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My good, and very gentlemanly host of the Hotel Eoyal, looked darkly on the proposal, and advised me at least to take with me that hanger-on at hotels called a commissionaire, who is always ready to act as travelling servant, and might, in the antiquated times of travel, some twenty years ago, have styled himself courier. Alas! that glorious tribe is extinct, and for what purpose should I encumber myself with the commissionaire? His French is at least as unintelligible to me as his Danish; that is to say, that while not pretending to be familiar with the Danish tongue, I feel compelled to make him translate the French he has learned to speak for the convenience of travellers in general, into his own vernacular, for my information. An interpreter is all one wants anywhere, but I think I can be my own in the lovely Island of Moen.
The Danes consider this isle sublimely beautiful; but it was not their description that made me think a trip to Moen ought not to be neglected; it was that given in a famous work called Murray's Hand-Book—a work, the descriptions of which are seldom quoted verbatim by writers of travels; so I will give you his description in his own words, to save myself trouble.
"Steege (Inn Tidemann's), the chief town of the island, situated between the ocean and a deep bay called the Nore, has a cheerful appearance, but offers no objects of sufficient interest to detain one moment the stranger from visiting the lovely scenery that surrounds it. From south to north, along the east coast, stretches a ridge of picturesque chalk hills, breaking into a thousand grotesque forms, sometimes crowned with verdant woods, sometimes stretching their naked summits high into tho air; intersected by ravines and narrow valleys, and diversified by little cascades and streamlets that gush down the cliffs in all directions. The road from Steege to the cliffs leads first through a well-cultivated, but flat and open country to Kielby. In the village church are two objects of interest to the antiquarian; the one an altar-piece, which dates from the middle ages, the other a grave-stone placed over a member of the family Moltke, of the middle of the 14th century, and one of the oldest that exists in Denmark, bearing date and inscription. A Httle further on is the village of Borre, and the ruins of an old castle destroyed in 1510. Beyond Borre the cliffs begin gradually to rise, and the footpath, after ascending some way between lovely woods, suddenly emerges
on an open platform on one of the highest points of the cliff, called Dronningstolen, or the Queen's chair, 398 feet above the level of the sea, which rolls its foaming billows at its feet. The descent from this point to the picturesque Maglevand's Valley is particularly interesting."
Quite excited by this description, (for I had studied the Hand-book, of course, as all travellers do, on the deck of the steamer that brought me to Denmark,) I resolved to set off to the Danish little Switzerland before I fully established myself in the very fine and comfortable Hotel Eoyal, where English people may fancy themselves in London, charges and all included.
On a bright, warm morning I got on board a Scotch steamer—a new one, set up as a speculation to run among the Danish Isles. It is a business altogether better left to the natives. The first affair of interest was that the paddles stopped working before they had been nearly an hour at work, I think the builder's son, a young landsman, was our captain. They said some sea-weed, of which there was plenty about, held the paddle fast. We spent the time of rest in breakfasting, and got a poor Danish breakfast at an English price. When the sea-weed came out, we went on very calmly under a burning sun; the wet, cold weather had given way, as it generally does when I am en route; the water was clear and very shallow, the bottom being quite visible, and the surface covered over with cockchafers; a whole flotilla upset, and moving, convulsively, poor things, on their shelly backs, up and down the smooth water, which our keel broke into hills and vallies for them; tempted from their dear beech woods, to try the effects of an excursion at sea, their fate is a warning to wanderers.
Never was anything in the way of cockchafers seen like the cockchafers of Denmark! Crawling and sprawling, here, there, and everywhere, the cruel boys of England would be tired of making them sing. Even at Kiel, that out-lying town of the kingdom, I was obliged to abandon the labour of setting them up again on their legs; they come plump into your face; they fall at your feet; they lie everywhere, kicking hopelessly on their backs. There is a cockchafer plague here. On board our steamer was the fattest and most joyous little wife that ever civil engineer boasted. She was returning to England from a visit to Norway; and the relation of her travels there would be as interesting and amusing as that of a yachting excursion, occupying a goodly tome, with a description of shooting at soda-water bottles, and catching a salmon. The dear lady had had such honours paid her as would have turned the head of any woman who was not the wife of a civil engineer. How could it be otherwise, when there was going to be a railroad in Norway? She had an artillery-man, she assured me, quite at her service, who attended her everywhere. "And did she go everywhere?" was my inquiry. "Yes, everywhere where it was possible to go in Norway. She rode to the top of Eingerige; but, then, her artillery-man walked beside her pony."
"Well! I will go to the top of Eingerige," said I to myself—" if I can find an artillery-man.''
But we are off the island of Moen; I am put into a boat, and waving my hand to the civil engineeress, I am rowed to land. Steege, with its droll name (pronounced Steegay), was my point of attainment, for, said Mr. Murray's Hand-book, "to reach the highest and most picturesque cliffs, the traveller should proceed to Steege." So, as I always try to do what Mr. Murray tells me, to Steege I must go. "Would I take a post-carriage thither?" I was asked. "Yes, and without delay." About an hour elapsed, and then my post-carriage