Henry [Garrett] 1804-1860 Newland.

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

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his native land, he had become intensely national.

In the front and beneath them the broad, clear, deep, still,
brimming river, full four hundred yards from bank to bank,
glided quietly along with a calm unbroken surface, and a
motion hardly sufficient to bring a strain upon the chain
cable of the little cutter that was moored some twenty yards
off the head of the pier, with her triangular burgee fluttering
out in the breeze that was not strong enough to move the
heavier ensign, and displaying the red cross and the golden
Ix. Y. S. so well known in every port in Europe. It was a
singular thing to see it here though, a hundred miles in the
heart of Sweden, with the tremendous Falls of Trollhatten
between it and the sea.

Made fast to the rails of the jetty were half a dozen
boats, of all shapes and sizes — from the long narrow galley
with its four well-scraped ashen oars, to the little white flat-
bottomed duck-punt, — for Gaddeback, though not, strictly
speaking, an island, except during the freshets of early
summer, was so perfectly insulated by the sluggish brook
and the marshy ground through which it flowed, as to make
all communication with the main land, except by boat, ex-
tremely precarious.

Dinner had. been over for some time, and the party had
adjourned to the jetty, as the coolest place they could find.
They were sitting with their wine glasses before them,
while two or three bottles of light claret were towing over-
board, suspended in the cool water of the river by as many

" Upon my word," said the Captain, throwing open his
waistcoat, " the West Indies is a fool to this ; and it is not
unlike a tropical climate either, — moist, damp, and hot, —
stewing rather than broiling."


" To tell you the truth," said the Parson, " I am surprised
at your selecting this spot for your residence, beautiful as it
certainly is ; with all this marsh land about it, it cannot fail
to be unhealthy."

"Well, I do not know," said Moodie, "they do talk of
agues, certainly, but these things never hurt me, and the
place suits me well enough ; there is plenty of shooting —
ducks and snipes without end ; and on the other side of that
range of heights, not three miles from us, is a royal forest,
well preserved, in which I have full permission to kill any-
thing I like, except stags, elks, and perhaps peasants, though
they do not make much fuss about a man or two either ;
and, besides, the Ofwer Jagmastere is a particular friend of
mine. And as for fishing, it is not altogether such as I should
choose, no doubt, for it is mostly trolling, — but there is some
capital fishing, such as it is. I will show you what we can do
to-morrow at the upper rapids, — we have not been there
yet. It is a singular sort of sport, certainly ; but if you
are half the poacher you used to be, you will like it for its
novelty. However, the greatest attraction that the place has
in my eyes, lies in its situation : this river is the high road
from Gotheberg to Stockholm, and steamers pass it every
day. Living on this Robinson Crusoe island of mine, I can
command the best market in the country, and in fact, I do
realize a very fair income by my fish and my game. Look
at my yacht, too, where else could I put it to so great use.
A short canal and a single lock passes me into the great lake
Wener, where I command some of the best rivers and some
of the best bear-country in Sweden. If I want to smell salt
water again, I have but to put my cutter in tow of the
market-tug, and to steam away to Gotheborg ; and when I
want to be sulky, here I am, looking after my menagerie of
Scandinavian birds and beasts, and adding odds and ends to my
museum. I dare say people wonder at the old flag "that braved
a thousand years, the battle and the breeze," as they pass
backward and forward in the steamers ; but no one stops
here, and 3-011 may be sure no one would find me out by
land. This is just the place for me ; besides, it is not always

270 BEARS.

so hot as it is now, — I have driven my cariole across this
river, many a time."

" By the way, what do yon do with yourself in the winter T
said the Captain ; " yon were never very mnch givon to
reading, and your shooting and fishing must fail you then."

" Fishing, yes ; shooting, no," said Moodie ; " the finest
bear shooting is in the winter."

" Wha,t ! do you meet with bears in the forest ?"

" Pooh, nonsense ! you Englishmen are always fancying
that we kick bears out of every bush in Sweden."

" You Englishmen !" said Birger, glancing at the flag.

" Well, well, — you Johnny Raws, I should say, — you
freshmen — you griffins. I was just as bad myself, though :
I remember the day I landed at Gotheborg, marching off
with my gun over my shoulder to a little wooded valley at
the back of the town where the Gotheborg cockneys have
their villas, and attacking a Swede, dictionary in hand, with
' Hvar er Bjornerne ' — how the scoundrel laughed."

" Well, but what do you mean by bear shooting then, —
where do you meet with it ?"

" Why, you travel a hundred miles to get a shot at a bear,
and think little of it too. The bear hunter must keep up a
correspondence with the Ofwer Jagmasterer of the different
provinces, and get information whenever the peasants have
ringed a bear as they call it- — that is to say, ascertained that
he is within a certain circle, and then out with the sledge
and the dogs, and the rifles, and away up the river, or
across the lake, as it may be. You do not meet with a bear
at every turning, I can assure you. I have killed a pretty
many though, one way or other, since I have been here."

" That you have," said the Captain, — " at least, if all those
trophies that ornament your walls are honestly come by ;
but by your own showing, you cannot be hunting every day
in the week ; what do you do on the off-days ?■"

" Well, to tell you the truth, I was dull enough the first
winter ; you will hardly believe it, but I took to reading —
I did indeed ; you may laugh, but it is quite true. I got
up the natural history of the country thoroughly, and


crammed Linnaeus. But I soon found something better to
do, when I began to get acquainted with the people, worthy
souls that they are. I had invitations without end, and got
on capitally with them, — quite a popular character I am."

" The English are popular," said the Parson, certainly ;
" high and low we have found that, wherever we have been.
What we English have done to deserve it is more than I can
say ; but Norway and Sweden, agreeing in nothing else,
agree at all events in doing honour to the English tra-

" Do not be taking the conceit out of Moodie", said
Birger ; " it is evident that he would have you to under-
stand that it is he, the individual, — not he, the Englishman,
who is thus honoured and caressed."

" You need not be afraid of doing that," said the Captain ;
" ever since I have known him, Moodie has been a very great
man, — in his own eyes, at all events."

" Why, you must know I am a great man here," said
Moodie, "whatever I was in my, own country. I am a
kammerjunker — no less."

"A what?" said the Captain.

"A kammerjunker; and, in virtue of it, I have a right
to go before every one of you."

" Well, but how came you to be a what-do-you-call-him ?
1 Who gave you that name 1 ' as the Catechism says."

" Not ' my godfathers and godmothers,' certainly," said
Moodie, " and I hadn't it ' in my baptism j ' but I will tell you
how it was. Sweden, in the winter, is as different from the
same country in the summer as Connaught from Paradise.
In the winter, they are fiddling, and dancing, and singing,
from night to morn, and from morn to snowy eve. There is
not much else to do, as you say, that is the truth of it, unless
one happens to hear of a bear ; so when I came to under-
stand a little of their lingo, I was very glad to go to their
jollifications. The people were always very civil in asking
me, wherever I was — that I must say for them. Now we,
in England, don't care much about precedence, as you know.
Most of us do not know who is first and who is last, and the
rest do not care ; and those who feel most secure of their


rank, are generally too proud to take the trouble of assertin.
it. But it is not so here ; they all know their places, lik
schoolboys, and fight for them like dogs at a feeding-trough
if you happen to make a mistake about them — a thing which
the natives never do. I did not care much about this at
first, no Englishman would, — in fact, I did not understand
it ; but after a bit it got to be very unpleasant — it made me
a marked man. Here was I, an English gentleman, as noble
as the king — and a little more so than that Brummagem
article of theirs, — shoved down, not only by counts and
barons, which I did not like over and above ; for half the
people you meet with here are counts and barons, — and pre-
cious queer ones, some of them ; but, besides this, there were
their confounded orders of knighthood : there are knights
of the Cherubim and Seraphim*, and knights of the
Elephant and Castle, and knights of the Goose and Gridiron,
and Heaven knows what besides. Then came the officials,
from the prime minister down to the post-master, and their
sons and grandsons. Why, there was not a tradesman I
dealt with, hardly a beggar I gave a skilling to, who had
not a clear right to go before me — aye, and showed every
disposition to exercise it, too !

" One day I was ass enough to be vexed because my tailor,
who was knight of the Shears and Cabbage, or something o
the sort, elbowed his way before me ; and one of my friends,
I think it was this very Bjornstjerna, the Ofwer Jiigmastere,
offered to get me a settled precedence. ' Yours is not a new
family,' says he. — Of course it was not, everybody knew the
Moodies, of Hampshire. — Well, that was all right ; I had
only to get my sixteen quarters blazoned, and he would see
that I was madeakammerjunker. Sixteen quarters! thought
I. I had had a great grandfather, that is certain, for there
he lies in Havant Church, with a ton of marble over him,
and his arms on the top of that, a chevron ermine between
three mermaids ppr. to cheer him up on his road to Paradise.
He was a great man, too, and looked as if he was the son of

* In Sweden there really is an order of the Seraphim, and in Den-
mark one of the Elephant, — for the Goose and Gridiron we will not


somebody, as the Spaniards say, to judge by the picture of his
coach-and-six, and outriders with French-horns, which is
hanging up in our hall, at Havant Manor. But he had
played ' ducks and drakes ' with his guineas, and as for his
quarters, you know we don't greatly trouble ourselves with
such matters.

" Well, I told my difficulty to one of my friends in Stock-
holm — an idle young scamp of an attache. ' Why the devil
ion't you write to the Herald's College,' said he, ' they will
:race your descent from the Preadamite Grants,* if you pay
"or it. Tell them to make you up a pedigree for Sweden,
ind, my life for it, they will get it up well.'

" I could not lose by it, you know, so I wrote, and, sure
mough, they found out that the old family had come over
vith Duke Hollo, and had a hand in that conquest of ' Nor-
nandie,' which your fellow Torkel is continually dinning into
mr ears. They found out, too, that our name originally was
spelt ' Modige,' which, in old Swedish, means ' dashing,' and
;hat it was a title of honour, given to us for our gallantry in
;he said conquest. And, what was pat to the present purpose,
Duke Hollo had conferred on us the honour of hereditary
ihamberlains, as soon as ever he had a court to appoint us to.
How we came to England I forget — I suppose, though, it was
rith Duke William, — and what we did there I do not know,
mless it was plundering the Saxons, like the rest ; but, at all
vents, I got a string of shields, lit to roof Valhalla, and a
»eautiful tree — rather an expensive plant it was, though, for
'. paid sixty pounds for it. However, Bjornstjerna and my
riend the attache marched off with the chevron ermine and
he three mermaids to the Hof-Ofwer-Something-or-other,and
>rought me back a sheet of parchment with a big seal hang-
Qg from it, giving me the privilege of pulling off the inex-
•ressibles of the third prince ot the blood royal — whenever it
hould please Providence to bless his Majesty with one, — and
i virtue of that office to style myself kammerjunker."

* That ancient and distinguished family are said to read Gen. vi. 4
aus : "And there were Grants in the earth in those days." The word

giants" being, according to the best authorities in that family, a
lodern reading.



" So you are a greater man than your tailor, now V

" O yes," said Moodie, " I take precedence of all manner
of people, and moreover wear, whenever I please — which i;
not very often, you may be sure, — a concern in my button
hole, something like what I used to wear when I was NobL
Grand of the Julius Caesar Lodge of Oddfellows, at Soutl
Marden. You may depend upon it I am something ver
great indeed, though I must admit I do not know exacth

" Very great indeed !" said Birger, who, as may be sup
posed, did not feel his country particularly nattered b
Moodie's absurd — not to say ungrateful — description of hi
honours, and retorted with a bit of Swedish slang : "Iar
sure you are something ending in ' ral,' as the Karing's wit
said to her husband ; it certainly is not admiral — perhaps i
is corporal V'

" Upon my word, Birger, I beg your pardon," said Moodi(
in some confusion. " You speak English so perfectly, an
look so like an Englishman, that I forgot we are not a
countrymen together."

" Well, well," said Birger, good humouredly, " I must cor
fess there is a great deal too much of truth in your satir<
and that is what makes the sting of it."

" Never mind him, Birger," said the Parson ; " you Swede
are uncommon fine fellows, and carry your honours in you
history ; I should like to know what Europe would hav
done in the thirty years war, if it had not been for Gusti
Adolph and Oxenstjerna % Why, it was you who thrashe
Czar Peter and all the Russias into something like civiliz*
tion, and were the making of his armies by licking then
Gallantly, too, did you hold your own, under the othc
Gustaf, against the giant you had made ; and I have n
doubt but that you would have thrashed the French giar
Nap., as well as the Russian giant Peter, if you had on]
made up your minds in time which side you meant to fig!
on. But for all that, it is a fact, as Moodie says, that, lil
the girls, you are a little too fond of ribbons."

" It is very true," said Birger ; " we depreciate our ow
honours by our over-lavish distribution of them. That whk


is plentiful, is cheap — that which is little, valued. It is the
law of nature, and as true of stars and ribbons as it is of
green peas and early potatoes."

" To be sure it is," said the Captain ; " what regiment in
our service cares a button for the distinction of ' Royal,' which
it shares with the Royal African condemned corps ? Who
prizes the "Waterloo medal, which places in the same category
the Englishman who fought and the Belgian who ran % "

" Yes," said Moodie, who had by this time done blushing
at his blunder, " at the Congress of Vienna, Lord Castlereagh
sat among the starry host of plenipotentiaries in a plain blue
3oat, without one solitary decoration. ' Ma foi ! c'est bien
iistingue,' said good Bishop Talleyrand, who himself had a
star for every oath he had broken, and whose tailor could
not find room on his coat for all of them ! "

" It was ' distingue,' " said the Captain ; " he belonged to
i country whose citizens do their duty for their duty's sake.
That is distinction enough for any man."

" Yes," said Birger, "if they do — but a good deal depends
m that little particle; — however, even if citizens could be got,
whenever wanted, to do their duty for their duty's sake, which
[ doubt ; distinctions, which of course involve precedence, are
.lseful in themselves. In your country, people are always
ealously guarding their position in society ; you are always
>n the look out, lest some interloper should thrust you out,
>r refuse you the honour you consider your due. This is
vhat makes you Englishmen so unsociable and exclusive ;
fou are always on guard, walking sentry over your own
lonour. Now look at our people — our barons and our
tradesmen, our princes and our farmers, all meet together
without fear of losing caste, because every one has his
position secured to him, beyond the possibility of invasion.
¥ou dare not do this."

" Do not say, ' you,' " broke in the Captain, " I, thank
j-od ! am a gentleman born, and have not to work for my
laily dignity."

" That is only another instance of what I assert — ' a gen-
;leman born ! ' you can afford to do what we all do, because,
)y birth or by accident, you find yourself in the very

t 2


position in which we Swedes are all placed by the customs
of our country."

" That is all very true," said the Parson; " for the amenities
of life, I grant your system is by far the best ; men live
happier and more contentedly under it ; and it certainly does
produce a much more genial and social intercourse among
all classes, that men are dependent for their dignity on some
thing else than their wine merchant and their pastry-cook.
Still, yours is not the condition of progress ; your people live
content, perhaps happy, in their fixed position ; but everj
man of ours, who is working for his daily dignity, as the
Captain calls it, is, in a very unpleasant and uncomfortable
manner, pressing onward and improving his own condition
Now, that nation in which every man is continually excitec
to improve his condition, is nationally progressive ; that, ir
which every man is content in his own place, is nationally
stationary. I do not say which is the best principle, only
there is something to be said on the other side. One thine
is certain, our principle is not the same as yours ; and it is
excusable, when we do borrow from the continent, if w<
make a generous blunder in a science which we do noi
understand, and in the largeness of our heart, give medals t(
runaway Belgians, without remembering that the honour o
the medal lies not in the silver, but in the action which the
silver commemorates, and that, in truth, what we have giver
to the cowards who ran, we must have filched from the
brave fellows who had earned for that medal its value."

" So far, at all events, you are right," said Birger, " tba"
your nation does not understand the science of decoration:
any more than ours. You helped to spoil your owi
Waterloo medal much more than ever the Belgians spoilec
it, and that not altogether from your largeness of heart. I
I had been a pink-faced ensign of that day, I should hav<
been ashamed to wear my medal in the presence of a Benin
sular veteran, who had done five hundred times as much a;
I. It was a better feeling than that of being ranked witl
the Belgians that made your people shy of their Wateiiqjj
medals. And now that you begin to distribute your decora
tions, you do not know how to do it : first of all vou give i


for any little trumpery affair, like sticking those Chinese
pigs, and then you give it to all who have seen the smoke of
the gunpowder."

"We presume that every one present does his duty, and
that none can do more," said the Captain.

" A very pretty poetical fiction," said Birger, "pity that it
is a fiction. However, one thing is certain — that will never
be prized that is shared by all alike ; you see that at once
in our case — it is equally true in you own."

Just then the Stockholm steamer, Daniel Thunberg, hove
in sight, with her light blue pennant of smoke, so unlike the
black volumes that roll from the chimneys of coal-burning

" They have got something on board for us," said Moodie ;
" that calico concern on her foremast is their best Swedish
imitation of our English jack, and they always hoist it
whenever they have got a letter or parcel for me. There
goes a gun ; those rascals are always glad of any opportunity
for making a bang. Hallo, there ! Mis ! " continued he, in
Swedish, to the master of his yacht, who had gone to sleep
against the heel of the bowsprit, with his pipe in his
mouth ; " answer that signal, and send a boat on board the

He spoke as if he had a frigate's crew at his command.
Nils started up, and as he happened, at that moment at
least, to be the captain and the whole ship's company in his
own person, he proceeded to obey both orders personally — in
a few minutes was alongside the gay little craft, and returned
with a letter, the writer of which, to judge from the super-
scription he placed upon it, must have considered Moodie a
very great man indeed, so many titles did he prefix to
his name — High-born and Illustrious were the very least of

Moodie, a little afraid of the Captain's satire — though the
direction, after all, was nothing more than the ordinary
Swedish form in which one gentleman addresses another,
and quite as appropriate as our much mis-used esquire, —
crumpled up the envelope in great haste.

" Hurrah !" said he, flourishing the letter over his head,


" this is the very thing for us — you are in high luck ; loot

" What is it ?" said the Captain, for the letter, which was ir
Swedish and written in the Swedish character, might as
well have been Cyrillic or Uncial, for any anything he could
make out of it.

"Why, there is to be a skal in Wermeland, next Tuesday ]
a grand bear hunt, in which they drive twenty or thirty
miles of country ; this letter is from the very man I have
been speaking of — Bjornstjerna, the Ofwer Jagmastere, and
my own particular friend. Some half dozen respectable
farmers have made oath to him that they have been annoyed
by bears, and he tells me he has written to the prsester oi
the neighbourhood, to give notice from their pulpits, and tc
turn out the whole country. That is the legal form on such
occasions, and there is a heavy fine for any man who does]
not obey it."

" Hurrah ! " said the Captain, in his turn, " then we shall I
kill a bear at last."

" That you will," said Moodie ; " Bjornstjerna knows his!
business as well as any man in Sweden ; there are peoplej
who fancy his patronymic a nick-name* of his own earning.
He would not be turning out the country for nothing, you
may depend on it."

" Where is this to take place ? "

" Why, in Upper Wermeland, as I told you, near Lysvic,
not very far from the banks of the Klara, a river I know
well, as full of grayling as it can hold ; not that that has
much to do with bear hunting. It is not above a hundred
and fifty or two hundred miles from this."

" Quite in the neighbourhood," said the Captain, laughing.

" O that is nothing, we never mind a hundred miles or so.
If we get anything like a breeze, we will run across the
Wener, in the yacht, we can send the carioles on by land
to Amal, and we will pick up a waggon, or something, for
the men, at there or at Carlstad ; and then you will see how

* Bjornstjerna, a not uncommon name in Sweden, signifies " bear's


we will rattle up the country. We must send a boat, though,
to Wenersborg this very night, and tell the post-master to
make out a forbud for us ; it will not do to trust to chance
on such an occasion as this, for we shall have to collect a
good many horses at every station. Let me see, we shall
want one for each of us, and three for the waggon, that will
make seven ; and I suppose they will charge half a horse
more besides the forbud ; for we shall have four men with us,
and we must take things enough to make us comfortable, for
I dare say we shall have a week in the forest, one way or the
other. Come, finish that bottle, and we will go in and have
some coffee ; it is not so well to stay out here at night
when that blue mist is hanging on the swamp ; besides,
these rascally musquitoes are anything but pleasant."




" The Night has covered her beauty. Her hair sighs on Ocean's wind
Her robe streams in dusky wreaths. She is like the iair Spirit of heaven

Online LibraryHenry [Garrett] 1804-1860 NewlandForest scenes in Norway and Sweden: being extracts from the journal of a fisherman → online text (page 24 of 36)