Изображения страниц

as your shores are with the waters, the waves of the sea seem less likely to engulf you than do the land powers around you to swallow you up as a kingdom.

"We are too small to be divided now," said a Dane, of the lower class, to me; "having taken Norway from us, they cannot take much more, so they must take us altogether next time. But we would rather be given to England than to Prussia."

Not so quietly, however, would you be given to any one, brave little Denmark; the spirit of true patriotism lives in your soil; your sons are a gallant band, watchful and firm. And there are some of them now, with bandaged-up limbs, with pale faces, shrunken frames, and youthful bodies dragged along on wooden supports; there are all these trophies of war, for up goes the screaming steam, "Stop her," sounds out from the paddle box; the towers of Copenhagen are before me, and the streets of Copenhagen are full of the disabled forms of men and officers of the Danish army and navy.


I Had heard much of the Island of Moen, and I had seen perhaps rather too much of palaces, and galleries, and museums; and so I took it into my head that I would come and write to you from the Danish island, instead of telling you about Thorwaldsen and his statuary, and Copenhagen and its palaces, and politics, and people, and pleasures.

I wanted to see, and to tell you about the natural beauties of Denmark, and Moen is called the Danish Switzerland; so I said, to the Island of Moen I will go, and to the Island of Moen I went.

My good, and very gentlemanly host of the Hotel Royal, 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 baycalled 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 the 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 little 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 studded 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

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »