Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

hillocks and hollows sent me forward on the shoulders of the Scarlet Jacket, and then there was a turn round, and such a look of indignation! In vain I implored a respite; my sufferings, it was plain to see, were incomprehensible, and he really believed the cart had obtained a more troublesome load than ever it had borne when not driven by a royal postilion in the King of Denmark's livery. I regain my seat, awed by that look; but ah! another plunge sends me with both arms fast round the collar of the little jacket, and nearly draws its quaint little skirts into my lap. There is no resource for him but to spring on his legs, grasping the brass horn to blow at the crows, who, poor things, seem frightened enough at him without his horn. "Take me back! take me to Steege!" I cry; but on he dashes the faster, reins and horn in one hand, brandishing the whip in the other, and pointing one or the other in a forward direction as his only reply to my entreaty. Yes, as the French sentinel said to me when he commanded me not to look at the setting sun from a certain spot outside the town of Metz—"J'ai ma consigne." "But I only want to see the sun," I urged. "J'ai ma consigne," he repeated, presenting his bayonet. So my Eed Jacket had his consigne, and he presented his. horn instead of the bayonet to enforce them. Tidemann had given the consigne; he was his commander, and his order was to take me round the Island of Moen; and so round the island I must go, though a dislocated body were brought back to Steege.

Most fortunately a human being came in sight, for I had seen nothing but crows; it was a young farmer, whose mediation I obtained. I went and rested at his father's house; he scolded my too faithful postilion, took off and re-adjusted my horrible seat, and supplied me with a very rude, but very acceptable footstool. He took me, moreover, through some delightful walks; and the end of it was that he sent me away softened in every sense, in temper especially, and able even to enjoy the moonlight drive home; for my little Jehu seemed also to feel the influence, either of the moon or the scolding, and came back quite in a gentle and humble frame of mind, letting the horn rest in peace at his side; while I pleased myself with thinking that my miseries met their compensation, since they caused even this Danish Isle of Moen to contribute to the store which memory holds of deeds of kindness, small acts of heart-goodness, shown to a passing stranger in many lands, merely because she was a stranger; and which she has remembered, and the performers have no doubt soon forgotten.

But a loud and sudden blast of the long-stationary horn dissipated such thoughts. We rattled over the pavement of Steege, and, with a tremendous nourish, the poor, crest-fallen Eed Jacket turned the long lumbering cart and its two weary steeds into the yard from which he had received his hapless cargo.

"Where is the master?" said I to the woman who came to receive me.

"He sleeps," she answered.

"I want to go to Copenhagen to-morrow. How can I go?"

"With the post?"

"At what hour does the post go from here?" "At six o'clock."

"Dear! it is scarcely worth while to go to bed. But, call me at half-past five.''

I went to bed and fell asleep. At half-past five came my punctual maid, and said the post would go at six; but as I knew I had to go to it, I made what haste I could to get ready, and desired her to get me a cup of coffee in a quarter of an hour. In a quarter of an hour she came, and told me the breakfast was ready in another room. I did not want breakfast, but ran there, with my bonnet in my hand, to get the coffee.

"I shall not have time to breakfast," I said.

"Plenty of time," she replied.

"It only wants ten minutes to six, and the post goes at six," I said.

"Yes, but not the post you go with," she answered, very demurely, "that goes at half-past eight."

"And you awoke me at half-past five,—with aching limbs—"

"You asked me what time the post went," she responded. "One post goes at six, but you cannot go with it to Copenhagen."

"Where is the master?"

"He sleeps."

"I wish,"—I was going to say, "that you did so too;" but I did say that I wished she had let me do so. At eight o'clock I inquired, for the last time, after Tidemann's successor, and I got precisely the same reply. "Then I will leave him to sleep," I answered; and so I did, and I know not if he ever wakened.

The Danish steam-boat, in which I went back to Copenhagen, was one coming from Svendborg, the passage to which from Moen is very pleasant. I was now confirmed in the belief that I might have been more charmed with the " Switzerland of Denmark," if I had made one of the parties in the pleasure-trips, often made by these boats there, when I should likewise have had the advantage of seeing the chalky cliffs from the sea. Yet the rather excruciating remembrances of my postcarriage have afforded me, perhaps, more smiling moments since, than I should have obtained by a passage in an excursion steamer.

The Engineer of the boat, in which I am writing to you a few words by the way, is a braw Scotchman. It is curious to find that word (written "bra" in the North) just used here as it is in Scotland; "Eatt bra" is as good Scotch as Swedish. But this braw Scot cannot speak a word of Danish, and the crew finding out that there is some sympathy between us have summoned him on deck to have the pleasure of loosing his long-tied tongue. He has been a year absent from that land-o'-cakes, which all Scotch people love and willingly leave. Yet he spoke of it with a simple pathos, which gave a very pleasing cast to his intelligent and serious face. He is a fine-looking

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »