurdity; but having heard that the Fiord abounded with seals, and wild fowl of every denomination, we hoisted a square sail on the gig, and turned privateers.

The village of Sand is inclosed on three sides—north, east, and south—by mountains; but before it, to the west, spread the broad waters of the Fiord. The fragrant smell of uncultured flowers, the freshness of the [Pg 322]morning air, the serene loveliness of the sky and calm water, on which the mountains with their peaks of snow were distinctly reflected, even to the diminutive waterfall, and the whole solemn, yet sweet character of the scenery, pressed upon me with an indefinite feeling of delight and awe; and, sometimes yielding to the eternal aspirations and impulsive passions of the soul, my heart heaved with gratitude, that I had opportunity, health, and youth to see and feel with ardour the infinity of God's good creation; and, then, I would relapse into the humility of man's condition, the recollection of his trivial existence; and the combination of excessive beauty filled my mind with sadness.

Arming ourselves with two guns and a rifle, we scoured the Fiord for many miles round. No sooner did we fire at one seal that rose on the gig's bow, than another would poke his rat-like head above the water, at the stern, and a third and fourth on either beam. The report of our guns was incessant; and the multitudes of crows, wild geese, ducks, eagles, and gulls that croaked, and screamed, and whirled about above our heads, to hear the echoes rattling among their silent fastnesses, were incalculable.

Our seal-hunts, however, were most entertaining, and the excitement relaxed not for an instant. The seal dives as soon as it is fired at, or alarmed; but cannot remain for a [Pg 323]prolonged period under water, nature making it compulsory that the animal should ascend to the surface for respiration. Having selected a particular seal, that appeared nearly as large as a sheep, we were determined, by dint of perseverance, to hunt it down. We divided our force in such a manner, that, rise where the animal would, one of us must immediately see it; for R—— took the starboard side of the gig, P—— went to port, and I stood at the stern, while the two sailors, one being a crack shot, kept watch a-head. None of us spoke; for the seal is as quick of hearing as of sight, and timid to a proverb; but it was arranged, that, whoever saw it first was to fire. We kept the boat broadside on, that is to say, her bow and stern faced either shore, and her two sides swept, up and down, the entire length of the Fiord. Regardless of myriads of gulls that flew close round our heads, screaming angrily, we abated not in attention to the water; and watched with straining eyes for the score of bubbles that usually precede the rising of a seal; and the water being brilliant and smooth as a looking-glass, they could not escape notice.

Up came a sleek head not twenty yards from me, and down it went again, just in time before my rifle ball struck the eddying water; and at the same instant both barrels of R——'s gun, discharged one after another, made the drum of my ear ring.

[Pg 324]"Two of them," he murmured. P—— and the sailor fired almost immediately; but the seals were too quick for them. As fast as we could load, these creatures kept rising around us; and they only seemed to dive in order to spread the tidings below amongst their friends, for they increased in numbers at each emersion. After firing a great quantity of shot and powder to little purpose, we were making up our minds to attack a rock covered with gulls, when a large seal rose within reach of our oars, but sunk again the moment it discovered our propinquity. In a few minutes afterwards, it bounced, head first, to the top of the water, five-and-twenty or thirty yards from the boat; and R—— and I having granted P—— the preference of first shot, he gave the seal's full face the fuller benefit of a double charge of duck-shot. We never saw the seal again, although we loitered about the spot for an hour in the hope of finding its carcass. The cockswain persuaded us that the seal was dead to a certainty; but that P—— had stowed such a locker of shot in its head, it was too heavy to float.

The rock, moving like a huge living mass, being so thickly covered with gulls, now attracted our attention; but we did not purpose to destroy them for the mere sake of slaughter; for R—— had bought a couple of young eagles a few days before, and it was necessary to procure food for them.

[Pg 325]"Let's pull to the rock," observed R——, "and see what we can do there."

"I assent," said P——; "but we had better pull round to leeward, and take them by surprise. What do you say, cockswain?"

"Yes, your Honour," replied the man, "we shall never be able to near them as we pull now. Give the rock a wide berth, and get under the lee, as your honour says."

"Pull away, then," said R——, to the two sailors; "but don't make a row with your oars in the water."

The cockswain kept his eye on the rock, and, every now and then, hinted to me the course I should steer; for I had taken the tiller.

"Port a little, your Honour," he said, in a voice hardly above a whisper. The gig obeyed her helm instantly. We gradually came near to the rock; and passing abreast of it, we could see the gulls basking in the hot sun; some, standing on one leg, having the other drawn up under the wing, and looking apathetically at us, while others arranged the feathers of their tails, or breasts, with their bills, much after the same fashion as ducks do, when they have been swimming in ponds, or dabbling in puddles.

"Put your helm to starboard, your Honour," said the cockswain to me in a quiet voice, "and bring her head right round."

I did as desired; and the men pulling noiselessly, the boat glided towards the rock, [Pg 326]like a needle to a magnet. The gulls had all clustered to windward, and not one could be seen to leeward.

"I have no shot," I observed to R——, who sat just before me; "but only balls."

"Never mind—they will do," R—— replied; "more credit to you if you kill any."

Letting the tiller ropes loose, I allowed the boat to choose its own course, and began to ram down my bullets. I tried two at a time. With a slight grating, the keel of the gig touched a sunken piece of land, and almost at the same time, its weigh was stopped entirely by the stem coming in gentle contact with the main rock.

Like so many cats, we now crawled, without a sound, from the boat; and P—— being the first to step on the rock, slipped back into the water. The gurgling of the water as it ran over the tops of his jack-boots, and the floundering P—— made to recover himself, alarmed two gulls, and they flew, screaming, into the air. We crouched to the bare rock; and these two sentinels, not distinguishing us from the colour of their roosting place, took a few gyrations, and then re-perched themselves on the rock. Aided by R—— and me, and the two sailors, P—— was got out of the water; but it was no easy matter to accomplish this, for his jack-boots had filled, to the brim, with water, and added considerably to his natural weight.

[Pg 327]We now stood fairly on the rock, prepared to encounter any given, or ungiven quantity of birds or beasts.

"I say," observed R—— to me, in a low tone, "take a stone, or piece of moss, or mud, or anything, and shy it amongst them—just for a start."

The cockswain, who was close behind me, had overheard R——, and being more active than I, picked up a small pebble; and by way of giving warning to R—— and P——, said, under his breath,

"Helm's a-lee, your Honour."

The clicking of their triggers answered the signal; and the missile stone was tossed over the highest part of the rock in the midst of the placid gulls. With the shrill screams of a thousand imps they darted into the air.

"Blaze away, your Honours," shouted the cockswain, and mounting to the top of the rock, endeavoured with an oar, which he handled like a flail, to knock down every gull that came within reach. We all three fired at the same instant, and some dozen gulls made a summerset in the air, and with flapping wings and dangling legs, fell into the water. Those that were not killed outright, screeched piteously as they floated on the water. Their unscathed companions, with all the affection and courage of the brute creation, hovered over their fallen kinsfolk, and descending close to them, strove to bear them away with their [Pg 328]beaks. Each time we fired, the shock appeared to drive the gulls at a distance from us, as a discharge of heavy artillery might cause a regiment of soldiers to swerve backwards; but, as soon as the powder cleared away, these pugnacious birds returned to the vicinity of the rock, screaming loudly; and some of them were audacious enough to pounce upon our caps, and wreak their vengeance by giving us one or two hearty pecks. The cockswain, working like a telegraph with his swinging oar, generally contrived to pick off these skirmishers.

"Load, your Honours, load," exclaimed the sporting cockswain;—"here they come again."

And a whole shoal of gulls, like a troop of Arab cavalry, came, flying with the speed of a whirlwind, to the attack. As soon as they were within gun-shot, R—— and P—— gave the van the contents of two tolerably good charges of large duck-shot, and I sent a couple of bullets, making the third brace, right into a small division of the approaching multitude. The surface of the water now appeared like a field of turnips that had forced their bulky white bodies above the earth, so thickly was it strewn with disabled and defunct gulls.

"Had those gulls not better be picked up?" said R——, while loading his gun, to the cockswain.

"No, my Lord; let them be," replied the cockswain with as much excitement in his face [Pg 329]and manner, as if we had been bombarding a strong citadel. "As long as there's one on the water, the others will always come back; it's their love for one and t'other, my Lord."

A bevy of wild ducks now scoured the sky to windward, and quacking all together, whirled round about in the air, and describing each circle smaller and lower than the preceding one, approached the rock.

"Keep your weather eye up, your Honour," exclaimed the cockswain from his commanding point to P——, who had not seen the advancing ducks; "keep your weather eye up. Here they come; here's provender, your Honour."

His remembrance, no doubt, returned to the eagles on board, and which, by the bye, had been committed to his care. But the ducks kept a pretty good elevation, being more timid, or wary than the gulls; and my rifle now came into play. I took a random shot at the entire group just as it was making a masterly evolution; and a drake, evidently the general commanding, having ceased his quacking, and tumbling in tee-totum style to the water, sufficiently proved how correctly I had, for the first time, done my duty. The uproar of furious gulls and routed ducks was never heard in these silent Fiords since the Flood to such a clamorous extent; and I would not venture to say that the echoes were not as surprisingly loud as the cries of the birds themselves. [Pg 330]Urged on by the entreaties and gesticulations of the warlike cockswain, the slaughter lasted for an hour; but seeing that we had killed an ample quantity to feed the eagles for some days, and remembering that powder and shot could not be bought among the mountains of Norway, we retreated from the rock, and getting into the boat, began to gather our game. This occupied some little time; and after collecting a decent boatful, we lighted our meerschaums, and floated homewards.

We might have proceeded nearly half way, when P—— suddenly dropped the pipe from his mouth, and seizing his gun, fired it towards the shore, from which we were not twenty feet, without uttering a word.

"Be quick—load!" he said, at last, to both of us, ramming down his own charge as fast as he could. "Here's a seal."

"Where?" I asked,—"where?"

"Why, there," and he fired without any other explanation a second time at the, apparently, bare rock.

"I see him, and here goes," said R——, and taking a deliberate aim, fired also. "Missed him," he murmured.

I just caught a glimpse of the seal's flat tail, as the animal slided from the rocky shore into the water.

"We have him," said P——, with brightened eyes, "if we act properly."

"There he is!" shouted one of the sailors, [Pg 331]with a set of lungs that might be needful in a gale, as the seal rose about ten feet from the spot where it first sank.

"Don't make such a confounded row; you'd frighten the devil!" said R——, to the seafaring Stentor.

"Beg pardon, my Lord," replied the man, in a low voice, and touching his hat with a sheepish look.

"Keep the boat broadside on," observed R—— to the cockswain.

R—— had scarcely spoken, when the water bubbled a little, and the seal's black snout, with dilating nostrils, rose close under the gig's gunwale. The water whirled in eddies, and his tail, as he turned, appearing slightly above the surface, showed me that the seal had seen us, and dived again.

"He must come up in a minute; so, look out," whispered P——; and the triggers of both barrels of his gun clicked, as he breathed the fact and admonition. Fortunately the day was very calm, and the least disturbance, the fall of the thistle's down, marred the bright surface of the Fiord.

The head of the luckless seal soon peeped slowly up, a short way astern of the boat, and before his eyes had risen above the water to take a horizontal glance at us, P—— sent a handful, or so, of small shot into his nose. Down popped the little dark proboscis speedily as thought.

[Pg 332]"He hadn't much fresh air then," said R——, laughing at the promptitude with which P—— saluted the appearance of the unfortunate seal.

"No; that's the way to do it," answered P——, smiling. Then turning to the sailors, he said,

"Back astern."

The boat was accordingly backed, and so silently, that only the silvery sound of the water as it fell, drop by drop, from the oars, contended with the natural trickling of the ripples as they murmured under the ledges of rock.

"Here he comes," whispered R——, "close on our quarter."

The seal rose, like a cork, up to its fore fins as if it had suffered much torture from long retention of its breath, and, swifter than thought, R——'s gun flashed, and with a sharp report seemed to take a bucket of water from the Fiord, and fling it into the air. When the light gray smoke of the powder had rolled in a revolving cloud from the space intervening between us and the spot where the animal was observed, the water was white with froth, but no sign of the seal could be seen.

"By Jove! that's odd. I thought I had killed him to a certainty," said R——, somewhat surprised.

"Yes, my Lord, you hit him," observed the cockswain, consolingly. "I saw him reel over to port."

[Pg 333]"That's all right," said P——, "in that case he is done."

Once more two large bubbles, the spiteful heralds of the seal's advent, rose to the top of the water, and then burst with a slight sound.

The purple dye of blood tinged the water, and immediately afterwards the wounded seal, with lacerated fin, buoyed itself sluggishly to sight. Its heavy breathing, expressive of pain, could be heard by all of us in the boat; and levelling both their pieces, R—— and P—— fired together. The seal rolled over with a moan, not unlike the faint lowing of a calf, and floating in a pool of blood, rather than water, expired without a struggle. Rowing the boat to the spot, the cockswain and his messmate used their whole strength to pull the animal on board, its dimensions not being contemptible. We reached the yacht about midnight, proud of our day's sport.

Although it was the noon of night, it was light as at six o'clock in the afternoon; and, indeed it is not an easy thing to tell the hour of the day without referring to a time-piece; for there is but a very slight difference in this part of the globe, during the summer months, between the darkness of night and the transparency of day. This may sound paradoxical enough; but the fact is no less true for all that. It would be hardly necessary to observe, that the heat during the night in Norway is sometimes more oppressive than during the day; [Pg 334]and simply, I should imagine, because, before the setting and rising of the sun, sufficient time is not given to allow the ascending vapours to carry off the fervour retained by the earth; and added to which the sun does not sink at any period during the summer eighteen degrees below the horizon. His rays therefore assist in keeping up the hot temperature until two or three hours have elapsed, and then his great red face again begins to parch every thing that dares come within its range. Norway being also a very rocky country, absorbs the heat with wonderful facility, and as every one may know, is disinclined to part with it. Returning home at half-past twelve, or one, just before sunrise as I sometimes did, by some shadowed path along the mountains, I have placed my hand on the rocks, and found them still warm. The day, on the contrary, though exposed to the direct power of the sun, has the atmosphere always cooled by the wind, which is kept in motion more actively the hotter become the sun's rays, the heat being a circulating medium of itself. Indeed the departure of the sun is the signal for the wind's flight likewise; and the night is generally painfully calm.

There is also another phenomenon that may rivet the observation of an inhabitant of a more Southern latitude, and convey as much sublimity to the mind, as it may be strange to the outward senses. I refer to the appearance of a great Northern city at night. I shall not [Pg 335]easily forget Bergen, when for the first time, I walked through its streets at three o'clock in the morning, and saw a bright sun in a blue sky shining over it. Not a sound, beside my own footstep, disturbed the stillness; and when I turned my eyes from the long, deserted avenues of streets and closed windows of the houses, towards the mountains that droop sullenly over the town, and sought there for some living sign to assure me that I was not absolutely alone, not a bird or insect chirped or flitted on the wing. I felt amid this desolation as if wandering in the fabled City of Death; nor do I think that any man, the most elastic of disposition, could bring to his heart any other feelings than those of awe and sadness, when walking, as I did then, in the glare of day through the thoroughfares of a populous city, he witnesses the silence and solemnity that pervade it. I am glad that I have seen Bergen at midnight, for I would see everything in this curious world; but the reflections that troubled my mind were so much more than the sight was worth that I have no desire to look again.

[Pg 336]



The time was now drawing to a close that we had purposed to spend in Norway, because we desired to return to England and be present at the regattas which usually take place towards the latter part of July, or commencement of August along the southern coast of England; and therefore it became necessary that we should move with more expedition from place to place than we had hitherto done. A great many plans had suggested themselves to us, and it was a wish to carry them out that had enticed us in the first instance to Scandinavia; some we had already fulfilled, but there were others as important in the list of pleasure not yet realized. Moreover, our provisions, both for our personal use and for the use of the yacht's company, were dwindling to scarcity; and among these barren mountains no bread or meat could be bought. Bidding farewell, therefore, to the beautiful village of Sand, and to the kind hearts that increased its beauty, [Pg 337]we made all sail the subsequent day for Bergen.

Siggen, the loftiest scion of Norwegian mountains, soon towered with conic form before and above us; and taking a shorter and different course than the one we had previously steered, we were spectators, as we proceeded, of the most magnificent scenery that the imagination could conceive. We were so fortunate as to keep a fine strong wind the whole way; and our pilot, who was an old and expert mariner, did not hesitate to contend with the rapid currents that flow between the thousand islands which obstruct the narrower and more unfrequented channels of the Bukke Fiord. The cutter, too, retained her celebrity for swiftness, and during her passage to Bergen showed her aptitude to overcome every emergency.

There are, half way between Sand and Bergen and within sight of mighty Siggen, two small islands of rock, disunited by a narrow channel not three hundred yards broad, and between which the stream rushes from a northern to a southern direction with much fleetness and force. It was necessary to pass through this channel; and if any difficulty could have arisen in our pilot's mind as to the efficiency of the yacht in making good her passage to Bergen, and unwarranting his boldness in selecting a path out of the ordinary track, it was the remembrance of this little strait.

[Pg 338]On Friday morning, the 16th, two days after we had left Sand, the two islands, each with its solitary cottage belonging to some fishermen, hove in sight. The wind blew nearly due north, and was, as sailors say, "dead on end" for us. As the cutter came up to the islands, we saw a fleet of Norwegian vessels at anchor, waiting a change of wind to attempt the passage.

While the pilot and D—— held a short consultation regarding the capabilities of the yacht, she had already glided, with the noiseless speed of a spirit, into the midst of native brigs and Dutch barges, for they cannot be called, ships. The beauty of the cutter, and the English ensign streaming from the peak, combined with the strange place and novelty of a vessel like the yacht, were quite enough to cause conjecture and excitement among the crews of the different Norwegian and Dutch craft, and to crowd their decks with spectators. The proud, swan-like appearance with which the cutter sailed towards the channel, still more moved their astonishment; and when the first eddy caught the yacht on her weather bow and swung her to leeward, they were satisfied of the impudent attempt we were contemplating.

Every sail of the yacht flapped, and the skilful management of the helm alone prevented the boom from jibing. The pilot now saw that the task was not one which the Iris [Pg 339]would, as he had hoped, surmount with ease, and going as far forward as he could, stood on the weather bow as if to re-consider what he was about to undertake. Fixing his eyes long and steadily on the swift flowing water, he appeared to think that, should the wind fail, or the strong current bear us back, the danger was manifest.

During the old pilot's meditation, D—— had mechanically taken his position aft, close to the helmsman on the weather quarter. More fairly, the cutter now started a second time, and, standing well up, promised to fetch the very centre of the passage. The gaff-topsail shook.

"Keep her well full," said D—— to the helmsman. The man kept her half a point more free. The current boiled, and eddied, and bubbled, as all swift running water will do; and when again it caught the cutter's bow, we could all feel the shock just as if she had touched a sand-bank.

"Blow, sweet breeze," said D——, half to himself, half aloud; and casting his eyes, alternately from the flying jib and foresail to the swelling gaff-topsail, stooped down and looked under the boom at the land.

"Steady,—the helm," exclaimed the pilot, as he still stood to windward, holding the bulwarks and bending slightly over the bow.

"Steady, sir," answered the helmsman.

Scarcely had the man made answer, than a [Pg 340]puff filled every stitch of canvass, and the cutter yielding to its pressure, leaned over and shot, like a shaft, right into the middle of the channel.

"She'll do it now," said R—— to D——.

"She will, my Lord," replied D——, "if this puff holds ten minutes."

The wind did hold; and behaving well on this, her first tack, and edging up in the wind's eye whenever she could get the chance, the impatient cutter seemed willing to clear the channel on her second tack. The pilot made much of the narrow berth, and ran close to the shore.

"I suppose the water is pretty deep here, eh?" asked R——, addressing himself to D——.

"Oh! yes, my Lord; or the pilot would——"

"'Bout!" shouted the pilot, cutting D—— off in his reply.

"'Bout!" echoed the helmsman.

"Put the helm hard up," continued the pilot excitedly, in a louder voice; "she mustn't shoot."

"Ay, ay, sir," again replied the helmsman, and in obedience to the reply the cutter spun round, like a top. The noise of the sails and blocks, while the vessel was in stays, roused the fishermen, their wives, and children, who dwelt in the two cottages to which I have cursorily alluded, and they gathered about the [Pg 341]doors to look on. I heard those hardy fishermen make some observation, for at intervals, we were not many yards from their houses, either in derision of the cutter being imagined competent to work through the channel, or in laudation of the seaman-like skill with which she was managed. They called aloud each to the other across the water, and spoke in praise or admiration; but being in a dialect of the Norwegian language I could not tell what they said, and how they thought. We had made a fair reach, and it was no longer audacity to hope, that, the cutter was a match for the current. To get a better view of the feat, some of the Dutchmen and Norwegians had mounted the shrouds of their vessels, and appeared to take as much interest in the trial as we did.

"'Bout!" a second time exclaimed the pilot, and turning towards the helmsman, made a rotary motion with his hand to bring the cutter right round at once.

"'Bout!" reiterated the helmsman, and lashed the tiller close up under the weather quarter bulwarks. With equal adroitness, as at first, the sails were let go and drawn aft, and our gallant vessel appeared not to feel the resistance of the rapid tide. The wind, although foul as any wind could be, blew steadily as any wind could blow, and the Iris, under its favour, reluctantly though it seemed given, was in another and third tack again in still water. The Dutch and Norwegian crews [Pg 342]could not resist expressing their admiration; and flourishing their caps over their heads while standing in their rigging, they gave us three rounds of lusty cheers. The soaring, sombre mountains took up the echoes, and returned not cheer for cheer, but bellowed a ten-fold multiplication of huzzas.

Since we had taken leave, we had seen no vessel to remind us of England; and although, wherever we went, the natives would tell us some of our countrymen were in the immediate neighbourhood, we never had the good fortune to fall in with them. We had received no tidings, good or bad, from home; and Europe, as far as we knew, might be in revolutionary confusion: at Bergen, however, we hoped that letters were awaiting our arrival.

Saturday the 17th of July, at midnight, we brought up off Bergen. It was too late to pay much attention to any object; and after a careless view of the town from deck, I went to bed.

The position of Bergen is similar to that of most of the other Norwegian towns I had seen, girt on three sides with lofty, rocky mountains; and on the fourth side by the blue waters of the Fiord. I looked on Bergen with the liveliest interest, because its name was familiar to me when a child, and I used to lisp the word before I could walk steadily; for in those young days of waywardness my old schoolmistress, whose peaked nose and malicious heart are still a vivid truth, would threaten [Pg 343]to give me to the fishermen at Bergen who, she said, would take and toss me into the Maelstrom. With an eagerness akin to that of a schoolboy at Christmas, gazing on the green curtain of a theatre, the moment it is rising to disclose its wondrous entertainments, did I, travelling headlong in memory from childhood to manhood and stumbling over a batch of ancient feelings, stand looking, with strained eyes, on the white-washed, quaint-fashioned Bergen, balancing the vicissitudes of life and conjecturing what the chances might be, I should not, by some agency as unaccountable as that which had brought me hither, be looking in three months' time on the Golden shore of the Bight of Biaffir.

South-east of Bergen, twenty miles from the deck on which I stand, blazing with dazzling splendour in the mid-day sun, the glaciers of Folgefonde fall upon my sight; and raising its summit six thousand feet to heaven, the stupendous range of mountain with its field of ice, forty miles in length and twenty in breadth, braves with eternal snow the tropic fury of this northern noon.

Surrounded as Bergen is by mountains of solid rock which, at a little distance, appear completely black, some of the buildings painted green, and others white, with their uniform roofs of red tiles, have a very singular effect. The houses reared, with much order, on piles near the water, are also neatly constructed of [Pg 344]wood; and their bright colours are not permitted to become tarnished by exposure to the weather, but may contend with Holland in cleanliness and the freshness of their paint. This first favourable glance from the deck of the yacht was not altered when I had found myself in the streets. The inhabitants seemed a lively, talkative set, and accustomed to mix with foreigners, for they paid less attention to us than their countrymen and women in the other towns we had visited.

The most important export trade of Bergen consists of timber and salt fish, which are sent to the Mediterranean and Holland. The stench arising from the fish, which is packed in great heaps on the eastern quay of the harbour, is insuperable; and I leave the reader's imagination to reach that height of misery when an unfortunate sight-seeker and traveller like myself, loses his way, at broiling noon, in the vicinity of this market, the thermometer being at 90°, and the ling fish at perfection. How the old fishwomen, the natural guardians of this northern frankincense, chatter and squabble! With their blue petticoats tucked up above their knees, how they pick off the stray pieces of raw haddock, or cod, and, with creaking jaws, chew them; and while they ruminate, bask their own flabby carcasses in the sun! With the dried tail of a herring sticking out of their saffron-coloured, shrivelled chops, Lord! how they gaped when I passed by, hurriedly, like a scared cat!

[Pg 345]Being pressed for time, as I have hinted before, we did not waste much at Bergen for the present, promising ourselves a longer sojourn when we returned from the Sogne Fiord, for thither were we bound. The primary object that sent us up the Sogne Fiord was, certainly, a little more salmon-fishing; but rein-deer stalking had taken a tender hold of R——'s game side. At Leerdal, a town at the farthest extremity of the Sogne Fiord, and nearly one hundred miles to the north of Bergen, my two friends had heard flowed a wonderful salmon river; and they relied with confidence on the great chances of brilliant success since the stream was so far removed from the path of common travellers. To the northward, too, of Leerdal was Auron, a spot held in repute for the herds of rein-deer that frequent the mountains there; and failing in salmon, my companions might fall to venison. Replenishing, therefore, our exhausted provisions, we secured on Monday evening the services of two pilots; and on Tuesday morning, the 20th, we set sail for Leerdal. The whole of that day was calm; and being on a cruise of much novelty and anticipated sport, this lukewarmness of the wind touched our patience very severely. On any other occasion we should not have observed its indifference; but now we fretted, and expressed our annoyance in clamorous and bitter terms. Towards evening the cutter drifted among a [Pg 346]fleet of fishing-boats; and it was no little entertainment to see the rapidity with which the fishermen drew net after net, and the shoals of fish they caught. Flocks of gulls hovered over the boats, and screamed; and sometimes darted down, and bore away the fish in their beaks. We purchased some very large fish, which were not cod, but very like them; and satisfied with their great likeness to that favourite fish, we ate them with greediness; but the heads being of an abominable bull-dog shape, the cook was ordered to decapitate, before committing them to the pot.

On Wednesday morning we entered the Sogne Fiord. It would be tedious to dwell on the magnificence, beauty, and silence of this Fiord; because it would only become a repetition of what I have already attempted to describe as native to the other Fiords. There can be no softer, and more soul-stirring scenery in the world than its small, rare, green valleys, and barren mountains.

This evening, towards sunset, the cutter being becalmed, I went ashore in one of the boats with two men, in search of milk; and making the boat fast to a piece of rock, we walked to the top of a neighbouring hill to look for some signs of a human habitation; but only the waters of the Fiord could be seen at our feet, and the yacht, with a cloud of white canvass, floating on its still surface. No sound,—not a bird's note, nor the cry of [Pg 347]animals, fell on the listening ear; save, occasionally, the loud roar and splash of the rocks as they were loosened from the mountains' sides, and rolled down into the water. Wandering about for some time, struck with the sublime, solemn aspect of the mountains and their level summits of endless snow, we found a goat tied with a string to a stake; and taking that as a token of the near abode of human beings, we strove to find some track through the long grass that might lead us to a cottage. One of the sailors climbed up a tree, and veering his body about in all quarters, like a bear on the top of a pole, came down again, and said, that he saw smoke curling upwards from the middle of a fir forest to the south-east. I had a small pocket-compass, and to the south-east, therefore, we went; and after stumbling over fallen rocks, and pulling each other up and down a variety of ravines, differing in depth and ruggedness, we succeeded in arriving at last before a very neat and comfortable cottage. An old woman, clean in dress and comely in her person, came to the door, having, on either side of her, two youths evidently her sons, for their features bore a strong resemblance to her own; and between the lad on her right hand, and the dame's black gown, a large dog, mongrel in his breed, thrust his inquisitive nose. Out of the four windows, which I attributed to the bed-rooms, the heads of four girls popped. Three [Pg 348]half-naked savages, or the Graces, could not have caused more excitement in the streets of London, than we did to the amiable inmates of this lonely cottage; for I do not suppose there was another house, or hovel, within twenty miles. King, who had come with us, endeavoured to explain the object of our visit by a request, made in the Norwegian language, for milk, and by holding up the empty jug; but the old woman shook her head, and glancing at the two lads, they shook their heads, and the four girls above shook their heads too, but with the quick perception of drollery common to their sex,—they laughed. King made a step or two nearer to the cottage door to explain himself more distinctly; but the old lady retrograded in the same proportion as King advanced, her two sons following her example, and, likewise, the dog growling most gutturally.

"They don't understand you," I said to King.

"Oh! yes, Sir, they do," he replied; "but they can't make us out, and are afraid."

"The girls ain't afraid, your Honour," observed the good-humoured cockswain, who was the other sailor, beside King, with me, and had been coquetting already with the four lasses. We beckoned to them to come down, and one immediately withdrew her head, and the next moment peeped over the old woman's shoulder. She seemed inclined to speak with [Pg 349]us, but the old hag would not permit such conduct: and the more earnestly King notified our pacific errand, the more belligerent the ancient mother thought it.

We were obliged to return without the milk; but I am sure, if the eldest girl had been allowed to use her own discretion, she would have supplied our wants; for when we had gone some distance from the cottage, I looked back and saw her standing at the door; and kissing my hand to her, she returned the salute readily.

I thought the old woman inhospitable, to say nothing of inhuman; for among these solitary mountains we might have lost our way, for aught she knew, and our wants exceeded a pint of milk. This is not, however, the general character of the Norwegians, for they are tender-hearted, kind, and generous to strangers; but fear had superseded the sympathy of the old lady's expansive heart; and had men of riper years than her sons been present, we should not have met with so much inattention to our necessities. Even the girl, young though she was, desired to administer to our need; but sweetness of manner, simplicity, tenderness, and noble generosity are unchanging types of the youthful female character in every quarter of the earth.

When I got on board again, R—— and P—— were amusing themselves by firing, one by one, at all the empty soda-water bottles [Pg 350]that the steward could find. The bottles were slung to an oar which was stuck upright in the taffrail aft; and placing themselves close to the windlass, my two associates secured a range of some forty or fifty feet along the deck. Now and then a grampus would divert their attention; and every time the fish rose, a bullet was lodged, or attempted to be lodged, in his huge dorsal fin. In this way the greater portion of the time was passed, altered only by rowing about in the gig, and seeking for wild ducks among the crevices of the rocks. But the farther we sailed into the interior of the Fiord, the more bereft of animal and vegetable life the country appeared to become; the scream of the eagle, and the report of the rocks as they split asunder and bounded down the mountains, being the only sounds that varied the silent monotony. Sometimes the swivels were fired for the sake of listening to the echoes, which, by their prolonged reverberations, repaid us well for the lard we consumed in greasing the muzzles; a salute of nineteen or twenty guns, fired at intervals of fifteen or seventeen seconds, creating the most astonishing uproar; and what with the shrill screams of the eagles, the consternation of wild geese, and the falling of the rocks caused by the violent motion of the atmosphere, the powder and tow were profitably expended by the novel entertainment they produced. This amusement, I must intimate, was a favourite one [Pg 351]with all on board, not omitting even Jacko; and whenever the yacht became land-locked, I could always hear the distinguishing order,

"Load the swivels!"

If it were not for the wild grandeur of the scenery, the sail among these Fiords would be most tedious, unchanging, as they are, by indications of human abode.

On Friday morning, at twelve, we arrived at Leerdal; and considered ourselves most fortunate in taking only four days to drift from Bergen; for beyond the eddying air that breathed down the valleys, no other agency had propelled the vessel nearly one hundred miles.

Here we met a young Englishman who had travelled, for pleasure, over land from Christiania; and although he could not speak two Norwegian words, had contrived, by some unaccountable method, to supply all his wants without difficulty. He was on his way to Bergen; and giving him all the information he begged of us, we parted company, exchanging mutual desires to meet again. Finding this place most desolate, we left it, and the cutter was got under weigh the next morning, Saturday, for Auron, a small town not many leagues farther up the Sogne Fiord, and receiving from both our pilots the reputation of greater liveliness and importance. Early the following morning we came within sight of Auron, and went ashore before the anchor was dropped.

[Pg 352]Auron, like all the Norwegian villages that are found, at rare intervals, among the Fiords, is situated in a valley that rises gently from the shore of the Fiord, and hastens in a steep ascent till it aspires, south, east, and west, into high mountains, and inaccessible cliffs. This hamlet of Auron was the most pleasantly situated of any that we had seen; and the romantic beauty of the scenery was not more perfect than the unanimity that seemed to animate the whole village. The yellow ears of corn had invited men, women, children, and dogs to gather them for winter store; and dispersed over a large field that sloped along the valley to a considerable height up the mountains, this universal family, inclusive of the dogs, was at its work. The arrival, however, of three Englishmen with a retinue of some fifteen English tars, strange-looking fellows! at their backs, was a circumstance not likely to pass off in silence, or without due attention; and the intelligence sounded by the tongues of several ragged urchins, frolicking on the beach of the Fiord, was communicated to a lazy cur that set up a continuous howl, and his noisy throat spread the news to the diligent folk among the corn. In a short time we were naturally hemmed about by a throng of both sexes, human and canine, curious to learn the reason of our coming to Auron. The gestures of these people were so energetic, and their voices so low, that, had I not known [Pg 353]both by history and my own observation, the Norwegians were not cannibals, I should assuredly have been led away by the idea they were devising some scheme to murder and eat us. Their behaviour, though respectful, appeared so suspicious, that I was not at first without fear; but being the slightest made and thinnest of the three, and my two friends being ruddy and plump, I consoled myself by knowing that their previous immolation would be timely warning enough for me to make good my escape. While these useful reflections were putting me on my guard, a little, spare, grey-eyed, high-cheekboned, long-headed man, forced his way through the crowd, and tottering into the central space occupied by ourselves, took off his felt hat, and making a profound obeisance remained, with extreme courtesy, uncovered; but said nothing.

King was ordered to ask the man what the nature of his visit was, and to tell him the object of ours. A few curt questions and answers made us understand, that he was the very person of all that lived in Auron whose acquaintance we most desired. The little man was lord of five hundred rein-deer, and sole proprietor of the salmon river of which we had come so far in search. The intelligent eyes of the Norwegian sparkled with satisfaction, when he replaced his hat on his head, and shook hands heartily with us all. The multitude who had given attentive ear to the dialogue between [Pg 354]King and their countryman, appeared pleased with the immediate familiarity that sprung up between the Norwegian and ourselves, and showed their cordial acquiescence by shaking us also by the hand. Hurrying through the villagers our new friend led us with triumphant strides and a vivacious air towards his cottage, and calling forth his wife, bade her salute us, which she did with that modest and simple demeanour common to her countrywomen. Gratified that he had so far conduced, as he imagined, to our comfort, the Norwegian would insist on our entering his house; and conducting us, by a steep and narrow stair, to an upper room, the windows of which overlooked a small garden filled with currant bushes, brought us, in due lapse of time, every dainty that his larder or the thriftiness of his wife could give. Although we were not hungry, we were too sensible of a hospitable man's feelings to give offence by saying we had just breakfasted, but attacking the different mountain delicacies, such as dried venison, and broiled capercaillie, we actually devoured all that had been placed before us, and did not decline a succession of native cheeses. These latter dainties were, however, rather too much perfumed and animated for me, and I left their entire consumption to the more fashionable taste of my companions. After this slight repast, we then told our host, definitively, the plans we wished to carry out by wending our way to Auron; and that he [Pg 355]would confer the greatest favour on us if he could secure us a day's sport on the mountains. Our host replied, that he was himself a proprietor of several hundred rein-deer; but his consent that we should disturb the peacefulness of the whole herd, by firing at a deer belonging to him, was not alone to be obtained. He informed us, that the rein-deer were the original cattle of the country; and the primitive usages adopted with regard to these animals by the old inhabitants of Norway were still persisted in by their descendants.

"On the tops of these mountains," he said in Norwegian, and, I am afraid, I translate his beautiful language but indifferently, "many hundred rein-deer are wandering; and though a great many belong to me, I cannot give you leave to shoot one of them, without the consent of those by whom the remaining deer are owned; for all the deer herd together, and they are only known to belong to different persons by the marks made, at birth, on their skin. Mine have two slits on the right ear. These distinguishing marks, which separate my deer from those claimed by the neighbouring farmers, are so slight, that, they could not be ascertained at a distance; and in taking aim with your rifles, you might miss my deer and destroy the property of another man. You must be so placed, that, you may kill, indifferently, any deer that comes within shot; and for that purpose I must seek the assent of my friends. [Pg 356]If, however, you will go to the mountains with me to-day, you shall see the herds, and to-morrow I will send round to my friends; to-day it is hopeless to think of communicating with my neighbours, for they live so far;—the night would come before my task was finished."

We hesitated for some time whether we should undergo the fatigue of travelling over such declivitous mountains without any palpable reward.

"You hesitate," the Norwegian observed, smiling; "but you will not be sorry when you stand up there."

And he pointed to the high peaks of the mountains that soared half-way up to the clear, blue firmament.

"Let us not go unarmed," he continued, "for there are wolves and bears; and the nightly destruction of our flocks gives us need of men who love the chase like you. I, myself, will bear you company. Come, let us go."

The intimation that bears and wolves congregated on the level lands above was quite sufficient to decide our wavering mood; and ordering the crew to return with the gig to the yacht, and bring our rifles, we wiled away the intermediate time by sitting at a window that opened upon the waters of the Fiord, and afforded us a splendid view of the limitless range of mountains on the opposite shore, called the Reenfjeld.

[Pg 357]The morning was sometimes bright and clear, and sometimes the sky was dimmed by large, dark, solid masses of clouds. It was very beautiful to see the mountains glittering with their white summits in the strong sunlight, while their bases were blackened with a shower of rain. These showers were partial, and all things around so still, that we could hear the rain drops pattering among the leaves of the trees that grew on the sides of the mountains two miles from the spot where we sat rejoicing in the warmth and cheerfulness of a summer's sun.

At eleven o'clock the boat returned with rifles, and powder enough to blow up the village of Auron. Our host, who had disappeared for some little time, now came back decked out like a chamois-hunter. His hat had been exchanged for a red cap that fitted exactly to his skull, and a velvet jacket buttoned up to his throat, defined a tolerable expanse of chest. Across his back, from the right shoulder towards the left heel, his trusty gun was slung, muzzle downwards. A leathern belt went entirely round his waist, and pressing a brace of horse-pistols and a wonderfully large knife to his left hip-bone, was clasped in front with an embossed silver buckle. A red handkerchief, spotted white, hung by a knowing loop from the right arm, contained provender and a flask of liquor for the inward man. This last piece of accoutrement had the [Pg 358]evident impress of a woman's clear-sightedness; for while our friend fortified the outward walls of his person with guns, pistols, and knives, his wife, knowing how useless all these preparations were without suitable attention to the repletion of the cisterns and stores of the citadel, had suggested, with affectionate devotion no doubt, this trifling bundle as being necessary to the conquest of present labour and future danger. The very knot bore the combined neatness and strength of female ingenuity, and its complication looked endless as conjugal love.

The Norwegian, our three selves, and King, formed the whole party. Our ascent of the mountain, I need scarcely say, put the sinews of our thighs to a severe test; and the higher we mounted, the more frequent were the expressions of fatigue. When we had clambered a quarter of the way, we came suddenly upon two sheds built of wood, and appropriated to the use of a little girl and half a hundred pigs. I do not know whether the swine squeaked their surprise more at seeing us, than the cheerless child looked it. King, who had been ailing occasionally for some days, now fell to the rear, and said, that, he was incompetent to proceed any farther, and the permission to descend, which he solicited, was granted.

All larger vegetation now began gradually to disappear, and though I had hardly marked the trees dwindling from the cherry to the [Pg 359]filbert, and then to long tufts of grass, the bare rocks strewed over an endless tract of gravel made me stop and look about. When I cast my eyes above, the mountains still towered half a mile higher, and gazing downwards I could see the different kinds of trees and shrubs changing in size and colour of their foliage, as the space between me and the low lands increased. I do not remember that I had ever exceeded in elevation the point to which I had now risen; and perhaps the appearance of the valleys, the water, and habitations of men might have been more novel than to persons who are accustomed to crawl to the tops of mountains. I must confess I remained perfectly lost in thought for some minutes; nor did I ever feel, or could imagine so distinctly, how the stupendous and neglected works of creation are blended with the truest beauty; for, seen from the very mountains on which I stood, so rough, so barren, so bleak, the same rugged, straggling rocks, scattered over the opposite mountain, seemed soft as velvet and more delicate than the finished lines of a miniature.

Beneath the dark, blue surface of the Fiord I could discover shoals and rocks for which the mariner had sought in vain, and for many miles along the shore the shelving land showed, with a faint yellow tinge, the distance it stretched under the water that was otherwise of a deep azure shade. When from the deeply-dyed cerulean water, the valley [Pg 360]with its different green colours of tree and grass, and the red tints of the atmosphere that rested round the sides of the remoter mountains, I lifted my eyes to the fields of snow that extended, to an incalculable extent, over the flat summit of the Reenfjeld, the contrast was so forcible, that while I gazed my very soul seemed to bound with delight it had discovered Sublimity was something material, and not an ideal torture.

"Hollo! Bill, keep moving," was shouted in a loud voice from some rocks above my head, and seriously interfered with any further contemplation.

"Here's a fox," continued the same voice, sustaining its sharp, resonant tone; "come, and smell him!"

Though fond of giving reins to the imagination, I am as matter of fact as most people when necessity requires it; nor do I yield to any man the estimation at which I hold the odorous Reynard. Tucking my feet well into the shingly mountain side, and bringing the point of equilibrium, as nearly as possible, to an angle of twenty-five degrees, I scrambled towards R——, and P——, and the Norwegian. They were all three on their knees peering into a hole that Reynard had intended should be round; but having forgotten, or never heard of Euclid, had dug it frightfully oblong. It must have hurt his back to go in and out. We shouted, and rummaged the premises very [Pg 361]disgracefully, and if Reynard were at home, I need not state the opinion I entertain of his courage; for apathetic as I am, no one, not Goliath himself, should have ransacked my house with the impunity we poked long sticks, and threw acute-sided stones into the recesses of the Fox's residence. I ventured to assure my companions that Reynard was abroad, and accepting my hint, they partially jammed up the mouth of the cave with the fragments of an old hat, and rising from their knees, left Reynard to find out who had meddled with his lodging.

I have heard say, that mariners, returning home from India, may smell, for many leagues off the Island of Madagascar, the sweet odour of countless spices; but I must do this fox the fairness to state, that if he were exiled to the Island of Madagascar, those latitudes would soon excite in the minds of all keen-scented sailors the idea of an interesting expedition to discover the variation of smell.

Passing that portion of the mountain where the hardiest plants had ceased to grow, we arrived at those high regions abounding with the rein-deer moss, and struggling with the severity of the cold temperature the wild strawberry put forth its small, red fruit. The rein-deer moss being purely white, like hoar frost, the scarlet colour of the strawberry mingling thickly with it, conveyed pleasure to the eye, and a feeling of delicacy to the mind. Our path did not become less irksome now we had [Pg 362]left the gravel behind, for the moss yielded with its softness so much to the feet, that it sometimes covered our ankles; but panting with desire to ascend the supreme brow of the mountain, fatigue succumbed to the resuscitation of spiritual vigour.

Standing on a solitary patch of snow that spread over the highest point of the mountain we found ourselves on a level plain with the lofty chain of the Reenfjeld, separated from us by a gulf of fifteen miles, at the bottom of which flowed the Sogne Fiord diminished in its wide expanse to a river, and darkened to the sable dye of ebony by the intersecting shadows of numerous mountains. The general character of the Norwegian mountains being perfectly flat on the top, the distance seen where we stood was very great; and the table-land assumed more solemn grandeur, free as it almost was from glaciers, since, with livelier relief, the peaks that cleaved the air shone brilliantly with their snowy hoods; and over an infinite extent of country, diversifying no other verdure with that of the tawny moss, these peaks, rising numberlessly, one over the other, seemed like conical loaves of white sugar placed on an enormous sheet of brown paper.

Taking up a handful of snow, we jestingly alluded to the occupation of our cockney friends at the same moment, and saw them, in fancy, tricked out with the Gallic finery of kid [Pg 363]gloves and nankeen trowsers, strutting through the crowded thoroughfares of Regent Street, or ambling in Rotten Row.

"Yes, by George!" observed R——, who had been silently scraping the snow together, and levelling it with his foot again, "I remember the time when, about this hour of the day, and season of the year, then somewhat younger than I am now, I used to look at men who talked of anything else but balls, operas, and Hyde Park, as so many marvels of imbecility; but now their good sense and just estimation of life oppress me with the recollection of that lost portion of my own youth passed in all the puppyism of fashion."

"Ay," I replied, "there is one consolation in growing old, we grow wiser in our wickedness."

"Well, and if men are, de naturâ, depraved," continued R——, "and possess virtue and vice only in proportional masses to the size of the brain and body, they can surely exhibit a pound or two of wisdom to eighteen stone of folly; and if they must be asinine, may cover their actions with a little good sense."

"They may, truly," I said; "but remember your head has not grown a particle larger since the Spring of 1844, nor your body less; but had the same idea of Ethics been then presented to you, you would certainly not have seen its lucidity."

R—— was about to retort, and I do not [Pg 364]know how much longer we should have endangered the moral existence of the young dandies at home, had not P——, already at a distance from us, called out with the impatience of a huntsman,

"Are you fellows coming on to-day?"

In a few seconds we overtook P—— and the Norwegian, and they proposed that we should descend till we came to a valley, which the Norwegian pointed out at a considerable way beneath us, and there it was thought we should find a herd of deer. Remaining stationary while we spoke, a space of fifty miles, partly mountain, and partly valley, lay above and below us, and glancing the eye from end to end of this immense tract, not a hut of any kind could be seen; but, faintly, the tinkling of bells attached to the necks of sheep, or cattle, could be heard, and that only when the feeble puffs of wind blew from a certain direction. We wandered for many miles over the desolate mountains, and found no signs by which we might be guided to the animals that we sought. Hour after hour elapsed, and the day began to wane; but no tracks, not even the print of their hooves on the muddy banks of the small lakes that abounded everywhere, pointed the path the deer had taken. We reached, at last, towards sunset, a valley that, virent by the multitude and variety of its trees, changed the dreary similarity pervading all things; and a few sheep, that bleated loudly [Pg 365]when they saw us, led us to hope we had come again within the line of animal existence. The Norwegian, our guide, however, said that no one lived in this valley, but in an adjoining vale, he thought, some cowherds dwelt.

"What are all these sheep here for?" I asked.

"They are driven here," the man replied, "for food; since in the lower lands the grass is parched by heat."

"Who takes care of them, then?" again I asked.

"No one," answered the guide. "They will remain among these mountains all the summer; and when the winter returns, they will be taken home, and folded at Auron."

While the Norwegian was still addressing these sentences to me, we had crossed the rivulet that gurgled through the valley, and commenced our ascending zigzag way. The skins and bones of sheep destroyed by the wolves that infest these mountains were scattered on every hand, and the foot-marks of these furious brutes and bears were plainly distinguishable on those parts of the soil moistened by the snow-water, and not covered with moss. Our flagging spirits were roused when we remembered that it might so chance we fell in with one of these animals; but our guide did not add encouragement to our ardour, and told us how the improbability of encountering wolves was strong, since they [Pg 366]never left their hiding-places in the forests until night.

"At any rate," he said, "we shall, a long while hear, before we see, them; for they howl like devils. I assure you, you may be bold before they arrive; but I have known many a courageous man grow timid when he has heard the moaning, melancholy signal of their approach. Besides, I suppose you know, wolves never go forth to feed singly; but issue, prepared for mischief, from the caverns and glens in herds of fourteen or twenty."

"Yes," observed either R—— or P——, "but we are a fair match for twenty wolves."

"I am not so sure of that," answered the Norwegian, smiling with great good humour. "Wolves in this country are not afraid of a man. No, sir, they will attack two, or three men, and will overcome them. Many a one has come to these mountains, and never left them again."

This is the kind of news that brave men like to hear; and as the countenances of R—— and P—— did not blanch, but rather beamed with gratification, as a ray of light will flash through divided dark clouds, I am quite at liberty to state that they are gallant fellows; and I could almost say it would take a great many more wolves than the Norwegian nation can count to intimidate either of them. But since I have not yet commenced the historical physiology of their courageous hearts, I will [Pg 367]not mar what I am arranging, methodically, in my head, by slight allusions, or apologues that are ill wrought. The Norwegian, by making these fearful intimations, had, doubtless, some object in view; and sharing with a dutiful spouse the blessings of domestic life, desired not to risk the protection of Heaven in a conflict with predacious animals. But this is mere supposition; for the Norwegian people are valiant in soul, as they are indefatigable in body, warm and friendly of heart; yet I may conjecture; for our guide either spoke fervently, having his own interest in sight, or felt deeply for our preservation, which, he fancied, we would throw away with mad boldness should an opportunity occur. On this occasion there was no visible distinction between selfishness and philanthropy, or a disinterested will to fight, or run with us.

On the top of the hill we rested, and looked down on the other valley where we hoped to find some cottages; for, whatever the Norwegian might have done to recruit his strength, we had neither eaten nor drank since we left Auron. The hill on which we stopped was without vegetation of any sort, except moss; but trees in great abundance grew in the valley; and one small hut, partially concealed by three pines, showed its dun roof of fir branches lying quietly below, like a dove in its nest; and hard by the door, down in the centre of the valley enlivened and refreshed [Pg 368]as the meadows we had left behind, ran a brook that foamed and sought its difficult way with noisy tongue. Thirsty and hungry we wandered on towards the hut; but when we came near to it, we found no other living animals but pigs and sheep likely to hold communion with us. Our guide, conversant with the customs of his country, thought that the cottagers might be slumbering, and tapped loudly with his fist and the butt of his pistol; but no answer was returned. On the ground, near the sill, had fallen an instrument, similar in outward form to the classic Cornucopiæ, about five feet in length, and which appeared to be cut from some tree and made hollow by the pith being scooped out. The Norwegian taking it from the ground and applying the smaller end to his mouth, blew in it, and produced a blast that rang through the valley from one extremity to the other, and rattled among the rocks of the mountains. He bade us be still and listen; and the faint, distant, long-sustained cry of a human voice gave a responsive halloo; and here and there, from the farthest recesses of the fir forests, the lowing of cattle could be perceived indistinctly. All was soon again as silent as the scene was solitary. To our inquiries for what purpose this curious trumpet was intended, the Norwegian made reply:——

"This is an instrument used by shepherds to call their flocks together; and I have only [Pg 369]to persist in blowing it to collect all the cows, that graze in these mountains, about me. Did you not hear the cattle this minute? The wolves also, and bears, and other predatory animals, do not like its note; and when they hear it, will crouch to the ground and hide themselves."

Issuing from the firs that formed a forest at the lower part of the valley, two girls hurried towards us; and running and walking by turns, they made haste to the cottage near which we stood.

"Who lives here?" I said, pointing to the miserable building.

"Those two girls," answered the Norwegian.

"Alone?" I asked.

"Yes, alone," replied the guide; "but they will go away when the winter comes, for then the cattle are removed. It is only the months of summer that they pass up here, to take care of these pigs, and sheep, and cows."

"Only the months of summer," I thought; but by this time the two girls had reached the cottage; and I could not help regarding them with some little interest. The eldest was not more than eighteen, the youngest four years less; and they possessed the simplicity and shyness of manner such children of the mountain might be supposed naturally to imbibe from the mode of life they led, and the desolation which surrounded them. They wore [Pg 370]no covering to the feet or head, and their arms and shoulders were equally bare; and though naturally of a very fair complexion, their faces had, by constant exposure to the sun, been tanned; but, lo! when they smiled, their coral lips, curved like the bow that shot the arrow through the heart of Psyche, parted to show a row of teeth as smooth and pure as the snows of Siggen.

The pigs, that were lately digging up the soil by hundreds, trotted towards these girls yet breathing heavily from the speed with which they had run, and looking up in their faces, grunted and squeaked without any apparent cause; and some of these swine told their wants, or affection, with such painful shrillness, that it was almost impossible to make ourselves heard.

Opening the cottage door with a wooden key, the eldest girl led us into a small room appropriated as a dairy, in which were eight or ten large basins of wood filled with milk, in the various gradations of decomposition from its natural sweet state to that of acidity, until it took the solidity of cream cheese. I do not know that the Norwegians have any precise system of making cheese by churning; but from what I saw, and I am now only speaking of the poorer peasantry, I believe that the milk, from the moment that it is drawn from the cow is placed in these deal basins, whence the cream is skimmed and committed to a [Pg 371]separate bowl, where it remains till it becomes sour, and after resting undisturbed for a few days, thickens to a vile firm substance, the natives call cheese. The Norwegians do not drink fresh milk, but use it, even for household purposes, when quite sour; and plentiful as milk was, we found much difficulty in procuring any, the most trifling quantity, fit for our English tastes. We were so fortunate as to find one basin that contained some fresh milk, of which we drank plentifully; but our guide swallowed quart after quart of all the acid stuff he could smell out; for he would not taste before he had applied his nose to each basin.

There were only two apartments in this cottage, and both without floors, or windows. In one corner of the dairy, which was not eight feet square, a few planks of fir formed a bedstead over which were tumbled one or two torn and dirty blankets. Three large stones, arranged angularly on the dank earth, answered the purpose of a grate, for half burned sticks and cinders were scattered about; and immediately over head, a large hole in the roof admitted the rain and cold wind, while it might, and was intended to let out the smoke. Poverty and discomfort seemed to wrestle with each other which should torment these two girls the most. And yet they looked glad and contented, and said they were so, and laughed heartily at our discomposure when we went [Pg 372]from pan to pan, and found the milk sour, or half hardened to a jelly. They could hardly be persuaded to receive any compensation for the milk we and the Norwegian had consumed; and both of these girls shook hands with us, and thanked us continually in grateful idioms for sixteen skillings, a sum of money worth five pence sterling. They answered to the solicitous questions of our guide, that a herd of three hundred rein-deer had passed through the valley two days before, and believed they had gone towards a large lake ten miles to the eastward.

The sun had now set, and no place of rest could be found among these mountains, unless we chose to risk the danger of sleeping in the open air under some tree. It was, therefore, necessary to delay as little as possible, and we took leave of the two peasant girls. They came forward with the most unaffected simplicity, and shaking us again by the hand, wished us a pleasant journey. It seemed almost heartless to leave two girls, so young and unprotected, in such a wilderness, many miles from any human dwelling, surrounded everywhere by wolves and bears; and the smile of perfect contentment and cheerful resignation to the dreary lot attributed to them, made me feel the more sensibly for their isolated condition. But it is the condition allotted to women by the usages of Norway; and while the young men remain in the low lands to [Pg 373]cultivate the soil and gather the corn, the females are banished to the mountains to tend the flocks. Sometimes, among the most distant and unfrequented mountains, a hut, like this, may be met with, inhabited by a single girl; and holding no communication with her fellow creatures she drags on the bright time of summer in the profoundest solitude, quite regardless, apparently, of the bereavement of all social intercourse, or of the horrible death that may overtake her by the hunger and ferocity of wild beasts.

We now travelled with more briskness, not only lured by the chance of coming up with the herd of rein-deer, but pursued by the moss-grown phantom of a mountain couch. An endless forest of firs lay on our right hand, and the nearer we approached it, the more clearly we could hear the howl of wolves; and whenever we reached an elevated mound of ground we thought to see a troop of them galloping forth to their nightly depredations. Mountainous ridge after ridge we climbed, but along the wide expanse our eyes could alight on no lake; and only through a chasm, far away between two mountains, the lead-coloured water of the Sogne Fiord momentarily deceived the sight. The guide kept his place in front and led the way, bounding from valley to mountain-top like a spirit of Indian rubber; and unwearied in his tongue as he seemed in body, he continued shouting, cheerily, in a strange, drawling chant,

[Pg 374]

"Salt, h-o-o-o! salt, h-o-o-o! salt, h-o-o-o!"

"Salt" in the Norwegian language signifies salt, as it does in ours; but the vowel has a soft pronunciation. The rein-deer are very fond of salt, and the wildest of them will follow a person, who holds some salt in his hand, for miles together. To put salt on a bird's tail, and catch it, may be an English piece of jocularity; but the Norwegian would be puzzled to think why we should attach a joke to such an act; and to prove to an Englishman the inaptitude of the proverb, the Norseman will go forth with his handful of salt, and take, not his covey of sparrows, for his country has none; but a fine fat buck.

As the evening advanced, the light wind, that had made the heat of the day tolerable, now lulled; but mute as the long blades of grass were, the breath of night, when it moved the hair gently from our brows to cool our faces, whispered in our ears the warning sound of the tramp and unceasing howl of a hundred wolves. Regardless of all danger, be it far or near, the Norwegian still claimed the van, and dipped his hand with frequency in the little bag of salt that dangled at his girdle, chanting as he went,

"Salt, h-o-o-o! salt, h-o-o-o! salt, h-o-o-o!"

The deer came not; though the lonely hills took up the words, and passed them from vale to vale.

"We shall never reach home to-night," said [Pg 375]R—— to me, as we toiled up the side of the hill overgrown with moss.

"I am afraid not," I answered; "and for my own comfort I don't care. If we made a fire we could sleep as safely up here as on board. However, let's consult when we get to the top."

"Yes; it takes the whole of one's breath," observed R——, "to scramble over this moss."

Mounted to the top, we were not inclined to curtail our jaunt; for we saw a pool of water, one of the objects of our search, spread beneath us; and, what is an uncommon sight at 3000 feet above the level of the sea, its banks were covered with rushes. Opponent to us, on the extreme side, or eastern corner of this pool, the even surface of the mountain rose into a hill which, being higher than the ground where we stood, obstructed our view. The rein-deer had frequently resorted to this water to drink, for the mud of its diminutive shore was everywhere indented with their hooves. The Norwegian examined these marks with much minuteness; and when he had satisfied himself that they were the hoof-prints of the rein-deer, and not of the smaller cows of the country, he thrust his hand into the salt-bag that was still suspended from his left side, like a good-sized rook's nest, and vociferated,

"Salt, h-o-o-o! salt, h-o-o-o! salt! salt!"

The monotony of his song was kept up for a quarter of an hour without any variation [Pg 376]either in the tones of his voice, or arrangement of the words; but, occasionally, when he looked on the ground, and was reminded of the cloven marks in the slough, his voice would swell to the passionate bellow of a war-whoop. His manner reminded me strongly of a bull, that by some mischance has lost the common herd; and as he gallops along the meadows, when he finds himself alone, will stop suddenly at times, and, placing his broad nostrils to the earth, sniff the grass with the absorption of a huge pump; then lifting his head loftily in the air, will lash his tail, and madly tossing his legs, roar till the country round is filled with the sounds of his anger.

"Well, Sir," said the Norwegian, addressing me, "if we do not find the deer near this water, I fear we shall find none to-day. It is late; and they are gone to shelter in the forests for the night."

The last four words had not yet fallen from his lips, when a doe, followed by her fawn, stood on the brow of the hill directly opposite to us; and halting for a moment, moved her head up and down, scenting the air. No sooner did the guide perceive the animal, than he tugged the salt-bag from his belt, and, holding it in his left hand, extended it at arm's length before him, creeping down the hillock on which we had clustered, exclaiming,

"Kommit; salt, h-o-o-o! salt, h-o-o-o! kommit, kommit."

[Pg 377]The deer seemed perfectly to understand his meaning, for she shook her antlers and small tufted tail, and trotted down the other hill towards the Norwegian. Our guide still kept moving forward by stealthy steps, while the animal quickened its motion from a trot to a canter, and arriving within a yard of the proffered salt-bag, made a dead stop. The Norwegian had volunteered the promise, that if the deer turned out to be his own, and he could lay hands on her, we should accept her as a gift.

"Kommit," said the Norwegian, in tones of gentler blandness; "salt!—salt, h-o-o-o! kommit, kommit."

But the doe was not so easily to be entrapped; for she stretched out her long neck as far as it would go, and then, just as her nose was so near to the salt that its savour made her dart out her tongue and lick her slimy nostrils, she plunged backwards as if a cannon had exploded, and scampered half-way up the hill to her fawn. The Norwegian turned his head and smiled with us, but would not yet despair of success.

"Kommit," still, with onward step, he said, "kommit; salt, h-o-o-o! salt!—kommit, kommit."

The doe appeared as desirous of tasting the salt, as the Norwegian was to give it; for she fixed her large eyes on the little moving man as he stumbled and tottered over the uneven [Pg 378]heath, and watching his gradual approach, threw up her head, and stamped her foot.

I and my two companions were aware, that the Norwegian intended, if practicable, to seize the deer by the horns, and by that means secure her; but we saw more clearly than he did, that, if any attempt of the kind was made on the doe, she would not only tumble our little friend down the steep side of the mountain, but, no doubt, being with the fawn, gore him. If he is fool enough, we thought, not to know any better, having passed all his life among deer, and claiming, moreover, a patrimony of five hundred head, surely it was needless to interrupt by our surmises his preconcerted plans. For my own part, and I will attribute the same anticipations to R—— and P——, I promised myself more laughter than wounds from the engagement of the Norwegian with the deer; but I knew there was some risk, yet rejoiced in my own heart at the sum of pleasure that might be cast up in my favour, making no deduction for the Norwegian.

The deer remained perfectly still until the Norwegian could almost have touched her overcome with the insatiable craving to taste the salt; but if he dared, however slily, to move the other hand that held no salt, she bounded several yards from him.

"Kommit; salt, h-o-o-o! kommit,—kommit; salt, h-o-o-o! salt, h-o-o-o!" the Norwegian [Pg 379]continued half singing, and half importuning the deer to come to him. His importunities and cantata might have lasted for another week, but we observed, that the doe was, by insensible degrees, allowing, like a human creature, her appetite to get the better of her mind, or instinct; and when she took, at last a trifling lap of the salt, the Norwegian, with much dexterity, seized her with his right hand by one of the antlers. The deer, feeling herself thus assaulted, shot, like a thunder-bolt, backwards, dragging the Norwegian with her; and though, by the weight of her antagonist's strength, her nose was almost forced between her fore-legs, she shook her head violently, and making a desperate lunge, struck her countryman somewhere about the silver buckle of his belt, or, pugilistically speaking "in the wind," with her forehead, and threw him, gun, pistols, provender, salt-bag, and all, towards a ravine formed by the rain, into which, rolling over and over, he fell heavily, like a sack of oats. So soon as the deer had butted, and the Norwegian was overturned on his back, the gun went off, and instantly blew his red cap some height into the air, and we made up our minds it must be full, as it was before, of our guide's skull, and that he had now gone to that bourn from which no hunter, like no traveller, could ever return. We ran to his assistance. The gun by some contortion of the Norwegian's body, was twisted upside down, and instead of [Pg 380]the muzzle being pointed downwards, had been elevated, point blank, towards his head. The poor Norwegian, breathing with great labour, closed eyes, and opened mouth, lay on his back, like a log in a mill-pond; but we were glad to find that his mouth, tongue, and all his teeth remained perfect; and it was some inducement to us to raise the body with the hope, that he was not yet beyond the need of medical, if of our skill. The closed eyes of the Norwegian opened, and the opened mouth closed, when he felt us touch him, and sitting upright, showed all the external symptoms of having been stunned, for he rubbed his eyes, and pressed his hand to his brow, then clasped his temples, and with a continuous movement bowed his head, the crown of which we saw was unmutilated. After a time, he looked up at us, and seemed surprised to find himself seated in the gulley; for starting immediately, without any aid, to his feet, he laughed idiotically as some men will laugh when awakened from a nap, and setting in order his dress, and singed hair, bore no other signs of injury beyond a scratch on the left cheek, and the loss of his scarlet woollen cap. The Norwegian, however, has to thank Heaven for a narrow escape, since the whole charge of his gun struck the tassel of his cap, and changed that memento of spousal devotion into its original nonentity.

The readjustment of the Norwegian's lungs did not detain us long; and binding his [Pg 381]spotted handkerchief round his head to guard against rheum, or catarrh, he led us by a track almost invisible down the mountain. Since the fray we had seen nothing of the deer, and gave no further thought of her, or any of her genus; but made the best of our way, by the waning light, to a village at the foot of the mountain, whence we hoped to find some conveyance home. The Norwegian, trustful to the last, did not yield all chance of capturing the deer for us; and actuated by the feeling of generosity steadfast to his nation, recommenced his song. Although the first hour of morning had subtracted from that of midnight the light was sufficient to guide our steps aright, but not enough to mislead the wolves; for their howling, and its eternal repercussion among the mountains and over the forests, brought the most melancholy fancies to the mind, which the undecided hue of the atmosphere, neither that of brilliant day nor the black majesty of profound night, and the low moan of the wind through the fir trees, that sounded like the feeble expression of bodily pain, or contrition of a dying creature, made too oppressively sad to admit any thoughts of rational meditation which the solemnity of the time and place might have encouraged. The gloomy shadows of the fir forest, through which we had to pass, caused us to look around with greater caution than we had hitherto done; and our guide failed not to keep our vigilance [Pg 382]alive by exclaiming at the regular terminations of a few minutes;

"Varg, varg."

"Varg," means a wolf. The rustling of the leaves, or the rolling of a stone as one of us might strike it accidentally with the foot, would set the trigger of each gun clicking, and send from mouth to mouth the signal of——


Since we had left the more open part of the mountain, we had not felt entirely at ease; for the incessant tramp of some wild animal was too distinct at times to attribute the sound to imagination; and we pursued our way with a feeling of uncertainty as to the manner and moment we might be attacked. We all concluded, that some wolf had got in our track, and was following at such a distance as to keep himself out of our sight; but not so far to prevent him from pouncing on us just when his opportunity offered. Though we were not wolves, we completely understood the intentions of the animal, and exercised that attribute of craft which is as abundant in the organization of man, as of the brute. We had now reached the very heart of the forest; and the shades of light were so uncertain, that the fallen trunks of the firs and pine were often mistaken for bears, or any other kind of ferocious beast that we had ever heard was of the colour of the bark, or common to Norway. The measured tramp in our rear became louder [Pg 383]and nearer, the deeper we advanced into the forest; and every moment seemed to be the one in which the conflict was to commence.

"Let us stop and see," said the Norwegian, in his own language, "if he will come up to us."

We stood still; and turning the locks of our guns downwards, tapped them, to replace the powder that might have receded from the nipples. We could not afford to give our enemy the benefit of one gun hanging fire.

"Keep still," said P——, in a low voice, as he stooped down and glanced through the firs; "here he comes!—but,—no;—it's no wolf."

"Ja," replied the Norwegian, who had asked me what P—— said; "ja!—varg;" and he placed himself in an attitude to fire at the shortest possible notice.

"It's no wolf, I tell you," answered P——, rather louder than he had spoken at first; "it's too big—why, damn it!" and he again stooped down, moving his body from side to side, as he looked between the pines that obstructed his view; and placing his left hand over his eyes, used it as a kind of shade,—"surely—yes;—I'm sure—it's a jackass!"

"Is it?" said R——; "well, then, let's shoot him as a nuisance."

"Nej, nej," exclaimed the Norwegian, with much trepidation, laying hold of R——'s fowling-piece, that he had jokingly raised to his shoulder preparatory to its discharge.

[Pg 384]The animal, whatever it was, still continued trotting towards us, winding its way by the circuitous track of the forest. P—— kneeled down to have a more exact range both for his gun and sight; but springing to his feet almost instantly, he exclaimed,——

"I'll be shot, if it isn't the old doe again!"

Panting from fatigue, and the unflagging speed with which she had travelled, the deer, with her fawn, came close to us, and tamed by weariness, stood within a foot of the Norwegian.

"Kommit," he said; "salt; kommit, kommit," and filling his hand with salt, the animal came near, and devoured it greedily, and allowed the Norwegian to pat her on the neck and shoulder.

The extreme fondness of the rein-deer for salt cannot be better exemplified; for this animal had followed us from her natural abode on the top of the mountain to its base, and could not have performed a lesser journey than twenty miles. She approached us with so much confidence, and licked our hands with that domestic affection which is so winning in dumb animals, that we declined to accept and take her from her native haunts; but strove by every discordant noise and angry gesture to drive her back to the mountains. With the same care, however, that the deer had avoided us, she now sought our society, and did not [Pg 385]leave us until we had reached the precincts of the village, and leaping a high, wooden fence that separated it from the forest, we gave her the alternative of doing as we did, or remaining where she was. With the decorous conduct of her sex she made not the attempt; but during the hour we wandered about the sleeping village in search of some boatmen to row us back to Auron, we could hear her lowing piteously. We had descended the eastern side of the mountain, and arrived on a southern branch of the Sogne Fiord.

Day now began to dawn; and though we had hardly eaten or drank since our departure the previous morning from Auron, the freshness of the early air, the balm of mountain flowers, and the beautiful face of nature, afforded new vigour to our frames, and in feasting the mind we nourished the body. Wandering from cottage to cottage we knocked at the doors and windows, hoping to rouse the slumbering people; but sleep sits more willingly on the peasant's hard pillow than it will pace, without fretting, the softly-garnished chamber of indolent wealth, and not long for morning to fly away. At last we succeeded completely by not only awakening the family of one cottage, but our vociferations alarmed nearly half the village population. I do not recollect the name of the village, but the inhabitants bore the disturbance with great good nature; and thrusting their heads out of their bed-room [Pg 386]windows, that looked no bigger than port-holes, two or three men directed us to the abode of a fisherman who would soon put us in the way of hiring a pram. Finding the fisherman's hut, we soon thumped him out of his dreams, and, shouting uproariously from within, he desired to know who we were, and what we desired. The Norwegian, our guide, entered into a lengthened dialogue through the door, and assured the fisherman of our good faith and bad plight, begging that he would rise, and help us with the means of returning to Auron.

Half an hour afterwards we were reclining on some branches of the fir with which the four boatmen, whose services the fisherman had secured, covered the seats and bottom of the pram, having learned from our guide the distance we had travelled; and, spreading their coats over us, bade us rest. To soothe us to slumber, they sang, in union with the motion of their oars, a native boat-song, and its sweet and plaintive air, though it could not entice us to sleep soundly, pacified the wearied nerves, and we lay in a Paradise of dreaming sensibility. These four men were each six feet in stature, and their philanthropy and good nature were as broad as their frames. They ceased not rowing for one moment, throughout the entire distance, to rest on their oars; and though the rain, from two o'clock till four, fell in torrents, their spirits chafed not with its pelting violence; but they sang, [Pg 387]and laughed, and jested with each other as if the sun was shining cheerfully over their heads. We stepped on board the cutter at four o'clock, having been rowed eighteen miles in three hours and a half.

For all the countries which I have traversed Nature appears not to have done so much to make them agreeable to man, as she has for Norway, and man so little to make his own soil suitable for himself as the Norwegian; nor have I, in either hemisphere, felt more truly spiritualized by the grandeur of the scenery, the honest frankness and simplicity of its people, as here. I have wandered over many parts of the earth; I have looked upon its lofty mountains shrouded in clouds, or capped with snow; I have, loitering in its smiling valleys, seen its waterfalls, and floated on its crystal torpid lakes, and rushing rivers; yet this old land of Norway yields not in all to them, but bears on her stern and rugged brow the soft impressions of a beneficent creation impartially dispensed. Such reflections failed not, day by day, to force themselves upon me; for I knew, that every step I now took removed me farther and farther from a country, whose mighty mountains had, with their solemnity, first taught me to think; and the integrity and single-mindedness of whose children showed how, though fostered in the flinty lap of poverty, happiness and heroic contentment were no fable. The peasants, whom we [Pg 388]sometimes met in the interior of the country, where their livelihood must be earned with the hardest labour, and whose necessity during the long and dismal months of winter must not be much inferior to absolute want, ever seemed cheerful and ready, not only to share their scanty fare with us, but to give us milk and butter, and dried fish, or other dainties which they may have hoarded for the coming time of cold and darkness. Black bread of barley, or of rye, sour and unfit even for "Sailor," formed their daily diet, and meat had never been tasted by thousands; nor did we obtain any other animal food, except at Christiania and Bergen, and there but with difficulty, than what we had brought from England; yet, under all their privations, the contented and happy disposition of these people, added to their independent bearing and dauntless bravery, was a lesson as instructive to luxurious selfishness, as it must be gratifying to the man who believes in the innate nobility of his race, and is proud of it.

Our guide was determined that we should not quit the Sogne Fiord without some token by which we might remember it; and sending a messenger to the other side of the Fiord, desired that a certain number of his tenants or friends should go to the Reenfjeld, and bring as many rein-deer as they could secure to the foot of a mountain, which he specified by name, on the morrow. Early in the [Pg 389]morning, therefore, the first man who might have been seen on the deck of the cutter, was our Norwegian guide; and helping to heave the anchor, he pointed our course to the spot where the rein-deer would be brought. About one o'clock in the afternoon, we lay-to off a small village consisting of a few cottages, reposing at the base of the mountain which the Norwegian had indicated as our destination. Here, as it had been everywhere else, the scene was sublime; stamped against the blue sky, glaciers were above our heads, and green fields at our feet; and thousands of cascades leaping down the barren sides of the mountains which surrounded us north, east, and west, were not concealed from the eye by tree or shrub; but could be traced, inch by inch, from the flat summit of the mountains to the valleys that sloped to the water on which the vessel swam.

A girl with a basket of cherries came off to the yacht in a boat rowed by an old man, who watched her with solicitude and the most devoted affection; and when arriving alongside, the young lady was requested to come on board, and she complied readily with our entreaty, the despair that shaded the countenance of the old man delineated the torture of his heart. This peculiar appearance of the patriarchal face was not lost upon R——, who was as observant, as he is full of fun, and turning to me, he said, [Pg 390]"Let's take her for a sail, and leave the old bird behind."

"Very well," I answered; "shall I tell D——?"

The old man not being aware of the trick we were about to play, had not thought it necessary to make his pram fast to the cutter, but held on by the starboard main-channel. The order was given to put the helm over, and let the foresail draw. The cutter soon began to gather way, and before the old man could imagine why, or whence the increase of traction came, the main-chain slipped through his fingers, and he fell quietly but backwards in his pram. I am sorry to say our fair prisoner laughed as heartily as any one else at the comical attitude of the old man. Unlike the generality of people who have attained his years, the old man still possessed much presence of mind; and the instant he could recover his equilibrium, he sat down and set to work vigorously with his oars. We kept shouting to him in bad Norwegian, to "pull away;" and running the cutter close up in the wind, allowed him to overtake us, and then taking hold of a coil of rope, the sailors bade him to "stand by for the end," but always took care when they did throw it, to make it fall short of him. This went on for some time; so that by degrees we had enticed the old man some two miles from the land, but discovering that we were only cajoling him, he turned the bow [Pg 391]of his pram towards the shore, and with a long face of misery rowed back. The young lady, in the mean time, had wheedled herself into the affections of the amorous tars, particularly of King, he being a linguist. Having sold her basket of cherries she then seated herself on the deck, near the quarter bulwarks, enjoying the excursion and novelty of her situation, and laughing merrily at the discomfiture of her old swain. We had now stood across the Fiord, and sailed within half a mile of another village of some importance, for a large church with a red wooden steeple soared above the houses, out of the windows of which a multitude of heads were thrust and turned towards the cutter.

"The girl, my Lord," said D—— coming up to R——, "wishes to go ashore here—she lives here, my Lord."

"Man the gig," answered R——, smiling, "and send her off in it."

"Very good, my Lord;" and away went D—— to give the order. The cutter lay to, and the gig was hauled up from the stern to the gangway. Four men sprung into her, and the cockswain took his seat aft; and received, beside the cushions for the seat and back-board, the empty basket of the Norwegian girl. The girl looked with much attention to all that was going forward; but could not tell why her basket was handed into the boat; and being informed that the gig was waiting to take her [Pg 392]home, she did not dislike the honour about to be shewn her; but smiled and tittered with the instinctive gratification of her sex.

"Tak," she said, mindful of her manners, shaking R——, P——, and me, by the hand, "tak, tak;" and gathering her petticoats tight about her legs, yet without any semblance of prudery, walked to the gangway, and, without aid, jumped into the boat. Seating herself on the scarlet cushions, the cockswain receiving permission from her to go on, with all the gravity due to a queen gave the word to his men, and away the gig shot, the girl kissing her hand all the time affectionately, and with no lack of elegance in the bowing inclination of her body in answer to our acts of reciprocal adoration. I need scarcely say, that the girl had never touched her native shores with an appearance more imposing, nor enjoyed herself so largely in so short a time; nor was her return to the village strand on any previous occasion, whether baptismal, or hymeneal, more numerously attended than on that day; for men, women, naked children, and snarling dogs came to the water's side to greet her, without any reference to numerical force, or moral weakness.

At three o'clock, with the assistance of our glasses, we discovered sixteen Norwegians, and their invariable companions, as many dogs, leading and tormenting four rein-deer down the mountains; and for two hours, along the [Pg 393]narrow road of descent, we watched the whole troop enlarging from the indistinctness of black-beetles to the symmetry and size of men and animals. When they had reached the plain on which the small village was built, they shouted and beckoned to us; and although we made all possible haste, they seemed to fancy their excited feelings sluggish, nor allowed us sufficient time to walk from one side of the deck to the gangway without renewing their whoop.

When we landed, the first object that drew our attention from everything else, was a buck, whose height and proportions quite astonished us. This animal measured from the tail to the nose five feet two inches, and from the hoof of the fore leg to the top of his horns, when he held his head up, seven feet three inches, and his body was quite as large as that of an ass. Although very much injured by the violence with which he had been used during his long journey from the mountains, and which had been rendered absolutely necessary by his ferocity and wildness, we were desirous of bringing him alive to England; but being so mutilated, our guide recommended us to have the buck slaughtered, and take a doe and her fawn on board. With great reluctance the death of the buck was agreed to by R——, and this splendid animal was dragged to a field close at hand. The strength and turbulence of the buck are beyond [Pg 394]description; but I do not think I ever enjoyed any fiendish sight more than this short struggle between him and his murderers over twenty yards of ground. None but men, like the Norwegians, accustomed to these savage animals, could have controlled the deer in any way; but notwithstanding all their caution, I saw the buck kick one man on the chest, and throw him, exactly like a nine-pin, over and over, some few feet along the beach. The manner by which the Norwegians had secured this powerful animal was so ingenious, that he could, by no means, do much mischief, except to those persons who, bolder than the rest, went near to caress him; for three ropes were bound round the root of the horns, and being five or six feet in length, were held by three men who stood in the form of an angle, the head of the deer forming the base; or, in other words, one man stood on the left side of the buck, in a line with his left shoulder; a second man stood on the right side opposite to the right shoulder, while the third man took his station in front; and the three men were careful that the rope in the custody of each of them should be kept tight, since the peril of its being slack must be as obvious as its contrariety of tension; for whenever the animal made a plunge, as he sometimes did, towards the man on his right side, the Norwegian on the left could immediately check the career of the maddened deer by "holding on his end," [Pg 395]as sailors say; the man in front at the same time giving his protection, and being protected in his turn.

The facility with which this buck was led seemed surprising; for the animal had not only his natural ferocity to offer against the skill of his antagonists, but he possessed strength and all the madness born of the human sounds to which he had been unaccustomed,—the loud ribaldry, and laughter of men and women, the whistle, and shrill cries of boys and frighted infants. Submitting to my ignorance, I must say that I had never seen any large animal killed, and did not know how the operation was performed; and with a feeling of the most horrible infatuation I gathered in the small group round the animal to learn the stratagems observed to surround his legs with looped ropes which, being drawn quickly, slipped into knots and tripped him up. When the proud deer fell to the ground, a man drawing a knife from his pocket, and unclasping it, thrust the blade up to the hilt into the skull between the horns. I could not have conceived anything deprived of life so suddenly; and were it not for the blood that flowed in warm and copious streams from the mouth and nostrils, the animal appeared to have been dead a week. Another buck was killed, and made a present by R—— to his crew. The doe and the fawn were with great difficulty put on board; and [Pg 396]so much time was expended in the construction of a pen for them, that we did not sail until ten o'clock in the evening. The doe received a few bruises in hoisting her over the side of the vessel, and one of the sprouting horns of the fawn was broken, which we endeavoured by splints to restore; but inflammation appeared to succeed so rapidly, that P——, who was principal chirurgeon, was obliged to amputate it with his razor close to the head of the animal. This beautiful little creature is still alive, and may be seen in the Zoological Gardens in the Regent's Park, to which Society both animals were presented by R—— on their safe arrival in England.

Every available corner of the yacht was filled with moss, for the Norwegians told us we should find some difficulty in urging the doe to eat any other food; but the fawn might be accustomed to corn or oats. What the Norwegians then said was certified afterwards; for when within sight of the English coast, the moss had all been consumed, and the deer pined for its loss, eating nothing else in its lieu but bread and biscuit; but the fawn demolished the leaf of the filbert, corn, and hay, which had been collected in large quantities the last hour before we left Bergen.

[Pg 397]



Whatever might have been my refinement of feeling, I was not deterred from eating venison for a week afterwards, day by day, and assenting to its delicious flavour, which, for the satisfaction of the son of Epicurus who may read these lines, I would state, tasted very strongly of the moss on which the animal had fed, and comprehended every charming idea he can form of the term "gamey."

All was hilarity on board; and though the evening wind in passing only kissed gently the lazy canvass, nothing occurred to mar the serenity of every face and heart until the afternoon of the day following that on which we sailed from the village. The sailors had been partaking of venison as well as ourselves; but there were not those sounds of joviality incidental to festive occasions, and the silence in the forecastle attracted our notice. "Talk of the Devil," my ancient countrywomen say, "and you will be sure to see him;" but though we had not spoken of his majesty, we certainly alluded to the crew; [Pg 398]and whether D——, their representative, bears any affinity to that mighty potentate, I have never heard; yet certain it is, the said D——, with a countenance of ill omen, came into the cabin, and regretting that he should disturb us at such a time, observed,

"I am afraid, my Lord, King is very bad. He eats nothing, and complains a good deal."

"Of what does he complain?" asked R——.

"Of a dull pain in his stomach, my Lord," replied D——, "and a continual desire to retch."

"Oh! it's only a little attack of bile," observed R——; "I will soon put him to rights."

Rising from his chair, he went to seek his small medicine-chest with which returning, he placed it on the dinner-table. A few grains of calomel were weighed; and due directions being given when the physic should be taken, R—— prepared a black dose for the morrow, and committed that also to the custody of D——.

"I tell you what it is," said R——, after he had resumed his seat, "those cherries were too sour, and King, in making love to that girl, eat nearly the basket-ful; but if men will be fools, they must stand the brunt of their folly."

"Very true, my Lord," assented D——; [Pg 399]"but I think King more ill than he looks, or says that he is; for he is fond of a drop, my Lord, like most of us, and that predilection tells when it comes."

"With this still weather," observed R——, "I suppose we cannot hope to reach Bergen for the next week."

"There is a slight tide, my Lord, the pilot says sets out the Fiord," D—— made reply; "and if so, the cutter would hardly take so long to drift the distance."

"It is nearly one hundred miles?" said R——, interrogatively.

"Nearly, my Lord," answered D——; "but I think the wind is edging round to the west. Let us see, my Lord;" and D—— turned round, and began to examine the barometer hanging up behind him, as well as a symparometer.

"It is very odd, my Lord," he continued, after a pause, "but the barometer is very low, and this symparometer as high as it can well be."

We rose to look at the glasses, and found them as D—— had stated; but it was not the first time we had observed this variation between the barometer and symparometer.

"That barometer must be out of order," said R——.

"I never saw this before, my Lord," answered D——, "and it would be difficult to say which is right, or which is wrong; but you may depend, my Lord, something is brewing."

[Pg 400]We tapped the barometer, and coaxed the symparometer; but all to no purpose, and they both doggedly retained their relative indications one to the other. D—— had hitherto been guided entirely by the symparometer, for it was a very delicate and beautiful instrument, and never failed in foretelling a shower of rain, or squall of wind. It is remarkable, that when we got to the north of 60 degrees, the symparometer acted directly opposite to that plan for which it was intended; and instead of the declension of the oil being indicative of bad weather, and its ascension prognostic of fair weather, a direct contradiction to the movement of the barometer was the result. Let those who understand the matter account for the fact. The coldness of the climate could have had no influence, for the temperature differed not from that of England; and when we were cruising in the latitude of the Naze, this symparometer was most sensitive and correct in its action.

Perplexed by the position of the two glasses we went on deck, and cast our eyes to the clear blue firmament, and rested them, ungratified, on the sharply-marked summits of the mountains. It was now about half-past ten o'clock, the evening being unusually calm, and its breath sweet with the smell of flowers, and aroma of the juniper and fir. The sky was without a stain, except in the west, and there clouds of a dark crimson tinge clustered, [Pg 401]motionlessly, about twenty degrees above the horizon, and extending from the S.W. to the N.W., looked like a narrow zone of red-hot iron; but their splendid colour was lessened by being seen through blacker vapours, that thrown, as a veil of crape, over them, intercepted our vision.

As the cutter drifted close in to the shore, a great number of filbert trees were pointed out to us by our pilot; and since the fawn had shown, the day before, such partiality for the leaves, I rowed the jolly-boat to land, and commenced plucking as much as the boat would carry. Busy with my task, I paid no attention to the yacht; but still took it for granted, that she lay becalmed. A gun fired; and looking up, I saw the cutter on a port tack, standing across the Fiord; and I knew enough about sailing to understand, that if I did not make haste, I should be unable to overtake her when she reached over, on the other tack, to me. Stowing as many branches of the filbert at the bottom of the boat as it would hold, I pulled to the yacht; but before I got alongside, the wind that had freshened, lulled again calmly as ever. The clouds, nevertheless, to which I have drawn attention, began almost imperceptibly to move, and the darker ones, breaking into small masses as they floated towards the zenith, dilated and assumed all kinds of shapes.

After administering the calomel to King, D—— returned in an hour.

[Pg 402]"My Lord," he said, "King is worse. With his hands clasped on his stomach, he sits writhing with anguish. Listen, my Lord—hear, how he groans!"

R—— spoke not in answer; but walking to the fore-hatch, descended into the forecastle, and we followed.

"Where is your principal pain?" asked R——.

"Here,—my Lord,—here," and without altering his position, King pressed his right hand closer to the pit of his stomach.

"Do you fancy a little brandy?—do you think it will relieve you?" observed R——.

"No,—my Lord," he replied in a faint voice.

"Keep heart, my man," said R——, placing his hand kindly on King's shoulder. "He ought to go to bed," he then observed to us; and giving instructions to the steward, ordered the large berth occupied by P——, should be prepared. P—— had made the proposal of vacating his cabin; and in a quarter of an hour, King was put to bed. Striving by every means in his power to alleviate the pain an honest and faithful servant was suffering, R—— suggested and tried a variety of remedies, both by external and internal applications; but in vain. The virulence of the disease, whatever it was, increased, and its painful intensity exceeding all endurance, King, with every contortion of body, groaned aloud.

An hour had passed, and the confusion on [Pg 403]deck appeared to grow greater the nearer midnight came. The wind had been rising gradually and determinedly since we first left the deck, and now had arrived at the force and recklessness of a strong breeze. Rare, but great drops of rain struck the deck like lumps of molten lead, and flashes of lightning, yet without the sound of thunder, brought intelligence of an advancing storm. From mouth to mouth ran the order of,

"All hands on deck!" and the shuffling feet of men moving up the fore hatch intimated the promptitude with which the command was treated. R—— and P—— had already returned to the deck; but I remained below doing what little offices I could to assuage the anguish of King; and he seemed to desire my presence for no other service than to give him water; for during the paroxysms of his complaint, he ceased not saying,

"Water! Sir; water!" and would snatch the glass from me, and drink with avidity.

I crept on deck to see our situation and that of the vessel. Thick clouds, black and rolling one over the other in their headlong flight, overcast the sky, and the stars no longer shone in the firmament. The mountains that had been so distinctly defined when I looked on them two hours before, seemed now shapeless mounds of earth swelling towards Heaven, and adding to the obscurity of night; and when the lightning gleamed in broad sheets, [Pg 404]their great forms hanging over us, had, from the motion of the vessel, the appearance of falling on us. Every instant the strength of the wind became mightier, the thunder roared louder, and before the echo had made response from the nearest mountain-top, the lightning leaped downward from the zenith into the valleys, and darted, while it hissed, from tree to tree. The sea began to rise, and the cutter, that had hitherto lain so placidly on the smooth water, heaved, and her larger spars creaked to the growing scud.

We had now opened the North Sea, and the pilots were desirous of getting under an island that lay about two miles from the mouth of the Fiord, before the gale reached its utmost fury; for by doing so, the vessel would then be perfectly secure in the quiet waters of another Fiord that flowed thence to the walls of Bergen. In the effort to accomplish this, the vessel was exposed to the whole drift of the Northern Ocean; and the wind having settled down to S.W. by W., blew directly in our faces, and placed a fearful shore on our lee. Having looked around me, as well as the pitchy darkness would allow, and ascertaining from the King's Pilot, as he was called, a seaman as courageous as he was skilful, the dangerous bearing of the land, and the object he desired to gain, I took my leave of the deck, and made more room for those who could be serviceable in the governance of the vessel. A deafening peal of thunder shook down a second [Pg 405]deluge, and driven to seek shelter, R—— and P—— came to the cabin immediately after me.

Taking each a seat on the sofas, we spoke not; and no sounds but the loud words of command, the noise of men running to and fro over head, and the cries of King, interfered with the sovereignty of the thunder, and whistling of the impetuous wind.

Dripping with rain, and out of breath, anxious care sitting on his whitened lips to watch and thwart each word he would speak with firmness, D—— hastened down the main companion and addressed himself to R——.

"My Lord," he said, "the pilots begin to differ: one prays the other to put back, who persists in beating to windward. The gale increases, and the land is not two miles from our lee. What had better be done, my Lord?"

"It is impossible for me to interpose my authority. The safety of the vessel is in the hands of the two pilots; and what they say must be obeyed," replied R——.

"But, my Lord, they are at variance," said D——, impressively. "I do not know the coast, and cannot judge for myself which one is in the right."

R—— made no answer, but, calling for a glazed coat and cap, went, accompanied by P——, on deck. Knowing that on all such [Pg 406]occasions as the present, the less crowded the decks are, the more effectually all orders can be carried out, I lay down on the sofa, and noted all that was going forward. Worn in nerve and wearied by the distracting uproar of the elements, and flapping sails, I fell at last into a pleasant mood of thought, and, lost to everything around me, did not perceive that King, by some means or the other, had risen from his berth and was in the cabin, until I heard him groan. Kneeling on the floor, and with his face buried on the sofa opposite to the one on which I was reclining, the poor fellow had placed one of the pillows on the side of the sofa, and was pressing his stomach against it.

"Why, King!" I exclaimed, starting from my lethargy, "What has brought you here? You should not have left your bed;" but he did not appear to understand, or hear me. Knowing that he had taken calomel, I took a blanket and threw it over him lest he should catch cold, for the wind passed in draughts through the cabin, as it would rush through a funnel. He looked up, and said,

"Oh! Sir—is it you? Do I disturb you, Sir?"

"No," I replied, "it only disturbs me to see you so ill."

"Thank you, Sir, thank you," he said, and strove to smile; but his complaint, which appeared to attack him with great anguish at [Pg 407]intervals of a few minutes, altered the expression of his countenance, and with the most horrible distortions, he shrieked like a maniac. When the pain abated he was alive to everything; and hearing the thunder, the fury of the wind and rain, he observed to me,

"What a night, Sir! If I don't die one way, I shall another."

"Don't despond," I answered as cheerfully as I could, "and you will die neither way."

At this moment R—— and P—— tumbling down the staircase as softly as the pitching and rolling of the cutter permitted, inquired how King felt. I told them what I really thought, that the man was dying of some internal disease of which we were not aware.

"The pilots," said R——, out of King's hearing, "wish now to run back into the Fiord; but if King is not rallying, I think we had better go on. We may get through it somehow."

"I am willing," I replied, "to do anything you propose; but I am sure if we be not at Bergen to-morrow, King will be dead."

"I agree with you," answered P——.

"Very well, then," said R——, "as far as we three are concerned, it's a bargain."

"It is," we both replied.

"I will now hear what the men say," R—— continued, smiling with his wonted lively air, "for I can't drown them all without giving them a little time to pipe to prayers."

[Pg 408]Approaching King, he observed, as light-heartedly as the occasion would give cause,

"Keep up your courage, King; we shall be at Bergen to-morrow morning by daylight."

"Shall we, my Lord? Thank God!" said the poor fellow solemnly. "But, my Lord," he went on saying, with a forced smile, "though I am sick, I am a sailor. I know this channel well, my Lord—it is narrow, full of blinders, and,—"

"Never mind the blinders," replied R——, with gaiety; "if your messmates will thrash through them, I will."

"God bless you! my Lord—thank you;" and the sick man took R——'s hand, and clasped it firmly as the weakness of his condition granted.

Hurrying to the deck, R—— ascertained the feeling of his crew, for I heard above the loudness of the storm, D—— call to the men,

"What will you do, my sons? Will you go on, or put back? There is danger a-head; but if we run back, King must die. Which will you do? my Lord gives you the choice, since your souls are at stake. Will you risk your lives to save your messmate; or put the helm up, and throw him overboard at daylight?"

As with one voice, they all shouted,

"We will go on."

I heard the acclamation, and did not think [Pg 409]King was well enough to pay attention to the observations of D——, or the reply of the sailors; but he must have also heard the shout for he said to me,

"What is that they say, Sir?"

"Only," I replied, "that the men are determined to brave the gale, and mean to beat round under the lee of the island into the Bergen Fiord."

"It is very good of my Lord," said King in a low voice. "If I live, I will never forget my Lord's goodness."

I thought I saw him lift his hand to his face and brush away a tear; but I had persuaded him to lie down on the sofa, and the table, swinging up and down as the vessel pitched and rolled in the trough of the sea, obstructed sometimes my view completely. I rose to trim the dull lamp that burned on the table; and seeing that the blanket had fallen to the floor I approached King to spread it over him again. Poor fellow! he lay on his back with his mouth wide open, gasping for breath, and his sunken closed lids, his ruddy complexion and round face changed to the yellow hue and emaciation of sickness, made me think that he was dying; and I placed my hand on his wrist. At my cold touch he opened his eyes, and groaned. Just then the vessel gave a very heavy lurch, and its violence forced the door that communicated with the pantry back upon its hinges. Scarcely had this accident come to pass, than [Pg 410]Jacko, whom I had not seen for some days, taking advantage of it, ran into the main cabin and, with the curious chirp of the ring-tail monkey, jumped on the restless table. Perceiving with the quickness of a man, that all was not right, the little animal looked into my face for inquiry, and then scratched his side, not from any particular reason, but from habit; and walking on all fours to the edge of the table nearest to me, stopped, and looked again as if to probe my humour, and leaped gently on my arm. I was still standing over King. The monkey peered first at me, and then gaped at King, wondering why he should be so inert, when activity was so paramount; and putting his head on one side, chirped, and appeared to be deliberating about something. Stretching out his neck to have a closer view, he satisfied himself that he was not in error, but knew the face before him, however much illness might have changed it; and being a singular favorite of King, the affectionate creature seemed to understand the miserable condition of his kind friend, and descending with the aid of his tail, which he twisted round my arm, he stepped softly on King's chest. The sick man again opened his heavy eyes, and seeing what had disturbed him, raised his hand, and feebly stroked the monkey's glossy back. As long as I live I shall not forget the expressive despair and love of that little creature. With a low, piteous chirp, it wormed its small, round head [Pg 411]under King's chin, and folded its left arm as far round his throat as it would go.

"Jacko," said the sailor, so faintly that I could just distinguish the words he uttered, "I shall—die. Yes!—I must!—yes,—Jacko."

The monkey moved not; but continued chirping, fondling closer to King's neck, and doubling up his body almost into a ball.

"Oh! Lord!—Sir," exclaimed King suddenly—"here it comes! O! O! O!" and the convulsion of his limbs and features testified his anguish. Such expressions of dreadful pain at any other time would have frightened Jacko out of his wits; but now he merely stood upright on his hind legs with his diminutive hands placed on King's cheek, and glancing from the tortured countenance and form of the stricken seaman to my face, expressed his deep concern by the most melancholy chirrups.

Midnight had come and gone, and the hurricane continued unabated. The wind blowing with terrific violence caused all commands to be given through a speaking-trumpet; and the waves broke over the labouring vessel in such frequent volumes, that they jeopardized the lives of the men, who, in the excitement and execution of their duty, neglected due precaution. I have crossed the Atlantic thrice from one hemisphere to the other, and in a deeply-laden merchant-vessel experienced the [Pg 412]anger of a south-west gale; but my consolation then was to know, that the sluggish ship had ample sea-room. Now, however, the case was reversed; and with a storm concentrating the fury of ten others, our little bark had no breadth of berth to lay to, or length to run in, but was compelled to accept the alternative of beating against the tremendous swell of the North Sea that appeared to crowd all its power and vehemence into the mouth of the Fiord, or be shattered to atoms on the perpendicular rocks of the mountains, against which the waves dashed with a roar not less appalling than that of thunder. The intensity of darkness was complete as that of a wall; for standing a foot abaft the mast, we could not see the bowsprit end; and one man had no other order to fulfil but to wait for the flashes of lightning, and mark the position of the land. I cannot remember any sight either that I have seen, or fable that I have read, which gave me a more terrible idea of death than this night; for not only did the elements struggle with each other to drive us to despair, but the groans and shrieks of a fellow-creature, as he was being borne on the wings of disease to his grave, cut off the small ray of cheerfulness that might have crept into our hearts while standing shoulder to shoulder in contention with the tempest.

A cry of desperation flew from end to end of the deck, as a vivid gleam of lightning [Pg 413]sped by us, and a tearing noise, like that of a tree whose trunk, nearly severed by the axe, is rent in two by the weight of its branches, and falls to the ground. I thought the mast was struck and shivered by the lightning.

"We are lost!" several voices cried; "the mainsail is split!"

King had fallen into unconsciousness, produced either by the acuteness of the nerves being nullified by the assaults of disease, or incidental to that kind of stupor which death casts like a shadow along its path. Disliking to die like a rat in my hole, I went on deck; and a bright flash of lightning showed the mainsail ripped from the second reef earing up to the peak. Though the waves rushed by the vessel with the velocity of the fleetest steeds, and demolished everything that obstructed their career, our craft appeared to defy their fury, and sprung from billow, to billow with the playful airiness of a cork.

"We are lost!" said P——, collectedly, in a low voice, as soon as my head was visible above the companion.

"No," I replied; "'a live dog is worth a dead lion.' I shall be drowned when I am three fathoms under water,—not before."

My companions, I think, attached more heartlessness to my careless manner, and, perhaps, quotation, than I intended; for they made no answer.

[Pg 414]"My Lord," said D——, hurrying up to R——, "we must cut away the boom!"

"Let it go," answered R——, briefly, and with calmness.

The cutter was luffed up, and above the roar of the sea, as it lashed and leaped over the bows, D—— shouted,

"Now, my sons, down with the main! and stand by to cut it away."

"Ay, ay, Sir," the men replied, and arranged themselves almost in an instant in their proper places, just as if they moved by mechanism; and not a human voice was heard as the different ropes were let go, and the huge mainsail, flapping furiously, descended towards the deck. The cutter did not seem to feel the immense weight of the canvass, increased as it was by the rain; but danced about as buoyantly as ever. In a few minutes vanished all idea of sending the mainsail adrift, and every thought was turned to the trysail. Five times the attempt was made to set it; but the furious blasts of wind, now freighted with hail, dissipated the strength of our crew with the same facility as the breath of a man would level a palace of cards. During these repeated efforts to get the trysail up, which necessarily occupied much time, the cutter had drifted some way to leeward; and, at last, the man keeping watch on the bow, exclaimed,

"Breakers! Sir, breakers!"

[Pg 415]A dozen of us vociferated at the same moment,


"There they are!" shouted the man; "close on the lee-beam!"

Through the thickness of night the waves were discernible like a heap of snow, white with foam, and, as if wantoning with each other, jumping into the air, not fifty fathoms from the yacht. Sailors are brave men; but when a continuity of danger pursues them, they are apt to despair, not from any want of physical or moral ability, but from that morbid impotence which develops itself in their superstitious fancies. The pilots had not given up the hope of vanquishing the storm, and D——, who knew the disposition of his countrymen, did not yet dread their vacillation; but we did. Nothing seemed possible to save us, but the interposition of Heaven; for the storm-jib and reefed foresail were the only sails on the cutter, and they were barely sufficient, in such a sea, to give her steerage way. Every wave that struck the yacht hurled her near and nearer to the breakers; but the courage of the men continued indomitable, and promptly, with the most cheerful expressions, they performed any, the most perilous task allotted to them.

"Ware her, pilot!" D—— called out to the principal pilot. The two pilots taking up the hint, consulted for an instant, and [Pg 416]then that one to whom D—— had spoken, said,

"Ware ship."

The beautiful little vessel obeyed her helm as willingly as if she were on a lake; and D—— could not help observing to me, his eyes beaming with the devotion of a sailor for his ship,

"It's a shame, Sir, to doubt she would ever perform her duty."

Scarcely had the words fallen from his lips, or the cutter wore round, when the man, who had first seen the breakers, shouted a second time, like the flying herald of Doomsday,

"There's a vessel going to run us down!"

Every soul ran to the weather side and sought with starting eyes the object of anticipated destruction. By the gleams of light a native vessel, with a sole square-sail set, was imperfectly seen bearing down on our weather bow; and although the wind and sea combined with the darkness to render our annihilation seemingly inevitable, the crew of the approaching bark sang, in a long, slow measure, two or three Norwegian words, and their constant, drawling repetition became distincter as the vessel, like an ice-berg, tore through the frothing surge towards us. There stirred not a sound on board our cutter, except the unceasing exhortation, spoken almost sepulchrally, of the pilot standing near to the helmsman,


[Pg 417]Both pilots appeared to have understood the signification of the chant, for they altered not the course of the cutter, but kept their eyes fixed, as well as the night admitted, on the huge white sail of the spectral vessel; and would make no other reply to our questions, but,

"They see us, they see us."

Like the spirit of the storm, the vast sail glided through the black air above our top-mast, for it was so dark we could not distinguish the hull; and there was something of mystery and impressive awe, amid the howling tempest, the roar of thunder, and the flash of lightning, in this slow, chanting recitation, uttered by a number of voices that seemed to proceed from the dense obscurity.

It was a vessel from Bergen bound up the Sogne Fiord for timber; and the crew having seen us buffeted, in such a shattered condition, by the gale, and perceiving by the rig of the cutter, that she was a foreigner, humanely bore down to us; and the mystical song of the sailors was a signal to follow them, which being sung slowly and with unfailing repetition, outlasted the blasts of wind, and gave us the opportunity of catching the words as the two vessels rose on the crests of the waves. Our pilots refused to adopt the counsel given, and run out to sea; for had they done so, we might have found ourselves by daylight driven half way to Trondhjem, and the life of King must have been sacrificed.

[Pg 418]Neither wind nor sea yielded yet, and we were as stubborn; but had the trim of the yacht not been true, and her liveliness that of a straw, the swell would have made a clean breach over her decks, and its pressure been fatal. At two we got under the lee of the long-desired island. The trysail that had been partially hoisted was now set properly, and trusting to the goodness of our cause, guaranteed by the tried worthiness of our craft, we stretched away from the island, and stood for Bergen.

Returning to the cabin I found King awake, lying where I had left him. When he saw me,

"My pain is easier, sir," he said, not more audibly than a whisper; "but I feel weaker."

"That's your fancy," I answered livelily; but not without the fear that internal mortification was ensuing. "We have beaten the gale on its own ground," I proceeded, endeavouring to divert his thoughts, "and are standing right down the Bergen Fiord."

"It is good of my Lord—very," he replied, and drew a deep sigh; "but—I shall never see England again. My poor wife!" The tears ran silently down his sunken cheeks. While the sick man wept, my two friends, with countenances of joy, entered the cabin.

"Well!" observed one of them, "I thought all was up with us; but it is now only a tale to tell."

[Pg 419]"Yes," the other replied, "neither on sea or shore fail experiments of the heart; and if we could only land you, King," continued the speaker, drawing near to the sofa, "three or four hours hence in Bergen, I would not decline fighting the same battle, ignorant of its chances, again next week."

The sailor, too sad and ill to speak, smiled through his tears at the generosity of a youthful spirit. After administering every possible comfort to King, we lay down to rest; and it seemed that I had hardly closed my eyes when the grating noise of the cable awoke me. The yacht was at anchor in Bergen harbour. In less than half an hour a medical man was on board; and by his order King was immediately wrapped up in blankets and taken ashore. He was in the last stage of intestinal inflammation; and an hour more would have sealed his destiny. I need not say, that for many days life oscillated uncertainly between death and the vigour of his constitution; but R—— had the good fortune to secure the services of a most skilful, though young, Norwegian physician. None of us can speak too highly of the kindness and unhesitating attention of this gentleman, who combined not only the estimable and generous disposition of youth with the intellectual attainments of maturer years, but claimed every accomplishment of manner and attraction of form that birth and education might have refined and nature alone could give.

[Pg 420]So ended the 1st of August, to live in our memories. In the evening we went to see King. He was so ill, that his medical attendant begged, while remaining in his bed-room, we would not speak. The poor fellow was delirious. When we came near to his bed-side, he stared at us; but could not remember who we were. Sailor, who managed to push his way up stairs, though we had taken the precaution to leave him out of doors, rushed up to the bed, and placed his paws on it; but a cuff on the head sent him to the other end of the room. King seemed to have recognized the dog; for he rolled his head from side to side on the pillow, as if in reprobation of the act to keep the animal from him; and although his left hand lay outside the coverlet, he was so exhausted, having been bled twice, that he could not stir it; but moved the forefinger, beckoning the animal to him. At the suggestion of the doctor we stood on one side, and opened a passage for the dog. The animal crouching in the farthest corner of the room, hung his head, doubtful of the duty required of him; but the moment R—— motioned with his hand, the dog in one bound reached the bed. The wan, vacant countenance of the sufferer, brightened with the hue and intelligence of health, for he smiled and moved his lips, though he had not sufficient strength to articulate a word. The dog sometimes licked his hand, and then with playfulness, took the [Pg 421]moving finger between his teeth, and allowing it to slip from his mouth, would seize it again; and so, although both were speechless, both understood each other. At last some sad reflection, the thought perhaps of home, or the little chance he had more of sharing the affection of any human thing, as he did now, crossed his mind; for the sick man closed his eyes, while yet his finger moved as before and the noble brute still toyed with it, and oozing from under the shut lids, one by one, the tears ran over, and bathed his temples.

"We shall excite him, doctor," we said in a whisper.

"I think so," he replied; "leave him for the present."

We left the room; but it was with some difficulty we could get the dog to follow us. The attachment of animals is a common tradition, but I have never had the opportunity of seeing it so feelingly displayed as during the illness of King; nor did the rage of the elements, or the fear of death press heavier on my spirits than the mute love of Sailor and Jacko touched me deeply. No living creatures could have remembered with more devotional sincerity the acts of friendship and human kindness, or demonstrated their grief with greater effect and truth.

Our stay at Bergen was greatly lengthened by the illness of King; for R—— did not like to leave Norway without being assured of [Pg 422]his ultimate recovery. During our sojourn, the guide, a Swede, whom we had hired, pointed out the house in which the Marquis of Waterford was lodged after his encounter with the watchman, when his life was nearly lost. Borne on their shoulders, the watchmen carry about with them a long staff, at the end of which is a circular knob full of small spikes that resemble the rays of a star, on which account the staff is called the Morning Star; and with one of these astral knobs the noble Lord, in a scuffle, was struck on the head. The inhabitants of Bergen still remember the Marquis; and while they condemn the conduct of their countryman, exalt the character of the young nobleman; and I believe myself, that the local trade of the town never received before his arrival, or after his departure, such an impetus as it did from the liberality and personal expenditure of Lord Waterford. Our guide did nothing else but talk of him, and laughed till he cried while recounting the comical freaks of "the sweet man;" or, as he phrased him vernacularly,

"Manen sött."

The lateness of the season made R—— anxious to quit Norway before the middle of August; and since King could not, under the most favourable circumstances, leave his bed before the end of the month, we thought of our return to England. On the afternoon of the 7th, King being pronounced entirely out [Pg 423]of danger, and, as far as human wisdom could tell, certain of regaining his former health, we sailed; but R—— left in the hands of the British Consul a sum of money, to purchase whatever might be required for King's present use, and future passage to England; and writing a note which was to be given to him by the Consul, when he was sufficiently well to read it, R—— told the poor fellow not to be hurt at our departure; but that we had sailed from Bergen by compulsion, and not according to the dictates of our own hearts. Promising to touch at Harwich, and communicate to his wife the tidings of his convalescence, for we had written to inform her of her husband's desperate condition, R—— concluded by intimating, that the Consul would supply him with every luxury he desired, and he was not to hesitate in the expression of any fancy his sickly state might prompt him to make. R—— told him, also, to join the yacht at Cowes when he returned to England. King lived to see the English shores again, and gratefully, in the blunt, pathetic language of a sailor, to thank his amiable benefactor. He fills, at this moment, his old post.

Although the afternoon was calm, the cutter dropped rapidly down the Fiord, until within four miles of the sea. The pilot, one of the most expert at Bergen, had been very anxious to get the yacht clear from the land before night-fall, that he might be on his homeward [Pg 424]way in good time; nor were we less desirous of taking our departure before set of sun. But Fortune seems ever to act towards some men with the sincerest malice. About half a league, as I have said, from the mouth of this Fiord, one of many that conducts to Bergen, and on the starboard shore, is a rock that juts towards the centre of the channel, and forms a small bay. Mariners know the spot well, and avoid it. The surrounding scenery, fraught with the natural softness of beauty and severe grandeur of Norway, resembles most other things that bear, seductively, external comeliness, and carry an antidote unseen. The bay is a whirlpool. Our hyperboreal Palinurus was perfectly acquainted with this modern Charybdis, and used every stratagem of which he was master, to escape it; but the wind being light, left the cutter to the mercy of the current. Nearly three hours the yacht did nothing else but revolve, as if she were fixed on a pivot, and not all the united exertions of the crew could tow her out of the eddy.

The unhappy pilot stamped his foot every time the cutter took a fresh whirl, and called his favourite Odin to witness his dilemma; but Odin paid as much deference to his prayers as Hercules did, of yore, to the waggoner who got the wheel of his cart in the rut. The cutter wearied not in her waltz; but, whether she felt the want of a partner, or the power [Pg 425]of the wind, I know not; for when the pilot had lighted his pipe, and given his soul to its soporific ward, she darted unexpectedly out of the circling haven, and ceased not in her flight until the first wave of the Ocean leaped up against her bow with so much rude impetuosity that her hull staggered under its force, and her gaff-topsail shook with anger at such lack of gentleness.

Amid a multitudinous salute of "Farväl!" the pilot bundled into his pram; and even now I see him tossed about, looking the very configuration of "Gamle Norge."

The sameness of all other seas is not forbidden to this northern one; and except a more constant repetition of squalls and showers of rain, I distinguished the great family likeness. The 8th of August passed pleasantly enough, and for those souls which can absorb the sublimity of water, and soar to the infinity of space, the scene might have seemed wondrous in width and height; but the subsequent day, while sitting below and reading, I heard a tremendous racket on deck, and before I could exactly arrange the different sounds, the main-sail and gaff-topsail came to the deck "with a run;" and for aught I knew to the contrary, but strongly imagined, the gib and foresail followed their example with like expedition.

"We shall go up in the air, like a balloon!" one of the sailors, with a twang of horror in his voice, exclaimed.

[Pg 426]"Ay, or swamped!" a second suggested, loudly, with dreadful determination.

"Ay, ay; and the deck's as good as stove in!" growled a third nautical son of a Shuhite.

I threw the book I had been perusing on the cabin table, and hurried towards the staircase; but one of my friends met me at the door, and moving with the same velocity as myself, we came into sharp collision. He rebounded to the right, and I recoiled to the left hand.

"For God's sake, get out of the way," said he, out of breath, and recovering his legs as fast as he could.

"What's the matter?" I asked, with much alarm. "Is the vessel on fire, or what?"

"No;—nothing," replied he, with a wildness of look that foretold anything but nothing. "Here, steward!" he called out at the top of his voice,—"Alfred!—Gandy!—cook!"—dismay expanding the sources of information, and adding loudness to his vociferation—"Where's my gun?"

The steward, Alfred, Gandy, and the cook were busily employed elsewhere, for they made no reply, and my friend soon found, without their assistance, what, at first, confusion of mind had hid from his sight.

Breathless, too, with the flushed face and disordered dress of haste and horror, my other fellow traveller came thundering down the companion, and the thick shooting-boots he commonly wore clattered the importance of his approach.

[Pg 427]"Gracious heaven!" I exclaimed, "What is all this about? If I am to be——"

"Where's the powder?" asked he, and brushing by me, like a rocket, to get across the cabin, brought his shoulder so forcibly in contact with my chest, that he knocked all the breath out of my lungs, and broke my second sentence into pieces.

"Where's the powder?" again asked he, his voice ascending in the scale of articulation.

"How am I to know?" fulminated the one, angrily, loading his gun with the despatch of an adroit musketeer. "Am I a magazine?"

"No; I know that," said the other, tartly.

"Well; what's the good of baiting a fellow when he's busy," replied the first decisively.

I could rest no longer in ignorance of my fate, and I scrambled on deck. The vessel labouring very much in a heavy sea, had not a stitch of canvass on her, and her bare mast tapered into the air like a cocoa-nut tree that had been discrowned.

"What is all this?" I said, appealing to one man who had hold of the tiller, and, with his neck extended like a race-horse, seemed to be steering as if the greatest way was on the vessel.

"Look there, your Honour," and without removing his eyes from the bow of the cutter, he pointed the thumb of his left hand over his shoulder. I turned, and saw, half a mile astern, the cause of all this uproar. But I [Pg 428]had barely a clear conception of what I was looking at, when my companions with loaded guns reappeared on deck. The triggers clicked, and I assumed their guns were to be discharged at once, but D—— called out,

"Not yet; it's too far off."

"Tell us when to fire, then," said my two friends, filing themselves in that attitude which the reader may have observed in a regiment of soldiers, when the word is given to "present."

"What!" I cried out, now that I found my senses by the visual elucidation of the threatened evil;

"What! you don't mean to say you are going to fire with a couple of fowling pieces at a water-spout?"

"To be sure, Sir," answered D——, giving me a momentary glance that he ventured to take, clandestinely, from the water-spout. "Don't they fire guns to break them?"

"Yes," I replied, "people do,—cannon!"

However, I could not get any one to agree with me, that a rifle-ball would have just as much effect on the dispersion of the huge water-spout that boiled and waved, like an elastic tower, to and fro with the wind, and roared in the wake of the yacht, as a sigh would arrest the rotation of Sirius; and so, placing my life in the custody of Providence, I went back to my book, and left my companions standing on the poop with guns [Pg 429]presented, and the whole crew with leaping hearts and open mouths waiting the efficacy of their artillery. I did not hear the discharge of the two guns; but the water-spout kept them in great trepidation, by approaching within a hundred yards of the cutter, and then resolving into its native cloud and water.

The following day the high lands in the vicinity of Whitby in Yorkshire were seen; and at four o'clock the same afternoon we passed close under the frowning headland, on which the old ruins of the castle stand. A south-west wind appearing desirous to treat us with another gale, we brought up off Scarborough for the night; and notwithstanding the swell which precluded all other boats from intercourse with the shore, we managed to reach the land in a gig, and stretched our legs on English ground again.

Early in the morning P—— left us for London, fearful that the wind might detain us some time at Scarborough; but five hours after his departure, at mid-day, with a fresh breeze, we got under weigh; and, though the wind continued heading us the whole distance, reached Yarmouth as the clocks in the town were striking eight.

Having made up our minds not to remain more than the night at this place, the cutter lay in the roadstead.

We must have arrived at a moment of some gaiety, for on a terrace facing the sea, a band [Pg 430]was playing, and all the inhabitants had congregated to converse and walk. What a contrast to the country from which we had just come! No man can judge of the superiority of England, whether in the beauty and elegance of its women, the cleanliness of its towns, the multiplicity and aptness of its comforts, but he who has wandered in other parts of the world. Grumblers are domestic; just the same as spoiled brats cry for the very sake of peevishness, because they know not the pain of denial. As I have not much more time to speak, I would, with my last breath, recommend discontented people to travel; but if they should come back in the same fretful condition, well, let them go to——Bath;—no further.

At six o'clock on the morning of the 12th of August, we sailed from Yarmouth, and at a quarter to seven in the evening, the anchor of the Iris dropped within thirty yards of the pier-head at Erith.

By the first flush of day, taking the early tide, the cutter crept up the familiar, winding River; and while yet I pondered on the reason why I should love my own land, with its yellow sky and puffing toil, better than the pure Heaven and kindly ease of foreign strands, the Hospital of Greenwich lay within the cast of a stone. The crimson flag was waving on the western turret, just as it waved in May, and so, with his two wooden legs projecting at right angles to his body, sat alone, on the [Pg 431]same bench, the lone old pensioner. I seemed to have been sleeping for three months. I felt sad, and knew not why. How ideal is the reality of life! and the inexpressive cause of grief is the consciousness of that truth.

The sailors, as they furled the sails, talked of home. The deer and fawn, ceasing to ruminate, viewed their new country with surprise; but Jacko going into Sailor's hutch, begged, without doubt, to know if he might ride through the town on his back; and Greenwich, like Brundusium, was,

"longæ finis chartæque viæque."

As all men are not of the same stature, so their minds differ in the means of accepting knowledge, or entertainment, and to please every one is a difficult thing. To hope, therefore, that I should afford amusement to all who read these pages, would be to aspire for that which has not fallen to the lot of any one; but if out of the incongruity of opinions I have expressed, be they ever so weak, or opposed to each other, instruction may be taken, then I shall not have striven without a result. For me, I have no moral lesson to teach; but by writing, to repeat what I have witnessed, and by that repetition to impart to others those things which, sheltered, though of the same world, by a different sky, and shadowed by other customs, were pleasing to my mind and sight.

[Pg 432]My task is done; and, like a dream, is dreamt the recollection of human things already changed and ever changing. The remembrance of the interesting country through which I have been travelling shall abide by me always; for, encouraged by the desire to speak and muse, as I do now, of the hardy, freely happy, and contented sons of its mountains, I first learned that no greater blessing could be granted than a life of honourable industry, and that, pine who might beneath the infliction of mental or bodily exertion, I had known the exalted destiny of creation in the effort to be useful. Like an exile turning to take a last glance at the blue outlines of his native land, I, too, have lingered to look back; yet the pleasant retrospection of three happy months is at an end; and I now dream of its delight as one who feels that, in the swift transition of existence, such peace of mind can never come again.



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Transcriber's Note

Some inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document has been preserved.

Typographical errors corrected in the text:

Page    vii   Fæde changed to Fædde
Page      1   sympathize changed to sympathise
Page    12   galf-topsail changed to gaff-topsail
Page    13   horison changed to horizon
Page    41   ecstacies changed to ecstasies
Page    42   held changed to help
Page    46   underweigh changed to under weigh
Page    49   haliard changed to halliard
Page    50   profitting changed to profiting
Page    61   cruize changed to cruise
Page    76   mareschino changed to maraschino
Page    86   Fredrickshavn changed to Fredrikshavn
Page    87   rivetted changed to riveted
Page  102   pannel changed to panel
Page  109   Thorwalsden changed to Thorwaldsen
Page  140   attentention changed to attention
Page  142   villanously changed to villainously
Page  187   wordly changed to worldly
Page  202   hullabulloo changed to hullabaloo
Page  261   mackaw's changed to macaw's
Page  292   paralized changed to paralyzed
Page  292   lymb changed to limb
Page  299   moskitoes changed to mosquitoes
Page  330   geting changed to getting
Page  330   merschaums changed to meerschaums
Page  400   cruizing changed to cruising
Page  438   Boccacio changed to Boccaccio

Pages  183-186   quotation marks confirmed as in original text

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Sweden, by W. A. Ross


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