By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Norway
Author: Jungman, Beatrix
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 "Norway" ***

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

book was produced from scanned images of public domain

Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has
  been preserved. Inconsistent spelling in the original
  (e.g. "Holmencollen" and "Holmenkollen") has been preserved.

  The following spelling corrections were made:
    - "Bjornstjerne Bjornsen" changed to "Bjornstjerne Bjornson"
    - "Armed with his mighty hammer Mjolmer" changed to "Armed with
       his mighty hammer Mjolnir"
    - "Moldoen" changed to "Moldöen"

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.





     PRICE 20c. NET

     Agents in America
     64 and 66 Fifth Avenue, New York



     Published April 1905


       CHAPTER I

     PRECARIOUS TRAVEL                                     3




     ON THE FJORDS                                        45


     MINOR ROMANTIC EPISODES                              63

       CHAPTER V

     MAINLY ABOUT SAINTS                                  85


     ARTS AND CRAFTS                                     107


     FARM-HOUSES: WEDDING FESTIVITIES                    129


     FORESTRY: REINDEER: LAND TENURES                    149



       CHAPTER X

     LEGENDS AND LITERATURE                              187


     1. Country Girl from Dalen               _Frontispiece_

                                                 FACING PAGE
     2. Trondhjem--Old Boats                               4

     3. Costume worn in the Bergen District                6

     4. The Road to Hell, near Trondhjem                   8

     5. White Cap worn in the Bergen District             10

     6. Trondhjem                                         12

     7. Little Girl of Telemarken                         14

     8. Making the Dinner--a Cottage Interior at Sælbo    16

     9. Bergen                                            18

     10. On the Fjord, Sundalsoren                        20

     11. Country-women selling Berries on the Road to
         Storen                                           24

     12. Norwegian Captain                                26

     13. Farm-house and Mill at Gjora                     28

     14. Mountains and River at Gjora                     30

     15. A Little Farm on the Riverside at Gjora          32

     16. Ostre Kanalhavn, Trondhjem                       34

     17. The Town of Molde                                36

     18. Woman Spinning, Sundalsoren                      38

     19. Snow-capped Mountain at Sundalsoren              40

     20. Old Warehouse and Boats, Molde                   46

     21. Mountains and Fjord facing Molde                 48

     22. Moldöen                                          50

     23. Bergen                                           52

     24. A Fair Maiden of North Bergen                    54

     25. Bergen Boats and Warehouses                      56

     26. Væfos, Hildal, Hardanger                         58

     27. A Hardanger Country Girl                         64

     28. Skjæggedalsfos, Hardanger                        66

     29. Hardanger Headdress                              68

     30. River at Haukeli                                 70

     31. A Peasant of Sætersdalen                         72

     32. Espelandsfos, Hardanger                          74

     33. A Boy of Sætersdalen                             76

     34. Sundalsfjord                                     78

     35. Sætersdalen Girl in National Costume             80

     36. Sætersdalen Peasant Girl                         86

     37. Moldöen                                          88

     38. A Cottage Interior, Telemarken                   90

     39. A Norwegian Girl                                 92

     40. Kjendalsbræ                                      94

     41. A Typical Norwegian Maiden                       96

     42. A Baby of Telemarken                             98

     43. Romsdals Horn                                   100

     44. Old Age, Telemarken                             102

     45. Romsdals Waterfall                              108

     46. The Houses of Parliament (Storthing),
         Christiania                                     110

     47. Ski Sports--the Great Holmencollen Day
         outside Christiania                             112

     48. Room by Munthe at Holmencollen                  114

     49. Skiers drinking Goosewine                       116

     50. Girls on Overturned Sledge, Holmencollen        118

     51. Old Canal, Christiania                          120

     52. Sledging by Torchlight                          122

     53. Making Native Tapestry                          124

     54. Bird's-eye View of Christiania                  126

     55. A Vosse Bride                                   130

     56. Farm-houses built of Poles                      132

     57. Country Girl, Bergen District                   138

     58. Sætersdalen Bride                               140

     59. A Hardanger Bride                               142

     60. Making "Flad-Brod"--a Cottage Interior          144

     61. Snow Plough drawn by Eight or Ten Horses        150

     62. Fishing through the Ice on Christiania Fjord    152

     63. Fishing-nets at Sundalsoren                     156

     64. The Midnight Sun                                158

     65. Mundal, Fjærland, Sognefjord                    162

     66. Fishing-boats at Lofoten                        170

     67. A Little Sætersdalen Peasant Girl               172

     68. Buerbræ, Odde Hardanger                         174

     69. A Lapp Mother and Child                         176

     70. Snow-capped Mountains at Aune                   178

     71. River at Gjora                                  182

     72. Grieg                                           184

     73. Henrik Ibsen                                    188

     74. Bjornstjerne Bjornson                           190

     75. Fridtjof Nansen                                 192





Of the sea voyage to Norway the less said the better. It is my habit
to be ill when I am at sea. That is unfortunate; but habit in itself
engenders a mode of philosophy that makes many of the evils of life
more easily bearable than they might otherwise be. I expect to be ill,
and literally lay myself out for it; but Nico takes up an attitude of
aggrieved surprise that the ocean should thus overcome him, and
consequently is a far greater sufferer than I am. However, it is easy
to assume a more or less frivolous tone when all is over, and the fact
must be admitted that the voyage to Norway is almost invariably
unpleasant to the majority. From the Continent, one can go overland;
but such a country as Norway should be approached by sea. Still, many
a valiant sportsman prefers the land for his return when the autumn
winds begin to blow, and so it is not surprising that less hardy
natures are inclined to do the same. It was summer when I visited
Norway for the first time; and, although one has frequent chances of
viewing the coast as one steams along it from Stavanger to Trondhjem,
I did not really begin to take any interest in the country until I had
rested and eaten for some days in the latter town. Certainly I had one
experience in Bergen during the two or three hours that we stopped
there on our way north. With my usual insatiable thirst for
dissipation, I insisted on visiting a circus I had discovered upon the
outskirts of the town. The performance was not very thrilling; but we
are neither of us difficult to please, and we stayed rather late.
Thus, when we returned to the quay the gangway of our vessel was being
pulled up. Nico made a rush for it, and was saved; but could not
prevent the sailors from completing their task, and thus I was left
lamenting. However, the sailors finally threw me a rope, and I managed
to scramble on to the deck. It was most undignified, and, I am afraid,
from the safety of the deck a most laughable spectacle; and I fled
to hide my embarrassment in my cabin, ultimately going supperless to

  [Illustration: TRONDHJEM--OLD BOATS
   The form of the ancient Viking ships is still preserved in these

In Trondhjem it rained all day and all night, and the inhabitants
cheerfully told us that it was always so. Nico, however, painted in
the rain, enveloped in mackintoshes and encompassed by umbrellas, and
was much disgusted to find that he attracted no attention at all.
Accustomed as I am to be an object of inquisitive interest to the
inhabitants of small Dutch towns, I was rather relieved to be taken so
absolutely for granted in Norway, in spots unfrequented even by ardent

At Trondhjem we were delighted with the delicious salmon and
sea-trout; but after some weeks of salmon for breakfast, salmon for
dinner, and salmon for supper, I found myself wondering whether it was
all that it had seemed to me at first. I am rather ashamed to have to
confess that, in spite of the fact that wherever English was spoken
the chances were that the conversation turned upon salmon or trout
fishing, neither Nico nor I know anything of those earlier and more
exciting passages in the salmon's career which culminate in his
presence at the table. It may be said that, with the exception of the
Germans, who visit the coast-line in ship-loads, there are
practically no _tourists_ in Norway. Fish seem to be the main object
of the stranger within her gates; and, as I have long despaired of
grafting a sporting taste upon the artistic temperament, I decided
then and there to leave the subject severely alone.

Besides the anglers, many men go over for shooting. There are still
wild animals to be found; licences are very cheap; and the Government
even offers a reward for the slaughter of certain beasts. In the case
of the rarer animals, such as the elk and the wild reindeer, certain
restrictions are placed upon the foreign hunter. On the payment of a
sum between ten and twelve pounds he is allowed to kill three reindeer
and one elk. The native hunter suffers from the same restrictions; but
his licence costs him very much less.


All this has little to do with Trondhjem. We were rather unlucky
there, and were not, perhaps, so much impressed as we ought to have
been. Calculations based upon careful study of the guide-book proved
to be incorrect, and we found the doors of the Cathedral constantly
closed against us. As it is _the_ object of interest in the place, we
were somewhat impatient, and, when we did contrive to obtain entrance,
were not in any way mollified to find the building pervaded by
spectacled and reverential Germans, who bestowed superciliously
indignant glances upon us, as on persons who were unjustly sharing a
view arranged for their party specially. It is certainly a most
beautiful building, and is being restored in a worthy manner. I
remarked as much to Nico at the moment, but was immediately suppressed
by the ancient guardian acting as our guide, who begged me in very
stately broken English not to interrupt his discourse. Later we went
to a music-hall and sat through a most extraordinary programme twice
repeated. Nico ordered beer, and was served with an immense plate of
variegated sandwiches in addition. This, I believe, was in accordance
with the law that forbids the sale of intoxicating liquors unless food
is served with them. All over Norway the most complicated laws are in
force with respect to drink, and these laws seem to be different in
every town and village. I have not gone into the subject deeply; but
it is certainly a rare thing to meet with a drunken Norwegian in the
country parts.

Trondhjem always has been, and still is, the crowning place of the
Norwegian kings. It seems to me that it is a long way to go for such a
purpose; but I concluded that it was an affair in which the kings
alone were concerned. We walked out to a beautiful waterfall near the
town, called the Lerfos, and came back by rail. Some idea of the speed
attained by the trains may be gathered from the fact that, although
the train had started when we reached the station, we were able to
board it quite easily after it had gone some distance. Then, one very
wet morning we decided that we had had enough of the place, and,
shaking the mud from our boots, we took train to Hell. I refrain from
the obvious little jokes that may be made upon such a journey, and
merely record the fact that we arrived very cold, and soon became very
wet during our stay there. The station buildings were all locked up;
and we wandered about disconsolately, waiting for the cart which was
to meet us and drive us to Sælbo, where we had decided to spend a few
days. The vehicle which we had chosen was a _stolkjærre_, and I must
here explain some of the difficulties of locomotion peculiar to
Norway. The mileage of railway is small in proportion to the size of
the country: the natural formation of the land presents immense
difficulties to the engineer. To these obstacles must be added the
very hard winters, the heavy rainfall, and the exceeding scantiness
of the population in many parts of the country. Consequently, almost
all travelling is carried out by means of an admirably arranged
posting system. On all the roads, at distances varying from seven to
eleven miles, may be found posting stations where horses may be
changed; where, also, the traveller may eat and sleep. These wayside
inns are generally farmhouses, varying widely in their capacity for
the entertainment of man and beast. They are obliged to keep a certain
number of carts and horses for the use of travellers at a specified
rate per kilometre, fixed by the Government, such rates being subject
to slight increase where particularly mountainous roads are concerned.
There are three classes of vehicles in general use. The _carriole_,
which is the typical Norwegian conveyance, is exceedingly comfortable
and well adapted to its purpose; it is built for one person, and runs
easily on good springs, and may be likened to an armchair on wheels,
but so arranged that one can either sit in it with knees bent, as in
an ordinary vehicle, or stretched out at full length in a kind of
trough. This obviates the stiffness engendered by endless hours of
driving in one position.

   This is one of the rare railway stations of Norway]

The stolkjærre, on the other hand, is a terrible invention, as much
like one of our plumber's handcarts with a rough wooden seat in it as
anything I can think of. It holds two people and a certain amount of
luggage. On the main roads one finds the carts fitted with something
in the way of springs; but upon roads such as it was our fortune to be
driven on, often badly in need of repairs, they were usually much
behind the times, and it was a wonderful and awful sensation to drive
for untold hours under such conditions.

The carriole and the stolkjærre have a small seat at the back for the
boy who is sent by the proprietor, to be changed, along with the horse
and cart, at each station; but in the case of the third method of
locomotion--that is to say, with much style and excessive
slowness--one takes over the responsibility of the whole
affair--namely, coachman, horses, and carriage, which in this case is
called _kaleschevogn_,--only to be laid aside when one arrives at
one's final destination, and using the stations only for the purpose
of resting and eating. To return to the carriole and the stolkjærre.
It must be noted that one is expected to drive oneself, though, if
anything goes wrong with the horse and cart, the driver is
responsible. The mountain ponies are very surefooted and need no
guidance; but it was our fate to be made acquainted with cattle that
shied, with others that tripped, and with one pony (I recall the
occurrence with horror) that stumbled on a narrow road, cut out of the
almost perpendicular side of a mountain, three thousand feet above a
roaring torrent. One wheel of our vehicle was actually in mid-air;
but, fortunately, the horse fell on the shaft that was on the mountain
side of the pass. Had this not been so, one of the stones that mark
the site of such accidents on the Norwegian roads would have been
erected to our memory.


It was at Hell that we had our first experience of the stolkjærre.
This was after waiting some three hours, which Nico improved by making
a sketch, while I looked for visionary wild strawberries in the
soaking grass. Then appeared a cosy little carriole, upholstered in
red velvet, and carefully covered with tarpaulins. This was
immediately taken over by a prosperous station official, who drove off
in comparative comfort. In a few minutes appeared the plumber's
handcart which I have already attempted to describe, and in it a very
diminutive boy, who manfully tackled the luggage, which he endeavoured
to make fast with a heap of very thin string, supplemented by straps
from Nico's sketching equipment. Now we were really off, and I had
time to study our pony. He had a long and heavy tail, which he would
toss over the reins; the pressure he thus brought to bear he promptly
obeyed, and we pursued a somewhat erratic course, varied by descents
upon the part of the diminutive boy to replace the pony's tail. At
length we reached a lonely farmhouse, at which, he implied, we were to
alight; and we paid him his little bill, with the addition of a small
_pourboire_. He shook hands very gravely with Nico, and, looking again
at his money, inwardly decided that we deserved a little more
attention, and shook hands with me too. We did not know anything about
posting, and, somewhat overwhelmed with this ceremonious leave-taking,
stood for some time in doubt as to what to do next. Soon an old woman
appeared at the door of the house, and beckoned us in. I explained as
well as I could, with the help of a phrase-book, that we wanted a
horse and stolkjærre as quickly as possible. This seemed to amuse the
old lady immensely. She laughed until the tears came into her eyes,
and, taking the book from my hands, examined it intently upside down.
As it was getting late and we had still a long way to go, Nico
tried what could be done by a pantomimic display. Sitting astride a
chair, he tied his handkerchief to represent the reins, and
supplemented the performance with encouraging noises addressed to an
imaginary steed. This tickled the people of the house; but I realised
that we were no nearer our object, and decided to forage for myself. I
boldly ascended the steep incline of logs upheld by beams that led
from the yard to a very dark stable. I found no horse; but there was a
stolkjærre without the ghost of a spring. I appealed again to the old
lady, who had followed me, for a horse. She merely patted me, and, I
think, urged me to be calm. Just at this moment another boy appeared
upon the scene, and inquired whether it was really a horse that we
wanted. Knowing the Norwegian for _horse_, I nodded vigorously. He
smiled indulgently, but took no other step. After another half hour's
alternate shouting and periods of calm, the boy roused himself to
action and went off, while the old lady, who, I believe, was really
kind and interested in us, took me into the kitchen and made up the
fire, as she discovered that my hands were cold. I suppose she knew
what we wanted all the time, and that we ought to have taken things
more easily; but at that time I knew nothing of the unwritten laws
with regard to posting in Norway.

  [Illustration: TRONDHJEM]

We had a terribly long drive, through magnificent scenery, going
uphill for miles; and very desolate and wild it seemed in the half
light of that damp and dreary evening. Not a human being did we meet,
and scarcely a dwelling was to be seen along the route. It was
midnight when we reached our destination, one of the typical
boarding-houses scattered all over Norway, in which inhabitants of the
towns not possessing villas of their own pass a few weeks in the
summer. They are called "sanatoriums," generally provide fishing, and
are always amid glorious scenery. The ones that I visited were
splendidly managed, and exceedingly reasonable in their charges.
Marienborg, the name of the small sanatorium in which we stayed at
Sælbo, is exquisitely situated above a very charming lake, and new
beauties discovered themselves in whatever direction one wandered. The
air is perfect, and the weather almost dependable, in the few short
weeks of summer. It was now the middle of August. The hostess was
carefully tending her strawberry-beds, and pointed out to us a fine
specimen that was still green. The meals at this establishment may
be taken, I think, as typical of those of the whole of Northern
Norway. Breakfast (when you wish) consists of coffee and cream, eggs,
and various odorous kinds of cheese, of which I can only remember the
names of two, the reindeer cheese and the goat cheese. Dinner is at
two o'clock. Salmon is a staple dish; the meat, generally mutton, is
not much to boast of. The game, when one can get it, is excellent. The
people seem to care little for any vegetable except potatoes. A great
"feature" of the meal is the dishes of fresh berries served with an
abundance of delicious cream. The milk, which is a general drink, is
always skimmed. The bread is an acquired taste, cinnamon and caraway
seeds being often used as a flavouring. A strange bread, which at its
best form was rather pleasant, consisted of sheets of wafer-like
thinness and considerable size, broken up to the requirements of the
eaters. This is served with every meal. One seemed to be eating tissue
paper without pulp. Though it is difficult to believe in its
nourishing qualities, a Norwegian meal would be incomplete without it.
Amid more gorgeous circumstances it is rejected for a delicately
flavoured smooth wafer which is really pleasing with butter. In
places near the sea we were delighted with the abundance of prawns
and lobsters; prawns of such perfection I had never tasted before. It
is very difficult to get fresh butter. As a rule it is made in the
saeters in the mountains, where the cattle are kept in summer, and on
account of the heat is very much oversalted before being sent down.


We stayed some time at Sælbo, as the only way to leave it was by
riding along a narrow bridle-path for over a hundred kilometres, and
this was not likely to be very pleasant. The only way to avoid it was
by partially retracing our footsteps, and this we liked still less.
Nico had become devoted to the picturesque log buildings with their
delightful grass roofs studded with flowers, and even in some cases
actually bearing small trees; and I had discovered a dear old woman
who passed her time in knitting curious triangular gloves. She had
been nurse in an English family many years before, and could speak a
sort of English. She loved to tell me tales of her former charges; she
did not seem to mind how much I understood, and no more did I. Her two
sons were in America, whence they sent her a sufficient allowance to
keep her in comparative comfort, and in addition to this she sold the
gloves she passed her time in knitting. She lived all alone in a
log house consisting of one large room, which served her for all
purposes except sleeping (a tiny cabin built in the main wall served
for that), and containing very little furniture, the peasantry in
Norway having the good sense to appreciate the advantages of space.
Large tables with folding legs are fixed with hinges to the wall, and
when not in use are hooked up out of the way. In one corner of the
room was the round whitewashed open fireplace and chimney which are
characteristic of these log houses--infinitely to be preferred, from a
comforting as well as a picturesque point of view, to the tall iron
stoves generally in use. The stoves have their qualities, however,
being narrow and made in four or five divisions above that intended
for fuel, which is invariably wood. Each of these compartments has its
own temperature, and is to be used with discretion for drying and
heating purposes. One word of warning: do not put your boots in the
partition nearest the fire.


At our sanatorium all the visitors ate at one table, and we were
charmed at our first acquaintance with a custom which holds good all
through Norway. When the meal is over all the guests wait for the
hostess to rise; then they follow her example and gravely bow, thus
thanking one another for the honour conferred during the repast. This
practice is observed wherever two or more people are seated at the
same table, even though they may be absolute strangers.

We had now discovered that by crossing the lake on a very old steamer
we should reach a place called Brottem and thence proceed northwards
to a spot from which we could pursue our journey. We parted from the
lovely smiling place with many regrets, and, boarding the steamer,
found we had it to ourselves. At a bend in the lake Sælbo was lost to
our sight, while on either side of the narrow water the banks rose
precipitously, thickly wooded with pines. The sun had disappeared, and
the air was growing cold, when suddenly the steamer stopped, the
captain proclaiming in a matter-of-fact tone that the engine refused
to work. We ascertained that we were in no actual danger; but out of
sight and sound of humanity, on a tiny and very ancient vessel, we
were in a position of unpleasant possibilities. We remained stationary
for two hours. Then one of our three navigators had a brilliant
inspiration. That was to examine the engines, which had not,
apparently, occurred to any of them before! After a little coaxing the
vessel began to move again; and we eventually landed on the farther
shore of the lake, very cold, very hungry, and much belated.

  [Illustration: BERGEN]

Here we found a large farmhouse surrounded by many outbuildings, and
evidently prosperous. We were received with enthusiasm by the burly
proprietor, his servants, and a Norwegian family engaged in fishing
who were staying at the place. A splendid meal was prepared, and, to
my joy, a wood fire was roaring in the tall iron stove of a large
bedroom set apart for me. The fishing family knew a few words of
English, which they were as much pleased to speak as we to hear. Next
day was a Sunday, and at dinner Nico in his ignorance expressed a
desire for something to drink, which was refused, as nothing could be
sold on that day. The kind fishermen came to the rescue. They plied us
with rare wines, and under that friendly influence we thawed
gratefully. I found them enthusiastic whist-players, and eagerly
desirous of mastering the intricacies of bridge. I did what I could in
one short afternoon to enlighten them, and soon after sent them two
scoring boards. Probably they will evolve a game for themselves which
in the next generation will utterly eclipse bridge, as bridge has
eclipsed whist and solo.





We had a splendid pony and quite a comfortable stolkjærre from Brottem
to the next station, where we took the train to our resting-place for
the night, a well-known fishing hotel at Storen. One of the excellent
incidents of travelling in Norway is the service, which is exceedingly
well done by women. They are so quick and clean and agreeable that
they contribute to the enjoyment of one's wayfaring. The deft maids at
the Storen hotel were no exception to the rule; but the place was not
very sympathetic to us. We stayed only long enough for Nico to make
one or two pictures of spots which pleased him. Then we began a long
drive right across the country, half the distance off the main road,
having as our destination the town of Molde. We lingered for weeks
over our drive, staying for days at the various little stations which
appealed to us specially by reason of that mystic attraction some
spots have and others lack, which can neither be analysed nor

At a place called Aune we left the main route, and here the road began
to be exceedingly bad--far and away the worst we came across in
Norway. Before this we were struck with the splendid way the roads are
constructed and kept.

Our hearts were in our mouths one dusky evening as we galloped down
the narrow road cut out of the precipitous side of a mountain: seven
hundred feet below foamed and roared a torrent. We reached the valley
in safety; but I had terrible dreams about frightened or unsteady
ponies for nights afterwards.

At Aune we met two very handsome Norwegians, who were crossing the
country on foot. They were taking a holiday in this way; but many poor
students are obliged to make use of shanks' ponies for the strongest
of reasons. This slow driving during long distances becomes very
expensive, and I presume that the continual stoppages at hotels must
be an important item. I mention these good-looking people, not because
we found them very interesting, but because I was surprised all
through Norway to find so few men with any of the external qualities
of the Viking. I had imagined that the type was strongly implanted
in the Norsemen. Even in build the majority are unsatisfactory. A
careful study of statistics on the subject informed me that the
Norwegians are the tallest European race; but I can only suppose that
the average is brought up by a certain number of excessively tall men.
Also, the Norseman is inclined to become fat early in middle life. On
the whole, the middle class is not to be distinguished from the usual
type of Dutchmen and Germans with which we are familiar. The women
have been treated in a much kindlier fashion by Nature. Even those
whose features do not actually admit of their being called handsome
have such smiling frank faces that they are most pleasant to look
upon. In using womenkind so extensively in the place of man-servants
the Norwegians show wisdom and good taste.


From Aune we had a terrible drive over a road in the making. The old
path was too bad to use at all; and the new road jerked us here up a
foot, there down a foot, as the various processes gone through in
levelling had been completed or not. At last we left the roadmakers
behind us, and drove for some kilometres along the old road to a
small station called Sliper, a terrible drive which by this time will,
fortunately, have ceased to be possible.

We were delighted with Sliper. At the station were two houses, the
station's and another. We stayed at the other. We had actually ordered
the horse, meaning to go on, when a beautiful Norwegian woman beckoned
to us from her doorway in the other house. She invited us to warm
ourselves while we were waiting, and gladly we climbed up the
twenty-five steps leading to her large room. The flap table was
painted bright red, as were the benches, and the few pieces of
furniture were carved and painted wood. The brilliant colours were
mellowed by time and perhaps by smoke from the wood fire, which burnt
in a round open grate in a corner. An immense cauldron was suspended
from a chain in the chimney. In it was stewing a savoury mess of
mutton and potatoes. In front sat a pale little girl, the only living
child of the beautiful hostess. The latter had the most perfect teeth
I have ever seen, and waving masses of golden hair. At either end of
the big room was a small bedchamber. One the family used, and the
other was kept for the possible guest. I believe that, as the
station house had room for us, we were quite wrong in staying with
the neighbour; but I think the station people were not very
energetic--they did not object so much as they had the right to do. In
any case, there we stayed for three days, living and eating in the big
room with mother and child. With the exception of our supper on the
first night, we had no meat. We lived contentedly on potatoes and
eggs, fruit and cream, and abominable butter. It is strange how far
the atmosphere of a place can defeat prejudices.

  [Illustration: NORWEGIAN CAPTAIN]

However, soon Nico became hungry, and I finished my small stock of
literature. We took our horse and stolkjærre, and without a boy we
followed the post on the road to Gjora. When we had driven a few
kilometres, keeping the post carriole with its bag and its horn well
in sight, we discovered that we had left the purse containing most of
our wealth behind us at Sliper. Nico drove back at the pony's best
pace. This best pace could not have been very wonderful. An eternity
seemed to be passing as I sat on a big rock, waiting for the return of
the companion and the purse. A few cows walked by me in inquisitive
procession. I effaced myself as much as possible. I am ridiculously
afraid of cows. Even the Norwegian cow, which I know theoretically to
be the gentlest of creatures, can subdue me with a look and drive me
to seek for any available hiding-place. At last I heard wheels; but
they were coming the wrong way. The two men in the cart looked at me
curiously, and drew up in front of me. One addressed me in very good
English. It appeared that the post-driver had warned the people at
Gjora station of our near arrival, and had presumably mentioned that
we had no boy. After they had allowed an hour and a half to elapse,
they were good enough to become anxious, and had come to look for us.
I explained our delay, and we all waited for Nico's appearance. At the
end of another half-hour he turned up. The horse had lain down quite
calmly and refused to go on. He had tried kindness, which was of
little use; he had waited for a passer-by who could speak the horse's
language; in course of time the beast, having enjoyed a siesta, got up
and continued his journey. Hence the delay.


All's well that ends well. When we arrived at Gjora we met with a warm
reception from our host and his family. The stove was lit in an
immense bedroom which was _en plus_ furnished with two box-like beds
of questionable shape, a small chair which was masquerading as a
wash-hand stand bearing a small jug and basin and two minute towels, a
writing-table, and many photographs of the Royal Family. Also, there
was a tame bluebottle which worried me very much. All our
blandishments were of no avail with the heartless insect. The open
windows could not persuade him to leave us, and, in the flickering
light of one candle in the large room, it was impossible to get rid of
him by foul means. Every night as we went to bed he started his low
buzzing and spoilt my temper and my sleep. Nico didn't mind it a bit.

The dining-room at Gjora was palatial. I sat in a carved armchair
upholstered in crimson velvet, and we ate from beautiful silver,
serving ourselves with sugar from the very choicest old bowl I have
ever seen. The cupboard, the sideboard, and the clock were beautifully
carved and coloured. We lived on a princely tin of corned beef. For
three days it provided us with two meals a day, and very good they

Next door to the station--indeed, I believe, the house in other times
is the station--an English family were spending the summer, fishing
and walking. The English-speaking man we met on the road was the
gentleman's gillie. They regaled us physically with various edibles
from the Stores and spiritually with salmon stories, and when we left
they sped us on our way with a new stock of reading matter. The
country all round is exceedingly beautiful. The river which provided
the fishing for our compatriots winds along by the road; or rather I
should say that the road follows the course of the river for many
miles through narrow passes in the mountains which press round--many
of them snow-capped, as one may see when the veil of cloud which
envelops them lifts to allow a sight of their summits. The station is
in a cosy little hollow among these white-headed giants; and the
weather is noticeably finer, the atmosphere softer, than at the
preceding and succeeding stations.

Between Gjora and our next resting-place, Sundalsoren, we drove
through magnificent scenery. I think it will be admitted that the
Sundal is at least as beautiful as that famous valley which lies
almost parallel to it--the Romsdal. From the road one may see glaciers
and snow mountains. Here and there are notices warning the traveller
to drive fast. This is more especially for winter, when huge snow
avalanches are frequent. The road crosses from left to right of the
river. We drove over bridge after bridge, backwards and forwards,
as the river pursued its erratic course without regarding the
convenience of roadmaking mankind. We arrived at Sundalsoren at
sunset, and were enraptured with the beauty of the snow mountains.
Whether it was thus arriving in such glory, or that the place has
really a most individual charm, I cannot say; but for me Sundalsoren
is a memory entirely _couleur de rose_.


It is a small fishing village at the head of a fjord. The fishermen's
little low houses are built round the concave land, which is washed by
the waters of the fjord. On the stony beach before the cottages are
spread fishing-nets and tackle, including the bright silvered balls
which, I suppose, attract the fish. Two wooden quays stretch their
long arms into the water, and from the farthest point of them one may
get a delightful view of the village. The character of the place is
Dutch. It is almost as if a little street from Volendam had been
dumped down amid the mountains and the snows.

We were sorry to part from this charming spot when the little fjord
steamer called for us and another passenger. Slowly we steamed through
the fjord, now calling at a tiny hamlet on the left bank, now dropping
a passenger in his waiting boat on the right side; here picking up
three English fishermen, boat and all; there leaving them near their
destination rested and refreshed. The steamers that ply the
innumerable fjords are accommodating craft--none of your haughty
vessels making hard-and-fast rules as to times and places. Although
they are often punctual in their departures and arrivals, they will
slow down and pick you up in whatever part of the fjord you choose to
meet them, and put you down too if you have your boat along with you.
Also it is to be noted that the food on the smaller boats is quite as
good as one gets on the large steamers that make the journeys on what
may be called the outer coast of Norway. Indeed, the bigger vessels
are so often loaded with various strongly-smelling dried fish that the
whole atmosphere is impregnated; which must rob some passengers of any
appetite the occasional few miles of rough open sea has left or given

After quitting Sundalsoren we drove through two or three good
stations, and arrived late on Saturday night at a small place which,
as it is on no map and many consultations with Bennett's have resulted
in the conclusion that we were quite off the beaten track, must be
nameless. At the time I knew the name--we had it on the bill;--but
no one seemed to be able to place it, and now I have forgotten. I have
a theory which may account for our presence there. At one of the
previous stations we had telephoned in advance for a horse and cart to
be ready, as it was very rainy and very wet and getting late. The
horse we had was very fast; the driver was a cheerful person with a
slight knowledge of English. Within a kilometre of the station, where,
I presume, an equipage was in waiting, he offered to drive us straight
on to our destination, because we had expressed great satisfaction
with the trotting of his pony. We agreed, and tore through the tiny
village built round the station in great haste, egged on, perhaps, by
a guilty conscience. Then we drove for miles and miles until at last,
at half-past ten at night, we reached the unknown little spot which I
must perforce call X.


It is possible that, knowing that the expectant farmer at the avoided
station would telephone to the station on either side of him, the
driver preferred not to face them until their anger should have calmed
and he should have had time to invent some excuse. I do not know to
what extent he expected to be blamed; but I am afraid the man we
telephoned to must have been rather mad, and so I imagine that we were
driven to this quaint spot because there our sin would not find us
out. Inadvertently I left a large silver scent-bottle there, and
acknowledged the loss to be a judgment on me when I found it
impossible to find the place again.

When we arrived we went to bed. In the morning we had coffee and bread
and jam; and Nico painted. At three o'clock we were hungry, and when
at length preparations for a meal were made our appetites were
ravenous. A dear little girl waited on us--a very pretty child, with
beautiful hair. She brought on the table a few slices of thick and
very fat raw bacon and some caraway-seed bread. Hungry as we were, we
could not eat that. We tried to ask her what more there was. She left
the room, and soon came back carrying the _pièce de resistance_ of our
meal--two soup plates filled with a paste made of flour and water,
such as we used to employ in the days of scrap-books. On the top of
this floated a little melted butter. With this she brought a basin of
powdered cinnamon. That was our Sunday dinner. They were such sweet
people that we feared to hurt their feelings, and Nico ate all his
plateful and half of mine. The half that was left we divided between
our plates, which then looked quite empty enough. We ate caraway-seed
bread for supper and caraway-seed bread for breakfast. With the help
of our phrase book, we gathered that they never ate meat and very
rarely had fresh fish.


The place is situated on water which, I suppose, is a fjord, and there
are three or four houses besides the one at which we stayed. They made
us understand that they were not in any way prepared for guests, and
had some difficulty in providing us with a horse and cart. I should be
very much interested to know the name of this little place. It is
within two hours' drive of Molde, and as far as I could make out it
had scarcely ever been visited by the foreign traveller. We were
astonished to find ourselves so near to this big town, for we had
calculated that we had at least another half-day's journey to make;
which proves again that somewhere we had overstepped our mark.

Molde is the most beautifully situated town in Norway. It has a
population of 1800 souls. It is a very important port of call for all
the steamers which coast between Bergen, Trondhjem, and the North. The
town is built along the mouth of the Romsdal Fjord, and from almost
any point a view of the grand Romsdal Mountains is to be obtained. The
panorama on a clear day is gorgeous. To see the sun setting over the
fjord and its background of snow-tipped peaks is to have a vision of
fairy-like colour and beauty that takes one's breath away. All over
Norway as one passes through the valleys and the winding fjords
picture after picture are witnessed in rich succession, each seeming
more beautiful than the last; but now, as at a certain distance of
time I endeavour to recall their individual charms, I think that these
glorious evenings in Molde occupy the most pleasant place in the
memory of one of Norway's ardent admirers.

How rash thus to limit one's enthusiasm! From Molde we went by steamer
to Næs, and, after resting awhile at an hotel and eating an excellent
supper, took a miraculously comfortable stolkjærre and had a long
drive to Horgheim in the brilliant moonlight. I wonder how many
visitors to the Romsdal have done the same? Imagine the charm of it.
The delicate jagged edges of the mountains on the right of the road
stand sharp and clear against the blueness of the sky; as the road
winds in and out the Romsdal Horn reveals or conceals herself
bathed in moonlight; innumerable waterfalls foam down from the heights
with plashing music, looking like silver streamers hung out to
decorate the beautiful way of some mystic procession. Our driver was
for the time an affinity: no longer a guide in our pay, or in that of
the hotel, taking tourists through a world-renowned stretch of
scenery, but a romantic Norseman slowly opening out to us a valley of
delight, his possession by inheritance and love.

  [Illustration: THE TOWN OF MOLDE]

He told us with a smile that was not quite incredulous of the little
goblins with blue beards that, according to the peasants, haunt the
fields and fjords of these parts. There are good and bad pixies, and
much blame is laid at the door of the bad ones for any mischances that
come about. What wonder that the people are superstitious folk?
Perhaps it would be better to call them mystics. What sounds and
sights may be heard and seen in such a land! Our Norseman pointed out
a certain group among the jagged pinnacles of the rock, and told us a
legend describing how a bridal party, instead of being the happiest of
the happy, quarrelled and fought and were by magic turned in an
instant into stone. Here they stand as a warning to future bridals.
The groom and bride turn away from each other; the best man stands
for ever with a foaming tankard in his hand; near by is the well-fed
priest; apart and solitary is the figure of a disconsolate lover. Look
at them in the moonlight: you will see them all quite distinctly: soon
they will step down from their heights and mix with mortal men again.
The air is full of movement and strange sounds.

During the long way back, the wonderful person who had been appointed
to drive us entertained us with legends of the gods and Vikings. These
brave admirals of old times met with burial befitting their state and
courage. The ship which they had sailed so well through wild storms
and wilder battles was dragged ashore, and this and nothing less was
the coffin for their richly-dressed mortal remains. The souls of the
Vikings killed by the sword went straightway to Walhalla, where their
ideal of bliss was meted out to them in guerdon for their bravery. At
cockcrow all the heroes marched out and fought furiously one with
another; but at midday all the wounds were healed, and the rest of the
day was spent in banqueting with the great god Odin. Walhalla was said
to be a hall of such size that the roof could not be seen. In it was a
forest of golden trees. The walls were decorated with shields and
warlike weapons, and through each of its five hundred and forty doors
eight hundred warriors could walk abreast.


I was sleepy, and I was awed with the majesty of all we had seen; but
I wondered what sort of heaven was arranged for the wives and
daughters of the Vikings!

Some days after this moonlight drive I came across a book containing
details relating to Norwegian mythology, which may be of some
interest. Everyone knows that most of the week-days derived their
names from these Northern gods. From Ostara, the goddess of spring, we
get the name of our spring feast, Easter. Decoration with flowers and
the custom of Easter eggs are as old as Paganism; and our Christian
forefathers, to facilitate the change to the new religion, adopted
many Pagan rites and dedicated them to the service of the true God.

Odin was the father of the gods and the greatest among them. Thor was
the red-bearded god of storm. Armed with his mighty hammer Mjolnir, he
slew the powerful giants of winter--not without much difficulty,
however; for at first, overcome by sleep, Thor relaxed his vigilance,
and the wintry giants stole his hammer and buried it in the hard
earth. Awakened and conscious of his loss, Thor appealed to Freya, the
beautiful and benevolent goddess of love and spring. Her gentle
influence subdued the giants of snow and ice, and Thor, seizing his
opportunity, regained his mighty weapon, which he wielded to such
effect that the giants were killed and their fortifications broken

Though the gods are usually triumphant in these old Northern sagas,
the demons on occasion gained their bad ends. It was thus in the story
of Baldur, the god of light and most beloved of all the gods. In the
full beauty of his youth he was killed by the power of Loki, the
embodiment of envy, hatred, and revenge, and incidentally the god of
fire. In the beginning Loki lived happily with the other gods; but
Odin cursed him for ever for his wickedness. It was foretold that the
loved Baldur was to be the victim of some treachery, and the gods made
efforts to prevent such a catastrophe. Frigga, who was the wife of
Odin, placed a spell upon everything, so that there might be nothing
in Nature that could hurt Baldur. On account of its insignificance,
the mistletoe was forgotten by the goddess, and of this Loki made an
instrument of destruction. Having fashioned a dart out of a branch of
the innocent shrub, Loki persuaded Hodur, the blind brother of
Baldur, to hurl the weapon at his brother in sport, the innocent child
believing that this wood, as all other, was charmed. The arrow pierced
Baldur to the heart, killing him, and causing universal mourning among
the gods. Among the demons were Skretti, who has left his name to many
a haunted rock in Norway, and Niki, who is a terrible water demon,
still dreaded by the ignorant folk in the mountains. Each year he
demands victims and carries off the children who stray within his
power. Our familiar nursery friends Jack and Jill are descendants of
Hjuki and Bil, the ebbing and flowing tides, the tumbling crests of
which, breaking one over another as the waves wash the shore, are
rather aptly described in the nursery rhyme.





We were awakened rather roughly next morning. At an early hour two
steamers landed at Næs, and a stream of tourists emerged. For two
hours vehicles of all sorts filed past our hotel. They took the drive
we had taken in solitude and moonlight the previous evening, and by
the time the last carriage of the goers passed out of sight the first
carriole of the comers-back was visible. Our dream was ended. We fled
the Romsdal, thanking a merciful chance which, at least for a time and
for our first impression, had given us the Romsdal in its most ideal

Moonlight also was it when we left on an almost passengerless steamer,
which took us up the glorious fjord back to Molde. Here we passed
another week to our profit and satisfaction. Some interesting old
wooden buildings on the water, about to be pulled down, provided
subjects for Nico's brush, and I wandered about and admired, peaceful
in the consciousness that when Nature for a time should cease to
suffice me I had in reserve a resource--the hotel library consisted of
a sixteen-volume History of England and a few odd volumes of an

In an old book on Norway which I came across, the author mentions a
visit he made to a little village near a river which he calls
Osterthal. It was rather an involuntary visit: they had lost their
way.--"We came to a minister's house, whose son's wedding was being
celebrated. It was full of people of all descriptions, forming a droll
caricature scene. [At the date this was written all the country-folk
would be in national costume.] Our effects were brought in by the
multitude without our paying any attention to them; the parson's
silver plate was lying about in every direction, his watches hung in
every room. [The author mentions this apparent plenitude of watches on
several occasions, as giving a sign of prosperity.] A hundred persons
at least were present of the poorest sort, eating and drinking in
every room of the house, yet such is the honesty of the population
that everything was safe. Our host received us most generously, and
would accept of no reward; he was even seriously displeased that we
presented his daughter with a couple of ducats, because she would load
us with bread and other provisions. We spent the night in the utmost
conviviality, and proceeded the next day over waste mountains and
marshes on foot, till we crossed the frontier and arrived at Lerma."


Later we read that in one place they were indeed most hospitable and
caught fish enough to feed the family for eight days. What joy!

In another place he tells us that the bread, "generally made of the
rind of trees, was miserable."

Again: "Bonaparte is the common theme of the Norwegians. In no country
is such praise lavished on him as in this, where his power is only
felt in undesigningly promoting the country's advantage--from this
standpoint the Norwegians admire him and calmly survey the convulsions
around them."

It is interesting to observe that at this date the writer gives the
population of Norway as being under a million; now it is considerably
over two millions. He remarks that the women, though strong, robust,
and generally over six feet in height, are sadly wanting in feminine
charms. In our days they have changed. We may suppose from practical
experience that what the Norwegian women have lost in stature they
have gained in beauty. The number of pretty women is well above the

In the fulness of time we left Molde by steamer, and so southwards
along the coast, stopping for a few hours at the ruins of Aalesund,
the thriving little town that was entirely burnt down in January 1904.
Of the twelve thousand inhabitants who were almost all bereft of house
and home, only one lost her life, and that through rashness. She was
an old woman who, finding she had forgotten some cherished possession,
insisted on entering the burning house to recover it. At least, this
is what was told me by an inhabitant of the place; and I take it to be
correct, for the Norwegians of to-day are as honest and trustworthy as
were their ancestors at the beginning of last century.

We landed on this island of ruins and climbed the pretty hill which
overlooks the town. Thence we obtained a magnificent view over the
sea, and were able to realise the complete and terrible desolation
wrought by the fire. At the time of this disaster Nico was in Norway,
and the whole country rang with the praises of the Emperor William of
Germany, whose immediate and practical generosity was a theme for
the warmest recognition. To judge from all we heard in different parts
of the country, it would appear that he has won the heart of Norway,
and has made himself immensely popular with the people.


The ancestor of our King William the Conqueror gives his name to a
castle not far south of Aalesund. He was called Rollo the Walker,
because he was so tall and heavy that no horse could be found strong
enough to carry him. He conquered parts of France, and founded the
Duchy of Normandy.

As far as I remember, from Aalesund south the steamer behaved in such
a way that we thought it would be as well to leave it for a while, and
we landed as soon as was possible at a charmingly situated island
called Moldöen. For various reasons, the place was without a quay. In
torrents of rain and buffeted by the gale, we scrambled off the
steamer on to a flat-bottomed boat, and were rowed to the island.

What a dreary little place it seemed! Even though we had strawberries
and cream at tea, and even though the best room was furnished with two
beautiful bouquets of wax flowers under glass, the rain beat down such
spirits as we might have had, and we went to bed disconsolate and
cold. The beds were extraordinarily uncomfortable. I tried three of
the four in my small room, and stayed in the third in despair. I awoke
to find the sun pouring into the room, and the strains of "Rule,
Britannia" filling the house with gramophonic sound. We got up and
dressed to the tunes of the "Marseillaise" and "Willie, we have missed
you"; ate our breakfast to a popular cake-walk; and proceeded to
investigate. It turned out that the hospitality of the house, which we
had deemed ours alone, was shared by a commercial traveller.
Steamer-bound there for two days, he carried about with him for use on
such occasions five phones of different kinds. As far as we could
discover, he made Moldöen a centre from which he radiated to various
islands, bearing with him on his outgoings and incomings one or two of
the instruments. He entertained us all day long with disquisitions on
the advantages of this one and the disadvantages of that, with
practical examples. This was a labour of love, for he "travelled" in
machinery. He had lived for many years in America. He had a wife and
family in Christiania, whom he was in the habit of seeing for not more
than a week in the year. When we left the island he left too, and
endeavoured to get me a berth on a southward-bound steamer which
had about a dozen berths and fifty or sixty passengers. He was not
successful, and we all sat up on deck; but I have a kindly memory of
him for his excellent intentions and his music.

  [Illustration: MOLDÖEN]

While we were on the island I saw several reindeer on the mountains

We had intended to travel from Moldöen along the Sogne Fjord; but,
finding it impossible to control the steamers coming from the north,
we were obliged to postpone our visit to these celebrated parts. A
friend who was staying at Balholm in the 'eighties related to me how
one fine day, when they were boating on the fjord, they saw a whale.
All the craft on the water scuttled for their lives, and the whale,
after creating much excitement, quietly made its way back to the open
and was seen no more.

We arrived at Bergen in pouring rain. Surrounded as this town is by
high mountains, which, while protecting her from the extreme violence
of the storms, attract and imprison the clouds, it has rarely a
rainless day. We stayed for three weeks.

Bergen, which is still one of the most important ports of Scandinavia,
has had an interesting commercial history. It began its growth in the
eleventh century, and its importance may be judged by the fact that in
1302 a decree fixed the number of its dock labourers at two hundred.
In these centuries several commercial treaties were concluded between
Norway and various Powers. Among others is still extant an agreement
between England and Norway. A German body known as the Hanseatic
League, recognising the great commercial importance of such a town as
Bergen, began in the thirteenth century to obtain a footing there.
Until their arrival the Norwegian trade was almost confined to the
summer months. The first step taken by the Hansards was to struggle to
establish themselves during the winter. The Norwegians strove for a
long time to prevent this, and as late as 1300, it appears, the number
of Germans wintering at Bergen was inconsiderable. Later in that
century the Hansards instituted a factory in the town; and, aided by
three visitations of the plague, which reduced the population of
Norway, and by extensive privileges granted to them by Magnus
Kagaboter, which rendered it almost impossible for the Norwegians to
carry on an independent trade, they arrived at practically controlling
all the commerce of the country, and in other respects held the trump
cards in their own hands. As they increased in power, these
foreigners became domineering, in Bergen especially, where they
committed acts of aggression and violence against the Norwegian
population. The native merchants in the various ports made a stubborn
and vindictive resistance; but the Germans were there in such numbers
that when at last the Norse efforts were crowned with success and the
foreigners to some extent driven out, these towns found themselves
much reduced in strength. Bergen, however, aided by her enormous
fishing trade, continued to be the most important commercial town, and
the Hanseatic population struggled hard to keep the supremacy which
they had enjoyed. During the seventeenth century the Thirty Years' War
weakened them in their own country, and the growing supremacy of the
Dutch fleet was another influence against them. It was not until the
middle of the eighteenth century, however, that the German factory
entirely ceased. Even now the houses of the Hanseatic quarter are only
beginning to be pulled down. When we were in Bergen we watched the
process of destruction, and admired the immense strength of the
foundations of enormous piles on which the old Germans built their
dwelling-places and storehouses. In the quarter there is an
interesting museum, containing many Hanseatic relics, including much
domestic furniture.

  [Illustration: BERGEN]

To-day, with its trade and its immense influx of visitors to the
country, Bergen presents an animated sight. One of my favourite haunts
during solitary wanderings was the fish-market. On two days of the
week--Wednesday and Saturday, I believe--if one gets there early
enough, the little quay is crowded with amusing folk, the solemn
fishermen from the islands, who bring their spoil to be disposed of to
the best advantage, and the shrewd becapped fishwives, determined on
not giving an ore beyond the lowest possible price. It is delightful
to listen to their rapid speech with its quaint inflections. Some of
the women wear charming starched white caps like those of Sisters of
Charity, and others tightly-fitting black or blue bonnets with little
frills relieving their austerity. Here and there, under a flight of
stone steps or built like a niche in a blank wall, one catches a
glimpse of a tiny stall where twisted cakes containing much spice are
sold, or of the wooden boxes of varying sizes and prices which the
Norwegians use where we use baskets and bags. Some are plain, some
ornamented with poker work, and others more or less elaborately
painted in the brilliant colours and the conventional flower-designs
beloved of the Norsemen and the tourist. The Norsemen employ the boxes
in every size, and for every purpose, from the big receptacle which
contains the whole outfit of a young man or maid starting in life to
the tiny five-ore box which holds little Ragna's ball of cotton and
her jointed crotchet-hook.


The place is surrounded by seven hills, which we did not climb, and
has _en plus_ a theatre which we did not visit. We did, however, take
ourselves to a music-hall, which, if it satisfied the Bergenites' idea
of comfort and entertainment, proves them to be a people of contented
mind. That, I am afraid, is one of the blessings of which I am
deprived. In spite of the seven hills, the Hanseatic remains, and the
rain, I believe I was bored in Bergen. I was not to interrupt Nico,
because he was working very hard; I could not roam about much while
all my clothes were in a continual state of being dried; I could
scarcely afford to read a book an hour at one and two kroner apiece; I
was quite destitute; even Satan found no mischief for my idle hands to
do; and I was glad when the money we were waiting for arrived and we
were able to make our way inland. I am just beginning to grow rather
fond of Bergen, and by the time I see this grumbling in print I
daresay I shall wish to take back all I have written in any way
derogatory to the place.

We left in the middle of the night, going by steamer the whole way to
Odde in preference to taking train to a place called Voss--a
remarkable railway journey through grand and varied scenery, the track
being almost entirely hewn out of solid rock. There are no fewer than
fifty-five tunnels between Voss and Bergen. However, we contented
ourselves with that old-established means of transit, the fjord
steamer--in this case a biggish vessel, though without sleeping
accommodation beyond the smoking-room and a ladies' small room on
deck. Fortunately, there were only two feminine passengers. I was one.
The other was an American girl who, making a European tour with the
necessary aunts, had left them in luxury and comfort in Berlin while
she made a carriole journey over Norway. At the time we met on the
steamer she was beginning to regret her persistence, and we were both
glad of each other's company until she left the country to join her


In the morning, drawing the curtains of our cabin, we beheld the
glorious scenery of the far-famed Hardanger Fjord. We breakfasted
with good appetite on biscuits, delicious prawns, and excellent
chocolate. I do not know if the menu sounds tempting; but the coffee
left much to be desired, and by that time we had grown accustomed to
stranger mixtures than shell-fish and chocolate. The weather was
magnificent, and thus, though it was rather late in the year, we
enjoyed all the pleasure offered by Nature to visitors of this
delightful arm of the sea without the disadvantages of mosquitoes and
crowds experienced by those tourists who pay their homage of
admiration in the usual season. We sat on deck the whole morning,
enjoying the wonderful panorama that unfolded itself before us at
every turn of the fjord. As the steamer twisted in and out we noticed
that the fjord was generally edged with a narrow band of fertile,
smiling country; immediately above, the wooded heights rose
precipitously, parted here and there by silver torrents that poured
foaming over the rocks into the fjord. Occasionally, as we passed
close by these cascades, the spray they threw off caught the sun's
rays and showed for a moment a wonder of all the imaginable beauty of
the commingling of the diamond with the rainbow. High above were the
snow-crowned mountains and the blue whiteness of glaciers. What a
wonderful country! It seems sometimes that Nature is too prodigal.
Where an hour of such beauty leaves one overwhelmed with marvel and
delight, days and weeks of a panorama ever increasing in splendour
dull the senses and--dare I say it?--almost satiate.

Late in the afternoon we stopped at a small station to pick up a few
passengers who had chosen to go so far by rail and carriole, and my
American friend was much pleased to recognise two young scions of
French nobility, whose titles she had read on her journey from Molde
to Bergen, when most of the passengers were invisible through illness.
She was convinced that Dr. Conan Doyle had been her neighbour at
table, and she begged me to find out if he had been in Norway during
the summer. She had a wonderful gift of enthusiasm, and did our rather
jaded spirits a great deal of good by that intense keenness which is
characteristic of her race.

  [Illustration: VÆFOS, HILDAL, HARDANGER]

After dinner we came again on deck, to find the moon pouring her soft
light over all and imparting to the earth a romantic illusiveness.
However, it was also exceedingly cold, and we retired early, Nico to
smoke and doze, and I with our American to discuss the war between
North and South and other important matters; of course, we discovered
friends in common. All through the nights one passes on these fjord
steamers one is constantly aroused by weird bumpings and stampings,
and we had learnt from previous experience that this was due to the
stoppage of the steamer at different stations to pick up and deliver
cargoes. About eleven o'clock on this particular night, the noises
were of such an extraordinary character, and seemed to last so long,
that we put on our big coats and went out on the deck to explore. By
the light of two small lamps a herd of fifty cows was being embarked.
Some of them protested vigorously against stepping on to the thin
plank bridging the water between them and the boat. The whole business
was tiresome and lengthy. At last a band was improvised to pass round
the animals' bodies; one by one they were hauled up, willy-nilly, by
the crane and pulley, and dropped into their allotted quarters.

An hour or two later we were startled from our sleep. The scene was
reversed, and the cattle were landed at their destination.

About four o'clock we were again disturbed by the running backwards
and forwards of many feet. When the steamer settled into silence, we
dropped off to sleep, too quickly to discover that all motion had
ceased and that we were at a standstill. We were not shipwrecked; nor
had we met with any untoward accident. We had arrived, and, though
most of the passengers had left the boat and finished their night in
more comfortable quarters, we slept on in blissful ignorance until
after eight o'clock, when Nico came to inform us that all our baggage
was at the hotel and breakfast ordered.

We dressed with alacrity, and made our way to the enormous hotel of
Odde, which is about the most popular resort of the tourist in Norway,
though when we were there late in August it was without guests. We
breakfasted in a lofty room, and noticed that the waitresses, who are
famed for their allegiance to Norwegian costume, had relinquished it
with their hopes of other foreign guests, and were soberly dressed in
black. The day after our departure the proprietor and his family left
the place, and caught us up when we finally rested at Dalen. I wonder
if Norway is glad or sorry when the enthusiastic but destroying
tourist ceases for nine months to take up his abode within her gates?




From Odde we returned to our old friend the stolkjærre, and the
American girl took a carriole. In this manner we had a little variety,
for we changed places now and then. Both vehicles belonged to one man,
who drove with us all the way, putting up when we did. This prevented
the nuisance of continual change of horses and conveyance. The driver
assured us that the carriole had been used by the German Emperor. I
believe that in the season a great point is made of providing every
stranger with _the_ carriole: hundreds are so honoured. Well, the
Kaiser Wilhelm is a wonderful man, and he would be rash who should
say, "This even the Emperor cannot do." To explain his frequent
presence here, a story must be told. A few years ago, a young German
lieutenant, riding down the steep road not far from the Laatefos on
his bicycle, swerved from the straight course, and was hurled into
the raging waters beside which runs the road. The incident is supposed
to have been witnessed by a child and an old man, and a few weeks
afterwards the poor victim's body, torn by the rocks beyond all
recognition, was found at some distance from the spot where the
disaster happened. The Emperor, with two hundred men, arrived to
search for the body, and a stone to the soldier's memory has been
erected by his Imperial Majesty. There is another story on the
subject, which is only whispered; but our romantic friend seized upon
it with eagerness, and wove a yarn of possibilities and
improbabilities, of which she persists in believing the hero to be

On our right hand as we drove in procession from Odde, preceded by the
carriage and pair of the French nobility, lay the Buar glacier. It was
of a wonderful green which we had not before seen, inasmuch as many of
the glaciers we had passed were almost covered with snow and débris,
which concealed their colour. The road took us for some way beside a
charming lake; after this we passed several beautiful waterfalls, the
spray from one of which was so considerable that the road beside it
was converted into a pond, and in the moment we took to pass
through it our clothes were made quite wet.


At Seljestad we rested, and then drove zig-zag uphill, or, rather, our
horses walked zig-zag, and we, on foot, cut across the winding road,
and reached the top of the hill without much effort long before our
horses were in sight. We were three thousand four hundred feet above
the level of the sea, and the air was chilly. Matters were not mended
when we drove down the hill: the sun had gone in, and the late
afternoon at that time of the year is often too cold for enjoyment.
Therefore we stayed awhile at a big hotel at Horre, and made
acquaintance with a very warming drink, arac punch. After this we had
recourse to it pretty frequently on our cold drives. Our driver tried
to persuade us to stop at Horre; but it was still daylight, and we all
wanted to get on. The landlady seemed rather chagrined at this
obstinacy and bad taste; but on we drove for another half hour or so,
when we arrived at Roldal. Here we found most of the hotels closed,
and the owners almost on the point of departure. Also we found the
young Frenchmen, who informed us that _they_ had ordered supper for
8.30--to consist of trout and chicken. This, of course, was the
supper provided for the possible traveller, and of necessity was our
supper too; but one of these boys apologised for its scantiness, and
said he had only ordered for their party. This was rather a joke, as,
acting on the advice of our driver, we had from our luncheon-place
ordered supper to be ready at 8.30. However, the meal, as far as it
went, was very good. Afterwards we all assembled in the one small
sitting-room still available, and endeavoured to drink the white
spirit which is drunk all over the country and called "aqua vita." To
my taste it is abominable; but it is exceedingly strong, and perhaps
this is a virtue which carries it far. We found two old packs of
cards; the five of us played a good many rather ridiculous games,
which amused us vastly, and brought the servants of the hotel to the
door to discover the reason of our laughter. At breakfast we were all
delighted with the delicious jam made from wild strawberries. Then we
started on a day's drive in good spirits, the carriage and pair
leading. Up, up, and always up, getting colder and colder by the way;
a short rest at a wayside sæter; a drink of delicious creamy milk, not
possessing, however, the warming qualities of our arac punch. The tiny
masses of drifted snow which lie among the rocks, neglected by the
sun, increased in size and volume. Here, on one of the rocks by the
wayside, a big snowball had been placed, probably by the youths who
led us on. Colder and colder grew the air, until at last we turned a
corner, and saw before us a huge mass of dirty snow. It was impossible
to plough this, or otherwise to get rid of it: so we drove through a
tunnel hollowed out in the snow. This was the coldest place we
reached. Gradually we descended and got into a less icy atmosphere.
All the same, we were exceedingly glad to get out and warm ourselves
at a little farm, where we drank port, and I used what powers of
persuasion I possess in the endeavour to render myself the owner of a
particularly attractive ironing-board, wielded by a blob of wood that
was the most delightful attempt at reproduction of a horse that I have
ever seen. Neither offers of money nor blandishments had the desired
effect, and I was obliged to leave the longed-for object behind me.


Cheered and fortified by our wine, we drove on to the spot appointed
for our luncheon. Haukelidsæter is an enormous hotel under Government
control. Prices are reasonable; they are regulated by the Norwegian
Tourist Club. The immense dining-room is pleasing, being simple in
design and embellishment. Opposite the hotel is a building in the
style of the much-admired old storehouses. It was closed while we were
there; but in the season it provides excellent sleeping accommodation.

Here we fell in again with our fellow-travellers and their servant,
and we ate very gaily together of tough stewed goat and excellent
cream pudding.

We drove on, and arrived rather early at a very pleasant little
station, of which, however, I have forgotten the name. It was only
about five o'clock, and in Norway there is nothing satisfactory to eat
between dinner at two and supper at eight or nine: so I bought half a
kilogramme of chocolate, and asked for milk and cream. I had some
difficulty in getting a saucepan; but eventually I discovered the
kitchen and helped myself, to the amusement of the scarlet-coated
maid, who was already making preparations for our supper. I made the
chocolate; and we all drank it, after our fish supper, with the
remainder of a bottle of a very sweet and cloying liqueur called
Augustine, which we had bought at Haukelidsæter by general
subscription, in place of the arac punch, which was not attainable.
The American girl and I left Augustine severely alone.


Next morning I bought with much joy an old and beautifully carved
wooden box. I was very glad to give fifteen kroner for it; but, deeply
attached to it as I was, we went off without it. I remembered it
before we had gone very far, and raced back alone in the carriole.
Then I caught the others up. Our driver expressing great curiosity as
to my parcel, I showed it to him. He wanted to know the price, and I
told him, rather proud of myself at having made a good bargain, as I
thought; but he laughed discreetly, and informed us that in the depth
of winter, when money is scarce among the peasants, their treasures
are bought up by men, going round for the purpose, for next to
nothing. Thus the summer tourist always pays heavily. If he gets
things from the peasants themselves, they have to "get even" with the
forced sales of the winter. As for the town antiquaries, the price
they ask for their treasures would make a Dutch peasant blush, and
anyone who has endeavoured to obtain the object of his fancy from such
an one will realise that this is no light task.

That day we drove through mysterious pine-woods, which kept from us
all the warming rays of the sun. Before we reached the forest the road
followed the course of a river, and then, leaving that, ran beside a
lake. Most of the way we walked, to warm ourselves. It was late in the
year for this route, and we were alone on the road--at any rate, for
this portion of it. Later we met strings of peasants coming from a

We had luncheon at a little place which was quite off its head with
business. There had been a cattle fair some distance off, and all
those interested were on the road, making their way home. During our
drive that afternoon we met some of the prize-winners, horses and
cattle decorated with ribbon rosettes of many colours, and carrying
their certificates suspended from their horns or from their necks. The
placing of the rosettes was amusing. In most cases the animals were
attended by a handmaiden in a dark skirt, a black velvet bodice
elaborately embroidered in coloured silk, and a fringed kerchief tied
gracefully round the head, and falling down the back with the long
thick hair. Most of the peasant women in Telemarken, of whatever age,
wear their hair loose, as indeed do the poorer country women all over
Norway. However, the prize cows were making their way but slowly,
grazing unchidden on invisible food among the fallen leaves by the
wayside; doubtless the women were the wives and daughters of the
burly farmers whom we had left enjoying their dinner at our last

  [Illustration: RIVER AT HAUKELI]

Somewhere that day we passed a turning in the road that, had we taken
it, would have led us to the wonderful Rjukan Fos, of which romantic
stories have been told. Many of the most beautiful spots in Norway are
rendered more interesting by various legends connected with them. One
cannot guarantee their accuracy; but they are very welcome. I quote
this tragic romance as a dark gem set in the Rjukan Fos.

"Near the Rjukan Fos there is a path over the mountain called the
'Marie Stige,' on the brink of the precipice of the famous fall, which
even at this day the traveller treads with fear, and which was
discovered by a young maiden in the courage of love. It was by this
path that the beautiful Marie of Westfjorddalen went with light and
fearless step to meet the friend of her childhood, Ejestein
Halfoordsen. But the avarice of her father separated them, and Marie's
tears and prayers prevailed upon her lover to fly, to escape the plot
formed by a treacherous rival against his life. Years passed, and
Marie was firm in her constancy. Her father died; Ejestein had by his
valour and nobleness made his former enemy his friend, and after
their long separation the lovers were to meet again. Ejestein hastened
by the shortest way, the Marie Stige, to meet his beloved. Long had
she watched for him; she saw him coming, and his name burst from her
with a joyful cry. He saw and rushed to meet her, but fell, and the
Rjukan whirled him into its foaming depths. For many years after this
a pale form, in whose beautiful eyes a quiet madness lay, wandered
daily on the Marie Stige, and seemed to talk with someone in the abyss
below. Here she walked until a merciful voice summoned her to go and
rest in the arms of her beloved."

All the way to Dalen our drive was brightened by the rosetted cows,
making their way up the hill which we descended. The mountain rose
sheer on our right, two thousand feet above the road; on our left,
awe-inspiring precipices made us hold our breath, as every now and
then we were obliged to pass a vehicle coming the opposite way. The
young Frenchmen in the carriage and pair were driving immediately
before us. Suddenly there was a crash, and down fell one of their
horses. The outer wheels of the vehicle were over the edge of the
precipice. For one terrible second it was as if an awful tragedy could
not be averted. The splendid little pony on the mountain-side held
good his ground, and my driver, by sheer bodily force, half lifted,
half pushed, the carriage from its dangerous position. The three
occupants had jumped out; but the driver, almost paralysed with
terror, was still sitting on his box. The pony had broken the shaft on
which it had fallen, but, fortunately, had done itself no harm.
Between them the men patched it up as well as they could, and we
proceeded. We were not very far from Dalen, however, and the young men
elected to walk the rest of the journey. We kept behind the carriage,
in fear of further accidents, and went along so slowly that the
walkers arrived some time before we did.


The big hotel at Dalen was closed, and we all took rooms in a smaller
place almost opposite, which proved one of the most comfortable
resting-places we had come across in Norway. Indeed, that very evening
Nico and I made up our minds to stay there for some time, and so
turned our supper into a farewell meal. In celebration, we drank one
another's health in exceedingly sweet champagne, and then again in
small glasses of arac punch, in which we invited our host and his wife
to join us, thus establishing a friendly feeling of which Nico and I
reaped the benefit during our stay.


The American girl and the French youths with their valet were
travelling together as far as Christiania: so we bade them good-bye
before we retired for the night. Nico, in the fulness of his heart,
announced his intention of getting up next morning at five, to see
them off. He went to the length of asking the maid to call him when
she should awake the travellers; and in the dark hours of the morning,
when, following her directions, she awoke only me, I finished her
work, and pointed out to Nico the necessity of fulfilling rash
promises. My arguments were strong, and Nico got up and saw the party
off. He was exceedingly pleased with himself when he came back.

We stayed for some time at Dalen. We were well fed, well lodged, and
smiled upon by charming waitresses in their red sleeveless bodices and
white frilled blouses; besides, we were favoured with most glorious
weather. Nico worked hard, and found delightful models in the farmer's
two daughters--one a lovely Madonna-like girl of fifteen, and the
other a curly-haired little pickle of three. I passed most of the day
hours basking in the sun and reading anything I could find, which
resolved itself into a few numbers of _Cook's Tourist Gazette_ and
three numbers of Dowie's paper from Zion City, U.S.A. The American
journals contained many violent remarks about the prophet's reception
in England; but in one number I read he appeared to pity us for our
denseness. This literature, advertisements and all, did not entertain
me long, and I went to the shop which was part of the premises to see
if there was anything I could buy. I found only a very ordinary
assortment of German hand-made goods, together with a strongly
smelling selection of various food-stuffs, and one or two drawers full
of mixed sweets for the entertainment of the youth of the village. So
I unpicked a blouse of my own, and sewed it together again by hand,
and that very neatly. Then I looked through the papers again, and
found that I had missed a few words in the course of several of the
sheets, stating who was the printer of these effusions. One night a
party of English folk arrived, travelling from Christiania to Odde, at
forbidden speed: that is to say, by rising early and travelling until
late they were making in two days a journey which is fixed by law as
taking three. I persuaded Nico to go to them after supper and to ask
them if they had anything to read which they would exchange for the
books I had carried with me and read three or four times. With great
joy he brought back two magazines and a book.

Another day I hired a carriole and the farmer's son to drive me to the
Ravngju (the Raven's Abyss), which is a rock hanging over a precipice
at a height of fourteen hundred feet, above a dashing river. I learnt
from my guide-book that the draught of air is so strong that if one
throws a hat over the precipice it will be refused by the abyss and
blown back. I tried the experiment with my own head-gear, for which,
fortunately, I had no respect and but little affection. Contrariwise,
the Raven's Abyss changed its reputed tactics and stuck to it; at any
rate, I never saw it again, and I drove home bareheaded.

  [Illustration: A BOY OF SÆTERSDALEN.]

During our stay here I discovered with great difficulty a few more
facts about the Norwegian peasants' poetic and very interesting
superstitions. The little gnomes, in whom all believe, often attach
themselves to special farms. If any of the horses or cattle appear to
thrive much better than their fellows, the folk will explain it,
entirely to their own satisfaction, by saying that such beasts are the
favourites of the pixies, who steal fodder from the other mangers
to feed the animals in which they have chosen to interest themselves.
Sometimes the gnomes devote themselves, by petty vexations, to
worrying the life out of the people to whom they bear malice. The milk
turns sour, the butter is rancid, the cattle pine away; and all from
no apparent cause. It is told that one such haunted family at last
made up their minds to move very secretly, and thought to leave the
fairy cause of all their trouble behind them. As the last cartload of
belongings left the farm and the people were congratulating themselves
that they would get away without being discovered by the malicious
familiar, he popped his head out of an empty barrel, and piping, "Oho!
We are moving to-day!" jumped on the cart and followed them to their
new home.

The trolls are big giants who live in the mountains and are very
rarely seen. These spirits always dwell in the seventh mountain
visible in the blue distance. Thus, of course, they can never be
approached by those who set out in search of them; but in their
fastness they keep beautiful maidens stolen from earthly homes.

The huldra also is an inhabitant of the heights. She is a witch who
takes the form of a lovely woman, and meeting humans in the woods she
lures them to follow her. Her dwelling is in the mountains, which she
opens with a magic word. Inside is a gorgeous palace, filled with
immense riches, and having dining-rooms containing splendidly
decorated tables laden with all the food a Norwegian enjoys most,
served on golden dishes. He who eats of these things is thenceforth in
the power of the huldra. Occasionally he wins free; but never
afterwards is he as he was.

In the country the folks speak of idiots and madmen as being
"mountain-taken," believing that these are victims of the huldra's

If, however, the involuntary guest refuses to partake of the magic
dishes in the mountain passes, he sees before his eyes the dishes of
exquisite food turning to pine cones and slabs of earth, while the
huldra loses her fascination, and can no longer hide from him the
cow's tail by which she is to be known, nor can she keep him prisoner
any longer. Without knowing how, he finds himself back in the woods on
the mountain-side; and he cannot discover the entrance to the fairy

  [Illustration: SUNDALSFJORD]

At Christmas, and indeed during all festivities, these various unseen
powers are propitiated by offerings of food and drink, which are
placed outside the farm, and invariably disappear. I should not
like to swear that no agency but magic is responsible.

At several of the trees on the land of the farm hotel at Dalen were
fixed little shelters, each having a small entrance and a gabled roof.
These, we surmised correctly, were for the birds. The Norwegians are
very fond of the small songsters, and in many districts it is
forbidden to destroy them. This delighted us, the more, perhaps, that
we had spent the previous spring in Italy, where heartless massacre of
birds is carried on, one of the Italian's favourite dishes being half
a dozen or a dozen tiny ones served on polenta. The sportsmen who
indulge in the hunt sell the birds strung together--a thread through
their heads--by the dozen. In Norway the birds are encouraged and
petted, and in the winter fed. At Christmas time every one buys
sheaves of oats or other cereals still in the ear, and hangs them
outside the windows, or, fastening the bundles on poles, erects them
in gardens and in the open spaces of the cities. He would be poor
indeed who had not a few _ore_ to devote to the entertainment of the
little feathered friends at this season of universal joy.

Poverty as we know it in England is scarcely to be found in Norway,
and, on the other hand, riches as understood by a Norwegian living in
his own country would by no means satisfy an aspirant for wealth on
this side of the North Sea. Statistical information concerning income
and property shows but a small difference between the principal
classes. The income of the employer often does not exceed the wages of
the average workman. A very slight change in the balance would bring
many employers into the ranks of the employed. This happy country,
though under the government of a Limited Monarchy, seems to fulfil the
dreams of at least the reasonable Socialist. It has no nobility with
political or economic principles, no great capitalists, no immense
estates. The difficulty of earning a livelihood in the inclement
climate and on the stormy coast calls for energy and endurance, and
accustoms the worker to self-restraint. More than half the population
own deposits in the Savings Banks. The spirit of equality is
noticeable to the most casual observer. The proprietor of the station
where you pass your nights is absolutely the equal of the guest, who
avails himself of the house's hospitality for his own convenience, and
apparently not for the profit of the owner. The servants who wait on
one are pleasant and willing, working for their living, it is true,
but showing none of the servility largely dependent on tips which is
the characteristic of their class in other countries. If a _pourboire_
is given, small or large, it is accepted invariably with a frank
handshake; in some cases it is difficult to induce its acceptance. A
Norwegian, whatever his standing may be, is the equal of everyone.
Politeness on the part of the traveller is such a necessity that the
guide-books mention it. The domineering tourist will meet with
difficulties and rebuffs.





Nico did a great deal of work in Dalen, finishing half-completed
sketches, and making many figure-drawings. One of the servants was
from Sætersdalen; and, to pose for Nico, she dressed herself in her
extraordinary costume. In the course of our wanderings we met with
travelling natives of Sætersdalen--once, under a lucky star, with a
woman taking her little child, a girl of three or four years old, to a
hospital in Christiania. Between us we persuaded the child to act as
model for an hour or two, so as to give Nico occasion to transfer her
decorative charm to his paper. The dress for women and girl children
alike is a straight garment of very thick cloth, sustained by
embroidered shoulder-straps. It reaches only a little below the knee,
and is edged by two or three bands of very thick coloured cloth, which
hold out stiffly the rather solid material of which the garment is
made. Under this they wear a petticoat made on the same model. A white
shirt covers the arms and neck, and a brightly coloured knitted belt
girdles the middle--I can scarcely call it the waist--of the wearer.
On their hands are black mittens, embroidered in a traditional pattern
with brightly coloured wools. The head is covered by a folded
handkerchief, and the hair hangs loose or plaited down the back. The
legs are encased in thick knitted stockings and sensible low shoes.
The men and boys wear trousers that come up to their shoulders, and
odd little round hats. The district in which they live we were not
able to visit, to my regret. We had left it to the last, intending to
take it on our way home, as the country can only be approached from
Christianssand, a port touched by the steamers bound from Christiania
to Hull; and at the last moment unforeseen circumstances compelled us
to make our passage home as speedy as possible. There is a railway
which will take the traveller up the valley as far as Byglandsfjord;
but to appreciate its many charms it is advisable, and well worth
while, to make the journey by road and water. Beyond this station the
valley has no connection with other routes, except by rough and
sometimes dangerous mountain paths. Accommodation for the tourist
is exceedingly rough, and food narrowly limited in quality and
variety. On account of these drawbacks, the Sætersdalen district must
certainly be, from many points of view, the most interesting part of
Norway. There the traveller will find the dresses, the customs, and
the dwelling-places in much the same stage as they have been for the
last three hundred years, and--what is always a great attraction to me
and surely not less so to others--there is the joy of travelling in
parts which are as yet almost unknown, and consequently unspoilt by
the tourist, who must perforce bring in his wake so many doubtful
blessings. For me the people of a country is that country's greatest
charm--not the townsfolk or the owners and staffs of the big hotels
with their far-spreading influence, but the unspoilt people of the
untravelled parts. In the summer months parties of people migrate from
the valley and take up their abode in the mountains. Thus the
courageous but too confident traveller may find himself unable to
obtain even such simple food as bread and milk. It is highly advisable
for the explorer to take with him biscuits, canned food, and brandy,
and to travel with as small a quantity of baggage as is convenient.


At the head of the valley it is possible to cross the mountains which
separate Sætersdalen from Telemarken and to arrive at Dalen, on Lake
Bandak. The peasant inhabitants of Sætersdalen are of rather a
charming primitiveness, and some of their houses can show wonderful
specimens of quaint and grotesque carving. Included in this
simplicity, however, is an unpleasant and complete disregard for

The moment came when, much against our inclinations, and especially
against Nico's wishes, we were obliged to leave our comfortable
quarters at Dalen. For the last time I basked in the warm sunshine
which had favoured us during our entire stay; for the last time I
retired from the too warm welcome to the shadowy balcony studio
belonging to my room, which complaisantly looked north as Nico
required. Only this once more should I drop sticks of chocolate on to
the golden curls of the little Andrea as she came within range during
her eternal roamings over the big farmyard in search of mischief. No
fewer than ten cats of variegated colours prowled over this area; they
delicately fished and fought for the more toothsome morsels from the
barrel outside the kitchen window containing all the refuse of food
stuffs, the eventual emptying of which was to the advantage of the
pigstye. In the middle of this interesting land was a well. Over it
hung, high in the air, an empty bucket suspended by a chain from the
lighter end of an immense pole. The pretty cowherd would fill the pail
with water to plenish the tubs from which her charges drank. Most
evenings, in a spirit of wickedness, the worthy brother of the
golden-haired baby would fill the bucket and leave it standing by the
well, the weight of the water in it keeping it on the ground. Up would
come an unsuspecting cow, which thirstily would drink the contents.
Slowly she would lift her head from the now empty pail, which, flying
as by magic into the air, would almost invariably give the bewildered
creature a smart blow on the head. Of course, it did not hurt the
animal; but her expression of startled and grieved surprise was most
amusing. It was one of the excitements of my days at Dalen to have
mild bets with Nico whether the day's intended victim would be free of
the bucket in time.

  [Illustration: MOLDÖEN]

The sun went in; the air grew cold; soon darkness was upon us. This
was the proudest moment of the day. I lit my fire, invariably with
success, with peelings of birch bark that I had sedulously collected
during my walks. This last time all my savings went together--how they
blazed! Then in came the farmer, our host, with his exceedingly easy
bill, including entries for various delightful painted butter-boxes
and three immense wooden drinking bowls which I had bought from him.
Then followed his worthy wife and his pretty daughter, bearing a tray
on which was a bottle of arac punch and four glasses--he wished to
drink to us before we went, and so we clinked the small glasses, and
in various words of various languages expressed that we were pleased
with one another, and almost arranged that the pretty daughter should
come with us to learn English and to help my nurse to look after my
babies. I have not got little Andrea with me yet; but I expect that by
the time this book is published she will be in my house, wearing her
pretty national costume, and rejoicing us with her charming little
face, which is reproduced on the frontispiece of the book.

Next morning we were obliged to be up by six. An hour beforehand one
of the delightful serving-maids lit my fire, and our breakfast,
including more arac punch, was brought upstairs. By and by, in the
cold grey morning, we boarded the little steamer which was to take
us through the series of lakes and canals to Skien, whence it is
possible to go by train to Christiania.


It was a wonderful day, albeit very long. These days that one begins
at six o'clock seem always of unnatural length--what should be
luncheon time in the ordinary way is only breakfast time on these
occasions; and, when all the hours are unoccupied, how delightedly one
would welcome bedtime in the afternoon! However, before we had time to
become very discontented, the sun came out to cheer us up, and then
breakfast was announced, and after that we began to shake off our
drowsy ill-humours and look about. Our captain was a good-looking man,
quite young, and an excellent English scholar. He was a great
traveller, and from his talk we gathered that he was not too well
pleased to be passing his days on this little lake steamer, going
backwards and forwards alternately with another boat; he was rather
discontented at this time, quite the close of the season, when the
English passengers that his soul loved were few and far between, and
his most usual freight a few peasants, changing at every station, and
an occasional herd of cattle. He pointed out to us on our right a
group of rocks known as "The Monk and Lady." I could fancy I did see
a resemblance to two human beings, one kneeling before the other's
uplifted hand, apparently asking for a blessing. Had I not known the
name given to the group, I might have thought I saw the image of a
guilty being receiving corporal chastisement.

At the first station we stopped at, the little boat rolled a good
deal, and it was only by clinging to steadfast objects that the
passengers preserved their balance. Several young men boarded the
boat. Also there joined us two very beautiful women wearing long coats
to cover their best costumes, their charming head-dress concealing
hair hanging loose down their backs. They were both married women. Two
of the young men had pockets full of beautiful yellow apples; they ate
them steadily, by the dozen I should say, until the pockets were
empty. I coveted the fruit. When I am an early riser, it is
astonishing how my most extreme longing is for unattainable apples. At
the next station several children came on board with baskets of the
fruit for sale. Already my appetite had become fainter; but Nico
bought the stock-in-trade of a person of some three or four years, and
so much occupied was I in watching the exhibition of the boy's triumph
over his less fortunate fellows, that I did not notice the piling
up of interest which was going on around me.

  [Illustration: A NORWEGIAN GIRL]

Really it was too much for one stoppage! First, the apple-sellers, who
left us, however, before we started; next, a man with a foal two or
three weeks old; also a herd of about thirty cattle, tied up variously
on deck, in close proximity to the passengers; last, but not least, a
Sætersdalen woman, in the full glory of her elaborate and brightly
coloured costume. Walking in the fields in their own district, the
women take off the dark cloth upper frock which this woman wore, and
work in a grey underfrock made in exactly the same way. Here was
material for heaps of excitement in our simple lives. When we had
sampled our apples in the little deck-house which was all the covered
accommodation, I left Nico half asleep and went out to look for
adventures. The foal, with terrified eyes fixed on the water, was
neighing piteously; every now and then a horse would trot to the edge
of the water, apparently to neigh comfort to the poor little fellow
making his first water journey. Frequently the boat would give an
alarming lurch, and the cattle would slip helplessly from one side to
the other, stamping and kicking in their efforts to regain a steady
footing on the slippery deck. Later, at Nico's suggestion, a board was
put up between the pony and the water, and this seemed to quiet the
poor beast. At the next station the boat gave a fearful roll, and
tipped over to such an extent that the perfectly smooth water of the
lake washed one side of the deck. We were all rather frightened for a
few seconds. The cattle were in a sprawling, kicking, terrified mass
on the side which leaned to the water. The passengers struggled to the
opposite side, and held on as best they could. By some means the
steamer righted herself, and off we started.

The captain was attentive to us on this trip. I think he was glad to
air his English. He pointed out, on our right, another curious
formation in the mountains, which he called "St. Olaf's Ship." I
daresay in the time of St. Olaf ships were like that: so I will not
emphasise my ignorance by criticism.

St. Olaf's name is found all over the country. It is well known that
he is Norway's greatest saint: but I daresay his history is not such
common property. Therefore I tell it as our captain on the steamer
told it to me. Here I may say that there is surely no country in the
world where the average inhabitant has such an exceedingly great
knowledge of histories, national or general.

  [Illustration: KJENDALSBRÆ]

Olaf Haraldssen was a descendant of Harald Haarfajer, or "The Fair,"
who was the first king to rule the whole of Norway. Harald Haarfajer
flourished in the ninth century, and was one of the first of the
heroic Vikings sung of in sagas. After Harald the Fair, the most
splendid king was Olaf Trygvasen, who with his many followers harried
us to such an extent that the English sovereign was obliged to sue for
peace. He endeavoured to implant Christianity among his subjects by
sword and fire, and, after making a heroic defence and losing nearly
all his men, fell mortally wounded during a battle against the Swedish
and Danish kings. Norway was now in the hands of the two conquering
kings; but they gave up their shares to a powerful Norwegian earl, who
had given them his aid against King Olaf Trygvasen. The earl agreed to
hold these lands as their vassal. In this capacity he was obliged to
leave his country when the Danish king called upon him to join in an
invasion of England. He never returned from this expedition. In 1015
Olaf Haraldssen, another worthy descendant of Harald the Fair,
returning from a pirating raid, seized the opportunity of assuming
the leadership of the country, determined to carry out the intention
of his noble ancestor, Olaf Trygvasen. With the help of various petty
kings from the north, he overthrew the dominion of the earls and their
overlords, the Danish and Swedish kings. He made Trondhjem his
capital, and there he received homage from the lesser chieftains as
king of Norway. In his turn he enforced Christianity; but on account
of the extreme severity of his policy he alienated many of his people,
who sought the aid of the Danish king against him. Defeated, Olaf fled
to Russia. After gathering his forces together he endeavoured to win
back his kingdom, but was again beaten. He was killed at the battle of
Stiklestad in 1030. His body was taken to a place called Nidaros, and
buried on the banks of a river. A year later his corpse was exhumed,
and it was found that there was no trace of corruption--the face was
just as in life, and the hair and nails had grown. This, and certain
miracles wrought through his intercession, caused him to be proclaimed
a saint. His body was encased in silver and placed in Trondhjem
Cathedral, where it received great veneration until the time of the


The history of Norway, with its continual relations and dissensions
with Sweden and Denmark, is intensely interesting; but there are such
splendid books on the subject that it would be ridiculous for me to
attempt to introduce more than these few words into a book which
professes to give merely the superficial impressions of a
traveller--exceedingly interested, it is true, but--having almost
everything to learn about her subject.

Rather regretfully, we came back from the eleventh century, for the
captain was obliged to superintend the disembarkation of the cows. We
were rather glad to get rid of them; and they, poor things, were, I am
sure, heartily pleased that their startling journey was over, and that
they found themselves safely on dry land, with plenty of space to roam
in. The pony we kept with us for a while, attempting to persuade it to
drink milk, which, however, it refused to consider.

The luncheon was pork and stewed rhubarb, served in a very small and
stuffy dining cabin. Nico and I refused it, and regaled ourselves on a
tin of Brand. Soon we entered the wonderful canal that joins the
Bandak Lake to the Nordsjo Lake, which is connected by another canal
with the head of the Skien Fjord, thus opening up an inland waterway
from the sea at Skien right into the heart of the mountains at Dalen,
the extreme end of Lake Bandak. Lake Bandak is a hundred and
eighty-seven feet higher than Lake Nordsjo, with which it is
connected: this immense difference is overcome by no fewer than
fourteen locks, the average rise in each lock being something over
thirteen feet. All the locks are blasted out of solid rock and faced
with grey granite. When we reached the end of this stupendous triumph
of engineering, the effect as we looked back was overwhelming. The
chief difficulty in construction was a fall of eighty feet, called the
Vrangfos. No bottom could be found to the gorge, and a massive bridge
of granite was constructed between the two rocky sides, on which
foundation a dam was built. Five of the fourteen locks are at the
Vrangfos, which rages alongside in impotent fury. This immense work
cost the country three million kroner.

  [Illustration: A BABY OF TELEMARKEN]

At the end of this canal is a rather pleasant little station, Ulefos,
on the Nordsjo Lake; but we were in a hurry to get to Christiania and
civilisation. We did not get off the boat, but continued on our way to
Skien. We were still chatting with the captain. On our left in the
rocks, he pointed out to us a yawning gap, ten or twelve feet high.
That cavern, he told us, was used as a chapel, and dedicated to Saint
Michael. He also told us that it was the tomb of the last Catholic
priest in Norway just after the Reformation. The King of Denmark, who
at that time was also King of Norway, had decreed that the Catholic
religion should cease to be in both Norway and Denmark. In Norway the
people were all the more against the fulfilment of this decree as they
recognised that the Danish king wished to enrich himself at the
expense of the Catholic Church. Cunning as well as force, therefore,
was necessary to establish the Lutheran religion in the country of St.
Olaf. The Catholic priests were banished, and their places were taken
by foreign preachers, who, to deceive the people, kept up for a long
time the external appearances of Catholicism. Several years after
these primary steps had been taken, a Danish soldier named Porl, cruel
and fanatical, was appointed preacher to the church of Solum; the
little rock chapel of St. Michael having been destroyed, the parish of
which it was the centre had been united to that of Solum. Soon Porl
discovered that his parishioners still went in great numbers to pray
in the grotto, and sometimes at night a mysterious light was seen
among the rocks. One autumn evening, returning from Holden in a boat
rowed by three young watermen, Porl beheld them suddenly cease their
rowing, and, throwing themselves on their knees in the boat, cross
themselves. This act of devotion was performed exactly opposite St.
Michael's Chapel, from which the mysterious light reflected itself in
the lake.

  [Illustration: ROMSDALS HORN]

Furious, Porl ordered them to row him to the foot of the hilly path
which led to the chapel; but here he met with determined opposition.
They would rather die than obey his wish. He was therefore obliged to
return to Solum, promising himself a speedy solution of the mystery.
In such a matter he could not trust his parishioners, devoted as they
were to the old religion: so he took into his service two men from
Skien, and ordered them to keep watch from afar on the grotto of St.
Michael. One night, the eve of St. Michael's feast, they rushed to
him, breathlessly, to announce that they had seen the mysterious light
issuing from the cave. There was no doubt about it. He could see it
with his own eyes. He took a sword from the wall to arm himself
against the unknown enemy, and his two spies rowed him to the grotto.
As they got nearer the light became of more importance. His men took
him to the foot of the steep narrow path; but neither threats nor
hope of reward could persuade them, fearing the supernatural, to
accompany him. Filled with anger, he made his way alone; but at the
moment when he had all but reached the opening to the chapel the light
went out, and there he was between heaven and earth in the pitch
darkness, afraid to take either one step back or one step forward.
Gathering all his courage, he went forward, and managed to feel his
way into the cave. God alone knew what awaited him there, and on His
name he called. At the sound, at the far end of the cave a big stone
was moved, and the darkness was flooded with light. Porl could
scarcely believe his eyes when he saw before him an altar, and on the
altar a crucifix surrounded by innumerable candles. From this
sanctuary a venerable old man, wearing sacerdotal vestments, as if
about to say Mass, advanced towards him.

"You come in the name of God?" said he. "Come, then, in peace."

But the preacher, brandishing his sword, fell on the old priest,
crying in anger, "I was right, then! I guessed that there was still an
accursed Papist in my parish!"

"You were indeed right," said the old man. "It is he you are now

"It is not you that I quarrel with," said the Lutheran, "but the error
of your ways, and the black artifices you employ to turn the heads of
my parishioners."

"Your parishioners?" repeated the old priest with dignity. "Do you
know who I am? I am Sylvester, the legitimate pastor of those poor
souls whom you call your parishioners, and the last Catholic priest
left in this unhappy country. With cunning and force you have made war
on the religion which has made Norway what it is. You have robbed her
people of their faith; you have sacked our churches and banished our
priests. Far from my flock, I have eaten my bread in tears and exile
for long years; I have wept and prayed; almost have I died of grief at
leaving my poor children deserted. But I could not die away from them.
In spite of a thousand dangers, I returned and buried myself here in
the ruins of my dear church. Only the inhabitants of one farm know of
my return, and from them I receive the bread on which I live and the
straw which is my couch. As for my 'artifices'--alas! I am old and
incapable of doing anything for my children, who still love and
reverence the Church of their fathers. All I can do for them is to
pray and to celebrate Mass for them on the great feasts under cover of
the charitable darkness. These are my ruses, these my terrible
mysteries. Now that I have told you them, raise your sword against the
last of God's anointed priests living in my unhappy land. Strike--for
I wish to die here."

  [Illustration: OLD AGE, TELEMARKEN]

The _ci-devant_ Danish soldier was touched.

"No," he said. "God forbid that I should raise my hand against an old
man. Live, and die when God shall call you, in this spot. Adieu, and
may God enlighten you at your last hour."

"Amen," said the old man. "Both you and I have great need of the

Porl left. From that day he ceased to persecute his flock, who held
still to their Catholic practices. A few more times the mysterious
light shone from St. Michael's grotto, and the belated wayfarer who
saw it piously crossed himself. But when Christmas came the cave
remained in darkness. The last Catholic priest had died. The initiated
farm people had made a tomb for their beloved pastor in the depths of
his chapel; and there his body lies to this day, waiting for the

The simple facts of the above narrative were given me by our captain;
but for the complete and detailed history I am indebted to no less a
person than the present Catholic Bishop of Norway--Monseigneur




We landed at Skien, and wandered about the town before taking train to
Christiania. In the first place we went to a hotel and supplemented
our day's diet of Brand by steaks that were really the best I had ever
eaten, and by little rolls of delicious white bread, which was a
luxury we had not had the chance of appreciating since we had left the
Britannia Hotel at Trondhjem.

The town is very prettily situated, and has charming environments--of
which the Nordsjo Lake, if it can be spoken of in such a way, is much
the most delightful. From the town one sees it against the background
formed by the Liffeld Mountains. It was on these heights that during
the Franco-German War two French officers landed in a balloon. They
had not the slightest idea of their whereabouts, and would probably
have perished in the snow had not the presence of an empty wooden
match-box given them sure proof that they were in a civilised country,
and probably within reach of human habitation. They sought hopefully
for shelter, and were found by two woodcutters, who showed them such
hospitality as was in their power.

Across certain bridges are "the islands," where may be seen many large
wood-pulp and paper mills. The manufacture of pulp for making paper is
an important and ever-increasing source of revenue to Norway. The pine
timber is ground by powerful machinery into pulp. When the trees are
first taken from the water which carries them hither from their
various native forests, they are sawed into blocks about eighteen
inches long; these are quickly passed on to workmen, who with drills
extract the knots; the surface is then cleared of bark and dirt, and
they are ready for the stones. In the machine the sides of the blocks
are forced against rapidly-revolving stones, and are thus ground into
fine powder, which in the volume of water conveying it to the draining
machine is scarcely distinguishable, so fine is it, and so small in
proportion to the bulk of water. After the draining process, which is
accomplished by passing the liquid over fine wires, the sheets are
taken up by girls and put under powerful hydraulic presses;
afterwards they are made into bales and are ready for market. These
mills, and the many hundreds of others, are all worked by the immense
water power which is one of Norway's greatest assets, though these
resources are by no means fully utilised.

  [Illustration: ROMSDALS WATERFALL]

This knowledge, I may confess, is all at second hand. We did not
devote any considerable time to Skien, but took the train on the day
of our arrival.

While we were waiting in the station for the ticket office to open,
which it does one minute before the time of departure, we were amused
by the antics of two barefooted, very ragged, dirty little boys. They
examined us pretty thoroughly in a rather furtive way: I have no doubt
they had no business where they were and fully expected to be turned
out. I held out a silver ten-ore piece in each hand, and with a good
deal of embarrassed giggling they approached and took the tiny pieces
of silver. Very gravely they each shook hands with me, and, walking
right over to the other side of the station, performed the same
ceremony for Nico's benefit. Then, full of importance, they walked up
to the refreshment counter, and each parted with five ore--about a
halfpenny--for chocolates, and the other five ore for cigarettes.

At last the authorities allowed us to buy our tickets, and we got into
the train, which, like most Norwegian trains, consisted of
second-class and third-class carriages. In spite of the threats of the
booking office, we were evidently in no hurry to be off; but in the
fulness of time we moved, and presently slept. When we awoke--at
least, when I awoke, for Nico insisted that he had not closed his
eyes--we had arrived at Christiania. Allowing ourselves and our many
paper parcels to be cared for by a hotel porter, we drove with him
whither he would. It happened to be to the Grand Hotel, which is
comfortable, and furnished with heaps of Sheffield plated
candlesticks--to say nothing of a lift and other luxuries to which we
had for long been unaccustomed. We were gently borne upwards to the
floor where was the room which the hotel porter had decided we should
occupy. We ordered an immense jug of thick chocolate, and after
disposing of as much of this as we possibly could, we sought our
couches, and slept amid electric lights and other modern luxuries.

   The Storthing is convened every year, and is divided into an Upper
   House (Lagthing) and a Lower House (Odelsthing)]

Christiania is built on a magnificent site at the foot of pine-clothed
hills which extend their protection over the land-bound borders of
the town. As one stands on these hills and looks over the town a
delightful panorama spreads itself before one's eyes. Beyond the
crowded houses stretches the beautiful Christiania Fjord, which, as it
nears the town, breaks itself up into a thousand tiny fjords, and thus
creates innumerable islands, which are chosen spots for the summer
villas of the richer inhabitants of the town.

We stayed for some time in Christiania, a delightful town, full of
life and movement. During certain hours of the day the whole
population seems to turn out and walk up and down the fine road in
which our hotel is situated, and I noticed that everyone seemed to be
acquainted with every other.

We had here two good friends, one of whom was away during almost the
whole of our visit; the other, a captain of artillery, did the honours
of Holmenkollen for us during a delightful day we spent together. He
called quite early in the day, and drove us up the hill which leads to
the scene of the great _ski_ competition every winter. All the way, on
either side of the road, are villas, which, however, are farther and
farther apart as the hill is ascended. Just before the big hotel on
the left of the road is a small lake; beyond this is the steep hill
down which the ski-jumpers seem to fly as they take their leaps
through the air. The record leap is a hundred and thirty feet. Of
course, this sport is in the winter, when the ground is covered with
snow and the lake is frozen over and capable of bearing on its surface
thousands of spectators; on either side of the hill also the
spectators are massed. Nico was present on one of these occasions, and
declares that he had never witnessed such an inspiriting scene.
Everyone was excited and happy; many of the crowd had come up from the
town on their skis, or had dragged their little sleighs behind them,
to skim down the long slope to Christiania after the festivities were
over. The girls and the younger women wear short skirts and their hair
flowing, and it is not resented as a liberty if one addresses
fellow-sportsmen or women without the formality of an introduction.

  [Illustration: SKI SPORTS
   The Great Holmencollen Day outside Christiana]

The big hotel at Holmenkollen is a wonderful wooden structure, built
by a Norwegian architect named Sverre, who is responsible for many
buildings of the same character throughout Norway, but especially in
Christiania and its neighbourhood. It is as far as possible in
accordance with the old Norwegian style of architecture. It
contains many beautiful rooms, including two bedrooms furnished in
Norwegian style with genuine old pieces of furniture. Then, there are
various rooms reserved for the Committee or Royalty; the delightful
smoking-room, with its splendid log-filled fireplace and its alcoves
and corners; the magnificent dining-hall, characteristically
decorated, its walls clothed with Norwegian tapestry of a singularly
happy design. Architect Sverre collaborates with the great decorative
artist Munthe, who is responsible for many of the adornments. Leading
out of the dining-room is a singular little chamber, which is entirely
decorated and furnished after designs by Munthe. In this strange room
Nico ensconced himself to make a drawing which should give some idea
of its quaintness. The wooden walls are primitively carved to
represent various scenes from Norwegian fairy tales. The door is
guarded by two grotesque monsters, and the chairs and small tables are
of equally original shape and colouring. On the night of the ski
competition the enormous dining-room is crammed with excited, happy
parties, most of the tables having been engaged weeks beforehand, for
it is a favourite resort for supper-parties on this night.

After luncheon on the autumn day which witnessed my one and only visit
to Holmenkollen, we drove farther up the hill, and examined with much
interest the exteriors and furnished interiors of various old
Norwegian buildings which have been transplanted from other parts to
this centre, in order that the Norwegian people may keep safely some
relics of their olden days, of which they have lost many by fire or
neglect. There are further excellent examples of their various periods
of architecture to be seen at Bygdo, a small beautifully wooded
peninsula on the west of the town. It is possible, and very pleasant,
either to drive or to walk to that place; but we went one cold Sunday
morning by a ferry steamer, which landed us within a few minutes of
our destination. There was a tennis tournament going on the same day
and in the same direction; it is evident that Norwegians are great
enthusiasts over this game, as indeed they are over athletic sports
generally. A committee have bought a large piece of land on this
peninsula. They wish to gather a representative collection of old
houses from various parts of the country. The chief building is "the
people's museum." Though not an old building, it contains a most
interesting collection of furniture, clothes, religious objects,
and domestic utensils from all parts of Norway and of various dates.
Surrounding it are such old buildings as the committee have already
acquired. Most of the residents of Christiania are subscribers to this
institution and have the right of free entrance. Near by is a small
Royal villa called Oscar's Hall. It looks a delightful place, standing
in its brilliant whiteness among dark pine trees. On the King's estate
is situated an old _stavekirke_, one of the few which remain intact.
It is built of logs, and has a species of balcony running almost round
it. The interior is very dark; but when one's eyes get used to the
semi-obscurity it is to be seen that the church is most elaborately
and beautifully carved. All these pole churches date from
pre-Reformation times, and were consecrated Catholic places of
worship. Catholics are still few in Norway; but the old religion is
spreading, and in Christiania itself there are three or four parishes
that have each a church and a priest.


I should love to return to this interesting little peninsula some warm
summer's day; but all my enjoyment was spoilt and the edge of my
interest dulled by the extreme cold, for which I was ill prepared.

The Christiania Fjord being less influenced by the Gulf Stream than
the fjords on the western and northern coasts, the winter is longer in
Christiania than in many places farther north. Generally this piece of
water is entirely frozen over, and the country is tightly locked in
the arms of Winter from December until March; the snowfalls,
untampered with by thaws, accumulate and cause gigantic obstructions.
The cold, though much more intense than in the English climate, is
more easily bearable than our milder winters. The atmosphere is dry
and pleasant, and often the sun shines brilliantly during the short
days, and the delightful sports of this season are innumerable.
Skiing, of course, must take the first place. The skis are really snow
skates. They consist of a pair of very long, but very narrow, strips
of wood, very thin and elastic. In front they are slightly turned up
and pointed. The correct length should measure a third more than the
height of the wearer. The skis are attached to shoes, or merely to
straps, set a little back from the middle of the strip of wood. The
Norwegians are great adepts at getting about on skis. They make
extraordinarily rapid progress over the snow, especially when it is
neither too hard nor too sticky. They help themselves along and
partly steer themselves by the aid of long poles. Sometimes a
traveller on skis, becoming thirsty, will stop at a little unfrozen
spring, and, lowering himself with wonderful cleverness until he lies
at full length with his skis disposed just as they should be, he puts
his mouth to the edge of the water and drinks. This is what is called
"drinking goose wine," and I assure you there is a good deal of knack
necessary both to get down and to get up.


Skating is another favourite sport, for which there are plenty of
opportunities. Sledging takes the place of driving through the winter
months. Another gloriously exhilarating sport is tobogganing, either
alone or in parties. The leader steers his rapid progress with a
stick. One may meet with an unforeseen obstacle, and the occupants may
be thrown out head-first with a jerk; but the fall in the soft snow is
not often serious.

The shops in Christiania are very good, and generally, to the stranger
at least, very dear; but at the big fur store there I bought for a
ridiculously small sum two of the prettiest little reindeer-skin
coats, made by the Lapps, and as worn by the Lapps. I brought them
home with great glee to my babies, but was nonplussed by my boy, who
absolutely refused to have anything to do with his after he had
elicited by hundreds of questions that the stuff the coat was made of
was fur, that fur was the skin of the reindeer, that reindeer were
young and had mothers and fathers, and that his coat couldn't run
about in the snow because it was dead, and at last, that it was dead
because Loye had to have a winter coat.

When after some weeks I persuaded him that the reindeer would be much
more sad if the coat was not worn, he consented to have it on, but
only on condition that it should be slipped on over his feet. Both the
little garments were a great success; but I am afraid that the
children's nurse never quite approved them. I think she found it hard
to get used to coats that had no hooks or buttons but were fastened
with plaited leather strings, and she thought her charges looked
rather _outré_.

Christiania has but one picture-dealer of any importance. From what we
saw of the pictures there we concluded that Norwegian art on the whole
is so intensely affected as to say absolutely nothing to the beholder.
We met two art enthusiasts at luncheon at the house of an exceedingly
clever friend of ours, who was and is one of the editors of
Christiania's chief newspaper. These two were man and wife, and
obviously it was the wife's opinion, on art at least, that dominated.
Their greatest artist in Europe's eyes they scoffed at; scarcely would
they admit that he was clever, beauty and success being two attributes
which do not belong to art as they understand it. They belonged to the
ever-increasing number of folk who, to appear original and
extra-cultivated, refuse to see beauty unless it is expressed
grotesquely or incomprehensibly. So insistent was this particular
devotee that she carried us along on the wave of her heated argument
out of our friend's dining-room through the cold streets to her flat,
where she planted us in front of a picture by her favourite artist. It
was dark-green and white in patches laid quite rawly on the canvas.
"Isn't it wonderful?" she cried. "Now you must own yourselves


"What is it?" I asked, with tactless ignorance, after examining it
long and patiently from as many different points as I could discover
in the small room.

"What is it?" said Nico, with artistic licence, not moving from the
spot where he had taken up his stand.

"What does it matter what it is?" the owner answered, turning on us
with flashing eyes. "Don't you recognise the wonder of it? I myself
had it for three weeks, loving it and admiring it, and asking myself
how to hang it. The artist himself told me it must hang as you see it,
and explained to me that it was a picture of a woman standing in the

"But where does she stand?" said Nico. "And where is the moon?"

"At her feet," said the worshipper. "My friend is such a great artist
that he reverses the natural order of things, subjugating everything
to his art."

Surely all this is rather extravagant, and surely it is not _this_ art
that will live when the painter is no longer at hand to explain and to
decide "which way up." It is a great pity that all these clever
people--for the painter has immense talent, as is shown in his earlier
work, and our two interested friends were evidently people of
intellect--should be so extraordinarily perverted in their tastes.
Norwegian art is comparatively young; but it has made great strides.
It has produced Fritz Thaulow, who, though not recognised by the
enthusiasts of the class I have described, can boast the admiration of
all Europe; among many clever designers, the decorative Munthe;
that rather morbid youth, Edward Munch, whose lithographs give
evidence of the great things of which he is capable; and many other
artists whose names, known and praised in their own country, are not
of such widespread celebrity in this.

  [Illustration: OLD CANAL, CHRISTIANIA.]

During the middle of the nineteenth century flourished the great
painter of peasant life, Tidemand. A series of his work is to be seen
in the King's summer villa near Christiania, and his paintings, while
not, perhaps, among the masterpieces of art, are very useful and
interesting as showing the peasant life of Norway, under almost every
condition, at a period when the people still wore their interesting
costumes and had not lost any of their old ways and customs. These
pictures are reproduced in every form, and are to be met with in many
books on Norway, and in very many Norwegian houses.

There are also in Norway painters who devote themselves to the
beauties of Nature, with which their fatherland is so generously
endowed. This school has produced many fine pictures; but it seems to
be rather falling out of favour in these days of exaggeration.

Arts in which the Norwegians have excelled since early times, and
continue to excel, are those of weaving and embroidery. In these their
nation shows an originality and charm, both of colour and of design,
which are truly admirable. From as early as the twelfth century relics
of cloths with figures interwoven are extant. One at present preserved
in a church represents some of the months in allegorical pictures, and
is evidently a fragment of a much larger piece which would include
symbols of all the months of the year.

Examples of the history of picture-weaving become plentiful and
important with the beginning of the seventeenth century. As with all
arts of the period, this branch was principally dedicated to the
representation of sacred subjects. Besides these there are many
samples of purely decorative weaving, beautiful for their colour and
quaint conventional designs, often geometrical, or a continued
repetition of one or two very simple expressions of the form of a
doubtful animal. The cultured Norwegians treasure these pieces of
woven cloth, and hang them on their walls, or even have them framed.
In the various museums are excellent examples of every branch of this
art. To-day it is a very thriving industry. The weavers sit at an
upright loom, and work in fast-dyed wools with an immense range of
colours. The design is exactly the same on both sides, and the article
when finished will wear almost indefinitely. Large quantities of it
are used for wall-covering, and I can imagine nothing more delightful
for this purpose. Any design can be produced, and their great artist,
Munthe, has made many drawings, especially for this manner of
reproduction. Embroidery in Norway I find all the more charming
because it is _not_ very varied. In other countries embroidery does
many things; but here the workers cling to their very beautiful
old-fashioned lines, and fill them in with strongly contrasted
colours, mixing silk and wool. Mittens, gloves, bonnets, cloth, and
all conceivable articles are gorgeously embroidered for personal wear
or for sale, and the Norwegians themselves are by no means the least
enthusiastic buyers.


Work in silver is another of the nation's handicrafts. In all the
towns through which the tourist travels he will find large and small
shops devoted to the sale of silver or silver-gilt filigree work and
enamel. When he has seen one such shop, he has seen all; for over the
country the same enamelled salt-cellars and butterflies and spoons,
the same fairylike brooches and other ornaments, are repeated.
Indeed, I became as heartily sick of these rather pretentious
ornaments as I was enthusiastically charmed with the peasants'
jewellery of an earlier age, frequently made by themselves, and
showing an attractive absence of the machine-accomplished finish of
the modern jewellery. By expressing the presence of the something
which lifts hand work above machine work, I do not mean that there is
not among the original silver work evidence of the greatest talent in
this direction. The embossed filigree work is truly admirable.
Precious stones do not take any important place. A coloured stone here
and there, more often than not false, justifies its presence by
increasing the beauty of the ornament, and not only by adding
immensely to the expense of the object. One of the most striking
pieces of jewellery is an enormous round brooch or buckle, often as
large as a small plate. Dozens of these saucer-like pieces of metal,
highly polished, are suspended by links to the body of the brooch,
shaking and glittering with every movement.

   Working a design by Gerard Munthe, the well-known decorative artist]

As for Norwegian wood-carving, words fail me to express my admiration
for the bold and strong effects produced with wonderful skill and by
very primitive methods. During the long winters the peasants
labour, often with no other tool than penknives. Their broadly carved
furniture, with the invariable circular design which is so prominent
in their embroidery also, has a charm that I miss in the wonderful and
delicate carving of the East. I tried hard to possess myself of a few
such pieces of furniture--a very tall grandfather clock, a carved and
coloured cradle, a sideboard, and a cupboard--but in vain. The peasant
owners refused to sell--wisely indeed, for surely these things are
more appropriate in their big yellow-painted log-built rooms than
anywhere else. Other objects which I sought to obtain from various
antiquaries were absolutely beyond the reach of my purse: charming as
they were, the prices asked were ridiculously high. I suppose that the
sums asked are special during the tourist season, and that Norwegians
get what they want at much reduced figures during the winter months.
The explanation of this is obviously the absence of any competition.
Two or three big shops have a corner in such things.

In all our travels we did not come across any little shop of the type
one meets so frequently in most towns in England and on the Continent.
It must be admitted that in such a country as Norway to buy such
things as the peasants may be willing to dispose of necessitates a
considerable outlay. For the joy of buying give me Italy, or Spain, or
Belgium, of which countries swarm with small antiquaries to whom the
chance of a sale is too precious to be allowed to slide for such a
slight reason as a difference between the price asked and the price
the would-be purchaser feels inclined to pay.





The climatic conditions of Norway necessitate much expenditure in the
building of a farm. On account of the intense cold of the winter, warm
houses must be provided for the live-stock, and dry storage also is
necessary. As a rule, nowadays the buildings on a farm are four,
though in former times there were often many small buildings--notably
the charmingly carved storehouses one still sees here and there on the
farms, standing on round stones and piles some three or four feet from
the ground, for fear of rats as well as for dryness. Of the four
buildings usual on an ordinary farm, the main house is, of course, the
dwelling-place, the size of which varies. A cellar the size of the
whole area of the house is generally built under this for storage of
potatoes and other necessaries. The buildings are almost invariably of
logs dovetailed together at the corners, painted inside and out. Near
this living place is another erection which contains the rooms for the
farm hands, the laundry, and the winter supply of wood and peat. The
third building is chiefly for the animals, and is divided into
different compartments, of which some are devoted to the storage of
farming implements, grains, etc. These outhouses are often built with
two stories connected by an inclined plane of logs, up which the
various vehicles of the farm are pulled to be housed during the winter
months. The fourth building is the storehouse, built from the ground,
in which are kept the household provisions and sometimes bedding and
clothes not in actual use. Many of the most elaborate and ancient of
these _stabur_ have been bought by the State or by private persons for
presentation to the various museums which devote themselves to the
collection of relics of old Norway and try to reproduce both houses
and churches of old times with as many of their original belongings
and fittings as possible.

  [Illustration: A VOSSE BRIDE]

The farms surrounded by these necessary buildings are often many miles
apart, and consequently social reunions are comparatively rare. In
winter the snow-covered ground is traversed with great rapidity by
sledges or on ski-shod feet, and, the farm work being not so heavy or
so pressing as at other seasons, the country people give dancing
parties on the slightest excuse. The music is primitive; but the
hearts and feet are light, and food and drink go round in abundance.
In summer all the residents on the farm are busily engaged in planting
and gathering their small crops, cutting every available blade of the
grass which is so precious and means so much to their supplies of milk
and butter and cheese when the ground is frozen and deep in snow.
Their method of drying the grass is rather strange. Tall stakes are
planted in the ground at short intervals, and on these small bunches
of grass are impaled. To facilitate the operation, the stake is capped
with a sharp steel point. In this manner scarcely a blade of grass
escapes the gatherers, and the drying process is much more rapid than
it could otherwise be on these slopes. In summer the cattle, the
goats, and the sheep are sent out to graze on the mountain slopes. In
charge of each flock are two or three persons, generally girls. They
spend their summer in tiny rough huts called saeters. Hearing of these
saeters, I inquired by what means, if not by long and difficult daily
journeys, the dwellers in them were provided with food, and how did
the farm people obtain from the heights their daily supply of cheese,
milk, and butter? Simply enough: one end of a thick wire rope is fixed
up on the heights; the other is attached to a post below. The rope
traverses precipices, ravines, and raging torrents. With the aid of a
pulley and a second length of wire of less thickness, one may thus
transport buckets of milk, bundles of hay, and packages of all sorts.
The operators at either end are warned by a whistle that their
attention is required. We were told, by the people of a farm where we
stayed, that a young man sending down a bundle of hay slipped, and,
clinging to the wire, slid with fearful rapidity to the opposite side.
Midway over the fjord which this wire traversed his fingers were cut
right through, and he dropped. Fortunately, there had been spectators
of the adventure, and he was rescued without further injury. In spite
of the dangers, I believe the peasants often avail themselves of this
mode of descent from the saeters to their homes. They are courageous.
On our long drives through different districts of Norway, we
frequently met with these aerial wireways; and always on the steepest
slopes one could gain on foot one saw cattle calmly grazing on the
scanty grass at angles which make a poor human being dizzy. How the
great beasts can keep their foothold on the loose soil, almost as
steep as the side of a house, puzzled me often; and how they can look
fat and well-fed on the miserable supply of green stuff which is all
they find in many districts is indeed a problem.


The devout Norwegians have a theory to explain the poorness of their
soil. At the creation of the world the angels whose duty it was to
scatter the soil forgot Norway. Seeing this, the guardian angel of the
land made complaints to the Creator. What was to be done? Impossible
to restart the whole of the creation for the sake of Norway. "Come, my
little angels," said He: "look carefully, and perhaps you may still
find a little earth." The conscience-stricken angels swept the floor
of Heaven, and the little dust they found they gathered in their
draperies and scattered over the Norwegian rocks. That is why, while
Norway is rich in stones, she is poorly provided with soil. Even in
many of the valleys the earth is plentifully bestrewn with big stones
and boulders fallen from the mountains, and where there are small
tracts without stones one frequently finds that the ground is so
marshy as to be useless. That there is as much cultivated ground only
shows what can be dragged from Nature by men endowed with patience
and industry. Round the fjords the fisherman chooses for his log hut a
spot where his wife may feed a cow and cultivate a small plot of
potatoes, while he devotes his life to gathering the hard and
difficult harvest of the sea.

At the country fairs or other rare meetings of folks for one reason or
another, the young Norwegians meet and court. The girl must be a good
housewife and should be able to make bread, to spin, and, in short, be
capable of almost everything, for in this country of isolated homes it
is impossible or difficult to provide a substitute for the invalid or
incompetent member of a family. Sometimes among the humbler classes
the betrothed couple wait years for the completion of their tie, as it
is sometimes necessary to await the demise of an older couple to
obtain a dwelling-place. During this time the bride-elect spins and
makes up the linen that will last her for life. The betrothed couple
are allowed all liberty to see each other and even to journey

I have taken from a Norwegian paper an accurate account of wedding
customs in the middle of the last century, and I am assured that, with
a few exceptions, everything remains much the same to this day. The
usages vary slightly in different districts. The Norwegian writer has
chosen Hardanger for his description.

When a young man of the people wishes to offer his heart and hand to
the maiden of his choice, he does not accomplish the deed himself, but
appoints as his spokesman _opordsmannen_, a man of consequence in the
district, a relation if possible. Together they go to the house of the
desired one's parents. First they interview the father, all standing.
If the father agrees to consult his wife a good sign has been given,
and the _opordsmann_ seats himself. Settlements and dowry are
discussed, and finally the girl herself is consulted. If she consents
to shake hands with her lover the engagement is a settled thing. All
seat themselves for refreshments, and the party drink healths out of
the best silver mug. Without waiting for the ceremony, the young
couple take possession of the best room; and they are looked upon as
man and wife. The morning after the contract the bridal pair are
served with coffee and food in their room by the bride's parents.

This interview is always on a Saturday. In Telemarken the mode of
procedure differs slightly. The spokesman, after consulting the girl's
parents, goes to her room, and drags her out of bed and into the
barn, where the suitor waits to receive her.

The mother of a friend once nearly had a very disagreeable experience.
Her child's nurse was a Norwegian; the family were spending the summer
in a hotel at Telemarken. In the night the lady's door was burst open,
and in spite of protestations she was dragged out of bed by her
wrists. Only the opportune arrival of her husband brought to light the
fact that this violent attack was really intended for the courting of
her nurse.

To return to the Hardanger bridal. Soon after this the nearest friends
and relations are invited to the betrothal party, which is occasion
for much eating and drinking, in about a fortnight. During the
interval the young lover presents to his mistress a wooden box carved
or painted by himself, and containing all the jewellery he can afford
to present to her; and the damsel prepares for her gift to him
embroidered braces and a belt. Though maidenly modesty refuses to
acknowledge it, these articles of attire have been in preparation for
many months. The saying goes that he who weds a girl who is "getting
on" will have the best supply of braces and belts.

The wedding proper is usually in the summer. Invitations must be
given in person at least a fortnight in advance, and as far as
possible on the same day, so that on comparing notes the guests may
have no cause for complaint. These invitations are on a large scale.
Everyone for miles round of the same social position as the bride's
family is invited; so, of course, are all the relations of the happy
couple. I am given to understand that caste prejudices are very strong
in the country districts. If the child of a _jaardemann_ (rich farmer)
should insist on marrying into the family of a _husmann_ (small
tenant-farmer), the family of the rich farmer will refuse to have
anything to do with the young people, or even to see their child

Preparations for feasting on an enormous scale are begun. Barrels of
the native corn-brandy and a smaller quantity of cognac, together with
kegs of mead and wine and abundance of beer, are provided to encourage
the gaiety of the guests. Three or four days before the wedding the
_klejvekjaeringer_ arrive. These are eight or ten of the women friends
of the family, who are invited to assist in the preparations and to
attend to the guests during the feast. It is looked upon as a great
honour to be invited in this capacity. Cooking begins in hot earnest.
Piles of cakes are made of rye and milk. Stalks of _fladbrod_--pancakes
of a kind--are representative standbys. Mountains of bread and raw
smoked meat are cut up. The ox and pig, which have been killed in
anticipation, are made ready. Cylinders of butter, weighing from
twelve to fourteen pounds, are placed at intervals on the board; the
guests will help themselves, smearing their bread and cakes with it
and then sprinkling sugar over.

Two days beforehand arrives the _kjogemester_. Each district possesses
an official of that kind, who is paid for his services. He is chief
steward and master of ceremonies. On him falls the responsibility of
placing all the guests in the order of precedence. As if this were not
enough for one man, he has also control over the drinks, and during
the festivities is liable to be called upon at any moment to make
various speeches in extemporised verse.

The day before the wedding the servants of the guests arrive. They are
laden with presents, mostly of food and drink. They are shown into the
_stabur_ (storehouse), where the presents and wedding clothes are on
view, given food and drink, and allowed to go their ways home.


In the evening of the same day the party begins. At the time this
account was written, all came in their national costume and wore
elaborate jewellery; but now few besides the bride have preserved this
costume, though in Hardanger it is certainly much more common than in
other districts. The cap mostly seen is a small tight-fitting
bonnet--black for married women and blue for girls. In parts where
costume is worn this rule as to colour holds good for men also.

It is now the business of the master of ceremonies to direct each
guest to the correct place at the table. The bride and the bridegroom
sit at either end of the table, both in unmarried costumes.

When they seat themselves two shots are fired. The kjogemester, in
verse, thanks the guests for their presence at the feast, and gives
out the names of the various voluntary helpers, of the four best men,
of the four bridesmaids, and of the fiddler and the drummer. The
musicians give a sample of their skill and seat themselves at the
festive board.

Early in the night the bridal pair retire.

Then, after more eating and drinking, the guests dance until the small
hours. Sleeping accommodation is found for all--bedrooms for the older
and more respected persons, the barns for younger ones--and often a
near neighbour's house shelters many.

In the morning at eight or nine o'clock the waitresses carry round
food and drink to the sleepers, who then get up and eat and drink
still more. The best men brush the bridegroom's clothes and boots and
help him to dress, and in the storehouse the bridesmaids render the
same service to the bride. The young couple are then on view, but only
to the parents and those of the immediate circle, to the fiddler, and
to the drummer. The bride stands like a queen in her picturesque
dress, decked in a silver or gilt crown, often set with many stones
and with red, white, and blue ribbons in her flowing hair. Her breast
is covered with brooches and ornaments linked together by silver
chains; and one may notice that from the centre jewel hang danglements
like small saucers, the especial perquisite of the matron. Her fingers
are covered with rings, and she wears a gorgeous silver belt and
silver buckles on her shoes. The bridegroom wears knee-breeches and a
silver cord round his hat, and the rest of his clothes are in keeping
with this grandeur.

  [Illustration: SÆTERSDALEN BRIDE]

Then the drummer beats his drum and the fiddler fiddles, and all
the party crowd to the door of the stabur and receive drink from the
hands of the bride. A squad of the men helpers lead the way to church.
In former times the journey, if by land, was made on foot; but now the
party drives. Occasionally the fjord too has to be crossed. One can
imagine how romantic such a sight would be. The boats are long and
broad. In the first one go the music, the bride and bridegroom, the
attendant men and maids, and the parents of the couple. Before
starting the master of ceremonies provides all the guests with brandy.
Arrived at the church and while waiting for the pastor, who often
comes from afar, the party adjourn to the nearest house, and drink.
Naturally a crowd has collected to see the wedding. All who ask are
provided with drink by the kjogemester, who has also to bid the
bride's parents good-bye in her name and in verse.

The celebrant arrived, this ubiquitous official leads the way to the
church. He is followed immediately by the drummer and the fiddler,
who, however, drop out of line at the church door. The bride is
accompanied by the four best men; the groom is attending the
bridesmaids. At the church door the maids give the groom to his bride,
who is treated in the same manner by the best men. Then the marriage
ceremony proceeds. The interesting pair stand throughout; the rest of
the party are seated. At the conclusion of the ceremony all the guests
make offerings to the parson and to the parson's clerk. When this
important duty has been fulfilled the parson is offered wedding food
and drink in a neighbouring house. In many cases he is presented with
a bottle of spirits and more food. These he is to take home, that his
wife and family may share in the feast.

The journey back is made in much rejoicing. Arrived, after more food
and drink, the party dance; the bride performing first with her
husband, and then with the best men, and so on through the party;
dancing last with the drummer, who, as a final compliment, must kick
the highest beam in the ceiling. For the privilege of dancing with the
bride her partner tips the fiddler, and at the conclusion presents her
with a small sum, known as cradle money, to be spent on the layette of
the hoped-for children. Sometime during the wedding day the party is
regaled with bridegroom's porridge, which is a paste made with flour
and cream, stirred so quickly that the cream partly turns to butter.
This indigestible mass is followed by more drains of spirits to the
accompaniment of music, and the master of ceremonies recites a
toast to the honour of marriage in verse which would not bear

  [Illustration: A HARDANGER BRIDE]

While the youths and maidens dance the matrons work and gossip, and
the older men have drinking competitions, won by him who manages to
keep his senses longest. The bride and the bridegroom retire early.
The others dance, eat, and drink, as before, into the next day. In the
morning the servants of the guests arrive with buckets full of sweet
milk, which they offer to the keeping up of the banquet. In return
they are given beer, and their empty buckets are filled with wedding
food. After this--at least, so it happened when this account was
written--the pair seat themselves, and every guest in turn deposits a
money present on a large pewter plate placed for the purpose. On each
donation the giver drinks with the couple out of a large silver mug,
which is kept brimming by one of the best men. Then is eaten the
bride's porridge, which is a paste made of flour and milk, and not so
great a luxury as the bridegroom's porridge, eaten the previous day.

The fun and feasting go on all day. If one may believe certain
Norwegian paintings and engravings, fights are not infrequent. Next
day all sleep, and badly they must need to do so; during the day
adieux are said, and the guests, after much pressing to the contrary,
at last take their departure.

A week later the couple leave the farm and take up their abode in the
bridegroom's house, whence the bride immediately pays a round of
visits to her neighbours, who assemble the following day for more
feasting at the new home. This is the end of the romance. Henceforward
hard work and the bearing of many children are the lot of the
Norwegian woman, varied but seldom by dissipation in any form.


I have not been able to discover how far this account of the marriage
customs of Norway may be applied to the present day; but I am assured
by the Norwegian friend who kindly helped me with the translation that
in the isolated country districts such affairs still follow the course
I have described.

At funerals there are celebrations of much the same kind. Although
there is no actual dancing until after the return from the burial,
drink passes freely. I am told by an acquaintance, who assisted at the
funeral of one of his tenants, that the whole party were overcome by
drink to such an extent that at the churchyard it was discovered
that the corpse had been forgotten. The pastor was naturally
indignant. He and the mourners had to wait in the snow-covered
cemetery until the coffin containing the remains could be fetched. In
districts far removed from a town the food and drink for a funeral
party are generally ordered while the funeral subject is still alive.
A friend, calling to offer condolences, was served with cakes, which
she was begged to partake of on the plea that "the corpse herself made
them." Many of the rich farmers order their own coffins and keep them
in the stabur. In winter the ground is frozen so hard that it has to
be blasted.




During my long walks while Nico was painting, I was refreshed and
delighted by the abundance of wild fruit which I found everywhere,
delicious little strawberries and large raspberries. Once, while I was
greedily stripping a bush of raspberries, sitting at my ease on a rock
beside the shrub, a large snake glided from under my skirt, and hid
itself beneath the stone on which my feet were resting. I had a
terrible fright for a moment. I have never discovered whether there
are poisonous snakes in Norway. Every four or five years certain
districts are infested by animals about the size and form of a
guinea-pig. They swarm all over the country, and do a good deal of
damage. Immense numbers are killed, and the race seems to die out,
until, when a period of four or five years has elapsed, they appear
again. I was told this by an English inhabitant, who could give me no
reason for this intermittent character of their presence.

The Norwegian horses take their pleasures sadly. When they are not
working, and are set at liberty to feed along the strip of herbage,
they are either attached by a short chain round one leg to a staple
fixed in the ground, or, what is worse, their forefeet are linked
closely together by an arrangement like handcuffs. To see the poor
things trying to be frisky amid these circumstances is quite painful.
Nico describes the movement which results as "hirpling." It is a cross
word, I suppose, between hopping and limping, and is extremely
expressive of what it is intended to represent. In the towns the
horse's forefoot is tied to the wheel of the cart when the driver is
obliged to leave it. What would happen if wandering musicians were to
strike up an equine cake-walk, I tremble to think!


In a country of such scattered population, the keeping of the miles of
road in good order is naturally a question of moment. On most of his
drives the traveller will notice hundreds of little poles painted red,
and bearing some kind of inscription, planted at short intervals.
These signposts give the name of the farmer or landowner appointed
by the _lensmand_ to look after and repair a certain area of road,
which is also indicated on the post. I do not know whether the farmer
or the careless lensmand is to be blamed for the terrible condition of
some few of the roads over which we passed. On the other hand, the
difficulties to be contended with considered, the condition of the
chief ways is wonderfully good. Many of the roads are cut up
inconveniently by gates, placed at quite short intervals. Every second
minute one has to scramble off one's cart to open these obstacles; but
I believe they are less for the purpose of causing trouble than for
keeping some sort of control over the straying of the farm animals.
All along the route one meets with curious wedge-shaped constructions
of wood. These are the snow ploughs. When they are needed, as many as
six or eight horses are harnessed to them, and slowly they force a
passage through the deep snow. I think they can be used only at the
beginning or at the end of winter, though I am not quite certain; but
why should people use ploughs when winter transit is entirely and most
conveniently accomplished on sledges and skis? The deep valleys which
are generally a feature on one side of a Norwegian roadway are
levelled with drifts of snow, and it is only when spring comes that
the road may be tracked by the heads of the ten-foot poles planted
along the path, which begin to show themselves only as the thaw sets
in. What a lonely, mysterious journey for the solitary postman!

Somewhere in the neighbourhood of Odde lives to this day a postman who
had a terrible adventure in the snow. The history of it was told me by
a man who drove us for days along the road across Norway between Odde
and Christiania. In the winter in the farming districts letters are
delivered only once a week--perforce by the postmen on skis. I
gathered that the day of delivery is not absolutely certain, and the
man is sometimes days on his trip. The postman in question set out, as
usual, alone; half way to his destination he sank into a snow-drift on
the side of the mountain. In a day or two, when his continued absence
was remarked, search-parties of thirty or forty men set out to find
him. Of these searchers my driver was one. With them they took his
coffin, expecting indeed to find him, but resigned to the certitude of
finding his dead body only. Before the third day was over they
sorrowfully gave up the search, and returned to their homes to wait
until spring should force the secret from the snow. At the end of
the third day, a feeble, white-haired man staggered into the station,
and fell fainting to the ground. For three days the postman had been
buried alive, and at last, by dint of digging with his post-horn, he
had got free. The rescue party had passed over his very head, and he
had heard them speaking of him and finally deciding to give up the
search; but of course it was impossible for him to discover himself to
them. Imagine the joy of the community at his return! You may be sure
he was well nursed back to health; and still, summer and winter alike,
he carries the mail-bag over his allotted route.


It is obvious that the winter is in Norway a time of enforced
cessation from farm work. With the exception of a certain amount of
labour connected with the cattle, there is little to be done for
several months. The men pass most of this quiet time in carving wood
and making various articles out of birch bark. The women spin for
their household needs, and knit and embroider what may be called fancy
goods in expectation of the tourist season. The large shops buy up
enormous quantities of the peasants' winter work, and each of the
posting inns is a small centre where the peasants of the neighbourhood
endeavour to get large prices for the products of their winter
industry--prices which dwindle through the summer as the days become
shorter and the tourists fewer. It must be admitted that they are
extraordinarily clever carvers; and they have a rather primitive
method of painting their wares which is very decorative and, when it
is not too well done, quite attractive. Their nicest carving they keep
to themselves: witness the delightful fairy-tale animals which form
the handle of the family mangling-board, and the equally charming
monsters which seem to perch on the arms and backs of chairs.

A word on their primitive method of mangling may not be amiss. Two
utensils are necessary--the first a kind of rolling-pin, round which
the sprinkled linen is tightly swathed. The other, a mangling-board, a
narrow flat piece of wood wielded by the picturesque handle I have
described, is then pressed tightly on the linen and rolled with as
much force as possible. I do not really believe that this operation
can, even with great strength, make very much difference to the
condition of the linen; but the process is much more interesting to
watch than the working of a civilised mangling-machine.

It is in the winter that the work of a forester is at its height. The
felling of trees begins late in September, and is continued under many
difficulties and hardships all through the winter. As the large
forests are often at some distance from populated areas, the woodsmen
build themselves log huts. They fill up the crannies between the logs
with moss and turf, but on the roof they lay first a covering of birch
bark to keep things close and dry. These huts are warmed day and night
by a wood fire, which is always kept burning; on this they make their
tea and coffee and do what little cooking they may need. I could not
discover what happens to the poor horses that help the woodsmen in
their labours. Do they share the hut with their masters, or do they
sleep as best they may outside in the cold and snow?

The trees are felled, the branches lopped off, and the trunks stripped
of their bark, which is kept and applied to many useful purposes. They
are then gathered together where it is most convenient, and when the
snow becomes deep enough they are dragged or slid to the nearest
practicable waterway. I believe that it is at this stage that the
owner, or his representative, marks the timber for recognition. In
many cases the owner of the forest sells his felled trees to a
merchant, and it is here in such a case that the wood changes hands.
In spring, when the ice-bound rivers begin to thaw, and the melting
snow swells them in force and volume, the logs are carried by these
torrents to the main river. During their journey hundreds of logs get
stuck here and there, sometimes lying crossways between the banks and
damming the river. The river drivers have their work cut out to
obviate this happening, and, if possible, to be rid of it after its
event, for to such a stoppage may be due most dangerous floods, and
many accidents, when the immense mass of logs, stopped in their eager
passage, at last are free. Sometimes the logs are chained together and
sent down in rafts; but more often each one pursues a separate course.
If they are jammed, the river driver, with the help of his long pole,
must balance himself as best he can on the logs, as he springs from
one to another, poking and prodding till at last he loosens the mass;
and how to save himself is the question of the moment, for a risky
calling is that of the man who endeavours to direct the logs in the
way they should go. Sometimes, when the danger appears great even to
these hardy Norwegians, accustomed though they are to risking their
lives daily, the man whose duty it is to discover and cut the log
which is probably causing the whole stoppage is put into a kind of
harness and attached by ropes to both banks of the river, so that when
the whole mass rends itself free he may be lifted directly above their
violence and so drawn into safety. As it is bad for the wood to lie
through the summer, it is important that all this work should be done
completely and with regularity. If it is a dry season, the logs will
be left high and dry, and be liable to crack; on the other hand, one
may often see logs lying at the bottom of deep water so saturated that
they cannot float. All this timber is a great source of wealth to the
country. It is used enormously for fuel, for fencing, and in building.
Immense quantities are exported in the raw; others are prepared for
use in the form of doors or window frames; there is even a certain
market for complete log houses of various sizes. Naturally, in such a
country, one meets frequently with sawmills, and here the countless
cataracts are found useful in supplying motive power. It is surely
strange, all these things considered, that so little discretion is
exercised in the felling and planting of trees. Although of late
years, I believe, the Government has bestowed a good deal of
attention on this question, so much of the forest land is in private
hands and beyond surveillance that on the whole sadly little care can
be taken to prevent the ill-treatment of the forests. It is
acknowledged that there are many tracts of bare land which within the
memory of living man were thick forests. In several districts wood is
too scarce to be used for fuel, and consequently the inhabitants are
dependent upon peat. Bogs are to be found all over the country--on the
lonely tablelands as in the inhabited valleys. These bogs are
generally moss lands, and, in the north particularly, they contain
thick strata of decayed matter from the luxuriant forests of former
days. The digging and cutting of splendid peat is one of the smaller
industries of the country. It is thought that it will become of much
greater importance as peat more and more takes the place of wood as


In other times there were thousands of acres of common land in Norway.
The difficulties which this places in the way of a complete
utilisation of the soil have led to attempts by the local governments
to partition the common land among responsible owners; but there are
obstacles, and in many cases the ground is shared by several farmers.

  [Illustration: THE MIDNIGHT SUN]

On the private property of many large farmers a feudal system of a
kind is very much in vogue. Almost the same method is found on the
Italian _podere_. Dwelling-places are built on the estate, and
together with a greater or lesser plot of land, and under certain
conditions which differ in various districts, are leased to a class of
farm-labourers called _husmaend_. These men have certain rights of
grazing on the farmer's land, and in addition to the rent, which is
exceedingly small, the farmer has a right to their services during a
certain time of the year. Superior to these husmaend are the
_placemaend_, who own their houses but lease a certain amount of the
farmer's land.

In the south-east of Norway the cultivation of fruit is carried on to
a large extent. In favourable years peaches, apricots, tomatoes, and
even grapes, are grown in the open air; in the north, on the
mountains, the summer warmth is insufficient for even hardy plants.

Rye and oats are the most important cereals. They flourish and ripen
amid harsher conditions than other grains can endure. Rye is the chief
bread cereal of the country. A large area of ground is devoted to the
cultivation of a mixture of barley and oats which is known as
_mangcorn_. Experience has shown that the two grains planted together
produce a larger crop than they do when planted singly. Besides being
used as a human food, it is also a fodder for cattle, and a peculiarly
excellent means of fattening swine. Berries are found growing wild in
abundance in most of the inhabited regions; but vegetables play a very
unimportant part in the feeding of the peasant.

The Norwegian horse, while not remarkable for beauty or carriage, is
an exceedingly useful beast. It is hardy, gentle, and very active. On
the Norwegian roads, which are in some parts very bad and in other
parts merely rough bridle-paths, it cannot be surpassed. In Lapland,
as everyone knows, the horse is almost entirely superseded by the
reindeer. These are indeed a source of profit to their masters. From
them the Lapps obtain their milk, cheese, peat, and the skin from
which a good deal of their clothing is made. The small sledges which
the reindeer draw are usually for one person. They are made of skin
and are without shafts. The reins are tied to the horns of the beast,
and this is all the control the driver has over the animal.
Occasionally the reindeer is vexed and turns on his master, who saves
himself by rolling out of the sledge and covering himself with it. It
is a wonderful fact that a well-trained reindeer can run down the
steepest hill without once coming in contact with the vehicle behind
it, though there is nothing in the world but its own cleverness in
covering the ground in a sort of zig-zag movement to prevent constant
bumping and collisions. While young reindeer are being trained in the
way they should go, a big buck animal is fastened to the back, to do
nothing but pull against the other continually. This animal lives
almost entirely on the moss, its natural food, which in the winter it
scrapes out from under the snow with its strong hoof. Many Lapps keep
a thousand or more head of these deer. They herd them together with
the help of their clever dogs. Sometimes during the winter a family of
these tent-dwellers descend upon districts more favoured than their
own, and I believe the immense flocks of reindeer do untold damage in
the forests. Besides clothing themselves in the skin of the reindeer,
the Lapps make from it many objects for sale in the towns. Shoes and
coats in the Lapp style, and all sorts of small articles, such as
boxes, bags, knife-handles, in the fur, are produced by this people. I
came across a very old book which--in an account of a visit to
Norway--gives a short description of a meeting with some Lapps. I
imagine that much of it may stand as if it had been written to-day.

"We accordingly provided a supply of drink and eatables; and, with a
guide and an interpreter, set out on horseback. After travelling about
forty hours, without seeing either any people or the road, we pitched
our tents, at night, near a wood, with a part of which we made our
fire. At length we met a family of about twenty persons, with their
wives and children, who cordially saluted us, and we all shook hands.
We shared out tobacco and brandy among them. They conducted us to
their huts, and gave us dried reindeer flesh and milk.

"Their countenances are a miniature resemblance of the Calmuck faces;
they are diminutive in size, and to appearance wretched; sufficiently
generous, but full of uneasiness. They suffered us to go about
everywhere, and do as we chose; and they readily showed us whatever
they had. We were soon as intimate as if we had been born among them.
Their language is very harmonious. A herd of about thirty reindeer
strayed around. Our interpreter, who, by the bye, knew but little of
their language, contrived to let them know that we wished to proceed
onwards, to visit a few families of their people, by means of a
carriage with reindeer. Immediately they harnessed a sledge for us;
but it went very slowly, as no track in the snow had been previously
beaten down. We arrived at a tribe who were all brothers and sisters
of those we had quitted. Their huts were formed of large poles of
wood, and set circularly, covered with branches, moss, earth, and
reindeers' hides; they have holes for the smoke to escape and another
hole made in the ground. We stayed three days with these people. In
the middle of their huts a stove is placed, on which they make their
fire, all sitting round it. Their clothing is made of deerskin,
similar to a shirt, and tied about the loins with a cord. We saw some,
however, dressed in linen, for which they had made an exchange of
skins. These people, whose manners and habits are well worth
observation, seem to enjoy the freedom of their way of life. They have
no words in their language which express the ideas we attach to king,
prince, governor, laws, rights, etc. We presented them with a few
trifles, with which they were highly delighted, and took leave of
them, to continue our route to Tuffendalen, where, after eight days'
dragging, we at last found good boor-cottages. Whether the Laplanders
indirectly belong to any regular constitution, or contribute anything
to it, I cannot tell; but I remarked that, generally speaking, like
the poor Indian of Pope, they have no artificial wants; and thus far,
at least, they appear contented. The whole of this tract of land is
solitary and desert. The superficial and level extent of it may
comprehend a thousand and eight hundred square miles. _Laplander_ is
with them considered as a term of reproach, or a mere nickname; they
call themselves _Samalatzes_."


Since I wrote about the restrictions on the shooting of wild animals,
I have learned that, whilst only one elk may be shot during one year
on any estate, the owner of the estate may mark his ground for the
purpose into certain divisions, and by paying a slight increase on his
licence has thereby the right to kill as many elk as he has these
partitions of his land.

While wandering in the forest, a Norwegian friend was attacked by a
bull elk. Having no weapons and considering prudence the better part
of valour, he climbed an adjacent tree. Not to be baulked of his
victim, the elk had recourse to the extraordinarily brilliant idea
(for an elk) of gnawing away the roots of the tree. For eight mortal
hours the object of his endeavours sat on the top of the tree
momentarily expecting its fall and his destruction. At last the elk
turned his attention for a time to food, and on this quest he
absentmindedly wandered away, leaving my friend to scramble down and
be free. I should imagine there was an elk hunt next day on that

Inhabiting the innumerable small islands on the south-west coast of
Norway are a race different from the land dwellers, with whom they
have no communication. They are miserably poor, and live in abominably
dirty huts on the barren land which is their heritage. Among these
islanders consumption and leprosy claim many victims. The spread of
leprosy is due mainly to the uncleanly habits of the people. They eat
very little meat with the exception of pigs' flesh. The pigs feed on
anything they can pick up, which resolves itself chiefly into the
rotting remains of fish. The name given to them speaks for
itself--"fish pig." Once a year, in the families that can afford it,
such a pig is killed, and on its flesh they depend for their meat for
months. It is not to be wondered at that such food, combined with
their unsavoury habits, produces such terrible results. Statistics
seem to show that leprosy has been growing less prevalent since the
middle of the last century; but it is still necessary to keep several
hospitals for the lepers.

Another remarkable fact gives rather an interesting example of the
evolution which must follow on any abnormal conditions. For hundreds
of years these people have had no opportunity of duly exercising their
lower limbs, which are in consequence short and undeveloped; while the
extraordinary muscular development of their arms and shoulders is not
astonishing when one considers that all their transit exercise must be
done by rowing. In consequence of this, and perhaps also on account of
the consanguineous marriages, many of the inhabitants of these islands
present extraordinary appearances.




Although most Englishmen with any knowledge of Norway have been
originally attracted to the country by the hope of sport, especially
of salmon fishing, and though the rents which they are willing and
eager to pay for rivers or sections of rivers are a substantial sum
brought into the country, the sea fisheries are, of course, of
immeasurably greater importance.

The old sagas tell that over a thousand years ago "splendid painted
ships, with sails of several colours," sailed laden with fish to
England, and the abundant and varied supply of fish which
distinguishes the coast of Norway has always been one of the chief
sources of the country's income. In 1897 it was estimated that the
total receipts of the trade amounted to about sixty million kroner.
The coastline of Norway is exceedingly long; in many places it slopes
down to great ocean depths. These various depths and the different
conditions of the submerged surface determine the nature of the
submarine fauna, and consequently of the fish. Perhaps the most
important of these are cod, herring, and salmon. Cod are principally
fished for in March and April, with lines and nets. The Lofoten cod
fishery is carried on from several stations, spread over various
islands. Here are the warehouses and the very primitive
dwelling-places of the fishermen. The cod are caught with lines and
with nets, which are baited with herrings or little metal fish whose
gleam serves equally well to deceive the cod in search of food. At the
favourable spots in the right season, the fish are so abundant that
the fisherman has only to throw the line and pull it out again to find
that a fish has bitten and thus closed its career. The spoil is taken
ashore, split open, attached two and two together by the tail, and
thus hung over long lines to dry. The liver is used for the
fabrication of cod-liver oil, a medicine whose unpleasantness is more
than equalled by its excellence as a remedy. The heads of this
profitable fish are used for manure. In these cold regions, where
grass is scarce, the cod heads and herrings are used as fodder for


During the season fishermen from all northern Norway flock to the
stations. Sometimes as many as five or six thousand fishing boats,
with a total crew of thirty-two thousand men, are gathered together.
The catch averages thirty-five millions; and the fish are usually sold
by the hundred, generally prepared either as "klip fish"--salted and
dried--or as the evil-smelling _torfisk_ (stock fish), which haunted
our wanderings through Holland, which imports large quantities. In old
fishing laws of the islands it is insisted that no torfisk should be
hung up after April 12, or taken down before June 12. I presume that
after this treatment they will last and be odorous for ever. In the
off-seasons small cargoes of this fish are carried by many of the
passenger steamers, to the profit, perhaps, of the captain, but to the
intense displeasure of the passengers. Indeed, all down the coast of
Norway we noticed that the air was impregnated with the smell of stock
fish; our towels and napkins, and indeed everything we had washed, had
the same repulsive odour.

Though the financial side of it is very satisfactory, this industry
costs the country much in lives of men. The great enemy of the
fisher-folk are the violent tempests which spring up suddenly in the
Vestfjord. Often the boat is overturned, and the occupants cling as
best they may to the various iron rings and chains. Often they drive
their knives deep into the wood of the boat and hang on thus as long
as they are able. Though there are lifeboats permanently attached to
the stations, the greater number of fishermen lose their lives in
pursuit of their calling; and after the tempest dies down, and the
wrecks are washed ashore, often the clues to the number and identity
of the poor drowned owners are the knives still planted in their
boats. Nowhere are widows and orphans so many as on these coasts of
Norway. During the fishing season the sale of intoxicating liquor is
prohibited by the Government.

The herring come next in importance to the cod. They are variable in
quantity, and in some years are almost altogether absent. The
fishermen insist that there are "herring periods," with years good and
bad. Such periods are said to last for about thirty years. During
recent times such a period seems to have set in. The herring season is
very short. Suddenly, as if by magic, the sea swarms with fish, which
after a time disappear as rapidly as they came. To a certain extent
they may be relied on twice a year--for the spring fishing off the
south coast between Stavanger and Bergen, and early in winter off
the northern coast between the Romsdal and Tromso. This is called the
"large herring fishery," from the greater size of the fish in these
parts. Besides this, fishing goes on in a measure at all times of the
year. The herring are caught either by going out to sea in search of
shoals; or by lying in wait for them in the small bays and fjords,
preventing their escape by arrangements of nets, and baling them out
at leisure. In the open sea they are also caught with nets, and are
more to be relied on as to quantity.


When a shoal of herring arrives, always announced by whales and
flights of birds who feed on the small fish, telephones and telegraphs
are set in motion to summon the fishermen to the spot, and to order
barrels and salt for the packing of the fish. These are sent as
speedily as possible by special steamers. When the shoal approaches
the coast, an immense net encloses it as completely as possible. The
fish are massed so compactly that a boat crossing the shoal is raised
by them. The brilliancy of their scales as they dash about, almost on
the surface of the water, is dazzling. Landed, they are immediately
split open, cleaned, salted, and packed for transportation.

Whale fishing is carried on to some extent off the north of Norway. On
the little island of Skaaro there is a building where whale oil is
prepared for use. From afar off the sickening smell announces the
industry of the island: repulsive morsels of greasy _débris_ float on
the surface of the water. At the landing place the rocky beach is so
covered with grease that it is difficult to walk without falling. A
friend arrived just as a whaler appeared on the horizon, dragging
after her the carcase of an enormous whale, weighing seventy-five
thousand kilogrammes. Such an animal will give about fifty thousand
pounds' weight of oil, and will bring the captors between £280 and
£300. Such a giant requires for his daily meal twenty or thirty tons
of fish. To take them he opens his jaws, and closes them on water and
fish alike; he swallows the fish, allows the water to filter through
the curious formation of his mouth, and then squirts it up like a
fountain through an opening in the skull. It is this jet of water
which often causes his ruin, by indicating his position to the
watchful whalers. On the boat which is chasing him is a cannon, loaded
with an enormous harpoon, which is attached to the ship by a long rope
wound round a pulley. The extremity of the harpoon is armed with an
explosive bomb. When the whale appears the harpoon is shot at it.
Following its instinct of self-preservation, it dives deep. The rope
gives out rapidly. When it is entirely unwound it naturally pulls
against the harpoon, the forked ends of which, in the resistance, tear
the flesh of the animal. As a final result the bomb bursts in the body
of the whale, and generally wounds it mortally. The corpse floats on
the surface; it is attached to the boat and towed to the station,
where it is cut up. The fat produces a large amount of oil; the
whalebone is a productive article of commerce; and most of the
remainder of the animal is converted into manure.


It is on account of the great importance and interest which we in
England attach to the salmon fishing that I do not dare to deal with
it, except to make an apology that any book on Norway should be
without at least a chapter on this splendid sport. Though the
accomplished angler is allowed to relate fish stories without
interruption from an absolutely incredulous audience, the remarks of
an inexperienced outsider would, I fear, not be received with equal
docility. I am sure that an angler is born, not made: for, though I am
ignorant on the subject, all my life I have listened to enthusiastic
fisherman's talk, and was brought up in a nursery in which were
"skied" various victims of my father's prowess as an angler.

  [Illustration: A LAPP MOTHER AND CHILD]

Since the beginning of my book I have learnt so much about the Lapps
that I must enlarge on my borrowed history of them in Chapter VIII.
The Lapps are nomadic on account of their reindeer, and it is
following these animals where they choose to roam in search of food
that takes them wandering all over the northern half of Norway. There
are only two Lapp villages--Karasjok, in Finmarken, and Kontokeimo,
near the Russian frontier. The permanent residences consist of cabins
built of turf, stones, or small tree-trunks. These huts are round and
have one opening in the top, where the light penetrates and the smoke
comes out. In the middle of the hut a fire is kept continually
burning, with a big cauldron hanging over it, suspended by a chain.
The members of the family and their servants, if they have any, sleep
on either side of the fire. The Lapps are small, in great contrast to
the Norwegians of this region, who average over six feet in height.
The children are often exceedingly pretty; but they soon lose their
charm and become ugly, and are not rendered more attractive by
their dirty habits. All their garments are made of reindeer skin, and
the women add to these various silk shawls and handkerchiefs brightly
coloured; by the quantity and the quality of these one may judge of
their rank and richness. The Lapps are supposed to share a common
origin with the Magyars of Hungary, though these, if they recognise
the relationship, cannot feel flattered. It is certain that the Lapps
were the first inhabitants of Norway. In appearance they are
unprepossessing. They have small eyes, very low foreheads, flat noses,
and thick-lipped mouths. Like the Hungarians, they are incredibly
proud. They despise everything that is not Lapp, and refuse to allow
their daughters in marriage to Norwegians. (I should have thought that
the Norwegians would not have worried much about this restriction.)
They are all baptized in the Lutheran Church; but that is as far as
their religion goes in most cases. They are unmoral and superstitious.

One might gather from the books of some of Norway's great writers that
the nation is on the whole rather casual about morality. It would
appear that their religion, while condemning as worthy of hell quite
honest pleasures, looks with indulgence on a certain moral laxity,
which is indeed so habitual that it passes uncriticised. Among the
very strictly religious population in the south-west, a pastor would
be quickly got rid of if he forgot himself so far as to play the piano
or drink intoxicants; but this same people some ten years ago
venerated as a martyr one of their clergy who, forced to confess in
public crimes against the morality of his own parishioners, was
consequently deposed by the Government. His flock, of their own
initiative, built him a magnificent church, and, providing him with a
liberal sufficiency, retained him as the director of their spiritual

Two Oratorians, visiting Norway some years ago in a yacht, decided to
spend a few days fishing at a hamlet somewhere in the Sogne Fjord.
They had all the preparations for Mass with them, and wished to take a
small unused chalet as a chapel. The farmer who owned the building was
willing, and negotiations were concluded on payment of a nominal rent,
when the farmer realised that my friends were of the Old Religion.
There was no question of proselytism, as the idea concerned only the
two priests and their Catholic English friends on the yacht; but
all the countryside was up in arms, and a few days later prominent
personages from Christiania had arrived on the scene to put a stop to
the possibility of such happenings. In the meantime, however, my
friends, little dreaming of the importance attached to their doings,
had pursued their way along the coast, and were innocently fishing
elsewhere. At present the ecclesiastical prejudice of the Norwegians
is less marked, though Jews are sedulously discouraged, and Jesuits
are forbidden the country.


Various hospitals are attended by Catholic nursing sisters, who are in
great favour with the medical profession and with the patients who are
lucky enough to fall under their care.

All this time I am trying hard, by roundabout means, to get back to
Bergen, because I wish to fit in, in proper context, a remark which I
heard about the town. It seems that I cannot get back there
legitimately, though I had hoped that the Sisters of Charity would
help me through with their hospitals.

I was listening to the woes of the American Consul in Bergen. He was
descanting on the want of entertainment and the absence of all things
which make an American's life possible in any country on the globe
outside his perfect native land. I sympathised with him, and threw in
a little grumble of my own, having relation to the weather. "O, the
weather!" said my red-headed friend, very hopelessly and crossly.
"Why, sure, if a Bergen horse sees a person without an umbrella, he
shies." This seems pretty feeble as I set it down; but at the time the
Consul was disconsolate and far from wishing to amuse me, bored and
discontented. Thus his remark just happened to tickle me: we both
laughed until we cried, and felt very much the better for the

Frequently, at times of _ennui_, we found diversion in music, or in
information about that art. The lure, though perhaps it can hardly be
called a musical instrument, is a primitive means of conveying sound.
The herds on the mountains used it to call their cattle together. It
is said that no two lures have tones exactly alike, and that the
cattle are able to distinguish and place the particular sound of their
guardian's lure. It is a wooden trumpet, nearly five feet long, made
of two hollow pieces of birchwood, bound together throughout the whole
length with strips of willow. Besides being used to call the cattle
together, it is often carried by travelling parties to avert the risk
of anyone being lost in the wilds. Its notes may be heard at a great
distance, and are rather harsh and discordant, possessing none of the
musical qualities of the Alp horn used by the Swiss for the same
purpose. Grieg composed charming music for a song called "The
Princess." The words led me to suppose that the lure is rather a
fascinating instrument; and the above description rather disillusioned
me, until I decided to allow a good deal for poetic licence.

The Norwegians are exceedingly musical. Their national music gives
wonderful expression to their moods. Almost invariably in the gayest
pieces one catches here and there a pathetic little droop which gives
a very particular character to Norwegian music. In the country the
post of fiddler is handed down from generation to generation, together
with certain airs which are looked upon as family property; but
official fiddlers are by no means the only musicians in the district.
These are found in every family, dividing their favours between the
violin and the guitar. The organist L. Lindeman did great service to
his country by collecting and preserving hundreds of national ballads,
dances, and hymns, which had lived only in the ear and the soul of the
people, and thus were lost entirely to the outer world. The oldest of
these songs are the sagas, sung traditions that have been handed down
from immemorial ages. They recount the heroic exploits of the Vikings
and warriors of heathen times. Many ballads tell of the beautiful
_huldre_, of the fay who presages the destruction of fishermen, of the
water sprite, and of the brownies who, living underground, are
covetous of cattle. To gratify their taste, the brownies help
themselves to such as graze on the mountains, but only if their
guardian's eyes are turned off his charges; they make dwarfs of the
beasts to enable them to enter crevices in the ground, in order that
they may descend to subterranean passages. Many songs about these
malicious fairies do the maidens sing as they keep their eyes
carefully fixed on the herds, to prevent their being stolen in like
manner. Some of the songs consist of hundreds of four-line verses,
which must surely be a hard test to the memory of the singers.
Sometimes two singers will have a duet in such a song, singing verse
after verse alternately. He whose memory, or, in default of memory,
invention, fails him first is loser.

  [Illustration: RIVER AT GJORA]

The Norwegian national dances have in their melodies and rhythms a
bold and natural character which gives them considerable worth. The
principal are the _halling_, a Hardanger solo dance consisting of wild
gyrations and vigorous kicks at rafters of the room. He who kicks
highest is the champion. The other dance is the _springar_, which is a
dance for two, with no less call for the display of muscular powers.

The two favourite instruments of the people, on which all this music
has been played for centuries, are the langelik, which somewhat
resembles a zither, and the Hardanger violin. The langelik has a long,
flat body, with round holes, and at least seven strings, which are
struck with a plectrum. The tone is rather weak, and the sound is
somewhat monotonous, as the possibility of producing modulated sounds
is almost entirely excluded.

The Hardanger fiddle is higher and more arched in its build than the
violin we know. The instrument is decorated as much as possible, the
scroll being a dragon's head, or something equally fantastic: and the
body of the fiddle is richly carved and ornamented with incrustations
of ivory and mother-of-pearl. Beneath the four upper strings, which
are tuned to suit the individual tastes of the musician, and under the
finger-board, there are four, sometimes more, sympathetic strings of
fine steel wire. By the aid of this instrument the people make
wonderful sketches in music descriptive of the beauty of dawn and the
close of a summer's day, with the birds' trills, or the huldre's song,
or the ringing of marriage bells. I have all this from a Norwegian
book, and from instruments I have both seen and heard.

The best known of the modern music-makers of the north is the great
Norwegian Edward Grieg, whose genius is familiar to all musicians the
world over. He was born in Bergen, and lives there still, though he
has travelled much in Germany, Holland, and Italy. Another name which
we know well in this country is that of Sinding, who is of the younger

Norway has no regular opera; but the concerts which are given in the
beautiful National Theatre are eagerly attended, and the programmes
are representative of the musical talent of Europe.

  [Illustration: GRIEG]




In Norwegian folk-lore the devil is a person with many relations, who
are called _Jutuls_. In favour of the legends about them there is
often some circumstantial evidence. Does a mountain or a rock bear
similitude to the figures of human beings or of animals? Be sure that
the Norwegians will have some tradition to account for the formation
by proving to you that such rocks or mountains are the various
creatures they resemble, bewitched. In the voyage along the northern
coast of Norway from Trondhjem to the North Cape, the traveller will
pass seven extraordinary mountains called "The Seven Sisters." A
little farther he will see a rocky island which from certain points of
view resembles a cloaked man on horseback riding into the sea. The
head and ears of the horse are particularly natural.

The history of these islands is entertaining. One of the devil's
younger brothers, who lived in this district, went on a visit to his
seven sisters, who, like himself, were of giant growth. The sisters
had with them a female cousin. With this Jutula their brother fell in
love, and, as is customary in such cases, they swore eternal fidelity
to each other. Business called the Jutul home; his beloved cousin was
sent for to nurse a sick brother. She fulfilled this duty to
admiration, and in the weakness of his convalescence her brother
listened to the story of her love and promised her that she should wed
her Jutul cousin. On his complete recovery he became less amenable,
and, ignoring his promise, insisted that his sister should wed one of
his dissolute companions. It is said that the Jutula's chief objection
to this man was that he smelt strongly of tobacco; but I think that
this must be embroidery, as my story is older than the use of tobacco.
In any case, her refusal was absolute, and the brother was obliged to
employ malignant magic. All the messengers from the Jutul, loving and
beloved by his sister, were turned into rocks before they could reach
her ear. The amorous Jutul was not aware that his beloved had a
brother, or any other relation, and, concluding that she was the last
of her race, believed also that it was she who had petrified his
messengers. Wrathful, and having as his birthright an unerring aim, he
mounted his steed and shot from his cross-bow a bolt at the dwelling
of the Jutula. The perfidious brother was bathing at the time, and,
presumably for the purposes of the story, he wore a sou'wester. The
bolt, shot from seventy miles' distance, passed through the hat, and
carried away a portion of the victim's skull; then, skimming the
water, it pierced the heart of the fair one. She knew that only her
lover had this unerring aim, and, thinking him faithless and cruel,
used her dying moments in the exercise of her hereditary power, and
petrified herself, her lover, his horse, and the floating sou'wester.
There they remain to this day. Overlooking the scene of sorrow stand
the seven sisters of the misguided lover, petrified with horror at the
fate of their relations. The distance between the various islands is
considerable; but it must be remembered that we tell of giants.

  [Illustration: HENRIK IBSEN]

Norwegian geography abounds in spots such as these, to which are
attached legends; and in no country is the folk-lore more rich and
varied. The charming story-teller, Asbjornsen, and his friend Bishop
Moe, collected many delightful fairy-tales, mostly traditional, but
eked out by their own imaginations. These stories are entrancing, and
at the time when they were first given to the public they awoke a
romantic tendency in Norwegian literature. They had a great influence
on the work of Joseph Welhaven, contemporary with the great Weigeland,
who died at this time. Welhaven had been rather overshadowed by his
rival, who, for the part he had played in political struggles, was
idolised as the people's hero. Also, his work had been too much
influenced by the great Germans who were his contemporaries. The
charming figures in the fairy-tales of his country gave him
inspiration for wonderful romances with the genuine Norwegian ring and
subjects taken from national life. Asbjornsen, however, is more than a
retailer of folk-lore. He frames his tales in description of the
country in which he has found them on the lips of the people, and thus
produces vivid pictures of peasant life. The sister of Henrik
Weigeland, Camille Collett, during her widowhood burst forth as a
literary genius. Apart from her talents as a writer, she was one of
the pioneers of the women's movement in Norway, which country has been
more influenced by this agitation than any other European State.
Immense importance is attached to it; the great geniuses Ibsen and
Bjornson show much interest in the moral side of the question; and all
Norwegians are very eager to discuss the subject, which is far too
large and complicated for myself.


Ibsen is best known as a playwright. Indeed, from the time he
succeeded in drama all other interests were put aside. The Norwegian
Government provided him, at the age of thirty-six, with pecuniary aid
to enable him to travel. It was in Rome that he wrote two of his
greatest plays, _Peer Gynt_ and _Brand_. To-day his literary activity
has ceased, and all who will may see the great man seated at a window
of his flat in Christiania almost any time during the livelong day.

Bjornstjerne Bjornson is still producing. He has written delightful
romances; but for the last few years he, like Ibsen, has devoted
himself to the stage. It is interesting to note that the splendid
National Theatre in Christiania is managed by the writer's eldest son.
His plays and those of Ibsen are magnificently acted, and always
received with enthusiastic appreciation by the Norwegian public, which
gives all its great men a splendid meed of appreciative
recognition--how well deserved it is, the whole world will
acknowledge. The translated commentary on the Norwegian literature of
the last fifty years makes me feel that I would give everything for a
knowledge of the language sufficient to let me enter into the
treasure-house of untranslated genius.

Many of our modern authors are translated into Norwegian. I noticed
that every book-shop window contained caricatures of Mark Twain and
translations of his works. Surely there was some particular reason for
this celebrity of an American humourist in Norway over and above the
excellence of his work, which one would have thought difficult to do
justice by in translation?

German books form a large part of the stock-in-trade of the Norwegian
bookseller. The German language is very generally known--much more so
than either French or English. In this and many other things it is
plainly to be seen that there is much good feeling between Germany and

  [Illustration: FRIDTJOF NANSEN]

Public baths are to be found all over Norway--in some places are still
found the _badstuer_. These are primitive Turkish baths, timber rooms
heated with red-hot stones. Water is poured on the stones, and
scalding steam is produced. I read in an old book on Norway an
account by an American traveller of a visit to such a bath. He appears
to have been rather a popular person among the Norwegian peasants, and
was invited one Saturday in the depth of winter to assist at the
general ablution. He relates with much amusing comment how all the
bathers ran from their dwelling-places to the "bath chamber" in what
he calls "the costume of Paradise." This in the depth of winter!
Determined to do the whole thing properly, he followed their chilly
example. At the bath, the whole company sat round the room on a sort
of shelf. When they were thoroughly well steamed they wended their way
back to their respective houses in the same lack of costume. There was
no discrimination of sexes.

The writer speaks in high praise of the simplicity, innocence, and
cleanliness of the people. There is in all writings on Norway a
unanimity as to their good qualities. For my own part, the points
about them that impressed me most were their absolute honesty and the
complete absence of servility. While any Norwegian is delighted to
show politeness to the stranger, and even to take a good deal of
trouble in helping him on his way, all these attentions arise from a
supreme feeling of courtesy and rarely from hope of reward. Anyone
wishing to have particular information as to a subject concerning the
country will be met on all sides with practical offers of assistance.
He will find books relating to his subject showered upon him, and kind
offers to accompany him and show him practical illustrations. This
generous spirit, which has its source in love of the native land, is
nowhere more marked than in such an establishment as Bennet's, the
Thomas Cook and Sons of Norway. This, one would say, is a strictly
commercial affair; yet there is no end to the trouble Bennet or his
staff will take to encourage visitors to see as much as possible of
their lovely country in a pleasant way, and this without remuneration
of any kind.

Writing from Norway in 1820, a visitor says--"There is no country
which accords better with my taste than Norway, nor is there any cast
of inhabitants or people that I have visited for whom I have more
esteem. Here at least are the true haunts of simple natures, and it
has been one of the pleasantest passages of my life to dwell among the
mountains. The Norwegians are a virtuous race; patriarchal simplicity,
uprightness and hospitality, kindness and piety, are their
characteristics. They entertain great reverence for their laws. In
many other countries the laws are not obeyed on one uniform principle;
here, on the contrary, the people respect them from principle."


     AALESUND; 48
     Anglers; 6
     Antiquaries; 69, 125
     "Aqua vita"; 66
     Arac punch; 65
     Art, Norwegian; 118
     Asbjornsen; 189
     Aune; 24
     Avalanches; 30

     _Badstuer_; 192
     Bandak Lake; 97
     Baths, public; 192
     Bennet's; 194
     Bergen; 4, 51
     Bjornson; 191
     Boarding-houses; 14
     Bonaparte; 47
     Bread; 15
     Brottem; 18
     Buar glacier; 64
     Butter; 16
     Bygdo; 114

     CANAL; 97
     _Carriole_; 9
     Catholic nursing sisters; 179
     Catholicism; 99
     Cereals; 159
     Christiania; 110
     Christiania Fjord; 116
     Christmas; 79
     Cod; 170
     Collett, Camille; 190
     Common land; 158
     Courtesy; 194
     Cows; 27, 59

     DALEN 73, 79
     Dutch character; 31

     ELK; 164
     Embroidery; 122

     FIDDLERS, official; 181
     Filigree work; 123
     "Fish pig"; 165
     Fishing; 5
     Fjord steamers; 32
     Folk-lore; 187
     Forester; 154
     Fruit, wild; 149
     Funerals; 144

     GERMAN EMPEROR; 48, 63
     Gjora; 28
     Goblins; 37
     Good-looking people; 24
     Goose wine; 117
     Grieg, Edward; 184
     Guinea-pig; 149
     Gulf Stream; 116

     Hanseatic League; 52
     Hardanger bridal; 136
     Hardanger Fjord; 57
     Hardanger violin; 183
     Hell; 8
     Herring; 172
     History; 96
     Holmenkollen; 111
     Honesty; 193
     Horghheim; 36
     Horre; 65
     Horses, Norwegian; 150, 160
     Huldra; 77

     IBSEN; 190
     Intoxicating liquors; 7

     JESUITS; 179
     Jewellery, peasant; 124
     Jews; 179

     _Kaleschevogn_; 10
     Karasjok; 176
     Kontokeimo; 176

     _Langelik_; 183
     Lapps; 161, 176
     Leprosy; 165
     Lerfos; 8
     Liffeld Mountains; 107
     Lindeman; 181
     Lofoten; 170
     Lure, the; 180

     MANGLING; 154
     "Marie Stige"; 71
     Marienborg; 14
     Moe, Bishop; 189
     Molde; 35, 45
     Moldöen; 49
     "Monk and Lady"; 91
     Morality; 177
     Munch, Edward; 121
     Music; 180
     Mythology, Norwegian; 39

     NÆS; 36
     National dances; 182

     ODDE; 60
     Osterthal; 46

     PIXIES; 37, 76
     Population; 47
     Posting system; 9
     Prawns; 16

     RAILWAY; 8
     Rain; 5
     Ravngju; 76
     Reindeer; 160
     Rjukan Fos; 71
     Roldal; 65
     Romsdal Mountains; 36, 45
     Roofs of grass; 16

     SAETERS; 131
     Sætersdalen; 85, 93
     Saint Michael; 99
     St. Michael's Chapel; 100
     St. Olaf; 94
     St. Olaf's Ship; 94
     Salmon; 5
     Salmon fishing; 175
     "Sanatoriums; 14
     Sea fisheries; 169
     Sælbo; 8
     Seljestad; 65
     Service in hotels; 23
     "Seven Sisters"; 187
     Shops; 117
     Signposts; 150
     Skating; 117
     Ski competition; 111
     Skien Fjord; 97
     Skiing; 116
     Skis; 116
     Sliper; 26
     Snake; 149
     Snow ploughs; 151
     Snow tunnel; 67
     Sogne Fjord; 51
     _Stavekirke_; 115
     _Stolkjærre_; 8, 10
     Storehouses; 129
     Storen; 23
     Sundal; 30
     Sundalsoren; 31

     TIDEMAND; 121
     Thaulow, Fritz; 120
     Tobogganing; 117
     _Torfisk_; 171
     Trains; 110
     Trolls; 77
     Trondhjem; 5, 6

     ULEFOS; 98

     VIKINGS; 38
     Voss; 56
     Vrangfos; 98

     WEAVING; 122
     Wedding customs; 34
     Weigeland; 190
     Welhaven, Joseph; 190
     Whale; 51
     Whale fishing; 174
     Wireways, aerial; 132
     Women's movement; 190
     Wood-carving; 124
     Wood-pulp; 108
     Wooden boxes; 54
     Woodsmen; 155
     Wrecks; 172

     X; 33


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Norway" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.