« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
meeting. If they had only taken off their hats every time, it -would have been complete; but I was tired of looking on, I left them to swing.
The Professor had told me that the fairy-legend hunter spoke English; a delightful knowledge this was to me, for I am by no means strong in Northern tongues.
Thus, in the hope of using and Hearing my own, I was quite at ease, when the next day they both made their appearance. The Professor presented me formally.
Herr Fairy-hunter made a great many bows; and as so many bows involve a good many curtsies, I inclined nearly as often. Then with a last reverence he spoke, in English, and said, very slowly,—
"I complain of you much, that you are so disagreeable; but now I make an extra."
I made my last reverence in reply. Such a speech, by way of a complimentary one, was rather startling, and not a little alarming. I looked nervously at the Professor, who, with profound gravity, interpreted his friend's meaning, thus,—
"He pities you for being so disagreeably circumstanced; but he is making an abridgment of his book, and, therefore, cannot now make hi3 tour."
I bowed with a sense of relief, and the Fairyhunter and myself exchanged some sentences which I do not record, as I believe the fairies alone would be able to understand the language.
"I have got another plan for you," said the Professor; "yes, this is the very thing. A teacher of music here wishes to take his wife and child into the country, and one of our operavoices, who also speaks Italian—which you do likewise—will go with them. They will all join you; but as they must leave their affairs here, they expect you will pay all the travelling expenses. They will bring their own. provisions, because there are none to be got on the road. That is fair."
"Yery fair, indeed," I answered. "The very thing."
"I complain of you much!" murmured the Fairy-hunter, looking at me compassionately.
"You must, then, take a carriage," said the Professor.
"It will be quite filled," I replied. "Four persons, with Norse-cloaks, pipes, tobacco-pouches, provisions, and luggage!"
"And the child?" added my Professor.
"Ah! I suppose I must take it on my knee."
"You are very disagreeable," said the Fairyhunter, with a look of commiseration at me; but I thought, secretly, that others were still more disagreeable.
"But Mr. Murray's Hand-book says it is dangerous to take a heavy carriage over the hills of Norway, and certainly a roll down them among such et ceteras would not be pleasant," I added.
Herr Fairy-hunter moved uneasily on his chair, worked his hands together, shook his head disapprovingly, and said, "You must be complained of."
"Mr. Murray is not followed much in Norway now," the hardened Professor resumed; "there is a compatriot of yours here, a Mr. Bennett by name, who manages all for the English. If they come directed to 'Herr Bennett, Christiania,' they have no further trouble; their carrioles are given to them ready stuffed and provisioned; they are sent on, and brought back, and returned home, almost without their knowledge."
"Poor Norway! He will be the means of bringing too many English here. But why does he not take any trouble about me? Is it because I am so disagreeable, and so much to be complained of?"
"Nay, nay!" cried the Fairy-hunter, whose impatience to free the Englishman from the reproach of hard-heartedness, scarcely allowed him to utter a word intelligibly; "nay, he is so good, he would send you away, so soon, so soon! yes, he is good to Norway; and just because you are so complained of, he would send you away."
"I am sure I am infinitely obliged by the compliments paid to me in Norway; and I wish, most truly, to be sent away."
"I have thought of a plan," said the Professor, with animation; "yes, this is the very thing. There is an old woman here whose daughter's husband has been in England; she has learned some English, and can go with you as travelling servant and companion."
"Well, that does seem more likely to be the very thing,'' I replied, really glad of a reasonable prospect of success.
"I will go for her now," the kind Professor added, rising promptly; and with many polite bows, and assurances from the Fairy-hunter that he complained of me much, and thought I was very disagreeable, they both withdrew, and left me once more to prepare for my country excursion in Gamle Norge.
The day passed over; the evening came, and "with it came the Professor.
"Where is the old woman?"
"Why, I am very sorry, but she has got a grandchild, and cannot leave her daughter."
I was too disappointed to speak. "It is all owing to No. 13," I said, at last, glancing at the figures on my door.
The Professor tried to convince me that this was an old-fashioned and superstitious notion, and finding it hard to do that while matters remained so contradictory to my wishes, he proposed to drive me himself in his gig to the famous Eingerige—the Eighi of Norway.
I yielded so far as to say, that if he kept his word, and that I was not made, as on other occasions, the victim of contradictory occurrences, I should cease to believe in the influence of No. 13.
The bargain was made; the Professor engaged to be in the yard of the Hotel de Scandinavie at ten o'clock the next morning with his gig; and I assured him, that when I found myself onee fairly setting off, my belief would be shaken.