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Title: Due North or Glimpses of Scandinavia and Russia
Author: Ballou, Maturin Murray, 1820-1895
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 "Due North or Glimpses of Scandinavia and Russia" ***

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Transcriber's note:

4 pages of advertisements were printed on the first pages of the
book, and have been moved to the end of this ebook.

The author's incorrect/inconsistent spelling of names has been
retained (e.g. Tröndhjem for Trondhjem, Röskilde for Roskilde and
Gotha Canal for Götha C.).

The two first references to Fredericksborg Castle (in "city to
Fredericksborg" and "surrounds Fredericksborg") should correctly say
"Fredericksberg Castle". This is a mistake by the author. The two
later references to Fredericksborg Castle (in "palace of
Fredericksborg" and "window of Fredericksborg") are correct.

       *       *       *       *       *







 Only that travelling is good which reveals to me the value of
 home, and enables me to enjoy it better.--THOREAU.


 _Copyright, 1887_,

 _All rights reserved._

 University Press:


About five years ago, the Author, having then just returned from
circumnavigating the globe, was induced to record his experiences of
the long journey, which were published in a volume entitled "Due
West; or, Round the World in Ten Months." The public favor accorded
to this work led, a couple of years later, to the issuing of a second
volume of travels, upon the Author's return from the West Indies,
entitled "Due South; or, Cuba, Past and Present." The popular success
of both books and the flattering comments of the critics have caused
the undersigned to believe that a certain portion of the public is
pleased to see foreign lands and people through his eyes; and hence
the publication of the volume now in hand. These pages describing the
far North, from which the Author has just returned,--including
Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Russian Poland,--seem naturally to
suggest the title of "Due North." Without permitting prejudice to
circumscribe judgment in treating of Russia, the effort has been to
represent the condition of that country and its Polish province
truthfully, and to draw only reasonable deductions. This special
reference is made to the pages relating to the Tzar's government, as
it will be found that the Author does not accord with the popularly
expressed opinion upon this subject.

                                                M. M. B.
  BOSTON, March, 1887.



Copenhagen. -- First Stroll in a Strange City. -- Danish
Children. -- Antiquity of Copenhagen. -- English Arrogance. --
The Baltic Sea. -- Danish Possessions. -- Descendants of the
Vikings. -- Covetous Germany. -- The Denmark of To-day. --
Thorwaldsen's Remarkable Museum. -- The Ethnological Museum.
-- Educational Matters. -- Eminent Natives. -- Charitable
Institutions. -- Antique Churches. -- Royal Palaces. --
Historical Memories. -- City Architecture. -- Zoölogical


Public Amusements in Copenhagen. -- Danish Sovereigns. -- The
Fashionable Promenade. -- Danish Women. -- Palace of Rosenborg.
-- A Golconda of Gems. -- A Poet's Monument. -- A Famous
Astronomer. -- Our Lady's Church. -- The King's Square. -- The
Curious Old Round Tower. -- The Peasantry. -- A Famous Deer Park.
-- Röskilde. -- Elsinore. -- Gypsies. -- Kronborg Castle. -- The
Queen's Prison. -- Hamlet and Ophelia's Grave. -- A Danish


Gottenburg. -- Ruins of Elfsborg. -- Gustavus Adolphus. -- A
Wrecked Monument. -- The Girdle-Duellists. -- Emigration to
America. -- Public and Private Gardens. -- A Kindly People. --
The Götha Canal. -- Falls of Trollhätta. -- Dainty Wild-Flowers.
-- Water-Ways. -- Stockholm and Lake Maelaren. -- Prehistoric
Tokens. -- Iron Mines of Sweden. -- Pleasing Episode with
Children. -- The Liquor Traffic Systematized. -- A Great
Practical Charity. -- A Domestic Habit


Capital of Norway. -- A Grand Fjord. -- A Free and Independent
State. -- The Legal Code. -- Royal Palace and Gardens. -- Oscar's
Hall. -- The University. -- Public Amusements. -- The Ice Trade.
-- Ancient Viking Ships. -- Heathen Tombs. -- An Interesting
Hostelry. -- A Steam Kitchen. -- Environs of Christiania. --
Horses and their Treatment. -- Harvest Time. -- Women's Work. --
The Sæter. -- A Remarkable Lake. -- Wild Birds. -- Inland Travel.
-- Scandinavian Wild Flowers. -- Lonely Habitations. -- A Land of
Alpine Heights


Ancient Capital of Norway. -- Routes of Travel. -- Rain! --
Peasant Costumes. -- Commerce of Bergen. -- Shark's _vs._ Cod
Liver Oil. -- Ship-Building. -- Public Edifices. -- Quaint Shops.
-- Borgund Church. -- Leprosy in Norway. -- Sporting Country. --
Inland Experiences. -- Hay-Making. -- Pine-Forest Experiences. --
National Constitution. -- People's Schools. -- Girls' Industrial
School. -- Celebrated Citizens of Bergen. -- Two Grand Norwegian
Fjords. -- Remarkable Glaciers


Ancient and Modern Trondhjem. -- Runic Inscriptions. -- A Famous
Old Cathedral. -- Local Characteristics. -- Romantic Story of
King Olaf. -- Curious Local Productions. -- An Island Prison. --
Lafoss Falls. -- Corn Magazines. -- Land-owners. -- Wood-cutters.
-- Forests. -- A Tumble Overboard. -- A Genuine Cockney. --
Comparative Length of Days. -- Characteristics of Boreal Regions.
-- Arctic Winter Fisheries. -- The Ancient Town of Lund; the
Oxford of Sweden. -- Pagan Times


Along the Coast of Norway. -- Education at the Far North. -- An
Interesting Character. -- A Botanical Enthusiast. -- Remarkable
Mountain Tunnel. -- A Hard Climb. -- The Seven Sisters. -- Young
England. -- An Amateur Photographer. -- Horseman's Island. --
Ancient Town of Bodöe. -- Arctic Flowers. -- The Famous
Maelström. -- Illusions! -- The Wonderful Lofoden Islands. --
Grand and Unique Scenery. -- Glaciers. -- Nature's Architecture.
-- Mysterious Effects. -- Attraction for Artists


Birds of the Arctic Regions. -- Effect of Continuous Daylight.
-- Town of Tromsöe. -- The Aurora Borealis. -- Love of Flowers.
-- The Growth of Trees. -- Butterflies. -- Home Flowers. --
Trees. -- Shooting Whales with Cannon. -- Prehistoric Relics. --
About Laplanders. -- Eider Ducks. -- A Norsk Wedding Present. --
Gypsies of the North. -- Pagan Rites. -- The Use of the Reindeer.
-- Domestic Life of the Lapps. -- Marriage Ceremony. -- A Gypsy
Queen. -- Lapp Babies. -- Graceful Acknowledgment


Experiences Sailing Northward. -- Arctic Whaling. -- The
Feathered Tribe. -- Caught in a Trap. -- Domestic Animals. -- The
Marvellous Gulf Stream. -- Town of Hammerfest. -- Commerce. --
Arctic Mosquitoes. -- The Public Crier. -- Norwegian Marriages.
-- Peculiar Bird Habits. -- A Hint to Naturalists. -- Bird
Island. -- A Lonely Habitation. -- High Latitude. -- Final
Landing at the North Cape. -- A Hard Climb. -- View of the
Wonderful Midnight Sun


Journey Across Country. -- Capital of Sweden. -- Old and New.
-- Swedish History. -- Local Attractions. -- King Oscar II. --
The Royal Palace. -- The Westminster Abbey of Stockholm. -- A
Splendid Deer Park. -- Public Amusements. -- The Sabbath. -- An
Official Dude. -- An Awkward Statue. -- Swedish Nightingales. --
Linnæus and Swedenborg. -- Dalecarlia Girls. -- A Remarkable
Group in Bronze. -- Rosedale Royal Cottage. -- Ancient Oaks. --
Upsala and its Surroundings. -- Ancient Mounds at old Upsala. --
Swedenborg's Study


The Northern Mediterranean. -- Depth of the Sea. -- Where Amber
Comes From. -- A Thousand Isles. -- City of Åbo. -- Departed
Glory. -- Capital of Finland. -- Local Scenes. -- Russian
Government. -- Finland's Dependency. -- Billingsgate. -- A Woman
Sailor in an Exigency. -- Fortress of Sweaborg. -- Fortifications
of Cronstadt. -- Russia's Great Naval Station. -- The Emperor's
Steam Yacht. -- A Sail up the Neva. -- St. Petersburg in the
Distance. -- First Russian Dinner


St. Petersburg. -- Churches. -- The Alexander Column. --
Principal Street. -- Cathedral of Peter and Paul. -- Nevsky
Monastery. -- Russian Priesthood. -- The Canals. -- Public
Library. -- Cruelty of an Empress. -- Religious Devotion of the
People. -- A Dangerous Locality. -- Population. -- The Neva and
Lake Ladoga. -- The Nicholas Bridge. -- Winter Season. -- Begging
Nuns. -- Nihilism. -- Scandal Touching the Emperor. -- The
Fashionable Drive. -- St. Isaac's Church. -- Russian Bells. --
Famous Equestrian Statue. -- The Admiralty. -- Architecture


The Winter Palace. -- The Hermitage and its Riches. -- An Empress
and her Fancies. -- A Royal Retreat. -- Russian Culture. --
Public Library. -- The Summer Garden. -- Temperature of the City.
-- Choosing of the Brides. -- Peter's Cottage. -- Champ de Mars.
-- Academy of Fine Arts. -- School of Mines. -- Precious Stones.
-- The Imperial Home at Peterhoff. -- Curious and Interesting
Buildings. -- Catherine's Oak. -- Alexander III. at Parade. --
Description of the Royal Family. -- Horse-Racing. -- The
Empress's Companions


Power of the Greek Church. -- Freeing the Serfs. -- Education
Needed. -- Mammoth Russia. -- Religion and Superstition.
-- Memorial Structures. -- Church Fasts. -- Theatres and Public
Amusements. -- Night Revels. -- A Russian Bazaar. -- Children's
Nurses in Costume. -- The one Vehicle of Russia. -- Dress of the
People. -- Fire Brigade. -- Red Tape. -- Personal Surveillance.
-- Passports. -- Annoyances. -- Spying Upon Strangers. -- The
Author's Experience. -- Censorship of the Press


On the Road to Moscow. -- Russian Peasantry. -- Military Station
Masters. -- Peat Fuel for the War-Ships. -- Farm Products. --
Scenery. -- Wild-Flowers. -- City of Tver. -- Inland Navigation.
-- The Great River Volga. -- The Ancient Muscovite Capital. --
Spires and Minarets. -- A Russian Mecca. -- Pictorial Signs. --
The Kremlin. -- The Royal Palace. -- King of Bells. -- Cathedral
of St. Basil. -- The Royal Treasury. -- Church of Our Saviour. --
Chinese City. -- Rag Fair. -- Manufactures


Domestic Life in Moscow. -- Oriental Seclusion of Women. -- The
Foundling Hospital. -- A Christian Charity. -- A Metropolitan
Centre. -- City Museum. -- The University. -- Tea-Drinking.
-- Pleasure Gardens. -- Drosky Drivers. -- Riding-School.
-- Theatres. -- Universal Bribery. -- Love of Country. --
Russians as Linguists. -- Sparrow Hill. -- Petrofski Park. --
Muscovite Gypsies. -- Fast Life. -- Intemperance. -- A Famous
Monastery. -- City Highways. -- Sacred Pigeons. -- Beggars


Nijni-Novgorod. -- Hot Weather. -- The River Volga. -- Hundreds
of Steamers. -- Great Annual Fair. -- Peculiar Character of the
Trade. -- Motley Collection of Humanity. -- An Army of Beggars.
-- Rare and Precious Stones. -- The Famous Brick Tea. -- A Costly
Beverage. -- Sanitary Measures. -- Disgraceful Dance Halls. --
Fatal Beauty. -- A Sad History. -- Light-Fingered Gentry. --
Convicts. -- Facts about Siberia. -- Local Customs. -- Russian


On the Road to Poland. -- Extensive Grain-Fields. -- Polish
Peasantry. -- A Russian General. -- No Evidence of Oppression.
-- Warsaw and its Surroundings. -- Mingled Squalor and Elegance.
-- Monuments of the City. -- Polish Nobility. -- Circassian
Troops. -- Polish Language. -- The Jews of Warsaw. -- Political
Condition of Poland. -- Public Parks. -- The Famous Saxony
Gardens. -- Present Commercial Prosperity. -- Local Sentiment.
-- Concerning Polish Ladies and Jewish Beauties





  Copenhagen. -- First Stroll in a Strange City. -- Danish
  Children. -- Antiquity of Copenhagen. -- English Arrogance. --
  The Baltic Sea. -- Danish Possessions. -- Descendants of the
  Vikings. -- Covetous Germany. -- The Denmark of To-day. --
  Thorwaldsen's Remarkable Museum. -- The Ethnological Museum. --
  Educational Matters. -- Eminent Natives. -- Charitable
  Institutions. -- Antique Churches. -- Royal Palaces. --
  Historical Memories. -- City Architecture. -- Zoölogical Gardens.

Having resolved upon a journey due north, twenty days of travel over
familiar routes carried the author across the Atlantic and, by the
way of Liverpool, London, Paris, and Hamburg, landed him in
Copenhagen, the pleasant and thrifty capital of Denmark. As the
following pages will be devoted to Scandinavia, Russia, and Russian
Poland, this metropolis seems to be a proper locality at which to
begin the northern journey with the reader.

It was already nearly midnight when the Hôtel D'Angleterre, fronting
upon the Kongens Nytorv, was reached. So long a period of
uninterrupted travel, night and day, rendered a few hours of quiet
sleep something to be gratefully appreciated. Early the next morning
the consciousness of being in a strange city, always so stimulating
to the observant traveller, sent us forth with curious eyes upon the
thoroughfares of the Danish capital before the average citizen was
awake. The importunities of couriers and local guides, who are always
on the watch for visitors, were at first sedulously ignored; for it
would be foolish to rob one's self of the great pleasure of a
preliminary stroll alone amid scenes and localities of which one is
blissfully ignorant. A cicerone will come into the programme later
on, and is a prime necessity at the proper time; but at the outset
there is a keen gratification and novelty in verifying or
contradicting preconceived ideas, by threading unattended a labyrinth
of mysterious streets and blind alleys, leading one knows not where,
and suddenly coming out upon some broad square or boulevard full of
unexpected palaces and grand public monuments.

It was thus that we wandered into the old Market Square where
Dietrick Slagheck, Archbishop of Lund and minister of Christian II.,
was burned alive. A slight stretch of the imagination made the place
still to smell of roasted bishop. "Is this also the land of wooden
shoes?" we asked ourself, as the rapid clatter of human feet upon the
pavements recalled the familiar street-echoes of Antwerp. How eagerly
the eye receives and retains each new impression under such
circumstances! How sharp it is to search out peculiarities of dress,
manners, architecture, modes of conveyance, the attractive display of
merchandise in shop-windows, and even the expression upon the faces
of men, women, and children! Children! if any one says the Danish
children are not pretty, you may with safety contradict him. Their
delicately rounded, fresh young faces are lit up by such bright,
turquoise-colored, forget-me-not blue eyes as appeal to the heart at
once. What a wholesome appetite followed upon this pioneer excursion,
when we entered at breakfast on a new series of observations while
satisfying the vigorous calls of hunger, each course proving a
novelty, and every dish a fresh voyage of gastronomic discovery!

Copenhagen was a large commercial port many centuries ago, and has
several times been partially destroyed by war and conflagration. It
has some two hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, and is about six
miles in circumference. The site of the city is so low as to render
it necessary to protect it from the waters of the Baltic by
artificial embankments. Like Amsterdam and Venice, it may be said to
possess "remarkable water-privileges." We were told that the citizens
were making earnest remonstrance as to the inefficient drainage of
the city, which is believed to be the prime cause of a somewhat
extraordinary percentage of mortality. In past times it has more than
once been visited by the plague, which so late as 1711 caused the
death of over twenty-eight thousand of its inhabitants. It is only
some thirty years since, that over five thousand persons died here
of cholera in one season. Fevers of a typhoid character prevail
annually, which are no doubt with good reason attributed to want of
proper drainage. Notwithstanding Copenhagen is situated so nearly at
tide level, modern engineering could easily perfect a system of
drainage which would render it independent of this circumstance. The
safe and spacious harbor is formed by the channel between the islands
of Zeeland and Amager, where there is ample depth and room to answer
the demands of a far more extended commerce than the city is ever
likely to maintain. The houses are mostly of brick, some of the
better class being built of Norwegian granite, while the newer
portion of the town presents many examples of fine modern
architecture. The streets are of good width and laid out with an eye
to regularity, besides which there are sixteen spacious public
squares. Taken as a whole, the first impression of the place and its
surroundings is remarkably pleasing and attractive. As one approaches
the city, the scene is enlivened by the many windmills in the
environs, whose wide-spread arms are generally in motion, appearing
like the broad wings of enormous birds hovering over the land and
just preparing to alight. One is hardly surprised that Don Quixote
should mistake them for palpable enemies, and charge upon them full
tilt. Perhaps the earliest associations in its modern history which
the stranger is likely to remember, as he looks about him in
Copenhagen, is that of the dastardly attack upon the city, and the
shelling of it for three consecutive days, by the British fleet in
1807, during which uncalled for and reckless onslaught an immense
destruction of human life and property was inflicted upon the place.
Over three hundred important buildings were laid in ashes on that
occasion, because Denmark refused permission for the domiciling of
English troops upon her soil, and declined, as she had a most
unquestionable right to do, to withdraw her connection with the
neutral powers. It was one of the most outrageous examples of English
arrogance on record,--one which even her own historians feel
compelled to denounce emphatically. No wonder the gallant Nelson
expressed his deep regret at being sent to the Baltic on such
distasteful service. Copenhagen received the expressive name it bears
(Merchant's Haven) on account of its excellent harbor and general
commercial advantages. As in the Mediterranean so in the Baltic,
tidal influence is felt only to a small degree, the difference in the
rise and fall of the water at this point being scarcely more than one
foot. It should be remembered, however, that the level of the waters
of the Baltic are subject, like those of the Swiss lakes, to
barometric variations. Owing to the comparatively fresh character of
this sea, its ports are ice-bound for a third of each year, and in
extreme seasons the whole expanse is frozen across from the Denmark
to the Swedish coast. In 1658, Charles X. of Sweden marched his army
across the Belts, dictating to the Danes a treaty of peace; and so
late as 1809, a Russian army passed from Finland to Sweden across the
Gulf of Bothnia.

The possessions of Denmark upon the main-land are in our day quite
circumscribed, consisting of Jutland only; but she has besides
several islands far and near, of which Zeeland is the most populous,
and contains the capital. As a State, she may be said to occupy a
much larger space in history than upon the map of Europe. The surface
of the island of Zeeland is uniformly low, in this respect resembling
Holland, the highest point reaching an elevation of but five hundred
and fifty feet. To be precise in the matter of her dominions, the
colonial possessions of Denmark may be thus enumerated: Greenland,
Iceland, the Faroe group of islands, between the Shetlands and
Iceland; adding St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John in the West
Indies. Greenland is nearly as large as Germany and France combined;
but its inhabitants do not quite reach an aggregate of ten thousand.
Iceland is about the size of our New England States, and has a
population of seventy-five thousand. The Faroes contain ten thousand
inhabitants, and the three West Indian islands united have a
population of a little over forty thousand.

A slight sense of disappointment was realized at not finding more
visible evidences of antiquity while visiting the several sections of
the capital, particularly as it was remembered that a short time
since, in 1880, the Danish monarchy reached the thousandth
anniversary of its foundation under Gorm the Old, whose reign bridges
over the interval between mere legend and the dawn of recorded
history. Gorm is supposed to have been a direct descendant of the
famous Viking, Regnar Lodbrog, who was a daring and imperious ruler
of the early Northmen. The common origin of the three Baltic
nationalities which constitute Scandinavia is clearly apparent to the
traveller who has visited Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, or to any one
who has even an ordinary knowledge of their history. The race has
been steadily modified, generation after generation, in its more
vivid characteristics, by the progressive force of civilization.
These Northmen are no longer the haughty and reckless warriors who
revelled in wine drunk from the skulls of their enemies, and who
deemed death only respectable when encountered upon the battle-field.
Clearer intelligence and culture have substituted the duties of
peaceful citizens for those of marauders, and the enterprises of
civilized life for the exaggerated romance of chivalry. Reading and
writing, which were looked upon among them as allied to the black art
a few centuries ago, are now the universal accomplishment of all
classes, and nowhere on the globe will the traveller find a people
more cheerful, intelligent, frank, and hospitable than in the three
kingdoms of the far North.

Though the Danes are physically rather small, resembling in this
respect the Japanese, still they spring, as we have seen, from a
brave and warlike race, and have never been subjugated by any other
people. On the contrary, in the olden time they conquered England,
dismembered France, and subjugated Norway and Sweden. The time has
been when the Danes boasted the largest and most efficient navy in
the world, and their realm still justly bears the title of "Queen of
the Baltic." As to seamanship, they are universally acknowledged to
be among the best sailors who navigate the ocean. That Germany covets
Denmark is more than hinted at. The author heard a loud-talking naval
gentleman, of German nationality, coolly express the opinion that
Denmark as an independent kingdom had nearly reached the close of its
existence. This was on board the German mail-steamer, while crossing
a branch of the Baltic between the ports of Kiel and Korsoer. Whether
this individual reflected the ambitious purposes of the present
German government, or only echoed a popular sentiment of his nation,
the reader is left to judge. Were Bismarck to attempt, upon any
subterfuge, to absorb Denmark, it is reasonable to suppose that other
European powers would have something to say upon the subject; but
that the map of Europe, as now constructed, is destined to undergo
radical changes in the near future cannot be doubted.

The Denmark of to-day, typified by Copenhagen its capital, is a great
centre of science and of art, quite as much so as are Munich or
Dresden. It is surprising that so few travellers, comparatively,
resort thither. For the study of ethnological subjects, there is no
country which affords greater facilities, or which is more
interesting to scientists generally. The spirit of Thorwaldsen here
permeates everything; and in making his native city his heir, he
also bequeathed to her an appreciation of art, which her eminent
scientists have ably supplemented in their several departments of
knowledge. To visit the unique Thorwaldsen Museum alone would repay a
journey to Copenhagen, and no visitor to this Venice of the North
should fail thoroughly to explore its riches. It is in the very
centre of the city, situated close to the Palace of Christiansborg,
and was erected in 1845 from the great sculptor's own design, based
on the Egyptian order of architecture. It is two stories in height,
and quadrangular in form,--the lower story containing sculpture only;
the upper, both statuary and pictures. The external aspect of the
structure is certainly not pleasing, but within, "where the marble
statues breathe in rows," may be seen collected together and
appropriately arranged six hundred of the great master's works,
exhibiting the splendid and it is believed, as regards this
department of art, unequalled result of one man's genius and
industry. With galleries and vestibules the Museum contains over
forty apartments, ample space being afforded for the best display of
each figure and each group. The ceilings are elaborately and very
beautifully decorated with emblematical designs by the best Danish
artists. This enduring monument to art is also Thorwaldsen's
appropriate mausoleum, being fashioned externally after an Etruscan
tomb, and decorated in fresco with scenes illustrative of the
sculptor's life. These crude and unprotected frescos, however, have
become quite dim, and are being gradually effaced by exposure to the
elements. So far as any artistic effect is concerned, we are honestly
forced to say that the sooner they disappear the better. The interior
of the Museum is peculiar in its combined effect,--a little
depressing, we thought, being painted and finished in the sombre
Pompeian style. It contains only Thorwaldsen's works and a few
pictures which he brought with him when he removed hither from Rome,
where so many years of his artistic life were passed. We have here
presented to us the busts, models, sketches, and forms in clay,
plaster, or marble, which represent all his works. Thorwaldsen's
favorite motto was: "The artist belongs to his work, not the work to
the artist,"--a conscientious devotion which seems to invest
everything which came from his hand. His body lies buried in the
centre of the open court about which the building is constructed,
without any designating stone, the ground being slightly raised above
the surrounding pavement, and appropriately covered with a bed of
growing ivy. A sense of stillness and solemnity seems to permeate the
atmosphere as one pauses beside this lowly but expressive mound.

Among the portrait-statues which linger in the memory are many
historic and familiar characters, such as Copernicus, Byron, Goethe,
Hans Andersen, Humboldt, Schiller, Horace Vernet, Christian IV., the
favorite monarch of the Danes, and many more. We have said that the
general effect of these artistic halls was a little depressing;
still, this was not the influence of the great sculptor's creations,
for they are full of the joyous, elevating, and noble characteristics
of humanity. Thorwaldsen revelled in the representation of
tenderness, of youth, beauty, and childhood. Nothing of the repulsive
or terrible ever came from his hand. The sculptor's regal fancy found
expression most fully, perhaps, in the _relievi_ which are gathered
here, illustrating the delightful legends of the Greek mythology. He
gives us here in exquisite marble his original conceptions of what
others have depicted with the pen and the brush. No one can wonder at
the universal homage accorded by his countrymen to the memory of the
greatest of modern sculptors. The bust of Luther is seen in the main
hall in an unfinished condition, just as the sculptor left it, and
upon which, indeed, he is said to have worked the day before his
death. It depicts a rude, coarse face, but one full of energy and
power. In the Hall of Christ, as it is called, is the celebrated
group of our Lord and the Twelve Disciples, the original of which is
in the Cathedral. The impressive effect of this remarkable group is
universally conceded; no one can stand before it unaffected by its
grand and solemn beauty. Thorwaldsen's household furniture,
writing-desk, books, pictures, and relics are here disposed as they
were found in his home on the day of his death,--among which a clock,
made by him when he was but twelve years of age, will interest the

A large proportion of the many persons whom we met in the Museum were
Danes, whose respectability and admirable behavior impressed us most
favorably,--a conviction which was daily corroborated upon the public
streets, where there was none of the grossness observable which is so
glaring among the middle and lower classes of more southern cities.
There are no mendicants upon the thoroughfares; order and cleanliness
reign everywhere, reminding one of Holland and the Hague. The young
trees and delicate flowers in the public gardens require no special
protection, and one looks in vain for anything like rowdyism in the
crowded thoroughfares. Though the Danes are free consumers of malt
liquors, not a case of intoxication met the author's eye while he
remained in Copenhagen.

The Ethnological Museum of the city, better known as the Museum of
Northern Antiquities, is generally considered to be the most
remarkable institution of its class in Europe. Students in this
department of science come from all parts of the civilized world to
seek knowledge from its countless treasures. One is here enabled to
follow the progress of our race from its primitive stages to its
highest civilization. The national government liberally aids all
purposes akin to science and art; consequently this Museum is a
favored object of the State, being also liberally endowed by private
munificence. Each of the three distinctive periods of Stone, Bronze,
and Iron forms an elaborate division in the spacious halls of the
institution. In classifying the objects, care has been taken not
only to divide the three great periods named, but also in each of
these divisions those belonging to the beginning and the end of the
period are chronologically placed, as fast as such nice distinctions
can be wrought out by careful, scientific study and comparison. Here
the visitor gazes with absorbing interest upon the tangible evidences
of a race that inhabited this earth probably thousands of years
before it was broken into islands and continents. Their one token,
these rude, but expressive stone implements, are found equally
distributed from the Arctic Circle to the Equator, from Canada to
Brazil, from England to Japan. Scientists whose culture and
intelligence entitle their opinion to respect, place the Stone Age as
here illustrated at least twenty thousand years before the birth of
Christ. How absorbing is the interest attaching to these relics which
ages have consecrated! No matter what our preconceived notions may
be, science only deals with irrefutable facts. The periods delineated
may be thus expressed: first the Flint period, which comes down to
fifteen hundred years before Christ; followed by the Bronze, which
includes the next twelve or thirteen hundred years; then the Iron,
which comes down far into the Christian era. What is termed the
Mediæval brings us to 1536, since which time there is no occasion for
classification. No wonder the antiquarian becomes so absorbed in the
study of the past. "The earliest and the longest has still the
mastery over us," says George Eliot. Progress is daily making in the
correct reading of these comprehensive data, and those who may come
after us will be born to a great wealth of antiquity. Other countries
may learn much from the admirable management of this Museum in the
matter of improving the educational advantages which it affords.
Professors of eminence daily accompany the groups of visitors,
clearly explaining the purport and the historical relations of the
many interesting objects. These persons are not merely intelligent
employees, but they are also trained scientists; and, above all, they
are enthusiastic in freely imparting the knowledge which inspires
them. Such impromptu lectures are both original and impressive.
Indeed, to go through the Ethnological Museum of Copenhagen
understandingly is a liberal education. It should be added that the
zeal and affability of these able officials is as freely and
cheerfully extended to the humblest citizen as to distinguished
strangers. One returns again and again with a sort of fascination to
these indisputable evidences of history relating to periods of which
there is no written record. If they are partially defective in their
consecutive teachings, they are most impressive in the actual
knowledge which they convey. Without giving us a list of sovereigns
or positive dates, they afford collectively a clearer knowledge of
the religion, culture, and domestic life of the people of their
several periods than a Gibbon or a Bancroft could depict with their
glowing pages.

The Danes are a cultured people, much more so, indeed, than the
average classes of the continental States. The large number of
book-stores was a noticeable feature of the capital, as well as the
excellent character of the books which were offered for sale. These
were in German, French, and English, the literature of the latter
being especially well represented. Copenhagen has more daily and
weekly newspapers, magazines, and current news publications than
Edinburgh or Dublin, or most of the provincial cities of Great
Britain. It may be doubted if even in this country, outside of New
England, we have many districts more liberally supplied with free
library accommodations, or with educational facilities for youth,
than are the populous portions of Zeeland and Jutland. Even small
country villages have their book-clubs and dramatic clubs. A very
general taste for the drama prevails. Indeed, Denmark has a national
drama of its own, which exercises a notable influence upon its
people. This Government was the first in Europe to furnish the means
of education to the people at large on a liberal scale, to establish
schoolhouses in every parish, and to provide suitable dwellings and
incomes for the teachers. The incipient steps towards this object
began as far back as the time of Christian II., more than three
centuries ago, while most of the European States were grovelling in
ignorance. Copenhagen has two public libraries,--the Royal,
containing over six hundred thousand books; and the University, which
has between two hundred and fifty and three hundred thousand volumes,
not to speak in detail of a particularly choice collection of
manuscripts. These under reasonable restrictions are free to all,
citizen or foreigner. The National University is of the first class,
and supports a well organized lecture-system, like that of the
Sorbonne in Paris, and which is also free to all, women having the
same facilities afforded them as those enjoyed by the sterner sex.
This institution, we were assured, is conducted upon the most modern
educational system. It was founded in 1478, and at the present
writing has between twelve and fifteen hundred students, instructed
by about fifty able professors.

Though Denmark is a small kingdom, containing scarcely three millions
of people, yet it has produced many eminent men of science, of art,
and of literature. The names of Hans Christian Andersen, of Rasmus
Rask the philologist, of Oersted the discoverer of electro-magnetism,
of Forchhammer the mineralogist, and Eschricht the physiologist, will
occur to the reader's mind in this connection. It is a country of
legend and romance, of historic and prehistoric monuments, besides
being the very father-land of fairy tales. The Vikings of old have
left their footprints all over the country in barrows and tumuli. It
is not, therefore, surprising that the cultured portion of the
community are stimulated to antiquarian research. The masses are
clearly a pleasure-loving people, easily amused and contented,
troubling themselves very little about religious matters; the arts,
poetry, and the drama being much more reverenced than the church. The
accepted and almost universal doctrine is that of Lutheranism. One
meets comparatively few intelligent persons who cannot speak English,
while many speak French and German also. The Danish language is a
modified form of the old Gothic, which prevailed in the earliest
historic ages.

Copenhagen is liberally supplied with free hospitals and charitable
institutions, but except the Communal Hospital, the buildings devoted
to these purposes have no architectural merit. A child's home was
pointed out to us designed for the children of the poor, whose
parents are unable to take care of them during their working hours.
Before going out to a day's labor, a mother can place her child in
this temporary home, where it will be properly cared for and fed
until she returns for it. "Is any charge made for this service?" we
asked. "Certainly," replied our informant, himself an official of
importance; and he named a sum equal to about five cents of our money
as the price per day for the care of each infant. "If it were
entirely gratuitous," he added, "it would not be nearly so well
appreciated, and would lead to imposition. The payment of this
trifling sum enhances the estimate of the privilege far beyond its
cost." The institution could not be sustained by such limited charges
however; its real support is by the local government. Another
institution was visited, designed for the sick and poor, where they
can be properly nursed when temporarily ill, yet not sufficiently so
to seek admission to a regular hospital. There have been as many as
eight thousand patients admitted within a twelve-month to this
establishment. There are also homes for old men and old women,
intended for indigent persons who are too old to work. From the
latter "home" there was observed driving upon the Lange Linie, beside
the sea, a large open wagon full of dames who were enjoying a
healthful outing. As the vehicle passed us, the driver was pointing
out to his charges the distant view of Sweden, across the intervening
Sound. The Royal Theatre or Opera House, situated on the King's
Square, was to us a surprise,--it is so similar, at first sight, to
the more elaborate and costly Opera House in the Place de l'Opéra in
Paris, and as it antedates that elegant structure, it would certainly
seem to have suggested some of its best lines. The Danish theatre
will accommodate seventeen hundred persons, and is usually well
filled, the royal box being seldom empty. The corridors are
remarkable for spaciousness, and form a popular promenade for both
sexes during the intervals between the acts. This furnishes an
agreeable social break to the often long-protracted performances. On
one side of the theatre facing the Square is a hideous bronze statue
of Adam Oehlenschlaeger, the Danish lyric author; and on the opposite
side is another representing Ludwig von Holberg, the Norwegian
dramatist. This latter, in an artistic sense, is still more
objectionable than the first named. The ballet as represented here is
unique, being mostly designed to illustrate the early history of

On one of the main thoroughfares leading from the Square already
named, the triple domes of a Russian church dazzle the eye with
their bright gilded surface and long hanging chains, depending from
cross and crescent of the same metal, the whole reflecting the sun's
rays with the force of a Venetian mirror. The interior, however, is
plain, though rich in white marble, here and there carved in lattice
pattern to form balustrades and dädos. Near by this church is the
residence of the Russian Minister. On this same street, called the
Bredgade, is the Frederick's Church, begun as long ago as 1749, after
a grand design, and not yet finished. It is half surrounded to-day by
a broad high staging, upon which groups of mechanics were seen busily
at work, as has been the case for so many generations. This is known
as the Marble Church, and is surmounted by a grand if not graceful
dome of immense proportions. The English residents of the city are
building an Episcopal church on the Esplanade, the local government
having given the ground for this purpose. The corner-stone was laid
by the Prince of Wales in 1885, with a grand ceremony, at which the
Emperor and Empress of Russia assisted, with all the Danish royal
family. It is the first English church erected in the country. On the
Amaliegade, which runs parallel with the Bredgade and which is the
next street to it, are four spacious palaces, which form a square, in
the centre of which stands a bronze statue of Frederick V. These
palaces are the town residence of the present royal family, one being
also devoted to the business of the Foreign Office. The Amaliegade
ends at the Lange Linie, where the Esplanade begins.

The spire of the large city Exchange is very curious, being formed of
the twisted tails of three marvellous dragons, their bulging heads
resting on the four corners of the tower,--altogether forming the
most ridiculous attempt at architectural ornamentation we have yet
chanced to behold. The building thus surmounted dates back to 1624,
forming a memento of the reign of Christian IV. The Church of our
Saviour has also a remarkable spire, with a winding staircase outside
leading to the pinnacle. The bell which surmounts this lofty spire,
and upon which stands a colossal figure of our Saviour, is said to be
large enough to contain twelve persons at a time; but without
climbing to the summit, the local guide's assurance that there were
just three hundred and ninety three steps between base and top was
unhesitatingly accredited. This church was consecrated in 1696. A
peculiarity of its steeple is the fact that the spiral stairs wind
upwards in the opposite direction from that which is usual. This was
undoubtedly an accident on the part of the mechanics. Christian IV.
detected the awkwardness and pointed it out to the architect, who,
singular to say, had not before realized a circumstance which is now
so obvious. His consequent chagrin was so great as nearly if not
quite to render him insane. He ascended the spire on the day when the
work was completed, and ended his life by throwing himself from the
summit. Such was the entertaining legend rehearsed with great
volubility to us by our local guide, who was evidently annoyed at
our smile of incredulity.

The Christiansborg Palace, which was the Louvre of Copenhagen,
contained many fine paintings by the old masters, including choice
examples by Tintoretto, Nicholas Poussin, Raphael, Rubens, Salvator
Rosa, Vandyke, Rembrandt, and others. The building was partially
burned in 1884,--a fate reserved it would seem for all public
structures in this country, a similar fortune having befallen this
same palace seventeen or eighteen years ago. It still remains in
ruins, and the pictures and other works of art, which were saved,
have not yet found a fitting repository. Not even fire has purged
this now ruined palace of its many tragic histories, its closeted
skeletons, and its sorrowful memories. It was here that Caroline
Matilda was made the reigning queen, and here a court mad with
dissipation held its careless revels. From this place the dethroned
queen went forth to prison at Elsinore, and her reputed lover
(Struensee) was led to the scaffold. There was poetical justice in
the retributive conduct of the son of the unfortunate queen, one of
whose earliest acts upon assuming the reins of government was to
confine the odious queen-mother Juliana in the same fortress which
had formed the prison of Caroline Matilda. Though the Christiansborg
Palace is now in partial ruins, its outer walls and façade are
still standing nearly complete, quite enough so to show that
architecturally it was hugely ugly. When it was intact its vast
courts contained the chambers of Parliament, as well as those
devoted to the suites forming the home of the royal family, and
spacious art galleries.

In strolling about the town one comes now and then upon very quaint
old sections, where low red-tiled roofs and houses, with gable ends
towards the street, break the monotony. The new quarters of
Copenhagen, however, are built up with fine blocks of houses, mostly
in the Grecian style of architecture,--palatial residences, with
façades perhaps a little too generally decorated by pilasters and
floral wreaths, alternating with nymphs and cupids. The two-story
horse-cars convey one in about fifteen minutes over a long, level,
tree-shaded avenue from the centre of the city to Fredericksborg
Castle in the environs. It is a palace erected by Frederick IV. as a
summer residence for himself and court, but though capacious and
finely located, it is void of all aspect of architectural grandeur.
As a portion of the grounds commands a fine view of the city, the
castle is generally visited by strangers. The spacious building is at
present used for a military educational school. The park which
surrounds Fredericksborg Castle is the great charm of the locality,
being ornamented in all parts by immemorial trees, deep sylvan
shades, purling streams, graceful lakes, and inviting greensward. It
forms the daily resort of picnic parties from the close streets of
the town near at hand, who come hither on summer afternoons in such
numbers as to tax the full capacity of the tramway. At the entrance
to the park stands a bronze statue of Frederick IV., which presents
so strong a likeness to Lamartine, in form and feature, as instantly
to recall the French orator and poet. Adjoining the extensive grounds
of the castle is the Zoölogical Garden, which appears to occupy about
ten acres of well-wooded and highly cultivated territory, ornamented
with choice flower-beds, small lakes for aquatic birds, and a large
brook running through the midst of the grounds. There is here an
admirable collection of animals. The author's visit chanced upon a
Saturday afternoon, when a bevy of primary-school children, composed
of boys and girls under twelve years, was being conducted from
section to section by their teachers, while the nature of each animal
was lucidly explained to them. No advantage for educational purposes
seems to be forgotten or neglected in Denmark.


  Public Amusements in Copenhagen. -- Danish Sovereigns. -- The
  Fashionable Promenade. -- Danish Women. -- Palace of Rosenborg.
  -- A Golconda of Gems. -- A Poet's Monument. -- A Famous
  Astronomer. -- Our Lady's Church. -- The King's Square. -- The
  Curious Old Round Tower. -- The Peasantry. -- A Famous Deer Park.
  -- Röskilde. -- Elsinore. -- Gypsies. -- Kronborg Castle. -- The
  Queen's Prison. -- Hamlet and Ophelia's Grave. -- A Danish

Copenhagen is not without its ballets, theatres, Alhambras,
Walhallas, and _cafés chantants_. The principal out-door resort of
this character is the Tivoli Gardens, laid out in the Moorish style,
where the citizens, representing all classes,--the cultured, the
artisan, and the peasant,--assemble and mingle together in a
free-and-easy way. Here they enjoy the long summer evenings, which
indeed at this season of the year do not seem like evenings at all,
since they are nearly as light as the day. Whatever may be said in
advocacy of these public assemblies, enjoyed amid the trees, flowers,
soft air, and artistic surroundings, there seems to a casual visitor
to be too much freedom permitted between the sexes for entire
respectability, and yet nothing actually repulsive was observable. In
Berlin or Vienna these popular resorts would be designated as beer
gardens; here they are called tea-gardens. The Tivoli has a fine
ballet troup among its attractions, and employs two orchestras of
forty instrumental performers each, stationed in different parts of
the spacious gardens. The price of admission to these illuminated
grounds is merely nominal. Some of the wealthiest families as well as
the humbler bring their children with them, as is the custom of those
who frequent the beer gardens of Munich and Dresden. As a popular
place of varied and attractive amusements the Tivoli of Copenhagen
has hardly its equal in Europe.

Just across the harbor is the spacious and fertile island of Amager,
some twenty square miles in extent, which serves as the kitchen or
vegetable garden of the capital. It was first occupied by a colony of
Flemings who were brought hither in 1516 by Charles II., for the
purpose of teaching his subjects how to cultivate vegetables and
flowers. The descendants of these foreigners still retain traces of
their origin, remaining quite distinctive in their costume and
personality. These peasants, or at least those who daily come to
market, must be well off in a pecuniary sense, judging by their gold
and silver ornaments and fanciful dresses.

Tramways render all parts of the city and environs accessible, the
double-decked cars enabling them to carry a large number of
passengers. Broad streets and convenient sidewalks invite the
promenaders along the open squares, which are frequently lined with
umbrageous trees and embellished with monuments. The fashionable
drive and promenade is the Lange Linie (that is, the "Long Line"),
bordering the Sound and forming a complete circle. It reminded one
of the Chiaja of Naples, though there is no semi-tropical vegetation
to carry out the similitude. It was pleasant to meet here the members
of the royal family, including the Queen and Prince Royal. The two
servants upon the box in scarlet livery were the only distinctive
tokens of royalty observable, and there were no other attendants. Her
Majesty and the Prince were both prompt to recognize and salute us as
a stranger. The present king, Christian IX., it will be remembered,
was crowned in 1863, and is now in his sixty-fifth year. Being in
poor health, during our visit he was absent at Wiesbaden, partaking
of its mineral waters. It must be admitted that the past sovereigns
of Denmark have not always been so deserving of popular respect as
have the people of the country generally. The late king was by no
means a shining light of morality. He was married three times,
divorcing his first queen; the second divorced him, and the royal
roué ended by marrying his mistress, who was a fashionable milliner.
He first created her a countess, but he could not make a lady of her,
even in outward appearance, and she remained to the last a social
monstrosity to the court. She was fat, vulgar-looking, snub-nosed,
bourgeoise, and ruled the King in all things. She was totally ignored
by decent society in the capital, and became so obnoxious that she
nearly provoked open rebellion. However, the fortunate death of the
King finally ended this condition of affairs; and as he left no
children by any of his wives, the crown descended to his cousin the
present King, who, it is pleasant to record, has not failed to
dignify the throne.

The ladies walk or drive very generally in the afternoon upon the
Lange Linie, and are certainly attractive with their fair
complexions, light golden hair, and smiling blue eyes. They have both
sunny faces and sunny hearts, emphasized by the merriest tones of
ringing laughter that ever saluted the ear. They are lovable, but not
beautiful, excelling in ordinary accomplishments, such as music and
dancing; "but above all," said a resident American to us, "they are
naturally of domestic habits, and care nothing for politics or
so-called woman's rights, except the right to make home happy." The
well-to-do portion of the community very generally live in "flats,"
after the French and modern American style. Some large and elegant
buildings of this character were observed in course of construction
at the extreme end of the Bredgade. There is no very poor or squalid
district in the town, and one looks in vain for such wretched hovels
as disfigure so many European cities.

The Palace of Rosenborg with its superb gardens, noble avenues of
chestnut trees, and graceful shrubbery is situated near the present
centre of the city. It was once a royal residence, having been built
by Christian IV. as a dwelling-place, whither he might retire at will
from the noise and interruptions of the capital. At the time of its
erection in 1604 it was outside the walls, a radius which the modern
city has long since outgrown. The room in which the King died in
1648 is shown to visitors, and recalled to us the small apartment in
which Philip II. died at the Escurial, near Madrid. Among the few
paintings upon the walls of this apartment is one representing the
King upon his death-bed, as he lay in his last long sleep. The palace
is now devoted to a chronological collection of the belongings of the
Danish kings, spacious apartments being devoted to souvenirs of each,
decorated in the style of the period and containing a portion of the
original furniture from the several royal residences, as well as the
family portraits, gala-costumes, jewelry, plate, and weapons.
Altogether it is a collection of priceless value and of remarkable
historic interest, covering a period of about four hundred and fifty
years. One is forcibly reminded of the Green Vaults of Dresden while
passing through the many sections of Rosenborg Castle. The
extraordinary and valuable collection within its walls has, it is
believed, no superior in point of interest in all Europe. The founder
of this museum was Frederick III., the son and successor of Christian
IV. Some of the cabinets and other articles of furniture in the
various halls and rooms are marvellous works of art, inlaid with
ivory and mother-of-pearl, representing birds, flowers, landscapes,
and domestic scenes with all the finished effect of oil paintings by
a master-hand. In the cabinets and tables secret drawers are exposed
to view by the touching of hidden springs. While some tables are
formed of solid silver, as are also other articles of domestic use,
still others are composed of both gold and silver. Many of the royal
regalias are profusely inlaid with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds,
rubies, and other precious stones,--forming an aggregated value too
large for us to venture an estimate. The toilet sets were numerous,
and had belonged to the several queens, each embracing eight or ten
finely wrought pieces made of solid gold, superbly inlaid with
precious stones. Among these costly sets was observed the jewelled
casket of Queen Sophia Amalie, wife of Frederick III., a relic of
great interest, inlaid with scores of large diamonds. The costly and
very beautiful bridal dresses of several royal personages are here
exhibited, all being carefully and chronologically arranged, so that
the intelligent visitor clearly reads veritable history amid this
array of domestic treasures.

It is difficult to designate the order of architecture to which the
Rosenborg Palace belongs, though it is clearly enough in the showy
renaissance of the seventeenth century. It is attributed to the
famous architect Inigo Jones. In the spacious grounds is a fine
monument erected to the memory of Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish
poet and author, whose popular tales are the delight not only of all
Scandinavian children, but of those of larger growth, being full of
acute observation and profound views under a simple and familiar
guise. At the foot of this statue, as we passed by, there stood a
group of young children, to whom one evidently their teacher was
explaining its purport. A school of gardening is also established
here, with extensive conservatories and hot-houses. These grounds
are called the Kindergarten of the city, being so universally the
resort of infancy and childhood during the long summer days, but are
officially known as Kongen's Have (King's Garden).

Close to the Rosenborg Palace is the Astronomical Observatory, in the
grounds of which is a monument to the astronomer Tycho Brahe, who
died in 1610. This monument was unveiled on the 8th day of August,
1876, just three hundred years after the founding of Brahe's famous
observatory on the Island of Hveen, where he discovered on the 1st of
November, 1572, the Cassiopeia, which is best known as Tycho Brahe's
star. "Only Venus at her brightest surpasses this new star," wrote
the enthusiastic astronomer. Science, however, has since shown that
it was no new star, but one that shines with great lustre for a few
months once in a period of three hundred years. One sunny afternoon
the author took a trip up the Sound to Hveen, familiarly known as
Tycho Brahe's Island, and which was presented to Tycho by the King of
Denmark. The foundation in ruins is all that remains of the famous
castle which the somewhat vain astronomer built here, and to which he
gave the name of Uraniborg ("Castle of the Heavens."). This man was a
strange compound of science and superstition; he was a poet of no
ordinary power, and was courted by many of the eminent men of his
day. James VI. of Scotland was at times his guest at Hveen. He was
well connected, but mortally offended his relatives by marrying an
humble peasant girl of Amager.

The most interesting Christian temple in the capital is that of Our
Lady's Church, being also the oldest and best endowed. It was founded
early in the twelfth century, and is in the Greco-Roman style; but
its greatest attraction is the possession of some of Thorwaldsen's
finest sculpture. The sad-fated Caroline Matilda was married with
great ceremony in this church, in 1766, to her cousin Christian VII.
Outside of the church are two statues in bronze,--one of David by
Jerichau, and one of Moses by Bissen. The King's Square already
spoken of is situated very near the actual centre of the city, whence
radiates a dozen more or less of the principal streets, of which the
Bredgade (Broad Street) is one. In the middle of this area there is a
statue of Christian V. surrounded by grotesque, allegorical figures.
The material of the statue is lead, the whole forming a colossal
caricature upon art, entirely unworthy of its present situation.
There is a friendly collection of tall shrubbery clustered about the
leaden statue, forming a partial screen. The spacious square, or
circus as it would be called in London, or piazza in Rome, is
bordered by several public buildings, mingled with tall narrow
dwellings, characterized by fantastic gables and long sloping roofs
full of little dormer windows. The Royal Theatre, the Academy of
Arts, Count Moltke's picture gallery, and some hotels centre here.

The Round Tower of Copenhagen has been pronounced one of the most
remarkable buildings in the world. It is certainly very peculiar,
designed as a sort of annex to the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Formerly it served as an astronomical observatory; and it is an
observatory still, since it affords one of the best and most
comprehensive views that can be had of the low-lying capital. The
tower consists of two hollow cylinders, and between them a spiral,
gradually-inclined foot-way leads from base to summit, somewhat
similar to the grand Campanile in the piazza of St. Mark, Venice. It
is quite safe for a horse and vehicle to ascend; indeed, this
performance is said to have been achieved by the Empress Catherine,
and it is also recorded that Peter the Great accomplished the same
feat on horseback in 1707. From the top of the Round Tower the
red-tiled roofs of the city lie spread out beneath the eye of the
visitor, mingled with green parks, open squares, tall slim steeples,
broad canals, public buildings, long boulevards, palaces, and
gardens. To this aspect is added the multitude of shipping lying
along the piers and grouped in the harbor, backed by a view of the
open sea. The Swedish coast across the Baltic is represented by a low
range of coast-line losing itself upon the distant horizon. Turning
the eyes inland, there are seen thick groves of dark woods and richly
cultivated fields, sprinkled here and there by the half-awkward but
picturesque and wide-armed wind-mills in lazy motion. The bird's-eye
view obtained of Copenhagen and surroundings from this eyrie is one
to be long and vividly remembered.

The environs within eight or ten miles of the city are rather
sparsely inhabited, though there are many delightful villas to be
seen here and there. Everything is scrupulously neat; human and
animal life appears at its best. The whole of the island, from one
end to the other, is interspersed with thrifty farms, and no
dwellings, barns, or other farm buildings are so humble but that the
walls are kept of snowy brightness with whitewash, while all are
surrounded by well-kept shrubbery, birches, and flower-plats. The
peasant girls seen at work in large numbers in the field are smiling,
ruddy, and stout; the men are of low stature, but hale and hearty. We
were informed that the nominal increase of the population is so small
as to be hardly recognizable, being but about one per cent per annum,
and--singular fact--that suicide is more prevalent in Denmark than in
any other portion of Europe. Emigration from this country is far less
in proportion than from Norway and Sweden, but yet amounts to a
respectable aggregate annually. Some of the birch and linden woods
not far from the city form beautiful and picturesque groves,
particularly in the suburb north of the capital, where the Prince
Imperial has a large château, situated amid rich woodland glades.
Though the spruce and pine are so abundant in Norway and Sweden just
across the narrow Sound, no conifer will grow in Denmark. Tea-gardens
abound in these environs, the citizens knowing no greater pleasure
than to resort thither to enjoy their tea or supper in the open air.
The short summer season is more than tropical in the haste it imparts
to vegetation, making up for its brevity by its intensity. Were this
not the case, the crops would hardly reach maturity in Scandinavia.

There is what is called the Dyrehave, or Deer Park, a couple of miles
beyond the Prince's château, where the people of Copenhagen annually
enjoy a mid-summer revel lasting some weeks, perhaps a little too
fast and free, if the truth be told, where even Nijnii-Novgorod is
exceeded in lasciviousness. A fair of some days' continuance is held
in the park, which reaches its climax on St. John's Eve, when its
well-arranged precincts, groves, cafés, shooting galleries,
flower-booths and verdant vistas make a rare picture of gayety and
sportive life. A large herd of the picturesque animals after whom the
park is named, roam at will over the more secluded portions. Among
them two noble white stags were observed, the first we had ever
chanced to see. The park is reached by a pleasant drive over an
excellent road, or by steam tramway cars any hour in the day.

Twenty miles northwest of the city are situated the village and the
royal palace of Fredericksborg, one of the noblest of all the royal
residences of the kings of Denmark. It stands about midway between
the capital and Elsinore. The original building was begun under
Frederick II., grandfather of Charles I. of England, and completed in
1608 by his son and successor Christian IV. The palace occupies three
small islands in the middle of Lake Hilleröd, which is also the name
of the neighboring market-town, the islands being connected therewith
by a bridge. The building is four stories in height, composed of red
sandstone, elaborately ornamented with sculpture, the whole
surmounted by tall towers and a steeple containing a chime of bells.
It has been pronounced a dream of architectural beauty, quite
unequalled elsewhere in Denmark.

It is not the author's purpose to take the reader far away from
Copenhagen, or at least from the shores of the Sound, as the plan of
the present volume is so comprehensive in other directions as to
circumscribe the space which can properly be devoted to Denmark.

On the peninsula, as well as in Zeeland, the land is generally
undulating. There being as we have said no mountains or considerable
elevations, consequently no waterfalls or rapids are to be met with;
the rivers are smooth and the lakes mirror-like. The soil is sandy,
often marshy, but produces good crops of grain and affords fine
pasturage. The green fields were sprinkled far and near on the line
of the railroad from Korsoer to Copenhagen with grazing cattle,
sheep, and horses, forming a pleasing rural picture under a clear
azure sky. The produce of the dairy is the great staple of Denmark.
On this route one passes through the village of Leedoye, where there
was once a grand Pagan temple and place of sacrifice, exceeded in
importance in Scandinavia only by that at Upsala. Close at hand is
Röskilde, so historically interesting,--though save its grand
cathedral, dating from the twelfth or thirteenth century, it has
little left to show that for five hundred years it was the capital
of Denmark, even down to 1448. Here is to be seen the black marble
sarcophagus of the renowned Queen Margaret of Scandinavia, surmounted
by her recumbent effigy; also a mortuary chapel of Christian IV. and
Frederick V. Other queens and monarchs are here interred, from the
time of Harold to Frederick VII. The whole forms an exceedingly
interesting monument of mediæval days.

Upon this line of road there are occasional districts so well wooded
as to be called forests; but that word does not signify the same in
Zeeland as it does in America. There are still to be seen occasional
groups of gypsy vagrants in the inland districts, but are rarely to
be found in the cities. Not many years ago they were here in great
numbers, but are now gradually disappearing. One group was observed
whose members presented all the peculiar characteristics of their
Asiatic origin. They are dark-skinned, with raven-black hair and
black piercing eyes, presenting a picture of indolence and
sensuousness. The young women were mostly handsome, even in their
dirt, rags, and cheap jewelry.

The ramparts and fortifications generally which formerly surrounded
Copenhagen on the seaside have nearly all been demolished, the ground
being now turned into fine garden-walks planted with umbrageous trees
and bright-hued flowers, adding greatly to the beauty of the Danish
capital. The last unimproved portion of these now defunct
fortifications is being levelled and brought into ornamental
condition. The former moats have assumed the shape of tiny lakes,
upon which swans are seen at all hours; and where death-dealing
cannon were planted, lindens, rose-bushes, peonies, heliotrope, and
tall white lilies now bloom and flourish. The outer-island defences
have in the mean time been greatly strengthened and the more modern
weapons of warfare adopted, so that Copenhagen is even better
prepared for self-defence than ever before.

No finer scenery is to be found in Europe than is presented by the
country lying between Copenhagen and Elsinore, composed of a
succession of forests, lawns, villas, cottages, and gardens for a
distance of twenty-five miles. Elsinore is a small seaport, looking
rather deserted, bleak, and silent, with less than ten thousand
inhabitants. From out of the uniformity of its red brick buildings
there looms up but one noticeable public edifice; namely, the Town
Hall, with a square, flanked by an octagonal tower built of brick and
red granite. The charm of the place is its remarkable situation,
commanding an admirable view of the Baltic with Sweden in the
distance, while the Sound which divides the two shores is always
dotted in summer with myriads of steamers and sailing vessels. The
author counted over eighty marine craft at one view, glancing between
"the blue above and the blue below." The position of Elsinore recalls
that of Gibraltar and the Dardanelles as surely as its name recalls
Hamlet and Shakspeare. North of the town, on the extreme point of the
land, stands the famous castle of Kronborg, with its three tall
towers, the central one overtopping the others by forty or fifty
feet. The tower upon the most seaward corner is now devoted to the
purpose of a lighthouse. The castle is about three centuries old,
having been built by Frederick II. for the purpose of commanding the
entrance to the Sound, and of enforcing the marine tolls which were
exacted from all foreign nations for a period of two or three
centuries. Kronborg contains a small collection of oil paintings,
nearly all of which are by Danish artists. A portrait of Rubens's
daughter by the hand of the great master himself was observed. There
is also an ideal portrait of considerable merit entitled Hamlet, by
Abildgaard. But to the author, as he strolled from one spacious
apartment to another, there came forcibly the sad memory of the young
and lovely Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark and sister of George
III. It was here that she was confined, upon a preposterous charge of
infidelity to her husband,--that royal lunatic!--instituted by the
malignity of the Queen Dowager, who wished to secure the succession
to her son. After a trying period of imprisonment in this castle, the
ill-fated Matilda was permitted, through the influence of her royal
brother to retire to Zell, in Hanover, where she died of a broken
heart at the age of twenty-three. During her misfortune she wrote
that memorable line on the window of Fredericksborg Castle, with a
diamond ring,--

  "Lord keep me innocent: make others great."

One has only to study for a moment the serene and beautiful face of
the Queen, as exhibited in Rosenborg Palace, to feel entire
confidence in her innocence.

If you come to Elsinore the guide will show you what is called
Hamlet's grave, located in a small grove of trees, where some cunning
hands long ago erected a rude mound of stones. Shakspeare, who had a
royal way of committing anachronisms, made Hamlet live in this place
after the introduction of gunpowder, whereas, if any such person ever
did exist, it was centuries earlier and hundreds of miles farther
north upon the mainland, in what is now Jutland. However, that is
unimportant. Do not leave Elsinore without visiting Ophelia's fatal
brook! To be sure it is not large enough for a duck to swim in, but a
little stretch of the imagination will overcome all local

Far back in Danish legendary story, a time when history fades into
fable, it is said there was a Hamlet in northern Denmark, but it was
long before the birth of Christ. His father was not a king, but a
famous pirate chief who governed Jutland in conjunction with his
brother. Hamlet's father married the daughter of a Danish king, the
issue being Hamlet. His uncle, according to the ancient story, did
murder Hamlet's father and afterwards married his mother; and this
was the basis of Shakspeare's grand production.

The great, gloomy-looking castle of Kronborg, which has stood
sentinel here for three centuries, would require two thousand men and
more to defend it in time of war, but modern gunnery has rendered
it, for all offensive purposes, of no account. The Sound, which at
Copenhagen is about twenty miles wide, here narrows to two, the old
fort of Helsingborg on the Swedish coast being in full view. Thus the
passage here forms the natural gate to the Baltic. There are
delightful drives in the environs of Elsinore presenting land and sea
views of exquisite loveliness, the water-side bristling with reefs,
rocks, and lighthouses, while that of the land is picturesque with
villas, groves, and cultivated meads.


  Gottenburg. -- Ruins of Elfsborg. -- Gustavus Adolphus. -- A
  Wrecked Monument. -- The Girdle-Duellists. -- Emigration to
  America. -- Public and Private Gardens. -- A Kindly People. --
  The Götha Canal. -- Falls of Trollhätta. -- Dainty Wild-Flowers.
  -- Water-ways. -- Stockholm and Lake Maelaren. -- Prehistoric
  Tokens. -- Iron Mines of Sweden. -- Pleasing Episode with
  Children. -- The Liquor Traffic Systematized. -- A Great
  Practical Charity. -- A Domestic Habit.

One day's sail due north from Copenhagen through the Sound and the
Cattegat--Strait of Catti--brings us to Gottenburg, the metropolis of
southwestern Sweden. The Strait, which is about a hundred miles in
width, is nearly twice as long, and contains many diminutive islands.
Gottenburg is situated on the Götha River, about five miles from its
mouth. In passing up this water-way the old fortification of Elfsborg
was observed, now dismantled and deserted, though it once did good
service in the war with the Danes. Cannon-balls are still to be seen
half embedded in the crumbling stonewalls,--missiles which were fired
from the enemy's ships. Though Gottenburg is less populous, it is
commercially almost as important as Stockholm the capital, and it is
appropriately called the Liverpool of Scandinavia. The town, with its
eighty thousand inhabitants, has a wide-awake aspect, especially in
the neighborhood of the river, where the numerous well-stocked
timber-yards along the wharves show that product to be a great staple
of the local trade. One is agreeably prepossessed upon landing here
by a certain aspect of neatness and cleanliness observable on all
sides. Indeed, few foreign towns produce so favorable a first
impression. The business centre is the Gustaf-Adolf-Torg, in which is
situated the Börs, or Exchange, decidedly the finest building
architecturally in the city. In the centre of the Torg is a bronze
statue of Gustavus Adolphus, the founder of the town, and which, as a
work of art, is extremely creditable to the designer, Fogelberg. The
history of the statue is somewhat curious. It seems that the first
one designed for this public square was wrecked at sea while on its
passage from Hamburg to Gottenburg, but was rescued by a party of
sailors off Heligoland, who claimed so extraordinary a sum as salvage
that the Gottenburgers refused to pay it, and ordered of the sculptor
a second one to replace that which had been saved from the sea. In
due time the second statue was furnished and set up in the Torg, Nov.
5, 1855, on the two hundred and twenty-third anniversary of the death
of Gustavus. The extortionate seamen who held the first statue were
finally glad to sell it to other parties for a comparatively small
sum, representing its bare metallic value. It now stands in the
Domshide of Bremen.

The deep, broad watercourse which runs through the centre of the city
to the harbor is the beginning of the famous Götha Canal, which
joins fjord, river, locks, and lakes together all the way to
Stockholm, directly across southern Sweden, thus connecting the North
Sea and the Baltic. The two cities are also joined by railroad, the
distance between them being over three hundred miles. The rural parts
of the country through which the canal passes are not unlike many
inland sections of New England, presenting pleasant views of thrifty
farms and well-cultivated lands. There are some sharp hills and
abrupt valleys to be encountered, which are often characterized by
grand waterfalls, wild-foaming rivers, and surging rapids.

Though there is no striking similarity between the two cities, one is
yet reminded of Amsterdam by Gottenburg, aided perhaps by the memory
that it was originally founded by Gustavus Adolphus, in 1619, and
that Dutch settlers were among its first inhabitants. The descendants
of such people are pretty sure to retain an ancestral atmosphere
about them which is more or less distinctive. The place is divided
into an upper and lower town, the latter being a plain cut up into
canals, and the former spread picturesquely over the adjoining hills.
The town is made up of two or three principal boulevards, very broad,
and intersecting one another at right angles, with a canal in their
centres, these waterways being embanked by substantial granite
borders, which are interspersed at convenient distances with granite
steps connecting the street with the water. The spacious harbor
admits of vessels drawing seventeen feet of water.

Gottenburg is built mostly of brick, which are brought either from
Denmark or Holland; and yet the whole peninsula of Scandinavia
abounds in stone. Large blocks of dwelling-houses were observed in
course of construction which were of four or five stories, and quite
elegant in design. The citizens feel a just pride in a well-endowed
College, a large Public Library, an Exchange, two Orphan Asylums, a
flourishing Society of Arts and Sciences, a large Theatre, and two
spacious public parks. In front of the theatre is an admirable
reproduction of Molin, the Swedish sculptor's famous group of two
figures representing "the girdle-duellists," the original of which
stands in front of the National Museum at Stockholm. This popular and
vigorous composition is reproduced in plaster and terra-cotta, and
offered for sale in all the cities of the North, being particularly
numerous in the art stores of Copenhagen. It depicts one of the
ancient Scandinavian duels, wherein the combatants, stripped to the
skin, were bound together by their united leather belts, and thus
confined, fought out their battle with their knives, the result
proving nearly always fatal to both. Previous to engaging in the
conflict, each of the contestants drove the blade of his knife as
deep into a thick pine-board as he could do with one stroke of his
arm. All the rest of the blade was then blunted and bound securely
with cord, leaving only the inch, more or less, exposed which had
been buried in the wood. If the weapons had not been thus partially
protected, the first blow might have proved fatal, whereas these
ancient belt-duels were designed to exemplify strength and endurance.
The splendid pose and fine muscular development of the two figures,
represented at the height of their struggle, have justly given its
author lasting fame. This group has been declared to hold the same
place in modern sculpture that Meissonier's picture of "The Quarrel,"
the original of which is the property of Queen Victoria, holds in
modern painting.

Gottenburg is not without its cathedral and numerous fine churches,
but especially it has excellent common schools of the several grades,
primary, middle, and high. It will be remembered that education is
compulsory throughout Sweden. English is regularly taught in her
schools and very generally spoken by the educated classes. In
conversation with the common people, it was discovered that the goal
of their ambition was to emigrate to America. The departures for this
country, though not excessive, are yet steady both from this port and
Stockholm, aggregating in some years forty thousand from Sweden and
Norway combined, now and then a group of Finns going to make up the
number. Money among the lower classes is almost as scarce as it is in
Ireland; but those who have emigrated, and have been successful,
liberally remit money wherewith to enable family and friends to join
them in America.

The Public Gardens of Gottenburg are beautifully arranged, and are
kept in exquisite condition,--one large division being designated as
the Botanical Gardens, and abundantly supplied with exotics,
especially from tropical regions. Blooming hawthorn, white and pink
lilacs, and a great variety of beautiful trees challenge admiration
on entering these grounds. Among many familiar flowers a species of
dwarf lobelia of azure blue and the Alpine forget-me-not, with
pale-blue flowers and yellow eyes, were particularly observable,
mingled with pansies in a confused variety of mammoth proportions.
The golden-leaved verbena and a large, tall, pearly-white
tiger-flower were both abundant, the latter speckled with
ruby-colored spots. The horse-chestnut trees were in great variety
and the largest we had ever seen. There were many grand old oaks and
fine Lombardy poplars in stately ranks, as upright as soldiers at a
review. Inland excursions showed the pine and the fir to be the
prevailing trees, the birch becoming more abundant farther north.
Fully one third of the country, as we were assured, is covered with
woods, some of which seemed almost endless in extent. The immediate
environs of Gottenburg are very attractive, well wooded, and adorned
with picturesque cottages and some large villas. Among others which
we visited was that of Oscar Dickson, famous for his interest in
Arctic expeditions. No private gardens in England or America are more
admirably kept, and the grape-houses we have never seen surpassed in
the varieties or perfection of the fruit. The low-lands were found
occasionally bright with the golden petals of the marsh-marigold,
which fairly blazed under the direct rays of the sun. There is a
saying here, that when it blooms the cuckoo comes and the roach
spawns. A fine old bit of mouldering, ivy-grown ruins in the shape of
a Martello tower, situated upon rising ground and overlooking the
entrance to the inland waters, is sure to attract the traveller's
admiring eye.

The kindness of the common people and their pleasant manners are most
captivating, being characterized by quiet self-possession and
thoughtfulness for a stranger's well-being. In more than one instance
a casual inquiry was not only promptly responded to, but we were
taken pleasantly in hand, and other welcome though unsought guidance
and information were voluntarily offered. Education is far more
general and culture is of a higher grade in Sweden than is common
with the people of Southern Europe, while music seems to be as
universal an accomplishment here as it is in Italy. The population is
frugal, honest, self-helping, and in many respects resembles that of

The system of inland communication by means of the Götha Canal is one
of the most remarkable ever achieved by man, when the obstacles which
have been overcome and the advantages accomplished are taken into
consideration. Steam-vessels, limited to one hundred and six feet in
length on account of the size of the locks, are carried regularly
hundreds of miles by it across and over the highlands of southern
Sweden from sea to sea. The reader can easily realize what a triumph
of engineering skill it is when he sees a well-freighted steamboat
climb a mountain side, float through lock after lock, and after
reaching the apex of the hilly country, descend with equal facility
towards the coast and sea-level. Steamboats and sailing vessels
navigating the canal rise, in all, three hundred and eighty feet
above the level of the Baltic during the passage across the country.
At the little town of Berg the locks are sixteen in number, and form
a gigantic staircase, by means of which vessels are raised at this
point one hundred and twenty feet. Here, as well as at the famous
Falls of Trollhätta, the traveller can leave the steamer for three or
four hours, walking on in advance, and thus obtaining some charming
views of inland scenery. No intelligent person can fail to appreciate
the grandeur of the remarkable falls just mentioned, with their
pine-clad, precipitous banks and wild tumult of waters, partially
screened by a white foam-cloud reaching far heavenward.

If possible, it is well to tarry for a day at Trollhätta, visiting
the various points of interest about the famous rapids, and watching
the many steamboats and other vessels which pass so mysteriously
through the ponderous locks, ascending and descending the elevations
with mathematical regularity and speed. The valley through which the
railroad passes, often parallel with the canal, on the way from
Gottenburg to Trollhätta, is one of the most fertile in Sweden, and
when we saw it was rich with ripening grains. The falls are
accessible from Gottenburg by rail in about two hours' travel, or by
canal leaving the city early in the morning and returning in the
evening, giving the visitor six or eight hours' time at the falls.
Trollhätta presents one of the great curiosities of Sweden, to visit
which tourists come from all parts of Europe. It is true that the
hoarse music of these falls is mingled with the din of sawmills,
foundries, and smithies,--but one need not specially regard them. A
little poetical latitude adds zest to imagination, and we see the
beauties and marvels which we come prepared to see. The falls consist
of a series of tremendous rapids extending over a distance of about
two hundred yards; and producing an uproar almost equal to the
ceaseless oratorio of Niagara. The rapids are intersected by two or
three rocky but well-wooded islands, on either side of which the
angry waters rush with a wild, resistless power, tossed by the many
sub-currents. The whole array of rapids forms a succession of falls
of which the first is called Gullöfallet, where on both sides of an
inaccessible little island the waters make a leap of twenty-six feet
in height, the rebound creating a constant cloud of feathery spray.
Then follows the highest of the falls, the Toppöfallet, of forty-four
feet in height, likewise divided by a cliff into two parts, against
which the frantic waters chafe angrily. The next fall measures less
than ten feet in height, followed a little way down the rapids by
what is called the Flottbergström,--all together making a fall of
foaming eddies and whirls equal to about one hundred and twelve feet.
While near to these roaring waters amid the general chaos,
conversation is impossible. As at all extensive falls, rainbows
constantly hang over and about the wild surging waters reflected in
the gauze-clouds of transparent mist.

While strolling through the wood-paths and over the rocky ways which
line this sleepless disorder of the waters, the grounds in many
places were seen to be gorgeously decked with flowers of Nature's
planting,--many-colored, sunshine-loving things. Among those more
particularly abundant was the pretty violet-purple flower of the
butterwort, each circle of pale-yellow leaves, with the stalk rising
from the centre crowned with its peculiar bloom. "Beautiful objects
of the wild-bee's love." But for the glutinous exudation one would be
tempted to gather them by handfuls. The town of Trollhätta is a
village of three thousand inhabitants, and contains a graceful little
Gothic church. The people are mostly manufacturers, who manage to
utilize profitably a portion of the enormous water-power afforded by
the falls. The word Trollhätta, we were told, signifies "the home of
the water-witches." The local legends with which the traveller is
freely regaled by the guides would fill a good-sized volume in print,
but we feel disinclined to inflict them second-hand and wholesale
upon the patient reader.

The Götha Canal, as before intimated, utilizes and connects several
of the great lakes of southern Sweden, the principal ones in
Scandinavia being located in this region. Lake Wener, which receives
the waters of eighty rivers large and small, has an area of
twenty-four hundred square miles, being nearly ten times as large as
the famous Lake of Geneva. Lakes Wetter and Maelaren are the next in
importance, either of which is fully twice the size of the Swiss lake
just named. The canal proper--that is, the portion which has been
artificially constructed--is ten feet deep, fifty wide at the bottom,
and ninety at the surface. Two hundred and seventy miles of the route
traversed by the vessels navigating the canal between Gottenburg and
Stockholm are through lakes and rivers, all of which are remarkable
for their clear spring-like character and the picturesqueness of
their surroundings. Stockholm is situated on the Maelaren lake, where
it finds an outlet into the Baltic. This large body of water is
studded all over with islands of every form and size, on some of
which are quaint old castles, mysterious ruins, and thick woods,
haunted only by those rovers of the sky, the eagle and the hawk.
Others are ornamented by charming villas, surrounded by fine
landscape gardening, with graceful groves of drooping willows and
birch-trees. Some contain only fishermen's huts, while here and there
clusters of their small cottages form an humble village. The marine
shells which are found in the bottom of some of the inland lakes of
both Norway and Sweden show that the land which forms their bed was
once covered by the sea. This is clearly apparent in Lake Wener and
Lake Wetter, which are situated nearly three hundred feet above the
present ocean level. The first-named body of water is some eighty
miles long by a width of thirty. The latter is as long, but averages
only ten miles in width. Complete skeletons of whales have been found
far inland, at considerable elevations, during the present century.
The oldest shell-banks discovered by scientists in Scandinavia are
situated five hundred feet above the present level of the ocean. How
significant are these deposits of a prehistoric period!

Sweden has comparatively few mountains, but many ranges of hills.
Norway monopolizes almost entirely the mountain system of the great
northern peninsula; but the valuable large forests of pine, fir, and
birch which cover so much of the country are common to both. Though
iron is found in large deposits in Norway, it is still more abundant
in Sweden, where it is chiefly of the magnetic and hæmatite
character, yielding when properly smelted the best ore for the
manufacture of steel. It is believed that there is sufficient
malleable and ductile iron in the soil of Sweden to supply the whole
world with this necessary article for a thousand years to come. Mount
Gellivare, which is over eighteen hundred feet in height, is said to
be almost wholly formed of an ore containing fully eighty per cent of
the best quality of merchantable iron; so that a dearth of this
mineral is certainly not imminent.

But let us not wander too far from our course due north. Nor are we
yet quite ready to depart from Gottenburg. While strolling alone
through its broad and pleasant avenues, the writer met a couple of
girls of about eleven and twelve years respectively. They were
evidently sisters, and they looked so bright and so pleasantly into
the stranger's face that he addressed them in the few native words at
his command. That we were a foreigner was at once realized, and the
eldest asked from whence we came. So much could be understood, and
happily the name America was plain enough to them. It acted like a
charm upon them, lighting up their soft blue eyes and wreathing their
lips with smiles, while it also elicited their confidence. Each put a
tiny hand within our own, and thus escorted we passed along until the
nearest confectioner's shop was reached. Here we met upon terms where
pantomime was quite sufficiently expressive, and we were soon engaged
in partaking gleefully of bon-bons, cakes, and cream. What a merry
half hour we three passed together, and how rapidly the time flew!
Was real pleasure ever more cheaply purchased than at the moderate
price demanded by the shop-keeper, who placed a little packet of
sweets in each of the children's hands as we parted? On passing out
upon the avenue we came full upon a person who was all astonishment
and courtesy combined. It was Réné, our Danish courier. "I did not
think, sir," he said, "that you knew any one in Gottenburg." "You
were right, Réné," was the reply, "but these little fairies took
possession of us, and we have had a delightful half hour together."
Then both of the children began to speak to him at the same time, and
he to reply to them. It was soon made apparent why they should so
have affiliated with and trusted a stranger. They understood, that
the writer was from America, where in the State of Pennsylvania they
had a well-beloved brother. It seemed to the dear little blondes that
we must have come as it were direct from him. On parting, a kiss was
pressed upon the innocent lips of each of the children, while
tremulous tears were only too obvious in the sweet, sympathetic eyes
of the elder.

We were told of a rather curious system which originated here of
controlling the liquor traffic, and which has long been in successful

It appears that a certain number of shops only are licensed for the
sale of pure, unadulterated spirits, wine, and beer within the town,
and none others are permitted to engage in the business. These
licensed establishments are all in the hands of an incorporated
company, whose members are content to take five per cent per annum
upon their invested capital, handing over the surplus to the town
treasury, the sum thus received being appropriated towards reducing
the regular tax-rates imposed upon the citizens. The managers of
these shops where liquor is sold have fixed salaries, not at all
contingent upon the profits realized from the business, and therefore
they have no inducement to urge customers to drink. We saw scarcely
any indications of intemperance here, and were assured by an
intelligent resident that there had been much less drunkenness since
this system had been adopted twelve years ago. As will be readily
conceived, there is now a smaller number of dram-shops opened to
tempt the weak. It is only too true that the "means to do ill deeds
makes ill deeds done."

There is here also a system in operation designed to supply workingmen
and persons of humble means with permanent dwelling-houses,--with
homes which they may own. Comfortable brick houses are erected with
all reasonable accommodations, and a title is made out to the
would-be owner, he paying for the same by a small monthly instalment,
until finally he owns the establishment. This being a philanthropic
object, no profit above actual cost is designed to be realized by the
promoters. The moral effect of the plan is excellent, leading to a
sense of responsibility and economy among a class which is only too
prone to expend its earnings for drink, or to fritter them away
without realizing an equivalent.

It was found that the people in their domestic establishments had an
odd way of prefacing their family meals; namely, partaking of raw
salted salmon, smoked herring, chipped beef, and pickles of various
kinds, which they washed down with one or two wine-glasses of strong
spirit. It seemed to be an obvious inconsistency of purpose. This
ceremony takes place at a side-table just before sitting down to the
regular meal, be it breakfast, luncheon, or dinner. This custom was
noticed afterwards at various places in Scandinavia as well as in
Russia, the practice in the latter country being universal in hotels
and private houses; but it seemed obvious to us that it was only an
excuse for dram-drinking as an appetizer. Bad habits are easily
acquired, and soon make slaves of their incautious victims. More than
one person admitted to us in Russia that without this preliminary
tipple, dinner to them would have no relish.


  Capital of Norway. -- A Grand Fjord. -- A Free and Independent
  State. -- The Legal Code. -- Royal Palace and Gardens. -- Oscar's
  Hall. -- The University. -- Public Amusements. -- The Ice Trade.
  -- Ancient Viking Ships. -- Heathen Tombs. -- An Interesting
  Hostelry. -- A Steam Kitchen. -- Environs of Christiania. --
  Horses and their Treatment. -- Harvest Time. -- Women's Work. --
  The Sæter. -- A Remarkable Lake. -- Wild Birds. -- Inland Travel.
  -- Scandinavian Wild Flowers. -- Lonely Habitations. -- A Land of
  Alpine Heights.

In approaching the capital of Norway by sea from Gottenburg, the
Christiania fjord is ascended for a distance of seventy miles to its
head, bordered on either side nearly the whole way by finely-wooded
hills, and its surface dotted by emerald isles reflected in the deep
mirror-like waters. It must be understood that a fjord is not a
sound, nor is it a thoroughfare in the full sense of that word; it is
a _cul de sac_. This of Christiania at its _débouchure_ is just
fifteen miles in width, and like many other Norwegian fjords is much
deeper than the sea beyond its mouth. The entrance is marked by a
powerful and lofty lighthouse on the island of Færder. The ancient
citadel of Akershus, built upon a bold and rocky promontory some six
hundred years ago, commands the approach to the city. In this curious
old fortification are kept the regalia and national records, the
tree-adorned ramparts serving as a pleasant promenade for the
public. One is often reminded while sailing upon Norwegian fjords of
the Swiss lake-scenery. This leading to the capital is not unlike
Lake Geneva in the vicinity of Vevay and Chillon, except that it is
bolder in its immediate shores and is also broader and deeper than
Lake Leman. The city, which is built upon a gradual slope facing the
south, is seen to good advantage from the harbor. No more appropriate
spot could have been selected for the national capital by Christian
IV., who founded it, and after whom it is named, than the head of
this beautiful elongated bay. An ancient town named Oslo occupied the
site in the middle of the eleventh century. It is the seat of the
Storthing, or Parliament; and the King, whose permanent residence is
at Stockholm, is expected to reside here, attended by the court, at
least three months of the year. With its immediate suburbs, the
population of the city is a hundred and twenty-five thousand. It
should be remembered that Norway is a free and independent State,
though it is under the crown of Sweden, and that the people are
thoroughly democratic, having abolished all titles of nobility by
enactment of the Storthing (Great Court) so early as 1821, at which
time a law was also passed forbidding the King to create a new
nobility. Nevertheless, the thought occurs to us here that these
Northmen, who overran and conquered the British Isles, founded the
very nobility there which is the present boast and pride of England.
We find some problems solved in Norway which have created political
strife elsewhere. Though its Church is identical with the State,
unlimited toleration exists. There is also a perfect system of
political representation, and while justice is open to one and all,
litigation is sedulously discouraged. The meetings of the Storthing
are quite independent of the King, not even requiring a writ of
assemblage from him. Thus it will be seen that though nominally under
despotic rule, Norway is really self-governed.

The legal code of Norway is well worthy of study, both on account of
its antiquity and its admirable provisions. The old sea-kings, or
free-booters as we have been accustomed to consider them, had a more
advanced and civilized code than any of the people whose shores they
devastated. Before the year 885 the power of the law was established
over all persons of all ranks, while in the other countries of Europe
the independent jurisdiction of the feudal lords defied the law until
centuries later. Before the eleventh century the Scandinavian law
provided for equal justice to all, established a system of weights
and measures, also one for the maintenance of roads and bridges, and
for the protection of women and animals,--subjects which no other
European code at that time embraced. These laws were collected into
one code by Magnus VII. about the year 1260. They were revised by
Christian IV. in 1604, and in 1687 the present system was drawn up.
So simple and compact is it that the whole is contained in a pocket
volume, which is in the possession of every Norwegian family. Each
law occupies but a single paragraph, and all is simple and
intelligible. Speaking of these early law-makers (as well as
law-breakers!) Carlyle says: "In the old Sea-Kings, what an
indomitable energy! Silent, with closed lips, as I fancy them,
unconscious that they were specially brave; defying the wild ocean
with its monsters, and all men and things; progenitors of our Blakes
and Nelsons!"

The Royal Palace of Christiania is pleasantly situated on an elevated
site, the highest ground in fact within the city, surrounded by an
open park containing miniature lakes, canals, and groves of charming
trees. The park is called the Royal Gardens, which are always open to
the public. Fronting the palace is an admirable equestrian statue in
bronze of the citizen King Bernadotte, who ascended the throne of
Sweden under the name of Carl Johan XIV., and it bears his consistent
motto: "The people's love is my reward." The palace is a large plain
edifice of brick, quadrangular in shape and painted a dull ugly
yellow, with a simple portico. It was erected within the last fifty
years, and looks externally like a huge cotton-factory. The Queen's
apartments are on the ground floor and are very beautifully
furnished, especially the White Saloon, so called. Above these are
the King's apartments, embracing the usual variety of state halls,
audience chambers, reception rooms and the like, plainly and
appropriately furnished. The palace contains some of Tidemand's best
pictures. There is also a royal villa called Oscar's Hall, situated
in the immediate environs on the peninsula of Ladegaardsöen, less
than three miles from the city proper. It is a Gothic structure amid
the woods, eighty feet above the level of the waters of the harbor
which it overlooks. Oscar Hall, with its one castellated tower, is
scarcely more than a shooting-box in size, though it is dignified
with the name of palace. The grounds are wild and irregular, covered
mostly with a fine growth of trees, mingled with which the mountain
ash was conspicuous with its clusters of berries in royal scarlet.
The air was full of the fragrance of the lily-of-the-valley, which
lovely little flower grows here after its own sweet will in rank
profusion. There are a few choice paintings in the Hall, especially
some admirable panels by Tidemand representing scenes in Norwegian
peasant life, and called "The Age of Man from the cradle to the
grave." There are also, we feel constrained to say, some very poor
pictures on the walls of Oscar's Hall. In the garden near the villa
were many familiar flowers in a thrifty condition, such as lilacs,
white and scarlet honeysuckles, sweet peas, yellow tiger-lilies and
peonies, besides some curious specimens of cacti and a wonderfully
fragrant bed of low-growing mignonette. It was singular to see
flowers and fruits which with us have each their special season, here
hastening into bloom and ripeness all together.

The streets of the city are quite broad, most of them running at
right angles with each other. The houses are generally of brick,
stuccoed, though there are some of stone, and all have the effect of
stone structures. There was once a richly endowed cathedral here,
where James I. of England was married to Anne of Denmark in 1589, but
it was destroyed by fire, which element has completely devastated the
place at different periods, so that the present aspect is one of a
substantial modern character. The old wooden houses have almost
entirely disappeared. The present cathedral is in the shape of a
Greek cross, but it is of no special interest. Over the altar is a
painting by a German artist representing our Saviour in the Garden of
Gethsemane, a work of much more than ordinary merit. The inhabitants
of Christiania are almost exclusively Protestants.

The University founded by Frederick VI. in 1811 is a plain but
massive structure, the front ornamented with Corinthian pillars of
polished red granite. It accommodates at the present writing some
nine hundred students, the tuition being free to all native
applicants suitably prepared; it contains also a noble library of
over two hundred thousand volumes, besides many manuscripts of
inestimable value. The library is freely open even to strangers under
very simple restrictions. The University also contains an extensive
Museum of Zoölogy and Geology, which in the departments of the bronze
and iron periods excels even the admirable one at Copenhagen.
Christiania has a Naval, a Military, and an Art school, a Lunatic
Asylum, an Astronomical Observatory, and various charitable
institutions; nor should we forget to mention its admirably
conducted Botanical Garden situated about a mile from the town,
containing among other interesting varieties a very finely-arranged
collection of Alpine plants from Spitzbergen and Iceland. The town
has its Casino, Tivoli, or whatever we please to call it; the good
citizens here have named it the Klinkenberg. It is a place of
out-door amusement for old and young, where grown up children ride
wooden-horses and participate in childish games with apparently as
much zest as the little ones. Here we found peep-shows,
pistol-galleries, Russian slides, a small theatre, and cafés where
were dispensed beer, music, and Swedish punch,--this last very sweet
and very intoxicating! The acrobat, with his two small boys in
silver-spangles and flesh-colored tights, was present and especially
active, besides the conventional individual who eats tow and blows
fire from his mouth. On the occasion of our visit the last named
individual came to grief, and burned his nether lip severely.

The commerce of Christiania is increasing annually. Over two thousand
vessels were entered at its custom house during the year 1885. There
are regular lines of steamers established between here and London,
Hull, Glasgow, Copenhagen, and other ports, which transact a large
amount of business in the freight department, with a considerable
incidental passenger trade. The harbor is frozen over at least three
months of the year, though that of Hammerfest, situated a thousand
miles farther north on the coast of Norway, is never closed by ice,
owing to the genial influence of the Gulf Stream,--an agent so
potent as to modify the temperature of the entire coast of
Scandinavia on its western border. Wenham Lake Ice, which was
originally and for some years shipped from Massachusetts to England,
now comes direct from the Christiania fjord! An English company has
long owned a lake near Dröbak, which yields them an ample supply of
ice annually. The London ice-carts still bear the name of "Wenham
Lake," but the ice comes from Norway. We were told that the quantity
shipped for use in England increases yearly as ice grows to be more
and more of a domestic necessity.

The Storthing's Hus is quite a handsome and imposing building, of
original design in the Romanesque and Byzantine style, facing the
Carl Johannes Square, the largest open area in the city. It was
finished and occupied in 1866. The Market Place is adorned with a
marble statue of Christian IV. Another fine square is the Eidsvolds
Plads, planted with choice trees and carpeted with intensely bright
greensward. The chief street is the Carl Johannes Gade, a broad
boulevard extending from the railroad station to the King's Palace,
half way between which stands the imposing structure of the
University. Opposite this edifice is the Public Garden, where an
out-door concert is given during the summer evenings by a military
band. In a large wooden building behind the University is kept that
great unrivalled curiosity, the Viking ship, a souvenir of more than
nine hundred years ago. The blue clay of the district where it was
exhumed in 1880, a few miles south from Christiania at Gokstad, has
preserved it nearly intact. The men who built the graceful lines of
this now crumbling vessel, "in some remote and dateless day," knew
quite as much of the principles of marine architecture as do our
modern shipwrights of to-day. This interesting relic, doubtless the
oldest ship in the world, once served the Vikings, its masters, as a
war-craft. It is eighty feet long by sixteen wide, and is about six
feet deep from gunwale to keel. Seventy shields, spears, and other
war equipments recovered with the hull show that it was designed for
that number of fighting men. A curious thrill is felt by one while
regarding these ancient weapons and armor, accompanied by a wish that
they might speak and reveal their long-hidden story. In such vessels
as this the dauntless Northmen made voyages to every country in
Europe, and as is confidently believed they crossed the Atlantic,
discovering North America centuries before the name of Columbus was
known. Ignoring the halo of romance and chivalry which the poets have
thrown about the valiant Vikings and their followers, one thing we
are compelled to admit: they were superb marine architects. Ten
centuries of progressive civilization have served to produce none
better. Some of the arts and sciences may and do exhibit great
progress in excellence, but shipbuilding is not among them. We build
bigger but not better vessels. This ancient galley of oak, in the
beauty of its lines, its adaptability for speed, and its general
sea-worthiness, cannot be surpassed by our best naval constructors
to-day. An American naval officer who chanced to be present with the
author, declared that there were points about this exhumed vessel
which indicated retrogression rather than progress on the part of
modern builders of sea-going craft. The bent timbers on the inside
are of natural growth, the sheathing boards are an inch and a half in
thickness, firmly riveted, the iron bolts clinched on either end.
Near the gunwales the bolts are of oak. The planking slightly
overlaps, being bevelled for the purpose; that is, the hull is what
we technically call clinker-built, and would probably draw about four
feet of water in a sea-going trim. The bow and stern are of the same
pointed shape, and rise a considerable distance above the waist,
giving the vessel what sailors term a deep sheer inboard.

The burial of this ship so many centuries ago was simply in
accordance with the custom of those days. When any great sea-king
perished, he was enclosed in the cabin of his galley, and either sunk
in the ocean or buried with his vessel and all of its war-like
appointments upon the nearest suitable spot of land. In this
instance, as has been intimated, weapons of war were buried with the
deceased, just as our Indian tribes of western America do to this
day. Tombs dating much farther back than the period when this
sepulchral ship was buried have been opened in both Norway and
Sweden, showing that the dead were sometimes burned and sometimes
buried in coffins. The cinerary urns were usually found to have been
either of terra-cotta or of bronze,--seldom, however, of the latter
material. In these tombs trinkets and weapons were also discovered,
with the skeletons of horses and other domestic animals. To the
period of these burials belong the earliest Runic inscriptions,
differing materially from those which were in use a few centuries
later. One may believe much or little of the extravagant stories
handed down by tradition concerning these ancient Scandinavians, but
certainly we have tangible evidence in these tombs that some of the
legends are literally true. We are told that when a chieftain died in
battle, not only were his war-horse, his gold and silver plate, and
his money placed upon his funeral pyre, but that a guard of honor
from among his followers slew themselves, that he might enter the
sacred halls of Odin properly attended. The more elevated the chief
the larger was the number who must sacrifice themselves as his escort
to the land of bliss. So infinite was the reliance of the Heathen
horde in their strange faith, that, far from considering their fate
to be a hard one, they adopted its extremest requirements with songs
of joy!

A general aspect of good order, thrift, industry, and prosperity
prevails at Christiania. The simplicity of dress and the gentle
manners, especially among the female portion of the community, were
marked features. No stranger can fail to notice the low, sympathetic
tones in which the women always speak; but though decorous and
worthy, it must be admitted that the Norwegian ladies are not
handsome. The people resort to the ramparts of the old castle as a
promenade, with its grateful shade of lime-trees, and they also
throng the pleasant Central Park near the Royal Palace. One sees here
none of the rush and fever of living which so wearies the observer in
many of the southern cities of Europe,--notably in Paris, London, and
Vienna. The common people evince more solidity of character with less
of the frivolities, and yet without any of the frosty chill of
Puritanism. They may be said to be a trifle slow and phlegmatic, but
by no means stupid. The most careless schoolboy when addressed by a
stranger in the street instantly removes his hat, and so remains
until he has fully responded to the inquiry made of him, showing thus
the instinctive politeness which seems to permeate all classes in

The long-established Hotel Victoria is an interesting hostelry and
museum combined, at least so far as ornithology is concerned. Its
stuffed varieties of native birds disposed in natural positions here
and there about the establishment, would prove the envy of any
collector in this department of natural history. The house is built
about a spacious court, which is partly occupied by a broad and lofty
marquee or tent, under which the _table d'hôte_ is served.
Orange-trees and tropical plants are gracefully disposed, and
creeping vines give a sylvan appearance to the court. The whole area
is overlooked by an open and spacious balcony, where a band of
musicians during the season dispense enlivening music. Tame sparrows
and other birds hop about one's feet during each meal, even alighting
upon the chairs and tables to share tid-bits with the guests. The
whole formed a consistent purpose well carried out, and was entirely
unlike any hotel whose hospitality we have shared. There are three or
four excellent public houses besides the Victoria, including the
Grand Hotel and the Scandinavia, the last two quite centrally
located. We made our temporary home at the Grand, a spacious and
comfortable establishment.

There is an original institution of a charitable nature in the
capital, called a Steam Kitchen, where food is cooked upon a large
scale, and entirely by steam. This large establishment, situated on
the Torv Gade, was built especially for the purpose of benefiting the
industrious poor of the city. Here two or three thousand persons are
daily provided with good wholesome dinners at a minimum charge,
calculated to cover the actual cost. While hundreds of persons carry
away food to their families, larger numbers dine at the neat tables
provided in the establishment for that purpose. The inference drawn
from a casual observation of the system was, that no possible
benevolence of a practical character could be better conceived or
more judiciously administered. It seemed to be the consummation of a
great charity, robbed of all objectionable features. None appeared to
feel humiliated in availing themselves of its advantages, since all
the supposed cost of the provisions was charged and paid for.

Upon visiting a new city in any part of the world, the writer has
learned more of its people, their national characteristics and all
local matters worth knowing, by mingling with the throng, watching
their every-day habits and conventionalities, observing and analyzing
the stream of life pouring through its great thoroughfares, reading
the expression upon human faces, and by regarding now and again
chance domestic scenes, than from all the grand cathedrals, art
galleries, show palaces, and guide-books combined. Years of travel
fatigue one with the latter, but never with Nature in her varying
moods, with the peculiarities of races, or with the manners and
customs of every-day life as characterizing each new locality and
country. The delight in natural objects grows by experience in every
cultivated and receptive mind. The rugged architecture of lofty
mountains, tumbling waterfalls, noble rivers, glowing sunsets, broad
land and sea views, each has a special, never-tiring, and impressive
individuality. While enjoying a bird's-eye view of Christiania from
the height of Egeberg, a well-wooded hill four hundred feet in height
in the southern suburb, it was difficult to believe one's self in
Icelandic Scandinavia,--the precise latitude of the Shetland Islands.
A drowsy hum like the drone of bees seemed to float up from the busy
city below. The beautiful fjord with its graceful promontories, its
picturesque and leafy isles, might be Lake Maggiore or Como, so
placid and calm is its pale-blue surface. Turning the eyes inland,
one sees clustered in lovely combination fields of ripening grain,
gardens, lawns, cottages, and handsome villas, like a scene upon the
sunny shores of the Mediterranean near the foot-hills of the Maritime
Alps. An abundance of deciduous trees enliven the scene,--plane,
sycamore, ash, and elm in luxuriant foliage. Warmer skies during the
summer period are not to be found in Italy, nor elsewhere outside of
Egypt. As we stood upon the height of Egeberg that delicious sunny
afternoon, there hung over and about the Norwegian capital a soft
golden haze such as lingers in August above the Venetian lagoons.

The houses in the vicinity of Christiania are generally surrounded by
well-cultivated gardens embellished with choice fruit and ornamental
trees. An unmistakable aspect of refinement was obvious about these
homesteads, and one would fain have known somewhat of the residents
of such attractive domiciles. The traveller who passes so few days in
each new city, and those occupied mostly in observations of a
different character, can hardly pretend to express an opinion of the
resident social life and domestic associations; but we were credibly
informed that there was no dearth of circles composed of intelligent,
polished, and wealthy individuals in Bergen, Gottenburg, or
Christiania. Evidences of the truth of this are certainly obvious to
the most casual observer. Here, and afterwards still farther north, a
tree new to us was found, called the Hägg (_Prunus Padus_), so
abundantly clothed in snow-white blossoms as to entirely hide its
leaves of green. It generally stood in the yards of dwelling-houses
as a floral ornament, and reminded one of a New England apple-tree in
full bloom. The blossoms emitted very little decided perfume, but the
luxuriant growth and the pure white flower were very beautiful. A
dainty bit of color now and again, caused by the single-leafed
dog-rose, recalled the inland roads of far-off Massachusetts, where
mingled blackberry and raspberry bushes and wild roses so often line
the quiet paths. The immediate environs of the capital are
characterized by fine picturesque elevations, the land rising
gradually on all sides until it becomes quite Alpine. The forest
road leading towards Rynkan Falls was fragrant with the soft,
soothing odor of pines and firs, mingled with that of blue, pink, and
yellow flowers, blossoms whose local names only served to puzzle
us,--"wee, modest, crimson-tipped flowers." The giant larkspur,
lilies-of-the-valley, and some orchids were familiar, and greeted the
senses like old friends. The juniper bushes were luxuriant, and there
were plenty of bilberries and wild strawberries in bloom. These last
berries when ripe, as we afterwards found them farther north, are a
revelation to the palate, being quite small, but of exquisite flavor,
recalling the tiny wood-strawberries of New England, which were of
such exquisite flavor and dainty aroma before we cultivated them into
monstrosities. The summer is so short here as to give the fruits and
flowers barely time to blossom, ripen, and fade, or the husbandman a
chance to gather his harvest. Vegetation is wonderfully rapid in its
growth, the sunshine being so nearly constant during the ten weeks
which intervene between seed-time and harvest. Barley grows here two
and a half inches and peas three inches in twenty-four hours, for
several consecutive days. It is an interesting fact that if the
barley-seed be brought from a warmer climate it requires to become
acclimated, and does not yield a good crop until after two or three
seasons. The flowers of the torrid and temperate zones as a rule
close their eye-lids like human beings, and sleep a third or half of
the twenty-four hours; but in Arctic regions life to these lovely
children of Nature is one long sunny period, and sleep comes only
with death and decay. It was also observed that the flowers here
assume more vivid colors and emit more fragrance during their brief
lives than in the south. The long delightful period of twilight
during the summer season is seen here in all its perfection, full of
suggestiveness and roseate loveliness, which no pen can
satisfactorily describe. There is no dew to be encountered and
avoided, no dampness. All is crystal clearness and transparency,
"gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy."

Nothing can be pleasanter or more exhilarating than driving over the
Norwegian roads among the dark pine forests or by the side of dashing
torrents and swift-gliding, seething rivers. The roads are kept in
perfect condition upon all of the regular post-routes, and one rolls
over them in the native carriole nearly as smoothly as though
navigating a lake in a well-manned boat. The little horses, almost
universally of a dun-color and having their manes cropped short, are
wiry and full of life and courage, dashing down the hills at a
seemingly reckless pace, which carries the vehicle half way up the
next rising ground by the mere impetus of the descent. It was
particularly gratifying to observe the physical condition of the
horses both inland and in the streets of Christiania, all being in
good flesh. Not a lame or poor animal was to be found among them,
either in hack, dray, or country-produce cart. They are mostly
pony-shaped, rather short in the legs, few standing over fourteen
hands, and generally even less; but yet they are strong, tough, and
round in form. It was pleasing to observe the drivers, who seemed
also to be the owners, of these animals. When they came from the
house or establishment where their business called them, they would
often take some appetizing trifle from their pockets,--a small apple,
a lump of sugar, or bit of bread,--and tender it to the waiting
horse, who was evidently on the look-out for such a favor. The good
fellowship established between the animal and his master was
complete, and both worked the more effectively together. No observant
person can fail to see what docility and intelligence kindness to any
domestic animal is sure to elicit, while brutality and harshness
induce only reluctant and inefficient service. If the whip is used at
all upon these faithful animals it must be very uncommon, since a
watchfulness in regard to the matter did not discover a single
instance. When a driver has occasion to stop before a house and leave
his horse, he takes one turn of the rein about the animal's near
fore-foot and secures the long end loosely to the shaft. Custom has
taught the horses that this process ties them to the spot, and they
do not attempt to move away under any circumstances. Insects during
the brief but intense heat of summer are very troublesome to animals
exposed to their bite, and so the Norwegian horses are all wisely
permitted to wear long tails as a partial defence against flies and
gnats. The price at which they are valued is very moderate. A
nicely-matched pair, quite sound, young, and well broken for pleasure
driving, can be purchased for three hundred dollars or less.

Between Christiania and Stockholm the railroad follows almost a
straight line due east across southern Norway and Sweden through a
country dotted over with little hamlets of a dozen houses more or
less, occupied by thrifty farmers. The people are of a social, kindly
disposition, but to be known among them as an American insures
instant service, together with unlimited hospitality. Nearly every
family has one or more representatives living in the United States,
and the very name of America is regarded by them with tenderness. A
large percentage of the young people look forward to the time when
they shall eventually make it their permanent home. Emigration is
neither promoted nor discouraged by the Government. Norway seems
generally to be more fertile than Sweden. True, she has her numerous
mountains, but between them are far-reaching and beautiful valleys,
while the sister country with less elevations has a soil of rather a
sandy nature, much less productive. But intelligent farming overcomes
heavy drawbacks; and there are large tracts of land in Sweden that
are rendered quite remunerative through the adoption of modern
methods of cultivation. Immediately about the railroad stations on
all the Scandinavian railroads there are fine gardens, often
ornamented with fountains, bird-houses, blooming flowers, and
miniature cascades. Some of the combinations of floral colors into
graceful figures showed the hand of experienced gardeners. Most of
these station-houses, all of which are constructed of wood, are
extremely picturesque, built in chalet style, rather over-ornamented
by fancy carvings and high colors, yet well adapted in the main for
their special purpose. The Government owns and operates three
quarters of all the railroads in either country, and will doubtless
ere long, as we were assured, control the entire system.

In the rural districts women are very generally employed upon
out-of-door work, as they are in Germany and Italy, and there is
quite a preponderance of the sex in both Norway and Sweden. It was
the haying and harvesting season when the author passed over the
principal routes, and the fields showed four times as many women as
men engaged in mowing, reaping, loading heavy carts, and getting in
the harvest generally. What would our New England farmers think to
see a woman swing a scythe all day in the haying season, cutting as
broad and true a swath as a man can do, and apparently with as little
fatigue! Labor is very poorly paid; forty cents per day is considered
liberal wages for a man except in the cities, where a small increase
is realized upon this amount. The houses all through Norway outside
of the towns are built of logs, well-matched and smoothly finished,
laid horizontally one upon another, like our frontier cabins in the
far West. Each farm, besides the home acres, has also connected with
it what is termed a "sæter," being a tract of mountain pasture, where
a portion of the young members of the family (usually the girls only)
pass the nine or ten weeks of summer engaged in cheese-making, the
cattle being kept on the hills for that period. Here a very rude hut
with but two apartments serves for the girls, and a rough shed for
the cattle at night. The outer apartment of the hut contains a stove,
a table, and a coarse bed, forming the living-room, while the inner
one is improved for the dairy. The available soil about the home farm
in the valley must raise hay and grain for the long winter's use.
After being milked in the morning, at the sæter, the cows, goats, and
sheep go directly to their allotted feeding ground, perhaps more than
a mile away, and at the evening hour they by themselves as surely
return to be milked. The only inducement for such regularity on the
part of the intelligent creatures, so far as we could understand, was
a few handfuls of salt which was given them nightly, and of which
they seemed to be very fond. Great exertion is made by the girls in
the mountains to excel one another as to the aggregate production of
cheese for the season, much pride being felt also in the quality of
the article. The sturdy figures and healthy blooming faces of these
girls, "with cheeks like apples which the sun has ruddied," showed
what physical charms the bracing mountain air and a simple manner of
life in these regions is capable of producing.

Norway has been appropriately called the country of mountains and
fjords, of cascades and lakes. Among the largest of the latter is
Lake Mjösen, which is about sixty miles long and has an average width
of twelve. It is certainly a very remarkable body of water. It
receives into its bosom one important river, the Lougen, after it has
run a course of nearly a hundred and fifty miles. At its southern
extremity is the port of Eidsvold, and at the northern is
Lillehammer. These are situated in the direct route between
Christiania and Tröndhjem. But the most singular fact attached to the
lake is that it measures over fifteen hundred feet in depth, while
its surface is four hundred feet above the level of the ocean. Its
bottom is known to be nearly a thousand feet below that of the North
Sea, which would seem to show that it must be the mouth of some
long-extinct volcano. Neither glacial action nor any other physical
agent known to us can have dug an abrupt hole eight or ten hundred
feet deep; and yet there are also some dry valleys in Norway whose
bottoms are considerably below that of the sea. The river Mesna
tumbles boisterously into the lake close to Lillehammer. A walk
beside its thickly-wooded banks brings to view many beautiful
cascades and waterfalls, some of which are worthier of a visit than
many of the more famous falls of Scandinavia. On all the important
inland routes not furnished with railroad or steamboat transit
Government supports a system of postal service, whereby one can
easily travel in almost any desired direction. On such excursions the
keen air and free exercise are apt to endow the traveller with an
excellent appetite, which Norwegian fare is not quite calculated to
assuage. However, the milk is almost always good, and eggs are
generally to be had. Even hard black bread will yield to a hammer,
after which it can be soaked in milk and thus rendered eatable. One
does not come hither in search of delicate and appetizing food, but
rather to stand face to face with Nature in her wildest and most
rugged moods. The pleasures of the table are better sought in the big
capitals of southern Europe or America, where "rich food and heavy
groans go together."

As to the fauna of Norway, the reindeer, the bear, the wolf, the fox,
and the lynx about complete the list of indigenous animals. The
ubiquitous crow abounds; and fine specimens of the golden eagle, that
dignified monarch of the upper regions, may occasionally be seen
sailing through the air from cliff to cliff, across the fjords and
valleys. At certain seasons of the year this bird proves destructive
to domestic fowls and young lambs. But we escaped in Norway the
almost inevitable legend of a young child having been carried off by
an eagle to its nearly inaccessible nest; that story is still
monopolized by Switzerland. For some reason not quite understood by
the author, the mischievous magpie is here held as half sacred. That
is to say, the country people have a superstition that any injury
inflicted upon these birds entails misfortune upon him who causes it;
and yet the Government offers a premium for their destruction.
Magpies appear to be as much of a nuisance in Norway as crows are in
India or Ceylon, and to be quite as unmolested by the people
generally. What are called the wild birds of Scandinavia are in fact
remarkably tame, and they embrace a large variety. As the traveller
proceeds through the country, he will observe sheaves of unthrashed
grain elevated upon poles beside the farm-houses and barns, which are
designed to furnish the feathered visitors with food. These sheaves
are regularly renewed all through the winter season; otherwise the
birds would starve. The confiding little creatures know their
friends, and often enter the houses for protection from the severity
of the weather. Neither man, woman, nor child would think of
disturbing them, for they are considered as bringing good luck to the
premises which they visit. The bounty paid for the destruction of
bears and wolves in 1885 showed that nearly two hundred of each
species of these animals were killed by the hunters. Bears are
believed to be gradually decreasing, but wolves are still very
numerous in the northerly regions and the thickly-wooded middle
districts. In extreme seasons, when pressed by hunger, they prove
destructive to the reindeer herds of the Lapps in spite of every
ordinary precaution, and even in the summer season farmers never
leave their sheep unguarded when they are pastured away from the

In journeying from the capital to Tröndhjem (where the steamer is
taken for the North Cape) by the way of Lillehammer, one crosses the
Dovrefjeld, or mountain plateau; but a more popular route is by rail
from city to city. This fjeld lies a little above the sixty-second
parallel of latitude, and is about one third of the distance from the
southern to the northern extreme of the country, which reaches from
the fifty-eighth to the seventy-first parallel. The famous elevation
called the Sneehaettan--"Snow Hat"--forms a part of this Alpine
range, and is one of the loftiest in Norway, falling little short of
eight thousand feet in altitude. To be exact, it ranks sixth among
the Scandinavian mountains. It should be remembered that one eighth
of the country lies within the region of perpetual snow, and that
these lofty and nearly inaccessible heights are robed in a constant
garb of bridal whiteness. No other part of Europe or any inhabited
portion of the globe has such enormous glaciers or snowfields,
unless possibly some portions of Alaska. Here in Norway are glaciers
which cover from four to five hundred square miles, descending from
plateaus three and four thousand feet in height down to very near
sea-level, as in the instance of the mammoth Svartisen glacier, which
is visited by all travellers to the North Cape. Arctic and Alpine
flowers abound in the region of the Dovrefjeld,--and glacial flowers
are abundant, though not so much so as in the more frequently visited
snow regions of Switzerland. As the ice and snow recede in the early
summer, the plants spring up with magic promptness, so that within a
few yards the same species are seen in successive stages of growth,
spring and summer flowers blooming side by side in rather forced
companionship. The blue gentians are extremely lovely, and are among
the first to appear after the mantle of snow is lifted from the
awaking earth. The most remarkable and abundant of the spring flowers
however is the _linnæa borealis_, thus appropriately named after the
great Swedish botanist and naturalist. It is a long, low-creeping
plant bearing a pink blossom, and is in full bloom early in July,
luxuriating all over the Scandinavian peninsula. Harebells nodding
upon their delicate stems, primroses, snowdrops, and small blue
pansies are also common. In the southern districts roses of various
species thrive in glorious profusion in the open air annually during
the short genial period, and also as domestic favorites during the
long night of winter, adorning and perfuming the living-rooms of the
people of every class in town and country.

Though the highest point in Norway or Sweden is only about
eighty-five hundred feet above sea-level, an elevation which is
reached only by the Jotunfjeld, or Giant Mountain, still no highlands
in Europe surpass those of Scandinavia in terrific and savage
grandeur, "rocked-ribbed and ancient as the sun." Mont Blanc is fully
one third higher than this Giant Mountain, but being less abrupt is
hardly so striking and effective in aspect. The grand elevations of
Norway are intersected by deep dark gorges and fearful chasms,
roaring with impetuous torrents and enormous waterfalls, and
affording an abundance of such scenes as would have inspired the
pencil of Salvator Rosa. The mountain system here does not form a
continuous range, but consists of a succession of plateaus like the
Dovrefjeld, and of detached mountains rising from elevated bases. The
length of this series of peculiar elevations--mountains and
plateaus--is that of the entire peninsula, from the North Cape to
Christiansand on the Skager Rack, some twelve hundred miles, having
an average width of about two hundred miles,--which gives to the
mountains of Norway and Sweden an area larger than the Alps, the
Apennines, and the Pyrenees combined, while the lakes, waterfalls,
and cascades far surpass those of the rest of Europe. There is no
other country where so large a portion is covered with august
mountains as in Norway. It includes an area of about one hundred and
twenty-three thousand square miles; and it has been said by those
most familiar with its topography, that could it be flattened out it
would make as large a division of the earth as would any of the four
principal continents. The ratio of arable land to the entire area of
Norway is not more than one to ten, and were it not that the support
of the people at large comes mainly from the sea, the country could
not sustain one quarter of even its present sparse population.
Undismayed by the preponderance of rocks, cliffs, and chasms, the
people utilize every available rod of land. Here and there are seen
wire ropes extending from the low lands to the mountain sides, the
upper ends of which are lost to sight, and which are used for sliding
down bundles of compressed hay after it has been cut, made, and
packed in places whither only men accustomed to scale precipices
could possibly climb. The aspect of such regions is severe and
desolate in the extreme, even when viewed beneath the cheering smiles
of a summer sun. What then must be their appearance during the long,
trying winter of these hyperborean regions? In snug corners,
sheltered by friendly rocks and cliffs from the prevailing winds, are
seen little clusters of cabins inhabited by a few lowly people who
live in seeming content, and who rear families amid almost incredible
deprivations and climatic disadvantages, causing one to wonder at
their hardihood and endurance. It is not uncommon to see along the
west coast of Norway, among the islands and upon the main-land,
farm-houses surrounded by a few low buildings of the rudest
character, perched among rocks away up on some lofty green terrace,
so high indeed as to make them seem scarcely larger than an eagle's
nest. To anybody but a mountaineer these spots are positively
inaccessible, and every article of subsistence, except what is raised
upon the few acres of available earth surrounding the house, must be
carried up thither upon men's backs, for not even a mule could climb
to these regions. A few goats and sheep must constitute the entire
animal stock which such a spot can boast, with perhaps a few domestic
fowls. These dwellings have been constructed of logs cut in some of
the sheltered gulches near at hand and drawn to the spot with
infinite labor, one by one. It would seem that such persistent and
energetic industry applied in more inviting neighborhoods would have
insured better results. What must life be passed in such an isolated,
exposed place, in a climate where the ground is covered with snow for
nine months of each year! Some few of these eyries have bridle-paths
leading up to them which are barely passable; and yet such are
thought by the occupants to be especially favored.


  Ancient Capital of Norway. -- Routes of Travel. -- Rain! --
  Peasant Costumes. -- Commerce of Bergen. -- Shark's _vs._ Cod
  Liver Oil. -- Ship-Building. -- Public Edifices. -- Quaint Shops.
  -- Borgund Church. -- Leprosy in Norway. -- Sporting Country. --
  Inland Experiences. -- Hay-Making. -- Pine-Forest Experiences. --
  National Constitution. -- People's Schools. -- Girls' Industrial
  School. -- Celebrated Citizens of Bergen. -- Two Grand Norwegian
  Fjords. -- Remarkable Glaciers.

Bergen is situated some two hundred miles northwest of Christiania,
and may be reached from thence by a carriole journey across the
country over excellent roads, or by steamboat doubling the Naze. The
latter route, though three times as far, is often adopted by
travellers as being less expensive and troublesome. Still another and
perhaps the most common route taken by tourists is that by way of
Lake Mjösen, Gjöveg, the Fillefjeld and Laerdalsören, on the
Sognefjord. This is called the Valders route, and affords by far the
greatest variety of scenery. It involves railroad, steamer, and
carriole modes of conveyance, and in all covers a distance of at
least three hundred and fifty miles. It will be remembered that
Bergen was the capital of Norway when it was under Danish rule, and
was long afterwards the commercial rival of Christiania. Indeed, its
shipping interests we were informed still exceed those of the
capital, the verity of which statement one is inclined to question.
The period of its greatest prosperity was in the Middle Ages and
during the century when the great Hanseatic League flourished, at
which time there was a numerous German colony resident here. The town
appears very ancient, and naturally so, as it dates back to the
eleventh century. Many of the dwellings are quaint with sharp-peaked
roofs and gable-ends toward the streets. The boats which ply in the
harbor and throng the wharves differ but little from the style of
those used by the Norse pirates a thousand years ago, and who
congregated in force about these very shores. The oldest part of the
city lies on the eastern side of the harbor where the fortress of
Bergenhuus and the double-towered Maria Kirke are situated. The
inhabitants are not amphibious, but they certainly ought to be, since
it rains here five days out of every seven. Some one has aptly called
it the fatherland of drizzle, "where the hooded clouds, like friars,
tell their beads in drops of rain." The first and foremost business
of the place, therefore, is dealing in umbrellas and water-proof
clothing. We did not observe any special crest as indicating the
corporate arms of the city, but if such a design exists, it should be
surmounted by a full-length figure of Jupiter Pluvius. We were
assured that the rain-fall here averages six feet annually. There is
a tradition of sunny days having occurred in Bergen, but much
patience and long waiting are necessary to verify it. Still there is
plenty of life and business activity in the broad clean streets, and
more especially in and about the wharves and shipping.

One sees here more of the traditional Norwegian costumes than are to
be met with either at Gottenburg or Christiania. Some of the old men
who came from the inland villages were particularly noticeable,
forming vivid and artistic groups, with their long snowy hair flowing
freely about face and neck in the most patriarchal fashion. They wore
red-worsted caps, open shirt-collars, knee-breeches, and jackets and
vests decked with a profusion of silver buttons, like a Basque
postilion. The women wear black jackets, bright-red bodices and
scarlet petticoats, with white linen aprons. On the street called the
Strandgade many Norse costumes mingle together like colors in a
kaleidoscope. Our guide pointed out one group, which was perhaps more
strongly individualized than the rest, as coming from the Tellemark
district. Various nationalities were also represented, not forgetting
the despised and much persecuted Jews, who are nearly as unpopular in
Scandinavia as they are in Germany and Russia. The Strandgade is the
longest thoroughfare in the city, and runs parallel with the harbor.
By turning to the left after reaching the custom-house and passing up
the rising ground, one reaches the Observatory, from whence a fine
view of Bergen and its environs is obtained. The dusky red-tiled
roofs crowded together, the square wooden towers of the churches
mingled with the public gardens dressed in warmest verdure, form
altogether a quaint and impressive picture. The town rises from the
bay nearly in the form of a crescent, nestling at the feet of the
surrounding hills on the west coast of Norway, between those two
broad and famous arms of the sea, the Sognefjord and the
Hardangerfjord. The first named indents the coast to a distance of
one hundred and six miles, the latter seventy miles,--the first being
north, and the last south of Bergen. The excellent situation of the
harbor and its direct steam communication with European ports give
this ancient city an extensive commerce in proportion to the number
of inhabitants, who do not aggregate more than forty thousand. A
large portion of the town is built upon a promontory, and between it
and the main-land on its north side is the harbor, which is rarely
frozen over owing to the influence of the Gulf Stream, while the
harbor of St. Petersburg, in about the same latitude, is annually
closed by ice for at least three months.

The staple commodity of Bergen is dried fish, mostly cod,
supplemented by large quantities of cod-liver oil, lumber, and wood
for fuel. It may not be generally known that a considerable portion
of what is denominated cod-liver oil is produced from sharks' livers,
which in fact are believed to be characterized by the same medicinal
qualities as are those of the cod. At any rate, with this object
sharks are sought for along the upper coast of Norway in the region
of the Lofodens, and their livers are employed as described. An
average-sized shark, we were told, will yield thirty gallons of good
merchantable oil, but the article could not obtain a market except
under the popular name of cod-liver oil. Catching the sharks is not
an employment entirely devoid of danger, as they are often found to
be large and very powerful, measuring from twenty-five to thirty feet
in length. The shark like the whale, when it is struck with the
harpoon, must at first be given plenty of line or it will drag down
the boat in its rapid descent to deep water. Sometimes the struggle
to capture the fish is a long and serious one, as it must thoroughly
exhaust itself before it will yield. When finally drawn to the side
of the boat, a heavy well-directed blow upon the nose completely
stuns the creature, and the capture is then complete. The diminution
in the number of sharks upon the coast has led to a large natural
increase in the number of herring, the catching of which forms a
special and profitable branch of Norwegian industry.

It is here at Bergen that the cargoes of fish caught on the coast at
the far North and within the Arctic Circle are packed and reshipped
to European ports. Lobsters are trapped in immense quantities just
off the coast, whence the London market is mostly supplied. We were
told that over two millions of this product were annually exported to
Great Britain. They are shipped alive to England, where owing to some
attributed excellence they are specially favored above those coming
from any other locality. The Fish Market is the great business centre
of Bergen, situated at the end of the Torv, at a small pier called
Triangelen. The fish intended for local domestic use are kept alive
in large tubs of water near the shore, and when desired by the
purchaser are scooped out with a net, killed by a sharp blow upon the
head, and sold by weight, the price being ridiculously low. Owing to
its topographical character and location, Bergen will never become a
railroad centre; its principal trade will remain in connection with
the sea alone. Ship-building is carried on here to a considerable
extent. We saw one iron steamer which was constructed and equipped in
this harbor; and a finely finished craft she was, of over a thousand
tons burden. There are some fine public squares, a People's Park,
wherein a military band plays twice a week, half-a-dozen churches, a
commodious Theatre, a Royal Palace, a Musical Institute, a Public
Library, and a Museum; but there is scarcely a trace of architectural
beauty in all Norway with the exception of the cathedral at
Tröndhjem, which is formed of a mixture of orders, the Norman
predominating. The Church of St. Mary is only interesting for its
antiquity, dating as it does from the twelfth century. Its curious
and grotesque façade bears the date of 1118.

A glance at the map will show the reader that Norway is broadest
where a line drawn eastward from Bergen would divide it, giving a
width of a little over two hundred and eighty miles, while the length
of her territory is four times as great. The Gottenburg
liquor-system, as it is called, has long been adopted in this city,
and seems to operate as advantageously here as in the place of its
origin. Nevertheless, the people are what we call in America hard
drinkers, though little absolute drunkenness was observable. The
quaint little shops of the town, which are slightly raised above the
level of the street, have another and rather inferior class of stores
under them, accessible by descending steps from the thoroughfare.
This division of trade, by arranging a series of basement stores, is
so common here as to form a feature of the town; and the same is
observable in Copenhagen, where many jewelry, art, and choice retail
stores are located in the basement of the houses, with an
establishment devoted to some other line of trade above them. The
shops in Bergen are well filled with odd antique articles, mostly of
domestic use, such as old plate, drinking-cups, spoons, and silver
goblets bearing the marks of age and the date of two or three
centuries past. A little experience is apt to create considerable
doubt in the minds of inquiring travellers as to the genuineness of
these articles, which, like those found in the odd curio shops of
Japan, are very largely manufactured to order in this blessed year of
our Lord, however they may be dated.

The native jewelry is curious and some of it quite pretty, not for
personal wear, but as a souvenir. Evidences of thrift and prosperity
impress the stranger on every side, while extremes in the social
condition of the people do not appear to exist. They are neither very
rich nor very poor. There are no mendicants or idlers to be seen; all
persons appear to have some legitimate occupation. One looks about
in vain for any sign of the thirty-two churches and half-score of
convents which history tells us once made of the place a noted
religious centre and a Mecca for devotional pilgrims. The Cathedral
of St. Olaf is venerable, dating from 1248; but except its antiquity
it presents nothing of special interest to the stranger. There are
numerous handsome villas in the immediate environs, where some very
creditable landscape gardening is to be seen, while the surrounding
fields are clothed in emerald vegetation. Some new villas were
observed in course of erection, but as we continued our stroll the
sterile and rocky hills which form the background to the picture of
Bergen were soon reached. A favorite walk in the suburbs is to the
Svartediket, a lake which supplies the city with water, pure and
excellent. At Tjosanger, not far away, is one of the ancient wooden
churches of the country, almost identical with the more noted one at
Borgund. This queer old structure at the last named place now belongs
to the Antiquarian Society of Christiania, and is very curious with
its numerous gables, shingle-covered roofs, and walls surmounted with
dragons' heads. It is strangely sombre, with its dark and windowless
interior, but is the best preserved church of its kind in all Norway,
dating as it does from the twelfth century. But we were speaking of
the immediate environs of Bergen. About a mile outside of the city
there is a leper hospital, devoted solely to the unfortunate victims
of this terrible disease. Notwithstanding the persistent and
scientific effort which has been made by the Government, still it
seems extremely difficult to eradicate this dreaded pest from the
country. The too free use of fish as a food is thought by many to be
a promoting cause of leprosy. Those who are affected by it are not
permitted to marry if the disease has once declared itself; so that
as a hereditary affliction it is very properly kept in check. There
are three hospitals set aside in the country for the exclusive
treatment of those thus afflicted; one is at Molde, one at Trondhjem,
and the other we have mentioned at Bergen. Physicians say that the
disease is slowly decreasing in the number of its victims, and the
patients now domiciled in the three districts amount to but fifteen
hundred, equally divided among them. One mitigating feature of this
loathsome affliction is the fact that it is not considered to be
contagious; but those who inherit it can never escape its fatality.

The country lying between Bergen and Christiania, and indeed nearly
every part of Norway, presents great attractions to the angler, who
must, however, go prepared to rough it; but if he be a true lover of
the sport, this will enhance rather than detract from the pleasure.
The country is sparsely inhabited, and affords only the rudest
accommodations for the wandering pedestrian who does not confine
himself to the regular post-routes. The innumerable lakes, rivers,
and streams swarm with delicious fish,--trout, grayling, and salmon
being the most abundant species of the finny tribe. Many Englishmen
come hither annually, attracted solely by this sport. The disciples
of the rod who know these regions do not forget to bring with them
ample protection against mosquitoes; for these tiny creatures are in
wonderful abundance during the summer season, dividing the mastership
with that other Norwegian pest, the flea, who is here the
acknowledged giant of his tribe. Hotel accommodations even in Bergen
are nothing to boast of. Every foreigner is supposed to be craving
for salmon and reindeer meat, raw, smoked, pickled, or cooked.

A drive of a few leagues inland upon the charming roads in any
direction will fill the stranger with delight, and afford
characteristic pictures of great beauty. The farmers hang their cut
grass upon frames of wood to dry, as we do clothes on washing-day.
These frames are arranged in the mowing-fields in rows of a hundred
feet in length, and are about five feet high. The effect in the
haying season is quite striking and novel to the stranger. The
agricultural tools used upon the farms are of the most primitive
character; the ploughs are single-handed, and as awkward as the rude
implement in use to-day in Egypt. The country houses are low, the
roofs often covered with soil, and not infrequently rendered
attractive with blooming heather and little blue-and-pink blossoms
planted by Nature's hand,--the hieroglyphics in which she writes her
impromptu poetry. In the meadows between the hills are sprinkled
harebells as blue as the azure veins on a lovely face; while here and
there patches of great red clover-heads are seen nodding heavily
with their wealth of golden sweets. Farther away in solitary glens
white anemones delight the eye, in company with ferns of tropical
variety of form and color. The blossoms of the multebær, almost
identical with that of the strawberry, are also abundant. The
humidity of the atmosphere of the west coast, and especially in the
latitude of Bergen, favors floral development. All through
Scandinavia one meets these bright mosaics of the soil with a sense
of surprise, they are so delicate, so frail, creations of such short
life, yet lovely beyond compare, born upon the very verge of eternal
frost. How Nature enters into our hearts and confides her amorous
scents through winsome flowers! In these rambles afield one meets
occasionally a peasant, who bows low, removing his hat as the
stranger passes. Without showing the servility of the common people
of Japan, they yet exhibit all their native courtesy. Now and again
the road passes through reaches of pine forest, still and aromatic,
the soil carpeted with soft yellow fir-needles, where if one pauses
to listen there comes a low, undefined murmur of vegetable and insect
life, like the sound that greets the ear when applied to an empty
sea-shell. Some wood-paths were found sprinkled with dog-violets and
saxifrage, fragrant as Gan Eden; others were daintily fringed with
purple heart's-ease, captivating in their sylvan loveliness. Of
song-birds there were none; and one could not but hunger for their
delicious notes amid such suggestive surroundings.

English is very generally spoken by the merchants of Bergen, and may
almost be said to constitute its commercial tongue. It is taught in
all the "people's schools" as they are called, of which there are
twenty supported by the town. In conversing with the citizens, they
appear to be of more than average intelligence and liberal in
opinions save for a few local prejudices. A Norwegian does not waste
much love upon Sweden or its people. There is no bitterness
expressed, but the two kingdoms united in one are still in a certain
sense natural rivals. They are only combined to sustain their mutual
political interests as it regards other nations. They have a saying
at Bergen: "We love the English, and drink tea; the Swedes love the
French, and drink coffee." Still, it is so clearly for their national
interest to remain united that there is no fear of their seriously
falling out. The Norwegian constitution is perhaps as near an
approach to a perfect democracy as can possibly be achieved under a
constitutional monarchy. This constitution is of her own making. She
has "home rule" in its fullest sense, with her own Parliament and
ministers in all departments except that of foreign affairs. She has
even her own excise, and her own taxation direct and indirect. She
contributes five, and Sweden twelve, seventeenths of the support of
the royal family. She furnishes her proper quota of soldiers and
sailors for the army and navy. In short, she makes her own laws and
appoints her own officials to enforce them. No Swede holds any
political office in Norway. The constitution was proclaimed on the
4th of November, 1814. The whole of the legislative and part of the
executive power of the realm is invested in the Storthing, which is
an emanation from and the representative of the sovereign people. So
limited is the power of the King that he can make no appointment to
public office in Norway, and over the laws passed by the Storthing he
has but a limited veto. That is to say, he may veto a bill; but the
passage of it a second time, though it may be by only a bare
majority, places it beyond his prerogative.

There are a few Moravians settled in various parts of the country,
but they are nowhere sufficiently numerous to establish organized
congregations. The doctrine of Luther seems to be almost universally
accepted, and appears to answer all the spiritual wants of the

Strangers visit with more than passing interest the admirable free
industrial school for girls which flourishes and does its grand work
faithfully at Bergen. Here female children from eight to sixteen
years of age are taught practically the domestic industries under
circumstances robbed of every onerous regulation, and are to be seen
daily in cheerful groups at work upon all sorts of garments,
supervised by competent teachers of their own sex. Such a
well-conducted and practical institution cannot but challenge the
admiration of even comparatively indifferent persons. Possessed of
all these prudential and educational appreciations, it is not
surprising that Bergen has sent forth some eminent representatives
in science, art, and literature. Among them the most familiar are
perhaps Ole Bull, the famous musician; Ludwig Holberg, the
accomplished traveller; Johann Welhaven, the Norse poet; and J. C. C.
Dahl, the justly celebrated painter.

We spoke of Bergen as situated on the west coast of Norway, between
two of the most remarkable fjords in the country. The Hardanger
richly repays a visit. The beauty, grandeur, and variety of its
scenery is hardly surpassed in Scandinavia, which is so famous in
these respects in all its parts. It is easily accessible from Bergen,
as during the summer steamers sail thither three times a week, making
the entire tour of the fjord. In many respects it resembles the
Sognefjord. Though it is forty miles less in extent, it is yet the
largest fjord in superficial measurement of any on the coast. Both
are enclosed by rocky, precipitous, and lofty mountains, ranging from
three to four thousand feet in height, characterized by snow-clad
tops of virgin white, mingled with which are many extensive glaciers.
The Sognefjord is more especially important as a water-way extending
from the sea over a hundred miles inland, and averaging over four
miles in width, having in parts the remarkable depth of four thousand
feet. At its upper extremity is situated the largest glacier in
Europe. In the Hardangerfjord there are many pleasant and thrifty
hamlets near the water's edge, while broad fields of grain, thickly
growing woods, and acres of highly cultivated soil show a spirit of
successful industry seconded by the kindly aid of Nature. Wherever an
opportunity occurs, the greensward springs up in such vivid color as
to seem tropical, all the more intensified by its close proximity to
the region of ceaseless frost. The traveller who is familiar with the
Lake of Lucerne will be constantly reminded of that beautiful piece
of land-locked water while sailing up either of these remarkable,
grand, and interesting arms of the North Sea. So lofty are the
mountains, and so abruptly do they rise out of the water at certain
points, that while sailing near the shore within their deep shadow
the darkness of night seems to encompass the vessel. If one has not
time to go farther north in Norway, a visit to and careful inspection
of these two extensive fjords will give a very good idea of the
peculiarities of the entire coast. The grand fjords north of this
point are none of them more extensive, but some of the mountain
scenery is bolder and many of the elevations greater; the glaciers
also come down nearer to the coast-line and to the sea.

Let no one who tarries for a few days at Bergen fail to make an
excursion to the Folgefonden, or Hardanger glaciers. Of course an
experienced guide is necessary, as fatal accidents sometimes occur
here, particularly after a fresh fall of snow which covers up the
huge clefts in the ice. These glaciers extend about forty miles in
length by fifteen or twenty in width, here and there intersected by
enormous chasms. Hunters and adventurous climbers have many times
disappeared down these abysses, never again to be seen or heard from.
Bears and reindeer have also fallen into and perished in these
clefts. Persons who explore these glaciers wear spiked shoes as a
necessary precaution, and to aid them in creeping along the slippery,
rubbled surface of the ice. With a proper guide and reasonable care,
however, there is little danger to be apprehended, or at least no
more than is encountered by climbers among the Swiss Alps. These
glaciers, as we have shown, are not confined to the mountain regions
and elevated plateaus, but extend gradually downward in their lower
portions very near to the shore, where vegetation in strong contrast
thrives close to their borders. Farther northward the glacial effects
are bolder and more numerous; but these accessible from Bergen are
by no means to be neglected by travellers who would study
understandingly this remarkable phase of Arctic and Alpine regions.


  Ancient and Modern Trondhjem. -- Runic Inscriptions. -- A Famous
  Old Cathedral. -- Local Characteristics. -- Romantic Story of
  King Olaf. -- Curious Local Productions. -- An Island Prison. --
  Lafoss Falls. -- Corn Magazines. -- Land-owners. -- Wood-cutters.
  -- Forests. -- A Tumble Overboard. -- A Genuine Cockney. --
  Comparative Length of Days. -- Characteristics of Boreal Regions.
  -- Arctic Winter Fisheries. -- The Ancient Cathedral Town of
  Lund; the Oxford of Sweden. -- Pagan Times.

Trondhjem is situated on a fjord of the same name occupying a
peninsula formed by the river Nid, and is surrounded by beautiful and
picturesque scenery. A delightful view of the town and its environs
may be had from the old fort of Kristiansten. Here resided the kings
of Norway in the olden time. It is now a thriving but small city, the
seat of a bishopric, and contains a Royal Academy of Sciences, a
Museum embracing some remarkable examples of ancient weapons besides
well-preserved armor, and there is here also a good Public Library.
The Cathedral of St. Olaf is quite famous, being the finest Gothic
edifice in all Scandinavia, and the only local object of special
interest to the traveller. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries it
was the burial-place of the kings of Norway. It is built in its
modern form of a soft gray stone which was quarried near the town,
but the older walls and foundation date back many centuries, it
being the restoration of a much more ancient church which was
partially destroyed by fire in the year 1719. For many centuries
carving in stone and wood has been a specialty in Scandinavia. The
old Runic inscriptions are all carved in stone. Some of these works
going back seven or eight hundred years, are of the most quaint and
curious character. In this old cathedral there is a fine display of
carvings in the way of bosses and capitals. Some of the Swedish
churches exhibit similar specimens of rude art, which are of great
interest to antiquarians. The Trondhjem cathedral contains a copy of
Thorwaldsen's Christ, the original of which is in the Frue Kirke at
Copenhagen. This colossal figure seen in the dim light of the
cathedral eloquently expresses its inscription: "Come unto me all ye
that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Many of
the tombs in the cemetery adjoining the cathedral were observed to be
decked with flowers so fresh as to indicate frequent renewals, and
yet many years had intervened since the date borne by the stone slabs
above the dead who were thus gracefully remembered. The
Scandinavians, like the Turks, make the graves of the departed a
pleasant resort for leisure hours. The services performed in the old
cathedral were those of the English Church on the occasion of our
visit, which was on a Sunday; but the attendance was so small as to
be remarked upon, not fifty persons being present, though there is
quite a colony of English residents here.

After Christiania and Bergen Trondhjem is the next largest town in
Norway, having fully twenty-five thousand inhabitants and enjoying
quite an active commerce, as its shipping indicated. The
thoroughfares are broad and cheerful, and are liberally and
tastefully adorned with a fine growth of trees. The Kongensgade
(King's Street), two hundred feet in width, runs from end to end of
the city, and with the Munkegade, divides it like a cross. The latter
street intersects the great market-place, which is in the centre of
the town. The principal shops are found on the Strandgade. The
houses, rarely over two stories in height, are painted white and
roofed with red tiles, like scarlet caps upon light-haired men. The
façades are full of windows, which in turn are crowded with growing
and blooming plants. The irregularity of the cobble-stones used as
pavements for the streets renders pedestrianism very uncomfortable,
and riding in a vehicle even more so. The Arsenal on the left bank of
the Nid was once the palace home of the ancient kings, and the royal
throne is still exhibited to the curious visitor, preserved in an
unused portion of the structure. Those familiar with Scandinavian
history will remember that Trondhjem was founded about a thousand
years ago by King Olaf Trygvason, upon the site of a much older city
named Nidaros. There is certainly nothing visible to indicate its
great antiquity. The adventurous life of King Olaf, which recurs to
us in this connection, may be outlined in a few words, and is more
romantic than that of any other ruler of Norway known to us. Born a
prince, he barely escaped assassination at the hands of the usurper
of his rights, by fleeing from the country in charge of his mother.
They were captured by pirates, separated and sold into slavery. Then
followed a period of deprivation and hardship; but at a comparatively
early age Olaf was opportunely discovered and ransomed by a relative
who had never ceased to seek for the missing youth. He soon after
became a distinguished sea-king, of that class which we call pirates
in our day. His career in this field of adventure is represented to
have been one of daring and reckless hardihood, characterized by
merciless aggression and great success. Finally Olaf married an Irish
princess, embraced Christianity, and fought his way to the throne of
Norway, assuming the crown in the year of our Lord 991. From this
time he became a zealous missionary, propagating his faith by the
sword; and like all other religious zealots he was guilty of
outrageous acts of cruelty, proving the axiom that "the worst of
madmen is a saint run mad." Seven years subsequent to the last named
date he destroyed the Pagan temple of Thor and Odin at Trondhjem,
with all its venerated idols. Upon the site of this temple he built a
Christian church, making the city his seat of government; and so it
remained the capital down to the time of the union with Denmark. Olaf
was slain in battle while fighting for his throne, and was canonized
by the church, his shrine at Trondhjem being for centuries a Mecca
for pious pilgrims from all parts of Europe. In such veneration were
the memory and services of this converted pirate held by a certain
class of religionists, that churches were erected in his name at
Constantinople and elsewhere. His body lies buried in the present
cathedral; and, remarkable to relate, it was found to be incorrupt so
late as 1541, according to reliable historical record, at which time
the tomb underwent an official examination induced by some State
question of importance. It was in this cathedral that Bernadotte was
crowned King of Norway, in 1818; Oscar I., in 1844; Charles XV., in
1860; and Oscar II., the present sovereign of the two Kingdoms, in

In some of the fancy-goods shops on the Strandgade one can purchase
silver ornaments of native design and workmanship, quite as original
and peculiar as those produced at Trichinopoly in middle India, or at
Genoa in Italy. Choice furs, such as delicate and well-cured skins of
sable and fox, can be had here at reasonable rates, made up in the
form of simple mantles and robes. It was observed that upon entering
a shop here the customer invariably removes his hat out of respect to
the store-keeper, whether man or woman, and remains thus uncovered
while perfecting his purchase. Courtesy is a cheap though potent
commodity, and wholesome lessons may often be acquired in unexpected
places. One curious local production was observed in the form of
eider-down rugs, capes, cloaks, and the like, which were also seen at
Christiania. One very fine specimen was in the form of a cloak
designed for ladies' wear, but which seemed to be rather an expensive
luxury at the price asked, which was a thousand dollars.

A short walk from the town brings one to Hlade, where stands the
famous, or rather infamous, Jarl Hakon's castle, and from whence he
ruled over the country round about with an iron hand in the olden
time. He was a savage Heathen, believing in and practising human
sacrifices, evidences of which are pointed out to the curious
visitor. About a mile from the town, in the fjord, is the island of
Munkholm, once the site of a Benedictine monastery, as its name
indicates, and which was erected in 1028. The base of one of the
towers, mouldering and moss-grown, now only remains. Victor Hugo
graphically describes this island in his "Han d'Islande." Here the
famous minister of Christian V., Griffenfeldt, was confined for many
weary years. His crime was absolutely nothing, his incarceration for
this long period being purely the result of political intrigue. When
he was finally brought to the scaffold for execution, a messenger
interrupted the headsman at the last moment, and announced a pardon
from the King. "The pardon," said the worn out sufferer, "is severer
than the penalty!"

A walk or drive of three or four miles up the beautiful valley of the
Nid carries one to the Lafoss Falls, upper and lower, situated about
a mile from each other; and though classed among the ordinary
waterfalls of Norway, they are superior to anything of the sort in
Switzerland. The upper fall is nearly a hundred feet high, with a
width of five hundred feet; the lower one is eighty feet in height
and about one third as wide as the other. The falls of the Rhine at
Schaffhausen may be compared to them; but these Scandinavian falls
are more remarkable in size, as well as more perpendicular. They are
annually visited by large numbers of tourists from Europe and
America, and have, like all such strong demonstrations of Nature, an
individuality quite impressive. The salmon-fishing in this
neighborhood is said to be the best in the country. The topographical
formation of Norway precludes the extensive building of railroads,
but three thousand square miles of the kingdom are covered with lakes
which greatly facilitate inland communication. Lake Mjösen, already
spoken of, and Randsfjord are respectively sixty and forty-five miles
long. The hundreds of fjords which indent the west coast form another
system of waterways, the four largest being the Hardangerfjord,
Sognefjord, Porsanger, and Christiania. The population concentrates
on and about these natural means of communication, and thus all are
more or less utilized. About the shores of the Trondhjemfjord are to
be seen delightful green fields and thrifty farms, vegetation
advancing as if by magic under the continuous heat of the ardent sun.
The latitude here is 64° 65'. The mean annual temperature is set
down in the local statistics at 42° Fahrenheit, which it will be
found by comparison corresponds with the winter temperature on the
southern coast of England.

We were here told of a system of storage for grain, long established,
but which was quite new to us, and which as a local expedient appears
to possess considerable merit. It seems that there are what is called
Corn Magazines organized in various districts, to which farmers may
send a portion of their surplus produce, and whence also they may be
supplied with loans of grain when required. The depositors receive at
the rate of twelve and a half per cent increase upon their deposit of
grain for twelve months, and the borrowers replace the quantities
advanced to them at the expiration of the same period, paying an
interest of twenty-five per cent in kind. The difference in the
amount of interest on the grain received and that loaned pays the
necessary expenses of storage and of sustaining the system. As the
sole object is the mutual benefit of all concerned, no profit above
actual expenses is demanded or considered to be desirable. The
necessity for these magazines is owing to the precarious character of
the crops,--a peculiarity of which is that there may be an abundance
in one locality, and a partial or even total failure of the crop in
another, though they may be separated by only a few miles from each
other. These granaries are fostered by the Government.

As one travels northward, it is found that farming as a permanent
occupation gradually and naturally ceases. The populace, gathered
about the fjords in small villages, devote their time to fishing,
trading in skins, reindeer-meat, and the like. In middle and
southern Norway, where farming is the principal occupation of the
people, at the death of the head of the family the land belonging to
the deceased is equally divided among the surviving children. No
estates are entailed in this country. The division of real property
tends to foster a spirit of independence and self-respect which will
be looked for in vain among those nations where the land is in the
possession of the few. It is a remarkable fact that the number of
landed proprietors in Norway, in proportion to the aggregate of the
population, is greater than in any other country in Europe. Reliable
statistics show that there is here one estate for every twenty-two
persons; while in Scotland, for instance, there is but one for each
seven hundred! The Scandinavian farmer is neither poor nor rich; he
raises from his own soil nearly all the necessities of life, even
including the family clothing,--exchanging a small portion of his
surplus for such articles as he requires, but which are not of home
product. The average farms in Norway consist of from sixty to
seventy-five acres each, though some are much larger. This does not
include a certain portion of mountain pasturage, only available in
summer, but which is attached to every farm located in the valleys,
known (as already described) as the sæter.

The mountain scenery of the northern part of the country, especially
near the coast, is not excelled in its bold and rugged character in
any part of the world. Norway is here very sparsely inhabited,--a few
huts, as we have shown, being occasionally perched upon elevations
which seem to be accessible to eagles and reptiles only, where
footways or narrow paths are built upon piles across gaping ravines,
or are formed of timber suspended by chains securely fastened to the
rocks. The inhabitants of these desolate regions find occupation and
procure a precarious living by cutting wood for fuel, which they
transport upon their backs, or by the production of charcoal. In the
more accessible places they cut timber for building purposes, which
they float down the seething rapids and tortuous rivers to the
villages and cities. Occasionally these people kill a bear or trap a
wolf, from which sources they realize both food and a small
government bounty in money. The fir, the pine, and the white birch
abound, the first growing at an elevation of twenty-five hundred feet
above the level of the sea. Now and again the eye is arrested by the
gracefully-disposed mountain-ash, heavy with clusters of red berries;
and often intermingled with the undergrowth, the pale dog-rose is
seen growing far beyond the reach of human hands. In Sweden there are
immense forests of firs hundreds of miles in extent, where the aspen
and mountain-ash also abound. The oak is rare, but is found well
developed in some of the southern districts of both Norway and
Sweden. Wood is almost universally used for family fuel, as well as
for manufacturing purposes, though some considerable quantities of
peat are realized from the bogs in some of the southern districts,
which is also consumed in domestic use.

The usual route of those who seek to gain a view of the "midnight
sun,"--that is, of witnessing the phenomenon of the sun passing round
the horizon without sinking beneath it,--is to depart from Trondhjem
by sea for the North Cape, skirting the iron-bound coast for a
distance of about seven hundred miles. This was the route taken by
the author, and over which he will ask the reader to accompany him.
As the steamer was just casting off her shore-lines and getting
underway, a passenger who seemed to have been accidentally detained
came running down the pier to get on board, in doing which he missed
his proper footing and fell into the water alongside. He was promptly
relieved from his somewhat perilous position, but in a decidedly
dripping condition. After descending to his cabin for a short time he
appeared in more presentable shape, wearing a plaid travelling suit
which was rather "loud" in the size of the diagonal figures. He wore
a single eye-glass, stuck after the English fashion before his right
eye, depending from which was a thin gold chain. His principal
occupation seemed to be the manipulation of that eye-glass, shaking
it out of place by a vigorous jerk of the head, and replacing it
again incessantly. The fellow was an unmistakable cockney, and a more
verdant specimen it would be difficult to conceive of. His great
simplicity as exhibited at times was almost beyond belief. He
appeared to be travelling alone, but though evidently near his
majority he was scarcely fit to do so. His ideas of geography, or
indeed of whither we were sailing, seemed to be ludicrously
involved. A Yankee schoolboy of ten years would have proved to be a
veritable Solomon compared with our cockney fellow-passenger.

As we sail northward, the rapid lengthening of the days becomes more
and more obvious. At Lund, in the extreme south of Sweden, the
longest day experienced is seventeen hours and a half; at Stockholm,
two hundred miles farther north, the longest day of the year is
eighteen hours and a half; at Bergen, in Norway, three hundred miles
north of Lund, the longest day is nineteen hours; and at Trondhjem,
five hundred miles north of Lund, the longest day is twenty-one
hours. Above this point of latitude to the North Cape there is
virtually no night at all during the brief summer season, as the sun
is visible, or nearly so, for the whole twenty-four hours. From early
in May until about the first of August, north of Trondhjem, the stars
take a vacation, or at least they are not visible, while the moon is
so pale as to give no light, the Great Bear puts by his seven
lustres, and the diamond belt of Orion is unseen. But the heavenly
lamps revive by the first of September, and after a short period are
supplemented by the marvellous and beautiful radiations of the Aurora
Borealis. Winter now sets in, the sun disappears entirely from sight,
and night reigns supreme, the heavens shining only with subdued
light. Were it not for the brilliancy of the Auroral light, the
fishermen could hardly pursue their winter vocation, that being the
harvest-time with them, and midnight is considered to be the best
period of the twenty-four hours for successful fishing in these
frosty regions. In and about the Lofoden Islands alone five thousand
boats are thus regularly employed at the height of the season, giving
occupation to from twenty to twenty-five thousand men. These people
are mostly Scandinavians, properly so designated; but other countries
also contribute their quota to swell the number, many coming
especially from northern Russia and northern Finland east of the
Bothnian Gulf.

Though Lund is not in the direct route over which we propose to take
the reader, still having mentioned this ancient and most interesting
locality, a few words in relation to it will not be out of place.
To-day it has a population of some twelve or fifteen thousand only,
but according to popular tradition it was once a city of two hundred
thousand inhabitants, and was a famous and flourishing capital two
thousand years ago, long before the birth of Christ. Its former
churches and monasteries have crumbled to dust, the grounds and
neighborhood being now only remarkable for the beautiful trees which
have sprung up and covered the wrinkles that ruthless time has scored
upon the face of the earth. The Lund of our day is a sleepy, dreamy
old town, called by some the Oxford of Sweden, because of the
acknowledged excellence of its University. The number of students
attached thereto we could not learn, but we saw them in goodly
numbers, living in separate lodgings about the town and only coming
together at the period of recitations and public lectures. The system
of instruction here is unique; enough was learned to satisfy one of
that, but the details were not clearly defined.

Lund has also its cathedral, a noble Norman structure dedicated to
Saint Lawrence, and which is all things considered one of the finest
in Sweden, though it is a little grotesque by reason of the
marvellous giants and impossible dwarfs sculptured upon the pillars
of the interior. It was founded in the eleventh century, and has been
more than once fully renovated. The town is of easy access. One has
only to cross the Sound from Copenhagen, and it is richly worth
visiting. It was a "holy" city in Pagan times, containing in those
days temples to Odin and Thor, and was especially remarkable for the
ceremonies which took place there connected with the worship of these
Heathen deities, accompanied by human sacrifice.


  Along the Coast of Norway. -- Education at the Far North. -- An
  Interesting Character. -- A Botanical Enthusiast. -- Remarkable
  Mountain Tunnel. -- A Hard Climb. -- The Seven Sisters. -- Young
  England. -- An Amateur Photographer. -- Horseman's Island. --
  Ancient Town of Bodöe. -- Arctic Flowers. -- The Famous
  Maelström. -- Illusions! -- The Wonderful Lofoden Islands. --
  Grand and Unique Scenery. -- Glaciers. -- Nature's Architecture.
  -- Mysterious Effects. -- Attraction for Artists.

The coast of Norway from the most southerly part which is known as
the Naze, to the North Cape which is its extreme point in that
direction, is bordered by innumerable rocky islands, and also by deep
fjords winding inland from ten to fifty miles each among masses of
rock forming lofty, perpendicular walls, often towering a thousand
feet and more in height. The traveller is reminded by the aspect of
these fjords of the striking scenery of the Saguenay River in North
America. The turbulent waves of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans
hurled against the coast by the western gales for many thousands of
years, have steadily worn into the land, and thus formed these
remarkable fjords; or perhaps after they were begun by volcanic
action, the wearing of the water has gradually brought about their
present condition. The coast of Sweden, on the other hand, is formed
by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, both of which are inland
waters; and though there are many islands on the Swedish coast, there
are no fjords worthy of mention. Notwithstanding that the extreme
length of Norway from north to south is hardly twelve hundred miles,
yet so numerous and extensive are these peculiar arms of the sea that
its coast-line is estimated to measure over three thousand
miles,--which gives to these deep indentures of the west coast a
length of eighteen hundred miles. The entire peninsula known under
the general name of Scandinavia is composed of Norway, Sweden, and a
small portion of the Russian possessions in the northeast. This
division of country supports a population of little less than seven
millions, and contains in round numbers three hundred thousand square
miles. To geologists it is especially interesting to know that the
mountains of this section of the globe are almost wholly of primitive
rocks, presenting as near as possible the same form as when they were
first solidified. They are rarely overlaid with more recent
formations, but stand forth as tangible evidence of the great
antiquity of this region.

In her course northward the steamer winds in and out among the many
islands and fjords, touching occasionally at small settlements on the
main-land to discharge light freight, and to land or take on board an
occasional passenger. The few persons who came from the little
clusters of houses, which are not sufficient in number to be called a
village, were found to be of more than ordinary intelligence, neat
and clean in their appearance; and, much to our surprise, they often
spoke English. We were told that even in these sparsely inhabited
regions, education is provided for by what is termed the "ambulatory
system;" that is, one able teacher instructs the youth of three or
four neighboring districts, accommodating the convenience of all by
suitable variations of time and place in holding school-sessions.

Among the passengers who came on board our steamer at Trondhjem as we
were starting for the north was one whose personal peculiarities had
attracted some attention. He was a man of fifty years or more, with
iron-gray hair, and a tall, slim figure. He wore a long gray surtout,
a flat, flabby cloth cap, with a broad, straight leather visor,
beneath which were shaggy grizzly brows, so heavy indeed as to throw
his eyes into shadow, deep as a well. His wrinkled face, long and
narrow, was supplemented by a double chin as full of folds as his
cap. This man glanced about him occasionally, with large blue eyes of
such marked intelligence as to indicate the possession of plenty of
brains. Fastened across his shoulder there depended upon his left
side a long round tin box painted green. He seemed quite wrapped up
in his own thought, and addressed no one. He had just seated himself
in one corner of the deck, apparently for a nap, when we rounded to
at a landing, on the second day of the voyage northward. Among those
who came on board from this place were two or three peasant women
destined for the next station, with whom was a young girl who held in
her hand a tiny bouquet of simple cut flowers. The drowsy figure of
the old German, for that was his nationality, suddenly became
animated, and he was seen hastening towards the girl, and extending a
piece of silver, which was quickly exchanged for the cluster of
flowers. A moment later he had assumed his former position, and with
his tin box open before him was arranging his floral prize. His
profession was no longer a mystery. He was a botanist,--a botanist
_con amore_. Meeting him upon this ground, he was found to be a most
delightful talker and a devout disciple of Linnæus. He was so
eloquent upon the properties of flowers,--their disposition, their
genealogy, their connubial ties, the fragrance of their breath, their
length of life,--that he might have been talking of humanity rather
than of the denizens of Flora's kingdom. Every bit of fern was
treasured; every leaf, every pale blossom possessed feeling,
consciousness of care, interesting habits, and spoke a familiar
language to him. It was delightful to hear him discuss their
properties with such enthusiasm, so tenderly and lovingly. It is to
the faithful researches of such simple and sincere devotees of
science that we are indebted for our knowledge of Nature's daintiest
secrets. Among the flowers brought on board by the young girl was a
deep blue orchis. "See," said the narrow-chested, thin-voiced old
man, "this is the _Orchis maculata_, the Virgin's and Devil's hand,
with one prong of the root dark and crooked, while the other is
straight and white. Behold! I place it in this basin of water; the
white hand floats upon the surface, the black hand sinks!" The old
man gazed in silence for a moment; then added: "It is the emblem of
good triumphing over evil."

How gentle and benignant the nature that dwelt within the rough
exterior of this enthusiast!

The course of the northern-bound steamers takes them by the
celebrated island of Torghatten, which is pierced entirely through by
a remarkable natural tunnel. The opening on the precipitous side
occurs about half way up between the sea-level and the apex. The
island rises gradually from the water at first, but soon becomes
abrupt, finishing at a height of about one thousand feet. Here the
steamer comes to anchor for a few hours, to enable tourists to land
and examine the tunnel. If the sea happens to be rough, however, this
is not possible. A steep and rather trying climb over the spongy moss
and rubble stones, where there is no definite path, brings one at
last to the mouth of the opening, which is so regular in form that it
would almost seem to have been constructed for some useful purpose by
human hands, rather than by any freak of Nature. The floor of the
tunnel is quite uneven and rough, being strewn with rocks that have
fallen from the roof, owing to atmospheric disintegrating influences
operating for many ages. It very naturally recalled the Grotto of
Posilippo at Naples, surmounted by Virgil's tomb, though the Italian
tunnel is artificial, while Torghatten is unmistakably natural. This
tunnel is sixty feet high at the mouth, and between five and six
hundred feet long, maintaining throughout about the same size.
Through the large opening one gets a very curious, half-telescopic
view of the sea and the many islands lying in range. Such a place
would be quite incomplete as a unique resort, and particularly in
Scandinavia, without its special legend attached; but the one we
heard upon the spot was far too extravagant and foolish to repeat in
these pages. This mountain island is said to contain caves which
extend some distance beneath the surrounding waters, but which are
nevertheless perfectly dry. A story is told of one of these being the
bridal chamber of a famous Viking in the olden time, and which is
said to be only accessible by diving beneath the surface of the sea.
Soon after leaving the perforated insular mountain, the "Seven
Sisters" come into view. These are elevations about three thousand
feet high, located upon the island of Alsten, which forms the west
side of Vefsenfjord. They are of remarkable similarity in form, with
deep valleys and dark gorges separating them. From the group there
rolled back across the waters a whole broadside of echoes in response
to the single boom of our forecastle gun fired for the purpose. These
"Sisters" have stood here, in their craggy and solitary grandeur,
unexplored and untrodden for perhaps twice ten thousand years. The
peaks are far too perpendicular for human access. The course in this
region is along the shore of what is called Nordland, extending
longitudinally about forty miles, the interior of which has not yet
been explored.

We had already passed latitude 66° north, when the captain of the
steamer casually remarked to a group of passengers that we must be on
the look-out, for we should soon cross the line of the Arctic Circle.
Young England was instantly on the alert, with his sticking eye-glass
and fidgety manner, wanting to know what the "line" looked like.
Intelligent glances were exchanged between a couple of gentlemen
passengers, one of whom stepped into the captain's office and brought
out a ship's spy-glass. After carefully sweeping the horizon with the
instrument directed to the northwest, the gentleman thought that he
discovered indications of the "line" already. In this supposition he
was confirmed by his companion, after he also had taken a careful
survey through the glass. Young England stood by, nervously jerking
his eye-glass out of place and putting it back again, and anxious to
get a peep; so he was kindly accommodated. He shouted almost
immediately that he could see the "line," and indulged in rather
boisterous demonstrations of satisfaction at the sight. Presently the
gentleman who had borrowed the glass received it again; but before
returning it to the captain's office he removed a small silk thread
which had been extended across the object-glass. Young England in his
simplicity never suspected the trick played upon his ignorance. The
amateur photographer ("photographic fiend," as he was named by the
passengers) was also on board with his portable machine, aiming it at
everybody and everything. He too was an English cockney of the
shallowest kind; but as regarded any pictorial results from the
innocent machine which he set up all over the ship,--now on the
bridge, now at the taffrail, and again on the forecastle,--there were
none. Not a "negative" was produced during our eight days' voyage
whereby one might judge whether the whole affair was a "blind" or
otherwise. This youth was one degree less verdant than he with the
sticking eye-glass, but yet he had an opinion to offer upon every
topic of conversation, and was, as he believed, quite posted in all
national and political matters at home and abroad. If he lives for a
few years he will doubtless have less faith in his own wisdom, and
will exhibit less conceit to others.

There is but one day in the year when the phenomenon of the midnight
sun can be seen at the imaginary line which we designate as the
Arctic Circle, a point twenty-three degrees and twenty-eight
minutes from the North Pole; but by sailing some three hundred
miles farther northward to the North Cape, the projecting point of
the extreme north of Norway, it may be observed under favorable
circumstances,--that is, when not obscured by clouds,--for over two
months dating from the middle of May. Soon after passing the Arctic
Circle, fourteen hundred and eight geographical miles from the North
Pole, a singularly formed island is observed, called by the natives
Hestmandö, or Horseman's Island,--a rocky and mountainous formation
of two thousand feet in height, more or less. On approaching the
island from the west, by a liberal aid from the imagination one can
discern the colossal figure of a horseman wrapped in his cloak and
mounted on a charger. It forms a well-known landmark to all
navigating the coast. The summit, it is believed, has never been
reached by human feet.

The fishing village or town of Bodöe, on the main-land, is one of the
regular stopping places for the steamers that ply on the coast. It
contains some fifteen hundred inhabitants, all toilers of the sea,
and is the chief town of Nordland. Some few of the houses are large
and comfortable, being of modern construction, forming a strong
contrast to the low turf-roofed log-cabins which are to be seen in
such close proximity to them. There is an ancient stone church here
which the traveller should find time to visit,--a quaint building,
with a few antique paintings upon the walls and an atmosphere of past
ages permeating its dim interior. Only the sacred rust of this old
temple makes it worthy of attention. In and about the humble
settlement lovely wild-flowers were observed in profusion,--an
agreeable surprise, for we had hardly expected to find these "smiles
of God's goodness" so far north, within the Arctic Circle. Among them
were the butterfly-orchis and Alpine lady's-mantle, besides a goodly
crop of primroses, all the more attractive because of the seemingly
unpropitious region where they were blooming. Here our earnest but
simple old friend the botanist revelled in his specialty, indeed
lost himself as it seemed, for when we sailed he was nowhere to be
seen, and was surely left behind. "Did he take his baggage with him?"
we asked of an officer of the ship. "No, he had none," was the reply.
And so we had parted from the absorbed gentle old scientist, without
a word of farewell. Louis Philippe lived for a brief period at Bodöe
when travelling as a refugee under the name of Müller, and visitors
are shown the room which he occupied. Under favorable circumstances
the midnight sun is visible here for a period of about four weeks
each season, and many persons tarry at Bodöe to obtain the desired
view without the trouble of travelling farther northward. By
ascending the lofty hill called Lobsaas, one gets here also a grand
though distant view of the remarkable Lofoden Islands.

After leaving Bodöe the course of the steamers lies directly across
the Vestfjord to the islands just referred to, whose jagged outlines
have been compared to the teeth which line a shark's mouth. They lie
so close together, particularly on the side by which we approached
them, that no opening was visible in their long undulating
mountain-chain until the vessel came close upon them and entered a
narrow winding passage among rocks and cliffs which formed an
entrance channel to the archipelago. In crossing the open sea which
lies between the main-land and the islands rough weather is often
encountered, but once within the shelter of the group, the waters
become calm and mirror-like in smoothness. The passage through the
myriad isles and from one to another, now rounding sharp points and
now making a complete angle in the course, renders it necessary to
"slow down" the steamer, so that she glides silently over the immense
depths of dark waters as if propelled by some strange mysterious
power below her hull. The Lofodens, owing to the clearness of the
atmosphere as seen from Bodöe, appear to be about fifteen or twenty
miles away on the edge of the horizon, but the real distance is
nearly or quite fifty. The play of light and shade is here so
different from that of lower latitudes that the atmosphere seems at
times to be almost telescopic, and the most experienced traveller
finds himself often deceived in judging of distances.

A little to the westward of the steamer's course in coming hither
from the main-land lies the famous vortex known as the Maelström, the
theme of many a romance and wild conjecture which lives in the memory
of every schoolboy. At certain stages of the wind and tide a fierce
eddy is formed here, which is perhaps somewhat dangerous for very
small boats to cross, but the presumed risk to vessels of the size of
common coasting-craft under proper management is an error. At some
stages of the tide it is difficult even to detect the exact spot
which at other times is so disturbed. Thus we find that another fact
of our credulous youth turns out to be a fable, with a very thin
substratum of fact for its foundation. The tragedies recorded in
connection with the Venetian Bridge of Sighs are proven to be mostly
gross anachronisms; the episode of Tell and the apple was a Swiss
fabrication; and now we know that neither ships nor whales were ever
drawn into the Norwegian Maelström to instant destruction. There are
several other similar rapids in and about these pinnacled islands,
identical in their cause, though the one referred to is the most
restless and formidable.

On close examination the Lofodens were found to consist of a maze of
irregular mountain-peaks and precipices, often between two and three
thousand feet in height, the passage between them being very
tortuous, winding amid straits interspersed with hundreds of small
rocky islets which were the home of large flocks of sea-birds. "It
seemed," as was expressively remarked by a lady passenger, "like
sailing through Switzerland." Dwarf-trees, small patches of green
grass and moss grew near the water's edge, and carpeted here and
there a few acres of level soil; but the high ridges were bleak and
bare rock, covered in spots with never-melting snow and ice. Most of
the coast of Norway is composed of metamorphic rock; but these
islands are of granite, and for marvellous peaks and oddly-pointed
shapes, deep, far-reaching gulches and cañons, are unequalled
elsewhere. It seemed to us marvellous that a steamer could be safely
navigated through such narrow passages and among such myriads of
sunken rocks. These elevations from beneath the sea varied from mere
turtle-backs, as the sailors called them, just visible above the
water, to mountains with sky-kissing peaks. For a vessel to run upon
one of the low hummocks would be simply destruction, the water
alongside being rarely less than two or three hundred fathoms in
depth. Fortunately the sea is mostly quite smooth within the shelter
of the archipelago, otherwise steam-vessels would rarely enter it.
The compass is brought but little into use. The pilots distinguish
rocks and promontories by their peculiar physiognomy, and they steer
from point to point with remarkable accuracy, arriving and departing
from given stations with the variation of but a few minutes from the
time laid down upon their schedules. Each steamer running upon the
coast carries two pilots, independent of the other officers of the
ship, one of whom is always at the wheel when the vessel is under
way. They are chosen for their responsible character and their
knowledge of the route, and they very justly command high wages. We
stopped briefly at Henningsvær, the centre of the Lofoden cod-fishery
establishments. It is a small town situated at the base of the
Vaagekelle Mountain, an elevation between three and four thousand
feet high. The place smells rank to heaven of dried fish and
cod-liver oil, the combined stench of which articles, with that of
decaying refuse lying everywhere, was truly overpowering. The hardy
fishermen work nearly all winter at their rough occupation, braving
the tempestuous Northern ocean in frail undecked boats, which to an
inexperienced eye seem utterly unfit for such exposed service. The
harvest-time to the cod-fishers here is from January to the middle
of April. Casualties are of course frequent, but we were told that
they are not remarkably so. Winter fishing on the banks of
Newfoundland is believed to be the annual cause of more fatalities
than are experienced among the Lofoden fishermen. Sometimes this
region is visited by terrible hurricanes, as was the case in 1848, on
which occasion five hundred fishermen were swept into eternity in one
hour. Their boats are built of Norway spruce or pine, and are very
light, scarcely more seaworthy than a Swampscott dory. Each has a
single, portable mast which carries one square sail. The crew of a
boat generally consists of six men. These live when on shore in
little log-huts, each containing a score or more of bunks ranged
along the sides one above another. The men come hither, as has been
intimated, from all parts of the North, and return home at the close
of the fishing season.

It should be made clear to the reader's mind that these matchless
islands off the northwest coast of Norway consist of two
divisions,--the Lofoden and Vesteraalen isles. The Vestfjord
separates the former from the main-land and the Ofotenfjord; and a
prolongation of the Vestfjord separates the latter from Norway
proper. These two groups are separated from each other by the
Raftsund. All the islands on the west of this boundary belong to the
Lofoden, and those on the east and north to the Vesteraalen group.
The total length of all these islands is about a hundred and thirty
miles, and the area is computed at fifteen hundred and sixty square
miles. These estimates, we were informed, had lately been very nearly
corroborated by actual government survey. The population of the
islands will not vary much from twenty thousand. The entire
occupation of the people is fishing, curing the fish, and shipping
them southward. Some of the shrewdest persons engaged in this
business accumulate moderate fortunes in a few years, when they
naturally seek some more genial home upon the main-land. The large
islands contain rivers and lakes of considerable size, but the growth
of trees in this high latitude is sparse, and when found they are
universally dwarfed. There is, however, as the product of the brief
summer season, an abundance of fresh green vegetation, which is
fostered by the humidity of the atmosphere. Still the prevailing
aspect is that of towering, jagged rocks. Though the winters are
long, they are comparatively mild, so much so that the salt water
does not freeze in or about the group at any time of the year. As to
the scenery, the Lofodens must be admitted to surpass in true
sublimity and grandeur anything of their nature to be found in
southern Europe. There is ample evidence showing that in long past
ages these islands were much more extensive than at present, and that
they were once covered with abundant vegetation. But violent
convulsions in the mean time must have rent them asunder, submerging
some entirely, and elevating others into their present irregular

In pursuing her course towards the North Cape, the steamer for a
distance of twenty miles and more glides through a strait remarkable
for its picturesqueness and unique beauty, which is called the
Raftsund. Here the shore is studded by the tiny red cabins of the
fishermen, surrounded by green low-growing foliage, the earth-covered
roofs of the huts often spread with purple heather-bloom, mingled
about the eaves with moss of intensely verdant hue. The high slopes
of the hills are covered with Alpine moss, and the upper cliffs with
snow, whose yielding tears, persuaded by the warm sun, feed
opalescent cascades; while below and all about the ship are the deep
dark waters of the Polar Sea. Neither the majestic Alps, the glowing
Pyrenees, nor the commanding Apennines ever impressed us like these
wild, wrinkled, rock-bound mountains in their virgin mantles of
frost. The sensation when gazing in wonder upon the far-away
Himalayas, the loftiest range on the earth, was perhaps more
overpowering; but the nearness to these abrupt cliffs, volcanic
islands, mountains, and glaciers in boreal regions made it seem more
like Wonderland. The traveller looks heavenward from the deck of the
steamer to see the apex of the steep walls, stern, massive, and
immovable, which line the fjords, lost in the blue sky, or wreathed
in gauzy mantles of mist-clouds, as he may have looked upward from
the deep, green valley of the Yosemite at the lofty crowns of Mount
Starr King, El Capitan, or Sentinel Dome. On again approaching the
main-land the varying panorama is similarly impressive, though
differing in kind. It will be remembered that the coast of Norway
extends three hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, projecting
itself boldly into the Polar Sea, and that two hundred miles and more
of this distance is north of the Lofoden Island group. Now and then
reaches of country are passed affording striking and beautiful
landscape effects, where valleys open towards the sea, affording
views sometimes capped by glaciers high up towards the overhanging
sky, where they form immense level fields of dazzling ice embracing
hundreds of square miles. The enjoyment of a trip along the coast is
largely dependent upon the condition of the weather, which is
frequently very disagreeable. In this respect the author was greatly
favored. The absence of fog and mist was remarkable, while the water
most of the time was as smooth as a pleasure pond. With a heavy,
rolling sea and stormy weather, the trip northward from Bodöe, and
especially among the Lofodens, would be anything but enjoyable.
Sometimes fancy led us to gaze lazily over the bulwarks into the
mirroring sea for long distances, where mountains, gorges, foaming
torrents, and sheer precipices were even more sharply depicted than
when gazing directly at them. A feeling of loneliness is sure to
creep over the solitary traveller at such times, a longing for some
congenial companion with whom to share all this glowing experience.
"Joy was born a twin." Fulness of appreciation and delight can be
reached only by being shared.

Amid such scenes as we have described rises the enormous Svartisen
glacier, its ice and snow defying the power of the sun. This glacier
is many miles in length and nearly as wide as it is long, covering a
plateau four thousand feet above the level of the sea. The dimensions
given the author upon the spot were so mammoth that he hesitates to
record them; but it is by far the most extensive one he has ever
seen. Sulitelma, the highest mountain in Lapland, six thousand feet
above the sea, crowned by a shroud of eternal snow, comes into view,
though it is nearly fifty miles inland. The snow-level about this
latitude of 69° north is five hundred feet above that of the sea,
below which, wherever the earth can find a foothold on the rocks, all
is delightfully green,--a tender delicate green, such as marks the
early spring foliage of New England, or the leaves of the young
locust. The heat of the brief summer sun is intense, and insect life
thrives marvellously in common with the more welcome vegetation.
Birch and willow trees seem best adapted to withstand the rigor of
these regions, and they thrive in the warm season with a vitality and
beauty of effect which is heightened by the ever-present contrast.
Every hour of the voyage seemed burdened with novelty, and ceaseless
vigilance possessed every faculty. A transparent haze at mid-day or
midnight lay like a golden veil over land and sea; objects even at a
short distance presented a shadowy and an unreal aspect. The rough
and barren islands which we passed in our midnight course often
exhibited one side glorified with gorgeous roseate hues, while
casting sombre and mysterious shadows behind them, which produced a
strangely weird effect, half of delight, half of awe, while the long
superb trail of sunlight crept towards us from the horizon.

The attractions of Norway to the artist are many, and in a great
measure they are unique, especially in the immediate vicinity of the
west coast. No two of the many abrupt elevations resemble each other,
all are erratic; some like Alpine cathedrals seemingly rear their
fretted spires far heavenward, where they echo the hoarse anthems
played by the winters' storms. One would think that Nature in a
wayward mood had tried her hand sportively at architecture,
sculpture, and castle-building,--constructing now a high monumental
column or a mounted warrior, and now a Gothic fane amid, regions
strange, lonely, and savage. There are grand mountains and glaciers
in Switzerland, but they do not rise directly out of the ocean as
they do here in Scandinavia; and as to the scenery afforded by the
innumerable fjords winding inland, amid forests, cliffs, and
impetuous waterfalls, nowhere else can these be seen save on this
remarkable coast. Like rivers, and yet so unlike them in width,
depth, and placidity, with their broad mouths guarded by clustering
islands, one can find nothing in Nature more grand, solemn, and
impressive than a Norwegian fjord. Now and again the shores are lined
for brief distances by the greenest of green pastures, dotted with
little red houses and groups of domestic animals, forming bits of
verdant foreground backed by dark gorges. Down precipitous cliffs
leap cascades, which are fed by ice-fields hidden in the lofty
mountains so close at hand. These are not merely pretty spouts like
many a little Swiss device, but grand, plunging, restless torrents,
conveying heavy volumes of foaming water. An artist's eye would revel
in the twilight glory of carmine, orange, and indigo which floods the
atmosphere and the sea amid such scenery as we have faintly


  Birds of the Arctic Regions. -- Effect of Continuous Daylight. --
  Town of Tromsöe. -- The Aurora Borealis. -- Love of Flowers. --
  The Growth of Trees. -- Butterflies. -- Home Flowers. -- Trees.
  -- Shooting Whales with Cannon. -- Pre-Historic Relics. -- About
  Laplanders. -- Eider Ducks. -- A Norsk Wedding Present. --
  Gypsies of the North. -- Pagan Rites. -- The Use of the Reindeer.
  -- Domestic Life of the Lapps. -- Marriage Ceremony. -- A Gypsy
  Queen. -- Lapp Babies. -- Graceful Acknowledgment.

We have said nothing about the feathered tribes of Norway, though all
along this coast, which is so eaten and corroded by the action of the
sea, the birds are nearly as numerous as the fishes. They are far
more abundant than the author has ever seen them in any other part of
the world. Many islands, beginning at the Lofodens and reaching to
the extreme end of the peninsula, are solely occupied by them as
breeding places. Their numbers are beyond calculation; one might as
well try to get at the aggregate number of flies in a given space in
midsummer. They consist of petrels, swans, geese, pelicans, grebes,
auks, gulls, and divers; these last are more particularly of the duck
family, of which there are over thirty distinct species in and about
this immediate region. Curlews, wandering albatrosses, ptarmigans,
cormorants, and ospreys were also observed, besides some birds of
beautiful plumage whose names were unknown to us. Throughout all
Scandinavia the many lakes, so numerous as to be unknown by name,
also abound with water-fowl of nearly every description habitual to
the North. These inland regions afford an abundance of the white
grouse, which may be called the national bird of Norway, where it so
much abounds. The author has nowhere seen such fine specimens of this
bird except in the mountains of Colorado, where it is however very
rarely captured. In Scandinavia it changes the color of its plumage
very curiously, from a summer to a winter hue. In the first named
season these birds have a reddish brown tinge, quite clear and
distinctive; but in winter their plumage becomes of snowy
whiteness,--a fact from which naturalists are prone to draw some
finespun deductions.

As we advanced farther and farther northward our experiences became
more and more peculiar. It seemed that humanity, like Nature about
us, was possessed of a certain insomnia in these regions during the
constant reign of daylight. People were wide awake and busy at their
various occupations during all hours, while the drowsy god seemed to
have departed on a long journey to the southward. The apparent
incongruity of starting upon a fresh enterprise "in the dead vast and
middle of the night" was only realized on consulting one's watch.

To meet the temporary exigency caused by continuous daylight, as to
whether one meant day or night time in giving the figure on the dial,
the passengers adopted an ingenious mode of counting the hours. Thus
after twelve o'clock midday the count went on thirteen, fourteen, and
fifteen o'clock, until midnight, which was twenty-four o'clock. This
is a mode of designation adopted in both China and Italy.

Tromsöe is situated in latitude 69° 38' north, upon a small but
pleasant island, though it is rather low compared with the
surrounding islands and the nearest main-land, but clothed when we
saw it, in July, to the very highest point with exquisite verdure. It
is a gay and thrifty little place built upon a slope, studded here
and there with attractive villas amid the trees; but the business
portion of the town is quite compact, and lies closely about the
shore. It is the largest and most important settlement in northern
Norway, being the capital of Norwegian Lapland, and having about six
thousand inhabitants. It rises to the dignity of a cathedral, and is
the seat of a bishopric. In the Market Place is a substantial Town
Hall, and a neat though small Roman Catholic church. There is also
here an excellent Museum, principally of Arctic curiosities and
objects relating to the history of the Lapps and Finlanders, with a
fair zoölogical department, also possessing a fine collection of
Alpine minerals. There are several schools, one of which is designed
to prepare teachers for their special occupation, somewhat after the
style of our Normal Schools. It must be admitted, however, that the
lower order of the people here are both ignorant and superstitious;
still, the conclusion was that Tromsöe is one of the most
interesting spots selected as a popular centre within the Arctic
Circle. Both to the north and south of the town snow-clad mountains
shut off distant views. During the winter months there are only four
hours of daylight here out of each twenty-four,--that is, from about
ten o'clock A. M. until two o'clock P. M.; but the long winter nights
are made comparatively light by the glowing and constant splendor of
the Aurora Borealis. The pride of Tromsöe is its cathedral, which
contains some really fine wood-carving; but the structure is small
and has no architectural merit. Though regular services are held here
on the Sabbath, that is about the only apparent observation of the
day by the people. Games and out-door sports are played in the very
churchyard, and balls and parties are given in the evening of the
Lord's Day; evidently they do not belong to that class of people who
think Sunday is a sponge with which to wipe out the sins of the week.
The streets are ornamented by the mountain-ash, birch-trees, and the
wild cherry, ranged uniformly on either side of the broad
thoroughfares. In one place it was noticed that a miniature park had
been begun by the planting of numerous young trees. The birches in
this neighborhood are of a grandly developed species, the handsomest
indeed which we remember to have seen anywhere. Just outside the town
there was observed a field golden with buttercups, making it
difficult to realize that we were in Arctic regions. A pink-blooming
heather also carpeted other small fields; and here for a moment we
were agreeably surprised at beholding a tiny cloud of butterflies, so
abundant in the warm sunshine and presenting such transparency of
color, as to suggest the idea that some rainbow had been shattered
and was floating in myriad particles on the buoyant air. The
short-lived summer perhaps makes flowers all the more prized and the
more carefully tended. In the rudest quarters a few pet plants were
seen, whose arrangement and nurture showed womanly care and
tenderness. Every window in the humble dwellings had its living
screen of drooping many-colored fuchsias, geraniums, forget-me-nots,
and monthly roses. The ivy is especially prized here, and is
picturesquely trained to hang gracefully about the architraves of the
windows. The fragrant sweet-pea, with its combined snow-white and
peach-blossom hues, was often mingled prettily with the dark green of
the ivy, the climbing propensities of each making them fitting
companions. In one or two windows was seen the brilliant flowering
bignonia (Trumpet-vine), and an abundance of soft green, rose-scented
geraniums. Surely there must be an innate sense of refinement among
the people of these frost-imbued regions, whatever their seeming,
when they are actuated by such delicate appreciations. "They are
useless rubbish," said a complaining husband to his hard-working
wife, referring to her little store of flowers. "Useless!" replied
the true woman, "how dare you be wiser than God?"

Vegetation within the Arctic Circle is possessed of an individual
vitality which seems to be independent of atmospheric influence.
Plants seem to have thawed a little space about them before the
snow quite disappeared, and to have peeped forth from their
frost-surrounded bed in the full vigor of life, while the grass
springs up so suddenly that its growth must have been well started
under cover of the snow. One of the most interesting subjects of
study to the traveller on the journey northward is to mark his
progress by the products of the forest. The trees will prove, if
intelligently observed, as definite in regard to fixing his position
as an astronomical observation could do. From the region of the date
and the palm we come to that of the fig and the olive, thence to the
orange, the almond, and the myrtle. Succeeding these we find the
walnut, the poplar, and the lime; and again there comes the region of
the elm, the oak, and the sycamore. These will be succeeded by the
larch, the fir, the pine, the birch, and their companions. After this
point we look for no change of species, but a diminution in size of
these last enumerated. The variety of trees is of course the result
of altitude as well as of latitude, since there are mountain regions
in southern Europe, as well as in America, where one may pass in a
few hours from the region of the olive to that of the stunted pine or

The staple commodities of Tromsöe are Lapps, reindeer, and midnight
sun. The universal occupation is that of fishing for cod, sharks, and
whales, to which may be added the curing or drying of the first and
the "trying out" of the latter, supplemented by the treatment of
cods' livers. From this place vessels are fitted out for Polar
expeditions, which creates a certain amount of local business in the
ship chandlery line. French, German, English, Russian, and Danish
flags were observed floating from the shipping in the harbor, which
presented a scene of considerable activity for so small a port. Some
of these vessels were fitting for the capture of seals and walruses
among the ice-fields of the Polar Sea, and also on the coast of
Spitzbergen and Nova Zembla. A small propeller was seen lying in the
stream fitted with a forecastle gun, from whence to fire a lance at
whales,--a species of big fishing which is profitably pursued here. A
huge carcass of this leviathan was stranded on the opposite side of
the harbor from where we were moored, and it is hardly necessary to
add that its decaying condition rendered the atmosphere extremely
offensive. As we lay at anchor little row-boats, with high bows and
sterns, flitted about the bay like sea-birds on the wing, and rode as
lightly on the surface of the water. These were often "manned" by a
couple of sturdy, bronzed women, who rowed with great precision and
stout arms, their eyes and faces glowing with animation. These boats,
of the same model as that thousand-year old Viking ship at
Christiania, seemed to set very low in the water amidship, but yet
were remarkable for their buoyancy, sharp bows and sterns, and the
ease with which they were propelled. The tall wooden fish-packing
houses which line the wharves suggest the prevailing industry of the
place. A long, low white building upon the hill-side also showed
that the manufacture of rope and cordage is a prominent industry of
the locality.

The Lapps in their quaint and picturesque costumes surrounded the
newly arrived steamer in their boats, offering furs, carved horn
implements, moccasons, walrus-teeth, and the like for sale. These
wares are of the rudest type, and of no possible use to civilized
people; but they are curious, and serve as mementos of the
traveller's visit to these northern latitudes. In the town there are
several stores where goods, manufactured by the better class of
Lapps, can be had of a finer quality than is offered by these
itinerants, who are very ready to pass off inferior articles upon
strangers. Their drinking-cups, platters, and dishes generally are
made of the wood of the birch. Spoons and forks are formed of the
horns and bones of the reindeer. In the fancy line they make some
curious bracelets from the roots of the birch-tree. These Lapps are
very shrewd in trade, and are not without plenty of low cunning
hidden behind their brown, withered, and expressionless faces.

On the main-land near by, as we were told, there are some singular
relics of antiquity, such as a series of large stones uniformly
arranged in circles, and high cairns of stone containing in their
centres one or more square chambers. At one place in this district
there is a remarkable mound of reindeer's horns and human bones,
mingled with those of unknown species of animals. It is believed that
here, centuries ago, the Lapps sacrificed both animals and human
beings to their Pagan deities. There are also some deep earth and
rock caves found in the same vicinity, which contain many human bones
with others of huge animals, which have excited great interest among
scientists. In the neighborhood of Tromsöe, and especially still
farther north, large numbers of eider-duck are found, so abundant
that no reliable estimate can be made of their number. The eggs are
largely used by the natives for food, the nests being also regularly
robbed of the down, while the birds with patient resignation continue
for a considerable period to lay eggs and to renew the soft lining of
their nests. The birds themselves are protected by law, no one being
permitted to injure them. The male bird is white and black, the
female is brown. In size they are larger than our domestic ducks.
Landing almost anywhere in this sparsely inhabited region along the
coast, but more particularly upon the islands, one finds the
eider-ducks upon their low accessible nests built of marine plants
among the rocks, and during incubation the birds are quite as tame as
barn-yard fowls. The down of these birds forms a considerable source
of income to many persons who make a business of gathering it. It has
always a fixed value, and is worth, we were told, in Tromsöe, ten
dollars per pound when ready for market. The waste in preparing it
for use is large, requiring four pounds of the crude article as it
comes from the nest to make one pound of the cleansed, merchantable
down. Each nest during the breeding season produces about a quarter
of a pound of the uncleansed article. When thoroughly prepared, it is
so firm and yet so elastic that the quantity which can be pressed
between the two hands will suffice to properly stuff a bed-quilt. It
is customary for a Norsk lover to present his betrothed with one of
these quilts previous to espousal, the contents of which he is
presumed to have gathered with his own hands. A peculiarity of
eider-down, as we were informed, is that if picked by hand from the
breast of the dead bird it has no elasticity whatever. The natural
color is a pale-brown. Many of the localities resorted to by the
birds for breeding purposes are claimed by certain parties, who erect
a cross or some other special mark thereon to signify that such
preserves are not to be poached upon. The birds, like the people, get
their living mostly by fishing, and are attracted hither as much by
the abundance of their natural food as by the isolation of their
breeding haunts.

The Lapps are to be seen by scores in the streets of Tromsöe. They
are small in stature, being generally under five feet, with high
cheek-bones, snub-noses, oblique Mongolian eyes, big mouths, large
ill-formed heads, faces preternaturally aged, hair like meadow hay,
and very scanty beards. Such is a photograph of the ancient race
that once ruled the whole of Scandinavia. By taking a short trip
inland one comes upon their summer encampment, formed of a few crude
huts, outside of which they generally live except in the winter
months. A Lapp sleeps wherever fatigue or drunkenness overcomes
him, preferring the ground, but often lying on the snow. He rises in
the morning refreshed from an exposure by which nearly any civilized
human being would expect to incur lasting if not fatal injury. They
are the gypsies of the North, and occupy a very low place in the
social scale, certainly no higher than that of the Penobscot Indians
of Maine. Their faculties are of a restricted order, and missionary
efforts among them have never yet yielded any satisfactory results.
Unlike our western Indians they are of a peaceful nature, neither
treacherous nor revengeful, but yet having many of the grosser
failings of civilized life. They are greedy, avaricious, very
dirty, and passionately fond of alcoholic drinks, but we were told
that serious crimes were very rare among them. No people could be
more superstitious, as they believe that the caves of the
half-inaccessible mountains about them are peopled by giants and
evil spirits. They still retain some of their half-pagan rites, such
as the use of magical drums and tom-toms for conjuring purposes, and
to frighten away or to propitiate supposed devils, malicious
diseases, and so on. The most advanced of the race are those who
inhabit northern Norway. The Swedish Lapps are considered as coming
next, while those under Russian dominion are thought to be the

An old navigator named Scrahthrift, while making a voyage of
discovery northward, more than three centuries ago, wrote about the
Lapps as follows: "They are a wild people, which neither know God
nor yet good order; and these people live in tents made of
deerskins, and they have no certain habitations, but continue in
herds by companies of one hundred or two hundred. They are a people
of small stature and are clothed in deerskins, and drink nothing but
water, and eat no bread, but flesh all raw." They may have drunk
nothing but water three hundred years ago, but they drink alcohol
enough in this nineteenth century to make up for all former
abstemiousness. Scrahthrift wrote in 1556, and gave the first account
to the English-speaking world of this peculiar race whom modern
ethnologists class with the Samoyedes of Siberia and the Esquimaux,
the three forming what is called the Hyperborean Race. The word
_Samoyedes_ signifies "swamp-dwellers," and _Esquimau_ means "eater
of raw flesh."

The Lapps are natural nomads, their wealth consisting solely in their
herds of reindeer, to procure sustenance for which necessitates
frequent changes of locality. A Laplander is rich, provided he owns
enough of these animals to support himself and family. A herd that
can afford thirty full-grown deer for slaughter annually, and say ten
more to be sold or bartered, makes a family of a dozen persons
comfortably well off. But to sustain such a draft upon his resources,
a Lapp must own at least two hundred and fifty head. There is also a
waste account to be considered. Not a few are destroyed annually by
wolves and bears, notwithstanding the usual precautions against such
casualties, while in very severe winters numbers are sure to die of
starvation. They live almost entirely on the so-called reindeer moss;
but this failing them, they eat the young twigs of the trees. When
the snow covers the ground to a depth of not more than three or four
feet, these intelligent creatures dig holes in order to reach the
moss, and guided by some strong instinct they rarely fail to do so in
just the right place. The Lapps themselves would be entirely at a
loss for any indication where to seek the animal's food when it is
covered by the deep snow.

What the camel is to the Arab of the desert, the reindeer is to the
Laplander. Though found here in a wild state, they are not common,
and are very shy sometimes occupying partially inaccessible islands
near the main-land, swimming back and forth as necessity may demand.
The domestic deer is smaller than those that remain in a state of
nature, and is said to live only half as long. When properly broken
to harness, they carry lashed to their backs a hundred and thirty
pounds, or drag upon the snow, when harnessed to a sledge, two
hundred and fifty pounds, travelling ten miles an hour, for several
consecutive hours, without apparent fatigue. Some of the thread
prepared by the Lapp women from the sinews of the reindeer was shown
to us, being as fine as the best sewing-silk, and much stronger than
any silk thread made by modern methods.

These diminutive people are not so poorly off as one would at first
sight think them to be. The climate in which they live, though
terrible to us, is not so to them. They have their games, sports,
and festive hours. If their hardships were very trying they would not
be so proverbially long-lived. Though an ill-formed race, they are
yet rugged, hardy, and self-reliant. Their limbs are crooked and out
of proportion to their bodies; one looks in vain for a well-shaped or
perfect figure among them, and indeed it may be safely doubted
whether a straight-limbed Lapp exists. They are one and all
bow-legged. The country over which these people roam is included
within northern Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Finland, say extending
over seven thousand square miles; but the whole race will hardly
number thirty thousand in the aggregate. Lapland in general terms may
be said to be the region lying between the Polar Ocean and the Arctic
Circle, the eastern and western boundaries being the Atlantic Ocean
and the White Sea, two thirds of which territory belong to Russia,
and one third is about equally divided between Norway and Sweden.

We repeat that the reindeer is to the Lapp what the camel is to the
Arab. This small creature is the Lapp's cow, horse, food, clothing,
tent, everything. Food is not stored for the animals, as they are
never under cover even in the severest weather, and they must procure
their own food or starve. The females give but a small quantity of
milk, not more than the amount yielded by a well-fed goat, but it is
remarkably rich and nourishing. Oddly enough, as it seemed to us,
they are milked but twice a week; and when this process is performed,
each animal must be lassoed and firmly held by one person while
another milks. Many of the doe on the occasion of our visit were
accompanied by their fawns, of which they often have two at a birth.
These little creatures are able to follow their dam twenty-four hours
after birth. We were told that the bucks are inclined to kill the
fawns when they are first born, but are fiercely attacked by the dams
and driven away. A Swiss chamois is not more expert in climbing
mountains than are these Norway deer; and were it not for the
efficient help of their dogs, which animals are as sagacious as the
Scotch sheep-dogs, the Lapps would often find it nearly impossible to
corral their herds for milking and other purposes. In their nature
deer are really untamable, being never brought into such complete
subjection as to be quite safe for domestic use. Even when broken to
harness, that is when attached to the snow-sledge or carrying burdens
lashed to their backs, they will sometimes without any premonition
break out into rank rebellion and violently attack their masters. We
were told by an intelligent resident of Tromsöe that the Lapps never
abuse these animals, even when they are attacked by them. They only
throw some garment upon the ground upon which the buck vents his
rage; after which the owner can appear and resume his former control
of the animal, as though nothing had happened out of the common
course of events.

The Lapps live in low, open tents during the summer season, moving
from place to place as food is found for their herds, but keeping
near the sea-coast for purposes of trade, as well as to avoid those
terrible pests the gad-fly and the mosquito, insects too obnoxious
for even the endurance of a Laplander. In the winter they retire far
inland, where they build temporary huts of the branches of the trees,
plastering them inside and out with clay, but leaving a hole in the
top to act as a chimney and convey away the smoke, the fire being
always built upon a broad flat stone in the centre of the hut. In
these rude, and according to our estimate comfortless, cabins they
hibernate rather than live the life of civilized beings for eight
months of the year. Hunting and fishing occupy a portion of their
time; and to kill a bear is considered a most honorable achievement,
something to boast of for life, rendering the successful hunter quite
a hero among his associates. Though the forest, river, and sea
furnish this people with more or less food throughout the year, still
the Lapp depends upon his herd for fixed supplies of sustenance. The
milk made into cheese is his most important article of food, and is
stored for winter use. Few are so poor as not to own forty or fifty
reindeer. The Norwegians and Swedes who live in their neighborhood
have as great a prejudice against the Lapps as our western citizens
have against the North American Indians. This as regards the Lapps is
perhaps more especially on account of their filthiness and
half-barbarous habits. It must be admitted that a visit to their huts
near Tromsöe leads one to form an extremely unfavorable opinion of
the race. When a couple of young Lapps desire to become married a
priest is sometimes employed, but by common acceptation among them
the bride's father is equally qualified to perform the ceremony,
which is both original and simple. It consists in placing the hands
of the two contracting parties in each other, and the striking of
fire with a flint and steel, when the marriage is declared to be
irrevocable. Promiscuous as their lives seem to be in nearly all
respects, we were told that when a Lapp woman was once married the
attendant relationship was held sacred. Though it was our fate to
just miss witnessing a marriage ceremony here, the bride and groom
were pointed out to us, appearing like two children, so diminutive
were they. The dress of the two sexes is so similar that it is not
easy for a stranger to distinguish at a glance men from women, except
that the latter are not so tall as the former. Polygamy is common
among them. Men marry at the age of eighteen, women at fifteen; but
as a race they are not prolific, and their numbers, as we were
informed, are steadily decreasing. The average Laplander is less than
five feet in height, and the women rarely exceed four feet. The
latter are particularly fond of coffee, sugar, and rye flour, which
the men care nothing for so long as they can get corn brandy,--a
local distillation quite colorless but very potent. The Norwegians
have a saying of reproach concerning one who is inclined to drink too
much: "Don't make a Lapp of yourself." Both men and women are
inveterate smokers, and next to money you can give them nothing more
acceptable than tobacco.

Nature is sometimes anomalous. Among the group of Lapp men and women
whom we met in the streets of Tromsöe, there stood one, a tall
stately girl twenty-two years of age, more or less, who presented in
her really fine person a singular contrast to her rude companions.
Unmistakable as to her race, she was yet a head and shoulders taller
than the rest, but possessing the high cheek-bones, square face, and
Mongolian cast of eyes which characterizes them. There was an air of
dignified modesty and almost of beauty about this young woman, spite
of her leather leggins, queer moccasons, and rough reindeer clothes.
Her fingers were busily occupied, as she stood there gracefully
leaning against a rough stone-wall in the soft sunshine, twisting the
sinews of the deer into fine thread, while she carelessly glanced up
now and again at the curious eyes of the author who was intently
regarding her. One could not but imagine what remarkable
possibilities lay hidden in this individual; what a change education,
culture, and refined associations might create in her; what a social
world there was extant of which she had never dreamed! It was
observed that her companions of both sexes seemed to defer to her,
and we fancied that she must be a sort of queen bee in the Lapps'

There is one thing observable and worthy of mention as regards the
domestic habits of these rude Laplanders, and that is their apparent
consideration for their women. The hard work is invariably assumed
by the men. The women carry the babies, but the men carry all heavy
burdens, and perform the rougher labor contingent upon their simple
domestic lives. The women milk, but the men must drive the herds from
the distant pasturage, lasso the doe, and hold the animals by the
horns during the process. It is not possible to tame or domesticate
them so as to submit to this operation with patience like a cow. Up
to a certain age the Lapp babies are packed constantly in dry moss,
in place of other clothing during their infancy, this being renewed
as occasion demands,--thus very materially economizing laundry labor.
The little creatures are very quiet in their portable cradles,
consisting of a basket-frame covered with reindeer hide, into which
they are closely strapped. The cases are sometimes swung hammock
fashion between two posts, and sometimes hung upon a peg outside the
cabins in the sunshine. It is marvellous to what a degree of seeming
neglect semi-barbarous babies will patiently submit, and how quietly
their babyhood is passed. Probably a Japanese, Chinese, or Lapp baby
_can_ cry upon occasion; but though many hours have been passed by
the author among these people, he never heard a breath of complaint
from the wee things.

Some of the Lapps are quite expert with the bow and arrow, which was
their ancient weapon of defence as well as for hunting, it being the
primitive weapon of savages wherever encountered. Few of this people
possess firearms. The long sharp knife and the steel-tipped arrow
still form their principal arms. With these under ordinary
circumstances, when he chances upon the animal, a Lapp does not
hesitate to attack the black bear, provided she has not young ones
with her, in which case she is too savage a foe to attack
single-handed. In starting out upon a bear-hunt, several Lapps
combine, and spears are taken with the party as well as firearms if
they are fortunate enough to possess them.

As we were standing among the Lapps in Tromsöe, with some passengers
from the steamer, a bevy of children just returning from school
joined the group. A blue-eyed, flaxen-haired girl of ten or eleven
years in advance of the rest attracted the attention of a gentleman
of the party, who presented her with a bright silver coin. The child
took his hand in both her own, pressed it with exquisite natural
grace to her lips, courtesied and passed on. This is the universal
act of gratitude among the youth of Norway. The child had been taken
by surprise, but she accepted the little gift with quiet and
dignified self-possession. There is no importunity or beggary to be
encountered in Scandinavia.


  Experiences Sailing Northward. -- Arctic Whaling. -- The
  Feathered Tribe. -- Caught in a Trap. -- Domestic Animals. -- The
  Marvellous Gulf Stream. -- Town of Hammerfest. -- Commerce. --
  Arctic Mosquitoes. -- The Public Crier. -- Norwegian Marriages.
  -- Peculiar Bird Habits. -- A Hint to Naturalists. -- Bird
  Island. -- A Lonely Habitation. -- High Latitude. -- Final
  Landing at the North Cape. -- A Hard Climb. -- View of the
  Wonderful Midnight Sun.

After leaving Tromsöe our course was north by east, crossing broad
wild fjords and skirting the main-land, passing innumerable islands
down whose precipitous sides narrow waterfalls leaped hundreds of
feet towards the sea. Along the shore at intervals little clusters of
fishermen's huts were seen with a small sprinkling of herbage and
patches of bright verdure. Here and there were partially successful
attempts at vegetable culture, but the brief season which is here
possible for such purposes is almost prohibitory. Whales, sometimes
singly, sometimes in schools, rose to the surface of the sea, and
casting up tiny fountains of spray would suddenly disappear to come
up again, perhaps miles away. These leviathans of the deep are always
a subject of great interest to persons at sea, and were certainly in
remarkable numbers here in the Arctic Ocean. As we have said, small
steamers are in use along the coast for catching whales; and these
are painted green, to enable them to approach the animal unperceived.
They are armed with small swivel-guns, from which is fired a compound
projectile, consisting of a barbed harpoon to which a short chain is
affixed, and to that a strong line. This special form of harpoon has
barbs, which expand as soon as they have entered the body of the
animal and he pulls upon the line, stopping at a certain angle, and
rendering the withdrawal of the weapon impossible. Besides this an
explosive shell is attached, which bursts within the body of the
monster as soon as the flukes expand, producing almost instant death.
A cable is then affixed to the head, and the whale is towed into
harbor to be cut up and the blubber tried out upon the shore in huge
kettles. This business is carried on at Vadsö and Hammerfest as well
as at Tromsöe. The change was constant, and the novelty never
ceasing. Large black geese, too heavy it would seem for lofty flight,
rose awkwardly from the surface of the waves, and now and again
skimmed across the fjords, just clearing the surface of the dark blue
waters. Oyster-catchers, as they are familiarly called, decked with
scarlet legs and bills, were abundant. Now and then that daring
highwayman, among sea-birds,--the skua, or robber-gull,--was seen on
the watch for a victim. He is quite dark in plumage, almost black,
and gets a predatory living by attacking and causing other birds to
drop what they have caught up from the sea, seizing which as it
falls, he sails swiftly away to consume his stolen prize. The
movements of this feathered creature through the air when darting
towards its object are almost too rapid to follow with the human eye.
Not infrequently six or eight gulls of the common species club
together and make a combined onslaught upon this daring free-booter,
and then he must look out for himself; for when the gull is
thoroughly aroused and makes up his mind to fight, he distinctly
means business, and will struggle to the last gasp, like the Spanish
game-cock. There is proverbially strength in numbers, and the skua,
after such an organized encounter, is almost always found floating
lifeless upon the surface of the sea.

We were told of an interesting and touching experience relating to
the golden eagle which occurred near Hammerfest, in the vicinity of
which we are now speaking. It seems that a young Norwegian had set a
trap far up in the hills, at a point where he knew that these birds
occasionally made their appearance. He was prevented from visiting
the trap for some two weeks after he had set and placed it; but
finally when he did so, he found that one of these noble creatures
had been caught by the foot, probably in a few hours after the trap
had been left there. His efforts to release himself had been in vain,
and he lay there dead from exhaustion, not of starvation. This was
plain enough, since close beside the dead eagle and quite within his
reach was the half-consumed body of a white grouse, which must have
been brought to him by his mate, who realizing her companion's
position thus did all that was in her power to sustain and help him.
Occasionally domestic animals in small numbers are seen at the
fishing hamlets, though this is very rarely the case above
Hammerfest. Goats, cows, and sheep find but a poor supply of
vegetable sustenance, mostly composed of reindeer moss; but, strange
to say, these animals learn to eat dried fish, and to relish it when
mixed with moss and straw. The cows are small in frame and quite
short in the legs, but they are hardy and prolific, and mostly white.
All domestic animals seem to be dwarfed here by climatic influences.

Long before we reached Hammerfest the passengers' watches seemed to
be bewitched, for it must be remembered that here it is broad
daylight through all the twenty-four hours which constitute day and
night elsewhere. No wonder that sleep became little more than a
subterfuge, since everybody's eyes were preternaturally wide open.

The Gulf Stream emerging from the tropics thousands of miles away
constantly laves these shores, and consequently ice is here unknown.
At first blush it seems a little queer that icebergs here in latitude
70° north are never seen, though we all know them to be plenty
enough in the season on the coast of America at 41°. The entire coast
of Norway is warmer by at least twenty degrees than most other
localities in the same latitude, owing to the presence and influence
of the Gulf Stream,--that heated, mysterious river in the midst of
the ocean. It also brings to these boreal regions quantities of
floating material, such as the trunks of palm-trees and other
substances suitable for fuel, to which useful purpose they are put at
the Lofoden fishing hamlets and also on the shores of the main-land.
By the same active agency West Indian seeds and woods are found
floating on the west coast of Scotland and Ireland.

Hammerfest, the capital of the province of Finmark, is situated in
latitude 70° 40' north, upon the island of Kvalöe, or "Whale
Island." It is overshadowed by Tyvfjeld,--that is, "Thief Mountain,"
thus fancifully named because it robs the place of the little
sunshine it might enjoy were this huge elevation not at all times
intervening. It is the most northerly town in all Europe, and is
located about sixty-five miles southwest of the North Cape. It is a
compactly-built town of about three thousand inhabitants, who appear
to be exceptionally industrious and intelligent. Even here, in this
far-off region of frost, there are good schools and able teachers.
There is also a weekly newspaper issued, and some authorities claim a
population of nearly six thousand, which seemed to be an excessive

The harbor presents a busy scene, with its queer Norwegian boats
formed after the excellent but antique shape of the galleys of old.
On a little promontory near the entrance of the harbor is erected a
stone pillar, indicating the spot where the measurement of the
degrees of latitude between the mouth of the Danube and Hammerfest
was perfected. It is called the Meridianstötte. The trading-vessels
are many, and they fly the flags of several commercial nations; but
most numerous of all is the flag of Russia, whose trading-ships swarm
on the coast during the summer season. Many of these vessels were
from far-off Archangel and the ports of the White Sea, from whence
they bring cargoes of grain to exchange for dried fish. Truly has it
been said that commerce defies every wind, outrides every tempest,
and invades every zone. Hammerfest, consisting mostly of one long,
broad street, is neat and clean; but the odor of fish-oil is very
sickening to one not accustomed to it. We were twice compelled to
beat a retreat from certain localities, being unable to endure the
stench. Many of the people were seen to be shod in heavy leather
boots or shoes, similar in form to the fishing-boats, being curiously
pointed and turned up at the toes. Certain tokens in and about the
town forcibly reminded one of New Bedford in Massachusetts. On the
north promontory of the island is situated a picturesque lighthouse,
from which a fine view may be enjoyed of the rocky shore, the myriads
of islands, and the mountainous main-land. The mosquitoes, that
inexplicable pest even in this high latitude, scarcely wait for the
snow to disappear before they begin their vicious onslaught upon
humanity. The farther one goes inland the greater this annoyance
becomes, and some protection to face, neck, and hands is absolutely
necessary. The public crier pursues his ancient vocation at
Hammerfest, not however with a noisy bell, but with a more melodious
trumpet. After blowing a few clear, shrill notes thereon calculated
to awaken attention, he proclaims that there will be a missionary
meeting held at a certain hour and place, or that a steamer will sail
on the following day at a given time, the favorite hour being at
twelve midnight. The crier here understands his vocation, and by
introducing a certain melodious expression to his words, chanting
them in fact, he commands the pleased attention of the multitude.

A wedding-feast in Norway is always looked upon as a grand domestic
event, and is ever made the most of by all parties concerned; but at
Hammerfest and the north part of the country generally, it becomes a
most important and demonstrative affair. No expense is spared by the
bride's parents to render the event memorable in all respects. The
revels are sometimes kept up for a period of three weeks, until at
last every one becomes quite exhausted with the excitement and with
dancing, when the celebration by common consent is brought to a
close. During the height of the revels, street parades constitute a
part of the singular performances, when bride, bridegroom, family and
friends, preceded by a band of musicians, march gayly from point to
point; or a line of boats is formed, with the principals in the
first, the musicians in the second, and so on, all decked with
natural and artificial flowers and bright-colored streamers. As we
started out of Hammerfest harbor we chanced upon one of these aquatic
bridal parties, accompanied by instrumental music and a chorus of
many pleasant voices, the diaphanous dresses of bride and
bridesmaids looking like mist-wreaths settled about the boats. It was
easy to distinguish the bride from her attendants, by the tall,
sparkling gilt crown which she wore.

In sailing along the coast after leaving the point just described, it
is observed that vegetation grows more and more scarce. The land is
seen to be useless for agricultural purposes; habitations first
become rare, then almost entirely cease, bleakness reigning supreme,
while one seems to be creeping higher and higher on the earth. In
ascending lofty mountains, say in the Himalayan range, we realize
that there are heights still above us; but in approaching the North
Cape a feeling comes over us that we are gradually getting to the
very apex of the globe. Everything seems to be beneath our feet; the
broad, deep, unbounded ocean alone makes the horizon. Day and night
cease to be relative terms, while the strange effect and the magic
brightness of a Polar night utterly beggar description. As we rounded
one of the many abrupt rocky islets in our course, which came up
dark, steep, and inaccessible from an unknown depth, there flew up
from the smooth waters into which the steamer ploughed her way a
couple of small ducks, each with a young bird snugly ensconced upon
its back, between the broad-spread, narrow wings. This was to the
writer a novelty, though an officer of the ship said it was not
unusual to see certain species of Arctic ducks thus transporting
their ducklings. One reads of woodcock at times seizing their young
in their talons, and bearing them away from impending danger; but a
web-footed bird could not effectually adopt this mode in any
exigency. It seems however that Nature has taught the ducks another
fashion of transporting their helpless progeny. The birds we had
disturbed did not fly aloft with their tiny burdens, but skimmed over
the surface of the fjord into some one of the sheltering nooks along
the irregular shore. We were further told a curious fact, if fact it
be, that the young ducks of the female species, almost as soon as
they are able to fly, begin to practise the habit of carrying
something upon their backs. That is to say, they are not infrequently
found skimming along the surface of the water with a small wad of
sea-weed, such as is used by aquatic birds in nest-building,
carefully supported between their wings. Just so little girls are
prone to pet a doll, the maternal instinct exhibiting itself in early
childhood. The male and female birds are easily distinguished from
each other by the difference in their plumage. The former do not show
this inclination for carrying baby burdens, neither do young boys
display a predilection for dolls! We commend these facts to the
notice of naturalists.

About forty miles northward from Hammerfest is situated what is
called Bird Island, a hoary mass of rock, famous as a breeding place
of various sea-birds, and where the nests of many thousands are to be
seen. This huge cliff rises abruptly to the height of over a thousand
feet from the surrounding ocean. Its seaward face being nearly
perpendicular is yet so creviced as to afford lodgement for the
birds, and it is literally covered by their nests from base to top.
The Norwegians call the island Sværholtklubben. It is customary for
excursion steamers to "make" this island in their course to the North
Cape, and to stand off and on for an hour to give passengers an
opportunity to observe the birds and their interesting habits. The
ship's cannon is fired also, when the echoes of its single report
become myriad, reverberating through the caves and broad chasms of
the rock, starting forth the feathered tribes, until the air is as
full of them as of flakes in an Arctic snow-storm. The echoes mingle
with the harsh, wailing screams, and roar of wings become almost
deafening as the birds wheel in clouds above the ship, or sail
swiftly away and return again like a flash to join their young, whose
tiny white heads may be seen peeping anxiously above the sides of the
nests. One or two dwelling-houses, surrounded by a few small sheds,
are to be seen in a little valley near the water's edge on the lee
side of Bird Island, where a dozen persons more or less make their
dreary home. These residents send off fresh milk by a boat to the
passing steamer, though how the cows can find sustenance here is an
unsolved riddle. They also make a business of robbing the
birds'-nests of the eggs, by means of ladders, but do not injure the
birds themselves. Of course there are but comparatively few of the
nests which they can manage to reach at all.

The North Cape is in reality an island projecting itself far into the
Polar Sea, and which is separated from the main-land by a narrow
strait. The highest point which has ever been reached by the daring
Arctic explorer was eighty-three degrees twenty-four minutes, north
latitude; this Cape is in latitude seventy-one degrees ten minutes.
The island is named Mageröe, which signifies a barren place; and it
is certainly well named, for a wilder, bleaker, or more desolate spot
cannot be found on the face of the earth. Only a few hares, ermine,
and sea-birds manage to subsist upon its sterile soil. The western
and northern sides are absolutely inaccessible from their rough and
precipitous character. The Arctic Sea thundered hoarsely against its
base as we approached the windswept, weather-worn cliff of the North
Cape in a small landing-boat. It was near the midnight hour, yet the
warm light of the sun's clear, direct rays enveloped us. A few
sea-birds uttered dismal and discordant cries as they flew lazily in
circles overhead. The landing was soon accomplished amid the half
impassable rocks, and then began, the struggle to reach the top of
the Cape, which rises in its only accessible part at an angle of
nearly forty-five degrees. For half an hour we plodded wearily
through the débris of rubble-stones, wet soil, and rolling rocks,
until finally the top was reached, after which a walk of about a
third of a mile upon gently rising ground brings one to the point of
observation,--that is, to the verge of the cliff. We were now fully
one thousand feet above the level of the sea, standing literally
upon the threshold of the unknown.

No difference was observed between the broad light of this Polar
night and the noon of a sunny summer's day in the low latitudes. The
sky was all aglow and the rays of the sun warm and penetrating,
though a certain chill in the atmosphere at this exposed elevation
rendered thick clothing quite indispensable. This was the objective
point to reach which we had voyaged thousands of miles from another
hemisphere. We looked about us in silent wonder and awe. To the
northward was that unknown region to solve the mysteries of which so
many gallant lives had been sacrificed. Far to the eastward was Asia;
in the distant west lay America, and southward were Europe and
Africa. Such an experience may occur once in a lifetime, but rarely
can it be repeated. The surface of the cliff, which is quite level
where we stood (near the base of the small granite column erected to
commemorate the visit of Oscar II. in 1873), was covered by soft
reindeer moss, which yielded to the tread like a rich carpet of
velvet. There was no other vegetation near, not even a spear of
grass; though as we climbed the steep path hither occasional bits of
pea-green moss were seen, with a minute pink blossom peeping out here
and there from the rubble-stones. Presently the boom of a distant gun
floated faintly upwards. It was the cautionary signal from the ship,
which was now seen floating far below us, a mere speck upon that
Polar sea.

The hands of the watch indicated that it was near the hour of twelve,
midnight. The great luminary had sunk slowly amid a glory of light to
within three degrees of the horizon, where it seemed to hover for a
single moment like some monster bird about to alight upon a mountain
peak, and then changing its mind, slowly began its upward movement.
This was exactly at midnight, always a solemn hour; but amid the
glare of sunlight and the glowing immensity of sea and sky, how
strange and weird it seemed!

Notwithstanding they were so closely mingled, the difference between
the gorgeous coloring of the setting and the fresh hues of the rising
sun was clearly though delicately defined. Indeed, the sun had not
really set at all. It had been constantly visible, though it seemed
to shine for a few moments with slightly diminished power. Still, the
human eye could not rest upon it for one instant. It was the mingling
of the golden haze of evening with the radiant, roseate flush of the
blushing morn. At the point where sky and ocean met there was left a
boreal azure resembling the steel-white of the diamond; this was
succeeded by pearly gray, until the horizon became wavy with lines of
blue, like the delicate figures wrought upon a Toledo blade. In the
Yellow Sea the author has seen a more vivid sunset, combining the
volcanic effects of lurid light; but it lacked the sublime,
mysterious, mingled glory of evening and morning twilight which
characterized this wondrous view of the Arctic midnight sun.


  Journey Across Country. -- Capital of Sweden. -- Old and New. --
  Swedish History. -- Local Attractions. -- King Oscar II. -- The
  Royal Palace. -- The Westminster Abbey of Stockholm. -- A
  Splendid Deer Park. -- Public Amusements. -- The Sabbath. -- An
  Official Dude. -- An Awkward Statue. -- Swedish Nightingales. --
  Linnæus and Swedenborg. -- Dalecarlia Girls. -- A Remarkable
  Group in Bronze. -- Rosedale Royal Cottage. -- Ancient Oaks. --
  Upsala and its Surroundings. -- Ancient Mounds at Old Upsala. --
  Swedenborg's Study.

The reader will remember that we spoke in our early pages of the
inland trip across Norway and Sweden,--that is, from Gottenburg to
Stockholm. After visiting the North Cape, one returns by nearly the
same route along the coast to Trondhjem, thence to Christiania. Our
next objective point being the capital of Sweden, we took passage by
rail, crossing the country by way of Charlottenborg, which is the
frontier town of Sweden. Here there is a custom-house examination of
baggage; for although Norway and Sweden are under one crown, yet they
have a separate tariff, so that custom-house rules are regularly
enforced between them. As regards others than commercial travellers
however this is a mere form, and is not made a source of needless
annoyance, as is too often the case in other countries. In crossing
the peninsula by rail one does not enjoy the picturesque scenery
which characterizes the Gotha Canal route. The railroad journey takes
one through a region of lake and forest by no means devoid of
interest, and which is rich in mines of iron and other ores. Some
important viaducts, iron bridges, and tunnels are passed, and as we
approach Lake Maelaren on the east coast a more highly cultivated
country is traversed, some of the oldest towns in Sweden being also
passed, each of which is strongly individualized. There is a
considerable difference observable between the architecture of the
Norwegians and that of the Swedes, the former affecting the style of
the Swiss châlet, while the latter build much more substantially.
Their dwellings as a rule are better finished, and always neatly
painted, in town or country.

Stockholm is a noble capital, in many respects exceptionally so. It
is situated on the Baltic at the outlet of Lake Maelaren, and is
built on several islands, all of which are connected by substantial
bridges,--the finest of which is the Norrbro, which has several grand
arches of stone, the whole measuring four hundred feet in length by
at least sixty in width, though we have no statistics at hand by
which to verify these figures. The city has a population of over a
hundred and eighty thousand, covering an area of five square miles,
and taken as a whole it certainly forms one of the most cleanly and
interesting capitals in Europe. It is a city of canals, public
gardens, broad squares, and gay cafés. It has two excellent harbors,
one on the Baltic and one on Lake Maelaren. Wars, conflagrations,
and the steady progress of civilization have entirely changed the
city from what it was in the days of Gustavus Vasa,--that is, about
the year 1496. It was he who founded the dynasty which has survived
for three hundred years. The streets in the older sections of the
town are often crooked and narrow, like those of Marseilles, or of
Toledo in Spain, where in looking heavenward one does not behold
enough of the blue sky between the roofs for the measure of a
waistcoat pattern, but in the more modern-built parts there are fine
straight avenues and spacious squares, with large and imposing public
and private edifices. Here as in most of the other Scandinavian
cities, in consequence of various sweeping fires, the old
timber-built houses have gradually disappeared, being replaced by
those of brick or stone, and there is now enforced a municipal law
which prohibits the erection of wooden structures within the
precincts of the city proper.

Stockholm is the centre of the social and literary activity of
Scandinavia, hardly second in these respects to Copenhagen. It has
its full share of scientific, artistic, and benevolent institutions,
such as befit a great European capital. The stranger should as soon
as convenient after arriving ascend an elevation of the town called
the Mosebacke, whereon has been erected a lofty iron framework and
look-out, which is surmounted by means of a steam elevator. From this
structure an admirable view of the city is obtained and its
topography fixed clearly upon the mind. At a single glance as it
were, one overlooks the charming marine view of the Baltic with its
busy traffic, while in the opposite direction the hundreds of islands
that dot Lake Maelaren form a wide-spread picture of varied beauty.
The bird's-eye view obtained of the environs of the capital is
unique, since in the immediate vicinity of the city lies the primeval
forest, undisturbed and unimproved. This seems the more singular when
we realize how ancient a place Stockholm is, having been fortified
and made his capital by Birger Jarl, between seven and eight hundred
years ago. Though Sweden unlike Norway has no heroic age, so to
speak, connecting her earliest exploits with the fate of other
countries, still no secondary European power has enacted so brilliant
a part in modern history as have those famous Swedish monarchs
Gustavus Vasa, Gustavus Adolphus, and Charles XII. The latter fought
all Europe,--Danes, Russians, Poles, Germans,--and gave away a
kingdom before he was twenty years of age. It was he who at his
coronation snatched the crown from the hand of the archbishop and set
it proudly on his head with his own hands.

Some of the local attractions of the city are the National Museum,
built of granite and marble in the Venetian Renaissance style, the
Academy of Sciences, the Art Museum, the Town Hall, and the Royal
Palace; but we will not weary the reader with detailed accounts of
them. The Royal Palace, like that at Christiania, is an exceedingly
plain building, with a granite basement and stuccoed bricks above,
forming an immense quadrangular edifice. Though it is very simple
externally, it is yet finely proportioned, and stands upon the
highest point of the central island. Its present master, King Oscar
II., is an accomplished artist, poet, musician, and an admirable
linguist, nobly fulfilling the requirements of his responsible
position. He has been justly called the ideal sovereign of the age,
and the more the world knows of him the more fully this estimate will
be confirmed. His court, while it is one of the most unpretentious,
is yet one of the most refined in Europe. It is not surprising
therefore that the King enjoys a popularity among his subjects
characterized by universal confidence, respect, and love. The State
departments of the palace are very elegant, and are freely shown to
strangers at all suitable times. In the grand State Hall is the
throne of silver originally occupied by Queen Christina, while the
Hall of Mirrors appears as though it might have come out of Aladdin's
Palace. Amid all the varied attractions of art and historic
associations, the splendid Banqueting Hall, the galleries of painting
and statuary, the Concert Room, audience chambers, saloons hung with
Gobelin tapestry, and gilded boudoirs, one simple chamber impressed
us most. It was the bed-room of Charles XIV. (Marshal Bernadotte),
which has remained unchanged and unused since the time of his death,
his old campaign cloak of Swedish blue still lying upon the bed. The
clock upon the mantle-piece significantly points to the hour and the
minute of the monarch's death. The life and remarkable career of the
dead King flashed across the memory as we stood for a moment beside
these suggestive souvenirs. It was recalled how he began life as a
common soldier in the French army, rising with rapidity by reason of
his military genius to be a Marshal of France, and finally to sit
upon the Swedish throne. Bernadotte, Prince of Ponte Corvo, is the
only one of Napoleon's generals whose descendants still occupy a

The Royal Library is said to be a very choice collection of books in
all modern languages, occupying a hall which extends over nearly the
entire length of one wing of the palace, and contains a hundred
thousand bound volumes. One of the most conspicuous objects seen from
its windows is the Riddarsholm Church, a lofty, Gothic structure of
red brick, and the Westminster Abbey of the metropolis. Its tall
openwork spire of iron tracery reaches towards the sky as though it
would pierce the blue vault, forming a conspicuous object for the eye
of the traveller who approaches the city by water. This old church,
with its banner-hung arches, possesses considerable historic
interest. There is significance in the fact that its chime of bells
is only heard on the occasion of royal funerals. The broad aisle is
filled with grand colossal statuary by Sergei, Bystrom, and other
native sculptors. In one of the chapels is the tomb of Gustavus
Adolphus, and in another repose the ashes of the youthful hero
Charles XII. A long line of Swedish monarchs also rest beneath the
Riddarsholm Church. The central floor is covered with gravestones
bearing the titles of historic characters and of heroic names, in the
study of which and recalling of their mingled histories hours glide
swiftly away. There is a chapel of relics attached to the church
which contains many valuable historic souvenirs. In the large square
bearing the name of Birger Jarl's Torg, near by the church just
described, stands a bronze statue of this former ruler and founder of
the city, who was a great reformer in his day, living until 1266. It
was modelled by Fogelberg, and represents the famous original in the
armor which was common in the twelfth century, the general effect
being artistic and impressive; but it is by no means faultless. The
pedestal is formed by a heavy dwarfed pillar, which places the statue
too far above the line of sight for good effect. The church of
Adolphus Frederick is built in the form of a cross, and is rendered
quite conspicuous by its large tower, which is crowned by a copper
dome. This church is just a century old. A monument was observed
within its walls erected to the memory of Descartes, the famous
French philosopher, who died at Stockholm in 1650, but whose remains
were finally removed to Paris. The most conspicuous dome and tower in
the city is that of the Ladugardslands Church, surmounting an octagon
structure two centuries old. St. Catherine's Church is the highest in
the metropolis, and is built in the Grecian cross shape, with a lofty
dome and five spires. Its erection dates back two hundred years.

The population of Stockholm seems to consist of a cheerful,
prosperous, and contented people, though few remarkable signs of
luxury or opulence meet the eye of a stranger. The shops on the
principal streets are elegantly arrayed, and in the spacious windows
choice merchandise, books, pictures, and jewelry are tastefully
displayed. There are not better supplied or more attractive shops on
the Rue de la Paix or the Italian Boulevard of Paris. A ceaseless
activity reigns along the thoroughfares, among the little steam
gondolas upon the many water-ways, and the myriad of passenger
steamers which ply upon the lake. Many pleasure seekers throng the
small parks in the city, while others seek the more extensive and
distant Djurgard, or "Deer Park," in the environs. These are the
finest grounds of the sort and by far the most extensive devoted to
such a purpose which the author has chanced to see. This remarkable
pleasure resort, originally laid out as a deer park by Gustavus III.,
occupies an entire island by itself, and is some miles in
circumference, beautified with inviting drives, grassy glades, rocky
knolls, Swiss cottages, Italian verandas, and containing innumerable
thrifty trees, among which are some of the noblest oaks to be found
outside of England. Refreshment booths, cafés, music halls,
marionette theatres, gymnastic apparatus, and various other means of
public amusement are liberally distributed over the wide-spread area.
It is the great summer resort of the populace for picnicing, pleasure
outings, and Sunday holidays. The environs far and near, including
the Deer Park, are easily and cheaply reached by small steam
launches, or by tramway, at any hour of the day or evening.

No population known to the author is so thoroughly devoted to public
amusement as are the citizens of the Swedish capital during the warm
season; the brief summer is indeed made the most of by all classes in
the enjoyment of out-door life. Beginning at an early hour of the day
and continuing until past midnight, gayety reigns supreme from the
middle of June until the end of August. To a stranger it seems to be
one ceaseless holiday, leading one to ask what period the people
devote to their business occupations. It is surprising to observe how
many theatres, circuses, concerts, fairs, casinos, field sports and
garden entertainments are liberally supported by a population of less
than two hundred thousand. At night the tide of life flows fast and
furious until the small hours, the town and its environs being ablaze
with gas and electric lights. The little omnibus steamers which flit
about like fire-flies are, like the tramways, taxed to their utmost
capacity, while the air is full of music from military bands. It is
the summer gayety of the Champs Elysées thrice multiplied by a
community which does not number one tenth of the aggregated
population of the great French capital. Not one but every day in the
week forms a link in the continuous chain of revelling hours, until
on the Sabbath the gayety culminates in a grand fête day of
pleasure-outings for men, women, and children. Scores of steamers
gayly dressed in flags and crowded with passengers start in the early
morning of this day for excursions on Lake Maelaren, or to visit some
pleasure resort on the Baltic, while the Deer Park and public gardens
of the city resound all day and night with mirth and music.

The Royal Opera House is a plain substantial structure on the
Gustaf-Adolf-Torg, built by Gustavus III. in 1775, and will seat
fifteen hundred persons. A music-loving Swede told us of the début of
Jenny Lind years ago in this dramatic temple, and also described that
of Christine Nilsson, which occurred more recently. The excellent
acoustic properties of the Stockholm Opera House are admitted by
famous vocalists to be nearly unequalled. It was here, at a gay
masquerade ball on the morning of March 15, 1792, that Gustavus III.
was fatally wounded by a shot from an assassin, one of the
conspirators among the nobility. Our place of sojourn while in
Stockholm was at the Hotel Rydberg, which overlooks the
Gustaf-Adolf-Torg. Directly opposite our windows, across the bridge
where the waters of the Baltic and Lake Maelaren join, was the Royal
Palace, situated upon a commanding site. On the right of the square
and forming one whole side of it was the Crown Prince's palace; on
the left was the Opera House, with an equal frontage; while in the
centre stood the equestrian bronze statue of Gustavus Adolphus. On
the low ground beside the bridge leading to the royal palace close to
the water was one of those picturesque pleasure-gardens for which
the town is famous, where under the trees hung with fancy lamps an
animated crowd assembled nightly to enjoy the music of the military
band and to partake of all sorts of refreshments, but mainly
consisting of Swedish punch, Scandinavian beer, or coffee. The
distance of this pleasure-garden from the hotel was just sufficient
to harmonize the music with one's mood, and to lull the drowsy senses
to sleep when the hour for retiring arrived.

Following the motley crowd one evening, indifferent as to where it
might lead, the author found himself on board one of the little
omnibus steamers, which in about fifteen minutes landed its
passengers at the Deer Park, near the entrance to which a permanent
circus establishment seemed to be the attraction; so purchasing a
ticket in our turn, we entered with a crowd which soon filled the
auditorium. Over two thousand spectators found accommodation within
the walls. The performance was excellent and of the usual variety,
including a ballet. Occupying a seat by our side was a man of about
seventy years of age, whose white hair, mutton-chop whiskers, and
snowy moustache were cut and dressed after the daintiest fashion. He
was a little below the average size, and was in excellent
preservation for one of his years. It was observed that his hands and
feet were as small as those of a young school-girl. He was in full
evening dress, with a button-hole bouquet in his coat lapel, held in
place by a diamond clasp. On three of the fingers of each hand were
diamond rings reaching to the middle joints. Diamonds mingled with
rubies and pearls glistened upon his wrists, upon which he wore
ladies' bracelets. His tawdry watch-chain was heavy with brilliants.
In his necktie was a large diamond, and a star-shaped clustre of
small ones furnished him with a breastpin. In short, this antique
dude sparkled all over like a jeweller's shop-window. Each of the
ballet-girls had a sign of recognition for the gay Lothario, who
exchanged signals with several of the women performers. We felt sure
that he must be some well-known character about town, and upon
returning to the hotel described him and asked who he was. "Oh!" said
the proprietor, "that was the Portuguese Minister!"

Some of the public streets of the city are quite steep, so as to be
impassable for vehicles,--like those of Valetta in the island of
Malta, and those in the English part of Hong Kong. The northern
suburb is the most fashionable part of Stockholm, containing the
newest streets and the finest private residences. Among the statues
which ornament the public squares and gardens, that of Charles XII.
in King's Park is perhaps the most remarkable,--he whom Motley called
"the crowned gladiator." It stands upon a pedestal of Swedish
granite, surrounded by four heavy mortars placed at the
corners,--spoils which were taken by the youthful hero in battle.
Touching the individual figure, which is of bronze and colossal, it
struck us as full of incongruities, and not at all creditable to the
well-known designer Molin.

The Swedish and Norwegian languages are very similar, and, as we were
assured by persons of both nationalities, they are becoming gradually
amalgamated. The former is perhaps the softer tongue and its people
the more musical, as those two delightful vocalists and envoys from
thence, Jenny Lind and Christine Nilsson, would lead us to infer.
Both countries are undoubtedly poor in worldly riches, but yet they
expend larger sums of money for educational purposes in proportion to
the number of their population than any other country except America.
The result here is manifest in a marked degree of general
intelligence diffused among all classes. One is naturally reminded in
this Swedish capital of Linnæus and Swedenborg, both of whom were
born here. The latter graduated at the famous University of Upsala,
the former in the greater school of out-door Nature. Swedenborg was
as eminent a scientist as religionist, and to him was first intrusted
the engineering of the Gotha Canal; but his visionary peculiarities
growing upon him it was found necessary to substitute a more
practical individual, so that the great work was eventually completed
by Sweden's most famous engineer and mechanician, Kristofer Polhem.

The stranger often meets in the streets of Stockholm a conspicuous
class of peasant women dressed very neatly but somewhat gaudily in
stripes and high colors, wearing a peculiar head-gear. They are from
Dalecarlia, with sun-burned cheeks, splendid teeth, bright serious
eyes, soft light hair worn in braids hanging down their backs, and
universally possessing sturdy, well-shaped forms. These women are
from a favored province of Sweden, and for a long time enjoyed a
monopoly of the many ferry-boats of the city, it having been accorded
to them by royal consent in consideration of the patriotism exhibited
by them, and of aid which the women of that ancient province gave to
the cause of the throne at a critical moment in Swedish history.
Dalecarlian girls on arriving at a suitable age have for many
generations been in the habit of coming to the capital and remaining
long enough to earn by their industry sufficient means to return
home, become married, and set up their households for life. The small
omnibus-steamers have superseded the row-boat ferries, but still the
women of this province come to the city all the same, pursuing
various occupations of a laborious character, but always retaining
their native costumes. Swedish provinces have each to a certain
extent a special style of dress to which they tenaciously adhere, as
the several Highland clans of Scotland do to their plaids and colors.
These girls are often engaged by wealthy families as nurses for their
children; some few are to be seen at service in the cafés and public
gardens, others are engaged as porters, who transport light packages
while pushing before them a small two-wheeled handcart. They
certainly form a very picturesque feature with their peculiar costume
of striped aprons, party-colored waists, and tall caps, recalling the
Italian models one sees on the Spanish Stairs of the Piazza di
Spagna in Rome. As a rule, in point of morals they are represented to
be beyond reproach; but some of them inevitably drift into
temptation, and become lost to their country and home ties. But even
under these sad circumstances, the Dalecarlian girls adhere
tenaciously to their peasant costume to the last. The pride which
prevents them from returning to their village homes after the
blandishments have faded which led them astray, often prompts them to
seek a watery grave in the Lake Maelaren.

The National Museum is a fine modern structure three stories in
height, the façade ornamented with appropriate statues and
medallions, among which was one of Linnæus. On entering the edifice
three colossal marble figures attract the eye, representing the chief
deities of Scandinavian mythology, Odin, Thor, and Freyr; but as
regards the curiosities collected here, they are in no way
remarkable, being much like those of other collections. One exception
should be made, however, in favor of the cabinet of ancient coins,
which is very complete and attractive; it is claimed for it that
there is no other in Europe of equal interest or importance. The
collection of ancient Arabian coins is unique, and would delight the
heart of the simplest numismatist. There is a large gallery of
paintings in the upper story of the Museum, with a few examples of
the old masters and many of the modern schools. In the open square
before the National Museum is to be seen the original of the bronze
group described in our chapter upon Gottenburg. This remarkable
production, called the "Girdle-Duellists," is the masterpiece of the
Swedish artist Molin, and is undoubtedly the finest piece of
sculpture to be seen in the country. The pedestal is ornamented with
four reliefs representing the origin and issue of the combat, with
Runic inscriptions signifying "Jealousy," "Drinking," "Beginning of
the Combat," and the "Widow's Lament." It seemed surprising to us
that an artist capable of such admirable work as this justly famous
group represents, could also have been the author of that hideous
conception, the bronze statue of Charles XII., so conspicuously
placed in the King's Park of Stockholm.

One of the most popular of the many cafés and pleasure-gardens either
in the city proper or its environs, is that known as Hasselbacken,
which is situated quite near to the Deer Park. This garden is crowded
day and evening during the warm season with hundreds of visitors
intent upon enjoying the various entertainments characterizing this
resort, among which excellent instrumental and vocal music forms a
specialty, while refreshments of every sort are served by an army of
white-aproned and active waiters. A broad Turkish pavilion forms the
principal concert-room at Hasselbacken, picturesquely fitted up for
the purpose. In these grounds, under an ancient oak which reared its
tall head proudly above all its neighbors, there was observed a fine
statue of Bellman the composer, who, as we learned, was accustomed a
century ago to sit in this spot and sing his compositions to his
assembled friends, accompanying himself on his favorite instrument
the cithern. The sculptor Nyström has reproduced the poet in bronze;
and the composition is both beautiful as an ideal-historical monument
and excellent in an artistic point of view. Fountains and flower-beds
abound on all sides in these inviting grounds, the sylvan aspect
being carefully and ingeniously preserved.

While driving in the Deer Park we accidentally came upon the royal
cottage of Rosedale, which was built by Charles XIV. about sixty
years ago, and was the favorite summer residence of the Queen-dowager
Josephine. It is a most delightful rural retreat, surrounded by
hothouses, graperies, flower-plats, broad gravelled walks, and trees
in great variety. Some of the ancient oaks about Rosedale are of
special beauty and of noble development, challenging the admiration
of every stranger. In the rear of the royal cottage is a remarkable
porphyry urn in three parts, foot, stem, and crown,--being nearly
forty feet in circumference, and weighing, we were told, over fifty
thousand pounds. Charles XIV. took great pride in perfecting the Deer
Park as a place of public resort and pleasure, for which object he
expended large sums from his private purse. From Rosedale one can
return to the city by boat or by a drive over the pleasant,
well-macadamized roads which intersect the country lying between the
Baltic and Lake Maelaren.

Upsala is the oldest town in the country as well as the historical
and educational centre of the kingdom, situated just fifty miles
from Stockholm, and may be reached either by boat or by rail. Going
in one way and returning by the other adds a pleasing variety to the
trip, which by starting early in the morning can be satisfactorily
consummated in a single day. This is the Cambridge of Sweden,--the
name Upsala signifying the "Lofty Halls." It was the royal capital of
the country for more than a thousand years, and was the locality of
the great temple of Thor, now replaced by a Christian cathedral which
was over two centuries in building. "The religion of one age is the
literary entertainment of the next," says Emerson. The more modern
structure is in the Gothic style, built of brick, and the site being
on elevated ground renders it very effective. Originally it had three
spires four hundred feet high; but these were destroyed by lightning
in 1702, and were afterwards replaced by the present two incongruous
towers of circumscribed elevation, and which do not at all accord
with the original architectural design of the structure. This spot in
the Pagan ages was a famous resort for sacrifices. History, or at
least legend tells us that in those days the original temple was
surrounded by a sacred grove wherein the sacrifices were made to
propitiate the deities worshipped there,--human blood being
considered the most acceptable. So powerful was the heathenish
infatuation, that parents even immolated their children. An account
is still extant of seventy-two bodies of human beings being seen here
at one time, suspended and dead upon the trees. Odin was once a
sacred deity here; now the name represents among the peasantry that
of the Devil. The present temple in its architectural aspect is
nearly a duplicate of Notre Dame in Paris, and is the largest
cathedral in the north of Europe. The same architect, Étienne de
Bonnevil, designed them both, and came to Upsala, accompanied by a
small army of mechanics from France, to begin the work which was
destined, from various causes, to linger along through two centuries.
The interior is impressive from its severe simplicity. The flying
buttresses inside the structure give a peculiarly striking effect.
Between each of them is a small chapel. The vaulting is supported by
twenty-four soaring pillars. The dead, cold walls are finished in
glaring whitewash without any relief. Under the altar is an elaborate
and much-venerated shrine of silver containing the ashes of Saint
Eric, the patron saint of Sweden.

Upsala has often been the scene of fierce and bloody conflicts. Saint
Eric was slain here in 1161. It has its university and its historical
associations; but it has neither trade nor commerce of any sort
beyond that of a small inland town,--its streets never being
disturbed by business activity or the "fever of living," though there
is a population here of at least fifteen or sixteen thousand persons.
The University, founded in 1477 and richly endowed by Gustavus
Adolphus, is the just pride of the country,--having to-day some
fifteen hundred students and forty-eight competent professors. No one
can enter the profession of law, medicine, or divinity in Sweden who
has not graduated either at this University or at that of Lund. Its
library contains nearly or quite two hundred thousand bound volumes
and over seven thousand important manuscripts. Among the latter is a
copy of the four Gospels, with movable silver letters placed on
parchment at the chapter heads, the whole being in the old Gothic
language. This book, named "Codex Argenteus," contains nearly two
hundred folios, and was made by Bishop Ulphilas one thousand years
before Gutenberg was born. It was in this University that Linnæus,
the great naturalist, was professor of botany and zoölogy for nearly
forty years. His statue still very properly ornaments the
lecture-room, and his journal is shown to visitors in the large hall
of the library.

The former dwelling house of Linnæus may be seen by tourists at
Upsala, where he lived among his well-beloved flora, planted and
tended by his own hands. His remains lie interred within the
cathedral under a mural tablet of red porphyry, bearing upon the
surface a portrait of the grand old naturalist by Sergel, in
bas-relief. Many of the tombs and tablets in the aisles bore dates of
more than five hundred years ago, but none interested us so much as
that of Linnæus the great disciple of Nature. This humble shoemaker
by force of his genius alone rose to be a prince in the kingdom of
Science. Botany and Zoölogy have never known a more eminent exponent
than the lowly-born Karl von Linné, whom the Swedes very
appropriately denominate the King of Flowers. A certain knowledge of
plants and of natural history forms a part of the primary education
of every Swede. At Upsala one has abundant evidence to show how
liberally the Government of the country fosters education among all
classes, and also that special attention is given to the education of

About three or four miles from the University is the village of Old
Upsala, where there are three huge tumuli said to contain the remains
of Pagan deities. One is here forcibly reminded of the North American
mound-builders. In Illinois the author has seen examples double the
size of these at Upsala, while in the State of Ohio there are
thousands of these tumuli to be seen. Adjoining the three mounds at
Upsala is a quaint little church, more than two thousand years old,
built of rough field-stones. It contains a monument to Anders Celsius
the Swedish astronomer and some ancient ecclesiastical vessels, also
some old pictures upon canvas nearly consumed by mould. The huge key
with which the door was opened to admit the author bore a date of six
centuries ago. We noticed some Pagan idols in wood preserved in an
oaken chest inside the old church, which dated about the eleventh
century. What a venerable, crude, and miraculously-preserved old pile
it is! Who can say that inanimate objects are not susceptible to
minute impressions which they retain? Has not the phonograph proven
that it receives mechanically, through the waves of sound, spoken
words, which it records and repeats? What then may possibly be
retained in the memory of this old, old church, which has kept watch
and ward on the footsteps of time, these two thousand years! Few
temples are now in existence which are known to antedate the
Christian era, but undoubtedly these gray old walls form one of them.
The three mounds referred to--the tombs of heroes in their lifetime,
gods in their death--are said to be those of Thor, Odin, and Freyr.
They were found easy of ascent, and were covered with a soft, fresh
verdure, from whence we gathered a bouquet of native thyme and
various colored wild-flowers which were brought back with us to
Stockholm. Near these mounds is also a hill of forty or fifty feet in
height called Tingshog, from which all the kings down to Gustavus
Vasa used to address their subjects. In this same neighborhood also
are the famous Mora Stones, where in the Middle Ages the election
ceremony and the crowning of the Swedish kings took place with great
solemnity. Tangible evidence as well as the pages of history show
Upsala to have been the great stronghold of Paganism, and here the
apostles of Christianity encountered the most determined opposition.
There are many other mounds in the vicinity of the three specified,
all undoubted burial-places erected ages ago. The highest one,
measuring sixty-four perpendicular feet, was cut through in 1874 to
enable the Ethnological Congress then assembled here to examine the
inside. There were found within it a skeleton and some fragments of
arms and jewelry, which are now preserved in the Museum at
Stockholm. We were told that another of these mounds was opened in a
similar manner nearly fifty years ago, with a like result as to its

Before leaving the Swedish capital a spot of more than passing
interest was visited; namely, the garden and summer-house in which
Emanuel Swedenborg, philosopher and theosophist, wrote his remarkable
works. It seems strange that here in his native city this man as a
religionist had no followers. It is believed to-day by many in
Stockholm that he wrote under a condition of partial derangement of
mind. The house which he owned and in which he lived has crumbled
away and disappeared, but his summer-house study--a small close
building fifteen feet in height and about eighteen feet square--is
still extant. In most countries such a relic would be carefully
preserved, and made to answer the purpose of an exhibition to the
visiting strangers; but here no special note is taken of it, and not
without some difficulty could it be found. One intelligent resident
even denied the existence of this object of inquiry, but a little
persistent effort at last discovered the interesting old study at No.
43 Hornsgatan, a few streets in the rear of the Royal Palace, from
which it is about one half of a mile distant.

Every one is amenable to the influence of the weather. Had the same
dull dripping atmosphere greeted us at Stockholm which was
encountered at Bergen, perhaps the impression left upon the memory
would have been less propitious, but the exact contrary was the
case. The days passed here were warm, bright, and sunny; everything
wore a holiday aspect; life was at its gayest among the citizens as
seen in the public gardens, streets, and squares, even the big white
sea-gulls that swooped gracefully over the many water-ways, though
rather queer habitués of a populous city, seemed to be uttering cries
of bird merriment. In short our entire experience of the Swedish
capital is tinctured with pleasurable memories.


  The Northern Mediterranean. -- Depth of the Sea. -- Where Amber
  Comes From. -- A Thousand Isles. -- City of Åbo. -- Departed
  Glory. -- Capital of Finland. -- Local Scenes. -- Russian
  Government. -- Finland's Dependency. -- Billingsgate. -- A Woman
  Sailor in an Exigency. -- Fortress of Sweaborg. -- Fortifications
  of Cronstadt. -- Russia's Great Naval Station. -- The Emperor's
  Steam Yacht. -- A Sail Up the Neva. -- St. Petersburg in the
  Distance. -- First Russian Dinner.

Embarking at Stockholm for St. Petersburg one crosses the
Baltic,--that Mediterranean of the North, but which is in reality a
remote branch of the Atlantic Ocean, with which it is connected by
two gulfs, the Cattegat and the Skager-Rack. It reaches from the
south of the Danish archipelago up to the latitude of Stockholm,
where it extends a right and left arm, each of great size, the former
being the Gulf of Finland, and the latter the Gulf of Bothnia, the
whole forming the most remarkable basin of navigable inland water in
the world. The Finnish Gulf is two hundred miles long by an average
width of sixty miles, and that of Bothnia is four hundred miles long
averaging a hundred in width. The peninsula of Denmark, known under
the name of Jutland, stands like a barrier between the Baltic and the
North Sea, midway between the two extremes of the general western
configuration of the continent of Europe. We have called the Baltic
the Mediterranean of the North, but it has no such depth as that
classic inland sea, which finds its bed in a cleft of marvellous
depression between Europe and Africa. One thousand fathoms of
sounding-line off Gibraltar will not reach the bottom, and two
thousand fathoms fail to find it a few miles east of Malta. The
maximum depth of the Baltic on the contrary is found to be only a
hundred and fifty fathoms, while its average depth is considerably
less than a hundred fathoms. It cannot be said that these waters
deserve the expressive epithet which has been applied to the sea that
laves the coast of Italy and the Grecian Isles; namely, "The cradle
of the human race," but yet the ages ancient and modern have not been
without their full share of startling episodes in these more northern

It is a curious though familiar fact that the waters of the Baltic,
or rather the bottom of the basin in which it lies, is rich in amber,
which the agitated waters cast upon the shores in large quantities
annually,--a process which has been going on here for three or four
centuries at least. We all know that amber is an indurated fossil
resin produced by an extinct species of pine; so that it is evident
that where these waters ebb and flow there were once flourishing
forests of amber pines. These were doubtless submerged by the gradual
encroachment of the sea, or suddenly engulfed by some grand volcanic
action of Nature. Pieces of the bark and the cones of the pine-tree
are often found adhering to the amber, and insects of a kind unknown
to our day are also found embedded in its yellow depths. The largest
piece of amber extant is in the Berlin Museum, and is about the size
of a child's head. This is dark and lacks transparency, a quality
which is particularly sought for by those who trade in the article.
It is known that the peninsula of Scandinavia is gradually becoming
elevated above the surrounding waters at the north, and depressed in
an equal ratio in the extreme south,--a fact which is held to be of
great interest among geologists. The total change in the level has
been carefully observed and recorded by scientific commissions, and
the aggregate certified to is a trifle over three feet occurring in a
period of a hundred and eighteen years.

We took passage on a neat little steamer of about four hundred tons
which plies regularly between the capitals of Sweden and Russia,
stopping on the way at Åbo and Helsingfors, a distance in all of
about six hundred miles. By this route, after crossing the open sea,
one passes through an almost endless labyrinth of picturesque islands
in the Gulf of Finland, including the archipelago known as the Aland
Isles, besides many isolated ones quite near to the coast of Finland.
This forms a most delightful sail, the waters being nearly always
smooth, except during a few hours of necessary exposure in the open
Gulf. The islands are generally covered with a variety of trees and
attractive verdure, many of them being also improved for the purpose
of small farms, embracing appropriate clusters of buildings, about
which were grouped domestic cattle and bevies of merry children,
making memorable pictures as we wound in and out among them pursuing
the course of the channel. The great contrast between these low-lying
verdant islands and those lofty, frowning, jagged, and snow-capped
ones which we had so lately encountered in the far North was striking
indeed. By and by we enter the fjord which leads up to Åbo from the
Gulf, which is also dotted here and there by the most beautiful,
garden-like islands imaginable, and upon which are built many pretty
châlets, forming the summer homes of the citizens of Finmark's former
capital. It would be difficult to name a trip of a mingled
sea-and-land character so thoroughly delightful; it constantly and
vividly recalled the thousand islands of the St. Lawrence in North
America, and the Inland Sea of Japan. The town of Åbo has a
population of about twenty-five thousand, who are mostly of Swedish
descent. It is thrifty, cleanly, and wears an aspect of quiet
prosperity. The place is venerable in years, and has a record
reaching back for over seven centuries. Here the Russian flag--red,
blue, and white--first begins to greet one from all appropriate
points, and more especially from the shipping; but we almost
unconsciously pass from one nationality to another where the dividing
lines are of so mingled a character. The most prominent building to
catch the stranger's eye on entering the harbor is the long
barrack-like prison upon a hillside. In front of us loomed up the
famous old castle of Åbo, awkward and irregular in shape, and snow
white. Here in the olden time Gustavus Vasa, Eric XIV., and John III.
held royal court. The streets are few but very broad, which causes
the town to cover an area quite out of proportion to the number of
its inhabitants. The buildings are all modern, as the fire-fiend
destroyed nearly the entire place so late as 1827, when nine hundred
buildings and over were consumed within the space of a few hours.

The Russian Chapel is a conspicuous and characteristic building, and
so is the Astronomical Observatory, situated on the highest eminence
in the town. This structure has lately been converted into a
scientific school. Crowds of pupils were filing out of its doors just
as we made fast to the shore in full view. The cathedral is an object
of some interest, and contains many curious relics. Åbo however is a
very quiet little town, whose glory has departed since it ceased in
1819 to be the political capital of Finland. It formerly boasted a
University, but that institution and its large library were swept
away by the fire already mentioned.

Helsingfors is situated still farther up the Gulf, facing the ancient
town of Revel on the Esthonian coast, and is reached from Åbo in
about twelve hours' sail, also through a labyrinth of islands so
numerous as to be quite confusing, but whose picturesqueness and
beauty will not easily be forgotten. This is the present capital of
Finland, and it contains from fifty to fifty-five thousand
inhabitants, but has several times been partially destroyed by
plague, famine, and fire. It was founded by Gustavus Vasa of Sweden,
in the sixteenth century. The University is represented to be of a
high standard of excellence, and contains a library of about two
hundred thousand volumes. A gentleman who was himself a graduate of
the institution and a fellow passenger on the steamer, entertained us
with an interesting account of the educational system enforced here.
The present number of students exceeds seven hundred, and there are
forty professors attached to the institution, which is the oldest
university in Russia, having been founded as far back as 1640. It is
interesting to recall the fact that printing was not introduced into
Finland until a year later.

The most striking feature of Helsingfors as one approaches it from
the sea is the large Greek Church with its fifteen domes and
minarets, each capped by a glittering cross and crescent with pendant
chains in gilt, and as it is built upon high ground the whole is very
effective. The Lutheran Church is also picturesque and notable, with
its five domes sparkling with gilded stars upon a dark green ground,
a style of finish quite new to us, but which became familiar after
visiting the interior of Russia. The approach to the entrance of this
church is formed by many granite steps, which extend across the base
of the façade and are over two hundred feet in width. The streets of
the town are handsomely and evenly paved, of good width, and bordered
with excellent raised side-walks,--a convenience too generally
wanting in old European cities and towns. Through the centre of some
of the main streets a broad walk is constructed, lined on either side
by trees of the linden family, and very ornamental. The buildings are
imposing architecturally, being mostly in long uniform blocks, quite
Parisian in effect. Several large buildings were observed in course
of construction, and there were many tokens of prosperity manifest on
all hands. The Imperial Palace is a plain but substantial building,
with heavy Corinthian pillars in front. Its situation seemed to us a
little incongruous, being located in a commercial centre quite near
the wharves.

We need hardly remind the reader that Finland is a dependency of
Russia; yet it is nearly as independent as is Norway of Sweden.
Finland is ruled by a governor-general assisted by the Imperial
Senate, over which a representative of the Emperor of Russia
presides. There is also resident at St. Petersburg a Secretary of
State, so to designate the official, for Finland. Still, the country
pays no tribute to Russia. It imposes its own taxes, and forms its
own codes of law; so that Norway, as regards constitutional liberty,
is scarcely freer or more democratic. When Finland was joined to
Russia, Alexander I. assured the people that the integrity of their
constitution and religion should be protected; and this promise has
thus far been honestly kept by the dominant power.

The port of Helsingfors is defended by the large and famous fortress
of Sweaborg, which repelled the English and French fleets during the
Crimean war. It was constructed by the Swedish General Ehrenswärd,
who was a poet as well as an excellent military engineer. The fort is
considered to be one of the strongest in the world, and is situated
upon seven islands, each being connected with the main fortress by
tunnels under the waters of the harbor constructed at enormous
expense, mostly through ledges of solid granite. The natural rock of
these islands has, in fact, been utilized somewhat after the
elaborate style of Gibraltar. An extensive and most substantial
granite quay extends along the water in front of the town, where a
large fleet of fishing-boats managed mostly by women is moored daily,
with the freshly caught cargoes displayed for sale, spread out in
great variety both upon the immediate shore and on the decks of their
homely but serviceable little vessels. The energy of the fishwomen in
their efforts to trade with all comers, accompanied by loud
expressions and vociferous exclamations, led us to think that there
might be a Finnish Billingsgate as well as an English. While we stood
watching the busy scene on and near the wharves, a fishing-boat of
about twenty tons, with two masts supporting fore and aft sails and a
fore-stay-sail, was just getting under way outward bound. The boat
contained a couple of lads and a middle-aged woman, who held the
sheet of the mainsail as she sat beside the tiller. The little craft
had just fairly laid her course close-hauled towards the mouth of the
bay, and was hardly a quarter of a mile from the dock when one of
the sudden squalls so common in this region, accompanied by heavy
rain, came down upon the craft like a flash, driving her lee gunwales
for a moment quite under water. The main sheet was instantly let go,
so also with the fore and stay sails, and the boat promptly brought
to the wind, while the woman at the helm issued one or two orders to
her boy-crew which were instantly obeyed. Ten minutes later, under a
close-reefed foresail, the boat had taken the wind upon the opposite
tack and was scudding into the shelter of the dock, where she was
properly made fast and her sails quietly furled to await the advent
of more favorable weather. No experienced seaman could have managed
the boat better under the circumstances than did this woman.

After leaving Helsingfors we next come upon Cronstadt, formed by a
series of low islands about five miles long by one broad, which are
important only as fortifications and as being the acknowledged key of
St. Petersburg, forming also the chief naval station of the great
empire. The two fortifications of Sweaborg and Cronstadt insure to
Russia the possession of the Gulf of Finland. The cluster of islands
which form the great Russian naval station are raised above the level
of the sea barely sufficient to prevent their being overflowed, while
the foundations of many of the minor works are considerably below the
surrounding waters, which are rather shallow, being less than two
fathoms in depth. The fortifications are of brick faced with granite,
and consist mainly of a rounded structure with four stories of
embrasures, from the top of which rises a tall signal-mast supporting
the Muscovite flag. The arsenals and docks here are very extensive,
and unsurpassed of their kind in completeness. The best machinists in
the world find employment here, the latest inventions a sure market.
In all facilities for marine armament Russia is fully abreast of if
it does not surpass most of the nations of Europe. The quays of
Cronstadt are built of granite and form a grand monument of
engineering skill, facing the mouth of the Neva, less than twenty
miles from the Russian capital. Six or eight miles to the south lies
Istria, and about the same distance to the north is the coast of
Carelia. The population of the adjoining town will aggregate nearly
fifty thousand persons, more than half of whom belong either directly
or indirectly to the army or navy. The Russian fleet, consisting of
iron-clads, rams, torpedo-boats, and sea-going steamers of heavy
armament, lies at anchor in a spacious harbor behind the forts. The
united defences here are so strong that the place is reasonably
considered to be impregnable. An enemy could approach only by a
narrow winding passage, which is commanded by such a cross-fire from
the heaviest guns as would sink any naval armament now afloat. As we
have intimated, every fresh improvement in ordnance is promptly
adopted by Russia, whose army and navy are kept at all times if not
absolutely upon what is called a war-footing, still in a good
condition for the commencement of offensive or defensive warfare.

As we came into the river from the Gulf we passed the Emperor's
private steam-yacht, which is a splendid side-wheel steamer of about
two thousand tons burden. She was riding quietly at anchor, a perfect
picture of nautical beauty. Yet a single order from her quarter-deck
would instantly dispel this tranquillity, covering her decks with
sturdy seamen armed to the teeth, opening her ports for huge
death-dealing cannon, and peopling her shrouds with scores of
sharp-shooters. The captain of our own vessel told us that she was
the fastest sea-going steamer ever built. Behind the royal yacht,
some little distance upon the land, the Palace and surroundings of
Peterhoff were lit up by the sun's rays playing upon the collection
of gilded and fantastic domes. It was a fête day. A baby of royal
birth was to be christened, and the Emperor, Empress, and royal
household were to assist on the auspicious occasion; hence all the
out-door world was dressed in national flags, and the passenger
steamers were crowded with people bent upon making a holiday. The
sail up that queen of northern rivers presented a charming panorama.
Passenger steamers flitting about with well-peopled decks; noisy
tug-boats puffing and whistling while towing heavily-laden barges;
naval cutters propelled by dozens of white-clad oarsmen, and steered
by officers in dazzling uniforms; small sailing yachts glancing
hither and thither,--all gave life and animation to the maritime
scene. Here and there on the river's course long reaches of sandy
shoals would appear covered with myriads of white sea-gulls, scores
of which would occasionally rise, hover over our steamer and settle
in her wake. As we approached nearer and nearer, hundreds of gilded
domes and towers of the city flashing in the warm light came swiftly
into view. Some of the spires were of such great height in proportion
to their diameter as to present a needle-like appearance. Among these
reaching so bravely heavenward were the slender spire of the
Cathedral of Peter and Paul within the fortress, nearly four hundred
feet in height, and the lofty pinnacle of the Admiralty.

Notwithstanding its giddy towers and looming palaces rising above the
level of the capital, the want of a little diversity in the grade of
the low-lying city is keenly felt. Like Berlin or Havana, it is built
upon a perfect level, the most trying of positions. A few
custom-house formalities were encountered, but nothing of which a
person could reasonably complain; and half an hour after the steamer
had moored to the wharf, we drove to the Hôtel d'Angleterre, on
Isaac's Square. Then followed the first stroll in a long-dreamed-of
city. What a thrilling delight! Everything so entirely new and
strange; all out-of-doors a novelty, from the Greek cross on the top
of the lofty cupolas to the very pavement under one's feet; and all
permeated by a seductive Oriental atmosphere, as stimulating to the
imagination as hashish.

We will not describe in detail the bill of fare at the first regular
meal partaken of in Russia, but must confess to a degree of surprise
at the dish which preceded the dinner; namely, iced soup. It was
certainly a novelty to the author, and by no means palatable to one
not initiated. As near as it was possible to analyze the production,
it consisted of Russian beer, cucumbers, onions, and slices of
uncooked fish floating on the surface amid small pieces of ice. With
this exception, the menu was not very dissimilar to the sparse
service of northern European hotels. But let us dismiss this mention
of food as promptly as we did that odious, frosty soup, and prepare
to give the reader the impressions realized from the grandest city of
Northern Europe.


  St. Petersburg. -- Churches. -- The Alexander Column. --
  Principal Street. -- Cathedral of Peter and Paul. -- Nevsky
  Monastery. -- Russian Priesthood. -- The Canals. -- Public
  Library. -- Cruelty of an Empress. -- Religious Devotion of the
  People. -- A Dangerous Locality. -- Population. -- The Neva and
  Lake Ladoga. -- The Nicholas Bridge. -- Winter Season. -- Begging
  Nuns. -- Nihilism. -- Scandal Touching the Emperor. -- The
  Fashionable Drive. -- St. Isaac's Church. -- Russian Bells. --
  Famous Equestrian Statue. -- The Admiralty. -- Architecture.

St. Petersburg is a city of sumptuous distances. There are no blind
alleys, no narrow lanes, no rag-fair in the imperial capital. The
streets are broad, the open squares vast in size, the avenues
interminable, the river wide and rapid, and the lines of architecture
seemingly endless, while the whole is as level as a chess-board. One
instinctively desires to reach a spot whence to overlook this broad
area peopled by more than eight hundred thousand souls. This object
is easily accomplished by ascending the tower of the Admiralty, from
whose base the main avenues diverge. The comprehensive view from this
elevation is unique, studded with azure domes decked with stars of
silver and gilded minarets. A grand city of palaces and spacious
boulevards lies spread out before the spectator. The quays of the
Neva above and below the bridges will be seen to present as animated
a scene as the busy thoroughfares. A portion of this Admiralty
building is devoted to school-rooms for the education of naval
cadets. The rest is occupied by the civil department of the service
and by a complete naval museum, to which the officers of all vessels
on their return from distant service are expected to contribute.
There are over two hundred churches and chapels in the city, most of
which are crowned with four or five fantastic cupolas each, and whose
interiors are opulent in gold, silver, and precious stones, together
with a large array of priestly vestments elaborately decked with gold
and ornamented with gems. It is a city of churches and palaces. Peter
the Great and Catherine II., who has been called the female Peter,
made this brilliant capital what it is. Everything that meets the eye
is colossal. The superb Alexander Column, erected about fifty years
ago, is a solid shaft of mottled red granite, and the loftiest
monolith in the world. On its pedestal is inscribed this simple line:
"To Alexander I. Grateful Russia." It is surmounted by an angelic
figure,--the whole structure being one hundred and fifty-four feet
high, and the column itself fourteen feet in diameter at the base;
but so large is the square in which it stands that the shaft loses
much of its colossal effect. This grand column was brought from the
quarries of Pytterlax, in Finland, one hundred and forty miles from
the spot where it now stands. It forms a magnificent triumph of human
power, which has hewn it from the mountain mass and transported it
intact over so great a distance. Arrived complete upon the ground
where it was designed to be erected, to poise it safely in the air
was no small engineering triumph. The pedestal and capitol of bronze
is made of cannon taken from the Turks in various conflicts. It was
swung into its present upright position one August day in 1832, in
just fifty-four minutes, under direction of the French architect, M.
de Montferrand. Just opposite the Alexander Column, on the same wide
area, are situated the Winter Palace,--the Hermitage on one side; and
on the other, in half-moon shape, are the State buildings containing
the bureaus of the several ministers, whose quarters are indeed, each
one, a palace in itself. This is but one of the many spacious squares
of the city which are ornamented with bronze statues of more or less
merit, embracing monuments of Peter, Catherine, Nicholas, Alexander
I., and many others.

The Nevsky Prospect is the most fashionable thoroughfare and the
street devoted to the best shops. It is from two to three hundred
feet in width, and extends for a distance of three miles in nearly a
straight line to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, forming all together
a magnificent boulevard. On this street may be seen the churches of
several dissenting sects, such as Roman Catholics, Protestants,
Armenians, and a Mahometan mosque. Hereon also are the Imperial
Library, the Alexander Theatre, and the Foreign Office. The
metropolitan cathedral of St. Petersburg is also situated upon this
main artery of the city, and is called Our Lady of Kazan,--finished
with an elegant semi-circular colonnade, curving around a large
square much like that of St. Peter's at Rome. This edifice is superb
in all its appointments, no expense having been spared in its
construction. The aggregate cost was three millions of dollars. One
item of costliness was observed in the massive rails of the altar,
which are formed of solid silver. The church contains between fifty
and sixty granite columns brought from Finland, each one of which is
a monolith of forty feet in height, with base and capitol of solid
bronze. Why the architect should have designed so small a dome as
that which forms the apex of this costly temple with its extended
façade, was a question which often occurred to us. Within, upon the
altar, is an aureole of silver bearing the name of God, inscribed in
precious stones of extraordinary value. The sacred images before
which lamps are always burning are literally covered with diamonds,
rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. One of the diamonds in the crown of
Our Lady of Kazan is of fabulous value, and dazzling to look upon.
Within these walls was observed the tomb of Kutuzof, the so-called
"Savior of Russia" on the occasion of the French invasion of 1812.
Outside, in front of the cathedral, are two admirable statues in
bronze standing before the bending corridor of each wing,
representing historical characters in Russian story, but whose names
are quite unpronounceable in our tongue. The cosmopolitan character
of the population of St. Petersburg is indicated by the fact that
preaching occurs weekly in twelve different languages in the several
churches and chapels of the city.

In the Cathedral of Peter and Paul rest the ashes of the founder of
the city; and grouped about his tomb are those of his successors to
the Russian throne, with the exception of Peter II., whose remains
are interred at Moscow. These sarcophagi are quite simple, composed
of white marble tablets raised three feet above the level of the
floor, with barely a slight relief of gilded ornamentation. At the
time of our visit they were covered with an abundance of fresh
flowers and wreaths of immortelles. Peter and Paul is a fortress as
well as a church; that is to say, it stands within a fortress
defended by a hundred guns and garrisoned by between two and three
thousand men. It is more venerable and interesting in its
associations than the grander Cathedral of St. Isaac's, while its
mast-like, slender spire, being fifty or sixty feet higher than any
other pinnacle in the city, is more conspicuous as a landmark. The
immediate surroundings constitute the nucleus about which the founder
of the city first began to rear his capital, being an island formed
by the junction of the Neva and one of its natural branches, but
connected with the main-land by bridges. We were told that the
present Emperor sometimes visits incognito the tombs of his
predecessors here, where kneeling in silence and alone, he seems to
pray long and fervently,--and that he had done so only a few days
previous to the time of our visit. That Alexander III. is actuated
by devout religious convictions, of which he makes no parade, is a
fact well known to those habitually near his person, and that he
seeks for higher guidance than can be expected from mortal
counsellors is abundantly proven. It was in the prison portion of
this fortress that the Czarowitz Alexis, the only son of Peter the
Great that lived to manhood, died under the knout while being
punished for insubordination and open opposition to his father's
reforms. What fearful tragedies are written in lines of blood upon
every page of Russian history! Peter's granddaughter, the Princess
Tarakanof, was also drowned in the Fortress of Peter and Paul by an
overflow of the Neva while confined in one of the dreary subterranean
dungeons. About the pillars and upon the walls inside the cathedral
hang the captured battle-flags of many nations,--Turkish, Persian,
Swedish, French, and Prussian, besides the surrendered keys of
several European capitals, including Paris, Dresden, Hamburg,
Leipsic, and others. The National Mint of Russia is within this
fortress-prison and cathedral combined.

A brief visit to the Monastery of St. Alexander Nevsky was productive
of more than ordinary interest, and it chanced to be at an hour when
the singing was especially impressive and beautiful, being conducted,
as is always the case in the Greek Church, by a male choir. As
already intimated, this institution is situated at the extremity of
the Nevsky Prospect, about three miles from the heart of the city,
occupying a large space enclosed by walls within which are fine
gardens, thrifty groves, churches, ecclesiastical academies,
dwelling-houses for the priests, and the like. The main church is
that of the Trinity, which is appropriately adorned with some fine
paintings, among which one by Rubens was conspicuous. Hither the
Emperor comes at least once during the year to attend the service of
Mass in public. This monastery was founded by Peter the Great in
honor of Alexander surnamed Nevsky, who vanquished the Swedes and
Livonians, but who in turn succumbed to the Tartar Khans. This brave
soldier, however, was canonized by the Russian Church. His tomb, we
were told, weighs nearly four thousand pounds, and is of solid
silver. Close beside his last resting-place hang the surrendered keys
of Adrianople. The treasury of this monastery contains pearls and
precious stones of a value which we hesitate to name in figures,
though both our eyes and ears bore witness to the aggregate as
exhibited to us. The value of the pearls is said to be only exceeded
as a collection by that in the Troitea Monastery, near the city of
Moscow. We were here shown the bed upon which Peter the Great died,
across which lay his threadbare dressing-gown and night-cap. In the
crypt, among the tombs, is one which bears a singular inscription, as
follows: "Here lies Souvarof, celebrated for his victories, epigrams,
and practical jokes." This brave and eccentric soldier made the
Russian name famous on many a severely contested battlefield. He was
also quite as noted for his biting epigrams as for his victorious
warfare. He lies buried here in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, as
this peculiar inscription indicates; and the curious stranger is
quite as eager in seeking his tomb as that of the canonized soldier
whose name the institution bears. This monastery is the coveted place
of burial to the soldier, statesman, and poet. In the cemetery
attached there is seen a white marble column raised to the cherished
memory of Lomonosof, called the father of Russian poetry, who was
born a serf, but whose native genius won him national renown. He was
made Councillor of State in 1764.

The monks who inhabit this and all other Russian monasteries are of
the one Order of St. Basil. They wear a black pelisse extending to
the feet and broad-brimmed dark hats, permitting their hair and
beards to grow quite long. They pretend never to eat meat, their
ordinary food consisting of fish, milk, eggs, and butter; but on fast
days they are allowed to eat only fruit or vegetables. They take vows
of chastity, to which they are doubtless as recreant as the Roman
Catholic priests of Italy and elsewhere. The Government gives to each
member of the Order an annuity of forty roubles per annum, which
forms their only fixed income; and consequently they must depend
largely on the liberality of their congregations and the fees for
attendance upon funerals, marriages, and christenings. The priesthood
is divided into two classes,--the parish priests, called the white
clergy; and the monks, who are called the black clergy; but the
latter are comparatively circumscribed in number. We have seen that
dissenters are as common in Russia as in other countries; religious
intolerance apparently does not exist.

In returning from the monastery, the whole length of the Nevsky
Prospect was passed on foot. It was a warm summer afternoon of just
such temperature as to invite the citizens who remained in town for a
stroll abroad, and there was a world of people crowding the sidewalks
of this metropolitan road-way. The brilliant Russian signs in broad
gilt letters--so very like the Greek alphabet--which line the street,
must often be renewed to present so fresh an appearance. It is a
thoroughfare of alternating shops, palaces, and churches, the most
frequented and the most animated in the great city of the Neva. Four
canals cross but do not intercept this boulevard, named successively
the Moika, the Catherine, the Ligawa, and the Fontanka. These
water-ways, lined throughout by substantial granite quays, are gay
with the life imparted to them by pleasure and freight boats
constantly furrowing their surface. In our early morning walks,
pausing for a moment on the street bridges, large barges were seen
containing forests of cut-wood loaded fifteen feet high above their
wide decks, delivering all along the banks of the canals the winter's
important supply of fuel. Others, with their hulls quite hidden from
sight, appeared like immense floating hay-stacks moving mysteriously
to their destination with horse-fodder for the city stables. Barges
containing fruit, berries, and vegetable produce were numerous, and
these were often followed by flower-boats propelled with oars by
women and filled with gay colors, bound to the market square. The
canals seemed as busy as the streets they intersected. From one
o'clock to five in the afternoon the Nevsky Prospect, with the tide
of humanity pouring either way through its broad space, was like the
Rue Rivoli or the Rue Vivienne Paris on a fête day.

The Imperial Library of St. Petersburg is justly entitled to more
than a mere mention, for it is one of the richest collections of
books in all Europe, both in quality and quantity. The number of
bound volumes aggregates a little over one million, while it is
especially rich in the rarest and most interesting manuscripts. In a
room specially devoted to the purpose there is a collection of
incunabula, or books printed previous to the year 1500, which is
considered unique. The noble building exclusively appropriated to
this purpose has several times been enlarged to meet the demand for
room to store and classify the accumulating treasures. So late as
1862 there was added a magnificent reading-room, quite as spacious
and well appointed as that of the British Museum at London. One
division of the manuscript department relates particularly to the
history of France, consisting of the letters of various kings of that
country, and those of their ambassadors at foreign courts, with many
secret State documents and a great variety of historical State
papers. These interesting documents were dragged from the archives
of Paris by the crazed mob during the French Revolution, and sold to
the first bidder. They were bought by Peter Dubrowski, and thus found
their way into this royal collection. Some of the Latin manuscripts
of the fifth century, nearly fourteen hundred years old are still
perfectly preserved, and are of great interest to antiquarians. The
stranger visiting St. Petersburg will be sure to return again and
again to this treasure-house, whose intrinsic riches surpass all the
gems of the Winter Palace and those of the Hermitage, marvellous as
their aggregate value is when measured by a criterion of gold.

The Alexander Theatre and the Imperial Public Library both look down
upon a broad square which contains an admirable statue of Catherine
II. in bronze. This fine composition seemed to us to be the boldest
and truest example of recorded history, breathing the very spirit of
the profligate and cruel original, whose ambitious plans were even
paramount to her enslaving passions. History is compelled to admit
her exalted capacity, while it causes us to blush for her infamy.
This square opens on the right side of the Nevsky Prospect, and is
the spot where the Countess Lapuschkin received her terrible
punishment for having spoken lightly of the amours of the Empress
Elizabeth. The Countess is represented to have been as lovely in
person as in mind, the very idol of the court, and surrounded by
admirers to the last moment. She struggled bravely with her fate,
mounting the scaffold in an elegant undress which heightened the
effect of her delicate charms; and when one of the executioners
pulled off a shawl which covered her bosom, her modesty was so
shocked that she turned pale and burst into tears. Her clothes were
soon stripped to her waist, and before the startled eyes of an
immense concourse of people she was whipped until not one inch of the
skin was left upon her back, from the neck downward. The poor lady of
course became insensible before this was entirely accomplished. But
her inhuman punishment did not end here. Her tongue was cut out, and
she was banished to Siberia!

The people of no city in Europe exhibit so much apparent religious
devotion as do the inhabitants of this Muscovite capital; and yet we
do not for a moment suppose that they are more deeply influenced in
their inner lives by sacred convictions than are other races. The
humblest artisan, the drosky driver, the man of business, the women
and children, all bow low and make the sign of the cross when passing
the churches, chapels, or any of the many religious shrines upon the
streets. No matter how often these are encountered, or in how much of
a hurry the passers may be, each one receives its due recognition of
devout humility. In the churches the people, men and women, not only
kneel, but they bow their bodies until the forehead touches the
marble floor, repeating this again and again during each service. It
was observed that children, seemingly far too young to understand the
purport of these signs of humility, were nevertheless sure to go
through with them precisely like their elders. As regards the
multiplicity of shrines, they are frequently set up in the private
houses of the common people, consisting of a picture of some saint
gaudily framed and set in gilt, before which a lamp is kept
constantly burning. Some of the shops also exhibit one of these
shrines, before which the customer on entering always takes off his
hat, bows low, and makes the sign of the cross. A custom almost
precisely similar was observed by the author as often occurring at
Hong Kong, Canton, and other parts of China, where images in private
houses abound, and before which there was kept constantly burning
highly-flavored pastilles as incense, permeating the very streets
with a constant odor of musk, mingled with fragrant spices.

St. Petersburg is the fifth city in point of population in Europe,
but its very existence seemed to us to be constantly threatened on
account of its low situation between two enormous bodies of water. A
westerly gale and high tide in the Gulf of Finland occurring at the
time of the annual breaking up of the ice in the Neva, would surely
submerge this beautiful capital and cause an enormous loss of human
life. The Neva, which comes sweeping with such resistless force
swiftly through the city, is fed by that vast body of water Lake
Ladoga, covering an area of over six thousand square miles at a
level of about sixty feet above the sea. In 1880 the waters rose
between ten and eleven feet above the ordinary level, driving
people from their basements and cellars, as well as from the villas
and humbler dwellings of the lower islands below the city. However,
St. Petersburg has existed for one hundred and eighty years, and it
may last as much longer, though it is not a city of Nature's
building, so to speak. It is not a healthy city; indeed the death
rate is higher than that of any other European capital. The deaths
largely exceed the births, as in Madrid; and it is only by
immigration that the population of either the Spanish or the Russian
capital is kept up. Young men from the rural districts come to
St. Petersburg to better their fortunes, and all the various
nationalities of the empire contribute annually to swell its fixed
population. In the hotels and restaurants many Tartar youth are
found, being easily distinguished by their dark eyes and hair, as
well as by their diminutive stature, contrasting with the blond
complexion and stout build of the native Slav. Preference is given
to these Tartars in situations such as we have named because of
their temperate habits, which they manage to adhere to even when
surrounded by a people so generally given to intoxication. Among the
mercantile class there is a large share of Germans, whose numbers
are being yearly increased; and we must also add to these local
shopkeepers, especially of fancy goods, a liberal sprinkling of
French nationality, against whom popular prejudice has subsided.

What the Gotha Canal is to Sweden, the Neva and its joining
water-ways are to Russia. Through Lake Ladoga and its extensive
ramifications of connecting waters it opens communication with an
almost unlimited region of inland territory, while its mouth receives
the commerce of the world. The Lake system of Russia presents a very
similar feature to that of the northern United States, though on a
miniature scale. They are mostly found close to one another,
intersected by rivers and canals, and bear the names of Ladoga,
Onega, Peipous, Saima, Bieloe, Ilmen, and Pskov,--the first named
being by far the largest, and containing many islands. The two
important lakes of Konevetz and Valaam have two famous mountains,
whose stream-falls and cascades are swallowed up in their capacious
basins. The sea-fish and the beds of shell found in Lake Ladoga show
that it must once have been a gulf of the Baltic. Vessels of heavy
burden have heretofore been obliged to transfer their cargoes at
Cronstadt, as there was not sufficient depth of water in the Neva to
float them to the capital; but a well constructed channel has just
been completed, and vessels drawing twenty-two feet of water can now
ascend the river to St. Petersburg. Since the perfection of this
ship-canal another marine enterprise of importance has been resolved
upon; namely, a large open dock is being prepared by deepening the
shallow water near the city, covering an area of twenty acres more or
less, in order that the merchant shipping heretofore anchoring within
the docks of Cronstadt may find safe quarters for mooring, loading,
and unloading contiguous to the city. The spacious docks thenceforth
at the mouth of the Neva will be devoted with all their marine and
mechanical facilities to the accommodation of the rapidly growing
Russian navy.

The Neva is no ordinary river, though its whole length is but about
thirty-six miles. It supplies the city with drinking water of the
purest description, and is thus in this respect alone invaluable, as
there are no springs to be reached in the low marshy district upon
which the metropolis stands, resting upon a forest of piles. The
river forms a number of canals which intersect the town in various
directions, draining away all impurities, as well as making of the
city a series of closely-connected islands. In short, the Neva is to
this Russian Venice in importance what the Nile is to the Egyptians,
though effective in a different manner. The entire course of the
river from its entrance to its exit from the city is a trifle over
twelve miles, lined the whole distance by substantial stone
embankments, finished with granite pavements, parapets, and broad
stone steps leading at convenient intervals from the street to the
water's edge, where little steam-gondolas are always in readiness to
convey one to any desired section of the town. Many officials and
rich private families have their own boats, propelled by from two to
eight oarsmen. On Sundays especially a small fleet of boats is to be
seen upon the river, which is almost a mile in width opposite the
Winter Palace, where the shores are united by a long bridge of boats,
the depth in mid channel being over fifty feet. The main branch of
the Neva divides the city into two great sections, which are
connected by four bridges. The principal of these is the Nicholas
Bridge, a superb piece of marine architecture which was fifteen years
in the process of building, having been begun by the Emperor in 1843
and finished in 1858. It crosses the river on eight colossal iron
arches resting on mammoth piers of granite. By patient engineering
skill the difficulties of a shifting bottom, great depth, and a swift
current were finally overcome, giving lasting fame to the successful
architect, Stanislas Herbedze. The Nicholas is the only permanent
bridge, the others being floating structures supported by pontoons,
or boats, which are placed at suitable distances to accommodate the
demands of business. Notwithstanding the populous character of the
city, the avenues and squares have a rather deserted aspect in many
sections, but this is mainly owing to their extraordinary size. A
marching regiment on the Nevsky Prospect seems to be scarcely more in
number than does a single company in most European thoroughfares. We
may mention, by the way, that the garrison of St. Petersburg never
embraces less than about sixty thousand troops of all arms, quite
sufficient to produce an ever-present military aspect, as they are
kept upon what is called a war-footing. In the event of a sudden
declaration of war this garrison is designed as a nucleus for an
efficient army.

The winter season, which sets in about the first of November, changes
the aspect of everything in the Russian capital, and lasts until the
end of April, when the ice generally breaks up. In the mean time the
Neva freezes to a depth of six feet. But keen as is the winter cold
the Russians do not suffer much from it, being universally clad in
skins and furs. Even the peasant class necessarily wear warm
sheep-skins, or they would be liable often to freeze to death on the
briefest exposure. In the public squares and open places before the
theatres large fires in iron enclosures are lighted and tended by the
police at night, for the benefit of the drosky drivers and others
necessarily exposed in the open air. The windows of the
dwelling-houses are all arranged with double sashes, and each
entrance to the house is constructed with a double passage. So also
on the railroad cars, which are then by means of large stoves
rendered comparatively comfortable. Ventilation is but little
regarded in winter. The frosty air is so keen that it is excluded at
all cost. The nicely spun theories as to the fatal poison derived
from twice-breathed air are unheeded here, nor do the people seem to
be any the worse for disregarding them. The animal food brought to
market from the country is of course frozen hard as stone, and will
keep sweet for months in this condition, having finally to be cut up
for use by means of a saw or axe; no knife could sever it. But in
spite of its chilling physical properties, the winter is the season
of gayety and merriment in this peculiar capital. With the first
snow, wheels are cheerfully discarded, and swift-gliding sleighs take
the place of the uncomfortable droskies; the merry bells jingle
night and day a ceaseless tune; the world is robed in bridal white,
and life is at its gayest. Balls, theatres, concerts, court fêtes,
are conducted upon a scale of magnificence unknown in Paris, London,
or Vienna. Pleasure and reckless amusement seem to be the only end
and aim of life among the wealthier classes,--the nobility as they
are called,--who hesitate at nothing to effect the object of present
enjoyment. Morality is an unknown quantity in the general
calculation. When that Eastern monarch offered a princely reward to
the discoverer of a new pleasure, he forgot to stipulate that it
should be blameless.

If there are poverty and wretchedness existing here it is not obvious
to the stranger. More or less of a secret character there must be in
every large community; but what we would say is that there is no
street begging, and no half-starved women or children obstruct the
way and challenge sympathy, as in London or Naples. There is to be
sure a constant and systematic begging just inside the doors of the
churches, where one passes through a line of nuns dressed in black
cloaks and peaked hoods lined with white. These individuals are sent
out from the religious establishments to which they belong to solicit
alms for a series of years, until a certain sum of money is realized
by each, which is paid over to the sisterhood,--and which, when the
fixed sum is obtained, insures them a provision for life. This to the
writer's mind forms the very meanest system of beggary with which he
has yet been brought in contact. These women, mostly quite youthful,
are apparently in perfect health and quite able to support themselves
by honest labor, like the rest of their sisterhood. As we have
intimated, there is no St. Giles, Five Points, or North Street in
St. Petersburg. The wages paid for labor are very low, amounting, as
we were told, to from forty to fifty cents per day in the city, and a
less sum in the country. The necessities of life are not dear in the
capital, but the price of luxuries is excessive. The common people
are content with very simple food and a share of steaming hot tea.
The drosky drivers are hired by companies who own the horses and
vehicles, and receive about eight dollars per month on which to
support themselves. They pick up a trifle now and then from generous
passengers in the way of _pourboire_, and as a class they are the
least intelligent to be found in the metropolis. There is a local
saying applied to one who is deemed to be a miserable, worthless
fellow. They say of him, "He is only fit to drive a drosky." The
Paris, New York, London, and Vienna cab-drivers are cunning and
audacious, but the Russian drosky-driver is very low in the scale of
humanity, so far as brains are concerned, and does not know enough to
be a rogue.

Discontent among the mass of the people does not exist to any
material extent; those who represent the case to be otherwise are
seriously mistaken. It is the few scheming, partially educated, idle,
disappointed, and useless members of society who ferment revolution
and turmoil in Russia,--people who have everything to gain by public
agitation and panic; men actuated by the same spirit as those who
were so lately condemned to death for wholesale murder in our own
country. Nine tenths and more of the people of Russia are loyal to
"father the Tzar,"--loyal to his family and dynasty. Nihilism is
almost entirely stimulated from without. England is more seriously
torn by internal dissensions to-day than is Russia, and the German
people have a great deal more cause for dissatisfaction with their
government than have the Russian. To hold up the Russian government
as being immaculate would be gross folly; but for foreigners to
represent it to be so abhorrent as has long been the fashion to do,
is equally incorrect and unjust. Nihilism means _nothingness_; and
never was the purpose of a mad revolutionary combination more
appropriately named. This murderous crew has been well defined by an
English writer, who says, "The Nihilists are simply striving to force
upon an unwilling people the fantastic freedom of anarchy." The very
name which these restless spirits have assumed is an argument against
them. Some have grown sensitive as to having the title of Nihilists
applied to them, and prefer that of Communists or Socialists, which
are in fact synonymous names that are already rendered odious in
Europe and America. When Elliott, the Corn-law rhymer was asked,
"What is a Communist?" he answered: "One who has yearnings for equal
division of unequal earnings. Idler or burglar, he is willing to
fork out his penny and pocket your shilling." Socialism is the very
embodiment of selfishness; its aim is that of legalized plunder.
Communists, Socialists, Nihilists, are one and all disciples of
destruction. Just after the terrible explosion in the Winter Palace,
two of the conspirators met in St. Isaac's Square. "Is all blown up?"
asked one of the other. "No," was the reply, "the Globe remains."
"Then let us blow up the globe!" added the other. When these vile
conspirators are discovered, as in the case of those lately detected
in an attempt to burn the city of Vienna, they are found to be
composed of escaped convicts, forgers, and murderers, who naturally
array themselves against law and order. It was not when Russia was
little better than a military despotism under the Emperor Nicholas,
that Nihilism showed its cloven foot. Alexander II. was assassinated
in the streets of St. Petersburg after the millions of grateful serfs
had been given their liberty, the press granted greater freedom of
discussion, the stringent laws mitigated, and when the country was
upon its slow but sure progress towards constitutional government.
National freedom is not what these anarchists desire; they seek
wholesale destruction. The devotion to the Tzar evinced by the common
people is not slavish, or the result of fear; it is more of childlike
veneration. Whatever the Emperor commands must be done; no one may
question it. The same respect exists for the property of the Tzar. No
collector of government taxes fears for his charge in travelling
through the least settled districts. The money he carries belongs to
the Tzar and is sacred; no peasant would touch it. The Tzar is the
father of his people, commanding parental obedience and respect. The
author believes this sentiment to be largely reciprocal, and that the
monarch has sincerely the best good of the people at heart.

A fresh scandal has lately been started in the columns of the
European press, notably in the English and German papers,--that the
Tzar is addicted to gross intemperance, and may at any time in a
moment of excess plunge headlong into a foreign war. Of course no
casual visitor to Russia can offer competent evidence to the
contrary; but it was our privilege to see Alexander III. on several
occasions, and at different periods of the day, being each time
strongly impressed with a very different estimate of his habits. The
Emperor presents no aspect of excess of any sort, but on the contrary
appears like one conscious of his great responsibility and actuated
by a calm conscientious resolve to fulfil its requirements. "What
King so strong can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?" asks

Our remarks as to the honesty of the peasantry in all matters
relating to the Tzar must not be taken as indicating the honesty of
the Russian masses generally, as regards strangers and one another,
especially those of the large cities and the habitués of the great
fairs. There are no more adroit thieves in Christendom than those of
St. Petersburg and Moscow. Some of the anecdotes relating to these
gentry seem almost incredible for boldness, adroitness, and success.
There is a familiar proverb here which says, "The common Russian may
be stupid, but he would only make one mouthful of the Devil himself!"

Intemperance is the great bane of the lower classes, and the
aggregate quantity of spirit consumed by the people is almost beyond
belief, though St. Petersburg is not to be compared with Moscow in
this very objectionable respect. The chief means of intoxication is
the drinking of Vodka, brandy made from grain. The drunken Russian
however is not as a rule quarrelsome, he only becomes more lovingly
demonstrative and foolish. A ludicrous though sad evidence of this
peculiarity was observed in front of the Hôtel d'Angleterre. A
well-dressed and intelligent appearing citizen paused opposite the
principal entrance, took off his hat, and quietly but tenderly
apostrophized it, smoothing the crown affectionately, which he petted
and kissed. It was then replaced properly upon his head, and the
wearer passed on to the next corner, where his chapeau was again made
the recipient of his fond caresses and gentle assurances, ending as
before with a devoted kiss. This process was repeated several times
as he passed along the big square of St. Isaac's totally indifferent
to all observers. Singular to say, this behavior was the only
manifest evidence of the individual's inebriety; but the truth is,
our Muscovite was very drunk.

Nearly every nationality of Europe and many of Asia are represented
on the business streets of St. Petersburg,--Persians, English,
Arabs, Greeks, Circassians, and so on, each more or less strongly
individualized. The close observer is not long in discovering that
the northern being the sunny side of the streets radiating from the
Admiralty, on that side are to be found the finest shops. The summer
days are long; twilight is not a period between light and darkness,
but between light and light. The street lamps are nearly useless at
this season of the year. Friday is the sacred day of the Moslem, the
turbaned Turk, and the black-bearded Persian; Saturday the Jews
appear in holiday attire (though they are not in favor here), Sunday
being appropriated by the professed Christian. Nowhere else is there
such an array of white palatial residences, such an airy metropolitan
aspect, such grand and costly statues of bronze, such broad and
endless boulevards. The English Quay is a favorite promenade and
drive; it is surrounded by the grand residences of wealthy Russians,
who live on a scale of splendor and expense equal to petty
sovereigns. A marked feature in the windows, balconies, and entrances
of these dwellings was the long, wavy, green leaves of tropical
plants, which must require a world of care to insure their healthful
existence in this climate. Handsome four-in-hand vehicles dash
through the fashionable streets, and though one sees both sexes in
public, there seems to be a half-Oriental exclusiveness surrounding
womanhood in the realm of the Tzar. Glare and glitter are manifest on
all sides, but the domestic virtues are little cultivated in any
class of society, marriage being scarcely more than a matter of
form, hardly ever one of sentiment. As in France and at Continental
courts generally, intrigue and sensuality prevail in those very
places to which the common people look for their example. Gaming is a
prevailing vice among the women, if we may credit what we were told
and judge from what little we saw. As to gentlemen, they have
practised that vice almost from boyhood; it is the universal habit of
Russian youth. But to all such general remarks there are noble
exceptions, and if these are rare they are all the more appreciable.

We were speaking of the English Quay, which recalls the beauty and
spirited action of the Russian horses. No stranger will fail to
notice them. The author has seen animals more beautiful in form among
the Moors; but taken as a whole the horses of St. Petersburg, whether
we select them from those kept for private use, or from the cavalry
of the army, or the artillery attached to the garrison, are the
finest equine specimens to be seen anywhere. The dash of Tartar blood
in their veins gives them all the vigor, spirit, and endurance that
can be desired. The five islands of the city separated by the arms of
the Nevka and Neva, are named the "Garden Islands," which form the
pleasure-drive of the town. They have quite a country aspect, and are
a series of parks in fact, where the fine roads wind through shady
woods, cross green meadows, and skirt transparent lakes. Here every
variety of villa and châlet is seen embowered in attractive verdure,
where one is sure in the after part of the day to meet the best
equipages of the citizens, occupied by merry family parties.

The city of the Neva is the most spacious capital ever built by the
hand of man, and one cannot but feel that many of its grand squares
presided over by some famous monument are yet dismally empty. The
millions of the Paris populace could find space sufficient here
without enlarging the present area. As we look upon it to-day, it
probably bears little resemblance to the city left by the great Peter
its founder, except in its grand plan; and yet it extends so little
way into the past as to have comparatively no root in history. The
magnificent granite quays, the gorgeous palaces, the costly churches
and monuments do not date previous to the reign of Catherine II. The
choice of the locality and the building of the capital upon it, is
naturally a wonder to those who have not thought carefully about it,
since it seems to have been contrary to all reason, and to have been
steadily pursued in the face of difficulties which would have
discouraged and defeated most similar enterprises. Ten thousand lives
were sacrificed among the laborers annually while the work was going
on, owing to its unhealthy nature; but still the autocratic designer
held to his purpose, until finally a respectable but not
unobjectionable foundation may be said to have been achieved upon
this Finland marsh. Yet there are those who reason that all was
foreseen by the energetic founder; that he had a grand and definite
object in view of which he never lost sight; and moreover that the
object which he aimed at has been fully attained. The city is
necessarily isolated, the environs being nearly unavailable for
habitations, indeed incapable of being much improved for any
desirable purpose. Like Madrid, it derives its importance from the
fact that it is the capital,--not from its location, though it has a
maritime relation which the Spanish metropolis cannot boast. The
great interest of the city to the author was its brief but almost
magical history, and the genius of him who founded it, of whom Motley
said that he was the only monarch who ever descended from a throne to
fit himself properly to ascend it. In population and its number of
houses St. Petersburg is exceeded by several European cities; but its
area is immense.

St. Isaac's Cathedral was begun in 1819 and completed in 1858, being
undoubtedly the finest structure of its class in Northern Europe. So
far as its architecture is concerned, its audacious simplicity
amounts to originality. It stands upon the great square known as
Isaac's Place, where a Christian church formerly stood as early as
the time of Peter. Its name is derived from a saint of the Greek
liturgy,--St. Isaac the Delmatian,--and is altogether distinct from
the patriarch of that name in the Old Testament. As the Milan
Cathedral represents a whole quarry of marble, this church may be
said to be a mountain of granite and bronze. Nor is it surprising
that it occupied forty years in the process of building; its
completion was only a question of necessary time, never one of
pecuniary means. Whatever is undertaken in this country is carried
to its end, regardless of the cost. The golden cross on the dome is
three hundred and thirty-six feet from the ground, the form of the
structure being that of a Greek cross with four equal sides,
surmounted by a central dome, which is covered with copper overlaid
with gold. Two hundred pounds of the precious metal, we were told,
were required to complete the operation. The dome is supported by a
tiara of polished granite pillars. Each of the four grand entrances,
which have superb peristyles, is reached by a broad flight of granite
steps. The four porches are supported by magnificent granite columns
sixty feet in height, with Corinthian capitals in bronze, these
monoliths each measuring seven feet in diameter. The entire
architectural effect, as already intimated, is one of grandeur and
simplicity combined; but the impressive aspect of the interior, when
the lamps and tapers are all lighted, is something so solemn as to be
quite beyond description,--illumination being a marked feature in the
Greek, as in the Roman Catholic Church. No interment, baptism, or
betrothal takes place in Russia without these tiny flames indicative
of the presence of the Holy Spirit; and thus it is that the humblest
cabin of the peasant or city laborer supports one ever-burning lamp
before some hallowed and saintly picture. Instrumental music is not
permitted in the Greek Church, but the human voice forms generally
the most effective portion of the service; and of course the choir of
St. Isaac's is remarkable for its excellence. Some idea of the cost
of this cathedral may be found in the fact that to establish a
suitable foundation alone cost over a million roubles; and yet at
this writing a hundred skilled workmen are endeavoring to secure the
heavy walls so as to stop the gradual sinking which is taking place
at three of the corners! It is feared that these walls before many
years will have to come down all together, and a fresh and more
secure foundation created by the driving of another forest of piles.
It is to be hoped that St. Isaac's may be indefinitely preserved in
all its purity of design and splendor of material; and with its
foundation established this may reasonably be expected. Architecture
has been called the printing press of all time, from the period of
the Druids to our own day. Future generations will perhaps read in
this noble edifice a volume of history relating to the state of
society, the degree of culture existing, and the iron despotism which
entered into its construction.

Russia has always been famous for its church bells. That of
St. Isaac's, the principal one of the city, weighs over fifty-three
thousand pounds and gives forth sounds the most sonorous we have ever
chanced to hear. These great Russian bells are not rung by swinging;
a rope is attached to the clapper, or tongue, and the operator rings
the bell by this means. Our hotel was on Isaac's Place, and our
sleeping apartment nearly under the shadow of the lofty dome of the
church. It seemed as though the bell was never permitted to rest,--it
was tolling and ringing so incessantly, being especially addicted to
breaking forth at the unseemly hours of four, five, and six o'clock
A. M. Of course sleep to one not accustomed to it was out of the
question, while fifty-three thousand pounds of bell-metal were being
so hammered upon. It was not content to give voice sufficient for a
signal to the specially devout, but its outbursts assumed chronic
form, and having got started it kept it up for the half-hour
together, causing the atmosphere to vibrate and the window sashes to
tremble with thrills of discomfort. Sometimes it would partially
subside in its angry clamor, and one hoped it was about to become
quiet, when it would suddenly burst forth again with renewed vigor,
and with, as we fancied, a touch of maliciousness added. Then,--then
we did not ask that blessings might be showered upon that bell,
but--well, we got up, dressed, and took a soothing walk along the
banks of the swiftly flowing river!

On the right of Isaac's Place as one looks towards the Neva is the
spacious Admiralty, reaching a quarter of a mile to the square of
the Winter Palace. On the left is the grand and effective structure
of the Senate House. Immediately in front of the cathedral, between
it and the river, surrounded by a beautiful garden, stands the
famous equestrian statue of Peter the Great in bronze. The horse is
seventeen feet high, and the rider is eleven. Horse and rider rest
upon a single block of granite weighing fifteen hundred tons, which
was brought here from Finland at great cost and infinite labor. The
effect of this group struck us as being rather incongruous and far
from artistic; but it is only fair to add that many able judges
pronounce it to be among the grandest examples of modern sculpture.
Falconet, the French artist, executed the work at the command of
Catherine II. On the opposite side of the cathedral is the more
modern equestrian statue and group reared in memory of the
Emperor Nicholas, one of the most elaborate, costly, and
artistic compositions in bronze extant. At each corner of the
profusely-embossed pedestal stands a figure of life size, moulded
after busts of the Empress and her three daughters. We had not
chanced to know of this work of art before we came full upon it on
the morning following our arrival in the city; but certainly it is
the most remarkable and the most superb monument in St. Petersburg.
Well was the man it commemorates called the Iron Emperor, both on
account of his great strength of body and of will. His was a
despotism which permitted no vent for public opinion, and which for
thirty years kept an entire nation bound and controlled by his
single will. It was the misfortunes which befell Russia through the
Crimean war that finally broke his proud self-reliance. He died, it
is said, of a broken heart on the 2d of March, 1855.

Before leaving the subject of St. Isaac's Cathedral, let us refer to
its interior, which is very beautiful, and to us seemed in far better
taste than the gaudy though costly embellishments of the Spanish and
Italian churches. The Greek religion banishes all statues, while it
admits of paintings in the churches, as also any amount of chasing,
carving, and gilding. The various columns of malachite and
lapis-lazuli, together with the abundant mosaic and bronze work, are
characterized by exquisite finish. The many life-size portraits of
the disciples and saints in the former material present an infinite
artistic detail. The small circular temple which forms the inmost
shrine was the costly gift of Prince Demidof, who is the owner of the
malachite mines of Siberia. The steps are of porphyry, the floor of
variegated marble, the dome of malachite, and the walls of
lapis-lazuli,--the whole being magnificently gilded. The intrinsic
value of this unequalled shrine is estimated at a million dollars.
Many others of the superb decorations of the interior are the gifts
of wealthy citizens of St. Petersburg. The numerous battle-trophies
which enter into the decoration of the interior of this cathedral
seemed to us a little incongruous, though quite common in this
country, and indeed in other parts of Europe. The banners of England,
France, Turkey, and Germany are mingled together, telling the story
of Russia's struggles upon the battlefield and of her victories. The
keys of captured fortresses are also seen hanging in clusters upon
the walls, flanked here and there by a silver lamp burning dimly
before some pictured saint. The cost of constructing and furnishing
St. Isaac's was over fifteen million dollars.

All art decorations and objects of _virtu_ which one finds in Russia
seem to partake of other and various nationalities, a fact which is
perhaps easily accounted for. The Empire is located between the East
and the West, and has derived her tastes and art productions from
both, as the influence of Asia and Europe are mingled everywhere.
Assyria, China, India, Greece, Byzantium, France, and England, all
contribute both artists and materials to adorn the Russian palaces,
churches, and public buildings. The more practical Americans first
built her railroads and first established her now famous
machine-shops. Of originality there is very little; all is borrowed,
as it were. There is no such thing as Russian art pure and simple;
and yet over the broad territory which forms the dominion of the
Tzar, we know there have been in the past centuries large,
self-dependent communities, who must have been more or less skilled
in the various arts, but of whom we know only what may be gathered
from half-obliterated ruins of temples and of tombs. The obscurity
which envelops the early periods of Russian history is well known to
be more impenetrable than that of nearly any other civilized region
of the globe. If there can be said to be a Russian style of
architecture, it is a conglomerate, in which the Byzantine
predominates, brought hither from Constantinople with Christianity.

St. Petersburg is not without its triumphal arches. Two very noble
and elaborate structures of this character connect the city with its
most important territories,--the one on the road to Narva, the other
on that leading to Moscow. The first named is specially noticeable,
and was built to commemorate the victorious return of the Russian
troops in 1815. The arch is supported by lofty metal columns, and
surmounted by a triumphal car drawn by six bronze horses, which have
never made a journey abroad like those in the piazza of St. Mark. In
the car is a colossal figure of Victory crowned with a laurel wreath
and holding emblems of war.


  The Winter Palace. -- The Hermitage and its Riches. -- An Empress
  and her Fancies. -- A Royal Retreat. -- Russian Culture. --
  Public Library. -- The Summer Garden. -- Temperature of the City.
  -- Choosing of the Brides. -- Peter's Cottage. -- Champ de Mars.
  -- Academy of Fine Arts. -- School of Mines. -- Precious Stones.
  -- The Imperial Home at Peterhoff. -- Curious and Interesting
  Buildings. -- Catherine's Oak. -- Alexander III. at Parade. --
  Description of the Royal Family. -- Horse-Racing. -- The
  Empress's Companions.

Only Rome and Constantinople contain so many imperial residences as
does St. Petersburg, within whose borders we recall twelve. Some idea
may be formed of the size of the Winter Palace, from the fact that
when in regular occupancy it accommodates six thousand persons
connected with the royal household. With the exception of the Vatican
and that at Versailles, it is the largest habitable palace in the
world, and is made up of suites of splendid apartments, corridors,
reception saloons, banqueting rooms, galleries, and halls. Among them
is the Throne Room of Peter the Great, the Empress's Reception-Room,
the Grand Drawing-Room, Hall of St. George, the Ambassadors' Hall,
the Empress's Boudoir, and so on. The gem of them all, however, is
the Salle Blanche, so called because the decorations are all in white
and gold, by which an almost aërial lightness and fascination of
effect is produced. It is in this apartment that the court fêtes take
place; and it may safely be said that no royal entertainments in
Europe quite equal those given within the walls of the Winter Palace.
One becomes almost dazed by the glare of gilt and bronze, the number
of columns of polished marble and porphyry, the gorgeous hangings,
the carpets, mosaics, mirrors, and candelabra. Many of the painted
ceilings are wonderfully perfect in design and execution; while
choice works of art are so abundant on all hands as to be confusing.
The famous Banqueting Hall measures two hundred feet in length by one
hundred in breadth. As we came forth from the grand entrance upon the
square, it was natural to turn and scan the magnificent façade as a
whole, and to remember that from the gates of this palace Catherine
II. emerged on horseback, with a drawn sword in her hand, to put
herself at the head of her army.

The Hermitage, of which the world has read and heard so much, is a
spacious building adjoining the Winter Palace, with which it is
connected by a covered gallery, and is of itself five hundred feet
long. It is not, as its name might indicate, a solitude, but a grand
and elaborate palace in itself, built by Catherine II. for a
picture-gallery, a museum, and a resort of pleasure. It contains
to-day one of the largest as well as the most precious collections of
paintings in the world, not excepting those of Rome, Florence, or
Paris. The catalogue shows twenty originals by Murillo, six by
Velasquez, sixty by Rubens, thirty-three by Vandyke, forty by
Teniers, the same number by Rembrandt, six by Raphael, and many by
other famous masters. The Spanish collection, so designated, was sold
to the Russian Government by the late King of Holland. The more
modern French and Dutch schools are also well represented in this
collection, particularly the latter. Among the many pieces of antique
sculpture in the halls devoted to statuary, is the remarkable Venus
known as the Venus of the Hermitage, found at Castle Gandolfo, and
which is favorably compared by professional critics to the Venus di
Medici. The series of Greek and Etruscan vases, with many superb
examples of malachite from Siberia (over one thousand in all), are
quite unequalled elsewhere, and embrace the famous vase of Cumæ from
the Campana collection, as well as the silver vase of Nicopol and the
golden vase of Kertch. The treasury of gems exhibited to the visitor
is believed to be the finest and most valuable collection in the
world. It includes the well-known Orlof diamond, whose history is as
interesting as that of the Kohinoor (Mountain of Light), now in the
English Royal Treasury, and which it exceeds in weight by a little
over eight carats. This brilliant stone was bought by Count Orlof for
the Empress Catherine of Russia, and is considered to have an
intrinsic value of about eight hundred thousand dollars. The intimate
relation of Russia with Persia and India in the past has made her the
recipient of vast treasures in gems; while of late years the mines of
the Urals, within her own territory, have proved an exhaustless
Fortunatus's purse. The interior of the Hermitage is decorated with
Oriental luxuriance tempered by Western refinement. The gilding is
brilliant, the frescos elaborate to the last degree, and the masses
of amber, lapis-lazuli, gold, silver, and precious gems are a
never-ending surprise. Here are also preserved the private libraries
that once belonged to Zimmermann, Voltaire, and Diderot, besides
those of several other men of letters. There is a Royal Theatre under
the same roof, where plays used to be performed by amateurs from the
court circles for the gratification of the Empress Catherine, the
text of which was not infrequently written by herself.

The Empress indulged her royal fancy to its full bent in the use she
made of the Hermitage. On the roof was created a marvellous garden
planted with choicest flowers, shrubs, and even trees of considerable
size. This conservatory was heated in winter by subterranean fires,
and sheltered by glass from the changeable weather at all times. At
night these gardens were illumined by fancy-colored lamps; and report
says that in the artificial groves and beneath the screen of tropical
plants scenes not quite decorous in a royal household were often
enacted. The will of the Empress was law; no one might question the
propriety of her conduct. Famous men from far and near became her
guests, musicians displayed their special talents, and various
celebrities their wit. With all her recklessness, dissipation, and
indelicacy, Catherine II. was a woman of great intellectual power
and of keen insight, possessing remarkable business capacity. Well
has she been called the Semiramis of the North. One evidence of her
practical character was evinced by her promotion of emigration from
foreign countries. By liberal gratuities transmitted through her
diplomatic agents in Western Europe, she induced artisans and farmers
to remove to her domain, and placing these people in well-selected
centres did much towards civilizing the semi-barbarous hordes over
whom she ruled. The visitor to the Academy of Arts at St. Petersburg
will not fail to regard with interest a fine original portrait of the
Empress, representing a woman of commanding presence, with a large
handsome figure, big gray eyes, and blooming complexion.

Among other royal residences the Marble Palace erected by Catherine
for Prince Gregory Orlof stands but a short distance from the
Hermitage eastward. The Castle of St. Michael situated near the
Fontanka Canal was built by the Emperor Paul; and here he met his
sanguinary death. This structure is magnificently decorated. Close at
hand on the canal is the modern Michael Palace, before which
Alexander II. fell shattered by a Nihilist bomb on the 13th day of
March, 1881. Fortunately it also killed the miserable assassin who
threw it. The Taurida Palace presented by Catherine to her favorite
Potemkin is still a wonder of elegance, and is considered an object
of much interest to strangers, to whom it is freely shown at the
expense of the usual gratuities, though it is now occupied by an
humble branch of the imperial family. The ball-room is of enormous
proportions: here the musicians were originally suspended in the
chandeliers! When this gorgeous apartment was fully prepared for a
public entertainment, it required twenty thousand candles to light it
properly. The Amirtchkoff Palace situated on the Nevsky Prospect is a
favorite town residence of the Emperor Alexander III. To the newly
arrived visitor it would seem that one half the town belongs to the
Crown, and consists of public offices, military schools, charitable
institutions and palaces. In the immediate environs of the city,
within an extensive grove, is located what is called Catherine's
House, being little more than a cottage in a small forest. It is a
low wooden building two stories in height, and was shown to us as
containing the same furniture and belongings that surrounded the
Empress, who often retired here as a secluded spot where to indulge
in her erratic revels. The ceilings of the apartments are so low that
one can easily reach them with the hands when standing upright. There
are exhibited some pictures upon secret panels set in the walls,
which are of a character corroborative of the lewd nature attributed
to Catherine II. The situation of the cottage is really lovely,
surrounded by woods, lakes, and gardens. The rooms contain a number
of souvenirs of the Great Peter, manufactured by his own hands, and
who must certainly have been one of the most industrious of mortals.
One of these original productions was especially interesting, being
a large map some five or six feet square, drawn and colored upon
coarse canvas, and representing his dominions in considerable detail.
This map though somewhat crude in execution was yet an evidence of
Peter's versatile skill and tireless industry, modern survey having
in many respects corroborated what must have been originally only
conjecture drawn from the scantiest sources of information.

In passing the Imperial Public Library already mentioned, one could
not but feel that its vast resources of knowledge must not be
considered as typifying the general intelligence of the mass of the
Russian people. That must, we are sorry to say, be placed at a low
estimate. The difference between Scandinavia and Russia in this
respect is very marked and entirely in favor of the former. A large
majority of the common people of St. Petersburg cannot read or write,
while eight out of ten persons in Norway and Sweden can do both
creditably. So can nearly the same ratio of the inhabitants of Canton
and Pekin. It is not surprising that a people having no mental resort
will seek animal indulgences more or less disgraceful.

Let us be careful, however, not to give a wrong impression relative
to this matter of education. Until the time of Alexander II. the
village priests controlled all schools in the country, though often
they were utterly incompetent for teaching. But that liberal monarch
changed this, and gave the schools into the hands of the most capable
individuals, whether they were priests or otherwise. A manifest
improvement has been the consequence. Thirty years ago there were but
about three thousand primary schools in all Russia; to-day there are
nearly twenty-four thousand. This increase has been gradual, but is
highly significant. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography are
the branches which are taught in these schools. Statistics show that
in 1860 only two out of one hundred of the peasants drafted into the
army could read and write. Ten years later, in 1870, the proportion
had increased to eleven in a hundred, and in 1882 it had reached
nineteen in a hundred. Government organizes these village schools,
and holds a certain supervision over them, contributing a percentage
of their cost, the balance being realized by a small tax upon the
parents of the children attending them. Finland has an educational
system quite distinct from the empire, supporting by local interest
high schools in all the principal towns, and primary schools in every

In St. Petersburg the common signs over and beside the doors of the
shops are pictorially illustrated, indicating the business within,
these devices taking the place of lettered signs, which the common
people could not read. Thus the butcher, the barber, the pastry-cook,
and the shoemaker put out symbols of their trade of a character
intelligible to the humblest understanding. At times these signs are
very curious, forming ludicrous caricatures of the business which
they are designed to indicate, so laughable indeed that one
concludes they are designedly made ridiculous in order the more
readily to attract attention. There is a large population of
well-educated native and foreign-born people whose permanent home is
here, among whom a German element is the most conspicuous. Nor is
America unrepresented. There are good Russian translations of most of
the standard English and American authors, poets, and novelists. We
saw excellent editions of Shakspeare, Longfellow, and Tennyson; also
of Byron, Macaulay, Scott, and Irving. This list might be extended so
as to embrace many other names. The modern school of Russian romance
writers is not formed upon the vicious French standard, but rather
upon the best English; not upon that of Balzac and Dumas, but upon
Thackeray and George Eliot. Toorgenef, Gogol, Pisanski, and Goncharov
are Russian names whose excellence in literature have familiarized
them to English readers. There is upon the bookshelves of nearly
every cultured family in St. Petersburg and Moscow a translation of
Homer into Russian, the scholarly work of an assistant in the
Imperial library of St. Petersburg. Competent persons have pronounced
this to be equal to the best rendering which we possess in the
English language. The native Universities at Moscow, Kiev,
St. Petersburg, Kharkov, Odessa, Kazan, and Warsaw are all kept fully
up to modern requirements, and are all well attended.

The Mineralogical Academy of St. Petersburg is extremely interesting,
where the various riches of the Ural Mountains are especially
displayed in all their natural beauty. Topazes, rubies, opals,
garnets, pearls, and diamonds are to be seen here as large and as
perfect as the world can produce. Many of these gems are now as
delicately and scientifically cut in Siberia as at Amsterdam or New
York. One golden nugget was observed here which weighed over eighty
pounds. This remarkable specimen of the precious metal was dug out of
the earth exactly in its present form and condition. It would seem
that the mineral riches of Russia rival those of all the rest of the
world; and we ceased to wonder, after visiting this exhibition of
native mineral products, at the lavish use of gems and the precious
metals in the palaces and churches.

The extensive and remarkably beautiful promenade on the banks of the
Neva near the Trinity Bridge called the Summer Garden it would be
hard to equal elsewhere. The ever recurring surprise is that so many
acres of land in the very heart of a great capital can be spared for
a delightful pleasure-ground. It is laid out with long avenues of
fine trees, interspersed with lovely blooming flowers and musical
fountains. A grand specimen of the fuchsia, developed into a tree ten
or twelve feet in height, attracted our attention. It was laden with
its ever gracefully drooping flowers in dainty purple, scarlet, and
white. Marble statues are appropriately distributed representing the
Seasons, the goddess Flora, Neptune, and others, recalling the Prado
at Madrid, which is similarly ornamented. There is here also a fine
statue in memory of Kriloff, the La Fontaine of Russia. This
remarkable fabulist died as late as 1844. In the autumn these statues
are all carefully enclosed in boxes, and those of the shrubs and
trees which are not housed are also packed securely to protect them
from the extreme severity of the climate. It must be remembered that
although the thermometer rises here to 99° Fahrenheit in summer,
it also descends sometimes to 40° below zero in winter,--a range not
exceeded by the temperature of any other city in the world. It would
seem as though nothing which is exposed can withstand this frosty
climate. Even the granite monolith which forms the shaft of the
Alexander Column has been seriously affected by it. The same may be
said of the heavy stone-work which forms the embankment bordering the
Neva and the canals; so that workmen must rebuild annually what the
frost destroys.

In this famous and popular Summer Garden, on Monday the second day of
Whitsuntide, a ceremony used to take place of which we have all heard
and many doubted; it was called "The Choosing of the Brides." Young
girls, mostly of the middling class, dressed for the occasion in
their finest clothes and ornaments, came hither with their mothers
and were marshalled in line upon the broad paths. In front paraded
the young men accompanied by their fathers, walking back and forth
and freely examining with earnest eyes the array of blushing maidens.
If signs of mutual attraction were exhibited, the parents of such
would engage in conversation, which was intended to introduce the
young people to each other. This often led to an acquaintance between
those who had heretofore been perfect strangers, and, being followed
up, it finally led to betrothal and marriage. This annual custom was
looked upon with favor by all the common people, and was continued
until late years; but as a recognized formality it has become a thing
of the past. We were told, however, that it is still indirectly
pursued by maidens appearing in the garden on that special day
dressed in their best, where they are sought by young men who are
matrimonially inclined. No indelicacy is thought to attach itself to
this admission of purpose on the maiden's part, who is as of yore not
only incited but always chaperoned by her mother.

Near the Summer Garden is the little log building which was occupied
by Peter the Great while he superintended personally the work he
inaugurated here, and more especially the important part of laying
the foundations of the great city, so far back as 1703,--to use the
words attributed to him, while he was creating "a window by which the
Russians might look into civilized Europe." It is a rude affair built
of logs, the ceiling absolutely too low for a tall visitor to stand
under comfortably. The inside is lined with leather, and the
structure is preserved by a substantial brick house erected over and
about it, within which a few of the simple utensils that belonged to
the energetic autocrat are also to be seen. Among these articles was
a well made and still serviceable small-boat constructed by his own
hands, and in which he was accustomed to row himself about the Neva.
It will be remembered that Peter served an apprenticeship to this
trade in his youth. The apartment which was originally the workshop
of the royal carpenter has been transformed into a chapel, where the
common people crowd to witness the daily service of the Greek Church.
Some of these were seen to kiss the venerated walls,--an act of
devotion which it was difficult clearly to understand. True, the
Russians, like the Japanese and early Scandinavians, make saints of
their heroes; but we believe they forgot to canonize Peter the Great.

Close at hand is situated the spacious Champ de Mars, where the troops
of the garrison of all arms are exercised,--a never-ending occupation
here, one taking precedence of all others in a nation so thoroughly
military. The Russians make the best of soldiers,--obedient, enduring,
faithful, and brave. It is true that there are but few "thinking
bayonets" in the ranks; yet for the duty they are trained to perform,
perhaps such qualification is neither required nor particularly
desirable. Stories are often told of the hardship and rigid severity
of the Russian military service, but many of them are gross
exaggerations. The knout, of which such cruel stories are told, has
long been banished as a punishment in the army and navy. The Champ de
Mars is a square and perfectly level field where twenty thousand
troops--cavalry, artillery, and infantry--can be manoeuvred at a
time. On the border of this parade-ground stands a fine bronze statue
in memory of Marshal Souvarof, the ablest Russian general of his day,
and who died so late as the year 1800. The figure, heroic in size, is
represented wielding a sword in the right hand and bearing a shield in
the left.

On the Vassili Ostrof stands the spacious Academy of Arts, the front
on the Neva measuring over four hundred feet in length; and though it
is adorned with many columns and pilasters, its architectural effect
is not pleasing to the eye. Its size, however, makes it rather
imposing as a whole. The central portico is surmounted by a graceful
cupola, upon which a figure of Minerva is seated; beneath are seen
statues of Flora and Hercules. Two large and quite remarkable granite
sphinxes brought from Egypt stand in front of the Academy upon the
stone embankment of the river; but the broad business thoroughfare
between them and the building isolates these figures so that one
would hardly think they were in any way connected with the
institution. This Academy of Fine Arts is just one century old,
having been erected in 1786 after a design by a French architect. The
lower floor forms a series of halls devoted to sculpture, the
examples of which are arranged chronologically in various rooms
beginning with the early Greek and Roman schools and terminating with
the productions of the nineteenth century. In apartments over these
are the galleries devoted to paintings. One very interesting and
instructive division is that which is devoted to drawings
illustrating the progress of architecture. This gallery also affords
an admirable opportunity for studying the growth of what is termed
the Russian school of painting.

At the western extremity of the Vassili Ostrof is located the
Institution of Mines, or the Mining School, which is a resort of
special interest to strangers, being in fact a technological college
conducted by the Government upon the most liberal principles, and
designed to fit its students for becoming accomplished mining
engineers. It contains the finest collection of models and
mineralogical specimens we have ever seen collected together, not
excepting those of the British Museum. This institution will
accommodate about three hundred pupils, and is always improved to its
fullest educational capacity. The specimens of native gold alone
which are here exhibited have an intrinsic value of nearly a hundred
thousand dollars, while the beryls, tourmalines, amethysts, topazes,
and other minerals from Siberia are unequalled in any other
collection. The interested visitor cannot fail to receive a correct
impression of the great mineral wealth of this wide-spread empire,
and which will be found to exceed all previously conceived ideas. A
very beautiful rose-colored rubellite from the Urals was observed,
also a green beryl valued at twenty-five thousand dollars. Specimens
of the Alexandrite, named after Alexander I., are also to be seen
here in beautiful form and clearness. A printed list of the gems and
treasures generally which are gathered here would prove of great
interest. In the garden of the institution there is a model of a
mine, through the winding passages of which a guide bearing a lighted
taper conducts the visitor, while he explains the Russian process of
mining in Siberia and the Urals.

The Palace of Peterhoff is situated about sixteen miles from the city
of St. Petersburg, on the shore of the Neva where the river assumes a
width of eight or ten miles. It has always been famous for the
magnificent fêtes given here since the days when it was built by the
Great Peter. The main structure has no special merit in point of
architecture, but the location and the surroundings are extremely
beautiful. From the terrace, the great yellow Palace being built upon
a natural elevation some sixty feet above the level of the sea, one
gets a fine though a distant view of the coast of Finland,--a portion
of the Tzar's dominion which alone exceeds in size Great Britain and
Ireland, a widespread barren land of lakes and granite rocks, but
peopled by over two millions of souls. The parks, gardens, fountains,
hothouses, groves, flower-beds, and embowered paths of Peterhoff are
kept in the most perfect order by a small army of household
attendants. The whole forms a resort of regal loveliness and of
endless sylvan variety. The artificial water-works, cascades, and
fountains are arranged somewhat like those of St. Cloud, and nearly
equal to those of Versailles. In front of the Palace is a fountain
named Samson, which throws water to the height of eighty feet, and is
also constructed to form various fountains. It is called Samson from
the colossal bronze figure forcing open the jaws of a lion, and from
whence the water rushes copiously. The fountains are so arranged that
on the occasion of holidays and grand fêtes artificial lights can be
placed behind the liquid sheets, thus producing novel effects even
more wonderful than the golden waters of Parizade. Here the famous
Peter used to resort, and stroll about the gardens with his humble
favorite, a Polish girl, forgetting the cares of State. This lowly
companion besides great personal beauty possessed much force of
character, and exercised great influence over her melancholic and
morose master. Many instances are related of her interference in
behalf of mercy long before her final elevation, which showed a kind
and loving nature.

There are several other royal residences in these spacious grounds.
One near the sea-shore is that of Montplaisir, a long, low, one-story
brick structure with tiled floors and numbers of Dutch pottery
stoves. It is an exceedingly plain residence but still very
comfortable, containing many Dutch pictures which the Tzar brought
from that country. Peter was very much attached to this comparatively
humble dwelling, and he breathed his last in it. While standing in
the little chamber where he slept and where he died, his last words
were recalled: "I believe, and I trust." Here the Empress Elizabeth
occasionally spent the brief summer days, amusing herself, as we were
told, by cooking her own dinner. The low building is shaded by tall
sky-reaching old pines, whose odor pleasantly permeated the air as
we wandered about the grounds among the choice flowers and the
carefully tended undergrowth, half expecting to come upon the Talking
Bird and Singing Tree of the Arabian fable. One or two cypress
avenues in the palace grounds are matchless in sylvan effect,
producing those charming lines of perspective which trees alone can
afford. Here the local guide pointed out an oak which Catherine II.
discovered springing from an acorn, and which she protected and
planted where it now stands. This little incident occurred on the day
before she ascended the throne; but her reign was long enough for the
royal lady to see the tiny sprout grow into a lofty and vigorous

There is another small palace near by Montplaisir which was built
after the English style for the wife of the Emperor Nicholas, being
called Znamenska, and it is occupied at times by the present Empress.
The pictures in this summer resort are all of cabinet size and
numerous, but not of a very delicate or refined character; how
high-bred ladies could abide to have them constantly in sight was a
surprise to the author. The furniture is rococo, and almost too
delicate for domestic use. Two other small palaces at Peterhoff are
upon the islands Isola Bella and Isola Madre. These last are in the
Italian style, and as we saw them that soft, sunny July afternoon
they were embedded in gorgeous colors, "a snow of blossoms and a wild
of flowers." These may be enjoyed by strangers who understand that a
golden key opens all doors in Russia. The domestic arrangements in
these minor palaces are unique; the bathing apparatus in Montplaisir
is very curious, where the royal personages come even to-day to enjoy
steam baths, cold baths, and baths of every conceivable nature, often
submitting to a discipline which one would think might try the
physical powers of an athlete.

One building which we visited within the royal grounds was a very
homely square structure of wood, with a brick basement. The house was
surrounded by a deep broad moat which could be flooded at will; the
little foot-bridge being then raised, the spot was completely
isolated. In this building there were but two large rooms, one above
the other, the whole being from a design by Catherine II., and was
called by her the Peterhoff Hermitage. Hither the fanciful Empress
would retire to dine with her ministers of State or the foreign
ambassadors. The table was so arranged that the servants had no
occasion to enter the apartment where the meal was partaken of. In
front of each person sitting at table there was a circular opening,
through which at a signal the dishes could descend upon a small
dumb-waiter to the carving and cooking room below, and fresh ones be
raised in their places. Thus any number of courses could be furnished
and no servants be seen at all; nor was there any danger that State
secrets could be overheard or betrayed by the attendants. The whole
machinery of this automatic table is still operative, and was put in
motion for our amusement,--dishes appearing and disappearing as if
by magic at the will of the exhibitor.

The author's visit to Peterhoff occurred on a warm, bright Sabbath
day. Passage was taken at the English Quay on a steamer which plies
regularly between the two places. The decks were thronged with
well-dressed, well-behaved citizens, many of whom had wife and
children with them, to share the pleasure of a river excursion. Our
course was straight down the channel of the Neva; but long before the
landing was made, the gilded spires of the royal chapel and some
other surrounding golden minarets were discovered blazing under the
intense rays of the sun. At present, this beautiful retreat forms the
summer residence of the royal family. Lying half a mile off the
shore, above and below the landing at Peterhoff, was a light-draft
naval steamer, fully manned and armed, acting as a coast-guard. No
strange vessel or craft of even the smallest dimensions would be
permitted to pass within the line of these vessels. After driving
through the widespread royal gardens, dotted with flower-beds,
fountains, and mirror-like lakes shaded by a great variety of grand
old trees, we finally came upon the Champ de Mars,--and at an
opportune moment, just as the Emperor and Empress, with the Prince
Imperial and his brother next of age, came upon the ground in an open
barouche, to witness a review of the troops which are stationed here.
The Emperor, dressed in full uniform, alighted at once, and with
military promptness, began to issue his orders. As he moved here and
there, his tall commanding figure was quite conspicuous among his
attending suite. The Empress, who it will be remembered is the
daughter of the King of Denmark and sister of the Princess of Wales,
retained her seat in the vehicle, looking very quiet and composed;
but the young princes, dressed in white linen coats and caps of a
semi-military character, kept a little in the rear, though close to
the Emperor, as he walked back and forth directing the movements of
the troops. The Empress is tall and stately in figure, her fair and
really handsome features bearing no traces of age or care. If she has
secret pangs to endure,--common to both the humble and the
exalted,--her features record, like the dial-plate in the piazza of
St. Mark, only the sunny hours. Her dark eyes lighted up with
animation, and a pleased smile hovered about her lips, while the
whole corps d'armée, as with one voice, greeted the Emperor when he
alighted, and gave the military salute.

The level parade-field was between thirty and forty acres in extent,
and the manoeuvres evinced the perfection of military drill. The
Queen of Greece and the Duchess of Edinburgh, with some attendant
ladies of the court, were also present in a carriage behind that
occupied by the Empress. The whole party, while it was of so
distinguished a character, was yet marked by great simplicity of
dress and quietness of manners. Nochili, brother of the late Emperor
and uncle to the present Tzar, was in the royal suite, wearing the
full uniform of an Admiral of the Russian navy, of which he is the
present efficient head. The Prince Imperial is a quiet, dignified lad
of seventeen, with features hardly yet sufficiently matured to
express much character. He bids fair to be like his parents, tall and
commanding in figure; a pleasant smile lighted up his face as he
watched with evident interest every detail of the parade. His brother
who accompanied him is about three years his junior, but was, we
thought, the more dignified of the two. When the whole body of
infantry passed the reviewing point at the double-quick, the
admirable precision of the movement elicited from the multitude of
civilians unlimited applause. In the several stages of the review
which the Emperor directed personally, he passed freely close by the
lines of the assembled citizens who were drawn hither from St.
Petersburg and elsewhere; also in and among the lines of soldiery. He
was calm, cool, and collected, the expression upon his features being
that of firmness, dignity, and assured power. The stories bruited
about concerning his hermit-like seclusion, caused by a realizing
sense of personal danger, are mostly exaggerations of the grossest
character. They are manufactured and set afloat by the cowardly
revolutionists, who strive in many subtle ways to create a false
sentiment against the Emperor. Here in St. Petersburg such stories
are known to be lies, but it is hoped that among the hidden nests of
anarchists in other parts of Europe, and even in America, they may
have their effect. That Alexander III. is popular with the masses of
Russia, both civil and military, there is no doubt. Of course the
avowed enmity of secret revolutionists renders it necessary to take
the usual precautions against outrage; consequently guards and
detectives are at all times on duty in large numbers, not only at
Peterhoff, but wherever the Emperor and royal family may happen to be
on public occasions. These detectives are composed of picked men
devoted to their duty, chosen for their known loyalty, courage, and
discretion, not one of whom but would lay down his life if called
upon so to do in order to protect that of the Emperor. The necessity
for employing such defensive agents is to be deplored; but it is not
confined to the court of Russia. Germany and Austria adopt similar
precautions; and even Victoria, amid all the boasted loyalty of her
subjects, is exercised by a timidity which leads to similar
precautions whenever she appears in public.

After the review had taken place on the occasion which we have
described, a slight change in the arrangements of the grounds
transformed the level field into an admirable race-course. The
Empress is over-fond of the amusement of horse-racing, and is herself
an excellent horsewoman, said to have the best "seat" in the saddle
of any royal lady in Europe, not even excepting that remarkable
equestrienne the Empress of Austria. She remained with her
lady-companions and the princes to witness the races, while the
Emperor with his military suite retired to the Imperial Palace half a
mile away. The ladies in the Empress's immediate company were very
refined in appearance, possessing strong intellectual faces and much
grace of manners; but as to personal beauty among the Russian ladies
generally, one must look for it in vain, the few vivid exceptions
only serving to emphasize the rule. While the men have fine regular
features and are generally remarkable for their good looks, their
mothers, sisters, and wives are apt to be positively homely; indeed,
it has passed into an axiom that nowhere are the old women so ugly
and the old men so handsome as in this country.

It will be remembered that Alexander III. succeeded to the throne on
the assassination of his father, March 13, 1881; and that he is far
more liberal and progressive than any of his predecessors is
universally admitted. We were told by influential Russians that a
constitutional form of government even may be established under his
rule, if his life is spared for a series of years. Though a true
soldier and an able one, he has not the ardent love for military
affairs which absorbed Nicholas I. While he is sensitive to national
honor as regards his relations with other countries, his home policy
is eminently liberal and peaceful. He has ably seconded his father's
efforts for the improvement of the judicial system, the mitigation of
the censorship of the press, the abolishment of corporal punishment
in the army and navy, and the improvement of primary educational
facilities. In such a country as Russia, progress in these directions
must be gradual; any over-zealousness to promote great reforms would
defeat the object.


  Power of the Greek Church. -- Freeing the Serfs. -- Education
  Needed. -- Mammoth Russia. -- Religion and Superstition. --
  Memorial Structures. -- Church Fasts. -- Theatres and Public
  Amusements. -- Night Revels. -- A Russian Bazaar. -- Children's
  Nurses in Costume. -- The one Vehicle of Russia. -- Dress of the
  People. -- Fire Brigade. -- Red Tape. -- Personal Surveillance.
  -- Passports. -- Annoyances. -- Spying Upon Strangers. -- The
  Author's Experience. -- Censorship of the Press.

It is not alone her military organization, colossal and complete as
it is, which forms the sole strength of the great Russian Empire,
embracing nearly two thirds of the earth's surface, and covering an
area of eighty millions of square miles. There is a power behind the
army which is nearly as potent as any other element in maintaining
the absolute sovereignty of the Emperor, and that is the Church which
recognizes him as its head; and where physical control might prove
inadequate to enforce the wishes of the Tzar, religious influence, as
directed by the priesthood, would undoubtedly accomplish as much with
the masses of the population as would force of arms. The clergy of
the Greek Church are the faithful servitors of absolutism, and from
the nature of things must always be hearty supporters of the reigning
monarch. It requires no remarkable insight for them to realize that
their very existence as a priesthood depends upon the stability of
the Empire. The Anarchists, who entertain but one distinctive idea,
admit of no fealty to God or man, and cherish as little respect for
the Church as for the State.

Alexander III. has probably at this writing one hundred millions of
subjects, embracing the most remarkable diversity of nationalities
and races of which it is possible to conceive. Since March 3, 1861,
there have been no serfs in the Empire. Twenty millions of human
beings who were slaves the day before, on that auspicious date were
proclaimed freemen. All honor to the memory of him who made this
bold and manly stride towards universal emancipation against the
combined influence of the entire Russian nobility! Whatever of
political restlessness there may be existing among the upper classes
of the Tzar's subjects is traceable in its origin to this freeing of
the peasantry of the country. Like slavery in our own Southern
States serfdom died hard, and its supporters are not yet all
"reconstructed." Like the American negroes, the serfs were sold from
master to master and treated like chattels; humanity was not a
relative term between noble and serf. Masters sent them to Siberia
to work in the mines, or to serve in the army, or exchanged them for
cattle or money, and often gambled them away by the dozen in a
single night. They made or unmade families according to the
heartless caprice of the moment, and unhesitatingly outraged every
domestic tie. Before the abolishment of serfdom the Government and
the nobles owned all the land in Russia; but to-day the former
serfs own at least one third of the land whereon they live and which
they cultivate, and for every acre (to their honor be it said) they
have paid a fair market value, having accumulated the means by
industry and rigid economy. An intelligent native merchant informed
the author that self-respect seemed to have been at once implanted
among the common people by the manifesto of March, 1861, and that a
rapid social improvement has been clearly observable ever since. The
better education of the rising generation is what is now most
required to supplement the great act of emancipation; and though
this is being attempted in the various districts to a limited extent
as we have shown, still it is but a slow condition of progress. Not
until the Government takes the matter seriously in hand, using its
authority and lending its liberal pecuniary aid, will anything of
importance be accomplished in this direction.

The Tzar's dominion embraces every phase of religion and of
civilization. Portions of the Empire are as barbaric as Central
Africa; others are semi-civilized, while a large share of the people
inhabiting the cities assume the highest outward appearance of
refinement and culture. This diversity of character spreads over a
country extending from the Great Wall of China on one side to the
borders of Germany on the other; from the Crimea in the South to the
Polar Ocean in the far North. As to the national or State
religion,--that of the Greek Church,--it seems to be based upon
gross superstition, and is therefore all the more effective as a
restraining principle from evil-doing among the great mass of poor
ignorant creatures who respect scarcely anything else. Much genuine
piety is observable among the Russians, a large proportion of the
educated people being zealous church-goers, strictly observing all
the outward forms of the religion they profess. In the churches there
is no distinction of person; all are deemed equal before the Almighty
Father. There are no seats in the temples of worship; all the
congregation stand or kneel, and during the services often prostrate
themselves upon the marble floor. The monks and nuns conduct a
thriving business in the sale of sacred tapers, holy relics, images,
wedding-rings, and also indulgences and prayers, as in the Roman
Catholic Church. Indeed, the resemblance in the forms and ceremonies
of the two are to one not initiated almost identical.

To commemorate such an event as leads other nations to erect
triumphal arches, Russia builds churches. In St. Petersburg, the
Church of St. Alexander commemorates the first victory won by the
Russians over the Swedes; St. Isaac's, the birth of Peter the Great;
Our Lady of Kazan, the triumph of Russian arms against the Persians
and the Turks. In Moscow, St. Basil commemorates the conquest of
Kazan; the Donskoi Convent, the victory over the Crim Tartars; and
St. Saviour's, the expulsion of Napoleon. _Slava Bogu!_--"Glory to
God,"--is an expression ever upon the lips of the devout Russian,
and he is only consistent to his Oriental instincts in the
multiplication of fane and altar throughout his native-land. If
fasting and prayer are indications of sincerity, he must be actuated
by honest convictions, since he has twice the number of days in the
year devoted to self-denial which are known to other religionists.
Every Wednesday and Friday, be his situation or condition what it
may, he must abstain from meat. More than one half the days in a
Russian year are devoted to fasting and humiliation. During seven
weeks before Easter no flesh or fish, no milk, no eggs, and no butter
can be partaken of without outraging the familiar rules of the
Church. For fifteen days in August a fast of great severity is held
in honor of the Virgin's death. We do not pretend to give a list of
the periods devoted to fast; these we have named are only examples.
Every new house in which a man lives, every new shop which he opens
for trade, must be formally blessed at the outset. So closely have
religious passions passed into social life that the people are even
more alive to its requirements than the priesthood, save in those
instances where perquisites are anticipated.

The cost of everything in Russia, except the bare necessities, seemed
to us to be exorbitant,--nice articles of dress or of simple wear
being held at such prices as naturally leads foreigners to avoid all
purchases which can conveniently be deferred. As to the native
population who are able to expend money freely, they do not seem to
care what price is charged them; their recklessness, indeed, in
money matters has long been proverbial. So long as they have the
means to pay with, they do so; when this is no longer the case, they
seem to live with equal recklessness on credit. We were told that one
third of the apparently affluent were bankrupt. Fancy articles which
are offered for sale in the city stores are nearly all imported from
Paris or Vienna; very few lines of manufactured goods are produced in
the country. Opera and theatre tickets cost three times as much as in
America; and all select public exhibitions are charged for in a
similar ratio, except a few which are organized on a popular basis
for the humbler classes, such as the tea and beer gardens. The
theatres of St. Petersburg are after the usual European style of
these structures,--all being large and convenient. As they are under
the sole charge of the Government, they are conducted on a grand
scale of excellence. Nothing but the choicest thing of its kind in
dramatic representation is permitted,--only the best ballet and
opera, aided by the most admirable scenery and mechanical effects.
The establishment known as the Italian Opera accommodates three
thousand spectators without crowding. In what is called the Michael
Theatre the best French troupes only appear; and it may be safely
said that the average performances excel those of Paris. A Government
censor critically examines every piece before its performance. The
prices paid by the directors for the services of the best European
performers are almost fabulous; no private enterprise could afford
to disburse such liberal compensations to artists. The necessity for
paying such extravagant rates arises partly from the disinclination
of prima-donnas and other dramatic artists to subject themselves to
the arbitrary direction of a censorship which is sure to hold them
strictly to the letter of their agreement, and which does not
hesitate to inflict exemplary punishment for wilful departure from
the same. Besides which, the rigor of the climate is such as to
create a dread among women-artists to encounter its exigencies. It is
only during the winter months that the theatres are open, as in the
summer season the court and fashionable people generally are absent
from the capital.

Here, as in Copenhagen and Stockholm, the people are assiduous in
improving the short summer weeks by devoting themselves heart and
soul to out-door amusements. Night is turned into day; the public
gardens are crowded,--the entertainments consisting of light
theatricals, music, acrobatic performances, dancing, and the like,
which are kept up alternating with each other until long past
midnight. The people in the mean time sit at little marble tables,
and sip tea from tumblers, drink beer, coffee, and spirits,
supplemented by various light condiments, until finally those who
drink fermented liquors become more than jolly. These places of
course draw together all classes of people, and more especially are
the nightly resort of the demi-monde. In European cities, generally,
such resorts are compelled to close at midnight; here they may last
until daylight returns. The Sabbath is the most popular day of the
seven at the public gardens, when day and evening performances take
place. The Greek churches, like the Roman Catholic, are always open
through the entire week, so that the devoutly-inclined can turn aside
at any hour and bow before the altar, which to him typifies all that
is holy. The Sabbath is therefore regarded here as it is in Rome,
Paris, or Seville,--in the light of a holiday as well as a holy-day.
After having attended morning Mass, a member of either church
unhesitatingly seeks his favorite amusement. The horse-races of
Paris, the bull-fights of Madrid, and the grand military-parades of
St. Petersburg, all take place on Sunday. Few European communities
find that repose and calmness in the day which seems best to accord
with American sentiment. It cannot be supposed that a community which
goes to bed so late,--seldom before two or three o'clock A. M.,--can
be early risers, and they certainly are not. Only the bakers' and
butchers' shops and the bar-rooms are open before ten o'clock A. M.,
while general business is not resumed before about midday. The
plodding laborer only is seen wending his way to work as the
church-bells chime out the six o'clock matins; and no matter how many
churches, shrines, or chapels he may pass, at each one he lifts his
hat, makes the sign of the cross upon his breast, and mutters a brief

Every Russian city has a Gostinnoi-Dvor, or Bazaar, meaning literally
the "Stranger's Court,"--a sort of permanent fair,--a "bon-marché"
on a large scale. That of St. Petersburg is situated on the Nevsky
Prospect; or rather it fronts upon that thoroughfare, but extends
through to Great Garden Street. The structure devoted to this purpose
is two stories in height, the second floor being reserved for
wholesale business, while the basement or ground-floor consists of a
multitude of retail shops, where nearly every conceivable kind of
goods is offered for sale. No fire is allowed in the bazaar even in
winter, except the tiny silver lamps which burn before the pictures
of saints. To suppose that these could be dangerous would be
sacrilege. There is one excellent rule in the Gostinnoi-Dvor: while
other city shops ask various prices, and sell for whatever they can
get, this great bazaar has fixed prices, and is supposed to adhere to
them. Regarding the quality of the goods sold here, truth compels us
to say that the intelligent traveller will hardly feel inclined to
invest much money in their purchase. Pictures of saints and packs of
cards are the two articles which find the largest sale in such
places. A propensity to gamble is as natural to this people as it is
to the Chinese. The popular cry of the Spanish lower classes is
"bread and bulls;" that of the Russians might be "saints and cards."
Next to vodka, cards are the evil genius of the masses. Many are the
dram-shops and potent the liquor where the idlers play with cards and
liquid fire. We were speaking to a resident upon these matters, when
he closed by saying: "Ah, yes, it is to be regretted; but what can
you expect? It is so hard to be good, and so very easy to be bad!"

Coming out of the labyrinth of narrow alleys and long arcades of the
bazaar upon the Nevsky Prospect side, we overtook a bevy of nursery
girls with their juvenile charges bound for the shady paths and
fragrant precincts of the Summer Garden. These maids are here quite a
social feature, and in their showy distinctive dress recall those of
the Tuileries at Paris, the Prado at Madrid, or the Ceylon nurses of
English officers' children at Colombo. These St. Petersburg domestics
much affect the old Russian costume, with added vividness of color,
producing a theatrical and gala-day effect. It seems to be quite a
mark of family distinction to have a nurse thus bedecked about the
house, or abroad with its baby-representative, while there is evident
rivalry between the matronly employers in regard to the richness of
the dresses worn by the maids. These costumes consist often of a
bonnet like a diadem of red or blue velvet, embroidered with gold,
beneath which falls the hair in two long braids. The robe is of some
wadded damask, the waist just below the arms, supplemented by a very
short skirt. Plenty of gold cord decks these garments, which are
usually braided in fantastic figures.

The one vehicle of Russia is the drosky, the most uncomfortable and
unavailable vehicle ever constructed for the use of man, but of which
there are, nevertheless, over fifteen thousand in the streets of the
imperial city. It has very low wheels, a heavy awkward body, and is
as noisy as a Concord coach. Some one describes it as being a cross
between a cab and an instrument of torture. There is no rest for the
occupant's back; and while the seat is more than large enough for
one, it is not large enough for two persons. It is a sort of sledge
on wheels. The noise made by these low-running ugly conveyances as
they are hurried by the drivers over the uneven rubble-stones of the
streets is deafening. Why the Russians adhere so tenaciously to this
ill-conceived four-wheeled conveyance, we could not divine. It has no
special adaptability to the roads or streets of the country that we
could understand, while there are half-a-dozen European or American
substitutes combining comfort, economy, and comeliness, which might
be profitably adopted in its place. The legal charge for conveyance
in droskies is as moderate as is their accommodation, but a foreigner
is always charged three or four times the regular fare. The poor
ill-paid fellows who drive them form a distinct class, dressing all
alike, in a short bell-crowned hat, a padded blue-cloth surtout, or
wrapper, reaching to their feet and folded across the breast. This
garment is buttoned under the left arm with a row of six small,
close-set silver buttons, while a belt indicates where the waist
should be. These drivers are a miserably ignorant class, sleeping
doubled up on the front of the droskies night and day, when not
employed. The vehicle is at once their house and their bed, and if
one requires a drosky he first awakens the driver, who is usually
curled up asleep like a dog. It is the only home these poor fellows
have, in nine cases out of ten. The horses are changed at night after
a day's service, but the driver remains at his post day and night.
Unlike the reckless drivers of Paris, Naples, and New York, the
Russian rarely strikes his horse with the whip, but is apt to talk to
him incessantly,--"Go ahead! we are in a hurry, my infant;" or, "Take
care of that stone!" "Turn to the left, my pigeon!" and so on.

All St. Petersburg wear top-boots outside the pantaloons. Even
mechanics and common laborers adopt this style; but wherefore, except
that it is the fashion, one cannot conceive. The common people
universally wear red-cotton shirts hanging outside the pantaloons. It
was surprising to see gentlemen wearing overcoats in mid-summer, when
the temperature was such that Europeans would be perspiring freely
though clad in the thinnest vestment. In winter the Russian covers
himself up to the very eyes in fur, and perhaps the contrast between
fur and woollen makes sufficient difference with him. It was observed
that the apparatus and organization for extinguishing fires in the
city was very primitive, water being conveyed in a barrel-shaped
vehicle, and other very simple means adopted. The water-ways of the
city, with a proper hose-system, ought certainly to supply sufficient
water for any possible exigency. In the several districts of the town
lofty watch-towers are erected, from which a strict look-out is kept
at all hours for fires; and a system of signals is adopted whereby
the locality of any chance blaze can be plainly and promptly
indicated. In the daytime this is done by means of black balls, and
in the night by colored lights. But in St. Petersburg as in Paris
destructive fires are of rare occurrence; for if one breaks out, the
houses are so nearly fire-proof that the damage is almost always
confined to the apartment where it originates.

In leaving St. Petersburg, it must be admitted that one encounters a
great amount of formality relating to passports and other matters
seemingly very needless. Though the principal sights of the city are
called free, yet one cannot visit them unattended by a well-known
local guide or without disbursing liberally of fees. Foreigners are
not left alone for a moment, and are not permitted to wander hither
and thither in the galleries, as in other countries, or to examine
freely for themselves. One is forbidden to make even pencil sketches
or to take notes in the various palaces, museums, armories, or
hospitals; and if he would afterwards record his impressions, he must
trust solely to memory. The author was subjected to constant
surveillance in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, which was to say the
least of it quite annoying; his correspondence was also withheld from
him,--but no serious trouble worth expatiating upon was experienced.
In passing from city to city it is absolutely necessary to have one's
passport _viséd_, as no railroad agent will sell a ticket to the
traveller without this evidence being exhibited to him; and finally,
upon preparing to leave the country, one's passport must show the
official signature authorizing this purpose. There is a proverb which
says, "The gates of Russia are wide to those who enter, but narrow to
those who would go out." No native of rank can leave the country
without special permission, which is obtainable on the payment of a
certain tax, though not unless it meets the Emperor's approval.
Under former emperors this has been a source of considerable
dissatisfaction to people who desired to travel abroad, and who could
not obtain the needed permission of the Tzar, but we were told that
under the present government much greater liberty of action is
accorded to subjects of all classes in this respect. It is hardly
necessary to remind the reader that in an absolute monarchy the will
of the ruler is law. In Russia all power is centred in the Emperor.
For the purpose of local administration, Poland, Finland, the Baltic
provinces, and the Caucasus have each their own form of government,
having been permitted to retain their local laws and institutions to
a certain extent when they were not at variance with the general
principle of the Empire. Though at the imperial headquarters of
government the Emperor is aided by four great Councils, he is free to
accept or reject their advice as he pleases.

The censorship of the press is still enforced to a certain extent,
though as already intimated it is far from being so rigid as
heretofore. At the Hôtel d'Angleterre, where the author made his
temporary home, it was noticed that a copy of the "New York Herald"
was kept on file for the use of the guests; but it was also observed
that it was not delivered from the Post-office until the day
subsequent to its receipt, which gave the officials ample time to
examine and pass upon the contents. On the day following our arrival
the Herald was delivered at the hotel minus a leading article, which
had been cut out by the Post-office officials, who did not consider
the subject, whatever it may have been, wholesome mental food to lay
before the Emperor's subjects. On expressing surprise to our host at
this mutilation of the newspaper, we were answered only by a very
significant shrug of the shoulders. Residents are very careful about
expressing any opinion regarding the official acts of the Government.
Books, newspapers, or reading matter in any form if found among a
traveller's baggage is generally taken possession of by the officers
of the customs; but if one is willing to submit to the necessary red
tape and expense, they will be returned to him upon his leaving the


  On the Road to Moscow. -- Russian Peasantry. -- Military Station
  Masters. -- Peat Fuel for the War-Ships. -- Farm Products. --
  Scenery. -- Wild-Flowers. -- City of Tver. -- Inland Navigation.
  -- The Great River Volga. -- The Ancient Muscovite Capital. --
  Spires and Minarets. -- A Russian Mecca. -- Pictorial Signs. --
  The Kremlin. -- The Royal Palace. -- King of Bells. -- Cathedral
  of St. Basil. -- The Royal Treasury. -- Church of Our Saviour. --
  Chinese City. -- Rag Fair. -- Manufactures.

The distance from St. Petersburg to Moscow is a little over four
hundred miles, the railroad built by American contractors having been
constructed absolutely upon a straight line, without regard to
population or the situation of considerable towns lying near the
route. The Russians measure distance by versts. The line between the
two cities is six hundred and four versts in length, which is
equivalent to four hundred and three English miles. At the time when
the route for the railroad was surveying there was a great diversity
of interest developed as to the exact course it should follow, and
bitter disputes grew up between individuals and communities. These
varied antagonistic ideas at last culminated in so decided an
expression of feeling that the commissioners having the matter in
charge were forced to appeal to the Emperor to settle the matter. He
listened to the statement of facts, examined the topographical maps
laid before him representing the country over which the proposed road
was to pass, and settled the matter in true autocratic style. Taking
a rule, he laid it upon the map between the two cities and drew with
a pencil a perfectly straight line from one to the other, saying to
his commissioners, "Build the road exactly upon that line;" and it
was done. The cars upon this route carry the traveller directly into
the heart of Russia. One is apt to become a little impatient at the
moderate speed attained upon the railroads in this country,
twenty-five miles per hour being the average rate of progress. Yet
the roads are remarkably well built, and the rolling stock, as a
rule, is superior to that generally found in Southern Europe. It is a
remarkable fact that at the breaking out of the Crimean war there
were less than eight hundred miles of railroad in the Tzar's entire
dominions, while to-day there are about twenty thousand miles of
well-constructed and efficient roads of this character, forming a
complete system permeating all populous sections of the country; and
to this may be added an annual increase of from six to eight hundred
miles. Had Nicholas I. possessed the means of moving large bodies of
troops with promptness from one part of his extended domain to
another which now exist, England and France would have found their
dearly-bought and but partially-achieved victory in the Crimea an
impossibility. While her enemies possessed rapid transit from all
points, and open communication with their base of supplies both by
steamboat and railroad, Russia's soldiers had hundreds of miles to
march on foot, over nearly impassable roads, in order to reach the
seat of war. Now the Emperor can concentrate troops at any desired
point as promptly as any other European power.

On the trip from St. Petersburg to Moscow one proceeds through
scenery of the most monotonous and, we must add, of the most
melancholy character,--flat and featureless, made up of forests of
fir-trees, interspersed with the white birch and long reaches of
wide, cheerless, deserted plains. The dense forest forms a prominent
feature of Russia north of the line of travel between the two great
cities, covering in that region fully a third part of the surface of
the country; indeed, the largest forest in Europe is that of
Yolskoniki, near the source of the Volga. On the contrary, to the
south of Moscow the vast plains or steppes are quite free from wood,
in fact only too often consisting of mere sandy deserts, unfit for
habitation. It seemed as though no country could be more thinly
inhabited or more wearisomely tame. Now and again a few sheep were
seen cropping the thin brown moss and straggling verdure, tended by a
boy clad in a fur cap and skin capote, forming a strong contrast to
his bare legs and feet. Few people are seen and no considerable
communities, though occasional sections exhibit fair cultivation.
This is partly explained by the fact that the road was built simply
to connect Moscow and St. Petersburg, as already explained. Though
inhabited for centuries by fierce and active races, the appearance
here is that of primitiveness; the log-cabins seem like temporary
expedients,--wooden tents, as it were. The men and women who are seen
at the stations are of the Calmuck type, the ugliest of all humanity,
with high cheek-bones, flattened noses, dull gray eyes,
copper-colored hair, and bronzed complexions. Their food is not of a
character to develop much physical comeliness. The one vegetable
which the Russian peasant cultivates is cabbage; this mixed with
dried mushrooms, and rarely anything else, makes the soup upon which
he lives. Add to this soup a porridge made of maize, and we have
about the entire substance of their regular food. If they produce
some pork and corn, butter and cheese, these are sold at the nearest
market, and are of far too dainty a character for them to indulge in,
since a certain amount of money must be raised somehow for the annual
visit of the tax-gatherer. We are speaking of the humble masses; of
course there are some thrifty peasants, who manage to live on a more
liberal scale, and to provide better subsistence for their families,
but they form the exception. The railroad is owned and operated by
the Government, and it was a little ludicrous to see the
station-masters in full uniform wherever the train stopped, with
their swords and spurs clanking upon the wooden platforms. A naval
officer might with just as much propriety wear spurs upon the
quarter-deck as a local railroad agent on shore. But the customs here
are unlike those of other lands; Russia resembles herself alone.

With the exception of the provinces which border on the Caucasus, all
Russia is prairie-like in surface. The moderate slopes and elevations
of the Urals scarcely break this vast plain which covers so large a
share of the globe. Two fifths of European Russia are covered with
woods, interspersed with morass and arable land; but as regards fuel,
the peat beds in the central regions are practically inexhaustible,
forming a cheap and ever-present means for the production of heat in
the long dreary winters, as well as for steam-producing purposes on
railroads and in manufactories. In the general absence of coal mines,
the importance of the peat-product can hardly be over-estimated. It
is considered by consumers that the same cubic quantity of peat will
yield one third more heat in actual use than wood, retaining it
longer; besides which it possesses some other minor advantages over
the product of the forest. At some points on the line of the railroad
immense mounds of peat were observed which had been mined, dried, and
stacked for future use by the employees of the Government. The
visible amount of the article was often so great as to be quite
beyond estimate by a casual observer. The long broad stacks in more
than one instance covered several acres of land, closely ranged with
narrow road-ways between them. They were twenty feet or more in
height, and conical-shaped to shed the rain. Prepared with rock-oil,
coal-dust, and some other combustible, we were told that this peat
had been successfully used on the Russian war-steamers, proving
superior to coal in the ordinary form, besides taking up much less
room in the ships' bunks. As to procure fuel for her ships of war has
been a problem difficult to solve heretofore, this immense storage of
peat looked to us as if designed to meet this special purpose. The
peasantry, as we have said, are generally quite poor, though many of
them now own their little farms, which the want of pecuniary means
compels them to work with the most primitive tools; besides which
they are entirely unaided by the light of modern agricultural
experience. No other country, however, is so rich in horses, mines of
gold, silver, copper, and precious stones, or in the more useful
products of iron, lead, and zinc. The fecundity of the Russians is
something elsewhere unequalled; still the inhabitants average but
about fifteen to the square mile, while Germany has nearly eighty,
and England a hundred and fourteen. The average climate is not
unfavorable to health, though there are insalubrious districts whose
condition is traceable to local causes. The birch forests with their
tremulous, silvery aspect, delicate and graceful, increase as one
penetrates towards central Russia upon this line; and there is ample
evidence of fair fertility of soil, which is by no means made the
most of. Rye, barley, oats, and flax seem to constitute the
principal crops under cultivation: while it was observed that nearly
every cabin, however humble, had its low, sheltered line of
rudely-constructed beehives, honey taking the place of sugar among
the common people. The villages were of rare occurrence, but when
seen presented road-ways as broad as the boulevards of great cities,
yet only lined by low, turf-roofed cabins. The winter season is so
long and severe that it is difficult for the peasant to wrest from
the half-reluctant earth sufficient upon which to subsist. He lives
in a log-cabin of his own construction; wife, daughter, and son all
join the father in hard field-labor, not a small share of which was
observed to be ditching, in order to render the marshy soil available
for crops. The brief season must be made the most of, and therefore
many hours are given to work and few to sleep. These peasants are
surrounded by all sorts of superstitions from their very birth. Each
of the many festivals of the year has its strange rites, songs, and
legends. The woods are believed to be inhabited by demons and
water-sprites, and peopled by invisible dwarfs and genii. They still
trust to charms and incantations for the cure of diseases, like the
Lapps and other semi-barbarians, while their rude log-cabins are but
one degree better than the habitations of these nomads. Nothing could
be more simple than the interior arrangements of their cabins, never
omitting, however, the picture of some saint, before which a lamp is
kept burning day and night. There is always a rude table, some pine
benches, and a huge stove. A wooden shelf raised a few feet from the
floor is the sleeping-place, and the bedding consists of sheep-skins,
the condition of which, long used and seldom if ever washed, may be
imagined. A painted frame-house is hardly to be seen outside of the
large towns; no peasant would aspire to such a luxury.

Forests of such density of undergrowth as to defy ingress to man
frequently line the railway for miles together; but the dull, dreary
loneliness of the way is relieved by occasional glimpses of
wild-flowers scattered along the road-side in great variety,
diffusing indescribable freshness. Among them, now and again, a tall,
glutinous, scarlet poppy would rear its gaudy head, nodding lazily in
the currents of air, and leading one to wonder how it came in such
company. A peculiar little blue-flower was frequently observed with
yellow petals, which seemed to look up from the surrounding nakedness
and desolation with the appealing expression of human eyes.
Snow-white daisies and the delicate little hare-bell came also into
view at intervals, struggling for a brief, sad existence, unless the
elfin crew consoled them beneath the moon's pale ray. We must not
fail to mention that the stations are beautified by floral displays
of no mean character. It seems that professional gardeners travel on
the line, remaining long enough at each place to organize the skilful
culture of garden-plants by the keeper's family during the summer
season; but it made one shudder to imagine what must be the aspect of
this region during the long frost-locked Russian winter.

On reaching Tver we crossed the Volga by a high iron bridge,--one of
the greatest rivers of the world, the Mississippi of Russia. The
average traveller does not stop at Tver any longer than is necessary
for the purpose of the railroad officials, but it is a considerable
and rising place, especially since the railroad between the two great
cities chanced to run through its borders. It contains a little over
thirty thousand inhabitants; has its Kremlin, cathedral, theatre,
library, and public parks. An English-speaking Russian, evidently a
man of business and affairs who was bound for Moscow, gave us a very
good idea of Tver. Its locality upon the river makes it the recipient
of great stores of grain, wool, and hemp for distribution among
western manufacturers. Wood-cutting and rafting also engage a large
number of the population, the product in the shape of dimension
lumber, deals, etc. finally being shipped to western European ports.
Our informant also spoke of this being the centre of an intelligent
community scarcely exceeded by the best society of St. Petersburg.
From this point the river is navigable for over two thousand miles to
far off Astrakhan. In a country so extensive, and which possesses so
small a portion of seaboard, rivers have a great importance; and
until the introduction of the growing system of railroads, they
formed nearly the only available means of transportation. The canals,
rivers, and lakes are no longer navigated by barges propelled by
horse-power. Steam-tugs and small passenger steamboats now tow great
numbers of flat-bottomed boats, which are universally of large
capacity. Freight by this mode of conveyance is very cheap; we were
told at Nijni Novgorod that goods could be transported to that great
business centre from the Ural Mountains, a distance of nearly
fourteen hundred miles by river, for twenty-five shillings per ton.
The Volga is the largest river in Europe; measured through all its
windings, it has a length of twenty-four hundred miles from its rise
among the Valdai Hills, five hundred and fifty feet above the
sea-level, to its _débouchure_ into the Caspian. Many cities and
thriving towns are picturesquely situated mostly on its right bank,
where available sites upon elevated ground have been found,--as in
the case of Kostroma, and also at Nijni-Novgorod, where it is joined
by the Oka. In addition to these rivers there are also the Obi, the
Yenisei, the Lena, the Don, and the Dnieper, all rivers of the first
class, whose entire course from source to mouth is within Russian
territory, saying nothing of the several large rivers tributary to
these. We must not forget, however, those frontier rivers, the
Danube, the Amoor, and the Oxus, all of which are auxiliary to the
great system of canals that connect the headwaters of all the
important rivers of Russia. The Volga by this system communicates
with the White Sea, the Baltic, and the Euxine,--statistics showing
that no less than fifteen thousand vessels navigate this great river

While we are placing these interesting facts before the reader
relating to the material greatness and facilities of the Empire, we
are also approaching its ancient capital, upon which the far-reaching
past has laid its consecrating hand. It is found to stand upon a vast
plain, through which winds the Moskva River, from which the city
derives its name. The villages naturally become more populous as we
advance, and gilded domes and cupolas occasionally loom up above the
tree-tops on either side of the road, indicating a Greek church here
and there amid isolated communities. As in approaching Cairo one sees
first the pyramids of Gheezeh and afterwards the graceful minarets
and towers of the Egyptian city gleaming through the golden haze, so
as we gradually emerge from the thinly-inhabited, half-cultivated
Russian plains and draw near the capital, first there comes into view
the massive towers of the Kremlin and the Church of Our Saviour with
its golden dome, followed by the hundreds of glittering steeples,
belfries, towers, and star-gilded domes which characterize the
ancient city. We were told that the many-towered sacred edifices of
Russia have a religious significance in the steeples, domes, and
spires with which they are so profusely decorated. Usually the middle
projection is the most lofty, and is surrounded by four others, the
forms and positions varying with a significance too subtile for one
to understand who is not initiated in the tenets of the Greek Church.
Though some of these temples have simply a cupola in the shape of an
inverted bowl, terminating in a gilded point capped by a cross and
crescent, few of them have less than five or six superstructures, and
some have sixteen, of the most whimsical device,--bright, gilded
chains depending from them, affixed to the apex of each pinnacle.
When one looks for the first time upon the roofs of the Muscovite
city as it lies under the glare of the warm summer sun, the scene is
both fascinating and confusing. The general aspect is far more
picturesque at Moscow than at the capital on the Neva, because the
city is here located upon undulating and in some parts even hilly
ground; besides which St. Petersburg is decidedly European, while
Moscow is Tartar in its very atmosphere. The first is the visible
growth of modern ideas; the last is the symbol of the past.

Though Moscow has been three times nearly destroyed,--first, by the
Tartars in the fourteenth century; second, by the Poles in the
seventeenth century; and again, at the time of the French invasion
under Napoleon, in 1812,--still it has sprung from its ashes each
time as if by magic power, and has never lost its original character,
being a more splendid and prosperous capital than ever before since
its foundation, and is to-day rapidly increasing in the number of its
population. The romantic character of its history, so mingled with
protracted wars, civil conflicts, sieges, and conflagrations, makes
it seem like a fabulous city. The aggregate of the population is not
much if any less than that of St. Petersburg, while the territory
which it covers will measure over twenty miles in circumference. "In
spite of all the ravages and vicissitudes through which Moscow has
passed in the thousand years of its existence," said a resident to
us, "probably no city in the world is less changed from its earliest
years." Descriptions of the place written by travellers nearly three
centuries since might pass for a correct exhibit of the ancient
capital to-day. The impress of the long Tartar occupation in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries still remains both in the
architecture and the manners and customs of the people, while much
of its original barbaric splendor permeates everything. At
St. Petersburg the overpowering influence of European civilization
is keenly felt; here, that of Oriental mysticism still prevails.

The city is unique taken as a whole. One seems to breathe in a
semi-Asiatic barbarism while strolling through its quaint streets and
antiquated quarters. There are no avenues long enough to form a
perspective, the streets winding like a river through a broad meadow,
but undulating so as occasionally to give one a bird's-eye view of
the neighborhood. Still there are modern sections which might be
taken out of Vienna, London, Dresden, or Paris, for one finds
characteristics of them all combined mingled with the gilded domes of
an Indian city, and the graceful minarets of Egypt. A certain modern
varnish is now and then observable. Gas has been introduced, and
tramways are laid in some of the principal thoroughfares. Like the
Manzanares at Madrid or the Arno at Florence, the Moskva is not a
deep river, though its channel conveys ten times the amount of water
that flows in those just named. It winds ribbon-like in and about the
city, adding greatly to its picturesqueness as seen from an
elevation. True, this city is in a central position as regards the
length and breadth of Russia, but that is about all one can say in
favor of the location. St. Petersburg reclaimed from the Finland
swamps has the commerce of the world at its door, and therein
presents a _raison d'être_, which almost excuses the labor and loss
of life and treasure which it cost.

Moscow is to the Russian what Mecca is to the pious Moslem, and he
calls it by the endearing name of "Mother." Like Kief and the
Troitzkoi, it is the object of pious pilgrimage to thousands
annually, who come from long distances and always on foot. The
ludicrously illustrated signs are as numerous here as they are in the
capital, often running into caricature. For instance, a fruit-dealer
puts out a gaudily-painted scene representing a basket of fruit and
its carrier coming to grief, the basket and contents falling from the
carrier's head and the fruit flying in all directions. A milk-shop
exhibited a crude sign depicting a struggle between a hungry calf and
a dairy-maid as to which should obtain the lacteal deposit from the
cow. These signs answer their purpose, and speak a mute language
intelligible to the Russian multitude. The city is said to have once
contained "forty times forty churches and chapels," but it has not so
many to-day, though there must be between six and eight hundred. The
ambassadors of Holstein said in 1633 that there were two thousand
churches and chapels in the capital. The Kremlin which crowns a hill
is the central point of the city, and is enclosed by high walls,
battlement rising upon battlement, flanked by massive towers. The
name is Tartar, and signifies a fortress. As such it is unequalled
for its vastness, its historical associations, and the wealth of its
sanctuaries. It was founded six or seven hundred years ago, and is an
enclosure studded with cathedrals covering broad streets and spacious
squares. That of Krasnoi exhibits a bronze monument in its centre
erected in honor of Minimi and Tojarsky, two Muscovite patriots. The
Kremlin is a citadel and a city within itself, being the same to
Moscow that the Acropolis was to Athens. The buildings are a strange
conglomerate of architecture, including Tartarian, Hindu, Chinese,
and Gothic, exhibited in cathedrals, chapels, towers, convents, and
palaces. We did not count them, but were told that there were
thirty-two churches within the walls. The cathedral of the Assumption
is perhaps the most noteworthy, teeming as it does with historic
interest, and being filled with tombs and pictures from its dark
agate floor to the vast cupola. Here, from the time of Ivan the Great
to that of the present Emperor, the Tzars have all been crowned; and
here Peter placed the royal insignia upon the head of his second
wife, the Livonian peasant-girl. One picture of the Virgin in this
church is surrounded by diamonds and other precious stones which are
valued at half a million of dollars. It is to be presumed that on the
occasion of an Emperor's coronation, or that of some great religious
festival, the squares, streets, and areas generally of the Kremlin
become crowded with ecclesiastics, citizens, strangers, soldiers, and
courtiers in gala array; but it seemed a little dreary and lonely to
us amid all its antiquity and mildewed splendor. Silence reigned
supreme, save for the steady tread of the sentinels; all was
loneliness, but for the presence of the sight-seer and his guide.
However busy the city close at hand, commerce and trade do not enter
within the walls of the Kremlin. One's thoughts were busy enough,
over-stimulated in fact, while strolling through the apartments of
the Imperial Palace. In imagination, these low-studded apartments,
secret divans and closets became repeopled by their former tenants.
It was remembered that even to the days of Peter the Great Oriental
seclusion was the fate of empresses and princesses, upon whom the
highest state officials might not dare to look,--whose faces in short
were always hidden. But scandal says that thus unnaturally secluded,
their woman wit taught them ways of compensation; for in spite of
guards and bolts, they received at times visits from their secret
lovers, the great risk encountered but adding zest to such
clandestine achievements. To be sure, as a penalty a head was now and
then severed from the owner's body, and some gay Lothario was knouted
and sent off to Siberia to work out his life in the mines; but that
did not change human nature, to which royalty is as amenable as the
rest of creation. The grand Palace as it now stands was built by the
Emperor Nicholas, or rather it was repaired and enlarged by him,
embracing all the ancient portions as originally designed, but the
rest of the structure so extended as to afford suites of royal state
apartments which are unsurpassed by any palace in the world, either
in spaciousness, magnificence of finish or furniture. The Throne Room
is beyond comparison the most superb apartment of its character which
the author has ever seen. Magnificent as the interior is, the
external architectural effect of the Palace is in such decided
contrast with that of the surrounding churches, monasteries, towers,
and sacred gates as to create a singular incongruity.

The venerable, crenellated walls of the Kremlin, which measure about
two miles in circumference, forming nearly a triangle, are pierced by
five gates of an imposing character, to each of which is attributed a
religious or historical importance. Often have invading hosts
battered at these gates, and sometimes gained an entrance; but
strange to say, they have always in the end been worsted by the
faithful Muscovites. Over the Redeemer's Gate, so called, is affixed
a wonder-working picture of the Saviour, which is an object of great
and universal veneration. No one, not even the Emperor, passes
beneath it without removing his hat and bowing the head. A miracle is
supposed to have been wrought in connection with this picture of the
Redeemer at the time when the retreating French made a vain attempt
to blow up the buildings of the Kremlin; hence the special honor
accorded to it. The gate itself was erected in 1491, and is like the
main tower of a large cathedral or an isolated campanile. It is
painted red, with green spires, and flanked on the sides by small
chapels. The National Armory, also within the walls, is of great
interest, quite unsurpassed in its collection of Oriental arms, but
those of all nations are also well represented. It will be remembered
that Moscow was in the olden time as celebrated for the excellence of
its steel weapons, and especially for the temper of its sword blades,
as were Toledo and Damascus. In the grand courtyard of the Kremlin,
near that pillar-like structure the Tower of Ivan, hundreds of
Napoleon's captured cannon lay idly on the earth, recalling the
tragic story of the French invasion; but then it was remembered that
the French have also at Paris their Column of Vendôme, the encircling
bas-reliefs of which contain the metal of many captured Russian
cannon. So while scores of battle-torn Muscovite flags hang aloft in
the church of the Invalides at the French capital, the tri-color also
decks the walls of Peter and Paul in the fortifications of St.
Petersburg,--toys in "that mad game the world so loves to play," but,
alas! what do they represent but condensed drops of blood?

Opposite the Arsenal stands the Senate House of Moscow, the High
Court of Appeals, built by Catherine II. The main hall is of great
capacity and magnificence; the whole building underwent complete
restoration in 1866. The summit of the Tower of Ivan the Great,
erected in 1600, affords a widespread view of the city in every
direction; and perhaps it may be said to be the best that can be
obtained. It is one of the most conspicuous structures in the
Kremlin, standing partially by itself, and is seen from a long
distance as one approaches by rail. The tower consists of five
stories, and is three hundred and twenty-five feet in height. The
basement and three stories above it are octagonal, the last
cylindrical, the whole embracing a wild confusion of design. Half-way
up is a gallery from whence the former sovereigns used to harangue
the people. The lower story is a chapel dedicated to Saint John,
while the other stories contain many bells, the heaviest of which, we
were told, weighed over sixty tons. In the upper portion there is a
chime of silver bells which daily ring forth the national anthem at
meridian. The racket and din produced when _all_ the bells in the
tower are rung together, as they are on Easter eve, must be

The famous King of Bells of which we have all heard so much, and
which according to the records was tolled at the birth of Peter the
Great, stands near the foot of the Tower of Ivan. It is broken, but
weighs in its present condition nearly four hundred and fifty
thousand pounds. The piece broken from its side, which is seen close
at hand, weighs eleven tons. The height of the bell is twenty-one
feet. When it was cast in 1730, by order of the Empress Anne, the
gold, silver, and copper consumed in the operation weighed ninety-one
hundred and twenty tons, valued at the royal sum of half a million
dollars. History tells us that the casting took place with religious
ceremonies, and royal ladies vied with one another in throwing their
golden ornaments into the great caldron which supplied the molten
metal. Doubtless this very generosity of contribution only served to
impart brittleness to the bell. As to improving the purity of tone,
modern experience shows that foreign metals, however pure in
themselves, would detract from that. After the great bell fell from
the supporting-tower,--which was destroyed by fire, and which is
supposed to have stood very nearly over the spot where the bell now
rests,--it lay buried in the earth for over a hundred years, until it
was dug up and placed on its present foundation by order of the late
Emperor Nicholas I. As we stood there beside the monster bell, a
shudder passed over us sufficiently visible to attract the
observation of the guide. "Is monsieur cold?" he asked. "No, it was
only a passing thought that moved us," was the reply. "Ah! something
of far-off America?" he suggested. "Nearer than that," was the
response. "It was the recollection of that terrible fifty-three
thousand pounds of bell-metal which swings in the cupola of
St. Isaac's. If that comparatively baby-bell could make one so
thoroughly uncomfortable, what might not this giant do under similar
circumstances!" It is doubtful, however, if the guide clearly
understood to what the author referred.

The most strikingly fantastic and remarkable structure
architecturally in all Moscow is the Cathedral of St. Basil, which is
absolutely top-heavy with spires, domes, and minarets, ornamented in
the most irregular and unprecedented manner. Yet as a whole the
structure is not inharmonious with its unique surroundings, the
semi-Oriental, semi-barbaric atmosphere in which it stands. It is not
within the walls of the Kremlin, but is located just outside and near
the Redeemer's Gate, from which point the best view of it may be
enjoyed. No two of its towering projections are alike, either in
height, shape, or ornamentation. The coloring throughout is as
various as the shape, being in yellow, green, blue, golden-gilt, and
silver. Each spire and dome has its glittering cross; and when the
sun shines upon the group, it is like the bursting of a rocket at
night against a background of azure blue. It is of this singular,
whimsical, and picturesque structure that the story is told how Ivan
the Terrible caused the architect's eyes to be blinded forever when
his work was completed and approved, in order that he might never be
able to produce another temple like it. The reader need hardly credit
the story however, since it has been attributed to so many other
structures and individuals as greatly to impair its application in
this instance. Space would not suffice us were we to attempt to
describe the interior of St. Basil; but it is as peculiar as is the
exterior. Each of the domes and towers forms the apex to a separate
chapel, so that the cathedral is divided into a dozen and more altars
dedicated to as many different saints. The interior is painted
throughout in arabesque. Napoleon ordered his soldiers to destroy
this cathedral; but fortunately, in the haste and confusion attending
the retreat of the French army, the command was not executed. While
looking upon St. Basil, with its myriad pinnacles flashing in the
rays of the sun, it was natural to recall Hawthorne's quaint idea,
that were edifices built to the sound of music some would appear to
be constructed under the influence of grave and solemn tones, others,
like this unique temple, to have danced forth to light fantastic airs
and waltzes. In front of the many-domed cathedral is a circular stone
from whence the Tzars of old were accustomed to proclaim their
edicts; and it is also known as the Lobnoé Mièsto, that is, "The
Place of the Skull," because of the many executions that have taken
place upon it. Ivan the Terrible rendered the spot infamous by the
series of executions which he ordered to take place here, the victims
being mostly innocent and patriotic persons of both sexes. Here
Prince Scheviref was impaled by order of this same tyrant, and here
several others of royal birth were recklessly sacrificed. In looking
upon St. Basil one is almost sure to be reminded of the Alhambra, in
Moorish Grenada. Notwithstanding its strangely conglomerate
character, no one can say that it is not symmetrical and justly
balanced in its various lines; still, so unreal is its whole as to
seem like a creation in some magic Arabian tale, an unsubstantial
structure of the imagination.

The Treasury of the Kremlin, erected so late as 1851, is a historical
museum of crowns, thrones, state costumes, and royal regalia
generally, including in the latter department the royal robes of
Peter the Great; also his crown in which there are about nine
hundred large diamonds, and that of his widow Catherine I., which
contains about three thousand of the same precious stones, besides
one grand ruby of extraordinary value. One comes away from the
labyrinth of palaces, churches, arsenals, museums, and treasury of
the citadel, after viewing their accumulation of riches, absolutely
dazed and entirely surfeited. Properly to examine the Treasury alone
would require many days. It is a marvel of accumulated riches, the
proud spoils of time. Here are to be seen the crowns of many now
defunct kingdoms, such as those of Kazan, Georgia, Astrakhan, and
Poland,--all heavy with gold and precious stones. The crown-jewels of
England and Germany combined would hardly equal in value these
treasures. The most venerable of the crowns which were shown us here
is that of Monomachus, brought from Byzantium more than eight hundred
years ago. This emblem is covered with jewels of the choicest
character, among which are steel-white diamonds and rubies of
pigeon's-blood hue, such as do not find their way into jewellers'
shops in our day. Think of the centuries this vast wealth has lain
idle upon these royal crowns, and of the aggregate sum in current
money which it represents; then calculate the annual loss of
interest, say at three per cent per annum, and the result will reach
a sum approximating to the amount of the National debt of Great

While viewing the varied attractions within the walls of the Kremlin
one could not but recall a page from history, and remember the
brave, heroic, self-sacrificing means which the people of this
Asiatic city adopted to repel the invading and victorious enemy. It
was an act of sublime desperation to place the torch within the
sanctuary of Russia and to destroy all, sacred and profane, so that
the enemy should also be destroyed. It was a deed of undaunted
patriotism, and the grandest sacrifice ever made to national honor by
any people. "Who would have thought that a nation would burn its own
capital?" said Napoleon.

The Church of our Saviour is perhaps one of the finest as it is also
the most modern cathedral in the country, its snow-white walls,
capped by five golden domes, being the most prominent object to meet
the eye as one looks at the city from the high terrace of the
Kremlin. It stands upon a natural rise of ground, a plateau
overlooking the Bridge of Moskva Rekoi, quite by itself, covering
seventy-three thousand square feet, surrounded by open grounds, which
are planted with flowering shrubs, blooming flowers, and thrifty
young trees. Begun in 1812 to commemorate the deliverance of Moscow
from the French, the edifice has but just been completed. It is in
the Græco-Byzantine style; the top of the cross upon the centre
cupola is three hundred and forty feet above the ground. The
foundation is of granite, but the entire building is faced with white
marble. The interior is gorgeously decorated with frescos from
Biblical and Russian history, and is dazzling in its vast richness of
detail. The interior of St. Isaac's at St. Petersburg has been
closely imitated in some important particulars. The entire floor is
of marble, and the walls are lined with exquisite varieties of the
same. Here on the 25th of December is annually celebrated, with great
pomp and ceremony, the retreat of the French invaders from Russian
soil. "God with us," is the motto sculptured over the grand entrance
of this magnificent temple, the aggregate cost of which was over
twelve millions of dollars.

Lying on the east side of the Kremlin and adjoining its walls is a
section of the city also enclosed within high walls, known as the
Chinese City. It is a queer division of the metropolis, with towers
and buttresses like a fortification, called by the Russians "Kitai
Gorod." Herein assemble the thieves, pickpockets, and rogues
generally, who are to be seen throughout the day crowded together in
one of the largest squares, holding a sort of rag fair to exchange
their ill-gotten goods with one another. To the stranger they present
the aspect of a reckless mob, composed of the very dregs of the
population, and ready to engage in any overt act. Unmolested by the
police they busy themselves exchanging old boots and shoes, half-worn
clothing, stolen trifles, and various articles of domestic use, all
amid a deafening hubbub. The entire district is not however given up
to this "racket," but contains some fine shops, comfortable
dwellings, and two excellent hotels, as Russian hotels are rated. One
passes through this section in approaching the Redeemer's Gate from
the east side, but will wisely avoid all personal contact with the
doubtful denizens of Rag Fair.

It was a source of surprise to the author to find Moscow so great a
manufacturing centre, more than fifty thousand of the population
being regularly employed in manufacturing establishments. There are
over a hundred cotton mills within the limits of the city, and
between fifty and sixty woollen mills; also thirty-three silk mills,
and a score of kindred establishments in the manufacturing line. It
appeared, however, that enterprise in this direction was confined
almost entirely to textile fabrics. The city is fast becoming the
centre of a grand railroad system, affording the means of rapid and
easy distribution for the several products of these mills, and there
is reason to anticipate their steady increase.


  Domestic Life in Moscow. -- Oriental Seclusion of Women. -- The
  Foundling Hospital. -- A Christian Charity. -- A Metropolitan
  Centre. -- City Museum. -- The University. -- Tea-Drinking. --
  Pleasure Gardens. -- Drosky Drivers. -- Riding-School. --
  Theatres. -- Universal Bribery. -- Love of Country. -- Russians
  as Linguists. -- Sparrow Hill. -- Petrofski Park. -- Muscovite
  Gypsies. -- Fast Life. -- Intemperance. -- A Famous Monastery. --
  City Highways. -- Sacred Pigeons. -- Beggars.

The domestic life of the people of Moscow (we speak of the
acknowledged upper class) is quite Oriental in its character. The
stranger, no matter how well he comes accredited, when he visits a
dwelling-house is hospitably entertained, as hospitality is
interpreted here; but it is by the master only. The ladies of the
household are very rarely presented to him, and are seldom seen under
any circumstances, even the opera being tolerated at Moscow half
under protest, on account of its bringing ladies into a more intimate
relation with the world at large. To the domestic caller scalding tea
is served in tumblers, with slices of lemon floating on the top; but
no other refreshments are offered. The host is courteous, he invites
you to drive with him, and seems glad to show you the monuments and
famous localities, and to give any desired information; but his
family, harem-like, are kept out of sight. Even a courteous inquiry
as to their health is received with a degree of surprise. The ladies
of Cairo and Constantinople are scarcely more secluded. This,
however, may be termed old Russian style; young Russia is improving
upon Eastern customs, and is becoming slowly more Europeanized. These
remarks apply less to St. Petersburg than to Moscow. As the Asiatic
comes more closely in contact with Europeans he assimilates with
their manners and customs, and women assume a different domestic
relationship. Thus ladies and their partially grown-up children,
accompanied by husband and friends, are not infrequently seen driving
in public at the capital; but scarcely ever is this the case at
Moscow. Indeed, we saw no instance of it here. Men were seen at the
public places of amusement, parks, tea-gardens, and the like,
accompanied by women; but they were not ladies, nor were they their
wives or daughters.

One of the most interesting and important institutions of the city is
its remarkable Foundling Hospital, which is conducted by the
Government at an annual expense of five millions of dollars. The
royal treasury appropriates a large portion of this sum each year to
its support, besides which it is most liberally endowed by private
bequests. The building which is occupied by the hospital, or rather
the series of buildings, forms a large quadrangular group on the
north bank of the Moskva, half a mile east of the Kremlin. The length
of the frontage is fully a thousand feet, enclosing finely-kept,
spacious gardens which cover several acres of ground, divided
between pleasant paths, greensward, and shady groves. Here, on a
sunny afternoon at the close of July, the author saw between fifteen
and sixteen hundred infants paraded under the branches of the trees,
sleeping in their tiny cradles or in the sturdy arms of the
country-bred nurses, of whom there were over five hundred. These were
all wet-nurses, each hearty, well-fed peasant woman being expected to
nurse two infants. These women were all clad in snow-white cotton
gowns and muslin caps, appearing scrupulously neat and clean, the
muslin about head and face contrasting strongly with their nut-brown
complexions. Some of the little ones who seemed to thrive best by
such treatment are fed with the bottle, while careful and scientific
care is afforded to each and all alike. Besides three or four regular
attending physicians, the arrangements are presided over and the
detail carefully carried out by a corps of trained matrons, the most
thorough order, discipline, and system being observed as existing in
every department. Just within the garden gate, at the main entrance,
a bevy of thirty or forty children, rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed boys
and girls, not over six years of age, were amusing themselves in
childish games; but they came instantly to us with smiling, happy
faces, extending their little hands as a token of welcome to the
stranger. Selecting any one of these promising children, the thought
occurred how proud many a rich family would be to have such a one for
its rightful heir; and then we wondered what might be the future of
these graduating from here under the ban of a clouded parentage. It
seems that a few children are retained until about the age of these,
though the number is comparatively small. Their contented, vigorous,
healthful appearance showed how judicious and well-applied must be
the system that could produce such physical results.

"There is no denying the fact that some of these boys have princely
blood in their veins," said our intelligent guide, pointing to a
merry group who were playing together. "Secrets are well kept in
Russia. They will be carefully watched, and their well-being
indirectly advanced. By and by they may get into the army, and be
gradually promoted if they are deserving, becoming officers by a
favor which they cannot analyze, and perhaps finally achieving a name
and filling a high station. We have many such instances in the army
and civil service,--men filling important positions, of whose birth
and early antecedents no questions are asked. Sometimes marked and
special resemblances may possibly lead to shrewd surmises, but no one
gives such thoughts the form of words."

This institution was founded by Catherine II. in 1762, that at
St. Petersburg having been established a few years subsequent; but
the latter now equals the parent establishment both in size and in
the importance of the work which it accomplishes. The average receipt
of infants in each of these hospitals is over a thousand per month at
the present time, and perhaps eleven hundred would be even nearer
the aggregate. The hospitals are kept open night and day. No infant,
whatever its condition, is ever refused shelter, good care, and
proper nourishment. The little creatures are not left in secret, as
is the case in most similar European institutions, or by unknown
parties, but are openly received, no disguise whatever attending the
relinquishment. Probably one third of the children born in the two
great capitals of this country are illegitimate, while many who are
born of married parents are also brought here because of the
inability of their natural protectors properly to provide for them.
It is this last feature which leavens the whole system in the eyes of
the million; that is to say, because a mother is seen giving up her
child here it does not follow that it is illegitimate. But be the
individual circumstances what they may, the Government cheerfully
takes charge of all the infants that are offered. The only question
which is asked of those resigning their offspring is whether it has
been baptized by a priest, and what name is desired to be given to
it. The little one is then registered upon the books of the
establishment, and a metallic number placed about its neck, never to
be removed until it finally leaves the charge of the institution. As
soon as the children become a month or six weeks old and are
considered to be in perfect health, they are given in charge of
country people who have infants of their own. These peasants are paid
a regular weekly stipend for the support of the little strangers,
rendering an account monthly of their charge, which must also be
exhibited in person. All are under the supervision of a visiting
committee, or bureau of matrons, having no other occupation, and who
must regularly weigh the children and enter their progress or
otherwise upon the books of the hospital, an account being opened for
each infant received. One would think that among such large numbers
as are accommodated monthly confusion would ensue; but so perfect is
the system of accounts, that any child can be promptly traced and its
present and past antecedents made known upon reasonable application.
A mother, by proving her relationship and producing the receipt given
to her for her child, can at any time up to ten years of age reclaim
it, first proving her ability properly to support and care for her
offspring. If a child is not reclaimed by its parents at ten or
twelve years of age, it is apprenticed to some useful occupation or
trade, and in the mean time has been regularly sent to school. The
neatness, system, and general excellence observed at these Foundling
Hospitals is worthy of emulation everywhere, and the whole plan
seemed to us to be a great Christian charity, though no sensible
person can be blind to the fact that there are two sides to so
important a conclusion. There are many political economists who hold
that such a system encourages illegitimacy and vice. A late writer
upon the subject, whose means of observation may have been much more
extended than those of the author of these pages, has spoken so
decidedly that it is but proper to present his convictions in this
connection. He says: "Unfortunately this famous refuge [the
establishment in Moscow] has corrupted all the villages round the
city. Peasant girls who have forgotten to get married send their
babies to the institution, and then offer themselves in person as
wet-nurses. Having tattooed their offspring, each mother contrives to
find her own, and takes charge of it by a private arrangement with
the nurse to whom it has been officially assigned. As babies are much
alike, the authorities cannot detect these interchanges, and do not
attempt to do so. In due time the mother returns to her village with
her own baby, whose board will be well paid for by the State at the
rate of eight shillings per month; and perhaps next year and the year
after she will begin the same game over again."

We were informed that a large proportion of the boys who survive
become farm-laborers, and that many of the girls are trained to be
hospital nurses; others are apprenticed to factory work. If any of
the latter become married at or before the age of eighteen, the State
furnishes them with a modest trousseau. Up to the period of eighteen
years, both sexes are considered to be "on the books of the
institution," as it is termed, and to be amenable to its direction.
When the young men arrive at this age, they are furnished with a good
serviceable working-suit of clothes, and also a better suit for
holiday wear, together with thirty roubles in money. These gratuities
serve as a premium upon good behavior and obedience to authority. One
sad feature of the system was admitted by the officials, and that is
the large percentage of the mortality which seems inevitable among
the infants. Notwithstanding every effort to reduce the aggregate of
deaths, still it is estimated as high as seventy per cent; or in
other words, not more than thirty out of each hundred admitted to the
Foundling Hospitals live to the age of twenty-one years. This heavy
loss of life is traceable in a large degree to hereditary disease,
not to the want of suitable treatment after the children come into
the charge of the institution.

Moscow is isolated in a degree, having no populous neighborhood or
suburb. The forest and the plain creep up to its very walls; outlying
villages and increasing population generally announce the approach to
large cities; but both St. Petersburg and Moscow are peculiar in this
respect. This city, however, as we have before remarked, is gradually
becoming the centre of a great net-work of railways, like Chicago;
and therefore the characteristic referred to must gradually
disappear. It is built like Rome upon seven hills, and is the
culminating point of Russian as that capital is of Italian history.
While St. Petersburg is European, and annually growing to be more so,
Moscow is and must continue to be Asiatic. As one gazes about him,
the grandeur, sadness, and vicissitudes of its past, not exceeded by
that of any other capital in the world, crowd upon the memory. In
portions the confusion evinced in its composition of squares,
streets, avenues, and narrow lanes is almost ludicrous and quite
bewildering. There are no long uniform lines of architecture, like
those of the capital on the Neva. Miserable hovels, dirty
court-yards, and vile-smelling stables break the lines everywhere
after one leaves the principal thoroughfares, and not infrequently
even upon them. The barbarous as well as the semi-civilized aspect is
ever present. Mosque, temple, triumphal-arch, cabins, campaniles,
convents, and churches mingle heterogeneously together, as though
they had dropped down indiscriminately upon the banks of the Moskva
without selection of site. After the great conflagration of 1812 the
object must have been to build, and to do so quickly. This was
evidently done without any properly concerted plan, since there is
not a straight street in all Moscow. Around the barriers of the city
however there extends a boulevard, which occupies the site of the old
line of fortifications; which is decked with grassy slopes, limes,
maples, and elms, forming an attractive drive.

The Moscow Museum is a modern establishment, but is rapidly growing
in importance. Here one can study comprehensively the progress of art
and science in Russia during the past century, the chronological
arrangement being excellent, and copied after the system inaugurated
for a similar purpose at Copenhagen. The Museum occupies a fine
building near the new Cathedral of Our Saviour, formerly the palatial
residence of the Pashkof family. Its library already exceeds two
hundred thousand bound volumes, and is especially rich in rare and
ancient manuscripts. The excellent and scientific arrangement of
this entire establishment was a source of agreeable surprise. The
fine-arts department presents some choice paintings and admirable
statuary, both ancient and modern; while the zoölogical collection
contains much of interest. The favorite seat of learning is the
Moscow University, founded by the Empress Elizabeth, daughter of
Peter the Great, in 1755; its four principal faculties being those of
History, Physics, Jurisprudence, and Medicine. It is a State
institution, under the immediate control of the Minister of Public
Instruction. At this writing, the University has some two thousand
students. The terms of admission, as regards cost to the pupils, are
merely nominal, the advantages being open to all youth above
seventeen, who can pass a satisfactory examination. Here also is
another large and valuable library open to the public, aggregating
over two hundred thousand bound volumes. This liberal multiplication
of educational advantages in the very heart of Oriental Russia is an
evidence of gradual progress, which tells its own story.

It seemed especially odd that a people who drink so profusely of
fermented liquors, should also drink so much tea. It may be doubted
if even the Japanese exceed them in the consumption of this beverage,
and it is certain that the latter people use more tea in proportion
to the number of inhabitants than do the Chinese. At Moscow
tea-drinking is carried to the extreme. The _traktirs_, or
tea-houses, can be found on every street, and are crowded day and
evening by people who in summer sit and perspire over the steaming
decoction, while they talk and chatter like monkeys. The stranger
drops in to see native life, manners, and customs, while he sips
scalding tea like the rest, and listens to the music of the large
organ which generally forms a part of the furniture, and which when
wound up will discourse a score or more of popular waltzes, airs, and
mazurkas. These remarkable musical instruments are manufactured
especially for this region, and frequently cost, as we were told, a
thousand pounds sterling each. The habitués are from all classes of
the populace, soldiers, civilians, priests, and peasants,--these
last, slow, slouching, and shabby, with no coverings to their heads,
except such an abundant growth of coarse sun-bleached hair as to
suggest a weather-beaten hay-stack, "redundant locks, robustious to
no purpose." These peasants, mechanics, and common laborers, though
they drink tumbler after tumbler of nearly boiling hot tea, are only
too apt to wind up their idle occupation by getting disgracefully
tipsy on that fiery liquor corn-brandy, as colorless as water, but as
pungent as _aqua-fortis_. To the tea-gardens in the immediate
environs both sexes resort, and here one sees a very pleasant phase
of Russian life,--tea-drinking _en famille_ among the middle classes.
The article itself is of a superior quality, much more delicate in
flavor than that which is used in England or America; but it is never
made so strong as we are accustomed to take it. Happy family groups
may be seen gathered about the burnished urns in retired nooks, and
even love-episodes are now and then to be witnessed, occurring over
the steaming beverage. These gardens are decorated in the summer
evenings with the gayest of colored paper lanterns,--the flickering,
airy lamps festooned among the tall trees and the low shrubbery, as
they sway hither and thither, resembling clouds of huge fire-flies,
floating at evening over a tropical plantation. There are also
exhibitions nightly of fancy fire-works, minor theatricals, and comic
song-singing. Tramways lead from the centre of the town to these
popular resorts, or a drosky will take one thither at a mere trifling
charge. The drosky drivers of Moscow appear to be one degree more
stupid than those of St. Petersburg, impossible as that may seem.
Like the cocher of Paris they all expect and ask for a _pourboire_.
In the capital on the Neva the driver suggests "Na tchai" (tea), as
you hand him his fare,--that is, he desires a few pennies to procure
a drink of tea; but in Moscow the driver says more honestly, "Na
vodka" (brandy). And yet there are many who are satisfied with the
milder decoction, and will sit and sip it as long as any one will pay
for it,--recalling the jinrikisha men of Yokohama, who seemed to have
no desire for any stimulant but boiling hot tea, and plenty of it.
The drosky drivers of Moscow dress all alike, and precisely like
their brethren in the capital, in long blue padded pelisses, summer
and winter, with a low bell-crowned hat, from beneath which
protrudes an abundance of carrot-colored hair, of the consistency of
dried meadow-grass.

It will interest the traveller to visit briefly the great National
Riding-School of Moscow, a building embracing an area of five hundred
and sixty feet long by one hundred and fifty-eight feet wide. It is
covered with what appears to be a flat roof, but is without
supporting pillars of any sort on the inside. A full regiment of
cavalry can be exercised here with perfect convenience. This was the
largest building in the world unsupported by prop of any kind, until
the St. Pancras railway station was built in London. The interior is
ornamented with bas-reliefs of men in armor and with ancient
trophies. By ascending a winding staircase one can see the net-work
of massive beams which sustain the roof, a perfect forest of stays
and rafters. In a climate such as prevails here at least two thirds
of the year, it is impossible to manoeuvre troops in the open air
with any degree of comfort, not to say safety; hence this structure
was raised and supplied with huge stoves to afford the means of
exercising the troops even in mid-winter.

Moscow has four theatres, two only of which are worthy of the
traveller's notice. These are the Botshoi and the Italian Opera,
where only entertainments of a high order of merit are permitted to
be given. In many of the gay cafés young girls of free manners and
lax morals dance in national costumes, among whom one easily
recognizes those coming from Circassia, Poland, Lithuania, and the
country of the Cossacks. In their dances and grouping they present
scenes that do not lack for picturesqueness of effect. Most of the
melodies one hears at these places are quaint and of local origin,
quite new to the ear; though now and again a familiar strain will
occur, indicating from whence Chopin and others have borrowed. Some
of the performers were so strikingly handsome as to show that their
personal charms had been the fatal cause which had brought them into
so exposed a connection as these public resorts of evil repute. The
Bohemian or gypsy girls were the most attractive,--poor creatures
coming from no one knows where, wanderers from their birth, and with
lives ever enveloped in mystery. One could not but recall the Latin
Quarter of Paris and the gay, dissipated night-resorts of London and
Vienna. None of the European capitals are without these dark spots
upon the escutcheon of civilization.

The author's observation in Cuba and continental Spain had led him to
believe the dishonesty of Spanish officials to be quite unequalled;
but the Russians far exceed the Spaniards in the matter of venality.
The last war between Russia and Turkey brought to light official
fraud and briberies, connected especially with the commissary
department of the army, which disgraced the whole nation in the eyes
of the world. Experiences of so outrageous and startling a character
were related to us, illustrative of these facts, as to almost
challenge belief, had they not been sustained by reliable authority.
So extensive and universal is the system of bribery in Russia, that
the question of right in ordinary matters, even when brought before
the courts for decision, scarcely enters into the consideration. It
is first and last purely a question of roubles. Counterfeit justice
is as plentifully disbursed as counterfeit money, and that does much
abound. To prove that this system of official bribery is no new thing
here, and that it is perfectly well known at headquarters, we have
only to relate a well-authenticated anecdote. A chief officer of
police, who was one day dashing along the Nevsky Prospect in a
handsome drosky drawn by a fine pair of horses, was met by the
Emperor Nicholas. His Majesty by a sign stopped the officer, and
inquired of him what salary he received from the government treasury.
"Two thousand roubles, your Majesty," was the reply. Whereupon the
Tzar asked how he contrived to own and keep such a smart equipage
upon that sum. "By presents, your Majesty, that I receive from the
people of my district," was the frank rejoinder. The Emperor laughed
at so straightforward an answer, adding: "I believe that I live in
your quarter, and have neglected sending you my present," at the same
time handing him his purse. The existence of a system of bribery
among the officials of the various departments was only too well
known to the Tzar; but such plain speaking was a novelty.

A love, not to say pride, of country seems to be universal among the
people at large, in spite of all that may be said or inferred to the
contrary. No matter how poor the land may seem to the stranger, to
the native-born it is beautiful, or at all events it is well
beloved; no disparagement will be permitted for a moment. It was
amusing to observe the local rivalry existing between the citizens of
Moscow and St. Petersburg. The latter are regarded by the former as
parvenus, lacking the odor of sanctity that adheres to the citizens
of "holy Moscow." The more ancient metropolis has ever had a quasi
official recognition as the capital, though it is not so politically.
It will be remembered that in 1724, but a few months before his
death, even Peter the Great celebrated the coronation of his wife
Catherine at Moscow, not at St. Petersburg; and to this day it has
been the crowning place of all his successors. So far as the hearts
of the people are concerned, Moscow is their capital.

We often hear surprise expressed that Russians who visit other
countries are generally such accomplished linguists; but this is very
easily accounted for when we remember that in every noble or wealthy
family of St. Petersburg or Moscow there is a German nurse for the
young children, an English governess for the young ladies, and a
French tutor for them all. Emulating those of more pretension and
wealth, the same custom extends to the class of successful merchants'
families; so that the average Russian grows up speaking two or three
languages besides his native tongue. Life is much less cosmopolitan
here than in St. Petersburg. Few emigrants from the far East stop in
Moscow; they press on to the more European, and commercial city,
where Tartars from Kazan, Adighes from the Caucasus, Swedes and
Norwegians from Scandinavia, Finlanders from the North, and Germans
from the South mingle together. In polite society French is the
language of St. Petersburg, while German is much in use among the
mercantile community; but in Moscow it is the native tongue which
prevails, as well as Oriental manners and customs.

A drive of about three miles from the city over a wretchedly kept
road, where the ruts are positively terrible, brings one to Sparrow
Hill, the point from whence Napoleon first looked upon the devoted
city. "There is the famous city at last, and it is high time," said
Napoleon. He had left the battlefield of Borodino covered with
corpses forty miles behind. But what cared the ravaging warrior for
the eighty thousand lives there sacrificed? It was this terrible
encounter which caused him to say emphatically, "One more such
victory would be utter ruin!" From this elevation the invading host
pressed forward and entered the Muscovite capital, to find the
streets deserted, the public buildings stripped of all valuables,
and the national archives removed. There were no officials with
whom to treat; it was like a city of the dead. This unnatural
solitude gave birth to gloomy forebodings in the hearts of the
invaders,--forebodings which were more than justified by the final
result of that wholly unwarranted campaign. Soon at various points
the conflagration of the city began. If subdued here and there by the
French it broke out elsewhere, and at last became uncontrollable.
Napoleon entered Moscow on the fifteenth of September and left it in
ashes on the nineteenth of October, when there began a retreat which
was undoubtedly one of the greatest tragedies of modern times. Half
a million men in the flower of their youth had in a brief six months
been sacrificed to the mad ambition of one individual.

At Sparrow Hill are many cafés where the native population come to
drink tea, and where foreigners partake of cheap, flat Moscow beer
and other simple refreshments. From here a notable view is to be
enjoyed, embracing the ancient capital in the distance; and it is
this charming picture which most attracts strangers to the spot. The
broad river forms the foreground, flowing through fertile meadows and
highly cultivated fields. When we saw it vegetation was at its prime,
a soft bright green carpeting the banks of the Moskva, while the
plain was wooded with thriving groves up to the convent walls and
outlying buildings of the town. Just back of the tea-houses, crowning
the hill, is an ancient birch forest which was planted by Peter the
Great, the practical old man having occupied many days in
consummating this purpose, during which he worked laboriously among
his people, setting out and arranging the birches. The local guides
never fail to take all travellers who visit the Muscovite city to
Sparrow Hill, where it is quite the thing to drink a tumbler of
steaming hot Russian tea, with the universal slice of lemon floating
thereon. This tasteless decoction has not even the virtue of
strength, but is merely hot water barely colored with an infusion of
leaves. However, as it is quite the thing to do, one swallows the
mixture heroically. A more pleasant drive of about four or five miles
from the centre of the city, over a far better road than that which
leads to Sparrow Hill, will take the stranger to a most delightful
place of resort known as the Petrofski Park, ornamented with noble
old elms in great variety, flower-beds, blooming shrubbery,
fountains, and delightfully smooth roads. The lime, the elm, the
sycamore, and the oak all flourish here, mingled with which were some
tall specimens of the pine and birch. The place is the very
embodiment of sylvan beauty, and has been devoted to its present
purpose for a century and more, having first been laid out in 1775.
Within these grounds is the interesting old Palace of Petrofski, a
Gothic structure which, though seldom inhabited, is kept always
prepared for noble guests by a corps of retainers belonging to the
Government. It is frequently the resort of the Emperor when he comes
to Moscow, and always the place from whence a new emperor proceeds to
the Kremlin to be officially crowned. It was to this palace that
Napoleon fled from his quarters in the city when Moscow was being
destroyed by the flames. The _cafés chantants_ are many, within the
precincts of the Park,--gay resorts of dissipation, whither the
people come ostensibly to drink tea, but really to consume beer,
wine, and corn-brandy, as well as to assist at the oftentimes very
coarse entertainments which are here presented, characterized by the
most reckless sort of can-can dancing and bacchanalian songs. Bands
of music perform in different parts of the extensive grounds, and
gaudily-dressed gypsy girls sing and dance after their peculiar and
fantastic style. One detects fine vocal ability now and then
exhibited by these wayward creatures, which by patient culture might
be developed into great excellence. The singing of these girls is
quite unlike such performances generally,--not particularly
harmonious, but bearing the impress of wild feeling and passionate
emotion. Many of the performers are of a marked and weird style of
beauty, and such are pretty sure to wear jewelry of an intrinsic
value far beyond the reach of honest industry,--which forms a glaring
tell-tale of their immodesty.

The gypsy race of Russia, to whom these itinerants belong, are of the
same Asiatic origin as those met with in southern Europe; no country
has power to change their nature, no association can refine them.
They will not try to live by honest labor; everywhere they are
acknowledged outcasts, and it is their nature to grovel like animals.
The cunning instinct of theft is born in them; adroitness in stealing
they consider to be a commendable accomplishment,--parents teach it
to their children. They are wanderers wherever found, begging at one
country-house and stealing at the next; in summer sleeping on the
grass, in winter digging holes and burrowing in the ground. They are
called in central Russia "Tsiganie," and they group together in
largest numbers in and about the Eastern Steppe, just as those of
Spain do at Grenada and near to the Alhambra. All kindly efforts of
the Russian government to civilize these land-rovers has utterly
failed; not infrequently it becomes necessary to invade their
quarters, and to visit condign punishment upon the tribe by sabre and
bullet, to keep them within reasonable bounds. Quite a colony of
gypsies inhabit a certain portion of Moscow, having adopted the local
dress, and also conformed ostensibly to the conventionalities about
them; but they never in reality amalgamate with other races,--they
are far more clannish than the Jews. Both the men and women ply
trades which will not bear investigation or the light of day. The
former make an open business of horse-trading, and the latter of
public-dancing, singing, and fortune-telling. Belonging to this
community is a small body of singers who practise together, and who
are employed at all public festivals in the city,--which would,
indeed, be considered quite incomplete without them. This choir
consists of six or eight female voices and four male, capable of
affording a very original if not quite harmonious performance.

As regards the Petrofski Park, the truth is it is a famous resort for
reckless pleasure-seekers, and largely made up of the demi-monde,
where scenes anything but decorous are presented to the eyes of
strangers during the afternoons and the long summer twilight. But
those who wish to see and study "life," fast life, have only to visit
the Châteaux des Fleurs, or Marina-Rostcha, which are also in the
environs of the town. As in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, the police,
who cannot suppress these resorts, strive to control them so far that
they shall not outrage openly the conventionalities of society. Human
nature is much the same all over the world, though its coarsest
features are more obtruded upon observation in some lands than in
others. In extensive travel and experience, the author has learned
that it is not always in semi-barbarous countries that grossness and
indecency will be found most to prevail. It must be admitted that
there are temples of vice in Moscow which for ingenuity of
temptation, and lavish and gilded display, are not equalled elsewhere
in Europe.

Under the shadow of the spacious and lofty tower which forms a
reservoir for the distribution of water for the domestic use of the
citizens, there is held in the open square each Sabbath day what is
called "The Market," but which might better be designated a weekly
fair, a sort of Nijni-Novgorod upon a small scale. Here Jew and
Gentile, Asiatic and European, exchange their goods or sell to the
citizens. There are confectioners, jewellers, clothiers, hard-ware
merchants, dried-fruit venders, fancy-dry-good dealers, tea-booths,
tin and earthenware tables,--in short, every domestic article that
can be named is here offered for sale. The crowd is great, the Babel
of voices deafening, the hustling incessant, occasional quarrels
being inevitable. Now one meets a group of courteous, well-dressed
people, now an itinerant in rags, now a bevy of boisterous girls and
boys, now a long-haired and bearded priest; some are sober, many are
drunk. Alas! Sunday is here a day of drunkenness. Speaking plainly
upon this subject, there are more intoxicated persons to be seen in
the streets of Moscow on the Sabbath than the author has ever
encountered upon any day of the week in any other capital. At this
Sunday-fair articles are offered at popular prices, presumed to be
much lower than is charged by regular merchants who have rent to pay
and large establishments to keep up. Upon this conviction the poorer
classes especially throng hither to purchase such articles as they
require, making the scene one of great activity and general interest.
The tall tower of the water-supply was not originally intended for
the use to which it has at last been appropriated. It was first
erected by the Tzar Peter to mark the northeastern gate of the town,
which was held by one faithful regiment when the rest revolted. This
same regiment escorted him and his mother for safety to the Troitzkoi
Monastery, situated thirty miles from the city, and which is
considered to-day as the holy of holies so far as monasteries are
concerned in Russia. Hither the Empress Catherine II. made the
pilgrimage on foot to fulfil some conditional vow, accompanied by all
her court, only advancing, however, five miles each day, and not
forgetting to have every possible luxury conveyed in her train
wherewith to refresh herself. It will be remembered that Napoleon in
his usual rashness had planned to destroy this monastery, and had
issued orders to that effect, just as he had done in the instance of
St. Basil already referred to; but he was defeated in his purpose by
the haste with which the demoralized army retreated from the country.

The Troitzkoi is not merely a monastery, it is also a semi-fortress,
a palace, and a town containing eight churches, a bazaar, a hospital,
and many stately residences, altogether forming a confused though
picturesque group of towers, spires, belfries, and domes. It is
dominated by a famous bell-tower two hundred and fifty feet high,
containing one of the finest chimes of bells in all Russia,
thirty-five in number. In the Church of the Trinity is the shrine of
Saint Sergius, an elaborate piece of work of solid silver, weighing
nearly a thousand pounds; it is so constructed that the relics of the
saint are exposed. The whole of the monastery grounds are enclosed in
a high wall twenty feet in thickness, with heavy octagon towers
guarding the four principal corners. A deep moat surrounds the wall,
and against the attack of a hostile force in former times it was
thought to be remarkably protected, and is undoubtedly the strongest
fortified monastery in the East. The large prison within the walls
has been the scene of as great cruelty during the last two centuries
as any similar establishment in Europe or Asia. The name Troitzkoi
signifies the Trinity. The treasury of this monastery is famous among
all who are specially interested in such matters for its priceless
robes and jewels, to say nothing in detail of the aggregated value of
its gold and silver plate. It is asserted that there are more and
richer pearls collected here than are contained in all the other
treasuries in Europe combined. Among other precious gems there are
several mitres which contain rubies worth fifty thousand roubles
each, being set with other jewels of appropriate richness. The
Troitzkoi was pillaged by the Tartars about 1403, and was besieged by
the Poles in 1608, at which time the walls were seriously injured;
but all is now restored to its original strength and completeness.
This ancient monastery stands at the opening of the valley of the
Kliasma, a region fruitful with the smouldering ruins of by-gone
cities so much older than Moscow that their names even are forgotten.
The country between the stream just named and the Volga was the grand
centre of early Tartar history. As in the environs of Delhi, India,
where city after city has risen and crumbled into dust, so here large
capitals have mouldered away leaving no recorded story, and only
enforcing the sad moral of mutability.

The idea of comfortable road-beds for the passage of vehicles and
good foot-ways does not seem to have entered the minds of the people
of Moscow. The cobble-stone pavements are universal, both in the
middle of the streets and on that portion designed for pedestrians.
These stones, without any uniformity of size, are miserably laid in
the first place, added to which they are thrown out of level by the
severity of the annual frosts, so that it is a punishment to walk or
to drive upon them. The natives are perhaps accustomed to this
needless discomfort, and do not heed it; but it is a severe tax upon
the endurance of strangers who remember the smooth roadways of Paris,
Boston, and New York. A few short reaches of the square granite-stone
pavements were observed, probably laid down as an experiment; but
great was the relief experienced when the drosky rolled upon them
after a struggle with the cobble-stone style of pavement. Many
otherwise fine streets both here and in St. Petersburg are rendered
nearly impassable by wretched paving.

One is struck by the multitude of pigeons in and about the city. They
are held in great reverence by the common people, and no Russian will
harm them. Indeed, they are as sacred here as monkeys in Benares or
doves in Venice, being considered emblems of the Holy Ghost, and
under protection of the Church. They wheel about in large blue flocks
through the air so dense as to cast shadows, like swift-moving clouds
between the sun and the earth, alighting fearlessly where they
choose, to share the beggar's crumbs or the bounty of the affluent.
It is a notable fact that this domestic bird was also considered
sacred by the old Scandinavians, who believed that for a certain
period after death the soul of the deceased under such form was
accustomed to come to eat and drink with as well as to watch the
behavior of the mourners. Beggary is sadly prevalent in the streets
of the Muscovite capital,--the number of maimed and wretched-looking
human beings forcibly recalling the same class in Spanish and Italian
cities. This condition of poverty was the more remarkable when
contrasted with its absence in St. Petersburg, where a person seen
soliciting alms upon the streets or in tattered garments is very


  Nijni-Novgorod. -- Hot Weather. -- The River Volga. -- Hundreds
  of Steamers. -- Great Annual Fair. -- Peculiar Character of the
  Trade. -- Motley Collection of Humanity. -- An Army of Beggars.
  -- Rare and Precious Stones. -- The Famous Brick Tea. -- A Costly
  Beverage. -- Sanitary Measures. -- Disgraceful Dance Halls. --
  Fatal Beauty. -- A Sad History. -- Light-Fingered Gentry. --
  Convicts. -- Facts About Siberia. -- Local Customs. -- Russian

A journey of about three hundred miles (or as the Russians state it,
four hundred and ten versts) in a northeasterly direction from
Moscow, by way of the historic town of Vladimir, famous for its
battles with the Tartars, brings us to Nijni-Novgorod,--that is,
Lower Novgorod, being so called to distinguish it from the famous
place of the same name located on the Volkhov, and known as Novgorod
the Great. It is older than Moscow, antedating it a century or more,
and is the capital of a province bearing the same name. The residence
of the governor of the district, the courts of law, and the citadel
are within the Kremlin, where there is also a fine monument in the
form of an obelisk eighty feet high, erected to the memory of Mininn
and Pojarski, the two patriots who liberated their country from the
Poles in 1612. This Kremlin, like that at Moscow, is situated on an
elevation overlooking the town and the broad valley of the Volga.
The site of the upper town, as the older portion of the place
situated about the Kremlin is called, is quite remarkable, being a
sort of overhanging bluff, commanding a level view as far as the eye
can reach over an undulating country, through which winds the noblest
river of Russia. The climate here is subject to great extremes of
heat and cold,--the mercury freezing, it is said, in winter, and
sometimes bursting in the heat of the summer sun. As we stood upon
this bluff enjoying the comprehensive view, the heat of the mid-day
hour and the power of the sun were quite tropical. Indeed, without
the partial shelter of an umbrella it would have been as insufferable
as mid-day exposure in Ceylon or Singapore. All animal life, so far
as possible, sought the shade; and the fine black horses attached to
the vehicle which had transported us from the plain below, though
driven at a quiet pace, were flecked with foam and panted with
distended nostrils. The thermometer on the shady side of the
governor's palace close at hand indicated 89° Fahrenheit. To the
great extremes of overpowering cold and enervating heat some of the
apparent incongruities of the native character may doubtless be
attributed. For more than half the year the people are as it were
hermetically sealed up by the frost, and in the brief but intense
heat of the summer they are rendered inert and slothful by the effect
of tropical heat.

We were told that there was here six hundred years ago a very large
city, but that to-day the place cannot boast over forty-five
thousand fixed population. Thus the story of faded grandeur is
written all over the plains of northern Europe and Asia. By ascending
what is called Mininn's Tower, one of the finest panoramic views is
obtained which can well be conceived of. A vast alluvial plain is
spread out before the eye covered with fertile fields and thrifty
woods, through which from northwest to southeast flows the Volga like
a silver thread upon a verdant ground, extending from horizon to
horizon. On this river, which is the main artery of central Russia,
are seen scores of swift-moving steamers bound to Saratoff,
Astrakhan, and the Caspian Sea, fourteen hundred miles away, while a
forest of shipping is gathered about the shore of the lower town and
covering the Oka River, which here joins the Volga. From this outlook
the author counted over two hundred steamboats in sight at the same
time,--all side-wheelers and clipper-built, drawn hither by the
exigencies of the local trade contingent upon the period of the great
annual fair. The first of these steamers was built in the United
States and transported at great trouble and expense to these Russian
waters, and has served as the model of the hundreds now employed on
the river. The flat-boats which the steamers had towed from various
distant points, having been unloaded, were anchored in a shallow bend
of the river, where they covered an area fully a mile square. On many
of these boats entire families lived, it being their only home; and
wherever freight was to be transported thither they went: whether it
was towards the Ural Mountains or the Caspian Sea, it was all the
same to them.

The Volga has a course of over twenty-four hundred, and the Oka of
eight hundred and fifty miles. As the Missouri and Mississippi rivers
have together made St. Louis, so these Russian rivers have made
Nijni. This great mart lies at the very centre of the water
communication which joins the Caspian and the Black seas to the
Baltic and White seas, besides which it has direct railroad
connection with Moscow and thence with the entire east of Europe. The
Volga and its tributaries pour into its lap the wealth of the Ural
Mountains and that of the vast region of Siberia and Central Asia. It
thus becomes very apparent why and how this ancient city of
Nijni-Novgorod is the point of business contact between European
industry and Asiatic wealth.

The attraction which draws the traveller so far into the centre of
European Russia, lies in the novelty of the great annual fair held at
Nijni for a period of about eight weeks, and which gathers for the
time being some two hundred thousand people,--traders and
spectators,--who come from the most distant provinces and countries,
as well as from the region round about. A smaller and briefer fair is
held upon the ice of the rivers Volga and Oka in January, but is
comparatively of little account; it is called a horse-fair, being
chiefly devoted to trade in that animal. The merchandise accumulated
and offered for sale at the grand fair in August and September is
gathered principally from the two richest quarters of the globe. It
is of limitless variety, and in quality varying from the finest to
the coarsest. As an example of this, jewelry was observed of such
texture and fashion as would have graced a store on the Rue de la
Paix, offered for sale close beside the cheapest ornaments of tinsel
manufactured by the bushel-basketful at Birmingham and Manchester.
Choice old silver-ware was exposed side by side with iron saucepans,
tin-dippers, and cheap crockery utensils,--variety and incongruity,
gold and Brummagem everywhere in juxtaposition. There is an abundance
of iron and copper from the Urals, dried fish in tall piles from the
Caspian Sea, tea from China, cotton from India, silks and rugs from
Persia, heavy furs and sables from Siberia, wool in the raw state
from Cashmere, together with the varied products of the
trans-Caucasian provinces, even including wild horses in droves.
Fancy-goods from England as well as from Paris and Vienna, toys from
Nuremberg, ornaments of jade and lapis-lazuli from Kashgar, precious
stones from Ceylon, and gems from pearl-producing Penang. Variety,
indeed! Then what a conglomerate of odors permeated everything,
dominated by the all-pervading musk, boiled cabbage, coffee, tea, and
tanned leather! Everything seemed to loom up through an Oriental
haze, a mirage of fabulous merchandise. In the midst of the booths
and lanes there rose the tall, pointed spire of a mosque, which we
were told was the most northerly Mahometan temple extant. If any
business purpose actuates the visitor, let him keep his wits about
him, and above all remain cool; for it will require an effort not to
be confused by the ceaseless buzzing of this hive of human beings.
Sharpers are not wanting, but are here in force to take advantage of
every opportunity that offers. Many who come hither thrive solely by
dishonesty. It is a sort of thieves' paradise,--and Asiatic thieves
are by far the most expert operators known in either hemisphere. Most
of them are itinerants, having no booth, table, or fixed location,
but yet carrying conspicuously about them evidences of some special
line of trade, and evincing a desire to sell at remarkably low
prices,--all of which is a specious disguise under which to prosecute
their dishonest purposes.

The period of great differences in prices in localities wide apart
has, generally speaking, passed away, and everywhere the true value
of things is known. Circumstances may favor sellers and buyers by
turns, but intrinsic values are nearly fixed all over the world.
Nothing is especially cheap at this great Russo-Asiatic fair except
such articles as no one cares to purchase, though occasionally a
dealer who is particularly anxious to realize cash will make a
special sacrifice in the price demanded. The Tartar merchant from the
central provinces of Asia knows the true value of his goods, though
in exchange he pays large prices for Parisian and English luxuries.
Gems so abundant here can only be bought at a just approximation to
their value in the markets of the world; and unless one is willing to
encounter the risk of being grossly deceived in quality, and to lose
much time in bargaining, they had far better be purchased elsewhere.
All the tricks of trade are known and resorted to at such a
gathering. The merchant begins by demanding a price ridiculously
above the amount for which he is willing eventually to sell,--a true
and never wanting characteristic of Oriental trade. No dealer has a
fixed price at Nijni. The Asiatic enjoys dickering; it is to him the
life of his occupation, and adds zest if not profit to his business
transactions, and by long practice he acquires great adroitness in
its exercise.

The principal attraction to the traveller, far above that of any
articles which form the varied collection of goods displayed for
sale, is to observe the remarkable distinction of races and
nationalities that are here mingled together. Tartars, Persians,
Cossacks, Poles, Egyptians, Finns, Georgians, with many others, crowd
and jostle one another upon the narrow lanes and streets. Many of
these are in neat national costumes. We recall as we write a group of
Greeks in their picturesque attire, who formed a theatrical picture
by themselves; while others were in such a mass of filthy rags as to
cause one to step aside to avoid personal contact and its possible
consequences. Though familiar with the Spanish and Italian cities
where they much abound, the author has never before seen so many
beggars--professional beggars--congregated together. The variety of
features, of physical development, of dress, manners, customs, and
languages was infinite. It would be impossible to convey an idea of
the ceaseless Babel of noise which prevailed,--the cries designating
certain goods, the bartering going on all about one in shrill
voices, laughter mingled with sportive exclamations, and frequent
trivial disputes which filled the air. But there was no actual
quarrelling,--the Russian police are too vigilant, too much feared,
too summary for that; open violence is instantly suppressed, and woe
betide the culprit! Such is this unique fair, which presents one of
the rude and ancient forms of trade that is rapidly disappearing by
the introduction of railroads. The glory of Nijni-Novgorod is, we
suspect, already beginning to wane; but it would seem that the fair
still represents all the gayest features of the olden time, having
been held here annually since 1366, tradition pointing to even an
earlier date.

The site of the fair-grounds is triangular in shape, and lies between
the two rivers Volga and Oka, forming yearly a large and populous
temporary town, with numerous streets of booths, restaurants, small
shops, bazaars, tents, and even minor theatres, while the wharves of
the rivers are crowded with bales of rags, grain, hides, skins, casks
of wine, madder, and cotton. The aggregate value of the goods
disposed of at these yearly gatherings of traders is enormous, being
estimated as high as eighty millions of dollars! Centuries since, the
two extremes of western Europe and China used also to meet at Kazan
to exchange merchandise; but long ago this trade was transferred to
Nijni, which is now the only notable gathering-place of the sort in
Russia. We were told that the united length of the streets, lanes,
and alleys of the fair often reached a distance of thirty miles, and
this seemed to be rather an under than an over estimate. Some idea
may be formed of the great distances which traders pass over to meet
here, from the fact that there were seen Bucharians from the borders
of China as well as merchants from the north part of the Celestial
Empire. The former brought with them, in connection with other goods,
precious stones for sale. Some choice turquoises were observed in
their possession, such as one can purchase nowhere else in first
hands. Speaking of gems, there were also fine specimens of the native
product offered by those who dealt in jewelry,--among them some very
fine Alexandrites, a comparatively modern discovery from the Ural
mines, which were named after the Emperor Alexander I. The
Alexandrite is opaline, being dark green by daylight and ruby red by
artificial light at night, though strong artificial light will bring
out its peculiar properties at any time. In hardness it seems to be
of about the same texture as the emerald, and when a clear, flawless
specimen is obtained, it is valued almost as highly as that rare and
beautiful gem. The story told about the Alexandrite, and which we are
inclined to believe is true, is that only one "pocket," as it is
technically designated, was ever discovered, and that has long since
been exhausted, all subsequent search having utterly failed to
produce a single specimen. At first the value of this remarkable
stone was not realized, and it remained neglected upon the spot where
it was found, until a European geologist chanced to see and explain
its gem-like qualities, after which it became much sought for and
properly valued. Very few are to be found for sale in Europe, and
fewer in America. The author saw one of these stones at St.
Petersburg which was exquisitely cut and clear as a crystal, though
green in color, for which the sum of three thousand roubles was
demanded. As it weighed fifteen carats, this was at about the rate of
one hundred dollars per carat. At Nijni or St. Petersburg one must
pay nearly Paris and New York prices for real gems.

Specimens of other gems from the Urals though not abundant were still
in considerable variety,--not offered at the booths, but by
itinerants who came to our hotel, and displayed them in a somewhat
secret manner, being very particular to keep quite out of sight of
the crowd. One of these dealers took from his bosom a small flat
leather receptacle wherein he showed some fine emeralds, colored
diamonds, rubies, and topazes. Of the latter gem there were specimens
in green, blue, yellow, and white, most of them too poorly cut to
show their fine beauty and brilliancy to advantage. The Armenian who
exhibited this collection had also garnets of several distinct
colors, the finest of which was of a light cinnamon hue. He had also
tourmalines black as jet, and pink rubellites with sapphires as fine
as those from Ceylon. All these precious stones, he said, were from
the Ural mines. The same region furnishes also gold, silver, copper,
and platinum, the latter valuable product in larger quantities than
comes from any other part of the world. An emerald mine was
accidentally discovered in the Ural range near Ekaterinburg so late
as 1830. A peasant who was passing through a wood chanced to see an
emerald gleaming among the upturned roots of a fallen pine; and
further research showed that many precious gems of the same sort were
mingled with the surrounding soil. Such discoveries soon become
known. The peasant was enriched for life, but Government as usual in
such cases claimed the mine.

Thibet and North China merchants who come to Nijni occupy nearly six
months in travelling to and from their native districts. They bring
their famous brands of "brick tea," said to be the finest produced,
and of which the Russians partake so liberally, paying more than
double the price per pound that is usually charged for the best
brands that reach the American market. One who has travelled in Japan
is impressed with the idea that its people draw one half their
sustenance from tea-drinking, of which they partake many times each
day; but neither these Russians nor the Asiatics take the decoction
one quarter as strong as it is used with us. An idea prevails here
that the tea from China which comes by the overland route is much
superior to that which reaches Southern Europe and America by sea,
and the price is gauged accordingly; but even brick tea comes to
Nijni half the distance and more by water carriage, and if there is
any deteriorating effect traceable to that cause, it cannot be
exempt. There is a brand known as "yellow tea" in great favor
here,--a grade which we do not see in this country at all. It is of a
pale color when steeped and of delicate flavor, being used as an
after-dinner beverage in Russia, as we employ coffee. It is sold at
the fair in small fancy packages as put up in China, each containing
one pound of the leaves. Price six dollars for a package!

Where there is so large and promiscuous an assemblage of human
beings, sickness of an epidemic character would be sure to break out
were it not that a most rigid sanitary system is established and
enforced. This precaution is especially important, as personal
cleanliness is a virtue little known and less practised among
Russians and Asiatics. In the large cities the Russian takes his
weekly bath of steaming water, nearly parboiling his body; and that
must last him for seven days. The average citizen sleeps in his
clothes during the interim without change, satisfied with bathing his
face and hands in a pint or less of water daily. The Nijni
fair-grounds have open canals in various parts to afford immediate
access to water in case of fire, and also ample underground sewerage
formed by stone-lined drains which extend all over the place. These
drains are flushed several times daily during the season of the fair
by water pumped from the Volga.

The dance-halls, music-rooms, and places of general amusement are of
such a character as might naturally be anticipated, presenting
disgraceful features of frailty and vice scarcely surpassed in the
large European capitals. One spacious square of the grounds is
occupied by four large three-story houses, which are nothing less
than acknowledged dens of vice. From these houses, which are on the
four sides of the square, flags and streamers are all day gayly
flaunting, and fancy lanterns are grouped at night. Bands of
instrumental performers pour forth from their several piazzas noisy
refrains, while parading hither and thither upon the broad verandas,
or looking out from the windows, many a prematurely aged and saddened
face appears,--faces, alas! which assumed smiles and gayety of tone
cannot effectually disguise. The unfortunate girls who are attached
to these establishments are of varied nationalities. Many are
Russian, some are Poles, others are from far-off Cashmere and Nepaul;
even the Latin Quarter of Paris has its representatives here, as well
as the demi-monde of Vienna.

One dark-eyed, handsome, even refined appearing girl, who kept quite
by herself, was detected as being a quadroon. Observing that the
author was American, she acknowledged that she came from New Orleans.
The brief truthful history of this girl, who possessed all the fatal
beauty of her race, may be found instructive. She had been the
travelling companion of a heartless titled Englishman, who had
induced her to run away from her respectable Louisiana home, and had
finally deserted her at St. Petersburg after a year of travel in
various parts of the world and a considerable sojourn in India.
Without a guinea in her purse or the means of honestly earning money,
her fate seemed to be inevitable; and so she had drifted she hardly
knew how or where, until she was here in this maelstrom of vice,
Nijni-Novgorod. One must have possessed a heart of stone to be able
to look unmoved into the tearful eyes of this poor unhappy girl, who
had bought her bitter experience at such terrible cost. Quietly
closing her hand upon the gold that was offered her with some
earnest, well-meant advice, she said: "This shall be the nucleus of a
sum wherewith to return to my mother and my Louisiana home, or it
shall purchase that which will end for me all earthly misery!" Poor
Marie Fleur! We shall probably never know what fate has befallen her.

Interspersed about the lanes and streets were many gay eating and
drinking booths, cafés where gypsy dancers and singing girls appeared
in the evening. With the close of the day the business of the fair is
mostly laid aside, and each nationality amuses itself after its
native fashion. Rude musical instruments are brought forth, strange
and not inharmonious airs fall upon the ear, supplemented here and
there by songs the words of which are utterly unintelligible except
to a small circle of participants. The whole scene forms a motley
picture, as party-colored as Harlequin's costume, while the whole is
shadowed by the ever-present, vigilant Russian police. Smoking is not
permitted in the streets or among the booths; to light a match even
subjects one to a fine, such is the great fear of fire; but still the
unmistakable fumes of tobacco which permeated the atmosphere showed
that within the walls of their own apartments smokers were freely
indulging in their wonted habit. The governor's business residence
during the fair is very near its centre. The lower portion for the
time being is transferred into a grand bazaar, for the sale of the
lighter and more choice fancy articles, including European
manufactured goods. There is here also a large restaurant where a
good dinner may be had at a reasonable price, the bill of fare
embracing the peculiar dishes of many different nationalities,--and
though others did, the author did not partake of Tartar horse-flesh.
A boulevard extends from behind the governor's house towards the
cathedral and an Armenian church. The shops along this thoroughfare
are principally occupied by goldsmiths and dealers in silver-ware.
Some apparently very ancient examples of the latter would have
delighted the eye of a curio hunter; they were in the form of clasps,
mugs, drinking-horns, and spoons of quaint designs, no two alike,
affording an endless variety from which to choose.

We were told of some curious doings of the light-fingered gentry who
are naturally attracted to the fair, and who drive a very successful
business during the few weeks of its continuance, provided they be
not detected and locked up. These rogues are not confined to any one
nationality, but are composed of immigrants from far and near. They
seem equally adroit however, whether Asiatics or Europeans. One was
arrested during the late season at Nijni upon whose person eleven
purses and porte-monnaies were found as the product of a single day's
operation. The rascal was a Polish Jew, "childlike and bland." He was
apparently a pedler, dealing in tapes and shoestrings. Some London
thieves the year before the last, having heard of the great Russian
fair which continued so many weeks, drawing together purchasers from
many lands, who came with well-lined pocket-books, accordingly
resolved to invade Nijni. They came, they saw, they conquered; but it
was a very brief triumph. The Asiatic thieves "spotted" the English
rogues at sight, but let them operate until they had possessed
themselves of ample booty, while the local rogues remained quiescent
and watched the fun. Then the Eastern experts picked their pockets of
every farthing they had stolen; having done which they adroitly drew
the attention of the police to them. The cockneys were compelled to
leave the place instantly, and to beg their way to an English port
where they sadly embarked for home, wiser if not richer than when
they resolved to "raid" the great Oriental fair.

The numbers of persons arriving during the fair is so great as to
exhaust all reasonable means of comfortable lodgement, and where the
great mass sleep is generally considered to be a mystery; yet a
stroll about the town at day-break will solve it. Rolled up in their
rags, thousands drop down to rest like dogs upon the ground wherever
fatigue overtakes them. Other thousands sleep behind their stalls and
booths upon the softest place they can find. Open sheds are utilized
by hundreds, who lie there upon the floor packed like herring under a
temporary roof. It may be safely stated that not one person in fifty
who attends the fair removes his clothing from his body while he is
there. Even the weekly bath must be given up here, unless it consists
of a brief plunge into the Volga.

On the route to Nijni from Moscow, at a station on the railway line,
a bevy of convicts was seen on their way to Siberia. They represented
all ages, from the lad of fifteen to the decrepit and gray-haired old
man of sixty or seventy. Condemned people are now conveyed as far on
their way as possible by rail, and then begin their long journey upon
foot towards the region which according to popular belief rarely
fails to become their grave in a few brief years. Some of these
men--there were no women among them--appeared to us as though society
were fortunate to be rid of them, and as if they very likely deserved
the fate which awaited them, be it never so severe. There were
others, however, if the human countenance may be trusted, who seemed
to merit a better fate. Some of them had grossly outraged the laws,
and some few were political prisoners. But be their condemnation
upon what ground it may, when once started upon this journey they
left all hope behind. The prisoners whom we saw did not appear to be
guarded with much strictness. They were permitted to walk about
freely within certain lines; still, military espionage is so thorough
and complete that any attempt to escape would surely cost the
prisoner his life. None of these prisoners were manacled or confined
by bonds of any sort; and though we watched them specially, no
harshness was exhibited by either soldiers or officers towards them.
The prisoners seemed to accept the position, and the soldiers to be
only performing routine duty. Feeling more than ordinary interest in
the subject, we were led to seek for information touching this penal

We were told by unprejudiced persons that many of the current stories
about Siberia were pure fiction, and that not a few of the attributed
terrors relating to that district were without truth. To sober,
honest, industrious enterprise it was not only a very habitable but
even desirable locality, undoubtedly with some drawbacks; but there
is no limit to its mineral wealth and other possibilities. In spite
of its climate, the soil under proper culture is represented to be
prodigiously fertile. Our principal informant had been there several
times, and had mercantile interests in the country: he was not of
Russian but German birth. It seems that many persons go to Siberia
voluntarily every year, some following closely in the track of each
lot of prisoners despatched thither. If what we heard and have reason
to believe is really true, Siberia will eventually prove to Russia
what Australia and Van Diemen's Land have to England.

The Russian travels with all his toilet and sleeping necessaries with
him. Towels, soap, pillow, and blanket form a part of his regular
outfit when he travels by rail or otherwise at night. Though one pays
for sleeping-car accommodations, only reclining seats are furnished,
and not even a pitcher of water or a towel can be found inside of the
cars. This seemed to be the more surprising because of the excellence
of the road-bed, the remarkable perfection of the rolling stock, and
the manifest desire upon all hands, so far as the officials were
concerned, to render the passengers as comfortable as possible.
Anything like refreshing slumber was out of the question in a half
upright position, and after a night passed in coquetting with sleep,
at six or seven o'clock in the morning the cars stopped at a
way-station for twenty-five minutes, both in coming from Moscow to
Nijni and in returning, the journey both ways being made by the
night-express. On the platform of this station a line of peasant
women stand behind a series of basins placed temporarily upon a long
bench. One of these women pours a small stream of water from a
pitcher upon the traveller's hands, and he is thus enabled to make a
partial toilet, wiping his face upon a very suspicious-looking towel,
also furnished by the woman who supplies the water. For this service
she expects ten kopecks, the smallest current silver coin. However,
water upon the face and temples even in limited quantity, after a
long dusty night-ride in the cars, is grateful and refreshing,
incomplete though the ablution may seem, and one felt duly thankful.
It was quite as ample accommodation in that line as the average
Russian citizen required.

Before closing this chapter, and apropos of the subject of Siberia,
let us say a few words more. It should be remembered as regards the
severity of punishment for crime in Russia, and particularly as to
banishment to Siberia, that the sentence of death is now rarely
inflicted in this country. Persons who are condemned to expiate their
crimes by deportation to this penal resort, would in other European
countries be publicly executed. Nearly all other nations punish
undoubted treason with death. Russia inflicts only banishment, where
the convicted party has at least air and light, his punishment being
also mitigated by obedience and good behavior. This is paradise
compared to Austrian, Spanish, German, and Italian prisons, where the
wretched dungeon existence is only a living death. It is a fact that
of late years, and especially since the accession of Alexander III.
to the throne, so mild has the punishment of banishment to Siberia
come to be considered that it has lost its terror to the average
culprit. We were assured that not one third of the convicts sent
thither for a limited term elect to return to their former homes, but
end by becoming free settlers in the country, and responsible


  On the Road to Poland. -- Extensive Grain-Fields. -- Polish
  Peasantry. -- A Russian General. -- No Evidence of Oppression. --
  Warsaw and its Surroundings. -- Mingled Squalor and Elegance. --
  Monuments of the City. -- Polish Nobility. -- Circassian Troops.
  -- Polish Language. -- The Jews of Warsaw. -- Political Condition
  of Poland. -- Public Parks. -- The Famous Saxony Gardens. --
  Present Commercial Prosperity. -- Local Sentiment. -- Concerning
  Polish Ladies and Jewish Beauties.

From Moscow to Warsaw one travels a long and rather dreary seven
hundred miles, the first half of which is characterized by such
sameness, verst after verst, as to render the journey extremely
monotonous. The country through which we passed is heavily wooded,
and affords some attractive sport to foreign hunters who resort
hither for wolf-shooting. In the summer season these repulsive
creatures are seldom dangerous to man, except when they go mad (which
in fact they are rather liable to do), in which condition they rush
through field and forest heedless of hunters, dogs, or aught else,
biting every creature they meet; and such animals, man or beast,
surely die of hydrophobia. The wolves are at all seasons more or less
destructive to small domestic stock, and sometimes in the severity of
a hard winter they will gather in large numbers and attack human
beings under the craze of ravenous hunger. But as a rule they are
timid, and keep out of the way of man. There are also some desirable
game-birds in these forests which are sought for by sportsmen, but
the wolves are all that the foreign hunter seeks. The wild bison
still exist here, though it is forbidden to shoot them, as they are
considered to belong to the Crown, but the gradual diminution of
their numbers from natural causes threatens their extinction. If they
were not fed by man during the long winters they would starve. The
Emperor sometimes presents a specimen to foreign zoölogical gardens.

As we advanced, the country put on a different aspect. The beautiful
lavender color of the flax-fields interspersed with the peach-bloom
of broad, level acres of buckwheat produced a cheerful aspect. These
fields were alternated by miles of intensely green oats, rye, and
other cereals; indeed, we have seen no finer display of grain-fields
except in western America. The hay-makers in picturesque groups were
busy along the line of the railroad, nine tenths of them being women.
The borders of Poland exhibited a scene of great fertility and
successful agricultural enterprise. As we crossed the frontier a
difference in the dress of the common people was at once obvious. Men
no longer wore red shirts outside of their pantaloons, and the
scarlet disappeared from the dress of the women, giving place to more
subdued hues. The stolid square faces of the Russian peasantry were
replaced by a more intelligent cast of features, while many
representatives of the Jewish race began to appear, especially about
the railroad stations, where they were sure to be offering something
for sale. At the frontier town of Brest the extensive fortifications
attracted notice, where considerable bodies of infantry and artillery
were also observed. These elaborate fortifications are said to
embrace a line of twenty miles, and are kept fully up to a war
standard. As to the defensive condition of Russian forts, Alexander
III. considers prevention better than cure, and is at all times
prepared for an emergency. The dwelling-houses which began to come
into view were of a much superior class to those left behind us in
Russia proper. Log-cabins entirely disappeared and thatched roofs
were rarely seen, while good substantial frame-houses appropriately
painted became numerous. Neat little flower-plats were seen fenced in
adjoining the dwellings, containing pretty shrubbery, flowers, and
fruit-trees. Lines of bee-hives found place near the dwellings, and
everything was suggestive of thrift and industry.

On the same train in which we had travelled from Moscow was Prince
Gurkon, commander-in-chief of all the armies of Russia. He was a man
past the middle age, with a countenance of pleasing expression, not
wanting in firmness, but still quite genial. The Prince was almost
covered on the left breast with the insignia of various orders. He
was in full military uniform, attended by a staff of a dozen
officers, and being on an official tour of inspection was received
with a salvo of guns at Brest. He was inclined to conversation, and
was not a little curious about America, concerning whose political
and military status he had many questions to ask. Like all of his
countrymen he expressed hearty sympathy with our Republic, and spoke
intelligently of American history and progress. He had special
respect for General Grant as a soldier, and remarked that fortunately
Russia had disposed of the terrible incubus of serfdom at a less
bitter and bloody cost than America incurred in the suppression of
negro slavery.

After crossing the borders of Poland, the thoughtful stranger cannot
divest himself of an earnest even though silent sympathy with the
people who are so thoroughly disfranchised in a political sense; and
yet truth compels us to say, that few if any outward signs of
oppression met the eye. We must confess that a decided effort to
discover something of the sort proved quite a failure. The masses of
the people are cheerful and talkative in the extreme, exhibiting a
strong contrast in this respect to those of Russia, who have a
chronic expression of dreariness and inanity, and who, as a rule, are
essentially silent and sad. With their national existence
annihilated, so to speak, we had been led to anticipate discontent
and grumbling among the Poles, neither of which we encountered.
Warsaw is seemingly as thoughtless over these matters and as gay as
any capital in Europe. As regards the nationality of Poland, her fate
is certainly decided for many years to come, if indeed it be not
settled for all time. And without prejudice or any false sentiment,
one is forced to think perhaps this is best for Poland. Dismembered
as she is, every new generation must amalgamate her more and more
completely with the three powers who have appropriated her territory
and divided the control of her people among them. We continue to
speak of Poland as a distinct country, though the name is all that
remains of its ancient independence. The map of Europe has long since
been reconstructed in this region,--Austria, Germany, and Russia
coolly absorbing the six millions of Poles, and Warsaw being the
capital of Russian Poland.

It was at the close of the second day's journey since leaving Moscow
that we approached Warsaw in a course nearly due west, witnessing one
of those fiery sunsets which are only seen in their intensity towards
the close of summer in the north. The gorgeous light escorted us into
the capital across the long and lofty iron bridge which stretches
from the Praga suburb over the broad, sandy bed of the Vistula. This
remarkable bridge is one thousand nine hundred feet in length, and
was designed by the same architect that superintended the
construction of the Nicholas Bridge at St. Petersburg. The curtain of
night fell in sombre folds as we drove through the streets of the old
city amid a blaze of artificial light, the town being gayly illumined
on account of its being the birthday of Alexander III. It was
observed that this illumination was in some respects peculiar, long
rows of gas-jets, extending by means of temporary pipes along the
gutters by the sidewalks, supplementing the blaze in the windows of
stores and dwelling-houses, so that one seemed to be passing between
two narrow streams of liquid fire. It is a long drive from the
railroad station to the Hotel Victoria, but when it is once reached,
the traveller finds himself located in the centre of Warsaw and in
very comfortable quarters.

The city extends about six miles along the left bank of the Vistula
and upon high land. The river--which is navigable, though at the time
of our visit it was very low--extends the whole length of Poland from
north to south, its source being in the Carpathians and its mouth at
Dantzic. The city, which covers a great surface in proportion to the
number of its inhabitants, is enclosed by ramparts pierced by ten
gates, and is defended by a castle of modern construction. The
fortification is well kept up to a war-standard, especially in the
department of modern artillery. The garrison was drilling at the time
of our visit in the management of some new and heavy guns. Warsaw has
nearly half a million of inhabitants, one third of whom are Jews, who
monopolize the main branches of trade, and who appear in an
exaggerated aspect of their repulsive peculiarities. There is but one
synagogue worthy of mention belonging to this people, who certainly
would require more were they composed of a race adhering strictly to
their religious professions. The temple referred to is an extremely
plain, unpretentious one, which is capable of accommodating twelve
or fifteen hundred persons, and is generally visited by strangers in
the city. The prevailing religion in Poland is Roman Catholic, and
doubtless much of the bitterness of feeling which exists between this
people and the Russians is caused by religious differences, fomented
by the Catholic priests.

On arriving in a new city, an experienced traveller will
instinctively seek some suitable point from which to obtain a clear
and comprehensive view of the entire locality, which will thus become
mapped upon the brain, so that all after movements are prosecuted
with a degree of intelligence otherwise impossible. Here the St.
Petersburg railway station in the Praga district affords the desired
view. From hence a vast panorama spreads out before the eye in every
direction. On the banks of the Vistula opposite may be seen the
citadel, the older portions of the town, with its narrow streets and
lofty houses, the castle and its beautiful gardens, as well as the
newer sections of the city, including the public promenades and
groves about the royal villa of Lazienki. Viewed from Praga as it
slopes upward, the effect of the city is very pleasing, and a closer
examination of its churches, former palaces, and fine public
buildings confirms the favorable impression of its architectural
grandeur. This view should be supplemented by one of a bird's-eye
character to be obtained from the cupola of the Lutheran Church,
which will more clearly reveal the several large squares and main
arteries, bordered by graceful lime-trees, thus completing a
knowledge of its topography.

In spite of its misfortunes, Warsaw ranks to-day as the third city in
importance as well as in population in the Russian empire. It was not
made the capital of Poland until 1566, when it succeeded to Cracow.
It is now but the residence of a viceroy representing the Emperor of
Russia. The town is heavily garrisoned by the soldiers of the Tzar;
indeed, they are seen in goodly numbers in every town and village of
any importance, and are represented even at the small railroad
stations on the line from Moscow. War and devastation have deprived
the city of many of its national and patriotic monuments, but its
squares are still ornamented with numerous admirable statues, and
with a grand array of fine public buildings. In the square of the
Royal Castle there was observed a colossal bronze statue of Sigismund
III.; in another quarter a bronze statue of Copernicus was found. It
will be remembered that he was a Pole by birth and was educated at
Cracow, his name being Latinized from Kopernik. There is a
thirteenth-century cathedral close by, whose pure Gothic contrasts
strongly with the Tartar style so lately left behind in middle
Russia. This old church was very gray and crumbling, very dirty, and
very offensive to the sense of smell,--partly accounted for by
obvious causes, since about the doors, both inside and out, swarmed a
vile-smelling horde of ragged men, women, and children, sad and
pitiful to look upon. The square close at hand has more than once
been the scene of popular demonstrations which have baptized it in
the life-blood of the citizens. The finest public buildings and
elegant residences were found strangely mingled with wooden hovels;
magnificence and squalor are located side by side, inexorably jumbled
together. We remember no other city in all Europe which has so many
private palaces and patrician mansions as may be seen in an hour's
stroll about Warsaw; but it must be admitted that the architecture is
often gaudy and meretricious. Here for centuries there were but two
grades of society; namely, the nobles and the peasants. Intermediate
class there was none. A Polish noble was by law a person who
possessed a freehold estate, and who could prove his descent from
ancestors formerly possessing a freehold, who followed no trade or
commerce, and who was at liberty to choose his own habitation. This
description, therefore, included all persons who were above the rank
of burghers or peasants. The despised Jews were never considered in
the social scale at all, and were looked upon by both nobles and
peasants as a necessary evil contingent upon trade. They were not
even subject to military service until the Russians assumed power.
Now the Jews enter in large numbers into the service of the Tzar,
especially as musicians forming the military bands. Being intelligent
and to a certain degree educated, they are also employed in places
where recruits only fit for service in the lower ranks would not be
trusted, and we were told that they make excellent common soldiers.

Where the great iron bridge which spans the Vistula joins the shore
on the right bank, one comes upon the barracks of the Circassian
troops who form a portion of the local garrison. Here we chanced to
witness some of their peculiar cavalry drill, where, among other
manoeuvres, the exercise of dashing towards an object placed upon the
ground and catching it up on the point of the sword or lance while
the rider is at full speed, was practised. These soldiers are most
efficient as cavalry, being what is termed born horsemen. Russians,
Circassians, and other Eastern troops garrison Warsaw, while Polish
soldiers are sent elsewhere for good and sufficient political
reasons. The support of the entire scheme of power in Russia, as in
Germany and Austria, turns upon military organization and efficiency;
hence this element crops out everywhere, and its ramifications
permeate all classes in Warsaw, as at St. Petersburg or Berlin.

In passing through Poland the country presents to the eye of the
traveller almost one unbroken plain, admirably adapted to
agriculture, so much so that it has long been called the granary of
Europe. The Polish peasants are extremely ignorant, if possible even
more so than the same class in Russia proper; but they are a
fine-looking race, strongly built, tall, active, and well-formed.
There are schools in the various districts, but the Polish language
is forbidden to be taught in them; only the Russian tongue is
permitted. The peasantry have pride enough to resist this in the only
way which is open to them; namely, by keeping their children from
attending the schools. Therefore, education not being compulsory, as
it is in Norway and Sweden, little benefit is derived from the
common-school system as here sustained. With a view utterly to
abolish the Polish language, it is even made a penal offence to use
it in commercial transactions.

The Polish peasantry as a whole are by no means a prepossessing race.
Naturally dull, they are still more demoralized and degraded by an
unconquerable love of intoxicants, the dram being unfortunately both
cheap and potent. In every village and settlement, no matter how
small, there are always Jews who are ready and eager to administer to
this base appetite, and to rob the poor ignorant people of both
health and money. It is unpleasant to speak harshly of the Jewish
race, especially as we know personally some highly cultured,
responsible, and eminently respectable men who form a decided
exception to the general rule; but the despised and wandering
children of Israel, wherever we have met them, certainly appear to
exercise an evil influence upon the people among whom they dwell. We
record the fact with some hesitation, but with a strong sense of
conviction. Poland appears to be after Palestine a sort of Land of
Promise to the Jews; but they are certainly here, if nowhere else, a
terrible scourge upon the native race. Their special part of the
town--the Jews' Quarter--is a mass of filth, so disgusting, so
ill-smelling, that one would think it must surely breed all sorts of
contagious diseases; but here they live on in unwholesome dens, amid
undrained, narrow streets and lanes, often in almost roofless
tenements. Bayard Taylor wrote of the Polish Jews: "A more vile and
filthy race, except the Chinese, cannot disgust the traveller." Here,
as in other parts of the world, the Hebrew people have a history full
of vicissitudes, and are composed of various tribes, Galician,
Moldavian, Hungarian, and native Polish; but in their general
characteristics they are identical, being universally wedded to filth
and greed. While they are strangely interesting as a study they are
never attractive, with their cringing, servile manners and dirty
gabardines, their cadaverous faces, piercing black eyes, their hooked
noses and ringleted locks. Wherever met they are keen-witted,
avaricious, patient, frugal, long-suffering. The race is now banished
from what is known as Great Russia, and so far as Government is
concerned is barely tolerated in Russian Poland; but to drive them
hence would be to decimate the country in population.

The present political condition of Poland is the more impressive, as
we remember that she was a great civil power when Russia was little
better than semi-barbarous. Now neither books nor papers are
permitted to be published in the native tongue, and all volumes
printed in the Polish language are confiscated wherever found, even
in private libraries. The public library of Warsaw, which contained
some hundred and sixty thousand bound volumes, was conveyed to
St. Petersburg long ago, and Polish literature may virtually be said
to be suppressed. While becoming conversant with these facts, it was
natural as an American that we should speak plainly of the outrageous
character of such arbitrary rule. The intelligent and courteous
Russian with whom we were conversing could not see why it was any
worse for his Government to claim possession and direction of Poland
than it was for England to do the same in the instance of Ireland.
This was a style of arguing which it was not very easy to meet. "It
became a political necessity for us to take our portion of Poland and
to govern it," said the gentleman to whom we refer, "but she is far
more of a burden than an advantage to Russia. Only the common people
of this country--the masses--have been really benefited by the
present state of affairs."

The "Avenues" is the popular drive and promenade of the citizens of
Warsaw, bordered by long lines of trees and surrounded on all sides
by elegant private residences. Here also are located inviting public
gardens where popular entertainments are presented, and where cafés
dispense ices, favorite drinks, and refreshments of all sorts. The
well-arranged Botanical Gardens are not far away, affording a very
pleasing resort for all lovers of floral beauty. Just beyond these
gardens comes the Lazienki Park, containing the suburban palace
built by King Stanislaus Poniatowski in the middle of the last
century, and which is now the temporary residence of the Emperor of
Russia when he visits Warsaw. The grounds occupied by the Park are
very spacious, affording great seclusion and deep shady drives; for
though it so closely adjoins the city, it has the effect of a wild
forest composed of ancient trees. The royal villa stands in the midst
of a stately grove, surrounded by graceful fountains, tiny lakes, and
delightful flower gardens. There is a fine array in summer of
tropical plants in tubs and many groups of marble statuary, more
remarkable for extravagance of design than for artistic excellence,
if we except the statue of King John Sobieski. Adjoining the Park is
that of the Belvidere Palace, formerly the residence of the Grand
Duke Constantine; but the place is now quite deserted, though
everything is kept in exquisite order.

Most of the city houses are built of brick or stone, the former being
stuccoed so as to give the general effect of the latter. The churches
are numerous and fine. It may be said, indeed, that the public
buildings throughout the city are on a grand scale. The two principal
streets are Honey Street and that of the New World, so called. There
are a plenty of hotels, but mostly of a very inferior character,
several being kept in what were once palaces, generally by Germans or
some other foreigners, never by Poles. The people whom one meets upon
the streets seem to be more Asiatic in their features and general
aspect than the residents of St. Petersburg, showing clearly their
Tartar descent; but in manners, customs, and dress they are much more
European than the Russians.

There are several large open squares in Warsaw where provision
markets are held daily by the country people, but especially in the
early morning and forenoon. The principal one is located near the
Saxony Gardens, the trade of which is entirely conducted by women;
and so varied is the business here that it partakes of the character
of a public fair rather than that of a provision market. Vegetables,
flowers, fruit, fish, poultry, tools, clothing, toys, domestic
utensils, boots, shoes, and articles of female attire, all enter into
the objects collected and offered for sale. The women are mostly of
Jewish extraction, a large number of the middle-aged wearing wigs,
under which their natural hair was cut short. On inquiry it was found
that this is an old Jewish custom with women of that race in
Poland,--that is, as soon as they are married to shave their heads
and wear false hair, a practice which we have never observed
elsewhere, and which is not followed here by the more pretentious
families of the Hebrew population. The market square adjoining the
Saxony Gardens affords a highly picturesque sight, where the mingling
of colors, races, and costumes is curious to study. In the gardens we
have one of the most attractive and oldest city parks in Europe,
where the trees are very large and of great variety, while the
flowers which adorn the grounds on all sides, mingled with
artificial ponds and fountains, delight the eye and regale the
senses. We have all heard of the Saxony Gardens of Warsaw, but we
have never heard them overpraised. A military band performs here
night and morning during the summer season, while mineral waters--a
specialty here--are freely drunk by the promenaders, recalling
familiar scenes at Saratoga.

The city to the practical eye of an American seemed to be
commercially in a state of more rapid growth and prosperity than any
capital which has been treated of in these pages. In matters of
current business and industrial affairs it appeared far in advance of
St. Petersburg. The large number of distilleries and breweries was
unpleasantly suggestive of the intemperate habits of the people. The
political division of Poland which we have incidentally spoken of was
undoubtedly a great outrage on the part of the three powers who
confiscated her territory, but the author is satisfied, while writing
here upon the spot, and after careful consideration, that this
radical change was a good thing for the people at large. With what
has seemed to be the bitter fortune of Poland we have all of us in
America been taught from childhood to sympathize to such an extent
that romance and sentiment have in a degree prevailed over fact,
blinding cooler judgment. There are those who see in the fate of
Poland that retributive justice which Heaven accords to nations as
well as to individuals. In past ages she has been a country always
savagely aggressive upon her neighbors, and it was not until she was
sadly torn and weakened by internal dissensions that Catherine II.
first invaded her territory. Nine tenths of the population were no
better than slaves. They were in much the same condition as the serfs
of Russia before the late emancipation took place. They were
acknowledged retainers, owing their service to and holding their
farms at the option of the upper class; namely, the so-called
nobility of the country. This overmastering class prided itself upon
neither promoting nor being engaged in any kind of business; indeed,
this uselessness was one of the conditions attached to its patent of
nobility. These autocratic rulers knew no other interest or
occupation than that of the sword. War and devastation constituted
their profession, while the common people for ages reaped the fruit
of famine and slaughter. Even in what were called days of peace, the
court and the nobles spent their time in vile intrigues and bloody
quarrels. However hard these reflections may seem, they are fully
sustained by the history of the country, and are frankly admitted to
be true by intelligent natives of Warsaw to-day.

There is no denying the fact, leaving the question of right and
justice quite out of the discussion, that the breaking up of Poland
politically has brought about a degree of peace, wealth, prosperity,
and comparative liberty such as the masses of the people of this so
long distracted land have not known for centuries. That there is
shameful despotism exercised by the ruling powers all must admit; but
there is also peace, individual liberty, and great commercial
prosperity. In the days which are popularly denominated those of
Polish independence, the nobility were always divided into bitter
factions. Revolutions were as frequent as they are in Spain, Mexico,
or South America to-day, the strongest party for the time being
disposing of the crown and ruling the country amid tumult and

"The class who so long misruled Poland are now powerless," said a
native resident of Warsaw to us. "The sacrifice of our political
nationality has been indeed a bitter experience; but it has at least
given the country a breathing spell, and the rank and file of the
people a chance to recuperate their fallen fortunes. We had become
impoverished by internal dissensions and endless conflicts abroad;
now we enjoy peace and material prosperity. If the matter depended
upon a popular vote as exercised in America," he added, "there would
be found only a designing few who would vote for a restoration of the
old régime." The gentleman whom we have quoted belonged to the
mercantile class, and was native born; therefore we think his words
may be taken as reflecting the average sentiment of the citizens of

Let us not forget in these closing pages to speak of the Polish
ladies. They are almost universally handsome, with large expressive
eyes, dark and deep as the Norwegian fjords, lighting up faces full
of tenderness and sympathy. They are generally more accomplished in
what is considered womanly culture among the better classes than are
the ladies of Southern Europe, being almost universally good
musicians and fine vocalists, as well as possessing a natural gift of
languages. In secret these daughters of Poland are extremely
patriotic, though the public expression of such sentiments is hardly
admissible under the circumstances. It is not surprising that they
should regret the loss of a condition of society which made them all
princesses, so to speak. The representatives of this class are little
seen in public, very many having removed to Paris, where they
constitute a large and permanent colony. When encountered here, they
are vehemently earnest as to patriotism, and ready to encourage any
extravagant measure looking towards a possible restitution of Polish

A fellow traveller between Warsaw and Vienna, in responding to a
casual remark touching the extraordinary beauty of the Polish
ladies,--"ladies whose bright eyes rain influence,"--told the author
of a gallant friend's experience with the gentler sex of several
nationalities. It seems that the person referred to lost his heart in
Germany, his soul in France, his understanding in Italy, and was made
bankrupt of his senses in Poland. When his affections were thus
reduced to a complete wreck, the gentleman settled down to
matrimonial felicity in Russia! Some of the Jewish women of Warsaw,
of the wealthier class, are extremely handsome, so marked in this
respect that it was a pleasure to look at them. Many of the race are
blondes of the most decided stamp. Unlike Parisian, London, or Vienna
beauties, their charms are all quite natural. They require no rouge
to heighten the color of their glowing complexions, no shading of the
eyes, no dyeing of the hair, no falsifying of the figure, no padding.
These Jewesses are beholden to Nature alone for their charms of

The Polish language as spoken by the people of Warsaw is indeed a
puzzle to a stranger, being a sort of Slavic-Indo-European tongue.
When Poland enjoyed a distinctive nationality, no less than six
different dialects were spoken in the several provinces of the
kingdom. There is so much similarity, however, between the Polish
language proper and the Russian tongue that the people of the two
nationalities easily understand each other, and on the borders there
is a singular conglomerate of the two tongues spoken by the
peasantry. Until towards the close of the eighteenth century, the
Polish historians wrote almost exclusively in the Latin language, and
her poets also expressed themselves in that classic medium; hence the
paucity of Polish literature. As already intimated, the German and
Russian languages are spreading over the country, and will eventually
obliterate the native tongue without the enforcement of arbitrary
measures on the part of the dominant powers.

Commercially, Warsaw seems destined to a steady growth and
prosperity; but in the higher paths of civilization as evinced by
mental culture, the growth and dissemination of scientific knowledge,
and the general education of the masses, it is and must remain for a
long time to come far behind the much more inviting and interesting
capitals of Scandinavia.

    University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.



_One Volume. 12mo. $1.50._

       *       *       *       *       *



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"A charming, gossipy volume of literary anecdotes. It is this very
gossipy style which makes the book an easy one to read; and, while
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volume invaluable as a book of reference, while--a rare thing in
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"The book contains, in a condensed form, so large an amount of
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"One of the most permanently valuable publications of the year. It
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room and summon up spirits from the vasty deep of the past with far
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scholarly culture that were so conspicuous in Mr. Ballou's
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"A large store of delightful literary entertainment. It is written in
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An Encyclopædia of Quotations, the Brightest Sayings of the Wise and
Famous. Invaluable for Debating Societies, Writers, and Public
Speakers. A Treasure for Libraries. 1 vol. 8vo. $3.50.

       *       *       *       *       *



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       *       *       *       *       *

_For sale by all booksellers. Sent, post-paid, on receipt of the
price, by the publishers,_


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