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Title: Capitals of the Northlands - Tales of Ten Cities
Author: Hannah, Ian C.
Language: English
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                      CAPITALS OF THE NORTHLANDS


                              CAPITALS OF
                            THE NORTHLANDS

                          TALES OF TEN CITIES

                          IAN C. HANNAH, M.A.




                     HEATH CRANTON & OUSELEY, LTD.
                       FLEET LANE, LONDON, E.C.

                           THE LOVED MEMORY
                        OF THE BEST OF MOTHERS
                       TO THE SHRINE OF ST. OLAF


Many excellent things have been written about the cities of the South,
but little, comparatively speaking, about the cities of the North.
True, indeed, they have not moulded kingdoms and shaped the culture
of a continent, but England, like Scandinavia, is not a country
city-built; she was formed by the dwellers on the land. Yet the less
prominent part that they have played does not make our cities less
noteworthy than those of the South.

Few and peculiarly interesting are the cities of the North. And, with
the exception, perhaps, of St. Petersburg, those spoken of in this book
have all the charm that comes because they were built by country-loving
folk, to whom deep woods and open fields were lovelier than monumental
streets and squares.

I shall not have written in vain if the perusal of this small book
leads any one to study larger works on the Northlands, and particularly
the matchless sagas, many of them so skilfully Englished by the joint
labour of an Englishman and an Icelander, William Morris and Eirîkr
Magnússon. In them we may read of all these ten towns, save that
Copenhagen and St. Petersburg have risen in Saga Lands after the sagas
were penned.

After accuracy I have striven hard, but if any reader should detect any
error I should be grateful to have it pointed out for correction in a
later edition.

                                                            I. C. H.

         FOREST ROW.


  CHAPTER                                           PAGE

  ISLANDS                                             11

  II. REYKJAVIK, CAPITAL OF ICELAND                   28


  IV. CHRISTIANIA, CAPITAL OF NORWAY                  93

  V. ROSKILDE, OLD CAPITAL OF DENMARK                111

  VI. COPENHAGEN, CAPITAL OF DENMARK                 127

  VII. VISBY, CAPITAL OF GOTHLAND                    150

  VIII. UPSALA, OLD CAPITAL OF SWEDEN                176

  IX. STOCKHOLM, CAPITAL OF SWEDEN                   199

  X. ST. PETERSBURG, CAPITAL OF RUSSIA               226

  INDEX                                              261


  GOL STAVEKIRKE                            _Title Page_

  TRONDHJEM CATHEDRAL (EXTERIOR)          _Frontispiece_


  THORSHAVN                                           11

  REYKJAVIK HARBOUR                                   28

  BOATS AT TRONDHJEM                                  66

  STABBUR AT BYGDÖ, CHRISTIANIA                       93

  MARKET PLACE AT ROSKILDE                           111

  CANAL AT COPENHAGEN                                127

  EAST WELLS AT VISBY                                150

  CASTLE AND CATHEDRAL, UPSALA                       176

  HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, STOCKHOLM                    199


                                               FACE PAGE

  THORSHAVN FISHERMEN                                 22

  HOT SPRINGS NEAR REYKJAVIK                          60


  (PLAN)                                              99

  GREENSTED CHURCH                                   108

  ROSKILDE CATHEDRAL (PLAN)                          118

  ROSKILDE CATHEDRAL                                 122

  HOJBROPLADS, COPENHAGEN                            134

  TOWER (PLAN)                                       158

  INTERIOR OF ST. LARS, VISBY                        166

  CHURCHES OF VISBY (PLAN)                       172

  GAMLA UPSALA                                   180

  GENERAL VIEW OF STOCKHOLM                          206

  TRONDHJEM CATHEDRAL (PLAN)                         246






    Loud in Harfur's echoing bay,
    Heard ye the din of battle bray,
  'Twixt Kiotvi rich, and Harald bold?
    Eastward sail the ships of war;
    The graven bucklers gleam afar,
  And dragon heads adorn the prows of gold.

    Glittering shields of purest white,
    And swords, and Celtic falchions bright,
  And Western chiefs the vessels bring:
    Loudly roar the wolfish rout,
    And maddening Champions wildly shout,
  And long and loud the twisted hauberks ring.

  Firm in fight they proudly vie
    With him whose might will make them fly,
  Of Eastmen kings the warlike head.
    Forth his gallant fleet he drew,
    Soon as the hope of battle grew,
  But many a buckler brake ere Long-chin bled.

    Fled the lusty Kiotvi then
    Before the Shock-head king of men,
  And bade the islands shield his flight.
    Warriors wounded in the fray,
    Beneath the thwarts all gasping lay,
  Where head-long cast they mourned the loss of light.

So does an Icelandic skald describe the most important battle in the
annals of the Norse.[1] Harald Shock-head had exalted himself, and
said "I will be king" over the whole of Norway. He desired to wed the
daughter of the kinglet of Hordaland. She was a maiden exceeding fair
and withal somewhat high-minded.

To Harald's messengers she answered in this wise: "I will not waste my
maidenhood for the taking to husband of a king who has no more realm to
rule over than a few folks. Marvellous it seems to me that there is no
king minded to make Norway his own, and be sole lord thereof in such
wise as Gorm of Denmark or Eric of Upsala have done."

The messengers came back in wrath and told the king that Gyda (for so
the maiden was called) was witless and overbold, but Harald answered
that the maid had spoken nought of ill, and done nought worthy of
evil reward. Rather he bade her much thank for her word; "For she has
brought to my mind that matter which it now seems to me wondrous I
have not had in my mind heretofore."

And, moreover, he said: "This oath I make fast, and swear before that
god who made me and rules over all things, that never more will I cut
my hair nor comb it, till I have gotten to me all Norway, with the
scat thereof and the dues, and all rule thereover, or else will I die

And so for ten winters his hair was neither cut nor combed, but during
all those days the kinglets were being warred down, and at last, in
872, as monarch of all Norway, Harald took a bath and let his hair be
combed. Jarl Rognvald sheared his locks and called him Harald Fairhair;
the name by which he is known in history to-day.[2]

Thus he wedded the fair Gyda, but unhappily he also took to wife more
other maidens than one may count with ease. Their very numerous sons
were soon waxen riotous men in the land and were not at one among
themselves. The good work of their father they came near to undoing.

For good work to Norway it very truly was: national unity is a
priceless thing. One king was better than a score of kinglets from the
nation's point of view. But otherwise thought the jarls (or earls)
and the stoutest opponents of Harald embarked on their ships and
sailed away. Some turned their prows to the northward and settled in
the Faroes or Iceland, or on the more distant American shore. These
were, perhaps, the more peaceably disposed; they found lands waiting
for settlement that became at once their own. Their descendants are
Norsemen to-day, and among the most cultured of mankind. Others fared
to the British Isles or the Continent of Europe or to the more distant
Mediterranean Sea. These found lands that were richer, but to be gained
only at the point of the sword. These set up powerful kingdoms, but
none of them are Norse to-day.

The classic sagas of Iceland have disappointingly little to tell us
about the Faroe Islands. There are plenty of references to them indeed,
but they are exiguous and dull. The _Faereyinga Saga_ is distinctly
less vigorous and vivid than the elder sagas of heroic days. It was
compiled in Iceland not long after the beginning of the thirteenth
century, but older materials were used.

It commences with a somewhat scrappy description of the first
settlement of the islands. "There was a man named Grim Camban. He first
settled the Faroes in the days of Harald Fairhair. For before the
king's overbearing many men fled in those days. Some settled in the
Faroes and began to dwell there, and some sought to other waste lands."

Gladly would we have more details of the first settler in the islands
with his Irish-sounding name, but they are lost in the abyss of years.
With great probability, however, Professor York Powell, who Englished
the _Faereyinga Saga_, supposes that the first place occupied was
the present capital, the Harbour of Thor. There at any rate was the
chief seat of the Thing or Moot for the Islands, certainly till the
thirteenth century.

At Thorshavn, too, was played the first half of the delightfully simple
2-Act drama which changed the faith of the archipelago. The renowned
King Olaf Tryggvison of Norway (p. 72) had treated Sigmund with high
regard and caused him to trow in the faith of the White Christ.

"When the spring was coming in, the king fell on a day to talk with
Sigmund, and said that he was minded to send him out to the Faroes to
christen the folk that dwelt there. Sigmund said that he would rather
not do that errand, but at last said he would do the king's will. Then
the king made him lord over all the islands, and gave him wise men to
baptize the folk and teach them the needful lore. Sigmund sailed when
he was bound, and sped well on his way. When he came to the Faroes he
summoned the franklins to a Thing in Stromo,[3] and much folk came. And
when the Thing was set, Sigmund stood up and set forth his business
at length, telling all that had happened since he had gone eastward to
Norway to see King Olaf Tryggvison. Moreover, he said that the king
had laid all the island under his lordship, and most of the franklins
took this very well. Then Sigmund said on, 'I would likewise have you
know that I have taken another faith, and am become a Christian man. I
have also this errand and bidding from the king, to turn all folk in
the island to the true faith.' Thrond answered this speech and said
that it was right the franklins should talk over this hard matter among
themselves. The franklins said this was well spoken. Then they went to
the other side of the Thing-field, and Thrond told the franklins that
the right thing clearly was to refuse to fulfil this command, and he
brought things so far by his fair speeches that they were all of one
mind thereon. But when Sigmund saw that all the folk had crowded over
to Thrond's side, so that there was none stood by him save his own
men who were christened, he said, 'Too much might have I given Thrond
to-day.' And now men began to crowd back to where Sigmund was sitting;
they bore their weapons aloft and carried themselves in no peaceful
wise. Sigmund and his men sprang up to meet them. Then spake Thrond,
'Let men sit down and carry themselves more quietly. Now I have this to
tell thee, kinsman Sigmund; we franklins are all of one mind on this
errand thou hast done, namely that we will by no means change our
faith, and we will set on here in the Thing and slay thee, unless thou
give it up and bind thyself fast never more to carry this bidding to
the islands.' And when Sigmund saw that he could not then bring this
matter of the faith about, and was not strong enough to deal with all
the folk that was come together there by the strong hand, it ended in
his bidding himself to what they wished with witnesses and hand-plight.
And with that the Thing broke up.

"Sigmund sat at home that winter, and was right ill-pleased that the
franklins had cowed him, although he did not let his mind be known."

"One day in the spring, what time the races ran faster and men thought
no ship could live on the main or between the islands, Sigmund set
out from home with thirty men and two ships, saying that he would run
the risk and carry out the king's errand or else die. They ran for
Ostero and made the island; they got there at nightfall without being
seen, made a ring round the homestead at Gate, drove a trunk of wood
at the door of the house where Thrond slept, and broke it down, then
laid hands on Thrond and led him out. Then said Sigmund, 'It happens
now, as it often does, Thrond, that things go by turns. Thou didst cow
me last harvest-tide, and gave me two hard things to choose between;
and now I will give thee two very unlike things to choose between:
the one is good--that thou take the true faith and let thyself be
baptized, or else thou shalt be slain here on the spot; and that is a
bad choice for thee to make, for thereby thou shalt swiftly lose thy
wealth and earthly bliss in this world, and get instead woe and the
everlasting torments of hell in the other world.' But Thrond said, 'I
will not fail my old friends.' Then Sigmund sent a man to kill Thrond,
and put a great axe in his hand; but as he went up to Thrond with his
axe on high, Thrond looked at him and said, 'Strike me not so quickly.
I have something to say first. Where is thy kinsman Sigmund?' 'Here am
I,' said he. 'Thou alone shalt settle between me and thee, and I will
take thy faith as thou wilt.' Then said Thore, 'Hew at him, man.' But
Sigmund said, 'He shall not be cut down this time.' 'It will be thy
bane and thy friends' as well if Thrond get off to-day,' said Thore.
But Sigmund said that he would risk that. Then Thrond was baptized
of the priest and all his household. Sigmund made Thrond come with
him when he was baptized. And then he went through all the Faroes and
stayed not till the whole people was christened."[4]

King Olaf, called the Thick in life and the Holy in death--with whom
we shall be much concerned later on--also sought to make his influence
felt in the Faroe Islands. Thither he sent to look after the royal
interests Karl o' Mere, who had been a viking and the greatest of
lifters, but "was a man of great kin, a man of mickle stir, a man of
prowess and doughty in many matters." Him King Olaf took "into his
peace, and thereafter into his good love, and let array his journey in
the best wise. Nigh twenty men they were on board the ship. The king
made word to his friends in the Faroes, and sent Karl for trust and
troth to Leif, son of Ozur, and Gilli the Speaker-at-law, and to that
end he sent his tokens. Karl fared forthwith when he was ready, and
a fair wind they had, and came to Faroe, and hove into Thorshavn in
Stream-isle. Then a Thing was summoned there, and folk came thronging
thereto. Thither came Thrand o' Gate with a mickle flock, and thereto
came Leif and Gilli, and had with them a multitude of people. Now when
they set up their tilts and dight them their booths there, they went to
see Karl o' Mere, and the greetings there were good."

It need hardly be said that one object the king had at heart was to
collect his scat (or taxes) from the islands, and when the subject was
mentioned to Thrand he amiably replied that "it was due and welcome
that he should give that much furtherance to the king's errand."

When the time came round for the next Thing, Thrand duly fared to
Thorshavn and, because he had pains in the eyes and other ailments
besides, he let hang the inner part of his tent with black cloth so
that the daylight might be less dazzling. Here the purse containing
the scat was duly delivered to Leif, who "bore it further out into the
booth, where it was light, and poured the silver down upon his shield,
and stirred it about with his hand, and said that Karl should look at
the silver.

"They looked on it for awhile, and Karl asked Leif how the silver
seemed to him. He answered: 'Methinks that every bad penny to be found
in the North isles is here come together.' Thrand heard this and said:
'Seemeth the silver nought well to thee, Leif?' 'Even so,' says he.
Said Thrand: 'Forsooth, those my kinsmen are no middling dastards,
whereas one may trust them in nought. I sent them in the spring north
into the islands to gather up the scat, because last spring I was good
for nothing myself; but they will have taken bribes of the bonders
to take this false coin which is not deemed fit to pass. Thou hadst
better, Leif, look at this silver wherewith my rents have been paid.'

"So Leif took back to him that silver, and took from him another purse,
and bore it to Karl, and they ransacked it, and Karl asked what Leif
thought of this money. He said he deemed it bad, but not so bad as that
it might not be taken in payment for debts carelessly bespoken,'but on
behalf of the king I will have nought of this money.'"

At last Thrand "bade Leif hand him that silver back: 'And take thou
here this purse which my tenants have fetched me home last spring, and
dim of sight though I be, still, 'Self hand the safest hand.'"

"Leif took the purse and once more bore it to Karl, and they looked at
the money, and Leif spoke: 'No need to look long at this silver; every
penny here is better than the other, and this money will we have.'"

The payment of taxes has seldom proved the most soothing thing for
doubtful tempers. While the money was being weighed there appeared on
the scene a man "with a cudgel in his hand and a slouch-hat on his
head, and a green cloak; barefoot, in linen breeches strait-laced to
the bone." There followed a scrimmage, in the course of which Karl
got an axe-hammer in his brain, nor was his the only death. "But it
came never to pass that King Olaf might avenge this on Thrand or his
kinsmen, because of the unpeace which now befell in Norway.... And
hereby leaves the tale to tell of the tidings which sprung out of King
Olaf's claiming scat of the Faroes. Yet later on strifes arose in the
Faroes out of the slaying of Karl o'Mere, and the kinsmen of Thrand o'
Gate and Leif, the son of Ozur, had to do herein, and great tales are
told thereof."[5]

The haven of Thor is a little rocky bay; a small island, called Nolsö,
protects its broad mouth. Streams trickle into it over the volcanic
rocks, intersecting the town and justifying the name of the island
upon whose shore it stands. One stream is fairly large, the rest are
very small. The well-kept gardens are bright with flowers and stocked
with currant bushes; a few are shaded by plane trees of the most
diminutive size. The wooden houses, mostly Stockholm-tarred, some
painted different shades, rest on rude foundations of boulders; some
buildings are wholly of rough stone. Most of the roofs are covered with
grass--amidst which wild flowers grow--so green that they are not to be
distinguished from the hill-sides just behind, and the first impression
is almost that of a ruined, roofless town.

A few houses are creeper-covered: almost all have fish hanging out to
dry and the passer-by is more conscious of their presence than of that
of the flowers. Through the grassy roofs rise chimneys which in many
cases are of wood. The main streets are wide and breezy, the byways are
but three feet broad; the pavement for the most part is living rock.
A mere fishing village indeed is Thorshavn, but there is much of the
character of the capital of a little state. The culture of Scandinavia
is displayed in the existence of a library, well used.

[Illustration: THORSHAVN]                          _Face page 22_

The Amtmand, or Governor, dwells in a quite imposing house of stone;
school, church and Lagthinghuus are merely framed of wood. Of the
Mother of Parliaments Cowper once wrote, and some are making much the
same remark to-day,

  Where flails of oratory thresh the floor,
  That yields them chaff and dust and nothing more.

But of the legislature that meets in the Lagthinghuus no man can say
anything so rude. However barren of other results the deliberations of
the assembly may be, the community is at least benefited by the value
of the hay that grows upon the roof. It may be the sluggard that lets
the grass grow under his feet, but no stigma can attach to the man who
lets it grow over his head. Besides possessing this venerable local
Thing, the islanders send their own representatives to the Rigsdag, or
Diet, at Copenhagen, for which qualified voters must have reached their
thirtieth year. The Danish dominions have not yet followed Norway and
Sweden in granting votes to women, but this will shortly come to pass.

The mediæval bishop for the Faroes had his stool at Kirkebö, on the
same island as Thorshavn but a few miles further south. There was a
house of Benedictine monks, the ruins of which still remain. In the
haven named from Thor the church[6] of the White Christ is conspicuous,
though modern of date and unbeautiful of form. An ancient coffin-slab,
however, is incised with an ornate and flowery cross, that shows a
mediæval structure occupied the site. The tower vane bears the date
1788, pierced in the Scandinavian way. The effect within is rather
quaint. On the altar two great candles stand; hanging from the roof
are a large ship-model and some chandeliers of brass, one dated 1682,
adorned with metal flowers; on the walls a picture of the Last Supper
that was painted on wood in 1647, and several monuments in timber and
stone to the dead who passed from earth two hundred years ago.

On a promontory overlooking the town and the rocks covered with shells
and pink and dark green sea-weed, there frowns a picturesque old fort;
more interesting to the antiquary than formidable to the soldier.
What higher praise than that could any place of strength deserve? The
two lines of defence are each formed of boulders and earth. Though
Thorshavn in the past has known unpeace, many an empire has risen to
high power or crumbled to decay since these grass-grown ramparts were
stained with human gore.

The stony country round the town is partly enclosed by strange frail
transparent dykes, which, though as in Scotland mortarless, display
surprisingly wide openings between the stones. Hay grown on the rocky
soil is much the commonest crop; ragged robin, white clover, and, in
swampy parts, marsh marigolds, diversify the grass. Men capped and
stockinged, women shawled, also tend the tiniest patches of oats and
potatoes: here and there peat is cut. The older cottages are frequently
half floored above, half open to the ridge, and most conspicuous still
are the sooty rafters of which the sagas so often tell. Some faint
breath from the atmosphere that filled such dwellings long ago is
wafted to us by the complaint of Cetil to his son in the _Vatzdaela
Saga_, that, when he was a boy, men yearned to do some daring deed,
"But now young men have become stay-at-homes, sitting over the baking
fires, and stuffing their bellies with mead and ale, and all manhood
and hardihood is waning away." Gone to museums are the ancient looms
weighted with stones from the beach, but old carved chests and solid
furniture of wood worked in the northern way are still by no means rare.

Men of great mark, by no means few, have had the Faroe Isles for
home. In this remote and quiet capital there was born in 1860 Dr. N.
R. Finsen, one of the great benefactors of mankind, widely known in
medical circles from his study of the laws of light-rays, and the
foundation of the Medical Light Institute at Copenhagen. A monument
in the streets of the Danish metropolis bears his name, and it is
possible that to the next generation he may be as well known as he
would have been to his own, had he only invented some potent engine of
destruction, instead of mere antidotes to wasting disease.

A little like the Scottish highlands here and there, with mountain tarn
and trickling stream and rock hill-side and distant sea, a little,
yet not very like, for the most striking feature of this delightful
group of islands is its lack of resemblance to any other part of
earth. Vast mountains rising from the very sea, and never destitute of
whitest clouds, fold upon fold of country devoid of trees and yet so
fertile and kept so moist by shower and mist that the grass grows over
house-top as well as ground, the close proximity of fjord and hay-field
and fish and flowers, give a combined impression so individual that the
widest wanderer will but faintly be reminded of any other part of the

The surpassing stateliness of much of the coast declines to be
expressed in ink or paint. Even the Naerofjord of Norway, most justly
famed throughout the earth, is distanced in wild and rugged grandeur
by some of the lonely channels among the north isles of the group,
restricted in extent though they be. The largest steamer seems like a
little toy between the towering mountains that rise on either side,
carved into cliffs here and there, worn into caves now and then. The
mountain sides are marked by waterfalls, like little silver threads.
Wherever there is grass on the steep volcanic rocks, appearing like
insects, there climb about white sheep and black; such gave the
archipelago its name--far, the Norse word for sheep.[7] Everywhere hang
white mists, clinging to the summits of the hills or streaming away
like pennons in sharpest contrast with the coal-black sea of the sagas.




  Hail, Isle! with mist and snow-storms girt around,
  Where fire and earthquake rend the shattered ground,--
  Here once o'er furthest ocean's icy path
  The Northmen fled a tyrant monarch's wrath:
  Here, cheered by song and story, dwelt they free,
  And held unscathed their laws and liberty.
                                       ROBERT LOWE.

A faint idea of Icelandic scenery may perhaps be gained by taking a
journey on the moon by the aid of a good telescope. Nowhere else is
to be found the same weird impression of vastness and of magnificent

Not infrequently, particularly in a land of hills, do the works of man
seem puny beside the works of God, but as in Iceland nowhere else.
Only rarely, here and there, are signs of cultivation, and that is on
the tiniest scale. Wild stretches of jagged lava and volcanic rock
spread into space like "the ruins of an elder world." The great rugged
mountains, capped by snow, and the numerous hot springs suggest the
eternal battle-ground of elements, and give to the landscape a weird,
almost unearthly effect. As Gudbrand Thorlac (Bishop of Holar, quoted
by Hakluyt) expresses it: "There be in this Iland mountaines lift up to
the skies, whose tops being white with perpetuall snowe, their roots
boile with everlasting fire." The prevailing colours, including every
shade of brown and yellow, are relieved only where appears the deep
blue-black of the sea; save that here and there a tiny waterfall by
stunted trees and a carpet of wild flowers, such as heather or grass of
Parnassus, rather faintly suggest the glories of more southern lands.

The Great Pyramid and the Chinese Wall themselves would be lost, St.
Peter's would appear a mere pebble, amid those gigantic stretches of
lonely mountain. And during the very darkest days of early mediæval
times a small handful of men in these remote solitudes were to play
a part in history that is perfectly unique, to endow humanity with
something it could ill afford to put away.

Here, on the dark winter nights of a region only just without the
Arctic Circle, were written and enjoyed those sagas that are true
history and very human, while nothing but dry chronicles were being
composed in all Europe besides. Far less we should know of the early
story of the British Isles and of North America had the Icelanders been
dumb. Worthily appears the name of their Republic among those of other
famous Commonwealths of earth in the hub of the universe, the State
House at Boston, Massachusetts!

Interest in Iceland and her sagas has been greatly revived of recent
years. In these days it seems strange to read what P. H. Mallet (p.
152) wrote about 1755: "Such was the constitution of a republic, which
is at present quite forgotten in the North, and utterly unknown through
the rest of Europe even to men of much reading, notwithstanding the
great number of poets and historians which that republic produced."

The stories of the early settlers, as related in the sagas, slightly
recall the conditions that even to-day exist in such places as Rhodesia
and newly-opened districts of the Western States. The details are
as different as they could well be, but there is something of the
same overflowing youthful vitality, the same grim sort of humour
and vigorous enjoyment of life. This tale, for instance, from the
_Liosvetninga Saga_, shows a rather indirect and possibly somewhat
modern method of leading up to an extremely simple point: "When the
table was set there Ufey put his fist on the board, and spake, 'How
big dost think that fist is, Gudmund?' He spake, 'Very big!' Ufey
spake, 'Thou wouldst think that there would be strength in it.' Gudmund
spake, 'Indeed I would.' Ufey answers, 'A heavy blow thou wouldst
think it would give?' Gudmund spake, 'Mighty heavy.' Ufey spake, 'What
harm wouldst think it would do?' Gudmund spake, 'Breaking of bones
or death.' Ufey spake, 'How wouldst like that way of death?' Gudmund
spake, 'Very ill, and I should not wish it to happen to me.' Ufey
spake, 'Then do not thou sit in my seat.'"

The settlement of Iceland was part of the happy movement that first
carried Norsemen to the Faroe Islands and far beyond. There was a man
named Gard-here, a Swede, and he journeyed to Sodor, or the Southern
Islands[8] on the very common quest of getting in the inheritance of
his wife's father, who had died. A gale broke his moorings. He was
driven westward into the sea, and the eventual result was that he
reached the island with which we are concerned. He praised the land
much, and desired that it should be called by his own name.

But _he_ did not discover the island. That glory belongs to dreamy
mystics of the ancient Irish Church in the days when her rays lit up
the whole of Western Europe, and her missionaries went out into all
lands.[9] Where he heard no other sound than the thud of the storm
waves on the lonely rocks, and the shrill cry of the sea-gulls, quite
alone with his God, there the Celtic monk could best say his prayers.
And the _Libellus Islandorum_ expressly says of the first days of
settlement: "There were then here Christian men, whom the Northmen call
'papa.' But soon they went away because they could not dwell with pagan
hordes, and they left behind them Irish books and bells and crooks." A
little cross of theirs is in the Museum at Reykjavik to-day.

Again there were certain men who needed to journey out of Norway to
the Faroes, some say that Naddodh was of their number, and they also
were driven to the same country, which they named Snowland. They
walked up a high mountain in the East-friths, and looked far and
wide to see if they could discover any smoke or other token of the
presence of mankind, but they saw none. They went back to the Faroes at
harvest-time and they praised the new country very much.

The third party of Norsemen that reached Iceland had decorously made
a great sacrifice before setting forth, and three ravens had been
hallowed. In the Faroe Islands, Floki, their leader, got his daughter
very satisfactorily married, and then he sailed out into the sea and
let loose the three ravens. The first feebly flew to the bows of the
vessel; the second with little more adventure soared into the air and
then came back to the ship; but the third flew forth from the bows
and led the way to the island. And when they sailed past Reek-ness,
or Smoky Cape, and entered the great mountain-walled fjord, Faxe
said, "This must be a big country which we have found; here are great
rivers." And, though his surmise as to the rivers was mistaken, the
inlet received his name; as Faxefjoth men know it to this day. The
whole frith was full of fish, including seals and whales, and the party
became so absorbed in catching them that they imprudently took no heed
to make hay--with the result that they lost all their stock in the
winter. As to the climate there were many different views, but Thorwolf
said that butter dripped out of every blade of grass in the country
that they had found. Wherefore he was called Thorwolf Butter.

It was nevertheless so cold that the party originated the unfortunate
designation of Iceland, a name that has probably done more than
anything else to spread through the world undoubtedly exaggerated
notions as to the coldness of the island. Sometimes for weeks together
Reykjavik has been warmer than London. The famous Icelandic explorer,
Eric the Red, seems to have realised that a mistake had been made,
and with much discretion he gave another land "a name, and called it
Greenland, and said that men would be ready to go thither if the land
had a good name."[10]

The Icelanders are as sensitive as the Canadians about the climate of
their country, and as early as the sixteenth century we find the Bishop
of Holar, already mentioned (p. 29), whose observations are quoted by
Hakluyt, growling thus about one whose strictures on the island did
not however stop with criticisms of the climate. "There came to light
about the yeare of Christ 1561, a very deformed impe, begotten by a
certain Pedlar of Germany; namely, a booke of German rimes, of al that
ever were read the most filthy and most slanderous against the nation
of Island. Neither did it suffice the base printer once to send abroad
that base brat, but he must publish it also thrise or foure times
over; that he might thereby, what lay in him, more deepely disgrace
our innocent nation among the Germans, and Danes, and other neighbour
countries, with shamefull, and everlasting ignomine. So great was the
malice of this printer, and his desire so greedy to get lucre, by a
thing unlawfull. And this he did without controlment, even in that
citie, which these many yeares hath trafficked with Island to the great
gaine, and commodity of the citizens. His name is Ioachimus Leo, a man
worthy to become lion's foode."

As late as 1846 "Sylvanus" (p. 202) wrote, "Iceland, a dreary,
storm-beaten isle, nearly deprived of all communication with its
fatherland. It is the abode of all but ceaseless winter, in which the
sun, rarely for more than a few months out of the twelve, is ever seen."

It is possible to suffer very much from heat in Iceland, but there
seems to be good ground for believing that the climate has changed for
the severer in the course of a thousand years. Forests are frequently
mentioned in the earlier sagas--the _Libellus Islandorum_ expressly
says that in the first days of settlement the country "was grown with
wood between fell and foreshore." But to-day there is nothing much
bigger than a Japanese dwarf tree.

The first permanent settler was Ingwolf Arnerson (or Erneson) and he
was told to go thither by an oracle while he sacrificed. And at that
time Harald of the Fairhair had for twelve years been king in Norway,
and since the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 874 winters had
passed away. He sailed to Iceland with Heor-leif, his sworn brother
and the husband of his sister; a man who refused to sacrifice. They
kept company till they saw Iceland and then they parted. And as soon
as Ingwolf noticed the land he pitched his porch-pillars overboard to
get an omen. For it was the pious custom of those days to let the
site for a new settlement be fixed, not by the caprice of man, but by
the decision of the gods, who made it known by causing the currents of
ocean to cast up the porch-pillars on the shore where they would have
the dwelling to be.

Before their emigration to Iceland Leif and Ingwolf had made a foray
in Ireland. There they had gained riches and thralls, and Leif was
called Heor, or Sword, from an encounter with an Irishman, from whom he
gained such a weapon. Driven westward off the land, Leif and his men
ran short of water, and the thralls, with the readiness that ever marks
their race, took to the plan of kneading meal and butter together, and
they declared that this was a thirst-slake. But as soon as it was ready
there fell a great rain and water was caught in the awnings.

Eventually they reached land in safety, and there was only one ox, so
the thralls had to drag the plow. And they plotted together to kill
the ox, and to say that a bear had devoured it; then while Leif and
his Norsemen were seeking to punish the non-existent bear, and were
scattered through the shaw, the thralls should slay every one his man,
and so should murder them all. And everything fell out just as the
Irish had plotted.

The dead body of Heor-leif was found by Ingwolf's thralls, who had been
sent to search for the porch-pillars, and when they told their master
he was very angry. And when he saw his brother dead he said, "It was a
pitiful death for a brave man that thralls should slay him, but I see
how it goes with those who will never perform sacrifice."

"Then Ingwolf went up to the headland and saw islands lying in the sea
to the south-west. It came into his mind that the thralls must have
run away thither, for the boat had disappeared. So he and his men went
to seek the thralls, and found them there at a place called Eith (the
Tarbet) in the islands. They were sitting at their meat when Ingwolf
fell upon them. They became fearful, and every man of them ran off his
own way. Ingwolf slew them all. The place is called Duf-thac's Scaur,
where he lost his life. Many of them leaped over the rock, which was
afterwards called by their name. The islands were afterwards called
the Westmen Isles whereon they were slain, for they were Westmen" (or

Heimaey (or Home Isle), the largest of these Westmen Isles, consists of
two great jagged masses of igneous rock, presenting wild cliffs to the
ocean and a wild fretted outline to the sky. Between the two mountains
is a rolling stretch of grass-land, and upon it stands the scattered
little town of Kaupstadr. The cliffs are covered with sea-birds'
nests, most of them filthy fulmars. And some of the other islands of
the group, among which modern cruising steamers thread their way, are
sea-worn into caves and caverns by the much contorted rocks along the

At last, in the third winter, Ingwolf's thralls, Weevil and Carle,
found the porch-pillars, and at the spot where they came to land
he made for himself a homestead. He dwelt in Reek-wick, and the
_Land-nama-bok_, or Icelandic _Domesday_, from which nearly all the
above facts are taken,[11] says that the pillars are still to be seen
in his fire-house, or temple.

In the _Eyrbyggja Saga_ we read of the building of another temple that
stood on the north side of Faxefjoth. Somewhat similar, no doubt, was
the shrine that incorporated the porch-pillars at Reykjavik. "There he
let build a temple, and a mighty house it was. There was a door in the
side-wall, and nearer to one end thereof. Within the door stood the
porch-pillars and nails were therein; they were called the Gods' nails.
There within was a great frith-place. But of the inmost house was there
another house, of the fashion whereof now is the quire of a church,
and there stood a stall in the midst of the floor in the fashion of
an altar, and thereon lay a ring without a join that weighed twenty
ounces, and on that must men swear all oaths; and that ring must the
chief have on his arm at all man-motes."

A gold ring that Olaf Tryggvison took from the Temple of Lade (p. 69),
and presented to a lady whom he admired, turned out to be only plated
copper, and much trouble resulted from that gift. The gods had in all
probability never discovered the fraud, for, like the Chinese to-day,
the pagan Norse had a most mean opinion of the intelligence of the
objects of their worship (p. 106). Some of the temples of Iceland were
of considerable dimensions: in the _Vatzdaela Saga_ we read of one at
Thordisholt a hundred feet in length.

Ingwolf, the founder of Reykjavik, was the most famous of all the
fathers of Iceland, for he came to a desolate country, and was the
first to build a house and to cultivate the ground. His son "was
Thorstan, who let set the Thing at Keel-ness, before the Allthing was
established. His son was Thor-kell Moon, the Law-speaker, who was one
of the best conversation of any heathen men in Iceland, of those whom
men have records of. He had himself carried out into the rays of the
sun in his death-sickness, and commended himself to that God which had
made the sun. Moreover, he had lived as cleanly as those Christian men
who were of the best conversation or way of life." (_Landnama-bok._)

A fair broad bay, an arm of the Faxefjoth, rocky islands rising from
the water and low hills all around, the heights of Esja straight in
front of the ship that sails in, was the site chosen by the pagan
gods. The city of Reykjavik stands on low hills at whose foot the
porch-pillars were found. At the head of the little reeking bay is the
white steam of the hot springs; away to the north, just visible across
the choppy waves of Faxefjoth, towers, four thousand seven hundred feet
above the sea, the huge volcanic mass of Snaefells Jökull.

Thus Reykjavik, the present capital of Iceland, bordered landward by
a little lake, is more than a thousand years old, yet it does not
look fifteen! No new settlement in the American West has a rawer
or more recent appearance. The building materials are wood, brick,
cement, felt and galvanized iron. There are a few fair gardens with
very stunted trees, and in the rough grass square is a metal statue
to Thorwaldsen (p. 138). For ugly commonplaceness the broad and dusty
streets are hardly rivalled even on the North American continent, and
that is saying a good deal. Yet the glorious views of wild mountain and
ever-changing sea, with air as fresh and pure as in mid-ocean, make it
attractive in spite of all.

The Norse settlement of the island, having prosperously begun on
the grassy plains at the edge of which the city stands, soon spread
all round the shore. At wide intervals were built, or dug, the half
underground turf-covered dwellings where men sat under their smoky
rafters by the fire, drinking wine or mead, telling or hearing the saga
tales. Old buildings that still remain, including a few in the vicinity
of Reykjavik, give a fair idea of what these primitive dwellings were
like; sometimes they were partly excavated in the side of a hill. Their
interiors are much more cosy and homelike than would be suspected from
their desolate-looking outsides. Hangings round the walls must have
greatly improved the appearance as a rule, though the _Laxdaela Saga_
says that the hall which Thurid Olaf built in Herd-holt, whose sides
and roof were lined with noble histories carved on wainscotting, looked
better when the hangings were down. Each large householder was chief
and priest, lord of all within sight of his dwelling.

The same (_Laxdaela_) saga describes one of them, in fact the husband
of this same Olaf's daughter. "Garmund was generally a reserved man,
and surly to most folks, and he was always dressed the same; he used
to wear a red-scarlet kirtle and a grey cloak over it, and a bear-skin
hood on his head, a sword in his hand that was a great and good weapon
with hilt of walrus-tooth, and there was no silver inlaid on it, but
the blade was sharp and no rust to be found on it. This sword he
called Leg-biter, and he never let it pass out of his hand." This man
contrived to win Thurid, the daughter of Olaf, only by "giving no
small sum of money" to her mamma. As not infrequently happens in such
cases, husband and wife "did not get on very well, and this was felt by
both of them." So Garmund sailed away from Iceland, and, to the great
displeasure of his wife and mother-in-law, he left no chattels behind
him. However Olaf's daughter pursued and, finding her husband asleep
in his vessel, she took away the sword Leg-biter and left the baby in
its place! As soon as the disgusted father awoke from its crying and
discovered the unwelcome exchange, he sent a boat in pursuit of wife
and sword. Thurid had, however, foreseen that man[oe]uvre and the boat,
being riddled with holes, had in haste to put back to the ship. "Then
Garmund called to Thurid and bade her turn back and give him the sword
Leg-biter, and take the girl back, 'and as much money or chattels with
her as thou wilt.' Thurid says, 'Dost think it better to get back the
sword or not?' Garmund answered her, 'I would sooner lose great monies
than lose the sword.' She spake, 'Then thou shalt never get it; thou
hast in many ways treated me unjustly, and we will now part.'"

Even less careful of his personal appearance than Garmund must have
been Anlaf of Black-fen, whose deeds are recorded in the _Havardz Saga_
(II., 1). Men say that he had bear's warmth, for "there never was frost
or cold so great that Anlaf would not go about in no more clothes
than his breeches and a shirt tucked into the breeches. And he never
went abroad off the farm with more clothes on him than these." He was,
however, a good man, and somewhat before midwinter he walked over the
hill pasture and all over the fell seeking men's sheep, and he found
many and drove them home, and brought every man his own, so that every
one wished him well.

Iceland is perhaps the least mixed nation to be found on the surface of
the globe. Among the fathers of her settlement there were indeed a few
of other than Norse blood, particularly ubiquitous Irish, some of whom
were men very well thought of, but all except a few individuals here
and there were of pure Scandinavian stock. The _Landnama-bok_ expressly
tells us: "Men of knowledge say that the country was wholly settled and
taken up in sixty winters, so that it hath never after been settled any

As the community grew older it became apparent that something more than
local chiefs and Things were imperatively needed if any sort of peace
was to be preserved and some kind of order to be established. And thus
there was called into being in A.D. 930 the most famous parliament of
the North--the Allthing, that assembled every year under the clear sky,
by the banks of a little stream where the horizon was formed by the
wild rocky hills of Thingvellir. From all over the island men came
for practically every purpose for which human beings can gainfully
meet. Laws were made and declared, law cases were decided; tales were
recited and much was bought and sold. But the only official of the
Republic was the Speaker of the Law, the jurisdiction was purely moral.
Administrative machinery, civil service, navy or army there were none.
He who refused to obey could but be outlawed.[12]

No doubt this essentially Teutonic reform brought vast improvement on
the lawless violence of earlier days, but the respect entertained for
law still left very much to be desired. The famous _Saga of the Burnt
Njal_ gives a truly Homeric account of proceedings at the Allthing

Flosi and certain others who were on trial for arson and manslaughter
were on the point of getting off by the kind of legal quibble in which
Dickens was interested so much. Gizur, one of the plaintiffs, said,
"What counsel shall we now take, kinsman Asgrim?" Then Asgrim said,
"Now will we send a man to my son Thorhall, and know what counsel he
will give us."

"Now the messenger comes to Thorhall, Asgrim's son, and tells him how
things stood, and how Mord Volgard's son and his friends would all be
made outlaws, and the suits for manslaughter be brought to nought.

"But when he heard that, he was so shocked at it that he could not
utter a word. He jumped up then from his bed, and clutched with both
hands his spear, Skarphedinn's gift, and drove it through his foot....
Now he went out of the booth unhalting and walked so hard that the
messenger could not keep up with him, and so he goes until he came to
the Fifth Court. There he met Grim the Red, Flosi's kinsman, and as
soon as they were met, Thorhall thrust at him with the spear, and smote
him on the shield and clove it in twain, but the spear passed right
through him, so that the point came out between his shoulders. Then
there was a mighty cry all over the host, and then they shouted their

"Flosi and his friends then turned against their foes, and both sides
egged on their men fast.

"Kari Solmund's son turned now thither where Arni (Kol's son) and
Hallbjorn the Strong were in front, and as soon as ever Hallbjorn saw
Kari, he made a blow at him, and aimed at his leg, but Kari leaped up
into the air, and Hallbjorn missed him. Kari turned on Arni (Kol's son)
and cut at him, and smote him on the shoulder, and cut asunder the
shoulder blade and collar bone, and the blow went right down into his
breast, and Arni (Kol's son) fell down dead at once to earth.

"After that he hewed at Hallbjorn and caught him on the shield, and the
blow passed through the shield, and so down and cut off his great toe.
Holmstein hurled a spear at Kari, but he caught it in the air, and sent
it back, and it was a man's death in Flosi's band....

"Then there was a little lull in the battle, and Snorri the priest came
up with his band, and Skapti was there in his company, and they ran in
between them, and so they could not get at one another to fight.... So
a truce was set, and was to be kept throughout the Thing, and then the
bodies were laid out and borne to the church, and the wounds of those
men were bound up who were hurt."

The day after men went to the Hill of Laws. A skald opportunely sang
some verses with the result that now men burst out in great fits of
laughter. And eventually "in this way the atonement came about, and
then hands were shaken on it, and twelve men were to utter the award,
and Snorri the priest was the chief man in this award, and others with
him. Then the manslaughters were set off the one against the other, and
those men who were over and above were paid for in fines. They also
made an award in the suit about the Burning."[13]

The Allthing still meets, but no longer amid mountain wilds. A very
substantial stone structure, two storeys and an attic high, faces the
square at Reykjavik; it bears date 1881. Below is a library; above the
chamber, from a gallery in the attic, the public may look on. It is
impossible to visit this humble structure without emotion, for it is
the seat of one of the ancientest moots upon the earth. Had it only a
continuous history from its first institution it would be older by, at
any rate, a century or two than the very Mother of Parliaments, for the
French-named body that sits at St. Stephen's can hardly claim historic
continuity with the Saxon Witanagemot. But the well-fitted Althinghuus
is an unromantic substitute for the vast and desolate wildness of the
Thingvellir. It is with a shock, too, that one notices on the walls
great pictures of Egypt and of Greece. Are not Ellidaar and Hvita,
salmon rivers of Iceland, to this assembly at any rate better than all
the waters of Nile and Cephissus?[14]

The Cathedral of Reykjavik, next to the Althinghuus, is a small
whitewashed structure with saddle roof tower, whose vane is dated 1847.
It is entirely destitute of the slightest interest, save for the lovely
font by Thorwaldsen (p. 138), a cube of white marble. Round the top
is a garland of flowers to support the metal bowl; on the four sides
are bas-reliefs representing the Baptism of Christ, a mother and her
children, cherubs, and Christ blessing the children. The Bishop, or
Lutheran superintendent, has charge of the whole island, which in the
middle ages formed two dioceses.

The Christianising of Iceland was a less violent process than that
of the other northern lands. The building of the earliest church was
owing to the gentle influence of the great Scottish apostle of Ireland.
"Aur-lyg was the name of a son of Hrapp, the son of Beorn Buna. He was
in fosterage with Bishop Patrec, the saint in the Southreys. A yearning
came upon him to go to Iceland, and prayed Bishop Patrec that he would
give him an outfit. The bishop gave him timber for a church and asked
him to take it with him, and a _plenarium_, and an iron church-bell,
and a gold penny, and consecrated earth to lay under the corner-posts
instead of hallowing the church, and prelates to dedicate the church
to Columcella."[15] And the church was built at Esia-rock, looking out
over the ocean. Close by in the sea-weed the iron bell had been found,
for it was cast into the sea that, like the heathen porch-pillars, it
might point out the exact site that was the best.

The passing from the old faith to the new was on the whole remarkably
destitute of bigotry. One, Helge, for example, "put his trust in
Christ, and named his homestead after him, but yet would he pray to
Thor on sea voyage and in hard stress, and in all those things that he
deemed really of most account."[16] While the _Landnama-bok_ itself
ends with the remark: "Some held their Christendom well till their
death-day, but it did not often go on in the family, because that
of their sons, some reared temples and sacrificed, and the land was
heathen nearly a hundred and twenty winters."

Then at a notable Allthing, about the year 1000, one Thor-gar spoke
to the people at the Rock of the Laws. He told them a story about two
kings who formerly ruled in Norway and Denmark respectively. "They
had long kept up strife between them, till at last the people of both
countries took the matter into their own hands, and made peace between
them, although they themselves did not wish it; but this plan was so
successful that the kings after a few winters' space were sending gifts
to each other, and their friendship endured as long as they both did
live. 'And this seems to me the best not to let them have their will
that are most out and out on each side, but let us so umpire the matter
between them that each side may gain somewhat of his case, but let us
all have one law and one faith. For this saying shall be proved true,
_If the Constitution be broken the peace will be broken_.'

"Thor-gar ended his speech in such a way that each side agreed to hold
those laws which he should think best to declare.

"This was the declaration of Thor-gar, that all men in Iceland should
be baptized and believe in one God, but as to the exposure of children,
and the eating of horse-flesh, the old law should hold; men might
sacrifice in secret if they would, but should fall under the lesser
outlawry if witnesses came forward against them. This heathendom was
taken away some years later."[17]

The final establishment of the faith was chiefly owing to Bishop Gizor,
who was, we are told, "better beloved by all the people of the land
than any other man whom we know to have been on the land."[18] Such,
indeed, was the devotion men felt for him, so much did they appreciate
his speeches, that the Icelanders voluntarily agreed to a complete
valuation of all that they possessed in order that they might have the
privilege of paying tithes! Greater proof of love than that no people
ever showed! It would stagger humanity indeed were anything of the sort
to be recorded to-day. Gizor it was who fixed the seat of the Bishopric
at Skalholt, for before it was nowhere; he, too, set up the northern
Bishop's stool at Holar, giving more than the fourth part of his income
to endow it. This Gizor was surnamed the White, and he kept such peace
in the land that there were no great feuds between the chiefs, and the
carrying of arms was almost laid aside. And he sent his son Islaf to
school in Saxland; he also became a Bishop and took to wife Dalla, the
daughter of Thorwald.

So the faith in Iceland grew, not by bigotry but by conciliation, and
men were apt to prefer prime-signing to baptism, for so could they have
full intercourse with Christian men and with heathen too, and they
could hold to the faith of their liking.[19] But good arguments had a
very-powerful effect, and "this made men very eager in church-building,
which was promised by the clergy, that a man should have room in the
Kingdom of Heaven for as many as could stand in the church that he had

Things being thus comfortably and happily settled by the Icelanders, it
was not to be expected that the sledge-hammer methods of the mainland
would find much favour among them. St. Olaf (p. 79) sent a priest,
one Thangbrand, to hasten the triumph of the faith in Iceland, but he
soon made that cool country a great deal too hot to hold him. And, as
the _Cristne Saga_ puts it: "At that very time Thangbrand the priest
came to the king from Iceland, and told him what enmity men had shown
him there, and said there was no hope of Christendom being received
there. Then the king was so angry that he had many of the Icelanders
taken prisoners and set in irons. Some he ordered to be slain, and some
maimed, and some were plundered, for he said that he would pay them for
the unworthy way their fathers had received his message in Iceland. But
Sholto and Gizor spoke for them, saying that the king had promised that
no man should have done such ill, but that he would give them his peace
if they would be baptized.... Moreover Gizor said that he thought there
was hope that Christendom would succeed in Iceland if it were wisely
forwarded. 'But Thangbrand hath carried himself there, as he did here,
rather lawlessly in slaying certain men there, and men thought it hard
to brook such behaviour in a stranger.'"

Longfellow (_The Saga of King Olaf_) sums up this troublesome
missionary in the following verse:--

  He was quarrelsome and loud,
    And impatient of control,
  Boisterous in the market crowd,
    Boisterous at the wassail-bowl,
      Would drink and swear,
  Swaggering Thangbrand, Olaf's Priest.

So firm a hold did Christianity take on the land that the sagas of
early Christian days are largely concerned with bishops' lives. The
Church was as powerful as in Italy, and the two prelates were much
honoured in the land. Thus we read in the book called _Hungrvaca_,
or _Hunger-Waker_, because many uninformed men, wise though they be,
that have gone through it have wished to know much more concerning
those notable persons of whom it speaks. "Bishop Cetil was now well
seventy years of age; he went to the Allthing and commended himself
to the prayers of all the clerks in the synod of priests. And then
Bishop Magnus asked him to come home with him to Skalholt to keep the
dedication feast of the church and a bridal that was to be there. The
feast was so very splendid that it was a pattern after in Iceland;
there was much mead mixed, and all other stores of the best that might
be. But the Friday evening both bishops went to bathe at Bathridge
after supper. And then it came to pass that Bishop Cetil died there,
and men thought this great news (July 6, 1145). There was great grief
at this feast among many of the guests till the bishop was buried and
service done for him. But by the comforting speeches of Bishop Magnus
and the noble drink that was provided, men got their sorrow the sooner
out of mind than they would otherwise have done."

The bathing of the bishops was in Iceland by no means exceptional.
While in the rest of Europe personal cleanliness was inconspicuous
between the destruction of the buildings of Rome and comparatively
recent days, in Iceland, even during the tenth century, men could not
get on without washing. One householder is specially distinguished in
the _Landnama-bok_ as Leot the Unwashed. Thus the _Eyrbyggja Saga_
describes a bath: "Stir let build a hot bath at his house at Lava, and
it was dug down in the ground, and there was a window over the furnace,
so that it might be fed from without, and wondrous hot was that place."
Many such are mentioned in the sagas, and one of the few mediæval ruins
in Iceland is that of the bath-house of Snorri Sturluson, author of
the _Heimskringla_, one who adorned history by his writings, but not
by his actions; for the discreditable collapse of the Republic and the
annexation of Iceland to Norway was largely owing to him. On his own
estate and by his own son-in-law he was murdered in 1241.

Two Icelandic bishops were placed among the Saints. Bishop Thorlak of
Skalholt "never spoke a word that did not tend to some good purpose
when he was asked anything. He was so wary of his words that he never
blamed the weather as many do, or any of those things that are not
blameworthy, but which he perceived went according to God's will. He
did not look forward to any day above the rest." And most deservedly
he was called that precious friend of God, the Beam and Gem of Saints,
both in Iceland and other lands.[21]

A still greater reputation was, however, gained by the other Icelandic
saint, the holy bishop, John of Holar, widely famed for the beauty
of his voice. His peculiar holiness very early in his life attracted
the attention of the devout. "When John was yet a child his father
and mother broke up housekeeping and went abroad together. They
came to Denmark and went to King Swein, and the king received them
worshipfully, and Thorgerd (John's mother) was made to sit by the queen
herself, the mother of King Swein. Thorgerd had her son, the holy John,
at the table with her, and when many kinds of precious dainties with
good drink came to the king's table, then it happened with the boy
John, as is ever the way with children, that he stretched out his hands
to the things he wished to have. But his mother would have chidden him,
and smote his hands. But when Queen Estrith saw this, she spake to
Thorgerd, 'Not so, not so, Thorgerd mine; do not strike those hands,
for they are bishop's hands!"[22]

John not only survived this spoiling, but fulfilled the prophecy of the
kindly queen. In due course, bearing a letter from Bishop Gizor, he
sailed to Denmark for his consecration; "the Archbishop was at church
at evensong, and when John, the holy bishop-elect, got to the church
(presumably the Cathedral at Lund), evensong was well-nigh over. He
took his place outside the quire, and began to sing evensong with his
clerks. The Archbishop had forbidden all his clerks, old and young
alike, to look out of the quire while the hours were being sung, and he
set a penalty to be taken if his command were broken. But as soon as
the Archbishop heard the chanting of the holy John, he looked out down
the church, trying to see who the man was that had such a voice. But
when evensong was over, the Archbishop's clerks said to him, 'How now,
my lord bishop, have ye not yourself broken the rules ye made?' The
Archbishop answered, 'I confess that it is true as ye say, but yet I
have not done it for nought, for a voice was borne into my ears such as
I have never heard before, and it may rather be likened to the voice of
an angel than of a man.'"[23]

The Primate perceived that his very dear brother had all the qualities
desirable in a bishop, and so favourable was the impression made that
the canonical difficulty to the consecration--that John had been twice
married--was surmounted with little trouble.[24]

Well did the new bishop regulate the affairs of the church on
his arrival at Holar, where he rebuilt the Cathedral, and at the
bishopstead, west of the church door, set up a school. A master he
chose from Gothland and he paid him a great wage, both to teach the
priestlings and to give such support to holy Christendom along with the
bishop himself as he could manage in his teachings and addresses. By
this time the days of transition in Iceland were over, and John felt
strong enough not only to destroy the material relics of paganism, but
also to anticipate George Fox in objecting to pagan names for the days
of the week. "He also forbade all omens, which the men of old had been
wont to take from the coming of the moon and observance of days, and
dedicating days to heathen men or gods--as it is when they are called
Tew's day, Woden's day, or Thor's, and so of all the week-days; but he
bade men to keep the reckoning which the holy fathers have set in the
Scriptures, and call them the Second Day of the week, and the Third
Day, and so on--and all other things beside, which he thought sprung
from ill roots."[25] At last, in 1121, on April 23, he departed out of
this world into everlasting bliss.

As might perhaps be expected, by far the most interesting object in
Reykjavik is the National Museum, into which is gathered, Scandinavian
fashion, much choice carved work from many an Icelandic church. For
their inability to raise great fabrics like those of southern lands,
the disciples of the White Christ in Iceland, much as in Ireland,
resolved as far as possible to atone by wealth of detail. Here
accordingly are quaint or beautiful works of art whose composition
beguiled many a long winter night of old. Even Mallet (p. 151) most
patronisingly remarks: "Nor is this sculpture so bad as might be
expected." The sagas here and there refer to the use of timber from the
Icelandic forests for purposes of building, but soft drift-wood is by
far the commonest material used for carving figures of saints, many of
which are extremely crude and some grotesque. The ornate "Kirkjustodir"
are rather like the totem poles of North American Indians. Many things
there are of post-Reformation date, as pulpits, bas-reliefs and fonts.
Runic inscriptions survive into the eighteenth century. The finest
feature is the magnificent retable in alabaster and wood, representing
scenes from the Passion, that came from Holar Cathedral.[26] Carving of
similar kind, though much earlier in date, for Skalholt Cathedral is
described in the _Pols Saga_.[27] Margaret was the most cunning carver
of all folk in Iceland, and she was surnamed the Skilful. "Bishop Paul
had put in hand, and had her begin a tabula for the altar before he
died, and had meant to spend on it much money, both gold and silver,
and Margaret carved it most nobly out of tusk-ivory, and this would
have been the greatest jewel or masterpiece if, according to his plan,
both Thorstan the shrine-maker and Margaret had wrought it out with
their craft. But his death was a big black blow, and such things had to
be put off for the sake of many other things that had to be done."

Some objects illustrate things other than ecclesiastical, but,
comparatively speaking, they are few. Among them are old Icelandic
chair-saddles with huge and unwieldy stirrups, and guns of wood with
iron rings.

The country surrounding the city seems dreary enough until the intense
fascination of the wildly desolate land and the extreme purity of
the air grows more and more upon the mind. The jagged rock-hills all
round are never quite free from snow, but they were thrown up by the
earth fires too late to be planed down by ice. The well-known little
ponies of Iceland in considerable numbers wander at will over the rough
rolling pasture land, save that some are ridden by tourists from the
south, and some by radiant Icelandic girls. These come jogging in from
the country on their curious flat side-saddles, both feet resting on
a wide hanging step. They wear their hair in four plaits, the ends of
which are looped up under a little flat cap of black cloth. From the
centre of the cap there hangs through a little silver cylinder a long
black tassel which reaches to the shoulder.

The ground is largely dug into hummocks so as to increase the area
available for grass. A good road, fringed by telegraph poles each side
and patronised by a fair number of cyclists, leads out of the town, and
after a mile or two crosses the Ellidaar, which has cut a broad winding
channel through the hard volcanic rock, and is famous for fishing.

Nearer the sea are the hot springs whose waters send up steam that is
visible from far, and gave the capital its name. The ponies are kept
from burning their noses by stretches of barbed wire. In water heated
by the fires that burn far down, beyond the reach of man, the people of
Reykjavik have long been wont to wash their linen and their clothes. A
constant procession of women bear soiled things to the spring and clean
things to the town.

Many Icelanders speak English, and they are often surprisingly
well-informed, both concerning their own history and the affairs of
foreign lands. Still read are the sagas in the land of their birth, and
they were Englished largely by Icelandic minds. There are very good
secondary schools in the towns, and a College at Reykjavik itself.
Though no elementary schools exist, almost every one can read and
write from the excellent teaching in the homes. Reykjavik, Akureyri
and Isafjordr are fair-sized towns, the former has a population of
about ten thousand souls, but the loneliness of life in many parts
is evident from the fact that the rest of the nation, about fifty or
sixty thousand in number, tending cattle and ponies, and fishing for
whale and cod, is thinly sprinkled through some two hundred and eighty

[Illustration: HOT SPRINGS NEAR REYKJAVIK]           [_Face page 60_

Of the rocky islands in Reykjavik Harbour by far the most interesting
is Videy, the resort to-day of ptarmigan and eider duck, in past years
the seat of one of the chief religious houses of Iceland, a Priory of
the Benedictine order. The founder and the first Prior (1226-35) was
one Thorvald, son of a Speaker of the Law, who was fifth in descent
from Gizor the White. He was succeeded by Styrmir, surnamed _hinn
fródi_ or the Wise, who was one of the editors of the _Landnama-bok_,
and died in 1245. The chapel in which he worshipped still exists, a
rude early thirteenth century structure, plain oblong with gables,
built roughly of volcanic stone. The sole original features are the
very plainest of windows under segmental arches. It is still used for
service, and has plain eighteenth century fittings with tall screen,
and pulpit rising behind the altar, all painted green and blue and red.
Three bells are dated 1735, 1752 and 1785. In the loft under the roof
is a collection of old spinning wheels. The absence of surnames, which
is still a characteristic of the unchanged Norse tradition of Iceland,
appears on a gravestone of 1820, to Viefus Scheving and his wife, Aunnu

This little chapel appears to have been almost the only stone church in
mediæval Iceland; even the famous Cathedral at Skalholt, which was in
every way glorious above any other building in Iceland, the finest and
most precious in the island, was merely a structure of wood.

From the highest point of the island of Videy there is a really superb
view over the plantless mountains and the steepleless city across a few
miles of blue-black, white-crested sea. The island pastures support
fifty head of cattle and slope right down to the shore, where the waves
have carved arches and caverns in the yielding rocks. The farmhouse by
the chapel is a long stone building, whose weathering by the storms of
some two hundred winters is concealed by a coat of whitewash, while the
rooms are comfortably panelled within. The outhouses seem in some cases
to be on foundations that were laid by the monks, for the monastic
buildings were evidently detached in the Celtic fashion; there was no
attempt to reproduce the conventional plan of a monastery that is so
unvaried in southern lands.

Iceland belongs geographically rather to America than to Europe, a much
wider stretch of ocean divides her from Norway than from Greenland.
But so close are the lands in the Far North that a present-day steamer
might sail with ease from London to New York, permitting her passengers
to go ashore for some part of every day.[28]

Five hundred years before Columbus crossed the Western Ocean Icelandic
barks had plowed their way, first to Greenland, then to the American
mainland. The latter their crews called Vinland from its vines
and surnamed from its character "the Good." In the _Saga of Olaf
Tryggvison_ we read: "That same spring also King Olaf sent Leif Ericson
to Greenland to bid christening there; so that same summer he went
thither. He took up a ship's crew on the sea who had come to nought,
and were lying on the wreck of the ship; and in that journey found
he Vinland the Good, and came back in harvest-tide to Greenland."
In the _Vinland Voyages_, commonly called the _Saga of Eric the
Red_, the North American coast is described with great accuracy, but
unfortunately still greater brevity, "The land seemed to them fair and
thick wooded, and but a short space between the woods and the sea,
and white sands. There were many islands and great shallows." Many
Icelanders in these latter days have emigrated to the United States
or Canada, and the son of one of them is V. Stefansson, who, in the
service of the American Museum of Natural History, discovered the
blond Eskimo of Victoria Land known as Akuliakattamiut, just possibly
descended from the ancient Norse settlers in Greenland. To-day (1913),
in the service of the Government of Canada, he is exploring the polar
ocean to the north of that wide land.

Sturdy independence and passionate attachment to their weirdly
beautiful island have always marked the Icelanders, and though since
the fall of the Republic more than six and a half centuries have worn
away, the spirit of the nation has not decayed. Even by the great
Margaret (p. 120) they would not consent to be taxed. In 1393 it is
recorded[29]: "The Stadholder brought forward the Queen's demand at the
meeting, when all the chief men promised to give sixteen feet of vadmal
(cloth used for barter) for Vigfus' sake--he was very much beloved in
Iceland; but on this condition, that it should not be called a tax, and
should not be demanded again. But the inhabitants of Eyafjordr refused
to give anything."

And about the year 1000, while other Europeans were trembling for the
end of the world or wondering why it had not come, Icelandic sailors,
who knew not fear, were wandering admiringly through the woods of the
North American Continent, were warring with the Scraelings or Indians,
were eating the grapes of the New World, were planning settlements,
possibly building churches,[30] in what became New England more than
six centuries later. What boundless possibilities were before them had
they only realised the value of that land! How different the history
of mankind if any considerable number of their countrymen, sprinkled
through all lands from the ice-fields of Greenland to the Russian
steppes, and from the North Cape to Constantinople, had been summoned
from their widely-scattered stations for the settlement of Vinland the




              Wild the Runic faith,
  And wild the realms where Scandinavian chiefs
  And Skalds arose, and hence the Skald's strong verse
  Partook the savage wildness. And methinks
  Amid such scenes as these the Poet's soul
  Might best attain full growth; pine-cover'd rocks,
  And mountain forests of eternal shade,
  And glens and vales, on whose green quietness
  The lingering eye reposes, and fair lakes
  That image the light foliage of the beach.

There would not be much to see in the Low Countries if they were
deprived of their historical associations, their ancient buildings and
their superb paintings. Most parts of Europe owe very much of their
interest and their beauty to the long-continued presence of mankind.

But the delights of Norway are of another sort, and a yachting trip
among her fjords and islands would lose little of its attraction to
many, had they as few associations as those of Alaska. The chief charm
of this northern country must always be found in the fact that a large
steamer may sail far into the heart of her lofty mountains through
winding valleys, enclosed by towering rock sides, over which fall
streams with courses so steep that they sometimes reach the surface of
ocean only in the form of spray. In Norway one may proceed up a wild
Highland glen with scenery grander than anything even in Scotland,
without leaving the surface of the sea. Here and there such river
gorges as that of the Hudson near West Point are somewhat recalled
to one's mind, but on the whole the scenery of Norway is not at all
like anything else. The overpowering vastness of it all is perfectly

But, even if one has not realised the fact amid the romantic scenery
of those fjords where the works of man are confined to tiny fields
like handkerchiefs scantily stretched upon the mountain sides, and
settlements of wooden huts which are lost among the towering mountains
of God, in Trondhjem Fjord one can hardly ignore the fact that this
northern land has a history and a mythology of no mean kind, and one
that is her very own. Though they have added less to the general sum
of human action than have the thoughts of Greece and the achievements
of Rome, the mythology of the North is more robust, its history is more
virile, its literature is less voluptuous, its feelings more stern and
deep. As the Swedish poet and bishop, Esaias Tegnér, expresses it: "Go
to Greece for beauty of form, but to the North for depth of feeling and

Doubtless the difference is largely geographical, as is well set forth
in a thought-provoking passage of Sir Archibald Geikie's Romanes
Lecture, delivered at Oxford in 1898. "Who can doubt that the legends
and superstitions of ancient Greece took their form and colour in no
small measure from the mingled climates, varied scenery and rocky
structure of that mountainous land, or that the grim, litanic mythology
of Scandinavia bears witness to its birth in a region of rugged snowy
uplands under gloomy and tempestuous skies." And to those of English
speech at least the history of the North should mean much more, because
it was not merely our teachers and civilisers, but our very selves that
first launched dragon-prowed vessels on these clear waters and first
heard the eddas recited by the Skalds.

Just to the right of the spot where the broad river Nid pours its
rather muddy waters into the Trondhjem Fjord, there rises a low hill,
and there, commanding a glorious prospect far over the brown-green
mountains and the slate-blue waters of the sea, once stood a great
Temple for the worship of the Gods whose names are hourly on our lips,
whenever we need to distinguish the days. A mighty line of Earls once
had their seat in Ladir or Lade--for such are the ancient and modern
names of the village where the Temple stood--and widely their authority
was known. The greatest of them ruled over all the Norse for a quarter
of a century (970-995), but so proud was he of his ancestral stock that
he preferred to be known as the Earl of Ladir rather than as King of
Norway. Sixteen earls recognised his sway, and he trowed in the old

Thus the _Heimskringla_ describes his sway. "Whiles Earl Hakon ruled in
Norway was the year's increase good in the land. And good peace there
was betwixt man and man among the bonders.

"Well beloved of the bonders was the earl the more part of his life,
but as his years wore, it was much noted of the earl that he was
mannerless in dealing with women.... Whereof he won great hatred from
the kin of such women, and the bonders fell a-murmuring sore against
it, even as they of Thrandheim are wont to do when aught goeth against
their pleasure."

Now a mysterious person named Oli was at Dublin, at that time a great
settlement of Norsemen. Concerning him the earl heard rumours that he
found exceedingly disquieting. He had a great friend called Thorir
Klakka, "who was long whiles at viking work, but whiles would go
cheaping voyages, and was of good knowledge of lands. Him Earl Hakon
sent West-over-sea, bidding him go a cheaping voyage to Dublin, as many
folk were wont, and look into it closely what this man Oli was; and if
he found that he verily was Olaf Tryggvison, or any other offspring
of the kingly stem of the North, then was Thorir to entangle him with
guile if he might bring it to pass."

Thorir had no difficulty in getting into conversation with Oli, and in
reply to his questions about the conditions in Norway, he told how the
earl was so mighty a man that none durst speak but as he would. Yet
he admitted that many mighty men, yea, all the people, would be most
fain and eager to have a king for the land come of the blood of Harald

"Now when they had oft talked in this wise, Olaf bringeth to light
before Thorir his name and kin, and asked his rede, what he thought of
it, if Olaf should fare to Norway, whether the bonders would take him
for king. But Thorir egged him on full fast to the journey, and praised
him much and his prowess. So Olaf fell a-longing sorely to fare to the
land of his fathers: and he saileth from the west with five ships,
first to the South-Isles, and Thorir was in company with him."

So Olaf got back eventually to the kingdom of his fathers, and "when
he came north to Agdaness he heard that Earl Hakon was in the firth,
and withal that he was at strife with the bonders. And when Thorir
heard tell of these things, then were matters gone a far other way than
he had been deeming; for after the battle with the Jomsburg vikings
(notable pirates whose stronghold was in Pomerania) were all men of
Norway utterly friendly to Earl Hakon for the victory he had gotten,
and the deliverance of all the land from war; but now so ill had things
turned out that here was the earl at strife with the bonders, and a
great lord come into the land."

There was a man named Worm Lyrgia, a wealthy bonder, and he had to wife
one who was known as the Sun of Lund, where her father dwelt; she was
the fairest among women. Thralls came from the Earl of Ladir to carry
her away by force, but Worm (despite his name) was a man of spirit and
fire. He "let the war-arrow fare four ways through the countryside with
this bidding withal, that all men should fall with weapons on Earl
Hakon to slay him." This incident, which was far from being an isolated
case, proved very unfortunate for the government of the earl; in fact,
he soon became a fugitive with a single thrall, named Kark.

"Then he arose, and they went to the stead of Rimul, and the earl
sent Kark to Thora, bidding her come privily to him. So did she, and
welcomed the earl kindly, and he prayed her to hide him for certain
nights till the gathering of the bonders went to pieces. Said she:
'They will be seeking thee here about my stead both within and without;
for many wot that I would fain help thee all I may, but one place there
is about my stead where I deem that I would not think of seeking for
such a man as thou, a certain swine-sty to wit.'

"So they went thither: and the earl said: 'Make we ready here; for we
must take heed to our lives first of all.' Then dug the thrall a deep
hole therein, and bore away the mould, and then laid wood over it.
Thora told the earl the tidings how Olaf Tryggvison was come into the
mouth of the firth, and had slain Erland his son.

"Then went the earl into the hole and Kark with him, and Thora did it
over with wood, and strawed over it mould and muck and drave the swine
thereover. And this swine-sty was under a certain big stone."

So the bonders and Olaf fell straightway into good friendship, and the
son of Tryggvi ascended the throne of his fathers. He was one of the
greatest of the kings of the Norse, superior in many respects to his
namesake, who is distinguished as the saint. The chief secret of his
power is opened to us by the following passage from the _Faereyinga
Saga_, for popularity in the viking age was gained by much the same
qualities that secure it in an English Public School to-day. "Once in
the spring King Olaf said to Sigmund. 'We will amuse ourselves to-day,
and prove our feats of skill.' 'I am not the man for that, lord,'
said Sigmund, 'but thou shalt have thy way in this as in all other
things that are in my hands.' Then they tried their might in swimming
and shooting and other feats of skill and strength, and men say that
Sigmund came very nigh the king in many feats, albeit he came short of
him in all, as did every other man that was then living in Norway."

To return to the swine-sty in the _Heimskringla_. Olaf came to seek
the earl at Thora's stead as she had said he would. Then he "held a
House-Thing out in the garth, and himself stood up on that same big
stone that was beside the swine-sty.

"There spake Olaf to his men, and some deal of his speaking was that he
would with wealth and worth further him who should bring Earl Hakon to

"Now this talk heard the earl, and Kark, and they had a light there
with them; and the earl said: 'Why art thou so pale, or whiles as black
as earth? Is it not so that thou wilt bewray me?'

"'Nay,' said Kark.

"'We were born both on one and the same night, said the earl, 'nor
shall we be far apart in our deaths.

"Then fared King Olaf away as the eve came on, but in the night the
earl kept himself waking, but Kark slept and went on evilly in his
sleep. Then the earl waked him and asked what he dreamed: and he said,
'I was e'en now at Ladir and King Olaf laid a gold necklace on the neck
of me.'

"The earl answered: 'A blood-red necklace shall Olaf do about thy neck
whenso ye meet. See thou to it; but from me shalt thou have but good
even as hath been aforetime; so bewray me not.'

"So thereafter they both waked, as men waking one over the other.

"But against the daybreak the earl fell asleep, and speedily his sleep
waxed troubled, till to such a pitch it came that he drew under him
his heels and his head as if he would rise up, and cried out high and

"Then waxed Kark adrad and full of horror, and gripped a big knife from
out his belt, and thrust it through the earl's throat and sheared it
right out. That was the bane of Earl Hakon.

"Then Kark cut the head from the earl, and ran away thence with it;
and he came the next day to Ladir, and brought the earl's head to King
Olaf, and told him all these things that had befallen in the going of
him and Earl Hakon, even as is here written.

"Then let King Olaf lead him away thence, and smite the head from him."

At Ladir thereafter King Olaf made a feast and bade to it lords and
other great bonders. "But when the feast was arrayed, and the guests
were come, the first eve was the feast full fair and the cheer most
glorious, and men were very drunk; and that night slept all men in
peace there.

"But on the morrow morn when the king was clad he let sing mass before
him, and when the mass was ended the king let blow for a House-Thing.
And all his men went from the ships" (a "goodly host and great" of
them were laid in the Nid) "therewith, and came to the Thing. But
when the Thing was established the king stood up and spake in these
words: 'A Thing we held up at Frosta, and thereat I bade the bonders
be christened; and they bade me back again turn me to offering with
them.... But look ye, if I turn me to offering with you, then will I
make the greatest blood-offering that is, and will offer up men; yea,
and neither will I choose hereto thralls and evil-doers; but rather
will I choose gifts for the gods the noblest of men.'"

He proceeded to name some of the chief men present. This was a
convincing argument, and when the bonders saw that they lacked might to
meet the king, they professed their willingness to trow in the faith of
the White Christ. And at Ladir, on the site of the Godhouse, the king
let build a church. A Romanesque doorway about a century later than
his time still exists in the south wall of the chancel, under which is
a crypt; but the present church is a very plain plastered structure,
dated 1694; a porch was added in 1767.

Close by, in the year 996, King Olaf Tryggvison raised a city on Nid
bank. He chose a site at the very mouth, almost surrounded by the
stream, and he desired that his town should be such as he had seen
in Christian lands. He would that the Norse should resemble other
Europeans, should trow in Christ and dwell in towns and grow rich by
trade. The new settlement was known as Nidaros, because it was at the
mouth of the Nid, or else as Kaupstad, because it was a merchants'
town. But during the sixteenth century it was called as we know it
to-day, taking its name from the district round. At first it did not
prosper, for though Olaf Tryggvison gave men tofts whereon to build
them houses, they did not want a town, nor aught but their farms and
their ships.

But when the holy bones of another Olaf, martyr and king and saint,
were there enshrined and over them sprang the tall vaulting of
Scandinavia's fairest church, pilgrims and trade and prosperity
resorted to the mouth of the Nid.

Little of the saint was in Olaf Haraldson during his earlier years. The
first story of him in the sagas displays him as a mischievous boy. "On
a time it befell that King Sigurd would ride away from his house, and
no man was home at the stead; so he bade Olaf, his stepson, to saddle
him a horse. Olaf went to the goat-house, and took there the biggest
buck-goat and led it home, and laid thereon the saddle of the king, and
then went and told him he had harnessed him the nag."

A renowned viking he became, whose deeds men talked about in all the
lands from Sweden to the British Isles. But as King of Norway he would
have no peace but with believers in the White Christ. Perhaps his
methods lacked charity and tact, and his temper lacked control, that
he was wealth-grasping, the sagas distinctly say, but he was truly
of a religious frame and in comparison with his faith he counted not
anything dear.

At the time when he was establishing his power the city that Olaf
Tryggvison had founded on Nid-bank was already in decay. King Olaf the
Saint, we read in the _Heimskringla_ "gat him gone at his speediest
and held out to Nidoyce, where King Olaf Tryggvison had let set a
cheaping-stead and reared a king's-house; but before that there was
only one house in Nidness, as is writ before. But when King Eric became
ruler of the land, he favoured Ladir, where his father had had his
chief abode, but he left unheeded the houses which King Olaf had let
build on the Nid; and some were now tumbled down, while othersome,
though standing, were scarce meet for dwelling in. King Olaf steered
his ships up into the Nid; and forthwith he let dight for dwelling the
houses yet standing, and reared those up again which were fallen down,
and had thereat a throng of men; and he let flit into the houses both
the drink and the victuals, being minded to sit there Yule-tide over."

Thrandheim "he deemed was all the pith of the land" (and thither he
fared at his speediest), "if he might there bring the folk down under
him while the earl was away from the land. But when King Olaf came
to Thrandheim, then was no uprising against him there, and there he
was taken to king; and he set him down there in the harvest-tide at
Nidoyce, and there dight him winter-quarters. He let house a king's
garth, and reared Clement's Church there whereas it now standeth. He
marked out tofts for garths, and gave them to goodmen, and chapmen, or
to any others he would, and who were minded to house. He sat there with
many men about him, for he trusted the Thrandheimer's good faith but
little, if so be the earl should come back to the land."

A few chapters further on the court of the king is described.... "King
Olaf let house a king's garth at Nidoyce. There was done a big court
hall with a door at either end, but the high-seat of the king was in
the midmost of the hall. Up from him sat Grimkel, his court-bishop,
and next to him again other clerks of his; but down from the king sat
his counsellors. In the other high-seat straight over against him sat
his marshal, Biorn the Thick, and then the guests. If men of high
degree came to King Olaf, they were well seated.... Withal he had
thirty house-carles to work all needful service in the garth, and at
whatso ingatherings were needful; he had many thralls withal. In the
garth also was a mickle hall, wherein slept the bodyguard, and there
was withal a mickle chamber wherein the king held his court councils."

His canonisation came to pass thus. His vigorous propaganda on behalf
of the true faith was by no means universally approved in Norway, and
he had to take refuge in Russia (p. 231). Thence he returned to recover
his kingdom, but even in almost desperate straits he would be succoured
by none other than Christian men. One Arnliot Gellini offered his
services and the king asked at once of his faith. "But he said this of
his troth, that he trowed in his might and main. 'And that belief has
served me full well hitherto; but now I am minded to trow in thee, O

"The king answered: 'If thou wilt trow in me, then thou shalt believe
in what I teach thee. Thou shalt believe this, that Jesus Christ has
created heaven and earth and all men, and that to him shall fare after
death all those who are good, and who believe aright.'

"Arnliot answered: 'I have heard tell of the White Christ, but I am not
well learned in his doings, nor where he ruleth; so I will now believe
all that thou hast to tell me, and I will leave all my matter in thy

"Then Arnliot was christened, and the king taught him as much of the
faith as he deemed was most needful, and arrayed him to the vanward
battle-array, and before his own banner."

On the field of Sticklestead, a few miles from Trondhjem, Olaf fell in
fight against foes who were supported by English gold, for Knut the
Rich, though a Christian himself, was planning a vast Empire of the
North, and his political zeal was stronger than his enthusiasm for the
holy faith (p. 115). His viceroy in Norway was one Hakon, the last of
the stout Earls of Ladir, to whom he gave a court-bishop named Sigurd,
a Dane. "That Bishop was a man masterful, and pompous of speech;
he gave King Knut all the word-propping he might, and was the most
unfriend of King Olaf."

The Christian host went down before the troops whose faith was mixed,
and after various adventures, the body of the king was buried at
Nidaros, or Trondhjem, in Clement's Church, which he had built. "That
winter uphove the word of many men there in Thrandheim[32] that King
Olaf was a truly holy man, and that many tokens befell at his holy
relic. And then many began to make vows to King Olaf about those
matters whereon they had set their hearts. From such vows many folk got
bettering." "Next summer there grew up mickle talk about the holiness
of King Olaf, and all word-rumour about the king was changed."

When Grimkel the bishop caused the chest of the king to be opened there
was glorious fragrance, and when the face was exposed the lips were as
ruddy as if Olaf had just gone to sleep. And so by degrees, as miracles
increased, and old sharp feelings wore away, Olaf became the patron
saint of all the Norse; Churches were raised to him in many lands,
including a fair sprinkling in English seaports from Exeter to York.

The Cathedral that rose to enshrine the relics of St. Olaf would be a
striking feature of any city in the world, and it completely dominates
this far northern, low-roofed town. Both from far off and near it is
a Church of very English type, and it stands in a regular close amid
fair trees and grass. The vegetation indeed seems more to suit the
English south than a spot not far outside the Arctic Circle. It forms
an impressive illustration of the influence that the warm currents of
ocean exert upon westward looking shores. For the opposite point of
America is north of Labrador.

It has been in the hands of restorers for about the same time that
the temple was in the hands of builders, and very amply fulfilled is
Du Chaillu's prophecy that it would lose the quaint old look so much
esteemed by the lovers of antiquity (p. 223). Much as some cry out
against the restorer in England, that country is far ahead of the
Continent both in reverence for the work of the past and in making
serious efforts rather to bind up what is broken down than merely to
present facsimiles of it to posterity. Trondhjem Cathedral has been
rebuilt rather than restored, though Mr. Christie, the architect, has
strictly followed the ancient lines. Sarcastic people might say that he
has given us a building which ranks high among modern churches!

Shortly before the earliest part of the Cathedral was built, Nidaros
became the seat of an Archbishop whose metropolitan jurisdiction
extended further than did that of any bishopric before. In 1151 Nicolas
Breakspear, once it is said a beggar at St. Alban's, afterwards the
only English pope,[33] came to set in order the affairs of the Northern
Church. He arranged for the formation of a province that should
include all Christians of Norwegian stock. The other sees in Norway
(Bergen, Stavanger, Oslo (p. 95) and Hamar) were placed under the
supervision of the Primate of Nidaros. Far over the sea his authority
was likewise known, by bishops midst the British Isles, of Kirkwall
in Orkney and of Sodor (or the Southern Isles[34]) and Man, by the
Bishop of the Faroes, whose cathedral was at Kirkebö (p. 23), by the
twin Bishops of Skalholt and Holar in Iceland and even by the first of
American prelates, he who sat at Garth (or Garde) in Greenland[35] far
away, knowing not that he lived in a different quarter of the world.

Trondhjem Cathedral is a great cruciform church about 325 feet long,
whose nave and quire are aisled, and the western towers project north
and south to widen the great façade: at the east end of the quire is an
octagonal corona, and on the northern side, joined only by a passage,
is the apsidal Church of St. Clement, recalling the position of the
Lady Chapel at Ely. It is built of blue-grey saponite, a local stone
easy to work, varied with marble from the island of Almenningen.

The oldest part is the transept which was raised by the great
Archbishop Eystein. He was the foe of Sverre Sigurdsson, the
knight-errant king, who in his youth had been ordained, still ignorant
of his royal birth. In 1180 at a battle near Nidaros he contrived to
establish his power and the archbishop fled to St. Edmundsbury in
England, launching as a Scythian dart against the recreant priest a
sentence of the excommunication of the Church. When no one seemed
in the least impressed, and the king's power was waxing fast, the
archbishop became more prudent. Making his peace with Sverre he
returned to Nidaros and found less strenuous occupation in building his
cathedral. He died in 1188, and the king gave his funeral address.

Each transept has the usual three storeys with corner turrets and a
square chapel opening on the east. They are rich in shafts and arcading
with plentiful zigzag moulding, and they are really striking examples
of the style that the Normans brought to England. The upper parts
display a certain restiveness to commence the development of later
forms. The present tower arches are modern.

Not much later than the transepts is the little chapel of St. Clement,
sometimes called the Lady Chapel and sometimes the Chapter House. Its
nave is vaulted in two bays and flanked by western turrets; the roof
of the apse is sustained by four clustered pillars bearing pointed

The quire and nave and octagonal corona are fairly uniform in style but
surprisingly otherwise in plan. They belong to that period of Gothic
architecture when lancets were just giving place to traceried windows,
and clustered shafts and foliage caps and deeply-moulded arches were
more beautiful than after or before. The works were in progress through
much of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and evidently dragged
on long. A bad fire gave a serious set-back in 1328. It is doubtful
whether the nave was ever done. It was begun as early as 1248 by
Archbishop Sigurd, son of one of the brave birkebeiner or birchlegs,
who had helped King Sverre to his throne.

The builders of each part seem to have been profoundly unconscious of
what their colleagues elsewhere had been about. For they were working
on the foundations of three little older churches. St. Clement's was
built originally by St. Olaf himself, his son Magnus the Good raised a
church over his later grave where now the corona stands, a stone church
of St. Mary was erected by Harald Hardredy (p. 95) on the site of the
quire.[36] Most awkwardly St. Clement's joins the rest of the church;
the beautiful aisle-encircled corona declines to meet the quire at any
understandable angle, the walls and pillars of the quire itself trend
apart on either side toward the east.[37] See plan opposite p. 246.

                                                          [_Face page 86_

Over the great central tower, which long was cut off by a low metal
roof, have been raised a tall spire of wood and four pinnacles of
stone. It is largely this lofty steeple in the centre that gives the
Cathedral so English a look. The magnificence of this fair church
is all the more striking when one realises that, with a few most
unimportant exceptions, it is the furthest north of all the buildings
of the middle ages. Yet its equal is not to be found in any part of
Europe further south, till the latitude of Glasgow is reached.

The most striking feature of Trondhjem to-day is that so large and
thriving a town should be almost wholly of wood, even in the business
section and including the vast palace of the king. In 1872 the city
seemed to Du Chaillu (p. 223) singularly cheerless from the large
sections that had been burnt and not rebuilt, while grass grew in many
of the streets. Things are very different to-day. The thoroughfares
are broad and straight, most of them pleasantly fringed with trees,
and there is all the character of a prosperous, substantial town. A
few wooden buildings are two centuries old, for instance the vane of
the Raadhus is dated 1710 and that of the Hospitals Kirken[38] 1704,
but these do not in the very least affect the general character of the
place, and the aspect of the streets as a whole is as modern as well
could be. The Cathedral quarter by a river bend seems to exhale a quite
different atmosphere from the whole of the rest of the town. It is
almost as though an English close had invaded an American city.

Near the white square tower of the Frue Kirke (dated 1739) is a wide
open space where on market-days stalls are erected and country and town
deal directly with each other in those picturesque surroundings that
are so largely the same all over the north of Europe. The harness of
the horses looks primitive, and all the weight is on the shafts, but
they race along like the wind, and when a destination is reached, the
owner needs to do no more than to slip round the front foot of his
beast a long strap attached to the carriage. Little of the Norwegian
costume that is so attractive a feature of the fjord villages is to be
seen in the city; the general life of towns is becoming distressingly
the same all over the Western world. The atmosphere is, however,
distinctly Norse by the quays, where the fish boats come in and large
barrels of their catchings are rolled about, and also where high wooden
warehouses, not entirely without picturesqueness, fringe the shores of
the Nid and exhale a smell of fish and tar.

The days of Danish supremacy are recalled on a hill just east of
the Cathedral on the other side of the river by the picturesque old
Fortress of Christiansten, which dates from the seventeenth century,
and displays rubble stone walls surmounted by grassy slopes and
penetrated by brick-vaulted passages and rooms. This period and this
district of Norway were chosen by Victor Hugo when writing his first
romance, _Han d'Islande_, which he published anonymously in 1823. The
scene is, however, laid chiefly in Munkholm, a small rocky island which
rises out of the waters of the fjord immediately opposite the town. In
very earliest days of Christianity in Norway a Benedictine cloister was
reared there, and for half a thousand years the monks remained, but
little beyond the name survives to indicate their occupation to-day.
Fortifications have long existed where the psalter was chanted in days
of yore.

Victor Hugo himself explains the object of the work: "I wished to
describe a girl who might realise the ideal of all fresh and poetic
imagination, the girl of my dreams ... you, Adèle, my beloved....
And beside her I wanted to set a young man, not such as I am but
such as I would wish to be." He has certainly succeeded so far that
his characters are entirely French, and he seems rather to have made
a mistake in placing the scene so far from France. The nightmare,
gruesome character of the book is bloodcurdling enough, but decidedly
overdone, and though the work is very well worth reading as the early
effort of one of the greatest of writers, it contributes little to his
fame and still less, perhaps to the interest of a visit to Trondhjem.
The local colour is extremely poor, a fact that is hardly surprising
when it is remembered that the author had never visited Norway.

The hills stand about Trondhjem, as indeed about all other Norway
towns; some of them display, five hundred feet above the sea, marks
of former beaches where waves lapped cliffs unnumbered years ago,
before the movements of the globe had raised the land so high. And
from places within an easy walk of the city, there is a magnificent
panorama, westward over hills riven in all directions by the jagged
edged sea, and eastward to the snowy mountains of the Kiolen range
that form the frontier of Sweden. Superbly beautiful at all times is
the prospect of wooded hill and inland sea, particularly when seen
in softer outline as the long Arctic twilight gradually gives place
to the paler illumination of the moon, and little lights begin to
sparkle over land and sea. But even in such dreamy conditions the city,
beautiful from its verdure and striking from its position, declines
to look like a mediæval or even a historic town. Though for more than
a thousand years the landscape below has been the scene of the varied
activities of mankind, and from it has gone out power by which the
life of half Europe has been quickened, even yet there is rather the
restless atmosphere of new settlements in a country still only half
subdued, than that of quiet peace and sense of satisfied repose, such
as broods over an ancient Italian seaport, where every corner has been
transformed by untold generations of man and centuries ago even the
rough hill-sides were terraced to enlarge his domain.

Some three miles from the city, amid pine forests of perpetual shade,
the River Nid plunges over hard dark blue rocks to form the Lerfos
Falls. Most Norwegian cascades are chiefly spray, and by their great
resemblance to bridal veils are associated with the happiest events in
the lives of most of us. But these are more business-like waterfalls,
which are not left in peace by mankind. The Lower Fall, or Lille
Lerfos, is a rather average sort of thing: in a broad open place where
much naked rock is exposed the water of the stream plunges over a sort
of stairway to descend abruptly for nearly eighty feet, and the effect
is not improved by various works in cement. A path along the wooded
river bank leads to the Upper Fall, or Store Lerfos, which is one of
the most beautiful anywhere to be seen. The stream leaps down a hundred
feet, and both high and low the surging mass of whitened waters is
cleft by tree-bearing rocks, while mist-like foam spreads far and wide.

Europe has cathedrals statelier than that of Trondhjem and mediæval
cities of greater intrinsic charm, but the interest of nearly
everything is affected chiefly by its position, and it is startling
indeed among the wildness of the northern fjords to come upon this
history-haunted spot, to see this fair cathedral rising from the trees
and grass of so English-looking a close. And in the long-drawn aisles
of the ancient Metropolitan Church it is strange to reflect that the
saint who was here enshrined in one of the stateliest of Gothic fanes
was the doughty Olaf the Thick, famed in life for his wild viking
career, who knew the craft of the bow, and of all men was the best in
shooting of hand-shot, who was but twelve winters old when he first
stepped on a warship to begin the harrying and burning in which so
much of his life was spent! And as the bright sunlight streams through
the lancet windows to illuminate and shade chaste arcading and hanging
foliage carved in stone, with the deep mouldings of arch and vault,
it is difficult indeed to realise that one is hardly more than three
degrees outside the Arctic Line.[39]




  And now to all the brave ones here,
    And to the maids that love us--
  To men who never knew a fear,
    Maids pure as saints above us.
  The Norway maidens! fill on high--
  The Norsemen, brave to do and die!
  And shame to him who passes by
    The pledge to Love and Freedom.
                      _For Norge_, translated by LADY WILDE.

Cleaving the Skager Rak from the Cattegat the small peninsula of
Jutland projects far into the large gulf by which the Scandinavian
mountain mass is riven on the south. And at the head of the gulf a
lovely island-dotted fjord penetrates far among the hills that encircle
the long and narrow Norway Lakes.

The shores of the fjord are rocky, in places eaten into cliffs, pines
cover all the slopes from which they are not cleared. Just here and
there distant mountains of more jagged outline overtop the lower hills.
For some miles the seaway is narrow, but it broadens out again before
the end is reached. Less wild and rugged, less grand and awesome, than
the high-walled fjords that cut into the western coast, but not less
beautiful in some respects.

By many coves the sea runs in among the woods, and during saga days
here lived sea-kings who never slept under sooty roof-tree, nor ever
drank in hearth ingle. Into one of the arms of the branching fjord,
the water then called Drafn and now known as Drammensfjord, hove Olaf
the Thick, the Holy, with his host in 1028, for he had heard that Knut
the Rich, England's all-wielder, was close upon his heels. Knut was
planning a great Norse Empire; he had made himself master of Norway,
and held Things in every folk-land that he reached. Olaf could not meet
him in warfare, but he held him in Drafn water in safety till he heard
that Knut was gone south into Denmark, and then he fared forth, only to
find that for the time at least the land was beguiled from under him.

A few miles from the arm of the sea that had sheltered St. Olaf another
saint was born, related to himself, Hallward, a worthy merchant of
those parts, who got his bane while trying to protect a woman who was
being attacked by men. Him Harald Hardredy, the same who met his end
at Stamford Bridge in 1066, chose to be the patron saint of the new
southern town which he founded to rival the capital far north.

In the _Heimskringla_ we read how "King Harald let rear a
cheaping-stead east in Oslo, and sat there often; whereas it was good
there for the ingathering of victual, with wide countrysides all round
about. There he sat well for the warding of the land against the Danes
no less than for onsets at Denmark, which he was often wont to, though
he might have no great host out."[40]

After his death we learn that "it was the talk of all men that King
Harald had been beyond other men in wisdom and deft rede, no matter
whether he should take swiftly, or do longsome, a rede for himself or
others.... King Harald was a goodly man, and noble to behold; bleak
haired and bleak bearded, his lipbeard long; one eyebrow somewhat
higher than the other; large hands and feet, yet either shapely waxen;
five ells was the tale of his stature. To his unfriends was he grim and
vengeful for aught done against him."[41]

To this appreciation we may add that Harald was no bad judge of the
best site for a town; for with the rocky forest-covered hills rising
all round, and the lake-like sea with its many islands gently rippling
in front, this capital has one of the best situations enjoyed by any
European town. Nothing but huge advantages of site and greater nearness
to the communications of the world could have reconciled Norway to
her Government's abandoning the myriad associations of the far more
historic city in the North.

During the reign of Sigurd Jerusalem-farer (1121-1130) to Oslo came
from Ireland one Harald Gilli, who said he was a Norse king's son,
but he did not claim the kingdom for himself. And Sigurd said that
Harald should tread bars for his fatherhood, and that ordeal was deemed
somewhat hard, but still Harald yeasaid it.

"He fasted unto iron, and that ordeal was done, which is the greatest
that ever has been done in Norway, whereas nine glowing ploughshares
were laid down, and Harald walked them barefoot, and was led by two
bishops. Three days thereafter the ordeal was proven, and his feet were

"After that King Sigurd took kindly to the kinship of Harald, but
Magnus his son had much ill-will to him, and many lords turned after
him in the matter. King Sigurd trusted so much in his friendship with
all the folk of the land, that he bade this, that all should swear that
his son Magnus should be king after him; and he gat that oath sworn by
all the land's-folk.

"Harald Gilli was a tall man and slender of build, long-necked,
somewhat long-faced, black-eyed, dark of hair, quick and swift of gait,
and much wore the Irish raiment, being short-clad and light-clad. The
northern tongue was stiff for him, and he fumbled much over the words,
and many men had that for mockery. Harald sat on a time at the drink
with another man, and told tales from the west of Ireland; and this
was in his speech that in Ireland there were men so swift-foot that
no horse might catch them up at a gallop. Magnus, the king's son,
overheard that and said: 'Now is he lying again, as is his wont.'

"Harald answers: 'True is this, that,' says he, 'those men may be found
in Ireland whom no horse in Norway shall outrun.'

"On this they had some words and both were drunk. Then said Magnus:
'Now here shalt thou wager thine head, if thou run not as hard as I
ride my horse, but I will lay down against it my gold ring.'

"Harald answers: 'I say not that I run so hard, but I shall find those
men in Ireland who so will run, and on that may I wager.'

"Magnus, the king's son, answers: 'I shall not be faring to Ireland,
here shall we have the wager, and not there.'

"Harald then went to bed and would have nought more to do with him.
This was in Oslo.

"But the next morning when matins were over, Magnus rode up unto the
highway and sent word to Harald to come thither; and when he came he
was so dight that he had on a shirt and breeches with footsole bands, a
short cloak, an Irish hat on his head, and a spear-shaft in hand.

"Now Magnus marked out the run. Harald says: 'Overlong art thou minded
to have the run.' Magnus forthwith marked it off much longer and said
that even so it was over-short.

"There were many folk thereby. Then took they to the running, and
Harald ever kept at the withers.

"But when they came to the end of the run, said Magnus: 'Thou holdest
by the girth, and the horse drew thee.' Magnus had a Gautland horse
full swift. They took again another run back, and then Harald ran all
the course before the horse. And when they came to the end of the run,
Harald asked: 'Held I by the girth now?' Magnus answers: 'Thou didst
take off first.'

[Illustration: GAMLA UPSALA

Details of Runic Stone and Plan of old Cathedral]     [_Face page 99_

"Then Magnus let the horse breathe a while; and when he was ready, he
smote the horse with his spurs, and he came swiftly to the gallop. Then
Harald stood still, and Magnus looked back and called: 'Run now,' says
he. Then Harald swiftly overran the horse, and far ahead, and so to the
run's end; and came home so much the first, that he laid him down, and
sprang up and hailed Magnus when he came."[42]

Oslo stood on the Akers Elv, and was chiefly on its eastern bank;
Oslo-havn still exists, by the mouth of the stream just eastward of the
railway-circled cape on which frowns the castle Akershus. Less than a
mile to the north, not far from the river's western shore, stands a
small twelfth century Romanesque structure that belonged to a suburb of
Oslo and is prosaically known to-day as Gamle Akers Kirke.[43]

Oslo was a great city, one of the chief centres of Norwegian trade,
and a bishop's stool stood in the church where Hallward's bones were
shrined. It also played an important part in history when the great
king, Hakon IV., of the Birch legs party (p. 85), overcame his domestic
enemies there at a great battle during 1240. He thus restored peace
to Norway, torn by the factions of a hundred years, and so widely did
his fame extend that St. Louis asked for his help against Saracens and
the pope for assistance against the emperor himself. But, feeling
more interest in matters nearer home, Hakon preferred to direct his
attention to joining Iceland to Norway (p. 54).

Old Oslo was, however, much damaged by fire and wasted by war when
about 1624 the illustrious Dane-Norway king, Christian IV., rebuilt the
city on a slightly more western site and called it by his own name. In
addition to his other accomplishments, which, as we shall see (p. 132)
were very great, this Christian was a brave soldier, and the song of
Ewald (d. 1781), "King Christian stood by the lofty mast" has become
a National Anthem of the Danes. He fully realised the great advantage
of having the Capital of Norway as near Copenhagen as he could.
Christiania was but a few days' sail, Trondhjem was almost in another

Of the new city's early days there still survive memorials in the
present rather picturesque seventeenth century buildings of the
peninsular castle of Akershus, in the old brick Raadhus with its
archway and arcaded gables, and also in the Stor Torv, or great
market-place, with its untented stalls round the statue of the Founder
of the Town under the high spired clock tower of Vor Frelsers Kirke,
which is dated 1696.

The general character of present-day Christiania was, however, given to
it during the early years of the nineteenth century when the city was
largely extended toward the west. Happily the early Gothic revival had
not reached Norway then, and the chief buildings are Classic, a style
that is vastly to be preferred to any other for buildings that are not
really among the best of their kind.

A decent, rather uninspiring town. Broad streets with trolley-trams.
Straight streets with shrubs and trees. Houses of brick or cement.
Numerous little open spaces are, without much imagination, devoted
to the cultivation of such vegetables as grass, elm, birch, willow,
lilac and poplar. Like Capetown, which in position it somewhat
resembles, Christiania depends for its beauty entirely on mountainous
surroundings, for there is little that is striking in the streets.

It is remarkable that in the capital of a country so extremely
democratic, that has swept its nobility into the mass of the commons,
by far the most conspicuous building should be the Palace of the King,
and that in the chief town of a land of such strong national feeling,
the main street should bear the name of one who gained the crown of
Norway only at the point of the sword.

Few classic structures in the world are more magnificently placed
than the palace: it stands high up, wide gardens stretch around, and
through them the great portico looks down along the broad, straight,
well-gardened, chief street of the town, called after Karl Johan.
Neither the architecture of the building nor the laying out of the
gardens is at all worthy of the superb position, but the effect
nevertheless is most striking. Were the Palace of Stockholm (p. 203)
placed here and the park laid out on the same lines as the gardens of
Versailles, the great central thoroughfare of the city being made a
wide boulevard to match, there might have risen on this spot one of the
most monumental and stately of all European cities. Unfortunately the
Palace was only erected in 1825-48--when architecture was at its lowest
ebb in every part of the western world--and neither material nor design
is good. Karl Johans Gade, at whose other end is the Hoved Banegaard,
or chief railway station, has gardens for a section of its length, but
for the most part it is unfortunately bordered by houses of brick and
stucco that rise straight from the pavements. Nevertheless the grandeur
of the encircling mountains obliterates all minor defects. In front of
the Palace, looking along the great street that bears his name, is a
statue to Karl Johan, better known to the world perhaps as Bernadotte,
Napoleon's marshal, who forgot his own country and his father's house,
to champion the liberties of the North, Scandinavian in all but speech.

Where end the gardens by the street of Karl Johan rises the
Storthings-Bygning, or the seat of a parliament, some of whose members
reside within the Arctic Line.

Across the same noble thoroughfare, nearer the Palace, stand face to
face the University, famed for many a distinguished name and also for
the possession of viking ships, and the National Theatre, renowned for
its connection with the great name of the dramatist whose appearance
was tersely summed up by Björnson:--

  Tense and lean, the colour of gypsum,
  Behind a vast coal-black beard, Henrik Ibsen.

to whom a statue rises in the grounds. His charming play the _Dolls
House_ (1879) was one of the first of his works to gain a reputation
through the world, while it started, or stirred, about woman and her
place a discussion whose end is not in sight, and also did very much to
naturalise all modern drama by abolishing such devices as soliloquies,
and attempting to set upon the stage what really happens in the

Well worth attention would be those very boats that first explored
the wild fjords of the storied North, that pushed their unwelcome
dragon-prows into every bay and broad river of Europe from end to end,
that caused even the great Charles to weep, that added a petition to
the Litany of the Church, that formed the navies on whose power were
built kingdoms in Sicily and Russia, in Normandy and amidst the British
Isles, that centuries before the days of Columbus sailed through
ice-laden seas to the well-favoured American shore. Here they are!
Put together with skill and preserved with care, they stand in sheds
that form part of the University Museum. That ships will be required
beyond the grave to sail on undiscovered seas is the simple opinion of
many unsophisticated branches of mankind. The Chinese send vessels to
the illustrious dead by burning them on earth. Probably with the same
idea the ancient Norse buried them in their barrows or howes. The ship
on which a viking had sailed in life became his coffin after death.
Thus simply does the _Heimskringla_ in the _Story of Hakon the Good_
describe such burials. "So King Hakon let take all the ships of Eric's
sons which had been beached, and let draw them up aland. There King
Hakon let lay Egil Woolsark in a ship, and all those of his folk with
him who were fallen, and let heap over them stones and earth. Then King
Hakon let set up yet more ships, and bear them to the field of battle;
and one may see the mounds to-day."[45]

Such a king's howe was heaped up long ago at Gogstad on Sandefjord,
where to-day is a prosperous little watering-place, hard by the
mouth of the seaway by which Christiania is gained. Here in 1880 a
well-preserved viking ship was brought to light and in due course
it was reverently deposited in the Museum of the University at the
Capital. Its lines are graceful and it is of very shallow draught. The
size is quite considerable, just seventy-eight feet from end to end.
It is framed with a heavy keel and rather light ribs; the planks are
extremely neatly cut and carefully riveted together with iron nails
and square washers. It must have possessed some suppleness, which was
probably an advantage in a stormy sea. The two ends are very much
alike, but by the stern is a steering-board, like a great oar, fixed
loosely on the side that we still know as the starboard.

Through the third plank from the top are pierced rowlocks and along the
gunwale are ranged the big-bossed shields by which the Northmen sought
to ward off blows. They are round, not large, and painted yellow and

Compared with those of Chinese junks or Arab dhows, the lines of the
viking vessel are strikingly modern in character: this is much less
surprising than it otherwise would be when it is recollected that the
Bronze Age sculptures on the Scandinavian rocks prove that boats of
considerable dimensions had been used by the ancestors of the builders
for something like a thousand years.

The dragon prow is no longer to be seen. Such features were clearly
detachable, for among the primitive laws and customs of Iceland it is
written: "This was the beginning of the heathen laws, that men must not
keep a ship at sea with a figure-head on; but if they have, then they
must take off the head before they come in sight of land, and not sail
to land with gaping heads and yawning jaws to frighten the spirits or
wights of the country."[46] Thoughtful precaution!

Near the centre of the boat are remains of the pine mast that rose from
a mortice in a log whose either end is fashioned after the pattern of
a fish's tail. The square sail, perhaps of painted wool, was hoisted
or lowered by a pulley. Aft of the mast in the centre is a log-built
house, whose timbers, both at the ends and those that on the sides lean
together to form the roof, fit into grooved beams, reminding one of the
construction of the stavekirkes. This deckhouse in all probability was
constructed to form the tomb.

A well-found boat, suited to the navigation of the fjords! But what
courage must have been required of those who sailed across the
stormiest of oceans in so frail a craft! Within the howe, but not
within the boat, twelve horses, six dogs and one peacock were buried
with their lord.[47]

The sun sets on the harbour over Bygdö, almost an island, yet not
quite. The famous Oscarshall is on its eastern shore. In the deep shade
of the woods there has been formed such an open air museum as all Norse
love, and hither have been collected ancient wooden buildings from
country villages and from isolated farms that give a good idea of some
aspects of the Norway of bygone years.

One of the buildings is of the kind called a _stabbur_, a common
adjunct to a prosperous farm. It formed a storehouse, which could
likewise be used for extra sleeping-rooms whenever there was need. In
the upper chamber, reached by a ladder, were preserved the initialled
chests in which each member of the family preserved his valuables, or
hers--clothes to a large extent. Thus each daughter had her trousseau
packed, ready for removal to her husband's home. In this room, too,
were kept blankets and tablecloths and things we store in linen closets

The room below, which is narrower, for the upper one projects to right
and left, was used for such things as grain bins and stores of food,
bacon or mutton or flour.[48] (For drawing see chapter-heading.)

The stavekirke was moved from Gol, a small village in Hallingdal
passed by the railway to Bergen.[49] It is an excellent example of a
mysterious form of Christian architecture that is confined to Norway,
nothing like it existing in any other part of Europe.

In a modern building surrounding a court is a small but very
interesting folk museum, divided into domestic, commercial and
ecclesiastical; it is dated 1898. A reredos carved in very high relief,
which displays Christ at the Last Supper gesticulating and delivering
an impassioned address to the Disciples, is at any rate unconventional
in treatment. Most of the domestic furniture, such things as beds,
chests, chairs and even jugs, is carved in soft wood. Many pieces are
dated, usually in the eighteenth century, but the collection begins
about the year 1500.

[Illustration: GREENSTED CHURCH]                     [_Face page 108_

So close against the hills the city stands that a short electric
railway lifts one in a few minutes from the streets to the heart of the
spruce woods that cover the rock sides of Hollmenkollen. Among granite
boulders and such wild flowers as Scotland knows, under the close shade
of the pines--the woods untouched, save here and there, as if miles
from a dwelling of man--one looks down on the streets of a city that
lies among the mountains and yet borders upon the rippling sea. Still
closer to the streets of Stockholm the forests come, but there the
hills stand back. In being both girdled by mountains and splashed by
the sea Christiania is almost alone among the capitals of the world.

Norway is almost always seen by visitors under summer skies, unless
it chances that they come for winter sports; it is well somewhat to
correct the impressions received by recalling Björnson's holding
description of his own country: "There is something in Nature here
which challenges whatever is extraordinary in us. Nature herself
here goes beyond all ordinary measure. We have night nearly all the
winter; we have day nearly all the summer, with the sun by day and by
night above the horizon. You have seen it at night half-veiled by the
mists from the sea; it often looks three, even four times larger than
usual. And then the play of colours on sky, sea and rock, from the
most glowing red to the softest and most delicate yellow and white.
And then the colours of the Northern Lights on the winter sky, with
their more suppressed kind of wild pictures, yet full of unrest and
for ever changing. Then the other wonders of Nature! These millions of
sea-birds, and the wandering processions of fish, stretching for miles!
These perpendicular cliffs that rise directly out of the sea! They are
not like other mountains, and the Atlantic roars round their feet. And
the ideas of the people are correspondingly unmeasured. Listen to their
legends and stories."



  Between fair fields the fjord
  With winding waters, snake-like,
  Creeps inward from the salt sea.
  Where viking hordes have harried,
  Fare peaceful folk to market.
  High tower the tall twin spires.
  Beneath, in silent splendour
  Lie the dead kings of Dane-realm.

This pleasant, quiet country town is named from its springs, referred
to in the last part of the word (p. 115). The uncertainty about the
first syllable has apparently led to the invention of a founder named
Roe, who seems to have so much in common with Port of Portsmouth and
King Cole of Colchester--that he never existed except to account for a

The atmosphere of a small cathedral city such as Trollope describes is
so peculiarly English that no one would expect to find it reproduced in
a foreign land. The association of nearly all Continental cathedrals
with houses and market-place makes the impression produced wholly
different from that of the grey towers and long roofs that appear over
the trees of an English Close.

But at least in the fact that the cathedral is almost the only object
of great interest, the centre of the whole district, the ancient
Danish capital resembles a small English city. The atmosphere of
farming and of pleasant country life, the general sense of repose, the
way in which the cathedral rises among gardens and flowers a short
distance away from the market-place, all do something to recall that
most typical cathedral city, the ancient capital of Sussex--while the
beautiful fretted fjord, bordered by low, sloping meadows, and the port
almost destitute of shipping save for the fishing boats, bear very
considerable resemblance to Chichester Harbour and Dell Quay. Knut the
Rich is associated with that English district too, his daughter is
buried in Bosham Church. He must have been frequently reminded while
there of the peaceful country round his Danish capital.

The story of Roskilde takes us pretty near the dawn of strictly Danish
history, when the country was closely linked in politics with the
British Isles.

At the present time, however, it is not so picturesque a city as
Copenhagen; there are but few old houses and only a single mediæval
church, that of St. Mary, has survived, in addition to the great
Cathedral of St. Lucius. Even the Raadhus, or Town Hall, in the very
ample market place, was rebuilt not long ago.

The founder of the Danish monarchy was Gorm the Old (p. 12); he first
united all the land. About 935 he was succeeded by Harald of the Blue
Tooth (Blaatand). Him the Holy Roman Emperor was to some extent able
to control and insisted on his becoming a Christian. Traditionally at
any rate he was the founder of Roskilde Cathedral, erecting a church
of staves where before no church had been. Men say, the _Heimskringla_
informs us, that Keisar Otto II. was the gossip of his son, Svein
Twibeard. So lightly, however, did Twibeard regard the solemn ceremony
of his baptism that, heading the pagan party, he flung his father from
the throne and began to reign himself about the year 985. More than
once he changed his creed, but it seems that he happened to be trowing
in the faith of the White Christ at the time of his unlamented death.
He it was who fought against Olaf Tryggvison in the famous Long Worm at
Svoldr, but he left when the fighting was of the sharpest and much folk
fell. Nevertheless his Norwegian ally, Earl Eric, who had a beaked ship
wondrous great, captured the Long Worm itself, when Olaf Tryggvison
leapt into the deep sea and was never heard of more.

While at war with Ethelred the Redeless in "England it betid there that
King Svein, the son of Harald, died suddenly anight in his bed; and it
is the say of Englishmen that Edmund the Holy did slay him after the
manner in which the holy Mercury slew Julian the Apostate."[50] He is
buried according to tradition under the Castle Hills at Gainsborough on
the Trent.

He had won a firm position on English soil, and notwithstanding the
victory of Ethelred the Redeless and St. Olaf at London Bridge, his
son, Knut the Rich, the Mighty, the Great--for so he is variously
called--eventually established his power both in England and Denmark.

Many a man has been improved by adversity, many spoiled by great
success. But, as Dr. Hodgkin points out,[51] two great characters
in history, Cæsar Augustus and Knut the Rich, vastly improved their
behaviour after realising their very highest flights of ambition. Each
was in a sense the founder of an empire, one of them the mightiest and
in influence the most enduring dominion that the earth has ever known,
the other was of the flimsiest and most ephemeral. Indeed it began to
crumble before the founder died. English communications were in those
early centuries mainly with the Scandinavian lands, by whose people
many parts of the British Isles had been settled, and that Knut's dream
of a great northern empire was never realised we have some cause for
regret. Far more promising schemes, however, would have been destroyed
by the two savages by whom he was succeeded. By Northmen speaking
French, under the great William, descendant of Rolf Wend-afoot, whom
no horse could bear, English foreign relations were suddenly changed
in 1066. Hitherto it had seemed likely England might form the focus of
a great dominion of the North, henceforth she was closely bound to the
central lands of Europe.

Had the empire of Knut the Rich been maintained its capital would
probably have been Roskilde from the convenience of its position, or
if the wealth and importance of England had made it desirable that the
chief city should be there, it would most likely have been drawn to
some place much nearer to Denmark than Winchester.

Knut's own associations with Roskilde were by no means uniformly
happy. Indeed it was there that he was guilty of one of the worst acts
in his career. In 1017 "King Knut rode up to Roiswell the day before
Michaelmas with a great following. Earl Wolf, his brother-in-law, had
arrayed a banquet for him. The earl gave him entertainment full noble,
but the king was unjoyous and scowling. The earl wrought many ways to
make him gleesome, but the king was short and few-spoken. The earl
bade him play at the chess, and that he yeasaid, so they got them a
chessboard and played. Earl Wolf was a man quick of word and unyielding
in all things; he was the mightiest man in Denmark next after King
Knut.... Now when they had been playing a while at the chess Earl Wolf
checked the king's knight. The king put his move back and bade him play
another. The earl got angry, cast down the table and went away. The
king said: 'Runnest thou away now, Wolf the Craven?' The earl turned
back in the door and said: 'Further would'st thou have run in the Holy
River if thou mightest have brought it about; nor didst thou call me
Wolf the Craven when I thrust in to the helping of thee when the Swedes
were beating you like hounds.'

"Therewith the earl went out and went to sleep, and a little afterwards
the king himself went to sleep.

"The next morning as the king clad himself he said to his foot-swain,
'Go thou to Earl Wolf,' says he, 'and slay him.' The swain went and was
away a while and came back. The king said: 'Didst thou slay the earl?'
'I did not slay him, for he had gone to Lucius' church.'

"There was a man hight Ivar the White, a Norwegian of kin. The king
said to Ivar: 'Go, and slay the earl.' Ivar went to the church and
up into the quire, and thrust a sword through the earl, and forthwith
Earl Wolf lost his life. Then went Ivar to the king and had his bloody
sword. Said the king: 'Slewest thou the earl?' 'I slew him,' says he.
The king said: 'Then thou hast well done.'

"But after the murder of the earl the monks let lock the church; but
the king sent men to the monks, bidding them to open the church and to
sing the Hours there, and they did even as the king bade. And when the
king came to the church he endowed it with great estates, so that they
made a wide countryside, and thereafter this stead arose greatly."

The harbour was an almost ideal one in those days, and Knut remained
there with a great host of ships all through harvest. He evidently felt
that the land given to the Cathedral of St. Lucius had quite atoned for
the crime. His life work was in one sense a failure. The fabric he had
reared fell down but much remained. As his latest biographer has said:
"The great movement that culminated in the subjection of Britain was
of vast importance for the North; it opened up new fields for western
influences; it brought the North into touch with Christian culture; it
rebuilt Scandinavian civilisation."[52]

Knut's nephew, called Svein Wolfson (or Estridsen), the son of the
murdered man, was King of Denmark from 1047 till 1076, and he did much
for history writing in the north by his conversations with his friend,
the famous chronicler, Canon Adam of Bremen.[53] His courtiers had once
become very drunk in the palace hall at Roskilde, and without much
delicacy they began discussing their master's want of bravery and lack
of skill or success in war. Such conversations are always overheard,
and in this case there was quite enough truth in the remarks to make
them excessively disagreeable to the king. He relieved his mind by
causing all the disputants to be killed while at church next day; then
he went to service himself. But an English monk named William, whom he
had made Bishop of Roskilde, like another Ambrose, sternly barred his
way, nor was he allowed to enter and attend the Eucharist till he had
humbly appeared in the garb of a penitent and craved the pardon of the
Church. A few days later he imitated Knut by granting to the see a vast
tract of land. It seems to have included the site of Copenhagen (p.


(1.) Passage to Episcopal Palace. (2.) Transept. (3.) Chapel of S.
Lawrence. (4.) Chapel of S. Brita. (5.5.) Porches. (6.) North-west
Tower, forming Chapel of S. Siegfrid. (7.) South-west Tower, forming
the Bethlehem Chapel.                             [_Face page 118_

During the eleventh century a stone church replaced Bluetooth's
building of logs. Knut the Holy, King of Denmark (1080-86), gave what
help he could. The fact that this structure was on the same site
as the present cathedral may help to account for the extraordinary
irregularities in setting out the extremely simple ground plan.

The church is almost wholly of brick, heavily buttressed and rather
German in appearance; it must have been still more so originally when
each bay of the aisles had a gable of its own. With its tall western
spires and little central flèche, it reminds one of the Cathedral at
Lübeck, but is a very much finer church. All the original parts were
erected during the thirteenth century, the builders working east to
west, delayed by fires in 1234 and 1284.[54]

A magnificent monument in the quire fitly commemorates the greatest of
all the honoured dead that rest within this simple and most impressive
church. On an altar-tomb of great beauty and well restored is the
canopied effigy of a lovely woman, who died in 1412. No student of
history can tread here unmoved. We are in the presence of the most
far-seeing of all the sovereigns of the North: the noble Margaret of
whom the great _Chronicle of Lübeck_ says, "When men saw the wisdom and
strength that were in this royal lady, wonder and fear filled their
hearts." She was a daughter of Waldemar Atterdag (p. 161), and had
married the King of Norway. "Great marvel it is to think that a lady,
who, when she began to govern for her son found a troubled kingdom, in
which she owned not money or credit enough to secure a meal without
the aid of friends, had made herself so feared and loved in the short
term of three months, that nothing in all the land was any longer
withheld from her."

By the Union of Calmar in 1397, she arranged the eternal federation
of the four Scandinavian realms on principles acceptable to all. One
King should reign, but each land should maintain its proper laws. The
Northlands realised the blessings of her rule, and all that she did was
so good that even her wretchedly unworthy successors took a century and
a quarter to undo her work.

Womanish, perhaps unworthy, yet by no means unprovoked, her mocking
insults to the captured Swedish King, Albert the Elder of Mecklenburg.
This carpet-bagger's German hirelings had been scattered by her troops,
and she dressed him in the garments of a fool with a tail of nineteen
yards in length depending from his cap. Natural but unnecessary return
for his offensive gifts of an apron and a long gown and a whetstone to
sharpen her needles!

To her memory (in part) are the beautiful miserere stalls on whose
canopies are Scripture scenes, set up in 1420 by Bishop Jens Andersen.
By her was fitted the Bethlehem Chapel under the south-west tower.

Strong, indeed, in life, but yet more strong in death, the appeal
of the great queen! Even now the world is a loser because the
Scandinavian realms are torn. Very truly spake a Swedish writer whom
Otté quotes, but does not name: "Death made an end of Queen Margaret's
life, but it could not make an end of her fame, which will endure
through all ages. Under her hands the three kingdoms enjoyed a degree
of strength and order to which they had long been strangers before her
time, and which neither of the three regained till long after her."

[Illustration: CATHEDRAL FROM NORTH-WEST]            [_Face page 122_

Other royal monuments are many here, but it need not be assumed that
the fairest of them mark the livers of the noblest and most useful
lives. Many of them are in the numerous chapels which have been added
beyond the aisles of this church from the fourteenth century to the
eighteenth. They alter the character of the building very much.[55]
Combined with the absence of any transept projection they make the plan
of the church look very confused.

Those who departed centuries ago are laid away with decency in vaults.
But in later days a far less seemly custom has grown up; the coffins
are merely ranged in rows upon the chapel floors. They seem to be at
rest when they are of marble or stone, and so, too, perhaps when of
solid metal, but most are only of oak, covered with black velvet. It is
almost impossible to dismiss the idea that the victims of some disaster
await the last solemn rites. There is something weirdly gruesome in
this vast Valhalla of the unburied dead. Abraham desired decorously to
bury his dead out of his sight, but the rulers of Denmark must for ever
merely lie in state. In ancient Egypt an empty coffin was sometimes
placed upon the table that the feasters might remember death. They who
say their prayers in this cathedral in the very presence of the dead
must surely learn that lesson with much more force. To kneel on the
same floor where coffins lie must be far more impressive than merely to
learn from storied urn and animated bust of those who sleep below.

Trondhjem Cathedral, the noblest of Scandinavian churches, is without
mediæval monuments, at Upsala there are few; this church is in very
truth the most historical building of the North. Several of the
monarchs that here rest bore rule over all the Norse. Saints of all
three kingdoms have here some part. To St. Brita is hallowed a chapel
on the north, to St. Siegfrid one under the northern tower. St. Olaf
(Danish Oluf) and St. Knut are among those whose effigies are painted
in the Chapel of Three Kings.

Few fences break up the wide fields that extend round the town to the
sea. Cattle are invariably tethered, pasture is valuable, and none of
it must be trampled down. Sprinkled about are white farmhouses covered
with tiles or with thatch. Many small-holders have purchased their land
with money borrowed from the State. Sir Rider Haggard[56] has recently
described their condition, and pointed out what England may learn.

Denmark is, or rather has been, so progressively indifferent to the
past that but few old buildings still adorn her open fields. When it
was considered necessary for a self-respecting Scandinavian nation to
establish an open-air museum,[57] the needful old farm buildings had
to be brought from parts of old Denmark that are now either Swedish or
German. Nothing had escaped rebuilding on strictly Danish soil.

At first sight Danish farming looks rough, thistles may not seldom
be seen growing luxuriantly among the oats. Danish landscapes indeed
frequently look rather more American than European with something
of that ungroomed appearance and absence of hedges that is so
characteristic of a new country. In purely dairy farming, none the
less, Danes practically lead the world, and that despite their poor
soil and the need for sheltering stock from the rigours of a long
winter. Though about a hundred and seventy-four of them live on each
square mile, they manage to send away food that they do not need to the
value of about twenty millions sterling every year.

Age-long the connection between this pleasant land and the British
Isles. Roskilde and Winchester were twin capitals of the middle
empire of which England formed a part, after the legions of Rome had
departed, before the British had built a dominion in the world for
themselves. Nor is the impression the Danes left on England by any
means worn away. A Danish resident in Middlesbrough, taking a walk
with an English friend over the Cleveland Moors, found himself able to
understand the dialect of the folk of those wild hills, while their own
countryman could not.

Political links with Denmark are to-day centred mainly in the relations
of kings and queens. But the great smoky cities of the United Kingdom
have their chief source of the necessaries of life in this quiet and
green countryside.




  Dumb was the sea, and if the beech-woods stirred,
  'Twas with the nesting of the grey-winged bird
  Midst its thick leaves....
    Great things he suffered, great delights he had,
  Unto great kings he gave good deeds for bad;
  He ruled o'er kingdoms where his name no more
  Is had in memory, and on many a shore
  He left his sweat and blood to win a name
  Passing the bounds of earthly creatures' fame.
                       _Ogier the Dane_, by WILLIAM MORRIS.

Though the capital of an Empire which spreads from the Tropics to
the near vicinity of the Northern Pole,[58] and by far the largest
of Scandinavian cities, Copenhagen is yet so placed that many of her
citizens look from their own windows over foreign soil. The capital
is almost at the very eastern point of the wide-flung yet restricted
dominions of Denmark.

A flight of but a dozen miles would carry an aeroplane on to Swedish
soil; only twice that distance off is the University city of Lund, so
famous in the annals of the Northern Church and so long on Danish soil.

Copenhagen is a very pleasant town, and almost all its chief buildings
exemplify the architectural ideals of the Renaissance. Street upon
street of houses, white stucco or red brick, adorned with pilaster and
pediment and cornice, covered with tall pantiled roofs; many bearing
the dates of their birth-years two or three centuries ago; these give
the capital an old-world, most attractive look, a picturesqueness that
is sternly denied to most so modern towns. Steeples of character to
match, frequently tower above the roofs, while very constant parks and
squares, long avenues of broad-leafed trees and cool-looking fountains,
some of them real works of art, do much to make this town a very
delightful place.

Canals, somewhat numerous open-air markets and innumerable cafés,
whose tables and chairs under trees or awnings encroach on the
broad pavements, make the Danish metropolis a rather characteristic
Continental town. In some ways, perhaps, it has less individuality
than the other capitals of the Northlands. Less romantically situated,
much larger, far easier to reach from more southern parts, it has much
of the bright boulevard atmosphere of Paris. Tivoli Park and the cafés,
with many other like attractions, draw crowds of visitors, not only
from every part of the small kingdom, but also from the very prosperous
section of Sweden across the Sound, which was Danish till 1658, and has
by no means lost its affection for the city that it knew as the capital
of old.

Copenhagen is an epitome of Denmark herself, the prosperous metropolis
of an extremely industrious and well-ordered community that likes
to be amused. There is but little rotten in the state of Denmark
to-day. Though fallen from possessing the widest empire of the north
to the limits of a mere province, she yet thrills with vigorous life,
an object lesson on many points that no land can afford to ignore.
Copenhagen is not really very unlike a large German town, though the
Danes are not pleased to be told so, and it lacks the numerous uniforms
and those minute and detailed regulations for the welfare and good
order of the population that so characterise the Fatherland itself.
Magnificently equipped with boulevards, palaces and parks, cut through
by fine waterways and roadways, the city rather strangely lacks any
conspicuous central point. The Danes boast that their large buildings
are schools, while those of England are factories and those of Germany
barracks, but the headquarters of one of the chief Universities of
earth possess little architectural splendour. The view of the city from
the deck of an approaching steamer is not particularly impressive;
nothing except a few steeples rises above the general line of the

Life is lived in the Danish capital. Some of the numerous bright
restaurants do not close their doors till 3 a.m., and there is much
of the all-night activity that is the unrestful pride of many of the
cities of America. To-morrow blends with to-day; some citizens have not
reached their beds while others are starting on the activities of next
morning. But happily this unquiet atmosphere does not seem to penetrate
individuals. The Copenhagener does not desire to be for ever talking
about his hustling town.

While so much that is of the old world still survives in Copenhagen,
it is on the whole an intensely modern town, rather dominated by its
stretches of asphalt and trolley-trams and ever growing lines of flats.
A really magnificent feature, by the chief square next the Tivoli Park,
emblematic of the soaring ambition of the place, is the new Raadhus or
City Hall. Built in 1894, it is a beautiful specimen of Renaissance
architecture in brick, raising a tall spire toward heaven, enclosing a
couple of courts, one of them an open garden with a fountain in the
centre, the other cloistered and roofed with glass. The adornments are
very pleasing, appropriate to the style and use, tile mosaic of fish
and bird, tree designs in relief or stencilling over the walls. The
upper portions may be gained by a lift that never stops; on one side
the cars are always going up and on the other down.

The site of the city, like its name, Copenhagen or merchants' harbour,
is not romantic, though extremely convenient for travel and trade. It
looks straight over the Sound to Sweden and the entrance to the Baltic;
the arm of the sea that divides Zealand from the small island of Amager
(p. 143) also penetrates the town and adds to the water-front available
for wharves. It was on a little backwater of this channel that in the
twelfth century Bishop Axel (Absalon) raised on Church lands a castle,
which was called by his own name, to protect the merchants from the
pirates infesting the Sound.[59] Little he suspected that round it
would grow up a town to supplant his cathedral city.

Copenhagen was made the capital in 1443 by Christopher, the Bavarian,
just after he had been recognised as King in Sweden and Norway as well
as in Denmark itself. He was not a popular monarch. The Swedes called
him the stumpy little German, and he thought them a free-spoken folk.
When men complained that pirates were ravaging the coasts and were
probably supported by Eric, the king who had been deposed, Christopher
answered that, having been deprived of three kingdoms, a man could
hardly be blamed for stealing a dinner now and then. Perhaps if the
dinners had been stolen from the palace and not from their own houses
the people would more readily have seen the joke.

Thus, Copenhagen is a mediæval town, but it has no buildings earlier
than the creations of that most accomplished sovereign, Christian IV.,
who could sail a ship and navigate the fjords and swim and leap and
fence and fight and ride and drive and speak many languages and explain
the course of the stars and drink enough wine and beer to astonish the
court of his brother-in-law, James I. of England. If he really designed
the buildings that he raised, as it seems he truly did, he was also an
architect of no mean power.

The Bourse, which he erected about 1624, presents a long low façade
to one of the quays and its high roof is relieved by large gabled
dormer windows. From the top of the tower in the centre four dragons
look down and coil their tails heavenward together to form a spire
about a hundred and fifty feet high.[60] Another of his works is the
Round Tower,[61] originally used as the observatory. It is entirely
filled by a brick slope up which one may walk with ease to the top,
corkscrewing round a pillar. Over the metal parapet that bears the date
1643, there is a splendid view across wide miles of steep roofs covered
with curving tiles, relieved by many a tree and the tall masts of many
a ship. And the other spires and towers and domes of the city make a
really splendid array, especially the quaint steeple of Vor Frelsers
Kirke, round whose outside an open stairway winds to the gold ball at
the top. Across the Sound loom up low Swedish hills, but the city is
too vast to allow a view of Danish country of any decipherable sort.
Over thirteen miles of choppy sea appears the small isle of Hveen, now
famous for its hares, where in 1580 Tycho Brahe built his observatory
and "wielded the sword, not to smite flesh and blood, but to strike
out a clearer path up to the stars of heaven. For Holger Danske (p.
146) can come in many forms; so that through all the world one sees the
might of Denmark."[62]

In this teeming womb of royal kings one expects to see palaces, and
very numerous they are, now in many cases put to every kind of useful
purpose, from the framing of laws to the display of things curious
and rare. But the sneer of Samuel Laing in 1839 that Copenhagen has
more palaces in her streets and squares than ships in her harbour has
long ceased to be true. The haven of merchants again has a busy trade;
canals and shipping and docks are met with on every hand.

Two palaces, Rosenborg and Fredericksborg, were erected (or begun)
by the same fourth Christian king, and fine specimens of Danish
Renaissance they are, far better in general effect than in detail.
Walls mostly of brick, carved work of stone, tall metal-covered roofs
and lofty open windowed spires. The palace of Rosenborg contains a
beautiful array of furniture and weapons and china and jewels, the
collection of several kings.

[Illustration: HOJBROPLADS, COPENHAGEN]              [_Face page 134_

Other of the palaces are fine examples of the severer Classic work
of the eighteenth century erected when Europe had learned to call
barbaric all that the Christian centuries had raised, so ceased merely
to apply Classical details to Gothic designs, and could admire nothing
but plain copies of the work of Greece and Rome. The Amalienborg
(Winter Palace, etc.) surrounds a fine octagonal court with Ionic
pilasters, balustrades and urns, over which rise high tiled roofs.
In the centre of the court is a metal statue to King Frederick V.,
famed as the patron of science and art. It was erected by the Asiatic
Trading Company which once made Denmark an Indian power, for the king's
interest in the East was great, and he dispatched Niebuhr to Arabia in

Another eighteenth century palace, called Prindsens because the Crown
Prince adorned it when in 1744 it was erected round its court, is
now the National Museum. Even in the earliest age when "beasts were
slaying men" Denmark was the abode of oyster-eating humanity which has
left us the world-famed kitchen middens that make so fascinating to us
the first beginnings of our race. This collection is of extraordinary
interest as letting us trace in a general way the whole story of
mankind from the time when he chipped flints into implements and built
cromlechs of unshapen stones to the days when he learned to preach the
message of peace from pulpits of Renaissance architecture and to shoot
his fellows with long guns.

As is natural in Denmark the collection of prehistoric implements is
extremely representative and large. We see man armed with rude axes of
flint or variegated marble and women adorned with amber beads, during
the long, long millenniums of the two ages of stone. We see the swords
and knives and the tree-trunk coffins of those who had learned the
secret of the metals and substituted for stone first blunt bronze and
then sharp iron. We see the works of Egypt and Assyria, of Greece and
Rome, and of all the cultured races of the South. We see the beginning
of civilisation in the North and the spoils of the Viking Age, the
gold and jewels brought to Denmark by foray or by trade. We see the
North becoming Christian and building churches of stone or staves and
the Scandinavian countries moulding themselves into what they are
to-day.[64] For purely educational purposes and for stimulating the
imagination few museums on earth have quite the same power as this

Denmark is a country where education is a serious thing, and in
few capitals may one learn so much as here. No amount of _merely_
technical instruction would give the Danes the technical skill that
they possess. If any doubt the real and practical usefulness of good
general education, this small country can supply the object-lesson
that he needs; if any do not know just what education means, the Danes
have hit upon a definition that is of real value and much comfort too.
"Education is that which survives when all that was learned has been

Much of the spirit of the Norse fills the air of the Danish capital,
but the town is too young to be mentioned in the sagas; to many of
the heroes of the Danes there are monuments in streets and memorials
in galleries, but they do not give their atmosphere to the town. The
spirit of the city is rather that of solid achievement by a great
people which no longer rests its pride on glory gotten in war. And if
the nations of mankind were to be judged on the same principle that was
applied to the holders of the Talents Denmark would be very near the
top. The extreme richness of her small homeland is a still unexploded
myth. If it were an American state it would be one of the most thinly
settled areas of the country, outside the actual mountains. Denmark's
place in the modern world is due to education and to nothing else. The
sole fertility of the land is in the brains of her children. If America
were occupied by a sufficient population of Danes she might almost take
a contract to supply the solar system with food.[66]

Even in a city of so many associations and despite the noble army of
Danish worthies who have written their names in broader or fainter type
across its streets, it is still the great name of Thorwaldsen that more
than any other dominates Copenhagen. "Sylvanus" tells the truth in his
remark: "Men speak not, think not of the king; they ask you, 'Have you
seen the Frue kirk?' or Church of our Lady, within whose walls are the
twelve apostles of Thorwaldsen, with the grandest, most holy conception
of the Saviour, the chisels of future ages may vainly essay to surpass.
The figures, larger than life and thrown _into_ life by the immortal
Icelander, teem with varying expression and deep feeling."

The exterior of the church is severely plain; indeed, it is very ugly,
with two ranges of windows and a tower stuck through the sloping roof,
a hexastyle Doric portico against it. This last feature in itself is,
however, a thing of much beauty and its tympanum has sculptures by

The inside is very truly one of the most impressive in Europe. Not
that the actual architecture rises very far above the commonplace.
The aisles open by round arches with heavy piers between; Doric
colonnades above sustain the deeply panelled tunnel vault; there is
an unlighted apse. Here, over the altar, stands the famous statue of
Christ, one of the most striking in the world; the face radiates divine
compassion, the hands are stretched out to all who come. In front an
angel holds a font-shell, and against each pier is the figure of one
of the Apostles. The supreme excellence of these glorious statues in
white marble with their effective drapery and the absence of any other
attempt at ornament renders the interior of this church striking in an
extraordinary degree. There is an element of almost barbaric display in
the huge number of works of art collected in many Gothic churches, and
there is truth in the Japanese contention that not more than a single
picture or figure should be displayed at the same time. If the statues
were removed from the church one would hardly cross the street to see
it, but were they erected in St. Paul's Cathedral they would lose more
than half their effect.

The only criticism that one can possibly make on Thorwaldsen is that
his long sojourn in Rome seems to have given him a little trace of
the softness of the South, a certain absence of virility that, slight
as it is, attracts instant attention in the North. Not a trace of
this appears in the figure of St. Paul: determination on every line
of the strong face, clinched by the position of the left hand on the
sword.[68] There is a large collection of the Master's works in the
mongrel-Egyptian Valhalla next Christiansborg Palace (p. 131), in the
centre of whose court Thorwaldsen sleeps beneath ivy trailing on the
ground. Grace, tenderness, youth, beauty, and gentle mirth--these were
the inspirations that gave his hand power. Nothing fearful or terrible
is among his works. No agony like the Niobe or the Laocoon, never even
the crucifixion of the Saviour. Even in sepulchral monuments he strove
to lessen the gloom of death by symbols of a deathless life.[69]

Even with Thorwaldsen fresh in mind, it is probably safe to say that
the name of no Copenhagener, past or present, is so well-known in
England and America as that of Hans Andersen, unrivalled as the teller
of fairy tales. Few would maintain that he was the greatest of the
Danes or the most illustrious alumnus of the University, but not very
many are seriously interested in statuary, and in science still fewer,
while all children love stories and there is an atmosphere about those
of Hans Andersen of which most of us are conscious more or less from
the cradle to the grave.

In the rather risky work of foretelling the future Andersen was at any
rate as successful as any one else. "Yes, in years to come we shall fly
on the wings of steam high in the air, over the mighty ocean. The young
inhabitants of America will visit the old Continent of Europe. They
will come to admire the ancient monuments and ruined cities, just as we
make pilgrimages to the fallen glories of Southern Asia.

"In years to come they will certainly visit us....

"The airship comes: it is crowded with passengers, for the journey
is quicker than by sea.... The passengers will tread the country of
Shakespeare, as the intellectual ones of the party have it--the home of
politics and machinery, as others say.

"Here they stay for a whole day: they are a busy race, but they can
afford so much time for England and Scotland.

"On they go, through the tunnel under the Channel to France.

"One whole day is given to Germany and one to the North--the birthplace
of Oerstedt and Linnæus--to Norway, home of the ancient heroes and of
the Normans. Iceland is taken on the return journey: the Geyser foams
no longer, Hekla is extinguished; but an eternal stone table of the
Saga still holds fast the island rock in the midst of the stormy seas."

A delightful description of the writer himself is given us by Lady
Wilde: "Hans Andersen was described to me as a tall, white-haired
old man, with the most gentle and lovable manners. The son of a poor
tailor, with no inheritance from nature or fortune save his genius,
he gained a distinguished position in society and was an immense
favourite in Copenhagen. He read nothing but his own works, and always
talked as if fresh from Fairyland. The children adored him, and he was
never so happy as when he gathered a circle of them round him, while
he enchained their attention with some magical story fresh woven from
his brain, and made them laugh or weep as he chose, with the mirth or
pathos of his strange fancies."

Southward the city leaps a narrow arm of sea and spreads on to the
kitchen-garden island of Amager or Amak. During the early sixteenth
century King Christian II., brother-in-law to the Emperor Charles
V. famed for his noble work in organising schools in the cities and
instituting a system of posts, but infamous for a stupendous crime that
crushed the achievement of the great Margaret in the dust (p. 217),
invited farmers and gardeners from the Low Countries to colonise Amak.
Great was the benefit both to immigrants and Danes; the fertile island
still retains much of old Flemish ways and imports the old costumes of
Holland into the markets of the Danish capital.

Of Anglo-Danish relations during the Napoleonic wars, of Nelson's
victory in 1801 and Wellesley's in 1807, silence is better than
words. The conqueror at Trafalgar has immortal fame without the added
laurels won in the Sound, the hero of Waterloo needs not to add to his
victories the operations against this town. No Dane could be expected
to look back on those miserable events but with indignation, few
English but with very deep regret. Necessary, perhaps, those actions,
but wretched all the same. We live in better days. The presence of
the Church of St. Alban in the lovely gardens by the very citadel, a
sanctuary to whose erection Danish Queen Alexandra contributed, is a
witness for all time that the relations between Denmark and England
to-day are of no ordinary kind. The tall Gothic spire is an ornament
to the city and one of its landmarks from the harbour, but there might
have been advantages in less purely English architecture and perhaps
dedication to some Danish saint.[70]

The environs of the capital are made as delightful as those of Paris
by the lovely beech-woods that cover so much of the land, and by the
haunting beauty of the views across the Sound. A few miles north of the
city is the famous Dyrehaven, or deer-park, a vast expanse of gently
undulating woods or grass land with a large water-lily-covered pond,
where deer roam about under a few old oaks and many beeches, often
so close together that they have soared instead of being allowed to
spread. Beech woods are very dear to the Danes, and in the Kunst Museum
at Copenhagen there is a striking picture by Philipsen of which they
form the subject.[71] On a low hill in the park is the Eremitagen, a
hunting-lodge, in which the king can look out from his own house over
soil that another rules.

Along the Sound front there peep out from the woods just one or two
old thatched cottages with heavy logs along their ridges, but far
more prominent are the modern villages, which are largely made up
of restaurants and hotels. Very many too are the summer cottages of
prosperous citizens; far toward the north they spread along the shore,
the bungalow kind of thing that has long been frequent in America and
is beginning to become naturalised in England too.

A tale is told of a Danish husband, not famous for the best of tempers,
who proposed to his wife that they should celebrate their silver
wedding, but rather weariedly she suggested that instead they might
wait five years and then commemorate their Thirty Years' War. This must
have been a most exceptional state of affairs, if one may judge from
Danes one has the pleasure of knowing, or from what one may see of
the race making holiday at these seaside resorts. No European people
seems to get more out of life and into life than the always cheerful
inhabitants of this small land. It is the mark of true genius that,
shut out from so much, they have made still more of what remains.

Less than thirty miles north of Copenhagen, where the Sound is
straitest, stands the town that is next best known to the world of all
on Danish earth. The call of the future dominates Copenhagen, but the
romance of the past still broods over Elsinore, or Helsingör, where
Kronborg Castle looks across the narrow sea. How it seems to Danish
minds can hardly be better told than in Hans Andersen's simple and yet
holding tale.

"Kronborg Castle stands in Denmark, close to the Oere Sound, through
which tall ships sail by in hundreds, English, Russian, and Prussian.
They all greet the old fortress with their cannon, 'Boom!' And the
castle answers, 'Boom!' That is the way the cannon say 'Good morning'
and 'Good evening.' In the winter, when no ships sail by, and the Sound
is covered with ice right up to the Swedish coast, it looks just like
an inland street. Danish and Swedish flags are flying; Danes and Swedes
cry to each other, 'good morning,' and 'good night,' but not with
cannon--no, with a kindly clasp of the hand. One brings to the other
biscuits and white bread, for foreign fare is always the sweetest. But
the most beautiful sight of all is the grand old castle, in whose deep
inaccessible vaults sits Holger Danske. He is clad in mail armour; his
head rests on his strong arms; his long beard has grown into the marble
table, where he sits asleep. He dreams, and in his dream he sees all
that happens in his native land. Every Christmas Eve an angel comes to
him, and tells him that his dreams are true, but that he may sleep on
undisturbed for a while longer. Denmark is not yet in danger, but if
the danger ever comes Holger Danske will spring to his feet, the table
will shiver to pieces as he draws away his beard, and the hero will lay
about him, so that every land shall ring with the story.

"An old grandfather sat one evening telling his little grandson all
this tale of Holger Danske, and the child knew well that what his
grandfather said was true. As the old man spoke, he finished off a
large wooden figure of Holger Danske which was to ornament the prow of
a ship, for the grandfather was a carver in wood, and had carved many
a figure-head from which a good ship was to take her name. Now he had
just carved Holger Danske, standing proudly with his long beard; in one
hand he held his flashing sword; in the other the Danish shield.

"'It is the finest national arms in the world,' said the old man.
'Lions and hearts--emblems of strength and love!' He looked at the
topmost lion and thought of King Knut, who chained England fast to
Denmark's throne; he looked at the second lion and thought of Waldemar,
who gave peace to Denmark, and subdued the Vandal's lands; he looked
at the third lion and thought of Margaret, who united into one Sweden,
Norway and Denmark. But as he looked at the hearts they burned and
brightened into flames; each stirred in its place, and by its side
stood a spirit.

"But the little child in bed saw clearly the old Kronborg towering
above the Oere Sound; he saw the real Holger Danske, sitting alone in
the deep vault, his beard grown fast to the marble table, dreaming of
all that happened overhead. Holger Danske dreamed too of all that went
on in the little room; he heard every word, and nodded in his dreams.

"'Yes,' he cried, 'keep me in your hearts and in your memory, ye
Danish folk. In the hour of danger, I shall be at hand.'

"And the clear daylight fell over Kronborg; the wind bore along the
sound of the hunting horns from the country round; the ships sailed by
with their greeting 'Boom, boom!' And Kronborg answered 'Boom! Boom!'
But Holger Danske woke not, let them thunder as loud as they might, for
they only meant 'good morning!' 'good evening!'"

In this castle too in 1589 James VI. (and afterwards I.) was married
to his Danish bride. That was only by proxy so far as the Scot was
concerned, but the next year Queen Anne brought her husband to sojourn
at the well-loved spot.

By the sea is a long sandy beach and dark woods cover the flat lands
behind. The superb castle was rising, or re-rising, from the ground
during Shakespeare's younger years (1577-85); he first went to London
the year after it was done. A grand sample of Renaissance work, it
stands four-square to all the winds and protects a court within;
details are carved in solid stone. And at each angle rises a tower,
all different in design and height. A light for the shipping burns in
one.[72] The architect was G. F. Stahlmann.

The world fame of Elsinore is owed very largely to the immortal
English bard who probably never was there. On the flat terrace between
castle and sound Hamlet spoke with his father's ghost. The tale of
Amlet or Hamlet seems to be derived from some old saga of a Jutish
prince,[73] and the _Ambales Saga_ gives an Icelandic form of the

True, indeed, that Shakespeare's _Hamlet_, like his other plays, whose
scene is laid abroad, lacks special local colour. But it is no weak
link between Denmark and the world of English speech that the scene of
one of the great masterpieces of Saxon literature, indeed of all the
writings of the earth, is laid on Danish soil.




  Thou wonnest, O warrior-wager,
  Tribute from folk of Gothland,
  And durst not men against thee
  With brand to ward their island.
  So ran the Isle-syslings' war-host;
  I heard that the wolf-kind's hunger
  Thawed east-away.
                 OTTAR THE SWART, in praise of Olaf the Holy.

There was a time very long ago when a spectral island floated on the
Baltic brine. Its mist-wrapped shores appeared at times to perplexed
mariners, but when they tried to land there all was sea.

It appears the reason was that certain trolls had made that land their
own, and sought to amuse themselves by playing idle tricks on man.
But the powers of darkness can never last for aye and eventually it
chanced that a sailor from the North, called Thjelvar or the Diligent,
more skilful or more fortunate than others, contrived to land on the
enchanted isle. Knowing how to destroy the force of evil he at once
kindled a fire by which the spell was burned away. The trolls were
warned off. The land was added to the realms of man and yellow crops
waved where grew dark woods of yore. But it was necessary that the
career of the new people should be mainly on the water, and the island
became known far and wide as the Eye of the Eastern Sea.

The Goths, who did so much to overturn the Empire of Rome and at
the same time to rejuvenate the South of Europe, have left no other
account of themselves in literature than the version of Holy Writ
that was made in their language by Ulfilas, a missionary great and
good, however deplorably incorrect his views about the Trinity may
have been (p. 191). But to this beautiful island of limestone in the
heart of their oldest homelands the Goths gave at any rate a name; and
such is the charm and interest of her ancient capital that one might
well suppose the term Gothic Architecture to have been given here in
admiration instead of being a term of contempt and reproach bestowed by
a generation that could see no beauty save in the horizontal lines of
Greek temples.[74]

At an early date the men of Gothland had done in the Baltic what
long before the Ph[oe]nicians had done in the Mediterranean. Their
trading vessels were moored to London Bridge, they were anchored in
the lonely gulf where St. Petersburg was eventually to rise. And their
commercial activities extended to far remoter bounds. They fetched the
furs of Russia and the gems of further east to shelter English men
and to decorate English girls. No less than twenty thousand English
coins, most of them inscribed with the unhonoured name of Ethelred the
Redeless, have been found in their island of recent years. The further
extent of Gothland trade is evidenced by the presence of coins not only
from Scandinavia and Russia and the realms of the Holy Roman Empire,
but also from the far south of Europe and towns on the Arabian sands.

In the _Saga of Olaf_ we read of a merchant employed by that king to
purchase robes in Garthrealm, or Russia, and Gothland is visited on
the way, as was doubtless the almost universal custom of the time.
"There was a man hight Gudleik the Garthrealmer, of Agdir kindred,
a mariner, and a mickle chapman; wealthy withal, and one who went
on chaffering journeys to sundry lands; he would often go east into
Garthrealm, and for that cause was called Gudleik the Garthrealmer.
Now this spring Gudleik dighted his ship, being minded to go in the
summer east to Garthrealm. King Olaf sent him word that he would see
him. So when Gudleik came to him the king told him he wished to be in
fellowship with him, and prayed him to buy him dear havings hard to get
in the land. Gudleik said it should be as the king would. Then let the
king pay him such wealth as it seemed him good, and Gudleik went into
the Eastways in the summer.

"They lay awhile off Gothland, and here it befell as oft, that they
were not all of them too close of their words, and the islanders got
wind of it that on board was a chaffering fellow of Olaf the Thick.
Gudleik went into the Eastways in the summer all the way to Holmgarth
(p. 227), and bought there the cloths full-choice which he was minded
for the king for his robes of state, and therewith furs of great price
and a glorious table-service."

Olaf himself on the way back from Russia to attempt to recover his
kingdom, "hove with his ships into Gothland where he learnt tidings
both from Sweden and Denmark and all the way from Norway." A great
centre of trade is ever a centre of news.

Upon the low limestone cliff that is partly enclosed within the walls
of the city and is known as the Klint, there was of olden time a Vi,
or place of sacrifice. Thus it seems was Visby (or Wisby) named; "by"
is a very common Scandinavian ending that forms a part of many an
English name. Two tiny islets, very close to the shore, protected the
ancient port; most of it is dry land to-day and what remains wet, the
inner harbour, is so small that an outer harbour has been formed by a
long breakwater. Even this, however, will admit modern steamers only
of the very smallest draught. From the cruising yachts landing is only
possible in the smoothest weather, and cargo boats usually call at
Slite, a better harboured place, connected by a narrow-gauged railway
with the capital of the island.

To the person unacquainted with the story of the North, it will be no
small surprise to land on this remote island and to see a mediæval
city that is almost unrivalled for interest even in the South of
Europe. Here was a chief cradle of the far-told Hansa League, whose
name appears to be derived from an ancient Gothic word.[75] The
confederation for long centuries controlled the shipping and the
commerce of the North, from the Steelyard in London to Novgorod the
Great on the Russian plains; from Bergen of rockbound Norway to the
remotest river-ports of vineyard-terraced Rhine.

The merchants needed to protect themselves whom no prince would shield.
As with the East India Company in later years, an association of
traffickers was driven into politics and compelled by circumstances to
make war and peace, and to take up all the responsibility of a mighty
sovereign state. Had London been further away and the English kings
of feebler frame, the career of the Cinque Ports might have been very
similar. But the sovereigns of England were deeply interested in all
that concerned their Kent and Sussex harbours, and desired to utilise
their ships. The Holy Roman Emperor at Aachen was not far off from the
teeming Hansa towns; but, German though he was, his eyes were fixed on
the splendid cities of Italy and the glittering palaces by the Tiber
rather than on the stalwart shipping of the cities of the North. Had
the Emperor looked north and not south, had the Empire been German not
Roman, the Hansa towns had not played a greater part in history than
did the English Cinque Ports. Merchants would not have made treaties
nor exercised the prerogatives of princes. But no German Empire was to
arise during mediæval days; the towns went their own way and refused
to do anything of mark for the Kaiser, who did almost nothing for them.

Rapidly waxed the fortunes of the old place of sacrifice, and during
the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the city had grown to be the
Baltic's leading port. It had become a chief centre of the trade of
Northern Europe and the remotest East, whose riches were such that an
old ballad declares:

  With twenty pound weights their gold they weigh,
  With costliest jewels as toys they play;
  Their swine-troughs are silver, their distaffs are gold,
  In Gothland luxurious in wealth untold.

Visby was declared a Free City by the Emperor Lothar, the Saxon
(1125-37); in 1237, Henry III. granted its merchants free trade all
over England. So important was British commerce with those parts that
the Easterlings gave to English currency the name by which (slightly
clipped as sterling) it is known to-day.

Fair churches still attest Visby's devotion, great walls its military
strength. Undefended towns, famed for their wealth, were almost as
unsafe in the early middle ages as they would be to-day. Visby unwalled
suffered much. In the _Saga of Olaf Tryggvison_ we read how one of the
Earls of Ladir (p. 69), driven forth by that king, "took such rede that
he gat him a-shipboard and went a-warring to gather wealth for him and
his men. First he made for Gothland, and lay off there long in the
summer season, waylaying ships of chapmen who sailed toward the land,
or of the vikings else; and whiles he went aland and harried there
wide about the borders of the sea." But at least our fathers had the
advantage over us that in the intervals of all this fighting they did
not need to be practising the oldest of the arts. They knew not our
crushing burdens. The same hands held the account-book and the sword;
the same ships plowed the sea for trading and for war.

Thus from the turbulence of neighbours the most peaceful of cities has
left us some of the most impressive examples of military architecture
that all Europe has to show. During the thirteenth century the
burghers walled their town. The defences are of solid stone and make a
bean-shaped circuit of two miles and a half. For 1,950 yards they run
along the shore, where to-day is the Students' Walk between the lofty
walls and a line of tall trees. The original height of the walls was
fifteen to eighteen feet, according to the ground. Wide battlements,
each second one pierced by a small embrasure, frowned along the top and
just behind them was the customary parapet-path, sustained by a series
of arches within--a very common way of economising materials from Roman
to latest times. Much stronger were the walls from having two moats
towards the land without, and on the north side there were three.

Three older structures--little towers--were built into the walls, and
so remain to-day. The Krut Torn, or Powder Tower, clearly named in
later days, looks over the sea; the Tjärhof, or tar-house, and the
Mynt Hus, look over the land. The tar-house is clearly known from a
use to which it was degradingly put in latter days. There was a mint
at Visby in the thirteenth century, and there seems to be no evidence
whatever that it was not in this Mynt Hus. Six towers were also built
to strengthen the wall, all toward the south; one of them is round,
established on a jutting rock. One is known as Kejsar Hus, or Cæsar's
Tower, named evidently because connected in some way with the Holy
Empire of Rome.[76] For Roman indeed was the Empire still when these
proud walls rose. As we have already seen, the sovereign was for ever
straining his eyes towards the ancient city of the Cæsars, there to
receive the Imperial Crown, in Italy to exercise imperial sway.

A little later in the century, Horace Porter[77] thinks about the
middle, more towers were added and, on the east, barbicans to enfilade
the moats.


V.Site of
Visborg Castle. Churches.--1. S. Göran.     6. (S. Jacob.) 11. S. Katarina.
K.H. Kejsar Hus.           2. S. Nicolaus.  7. S. Lars.    12. (S. Per.)
T. Tjärhof.                3. S. Gertrude.  8. S. Drotten. 13. S. Hans.
M.H. Mynt Hus.             4. S. Clemens.   9. S. Maria.   14. Helgeands
J. Jungfrutornet.          5. S. Olof.       10. (Russian.)    Kyrkan.
K.T. Krut Torn.

Of the Churches whose names are in brackets there are now no remains.
The spotted area represents made ground, the two long spaces whose
outlines are dotted are the sites of the two islands by which the
original harbour was protected. The railway appears in the lower
left-hand corner.                                   [_Face page 158_

But all these excellent arrangements for the defence of the capital did
not meet with the approval of the dwellers in the country round. It
would have been much more remarkable if they had. Those whom they do
not protect can seldom see the point of fortifications. There is still
extant a strong protest which the villagers of Norfolk made against
the circumvallation of Norwich, England, in 1253. In 1288 the Gothland
farmers formed a posse to lay low the walls of which they disapproved.
This attack was unsuccessful, the peasants were beaten off, and an
appeal was made to the king.

The island had long been Swedish, or rather for a regular payment
it was protected by the Swedish King. Long, long before, in the
ninth century it seems, the burghers had sent one Avajr Strabajn, or
Longshanks, on a mission to Upsala to make a treaty with the king. But
it is related that the monarch was sitting at meat in the lofty halls
when the Gothic messenger arrived and, not being in the least pleased
to see him, he kept Longshanks waiting on the threshold. At length the
king unbent so far as to ask for news of the island, and was told that
a mare had just had three foals. "And what," inquired the sovereign,
"does the third one while the other two are sucking?" "Just as I am
doing," the ambassador replied, "he stands by and looks on."

Tickled by this neat rebuke to his own execrable manners, the king
invited Longshanks to sit with him at table, and eventually a treaty
was agreed to. The wealthy islanders supplied money and ships to
the king, and the well-armed monarch promised to hold out a sword in
protection of the commerce of Gothland.

On this occasion the King of Sweden was entirely of the same opinion as
the peasants about the walls, but (looking at the matter rather from
his own point of view than from theirs), he decided that the offence
would best be expiated, not by their destruction, but by a doubled
yearly subsidy, with a slight fine in addition for the presumption of
building walls without the permission of the sovereign lord.

It was very probably during the actual fighting that those further
additions were being made to the ramparts that cause them to look
so impressive to-day. The walls were heightened and made thicker by
building on the arch-supported walks, or even enclosing them in new
masonry. About forty fresh towers were added, projecting toward the
open country; some reach the height of seventy feet. Towers were
likewise raised above the gates that were not so protected before.

Between the great bastions, upon the walls were perched in many cases
bartizans or saddle towers, projecting on either side, resting on large
corbels built in between the huge battlements of older date; their
outer walls rest upon arches that spring from corbel to corbel. Within
they are open to the city like the great towers themselves. This is
a curious feature of the work; the floors were all of timber and to
make up for the lost stone walks double timber galleries ran along the
walls within, one above and one below. The holes for their joists may
still be seen, and ledges in the towers for the floors. All this open
woodwork created a huge danger of fire, especially in the great towers,
and, compared with other mediæval defences, particularly in France, the
ramparts of Visby give the impression of being the work of amateurs.
Nevertheless, from some points of view, the combination of low hills
and sparkling sea and lofty towers recalls the mighty walls of the City
of Constantine, whose capture by the Turks in 1453 was the beginning of
the last act in the long mediæval drama.

Little, however, did these brave defences effect against the forces
of the Danes when in 1361 Visby was attacked and sacked by Waldemar
IV., surnamed Atterdag, because, if once foiled, he was sure that his
day of success would arrive. Close to the sea one of the city bastions
is known as the Maiden Tower (Jungfrutornet).[78] There dwelt Nils
the goldsmith, the liar, the loathsome traitor, the hideous thief.
Such language his fellow-townsmen did well to use if in very truth on
account of a petty slight he suggested the sack of Visby to the robber
Danish king. A young girl, it was fabled, gave Waldemar information
which enabled him to capture the fair town, and not unfitly she was
walled alive into this very tower, from which circumstance it has its

There can be little doubt that the only real foundation for these
foolish tales was the fact that the merchants were somewhat ashamed of
the very poor defence they made. Instead of defying the robber behind
their strengthened walls, they abjectly permitted a breach to be torn
when he refused to enter by a gate.

He had led his army to Gothland and made knights in that land and
struck down many men, for the peasants were unarmed and unused to
war. And he set his face toward Visby and the citizens came out and
surrendered, for they saw that resistance was impossible. This we learn
from a Franciscan chronicler of Lübeck, the chief headquarters of the
Hanseatic League.

In the market-place of captured Visby were placed the three largest
vats that in the city could be found, and these the Danish king
insisted should be filled with glittering gold. The ransom received,
the town was treacherously and pitilessly sacked and the Danish
ships at length sailed off as encumbered with loot as no doubt the
_Mayflower_ was with furniture. But by far the greater portion--almost
the whole--it was fated should merely sparkle in the depths of the
tossing sea, for the vessels were wrecked in a fearful storm and the
king came very near being drowned. Fittingly his body might have lain
amidst those ill-gotten spoils till the day of Holy Doom, but he was
rescued by his men and continued to rule the Danes.

Not wholly a bad King of Denmark, for he governed with might and power
and in some ways really sought to enlarge his country's weal. His
insult to the Hansa League was too great even for merchants to endure,
and in striking contrast with the unchivalrous action of the king,
who smote a peaceful city without excuse, without declaring war, a
herald bore to Waldemar a formal notice that the towns would fight.
Copenhagen was captured and plundered in the May of 1362, but then the
Danes gained a considerable victory and the beaten burgomaster of proud
Lübeck paid for failure with life.

In 1367 the deputies of seventy-seven towns met at Köln, and in formal
manner confirmed the League which even then was centuries old. Waldemar
contemptuously likened the citizens to cackling geese, but ill-founded
was his foolish mirth. After a few years of war, disastrous to the
Danes and very profitable indeed to the traders, he was compelled to
sign the humiliating Treaty of Stralsund, by which he virtually ceased
to be an independent king. The League took its place as a first-rate
power and for generations dominated the North.

Visby was very fully avenged, but could never really recover from the
staggering blow. The ancient port now fell on evil days. The city
whose maritime code of laws was to Northern Europe very much what that
of Rhodes was to the Mediterranean, slipped so low as to be made,
helplessly, the headquarters of Baltic pirates and a pest to the
shipping of that sea. The great Margaret (p. 120) cleared them out and
annexed the island to Denmark,[79] but her worthless successor, Eric
of Pomerania, erected at the southern end of the walls the Castle of
Visborg,[80] to be a stronghold for himself. The city suffered further
from his blighting presence and piracy sprang up again (p. 132). The
saddest blow fell in the seventeenth century when the burghers of
Lübeck, former sister city and close ally, plundered and sacked the
sinning port and almost ended its being.

Gradually it shrank to the quiet little market town that it remains
to-day, nestling amid gardens and roses and the lofty ruins of its
past. But even yet there is not the sleep of some little English
cathedral towns. The railway runs along the quays by the harbour, where
is sometimes a busy scene. Southward the chimneys of a factory pour
their smoke into the clear air. The vigorous life of an older day still
stirs in the picturesque market-place by the ruined Friars' Church.
From it wind about to every part of the city narrow streets between
garden walls that tunnel here and there under the whitewashed houses.

Samuel Laing[81] became quite enthusiastic over the Visby churches.
"These are the most interesting Gothic edifices in Europe. Wisby
is the Rome of the modern architects who will deal in the Gothic."
Possibly this is exaggerated (Laing's knowledge of architecture was
small), but there is in it an element of truth. The way in which the
church-builders of Gothland departed from stereotyped principles and
planned as they were moved is refreshingly original. No series of
churches in the world is more deserving of the closest study. This
tendency to unusual ground plans and the Norwegian stavekirkes are the
chief contributions to Gothic architecture that the northern lands made
as the middle ages wore. It gives a most vivid idea of the unity of
mediæval Christendom and of the frequency of communication that existed
to realise the way in which architecture went through the same general
course of evolution in all the lands from Portugal to Norway from the
coronation of Charles the Great to the abdication of Charles V.

The oldest and most massive of the Visby churches is dedicated to St.
Lars, or Lawrence; it was evidently raised in the early years of the
twelfth century, nine hundred years after its patron had suffered on
the grid. Though with windows unglazed and bare of any fittings the
structure is very tolerably perfect and, as one first enters, the
effect is exceedingly impressive and also extremely oriental. Greek
merchants raised it; they had seen Byzantine churches in the East and
desired in the cold North to reproduce their effect.[82]

[Illustration: S. LARS]                             [_Face page 166_

Only a narrow court separates this church from another, which a
generation later men raised to the honour of St. Drotten or the Triune
God. Some idle person once invented an absurd tale (reminding one
of that concerning the twin steeples at Ormskirk) that these sister
churches were raised by two rich sisters who were such bad friends that
they would not even kneel under the same roof to receive the Body and
Blood of Christ. The actual plan is very similar to that of St. Lars,
but it does not seem to have been so successful.[83]

The Church of St. Olaf (Swedish Olof) appears to have been of very
similar character; there the Norway merchants used to pray.[84] The
scantiest ruins survive in the Botanical Gardens. Thither the citizens
resort in summer to eat their meals and listen to a band.

The same plan is reproduced in St. Clemens,[85] whose patron saint has
an anchor for his badge and likes his churches to stand by the sea. The
south porch evidently formed a _vapenhus_, or house in which weapons
might be left: this was a common feature of the churches of the North,
for thus it is written in the ancient Icelandic Law Ecclesiastic.
"Men shall not bear weapons in church or oratory that is licensed for
service to be held in, and they shall not set them against the church
gable or the church walls. And these are reckoned weapons under this
head--axe and sword and spear and cutlass and halberd."

Excavations within the walls of this now unroofed shrine, carried on by
the learned Dr. Ekhoff, have exposed foundations of three more ancient
churches. The earliest of them dates back perhaps to about the year 900
or within a century of the traditional era of the foundation of the
town. A story had grown up that to St. Olaf was due the first preaching
of Christianity among the merchants of Gothland, but this is evidently
a libel on the progressive thought of the ancient fathers of the town.
The _Saga of Olaf_ has several visits to Gothland to record, but it
says nothing of his preaching the faith there, and has little of him to
record that would be likely to make the Gothlanders trow in the same
God as he. After the adventure of Stocksound (p. 211) we learn that
"King Olaf sailed in autumn for Gothland, and arrayed him for harrying
there. But there the Gothlanders had a gathering, and sent men to the
king, and bade him tribute for the land. To this the king agreed, and
took tribute of the land, and sat there the winter through." It was in
reference to this event that the verse at the head of the chapter was
composed. It was in Gothland too that Olaf let hew one Jokul, son of
Bard, who had fought against him and was allotted to the steering of
the _Bison_, which King Olaf himself had owned.

An old story, whether true or not God knows, tells how in the sixteenth
century one digged in this spot for a more evidently tangible reward.
A German cobbler, Salts Vedel, heard friars or monks in Italy gossip
about the lands from which by the Reformation they were expelled.
"There is buried," said one, "behind the altar of St. Clemens' Church
in Visby a goose and twenty-four little goslings, and they are all of
solid gold." The cobbler was interested, as well he might be, and he
hastened to the spot. He found the treasure and it brought no curse. On
the contrary he became powerful and rich, and as Burgomaster of Visby
he died.

The local peculiarity of sustaining the nave vault on four pillars
gained so much favour that it was used both in the upper and lower
stage of the very remarkable Hospital Church of the Holy Ghost
(Helgeands Kyrkan). Though parts of the quire walling are evidently
earlier, this most striking little sanctuary seems to date from
the early part of the thirteenth century; the general character is
Romanesque, but early pointed arches and mouldings are employed. The
nave forms an octagonal tower, which formerly had a gable every side
and a low spire rose above. A particularly pleasing double stair, open
by shafted arcading in the thickness of the western wall, leads up from
the lower to the higher level. The four pillars below are round, the
four pillars above are octagonal, and in the space between an octagonal
opening pierces through the vault. By two great arches[86] each opens
to the common quire and perhaps women sang above and men below, so that
the opening in the floor facilitated the blending of voices in the
Christian hymn of praise. The quire itself has the peculiarity of being
apsidal within and square without, and in the corners of the walls is
squeezed a nest of tiny chambers, miniature stairs connecting those
above and those below.

Apsidal within and square-ended without was likewise the little church
of St. Gertrude the Abbess. There her countrymen, the merchants from
the Lowlands of Europe, used to make their vows.[87]

Very shallow apses which do not appear without are to be seen at the
ends of the aisles of the great church of St. Mary, formerly the seat
of the Lübeck merchants and now the cathedral. There was no such church
of old. Though devout men and great builders of churches, mediæval
merchants were not admirers of bishops, or for that matter of any
other kind of lords. In the Low Countries they contrived to have only
four prelates, in the German commercial cities extremely few and in
Gothland none. Only as the result of considerable pressure would the
islanders recognise the oversight of the Bishop of Linköping (Sweden),
and he must come with not more than ten attendants, nor must even so
restricted a train expect to be entertained for more than three meals.

During the ages of faith there were preserved in this church, sometimes
known as Sancta Maria Teutonicorum,[88] the relics of a hero giantess
of earliest days. They were removed soon after 1741, when the great
Linnæus unfeelingly records in his diary: "The Jatta bones preserved in
the church I find, on inspection, to be those of a whale."

The two largest of the Visby churches belonged to Friars, and they
alone are normal in ground plan. Both consist of nave and aisles all of
the same height, with a short quire ending in a buttressed triple apse
projecting from the east; both were Romanesque altered to the so-called
Decorated style.


These plans, made by Sir H. Dryden, Bart., are reproduced by kind
permission of the Royal Institute of British Architects, in whose
_Transactions_ they appeared during 1886. It will be noticed that all
except S. Nicolaus are eccentric in plan.            [_Face page 172_

St. Katarina (Franciscan) stands a roofless ruin beside the busy
market-place; tall octagonal pillars with moulded caps and bases still
sustain arches running east and west and north and south across the
nave and aisles, dividing the space into rectangles from which the
vaulting has fallen, and wild roses, growing on the tops of the arches,
shower their petals over the grass-grown floor.[89]

The Dominican church of St. Nicolaus still retains its massive
Romanesque walls in the four west bays, later openings here and there
pierced through. The rest is of Decorated character, strikingly
beautiful.[90] The great glory of this church was that in days gone by
twin carbuncles glittered in the centres of the brick rose windows in
the western wall. As was fitting in a church dedicated to the mariners'
patron saint, far out at sea the sailors saw them even when there were
no stars; they lit the night as the sun lights up the day, nor were
their equals to be found in all the surface of the world. They were not
seen within the church, for the roses do not pierce the wall. These
jewels formed part of the booty of the robber king.

Without the walls a short distance to the north stands the roofless
church of St. George. This was not the English chapel, but belonged
to an institution for lepers.[91] Still further toward the pole the
Klint is washed into steep cliffs by the eternal sea. On this elevated
calvary three stone pillars stand, having formed the gallows of old. It
was a very public place, commanding wide views over sea and land, too
fair a spot for such a gruesome use.

Not every building of interest in Visby dates from the time of the
city's power, nor even from mediæval days. The Burmeister House,
erected as late as 1662, displays in its interior paintings covering
walls and ceiling, illustrating Bible stories and depicting other
scenes. It was a rich merchant's house, and the counter where his
customers were served can still be seen. An interesting witness to
the prosperity the town enjoyed in commerce even at so late a date;
while the present mildness of the climate is made clear by the great
luxuriance of the creepers that swaddle the whole of the southern end.
In no English cathedral city is any ancient dwelling more completely
buried by vegetation; the windows look out through fully two feet of
insect-sheltering leaves.

Superlatives are always dangerous. There are much finer buildings and
there is far finer scenery in Europe than anything that Visby has to
show. But the real feature of the place is very much its own. One
meets the influences of many lands. One beholds an epitome of half the
history of the North. One gets a hint of the architectural features of
remote places of Christendom. Of no town of equal importance perhaps
may the ruins be so pleasantly surveyed. Midst all the charms of low
limestone hills and peaceful fields by the sea, midst all the delights
of wide gardens fragrant with the scent of roses, midst all the
picturesqueness of a delightful little country town, may be studied
in crumbling ruin, yet lovingly preserved, the uniquely interesting
churches and stoutly buttressed walls of a city that once dominated the
Mediterranean of the North.




  In Upsal's stately minster, before the altar, stands
  The Swedish King, brave Eric, with high uplifted hands;
  His royal robes are round him, the crown upon his head,
  And thus, before his people, right sovranly he said--

  "God! whoso trusteth in Thee will never rue his trust:
  If God the Lord be with us, our foes shall flee like dust."
  He spake: from priest and people rose up the answering cry--
  "If God the Lord be with us, all danger we defy!"

  Scarce through the aisles is dying their mingled voices' din,
  A pallid slave, disordered, comes rushing wildly in.
  "Now God us aid!--Skalater, the Dane, has come again,
  Fast pouring down the mountains with seven hundred men!"

         *       *       *       *       *

  King Eric's glance grew prouder; he grasped the golden Rood--
  He held it high to heaven, as on Skalater strode:
  Lo! from each wound, the seven, pour forth a thousand rays,
  And down to earth Skalater sinks, dazzled by the blaze.

  They're prostrate on their foreheads, the seven hundred Danes,
  Praying to God to spare them Who guards the Christian fanes;
  But Eric and his people lift up the joyful cry--
  "Our God, the Lord, has conquered; all praise to Him on high!"
                          _Swedish Ballad_, translated by LADY WILDE.

Of all the relics of primitive man none are so permanent, few so
impressive, as large earthworks. Such to most of us at least convey
no small part of the pleasure that we derive from the South Downs or
so-called Salisbury Plain.

Where the delights of Nature are comparatively few, on a wide, flat
plain, distantly walled by low-looking hills, there has stood since the
very twilight of Swedish history the town of Upsala--Lofty Halls. Of
its early days we learn from Snorri Sturluson in the opening chapters
of his great history, called from its first word, the _Heimskringla_,
"That is the Round World, whereas manfolk dwell, much sheared apart by
bights so that great seas go from ocean's river far into the land."

Odin, or Woden, he to whom the fourth day of the week is hallowed,
had led his people from Asgarth in Asia, and he settled in Sigtown
or Sigtuna, on the lake between Upsala and Stockholm. Only a village
holds the spot to-day with ruined mediæval towers. "Odin was a great
warrior, and exceeding far-travelled, and had made many realms his
own, and so victorious was he that in every battle he gained the day;
whence it befell, that his men trowed of him that he should of his own
nature ever have the victory in every battle. His wont it was, if he
sent his men to the wars or on other journeys, before they went to lay
his hands on the heads of them, and to give them blessing, and they
trowed that they would fare well thereby."[92] "Odin died in his bed
in Sweden; but when he was come nigh to his death, he let mark him
with a spear-point, and claimed as his own all men dead by weapon; and
he said that he would go his ways to Godhome and welcome his friends
there. Now were the Swedes minded that he would be come to that Asgarth
of old days, there to live his life for ever; and then began anew the
worship of Odin and the vowing of vows to him. Oft thought the Swedes
that he showed himself to them in dreams before great battles should
be; and to some he gave victory there and then, and to others bidding
to come to him; and either lot they deemed good enow." "Now this Sweden
they called Manhome, but Sweden the Great called they Godhome; and of
Godhome are told many tales and many marvels."[93]

The founder of Upsala was Frey, one of Odin's _Diar_ or temple-priests,
and his successor, next but one, as king. He "raised a great temple at
Upsala, and there he had his chief abode, and endowed it with all his
wealth, both land and chattels. Then began the weal of Upsala, which
has endured ever since.... Now Frey fell sick, but when his sickness
waxed on him men took counsel and let few folk come in to him; and
they built a great howe (or barrow) and made a door therein, and three
windows; and so when Frey was dead they bore him privily into the howe,
and told the Swedes that he was still alive, and there they guarded
him for three winters, and poured all the scat (p. 19) into the mound:
gold through the one window, silver through the second, and copper
pennies through the third. And this while endured plenteous years and
peace.... But when all the Swedes wotted that Frey was dead, and the
plenteous years and good peace still endured, then they trowed that so
it would be while he still abode in Sweden; neither would they burn
him, but called him the God of the World, and sacrificed to him ever
after, most of all for plenteous years and peace."[94]

In later chapters we learn that at Upsala was holden the Thing of all
the Swedes. The earth platform on which they met may still be seen. The
place was the chief town of all the Swede-realm and one of its monarchs
built there a great Hall of the Seven Kings. "The Upsala kings were the
master kings in Sweden, whereas there were many county-kings therein,
from the time that Odin was lord in Sweden."[95]

Again in the _Saga of Olaf the Holy_ we read: "Tenthland (p. 185)
is the best and most nobly peopled of Sweden. Thither louteth all
the realm. Upsala is there, with the king's-seat, and there is an
archbishop's chair, and thereby is named the wealth of Upsala. So call
the Swedes the King's-wealth, they call it Upsala-wealth. In each shire
is its own Law-Thing, and its own laws in many matters.... But in all
matters where the laws sunder, they must all yield to the Upsala-law,
and all other lawmen shall be under-men of the lawman who is of

Three great howes, each rising some fifty-eight feet above the earthen
floor and spreading more than two hundred feet upon it, are seen from
far across the well-tilled fenceless flats, over which the wind blows
clouds of dust. Many smaller mounds form a rude crescent stretching
across the open plain with the great hills in the centre. They are
doubtless the last resting-places of many kings about whose "howing" we
read in the sagas. Though of old the capital of all the land, Upsala is
but a tiny village now, so unimportant that it is known as Gamla (old)
Upsala, for the neighbouring city of Östra-aros (East mouth), whose
cathedral spires are the most prominent features of the landscape, has
usurped the proper name.

[Illustration: GAMLA UPSALA]                         [_Face page 180_

The Kungshögar or Hills of Kings, as the three great tumuli have
immemorially been called, are distinguished as those of Odin, Thor and
Frey, but these detail names date from much more recent years. They
were opened, Odin's in 1846, and Thor's in 1874. They proved to be of
the first part of the Later Iron Age, that is the period just before
Viking days. Each appears to have been piled up over a cairn of stones
covering the ashes of a funeral pyre--which is curious in the light of
Snorri Sturluson's express statement:[97] "The first age is called the
age of Burning, whereas the wont was to burn all dead men, and raise
up standing stones to them; but after that Frey was laid in barrow at
Upsala, many great men fell to raising barrows to the memory of their
kin, no less often than standing stones."

Besides the charred bones of man and horse and dog, there were many
objects for ornament or use, made of iron and bronze and glass and
gold.[98] There was a small cameo of Roman work, carried to these
northern wilds, far beyond the widest limit of imperial power, not
in the wake of all-conquering troops, but by gainful commerce with
barbarian hordes. Or possibly it was a part of the shameful tribute
that the tottering masters of the world had to offer to triumphant

As to the point of burying so much treasure with the dead we get a
useful hint in the _Vatzdaela Saga_; a father is expostulating with
his son about his lack of taste for war. "It was the way of mighty
kings or jarls, our peers, that they used to lie out a-warring,
winning themselves riches and glory, and the riches they won thus
were not reckoned in the inheritance they left, nor could son take
it after father, but it was laid in howe with themselves. So though
their sons got their lands they could not keep up their estate, though
they inherited the honour, unless they threw themselves and their men
into jeopardy and warfare; and by this means it was they won riches
and renown one after another, each stepping in the footprints of his

No spot of earth _seems_ to carry one's mind back so far into the
immemorial past as this. From the top of one of the great howes we may
peer beyond the history of unnumbered years to the days when history
was not. About the early dawn of man's activity on earth we may read in
any part of the world, but not in many places may we feel its spell as
here. Close by was the most famous temple in all the North; and not far
off was Odin's grove, whose trees were the sacredest on earth. And near
the temple grew one tree whose sort might no man know whose branches
were for ever green. The roadway from the south still approaches the
ancient village through an avenue of rowan or mountain ash. These were
planted recently indeed, but there is the right atmosphere about the
mystic tree whence pagan priests cut sacred wands; whose wood is still
a potent charm and a powerful protection against witchcraft. Just east
of the three great howes we may stand on the flat-topped Tings-hög,
where the ancient assemblies of Sweden were held and picture the
weaponed warriors not always saying yea to their king. On this spot,
too, we may well wonder why _we_ have abandoned our excellent northern
words, Scandinavian Thing and Saxon Moot, in favour of a French
expression that only means place where men talk, or a Latin one that
refers to no more than their coming together. Honey-tasting sparkling
mead has here been brewed through the unnumbered centuries, and we may
still drink from ancient horns what our fathers enjoyed when the North
was first peopled by Aryan man.

Mead is still brewed indeed, but (happily) not in such noble quantity
as was the case of old. "There was a great homestead," we read in the
sagas, "and therein was there wrought a mighty vat many ells high,
which stood on mighty big beams; now this stood down in a certain
undercroft, and there was a loft above it, the floor whereof was open,
that the liquor might be poured down thereby; but the vat was full
of mingled mead, and the drink was wondrous strong." Unfortunately
the king, a mighty man whose years were full of plenty and peace, was
staying with the owner and went out amidst the night, when, being
bewildered with sleep and dead-drunk, he missed his footing, fell into
the mead-vat and was lost there.[100]

In the temple festivals were held at Yule and twice besides in every
year. One was the thanksgiving for good crops that the New England
Puritans unconsciously revived. And greater feasts took place as often
as the ninth year came. Mighty sacrifices were offered to the Gods and
the victims were human at times. As in Mexico and elsewhere, highest
reverence was paid to these unhappy men between dedication and death.
The worship on the whole was of the beastliest; the temple and the
grove must frequently have resembled blood-reeking shambles and there
was nothing to regret when the people began to trow in the faith of the
White Christ. The beauty of building and stateliness of ritual that
characterised the shrines of Buddhist India or of Egypt or of Greece
were but faintly reflected in the rude and untaught North.

In the days of King Domald there fell on the Swedes great hunger and
famine. So they offered oxen with no result; next year "they offered
men, and the increase of the year was the same, or worse it might be,
but the third autumn came the Swedes flockmeal to Upsala whenas the
sacrifices should be. Then held the great men counsel together, and
were of one accord that this scarcity was because of Domald their
king, and withal that they should sacrifice him for the plenty of the
year; yea, that they should set on him and slay him, and redden the
seats of the Gods with the blood of him; and even so they did."[101]
So successful was this service that there was good plenty and peace
throughout the days of his son's long reign, "of him is nought more
told save that he died in his bed at Upsala."

A later king named Aun gained length of days by offering up his sons,
for Odin had made him the promise that he should live on for ever, even
so long as he gave Odin one of his sons every tenth year. "So when he
had offered up seven sons, then he lived ten winters yet in such case
that he might not go afoot, but was borne about on a chair. Then he
offered up yet again the eighth son of his, and lived ten winters yet,
and then lay bedridden. Then he offered up his ninth son, and lived ten
winters yet, and then must needs drink from a horn, even as a swaddling
babe. Now had he one son yet left, and him also would he offer up, and
give to Odin Upsala withal and the countryside thereabout, and let
call it Tenthland (p. 179)[102]; but the Swedes forbade it him, and
there was no sacrifice. So King Aun died, and was laid in howe at

The zeal of Iceland has indeed clothed these earthen mounds with
vigorous life, this spot with vivid story. So much so that they are
hardly to be called prehistoric, however the word may spring to our
lips from the study of such earth monuments in other lands.

It is tradition--but probably untrue--that there still stand parts of
the ancient temple which glittered with gold in every corner, where
were figures of Thor, of Odin and of Frey, the God of Thunder, most
honoured, in the midst; so Adam of Bremen says. Chains of gold clinked
on the temple roof, as chains of baser metal hang on many a Russian
church to-day. A square, stone pile, of massive work but rude, stands
high above the plain: two gateways toward the north, two toward the
south, and two toward the west, only toward the east but one. It seems
more likely, notwithstanding, that this gable-roofed structure was
always what it is to-day, the central tower of a cruciform church,
round-arched in style, opening to transepts and nave by two arches, but
to the quire by only one.[104]

That the church which was built by King Sverker I. in 1138[105] has
annexed both the site and the materials of the temple of the Three Gods
we need not doubt, but the structure is a fairly ordinary Romanesque
building exactly suiting the architecture of the age. The small chancel
of three bays has a round apse and round-headed windows, and if the
plan preserved in the vestry--here reproduced--be founded on fact,
there were once apsidal transepts, and an aisled nave that was not
in line, but swerved away to the north. Built into the south wall of
the apse is a Runic stone--here sketched--put up to the memory of his
father by Sigvid, who had fared to England and come safely back.[106]
(See page 108.)

Eric IX. (p. 192) is traditionally connected with the building of the
church. Perhaps to him are owed the plain ribbed vaults, indicated on
the plan by dotted lines. In life he was known as Log-gifware, or Giver
of Laws, and every one of his statutes were good; after death he was
known as saint. With the first primate of Upsala, St. Henry, a man of
English birth, Eric conquered the Finns, and, as this was an attack
on one of the last centres of heathenism in Europe, it ranked as a
crusade. The Swedish saint mourned to see so many pagans slain without
a chance of Heaven, but the English saint was made of sterner stuff and
he refused to weep. All heathen were vermin to him.

He met his end in a most un-English way. The mistress of a house had
expressly refused to invite him to her board, but all the same he
went. In that rude age the conventions of society had not yet been
elaborated, and so, instead of welcoming him with their lips and fuming
in their hearts, the owners of the house sent the unbidden guest into
another world (see p. 213). Nevertheless in Finland he was highly
honoured by the sword-established Church; the cathedral at the old
capital of Abo bears his name and once enshrined his remains. But in
later days (by Count Douglas, p. 238) they were carried in triumph to
St. Petersburg.

Three miles of level plain, still fertile, for the soil is unexhausted
by the tillage of two thousand years, separates Old Upsala from the
town of Östra-aros, which usurped both the name and the archbishopric
in 1276. From a distance its buildings seem to rise from the very
forests in true Swedish style, but when the streets are gained one is
somewhat reminded of Holland. For long rows of trees, largely lime and
horse-chestnut, border the little (river) Fyrisa, which flows unhasting
to the northern end of Mälar, and on the banks are a few picturesque
gabled houses with seventeenth century dates. Trees line many of the
wide streets and partly hide the trolley trams. The great brick
cathedral in the distance too has a certain Flemish look. But all idea
of Holland is expelled by the massive unbeautiful castle standing high
on its wooded cliffs.

This city seems to have a character all its own, largely through
mingling the features of many other towns. Here in the wooded Swedish
plain an English close, a Dutch canal and an American campus seem
somehow or other to have met. The interest of the place centres largely
round the university, which has sheltered no small number of scholars
that the whole world holds great.

In Upsala one is vaguely conscious of the existence of that intense
charm, all-pervading yet undefinable, that in Oxford and Cambridge is
so helped by the presence of buildings unrivalled on earth. Here no
crumbling, creeper-covered walls surround garden quadrangles, nor do
elm-shaded lawns slope to a placid river; here are none of the towers
and spires of Isis, nor the deep red Tudor brickwork towers of Cam. The
university was only founded in 1477 by the national leader, Sten Sture
the Elder, who had been chosen administrator of Sweden at the Diet of
Arboga six years before. It possesses no buildings that in themselves
would claim attention for half an hour, though many are attractive from
the well-treed lawns on which they stand. The oldest is called from
the hero king who raised it, the Gustavianum; it is a plain white
structure over which rises a tower capped by a swelling dome that
displays the influence of the East. The new building, finished in 1886,
has a fine central corridor panelled in green marble, and over the door
of the Aula is written (from Thorild) in letters of gold:

  Great to think free,
  But greater to think right.

One feels the same atmosphere of culture and of high ideal, of youthful
enthusiasm and of joy that makes the two older universities of England
so lovable, though it is produced with so much simpler scenes.

The ungowned, white-capped students,[107] some two thousand of them,
delighting in music and serenades, are organised in thirteen "nations."
These somewhat recall English colleges, for they have buildings of
their own, and somewhat resemble American Greek letter fraternities,
but such likenesses soon leave off and wide differences appear. The
members of the nations are chosen by the accident of birth, for
each includes the students from one or more of the Swedish "läns."
Graduating ceremonies take place in the cathedral, for, as in Oxford
and Cambridge, the university is connected with the church.

The university library is not in the least architecturally striking,
but among its somewhat numerous treasures is the famous _Codex
Argenteus_, written on purple parchment in uncial letters of silver
and gold. It was captured at Prague in 1648 and, as it gives us the
text of Ulfilas' Gothic Bible, no more appropriate home for it could
have been found in the wide world.

In the chief square of Upsala is a statue (by Börjeson) of one of the
most renowned of former professors, Eric Gustaf Geiger (1783-1847),
the poet who with zeal and zest sought to restore respect for native
traditions so long overlaid by fads from France during Gustavian times.
This he took up so seriously that thus, during his very engagement,
wrote his future wife to a friend. Geiger "has become a Goth; instead
of loving me he is in love with Valkyries and shield-bearing maidens,
drinks out of Viking horns, and carries out Viking expeditions--to the
nearest tavern. He writes poems which must not be read in the dark,
they are so full of murders and deeds of slaughter." This is putting it
somewhat crudely, the movement on the whole was very good. It is far
better that each nation should cultivate and develop the traditions
of its own fathers--if any such there be--rather than seek to copy
ready-made the conclusions of another folk. And Sweden has no need to
learn from France.

Geiger's daughter married the Count Hamilton who was Governor of Upsala
during the visit of Du Chaillu (p. 223) and entertained the explorer
in the castle. The Swedish branch of this great Scottish house is
descended from two brothers who, like many other Britishers, offered
their swords to Gustavus Adolphus in 1624. Of the mediæval castle
extremely slight ruins are to be seen; the present heavy and unfinished
round-towered mansion was erected by Gustaf Vasa. In it took place the
picturesque but humiliating ceremony of Christina's abdication of the
throne, to shake the earth of Sweden from her feet and to amuse herself
idly among peoples and courts further south. The best thing about the
castle is the superb view from its windows over the forest town.

The Botanical Gardens were set out by Linnæus himself, rather for
serious study than for display of flowers. The founder of modern
botany, to whom there is a marble statue by Byström, became a professor
at Upsala in 1741 and was laid to rest in one of the chapels of the
cathedral during 1778.

Close to the banks of the river is the Erikskälla, marking the spot
where Eric fell, national saint of Swedes (p. 187). He was canonised by
the Swedish Church, not known at Rome, for the rival house of Sverker
had gotten the ear of the pope. A spring has burst forth from the soil;
such a thing very frequently happens where a saint has breathed his
last. The story of his life is portrayed by mural paintings in one of
the apsidal chapels on the south of the cathedral, the only part of
the building where the brick vaulting-ribs are left exposed. He was at
service in the Bondkyrka, or peasants' church, of the Trinity,[108]
when the Danes made a surprise attack. The devout king refused to leave
till the service came to an end, but soon after, fighting bravely at
the head of his men, he was cut down by victorious foes.

His silver-gilt shrine is still the chief treasure of the noble
cathedral that rose between Trinity Church and St. Eric's Spring when
the archbishopric was moved from the old Upsala to the new. This great
church would dominate a much larger town, for its twin spires rise
but little short of four hundred feet. It was designed by one of the
builders of Notre Dame, Etienne de Bonneuil, who by a document written
in Paris on September 8, 1287, was appointed master builder of Sweden's
new metropolitan church. By students from Scandinavia at the French
capital the cathedral rising by the Seine was so much admired that
they got it arranged that a "tailleur de pierre" from its works should
reproduce its glories among the forests of the North. It is thus no
surprise to find the plan of Upsala Cathedral reproducing that of Notre
Dame, though much simplified and on a scale considerably reduced.[109]
The superficial resemblance is by no means close, for the materials
available were only brick with stone for necessary detail work, which
had to be sparingly used.

The great rose windows, west and north, the clustered piers and moulded
arches, the plainly ribbed vaulting and indeed the general effect of
the interior remind one of the fairest contemporary churches of France,
but the blind storey (or triforium), pierced only by meaningless
little circles, does nothing to recall the beautiful arcades that open
to the galleries of Notre Dame, while the plain pinnacles and flying
buttresses without are destitute of any substitutes for the world-famed
devils that look down on the Paris streets.

The oldest monument is a brass memorial to Birger Persson, who was
president of the Royal Commission which codified the laws of Upland in
1296. One of the children figured afterwards became the illustrious
St. Birgitta, or Brita, who, after the death of her husband Ulf,
visited Jerusalem, received revelations, founded an order for monks
and nuns, and took a prominent part in Church affairs at Rome, trying
to get the pope back from Avignon. Her revelations, or some of them,
have been printed, but, if one may judge by the samples read by
Bishop Wordsworth,[110] they are somewhat sorry stuff, not superior
to the sermons of an average curate and not to be compared with the
revelations of St. Julian of Norwich.

The rules of her order were revealed to her (so she firmly believed)
by Christ, and approved by the pope. There was a house in England (the
priory of Syon), while the principal convent of the Order of the Holy
Saviour, as it was called, stood on Lake Vettern at Vadstena; its
buildings to-day form a refuge for the mad. In the church the relics of
the foundress are still reverently preserved, for Charles XII. refused
to sell them to the pope. "First and foremost," he remarked, "no one
can say for certain if they be her bones or not; secondly, in no wise
would I be a party to the encouragement of idle superstition; and
thirdly I am not a dealer in old bones."

In 1590 papal envoys had purchased the relics of another Swedish
saint named David, who hung his gloves on sunbeams, and the church
at Munketorp was built with the price they paid; but the priest who
effected the sale boasted at a synod that he had only given up the
first skeleton that he found in the vaults of the church.

St. Brita has taken a strong hold on popular imagination in Sweden and
figures largely in the folklore of the land. Her peculiar sanctity
it is said enabled her to see the devil, until one day she failed to
control her laughter when in church she saw him bump his head against
a pillar. He was trying to stretch a goat's skin with his teeth, for
as it was the vellum was far too small to hold the names of those that
he noticed nodding as the sermon wore. The local colour of this tale
seems distinctly later than the fourteenth century, when St. Brita was

In the Lady Chapel of the cathedral is a fine monument to Gustaf Vasa
with effigies in English alabaster of the king and two wives. The walls
are painted with some of the events of his adventurous life.[111]

Restored to his birth-land in 1908 and deposited in this cathedral
after original burial in England during 1772, are the bones of one of
the strangest characters that Sweden ever produced, Emanuel Swedenborg.
Son of a distinguished bishop, he early made a name as a scientist and
his achievements were of no mean kind. He anticipated modern knowledge
as to the planets of the solar system flying off from the mass of the
sun and developing their own orbits and rotations. In England he knew
Newton, Halley and Flamsteed, and on the Continent also he met the
chief men of science of his day. Great practical assistance in the
engineering line he was able to afford to Charles XII., including help
in the construction of docks at Karlskrona (p. 164), and the transport
of ships overland in the war against Norway in 1718. During the latter
part of his life Swedenborg had visions and founded in London the
_Society of the New Church signified by the New Jerusalem_, his ideas
being much influenced by Gnosticism. How far he was qualified as a
religious teacher is of course a matter of opinion. Emerson says that
he is "disagreeably wise, and with all his accumulated gifts paralyses
and repels."

Few spots of Europe surpass in interest these simple and unornamented
monuments of all the ages of the northern world: earth mounds told of
in saga story, cathedral carrying the loveliest style of central Europe
to the far North, castle where kings dwelt of old, university that has
influenced the thought of all mankind. Though the capital is moved to
the outlet of the lake, where there rises a yet fairer town, this plain
is the true centre of Swedish story from earliest to latest days.

As Tegnér's _Drapa_, Englished by Longfellow expresses it:

  So perish the old Gods!
  But out of the sea of Time
  Rises a new land of song
  Fairer than the old.
  Over its meadows green
  Walk the young bards and sing.




  Here the dark woods, with many a patriarch tree,
  In gloomy melancholy gaze on thee;
  Here rocks on rocks up-piled upon the strand,
  Seem the vast structure of some giant's hand;
  While high aloft the lucid meteors glow,
  And veins of iron in the mountains grow.
                    TEGNER'S _Svea_, translated by OSCAR BAKER.

One must be feeling in a particularly happy frame of mind not to be
conscious of a certain depression when approaching London from almost
any side. Nearly all large cities have to a greater or less extent
transformed and half spoilt their surroundings.

Stockholm has done nothing of the sort and there lies its unique
charm. A vast city of more than a quarter of a million souls rises
straight from the primeval forest and clear blue water. The Swedish
capital reposes on islands and spreads to the mainland north and south,
surrounded by the woods and the lakes. Westward to the Cattegat is a
shipway, hollowed partly by the spade of man and partly by the tooth
of time; northward stretches a natural waterway to the ancient capital
of Lofty Halls. And the winding fjord that leads up from the open sea,
through which the great lake drains, is of wonderful beauty. Low rocky
shores, island and mainland, spruce woods close to the water, recall
the loveliest scenery of the New England lakes, but there is the added
charm of heather wherever the trees leave room.

Small steamers lie in little coves so near the rockbound shore that it
almost seems their rigging is likely to get tangled among boughs of
oak, and their crews can pick wild strawberries the moment they step
on land. For a mile or two the channel from the Baltic to Stockholm is
most intricate and extremely narrow, then great lake-like expanses are
traversed before the vessel enters another narrow gate. Little painted
houses dot the woods, but they are few. The general effect of the
constantly shifting shores is of almost fairy-like beauty, especially
with the peculiarly Scandinavian interlocking of the water and the land.

At length across a stretch of island-dotted lake the spires and roofs
of the capital seem to rise right out of the woods. Eventually one
lands in the very middle of the town. The whole place is intensely
modern, the metropolis of a most progressive folk. Large numbers of
Stockholmers dwell in flats despite their love of flowers. One of the
chief landmarks of the city is the tall network tower of iron bars that
surmounts the telephone centre. This repose-disturbing, but extremely
useful, invention has fascinated the Swedes. The charges are extremely
low, and Stockholm actually boasts of having more telephone numbers
than New York.

The first impression is that of a distinctly striking town; the vast
Royal Palace and the huge Northern Museum produce a very individual
effect, though hardly perhaps one that can be called monumental. All
the conspicuous buildings are in some variety of the Classic style,
several erected during the last few years. The streets are broad, but
geography forbids any great regularity, excepting to the north and
south. All roads lead to the water, except a few that lead to the
woods; the chief ones pass through wide squares and parks. Immensely
improved is the city since 1847, when an English traveller wrote: "The
natural advantages of approach are not adequately appreciated, or
rather done justice to by the Swedes. Their whole style of architecture
is mean to a degree; and their houses on each side of the Mälar quite
unworthy that superb piece of water. With a few of the old palaces of
Venice on each bank, and trees at intervals, and a gondola or two
afloat, the northern capital, from its more romantic environs, would
far exceed the other."[112]

The site indeed is almost unexcelled. So far as natural beauty goes,
the owners of these nine bridge-linked islands[113] need not envy the
dwellers on the Seven Hills. From the narrows that the islands guard
broad waters spread far on almost every side; Lake Mälar ripples
gently for nearly eighty miles toward the west, splashing towns and
villages and rocks and woods, and pours its broad waters swiftly past
the islands toward the sea. Ocean steamers are moored by the wide busy
quays of the prosperous city: small steamboats supplement the trolley
trams to provide communications for the town. Toward the interior four
lines of railway thread their way among the farms and the woods. For
the vast silent forests of the North touch the immediate outskirts of
the town; and trees are planted wherever the streets leave a small
space unused.

By far the most conspicuous building, weirdly attractive by its
complete incongruity with its surroundings, is the immense Royal
Palace, a magnific pile in the heaviest French Classic style, whose
rectangular courtyard is enclosed by a block measuring no less than
408 by 381 feet, and rising in three storeys to a height of nearly
a hundred feet. These ample dimensions are increased by wings of
about half the elevation projecting eastward toward the water front,
and by another on the west that greatly lengthens the north façade.
This structure, whose simplicity and grandeur made an impression on
Fergusson, occupies quite a considerable portion of the original island
of Staden.

The architect was a Frenchman, Nicodemus de Tessin, and so much
impressed with the designs was Louis XIV. that he specially
congratulated his Swedish brother on the magnificent edifice he was
proposing to erect. This king had planned to incorporate part of an
older building on the site, but a fire which occurred while he was
himself lying-in-state in the unfinished structure nearly cremated
the body of the monarch and quite gave the architect complete liberty
of design. The present building was begun by the renowned Charles
XII. on his accession in 1697, and, much delayed by war and turmoil,
its erection dragged on till 1760. For a wonder the later architects
employed, including De Tessin's son, resisted the temptation to modify
the plans.[114] Simplicity is by far the chief merit of the palace,
only in the centre of each side are pilasters introduced; the top is
finished with the plainest cornice and balustrade and the sky line is
as horizontal as that of the sea.

The building made a great impression in Europe when it was erected, and
several travellers speak of it in terms of rather exaggerated praise.
Thus Laing,[115] himself a Scot, after a very appreciative description,
exclaims, "What are our public buildings about Edinburgh, our churches,
hospitals, squares, street-fronts, with all their pillars, porticos,
pilasters, cornices and carved work, compared to the composition and
effect of this chaste and grand building?--minced pies, pastry-cook
work in freestone." The only really serious defect is that the design
is not adapted to the site and the material is not adapted to the
design. Such a structure requires a vast space all round and looks
cramped on a small island; it needs material of the most substantial,
set off by avenues of trees and formal gardens on a lavish scale, but
amid the rocks of Stockholm it is plastered and in the City of Flowers
its immediate environs are comparatively destitute of vegetation.[116]

In the same general style as the palace and close to it are other
public buildings, but unfortunately the topography of the islands
forbids their forming parts of a single great design. The beautiful
Riddarhus, or Hall of Knights, the headquarters of the Swedish nobles
in the capital, is a seventeenth century structure of brick and stone,
designed by Simon de la Vallée, adorned with Corinthian pilasters
and floral bands between the storeys. The Riksdaghuset, or Houses
of Parliament, recently erected, form a fine block of red granite
buildings that rather crush the little island of the Holy Ghost, on
which they stand. The two upper storeys have Corinthian columns or
pilasters and the sky-line is broken by sculpture rising over the
balustrade. Both chambers are octagonal, and their members, for whom
women vote, reach them by a most striking stairway, excellently adorned
with marble, mottled, white and green. (See chapter-heading.)

Close to the palace, looking over the harbour, is a very impressive
statue of Gustavus III.; it was the work of J. T. Sergel, second only
to Thorwaldsen among the sculptors of the North. Brilliantly this
charmer king, this monarch of the double face,[117] taught Sweden to
sin, fatuously he sought to bring to the icy pine-woods of the North
the tinsel trinkets of Versailles. The country did not prosper, the
royal house was undermined, the king was murdered, and soon a brave
French soldier came to restore vigour and virtue to the long-suffering

Still the reign that gave to Sweden Karl Mikael Bellman, the poet,
and other illustrious men was by no means altogether barren of good
results. The old French culture introduced is very far from being lost,
and the Swedish Academy, which Gustavus founded in 1786, is one of a
number of learned societies that have their homes in this city and have
done much to make the Swedish capital pre-eminent for its devotion
for letters. Another is the Academy of Sciences, in whose institution
the great Linnæus had no small share. Many of their members have a
reputation Europe-wide. Lost now is the position to which Sweden once
attained, chief military power in the North, but higher her place
in the world. The sword-won dominion of Gustavus Adolphus could not
endure for very long--geography forbade--but a nobler Swedish empire
was founded, or at any rate consolidated, by the genius of Linnæus,
and that shows no sign of decay. There will dawn a day when mere brute
force will no longer be the test of a nation's weal, but in Europe it
is hardly yet.

[Illustration: STOCKHOLM]                           [_Face page 206_

Across a monumental bridge, adorned with statues and lamps, on
the island of Djurgarden, stands a recently finished structure of
Renaissance character which looks like a great cruciform church, but
is in fact the Northern, or the Folk, Museum. The great hall contains
figures in armour, old coaches and such like to illustrate days that
are past, but more interesting are the little chambers that show us in
detail the life of Sweden in bygone years. Within an old cottage we see
a duck-coop under the sofa and shut-up cupboards against the walls.
Carved chests and spinning wheels and lace and little looms and fishing
implements and traps for bears, saddles and flutes and harps and drums
give the attentive student a very fair idea of how the peasants used to
pass their days. No servile breed these men who crushed the armies of
the Empire in the war of Thirty Years and first subdued the woods by
the Delaware.

A story told by W. W. Thomas[118] is fairly characteristic of the stern
and independent nature of the farmers who have made Sweden.

"A Swedish peasant, clad in homespun and driving a rough farm wagon,
pulled up at a post station in the west of Sweden. There were but two
horses left in the stable, and these he immediately ordered to be
harnessed into his wagon. Just as they were being hitched up, there
rattled into the courtyard in great style the grand equipage of the
governor of the province, with coachman and footman in livery. Learning
the state of affairs and wishing to avoid a long and weary delay, the
coachman ordered these two horses to be taken from the peasant's cart
and harnessed into the governor's carriage. But the peasant stoutly
refused to allow this to be done.

"'What,' said the governor, 'do you refuse to permit those horses to be
harnessed into my carriage?'

"'Yes, I do,' said the peasant.

"'And do you know who I am?' said the governor, somewhat in a rage. 'I
am the governor of this province, a knight of the Royal Order of the
Northern Star, and one of the chamberlains of His Majesty the King.'

"'Oh, ho!' said the peasant. 'And do you, sir, know who I am?'

"He said this in such a bold and defiant manner that the governor
was somewhat taken aback. He began to think that the fellow might be
some great personage after all--some prince, perhaps, travelling in

"'No,'he said, in an irresolute voice, 'I do not know who you are. Who
are you?'

"'Well,' replied the peasant, walking up to his face and looking him
firmly in the eye, 'I'll tell you who I am--I am the man that ordered
those horses.'

"After this there was nothing more to be said. The peasant quietly
drove away on his journey, and the governor waited until such time as
he could legally procure fresh means of locomotion."

Along the "clearstorey" of the church-like museum are a series of
little chambers fitted and furnished to illustrate the life of the
middle classes from 1520 to the end of the nineteenth century. These
are far less distinctively Swedish than the objects taken from

So modern is Stockholm, bustling capital of a great industrial nation,
so entirely Classic its principal buildings, that it seems almost
incongruous that it should be a town of great historic interest, whose
story goes back to saga days. The site is heard of now and then in the
very earliest annals of the North.

Once a king of Upsala is fabled here to have celebrated his marriage
and gotten his bane. Round his neck he wore a great gold chain that
his sires had worn of yore. He desired to wed the lovely Skialf, whose
father, a monarch further east, he had just conquered and slain in war.
She only bargained that a funeral feast for her parent might decorously
precede the marriage feast for herself. The king of Upsala and his
warriors poured down the grave-ale right heartily so that they could
not stand. The bride and her friends had only feigned to drink so that
they were in better condition for action when the feast was done. They
contrived to slip one end of a rope through the great gold chain and
the other end over the bough of a large oak. Thus the monarch of Upsala
was hung and the bride unwed sailed home.[120]

Within the present limits of Stockholm too, Olaf the Holy as a
precocious viking youth showed some of that astuteness that was with
him all through life. He had been harrying in the neighbourhood of
Sigtuna, much to the annoyance of the Swedes, and "when autumn set in
Olaf Haraldson got to know that Olaf the Swede-king drew together a
great host, and also that he had done chains athwart Stocksound, and
set guard thereover. But the Swede-king was of mind that King Olaf
would there bide the frosts, and he held Olaf's host of little worth,
for he had but a small company. So King Olaf went out to Stocksound,
and might not get through there, for a castle was on the west side of
the sound and a host of men on the south. But when they heard that the
Swede-king was gone aboard ship, and had a great host and a multitude
of ships, King Olaf let dig a dyke through Agni's-thwaite into the sea.
At this time great rains prevailed.

"Now from all Sweden every running water falls into the Low, and out
to sea there is one oyce from the Low, so narrow that many rivers be
wider. But when great rains or snow-thaws prevail, the waters fall with
such a rush that through Stocksound the water runs in a force, and the
Low goes so much upon the lands that wide-about be floods. Now when the
dyke got to the sea, then leapt out the water and the stream. Then King
Olaf let take inboard all the rudders of his ships, and hoist all sails
topmast high. And there was a high wind at will blowing. They steered
with the oars, and the ships went apace out over the shoal, and came
all whole into the sea.

"Then the Swedes went to see Olaf the Swede-king, and told him that
by then Olaf the Thick had got him away out into the sea. So the
Swede-king rated soundly those who should have watched that Olaf gat
not away."

The fact that the sagas give the place (or neighbourhood) the only
distinctive part of the present name makes somewhat superfluous the
legends that have grown up to account for the designation Stockholm.
One of these declares that in the twelfth century by robber bands
the ancient capital of Sigtuna had been destroyed. So placing their
remaining valuables in a dug-out stock, the surviving citizens
committed it to the waters of the lake and followed in their boats the
drifting log. At the island where at last their stock came to shore the
future capital rose.

But the true founder of Stockholm was stout Birger Jarl, of royal race,
and father of kings, who ruled the land (as regent for his son) from
1251 till his death in 1266.[121] He desired to lock the Mälar with a
fortress town, and the advantages of doing this were so great that we
may safely reject the idle tale that he too cast a log into the lake
and vowed to build the town wherever the waters cast it up. Many a
legend has grown to account for a city's name, but men of the stamp
of Birger Jarl know what they want too well to trust to the decision
of the winds. The new town rapidly grew in importance and from its
splendid position gradually became the capital of the country.

Gone are the winding lanes of mediæval days, gone are all traces of the
city's youth except a couple of churches. A son of Birger Jarl, Magnus
Ladulaas, who reigned from 1279 till 1290, founded a Franciscan convent
and placed it on Riddarsholm, the island of the Knights. His surname,
which signifies the locker of barns, was gained by a most just law he
made compelling nobles like common folk to pay for any corn or straw
that they might require on travels. "No Roman Emperor," gratefully
exclaims the old _Swedish Chronicle_, "could wish himself a nobler name
that Ladulaas, and very few could have laid claim to it, for the name
of Ladu-brott (barn-breaker) would suit most rulers much better."[122]

It is sad to know that this evil custom, the right to demand
hospitality from unwilling hosts, was founded--largely at any rate--by
an Englishman and a saint (p. 188). Other natives of the British Isles
than he have bitterly complained of Continental inns. Henry had a
practical remedy; he instituted the custom, that was sure to be abused,
of making every peasant's house a free hostelry for travellers of

The ancient church of the Franciscans (now known as the
Riddarsholms-Kyrka) is a brick structure of the early fourteenth
century, raised a few years after the convent was founded; it is not
greatly impressive. Nave of five bays, quire of three, triple apse
to the east, clumsy-looking tower to the west. Round pillars hold up
a heavy vault, whitewash daubed, and, as is so commonly the case in
Scandinavia, unrelieved by any clearstorey. On to the tower has been
hoisted a cast iron spire that rises 290 feet into the clear air and
looks as awkward and unhappy as the similar feature over the cathedral
at Rouen. The great interest of the church is that it has become the
valhalla of warrior, sage and king; the floor is laid in gravestones,
the walls blaze with the painted arms of the Knights of the Seraphim
Order, the air is thick with the banners that Swedes have won in war.
In the quire is the effigy of the founder, but as space in the church
was small classic chapels have been added both north and south to be
the last resting-places of other of Sweden's honoured dead. On the
sun-warmed side of the quire a chapel bears date 1633, and its rather
indifferent architecture is forgotten from the fact that it contains,
within a later sarcophagus of green marble, the ashes of Gustavus
Adolphus, one of the noblest of mankind, the hero king who perished
victorious on the field of Lützen (1632).

Opposite on the north is the Carolinian chapel, a domed Classic
structure with detached columns outside where rest the renowned twelfth
Charles and other princes of the Vasa House. Another chapel bears the
name of Bernadotte, founder of the ruling line.

It was before the altar of this church during the fourteenth century
that the arrogant noble, Bo Jonsson, called Grip, because his arms were
a griffin's head, who "ruled the land with a glance of his eye,"[124]
uncontrolled by the helpless king, hewed in pieces his foe Karl
Nilsson, and was never called to account on this side of the veil.
Here, too, among the dead in later days, far into the night mused the
third Gustavus, hoping to receive some omen from his fathers' graves.

It is rather misleading to call this comparatively humble shrine the
Westminster Abbey of the land that holds the Cathedral of Upsala and so
many other glorious fanes. Instead of one of the grandest minsters on
the earth, echoing several times a day with Christian praise, it is a
somewhat commonplace church whose silence is broken only by the chatter
of tourists, save on the anniversary of some hero's death or when
another monarch has entered upon his last sleep. Nevertheless there is
a deep and haunting interest in this last earthly resting-place of so
many who have helped to shape the world.

Close to this church is a fine statue by Fogelberg to Birger Jarl.

The Storkyrka, or great church of St. Nicholas, has been Classicised
without. It is better so, for with the great palace forcing Classic
standards on the city, Gothic must look out of place, however much
better its general lines would have suited the untamed site and the
ancient traditions of Stockholm. Pastor here 1543-52 was the famous
Olavus Petri[125] who, with his brother, Laurentius, Archbishop
of Upsala, did much to shape the Swedish Reformation. Messenius'
_Rhyme-Chronicle_ tells us:

  On Master Olof's wedding day
  Our Lutherdom had made such way
  That mass in Swedish first was sung.
  So all men followed their own tongue.
  For so had Master Olof seen
  How things at Wittenberg had been;
  There first at Carlstadt's marriage feast
  Was German mass sung by a priest.

Chancellor of the kingdom he had been in earlier days (1532), but so
much of an idealist was Olof that he desired public penance to be
exacted from all who complained of the weather! This did not suit
the sternly practical king, Gustaf Vasa, who dismissed him with the
observation that he was as fit to be chancellor as an ass to play the
lute, or a kicking cow to spin silk.

In the Storkyrka[126] had been crowned in 1520 the last sovereign of
united Scandinavia, Christian II., a Dane of the Oldenburg line. Not
by any means a bad king on the whole (p. 143), he had nevertheless
by some inscrutable mental process got it into his head that the
destruction of the leading men of Sweden would benefit that country
and help to consolidate his own power. So during the very festivities
that followed the coronation, no other specific charge being handy,
he availed himself of the one complaint that can never fail, and on a
trumped-up charge connected with religion, he caused many of the nobles
and most honoured men of Sweden to be executed in the market-place of
the capital. But the effect of the fatal Blood Bath of Stockholm, on
November 8, 1520, was far other than the monarch planned. A deliverer
for the wronged nation rose up in the son of one of those who perished.

An outlaw fugitive, Gustaf Vasa had several very narrow escapes from
the machinations of Danish spies, but the peasants of Dalekarlia were
sufficiently sympathetic to shield him, though at the risk of their
lives. They had no very particular grievances and merely desired
to live in peace; to his first patriotic harangue they listened in
irritating silence. So, sick at heart and weary of body, the hero was
plodding through the snow to seek a secure retreat for himself among
the remote mountains of Norway. He heard himself hotly followed, but,
looking round, was joyed to see not pursuing Danes, but penitent
dalesmen. They had heard of the Blood Bath and of many other acts of
cruelty and had come to agree with Gustaf. They now asked no more than
to be led against the forces of the tyrant king. "For our country we
will fight like men," they cried. "Come back, Gustaf, and be our chief."

And with them he returned to found one of the most brilliant lines of
sovereigns that Europe ever knew. The Danes could make little stand
before the enthusiastic fury of the rising Swedes; one of their own
leaders declared that the devil himself could not subdue a people who
lived by drinking water and eating bread baked from the bark of trees,
and in 1523 Gustaf entered Stockholm as king, and knelt in thanksgiving
before the same altar that had witnessed the coronation of the tyrant
only three years before. His spirit broods over the city to-day, before
the Hall of Knights and in the Northern Museum his colossal statue

But it was to a capital in ruin that he came, and only three hundred
families were camping amidst its broken walls. So serious did
conditions seem to the new king that he ordered every other town in
Sweden to pay Stockholm a tax of ten stout burghers, compensation
to be sought from neighbouring farms. The natural forces of these
town-extending times have, in Sweden as elsewhere, made such
legislation more than superfluous to-day. Though on the very edge
of the forest modern Stockholm is in some districts over-crowded,

Till far into the nineteenth century the Scandinavian countries had
the bad distinction of being the most drunken in Europe: Linnæus as a
scientist called attention to the national danger of drink. That Swedes
and Norwegians are now the most abstemious of Europeans is a striking
comment on the early Victorian maxim: "You can't make men sober by Act
of Parliament."[127]

So heavenly are the environs of the city that they could not easily
be spoiled; the Swedes have made the very most of the lavish gifts of
Nature to add to the delights of their capital. They are not infected
with a mania for cutting trees and building mile-long lines of slate
and brick, nor apparently is every landowner consumed with a burning
zeal to pile as many dwellings as he possibly can onto each square inch
of ground. Parks are numerous and beautiful, largely because the woods
are left alone.

Of the nine islands the largest except one and by far the most
interesting is Djurgarden, so called because there was a deer-park in
days gone by. A great part of its area is still left alone, forming
a park almost unrivalled in the world. Wide stretches of primeval
forest, miles of rockbound coast lapped by the rippling waters of the
lake. At Skansen, midst the woods on elevated ground, is a splendid
museum in the open air. Among the trees one keeps discovering all
sorts of interesting things. Log houses with old furniture in which
Swedes dressed as their fathers dressed play on musical instruments
used of old. Other old cottages, moved from far, are boulder-built,
turf-roofed, and hard mud-floored. Animals in cages, which are partly
cut in rock, old Runic stones, old gravestones, old milestones are
there too.

And in parts the aborigines are housed, just as if in their native
wilds. A wonderful people are these Lapps. For more than a thousand
years they have lived in close proximity to one of the most cultured
of all races, with which they have had constant intercourse and trade;
yet here they are, exactly as Tacitus describes the Fenni, untaught
barbarians and a standing contradiction to Rousseau's theories about
the noble savage. Modern anthropology smiles at Dr. Johnson's crude
remark, "One set of savages is like another." Nevertheless the huts of
the Lapps seem strangely to reproduce the general atmosphere of those
of the South African Kafirs.[128] The way in which the Lapps have so
long resisted the seductions of civilisation is all the more remarkable
in contrast with their near cousins the Finns.

On the highest land, called Bredablick, rises a tall tower from which
may be enjoyed a view that is one of the most individual upon earth.
Miles and miles of rolling woodland, chiefly pine and birch, spread in
almost endless folds and display almost every shade of green. Arms of
water stretch away in all directions till in many cases they become
so narrow that they are lost among the trees; the broad end of Mälar,
myriad island lake, suggests itself on the western horizon, and, the
very last thing one would naturally expect to see amid the silent
woods, rises the great modern city with its towers and spires and domes
and factory chimneys--the Venice of the North. Round the far horizon
stand peaceful, peakless hills.[129]

A few miles north of Stockholm, far enough away to be beyond the
furthest suburb of the town, a beautiful park slopes down to where the
now narrowing and now widening Edsvik runs into the land. The property
was once owned by Prince Ulrik, son of Charles XI., and from him has
its name, Ulriksdal. Some of the most characteristic features of the
scenery of two continents seem to be epitomised in the district all
around. By the eternal forest of northern trees, and the constant
clearings in glacial boulder-earth for farms, with wooden house
and barn, by electric trolley cars and muddy roads, New England is
recalled. Wide heather-covered wastes and gnarled old firs, thatched
buildings here and there, do much to suggest the delightful landscapes
of old Scotland.

Presumably it is the best of the land that has been cleared for crops,
though it is not always very easy to declare why one acre is bearing
artichokes[130] and the next one is left to the woods.

Approached through grand avenues of maple and lime and oak, surrounding
three sides of a squared pierced by three tiers of windows, and
surmounted by a black clock turret, smaller than many English country
houses, is the Ulriksdal summer palace of the Swedish kings. It was
erected in the seventeenth century by the renowned Field-Marshal Jacob
de la Gardie, he who became the husband of Ebba Brahe, dearly loved by
Gustavus Adolphus, to whom she was betrothed, though never wed. For the
great king, whom half Europe in arms could not withstand, was unable to
resist the pressure of his mother, intriguing queen, who would not have
royal blood allied with common human clay. And by his German princess
wife, whom he could never love, the king had no other child than the
erratic Christina, brilliant and irresponsible as Mary Queen of Scots.

At this palace in 1871 the famous American explorer of Africa, Paul
Du Chaillu, was received by King Charles XV. with Arcadian lack of
ceremony that was rather disconcerting to the American conception
of what royalty should do. The explorer could get no attention at
the front door, but eventually raised some underling by going within
and shouting up the stair. This official looked over the balusters
and asked the intruder what he wanted. The king, he averred, was not
at home, but when he learned that an invited guest stood there, he
admitted that the monarch of two kingdoms was within. His Majesty was
found at last, working on a picture in his shirt-sleeves, for he was a
landscape painter of repute. As soon as he saw Du Chaillu approaching
he proceeded to put on his coat.

Wearing a broad-brimmed soft felt hat, the monarch led the explorer
through the house from room to room.[131] The general effect is
splendid, but not unhomelike. One chamber is lined with old Dutch
tiles, another with stamped leather in colours of the softest and most
restful, other apartments have fine old panelling, while the northern
sunlight streams in through some beautiful pieces of painted glass,
the oldest about 1504 in date. The richness of the effect is greatly
enhanced by fine old inlaid cabinets, choice china and some very good

Some cities, such as Oxford and Rome, owe almost everything to the
activities of man: few would linger long by the Isis or the Tiber if
their magnificent old buildings were gone. Some cities owe nearly
everything to splendour of site and to the lavish gifts of God. Such
a one pre-eminently is Stockholm. Other towns have sites more stately,
streets more monumental, buildings more magnificent, but none can be
compared with Stockholm in the features of water and island and forest
that are peculiarly its own. There is another city built on islands by
flowing waters near the open sea, but New York has pushed the forest
far away except for a space on the New Jersey side, and both islands
and city are far too big to bear any resemblance to Stockholm.

Though no such impression could well be sustained in the streets of
a great modern city, the first view of the Swedish capital suggests
nothing so much as an enchanted town, the capital of fairyland in the
middle of a wood that one dreamed about as a little child.




 What must the man have been who, born and bred in this atmosphere,
 conceived and by one tremendous wrench, almost by his own manual
 labour and his own sole gigantic strength, executed the prodigious
 idea of dragging the nation, against its will, into the light of
 Europe, and erecting a new capital and a new empire among the cities
 and kingdoms of the world.

 St. Petersburg is indeed his most enduring monument. A spot up to that
 time without a single association, selected instead of the Holy City
 to which even now every Russian turns as to his mother; a site which
 but a few years before had belonged to his most inveterate enemies,
 won from morass and forest, with difficulty defended, and perhaps even
 yet doomed to fall before the inundations of its own river.--DEAN

Russia, or Garthrealm, was not outside the circuit of saga lands. The
_Heimskringla_ indeed has much to tell us concerning it in days when
the country formed a most hospitable refuge for those in trouble at
home. And at one time or other most prominent men of the viking age
were in that uncomfortable position.

Of the Slavs themselves, indeed, we do not learn a great deal. The saga
writers were not much interested in foreign countries except as they
affected the Norse, but the regard for law in Russia evidently made an
impression, as did also the respect entertained for woman there, at any
rate as she was represented by the queen. The chief town of Russia in
those days was called by the Norsemen Holmgarth, because it stood on an
island, to the Slavs it was known as Novgorod, or new town, although
about the oldest we wot of in the land. It became in rather later days
the eastern outpost of Hansa trade (p. 155).

Russia herself, like Normandy, was originally a Scandinavian state,
and there seems to be little doubt that the name Russ was originally
applied to the Norse. Even to-day the Finns know the Swedes as
Ruotsi.[132] Thus Ruric and his viking followers[133] gave a name to
the Slavs of the North, even as Bulgars from Asia named a portion of
the Slavs of the South and the German Franks gave a new designation
to Gaul. In all three cases the conquerors who gave a new name to
the conquered received from them language and nearly everything else.
It is quite possible, however, that Scandinavian vigour was potent in
giving to northern Slavland that political unity which neither Mongol
domination, nor the long lapse of centuries nor a series of drunken and
incapable monarchs ever succeeded in breaking up.

While the disastrous failure of the southern Slavs to unite is patent
to the whole earth.

Closely in touch with the Northlands Garthrealm long remained; it was
clearly a district in which the Norse could feel themselves perfectly
at home, however much at times they might feel the call of the
rockbound fjords. Thus for several centuries, from the British Isles
to the heart of Russia, all lands were Scandinavian pure, or under the
influence of the ever conquering Norse. Had the race possessed a spark
of Roman organising power, here had been established a dominion greater
than any that the Southlands knew, for such an empire had hardly failed
to girdle the world, expanding eastward through northern Asia, westward
from Vinland the Good. Knut the Rich (p. 114) seems to have been about
the only individual to whom any such ideas occurred, and the very
keenness of all the Norse about local autonomy and parochial Things was
a hopeless bar to such plans.

It is one of the chief characteristics of the Norse easily to be
absorbed by other races, whether in ancient viking times or in the
American North-West to-day. On Ireland they left no further impression
than a few traditions and a church dedication or two; to Russia they
gave a name, but little more. Norsemen failed to be absorbed by other
races only in Iceland and Faroe, where no other races were.

Both Olaf, son of Tryggvi, and Olaf the Saint, were at different
times resident in Russia, when Norway proved unkind. The former was
nine winters old when he came into Garthrealm, and he abode with King
Valdimar other nine winters.

One day the boy was standing idly in the gate of the city when he
suddenly noticed the person who had slain his fosterer. "Olaf had a
little axe in his hand, which same he drave into Klerkon's head, so
that it stood right down in the brain of him; then he fell to running
home to the house, and told Sigurd his kinsman thereof." Such a
spirited action would not have mattered much in Scandinavia, for in
those days the Norse were very tolerant toward such effervescence of
youthful spirits, but it was otherwise in Russia.

"Now in Holmgarth was the peace so hallowed, that, according to the law
thereof, whoso slew a man undoomed should himself be slain. And now all
the people made a rush together, according to their custom and law, and
sought after the lad, where he were; and it was told that he was in the
queen's garth, and that there was an host of men all armed.

"Hereof was the king told, and he went thereto with his folk, and would
not that they fought, and so brought about truce and peace thereafter;
and the king adjudged the weregild, and the queen paid the fine.

"Thereafter abode Olaf with the queen, and was right dear to her."[134]

Why the queen, to whom Sigurd had hastily entrusted the boy, was able
to do so much is explained to us later on: "Now it was much the wont of
mighty kings in those days, that the queen should have half the court,
and sustain it at her own costs, and have thereto of the scat and dues
what she needed. And thus it was at King Valdimar's, and the queen had
no less court than the king; and somewhat would they strive about men
of fame, and either of them would have such for themselves.

"Now so it befell that the king trowed those redes aforesaid which folk
spake before him, and became somewhat cold to Olaf, and rough. And
when Olaf found that, he told the queen thereof, and said withal that
he was minded to fare into the Northlands, where, said he, his kin had
dominion aforetime" and where he deemed it like that he should have the
most furtherance.

"So the queen biddeth him farewell, and sayeth that he shall be deemed
a noble man whithersoever he cometh."[135]

The reasons for the king's suspicion are rather delicately explained:
"Yet it befell, as oft it doth when outland men have dominion, or
win fame more abundant than they of the land, that many envied him
the great love he had of the king, and of the queen no less. So men
bade the king beware lest he make Olaf over-great: 'For there is the
greatest risk of such a man, lest he lend himself to doing thee or the
realm some hurt, he being so fulfilled of prowess and might and the
love of men; nor forsooth wot we whereof he and the queen are evermore

Olaf the Holy was in slightly later days to find a refuge in Russia and
to be welcomed there by a Scandinavian queen, daughter of his old enemy
and namesake, the King of Sweden. This was the manner of the royal
marriage, and somewhat modern it sounds. "The next spring there came
to Sweden messengers from King Jarisleif east away from Holmgarth, and
they fared to see to the matter of King Olaf's promise from the past
summer to give Ingigerd his daughter to King Jarisleif. King Olaf put
the matter before Ingigerd, and said it was his will that she should
wed King Jarisleif."

Driven from his kingdom and somewhat broken in his fortunes, "King
Olaf arrayed his journey and got him a ship. And he fared that summer,
and letted not till he came east to Garth-realm to the meeting of King
Jarisleif, him and his queen, Ingigerd.... King Jarisleif gave King
Olaf a hearty welcome, and bade him abide there with him and have land
as much as he needed for the costs of holding of his company. That King
Olaf took with thanks, and tarried there. So it is said, that King
Olaf was devout and prayerful unto God all the days of his life. But
from the time that he found his reign was waning, and his enemies were
waxing mightier, then he laid all his heart to the serving of God; he
was then hindered herefrom no more by other cares, or the toil which
aforetime he had had on hand."[136]

"Sithence King Olaf came to Garth-realm he had great imaginings, and
turned it over in his mind what rede he had best take. King Jarisleif
and Queen Ingigerd bade King Olaf dwell with them, and take over the
dominion called Vulgaria, and that is one part of Garth-realm; and
there in that land the folk was heathen. King Olaf bethought him in
his mind of this offer; but when he laid it before his men, they all
were loth to take up their abode there, and egged the king on to betake
himself north to Norway to his own kingdom. The king would be still
further thinking of this, to lay down his kingdom, and fare out into
the world unto Jerusalem, or into some other holy places, and there to
go under the Rule."[137]

Not infrequently the Norse passed through Russia to the great
metropolis of the eastern world (whence Russia had received her faith),
New Rome, or Constantinople itself. So much were they impressed by that
splendid city that they knew it as Micklegarth. The stalwart arms of
the Norsemen, organised in the Vaeringian Guard, propped the Byzantine
Empire against its Asian foes and gained for the Scandinavians much
wealth. Among others the founder of Oslo (p. 95) had in that realm
gotten enormous riches. "But when Harald came to Holmgarth, King
Jarisleif gave him a wondrous good welcome, and there he tarried the
winter over, and took into his own keeping all the gold which he had
sent afore thither from Micklegarth, and many kinds of dear-goods. That
was so mickle wealth, that no man in northern lands had seen such in
one man's owning. Harald had three times come into palace-spoil whiles
he was in Micklegarth. For that is law, that whenever the king of the
Greeks dies the Vaerings shall have palace-spoil; they shall then go
over all the king's palaces where are his wealth hoards, and there each
one shall freely have for his own whatso he may lay hands on."[138]

Strangely similar, both in weakness and in strength, were Alexander
and Peter, both of them most justly surnamed Great. Each was born to
a kingdom, each had marvellous foresight and each had imperial ideas.
Semi-barbarous sceptres they both inherited, and they realised how much
might be done by importing the civilisation of sea-powers further west;
each was a worker with his own hands, each cared much for the science
and art of his generation, but neither was superior to amusements of
the grossest and pastimes of the beastliest. Both drank themselves into
the other world at an untimely age, leaving their work half done.

Each is commemorated by a city placed on the sea with the express
purpose of attracting foreign influence, beyond the ancient limits of
the country whose capital it became. More attractive in some ways the
career of the Ptolemaic successors of Alexander at Alexandria than that
of the immediate Romanoff descendants of Peter at Petersburg, but the
story of an ancient nation ruled from a corner of its territory by a
half foreign court is in both cases very much the same.

Many of the capitals of Europe know at least traditional founders, but
on none is impressed the stamp of an individual to such an extent as
here. No city on earth of anything like equal importance is so entirely
the creation of a single mind, nor so truly a monument to individual
force of character. No capital except Tokyo is to such an extent the
symbol of a new era in a nation's life.

Peter heard the call of Europe and saw that it had something to offer
that Asia could not give. Asiatics have felt a strange attraction
toward European lands in all the ages of the world. Persian, Hun,
Saracen and Turk have each in turn sought a footing on European soil.
Despite administrative inconvenience the successive rulers of the House
of Othman early desired to have as their capital some city famous in
the story of the West. Peter's people were not Asiatics; their early
organisation had come from the purest European stock, the conquering
Norse themselves, their civilisation and religion had come straight
from Rome. Not indeed old Rome on the Tiber, but during the tenth
century the daughter city by the Bosphorus was probably the more
cultured of the two.

On the border-land of the continents the Russians had for centuries
looked east and not west, the very year of Peter's accession to power
(1689) they had fixed their first frontier with China. He desired that
Russia should be definitely European, and in order to consolidate his
reforms a westward-looking window was essential. Its communications
must be by sea, Poland shut out direct intercourse with Europe
overland. Southward was the better climate, but a Black Sea port
would have increased relations with a purely Oriental Empire. At the
farthest end of the icy Baltic, where the Neva flows into the Gulf of
Finland, as near to ancient Novgorod as a seaside town could be, there
eventually he decided the new capital of Russia should stand.

From a glance at the map it is difficult to realise why no town had
risen in so convenient a spot long before, but it is at once explained
by a glance at the ground. Swampy forest, liable to floods and
dangerous to health, extended over all the land where the City of Peter
was to rise. The island that became the nucleus of the settlement had
received a name from its hares. A few Finnish fishers, alone among
mankind, broke the silence of its woods. The noble river communicates
with little except timber forests, and wood is to-day brought down to
Petersburg in temporary boats remarkable for their size, their frailty,
and their graceful appearance.

The difficulties in the way of founding a city in such a spot were such
as might well have appalled any ordinary mind. The site had but a few
years before belonged to the Swedes, who maintained a small fort on the
edge of Ladoga, the lake which the Neva drains. They were constantly
making attacks; Charles XII. remarked that Peter was founding cities
only that he might capture them. Petersburg might well have anticipated
the fate of Port Arthur.

The wretched conditions in which operations had to be carried on
brought about an appalling mortality among the workmen employed
in building the new town, however much exaggerated may have been
the foreign reports that two hundred thousand died. The mechanical
appliances available were so extraordinarily poor that earth had to
be carried by each workman as best he could; there was no one about
who could construct a wheelbarrow! Brigands made communications with
Russia unsafe and sometimes did as they pleased in the city itself,
while sentries on duty or citizens going about their business were
occasionally carried off by the wolves. Provisions had to be fetched
from an enormous distance, the cost of living was extremely high.
Though the woods were all around, fuel was so scarce that even the
nobles (who most unwillingly had been compelled to live here for part
of the year) were not allowed to have hot baths excepting once a week.

To add to all this no one except Peter could see the slightest need for
any other capital than Moscow, still less the point of building a city
on this forbidding and man-forsaken spot. But to the Tsar the rising
town was a Paradise, so well loved that he had soon decided to make it
not merely the chief seaport of his Empire, but the capital as well.

The objection which the sagas tell us the eleventh century Russians
showed to outland men having dominion was fully shared by eighteenth
century Russians, and the huge number of them employed about St.
Petersburg helped still more to increase the general loathing for the
new capital. Hardly a nation of Europe failed to supply Peter with
friends and fellow-workers. He honoured them above his own subjects.
Nor did it matter in the least in what circumstances he happened to
encounter them. One day as he was inspecting the operations he chanced
to notice working with the other convicts a scion of the fightingest
family of Scotland, who, born in Sweden, combined with the surname of
Douglas the designation of Gustaf Otto. Captured at Pultowa he entered
the Russian service; having slain a general in wrath, he entered a
Russian jail. But to Peter his failings did not appear at all seriously
to cry to heaven for vengeance. He could well make allowance for the
spirit of a Douglas when provoked, so restored him to all his honours.
In 1719 the now Russified Swede-Scot seized the ancient capital of
Finland, and bore in triumph from the cathedral of Abo the bones of
Henry the English saint (p. 188).[139]

The only antiquities of St. Petersburg are the structures connected
with the life of the strenuous founder. Peter's cottage, which was
erected soon after the works began in 1703, is a large four-roomed,
shingle-roof, log-hut; and the living-room which still contains the
simple wooden furniture that he used enables one to some extent to
picture the backwoods life of the imperial pioneer. The whole is
enclosed in a larger structure of brick, and a miracle-eikon is the
central feature of the shrine that now occupies the chamber where the
great Tsar slept.

Never perhaps was Peter so happy as when he was living here. He hated
lofty rooms and luxurious furniture and costly food. He liked to wear
his oldest clothes and enjoyed working with his own hands. As a great
concession to his wife he consented at Catherine's coronation to wear
a gold-embroidered coat, but could think of nothing except the fact
that its cost would have paid for several soldiers. In Paris he found
the luxury of the Louvre absolutely insupportable. After looking
impatiently at the sumptuous feast set out, he dined off radishes
and bread which he washed down with two glasses of beer. After a
contemptuous survey of the superbly fitted French bedrooms, he rested
for the night on a camp-bed set up in a closet.

Close by the cottage was the small wooden church of the Trinity with
two towers and onion domes which Peter built, but which was burned down
early in 1913.

A picturesque appearance is given to the Neva's northern bank by the
old fort with its needle spire of gold that stands on a little island
of its own, close to the cottage and Trinity church. Peter's old earth
bastions were faced with granite in later days and the east gate is
dated 1740. For defending anything whatever the fortress is no more use
than the Tower of London, but within are pleasant avenues of trees, and
over the roofs of the barracks and other buildings rises the famous
Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, where rest the city's founder and the
later Tsars.[140] A soldiers' city from the very first St. Petersburg
has been, and such it is to-day. Troops constantly pass along the
streets; sentries with bayonets fixed are to be seen on every hand.
The thoroughfares are patrolled by policemen, each armed with baton,
revolver and sword.

Peter planned to build rather a canal town of Holland than a boulevard
city of France. Many of the canals have been filled up, but beside one
of those that remain, in the corner of the beautiful Summer Gardens,
stands the delightful two-storey house with plaster bas-reliefs and
metal roof that Dutch workmen built for Peter; it is known as his
palace to-day. The rooms inside, doored and shuttered with panelled
oak and partly lined with blue Dutch tiles, have a most cheerful and
pleasant character; they contain some rather good carved work that was
tooled by the great Tsar; a mirror-case with stag, foliage, birds and
other things is signed and dated "Peter. 1710."[141]

In this same year he founded a Battle Abbey in thanksgiving for his
victories, although he fully realised the need for reducing the
extremely large number of monks that Russia contained. This convent
helps one to realise how well Peter came to understand the people that
he ruled. If the new city was really to be the capital of this pious
land, something of old Russia, of Holy Russia, must be brought into its
midst. Most fortunately for Peter's plans it chanced that as early as
1241 a Russian general had gotten the surname of Nevski from a victory
he gained over a Swedish army on the banks of the Neva; he had also
become one of the most venerated of Russian saints. Thus the enshrining
of his relics in the cloister church brought to St. Petersburg one of
the holiest things in all the land. Venerable associations that meant
much to the devout were secured to the brand new town.

The very ornate silver shrine stands at present in the south transept
of the church or cathedral which was erected for Catherine II. by
a Russian architect named Staroff.[142] The peace that broods over
this quiet cloister rather reminds one of the south of Europe. The
picturesque convent buildings of yellow and bluish-white plaster are
seen among gardens and trees, while over them appear the towers and
dome of the cathedral and the steeples of the smaller chapels, in one
of which Suworof is at rest. Across a placid canal is the burial ground
of the monks. Even in Russia these men are famous for the beauty with
which they sing the daily offices of the church, unaccompanied by any
kind of instrument--for such is never allowed in buildings of the
Communion of the East.

A roadway cut straight through the forest between this convent and the
Admiralty formed the beginning of the chief street of the present day
city, the well-known Nevski Prospect. The Admiralty stands on the Neva
side where Peter built his first boat on the Baltic; it forms the chief
centre of the city, to which many of the streets converge. The building
in some ways is one of the best in the city, erected in the Renaissance
style by a Russian architect named Zucharoff. A ship in full sail forms
a vane on the needle spire that rises from a square tower lined with
Ionic columns, while the vast building, measuring over 1,300 by 500
feet, is well managed, the long façade being relieved from serious
monotony by an imposing gateway in the centre and by the pilastered
wings rising much higher than the plainer middle part.

Close by is the splendid Winter Palace, another Renaissance building,
designed in 1754 by Rastrelli but considerably modified after a fire in
1837.[143] One side faces the river, the other looks on, to the square
in which rises the tall monolith column that commemorates Alexander
I.--the site of the terrible scenes of January, 1905. By an archway
over the street the palace is joined to the Hermitage, which houses one
of the finest collections on the earth.[144]

While St. Petersburg has been greatly influenced by the street
architecture of Italy and France, its broadways have a distinct
character of their own and resemble the thoroughfares of no other city.
Over streets roughly paved with sharp-edged stones, or the upturned
ends of logs, rattle droskeys, whose shafts and traces both start
from the axle-trees. The horses wear high hames and the drivers long
beards, for Peter's commands that all must shave are now no longer
enforced.[145] The pace at which the horses move is a great contrast to
the leisurely dignity that characterises the citizens.

Over the windows of most of the shops are painted pictures of what
men sell within, for many of the customers are unable to read and
appreciate this guide. Huge gargoyles shoot waterfalls from rain or
melting snow on to the pavements below them, so that much caution must
be used in walking about in wet weather. Something of the café life
of the Continent is to be seen under the creepers and trees of the
pleasant courtyards of hotels. The way in which men kiss each other
both here and in the public streets is at first sight rather startling
to races trained to keep emotions more suppressed, but there is
nothing insincere, and--coupled with many qualities one would fain see
changed--there is a certain gentle and affectionate disposition about
the Russians that becomes more and more attractive as one gets to know
them better.[146]

The most prominent, and in some ways the most interesting, building
in the city is the Metropolitan Church of Russia, the great Cathedral
of St. Isaac of Dalmatia, on whose festival Peter was born. Other
statesmen have chosen new capitals but have been satisfied to leave the
ecclesiastical centre in the older town. No half measures for Peter.
Even the holy Patriarchate of Moscow, sacred to the whole of Eastern
Christendom in a sense from making up again the number of five after
the western one had lapsed into heresy (from the eastern point of
view), he insisted upon sweeping away.[147] It was one of the duties
of the Tsar to lead the donkey upon which the Patriarch rode on Palm
Sunday, and that seemed to Peter to be putting the relations between
Church and State on to a footing wholly wrong. A patriarch once found
fault with the shabby-looking European dress of the emperor, who had
discarded the flowing robes of the East, and Peter had retorted that
he would have expected the head of the Church to be otherwise engaged
than in minding the business of tailors. So when the patriarch died he
did not name another, and at last when the priests begged that some one
might sit in the throne, he is said to have sat there himself with the
remark that he would be patriarch. The Holy Synod was organised instead
and the Church lost almost entirely its old comparative independence
of the State. The synod building is close to the cathedral and the
highest dignitary of the Russian Church is now the Metropolitan of St.

[Illustration: Cathedrals of Trondhjem (p. 81) and S. Isaac, St.
Petersburg (p. 246), illustrating the very different character of the
Gothic and the Classic styles. (Later Gothic refers only to Trondhjem).]
                                                     [_Face page 246_

The existing Cathedral of St. Isaac was forty years in building and
was finished in 1858, the architect being a Frenchman, the Chevalier
de Montferrand. In magnificence of material it surpasses almost all,
and in excellence of position it excels very many of the great churches
of Christendom. Its chief merit is that it is the one building in the
capital that really suggests durability and permanence. There is just
a faint suggestion--very slight indeed, but still impossible entirely
to shake off--of temporary exhibition buildings about the acres and
acres of plaster in which the other great monuments of the capital
are sheathed. But this cathedral is of solid marble or stone, and in
its proportions the most massive large church in Christendom, a very
considerable part indeed of its area being occupied by walls and piers.

On the four sides of the church stand the four noblest porticoes that
have been erected since Roman days. With the proneness of the Eastern
Church to symbolism these glorious portals might have been made to
suggest the City of God, but the opportunity was hopelessly lost; on
the east there is no entrance at all, and the design cannot for one
moment be compared with that of St. Sophia, St. Peter's or St. Paul's.
Indeed, what was intended for stately simplicity has degenerated into
the most hopeless commonplace.[148]

Between St. Isaac's and the river are really beautiful gardens in which
stands the famous equestrian statue of Peter (by the French sculptor,
Falconet), that Catherine II. erected in 1782, on a huge block of
granite.[149] The composition is extremely spirited and it certainly
ranks very high among monuments of a similar kind over the whole world.
The general effect of this wide open space with fine Renaissance
structures all round, including those on the far side of the river, is
exceedingly stately, especially when seen for the first time.

National character is always mirrored in national architecture,
but seldom quite as here. The plan of the city is European and the
conception is of the stateliest; the flat and rather featureless site
on both sides of a noble river is just such as to give the very utmost
opportunity for splendid architectural display. The style chosen for
the buildings, the Classic Renaissance as it was developed in France
and Italy, is perhaps more suited than any other for the objects which
successive emperors had in view. The magnificence of the great broad
streets and boulevards, the ample squares and frequent monuments all
give the impression in very truth of one of the grandest of European

The effect that should be produced by the lavish expenditure of money
and the splendour of much of the material are somewhat neutralised,
however, by the fact that the great palaces and churches (with the
exception of St. Isaac's) profess to be what they are not, and expose
to the air no other material than stucco. The very elements rebel
against so much imposture and bring down great patches of plaster,
while western rulers have been utterly powerless to prevent the
appearance of extremely eastern features in every corner of the town.

But in spite of all defects of detail these uniform Classic buildings,
well grouped and set off by wide spaces and trees, produce a really
magnificent effect, and as often as the black peaty earth is exposed by
taking up the streets for drains one realises more fully the miracle
of all these sumptuous structures founded in security upon a quaking
bog.[150] Here is a city, one feels, that was raised by a people of
iron will, a nation that was only invigorated by the centuries of
Mongol domination; a people who seek to be western Europeans, but as
a nation are not, though many individuals among them are leaders in
European thought and science too. In some respects St. Petersburg
gives one the impression of being the capital of a vast dominion more
than any other city on the globe. Even in the British Empire there is
nothing that appeals to the imagination quite in the same way as the
fact that from the Russian capital one may travel entirely on Russian
territory to the frontier of Austria, to the frontier of Japan or to a
point within thirty-six miles of American soil.

Nevertheless, whether for evil or good, the spirit of the West is not
here. The leaders of Asia think, but the leaders of Europe act. Tolstoy
and Kropotkin, household words in countless English homes, have done as
much as almost any others to sustain the present conditions in Russia
by the very elaborateness of their programmes. When England yearned as
Russia yearns she found a Cromwell, not a Tolstoy. He grasped a sword
and the scabbard was thrown away. He had little to say to the world,
but plenty to say to the king. The gentler Russian masses idolise a
man who held an open book for all the world to read, yet did little
to change the constitution of his own times--so far as on the surface
shows. And for all practical purposes the great Russian Empire still
retains the constitution that Ruric gave his conquering hordes. Law is
the word of the prince.

With the House of Commons (ten years after it had put a new sovereign
on the throne) Peter seems to have been less favourably impressed
than with any other English institution. On seeing the lawyers in
Westminster Hall he is recorded to have remarked that there were
only two such people in all Russia and he was going to hang them on
his return. Peter did not see that, however much they may be sneered
at, Parliaments and Law Courts are of the very essence of western
civilisation. Japanese guns at Port Arthur greatly helped to set up
indeed a _duma_ in the city of Peter, but the very place where it meets
indicates the extent of its power. The Taurida Palace stands far east
of the imposing mass of really important Government buildings and is in
a somewhat squalid quarter of the town.

European indeed is this city at first glance, wholly western in style,
in fact one of the most striking groups of European buildings anywhere
on earth to be seen. But step into a side street. Behold the life of
the East! Behold Asiatic bazaars! Goods displayed on quaint little open
stalls whose owners sit among their wares and make their calculations
on the _abacus_ just as one may see in China. And the smells of Asia
are there, and the leisurely pigeons of the East. The unhastening
manner in which everything goes on likewise does much to intensify the
underlying oriental atmosphere of the city. Look up to where the church
towers are crowned by the onion domes of Tatary against a European
sky. Europe in the square, Asia in the lane! Vast Government buildings
reflect the spirit of the West, but toward the painted screens of the
churches moves the changeless mind of the East. The concealed spear
of the Tatar pierces the garment of the European. There is no need to

It is a very real relief that one important building openly reverts to
the ancient native style, and brings to the new capital a breath of
Russian mediævalism. It need hardly be said that it is a church; it
commemorates Alexander II. (p. 244) and is appropriately dedicated to
the Resurrection, raised over the spot where he fell.[151] The outlines
of the national story may be read in those of the church. The style
is an attempt at Byzantine, and that reminds us of the fact that it
was to Constantinople and the Eastern Church that Russia eventually
went when in search of a new faith long centuries ago. The effort to
produce the kind of effect of which St. Sophia is the noblest example
is, however, extremely crude; Slavs could never really fathom the
subtlety of the mind of Greece. The nine cupolas[152] are surmounted
(and the character of the building is greatly influenced) by onion
domes so common in the turbaned East, imposed upon Russia with much
else during the long centuries of Mongol rule. The presence of this
feature gives to all truly Russian churches something of the look of
Indian and Central Asian mosques. But this point is concealed by the
Russian priests, who, with their natural proneness to symbolism, will
explain that these onion domes are in reality modelled on rosebuds,
thus typifying the embryo Church on earth, destined to blossom
hereafter in Heaven. Each cupola supports a cross with chains (p. 186)
which surmounts a crescent to symbolise the triumph of Christianity
over Islam and the long series of eastern wars in which Russia has
been engaged. The interior with its glorious and most striking Italian
mosaics evidences the western influences that have spread over Russia
in latter years.

[Illustration: CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION]           [_Face page 254_

The first ship to enter the port of St. Petersburg (in November, 1703)
was Dutch, and it brought a cargo of wine and salt. Peter himself acted
as pilot without telling the Hollanders who he was, but he afterwards
gave great rewards both to skipper and crew, renamed the boat after
the town, and freed it for ever from Russian dues. An English vessel
arrived the same year.

Much earlier the Muscovy Company had originated from the English
efforts to discover the north-east passage to Cathay, and during the
reign of Mary and Philip, Sebastian Cabot became its first Governor.
British trade has been prominent in St. Petersburg ever since the town,
began, and not far below the Admiralty is the old English Quay. Saints
carved in stone mark the sky line of a large Classic building that
looks over the quay to the river, and forming a long upper chamber is
the pilastered Anglican Church.[153]

Suburbs of singular beauty are provided for St. Petersburg by the
lovely islands among which the Neva winds, its different branches
crossed by rough bridges of wood. In places reeds and swamps still
border the woods, giving some idea of the original nature of the
hopeless-looking spot on which Peter decided to build. Here are large
private houses with avenues and flower beds in the style of France,
and many of them have such large grounds that the general impression
in places is very much like that of the Bois de Boulogne.

Even to-day the city of Peter is very largely isolated from the world,
approached by road or rail through long miles of forest and swamp.
Only on a small scale is agriculture or market gardening to be seen.
Nevertheless two country palaces that the founder erected in the
vicinity are centres of some population, Tsarske Selo among the woods
on the way to Moscow and Peterhof on the southern shore of the gulf.
The new Tatar-Byzantine church of the latter is a conspicuous landmark
from the decks of vessels steaming along the Morskoi canal through the
shallow waters between the heavily fortified island of Cronstadt and
the timber port of the city itself.

Of early days at this place we get a rather graphic description in a
letter written by the Hanoverian Resident named Weber in 1718: "When
at last we arrived at Cronslot, the Tsar invited us to his villa at
Peterhof. We went with a fair wind, and at dinner warmed ourselves to
such a degree with old Hungarian wine, although His Majesty spared
himself, that on rising from the table we could scarcely keep on our
legs, and when we had been obliged to drain quite a quart apiece from
the hands of the Tsaritsa we lost all our senses, and in that condition
they carried us out to different places, some to the garden, some to
the woods, while the rest lay on the ground here and there. At four
o'clock they woke us up and again invited us to the summer-house, where
the Tsar gave us each an axe and bade us follow him. He led us into a
young wood where he pointed out trees which it was necessary to fell
in order to make an alley straight to the sea, about a hundred paces
long, and told us to cut down the trees. He himself began work on the
spot (there were seven of us besides the Tsar), and although this
unaccustomed work, especially in our far from sober condition, was not
at all to our liking, we nevertheless cut boldly and diligently, so
that in about three hours the alley was ready and the fumes of wine had
entirely evaporated. None of us did himself any harm except Minister X,
who unconsciously cut one tree and was knocked down by another, badly
scratched. After verbal thanks we received our real recompense after
supper in a second drink, which was so strong that we were taken to our
beds unconscious."[154]

Peter's old villa still exists, a compromise between the styles of
building that prevailed two centuries ago in Holland and France, but
on the top of the wooded slope a long and beautiful palace has been
erected in the style of the Renaissance.[155] The chapel alone is
Russian under five gilded onion domes.

The French-looking grounds are famous for their many fountains, whose
water is brought from a lake miles away. A large number of jets play in
front of the palace itself, and also beside the straight watercourse
that runs down from it to the sea. The effect looking up through the
trees from the road at the bottom is one of the most fairy-like things
on the earth. Walking through the woods one comes upon all sorts of
fountains where they would be expected least. Water runs downstairs
or slips along a marble way under ferns, or sprinkles a statue or an
artificial tree or plays among the columns of an Ionic temple in ruin,
or forms a sort of birthday cake by jets rising higher and higher
toward the centre. The effect of all these fountains among the trees
is really most impressive, no other land has the like. But just as one
is beginning to feel that it is the most magnificent thing upon earth
one remembers that a cold bath in a St. Petersburg hotel costs two
shillings and reflects on the water supply of the capital.

By an artificial tree are hidden jets to throw water all over an
ordinary-looking seat. Such was the idea of a joke entertained by
former Tsars, who also liked to ride in carriages containing musical
boxes under the seats that used to play as they were drawn[156] along
by horses harnessed in red and gold. One may incidentally pick up
many interesting facts about the dead rulers of Russia that are not
inscribed on the page of history.

Judged by results Peter was great indeed if mortal ever was. We are not
asked to call him morally good. Alexandria has a magnificent position
on the shores of the busiest of seas. Constantinople has few rivals in
situation among all the cities of the world. But both are eclipsed in
importance by this whimsical city that Peter insisted upon building
among remote and frozen swamps.

To turn a great people round and force them to look west not east, to
compel them to expect a golden future who before looked to a golden
past--this is as near to an impossibility as ever was attempted in the
history of man. Yet to an amazing extent this Peter actually did.

One's astonishment that he achieved so much is yet further increased
when it is realised that his life was devoted very largely to frivolity
and amusement, that in serious and earnest endeavour he was far
surpassed by many who contrived to accomplish far less.

Of no individual that ever lived perhaps can it be said that he
consciously and deliberately influenced the history of the world to the
same extent as the high-thinking, hard-working, hard-drinking, founder
of Petersburg.


  AACHEN, 155

  Abo, 188, 238

  Absalon, Bp., 131

  Adam of Bremen, 118, 186

  Adrian IV., Pope, 82

  Agdaness, 71

  Agni's thwaite (position uncertain), 211

  Akers Elv, 94

  Akuliakattamiut, 64

  Akureyri, 61

  Alaska, 67

  Albert of Mecklenburg, 121

  Alexander the Great, 234

  Alexander Nevski, St., 241-242

  Alexander II. (Russia), 244, 253

  Allthing, 39, 43-46, 49, 53

  Almenningen, 84

  Amager, 131, 143-143

  _Ambales Saga_, 149

  America, 14, 40, 62, 63, 65, 104, 125, 130, 137, 141, 145, 220, 251

  Anderson, Hans, 131, 134, 141-142, 145-148

  Anlaf of Black-fen, 42

  Arabia, 152

  Arboga, Diet of, 189

  Arnliot Gellini, 79

  Asgarth, 177

  Aun, 185


  Bathridge, 53

  Bellman, 206

  Bergen, 83, 108, 155

  Bernadotte, 102, 215

  Berzelius, 219

  Birchlegs, 85, 99

  Birger, Jarl, 212, 215

  Birger, Persson, 195

  Bjoörnson, 103, 109

  Blood Bath of Stockholm, 217-218

  Bo Jonsson, 215

  Boston, 29

  Brahe, Ebba, 223

  Brahe, Tycho, 133-134

  Bredablick, 221

  Brita, St., 122, 124, 195-196

  Bryce, James, 44

  _Burnt Njal, Saga of the_, 44

  Bygdö, 107

  Byström, 192

  CALMAR, Union of, 121

  Catherine II. (Russia), 242, 249

  Charles XI. (Sweden), 164

  Charles XII. (Sweden), 196, 197, 203, 214, 236

  Charles XV. (Sweden), 223-224

  Celsius, 187

  Cetil, Bp., 53

  China, 108

  Christian II. (Scandinavia), 142, 217

  Christian IV. (Denmark), 100, 123, 132

  Christiania, 100-109

  Christianity, Spread of, 15-18, 32, 48-58, 75, 79-80

  Christiansten, 88

  Christie, 82

  Christina, 192, 223

  Christopher the Bavarian (Denmark), 132

  Cinque Ports, 155

  _Codex Argenteus,_ 190

  Columbus, 63

  Constantinople, 161, 233, 253

  Copenhagen, 26, 113, 127-145

  Cowper, 23

  _Cristne Saga,_ 50, 51

  Cronstadt, 256

  DAVID, St., 196

  Dicuil, 32

  Djurgarden, 220

  Domald, 184-185

  Douglas, Count, 188, 238

  Drammensfjord, 94

  Dublin, 69-70

  Du Chaillu, 82, 87, 191, 223-224

  Duf-thac's Scaur, 37

  Dyrehaven, 144

  EDSVIK, 222

  _Egil's Saga_, 51

  Eith, 37

  Ekhoff, Dr., 167

  Ellidaar, 60

  Elsinore, 145-146

  Enlart, C., 65, 172

  Eric IX. (Sweden) St., 187, 192

  Eric of Pomerania, 132, 164

  Eric the Red, 33, 63

  Esia-rock, 48

  Esja, 40

  Ethelred the Redeless, 114, 152

  Etienne de Bonneuil, 193

  Ewald, 100

  Eyafjordr, 64

  _Eyrbyggja Saga_, 38, 51, 54

  Eystein, Abp., 84, 85

  _FAEREYINGA SAGA_, 14-18, 73

  Faroes, 14-27, 31, 32-33, 83

  Faxefjoth, 33, 38, 39

  Fergusson, 133, 203, 242, 244, 248

  Finland, Finns, 187, 212, 236

  Finsen, N. R., 25-26

  Floki, 23

  Flosi, 44-46

  Fogelberg, 215

  Frederick V. (Denmark), 123, 135

  Fredericksborg, 134

  Frey, 178, 180

  Fyrisa, 188


  Gard-here, 31

  Gardie, de la, 223

  Garthrealm, 152-153, 226-233

  Gate, 17

  Geiger, 191

  Geikie, 68

  Gilli, 19

  Gizor, Bp., 50-52, 55, 61

  Gogstad, 104

  Gol, 108

  Gorm the Old, 12, 113

  Gotenburg system, 219

  Gothland, 57, 150-175

  Goths, 151

  Greenland, 34, 63, 83, 127

  Grim Camban, 14

  Grimkel, Bp., 79

  Gudleik, 153

  Gustaf Vasa, 192, 197, 217-219

  Gustavus Adolphus, 187, 189, 192, 214

  Gustavus III. (Sweden), 205

  Gyda, 12


  Hakluyt, 29

  Hakon, Earl, 69-74

  Hakon the Good, 104

  Hakon IV. (Norway), 99-100

  Hallward, St., 94, 99

  Hamar, 83, 92

  Hamilton, 191

  Hanseatic League, 154, 162, 163, 227

  Hansen, 131, 139

  Harald Blaatand, 113

  Harald Fairhair (Shock-head), 11-14

  Harald Gilli, 96

  Harald Hardredy, 85, 95, 233

  _Havards Saga_, 42

  Heimaey, 37

  _Heimskringla_, 12, 13, 22, 54, 69, 73, 77, 86, 95, 99, 104, 113,
  177, 181, 226, 233

  Hell, 92

  Henry, St., 187-188, 213, 238

  Heor-leif, 35

  Herd-holt, 41

  Hill of Laws, 46, 49

  Hodgkin, Dr., 114

  Holar, 29, 34, 50, 55, 57, 58, 83

  Holger Danske, 134, 146-148

  Hollmenkollen, 109

  Holmgarth, 153, 227, 233

  Holy Roman Empire, 113, 155, 158

  Hordaland, 12

  Hudson, R., 67

  Hugo, Victor, 89

  Hultersta, 186

  _Hungrvaca_, 53

  Hveen, 133

  IBSEN, 103

  Ingigerd, 231-232

  Ingwolf Arnerson, 35-39

  Iona, 31

  Ireland, Irish, 31-32, 36, 37, 43, 96-99, 229

  Isaac, St., 246-248

  Isafjordr, 61

  JACOBSEN, Carl, 139

  Jarisleif, 231-233

  _Joans Saga_, 55, 57

  John, St., of Holar, 55-57

  Jomsburg Vikings, 71

  Jutland, 94


  Kark, 71-74

  Karl Nilsson, 215

  Karl o'Mere, 19

  Kaupstadr, 37

  Keel-ness, 39

  Kirkebö, 23, 83

  Kirkwall, 83

  Klenze, von, 244

  Klint, 154, 174

  Knut the Holy, 118, 124

  Knut the Rich, 80, 94, 114-117

  Köln, 163

  Kronborg Castle, 145-146

  Kungshögar, 180

  LADE OR LADIR, 68-76, 77, 80

  Ladoga, 236

  Laing, Samuel, 134, 165, 204, 223

  _Landnama-bok_, 38, 39, 43, 48, 49, 54, 61

  Lapps, 221

  Larson, L. M., 117

  Lava, 54

  _Laxdaela Saga_, 41

  Leif Ericson, 63

  Leif, son of Ozur, 19-21

  Lerfos Falls, 91

  _Libellus Islandorum_, 32, 34, 35, 50

  _Linnæus_, 142, 172, 192, 206, 209, 219

  _Liosvetninga Saga_, 30

  London Bridge, 114, 152

  Longfellow, 52, 198

  Longshanks mission, 159

  Lowe, R., 28

  Lübeck, 119, 163, 164

  Lucius, St., 116-117

  Lund, 56, 71, 83, 128

  Lyngby, 125

  MAGNUS, Bp., 53

  Magnus the Good, 85

  Magnus Ladulaas, 213

  Magnússon, 22

  Mälar, Lake, 188, 201, 202, 212, 222

  Mallet, P. H., 30, 58, 152

  Man, 83

  Margaret, Queen, 120-122, 143, 164

  Marryat, Horace, 186

  Micklegarth, 233

  Montelius, 106, 181

  Montferrand, Chevalier de, 247

  Morris, William, 22, 127

  Munketorp, 196


  Naerofjord, 26

  Nelson, 143

  Nestor, 227

  Neva, 236, 241, 243, 249

  Newport, R.I., 65

  New York, 225

  Nid, R., 68, 75, 76, 91

  Niebuhr, 135

  Nils the goldsmith, 161

  Nolsö, 22

  Nova Scotia, 67

  Novgorod the Great, 155, 227

  ODIN (WODEN), 57, 177-178, 180, 185

  Olaf, St., 18, 21, 76-81, 85, 94, 124, 153-154, 168-169, 210-211, 231-233

  _Olaf, St., Saga of_ (part of _Heimskringla_), 152, 168, 179

  Olaf Tryggvison, 15, 16, 70-76, 113, 229-231

  _Olaf Tryggvison, Saga of_ (part of _Heimskringla_), 63, 230

  Olavus Petri, 216

  _Origines Islandicæ_, 38, 83, 106, 182

  Oslo, 83, 95-99

  Ostero, 17

  Otté, 122, 215

  Otto, 113

  PARIS, 193, 239

  Patrec, St., 48

  Peter the Great, 234-260

  Peterhof, 256-258

  _Pols Saga_, 58

  Powell, York, 15, 38

  RASTRELLI, 242, 243

  Reek-ness, 33

  Republic of Iceland, 44

  Reykjavik, 32, 33, 38, 40-41, 46-47, 58-61

  Riddarsholm, 213

  Rognvald, Jarl, 13

  Rosenborg, 134

  Roskilde (Roiswell), 111-126

  Ruric, 227


  St. Petersburg, 152, 226, 234-260

  Salts Vedel, 169

  Schuyler, 257

  Scotland, 25, 26, 67, 222

  Sergei, 206

  Shakespeare, 149

  Siegfrid, St., 124, 213

  Sigmund, 15, 18, 73

  Sigtuna, 177, 210, 212

  Sigurd, Bp., 80

  Sigurd Jerusalem-farer, 96

  Skalholt, 50, 53, 54, 58, 83

  Skansen, 220

  Slite, 154

  Smolni, 242

  Snaefells Jökull, 40

  Snoni Sturluson, 12, 54, 177, 181

  Snowland, 32

  Sodor (South Isles), 31, 70, 83

  Southey, 66

  Staroff, 242

  Stavanger, 83

  Steelyard, 155

  Sten Sture, 189

  Sticklestead, 80

  Stockholm, 199-225

  Stralsund, Treaty of, 163

  Stromo or Streamsey, 15, 19

  Styrmir hinn fródi, 61

  Suworof, 242

  Svein Twibeard, 113

  Svein Wolf son, 117

  Sverker house (Sweden), 187, 192

  Sverre Sigurdsson, 84, 85

  Svoldr, 113

  Swedenborg, 197

  Sylvanus, 35, 138

  TEGNÉR, 68, 198, 199

  Tessin, de, 194, 203

  Thangbrand, 51-52

  Thingvellir, 43

  Thjelvar, 151

  Thomas, W. W., 207

  Thor, 49, 57, 180

  Thore, 18

  Thor-gar, 49-50

  Thorild, 190

  Thorir Klakka, 70-71

  Thor-kell Moon, 39

  Thorlac, Gudbrand, 29

  Thorlak, St., 54

  _Thorlacs Saga_, 54

  Thorshavn, 15, 19, 22-25

  Thorwaidsen, 47, 138-140

  Thorwolf Butter, 33

  Thrand o'Gate, 19-21

  Thrond, 16-18

  Tokyo, 235

  Tolstoy, 251

  Tressini, 240

  Trondhjem, 76-90, 124

  ULFILAS, Bp., 151, 191

  Ulriksdal, 222

  Upsala, 124, 159, 176-197, 210


  Vaeringian Guard, 233

  Varonikin, 248

  _Vatzdaela Saga_, 25, 39, 181

  Verestchagin, 254

  Videy, 61-62

  Vigfusson, Gudbrand, 38

  Viking ships, 103-106

  Vinland the Good, 63

  Virginia, 123

  Visborg Castle, 164

  Visby, 154-175

  Vossevangen, 107

  Vulgaria, 232

  WALDEMAR IV. (Atterdag), 130, 161-163

  Weber, 256

  Wellesley, 143

  Westmen Isles, 37

  Wheaton, 12

  Wilde, Lady, 93, 140, 142, 176

  William the Conqueror, 115

  Winchester, 115

  Wolf, Earl, 115-117

  Worm Lyrgia, 71

  _YNGLINGS, SAGA OF_ (part of _Heimskringla_), 117, _seq._, 184


  Zucharoff, 243



[1] The skald was Thornbiorn Hornklofi; the lay was quoted by Snorri
Sturluson in the _Heimskringla_; it was Englished by Henry Wheaton,
_History of the Northmen_ (1831).

[2] One thing very much to his credit the _Heimskringla_ lets us know:
"Whensoever swift rage or anger fell on him, he held himself aback
at first and let the wrath run off him, and looked at the matter

[3] Or Streamsey, the isle of streams, on which Thorshavn stands.

[4] _Faereyinga Saga_, XXX.-XXXI.

[5] All these details are taken from the CLIII. Chapter of the _Saga_
_of Olaf the Holy_, being part of the _Heimskringla_ of Snorri
Sturluson (p. 54), done into English out of Icelandic by William Morris
and Eiríkr Magnússon.

[6] All the places described in this work, except St. Petersburg, are
Lutheran, but see p. 195.

[7] Other derivations have been suggested, but the traditional one
appears by far the most satisfactory.

[8] Of which the best known is Iona.

[9] Dicuil, the Irish chronicler, was greatly impressed by the long
Arctic days of summer.

[10] _Libellus Islandorum_, VI. 1.

[11] It is printed in full in _Origines Islandicæ_, by Gudbrand
Vigfusson and F. York Powell, an extremely useful work, to which I am
greatly beholden.

[12] An excellent account of the constitution of the Republic is given
in James Bryce's _Studies in History and Jurisprudence_, 1901.

[13] _Njals Saga_, translated by Sir George Webbe Dasent, D.C.L.

[14] The lower house is elected by Icelandic males, aged over
twenty-five, paying 8kr. a year in direct taxes, who are their own
masters--a rather restricted suffrage--the upper house is partly
nominated, partly chosen by the lower.

[15] _Landnama-bok_, VI. 1.

[16] _ib._ XIV., 13.

[17] _Cristne Saga_, VIII. 8.

[18] _Liber Islandorum_, X., 3.

[19] _Egils Saga_, 50.

[20] _Eyrbyggja Saga_, 49.

[21] _Thorlaks Saga_, Epilogue and XI., 1. He was never recognised as a
saint in Rome, but that did not in the least affect the reverence felt
for him in Iceland.

[22] _Joans Saga_, II., 1.

[23] _ib._ VII., 3.

[24] The saga distinctly says that the pope approved of the
consecration; it would be interesting to know whether this can be
corroborated. At that time, as is well known, the clergy were in fact
very frequently married in Northern Europe, but it was always papal
policy to prevent it.

[25] _Joans Saga_, XI., 3.

[26] Mr. St. John Hope, to whom I have shown a photograph of the
alabaster retable, says it is certainly of English origin.

[27] _Joans Saga_, XIII., 3.

[28] After leaving the Orkneys or Shetlands, the vessel would touch
at one or more ports in the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador,
Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New England.

[29] By an old chronicler quoted, but not named, by C. A. Vansittart
Conybeare in his _Place of Iceland in the History of European
Institutions_, 1877.

[30] It is extremely interesting to find so eminent a French antiquary
as C. Enlart seeking to revive the theory that the famous Round Tower
at Newport, R.I., was a church erected by the Norse. See _Revue de
l'Art Chrétien_, Sept.-Oct., 1910. I cannot help feeling, however, that
the balance of probability leans heavily against this view.

[31] I have never seen the Alaska sea-coast; the deep bays and arms of
Nova Scotia, lovely as they are, only mildly recall some of the tamest
of Norwegian seascapes.

[32] The district of which Nidaros or Trondhjem is the centre.

[33] He was Pope Adrian IV., but the _Dictionary of National Biography_
suggests a doubt as to his name having been Nicolas Breakspear at all.

[34] See p. 31. The title of this diocese is still attached to that of
the Isle of Man, but the southern islands are the same as the Isles
attached to the Scottish Diocese of Argyll.

[35] A very interesting account of the foundation of this distant
bishopric is given in _Graenlendinga Tháttr_, a work that gives us
a peep of Greenland in the twelfth century after nothing has been
heard of the colony for a hundred years. It is printed in _Origines
Islandicæ_, Vol. II. See p. 38. The first bishop for Greenland was
consecrated by Archbishop Auzur, of Lund.

[36] "That was a great minster, and wrought strongly of lime, so that
it might scarce be got broken when Archbishop Eystein let take it
down" (_Heimskringla_, Vol. 3, Ch. XXXIX.). All my citations from the
_Heimskringla_ are from the translation by Morris and Magnússon, except
the lay at the beginning of the first chapter.

[37] The corona is very rich. Clustered pillars, with arches divided
by shafts and closed by stone screens, sustain the triforium, whose
two-light openings have large carved caps and varied tracery, and the
clearstorey with tall lancets. The dome-vault, which rises above, is
steadied perhaps, but hardly supported, by very thin flying buttresses
of rounded unconstructive form. The surrounding aisle has the richest
of mural arcading and little chapels open from it to east and north and

Into the east end of the quire a large arch opens from the corona
itself, and a small one each side from the aisle. The quire is almost
all rebuilt, pillars clustered or octagonal deeply fluted, with huge
carved caps, sustain triforium, clearstorey and vaulting of character
not dissimilar to those of the corona. The general effect is extremely
fine, and one is reminded a little of Holyrood Chapel at Edinburgh and
again of Lincoln Angel Quire. The corona recalls the similar feature at
Canterbury, but is very much more beautiful.

The most remarkable feature of the nave is the long and unbuttressed
west front, 120 feet in extent. Two tiers of arches, dating from about
the year 1300, still remain; there is no division of nave or aisle or
tower, but three of the lower arches are pierced by doors, the others
are divided by shafts. The upper arches do not correspond with the
lower ones, than which they are much smaller; they are trefoil-headed
and by corbels converted into niches. The general effect is a little
like that of the west front of Wells, but not to any very striking

The cathedral is entirely detached, but a short distance to the south,
forming barracks and a military museum to-day, are some remains of the
L-shaped Palace of the Archbishops, displaying Romanesque and early
pointed windows.

[38] Used for Anglican services.

[39] Trondhjem is connected with the interior by some of those superbly
made roads for which Norway is so justly famed. They rest upon about
four feet of stonework, the pieces diminishing upwards so far as size
is concerned. The smaller streams are frequently spanned by arches of
hard granite or other rock so neatly cut that no mortar need be used.
Sometimes the road itself is cut in the living rock of the hills.
The engine sheds are quite a feature of the city, and railways run
southward to the new capital by the valleys of Gula and Glommen and
past Hamar on its lake, also eastward into Sweden, among the mountains
and the lakes. And at a place called Hell the latter line branches
northward to Sunnan, near the head of Trondhjem Fjord.

[40] _Heimskringla, Story of Harald the Hardredy._ Ch. LX.

[41] _ib._ Ch. CIV.

[42] _Heimskringla, Tale of Sigurd Jerusalem-farer._ Chs. XXXIV., XXXV.

[43] Unbuttressed massive walls of stone surround a five-bayed nave
with aisles, and chancel with north chapel, both round-apsed. The
chapel opens to chancel and aisle by doorways rather than arches. The
low clearstorey is lighted only on the south, over the east bay of the
nave rises a tower that forms a lantern. The nave arcades have thick
round pillars with the simplest caps; the chancel is vaulted at a
much lower level than the wooden roof of the nave. The inside is very

[44] It is difficult, in reading over the play, to understand by
what mental process Nora's preposterous conduct in leaving husband
and children on the very vaguest of quests can be justified or even
palliated. Ibsen merely professed to point out the hardships endured
by women treated as dolls, the remedy for such social evils he did not
essay to prescribe. Some of his most charming works, such as _Dame
Inger of Östraat_, deal with Norwegian history.

[45] Ch. XXVII.

[46] _Origines Islandicæ_, Vol. I., p. 318.

[47] _Civilisation of Sweden in Heathen Times_, by Oscar Montelius.

[48] Close to Vossevangen is a building very similar to this one, but
much more interesting, both from its still standing where its builders
wished, and from its greater size; it also seems rather earlier in
date than the stabbur re-erected at Bygdö, and was probably built
about 1300. It is called the Finneloft, and is locally believed to
be the oldest wooden building in Norway that was not a church. The
basement is of slate stone, roughly walled, instead of, as at Bygdö,
timber-work resting on big stones. The first floor in both is framed
of flattened horizontal beams, dovetailed to fit at the corners; but
at the Finneloft there are little passages at the sides occupying
the space which at Bygdö is merely covered by the overhanging of the
upper storey. This stage in both cases is walled with thick boards,
placed vertically and overlapping each other. The roofs are of flattish
pitch and in the pleasant manner of the North simple patterns are
carved on doorpost and lintel and beam. The little side passages and
the manner in which the horizontal beams are often mortised into the
vertical remind one very much of Chinese carpentry, an impression
greatly strengthened by the far more obvious resemblance that Norwegian
Stavekirkes bear to Chinese temples. (See title-page.)

[49] This remarkable little building, like several others of its class,
consists of nave with aisle all round, aisled chancel with apse and an
open cloister girdling the structure. The interior is lofty and dark,
pillars, walls and roof all of timber. The three roofs, of cloister,
aisle, and clearstorey, rising one above another, are increased to six
by a turret-like structure that rises in three stages from the middle
of the nave roof. The effect produced is singularly like that of a
small Chinese temple, especially as queer objects like dragons project
diagonally from the corners of the ridges. The cloister part seems far
more suited to China than to Norway. In England there is a stavekirke
at Greensted, near Ongar, supposed to have been erected in 1013 as a
resting-place for the body of St. Edmund. The side walls are built of
oak-trunks, but it is as plain as it could possibly be.

[50] _Heimskringla, Saga of Olaf the Holy_, Ch. XI.

[51] In his first volume to the _Political History of England_, edited
by Hunt and Poole.

[52] L. M. Larson. _Canute the Great, and the Rise of Danish
Imperialism during the Viking Age._ 1913.

[53] It is doubtless largely for this reason that Adam sometimes writes
rather from the Danish point of view. The Icelandic Sagas are as free
from bias as any history works in the world.

[54] The quire has but a single bay with a round apse, there are
transepts, there is a nave of seven bays. At the west end this is
flanked by towers and an aisle girdles the structure from one tower
and back to the other, running all round the apse--for the transepts,
which no longer project, are reduced very largely to sections of the
aisles. In the sacristy may be seen remains of the arch between the
south transept and the eastern chapel which extended it before it was
cut back.

The interior is very striking from the unusual and pleasing combination
of white and red. Bricks are exposed where are shafts and at the
edges of the arches; white plaster covers walls and vaults. Many of
the arches are round, but pointed ones are always used for the plain
quadripartite vaulting. The windows are all single, some in groups
of three, but they are numerous and wide enough to make the building
extremely light. The blindstorey (triforium) is open to the church by
arches about the same size as those that communicate with the aisles.
Round the apse these two tiers of arches rest on shafts of granite,
elsewhere stone is very sparingly used for capitals and a few other
details. The blindstorey, itself vaulted above the vaulting of the
aisles, forms a passage the whole way round the church, a groined
gallery on two pillars carrying it from tower to tower, and wooden
balconies across the transepts. (These look like sixteenth century
work; can they have been erected when the transepts were cut back,
perhaps at the Reformation?) By means of a simple archway over a road
the blindstorey also communicates with the old Bishop's Palace to the
eastward. The clearstorey has no passage along its windows, but round
the apse there is an extra arcade between it and the blindstorey, which
greatly improves the effect.

The quire and apse with the central space and one bay of the nave are
higher in floor-level than the rest of the church, and underneath is a
crypt whose vaulting rests on a row of square columns, and whose small
windows open to the aisles.

Some of the fittings are extremely beautiful Renaissance work,
especially the reredos with folding wings. This, it is said, a Dutch
skipper was trying to smuggle through the Sound; on being detected he
placed on it a ludicrously low value, hoping that the duty might thus
be extremely light. Unfortunately, however, the Danish authorities
preferred to purchase the work at the figure that its too clever owner
had named. The worrying resourcefulness of customs house officials is
no new thing.

[55] The earliest that exists was built in 1384 by Bishop Ulfeld, who
hallowed it to St. Laurence; the vaulting springs from little grotesque
heads, and there are some beautiful wall paintings. In fact, many
such have survived throughout the cathedral. Joining it on the west
is another little square chapel, erected 1464, hallowed to St. Brita
(p. 195). Here is some really beautiful old woodwork, and one of the
wall paintings shows us a green devil writing. Westward it joins the
north porch. Touching the south porch on the other side of the nave
is the large chapel to the Three Holy Kings, erected 1459-64. A much
older granite shaft with details of Byzantine character stands in the
centre to support the vault which elsewhere rests on ancient corbels.
Foliage and figure paintings cover vault and walls, and there are two
sumptuous Classic Renaissance monuments to Christian III. (1533-59)
and Frederic II. (1559-88). The former was chiefly responsible for the
Danish Reformation, but neither king has so large a place in history as
the columned canopies and numerous figures of their marble monuments
might seem to imply. On the north side of the church Christian IV.
(p. 132) built a fair chapel with star vaulting (whose character is
indicated on the plan), resembling that of one bay in the sacristy. It
is an interesting specimen of Gothic, dated 1615, the iron grill screen
1620, and the light streams in through two large four-fold windows,
whose tracery is formed by the mullions intersecting, a common form in
English work of that day, which is found also in a few of the oldest
churches of Virginia. These are the only windows in the cathedral that
are not single lights except the double ones in the upper stages of the
western towers, which are later than the lower parts. The tall taper
spires, copper-sheathed and nearly round, were added by the same king;
they are a distinct improvement on those of the cathedral at Lübeck,
which they rather resemble, and an ornament to the whole countryside.

The great Chapel of Frederick V. (1746-66) is cross-shaped with a huge
dome rising above; there are pilasters against the walls, and two
columns (all with Ionic caps) separate it from the wide vestibule which
joins the church. It is lighted from high up, and is a very fine thing
in itself, though hopelessly out of keeping with the cathedral. (It was
built after the death of the king whose name it bears, p. 135.)

[56] _Rural Denmark and Its Lessons._ 1911.

[57] This is at Lyngby, about seven miles from Copenhagen. Near the
museum are the Agricultural College and an experimental farm.

[58] The Danish West Indies are St. Thomas, St. John and Santa Cruz,
just east of Porto Rico. No country in the Polar regions extends much
further north than Greenland.

[59] What remained of Axelhus was destroyed in 1740, when
Christiansborg Palace was erected to gratify a whim of the German
Queen, Sophia Magdalena of Kulmbach-Bayreuth. This structure was burned
down in 1794 to be replaced by the palace burned in 1884, which was
built in 1828 from designs by Hansen. The Rigsdag met there.

The present citadel, protected by water and grass banks, buried in
trees which hang over the moats, and dominated by a windmill, is on the
Sound at the other end of the Amager channel. Most of the grass-grown
rampart walls (near which was Andersen's Warton Almshouse) that
surrounded the town and connected with the citadel have been removed,
as Copenhagen had spread far beyond them, and they had become entirely
out of date.

[60] Fergusson is most unkind in his references to Danish Renaissance
buildings, particularly this structure, "of which the inhabitants of
Copenhagen pretend to be proud."

[61] Trinity Church, of which this observatory is architecturally at
any rate the tower, is a really noteworthy specimen of seventeenth
century Gothic. Tall pointed windows pierce the walls along the sides
and round the apse; octagonal pillars sustain the high-ribbed vault
with painted bosses. There is no clearstorey, and the effect within is
as striking as it is simple.

[62] Hans Andersen. Brahe did not accept the Copernican system, though
he first noticed the variations in the motions of the moon, and has
hardly been excelled as a practical astronomer. He died in the service
of the Emperor at Prague, 1601.

[63] Practically forming part of the same design as the Amalienborg,
and admirably completing it, is the Frederiks Kirke, which raises a
great dome behind a Corinthian portico to the height of over 260 feet.
Its construction dragged on from 1749 to 1894. The view from the top
passes that from the Round Tower.

[64] But while interest in the past, far more widespread than in most
other countries, has done very much to bring objects of interest to the
National Museum, England has been incomparably more happy than Denmark
in preserving for generations yet to come the buildings of mediæval and
Renaissance days (p. 125).

[65] English education, in some ways excellent, attaches far too
little importance to stimulating the imagination. I once met a very
intelligent Cornishman who had been through the schools of his native
county with credit, and could speak interestingly on many subjects,
but he had never even heard of King Arthur. That is anything but an
isolated instance.

[66] Nor is it well to forget that the main reason for their great
success is that the Danes are sufficiently educated to co-operate,
instead of deeming every neighbour a necessary rival. Both town and
country benefit alike. The capital is provided with pure milk at about
half the London prices by the Copenhagen Milk Supply Company, from
which the very poor may have milk for their babies without money and
without price.

[67] The church was designed by Hansen, and erected about a century
ago. The general appearance of the neighbourhood will be greatly
improved by the tall spire in the style of Wren, which Dr. Carl
Jacobsen is giving, but the portico will be still further crushed. No
one ever yet designed a Greek temple that would look well surmounted by
a tall Christian steeple.

[68] All the figures were designed by Thorwaldsen, but some were
finished by pupils. There is a reproduction of that representing Christ
in the Johns Hopkins Hospital at Baltimore.

[69] Lady Wilde, _Driftwood from Scandinavia_, 1884.

[70] Knut the Holy (p. 118), dedicated to St. Alban his church at

[71] It is, of course, impossible that a work like the present should
even refer to all the collections and interesting buildings in such a
city as Copenhagen.

[72] The sound dues which the owners of the castle collected from all
the ships that sailed by dated from Hanseatic days. For Sweden they
were abrogated by treaty in 1645, for other nations they were commuted
for money in 1857.

[73] E. C. Otté, _Scandinavian History_.

[74] It does not seem certain that the term Gothic was applied to
architecture in contempt of mediæval work. Evelyn in 1641 speaks of
"one of the fairest churches of the Gotiq design I had seene," at a
time when "Gothic" was used much as we employ "Teutonic" to-day. In
1713 Wren (_Parentalia_, a family biography by his son) says, "This we
now call the Gothick manner of architecture so the Italians called what
was not after the Roman style." The depreciatory use of the term seems
first to occur in Dryden, 1695: "All that has not the ancient gust is
called a barbarous or Gothique manner." So that it seems quite possible
that Gothic architecture merely signified the style of the North of
Europe as opposed to that of the South. Mallet (_Northern Antiquities_,
translated from _Introduction à l'Histoire de Dannemarc_, 1770) refers
to so many mediæval "edifices wherein we can find nothing to admire but
the inexhaustible patience and infinite pains of those who built them!"

[75] Helen Zimmern. _The Hansa Towns; Story of the Nations._

[76] Only a few miles from Visby is the ruined monastery known as Roma

[77] In a most interesting paper on the Walls of Visby read before the
_Royal Institute of British Architects_, December 16, 1912, which I
have found of much value.

[78] Another sea-tower is known as Silfverhättan from the material with
which it was roofed in the very wealthy days of old.

[79] It finally became Swedish again in 1645.

[80] There are still some slight remains, but the greater part was
carried away by Charles XI. for the building of Karlskrona in the
seventeenth century.

In the grounds of the Burgomaster's House are some remains of the
Kalfskinshuset, which seems to have been built originally in the
early fourteenth century, the land being secured by making a calf's
skin cover a fair area by cutting it into strings, much as was done
with an ox-skin at Carthage. The owner of the ground when making the
arrangement imagined he was only parting with about one square yard.

[81] _Tour in Sweden_, 1838.

[82] The main part is square, and the roughly vaulted roof is supported
on four round arches that rest on square columns, placed close to the
four corners. To the north and south and also to the west there project
very shallow arms the same height as the rest. Over the western one
and resting its corners on two of the large columns, rises a great
square tower, three two-light windows aside in its upper stage. In the
thickness of the walls there are stairs and galleries on three levels,
whence varying views of the interior are gained. A comparatively low
arch in the eastern wall opens to a small chancel, rib-vaulted and
extended by a horseshoe apse. The details throughout are Romanesque of
the plainest and the best, but the inspiration is clearly Byzantine. On
a small scale the same sort of combination is attempted that La Farge
has essayed in the great Cathedral of St. John at New York.

[83] The square nave and four pillars were preserved, but instead of
being close to the corners the columns were so spaced that the nine
compartments of the vaulting should be practically equal squares. The
vaulting ribs or arches, three against each wall, now look into the
roofless nave. Not quite in the centre of the middle one on the east
a round arch opens into the roofless chancel with horseshoe apse. A
two-bay chapel projects on the south, and westward is a huge oblong
tower with stairways in the thickness of its north and southern walls.

[84] There is the same kind of oblong tower and the vaulting of the
square nave rested on four octagonal pillars, which were placed near
the corners of the walls. From a clustered respond in the chancel it is
evident that there was a north chapel.

[85] This is a late Romanesque building whose nave vault rested on
four fairly equally spaced pillars, and the strong wide tower opened
by arches both to nave floor and to the space above the vault. An arch
just pointed, resting on clustered responds, opens to the roofless
chancel which has a square east end; buildings joined it north and
south; that on the latter side was evidently a transeptal chapel.

Another square four-pillared late Romanesque nave was apparently that
of St. Hans (Johans = John), but hardly a thing remains except a large
and lofty chapel of later date with beautifully moulded corbels, in the
north-east corner.

These square churches are extraordinarily interesting to the student of
architecture from the fact that they display Byzantine forms exercising
an influence on the development of Gothic in the far north of Europe.
Unfortunately the new idea does not seem to have spread beyond the
island, but it is full of suggestion for small town churches at the
present day, especially where the site is awkward and cramped.

[86] The lower one just pointed, the upper round.

[87] There are a few British instances of Romanesque churches, square
without and apsidal within. Such are the Oratory of St. Margaret in the
Castle at Edinburgh, two chapels in Romsey Abbey, and one in the ruined
Abbey at Shaftesbury. A Renaissance instance of the same thing exists
in the Chapel of Clare College, Cambridge.

[88] It is a fine late Romanesque building, quite moderate in scale.
For five bays extend nave and aisles, and the square chancel is flanked
by small towers which become octagonal above the roof. (These are a
characteristic German feature, and recall Trier or Mainz, but this
Visby church has no resemblance to any existing building in Lübeck.)
Pillars of some variety with figure-and leaf-carved caps sustain the
triple vault, nor is the centre carried higher than the aisles. The
great south door, six times recessed with shafts both round and square,
is a magnificent example of what in England is called Norman work.
There are many such fine doorways in the town, but no other is as good
as this. Rather later than the rest a great west tower was built, and
on the northern side it has a gallery open by a rich arcade.

Extensive alterations and additions to the church were undertaken when
men first began to build large traceried windows; they probably went on
for long, but it may safely be assumed they were in progress about the
year 1300. Most beautiful windows with foliated circles in their heads,
not all alike, were pierced through the elder walls. A fair chapel was
added west of south, adorned with pinnacles and gargoyles and statues
and recessed carved door; clustered shafts hold up its vault. The
climate doubtless caused it to open by a doorway, not arches, to the
church. A tall addition was raised over the church with blindstorey
arches and trefoil lancets in the clearstorey walls. It is a tempting
hypothesis that it was intended to break through the central vault and
to double the height of the nave, but C. Enlart is almost certainly
right in saying: "These lofty halls above Scandinavian churches are
sometimes habitable. The one which still rises over the nave of the
church of St. Mary, now the cathedral, at Visby, had a chimney. It was
the seat of the consulate of the Lübeck merchants, to whom the church
belonged" (_Revue de l'Art Chrétien_, Sept.-Oct., 1910). In the middle
ages churches served for the most miscellaneous purposes, and meetings
of all kinds were held in them. In much the same style two stages were
added to each of the eastern towers. In later days Renaissance spires
were added to all the three towers, the largest having a balcony all
round. A canopied pulpit was set up in the church, which is dated 1684.

[89] At first sight the remains of Romanesque work are by no means
clear, but the spacing of the pillars through the seven bays is
exceedingly irregular, and on the south by the ruined cloister is an
older chapel, the vault below quadripartite, above a tunnel. This
church was finally consecrated, it seems, only in 1412, and it is
apparently the only important mediæval building which is subsequent in
date to the raid of 1361. The tower stood at the west end till 1885,
and then it had to be removed or it would have tumbled down.

[90] Square pillars, thirty feet in height, sustain the vaulting arches
and fragments of the rough rubble vault. One of them has a shield
inscribed "IACOB CHABBA A." At the east end two pillars are octagonal
for a change; at the west old Romanesque responds are used. On the
north remains a newel stair that led, it seems, to pulpit, rood and
roof. Along the same side are still the remains of the vaulted cloister
of the friars.

[91] St. Göran is of late twelfth century date, and the low chancel
still retains its vault, rising from corbels to a sort of dome at the
top. From the keystone of the chancel arch started the vault-supporting
arches that ran down the centre of the nave and rested on two pillars,
round and square. Tall round-arched windows pierce the walls; there are
twin west doors and three high gables mark the sky.

[92] _Heimskringla; Story of the Ynglings_, Ch. II.

[93] _Story of the Ynglings_, Chs. X. & IX.

[94] _Story of the Ynglings_, Chs. XII. & XIII.

[95] _ib._, Ch. XL.

[96] _Story of the Ynglings_, Ch. LXXVI.

[97] _Preface to the Heimskringla._ Presumably there was a transition

[98] _The Civilisation of Sweden in Heathen Times_, by Oscar Montelius.
Englished by Rev. F. H. Woods, 1888.

[99] There is a ghost story about the dead men in an Icelandic howe in
the _Tale of Thorstan Oxfoot_. Printed in _Origines Islandicæ_. Vol.
II., p. 585.

[100] _Story of the Ynglings_, Ch. XIV.

[101] _Story of the Ynglings_, Ch. XVIII.

[102] This is certainly not the real derivation of the term. Morris and
Magnússon suggest that it may be "land of ten hundreds." Snorri was
wrong in his belief that it meant "Tithe-land."

[103] _Story of the Ynglings_, Ch. XXIX.

[104] However, Horace Marryat, _One Year in Sweden_, 1862, tells us
that when in 1803 Hultersta Church was destroyed there were discovered
"two pagan altars of sacrifice, fitted with chimney-pipes, still
containing ashes and bones of animals, bricked up when the building was
adapted to Christian worship."

[105] _Monumenta Hist. Vet. Upsaliæ_, 1709, by E. Benzelius.

[106] Within there are interesting fittings both of mediæval and
Renaissance date; including a carved reredos of the thirteenth century.
There are the graves of Fornelius, chaplain to Gustavus Adolphus and
of another pastor, named Celsius, who died in 1679. His grandson, of
thermometer fame, is commemorated by a tablet.

[107] There are women students as well as men.

[108] The present building is a little later than his time, an
interesting early pointed structure, partly of brick and partly of
granite. Saddle roof tower, nave and aisles of five bays with transepts
small and low. Brick arches and piers are partly cut into mouldings and
clustered shafts, while angel paintings over the rib-vaulted roof have
been restored with care.

[109] There is a nave of seven bays and a quire of four, each with
aisles and outer chapels, the western towers being the full width
of both; each transept is of two bays and aisleless, the apse is
three-sided with ambulatory and five radiating chapels, themselves
apsidal. The corresponding chapels of Notre Dame, no less than thirteen
in number, are not apsidal except the central one (though they usually
are in other great French Gothic churches), but they were not built at
the time Upsala was erected. In the case of Notre Dame the nave has
two more bays and the quire one more, while the chapels, which were
additions, are beyond the outer aisles. The length of Notre Dame is 430
feet, that of Upsala 360 feet, while across the transepts the French
cathedral measures 165 feet, the Swedish 135 feet. The building of
Upsala Cathedral was not finished till the fifteenth century, and the
traceried windows in aisles and clearstorey are rather poor. The arches
of the nave chapels are without caps, those of the quire in the same
position are rather elaborate, and there is some good carved work over
doors and round the ambulatory, though hardly in the same class with
that at Notre Dame. The church was largely rebuilt in 1885-93, when the
tall metal spires replaced rather ugly eighteenth century turrets and
the central flèche was built. Both inside and outside look very new.
The former is largely covered with modern paintings, and nearly all the
fittings are recent except the beautiful Renaissance canopied pulpit by
Tessin (p. 203).

(I am unable to agree with Fergusson in thinking this "an extremely
uninteresting church." T. Francis Bumpus, in his beautiful work, _The
Cathedrals and Churches of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark_, 1908, comes to
the conclusion that French influence in the design was small, and that
it is to be attributed to a Swedish architect under very strong North
German influence, but his reasons do not seem very conclusive.)

[110] _Hale Lectures_, 1910; _The National Church of Sweden_, by John
Wordsworth, Bishop of Salisbury. They were delivered in St. James'
Church, Chicago, and grew out of the proposals for the union of the
Swedish Church with the Anglican Communion. When in 1593 the Swedish
Church in council at Upsala accepted the Augsburg confession of faith,
the succession of Bishops and the ancient order were zealously guarded.
Nevertheless, clergy ordained by the superintendents or Bishops of the
other Scandinavian Churches (who have no succession from the mediæval
Church) are admitted to Swedish altars.

[111] Among other monuments, which are not very remarkable, is one with
a marble effigy to John III. (d. 1592), which was executed in Italy.

[112] _Rambles in Sweden and Gothland_, by "Sylvanus," published 1854.

[113] The names of the nine islands are these: Stadsholmen (on
which was the original settlement), Kungsholmen, Riddarsholmen,
Helgeandsholmen, Skeppsholmen, Kastellholmen, Stromsborg, Djurgarden,
Beckholmen. They are of extremely unequal size. The greater part of the
city is on the mainland north and south, and the suburbs spread on to
an indefinite number of other islands.

[114] Many fine structures all over Sweden were erected by the same
architect. Most of them were country seats for the nobility, who
desired to house worthily the magnificent collections of art that had
been the spoils of the Thirty Years' War, the only lasting monument for
Sweden of the victories of her armies of old.

[115] _Tour in Sweden in 1838._

[116] Within the effect is very splendid with many halls, a fine chapel
and bewilderingly numerous suites of apartments. The great marble stair
on the east with double columns in the three orders on the three levels
is a magnificent feature. The inlaid floors and carved panelling,
the really well-planned decorations, largely in white and gold,
with ceiling paintings by Jacques Fouquet and others, all give the
impression that the mansion has for generations been the home of people
of culture and taste. The traditional absence of formality in the
Swedish court is displayed by the way in which the public are admitted
to the comfortable private rooms, where copies of the English _Graphic_
lie about and unbound Tauchnitz editions provide an admirable selection
of English literature. A forest of horns and other trophies of sport
in the billiard room, in fact to a great extent the whole atmosphere,
suggest a large English country house.

[117] Miss M. E. Coleridge wrote a novel about him called _The King
with Two Faces_.

[118] In his excellent work, _Sweden and the Swedes_ (one of them his
wife), 1893. He was U.S. Minister to Sweden and Norway.

[119] The National Museum, among many other things including a gallery
of pictures old and new, possesses a collection of prehistoric
antiquities rivalled only by that of Copenhagen. In the Humlegard
(Botanic Garden) is a bronze statue of Linnæus in the centre of flower
patterns; it also contains the Riks-Bibliotek, or National Library,
among whose treasures are the Latin _Codex Aureus_, and the _Gigas
Librorum_, one of whose illuminations is a huge coloured figure of the
devil--spoils of the Thirty Years' War.

[120] According to one legend the women of Wärend gained their ancient
privilege of inheriting on equal terms with men by similar service
against the Danes. The privilege is now extended all over the country.

[121] He was crusading in Finland when his son Valdemar, first of the
Folkungar Line, was chosen king by the Council on the collapse of the
House of Sverker.

[122] Quoted by Otté.

[123] A nobler English saint (who with St. Peter shares the dedication
of the Anglican Church in Stockholm), was one of the earliest and best
Apostles of the Faith in the Swede-realm. Coming once to the borders
of a lake, St. Siegfrid (or Sigurd) saw a bright vision of glistening
angels, and vowed to raise a church where the cathedral of Vexio now

[124] Rhyming Chronicle, quoted by Otté.

[125] There is a statue to him just east of the church.

[126] It is often called the cathedral, but incorrectly. Stockholm
is extra-diocesan, forming a sort of "enclave" administered by the
Pastor Primarius and his consistory; necessary episcopal functions
are performed by the Archbishop of Upsala. The church, originally
about the same age as the Riddarsholmskyrka, was largely reconstructed
about 1736, the chancel being removed, and the outer aisles apparently
built. The square clock-tower has pilasters, the church has Classic
buttresses, cornices, etc., but there are some mongrel-decorated
windows. The interior is still largely mediæval, and most impressive
from the wide dimensions--eight bays and five aisles all vaulted at the
same level. The brick pillars are mostly clustered, the central vault
has most ornate brick ribs, and the aisle roofs have remains of old
paintings. There are really splendid Renaissance fittings, including a
lovely Augsburg carved wooden reredos, stone font with Runic patterns
dated 1514, two canopied thrones, carved pulpit and organ case, some
fine tombs and tablets with several effigies and one canopy, besides a
knight on horseback larger than life slaying a dragon.

[127] Canon Wieselgren, of Göteborg (Gotenburg), was the main leader
in the triumphant temperance movement, aided by the great chymist,
Berzelius, who has a statue in the little Stockholm park that bears his
name. Gustavus III. in 1775 had made distilling and selling spirits a
Government monopoly, yielding a chief item of revenue. When this was
abolished and distilling became absolutely free to all the state of
Sweden became much worse than before.

Eventually drinking was reduced to its present very moderate dimensions
by confining the manufacture and sale of spirits to companies which
may make what profit they can on everything else, but are only allowed
five per cent. on drinks, any surplus being handed over to the local
authority for providing such things as lectures, sports, excursions and
libraries. As in America, districts may vote to be entirely "dry" if
they prefer. This arrangement, generally called the Gotenburg system,
with local variations, is in force over most of Norway and Sweden.
Göteborg adopted it in 1865, and Stockholm followed in 1877. Beer is
outside the arrangement.

[128] Judging from the Lapp huts outside museums and the ordinary Zulu
kraal of Natal, the African natives are the cleaner of the two races.

[129] Not far from Skansen is the Hasselbacken Restaurant, whose
cooking is unsurpassed in France.

[130] Both thistle and globe artichokes are extensively cultivated
for the markets of Stockholm. Tobacco is another crop very often to
be seen; its growth is no new industry, it is mentioned by Laing in
1838, and he says it is used largely for snuff. Mere frames of poles on
wheels serve for the ingathering of harvest.

[131] _The Land of the Midnight Sun_, by Paul Du Chaillu, 1881. The
author was French by birth.

[132] The form Russia was not known till the end of the seventeenth
century. In Great Blakenham Church, Suffolk, there is a monument of
1645 to a London merchant, named Swift

  "Honoured abroad for wise and just,
   Aske the Russe and Sweden theis."

[133] The original authority for Ruric and his viking followers
settling at Novgorod in 862 is the _Chronicle_ of Nestor, a monk of
Kiev, who died about 1114. There is a very good account of early
Russian history in W. R. Morrill's _Russia_ in the _Story of the

[134] _Heimskringla, Saga of Olaf Tryggvison_, Ch. VII.

[135] _ib._, Ch. XXI.

[136] _Saga of Olaf the Holy_, Ch. CXCI.

[137] _ib._, Ch. CXCVIII.

[138] _Heimskringla, Saga of Harald the Hardredy_, Ch. XVI.

[139] My friend, A. Rothay Reynolds, author of _My Russian Year_, has
very kindly elicited for me the information that these relics no longer
exist. Although the sagas give no hint of any difference of religious
views between Russians and Norse (p. 233), the bones of St. Henry
were evidently insulted at St. Petersburg, where they might with more
appropriateness have been shrined.

[140] The present building was erected about 1733 from designs by
Tressini, an Italian architect. It is a rather commonplace Classic
church whose details are extremely poor, though the interior has a
certain impressiveness from the tall pillars supporting the roof, for
the usual galleries are not there. Over the windows are cherubs. Over
the eastern octagon rises a little onion dome. The tower that surmounts
the western front is crowned by the gilded needle spire which soars,
out of all proportion to the church, no less than 364 feet into the
air, sometimes most impressively catching the light of the setting sun
while all is in shadow around.

[141] This house contains the very distorting panes of glass that were
the earliest to be made in Russia. The only large buildings in the
city that Peter ever saw are part of the University and an adjacent
palace of Menshikóf, now a school of cadets. Both are stucco and
uninteresting; one bears the date 1710.

[142] So that it is rather curious that this building should be on
the whole the most perfect reproduction of an Italian church in St.
Petersburg. There is nothing Russian about it; just an ordinary
cruciform domed Renaissance building, 255 feet long.

The other large monastery in St. Petersburg, Smolni, by the bend in the
river, has buildings surrounding two huge courts which are made very
pleasant by trees. The first, which is much the larger, has a covered
cloister all round and a high dome in each corner. The centre of the
western side is left open to expose to the street the chief façade of
the church, which, like the Chantry at Winchester, stands detached
in the centre of the court. It is a simple and impressive Italian
Renaissance building, 245 feet long, with pilasters on two levels and
in the centre a lofty tower, open to the top within. The interior is
all white, some marble shafts giving relief to the eternal plaster.
Designed by Rastrelli in 1734, the structure follows the type of his
native country, except that five great onion domes mark as Russian the
top of the tower. The faults of the building are glaring enough, but
Fergusson seems rather severe in his remark: "It would be difficult to
find in Europe anything so really bad as this."

[143] Its dimensions are 731 by 584 feet. There are three stories with
pilasters on two levels, but the architrave bends over each of the
upper windows, and the consequent loss of the horizontal line that
is of the very essence of Classic architecture, is absolutely fatal
to the effect. Several halls and other chambers within are extremely
magnificent, but the most glorious columns of marble support gilded
capitals of plaster, and there is a good deal to justify Fergusson's
observation about a man of taste recoiling in horror from such a
piece of barbaric magnificence. The chapel is frankly Russian with
the customary onion dome. The figures of the eikonastasis stand out
detached, though the Eastern Church as a rule holds anything more than
very slight relief as a breach of the Second Commandment. This little
building contains some priceless relics, hands of the Baptist and of
the Virgin, a fragment of the body of St. George, a piece of the true
cross, a picture painted by St. Luke! There are relics nearer our own
day in the chamber where the second Alexander died in 1881, after being
wounded by the bomb (p. 253). His empty study chair, the books as he
left them on the table, the few coins in his pocket when he went out
for the last time, his unfinished cigarette, his coat thrown over the
back of a chair, the couch on which he passed away.

[144] This structure is more Greek in design, the architect was Baron
Leo von Klenze, of Munich, and it was erected about the middle of
the nineteenth century. There are two large courts, but one of them
is divided by the great staircase which rises between two rows of
magnificent grey marble columns that support the plaster ceiling; other
portions have a very rich effect from the profusion of coloured marbles
and the beautiful inlaid wood flowers which almost give the impression
of mosaic. The lower storey forms a very complete museum, beginning
with ancient Egypt and including many interesting things from different
parts of the Russian Empire. The upper storey, which is higher and much
better lighted, houses the famous collection of pictures.

[145] The reason was that he wanted his people to look more European,
but the Russians held a good deal of the oriental view of the
sacredness of beards, and some preserved their cut-off hairs to be
buried with them and enjoyed in the next world.

[146] This characteristic seems even more apparent among Russians in
the Far East than in their own capital.

[147] The original Patriarchates were those of Jerusalem, Antioch,
Alexandria, Constantinople and Rome. That of Moscow dated from the
sixteenth century.

[148] Each portico has eight huge monolithic columns of red Finland
granite, 56 feet high (bases and Corinthian caps of bronze), to support
the sculptured tympanum, whose figures are in high relief, and is
approached by a stately flight of steps. Except on the east there are
splendid portals with grape patterns in stone and beautiful relief
bronze doors. The side porticoes are deeper than the others and flanked
by turrets for bells. The plan of the church is a simple oblong, 305 by
166 feet. Only four great windows admit light to the interior (except
for a single one behind the altar opening into the eastern portico and
those of the lantern dome), one on each side of the lateral porticoes.
These naturally dwarf the design very much. A rather poorly planned
circular colonnade and iron dome rise through the roof, resting on
four huge piers in the church. The arrangement of the vaulting is made
to suggest the ordinary cruciform plan, with a dome in each corner.
The general effect is extremely rich from the magnificent shafts of
malachite and lapis lazuli, and the lavish decorations of inlaid
marble and mosaic, but nothing can redeem the poverty and commonplace
character of the design. Fergusson calls the building a cold and
unsatisfactory failure, and says there is not a week's thought in the
whole design from pavement to dome cross. This it is not easy to deny,
but there is much to redeem the failure, particularly in the splendour
of the material.

The other Renaissance buildings of the city are very numerous, and
in many cases very large, but for variety they cannot be said to be
remarkable. Of the foreign architects successively employed, not one
was really good, and decidedly the best buildings on the whole are
those designed by Russians who had mastered the principles of the
foreign style. One of the most successful, by Varonikin, was erected
at the worst possible period--the early nineteenth century. It is the
Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, an Italian building, 257 feet long.
Inviting colonnades extend from the north transept to the street,
forming a vast semi-circle and suggesting the piazza of St. Peter's.
The portico of the transept appears in the centre with the dome rising
above, and, material apart, this is one of the most successful things
of its kind ever built. Nave and south transept also have porticoes.
The columns throughout the building are in pairs, and within the
effect is most striking from the granite columns that uphold the great
entablature, the lofty flat roofs of the aisles, and the way in which
the lantern rises from arches which terminate the tunnel vaults of the
four arms. Much of the eikonastasis is of silver, and the floor is
marble inlaid.

[149] The centre of gravity of the rearing horse is successfully
preserved in the right place by making the metal almost solid at the
back and quite thin in front. In November, 1770, Rev. J. C. King wrote
to Lord Macartney: "I mean the great stone on which Falconet's statue
is to be placed.... It is ... arrived at St. Petersburg: the Empress
had earrings made of it for herself."

[150] In some parts of the city the soil is of a stiff blue clay.

[151] The bomb-splintered brougham in which he took his last drive is
preserved unrepaired among the Imperial carriages.

[152] Surmounting the central octagon and its four corner turrets,
the west tower, and the three eastern apses. Some are covered with
extraordinary raised glazed tiles, the central one greatly resembling a
turban. The interior is both simpler and better than the outside; four
columns with round arches sustain the central lantern, and round arches
open to apses and tower. The floor is of marble inlaid; walls, piers
and vaults are covered with the most beautiful mosaics in prevailing
colours of blue and gold, saints in four tiers varied by landscapes and
lilies. The old church furniture displayed in the Museum of Alexander
III. seems to show Byzantine forms getting more and more modified
by increasing Tatar influences. In the same place are some very
interesting paintings by Russian artists. Verestchagin has the place
of honour, and is represented by some excellent pictures of battle
scenes, some displaying the French at Moscow. The picture of Abram and
Isaac done by Reutern with his left hand has faces that could hardly be

[153] The Honourable Russia Company is still patron of four of the
English churches in Russia. "A faint legal trace of the ancient
privileges of the Muscovy Company survives in the extra-territorial
character belonging for marriage purposes to the churches and chapels
formerly attached to their factories in Russia."--Sir Courtenay Ilbert.

[154] Quoted by Eugene Schuyler, _Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia_,

[155] One room has pictures of several hundred Russian maids dwelling
in different parts of the Empire, another has living plants trained
up the walls as part of its permanent decoration, ornate chandeliers
hang from ceilings, pictures and tapestry cover the walls, and, as at
Solomon's Court, everything is splashed with gold.

[156] Several such may be seen among the Imperial carriages in St.

                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

-Plain print and punctuation errors fixed.

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