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´╗┐Title: Chasing the Sun
Author: Ballantyne, R. M. (Robert Michael), 1825-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chasing the Sun" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Chasing the Sun, by R.M. Ballantyne.

Our Hero, Fred Temple, has risen to be a senior manager in the great
Liverpool business founded by his father.  But he was getting overworked
and deeply tired, so one day he announced that he was taking leave for a
while and was going to visit Norway in a small yacht.

Ballantyne had several holidays in Norway, so to write about it and
describe it was a pleasure to him.  This book is therefore an account of
Norway seen through the eyes of an enthusiast for that country.

Fred takes some friends with him.  Together, they have great adventures
and great fun.  They even venture so far north as Lapland, and the Land
of the Midnight Sun.

A wonderful piece of vintage Victoriana at its best.




Fred Temple was a tall, handsome young fellow of about five-and-twenty.

He had a romantic spirit, a quiet gentlemanly manner, a pleasant smile,
and a passionate desire for violent exercise.  To look at him you would
have supposed that he was rather a lazy man, for all his motions were
slow and deliberate.  He was never in a hurry, and looked as if it would
take a great deal to excite him.  But those who knew Fred Temple well
used to say that there was a great deal more in him than appeared at
first sight.  Sometimes a sudden flush of the brow, or a gleam of his
eyes, told of hidden fires within.

Fred, when a small boy, was extremely fond of daring and dangerous
expeditions.  He had risked his life hundreds of times on tree-tops and
precipices for birds' nests, and had fought more hand-to-hand battles
than any of the old Greek or Roman heroes.  After he became a man, he
risked his life more than once in saving the lives of others, and it was
a notable fact that many of the antagonists of his boyhood became, at
last, his most intimate friends.

Fred Temple was fair and ruddy.  At about the age of nineteen certain
parts of his good-looking face became covered with a substance
resembling floss-silk.  At twenty-five this substance had changed into a
pair of light whiskers and a lighter moustache.  By means of that
barbarous custom called shaving he kept his chin smooth.

Fred's father was a wealthy Liverpool merchant.  At the period when our
tale opens Fred himself had become chief manager of the business.
People began, about this time, to say that the business could not get on
without him.  There were a great number of hands, both men and women,
employed by Temple and Son, and there was not one on the establishment,
male or female, who did not say and believe that Mr Frederick was the
best master, not only in Liverpool, but in the whole world.  He did not
by any means overdose the people with attentions; but he had a hearty
offhand way of addressing them that was very attractive.  He was a firm
ruler.  No skulker had a chance of escape from his sharp eye, but, on
the other hand, no hard-working servant was overlooked.

One day it was rumoured in the works that Mr Frederick was going to
take a long holiday.  Since his appointment to the chief charge, Fred
had taken few holidays, and had worked so hard that he began to have a
careworn aspect, so the people said they were "glad to hear it; no one
in the works deserved a long holiday better than he."  But the people
were not a little puzzled when Bob Bowie, the office porter, told them
that their young master was going away for three months to chase the

"Chase the sun, Bob! what d'ye mean?" said one.  "I don't know wot I
mean; I can only tell ye wot I say," answered Bowie bluntly.

Bob Bowie was an old salt--a retired seaman--who had sailed long as
steward of one of the ships belonging to the House of Temple and Son,
and, in consequence of gallantry in saving the life of a comrade, had
been pensioned off, and placed in an easy post about the office, with
good pay.  He was called Old Bob because he looked old, and was
weather-worn, but he was stout and hale, and still fit for active

"Come, Bowie," cried another, "how d'ye know he's goin' to chase the

"Cause I heerd him say so," replied Bob.

"Was he in earnest?" inquired a third.

"In coorse he wos," said Bob.

"Then it's my opinion," replied the other, "that old Mr Temple'll have
to chase _his_ son, and clap him in a strait-jacket w'en he catches
him--if he talks such stuff."

The porter could not understand a joke, and did not like one, so he
turned on his heel, and, leaving his friends to laugh at their comrade's
jest, proceeded to the counting-room.

There were two counting-rooms--a small outer and a large inner one.  In
the outer room sat a tall middle-aged man, lanky and worn in appearance
and with a red nose.  Opposite to him, at the same desk, sat a small fat
boy with a round red face, and no chin to speak of.  The man was writing
busily--the boy was drawing a caricature of the man, also busily.

Passing these, Bob Bowie entered the inner office, where a dozen clerks
were all busily employed, or pretending to be so.  Going straight onward
like a homeward-bound ship, keeping his eyes right ahead, Bob was
stranded at last in front of a green door, at which he knocked, and was
answered with a hearty "Come in."

The porter went in and found Fred Temple seated at a table which was
covered with books and papers.

"Oh!  I sent for you, Bowie, to say that I want you to go with me to
Norway to-morrow morning."

"To Norway, sir!" said Bowie in surprise.

"Ay, surely you're not growing timid in your old age, Bob!  It is but a
short voyage of two or three days.  My little schooner is a good
sea-boat, and a first-rate sailor."

"Why, as for bein' _timid_," said the porter, rubbing the end of his
nose, which was copper-coloured and knotty, "I don't think I ever knowed
that there feelin', but it does take a feller aback to be told all of a
suddent, after he's reg'larly laid up in port, to get ready to trip
anchor in twelve hours and bear away over the North Sea--not that I
cares a brass fardin' for that fish-pond, blow high, blow low, but it's
raither suddent, d'ye see, and my rig ain't just seaworthy."

Bowie glanced uneasily at his garments, which were a cross between those
of a railway-guard and a policeman.

"Never mind the rig, Bob," cried Fred, laughing.  "Do you get ready to
start, with all the underclothing you have, by six to-morrow morning.
We shall go to Hull by rail, and I will see to it that your top-sails
are made all right."

"Wery good, sir."

"You've not forgotten how to make lobscouse or plum-duff, I dare say?"

Bob's eyes brightened as he replied stoutly, "By no manner o' means."

"Then be off, and, remember, sharp six."

"Ay, ay, sir," cried the old seaman in a nautical tone that he had not
used for many years, and the very sound of which stirred his heart with
old memories.  He was about to retire, but paused at the threshold of
the green door.

"Beg parding, sir, but if I might make so bold as to ax--"

"Go on, Bob," said Fred encouragingly.

"I heerd ye say to our cashier, sir, that you wos goin' for to _chase
the sun_.  Wot sort of a chase may that be, sir?"

"Ha!  Bowie, that's a curious chase, but not a wild goose one, as I hope
to show you in a month or two.  You know, of course, that in the regions
of the earth north of the Arctic Circle the sun shines by night as well
as by day for several weeks in summer?"

"In coorse I do," answered Bob; "every seaman knows that or ought for to
know it; and that it's dark all day as well as all night in winter for
some weeks, just to make up for it, so to speak."

"Well, Bob, I am very desirous to see this wonderful sight with my own
eyes, but I fear I am almost too late of setting out.  The season is so
far advanced that the sun is setting farther and farther north every
night, and if the winds baffle us I won't be able to catch him sitting
up all night; but if the winds serve, and we have plenty of them we may
yet be in time to see him draw an unbroken circle in the sky.  You see
it will be a regular chase, for the sun travels north at a rapid pace.
D'you understand?"

Bob Bowie grinned, nodded his head significantly, retired, and shut the

Fred Temple, left alone, seized a quill and scribbled off two notes,--
one to a friend in Scotland, the other to a friend in Wales.  The note
to Scotland ran as follows:--

"MY DEAR GRANT,--I have made up my mind to go to Norway for three
months.  Principal object to chase the sun.  Secondary objects, health
and amusement.  Will you go?  You will find my schooner comfortable, my
society charming (if you make yourself agreeable), and no end of
salmon-fishing and scenery.  Reply by return of post.  I go to Hull
to-morrow, and will be there a week.  This will give you ample time to
get ready.

"Ever thine, FRED TEMPLE."

The note to Wales was addressed to Sam Sorrel, and was written in
somewhat similar terms, but Sam being a painter by profession, the
beauty of the scenery was enlarged on and held out as an inducement.

Both of Fred's friends had been prepared some time before for this
proposal, and both of them at once agreed to assist him in "chasing the

That night Frederick Temple dreamed that the sun smiled on him in a
peculiarly sweet manner; he dreamed, still further, that it beckoned him
to follow it to the far north, whereupon Fred was suddenly transformed
into a gigantic locomotive engine; the sun all at once became a green
dragon with pink eyes and a blue tail; and he set off in chase of it
into the Arctic regions with a noise like a long roar of the loudest



A storm raged on the bosom of the North Sea.  The wind whistled as if
all the spirits of Ocean were warring with each other furiously.  The
waves writhed and tossed on the surface as if in agony.  White foam,
greenish-grey water, and leaden-coloured sky were all that met the eyes
of the men who stood on the deck of a little schooner that rose and sank
and staggered helplessly before the tempest.

Truly, it was a grand sight--a terrible sight--to behold that little
craft battling with the storm.  It suggested the idea of God's might and
forbearance,--of man's daring and helplessness.

The schooner was named the _Snowflake_.  It seemed, indeed, little
heavier than a flake of snow, or a scrap of foam, in the grasp of that
angry sea.  On her deck stood five men.  Four were holding on to the
weather-shrouds; the fifth stood at the helm.  There was only a narrow
rag of the top-sail and the jib shown to the wind, and even this small
amount of canvas caused the schooner to lie over so much that it seemed
a wonder she did not upset.

Fred Temple was one of the men who held on to the weather-rigging; two
of the others were his friends Grant and Sam Sorrel.  The fourth was one
of the crew, and the man at the helm was the Captain; for, although Fred
understood a good deal of seamanship, he did not choose to take on his
own shoulders the responsibility of navigating the yacht.  He employed
for that purpose a regular seaman whom he styled Captain, and never
interfered with him, except to tell him where he wished to go.

Captain McNab was a big, tough, raw-boned man of the Orkney Islands.  He
was born at sea, had lived all his life at sea, and meant (so he said)
to die at sea.  He was a grim, hard-featured old fellow, with a face
that had been so long battered by storms that it looked more like the
figure-head of a South-Sea whaler than the countenance of a living man.
He seldom smiled, and when he did he smiled grimly; never laughed, and
never spoke when he could avoid it.  He was wonderfully slow both in
speech and in action, but he was a first-rate and fearless seaman, in
whom the owner of the schooner had perfect confidence.

As we have fallen into a descriptive vein it may be as well to describe
the rest of our friends offhand.  Norman Grant was a sturdy Highlander,
about the same size as his friend Temple, but a great contrast to him;
for while Temple was fair and ruddy, Grant was dark, with hair, beard,
whiskers, and moustache bushy and black as night.  Grant was a
Highlander in heart as well as in name, for he wore a Glengarry bonnet
and a kilt, and did not seem at all ashamed of exposing to view his
brown hairy knees.  He was a hearty fellow, with a rich deep-toned
voice, and a pair of eyes so black and glittering that they seemed to
pierce right through you and come out at your back when he looked at
you!  Temple, on the contrary, was clad in grey tweed from head to foot,
wideawake included, and looked, as he was, a thorough Englishman.  Grant
was a doctor by profession; by taste a naturalist.  He loved to shoot
and stuff birds of every shape and size and hue, and to collect and
squeeze flat plants of every form and name.  His rooms at home were
filled with strange specimens of birds, beasts, fishes, and plants from
every part of Scotland, England, and Ireland--to the disgust of his old
nurse, whose duty it was to dust them, and to the delight of his little
brother, whose self-imposed duty it was to pull out their tails and pick
out their eyes!

Grant's trip to Norway promised a rich harvest in a new field, so he
went there with romantic anticipations.

Sam Sorrel was like neither of his companions.  He was a little fellow--
a mere spider of a man, and extremely thin; so thin that it seemed as if
his skin had been drawn over the bones in a hurry and the flesh
forgotten!  The Captain once said to Bob Bowie in a moment of confidence
that Mr Sorrel was a "mere spunk," whereupon Bob nodded his head, and
added that he was no better than "half a fathom of pump water."

If there was little of Sam, however, that little was good stuff.  It has
been said that he was a painter by profession.  Certainly there was not
a more enthusiastic artist in the kingdom.  Sam was a strange mixture of
earnestness, enthusiasm, and fun.  Although as thin as a walking-stick,
and almost as flat as a pancake, he was tough like wire, could walk any
distance, could leap farther than anybody, and could swim like a cork.
His features were sharp, prominent and exceedingly handsome.  His eyes
were large, dark, and expressive, and were surmounted by delicate
eyebrows which moved about continually with every changeful feeling that
filled his breast.  When excited his glance was magnificent, and the
natural wildness of his whole aspect was increased by the luxuriance of
his brown hair, which hung in long elf-locks over his shoulders.  Among
his intimates he was known by the name of "Mad Sam Sorrel."

When we have said that the crew of the schooner consisted of six picked
men besides those described and our friend Bob Bowie, we have enumerated
all the human beings who stood within the bulwarks of that trim little
yacht on that stormy summer's day.

There was, however, one other being on board that deserves notice.  It
was Sam Sorrel's dog.

Like its master, this dog was a curious creature.  It was little and
thin, and without form of any distinct or positive kind.  If we could
suppose that this dog had been permitted to make itself, and that it had
begun with the Skye-terrier, suddenly changed its mind and attempted to
come the poodle, then midway in this effort had got itself very much
dishevelled, and become so entangled that it was too late to do anything
better than finish off with a wild attempt at a long-eared spaniel, one
could understand how such a creature as "Titian" had come into

Sam had meant to pay a tribute of respect to the great painter when he
named his dog Titian.  But having done his duty in this matter, he found
it convenient to shorten the name into Tit--sometimes Tittles.  Tittles
had no face whatever, as far as could be seen by the naked eye.  His
whole misshapen body was covered with long shaggy hair of a light grey
colour.  Only the end of his black nose was visible in front and the
extreme point of his tail in rear.  But for these two landmarks it would
have been utterly impossible to tell which end of the dog was which.

Somehow the end of his tail had been singed or skinned or burned, for it
was quite naked, and not much thicker than a pipe-stem.

Tittles was extremely sensitive in regard to this, and could not bear to
have his miserable projection touched.

How that storm did rage, to be sure!  The whole sea was lashed into a
boiling sheet of foam, and the schooner lay over so much that it was
impossible for the men to stand on the deck.  At times it seemed as if
she were thrown on her beam-ends; but the good yacht was buoyant as a
cork, and she rose again from every fresh blast like an unconquerable

"It seems to me that the masts will be torn out of her," said Temple to
the Captain, as he grasped the brass rail that surrounded the
quarterdeck, and gazed upward with some anxiety.

"No fear o' her," said the Captain, turning the quid of tobacco in his
cheek; "she's a tight boat, an' could stand a heavier sea than this.  I
hope it'll blow a wee thing harder."

"Harder!" exclaimed Fred.

"You must be fond of wind, Captain," observed Grant with a laugh.

"Oo ay, I've no objection to wund."

The Captain said this, as he said everything else, more than half
through his nose, and very slowly.

"But do you not think that more wind would be apt to carry away our
top-masts, or split the sails?" said Temple.

"It's not unlikely," was the Captain's cool reply.

"Then why wish for it?" inquired the other in surprise.

"Because we're only thirty miles from the coast of Norway, and if the
wund holds on as it's doin', we'll not make the land till dark.  But if
it blows harder we'll get under the shelter of the Islands in daylight."

"Dark!" exclaimed poor Sam Sorrel, who, being a bad sailor, was very
sick, and clung to the lee bulwarks with a look of helpless misery; "I
thought there was no dark in Nor--."

The unhappy painter stopped abruptly in consequence of a sensation in
the pit of his stomach.

"There's not much darkness in Norway in summer," answered McNab, "but at
the south end of it here there's a little--specially when the weather is
thick.  Ay, I see it's comin'."

The peculiar way in which the Captain said this caused the others to
turn their eyes to windward, where it was very evident that something
was coming, for the sky was black as ink, and the sea under it was
ruffled with cold white foam.

"Stand by the clew-lines and halyards," roared the Captain.

The men, who were now all assembled on deck, sprang to obey.  As they
did so a squall came hissing down on the weather-quarter, and burst upon
the vessel with such fury that for a moment she reeled under the shock
like a drunken man, while the spray deluged her decks, and the wind
shrieked through the rigging.

But this was too violent to last.  It soon passed over and the gale blew
more steadily, driving the _Snowflake_ over the North Sea like a seamew.

That evening the mountains of Norway rose to view.  About the time that
this occurred the sky began to clear towards the north-west and soon
after a white line of foam was seen on the horizon right ahead.  This
was the ocean beating on the great army of islands, or skerries, that
line the west coast of Norway from north to south.

"Hurrah for old Norway!" shouted Fred Temple with delight, when he first
observed the foam that leaped upon these bare rocky islets.

"It seems to me that we shall be wrecked," said Grant gravely.  "I do
not see an opening in these tremendous breakers, and if we can't get
through them, even a landsman could tell that we shall be dashed to

"Why not put about the ship and sail away from them?" suggested Sorrel,
looking round with a face so yellow and miserable that even the Captain
was _almost_ forced to smile.

"Because that is simply impossible," said Fred Temple.

Poor Sam groaned and looked down at his dog, which sat trembling on the
deck between his feet, gazing up in its master's face sadly--at least so
it is to be supposed; but the face of Tittles, as well as the expression
thereof, was invisible owing to hair.

"_Is_ there an opening, Captain?" inquired Fred in a low, serious tone.

"Oo ay, no fear o' that," replied the Captain.

There was, indeed, no fear of that, for as the schooner approached the
islands, numerous openings were observed.  It also became evident that
the gentlemen had mistaken the distance from the broken water, for they
were much longer of reaching the outer skerries than they had expected,
and the foam, which at first appeared like a white line, soon grew into
immense masses, which thundered on these weather-worn rocks with a deep,
loud, continuous roar, and burst upwards in great spouts like white
steam many yards into the air.

"Captain, are the islands as numerous everywhere along the coast as they
are here?" said Fred.

"'Deed ay, an' more," answered the Captain, "some places ye'll sail for
fifty or sixty miles after getting among the skerries before reachin'
the main."

They were now within a hundred yards of the islands, towards a narrow
channel, between two of which the Captain steered.  Every one was
silent, for there was something awful in the aspect of the great dark
waves of the raging sea, as they rolled heavily forward and fell with
crash after crash in terrific fury on the rocks, dashing themselves to
pieces and churning the water into foam, so that the whole sea resembled

To those who were unaccustomed to the coast, it seemed as if the
schooner were leaping forward to certain destruction; but they knew that
a sure hand was at the helm, and thought not of the danger but the
sublimity of the scene.

"Stand by the weather-braces," cried McNab.

The schooner leaped as he spoke into the turmoil of roaring spray.  In
ten seconds she was through the passage, and there was a sudden and
almost total cessation of heaving motion.  The line of islands formed a
perfect breakwater, and not a wave was formed, even by the roaring gale,
bigger than those we find on such occasions in an ordinary harbour.  As
isle after isle was passed the sea became more and more smooth, and,
although the surface was torn up and covered with foam, no great rollers
heaved the vessel about.  The tight little craft still bent over to the
blast, but she cut through perfectly flat water now.

A delightful feeling of having come to the end of a rough voyage filled
the hearts of all on board.  Sam Sorrel raised his head, and began to
look less yellow and more cheerful.  Tittles began to wag the stump of
his miserable tail, and, in short, every one began to look and to feel

Thus did the _Snowflake_ approach the coast of Norway.

Now, it is by no means an uncommon occurrence in this world that a calm
should follow close on the heels of a storm.  Soon after the _Snowflake_
had entered the islands the storm began to abate, as if it felt that
there was no chance of overwhelming the little yacht now.  That night,
and the greater part of the following day, a dead calm prevailed, and
the schooner lay among the islands with her sails flapping idly from the

A little after midnight all on board were asleep, save the man at the
helm and Captain McNab, who seemed to be capable of existing without
sleep for any length of time when occasion required.  The schooner now
lay in a latitude so far north that the light of the sun never quite
left the sky in clear weather.  A sweet soft twilight rested on the
rocky islands and on the sea, and no sound disturbed the stillness
except the creaking of the yards or the cries of seamews.

Yes, by the way, there was another sound.  It proceeded from the cabin
where our three friends lay sleeping on the sofas.  The sound was that
of snoring, and it issued from the wide-open mouth of Sam Sorrel, who
lay sprawling on his back, with Tittles coiled up at his feet.

It is probable that Sam would have snored on for hours, but for a piece
of carelessness on his part.  Just before going to rest he had placed a
tin can of water close to his head in such a way that it was balanced on
the edge of a shelf.  A slight roll of the schooner, caused by the
entrance of a wave through an opening in the islands, toppled this can
over and emptied its contents on the sleeper's face.

He leaped up with a roar, of course.  Tittles jumped up with a yelp,
while Grant and Temple turned round with a growl at having been
awakened, and went off to sleep again.

But sleep was driven away from the eyes of Sam Sorrel.  He made one or
two efforts to woo it back in vain, so in despair he jumped up, put his
sketch-book in his pocket, seized a double-barrelled fowling-piece, and
went on deck, followed by Tittles.  The little boat was floating under
the quarter, and a great mountainous island lay close off the starboard
bow.  Getting into the boat, Sam rowed to the island, and was soon
clambering up the heights with the activity of a squirrel.

Sam paused now and then to gaze with admiration on the magnificent scene
that lay spread out far below him; the innumerable islands, the calm
water bathed in the soft light of early morning, and the schooner
floating just under his feet like a little speck or a sea-gull on the
calm sea.  Pulling out his book and pencil, he sat down on a rock and
began to draw.

Suddenly the artist was startled by the sound of a heavy pair of wings
overhead.  Thousands of seagulls flew above him, filling the air with
their wild cries, but Sam did not think it possible that they could
cause the sound which he had, heard.  While he was still in doubt an
enormous eagle sailed majestically past him.  It evidently had not seen
him, and he sat quite still, scarce daring to draw his breath.  In a
moment the gigantic bird sailed round the edge of a precipitous cliff,
and was gone.

Sam at once rose and hurried forward with his gun.  He was much excited,
for eagles are very difficult to approach--they are so shy and wary.
Few men who go to Norway ever get the chance of a shot at the king of

Judge, then, of the state of Sam Sorrel's mind when, on turning a corner
of rock, he suddenly beheld the eagle standing on the edge of a great
precipice about a hundred yards in advance of him.

But his hopes were much cast down when he observed that between him and
the eagle there was a space of open ground, so that he could not creep
farther forward without being seen.  How was he to advance?  What was he
to do?  Such a chance might not occur again during the whole voyage.  No
time was to be lost, so he resolved to make a rush forward and get as
near as possible before the bird should take to flight.

No sooner thought than done.  He rushed down the mountain-side like a
madman.  The eagle sprang up in alarm just as he reached the side of a
rounded rock.  Halting suddenly, he took aim, and fired both barrels.
The eagle gave a toss of its head and a twirl of its tail, and, sailing
slowly away round a neighbouring cliff, disappeared from view.

A deep groan burst from the poor artist as he exclaimed, "Oh dear, I've
missed it!"

But Sam was wrong.  He had _not_ missed it.  On climbing to the other
side of the cliff he found the eagle stretched on the ground in a dying
state.  Its noble-looking eye scowled for a moment on him as he came up,
then the head drooped forward and the bird died.  It measured six feet
four inches from tip to tip of its expanded wings, and was as
magnificent a specimen of the golden eagle as one could wish to see.

With a triumphant step Sam carried it down to the yacht, where he found
his comrades still sound asleep; so he quietly fastened the eagle up
over Grant's bed, with the wings expanded and the hooked beak close to
the sleeper's nose!

The day that followed this event continued calm, but towards evening a
light breeze sprang up, and before midnight the _Snowflake_ cast anchor
in the harbour of Bergen.



The city of Bergen is a famous and a strange old place.  In ancient days
it was a stronghold of the Vikings--those notorious sea-warriors who
were little better than pirates, and who issued from among the dark
mountains of Norway in their great uncouth galleys and swept across the
seas, landing on the coasts everywhere, to the terror of surrounding

They were a bold, fearless set, the Norse Vikings of old.  They voyaged
far and wide in open boats round the coasts of Europe, and across the
stormy sea, long before the mariner's compass was invented, and they
discovered Iceland and America long before Christopher Columbus was
born.  They had free spirits, these fierce Norwegians of old, and there
was much good as well as evil in them.  They had good and wise laws when
nearly all the rest of the world was lawless; and many of the laws and
customs which prevailed among them a thousand years ago exist at the
present day.  The bold Vikings were great colonisers; among other parts
of the world they overran and settled in a large portion of Great
Britain, and much of their blood--more than many people are aware of--
flows in our own veins.

But I am wandering from my subject.  Let me return to it by repeating
that Bergen, this ancient stronghold of the Vikings, is a famous and a
strange old place.

It is built at the foot of a steep mountain-range which is so close to
the margin of the sea that the city has barely room to stand.  One might
fancy that the houses were crowding and jostling each other and
squeezing themselves together, in order to avoid on the one hand being
pushed up the mountain-side, and, on the other hand, being thrust into
the sea.  Some of the smaller cottages and a few villas seem to have
been beaten in this struggle for standing-room, for they appear to have
been obliged to clamber up the mountain-side, and perch themselves on
spots where there does not seem to be standing-room for a goat.  From
such elevated positions they look down complacently on their crowded

The houses near the sea have not fared so well.  They are built _in_ the
water on piles, and are all of them warehouses with projections in
front, from which hang blocks and hoisting tackle.  These projections
resemble heads; the piles look like legs; and it does not require a very
strong effort of imagination to believe that the warehouses are great
living creatures which have waded into the sea, and are looking
earnestly down into the water to observe how the fish are getting on.

The houses are all built of wood; all are painted white, and all have
red-tiled roofs.  They are peaked and gable-ended to an extraordinary
degree, so that the general aspect of the city is confused and
irregular--all the more interesting and picturesque on this account.

A thought strikes me here, and when a thought strikes one, I think we
ought always to pay that thought the compliment of jotting it down.  It
is this--regularity in small details is pleasing; regularity on a grand
scale is disagreeable.  For instance, a chair with one leg turned,
another square, and a third ornamentally carved, would be a disagreeable
object.  The two front legs at least must be regular, and the two back
legs regular.  A chair is a small matter.  But proceed to a grander
subject--a city.  If every house is similar to its neighbours, if every
street is parallel to the rest, the effect is bad; regularity here is
disagreeable.  This is a deep subject requiring much study and
philosophical inquiry.  If I were to go farther into it, our friend Fred
Temple's adventures would have to be cast overboard.  I will, therefore,
cut it short with the remark that the subject is well worthy the
attention of even deeper-thinking men than are ever likely to read this

When the three friends, Temple, Grant, and Sorrel, found themselves in
the quaint old city of Bergen their first thought was _supper_; their
second thought _bed_.

Now this may seem to some minds a dreadfully low and contemptible state
of things.  "What!" a romantic reader may exclaim, "they had arrived in
that celebrated city, from which in days of old the stalwart Vikings
used to issue on their daring voyages, in which the descendants of these
grand fellows still dwell, and in which are interesting memorials of the
past and quaint evidences of the present.  Did your heroes, Temple,
Sorrel, and Grant, think of supper and of bed when their feet for the
first time trod the soil of Old Norway?"

Even so!  Romantic reader, I am bound to tell you that romance is all
very well in its way, but it has no power whatever over an empty stomach
or an exhausted brain.

When our three friends landed in Bergen it was past midnight.  Their
admiration of the scenery had induced them to neglect supper and to defy
sleep, so that when they landed they felt more than half inclined to
fall upon their boatman and eat him up alive, and then to fall down on
the stone pier and go off to sleep at once.

In this frame of mind and body they entered the house of Madame Sontoom,
and called for supper.

Madame Sontoom was the owner of a private hotel.  Moreover, she was the
owner of a plump body and a warm heart.  Consequently, she at once
became a mother to all who were fortunate enough to dwell under her

Her hotel was by no means like to a hotel in this country.  It was more
like a private residence.  There were no hired waiters.  Her amiable
daughters waited; and they did not look upon you as a customer, or
conduct themselves like servants.  No, they treated you as a visitor,
and conducted themselves with the agreeable familiarity of friends!  Of
course they presented their bill when you were about to leave them, but
in all other respects the idea of a hotel was banished from the mind.

"Supper," cried Temple, on entering the house.

"Ya, ya," (yes, yes), in cheerful tones from two of Madame Sontoom's

Then followed a violent conversation in the Norse language, in which
there was much that was puzzling, and more that was amusing, for the
Norwegian ladies were talkative and inquisitive.

Fred Temple had studied the Norse language for three months before
setting out on this voyage, and, being a good linguist he understood a
good deal of what was said, and could make his own wants known pretty
well.  Grant had studied the language also, but not for so long a time,
and, being an indifferent linguist, he made little headway in
conversation.  As to Sam Sorrel, he had no talent for languages.  He
hated every language but his mother-tongue, had not studied Norse at
all, and did not intend to do so.  It may be supposed, therefore, that
he was dumb.  Far from it.  He had picked up a few phrases by ear, and
was so fond of making use of these, and of twisting them into all shapes
and out of all shape, that he really appeared to be a great talker of
Norse, although in reality he could scarcely talk at all!

Supper consisted of coffee, rolls, eggs, "gamleost" (old cheese),
lobster, and smoked salmon.  The viands were good, the appetites were
also good, so the supper went off admirably.

"Ver so goot," said one of the young ladies, handing Mr Sorrel a plate
of smoked salmon.

"Tak, tak," (thanks, thanks), said our artist, accepting the salmon, and
beginning to devour it.

"I say, what d'ye mean by `ver so goot'?  You're never done saying it.
What does it mean?"

The fair waitress laughed, and bowed politely, as much as to say, "I
don't understand English."

"Can you explain it, Fred?" said Sam.

"Well, yes, I can give you a sort of explanation," replied Fred, "but it
is not an easy sentence to translate.  `Ver so goot' (another claw of
that lobster, please.  Thanks),--`ver so goot' is an expression that
seems to me capable of extension and distension.  It is a comfortable,
jovial, rollicking expression, if I may say so.  I cannot think of a
better way of conveying an idea of its meaning than saying that it is a
compound of the phrases `be so good,' `by your leave,' `good luck to
you,' `go it, ye cripples,' and `that's your sort.'  The first of these,
`be so good,' is the literal translation.  The others are more or less
mixed up with it.  You may rely on it, Sam, that when a Norwegian offers
you anything and says `ver so goot,' he means you well, and hopes that
you will make yourself comfortable."

"You don't say so, Fred; I'll adopt the phrase from this hour!"

Accordingly Sam Sorrel did adopt it, and used it on all and every
occasion, without any regard to its appropriateness.

Little was said at supper.  The whole party were too tired to converse.

"Now for bed," cried Sam, rising.  "I say, Fred, what's the Norse for a

"Seng," replied Fred.

"Seng! what a remarkable name!  Now, then, my good girl, _ver so goot_
will you show me my _seng_?  Good night, comrades, I'm off to--ha! ha!
what a musical idea--to seng."

"More probably to snore," observed Grant.

"Oh, Grant," said Sam, looking back and shaking his head, "give up
jesting.  It's bad for your health; fie for shame! good night."

Norwegian beds are wooden boxes of about three feet wide, and five and a
half long.  I have never been able to discover why it is that Norwegians
love to make their beds as uncomfortable as possible.  Yet so it is.

Grant had a room to himself.  Temple and our artist were shown into a
double-bedded room.

"Is that a bed?" said Sam, pointing to a red-painted wooden box in a
corner; "why, it's too short even for me, and you know I'm not a giant."

"Oh! then what must it be for me?" groaned Fred Temple.

On close examination it was found that each bed was too short for any
man above five feet two, and, further, that there was a feather-bed
below and a feather-bed above, instead of blankets.  Thus they lay that
night between two feather-beds, which made them so hot that it was
impossible to sleep at first.  Sorrel, being short, managed to lie
diagonally across his box, but Fred, being long, was compelled to double
himself up like a foot-rule.  However, fatigue at last caused them to
slumber in spite of all difficulties.  In the morning they were visited
by a ghost!



There was no night in Bergen at this time.  At the midnight hour there
was light enough to see to read the smallest print, and at an early hour
in the morning this sweet twilight brightened into dawn.

This being the case, Fred Temple was not a little surprised to see a
ghost make its appearance about six o'clock--for ghosts are famous for
their hatred of broad daylight.  Nevertheless there it was, in the form
of a woman.  What else could it be but a ghost? for no woman would dare
to enter his bedroom (so he thought) without knocking at the door.

The ghost had in her hand a tray with a cup of coffee on it.  Fred
watched her motions with intense curiosity, and kept perfectly still,
pretending to be asleep.  She went straight to the box in which Sam
Sorrel slept, and going down on her knees, looked earnestly into his
face.  As our artist's mouth happened to be wide-open, it may be said
that she looked down his throat.  Presently she spoke to him in a soft
whisper--"Will de have caffe?"  (Will you have coffee?)  A loud snore
was the reply.  Again she spoke, somewhat louder: "Vill de have caffe?"

A snort was the reply.

Once more, in a tone which would not be denied:

"_Vill de have caffe_?"

"Eh! hallo! what! dear me! yes--ah--thank you--_ver so goot_," replied
Sam, as he awoke and gazed in wild surprise at the ghost who was none
other than the female domestic servant of the house, who had brought the
visitors a cup of coffee before breakfast.

Sam's exclamations were wild at first, and he stared like a maniac, but
as consciousness returned he understood his position, and being
naturally a modest man, he hastily drew on his nightcap and gathered the
bedding round his shoulders.  Accepting the coffee, he drank it, and the
girl crossed the room to pay similar attentions to Fred Temple.

This presentation of a cup of coffee in bed before breakfast is a custom
in Norway, and a very pleasant custom it is, too, especially when it
breaks upon you unexpectedly for the first time.

"Now for the fish-market, Sam," cried Fred, leaping out of bed when the
girl had left the room.

"Who cares for the fish-market?" said Sam testily, as he turned round in
his bed, and prepared to slumber.

"I care for it," retorted Fred, "and so do you, old boy, only you are
lazy this morning.  Come, get up.  I have resolved to spend only one day
in this queer old city, so you _must_ not let drowsiness rob you of your
opportunities of seeing it.  The fish-market, you know, is famous.
Come, get up."

Temple enforced his advice by seizing his companion by the ankles and
hauling him out of bed.  Sam grumbled but submitted, and in a short time
they were ready to start.

"Hallo!  Grant," cried Fred, as they passed his door, "will you come
with us to ramble over the town?"

"No," said Grant, in a deep bass voice.


"Because I won't."

"A most excellent reason; one much in use in this world," replied
Temple, laughing.  "By the way, will you remember to order two sheep to
be killed for our voyage north?"

"Yes," in a sulky tone from Grant.

"Now mind, I trust this to you."

"Go away, and don't bother!"

Thus dismissed, Temple and Sorrel went out and sauntered towards the

Now, fish-markets are famous all the world over for noise, riot, and
confusion.  The fish-market of Bergen is no exception to the rule; but
there is this peculiarity about it, that the sellers of fish are all
men, and the buyers all women; moreover, the noise is all on the side of
the buyers!  The scene of the market is the pier, alongside of which the
fishermen's boats are ranged; and here the fish are sold direct from the
boats by the men to all the servant-girls of the town, who assemble each
morning to purchase the day's dinner.

The men, standing in the boats, are considerably below the level of the
pier, so that they have to look up at the girls, who look down at them
with eager, anxious faces.  The men, sure that their fish will be sold
in the long-run, are quiet sedate, silent.  The women, anxious to get
good bargains and impatient to get home, bend forward, shouting,
screaming, and flourishing arms, fists, and umbrellas.  Every one
carries an umbrella in Bergen, for that city is said to be the rainiest
in the world.  Of gay colours are these umbrellas too.  Pink and
sky-blue are not uncommon.  There is a stout iron rail round the pier,
which prevents the eager females from tumbling headlong into the boats.
Over this they lean and bargain.

Fierce were the pretty blue eyes of these Norse females, and flushed
were their fair faces, and tremendous was the flourishing of their
umbrellas and the shaking of their fists, at the time when Temple and
Sorrel approached.  The fishermen were used to it; they only smiled, or
paid no attention whatever to the noise.  And what was all the noise
about?  You shall hear.

Look at yonder flaxen-haired, pretty-faced, stoutish little girl,
leaning so far over the iron rail that it seems her desire to tumble
over it, and plunge into the arms of a rough old fisherman, who is
gazing quietly up at her with a sarcastic smile.  He has put up a lot of
fish for which she has offered "sex (six) skillings."  A skilling is
about equal to a halfpenny.

He thinks this too little, but he won't condescend to say so.  He merely
pays no attention to the girl's violent entreaties.  The language of the
girl bears so strong a resemblance to our own that it scarcely requires

"Fiskman," she cries, "vill du have otto skillings?"  (will you have
eight skillings?)

No, the fiskman won't have that; it is not enough, so he makes no reply,
but pretends to be washing his boat.

"Fiskman, fiskman, vill du have ni?"  (will you have nine?)

Still no reply.  The fisherman turns his back on the market, gazes out
to sea, and begins to whistle.

At this the girl becomes furious.  She whirls her umbrella in the air
desperately.  If that umbrella were only a foot longer the fiskman's
head would certainly feel its weight!

Presently the girl forces herself to become calm and deeply earnest; she
has made up her mind to make a liberal offer.

"Fiskman, vill du have ti (ten) skillings?"

The fiskman, who wears a red nightcap, with a tall hat on the top of it,
takes off his head-gear, exposes his bald pate to view, and wipes it
with a fishy cotton handkerchief; but he takes no notice whatever of the
girl, who now becomes mad--that is to say, she stamps, glares, shakes
her pretty little fist at the hard-hearted man, and gasps.

Suddenly she becomes reckless, and makes a wild offer of "tolve (twelve)

Ha! the mark is hit at last!  The fiskman can hold out no longer.
Without saying a word, he turns quietly round and hands up the fish.
The girl, without a word, stoops down and pays for them, and then goes
off in triumph, for her energy has been successful; she _has_ got the
fish a little cheaper than she had expected.

Suppose twenty or thirty such scenes going on at once, and you have a
faint idea of the Bergen fish-market.

It was just before the termination of the bargain which has been
described that Fred Temple and Sam Sorrel arrived on the scene.  The
artist was busy with his sketch-book in one minute.

"Sam," said Fred, touching his friend's arm, "look here, sketch me
yonder girl, like a good fellow."

"Which girl; the one with the nose?"

"If you see one _without_ a nose," retorted Fred, "I'll be glad to have
a portrait of her too."

"Nay, but really, I do see one with such a long red nose that--"

"Well, well," interrupted Fred impatiently, "it's not _her.  Do_ look to
where I am pointing; see, the stout pretty little woman who is talking
so fiercely to that fisherman."

"Oh, I see!" exclaimed Sam, who began to take her portrait without

Meanwhile Fred was observant.  At first he was much amused by the scene
before him, and continued to gaze with interest at one group after
another.  In a short time his curiosity was awakened by a handsome
Norwegian youth, whose gaze was fixed with intense earnestness on the
maiden whom Sam was sketching.  When the girl had concluded her bargain
and gone away, he observed that the youth, who appeared to be a
fisherman from his dress, went after her.

Without well knowing what he did, and without any very definite
intentions, Fred Temple followed them, and left his friend busy with his

The Norwegian youth soon overtook the girl, who at once received him
with a bright smile, and held out her hand.  The two then went on
together, turned to the left, and followed a winding road, which led up
the side of the mountain.  They appeared to converse earnestly as they
went.  Fred still followed them, but in a few minutes they paused in
front of a small white house, with a green door, so he was now compelled
to pass them.  As he did so, it suddenly occurred to his mind that he
was acting a mean, contemptible part in following them thus.  He blushed
as he thought of this, and passed quickly forward, intending to deny his
curiosity and take a ramble.  He could not help observing, however, that
the girl was weeping, and that the youth did not look happy by any

Having gained the brow of an eminence which overlooked the city, Fred
sat down behind a rock to admire the beautiful scenery and to ponder
what he had seen.

While he was thus engaged, he heard the voices of two men who approached
on the other side of the rock, and did not observe him.  They talked
loud, in the Norse language.  Fred understood enough of it to make out
their meaning pretty well.

"I tell you what it is, Hans," said one, "give her up.  You have no
chance of gaining the required sum for many years, and it's a hard case
to keep a poor girl waiting.  Give her up, man, and don't go on like a
silly love-sick boy."

"Give her up!" cried he who was called Hans,--"give her up!  Ah! my
friend Ole, I did not expect such counsel from thee.  But I tell thee
flatly I will _not_ give her up.  She loves me; I love her!  Sweet
Raneilda! nothing but death shall separate us!"

"A very pretty sentiment," retorted Old, "but pray, what do you mean to

"I have decided that," replied Hans; "I will fish all winter in the deep
sea, and all summer I will--"

"Well, what will you?"

"Alas!  I know not.  Would that I were a pilot, but I am not."

"But you know the coast as well as any pilot," said 016.

"True, but who would trust me--an unknown boy?" replied Hans sadly.

There was silence for a few minutes; then Ole said: "How much money do
you require to pay for your father's farm and set yourself up?"

"Two hundred dollars," [The dollar is equal to about 4 shillings and 6
pence sterling] answered Hans.

"A goodly sum," said Ole despondingly.  "No, no, Hans, give her up, boy,
give her up.  It is the advice of an oldish man and a true friend."

"It is the advice of an ass," retorted Hans fiercely.  "Go, my true
friend,--when I want your advice I will ask it."

The youth flung off from his friend, and came suddenly on Fred Temple,
who rose and saluted him.

"This is a splendid city of yours, Hans," said he.  "You know my name,
and you speak Norse," exclaimed the youth in surprise.

"I know your name, Hans, because I heard your friend mention it, and I
can speak a little Norse because I have studied it.  I have come to stay
in Old Norway for a few months, and would like to get a little
information about it from some one.  Are you a busy man just now?"

"No, not very busy," said Hans, with a disconcerted look.

"Then, could you call on me this afternoon?  I live in Madame Sontoom's

"I will come," said Hans, whose face beamed with good-humour.

"Good; I shall expect you.  Farewell."

"Farvel," replied Hans.

Fred sauntered down the hill that morning with a very peculiar smile on
his countenance.  There was something quite sly about his aspect, and
more than once his companions caught him chuckling at breakfast in a way
that surprised them much, for Fred Temple was not given to secrets, or
to act in an outrageous manner without any apparent reason.  But Fred
had his own peculiar thoughts that morning, and they tickled him to such
an extent that more than once he burst into a fit of laughter.

"Come, Fred, you're meditating something.  Out with it," said Grant.
"It is selfish to keep all your good thoughts to yourself."

"Not yet, not yet," replied Fred, with a mysterious look.  "You shall
know before our excursion comes to an end."

Further conversation was interrupted by the entrance of Hans Ericsson,
who was impatient to get employment of any kind in order to earn a few
dollars, and lay them up with a view to the future.  Fred took him
aside, and said in a low tone--"Hans, are you very anxious to wed

The young Norseman's face flushed, and he started as if he had received
a blow.

"Don't be angry, Hans," continued Fred; "I ask the question because I
think I can help you in the matter if you will allow me.  I do not ask
it out of idle curiosity.  Come, tell me your troubles like a good
fellow, and I'll put you in the way of getting out of them."

Hans was inclined to repel Fred's kind intentions at first, but the
Englishman's open, honest manner won upon him so much that he related to
him all his sorrows.

He was the son of Eric, who dwelt in a valley at the head of the Nord
Fiord.  His father was too old to manage his farm, and Hans wished to
take it up and work it on his own account.  But, in order to do so, he
must buy up the shares of the other members of his family.  This would
require 500 dollars.  He had worked hard for two years to make this sum,
but there was still 200 dollars to pay.  He could make this in the
course of time, but he had been engaged to Raneilda long, and he wished
now to make her his wife.  In short, he was tired of waiting.

"So, then, you would be glad to get some sort of work with good pay,"
said Fred.

"Ya," said Hans, with a nod of his head.

"Can you pilot a schooner from this to the Nord Fiord?"

"_Ya_, I know every island on the coast."

"Good; then be ready to start this evening.  I shall send my vessel
there in your charge, and I myself with my friends will travel overland
and meet you there.  Farewell!"

Hans went off to tell Raneilda, his handsome face beaming with joy.

"Now," said Fred, returning to his friends, "I have made arrangements
with a pilot to take the _Snowflake_ round to the Nord Fiord, and we
will travel overland to the same place and meet it.  The journey will be
a very charming one of several days, through wild magnificent scenery.
By the way, Grant, did you order the two sheep to be killed and sent
aboard immediately?"

"Of course I did.  Have I not always proved myself a trustworthy
messenger?  I told the man, in my best Norse, to have two `Kos' killed
without delay."

"Two what?" exclaimed Fred, with a look of alarm.

"Two Kos," returned Grant; "did you not tell me that Ko is the Norse
word for a sheep?"

"Why, as I live, you have ordered two _cows_ to be killed.  Quick, come
with me to the butcher's!"

The two friends rushed out of the house, and reached the shop of the man
of meat just in time, fortunately, to arrest the fatal blow.  The order
was of course countermanded, and they were thus saved the necessity of
setting up a butcher's shop in Bergen to get rid of their superabundant

That night the _Snowflake_ set sail for the far north, and next morning
our three adventurers were galloping through the wilds of Norway.



As I am now about to drag my reader through the wild interior of Norway,
let me try to describe it.  Don't be alarmed, dear reader, I do not mean
to be tedious on this point, but I candidly confess that I am puzzled as
to how I should begin!  Norway is _such_ a jumble of Nature's elements.
Perhaps a jumbled description may answer the purpose better than any
other.  Here it is, then.

Mountains, and crags, and gorges, and rocks, and serried ridges;
towering peaks and dark ravines; lakes, and fords, and glens, and
valleys; pine-woods, and glaciers, [For a full description of glaciers,
see "Fast in the Ice," page 86, volume 3 of this _Miscellany_]
streamlets, rivulets, rivers, cascades, waterfalls, and cataracts.  Add
to this--in summer--sweltering heat in the valleys and everlasting snow
and ice on the mountain-tops, with sunlight all night as well as all
day--and the description of Norway is complete.  No arrangement of these
materials is necessary.  Conceive them arranged as you will, and no
matter how wild your fancy, your conception will be a pretty fair idea
of Norway.  Toes these elements into some chamber of your brain; shake
them well up,--don't be timid about it,--then look at the result, and
you will behold Norway!

Having said thus much, it is unnecessary to say more.  Rugged grandeur
is the main feature of Norway.

On a lovely summer's evening, not long after the departure of the
_Snowflake_ from Bergen, our three travellers found themselves trotting
through a wild glen on each side of which rose a range of rugged
mountains, and down the centre of which roared a small river.  The glen
was so steep, and the bed of the torrent so broken, that there was not a
spot of clear water in its whole course.  From the end of the lake out
of which it flowed, to the head of the fiord or firth into which it ran,
the river was one boiling, roaring mass of milk-white foam.

Fred Temple and his friends travelled in the ordinary vehicle of the
country, which is called a _cariole_.  The Norwegian cariole holds only
one person, and the driver or attendant sits on a narrow board above the

Of course it follows that each traveller in Norway must have a cariole
and a pony to himself.  These are hired very cheaply, however.  You can
travel post there at the rate of about twopence a mile!  Our friends had
three carioles among them, three ponies, and three drivers or
"shooscarles," [This word is spelt as it should be pronounced] besides a
small native cart to carry the luggage.

Their drive that day, and indeed every day since starting, had been
emphatically up hill and down dale.  It was, therefore, impossible to
cross such a country in the ordinary jog-trot manner.  When not
ascending a steep hill, they were necessarily descending one; for the
level parts of the land are few and far between.  In order, therefore,
to get on at all, it was needful to descend the hills at a slapping
pace, so as to make up for time lost in ascending them.

There was something delightfully wild in this mode of progressing, which
gladdened the hearts of our travellers, each of whom had a strong dash
of recklessness in his composition.  There was a little danger, too,
connected with it, which made it all the more attractive.  Frequently
the roads were narrow, and they wound along the top of precipices over
which a false step might easily have hurled them.  At the foot of many
of the roads, too, there were sharp turns, and it was a matter of
intense delight to Sam Sorrel to try how fast he could gallop down and
take the turn without upsetting.

The Norwegian ponies are usually small and cream-coloured, with black
manes and tails or white manes and tails; always, from some
incomprehensible reason, with manes and tails different in colour from
their bodies.  They are hardy, active animals, and they seem to take
positive pleasure in the rattling, neck-or-nothing scamper that succeeds
each toilsome ascent.

The shooscarle is usually the owner of the pony.  He may be a man or a
boy, but whether man or boy he almost invariably wears a red worsted
nightcap.  He also wears coarse homespun trousers, immensely too long in
the body, and a waistcoat monstrously too short.  He will hold the reins
and drive if you choose, but most travellers prefer to drive themselves.

During the journey Fred Temple usually led the way.  Norman Grant, being
a careless, easy-going, drowsy fellow, not to be trusted, was placed in
the middle, and Sam Sorrel brought up the rear.  Sam's duty was to
prevent straggling, and pick up stray articles or baggage.

On the day of which I write the three friends had travelled far, and
were very sleepy.  It was near midnight when they came to a steep and
broken part of the road, which ran alongside of the foaming river
already mentioned, and, turning at a sharp angle, crossed it by means of
a rude wooden bridge.

Notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, the sky was almost as bright
as at noon.

"Mind yourself here," shouted Fred, looking back at Grant, who was
almost asleep.

"Hallo! oh, all right!" cried Grant, gathering up the reins and
attempting to drive.  Fortunately for him Norwegian ponies need no
driving.  They are trained to look after themselves.  Fred went down the
hill at a canter.  Grant followed at a spanking trot, and both of them
reached the bridge, and made the turn in safety.

Sam Sorrel was some distance behind.  Both he and his shooscarle were
sitting bolt-upright, more than half-asleep, with the reins hanging
loose on the pony's back.  The first thing that awakened Sam was the
feeling of going down hill like a locomotive engine.  Rousing himself,
he seized the reins, and tried to check the pony.  This only confused
it, and made it run the cariole so near to the edge of the river, that
they were almost upset into it.

When Sam became fully aware of his position, he opened his eyes, pursed
his lips, and prepared for "squalls."  Not being a practised driver, he
did not make sufficient allowance for a large stone which had fallen
from the cliffs, and lay on the road.  He saw what was coming, and
gathered himself up for a smash; but the tough little cariole took it as
an Irish hunter takes a stone wall.  There was a tremendous crash.
Sam's teeth came together with a snap, and the shooscarle uttered a
roar; no wonder, poor fellow, for his seat being over the axle, and
having no spring to it, the shock which he received must have been
_absolutely_ shocking!  However, they got over that without damage, and
the river was crossed by all three in safety.

The next hill they came to was a still worse one.  When they were
half-way down the leader came to a sudden halt; Grant's cariole almost
ran over it; Sam and the luggage-cart pulled up just in time, and so,
from front to rear, they were jammed up into the smallest space they
could occupy.

"Hallo! what's wrong?" shouted Grant.

"Oh! nothing, only a trace or something broken," replied Fred.  "Mend it
in a minute."

It was mended in a minute, and away they went again on their reckless
course over hill and dale.

The mending of the trace was a simple affair.  The harness of each pony
consisted of nothing more than the reins, a wooden collar, and a wooden
saddle.  The shafts were fastened to the collar by means of an iron pin,
and this pin was secured in its place by a green withe or birch-bough
twisted in a peculiar manner, so as to resemble a piece of rope.  This
was the only part of the harness that could break, so that when an
accident of the kind occurred the driver had only to step into the woods
and cut a new one.  It is a rough-and-ready style of thing, but well
suited to the rough country and the simple people of Norway.

Fred, being anxious to see as much as possible, had compelled his guide
to turn out of the usual high-road, the consequence of which was that he
soon got into difficulties; for although each shooscarle knew the
district through which they were passing, they could not quite
understand to what part of the country this peculiar Englishman was
going.  This is not surprising, for the peculiar Englishman was not
quite sure of that point himself!

On this particular night they seemed to have got quite lost among the
hills.  At every stage of ten or twelve English miles they changed
horses and drivers.  The drivers on this particular stage were more
stupid than usual, or Fred Temple was not so bright.  Be that as it may,
about midnight they arrived at a gloomy, savage place, lying deep among
the hills, with two or three wooden huts, so poor-looking and so dirty
that a well-bred dog would have objected to go into them.  Fred pulled
up when he came to this place, and Grant's pony pulled up when his nose
touched the back of Fred's cart.  Grant himself and his man were sound
asleep.  In a few seconds Sam joined them.

There was a brilliant, rosy light on the mountain-tops, but this came
down in a subdued form to the travellers in the valley.  The place
scarcely deserved the name of a valley.  It was more of a gorge.  The
mountains rose up like broken walls on each side, until they seemed to
pierce the sky.  If you could fancy that a thunderbolt had split the
mountain from top to bottom, and scattered great masses of rock all over
the gorge thus formed, you would have an idea of the soft of place in
which our belated travellers found themselves.  Yet even here there were
little patches of cultivated ground, behind rocks and in out-of-the-way
corners, where the poor inhabitants cultivated a little barley and grass
for their cattle.

It was a lovely calm night.  Had you been there, reader, you would have
said it was day, not night.  There was no sound to break the deep
stillness of all around except the murmur of many cataracts of melted
snow-water, that poured down the mountainsides like threads of silver or
streams of milk.  But the rush of these was so mellowed by distance that
the noise was soft and agreeable.

"I say, Grant, this will never do," said Fred gravely.

"I suppose not," returned Grant, with a yawn.

"What say you, Sam,--shall we go on?"

"I think so.  They can have nothing to give us in such miserable huts as
these except grod [barley-meal porridge], and sour milk, and dirty

"Perhaps not even so much as that," said Fred, turning to his driver.
"How far is it, my man, to the next station?"

"Ten miles, sir."

"Hum; shall we go on, comrades?"

"Go on; forward!" cried Grant and Sorrel.

So on they went as before, over hill and dale for ten miles, which poor
Sam (who was very sleepy, but could not sleep in the cariole) declared
were much more like twenty miles than ten.

The sun was up, and the birds were twittering, when they reached the
next station.  But what was their dismay when they found that it was
poorer and more miserable than the last!  It lay in a wilder gorge, and
seemed a much more suitable residence for wolves and bears than for
human beings.  Indeed, it was evident that the savage creatures referred
to did favour that region with their presence, for the skin of a wolf
and the skull of a bear were found hanging on the walls of the first hut
the travellers entered.

The people in this hamlet were extremely poor and uncommonly stupid.
Living as they did in an unfrequented district, they seldom or never saw
travellers, and when Fred asked for something to eat, the reply he got
at first was a stare of astonishment.

"We must hunt up things for ourselves, I see," cried Sam Sorrel,
beginning to search through the hut for victuals.  Seeing this, the
people assisted him; but all that they could produce was a box of barley
meat and two large flat dishes of sour milk.

This sour milk is a favourite dish with the Norwegians.  During summer
the cattle are sent to the pastures high up in the mountains, in order
to spare the small quantity of grass grown in the valleys, which is made
into hay and stored for winter use.  These mountain pastures are called
saeters, and the milk required by each family for daily use is carried
down from the saeter by the girls.  The milk is put into round flat
tubs, varying from one to two feet in diameter and four or five inches
deep.  It is then allowed to stand, not only until it is sour, but until
it is thick throughout like curd, with a thick coat of cream on the top.
In this form it is eaten with a spoon, and a very pleasant sight it is
to behold three or four sturdy herdsmen, and, perchance, one or two
boys, squatting round one of these large dishes, and supping away to
their hearts' content.

Grant seized the first dish of milk he discovered, and at once sat down
on a stool and began to devour it.

"Hold on, let us start fair!" cried Sam Sorrel, catching up a spoon, and
sitting down opposite his comrade on another stool.

The hut was built of rough logs, and the only furniture in it was of the
rudest description; a couple of box-beds, two or three stools, and a
bench, a gaily-painted chest in one corner, and a misshapen table was
all that it contained.  There was a very small door at one side, a
particularly small window at the other, and a raised stone fireplace at
one end.

"Well, while you two are stuffing yourselves with sour milk, I'll go and
search for better fare," said Fred, with a laugh as he left the hut.

"Good luck go with you," cried Grant; "a bird in the hand is worth two
in the bush.  Now, then, old boy," he continued, turning to the owner of
the hut, "could your goodwife make us a little porridge; I say, Sam,
what's the Norse for porridge?"

"Grod, [Grod is pronounced _groot_] I believe," said Sam, who was still
busy with the sour milk.

"Ah yes! grod, that's it," said Grant, turning again to the old man;
"grod, grod, get us some grod, grod, grod,--d'ye understand?"

"Ya, ya," answered the man.  It would have been very strange if he had
_not_ understood, for though Grant addressed him in English the word
_grod_ bawled so frequently into his ear was sufficiently

A fire was quickly kindled by the goodwife, a pleasant-looking elderly
woman; and the black family-pot was soon smoking.  The old man was
smoking too, in less than five minutes, for Grant, in the fulness of his
heart, gave him a pipe and a lump of tobacco.

This man was a fine specimen of a hale old Norseman.  He wore a complete
suit of brown homespun--excepting the jacket, which hung on a rusty nail
in the wall.  Knee-breeches and worsted stockings showed that even in
declining years he had a good pair of legs.  His grey hair hung in long
straight locks over his shoulders, and on his head was the invariable
red nightcap.  The only weakness for finery displayed by this old hero
was in the matter of buttons and braces.  The buttons were polished
brass of enormous size, and the braces were red.  These were displayed
to great advantage in consequence of a space of full four inches
intervening between the bottom of his vest and the waist-band of his

While the grod was being made, Fred Temple put up his fishing-rod and
rambled away in search of a stream.  He had not to go far.  In about
five minutes he found one that looked tempting.  At the very first cast
a large fish rose so greedily that it leaped quite out of the water and
missed the fly.  The next cast the fish caught the fly and Fred caught
the fish.  It was a splendid yellow trout of about a pound weight.  In
quarter of an hour Fred had three such trout in the pockets of his
shooting-coat; in half an hour more the three fish were consigned by the
three friends to the region of digestion!

And now the question of bed had to be considered.  Grant settled it as
far as he was concerned by throwing himself down on a pile of brushwood
that lay in a corner, pillowing his head on a three-legged stool, and
going off to sleep at once.  Fred and Sam looked at the two beds.  They
were extremely dirty, and it was evident that straw was the bedding.

"Come, travellers must not be particular," cried Fred, as he tumbled
into his box.

"I couldn't hold my eyes open five minutes longer to save my life,"
muttered Sam, as he rolled over into the other.

In a minute the three friends began to breathe heavily.  Two minutes
more and they were snoring, a trio in happy forgetfulness of all their

Now, it must be told that this pleasant state of things did not last
long.  Fred Temple and Sam Sorrel were not the only occupants of these
beds.  Truth, however disagreeable, must be revealed.  There were living
creatures which not only slept in those beds, but which dwelt there when
perfectly wide awake; and these creatures waged unceasing war with every
human being that lay down beside them.  In a very short time the
sleepers found this out.  Fred began to grow restless and to groan.  So
did Sam.  In the course of an hour or so Fred uttered a fierce
exclamation, and rose on his hands and knees.  So did Sam.  Then Fred
and Sam began to fight--not with each other, but--with the common enemy.

The battle raged for more than an hour, during which the foe, although
frequently routed, returned again and again to the charge.  Their
courage and determination were tremendous.  It cannot be said that Fred
and Sam were actually put to flight, but a regard for truth compels me
to state that they continued _fleaing_ the greater part of that morning,
and it was not until the sun was high in the heavens--pouring down a
flood of light into that wild glen--that they gained the victory, and
lay down to repose on their laurels and straw--not to mention the bodies
of the dead and dying!

They hoped now to be rewarded for their exertions with a few hours'
repose.  Vain hope!  Scarcely had they closed their eyes when the door
opened, and an old woman, with nose and chin of the nutcracker type,
entered the room.  This was the grandmother of the family; she had come
to look at the strangers.

Grant's face, with the eyes shut and the mouth wide-open, was the first
object that met her view.  She bent over him and looked into his mouth,
as if anxious to examine his teeth.  Having looked him over, and felt
the quality of his clothes with her shrivelled fingers, she turned to
the beds and stared at the other strangers.

Fred had gone off into a sort of doze, so he bore the inspection well,
but Sam was only pretending to sleep, and when he peeped up at the old
face that looked down on his with kindly interest and curiosity, he
found it difficult to check a smile.

Having looked at them well, and touched everything belonging to them, to
see what it could be made of, the old woman moved quietly towards the
door.  She shut it with a bang, however, and roused them up with a
start--excepting Grant, who slept through everything, and in spite of

They were just dropping off again when the old woman returned.  She had
forgotten something, and was moving across the floor, when she
accidentally knocked over a bench, which upset a heavy stool.  The crash
was followed by a scream of alarm, and once more the sleepers were
awakened--always excepting Grant.  Scarcely had this happened when a
strange sound was heard outside.  It gradually became louder and more

"What _can_ it be?" cried Fred, leaping out of bed, and rushing to the
door.  As he threw it open, there was a roar like the sudden discharge
of artillery, and at the same moment a huge mass of rock, many tons in
weight, bounded close past the door, went crashing through a wooden shed
as if it had been a sheet of paper, and, carrying shrubs and small trees
along with it, finally found a resting-place at the bottom of the glen.
The huge mass had fallen from the cliffs above, and fortunately swept
through the hamlet without doing further damage.  It was followed by a
shower of smaller stones, some of which struck and shook the house, and
produced a commotion that caused even Grant to wake up and run out in

The whole valley was covered with rocks of every shape and size, which
had at various times fallen from the cliffs on either side; and one
could not look at them without wondering that the little cluster of huts
had not long ago been destroyed.  There are many such scenes in Norway,
and accidents do sometimes occur, but not so frequently as one might

It is needless to say that our travellers did not again court sleep in
that wild spot.  Before another hour had passed they were over the
mountains and far away on their journey to the far north.



The scene is changed.  We are on board the _Snowflake_ and out once more
among the thousands of islands off the coast far beyond the Arctic
Circle now.

This is the region where the sun does not set night or day for several
weeks in summer, and where he never rises night or day during several
weeks in winter.  But Fred Temple has not gained his point yet.  He is
behind time.  Had he arrived at this latitude a week sooner, he would
have seen the sun sweep an entire circle in the sky.  But calms have
delayed him, and now the sun just dips below the horizon at midnight.  A
good stiff, southerly breeze of a few hours would take him far enough
north; but he cannot command the winds to blow, although Bob Bowie, the
steward, evidently thinks he can make it blow by whistling!  The sea is
like a sheet of glass.  Meanwhile, Fred and his friends are enjoying all
the delight of daylight which is perpetual.  Every thoughtful reader
will at once perceive that where the sun only sets for a few minutes
there can be no diminution of the light worth speaking of--nothing
approaching even to twilight.  The night before the arrival of the yacht
at this place the sun set a little after midnight, and in twenty minutes
afterwards it rose again to pursue its brilliant course through the
northern sky.

It is scarcely possible for a Christian to look on such a scene without
recalling those striking passages in God's Word, which, in describing
heaven, tell us that "there shall be no night there," and speaks of a
"sea of glass like unto crystal," before the throne of God.  Well may
the heart of man in such a scene exclaim with the Psalmist, "O Lord, how
manifold are Thy works!  In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is
full of Thy riches."

The islands in this particular place were positively uncountable.  They
lay scattered over the calm sea in hundreds.  Some were no bigger than a
boat--others were towering jagged mountains of more than four thousand
feet high.  Most of them were barren, and over the smaller islets, as
well as round the cliffs of the larger ones, myriads of gulls and other
sea-birds flew with clamorous cries.  But for this, the scene would have
been one of deep solitude as well as intense calmness.  The sea-birds,
however, filled the air with life, ay, and with melody, for the
plaintive cry of wild-fowl when mellowed by distance is inexpressibly
sweet and agreeable.

One thing that puzzled our voyagers very much was the deceptive
appearance of land, so that they found it extremely difficult to judge
correctly of distance.  On one occasion, when sailing towards one of the
large islands, Fred went up to Bob Bowie, who was leaning over the side
watching the ripples caused by the _Snowflake_, and meditating, as he
himself said, "on things in gin'ral, and nothin' in particular."  It may
be remarked in passing that this was not an uncommon state of mind with
Bob Bowie.

"Well, Bob," said Temple, "we're going along nicely with this breeze.  I
expect we shall pass that island before many hours go by."

"How far d'ye think it's off, sir?" inquired the steward.

"About three miles," said Fred.

"Three miles, sir, w'y, it's not more than one mile--if it's that."

"What say you, Captain?" asked Fred.

"Ye better try," suggested McNab, with a quiet grin.

"So I will, ho! stand by to heave the log there.  Now, Captain, steer
straight as the crow flies for the island."

The yacht's course was altered, the log was hove, and, observing the
moment of starting, they awaited the result.  Bob thought it was a
smallish island with little bushes on it.  The time they took in drawing
near to it first led him to doubt the correctness of his own opinion.
But when the bushes began to turn into trees, and the cliffs to tower
into the sky above his head, and throw a dark shadow over the vessel, he
was obliged to give in.  The distance which he had imagined was not more
than one mile turned out to be _five_.

On another occasion a similar case of the deceptive appearance of
distance occurred.  They were sailing up a certain fiord, which most of
the people on board supposed was only about a mile broad.  One of the
sailors, Bill by name, insisted that it could not be more than
three-quarters of a mile; and thereupon an animated discussion,
amounting almost to a dispute, began.  But Bill was not to be put down.
"He was an old salt.  _He_ wasn't to be taken in by these molehills, not
he!"  He had sailed round the world, according to his own account had
been shipwrecked half a dozen times, and drowned once or twice, besides
being murdered occasionally; so he thought himself a weighty authority,
and entitled to great respect!

Well, to settle this point the yacht was sailed straight across the
fiord, and the breadth, measured by the log, was found, as in the former
case, to be about five miles.

The calms, although frequent in this latitude, did not last long.  Light
breezes sprang up now and then, and for several days carried our
travellers to the north.  But not fast enough, for the sun still kept
ahead of them.  During this period, they saw great variety of wonderful
scenery, had several small adventures, and enjoyed themselves extremely.

Fred Temple usually began each calm day by jumping out of bed, rushing
upon deck and going over the side, head-foremost into the water.  He was
generally followed by Sam Sorrel; but Sam was inclined to be lazy, and
did not always follow his friend's lead.  Grant never followed it.  He
was inveterately lazy in the morning, although at all other times he was
as active as a mountain goat.

Our Highlander was particularly successful about this time with his gun.
The number of birds that he shot and stuffed was enormous.  Whenever a
calm prevailed, he took the light little Norse boat that had been
purchased at Bergen, and went off to the nearest island with his gun.
On these occasions he was usually accompanied by Sam, whose love for
sketching was quite equal to that of his companion for bird-shooting and
stuffing.  Fred, of course went to keep them company, and was wont to
carry with him a rod, as well as a gun, for he was passionately fond of
fishing.  On these occasions, too, they took Hans Ericsson with them, to
assist in rowing, and to pilot them when they felt inclined to leave the
yacht out of sight behind.

One day they were out on an excursion of this kind, and had rowed
towards the mainland, and up a fiord.  Fred and Sam were reclining in
the stern of the boat; the former smoking a meerschaum pipe, the latter
making a drawing of a range of hills which were so rugged that the tops
appeared like the teeth of a saw.  Grant and Hans were rowing.

"Do you know what o'clock it was when we left the yacht?" inquired Fred.

"What o'clock?" echoed Sam; "no; well, let me see.  We went to bed last
night at five o'clock this morning."

"You mean that we turned in for our _night's rest_ at five this morning,
I suppose," said Temple.

"My dear Fred," retorted Sam, "never mind what I mean; only attend to
what I say.  Don't be too particular.  It's a bad habit being too
particular.  I once had a friend who was too particular in his
attentions to a young lady, and the result was that he was obliged to
marry her."

"Then, Sam," returned Temple, "I should say that the habit of being too
particular is a good one, if it leads to such a good thing as marriage.
But to return to the point, what time of day or night do you think it is

"Have not the least idea," said Sam; "I think it's some time or other in
the evening, but this perpetual daylight confuses me.  You know that
when you and Grant were away last week after the gulls, I went to bed on
Thursday forenoon at ten o'clock by mistake, thinking it was ten at
night.  How I ever came to do it I can't tell, but I suppose that I had
sat so long stuffing that great eagle for Grant that my brains had got
obfuscated.  It was cloudy, too (not unlike what it is just now), so
that I could not see the sun.  Whatever was the cause, there is no doubt
of the fact that I lost a day somehow, and my ideas have got such a
twist that I fear they will never recover it."

"A most unfortunate state of things, truly," said Fred, laughing.
"Perhaps you'll recover when we return to low latitudes.  If not, there
are plenty lunatic asylums.  But we must not spend more than a few hours
longer on this excursion, for I've a notion that we are somewhere about
Saturday just now, and you know it's against our rules to run the risk
of shooting or fishing into Sunday."

"Very true," replied Sam, as he continued his sketch.  "I say, Grant, do
you happen to have your watch with you?"

"Not I," cried Grant from the bow of the boat.  "Since day and night
took to being the same I let it run down.  I have no regard for time

"D'ye know what day it is?"


"Humph, it's lucky that we can depend upon the Captain for keeping us
right in regard to Sunday.  Well, let's go ashore and try the mouth of
yonder stream.  I'll warrant me there are sea-trout there, perhaps
salmon, and the ground hereabouts seems a likely place for grouse and
ptarmigan.  Pull hard, Hans, thou son of Eric, and shove the boat into
yonder creek."

Hans Ericsson bent his strong back, and a bright smile crossed his
sunburnt face as the head of the boat flew round.

"Hallo, Hans! steady, my lad!" cried Grant, giving his oar a pull that
sent the head of the boat spinning round in the opposite direction.
Then the sturdy Norseman and the stalwart Scot gave a pull together with
all their might, and sent the boat like an arrow into the creek, where,
in a few seconds, her keel grated on the shore.

For several hours after that the three friends were busy with their
favourite pursuits.  Grant soon bagged several brace of grouse.  Fred
caught a basket of splendid sea-trout, some of which were over three
pounds' weight, and a small salmon of about ten pounds; while Sam Sorrel
sat down on a rock and painted an elaborate picture of the scenery.  Of
course their different occupations separated them from each other, but
Hans kept close to Fred's elbow--for he had not only conceived a strong
friendship for the young Englishman, but he was immensely delighted with
fly-fishing, which he had never before witnessed.  The astonishment of
Hans was great when he beheld heavy trout landed by means of a slender
rod and an almost invisible line.  But when Fred hooked the salmon the
excitement of the Norseman knew no bounds.  After nearly half an hour's
playing of the fish, Fred drew it close to the bank, and told Hans to
strike the gaff-hook into it, and lift it out of the water.  Hans in his
excitement missed his aim, and the terrified fish darted away.  But Fred
was prepared for this, and let out line.  Soon he brought his fish once
more to the side, exhausted and rolling over.  Hans made a second
attempt and was successful in landing the silvery salmon on the bank.

When they returned to the schooner after that excursion, Captain McNab
was leaning over the side with a grim smile on his wooden countenance.
Bob Bowie was beside him with a beaming smile on his jolly red face.

"Good-day, Captain," cried Fred, as the boat drew near.  "Well, Bowie,
we're desperately hungry, I hope you've got supper ready for us."

"I've got breakfast, sir," replied the steward.

"Eh? ah! well, call it what you like, only let us have it soon."  (They
clambered up the side.) "Why, Captain, what day is it, and what time of

"It's Friday mornin', sir, and eight o'clock."

Fred opened his eyes in astonishment.

"Why, then, comrades, it seems that we have been shooting, sketching,
and fishing all night by daylight, and the sun has set and risen again
without our being aware of the fact!  So much for perpetual day and a
cloudy sky.  Come, Bob Bowie, look alive with break--, ah! supper, I
mean, for whatever it may be to you, it is supper to us.  Meanwhile,
I'll have a bathe to refresh me."

So our hardy adventurers bathed that morning, over the side, then they
supped, after which they turned in and slept all day, and rose again at
six o'clock in the evening to breakfast!



Only once during their voyage along the rugged coast of Norway did our
three friends go to church!  It must not be supposed, however, that
therefore they were heathens.  Far from it.  Fred and his companions
were truly Christian men.  That is to say, they not only called
themselves Christians, but they made it their earnest aim to walk after
the example of Christ, and to exhibit their Christianity by their deeds.
But only once during their trip had they the opportunity of visiting a
church on a Sunday forenoon when service was going on.

It happened to be on a bright calm Sunday.  There was just enough of
wind to urge the _Snowflake_ through the water at the rate of two miles
an hour.  Fred's usual custom was to get to a secure anchorage on
Saturdays, so as to be able to spend the Sabbath as a day of rest.  But
this was not always practicable, because the water was so deep close
inshore that no bottom could be found in many places, and often they
were obliged to continue their voyage on Sunday.  This, however, was a
matter of small importance, because the working of the yacht required so
little attention--especially in fine weather--that it did not interfere
with the services or the rest of the day.  Fred made a point of
assembling the crew and reading the Church of England service every
Sunday forenoon, and a chapter or two from the Bible in the evening.

On the present occasion they were all assembled on the quarterdeck
joining in the morning service.  The breeze was steady, and the
steersman was the only man on duty, but he was not thereby prevented
from attending to what was being read.  The vessel was gliding along
close under a precipice which towered high above the mast, and, at a
short distance ahead, extended out in a bold promontory or headland.
Elsewhere mountainous islands hemmed them in.

When they reached the promontory Fred was reading that beautiful Psalm,
the 95th,--which appeared somewhat appropriate to the occasion.

"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us heartily rejoice in the
strength of our salvation.

"Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and shew ourselves
glad in Him with psalms.

"For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

"In His hand are all the corners of the earth: and the strength of the
hills is His also.

"The sea is His, and He made it: and His hands prepared the dry land.

"O come, let us worship and fall down: and kneel before the Lord our

Fred happened to look up at the last words, and an exclamation of wonder
broke from him as he pointed towards the shore.  The schooner had just
doubled the towering promontory, and a new scene had been suddenly
opened up to view.

Just beyond the promontory the coast-line took an abrupt bend to the
right, at the end of which was a sequestered little bay, with a beach of
yellow sand, and a cluster of grassy mounds behind, of the brightest
emerald green.  The bay and the green mounds and the strip of yellow
sand were all exceedingly small, and were surrounded by a mass of rugged
rocks of a cold, whitish-grey colour.  Beyond these were the great
purple mountains of the mainland.  Ahead and in front towered the
islands of the coast.  The whole of the surrounding scenery was wild,
rugged, and barren.  This one little spot alone was soft and lovely; it
shone out like a bright jewel from its dark setting.  All round the bay
were clustering cottages, with white walls and red roofs,--some on the
sides of the mounds, others perched on rocks that projected out into the
sea.  On the highest of these mounds stood a church, and in the bay
floated a large Norwegian vessel and numerous small boats.

The promontory round which the _Snowflake_ had just passed completely
sheltered this bay, so that the water was like a sheet of glass, in
which everything--boats, rocks, mounds, cottages, and church--was
clearly reflected.

The church-bell was ringing.  It was a small bell, and its sweet sound
came floating softly over the sea to the ears of our voyagers like an
old familiar hymn.  The interest of this scene was further enhanced by
the assembling of the people to church.  Boats were seen pushing off
from every island, issuing from every creek, rowing over the calm water,
and all converging towards the little bay with the yellow strand.  Each
boat was crowded with men, women, and children; and as the men wore red
caps, and the women white kerchiefs on their heads, their appearance was
quite brilliant.  In other respects, their clothes being all homespun
and of one dark colour, their aspect was sombre enough.  So numerous
were the boats, and so suddenly did they make their appearance, that it
seemed as if the land were being invaded by a foreign host.

All this was taken in at a glance by the yacht party as they doubled the
promontory, and glided slowly into the bay.

"This is our anchorage," said the Captain.

"Very well, let go the anchor, and we will finish the service after it
is down," said Temple, rising and taking up the telescope to examine the
groups of people on shore.

As each boat discharged its load on the little stone pier, the males and
females separated into two distinct bands and walked slowly and sedately
towards the church, at the door of which the whole congregation
assembled, still keeping in two separate bands, to await the arrival of
the clergyman.

In a few minutes the rattle of the chain announced that the anchor was
down.  The sails were dewed up, and service was continued.

"Now," said Fred, when he had concluded, "lower the boat, Captain--I
will go to church.  Will any one of you join me?"

"What's the use of my going?" said Sam Sorrel; "I won't understand a

"You're not sure of that," said Grant.  "Besides it is so long since
we've been to church, that I feel as if I should enjoy it whether I
understand it or not."

"If it don't do you no good, sir, it can't do you no harm," urged Bob
Bowie, who was evidently anxious to get ashore.

"Come along," cried Fred, jumping into the boat, and taking his seat in
the stern-sheets.

He was quickly followed by his companions and by honest Bob, whose
delight in a ramble on shore was only equalled by his love for a voyage
on the sea!

"Ain't it an xtroar'nary church, sir?" said Bob, sidling up to Temple
and touching his hat, as they ascended the green mound on which the
building stood.

"It is, Bob, most remarkable," replied Fred.

To say truth, there could not be two opinions on this point.  The church
was of very peculiar and curious form.  It was more like a number of
dove-cots placed together than anything else; those dove-cots, I mean,
which have sloping roofs, and are frequently seen nailed against the
sides of houses in country places.  Take four such dove-cots and place
them back to back so as to form a sort of square; on the top of these
place three more dove-cots, also back to back; above these set up two
more dove-cots, and one on the top of all, with a short steeple above
it, and a spire with an enormous weathercock on the top of that, and the
building will not be a bad model of a Norwegian church, especially if
you paint the sides white, and the gabled roofs blackish-red.

Inside, this church was found to be exceedingly plain, but very clean.
The pews and galleries and walls were of unpainted fir, and the ceiling
was whitewashed.  The entire building was utterly devoid of ornament,
except round the altar, above which there was a large crucifix and a few
candles, and other things somewhat resembling those used in Roman
Catholic worship.

The service had begun some time before the arrival of our friends.  It
was a Lutheran church, and the ceremonial resembled that of the English
Church in some respects, that of the Roman Catholic in others.

The entrance of so many strangers of course created some sensation, even
although they entered as quietly as possible and sat down on the first
seats they found vacant.  The people seemed to have native politeness in
them.  They could not, indeed, resist the temptation to look round, but
they did it modestly, and only indulged in glances, as if they felt that
it was rude to stare at strangers.

Unfortunately Bob Bowie had not been warned that it is the custom in
Norway for the men to sit together on one side of the church and the
women on the other side, and, being rather a stupid man in some matters,
he did not observe that the door by which he entered led to the women's
pews.  Being by nature a modest man, he cast down his eyes on entering,
and did not again raise them until he found himself seated beside a
Norwegian female in a black gown and a white head-dress, with a baby in
her arms, which also wore a black gown and a white head-dress.  Bob sat
with a solemn look on his bluff visage, and wiped his bald forehead
gently for some time ere he discovered that he was the only male being
in the midst of a crowd of two hundred women and girls and female

On making this discovery honest Bob's body became exceedingly warm and
his face uncommonly red.  He glanced round uneasily, blew his nose, rose
suddenly, and, putting on his hat with the back to the front, went out
of the church on tip-toe as quietly as possible, and was not again seen,
until, an hour afterwards, he was discovered seated on the sunny side of
a rock near the boat calmly smoking his pipe!

Bob was somewhat ashamed of this little adventure, and did not like to
have it spoken of.  As a matter of course his comrades did not spare
him; but, being the steward of the ship, and having supreme command over
the food, he so contrived to punish his messmates that they very soon
gave up joking him about his going to church with the Norse girls!

It cannot be said that any of the three friends made much of the sermon
that day.  Fred understood only a sentence here and there, Grant
understood only a word now and then, and Sam Sorrel understood nothing
at all; but from the earnestness of the preacher, especially when the
name of our Saviour was mentioned, they were inclined to believe that a
good work was going on there.

In this opinion they were further strengthened when, on afterwards
visiting the pastor, they found him to be a man of singularly kind and
earnest disposition, with agreeable and unaffected manners.  He wore a
long loose robe of black material, and a thick white frill round his
neck similar to that usually seen in the portraits of the great Reformer
Martin Luther.

His family consisted of a wife and four children--a sturdy boy, and
three flaxen-haired girls, all of whom vied with each other in paying
attention to their visitors.  Coffee was instantly produced, and cakes
made by the fair fingers of the goodwife.  The pastor could speak a
little French, so that his visitors were able to converse with him, but
the other members of the family could speak nothing but their native
tongue.  However, this did not prove a great stumbling-block, for, while
Grant talked French with the pastor, Fred entertained his hostess in his
best Norse, and Sam Sorrel, not to be behindhand, got the children round
him, and made such wonderful use of _ver so goot_ and his other pet
phrases, that he succeeded in getting the boy on his knee, and in
setting the girls off into giggles of laughter.

They spent that Sunday and the following Monday at this pleasant place,
and were taken by the pastor all over his house and grounds and village,
after which he conducted them to the summit of a mountain, whence they
obtained one of the finest views they had yet seen in Norway.

Here, for the first time since leaving England, they regarded a fair
wind with disfavour; they bade adieu to the pastor and his family with a
little of that sad feeling which one experiences when parting, perhaps
for ever, from dear friends.

But time and the sun would not wait.  The anchor was tripped; the sails
were spread; in half an hour the place had dwindled away to a bright
green spot in the far distance; then they rounded the beetling crags of
an island--and it vanished from their view.



One day the _Snowflake_ lay becalmed in one of those long narrow fiords
by which the whole of the west coast of Norway is cut up, and some of
which extend from seventy to a hundred miles inland.

There was no prospect of a breeze, so another boat excursion was talked
of.  Hearing this, Hans Ericsson informed his master that there was a
small settlement of Laplanders about thirty miles or so inland, and that
he would be very glad to guide him and his friends to it if they chose.

They jumped at the proposal at once, and in less than half an hour they
were on their way to it.  Bob Bowie also went on this expedition.

No carioles could be procured in that wild region, but at a poor
fishing-village on the coast they got two of the country carts.  These
are small rough machines, with a seat on wooden springs.  They can hold
only two persons, and are light and serviceable, well suited to the
rough roads.  Fred and Sam led the way; Grant and the steward followed.
Hans acted the part of shooscarle to the former, and the owner of the
carts drove the latter.

The first start was up the side of a hill at least two thousand feet,
and the road was so steep that it was all that the ponies could do to
drag up the empty carts.  Having gained the top of the first hill, they
came upon a level plateau, resembling the bleak Scottish moorlands,
which terminated in a range of wild snow-capped mountains.  After
resting the ponies a few minutes, they set off at a brisk trot, and were
soon across the level ground.  Ascending to another plateau, they
crossed it, and finally reached the higher mountain-range of the
interior.  Here they crossed several patches of snow which the summer
heat had not yet been able to melt away.

As soon as they were fairly amongst the mountains, the roads became
horrible, and it was a matter of wonder that the springs of the carts
were not broken.  Toiling up hills, and dashing down on the other
side,--crashing over fallen rocks, and shaving the edge of yawning gulfs
and precipices,--thus they advanced till evening, through a country
which was the picture of barrenness and desolation.

Rocks were the chief feature of the scenery.  They had got to such a
height above the level of the sea that there were no pines, only a few
stunted birch-trees.  There was little soil, but that little was well
clothed with vegetation.  Rocky mountains, rocky masses, and rocky glens
everywhere; but as they went farther inland the scenery improved a

Soon they found that instead of travelling inland they had been only
crossing one of these broad necks of high land which separate the fords
of Norway from each other, and ere long they came in sight of the sea,
with precipitous mountains dipping into it.

Here, on a green slope facing the fiord, were seen the conical tents of
the strange people whom they had travelled so far to visit.

The inhabitants of Lapland are a distinct race from their southern
neighbours the Norwegians, in size, intelligence, civilisation, and
manner of life.  They are as near as may be _savages_ in appearance, and
in some of their habits, insomuch that on first visiting them a stranger
might be apt to set them down as _real_ savages.  Yet they are many
degrees higher than the savage, such as the Red Indian of North America.
The Lapp is as dirty as the Indian, and dwells in as poor a hut, and
lives in as simple a style; but he is rich in _property_--his property
being herds of reindeer, while the Indian depends entirely on the chase
for wealth and subsistence.  Then again, although the Lapp has nothing
worthy of the name of a house, he is an educated man, to a small extent.
He can read, and, above all, he possesses the Word of God in a language
which he understands.

In bodily size, however, the Red Indian beats him; for as a race the
Lapps are particularly small, though they are well proportioned and

They are seldom visited by strangers; and it is not improbable that when
the two carts dashed into their village our friends were the first
Englishmen they had ever seen.

It happened to rain heavily during the last part of the journey to the
Lapp village.  To the surprise and amusement of the travellers, Bob
Bowie drew forth from his cart a huge red cotton umbrella which he had
purchased at Bergen, and which, seeing the sky cloudy, he had brought
with him in the hope that he might have occasion to use (that is, to
display) it.

The rain, however, did not depress the spirits of the party a whit.
Nothing in the shape of water could damp their enthusiasm.

If any one wants to see a poor, ragged, diminutive, wizened, yet jolly
race of human beings,--a race of beings who wear hairy garments, sup
reindeer's milk with wooden spoons, and dwell in big bee-hives,--he has
only got to go to Lapland and see the Lapps.

Quitting the carts at the outskirts of the village, the travellers
advanced into the centre of it just as the natives were driving a herd
of reindeer into an enclosure to be milked.

There could not have been fewer than three hundred reindeer-stags, does,
and numerous fawns; and these, they afterwards learned, constituted the
entire wealth of three families of Lapps.

As Fred and his friends strode into the enclosure, and came upon these
good people rather suddenly, their amazement was unspeakable at finding
they had bagged a party of giants along with their deer.  Even scraggy
Sam Sorrel looked quite big compared with them.

After the first gaze and shout of surprise, they crowded round the
strangers, and they all--men, women, and children--began to eye and paw
them over, and to examine their costumes with deep interest.  The
diminutive size of the Lapps became very apparent as they were thus
engaged.  None of the men were much, if at all, above five feet, several
were considerably under that height, and the women were short in

If the bosoms of these Lapps were small, their hearts must certainly
have been very large, for they received their visitors with great warmth
and delight.  Altogether they were a jovial and hearty, though
uncommonly ill-dressed race of mortals.

The men were clothed partly in deer-skin, partly in coarse cloth, and
these garments were reduced by long service to a uniform dirty-brown
colour.  They showed signs of being slept in by night as well as worn by

There was a schoolmaster amongst them.  Only fancy, a Lapp schoolmaster,
four feet nine or ten inches high!  Sam Sorrel took a sketch of this
gentleman on the spot, with his wife and child.  What the schoolmaster
taught, or whom he taught, or when or where he taught, are questions to
which Fred could obtain no answer.  To look at him, one would have
imagined that eating, sleeping, and herding reindeer were the only
lessons that he was able to teach.  Yet it was found on inquiry that
some of them could read Norse; and Sam actually discovered an old man in
one of the huts poring over a New Testament in that language.  There
seemed something strangely incongruous in all this.  They were dirty and
uncouth; they had no houses, no tables or chairs, no civilised habits of
any kind; yet they could read, and they had a schoolmaster!  A very
dirty one, to be sure, and not very deeply learned, I dare say; still a
dominie, without doubt.  On the strength of their acquirements, Fred
presented the tribe with a Norse New Testament.

Besides being four feet ten, the schoolmaster was comical and quizzical.
He was evidently the wit of his tribe.  His face was yellow and dirty;
his nose was short and red, in addition to which it was turned up at the
point; his eyes were small, and sloped downwards at the inner corners
towards the nose, like those of the Chinese.  His dirty leathern tunic
was belted so low down, and his little legs were so short, that there
was considerably more of him above the belt than below it.  On his head
he wore a cap, somewhat like that of a jockey in shape, and his lower
limbs were encased in tight but ill-fitting leggings.  Altogether, this
man was the most disreputable-looking schoolmaster that was ever seen
either at home or abroad.

While both parties were making acquaintance with each other, the rain
fell more heavily.

"You'd better put up your umbrella, Bob Bowie," said Fred.

Bob, who had forgotten the umbrella, in consequence of being so much
taken up with the Lapps, at once put it up.  Being extremely proud of
this curiosity, he was glad of the opportunity to display it.  A shout
of surprise and delight greeted its appearance.  It was clear that the
Lapps had never seen one before.  The schoolmaster at once seized it out
of Bob's hand, and strutted about with it over his head, to the
inexpressible joy of the children, who ran after him and crowded round
him.  Undoubtedly he must have been a kind schoolmaster.  For some time
the earnest attention of old and young was entirely given to this
umbrella, while they tried to find out how many could get under it at

The costume of the women was as rude as that of the men.  The
schoolmaster's wife wore a sort of cloth helmet, and a rough yellow
cloth gown, which was not by any means too long.  Her little girl wore a
tight-fitting skull-cap, and another youngster had on a thing much too
large for it--like a huge extinguisher, which seemed to be its father's

They were extremely ugly, all of them, but very happy-looking and

Of course Fred had taken a few trinkets with him, such as beads,
thimbles, scissors, sugar-plums, knives, etcetera; and as every one in
the village received something, the whole place resounded with
exclamations of joy.

Despite the rain, Sam Sorrel pulled out his sketch-book and began to
take portraits.  Here was another source of wonder to the Lapps.  For
some time they knew not what to make of it, but crowded round Sam with
looks of inquisitive surprise, and, getting on tip-toe, peeped at his
book.  When one or two lines had been drawn, exclamations of interest
were uttered by one and other; and when in a few minutes, the small
youth with his father's extinguisher on his head became clearly defined
on the paper, there was a regular burst of laughter.

Sam instantly received a far greater number of "orders" than he could
execute.  The stout little woman in the cloth helmet placed herself in
an attitude which was no doubt meant to be irresistibly attractive.
Several of the youngsters plucked the artist by the sleeve, and thrust
forward their pert little faces, as if to say, "Do me!" or "Here's a
chance for you!" and the schoolmaster, promptly clearing a space in
front of Sam, placed himself in an attitude, and by his commanding look
ordered him to begin at once.  He did begin, on the spot and finished
the portrait in five minutes--rather a long sitting, considering the
state of the weather, and the impatience of the schoolmaster to see
himself on canvas!

While this was going on in one quarter, Bob Bowie had attracted round
him a circle of warm admirers, whose souls he captivated by showing and
explaining to them the interior of his watch.  As the lecture was
delivered in English, it is not to be supposed that the audience
profited much by means of their ears, but their eyes did double duty
that day; at least one might reasonably suppose so, from the immense
size to which they were constantly expanded!

They evidently did not know whether to regard the watch as a mechanical
contrivance or a living creature.  In the study of this mysterious thing
they were somewhat distracted by the presence of their first love the
umbrella, which the lecturer had erected over his head in order to
shield his timepiece from the rain.  Fred and Grant went about
everywhere, looking at everything, and talking, as they best could, to

Meanwhile the three hundred deer, in the midst of which they had been
standing all this time, kept moving about the enclosure, emitting a
peculiar grunting sound, and making a strange clicking noise with their
ankle-joints.  This is a well-known peculiarity of the reindeer.  Every
time they lift or set down their feet, the ankle-joints crack as do the
knuckles of a man when he pulls his fingers.  As these deer were
constantly getting up and lying down, the twittering rattle of their
ankle-joints was unceasing.

Presently the schoolmaster's wife took a small wooden cup, milked one of
the does, and handed the proceeds to Fred.  He was surprised to find the
milk as thick and as pleasant to the taste as the richest cream; and he
was still more surprised to be told that all that could be got from a
doe at any one time was about half a tea-cupful.

The deer varied in colour from dark brown to almost white.  The stags
stood about three feet eight inches high at the shoulder, and the
antlers were about three feet long, following the curve.

Quitting the enclosure, the party next visited several of the huts,--
which were made of moss, turf, sticks, etcetera, put together in such a
confused way, that it was difficult to make out how they had been
formed.  A hole in the side was the only door to each hut, and a hole in
the top was the window and chimney.  In one of these they found an
extremely old woman seated on a pile of dirty deerskins.  Sam Sorrel
said he was convinced she was the schoolmaster's great-grandmother.  She
looked like a living mummy, so small and wrinkled and brown and dried up
was the poor old body.  Yet she was lively enough to show signs of
pleasure when Fred patted her back gently and presented her with a pair
of scissors and a pair of worsted gloves.

It was a late hour before the curiosity of our friends was satisfied;
the sun was dipping low on the horizon when at last they bade adieu to
the Lapps, and harnessing their ponies, set out on the return journey.
The way was long, and their eyes were heavy.  They tried by means of
conversation and song to keep themselves awake, but were unsuccessful.
Despite their utmost efforts their heads _would_ nod, and brief little
dreams kept perpetually reminding them of Laplanders, dirty little
schoolmasters, and reindeer.

Now, while Fred was nodding in his cart, and trying to keep awake that
night, he little thought that he was so nearly attaining the great
object for which he had come to Norway.  Yet so it was.  They came, in
course of time, to the summit of a ridge from which could be had a
splendid view of the fiord, and the sea with its thousands of islands
beyond, and the _Snowflake_ floating like a white speck on the blue
water far below.  Here Hans pulled up and touched Fred on the shoulder.

"Well, Hans, anything wrong?" said Fred starting and looking round.

"Sun not set here," replied Hans with a grin.

"What!" cried Fred, jumping out of the cart, rubbing his eyes, and
staring at the great luminary which was dipping close to the sea.
"Impossible! we are not yet far enough north.  You must be mistaken,

To this Hans replied that he was _not_ mistaken.  That he had been on
that same spot at the same time of the year long ago, and had noticed
that the sun had not descended below the horizon.  Pointing to the sharp
top of a hill that rose some six or eight hundred feet close beside
them, he said that from that point the sun would be seen complete, while
from the place where they then stood the lower part of it would be hid
below the horizon.

"Hallo!  Grant Sam, d'ye hear that?" shouted Fred with enthusiasm.
"We've no time to lose, quick, follow!"

Away Fred Temple went up the mountain-side like a deer, followed by Sam
and Grant, who having been more than half-asleep when aroused by their
comrade's shout, scarce knew what they were about.  Even Bob Bowie's
spirit was stirred, and he went stumbling after his friends rubbing his
eyes and yawning as he went.

The highest peak was soon reached.  Here they sat down to watch.  The
sun was close upon the horizon now, and Fred's heart beat fast with
anxiety lest it should descend below it.

"There's but a narrow line of sky between the sea and the lower edge of
the sun now," said Fred.  "It looks no more than an inch broad, and it
is narrowing, I think."

"No, it is growing broader," said Grant.

"No, narrower," whispered Sam.

"Broader it is!" said Fred eagerly.

For a few seconds they remained uncertain and silent, gazing earnestly
at the sun.  At last there could be no doubt of it.  The line of sky was
evidently broader: _the sun had begun to rise without having set_.

"Huzzah," shouted Fred Temple, springing up, tossing his cap into the
air, and cheering as enthusiastically as if he had just discovered a new
gold-field!  Infected with the same spirit, the others joined him, and
then they expended their energies in building a _cairn_ of stones on the
hill-top to commemorate the event!

"Hans, thou son of Eric," said Fred, grasping the hand of his pilot and
guide when this was finished.  "I like thee, man; thou hast done me good
service this day.  But for you I should have missed this chance, so I
consider myself thy debtor, lad; mark me well, I will discharge this
debt when we return to the south.  So now, let us be gone."

How Fred discharged this debt remains to be seen.  Meanwhile the party
descended the hill, and returned once more to their floating home.



The main object of the voyage having now been gained, Fred Temple did
not care to push northward with the earnest haste that he had hitherto
exhibited.  He did, indeed, avail himself of a fine southerly breeze
which sprang up, and succeeded in reaching latitude 67 and a half
degrees, where he saw the sun all night from the deck of his little
yacht; but he devoted himself henceforth to enjoying the country fully.

He no longer sailed against baffling winds, but went quite contentedly
in any direction in which the wind chose to blow him.  The consequence
was that he visited many curious out-of-the-way places, and saw many
strange sights; besides having a considerable number of peculiar
adventures.  The week following that in which he first _saw the sun all
night_ was particularly full of small adventures.  Let me briefly relate
a few.

One day, having left the schooner becalmed close to the mainland, they
took the boat and rowed towards the land.  While they were pulling
along-shore under a tremendous cliff that rose out of the sea like a
wall, they heard voices on the top of the cliff.  The top was lined with
bushes, so that they could see no one, but the sounds led them to
suppose that some persons were disputing there.  Presently a crash was
heard, and, looking up, they beheld a dark object in the air.  They had
just time to observe that this object was a pony and cariole, which had
evidently fallen from the top of the cliff, when they were drenched with
spray, and a mass of foam indicated the spot not three yards off, where
the whole affair had disappeared beneath the waves!  In a few seconds
the pony came kicking to the surface.  It had broken loose from the
cariole, and, strange to say, reached the shore unhurt and in safety.

Another day they saw a whale.  It may not, perhaps, have occurred to
many people that, although a whale is a very well-known fish, and his
picture extremely familiar to us, the sight of a live whale about six or
eight yards under one's feet is an uncommonly startling and impressive
vision.  Such a sight our voyagers saw while sailing up the Skars Fiord.

It was a calm day, and a pleasant day withal; and I think it right to
state that, although they did at times grumble at prolonged calms, their
grumbling was more than half feigned; while their gratitude for good
weather, bright days, not to mention nights, and pleasant scenes, was
sincere.  But, to return to the point, it was a calm day, and they were
doing nothing--that is, nothing worthy of mention.  The waters of the
fiord were deep and blue and clear, so that, looking over the side of
the yacht, they could see very far down in reality--countless fathoms in
imagination--into the mysterious abyss.

Presently some one cried, "Hullo! look there!"

"Hullo! look where?" inquired all the rest.

"There, close astern, it's a--a--"

"Whale!" shouted the whole ship's company.

That it really was a whale, and a big one too, became very apparent
three minutes later, for it thrust a great blunt nose, like the end of a
large boat, out of the water, and gave a prolonged puff.  A few minutes
later, and the nose appeared close off the starboard bow, then it came
up not far from the larboard quarter; so they were convinced that the
creature was taking a survey of the yacht.  Perhaps it took it for
another whale, and felt inclined to be social.  After one or two
circuits it drew nearer, and at last the huge fish could be seen as if
in the depths of a bad looking-glass, swimming round and round the
yacht, ever and anon coming to the surface, and showing the whole length
and depth of its bulky body.

They were considerably excited, as may be supposed, at such an
unexpected visit, and the near approach of such a visitant.  As they
gazed at him with eager eyes, he suddenly turned his head straight
towards the side of the vessel, and, sinking down sufficiently to clear
the keel, dived right under it, and came up on the other side.

So clear was the water, and so near was the fish to the surface, that
they saw its great fins driving it along, and observed its comparatively
little eyes looking inquisitively up at them.  On clearing the yacht he
came to the surface not more that thirty yards from the side.  In fact
he had shaved it as near as possible without actually touching.
"Familiarity breeds contempt," saith the proverb.  The longer this whale
played round them, the more did he exhibit a growing tendency to play
_with_ them, and as there was no saying what fancies he might take into
his great head, Fred resolved to give him a shot.

Accordingly, the rifle--a double-barrel--was brought up, and, watching
his opportunity, Fred put two leaden balls into the back of his head.
The insulted monster wisely took the hint, gave a final flourish of his
tail, and disappeared for ever!

On another occasion they landed at the head of a remote fiord, where the
natives seldom had the chance of seeing strangers, and were, therefore,
overjoyed to receive them.  Here Sam Sorrel had a small adventure.  His
companions had left him to sketch.  While thus engaged, a fat, hearty,
good-natured fellow found him and insisted on him paying a visit to his
cottage.  The houses of the people in Norway, generally, are built of
wood, and are roofed with red tiles.  Floors, walls, ceilings, tables,
chairs, beds, etcetera, all are of wood, and usually unpainted.  All
have iron stoves for winter use; no carpets cover the floors, and no
ornaments grace the walls, save one or two prints, and a number of large
tobacco-pipes, for the Norsemen are great smokers and chewers of

The language here perplexed our artist not a little.  Being a lazy
student, he had left Fred to do all the talking, but now he found
himself for the first time alone with a Norwegian! fairly left to his
own resources.  Well, he accompanied his fat friend, and began by
stringing together all the Norse he knew (which wasn't much), and
endeavoured to look as if he knew a great deal more; but his speech
quickly degenerated into sounds which were quite unintelligible either
to his new friend or himself; at last he terminated in a mixture of bad
Norse and broad Scotch!  Having dwelt many years in Scotland, Sam found
his knowledge of Lowland Scotch to be of use, for there is great
similarity between it and the Norwegian tongue.

For instance, they call a cow a _ko_ or a _coo_.  _Bring me meen skoe_
(I spell as pronounced) is, Bring me my shoes.  _Gae til land_ is, Go
ashore.  _Tak place_ is, Take place, or sit down.  If you talk of
bathing, they will advise you to _dook oonder_; and should a mother
present her baby to you she will call it her _smook barn_, her pretty
bairn or child, _smook_ being the Norse word for _pretty_.  And it is a
curious fact, worthy of particular note, that _all_ the mothers in
Norway think their bairns smook, _very_ smook! and they never hesitate
to tell you so; why, I cannot imagine, unless it be that if you were
_not_ told, you would not be likely to find it out for yourself.

Well, Sam and his fat friend soon became very amicable on this system.
The Norseman told him no end of stories, of which he did not comprehend
a sentence, but, nevertheless, looked as if he did; smiled, nodded his
head, and said "Ya, ya," (yes, yes), to which the other replied "Ya,
ya," waving his arms, slapping his breast, and rolling his eyes as he
bustled along towards his dwelling.

The house was perched on a rock, close to the water's edge.  It was very
small, quite like a bandbox with windows in it.  Here the man found
another subject to rave about and dance round, in the shape of his own
baby, a soft, smooth copy of himself, which lay sleeping like a cupid in
its cradle.  The man was evidently very fond--perhaps even proud--of
this infant.  He went quite into ecstasies about it; now gazing into its
chubby face with looks of pensive admiration; anon starting and looking
at Sam with eager glance, as if to say, "Did you ever, in all your life,
see such a magnificent cherub?"  His enthusiasm was quite catching.  Sam
afterwards confessed that he actually began to feel quite a fatherly
interest in the cherub.

"Oh!" cried the father in rapture, "dat er _smook_ barn" (that's a
pretty baby).

"Ya, ya," said Sam, "_smook_ barn," though it must be confessed that if
he had called it a smoked bairn he would have been nearer the mark, for
it was as brown as a red herring.

In proof of his admiration of this baby our artist made a sketch of it
on the spot, and presented it to the delighted father, after which he
was introduced to the Norseman's wife, and treated to a cup of coffee.
When Sam returned from this visit, he told his companions that he was
quite amazed at having got on so well with the language, and was warm in
praise of his host, who, he said, laughed more heartily than any man he
had ever met with.  It is just possible that the Norseman may have had
more occasion afforded him for laughter than usual, for Sam had waxed
very talkative, and had been particularly profuse in the use and abuse
of his pet phrase, _ver so goot_.

Soon after this the yacht's head was turned into the Nord Fiord, at the
head of which dwelt the father and mother of Hans Ericsson.  Here Hans,
to his unutterable delight, found the fair Raneilda on a visit to her
mother; for Raneilda was a native of that remote valley, and had gone to
Bergen only a year before this time.

Here, too, Sam Sorrel found splendid scenery to paint, and Grant
obtained numerous specimens of birds for his museum.

This reminds me, by the way, that our naturalist, who was amiable and
eccentric, on one occasion nearly drove his comrades out of the yacht.
One day he shot a young unfledged gull or puffin, or some such creature,
whose brief existence had only conducted it the length of a down coat, a
little round body, and a pair of tremendously long legs.  Well, this
object was laid carefully past [sic] in a spare berth of the yacht, in
which they used to stow away all manner of useless articles--chairs and
stools that had broken their legs, etcetera--and which went by the name
of the infirmary in consequence.  About a week after, there was a most
unaccountable smell in the infirmary.  Several stuffed birds hanging
there were suspected and smelt, but were found to be quite fresh.  One
or two of them were put out to air, but still the smell grew worse and
worse, until the most obtuse nose did not dare to go near the infirmary.
At last they became desperate.  A general and thorough investigation
was instituted, and there, in a dark corner, under a hair mattress, and
flat as a pancake, lay the poor puffin, alive!--but not with the life
wherewith it had lived before it was shot--and emitting an odour that is
indescribable, a description of which, therefore, would be quite
unprofitable.  The puffin was pitched overboard, and it was half
insinuated that they ought to pitch the naturalist overboard along with

At the head of this fiord, also, Fred Temple, to his inexpressible joy,
found a mighty river in which were hundreds of salmon that had never yet
been tempted by the angler with gaudy fly, though they had been
sometimes wooed by the natives with a bunch of worms on a clumsy
cod-hook.  Thus both Fred and Hans found themselves in an earthly
paradise.  The number of splendid salmon that were caught here in a
couple of weeks was wonderful; not to mention the risks run, and the
adventures.  Space will only permit of one or two examples being given.

On the day of their arrival, Fred seized his rod, and taking Hans to
gaff the fish and show him the river, sallied forth, accompanied by
about a score of natives, chiefly men and boys, who were eager to see
the new style of fishing.  They soon came to a fine-looking part of the
stream, and Fred put together his rod.  He was much amused at the looks
of the men when they saw the thin supple point of the rod.  They shook
their heads gravely, and said, "He cannot hold a big fish with that."
They were right so far, but they did not understand the use of the reel
and the running line.  Presently Fred cast, and almost immediately a
large salmon took his fly, the rod bent like a hoop, and the reel
whizzed furiously as the line ran out.

Sam Sorrel, who was there at the time, afterwards said that he was
divided between interest in the movements of the fish, and amusement at
the open mouths and staring eyes of the natives.

This fish was a very active one; it dashed up, down, and across the
river several times, running out nearly the whole of the line more than
once, and compelling Fred to take to the water as deep as his waist.  At
last, after a fight of half an hour, it was brought close to the bank,
and Hans put the gaff-hook cleverly into its side, and hauled it ashore,
amid the shouts of the astonished people, for the salmon weighed
eighteen pounds.

After a time the natives began to understand the principles of
fly-fishing with a rod, and regarded Fred Temple with deep respect.  On
all his fishing excursions in that fiord, he was attended by a band of
eager admirers, to whom he gave most of the fish; for he caught so many
of all sizes that his friends and his crew were not able to eat the
quarter of them.  The catching of his largest salmon was a stirring

It happened on the evening of a very bright day.  He had been
unfortunate.  The sun being too bright, the fish would not rise.  This
annoyed him much, because on that particular day he had been accompanied
by the Captain and Bob Bowie, as well as his two companions, all of whom
were anxious to see him catch fish, and learn a lesson in the art.  Fred
was up to his middle in a rough part of the river.  It was all he could
do to retain his foothold, the water was so strong.

"It won't do," said he, "the sun is too bright."

His friends on shore looked grave and disappointed.

"I sees a cloud a-comin'," said Bob Bowie glancing upwards.

"Hallo! hey!" shouted Grant, who observed that at that moment Fred's
legs had been swept from under him, and he was gone!

Before any one could speak or act, Fred reappeared a little farther down
the river, holding tight to the rod, and staggering into shallower

"None the worse of it," cried Fred, bursting into a laugh.

Just as he said this, and while he was paying no attention to his rod, a
salmon rose and seized the fly.  In an instant Fred and his comrades
utterly forgot all about the ducking, and were filled with the
excitement of the sport.

Fred's rod bent like a willow wand.  His eyes seemed to flash, and his
lips were tightly pressed together, for he felt that he had on a very
large fish.  Suddenly it darted up stream, and did what the large fish
seldom do--leaped quite out of the water.

"A whale! stand by!" roared Bob Bowie.

There was a cry from the others, for at that moment the salmon set off
down stream,--a most dangerous proceeding at all times.  Fred made for
the bank, and let out line as fast as possible.  When he gained the bank
he ran down the stream, leaping over bushes and stones like a wild goat.
The places he went over in that run were terribly rugged.  It seemed a
miracle that he escaped without broken bones.  Presently he came to a
steep rock that projected into the water.  There was no getting round
it, so in he dashed.  It took him only up to the knees.  This passed, he
came to another place of the same sort.  Here he put a strain on the
fish, and tried to stop it.  But it was not to be stopped.  It had
clearly made up its mind to go right down to the sea.  Fred looked at
the pool, hesitated one moment, and then leaped in.  It took him up to
the neck, and he was carried down by the current fifty yards or so, when
his feet caught bottom again, and he managed to raise his rod, fully
expecting to find that the salmon had broken off.  But it was still on,
and lively.  Meanwhile, his comrades on the bank were keeping pace with
him, shouting and yelling with excitement as they ran.

"The rapid, mind the rapid!" roared Grant.

Fred saw a foaming rapid before him.  He became anxious.  It was
dangerous to venture down this.  If he should touch a rock on the way
down, the chances were that he would get a limb broken.  The banks here
were so thickly covered with bushes that it was impossible to pass.  The
fish still held on its headlong course.  "What shall I do?" thought
Fred.  "If I stop he will break all to pieces, and I shall lose him.
Lose him! no, never!"

"Don't venture in, Fred," shrieked Sam Sorrel.

But the advice came too late.  Fred was already in the foaming current.
In a moment he was swept down into the comparatively still water below
the rapid.  His friends lost sight of him, for they had to run round
through the bushes.  When they got to the foot of the rapid, they found
Fred on the bank, panting violently, and holding tight to the rod, for
the salmon had stopped there, and was now "sulking" at the bottom of a
deep hole.  For a full hour did the fisher labour to pull him out of
that hole in vain; for in this kind of fishing nothing can be done by
main force.  The great beauty of the art consists in getting the salmon
to move, and in humouring his movements, so that you tire him out, and
get him gradually close to your side.

At last the fish came out of the deep pool.  Then there was another
short struggle of quarter of an hour, and the fisher's perseverance and
skill were rewarded.  The salmon at last turned up its silvery side.
Fred drew it slowly to the bank (in breathless anxiety, for many a fish
is lost at this point).  Hans struck the gaff in neatly, and with a huge
effort flung it floundering on the bank, amid the hearty cheers of all

This salmon weighed 34 pounds, and was about four feet long!  It was a
magnificent fish, and it may well be believed that Fred Temple did not
grudge the two hours' battle, and the risk that he had run in the
catching of it.



"Sam Sorrel," said Fred Temple one day to his friend while they were
seated at breakfast in the house of a farmer of the Nord Fiord, "we have
been here more than a fortnight now; we have enjoyed ourselves much,
have had good sport of various kinds, and have laid in a stock of health
and wisdom, it is to be hoped, that will last us for some time to come."

"That sounds very much like the beginning of a formal speech," said

"Hold your tongue, Grant," retorted Temple, "I have not yet done.  As I
have said, we have been successful in gaining the ends for which we came
here.  We have seen the sun rise without setting.  Sam Sorrel has filled
a large portfolio with beautiful sketches of, perhaps, the finest
scenery in Europe.  Grant has shot and stuffed I am afraid to say how
many birds of all kinds, besides making a large collection of rare
plants; and Fred Temple has caught about five hundred pounds' weight of
salmon--not to mention hundreds of trout--"

"Good," said Sam, "and very correctly stated.  You are fit for the House
of Commons, my friend."

"Sam, be silent!--Now this being the case, it is time that we should
think of returning to our native land.  I will, therefore, make
arrangements for setting sail in two or three days.  But before leaving
I will bring to a point a little plot which I have been hatching ever
since I landed in Norway.  I won't tell you what it is just yet, but I
must have your help, Sam."

"Command my services, sir," said Sam, with a wave of his hand.  "I am
your servant, your Eastern slave, ready, if need be, to prostrate myself
in the earth and rub my nose in the dust."

"Good.  I accept your offer," said Fred, "and my first command is, that
you take your brushes and paint me a Norwegian bride in the course of
this forenoon!"

"Why, your orders cannot be obeyed," cried Sam in surprise.  "Where am I
to find a bride on such short notice?  You are more unreasonable than
the most tyrannical of sultans."

"Nevertheless," replied Fred calmly, "I issue my commands, and in order
to relieve your mind of anxiety, I will find a bride for you."

"Where, then, is this bride, O wizard?" asked Sam with a laugh.

"Behold her!" cried Fred, starting up and throwing open the door, from
which could be seen the shore and the fiord with its background of noble

Sam and Grant started up with sudden exclamations, and stared at the
object which met their gaze in speechless wonder.  And truly there was
cause for astonishment; for there, on the shore, close to the water's
edge, stood the fair Raneilda, clothed in the gorgeous costume of a
Norwegian bride.

"Assuredly you are a wizard," cried Grant, glancing at his friend.

"Not so," replied Fred.  "I met sweet Raneilda last night at her
father's cottage, and begged of her to come here at a certain hour this
morning in the costume of a bride, in order that my friend the artist
might paint her.  She hesitated and blushed a good deal at first, but at
length she agreed, and, as you see, is punctual in keeping her

Fred now went down to Raneilda, and brought her up to the house; Sam
Sorrel at once placed her in a good position, seized his brushes, and
began the portrait.

He was delighted with the dress, for it glittered with gold and silver
ornaments.  The crown was of pure silver covered with gold.  The
breastplate was red cloth ornamented with silver-gilt brooches, beads of
various colours, silver chains, and small, round looking-glasses.  There
was also a belt ornamented with gold and silver.  Altogether Raneilda
looked much more like the Queen of Norway than a poor peasant girl!

It is necessary to inform the reader that the greater part of this
costume did not belong to the girl.  In fact it did not belong to any
one in particular.  It is the custom in Norway for each district to have
a marriage-dress for general use.  The crown, the breastplate, and the
belt are public property, and may be hired out by the girls who are
about to be married at a few shillings for each occasion.

While Sam was busy with his portrait, Grant went out to search for
plants, and Fred went off to search for Hans and to carry out the
remainder of his plot.  He soon found the young pilot.

"Hans," said he, "follow me, I wish to speak with you."

Hans was quite willing to follow Fred to the moon if he had chosen to
lead the way.

"I am going to show you a very pretty sight, Hans; step this way.  Here,
in this room."

He threw open the door and led him in.  The young Norseman entered with
a smile, but the smile suddenly vanished, his blue eyes opened to their
utmost width, and he stood rooted to the floor, unable to speak!

"Tuts! what means this?" cried Sam in disgust at being interrupted.

"Raneilda!" gasped her lover.

The bride covered her face with her hands.

"Very good! excellent!" exclaimed Grant who chanced to pass at the
moment, and peeped in at the open window.

"Hurrah!" cried Bob Bowie, who just then came up to announce that the
_Snowflake_ was ready for sea.

"She won't be wanted for some days yet," cried Fred bursting into a fit
of laughter as he seized Hans by the arm, dragged him into another room,
and shut the door.

"Now, Hans," said he earnestly, "I am going to pay you off.  Nay, man,
be not cast down, I did not take you into yonder room to mock you, but
to show you how pretty Raneilda looked in her bridal dress."

Fred paused for a moment, and the Norseman sighed and shook his head.

"You must know," resumed Fred, "that I wish to dance at your wedding,
Hans, and in order that I may do so, I mean to have you married at once.
(Hans stared.)  You told me in Bergen that you wanted some sort of work
that would bring you good pay.  (Hans nodded his head.)  Well, I will
give you a hundred dollars for the time you have been with me."

Hans' face brightened, and he shook hands with Fred, according to
Norwegian custom when a gift is presented, or a generous payment made.

"Now," continued Fred, "did you not tell me that two hundred dollars
would enable you to take your father's farm off his hands?  (Hans nodded
again.)  And is Raneilda willing to marry you when you can afford to ask
her?  (Hans nodded this time, very decidedly.)  Well, Hans, I have been
very much pleased with the way in which you have conducted yourself
while in my service; you have done your duty well.  (Hans smiled and
looked happy.)  But you have done more than that.  (Hans looked
surprised.)  You have been the means of enabling me to see the sun all
night at a time when I should otherwise have missed it.  I owe you
something for that.  Moreover, you pulled me out of that rapid by the
neck when I caught the twenty-eight pound salmon, and so, perhaps, were
the means of saving my life; and certainly you saved me that salmon.
For all this, and for many other good deeds, I owe you a debt of
gratitude.  Now, Hans, you must know that it is impossible to pay a debt
of gratitude _in full_, for, however much you may pay, there is always
something more owing.  (Hans looked puzzled.)  This debt, then, I cannot
pay up at once, but I can prove to you that I consider myself your
debtor by making you a present of another hundred dollars.  Here is the
money, my lad, so go and tell Raneilda to get ready as soon as

Hans stared in wonder and unbelief, first at the money, then at Fred.
Then a look of triumph gleamed in his eyes, and he seized Fred's hand
and wrung it.  Then he uttered a shout, and ran to Raneilda and kissed
her.  Fred kissed her too.  Sam Sorrel and Grant, not knowing exactly
what to do, kissed her also; and Bob Bowie, who was under the belief
that they were all mad, made a grasp at the poor girl but missed her,
for Raneilda was overwhelmed with confusion, and ran nimbly out of the
room, leaving her crown behind her!  Hans Ericsson hastily picked it up
and ran after her, leaving Fred Temple to explain things to his
astonished friends as he best could.

So that was the end of _that_ matter.

But that was by no means the end of the whole affair.  Before the
_Snowflake_ left the fiord, Hans and Raneilda were married, as all true
lovers ought to be.

The fair bride was once again decked out in the queen-like garments
which had formerly filled Sam and Grant with so great surprise and
admiration; and Fred, as he had promised, danced at the Norseman's
wedding.  And not only did Fred dance, but so did his friends--ay, and
his whole ship's crew.  And it would have done your heart good, reader,
to have seen the way in which the Jack-tars footed it on that occasion
on the green grass, and astonished the Norsemen.  But it must also be
told that the Norsemen were not a whit behindhand, for they showed the
tars a number of capers and new steps which they had never before seen
or even dreamed of!

Just before the ball began there was heard a sound resembling the yells
of an exceedingly young pig in its dying agonies.  This was a violin.
It was accompanied by a noise somewhat like to the beating of a
flour-mill, which was found to proceed from the heel of the fiddler, who
had placed a wooden board under his left foot.  Thus he beat time, and a
drum, as it were, at once.  He also beat Paganini and all other fiddlers
hollow.  Round this manufacturer of sweet sounds did the lads and lasses
flock and soon gave evidence of their sympathy with the rest of mankind
by beginning to dance.

Certainly elegance is not a characteristic of the Norwegian peasantry!
Having formed a ring, they went to work with the utmost gravity and
decorum.  Scarcely a laugh was heard! nothing approaching to a shout
during the whole evening.  The nature of their dances was utterly
incomprehensible.  The chief object the young men had in view seemed to
be to exhibit their agility by every species of bound and fling of which
the human frame is capable, including the rather desperate feat of
dashing themselves flat upon the ground.  The principal care of the
girls seemed to be to keep out of the way of the men, and avoid being
killed by a frantic kick or felled by a random blow.

But the desperate features in each dance did not appear at once.  Each
man began by seizing his partner and dragging her recklessly round the
circle, ever and anon twirling her round violently with one arm, and
catching her round the waist with the other, in order apparently to save
her from total destruction.  To this treatment the fair damsels
submitted for some time with downcast eyes and pleased yet bashful
looks.  Then the men seemed to fling them off and go at it entirely on
their own account, yet keeping up a sort of revolving course round their
partners, like satellites encircling their separate suns.  Presently the
men grew furious; rushed about the circle in wild erratic courses,
leaped into the air, and while in that position slapped the soles of
their feet with both hands!

Then they became a little more sane, and a waltz, or something like it,
was got up.  It was quite pretty, and some of the movements graceful;
but the wild spirit of the glens seemed to re-enter them again rather
suddenly.  The females were expelled from the ring altogether, and the
young men braced themselves for a little really heavy work; they dashed,
flung, and hurled themselves about like maniacs, stood on their heads
and walked on their hands; in short, became a company of acrobats, yet
always kept up a sort of sympathetic attempt at time with the fiddler,
who went on pounding his wooden board with his left heel and murdering
an inconceivable multitude of young pigs with a degree of energy that
was only equalled by that of those to whom he fiddled.

But not a man, woman, or child there gave vent to his or her feelings in
laughter.  They smiled, they commented in a soft tone, they looked
happy; nay, they _were_ happy, but they did not laugh!  Once only did
they give way a little, and that was when an aspiring youth, after
having nearly leaped down his own throat, walked round the circle on his

Even Tittles danced that day!  He danced in and out among the feet of
the dancers in a most perplexing manner, and got his unhappy toes and
his unfortunate tail trod upon to a terrible extent.  But Tittles did
not seem to mind.  It is true that he gave a yelp of pain on each
occasion, but he instantly forgave the offender if he looked at all
sorry.  Upon the whole Tittles was the cause of much noise, no little
confusion, and great amusement at that celebrated wedding.

Thus did Fred Temple and his friends spend their last day in Norway.

At midnight they set sail for Old England.  On rising next morning they
found themselves far out among the islands of the coast.  Soon after
that they were out of sight of land,--heaving on the swell of the ocean,
thinking over the varied and stirring scenes of the past three months
with a sort of feeling that it must have been all a dream, and wishing
heartily that they were still away in the far north, enjoying the
endless daylight and--_Chasing the Sun_.


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