Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

120

CHAPTER XI.

"Calm was the day, and the scene delightful;" this was the passage of Lindley Murray's grammar, which embodied my notions of elegance in English composition, in the studious times of my sweet childhood; and with it impressed on my mind I set off for Eingerige in the Professor's gig, and kept repeating it to myself, and feeling its applicability as we left the pretty and busy environs of the Capital, as the Norwegians always call Christiania. Never did I hear that term used so often; its use almost looks as if they were afraid that even they themselves would forget that Christiania really was the capital. But they insist on styling the King, the King of Norway and Sweden, instead of King of Sweden and Norway; so it is natural they should call Christiania the capital, to distinguish it distinctly from Stockholm.

It is a soft and brilliant day; one of the very few such that we have had; for torrents of rain or scorching sun have as yet prevailed alternately— the former, indeed, far preponderating. The pretty environs are now left; hill, mountain, and fir forest succeed; the latter opening to disclose charming views of water, islands, and mountains. Yes, Norway is a beautiful country, and amid its novel scenery, it is hard not to be pleased and in good spirits. Even the Professor, generally so grave and silent, became animated. We were going through a splendid pine forest, and coming down a sharp hill; I had often wished to be in a pine forest in Norway, with its beautiful rocks, and lichens and white mosses, such as I see now; and bears and wolves, such as I do not see; but, however, this sharp hill recalled to my thoughts the heavy carriage and its cargo, in which it had been proposed to me to travel, and we were talking and laughing about it, when a sudden fear crossed my mind, and I said, "Take care; this would be an awkward spot for an upset."

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 usr 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.

"No; that you cannot do."

"How shall he go then?"

"I must tie him behind the gig."

"Well, I will carry the whip."

"Yes, that you may do."

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.

"Why do you not go on?"

"Don't you see the horse will not move?"

"Shall I whip him?"

"Nay S 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 \l 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

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »