« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
looks like a vestal Queen threatened with malicious persecution. Shadows fall over sea and land; the wind murmurs; the coast of Jutland grows bare, bleak, barren. This part of it is just fit to be seen under a stormy sky. Only thin patches of corn now appear among the sands; and now these sands present an aspect of singular desolation. Had the Sea-King his tower here in days of old, and is that tower beneath the waves which cast up those heaps of sand?
That a natural, as well as political, disruption of old Denmark must have at some time occurred, would seem evident; the land that is now shattered into so many islands was, doubtless, once united.
Now nothing is to be seen but a long line of sand, a light-house, and a hamlet of pilots and fishers. What an existence must be there, on the barren sands! Yet, even there, this mortal life is dear. And then comes the village of Skagen, and then the seamen's foe, that long, dagger-like point of the island of Jutland, which our sailors call the Skaw, dangerous as it is desolate, with the white-crested waves breaking over it, and closing, on its northern side, the kingdom of Denmark. Near to the pretty town of Vcile is a chateau, of which one long room is floored with planks, cut from the masts of vessels shipwrecked on the coast of Jutland. A singular fancy! Think, of dancing on boards that might remind the merry creatures whose feet flew over them, of nature's latest struggle; of the sailor's drowning cry, of the stout heart's agony; perhaps of the fate of the tender and delicate woman!
Here were wrecked, in the time of Denmark's fatal war with England, three of our noble line-ofbattle ships, with about two thousand of our gallant men.
Now, good night to thee, thou cruel and uglynamed Skaw; and adieu to thee, thou pleasant and much-threatened Denmark; adieu to thy brave and faithful sons, thy warm-hearted and sensible daughters; our acquaintance has been short, but long enough to make me add Denmark to the list of many lands, where I have known and left some whom I should wish to meet again.
I Found the second cabin empty last night, the first well filled. I took solitary possession of the second; slept, arose, dressed, thanked God for exemption from the miseries of social life at sea, went on deck, saw nothing but grey sky and grey sea; came below again, breakfasted; sat on the nice sofa, and placed my writing apparatus on the table before me. Nota bene: Such second cabins as the English vessels treat second-class passengers to, are rarely to be found in those of other countries; a fact for which, on this occasion, I am truly thankful.
But, now, up rises the storm spirit from its favourite bed in the Skaggerack, and— .
Where was I? Away in one moment went the water-decanter and glasses from my table; away went pen, ink, and papers; away went the writer rolling after all. Down rushed the wave from the open fan-light, and in rushed the staggering mate, pulls down the fan-light, and staggers after the rolling-about articles. He got up the glass, ones first; I suppose because they were the most brittle, not the most valuable; lastly he
secured me. Pah! there is another wave * # # * # * # # #
I place a whole row of asterisks, which some excellent recent examples prove to be an admirable way of propitiating public favour where there happens to be a corresponding blank in a writer's brain. There is a mysterious intelligibility in asterisks, a silent expression which meets the reader's imagination half-way.
Supposing that they have eked out my deficient narrative, I begin again with the sudden lull which has just now begun. The storm cannot surely have dropped down in a moment? No, there is a roar in the funnel; they are letting off the steam, and letting down the anchor.
What a change! and what a scene! There is peace around, above, beneath. We are in a rockencircled harbour; pine-clad rocks sprinkle the quiet water; a clear, calm moon shines in a rather disturbed sky—shines over the dark rocks, the tall firs, the stilly sea. Quarter of an hour ago we were tossing miserably on the angry Skaggerack. It is like relief from pain; it is like the repose of the spirit that enters into rest after the storms of life and death,—the rest and the refreshing which we are told follow the life and death struggle of those whom the Lord of Life holds throughout them, safe in the hollow of his hand.
This harbour is called Sandsesund; we are about to enter the famed Christiania Fiord, which, the Captain tells me, properly speaking, only begins at Frederickstadt, much higher up. We stop for the night in Sandassund; a boat is despatched with the mails, and nearly all our passengers leave us also; some go to land, others to the steamer, which is now getting up her steam, and will go on her voyage round the coast of Norway as soon as she receives the quota she expects from ours. I should like to go with her, but one cannot be everywhere, and I long to see Christiania. My ideas are high, but I am sure they will not be