Henry [Garrett] 1804-1860 Newland.

Forest scenes in Norway and Sweden: being extracts from the journal of a fisherman online

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Online LibraryHenry [Garrett] 1804-1860 NewlandForest scenes in Norway and Sweden: being extracts from the journal of a fisherman → online text (page 1 of 36)
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extracts from tbc Journal of a ih.sijcrmaiu




Ojc ScconU Oittcn.






My dear Public, —

I have frequently heard you remark, in that
quaint and pithy manner so peculiarly your own, that " all
work and no play makes Jack a dull boy/' If you should
happen to find the book which I here present to your notice
to be really of such a character as your friend Jack might
have written under these distressing circumstances, I am
afraid I cannot plead this very sensible observation of yours
as my excuse ; for I must confess, which I do with thank-
fulness, that in my time I have enjoyed quite as much play
as is good for me, or for any one, in this working-day world
of ours. On this point, therefore, my book must stand on
its own merits.

But, as I am extremely solicitous of your good opinion,
and should be very sorry to see you err on the opposite
extreme, imagining, as indeed you might, that mine has


been " all play and no work/' I must request you to look
at the Parson at home as well as the Parson abroad, — in
short, to read my " Confirmation and First Communion,"
as well as my " Forest Life ; ,y a proceeding which, if it
does not benefit you, my dear Public (and I sincerely hope
it may), will, at all events, — through the medium of his
Publisher, — benefit, and that materially,

Your faithful Servant,


Westboukne Vicarage,
July 1th, 1854.


Introduction Page 1

Chapter I. — Preparations 8

Chapter II. — The Voyage 18

Chapter III. — The Shipwash Sand 26

Chapter IV.— The Landfall 38

Chapter V. — Christiansand 49

Chapter VI.— The Torjedahl 61

Chapter VII. — The Encampment Mosse Eurd 78

Chapter VIII.— Making a Night of it 92

Chapter IX.— The Hell Fall 108

Chapter X. — Departure from Torjedahl 122

Chapter XI. — The Mountain March 141

Chapter XII. — The Homestead 158

Chapter XIII.— The Church 172

Chapter XIV. — Breaking up the Encampment 193

Chapter XV.— Eider Duck Hunting 203

Chapter XVI. —The Coasting Voyage 220


Chaptek XVII. — Gotheborg 238

Chapter XVIII.— Trollhatten 253

Chapter XIX. — Gaddeback 267

Chapter XX. — Wenern 2S0

Chapter XXI.— The Meet 295

Chapter XXII. — The Commencement of the Skal 305

Chapter XXIII.— The Satterval 318

Chapter XXIV.— Making another Night of it 333

Chapter XXV.— The Watch Fire 349

Chapter XXVI.— Beating out the Skal 367

Chapter XXVII.— The Ball 377

Chapter XXVIII.— The Wedding 389

Chapter XXIX. — Homeward Bound 402






Sketches in Norway and Sweden ! Are they fact or fiction ?
are they to be instructive or simply entertaining ? These are
questions which the public has a right to ask, and which the
author means to answer as truly as he can. He hopes there
will be a little of both. At least, in making this selection
from his own and his friends' journals, he has had both these
objects in his eye, and he trusts he has been able to keep his
eye upon them both at the same time, and that without any
very great amount of squinting. The framework which he
has adopted is that of a very popular description of authors —
the historical romancers, and, if he might venture to say so,
of a certain equally popular historian : that is to say, fiction
founded upon fact. He has laid down absolute facts, or what
he believes to be facts, for his groundwork, and has dressed
them up to suit his fancy.

These Northern Sketches are, in truth, a continuation of a
former work, " The Erne, its Legends and its Fly-fishing ;"
as the expedition which gave rise to them was in every respect
the same as the old Belleek fishing-association, with a simple
change of scene. They are therefore written upon the same
plan, which the author has found extremely convenient and
very suitable to his purpose.

That purpose was not only to preserve the recollections of
a most enjoyable time, but also to convey as much real infor-



ination on the subjects treated on as lie could compass ; and
with such an object before him, absolute fiction would have
been useless.

His descriptions, therefore, in that book were real descrip-
tions, his anecdotes, real anecdotes — the incidents of the
story did actually happen ; his instructions in the art of fly-
fishing and the hydrography of the river were the results of
his own experience, and the fairy legends were his own
collections. Unless these things had been true, his book
would have been merely a book of entertainment, — and he
was ambitious of something beyond that. Everything of
this kind, therefore, was recorded accurately ; and in the few
instances in which the requirements of the story compelled
the author to transplant his incidents, their real localities
were always given.

All this was important to the public, or, at least, as im-
portant as the subject itself; but it was of no consequence
to any one, except for the gratification of mere curiosity, to
be able to identify the precise Captain A. who broke the
weirs of the Laune, while such information would not have
raised Captain A.'s character at the Horse-Guards. The
Liberal member for B. might enjoy the recollection of the row
he got up at Kildoney, but might not find it convenient to
be reminded of it on the hustings. Attorneys might look
askance at Barrister C, who for a whole summer had directed
his studies to the practice of Club-law ; while Parson D., who
had passed three months of his life waist-high in the Erne,
might possibly expect, were he identified, to have cold water
thrown upon him by his Bishop for the rest of his life.

With all these matters, interesting enough to the charac-
ters themselves, the public had nothing whatever to do : it
was sufficient for them that they had their information and
their story ; and, provided the incidents of that story hap-
pened to some one, it signified little to them, which, of all
the letters of the alphabet, composed his name. The public
should feel grateful to any fisherman who has truly revealed
the silks and feathers of his favourite fly ; it is what very
few fishermen will do : let them be satisfied with that : they
shall never know— they have no right to know — which of


all the " Squires " that haunted the Erne it was who landed
the " Schoolmaster " on the " Bank of Ireland."

In the present sketches the author has not so much reason
to conceal the names of his characters ; he can hurt no one.
He has no rows or " ructions " to record ; more's the pity,
for there is nothing so interesting to read about. Still, there
are advantages in carrying out the same plan : first, it makes
the continuation obvious — some of the Erne characters are
again introduced : and this is not a fiction ; for when rail-
roads began to multiply, and sporting cockneys began to
infest the innocent Erne, frightening its salmon and exacer-
bating its proprietors, that pleasant coterie of fishermen,
who, in earlier and better times, were wont to concoct their
punch and tell their stories at Mother Johnstone's fireside,
and hang their great two-handed rods upon her hospitable
brackets, actually did betake themselves to the exile of
foreign lands.

But, in the second place, it conveys the same information
in a more entertaining manner : the author is able to piece
his characters ; making them, like Mrs. Malaprojfs Cerberus,
" three gentlemen at once," by combining into one the inci-
dents that happened to many. The author has thus availed
himself of other journals and other note-books besides his
own, and has been able to appropriate their contents, and to
distribute whatever was characteristic of the country, into a
series of connected sketches, instead of perpetually changing
his locality and introducing new characters. He by no
means intends to identify himself with his fictitious Parson,
nor will he even undertake to say, that he was himself in all
instances personally present whenever the Parson comes
upon the scene : he will answer for the truth of nothing
beyond the detached incidents and descriptions.

Neither can these Sketches be used as an itinerary. Now
and then, though not often, names of places have been even
suppressed or altered, and incidents transplanted. They
will, indeed, give glimpses — slight, but true as far as they go
— of northern scenery, costume, travelling peculiarities, and,
above all, sport. They will contain practical hints and
available directions, but it is only in a general way. They

b 2


are not at all intended as a guide-book, nor will they at all
supersede the indispensable Murray.

The traveller, following upon the author's footsteps, will
find himself lost at two points of the narrative — the village
of Soberud, and the locality of the Skal. In the former of
these the reason is evident enough — the author wishes to
convey an idea of what sort of men the Norwegian clergy
are, not to draw the attention of subsequent travellers to any
individual clergyman. In the case of the skal there is
another reason. Although Mr. Lloyd, the author of
" Northern Wild Sports," being a great hunter, has always
contrived to get a shot at the bear, it is, nevertheless, true,
that an ordinary man sees about as much of a skal as a
regimental officer does of a battle — that is to say, he sees
about a dozen men on each side of him : and, it may well
happen, that the share of any given individual in the most
successful of skals, will amount to hearing a great deal of
firing, and, at the end of three or four days' hard work, see-
ing five or six carcasses paraded at the nearest village. In
order, therefore, to give his readers a graphic sketch of a
skal, without violently outraging probability, it was necessary
for the author to make his ground, that is to say, to imagine
ground of such a description that it was possible for his
characters to see what was going on. It is not altogether
fictitious either, for the traveller will find a good deal of it
in the Toftdahl Valley, though this was never, so far as the
author knows, the scene of a summer skal.

Similarly, also, though there is no such village as Soberud,
that being the name of a district near Larvig in which Sir
Hyde Parker's fishing-lodge is situated and where the
author caught a good many salmon and trout, yet the
traveller will be able to patch together the fictitious country
from real and actual elements. The church is Hitterdahl —
but as there is no lake at Hitterdahl, one has been borrowed
for it from the country between Larvig and Frederiksvarn —
the " Lake of the Woods" is, really, about four miles north-
east of the village of Boen ; the little lake where the diver
was shot, together with the forest about it, about as far to
the west of the same place ; and the dark sombre pme wood


is, really, situated in the valley of the Nid. This last has
been slightly altered to suit the locality, for it is next to im-
possible to lose oneself in the Nid forest, the river itself
being sufficient guide ; but the rest is all drawn as accurately
as the author's recollections, aided by his journals, will
enable him to depict it. With respect to the characters,
Tom, Torkel, and Jacob were attendants on the author and
his companions, and, though " a little rose upon," to use a
nautical expression, are drawn from actual life, and in their
own proper names. The Captain and Parson, as has been
said before, are not to be considered actual characters ; that
is to say, characters responsible as having done and said all
that they are represented to have done and said, but merely
as pegs upon which to hang the author's personal experiences,
or pieces of information which he may have received. The
same may be said of Birger. It was necessary to associate
with the party an intelligent Swede, and Lieut. Birger was
chosen to fill that office. Bjornstjerna is wholly fictitious.
Hjelmar is a real character ; and his adventure in the
Najaden frigate was related by him exactly as they are con-
veyed to the reader, the steamer following out among the
islands the precise track of the chase. The author, however,
will not undertake to say that the actual name of Hjelmar
will be found on the watch and quarter bills of the frigate,
though Hulm was actually her captain, and was actually
buried near Lyngor, where his monument may be seen to
this day. Moodie is a real character, though his name, also,
is fictitious ; or, rather, it is derived from a nick-name that
the author understands he has acquired either by his cour-
age or his foolhardiness : the appellation Modige, which is
pronounced very like our English name, Moodie, is trans-
latable either way. He does not, however, live at Gad-
deback, which is the name of a house formerly occupied by
the celebrated Mr. Lloyd, the author of " "Wild Sports of the
ISTorth," and " Scandinavian Adventures," to whose kindness
the author is indebted for his being able to describe, from
experience, the fishing of the Gotha, which is drawn as
accurately as the authors recollection served him. The
traveller need not, however, fear the quicksand which


engulplied poor Jacob ; that scene, and a very ridiculous one
it was, occurred on the Torjedahl just below Oxea. The
fisherman is cautioned not to be guided in his choice of a
river by the author's success on the Torjedahl. It is too
clear, too much overhung, and too steadily and regularly
rapid to be a first-rate river under any circumstances. There
are few shallows in it, for there are no tributaries below the
Falls of "Wigeland, and no salmon can get above them;
therefore, its breeding-ground is very limited indeed ; pro-
bably the flats of Strei, Oxea, and Mosse Eurd, form the whole
of it. The author's success must be attributed to the fact of
his fly having been the first of his kind that ever floated on
those transparent waters.

The songs which are put into the mouths of the different
characters, are really Norwegian or Swedish, and are given
as specimens. They are translations by Hewitt, Forester,
Knightley, and others. Scandinavia has always been re-
markable for its lyrical poetry from the earliest times ; and
the Gammle Norge of Bjerregaard, which is given in
chapter viii., would seem to show that the cup of poetic
inspiration which Odin stole from the keeping of Gunlauth,
and stored up in Asgard, is not yet empty. By far the best
of the modern poets of the North is Grundtvig, but his sub-
jects are, for the most part, of a nature too solemn for a work
so light as this ; a short specimen from his hymns is given in
chapter xviii. The Evening Hymn, in chapter xxiii., though
in common use in Norway, is not Norwegian ; it belongs to
the ancient church, and is said to be as old as the days of
Ambrose and Augustine.

The legends are collected from all manner of sources ;
many of them from Tom and Torkel, some from the Eddas
and Sagas, some from Malet and Knightley ; they are all,
however, legitimate Scandinavian legends, believed implicitly
by some one or other.

One word about the voyage out. It signifies little to the
public when and where those incidents really happened —
whether in the North Sea, or in the Bay of Biscay, or in the
Mediterranean ; but it signifies to them a great deal, to know
that these things actually did happen once, and may happen
again at any time.


The main incidents adapted to that fictitious voyage are
strictly and literally true. A large steamer was upon one
occasion in the precise situation ascribed to the Walrus, —
and — in the absence of its skipper, who for the time had
mysteriously disappeared — was saved by the promptness of
one of the passengers, precisely as is described in the narra-
tive. And it is also true that the same vessel, after a run
of not more than five hundred miles, did find herself fifty
miles out of her course. The compasses, no doubt, being in
fault, as they always are on such occasions — poor things !

These are important matters for the public to be made
acquainted with ; for the public do very frequently go down
to the sea in steamers, and therefore any individual reader
may at any time find himself in the very same situation.

The author has enlarged upon this, in the faint hope of
drawing attention to these matters. He would suggest that
some sort of superintendence would not be altogether super-
fluous, and that it is not entirely right that the lives ot two
or three hundred men on the deep sea should be entrusted
to a skipper not competent to navigate a river, nor be com-
mitted to a vessel so parsimoniously found as to be unable to
encounter casualties which might happen any day in a voyage
to Ramsgate.

On a subject so important as this, the author thinks it his
duty to state that these incidents, extraordinary as they may
appear, are in no way fictitious ; that they did happen under
his own eye ; and that the mate, the only real sailor on
board, did request of him, after the escape, a certificate that
he, at least, had done his duty. If that man should be still
alive, he possesses a most unique document, a certificate of
seamanship, signed by a clergyman of the United Church of
England and Ireland.

The skipper's name the author does not think it necessary
to record. He is not likely to be employed again ; for he is
one of those who have since immortalised themselves in the
public prints, by losing his vessel — a circumstance which, it
will readily be believed, did not excite any very great feel-
ings of surprise in the mind of the author.




" In every corner
Carefully look thou
Ere forth thou goest."


There is no saying more true than that "he who would
make a tour abroad, must first make the tour of London."
There are miscellaneous articles of appropriate clothing to
be got together ; there are bags, knapsacks, portmanteaus,
to be fitted. Above all, there are passports to be procured ;
than which no plague more vexatious, more annoying, or
more utterly useless for any practicable or comprehensible
purpose, has been devised by modern ingenuity.

But if this is a necessary preliminary on ordinary occa-
sions, much more is it necessary when the contemplated
expedition has for its object sporting, and the northern
wildernesses for its contemplated locality. In addition to
the cares of ordinary travel, there are now tents, blankets,
cloaks, guns, rifles, to be thought of ; rods, reels, gaffs, lines,
to be overhauled and repaired ; material-books to be re-
plenished, and the commissariat department to be adequately
looked to. Deep and anxious, yet not without their pleasures,
are the responsibilities which rest on the shoulders of him
who undertakes the conduct of such an expedition as this.

Such were the thoughts that crossed the mind of the Par-
son, as — business in his musing eye, care on his frowning
brow, and determination in his compressed lip — he stood
under the archway of the Golden Cross ; his hands mechani-
cally feeling for the pockets of his fishing-jacket, which had
been exchanged for a clerical frock-coat more befitting the
locality, and his mouth pursing itself up for his habitual


whistle, which, had he indulged in it where he then stood,
might have been considered neither appropriate nor de-

" Don't you think this list rather a long one," said the
Captain, who had now joined him from the interior of the
hotel, holding in his hand a pretty closely-written sheet of
foolscap. " These are all very good things, and very useful
things no doubt, but how are we to stow them, and how are
we to carry them 1 Yours is anything but light marching-

"Why should it be?"

"My principle is, that no traveller can be too lightly

" And a very good principle, too," said the Parson.
" Heavy and useless incumbrances are the invariable attri-
butes of travelling Englishmen. You may know them by
their endless train of household goods, as you would know a
snail by its shell."

" I believe," said the Captain, " that foreign rail-roads are
regulated precisely so as to tax us English tourists. Travel
on whatever line you please in England, except that grasping
Brighton and South Coast, and you may take just exactly
what luggage you like ; while abroad, the fare is so low and
the charge for luggage so high, that an Englishman generally
pays double ; while the Frenchman, whose three spare collars
and bottle of hair-oil are in his pocket ; and the German,
whose great tobacco- bag and little reticule of necessaries are
so constructed as to fit the allowance, are permitted to go

" Upon my word, I do not object to the tax ; it is a
tax upon folly. What can be so absurd as such a miscel-
laneous collection as Englishmen generally carry with them ?
What can a traveller want beyond a dry suit of clothes and
half-a-dozen shirts and stockings ?"

" There is a slight incongruity between your words and
your actions," said the Captain, holding up the list.

" Tush ! put that paper into your pocket, and tell me
what we are going to do. When I went on my recon-
noitring expedition to Norway last year, my fourteen-loot


rod, my fly-book, and a change of clothes constituted all
the cares of my life ; and I contend, as you do, that no tra-
veller whose object is information has any business with
more. But we are going now more in the character of
settlers : we are not going to explore, but to enjoy that
which has been explored for us. Why should we not, there-
fore, take whatever may make life enjoyable 1"

" Only for fear we may be called upon to choose between
leaving them behind or leaving our purpose unaccomplished,"
said the Captain.

" Do you think I have calculated my ambulances so
badly 1 But come along. "We must consult Fortnum and
Mason first. I can explain all that on our road.

" Considering how wild and uninhabited the greater part
of the country is, both in Norway and Sweden," the Parson
resumed, as they crossed the pavement under Nelson's pillar,
" it is astonishing how easily you may travel, and how little
impediment are your impedimenta. The posting regulations
are admirable. On every road there are posting stations at
convenient distances, and, by writing to these, the traveller
may command, at stated prices, every horse and cart in the

"And at moderate prices'?" said the Captain, whose
means were not so abundant as to make him indifferent to

" No, not at moderate prices , for I do not call a penny
an English mile a moderate price, and this is what you
pay in Sweden ; and in Norway it is not more than three-
halfpence, except in favoured spots in the vicinity of towns,
where they are permitted to charge three-fold. My plans,
therefore, are these. We are not going to travel, but to
visit certain fishing stations, most of which are at no great
distance from the coast ; let us take, therefore, every-
thing that will make us comfortable at these different
settlements. As long as we coast, we have always traders of
some sort or other, and generally as nice and comfortable
little steamers as you can desire. When our road lies along
the fjords or lakes, boats are to be had from the post stations
on the same terms as you get the carts, a rower reckon-


ing the same as a horse ; and when we want to take to the
land, we have but to order as many carts as will hold our

" And how do we travel ourselves V said the Captain.

" There is no carriage in the world so pleasant for fine
weather as the cariole ; and I propose that we each buy
one. If we have to get them new, they do not cost above
thirty specie-dalers — that is to say, about seven or eight
pounds — with all their harness and fittings, in the very first
style ; and you may always sell them again at the end of
your journey. That is the way the natives manage, and
they are terrible gadabouts. You always find some jobber

Online LibraryHenry [Garrett] 1804-1860 NewlandForest scenes in Norway and Sweden: being extracts from the journal of a fisherman → online text (page 1 of 36)