From Ostersund To Norway
( Originally Published 1881 )
THERE are several high- roads from the Baltic westward, converging towards the town of Ostersund, in Jemtland, and thence to the Norwegian city of Levanger, and Trondhjem, on the North Sea, thus crossing the peninsula from sea to sea; from Hudiksvall the route traverses the whole length of the province of Helsingland, from Sundsvall through that of Medelpad, and from Hernosand, skirting the Angermanelf, and crossing the Indalself to Ostersund.
The most direct route is by way of Sundsvall, the distance to Trondhjem by this being over five hundred miles, but the road from the former place is at first tiresome and sandy; the most picturesque road is from Hernosand along the Angerman River. There will soon be direct railway communication between the two cities.
On the 29th of August, passing through a beautiful country from Holm, I arrived at the hamlet of Solleftea, where a fair is held twice a year, and was housed for the night at a very comfortable farm. All the way from the sea I had noticed that winter rye was raised more extensively than barley, but both crops seemed to be ripening at about the same time; oats were backward, requiring about ten days longer to mature for the summer had been cold ; the currants were ripe, and the carrots, turnips, beets, and pease looked well.
The next morning I reached the hamlet of Forss, on the banks of the Indalself, over a fine road from the Angermanelf. I saw no hassjas, for the grain in this district is dried and stacked in the open air; the winter rye was cut, the barley was fast falling under the scythes of the reapers, the oats were getting yellow ; on the coast there were fields of hemp, which is spun for the manufacture of fishing-nets and cord ; potatoes were abundant, and each farm had its patches of hop-plants, used by the farmers in the brewing of their beer. Immense boulders were scattered over the face of the country. A few of the houses were painted white, but most of them red, with white borders around the windows and the corners, and a white strip following the line of the roof.
The hamlets are scattered wherever the soil is fertile, and the luxuriant waving fields and meadows appear the more cheerful, as they are separated often by large tracts of rocky or forest land. The houses of the well-to-do farmers of Southern Agermanland and Jemtland are exceedingly clean. Many farms have two dwelling-houses, oue of which is not occupied by the family, but always kept in perfect order; one house is used in summer, and the other in winter—"giving time to one to rest," as the people sometimes laughingly remarked.
The landscape was continually changing from charming tracts of cultivated land, the solitude of silent forests, smiling shores of lakes, dreary marshes, to now and then a glimpse of a white foaming stream dashing against rocks and boulders 'which lay in its course.
The cold nights—the mercury standing at 42°-showed that the summer had ended, though during the day the sun was quite warm, the mercury often standing at 68° in the shade at 1.30 p.m.; the swallows were massing together, pre-paring for their migration southward, and the cattle were returning from Norway.
We met a herd of about two hundred cows following a girl, whose shrill cries constantly urged them on a short distance behind came twelve horses, led by a man whose vocation was evidently that of a cattle-driver. One of the horses turned and followed us, in spite of our endeavors to prevent him ; we had to stop and give him in charge of a man who was passing in the opposite direction. Then we came to a flock of sheep, which, as soon as they saw our horse, turned about, and at a quick trot went back to the old woman who was their shepherdess; she had in her hands a stocking, which she was knitting as she walked, but stopped her work to pacify the frightened animals, talking to them until we had passed.
The road then passed through long stretches of forest, the farms were fewer and the soil more barren. Some of the post stations were very clean and comfortable, but the food was plain. In one of the farm-houses the walls of the' parlor were-covered with blue paper of a small pattern; the curtains were of snowy muslin, and there were two sofas, a rocking-chair, a bureau, a table in the centre of the room, a portrait of King Carl, and a little painting representing the farm ; adjoining was a bedroom, the furniture of which was made of highly polished pine, looking very much like satin-wood, so fine was its workmanship; glass candlesticks, placed on either side of the looking- glass, contained wax-candles; the floor was of bare pine, but clean and bright; the floor of the dining-room was partly covered by strips of home-made carpet, each about two feet wide, laid the whole length of the floor, and forming a coutrast to the intervening spaces of wood, which could not have been made cleaner or whiter.
On the last day of August I came in sight of the Storsjo (sjo meaning lake), two or three hundred feet below me. The sun was near its setting, and its declining rays gilded the hills, and the dark woods of pine and fir; the shores of the lake were doubly golden with fields ready for the harvest; the sails of a few boats were visible, and a small steamer was ploughing its way towards the different hamlets.
On the eastern shore is the town of Östersund, in lat. 63° 24', with a population of 2500. The stars were beginning to shine as I drove through its streets. I could find no room at the hotel, for the place was full of strangers, who came to attend a railway meeting. Much enthusiasm was displayed, as the people wanted the road built from Sundsvall to Trondlijem, across the peninsula, and the proposed line would ,necessarily pass through the heart of the provinces of Jemtland, and tend to develop its resources,
The landlord obtained lodgings for me at a neighboring house, where the sole drawback was the overtrustfulness of the landlady, who, in order to show her confidence in her guest, spread before me all her little treasures. In the evening, when I took possession of the pleasant room assigned to my use, I found on the bureau, in a little cup, her gold ear-drops, rings, a watch, brooches, and sundry other valuable articles, and not a drawer was locked ; everything showed trust in me. I was ill at ease, however, for I did riot know but that some of the servants or other persons would help themselves, and suspicion thus be east upon me: two or three times during my stay I fancied the good woman shot towards me an inquiring glance, which made me think something had been stolen of was missing, and that I was suspected ; but it was all imagination. It is not the custom of the country to secure any-thing under lock and key; indeed, no servant would have been willing to stay in a house where they were mistrusted. When I left the place I asked my landlady to see that all her property was safe. It takes some time for one who has been living in a large city to get accustomed to the honest ways of such unsophisticated country folks. I have often stopped in villages and towns of Sweden and Norway when none of the occupants were at home, but the key hung on a nail outside the door; and even when the family had gone upon a journey it was left there, so that in case of an emergency the neighbors might enter.
Two days after my arrival the post brought me a gold pencil-case which, in my hurry, I had left behind at the hotel in Hernosand : I had hardly left when I discovered my loss, and had made up my mind that I should never see it again; but when I spoke to my companion, he said, in the coolest way, " We will write to have it sent to you at Ostersund :" the idea did not occur to him that it would be pocketed by any one, and he was right.
There is no striking peculiarity in the costume of the people, but some of the girls wore a kind of turban, which with some faces was becoming, as seen in the picture.
A dinner was given by the governor in honor of the railway meeting, to which I was invited. There were thirty guests. There was no set table. The hostess did the honors in an affable and unaffected manner. In the evening there was a reception, with music and dancing, the governor being passionately fond of music, and himself a good performer; he and three of his friends were the musicians, the instruments consisting of three violins and a violoncello, with a piano accompaniment by the hostess and one of her friends. The national habit of courtesy caused a complete suspension of conversation. Later, refreshments were served in the garden, which was illuminated with Chinese lanterns. Choruses were sung in the open air, and, as we returned to the house, the host headed the procession while all sung. The reception closed with dancing, the favorite dance being the very rapid Swedish waltz.
The governor and his wife were attentive to every one. There was no servility of manner, but all were courteous; no one presumed upon his official position, civil or military rank, birth, knowledge, or wealth. If the inclination existed it was carefully concealed, for education and native courtesy checked the tendency towards such small exhibitions of vanity.
The Storsjö is a very picturesque sheet of water, 983 feet above the Baltic, nearly in the centre of the province, and is one of the most lovely lakes of Sweden, its landscape being characteristic.
Close to Ostersund is the pretty island of Frösö, rising 500 feet above the lake, and connected with the main-land by a bridge 1296 feet long. Here is a Runic stone, with the inscription, "Erected to the memory of Ostmadur Gudfast's son, who first christianized Jemtland." Frösö kyrka (church), on the highest part of the island, is built of stone, and is one of the oldest in Sweden. At- the entrance the walls are about nine feet in thickness, and at the window seven or eight. Not far off is a wooden belfry, "Klockstapel," and the church-yard surrounds the edifice. As it was Saturday, the graves had been decorated with flowers by relatives or friends, according to the beautiful Swedish and Norwegian custom. On many of the tombs of the poor, garlands and bouquets of wild-flowers had been cast by survivors who had no other flowers to give. Hours had been spent in the woods and meadows, that morning or the evening before, in their search, and the part of the graveyard which lay next to the road appeared almost like a parterre of flowers. As I wandered from grave to grave, reading the epitaphs, my attention was arrested by an inscription which showed that three syskonen, (brothers and sisters) lay buried below. The words inscribed upon a scroll at the head of the grave were these :
ARVID ERLAND BEIIM.
F5dd den 17de Maj, 1855 ; - düd den 1ste Jan., 1858.
„Born the 17th of May, 1855 ; died the 1st of Jan., 1858.
Fiidd den 20” Febr., 1861 ; diid den Pte Juni, 1864.
Born the 20th of Feb., 1861; died the 1st of Jane, 1864.
EMILIA VIRGINIA MARIA CHRISTINA.
Füdd den 24de Febr., 1863 ; d5d den 25de Maj,1864.
Born the 24th of Feb.,1863 ; died the 24th of May, 1864.
Little Arvid Erland had died just as the year was budding; he was not three years old. Emanuel had gone to rest the first day of June, when the sun here begins to be warm, the flowers to bloom, and the birds to love and sing. Emilia went to sleep on her mother's breast, without saying how much she had suffered. But the little ones had not been forgotten, for three large bouquets were over their resting-place. Birds were singing, bees and butterflies were flitting to and fro over the graves, and all nature smiled. A gentle breeze from the lake wafted the perfume of the wild flowers and the pines over this last home of man.
Hearing voices and a strange sound, as of some one digging, I went to the other side of the church, and there found a contrast to the scene I had just witnessed. The flowers were scarcer, the little mounds over the graves had been neglected and were going to rain, and farther on there were no flowers to be seen. This was the resting-place of those who had died long ago, and they were forgotten. One side of the church-yard was a parody on the other. I again heard voices and the sound of the spade, and I saw two grave-diggers. The grave they were digging was long, broad, and deep, for they were making room for more of the dead, the church-yard being full. At my feet lay the mouldering remains of a woman. As I looked at them, I said, musingly, " Woman ! is that all that is left of thy beauty? Where are thy beaming eyes—mirror of thy thoughts—that told of thy love, sorrow, or anger? Where are those smiling lips, that kissed so lovingly ? Where is thy comely cheek, that flushed and paled, and told so well the secrets of thy heart ? Woman ! where are thy gentle hands, that caressed so softly, and took away care, and sorrow, and pain ? Where are all thy winning ways, that made strong men weak before thee? Is that grim sight all that is left? Why have they disturbed the couch where loving hearts once laid thee ?" No answer came back. All was silent : it was the garden of the dead !
In Sweden and Norway graveyards are consecrated ground, and are not enlarged. The people of the same family are generally buried together, and there must be six feet of earth over the grave, a little mound marking the spot. When the graveyard is full, the old graves are opened, and the bones are collected and placed in the bone-house—a building constructed for the purpose, which I have sometimes seen partly filled with these relics of humanity.
The beauty of the scenery culminates near the church and by the school-house, from which twelve churches can be seen. The view was most extensive. I stood by the old edifice motionless for awhile, for the natural beauty of the surroundings was unlike any other Swedish landscape I had seen. In the far distance, towards the west, the outlines of the snowy mountains looked soft and hazy ; the lake lay below, with its clear water studded with charming little islands, covered with dark fir or pine, and its shores indented by little fjord-like bays, penetrating deeply inland ; the hills and trees mirrored themselves in the water, and beyond were dark forests ; the banks sloped gently downward ; red farm -houses were scattered everywhere, in the midst of golden fields of grain and meadows.
Jemtland is one of the largest inland provinces of Sweden, extending westward as far as the frontier of Norway. In some parts it rises from 600 to 2000 feet above the sea. Often one sees, as far as the eye can reach in all directions, nothing but one dark, superb mass of trees, with hill after hill clad to the very tops with pines and firs. There was something very imposing in this vast sombre tract of country; while the blue sky above and the snowy white clouds formed a strange contrast to the millions and millions of trees.
Many of the valleys are very fruitful and well cultivated; but in the higher regions are vast tracts of barren land. In the recesses of these forests is found the elk or moose (Alces malchis), somewhat smaller and with narrower horns than the American moose (A. americanus). Wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) also roam in the bleak mountain region. The glut-ton or wolverine (Gulo luscus), foxes, and wolves, in some districts prove troublesome to the flocks. Bears (Ursus arctos) roam in the forests, and destroy annually a considerable number of cattle and sheep, and sometimes even horses. They attain their largest size and greatest number in Jemtland, Wermland, and Dalarne, and in Central Norway, almost equalling the grizzly bear (U. horribilis) of the Rocky Mountains.
Game is very plentiful in many parts of the province. The capercailzie, or wood grouse, " Tjader " (Tetrao urogallus), is seen even near the road, and neither our presence nor that of our horses seemed to frighten them. These birds are the largest winged game found in the forests of Scandinavia, and, when properly cooked, are delicious eating. They weigh from ten to fifteen pounds each, and even more; great numbers are trapped in winter in Norrland, and forwarded to the cities. The black grouse, "Orre" (Tetrao tetrix), the hazel grouse, "Hjerpe" (T. bonasia), the ptarmigan, "Dalripa" (Lagopus subalpinus), and the mountain ptarmigan (L. alpinus) are also plentiful, as they are in many provinces. The partridge, "Rapphons" (Perdu cinerea), is rare. Plover (Charadrius apricarius) and snipe (Gallinago mcdia and Gal. major) are not uncommon.
As in many other districts, at certain seasons of the year, several varieties of ducks and geese, and the swan, make their appearance on the lakes and seas.
The game and fishery laws are strictly enforced. The moose can only be hunted from the 10th of August to the last day of September ; the beaver, which is nearly extinct, cannot be killed at any time; the capercailzie and other species of grouse, and the hare, cannot be shot from the middle of March to the 10th of August ; the partridges and red grouse are shot in September and October. Experience shows that in the countries where the fishery and game laws are the most stringent these are most abundant. Fishing is excellent in most of the lakes and rivers of the province.
From Ostersund the high-road to Norway follows the north-ern shore of the Storsjo, and, crossing its outlet at Flaxelfven, continues westward. There is also a new route, which is far more pleasant and less tiresome.
Steamers run from Ostersund twice a week to Qvittsle, five Swedish miles, where can be taken the post-road to Bonaset, four miles farther, on the southern extremity of Kallsjon, 1281 feet above the sea; and a sail of four and a half Swedish miles more brings the traveller to Sundet, and a drive of about half a mile to Anjehem, on the Anjan lake,1413 feet above the sea ; thence a sail of two miles lands him at Melen, within seven miles of the Norwegian frontier.
By the old road from Ostersund to the Norwegian frontier the scenery varies from long stretches of forest to fields of barley, rye, and oats. A species of pea or vetch is planted extensively, to be used as fodder for the cattle.
At the station I found' an old woman was to be my driver. The horse provided was apparently as old as she, and was the laziest animal I had ever seen. The woman, manifestly in continual fear that he was getting tired, alighted at the foot of every hill, petted the beast, and gave him a piece of black bread from a loaf provided specially for the animal, and treated him to a handful of hay. Every time I got out to relieve the horse she was much pleased; but even then, with apparently no reason, she would stop occasionally to give him time to breathe, and feel his body to see if she could detect any moisture. Once she discovered that he had been overheated, and we had to stop for a quarter of an hour to let him get cool again. The horse knew how tenderly he was treated, and was intelligent enough to know how to act, so that we could hardly put him to a trot ; all the shouting and coaxing expended upon him would not make him move a step faster than he pleased. I was much delighted with my venerable driver, and, as the scenery was exceedingly beautiful, the time passed pleasantly. Our road ran between the river-like lake and hills, green with birch, pine, and fir, with mountains in the distance. As we approached Areskutan the country became wilder, and I counted more than thirty patches of snow on that mountain.
I stopped at one of the farms at the base of Areskutan, but there was no one in the house, all the inhabitants being busy in the fields ; a servant-girl, who had seen us approaching, came to inquire who we were, and went to call Hans Benjamin, the farmer, who soon made his appearance, and welcomed us, and agreed to guide me to the top of the mountain.
This farm had two dwelling-houses. The one for winter, which was inhabited, had in a corner one of the open and spacious fireplaces, consisting of a platform about a foot high, above which hung a crane, the whole open space being four or five feet square; for the summer months, the opening had been filled with branches of juniper; the floor was clean, and, as was customary, juniper twigs had been scattered over it to give a pleasant odor; the other rooms were kept in the same good order ; when no juniper, fir, or pine twigs: can be obtained, the leaves of the birch and some other trees are used.
From the summit of Areskutan, 4958 feet high, I had a glorious panorama of mountain ranges, thickly dotted with lakes, in which some of the largest rivers of Scandinavia find their sources, or a great part of their water-shed ; the streams run either east and west or -north and south ; among the largest are the Angerman, Indals, Ljusne, Stordal, and the Glommen —this last being the largest river in Norway.
I found upon the peak of Areskutan a stone urn, in which was a tin box containing a blank-book; I added my name to the written list, fired two shots from the double-barrelled gun I carried for shooting ptarmigan, and, after a descent of an hour and a quarter, arrived at the farm whence I had set out.
In the evening the farmers came in, and we had a good time ; I had to skâl—meaning " to your health "—with them; there was no help for it, for if the guest declines, the people are offended and call him proud; the drinking-cup in olden time was called a skâl—hence the name.
Thence to Skalstugan and the frontier of Norway the scenery becomes monotonous, consisting mainly of forests and swamps—telegraph-poles being the only apparent sign of civilization beside the road ; the soil is more sterile, and the farm-houses are unpainted.
About three miles before reaching Stalltjernsstugan is one of Sweden's finest water-falls—Tännforsen. The river is about eighty feet wide, and is divided by a rock called the "bear rock," on account of a bear which was drowned in the attempt to swim across ; it plunges about ninety feet in a sheet of foam, and forms below a picturesque lake.
At Mestugan the farms appeared less thrifty, though considerable butter is made; at Skalstugan, also, was a fine but-ter and hay farm, and all the people were busy getting in the crop.
In less than an hour's drive from this last farm the Norwegian frontier is passed, at the highest point on the high-road between the two seas. The plateau was bleak enough; the rocky hills were clothed with reindeer-moss, and between the undulations were swamp-land, birch-trees, willows, and morasses; on one side a rivulet seemed to be on the line of the Swedish water-shed, while on the other flowed a stream going towards Norway. Upon a slab were inscribed the distances from Ostersund, sixteen and a half miles, and from Trondhjem eleven and three -quarter miles. The ascent from the Baltic had been gradual, and I did not realize that the road was two thousand feet above the sea-level, so good had been the engineering work.
On the western slope of the range the scenery is among the finest of the kind in Norway. At first the trees were scarce, but as we went on the pines made their appearance—tall, strong, and healthy, with dark mosses hanging upon their` branches. The river below was a foaming torrent, with several water-falls, and the valley became very narrow and extremely wild. There seemed to be hardly a place for the road, which continued to be excellent, and is hewn out of the solid rock ; walls had been built to the water's edge, to protect the way from the torrents, and blocks of stone were placed a few feet distant from each other as an additional safeguard.
A farm barred the road, which passed through a gate into the yard : it is Garnes, the buildings of which formed a square. Everything appeared strange, primitive, and old. This farm belonged to a widow. I found two pretty girls, about eighteen years of age, washing the floor of the parlor; one of them had the figure of a Venus; her under-garment was open, revealing her form almost to the waist; but the weather was warm, and she was perfectly unconscious of anything approaching impropriety.
The landlady gave me a good dinner, and did not want any money for it. "No, indeed!" said she; "and you must come again : you shall always be welcome. The Norwegians are kindly treated in America; so you shall be with me."
Farther on the road was barred by another old-fashioned square farm, called Noes. Passing the farms of Garnes and Noes, the vegetation improved as we descended towards the sea ; the soil was formed of alluvial terraces. Now the yellow fields of rye contrasted with the. dark pines; and soon a sub-lime view of the valleys of Suul and Verdal burst upon us. In the distance lay the superb Trondhjem fjord, and at my feet the country was covered with farms and farm-houses. Terraces overlapped each other; and a river flowed in the middle of a valley which was several miles broad, and flanked by mountains covered with dark forests. Rounded and oval hills formed little table-lands at different points, and were yellow with the grain crops : ravines, pastures, meadows, woods, mountains, and golden fields were all mixed together. The sides of the lower terraces by the river in many places had slid down, showing the gray color of the clayey banks. From the place where I stood the scene appeared like fairy-land; there is not in all Norway a more charming landscape.
As we came down and caught views of. the farm-houses near us, they appeared poor, and not so picturesque as when seen from a distance. There seemed to be too many of them, property having been too much divided. The roofs of the houses were covered with earth, and the cow-house was attached to, and often formed a part of, the dwelling-house.
Beautiful fair - haired Norwegian children were running about barefooted and bareheaded. Many of them had been in the woods, and had come home laden with young branches of birch, which were to be used as fodder for the goats and sheep in winter. There were a great many pigeons on these farms, and chickens were becoming abundant.
We finally reached the Norwegian town of Levanger, which was exceedingly clean, although the streets were not paved; the red-colored tiled roofs gave a cheerful appearance to the place; a few years before it had been almost entirely destroyed by fire : it also has a hospital, for the Norwegians take good care of their sick poor. The port is well sheltered, affording very safe anchorage. Two fairs take place here every year, and great numbers of Swedes from Jemtland and other parts of the country attend them.
Not far from Levanger is the hamlet of Stiklestad, celebrated as the place where St. Olaf was slain in a great battle. Upon the spot where the Christian warrior fell were the re-mains of an old stone pillar, with an iron cross on the top, while a modern one has been erected by its side.
The church is very ancient, built of stone, and is said to have sunk six feet below its former level. On the walls I counted twenty primitive paintings, which date from before the Reformation : they illustrate the stories of the Bible, rep-resenting Adam and Eve, both nude; Adam under the apple-tree, tempted by Eve, rather ludicrous; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the different phases of the life of Christ, ending with his crucifixion.
From Levanger southward to the city of Trondhjem, about fifty miles farther down the fjord, the scenery, both by land and water, is very beautiful. The superb road winds its way by thrifty farms and hamlets, among wooded hills here and there skirting the fjord. This part of the Trondhjem Stift is one of the most fruitful in Norway, and when, on the 9th of September, I left Levanger, the hay crop was being success-fully gathered. The grain-fields were about as advanced as in the provinces of Sweden we had left. We were travelling between 63° and 64° lat., and the currants and strawberries had entirely gone.
The springs along the Norwegian coast and fjords are earlier than in Sweden, but vegetation is more backward, as the climate is not so dry, and with less sunshine; but it is also less subject to sudden frosts, which rarely occur in August, and none had appeared at the date of our arrival.
Near Levanger, by the high-road, was one of those large herregaard ("gentleman's farm ") which one meets here and there in Norwegian Nordland, easily distinguished, by their clean appearance, flower and vegetable gardens, and planted trees, from the gaard* of the bonde (bonde, farmer owning his land). This was remarkable for the size of its buildings. The dwelling-house was over one hundred and forty feet long, with an upper story, and broad in proportion ; in front was a garden ; at the back the yard was flanked by three other large buildings, which, with the dwelling, made an enclosure about two hundred feet wide and two hundred and fifty feet long; in the centre of the square the water came through pipes from the mountains. One building had stalls for more than fifty cows, and there was a stable for nine horses; above the cow-house was a barn, where a hundred tons of hay could be stored.
The people were busy harvesting ; the women were binding sheaves, and seemed to suffer from the heat of the sum ; many wore only a long linen chemise with sleeves, with a handkerchief as a belt around the waist; and in their simple innocence they did not seem alarmed when, bending over, they showed their snowy bosoms.
I did not wonder at the excellence of the Norwegian roads when .I saw the manner in which they were built. First there was a foundation of heavy rounded boulders; over this were placed layers of pieces of cut granite or gneiss to a depth of fifteen or eighteen inches, and then the whole was covered thickly with fine gravel; I then understood why rain and frost did not affect them. The road at times was very hilly, and the. ascents or descents consequently steep ; the ponies at the station were in , better condition than on many roads, as there were few travellers. In this region, as soon as the 'descent began, the reins were let loose, and immediately the horses plunged down the. hills. The pace was fearful, but the animals are so surefooted that there is no danger.
The farms vary very much, according to the districts. From Forbord the valley was thickly settled, but the farms were small. Many of the dwellings on the poorer ones had only grass-covered roofs, while others were roofed with shingles, with one side of the house apportioned to the cows, goats, and sheep; others, again, had little low-built houses for the cattle.
The stations on this route were poor in regard to food ; but eggs and bacon, with excellent coffee, milk, butter and cheese, with flatbröd, were readily procured.
The picturesque hamlet of Humlevigen (rig meaning cove in Norwegian), with its little cotton-mill, lay by the river. Its houses were covered with slates or red tiles, shingles, and earth. Near the shore stood a few fishing warehouses, built on wooden piles, and three smacks were stranded on the beach. The days were shorteniug fast, and at about eight o'clock the outlines of the mountains appeared dimly in the twilight ; a little later the aurora borealis shot up its high flashes to the zenith.
As I approached Trondhjem the island of Munkholm arose from the fjord, upon which fortifications were in progress for the defence of the city. On the island a monastery of Benedictines was founded in 1028, a few ruins of which, within the walls of the fortress, are all that remain.
I learned to my cost the effect of cobble-stone pavements on the occupant of a cariole without springs, as we drove through the streets of Trondhjem. It seemed as if the bones of my body were all shaken to pieces; and I was glad when, pounded almost to a jelly, I alighted at the hotel. The service was very neat, and everything seemed very luxurious compared with the fare at the stations.
Trondhjem is in 63° 26' lat., and was formerly the capital of Norway. It is said to have been founded by Olaf Tryggvason in 997. It has a population of about 21,000, and is in direct railway communication with Christiania, and ranks the third city in population in Norway. It is built on the shores of a bay at the mouth of the river Nid ; and here the King of Norway and Sweden is crowned as King of Norway. It had a cheerless look—numerous fires having destroyed the wooden houses in parts of the city at different times. The air of stillness about the place seemed to show that it had seen better days, and grass was growing in many of the streets. It is hoped that by its new railway communications it will recover some of its former grandeur and prosperity. It is the residence of a Stift Amtmand, and of a bishop, the seat of a high court of justice, and- contains a large hospital. There are several daily morning, and one afternoon, newspaper. The schools are numerous, and here, as everywhere else, my visit to them was a source of great pleasure.
In summer the town is filled with tourists—principally English—most of whom like to travel from Christiania to this point by way of Gudbrandsdal. As they are in the habit of putting on airs of superiority, the inhabitants do not seem to care for foreigners, and have the reputation of being generally cold and more reserved than those of other cities. The great number of travellers has demoralized the lower classes, who have learned to be exorbitant in the charges for driving, ferrying, carrying luggage, or performing other services. Two Englishmen and myself, who had to cross the river Nid—not wider than a broad street—were charged two marks. I refused to pay the amount, but the Englishmen yielded, thus encouraging the ferryman in his extortionate demands upon foreigners. There is a regular tariff of only a few cents, and the fellow would have been heavily fined had I made a complaint.
The cathedral is very fine, and one of the oldest stone buildings in Norway. It is being restored, and will consequently lose the quaint old look so much esteemed by the lovers of antiquity.
The entrance to the fjord from the south is amidst an archipelago of islands, and near its mouth is Hiteren, the largest island of Norway south of the arctic circle ; beyond this you enter the Trondhjem fjord proper, with Skjôren fjord to the northeast. It then bends to the south-east, throwing out a branch southward, and then eastward to Trondhjern. From the city it runs north-easterly into Stordalshalsen, Levanger, and Værdalsoren,and connects farther north by a narrow strait with Beitstad fjord to Stenkjaer; from this place one can drive as far as Narnsos and up the Namdal, where the roads terminate. The length of the fjord, includiug Beitstad fjord, is over seventy-two miles.
One should not fail to visit the Lierfossen, about three miles distant. The river forming the upper fall plunges from a perpendicular height of 100 feet, and the lower one, a short distance farther down, from a height of 80 feet. The water is as clear as crystal, but the upper fall is by far the most picturesque. Saw-mills and smelting copper furnaces, however, detract much from the beauty of the landscape.