Henry [Garrett] 1804-1860 Newland.

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

. (page 2 of 36)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

or other to take it off your hands. But the chances are that
we shall meet with a choice of second-hand carioles to begin
with. I gave twenty specie-dalers for mine last year, and
sold it for fifteen. Drammen is the place for these things, up
in Christiania fjord : it is the Long Acre of Norway."

" What sort of things are these carioles ? — Gigs, I suppose,
to carry two."

" Not they — barely one : and no great room for baggage
either. A Scandinavian is of your way of thinking, and does
not trouble himself with spare shirts. One horse draws one
man, and that is all. If your gig carries two, you are charged
a horse and a half for it. In Sweden they have a sort of
light spring waggon, drawn by three horses, which will take
our followers admirably, with as much luggage as we like to
stow ; and by having the collars of the harness made open at
the top, they will do for. all the variety of horses we may
meet with on our road. This is better than the Norwegian
mode of engaging the farm carts ; for in this, so much time
is lost at every stage in restowing luggage, that it becomes a
serious hindrance. However, in Norway we must do as the
Norwegians do. The light waggon would make a very un-
pleasant conveyance down some of their mountain roads."

" And how do you manage crossing the fjords and lakes ?"

" Easily enough. Every ferry-boat will take a cariole ; and
as for coasting, a cariole ranks as a deck passenger — that is to
say, about ten skillings for a sea mile, you paying for your
own passage in the cabin about twenty."



12 THE COMMISSAEIAT.

" You travellers get so confoundedly technical. What
the deuce do you mean by a sea mile and a skilling 1 And
how am I to compare two things neither of which I know
anything about V

" A regular traveller's" fault," said the Parson. " There is
not a book written that does not abound with these absurdi-
ties. Well, a skilling is a halfpenny in our money, and a sea
mile is four of our miles, and a land mile eight, nearly."

" Pretty liberal in their measures of length," said the
Captain.

" Why, they have plenty of it, and to spare ; as you will
find when you come to travel from one place to another.
But their money is not plentiful, and they dole it out in very
small denominations indeed."

" But here we are at Fortnum and Masons ; and now for
the stores."

" I observe, you always go to the most expensive places,"
said the Captain,

" That is because I cannot afford to go to the cheaper
ones," said the Parson. " On such an expedition as this, you
should never take inferior stores. One hamper turning out
bad when unpacked at the end of a thousand miles or so of
carriage, will make more than the difference between the
cheapest and the most expensive shop in London, But, to
show you that I do study economy, I will resist the tempta-
tion of these preserved meats ; and, let me tell you, it is a
temptation, for up the country you will get nothing but what
you catch, gather, or shoot. This, however, is a necessary,"
pointing to some skins of portable soup ; " there is not a
handier thing for a traveller ; it goes in the smallest com-
pass of any sort of provisions ; it is always useful on a pinch,
and some chips of it carried in the waistcoat pocket on a
pedestrian expedition, make a dinner, not exactly luxurious,
but quite sufficient to do work upon. This we must lay in a
good store of ; in fact, if we have this, Ave need not be very
anxious* about anything else. Other things are luxuries :
this is a necessary of life. Tea we must take : there is
nothing more refreshing after a hard day's work, and you
cannot get it anywhere in the country. At least, what you



THE COMMISSAEIAT. 13

do meet with is altogether maris expers, being a villanous
composition of dried strawberry leaves and other home
productions. Oil, too — we must take plenty of that ; we shall
want it for the frying-pan."

" Have they no butter, then V said the Captain.

" Yes, they have, and in great plenty too ; of all varieties
of quality, from very bad, down to indescribably beastly.
They call it smor, pronouncing the dotted o like the French
eu ; and I can assure you their very best butter tastes just at
the word sounds."

" Well, then, I vote for some of these sardines, to take off
the taste."

" With all my heart," said the Parson ; " they flavour
anything, when they are not made of salted bleak, as they
generally are — so does cayenne pepper. We may as well
have some cocoa paste, and a Bologna sausage or two may
prove a useful luxury."

" What do you say to a cask of biscuits T said the Captain.
" What sort of bread have they ?"

" Do you recollect that old story told of Charles the
Twelfth, when he said of the bread brought to him, that it
was not good, but that it might be eaten ? No one can tell
the heroism of that speech who has not eaten the Swedish
black bread, which is generally the only representative of
the staff of life procurable. It is gritty, it is heavy, it is
puddingy ; if you throw it against a wall it will stick there
— and as for sourness, O, ye gods ! they purposely keep the
leaven till it is uneatably sour, and then fancy it becomes
wholesome."

" Well, I suppose it does," said the Captain. " The Squire
used to say, that everything that was good, is unwholesome
or wrong ; and I suppose the converse is true. But why not
take the biscuits ?"

" Because we can get that which will answer our purpose
perfectly when we arrive at the country, and that without
the carriage, and at a much cheaper rate. There is not a
seaport town in all the coast where you may not get what
they call Kahyt Scorpor, a sort of coarse imitation of what
nurses in England feed babies upon, under the name of tops



14 THE BOARD OF ORDNANCE.

and bottoms. They are made of rye, and are as black as my
bat ; but they are very good eating, keep for ever, and are
cheap enough in all conscience, being from four to six skill-
ings to the pound, that is to say, threepence. In Norway
they call them Ho Kovringer."

" We will take some rice, which very often comes in well
by way of vegetables in a kettle of grouse soup ; and a good
quantity of chocolate, which packs easily, and furnishes a
breakfast on the shortest possible notice. And this, I think,
will do very well for the commissariat department of our
expedition."

" And now for arms and ammunition," said the Captain.

" Everything we are likely to want in that department, we
must take with us — guns, of course. Shot certainly may be
got at Christiansand, and the other large towns ; up the coun-
try, though, you will get neither that nor anything else : but
powder can be got nowhere, at least, powder that does not
give you an infinity of trouble in cleaning your gun, on ac-
count of the quantity of deposit it leaves. That little
magazine of yours, with its block-tin canisters and brass
screw-stoppers, will hold enough for us two, unless we meet
with very good sport indeed, and in that case we must put
up with the manufacture of the country."

" And for guns 1 n said the Captain. I shall certainly take
that little pea-rifle I brought from Canada. I want to bring
down a bear."

" We shall be more likely to get a crack at a seal, where
we are going," said the Parson. " Bears are not so plentiful
in Norway as is generally supposed. People imagine that
they run about in flocks like sheep ; however, it is possible
that there may be a bear-hunt while we are there. As for
rifles, I own I am partial to our own English manufacture.
Those little pea affairs are sensible things enough in their
own country, where one wanders for weeks on end through
interminable forests and desolate prairies on foot, and where
a pound of lead more or less in your knapsack is a matter of
consequence : but where we have means of transport, I see
no great sense in them. A pea, no doubt, will kill, if it hits
in the right place ; but, like the old Duke, I have myself



THE BOARD OF ORDNANCE. 15

rather a partiality for the weighty bullet. However, each
man to his fancy. The great merit of every gun, rifle, or
pistol, lies behind the stock, — a truth that dandy sportsmen
are apt to forget ; a pea sent straight is better than a two-
ounce ball beside the mark."

" Well," said the Captain, laughing, " I think I can hold
my little Yankee pretty straight ; but we shall want shot-
guns more than rifles. I may as well take that case I had
from Westley Richards, if you do not think it too heavy."

" Not at all ; you can always leave the case behind,
and take one gun in a waterproof cover when we go on
light-armed expeditions. This will furnish us with a spare
gun in case of accidents. I shall take my own old one,
and a duck gun — which last will be common property,
and I think with this we shall be pretty sufficiently armed.
Pointers and setters are of no great use, unless it is a steady
old stager, who will retrieve ; for you must recollect there is
no heath, and very little field shooting. The character of
the country is cover, not very thick anywhere, and in many
places interspersed with glades and openings. We shall do
better with beaters : a water-dog, however, is indispensable.
Lakes and rivers abound, and so do ducks, teal, and snipes."

"Have you thought about tents'?" said the Captain.

" Well," said the Parson, " I am not sure that tents are
indispensable, and they certainly are not a little cumbersome.
While we are fishing we can do very well without them : by
the water-side we can never be without a cottage of some
sort to put our heads under if it should come on bad weather,
for every house in the whole country stands on the banks of
some lake or river. I must say, though, when you get up
into the fjeld after the grouse and the ducks, or, it may be,
bigger game, it is another affair altogether. You may then
go twenty or thirty miles on end without seeing a human
habitation, unless you are lucky enough to meet with a sater,
and you know what a highland bothy is, for dirt and vermin.
But, even in the fjeld, I do not know that we should want
tents ; you can have no idea of the beauty of a northern
summer's night, and the very little need one has of any cover
whatever. I remember, last year, standing on one of their



16 SUB DIO VEESUS CANVAS.

barrows, smoking my pipe at the foot of an old stone cross,
coeval, probably, with St. Olaf, and shadowing the tomb of
some of his followers that Hakon the Jarl thinned off so
savagely. It was deep midnight, and there was not a chill
in the air, or dew enough on the whole headland to fill the
cup of a Lys Alf. The full round moon was shining down
upon me from the south, while a strong glowing twilight was
still lighting up the whole northern sky, where the sun was
but just hid under the horizon. The whole scene was as
light as day, with the deep solemn stillness of midnight all
the while. I could distinctly make out the distant fishing-
boats ; I could almost distinguish what the men were doing
in them, through the bright and transparent atmosphere ;
but at the same time all was so still that I could hear the
whistle of the wings, as flight after flight of wild-fowl shot
over me in their course to seaward, though they were so
high in the air that I could not distinguish the individual
birds, only the faint outline of the wedge-like figure in which
they were flying. I remember, that night, thinking how
perfectly unnecessary a tent was, and determining not to
bring one ; and, that night at all events, I acted up to my
conviction ; for, when my pipe was out, I slept at the foot
of the old cross till the sun warned me that the salmon were
stirring."

" All very pleasant, no doubt," said the Captain ; " very
enjoyable indeed :,but does it never rain at night in this
favoured land of yours V

" Upon my word, it does not very often," said the Parson ;
"at least, not in the summer-time. Besides, you cannot con-
ceive how well the men tent themselves with pine-branches."

" I do not quite like the idea," said the Captain. " It is
all very well to sleep out when anything is to be got by it ;
but, when there is nothing to be got by it but the rheu-
matism, to tell you the honest truth — unlucky, as the old
women say it is — I rather prefer contemplating the moon
through glass."

" Well, I will tell you what we can do," said the Parson,
" and that will be a compromise. We can get some canvas
made up into two lug sails. These will help us uncommonly



CLOTHING. 17

in our passage over lakes and fjords, for their boats are
seldom well provided in that respect ; and when we get to
our destination, lug sails — being square, or, to speak more
accurately, parallelogrammatical — will make us very capital
gipsy tents, with two pairs of cross-sticks and a ridge-pole,
which we shall always be able to cut from the forest. I
think we may indulge ourselves so far. As for waterproof
jackets, trousers, boots, and so forth, I need not tell you
about that : you have been out before, and know the value
of these when you want to fish through a rainy day. We
shall not have so dripping a climate here as we had in
Ireland, certainly, but we shall have one use for our water-
proof clothing which we had not there, and that is, when w«
bivouac, vulcanised India-rubber is as good a defence against
the dew and the ground-damp as it is against the rain. A
case of knife, fork, and spoon apiece is absolutely necessary,
for they do not grow in the fjeld. A light axe or two, and
a couple of hand-bills, a hammer and nails, which are just as
likely to be wanted to repair our land-carriages as our boats.
If you are at all particular in shaving — which, by-the-
by, is not at all necessary — you may as well take a portable
looking-glass. You will not find it so easy to shave in the
reflection of a clear pool — a strait to which I was reduced
when I was there last year. And now, I think, we have
everything — that is to say, if you have taken care of the
fishing-tackle, as you engaged to do."

" I have not taken care of your material-book."

" No," said the Parson ; " but I have taken very good
care of that myself. Fly-making may be a resource to
fall back upon, if we meet with rainy weather, and my
book is well replenished."

" Everything else, — rods, books, reels, gaffs, and so forth, —
I have packed in the old black box which we had with us
at Belleek, with spare line, and water-cord, and armed wire,
and eel hooks, and, in fact, everything that we can possibly
want ; and a pretty heavy package it makes, I can assure you."

" Well," said the Parson, " we may go to sleep now with a
clear conscience. But so much depends upon a good start,
that a little extra trouble, on the first dav, will be found to
save, in the end, a multiplicity of inconveniences."

G



18 THE THAMES.



CHAPTER II.

THE VOYAGE.

"Hurrah! hurrah ! up she's rising, —
Stamp and go, boys ! up she's rising, —
Hound with a will ! and up she's rising,
Early in the morning.

What shall us do with a lubberly sailor ? —
What shall us do with a lubberly sailor? —
Put him in the long-boat and make him bale her,
Early in the morning.

Hurrah ! hurrah ! up she's rising." — ■

&c. &c. ad infinitum.

Anchor Song.

Clear and joyous as ever a summer's day came out of the
heavens, was the 12th of June, 18 — , when the good ship
Walrus, with her steam up, her boats secured, and every-
thing ready for sea, lay lazily at single anchor off Blackwall-
stairs. The weather was as still and calm as weather nriodit
be. The mid-day sun, brilliant and healthful, imparted life
and animation even to the black and unctuous waters, that
all that morning had, in the full strength of the spring tide,
been rushing past her sides. The breeze, light and fitful,
just stirred the air, but was altogether powerless on the glazy
surface of the stream, which sent back, as from a polished
and unbroken mirror, the exact double of every mast, yard,
and line of cordage, that reposed above it. The ships lay
calm and still. The outward-bound had tided down with the
first of the ebb, and were already out of sight, and the few
sails that still hung festooned in their bunt and clew-lines,
lay as motionless as the yards that held them. Like light
and airy dragon-flies, just flitting on the surface, and appar-
ently without touching it, the river steamers were darting
from wharf to wharf; while ever and anon a great heavy



TOO MUCH HONOUR BY HALF. 19

sea-going vessel would grind her resistless way, defying wind
and tide, and dashing the black wave against the oily-looking
banks.

Steamer after steamer passed, each steadily bent on her
respective mission ; and the day wore on — yet there lay the
Walrus, though her sea-signalling blue Peter had hung from
her fore-truck ever since day-light, and the struggling and
impatient steam would continually burst in startling blasts
from her safety-valves. The tide was slackening fast ; the
chain cable, that all that forenoon had stretched out taut and
tense from her bows, like a bar of iron, now hung up and
down from her hawsehole, while the straws and shavings and
floating refuse of the great capital began to cling round her
sides.

" It is a great honour, no doubt, to carry an ambassador,
with Heaven knows how many stars of every degree of
Kussian magnitude in his train," said the Parson, who, seated
on the taffrail, with his legs dangling over the water, had
been watching the turning tide, and grumbling, as ship after
ship in the lower reaches began to swing at her anchors,
while three or four of the more energetic craft were already
setting their almost useless sails, and yo-ho-ing at their
anchors, preparatory to tiding up ; " it is a very great
honour, and I hope we are all duly sensible of it ; but, like
most great honours, it is a very particular nuisance. These
Pussian representatives of an autocrat majesty must fancy
they can rule the waves, when all the world knows it is only
Britannia that can do that. They have let the whole of
this lovely tide pass by — (the Parson cast his eyes on the
greasy water) — and fancy, I suppose, that daddy Neptune is
bound to supply them with a new one whenever they please
to be ready for it."

"Why, Mate!" said the Captain, as a smart sailor-like
looking fellow fidgeted across the quarter-deck, with an irre-
gular step and an anxious countenance ; " is this what you
call sailing at ten a.m. precisely ? Most of us would have
liked another forenoon on shore, but your skipper was so
confounded peremptory ; and this is what comes of it."

"What is one to do, sir?" said the Mate, who seemed

o 9

<- —



20 THE SWEDE.

fully to participate in the Captain's grievance. " These
Russians have taken up all the private cabins for their own
particular nse, and occupy half the berths in the main and
fore-cabins besides — we cannot help waiting for them. They
have pretty well chartered the ship themselves — what can
we do 1 But," continued he, after a pause, during which he
had been looking over the side, as the steamer now be<ran
evidently to swing in her turn, " I wish we had gone down
with the morning's tide."

" We should have been at the mouth of the river by
this time/' said the Captain, " if we had started when we
ought."

" Yes," said the Mate, "and we should now be crossing
the dangerous shoals, with fair daylight and a rising tide
before us."

" Why, surely you are not afraid," said the Parson ; " that
track is as well beaten as the turnpike road."

The Mate shrugged his shoulders, and stepped forward,
giving some unnecessary orders in a tone unnecessarily sharp
and angry.

" Well, Birger, what news 1 Do you see anything of
them?"

The individual addressed was a smart, active, little man,
with a quick grey eye, and a lively, pleasant, good-humoured
countenance, who was coming aft from the bridge of the
steamer, on which he had been seated all the forenoon,
sketching, right and left of him groups of shipping on the
water and groups of idlers on the deck.

"Anything of whom?" said he. "Oh ! the Russians.
No, I don't know. I suppose they will come some time or
other ; it does not signify — it is all in the day's work. Look
here," — and he opened his portfolio, and displayed, in wild
confusion all over his paper, the domes of Woolwich, the
houses of Black wall, the forests of masts and yards in the
Pool, two or three picturesque groups of vessels, a foreign
steamer or two, landing her weary and travel-soiled passen-
gers at the Custom-house — and, over leaf, and in the back-
ground as it were, slight exaggerations of the ungainly atti-
tudes in which his two friends were then sprawling. " If






SWEDEN AND RUSSIA. 21

you had found something as pleasant as this grumbling to
fill up your time with, you would not be wasting your eyes
and spoiling your temper in looking for the Russians. They
are going back to their own country, poor devils ! no wonder
they are slow about it. Did you ever see a boy going to
school?"

" Birger is not over-fond of the Russians," said the
Captain.

" Few Swedes are," said Birger ; " remember Finland and
Pomerania."

" Besides, it is not over-pleasant to have a great White
Bear sitting perpetually at one's gate, always ready to
snap up any of one's little belongings that may come in
its way. The Russian fleet is getting formidable, and
Revel and Kronstadt are not very far from the mouth of
the Malar."

"I don't know anything about that," said Birger, gal-
lantly; "we are the sons of the men who, under Gustaf,
taught that fleet a lesson."

" You are a gallant set of fellows," said the Parson ; " and
Sweden would be a precious hard nut to crack. But your
long-armed friends over the water know the value of a ring
fence, and would dearly like a seaboard. Only fancy that
overpowering country, which is now kept in order by the
rest of Europe, only because, just at present, it lies at the
back of creation, and cannot get out of the Baltic, Black, and
White Seas, to do harm to any one, — only fancy that pleasant
land, with its present unlimited resources, and Gothen-
borg for its Portsmouth, and Christiania, and Fredericks-
varn and Christiansand for its outports — a pleasant vision, is
is not, Mr. Guardsman ? Don't you think it probable that
something of this sort has soothed the slumbers of the White
Bear we were speaking of, before this 1 "

" Did you ever hear of Charles the Twelfth 1 He taught
that White Bear to dance."

" He taught that White Bear to fight," said the Captain,
" and an apt scholar he found him. There was more lost
at Pultava than Charles's gallant army."



22 THE MILITARY TRAVELLER.

" There are men in Sweden yet," said Birger, slightly
paraphrasing the legend of " Holger."

" There are," said the Parson ; " and if you could only
agree among yourselves, you might have hopes of muzzling
the White Bear yet. Another union of Calmar ?"

" O, hang the union of Calmar ; there is no more
honesty in a Dane or a Norseman than there is in a Buss.
We are not going to have another Bloodbath, at Stock-
holm. My mother is a Lejonhoved,* and I am not likely
to forget that day."

" I should have thought you more nearly connected with
the Svinhoved family," said the Parson ; " but depend upon
it, unless you men of the north can make up your quarrels,
the White Bear will chop you up in detail, and us after
you."

Birger, who, in some incomprehensible way, traced his
descent from the founder of Stockholm, the great and terrible
Earl Birger, was a smart young subaltern in the Boyal
Guards, and though his present dress — a modest and unpre-
tending blouse — was anything but military, his well-set-up
figure, firm step, and jaunty little forage cap stuck on one
side of his head, sufficiently revealed his profession. From
his earliest youth he had discovered a decided talent for
drawing, and in accordance with a most praiseworthy custom
in the Swedish service, he had been travelling for the last
twelvemonth at the expense of the Government, and was
now returning to the " Ivongs Ofver Commandant's Expedi-
tion," with a portfolio filled with valuable sketches, and a
mind no less well stored with military knowledge, which he
had collected from every nation in Europe. The Captain

* The families of Lejonhoved and Svinhoved were conspicuous in
the wars of Gustavus Vasa, at which time Sweden threw off the yoke
which Denmark, with the concurrence of Norway, had fixed on them,
by taking undue advantage of the conditions stipulated in the Union
of Calmar. The head of the former family perished in the treacherous