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two miles, the space between being filled with a series
of flat steps, which are made of sand and boulders, many



THE MONGEFOS i8i

of which are of enormous size. Big stones are piled in
mounds and ridges, amongst which firs, birches, willow,
and alder grow. Looking down the valley, the course
of the ice is marked so clearly that it is impossible to
misunderstand the record. Where the stream ran against
the bank in a bay the cliffs are deeply scored to a height
of about a thousand feet ; where the ice turned sharp
round the foot of the horn, the marks are fresh. Talus
heaps which have crumbled from weathered peaks above,
and a small drain washed through boulder-heaps below,
are the marks made by weathering and rivers ; but they
are insignificant beside these ice marks.

From a small lake close to Fokstuen, which is about
3000 feet above the present sea level, a stream
runs to the Glomenen, passes Kongs Vinger, and enters
the Skagerak. It is joined by a stream which starts
from a lake near Roraas, and from hills near Roraas
water runs to Elfdal, to Hudiksvalla, to Gefle, and to
Trollhatten.

The mountains were still smothered in great white
clouds, but we kept on through the drizzle and were
fully rewarded, as the body of the clouds soon dissolved,
leaving only some feathery white mist which clung about
the torrent gullies of the mountain sides, and then slowly
melted into sunshine. All the torrents, streams and
cascades were at work, from the roaring leaps of the
Rauma to Staubacks innumerable, Giessbacks, Kichen-
backs, twin Handecks, — in fact, every type of waterfall
that pours and dashes down their own chosen courses.
The finest of these was situated about half-way between
Flatmark and Horgheim stations ; it is called the
Mongefos, that descends from the IMongegjura some
4230 feet above. Looking up, with an effort that strains
the neck, to the frowning wall of rock, a torrent is seen.



1 82 HOW THE WATER FALLS

pouring apparently out of the blue. It bends smoothly
over the topmost edge, as blue as the sky itself, as
clear as crystal, with the light shining through. Then
it is lost, having made a first plunge of a hundred feet
or so down into a boiling cauldron which it has worn
out of the rock by its everlasting blows. Again it
reappears, shattered to snowy fragments, and, striking
the rock once more, spreads out and tears down a
long, rugged slope, in white fleeces of broken water.
At every resisting ledge clouds of fine spray and mist
dash out, the sunlight tinting them here and there
with bands of lovely rainbows. Then a great ledge
bars its path, and it bounds upwards and forwards
into the free air; and, bruised and battered into mere
water-dust, fine and light, it struggles even with the
slight resistance of the air, and descends with slow,
unvarying speed some four or five hundred feet more.
Next it showers upon another slope of rock, spreads into
a multitude of little rills, and disappears again, till at
last it rushes under the road to join the Rauma, and
keeps its company to the all-absorbing seas. In nearly
all the breaks and hollows of the dark precipitous rocks
are patches of snow, some of them so low as almost to
touch the cornfields. Amongst all this wild sublimity
there are rich substantial farms along the table-lands
of the terraces. Should the day be wet a very short
skirt is advisable for this walk.

Some people think the Romsdal Fjord, which is a con-
tinuation of Molde Fjord, is one of the (many) finest in
Norway, and that the view from Molde, alone is worth
the journey. That Molde is worth the journey I quite
agree, but the fjord at Molde is beautiful without
being sublime. To the north are a series of weathered
peaks, broken beds of rock, which start away from



MOLDE 183

the famous RomsdaLshorn, an obelisk of granite about
4000 feet high, off which the snow shdes sheer down
into the valley. The foot of man is apt to slide, as all
climbers know, where snow cannot rest. Yes, Molde's
Fjords and Romsdal Fjord are beautiful, and from their
extended waters something like fifty peaks can be
seen.

Tang tang, tang tang, ring out the bells of Molde
across the waters of the calm fjord. What could it be ?
Fire ? Someone else suggested a christening, another
a burial, but all were wrong. They were joy bells for
a wedding. Tang tang, tang tang, went on the bells,
changing as the visitors were stepping on shore to ding
dong ; wock, much more slowly rung, reminding one
of the old Norfolk church, with its three bells, one made
of leather that would only ring out wock. Molde was
likewise decorated with flags, much sunshine, and, for
Norway, many flowers, by which I mean garden flowers.
Roses grew in profusion, with pale yellow honeysuckle,
masses of bright poppies, and a tall graceful spiraea.

Curiosity and the bells dogged one's footsteps. All
unthinking we took the steep path up the hill to the
nice wooden church with a pretty steeple. Outside were
a number of stolkjaerres for the guests, and one closed
carriage from which the bride, clothed in white satin,
was just stepping. The procession passed into the
church, the door being shut against unbidden guests.
The stolkjaerre drivers, leaning against their carts, the
rope reins held slack in their hands, eyed the strangers
stolidly. To all questions with regard to entering the
church they shook their heads, so that one by one the
group that had been collected by the bell straggled away.
The road ran between an avenue of trees with farms and
private houses standing in well-kept gardens on one



1 84 MOLDE FJORD

side, on the other a magnificent view of the Molde Fjord,
lying grey and shimmering, with the wonderful range of
blue mountains going away and away to what seemed
the open sea.

Again the bells rang a joyous peal The bride had
left ; the ceremony over, nothing but a few withered
flowers remained where the bride had lately stood. The
door was now opened, and inside on a little table rested
the alms box. Tlie church was filled with a faint sweet
smell of syringa and honeysuckle, that was tied and twined
round the altar rails, and now hung drooping in the still
close atmosphere. Behind the altar was the great picture
painted by Axel Ender, of the angel sitting on the tomb
of our Lord, telling the sorrowing women that He had
risen. The colour is striking and harmonious, and the
picture lit up the whole end of the church.

It is not to be wondered at that Molde is so popular.
It is one of the pleasantest places in Norway. There is
nothing grand, savage, or overwhelming about it, but as
a resting-place when the limbs are weary of wandering it
cannot be surpassed. There is nothing remarkable about
the town itself, consisting as it does of one long main street
and a few bylanes with houses and public buildings of
the most ordinary character. The two hotels, the
Alexandra and the Grand, are large and generally filled
to overflowing. Plenty of shops line each side of the
street, where bric-a-brac, jewellery, toys, nice furs, and
beautiful light eider skin rugs can be bought. There is
also a bazaar, where one can see thousands of varieties
of Norwegian carvings and modelled work, native costumes,
knives, and embroideries.

There are piers and quays and warehouses along the
shore, as Molde does a very fair amount of small shipping
business. Many steamers like our own call, stay some



CHARMING SURROUNDINGS 185

hours or days, and add not a little to the prosperity of
the town, as few of the passengers leave without spending
in furs and knick-knacks more than they had any intention
of doing.

The chief charm of Molde is its surroundings. Every
part of the town looks out upon a vast expanse of water,
which presents the appearance of an immense lake some
eight miles across and thirty to thirty-five from end to
end. This expanse of water is broken by the long islands
of Gjerto, Soetero, and Faaro. On the opposite shore of
this great lake is ranged a panorama of mountains that
skirts its entire length, — a long array of peaks and horns
and fjords with unfamiliar names. The only one easily
recognised is the sugar-loaf crown of the Romsdalshorn
and the sharp needles of the Troltinderne in the middle
of the range. The hills behind Molde abound in delight-
ful M^alks. They are clothed within a short distance
of the ridge with pine, birch, horse-chestnuts, limes, ash,
and cherry trees ; roses abound, and some of the houses are
overgrown with honeysuckle. Sheltered from the northerly
and westerly storms, the vegetation is surprisingly
luxuriant, though Molde is nearly three degrees of
latitude north of St. Petersburg. One has the choice of
rambling in neglected wildernesses, or following the well-
made roads and paths which wind up to the heights. The
most easily accessible of these is Reknaeshaugen, a canopied
terrace standing in the midst of a little public park
intersected with winding walks. Going farther up the
varde, one comes to a wooden pleasure-house about half-
way to the top of the hill, from which it is an easy
walk to the summit of the ridge. From Tor Stuen a
magnificent and more extended view of the mountain
ranges can be seen on the one hand, and a grand view of
the sea and the rocky islands that fringe the coast on the



1 86 BJORNSTJERNE BJORNSON

other. The roads are excellent that skirt the margin of
the shore for scores of miles, and by one route, a whole
day's journey, it is possible to make the entire circuit of
the peninsula on which Molde stands.

The place is never dull ; people pass to and fro from the
steamers, engage carioles and stolkjaerres, or settle up
with their skydsgut. The luggage taken to and fro from
the landing stage, and the vessels and boats, large and
small, arriving and departing, are a constant source of
interest. The great lake reflecting the sunset, the wide
expanse of water ever before you, ruffled by the wind,
or a beautiful calm, are scenes of which one never
wearies.

Bjornstjerne Bjornson was born on the 8th December
1832 at the farmstead of Bjorgen, in Kvikne, in Oster-
dalen. In 1837 his father, who had been priest of
Kvikne, was transferred to the parish of Noesset, in
Romsdalen. In this romantic place the childhood of
Bjornson was spent. In 1841 he was sent to school at
the neighbouring town of Molde, and at the age of
seventeen to Christiania to study for the University ;
his instinct for poetry was already awakened, and indeed
he had written verses from his eleventh year. He took
his degree at the University of Christiania in 1852,
and began to work as a journalist, especially as a
dramatic critic. His progress was, however, slow. It
was not until 1856 that in Thrond, the earliest of his
short stories, he began to develop his real talent. In
1857 appeared Synnove Solbakketi, the first of Bjornson's
peasant novels, followed by Arne, A Happy Boy, and
The Fisher Maiden. These are the most important
specimens of his " bonde-fortajllinger," or peasant tales —
a section of his literary work which has made a profound
impression in his own country, and has made him popular



PURE PEASANT STORIES 187

throughout the world. These novels are full of freshness
and beauty combined with remarkable realism. Two
of these tales, Arne and Synnove Solhakken, are nearly
perfect, and offer finer examples of the pure peasant story
than are to be found elsewhere in literature.

Bjornson Avas anxious, as he puts it, "to create a new
saga in the life of the peasant,"" and he thought this
should be done not merely in prose fiction, but in
national dramas or " folke-stykker," The earliest of
these was Betzveen the Battles, written in 1855, but
not produced till 1857. It was followed by Lame Hulda
and King Sverre. All these efforts, however, were far
excelled by the splendid trilogy of Sigurd the Bastard,
which Bjornson issued in 1862, and Sigurd the Crusader,
which was not printed until 1872. This raised him to
front rank among the younger poets of Europe.

At the close of 1857 Bjornson was appointed director
of the theatre at Bergen, a post which he held, with
much journalistic work thrown in, for two years, when he
returned to the capital. After this he travelled widely
throughout Europe. Early in 1865 he undertook the
management of the Christiania Theatre, and brought
out his popular comedy of The Neicly Married and his
romantic tragedy of Mary Stuart in Scotland.

Although Bjornson has introduced, into his novels and
plays, songs of extraordinary beauty, he has never been
a very copious writer of verse. Both his principal con-
tributions to this art were collected in the year 1870,
when he published his Poems and Songs and the spirited
romances called Arnljat Gelline ; the latter volume
contains the magnificent ode called " Bergliet," Bjornson's
finest contribution to lyrical poetry. It is odd that
between 1864 and 1874, in the very prime of his life, he
should have displayed a slackening of the intellectual



1 88 VOLUNTARY EXILE

forces very remarkable in a man of his energy. That
he was mainly occupied with politics and his business
of theatrical manager dining this time may well account
for it, but it is likely that his fiery propaganda as a
radical agitator would at the time override the poetic
side of his nature, and the reality of his calling sap his
energy, especially when he supplemented his journalistic
work by delivering lectures over the length and breadth
of the northern countries. He possessed to a surprising
degree the arts of the orator, combined with a magnificent
physical prestige.

From 1873 to 1876 Bjornson was absent from Norway,
and in the peace of voluntary exile he recovered his
imaginative power. His new departure as a dramatic
author began with The Editor in 1874, and A
Bankricptcy in 1875, both social dramas of an extremely
modern and realistic cast, the second of which has con-
tinued to be in many countries the piece of Bj unison's
which has longest kept the stage. The poet was now
settled at the estate of Anlestael in Gansdal, in a house
which is a fine example of old Norwegian domestic
architecture, and which has been his home since 1874.

In 1877 he published another novel, Magnliild, in
which his ideas on social questions were seen to be in a
state of fermentation, a polemical play called The King,
and another story Captain Mansana followed ; and then,
wishing for success on the stage, he concentrated his
powers on the drama called Leonarda, which appeared
in 1879. This was an appeal for religious toleration,
and it raised a violent controversy that was not allayed
by a satirical play, The New System, which was brought
out a few weeks later. Although these plays of
Bjornson's second period were greatly discussed, none
of them except A Bankruptcy pleased on the boards.



JONAS LIE 189

He felt the disappointment so keenly that he preserved
silence as a dramatist till 1883, when once more he
produced a social drama, A Gauntlet, which he was
unable to persuade any manager to stage. To many
people, however, this was considered one of the most
skilfully composed " problem plays " of modern times.

A play that achieved great success was one entitled
Over jEvne {Beyond our Powers), which deals with the
abnormal features of religious excitement with extra-
ordinary power. Bjornson now again turned his back
on the stage, and published in 1884 Flags are Flying in
Town and Port : In God''s Way, which is one of the
works by which he is best known outside his own country.
A number, too, of short stories of a more or less didactic
character, dealing with startling points of emotional
experience, were collected in 1894 ; those producing the
greatest sensation were : Dust, AIother''s Hands, and
Ahsalonis Hair. At the opening of the National Theatre
in 1899 Bjornson, whose popularity in Norway is un-
bounded, received an ovation, and his saga drama of
Sigurd the Crusader was put on the boards with
great magnificence.

Bjornson is a republican of the most advanced order,
and according to his critics his views are pushed
forward too crudely for artistic effect in several of his
later works.

Two writers of novels who owe much to the example
of Ibsen and Bjornson are Jonas Lie and Alexander
Kielland. Lie was late in developing his talent, and
lost nmch time in wavering between the sentimental
and the realistic schools of treatment. His best books
have been stories of seafaring life : The Man zoith the
Second Sight ; T/te Threemaster " Future " ; The Pilot and
his Wife; and Ruttand. In Kielland we have a man



190 ALEXANDER KIELLAND

who has more talent than Lie, his progress has been
more rapid and steady, and he has a clearer idea of
what he wishes to do. He began by being strongly
influenced by Zola, so say his critics, but to my mind no
trace of this is to be found in his Garman og Worse.
He is one of the youngest of distinguished Norwegian
writers.




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CHAPTER XI

TRONDHJEM AND ITS KINGS

TRONDHJEM is the strength and heart of the
country, and the cradle of the kingdom of
Norway. Here, on Bratoren, the Norwegian kings were
elected and crowned so far back as the hero of my
favourite saga, Olaf Tryggvason, who met his death at
the battle of Svold in 995. Here he had built himself
a palace and a church, which he dedicated to St. Clement,
and on the same site rose Trondhjem Cathedral,

As soon as the Norman Romanesque architecture in
the middle of the eleventh century had assumed per-
manent forms in Northern France and England, it
appears at a corresponding stage in Norway. The stone
churches erected in Trondhjem by the kings Harald
Haardrada and Olaf Kj'rre, each in turn sheltered the
shrine of St. Olaf, and appear especially to have belonged
to this first Norman group. This close association with
England and Norman France is evident in all their
mediaeval architecture, and the late Norman style
represented in Trondhjem and the Trondhjem district
is without doubt the richest.

Here, at the establishment of the archbishopric in 1152,
stood Olaf the PeacefuFs Christ Church. Eystein was
the archbishop, who was especially active in its alteration,
to suit the requirements of a metropolitan church. In
1180, for political reasons, he was obliged to flee to

191



192 TRONDHJEM CATHEDRAL

England. Just as it so happened, the choir of
Canterbury Cathedral was being rebuilt by William
of Sens and ^Villiam the Englishman, with the pointed
arch, and an exceedingly beautiful expression of form,
which was the introduction of the Early English style.
The horse-shoe forming the east end of St. Thomas's
corona in Canterbury Cathedral is probably the model
from which the octagon in Trondhjem was taken.

With fresh impressions from England, Eystein deter-
mined, on his return to his own country in 1183, to
rebuild the choir of Christ Church. Only the lower
part of it, and the octagon at the east end which covered
the reliquary of the saint, with its aisle and chapels,
show Eystein's transition style. The upper parts are
fully developed early Gothic, and the arch in front of the
octagon has traceries characteristic of the fourteenth
century. The roof of the transept is open, and the
choir covered with richly ornamented cross vaulting.
The material of which it is built (soapstone) gives the
walls a soft green shade which contrasts beautifully with
the white marble of the pillars. The extreme readiness
with which soapstone lends itself to the carver's art is
seen everywhere.

During the period from Sverre's death in 1202 until
Haakon iv.'s absolute sovereignty in 1240, artistic
energies appear to have flagged. But from 1240 to about
1320 is the flourishing period of Gothic architecture
in Norway as in England. The treatment of form
became lavish and lighter. The pointed arch, bell-
shaped capitals with round abacus, and beautifully and
firmly modelled foliage, and deep mouldings appeared.

The cathedral has been repeatedly injured by Are, —
even as late as 1719 the last took place. Since 1869,
when the east part was re-roofed, the cathedral has been



ADVICE TO VISITORS 193

undergoing a thorough and judicious restoration super-
intended by Mr, H. Christie, who has used and reproduced
all the available morsels he could find of the old build-
ing. The royal entrance is completed, and from the
square tower now rises a finely proportioned steeple.
Norway is justly proud of its church as a national
monument. The State, the Trondhjem Savings Bank,
and subscriptions from private and public sources enable
the work required to be carried on.

In an old book I had read that the family pews were
very curious, being tiers of boxes made of deal wood, like
rabbit hutches piled one above another; but these are
now gone. I had also meant to ask if the vault still
existed containing the mummified bodies of the Norwegian
kings, which about fifty years ago lay heaped one upon
another, the coffins broken and the bodies visible. But
this I forgot to do, which is perhaps as well, as I should
never wish again to be haunted as I had once been by
the still form of the priestess of Amen-Ra in the
British Museum. The cool soft light and shade of
this ancient fane was delightful after the glare and
dust of the broad white streets, I never felt the heat as I
did in Trondhjem. The little horses were even crushed
by it, and went along with steaming sides and bowed
heads.

My advice to the visitor to Trondhjem is — see the
town first, and the two waterfalls, which make a very
nice afternoon's drive. The upper fall repeats in a
marvellous manner the look of the frozen glacier torrent
of Bojumsbrae at Mundal. But instead of snow, in this
case it is seething white water that comes tumblino-
towards you, turning into clouds of spray as it reaches a
more level bed. The lower fall is a cascade enveloped in
clouds of mist, as it rushes between banks that are
13



194 BACK TO COMFORT

covered with trees. The country gives one a very good
idea of its fertihty. The vegetation is rich, and
extends all round. One can well imagine that the river
rarely freezes, and the fjord never. Leave the cathedi'al
to the end. It is the best monument in the north, and
of the greatest interest. If you see over this first you
will find that the town suffers by comparison. Seen
first, the wide streets, the beautiful fjord, the large
warehouses supported on piles, and the quaint un-
adorned look of the wooden houses are interesting, if not
picturesque.

The heat was so intense on shore that it was most
delightful to once again put out to sea. As the launch
approached the ship we looked at each other. " Do you
think you can dance a step ? " I asked my girl neighbour.
We were all limp with the heat, and fanned ourselves
with the ends of various parcels we had collected on
shore. " I don't think so ; I can't walk a step," was her
answer.

It was the sight of the flags and awning that had
brought forth the question. It was evident there was
to be a dance that evening. We clustered in the
gangway reading the various notices at the head of the
companion-way. Why does one always do it .'* You
may have been half an hour only on shore, yet on your
return read the notices you must. Here we saw : " The
games committee have decided, as the sea is so calm, to
have a dance on deck this evening at 8,30." We shook
our heads ; but there in the saloon was tea, all ready
for us in the little brown pot that cheers, and on the
long crimson-covered tables stood large bunches of
flowers. The sunlight twinkled on the bright brass of
the ports, and the passing blue water, dancing and dimp-
ling, reflected itself in the long white ceiling. How




TROXDHJEM CATHEDRAT.



WE ARE OF ONE TONGUE 195

nice it all seemed as the steward fetched a fresh pot
of tea.

Here, I may say, I have read of the hotel porter and
his many virtues, which it is an undoubted fact exist,
but nowhere have I seen the steward apprised at his real
worth. The praises of the steward have yet to be sung.
O steward, the poet might begin, but where he would
end I cannot say. Up to date I have found nothing
that one steward or another could not do. So we drank
tea, chatted, dressed, and dined ; and by the time 8.30
came round there was nothing we could not do. All
exhausted, the band finished the ball, the violin, piano,
flute, and clarionet giving forth the last notes of " A life
on the ocean wave " and " God save our King " as the
clock struck the hour of twelve.

" We are of one tongue, though one of the two, or


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