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lowered when they cease to be based on description and imagination.
The post has gone, and the passengers have gone; there is scarcely a sound of human life to be heard now. The sailors are quite silent; I hardly think English ones could be so silent and still. Moonlight and water, and great high rocks lifting up to the chequered sky their peaked crown of towering pines—there is nothing else seen.
At last there is a sound. It is a quiet Norse song. A sailor is sitting at the bow, with his arm round the neck of one much older, who seems to listen to the words more than to the music, for he sometimes interposes a word. What may that song speak to those good rough hearts, more than
"Linked notes of sweetness long drawn ont,"
may speak to more refined ones. It is a pleasant sound; but I must be on deck at four o'clock to-morrow morning, to watch our exit from Sandsesund, and our entrance into the Fiord. And how we are to get out of the rocks, which appear to form a fir-covered barrier across our passage, I cannot imagine; but the Norse captain smiles knowingly, and says they will open a passage for us.
To-morrow! what a to-morrow is this! The gun is fired, the steam roars, the sailors sing, and I am on deck; but the sun will not get up. Voyager! c'est un Men triste plaisir! 0 yes, Madame de Stael, you are quite right. To travel is a very tiresome pleasure, but we cannot make English out of triste. Rain, mist, cold, dreariness. Land of the North, after all my visions, is it thus that with waking eyes I behold you! Is my temper as murky as the sky? We have got beyond Frederickstadt, Horton and Moss are passed, we have been for some time fairly in Chris tiania Fiord, yet I am not in ecstacies. What is the reason? Every one who has seen Christiania Fiord has been in ecstasies. I know it is singular, I am sure it is beautiful; but it is not grand, and grandeur looks mystified when dimly seen through mist and vapour, whereas loveliness is only hidden. This Fiord is in aspect an immense lake, studded with rocky islets, fir-crested and pretty, and with wooded shores, on which, when you approach them near enough, you see a great many small, and a few large towns, some of each class being exceedingly active, and having a share in the chief commerce of Norway; sawmills and wood exportations are frequent all along here.
Now we are in sight of the elevated villacovered bank which forms a part of the environs of jChristiania; and then rises prominently to view along plain white building, dominating a huddled mass of red-roofed and smoke-and-timeblackened wooden houses, crouching low beneath it; that great building provokingly reminds me of the fine castle-workhouses of Ireland, but I would not say so for the world, since it is the palace, actually the King's palace and residence, when his Majesty of Sweden and Norway visits this latter part of his kingdom. Now I see one church spire, or tower, and I am told this is Christiania; but I see only the palace, and the red and black wooden houses, and one church spire. Christiania lies somewhere hidden behind, or among these, and I must not begin to think of Lake Malar, and the houses and churches and towers of Stockholm; there is plenty of beauty here of course, although I must confess that on first approaching and looking at Christiania, one does not readily see it.
"What hotel shall I take?" I asked our Norse Captain.
"It is no matter which," he answered, "they are all alike bad.'' As it was a native answer, I record it.
Mr. Murray, once an infallible authority, says, that the hotel de Scandinavie,—all the hotels of the north have Trench appellatives—is small, quiet, cleanly, and moderate—my beau ideal of an hoteladding for the climax of this, that the master's son speaks English.
Well! the latter is a fact, and so I am established in the Hotel de Scandinavie; for though my ear had grown accustomed to Danish, I cannot understand Norwegian; it is Danish spoken with a brogue; and when the lower class voices are in full play, I could fancy myself listening, with as much intelligibility, to a group of Irish talking their native tongue in a market place.
I took possession of a very small room, with a narrow and very fat bed; and hardly allowing myself time to answer Herr Hanson's English, I went to sleep. Such a sleep as it was! but I was awakened from it by an alarming and hurried knock at my door. Confused and alarmed I called out something, in what language I know not, but I am conscious of an earnest desire not to speak English; before, however, my fears could syllable themselves into words, I heard the same knock at another door, and another, and another, so loud, so sharp, so startling! I sprang to my own, impressed with the conviction that the town, if not the hotel itself, was in flames; I had read so much of the alarms of fire in the northern towns! But on, and on, and on, went the knocking. I threw open my door, and stood out on the wooden corridor or gallery, round which the rooms of the Hotel de Scandinavie are built, forming the square of a very dirty yard below. I was ready for flight, and, trying to act with presence of mind, I was calculating the expediency of throwing my portmanteau out of the window into the street and jumping after it, when, in answer to thirty-nine knocks, there was some cabalistic sound from the room of that number, which made the knocker exclaim in loud and plain English—" 0 you are in No. 39, are you?" It was English in every sense, our uncivilised neighbours might say, for this was an English traveller's method of finding out in what room of the corridor his friend and comrade was lodged. He knocked at every door