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ter political economist than our poor captain, who has given up all theory on the subject, and is deaf to all the supplicating "Herr Kapten" which echo around him.
The Swedes are, in fact, returning from the baths; it is autumn, and the stream has set in towards the capital. They are coming from charming Stromstad, and Marlstrand, and such pleasant retreats for water lovers, where they associate as thickly as they now do on our deck. Every one who can leaves Stockholm in June, and most persons like to come back there for the winter; there are exceptions in this, especially among country gentlemen, and very domesticated ladies. The time for the baths is now over; some of our passengers are going to their country houses, from whence they may again migrate on the noted" 1st of October, to winter quarters in Stockholm; others are now returning to their permanent location there; others—as myself, for instance—are travelling on business. And the result is that, all our objects taken together, there is no room to sit or stand, much less to walk or to recline, in this little over-crowded, screw-propeller steamer; which is busy screwing, thumping, roaring in a most unreasonably noisy manner, as it goes along its quiet path over the narrow river Gota, and between the granite lining of the canal. And thus, describing myself as neither sitting, standing, walking, nor reclining, while trying to write to you, I have only to add to the sum of my autumnal travelling enjoyments, that a pertinacious fall of rain seems as if it meant to compensate for the illiberality of all our other supplies.
And is it thus that on the first day of September, 1851, I retrace the curious and interesting water-journey by the canals, lakes, rivers, that lie between the two chief towns of Sweden? And I made it once before—four long years ago, in a sweet midsummer tide.
How much of a traveller's impressions, and consequently of his descriptions, depend on the accidents of time, weather, companionship, or other accessories to personal enjoyment! Exaggerated descriptions, either in good or bad, are thus easily accounted for; though the blame that ought to be laid on the accidents that beset him, is generally cast upon his taste or information.
Thus, were I to go on describing what I saw, heard, or did, during these three days and a half, in an over-crowded boat, and under a continual pour of rain, certainly some one who came after me, or had gone before me, on a midsummer's day, would think me a very disagreeable person; and the Swedes, if they chanced to hear my description, would say—what they always do say when travellers give unfavourable accounts of themselves, or their country—" She knew nothing about
it, she was in Sweden six weeks, and" but I
will take the bright side, partly at least, and so there is no use in anticipating all that would be said of my ignorance if I were to do the reverse. I shall blend into one the descriptions of the Gottenburg Canal as seen in the brightness and beauty of Midsummer-tide, and seen in the gloom and dreariness of a rainy autumn.
It is called the Canal, but out of a length of three hundred and seventy miles English, only fifty consists of actual canal, and these in detached portions, partly cut through enormous granite hills, in order to string together, as it were, the splendid natural waters, lakes, bays, rivers, which render this Swedish, so-called canal, unlike any other that I have yet seen. It is really a most beautiful water highway; connecting the Baltic at the capital with the North Sea at the other chief port and commercial town of Sweden, the far more active and apparently flourishing border-town of Gottenburg, and forming a useful line of traffic, especially for that chief article of Swedish commerce, timber, from which its banks and waters derive their aspect of business life.
The scenery near the head of the river, the Gota, just before coming to the wonderful cataract of Trollhattan, is very lovely, especially when looked down upon from the height above the lower locks; but this is seldom dwelt upon by the passengers, who hurry off to the Falls, or sometimes to the inn. This view is seen best in the descent; but in the ascent, that is, in going to Stockholm, an almost unequalled sight fills the traveller with a singular combination of feeling, admiration of man's work, amid the wild wonders of nature's. Never did I see any other place where the art of man had been brought among the sublimities of nature Avithout creating some sense of vexation in the beholder's mind, except in this case of Trollhattan. The astonishing works of engineering skill are singularly in character with the wildly picturesque and curious nature of the scene.
The canal has been cut through the granite mountain to escape the falls of the river Gota, in which the waters of the vast lake "Wenern vent
VOL. I. Q
themselves by a fissure in the rock only 200 yards in width; and over this rock the mighty mass of water dashes itself in this head-over-heels fashion, and is soothed to peace in the quiet stream called in Swedish Gota Elf.
It is not surprising that the Dane, Hans Andersen, accustomed to his level plains, was so impressed with the sight of this place. "It sounds," he says, "to the uninitiated like a fairy tale when one says that the steamboat goes across lakes and over mountains, from whence the outstretched woods may be seen below. Immense sluices heave up and lower the boats while the travellers ramble in the woods. None of the cascades of Switzerland, none of Italy, not even tha of Terni, have in them anything so imposing as that of Trollhattan."
And, taken in connection with the adaptation of the nature of the falls, and even of that of the engineering works around them, to the character of the scenery, such was also the impression the first view of Trollhattan made upon me.
Afar off, as you advance, and before the roar of its mighty voice is heard, you perceive, on the dark fir-crowned mountain above you, a white