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My driver smiled rather scornfully, but before the presumptuous smile had passed away, down came the horse, first on his head, then flat on the ground; away went our gig, right over him, smashed in pieces, and left us—I do not well know where. To the best of my belief I found myself sitting between the four out-stretched legs of the poor horse; but the Professor declares I am mistaken, for that he picked me up and put me in the ditch! I only recollect getting up on my own feet, with a very odd feel in my head and right arm. The gig lay over the horse, and I saw the poor Professor between both, holding one hand on the horse's head, and pulling with the other, which was a gloved one, at the harness. I went to his aid, but he screamed at me to go away.
“You will be killed, you will be kicked to pieces !” he cried. .
I, however, began to pull. “Well," said he, “if you will pull, try if you can pull a little harder."
The latter I could not do; so he told me to put my hand, instead of his, on the creature's head; it felt a small load to lay on that great head, and so I went to put my foot on it, waving my hand vigorously to a light cart which I saw coming on,
with two men in it. They did not appear to notice my signals of distress; came just at the same pace; looked at us, and as the Professor did not ask for assistance, they quietly went on.
It was hard work to get the animal up, it lay in such an awkward position: at last, snorting, panting, and trembling, it stood erect, mutely staring out fears far beyond, I am sure, what we had experienced.
And now what was to be done? It was delightful to be in a Norwegian forest, but to be there under such peculiar circumstances was an unexpected felicity.
“I can tie up the gig,” said the Professor, looking as if solving a problem. “I have a rope, I can tie it, and then I must draw it on.”
" And I can lead the horse," I said.
The Professor set to work in a most scientific manner; he tied up the gig, and he tied the horse behind it, and he put himself in the animal's former place, and I took whip, and we were once
more ready to be en route in my first journey in Norway. But the good old Professor, after a tug or two, stood stationary and still.
6. Why do you not go on ?!"
“Nay! he will plunge then. Good animal, he does not like to see me here while he is there."
“I must lead it then.”
“ He would not let you: he would stand there with his four feet on the same spot.”
“ Then what is to be done ?"
“I must try if I cannot get him into my place; and if not, I must ride on to Baron W.'s and borrow a carriage for you. It is too far for you to walk.”
“I will sit here among these rocks. Are there wolves here ?"
“ Not now; nor anything else to molest you.”
“But how does there come to be a Baron in Norway? I thought you had abolished nobility, though you hold so much to official titles—even the very least; so that I was polite enough to say, 'Herr Fairy-hunter' whenever I spoke of.”
“Ack! I cannot now explain to you our customs, but this is the last of our barons, the title
will expire with himself; we are all equal in Norway, though of course we do think a good deal of position, and address persons always by the title of their office, or calling, or profession, and not by their simple names.”
The Professor was ready to start now, he went off and left me alone, for the first time, in a forest in Norway.
I sat on one of the masses of rock which, covered with long white moss, crisp and dry, have such a good effect beneath these towering firs, whose tops it is difficult for the eye to reach. The most unbroken stillness was around; there is something in absolute silence which is delightful when one knows it will soon be broken, but is very overpowering when no such knowledge exists. I felt that I might sit there for hours and not even hear a bird's voice, or wing; not even the rustle of a leaf, for fir trees do not rustle theirs. After some time I thought it would be pleasanter to leave the silence, and pursue the road in the direction of Baron W.'s.
From the top of the next hill I saw two women walking on before me. Anxious for company, I hastened forward, and overtook and walked with them. They talk of John Bull as morose, surly, shy, or suspicious of a stranger's advances; in these qualities he may find his superiors in Norway, with the addition of a degree of pride it is well not to offend. I could not help being struck with the difference between these women and the kind and affable women of France, especially of the simple and laborious mountaineers of the Pyrenees. What wonder, excitement, and commiseration my adventure would have caused among them, and their patois was less intelligible to me than my present companions' Norwegian. These women only wondered at my dress; the oldest more than the other. She must know why I wore silk travelling; how much my dress cost; she felt it, looked at it, plucked the chain of my watch, and wanted to understand why I carried a gold chain about with me; then got my left. hand, and tried to make out through my glove if I had a wedding ring on my finger; convinced that she felt one she nodded to her comrade and said it was there.