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rous vexations which for the first time attend
my travels. But to proceed. My window looks into a lane; for a certain number of hours daily a butcher opposite to it cuts up the most horrible looking meat that I believe ever was known in this world. They say horse-flesh is not reckoned bad in Norway; I have sometimes thought they gave it to me instead of beef. At the groundfloor window of the next house a tinker stands, with a large tin pan before him; hammer, ham
say, ever be finished ? In the window above him sits a young straw-bonnet maker; sew, sew, sew. When will she have done that bonnet? Constant as the tinman's hammer, as the workwoman's needle, down comes the heavy, splashing rain,-drop, drop, drop. Will this rain ever cease ? Pleasant sights—pleasant sounds-pleasant reflections. They make up the total of what I see, hear, or say. But I am in Norway, in Christiania, in the Hotel de Scandinavie ! Alas! if I were not also in No. 13!
Herr Hanson, junior, walks in, cap in hand. “There is a countryman of yours here," he says, “if you like to speak. He is a Frenchman, who has come to see the sun."
“To see the sun !” I answer, “I wish I had his eyes ;” and I lift mine to the leaden skies.
“You shall see it also if you stay here till the twenty-eight,” says Herr Hanson, encouragingly.
“A fortnight hence !” I cry, almost desperately; "is it indeed such a rarity to see the sun in Norway?”
“Ra-ree-tee,” says Herr Hanson, as if learning a new word, and trying to affix a meaning to it.
“Is it a wonderful thing to see the sun here ?" I repeat; “is it so seldom seen ?"
“Wonderful ? Yes, they say it will be so. Seldom ? Yes, it is not two times in a life one sees that. They will come from all parts of the world to see the sun here on the twenty-eight, for then there will be no sun."
The next day I applied for a solution of the enigma to our Vice-consul.
“It means,” said he, “that they will come not to see the sun, for there will be the grand total eclipse. You must stay for it.”
I could not think of disobeying both Herr Hanson and the Vice-consul ; but what on earth should I do for a whole fortnight in the Hotel de Scandinavie?
It was this question which already occupied my thoughts, when, on the very first day I spent in Christiania, I went to dine, by invitation, with pleasing and amiable Frue K.
The morning that followed that alarming night when the English, Irish, Scotch, or Welsh-man was on his beat round our corridor, naturally found the subject of such an alarm without appetite for breakfast; and as Frue K.'s dinner was announced for two o'clock in the afternoon, I dispensed with all the provisions which the Hotel de Scandinavie afforded, and only taking a cup of coffee, went out to make a dejeuner à la fourchette, and dinner also, at the pleasant house to which I was invited; this was my first dinner in Gamle Norge ; and so for once I must fall into the tourist's fashion of putting what I eat and drink, or rather what I did not eat or drink, on paper.
The first dish handed round was cold lobster in sauce; lobsters in Gottenburgh and in Christiania are almost like cockchafers in Denmark in their effect on me; if I did not dislike them before, their multitude and size would create an antipathy. I bowed to the lobster; and when asked if I would not eat, said, “I would wait.” The lobster dish, however, came round three times, and three times was eaten by every one; but still I said I would wait. After it came a sort of solid pudding, cut in thick slices, of a grey-coloured dough, with some currants appearing through it, and sweet cream to eat with it. To this also I bowed, and said still, “I would wait.”
" It will not be very long to wait now,” said my kind entertainer, "for now we have only some strawberries.” She might naturally believe I was desirous that a meal, at which I was a spectator only, should soon terminate ; however, I ceased to wait when the third and last dish, the beautiful wild strawberries and rich cream of Norway, was presented to me. The extreme plenty and perfection both of this fruit and its excellent accompaniment, are quite curious, not in Norway alone, but in Sweden too; and the more so, because fruit in general is so miserably bad and sour, and the garden strawberry I seldom could eat.
My dejeuner à la fourchette thus came to be made with a spoon; and breakfast and dinner were despatched with a plate of wild strawberries and cream.
Dinner in the North can hardly be said to be over until coffee has been taken, and this does not follow till an hour or more after that meal; no one, however, who can help it, does anything till after coffee, which is much more like what it is in England than what it is in France, except that they use a quantity of rich cream with it instead of warm milk.
After coffee we got into movement, and set off in a handsome carriage, with good Frue K.'s handsome pair of horses, to drive to Ladegaardsöen, which, though called an island, is an isthmus running into the Fiord. The late King of Sweden (Bernadotte) bought this place, and had it laid out in promenades and pleasure grounds for the people of Christiania. His son, King Oscar I., has built a royal villa on it, called Oscarshalle. It was from this villa, especially from its tower, that I saw views over the Fiord and its shores, which made me repent of my ill humour the day before, and make there a wise resolution, which I fear I shall break,—namely, not to say I do not like a place in bad weather until I have seen it in fine. These views are indeed most charming, remarkable, and interesting. King Oscar patronises native art. This lodge is decorated by Norwegian artists. The designs on the walls were not quite so interesting to me as the views beyond them. One room is