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CLASS OF 1828 


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Author of "Emboli ChlmM," "Tho Borallftif la Notara, Art, tad lift,* Ac 





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fr^Wgtl H ip . f M I illUMI). J Hi i jwju i. m 

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are invited to spend an hour iiT visiting C APPEE and 
MOON'S Establishment, where Mrs. Washington Moon will, 
without importuning Ladies to purchase, freely show to them 

every beauty and novelty in Underclothing, Breakfast Dresses. 
Ha-Jkerehieft, Hosiery, &&, suitable for the Trousseau* 

The fineness el thl Needlework h unsurpassed, and the «•«, 
cellence of the materials is of the same good quality as that of 
the Household Linen which Messrs, CAPPEE have been for 
many years accustomed to supply (from their (Sty house) for 
the Boyal use. 

Detailed lists of Prices, with Estimates for the Trousseau, 
may be had gratis on application; and Ladies, resident in 
the Country, may receive samples for inspection, on favour* 
ing CAPPEE ft MOOH with London Beferenoes. 

164, Begent Street, 


7 l 

*Uj^H*4to^*m***+**i i «m* hi mi iii 

1 < 

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Would ratpectlully announce that great economy la effected by purchasing 
MouaitiMO at their Ettablishment, 

247 & 249, RESEPJT STREE 





Though If earn J AT proftnedly keep the best Artlelet to M0UB5I50 aa^ 
HALF MOUB1TIHG, they ouptfy ft 

Complete Suit of DOMESTIC MOURNING for 2} Guinea 


Of onry deteriptioa Is kept Beady-made, and can be forwarded in 
Town or Country at a moment's notioe. 

Tfeo mart reasonable Prloes euro ebargod, and the itar ot ewe>^ 
Artlela guaranteed. 





Vn n i l iw 

in iiw iifu umw 

idn imiM*1 imi 

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"To the ocean now I fly, 
And thoto northern clime* that lie 
Where P*jr nortr thiito hit #70." 

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DEC 15 1884 

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A* J. S. 

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The greater part of this volume consists of a diary 
jotted down in presence of the scenes described, so as 
to preserve for the reader, as far as possible, the fresh- 
ness of first impressions, and invest the whole with an 
atmosphere of human interest 

The route taken may be thus shortly indicated: 
Thorshavn; Portland Huk; the Westmanna Islands; 
Reykjavik; the Geysers; then, by sea, round the south 
coast of the island, with its magnificent Jokul-range of 
volcanoes; along the east coast, with its picturesque 
Fiords, as far north as Seydisfiord; and thence home 
again, by the Faroe Isles. 

The aim, throughout, has been both to present 
pictures and condense information on matters relating 
to Faroe and Iceland. In obtaining the latter I have 
had the advantages of frequent intercourse with Ice- 
landers, both personal and by letter, since my visit to the 
North in the summer of 1859, and would here mention, 
in particular, the Rev. Olaf P&sson, Dean and Rector 
of Reykjavik Cathedral; Mr. J6n Arnason, Secretary 
to the Bishop, and Librarian; Mr. Gfsli Brynjtilfsson, . 
the Icelandic poet and M.P.; Mr. Sigurdur Sivertsen, a: 
retired merchant, and Mr. Jaoobson. 

And so too with the Faroese. 

I acknowledge obligations to Dr. David Mackinlay of 
Glasgow, Dr. Lauder Lindsay of Perth, and several 
other friends who have visited Iceland and rendered 

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me assistance of various kinds. Thanks are also due to 
Mr. P. L. Henderson, for transmitting, by the Arctwrus* 
letters, books and newspapers to and from the north. 

The Appendix comprises thirteen Icelandic stories 
and fairy tales translated by the Rev. Olaf Palsson; 
specimens of old Icelandic poetry ; poems on northern 
subjects in English and Icelandic; information for in- 
tending tourists; a glossary; and lastly, a chapter on 
our Scandinavian ancestors — treating of race, history, 
characteristics, language and tendencies. This paper, 
originally intended for an introduction, may be perused 
either first or last, at the option of the reader. There 
is also a copious Index to the volume. 

The illustrations, engraved by Mr. W. J. Linton, are 
all from original drawings by the writer, with the excep- 
tion of half a dozen, 1 taken from plates in the large 
French folio which contains the account of Gaimard's 

Should these pages induce photographers and other 
artists to visit this strange trahytic island resting on an 
ocean of fire in the lone North Sea, or students to become 
familiar with its stirring history and grand old literature, 
I shall feel solaced, under a feeling almost akin to re- 
gret, that this self-imposed task — which, in spite of 
sundry vexatious delays and interruptions, has afforded 
me much true enjoyment— should at length have come 

to an end 

A. J. S. 
Ma* 1861 

'Net. 19, SO, 81, S3, 24, and 81. 

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KOtluja's Ebuftioss ....... 188 

Ioslajtoio Statistics ........ 180 

Efturnov or Skattas JGkul 187 

VoLOAino Histo*t or Ioklavd ...... 198 


SrrDiinoao, wt FabOc, to Lsrra . . • SOS 

L Icblajtoio Stories amd Faiby Talis 

8tosixs or S j mpm w a Fbom oalud m uubksb. 

I. The dark School . .SIS 

h. Siomond gets the llring of Oddl 931 

in. Tbo Goblin and the Cowherd ...... 223 

it. Old Ntek made himselfas little as he was able .294 

t. The Fly 294 

n. The Ooblin's Whistle 22ft 

Faibt Talis 

Blarnl 8Teinssoa sad his sister Salvor 298 

Una tho Fairy. 298 

Gllltrott 940 

nildur tho Fairy Qoeen 944 

A Clergyman's daughter married to s Fairy Man . . 9M 

The Clergyman's daughter in Prestsbakki 948 

The Changeling ........ 947 

II. 8rvontnfs or old Icrlaxdio Posjtsy 

From the "VOluspe" • 940 

n ff 80larmdd ,, or M Sun8ong M ..... 282 

H Poems relating to Sigurd A DrynhOd . . 288 

M TheHaTamal"©r*High8ongofOdin # .... 28ft 

III. Poems ok Nostrum Sumccts. 

The Lay of the Vikings, by M.8.E.8 278 

Do. Translated into Icelandic by the Rer. OlafPalssoo . • 278 

The Viking's Raren, by M.8.&8 281 

Death of the Old Norse King, by A J A. .... 288 

Di, TranaUtedlntoIceUndlebytheReT.OlafPalssen. . 287 

IV. IirroaitATioir roe nrrnrowo Toomisrs ... 288 
V. Olossait — . . 282 

VI. CRArrss on Ovn Boavmvayiam Amsstob* .... 218 

INDEX .... 808 

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ft TheOiettGeyearlttEraptlon FrontofUet 

1 little Dmwn Faroe 1 

JL Feala 10 

4, VubSe 16 

1 TbonheTn, the capital of Faroe 90 

1 Fort,atTbonhavn . .S3 

7. From TbonhaTn— showing Faroeae Boeto 87 

& Haas Petersen; a Faroeae boatman 88 

1 Basalt Cava*— Sooth point of Strom©* 88 

Mt PortlsndHok-looking sooth , . . 35 

a X*s*m Bocks «rDronge-^ Portland Ho* 88 

11 Bjeraarej 43 

ML W*smuane8kerrlee 43 

14, Capo R*7kj*ne»-*bowiog Karl's Klip (cliff) 45 

H Cos* sear Reykjavik 45 

11 Hdsy 46 

17. IoilaadM*b*ea,eiia«»x,o^^heao^^ 

II Reykjavik, fr*m behind the town 87 

11 lodanaia I^j la JuU*ta%<tan a Photograph 68 

80. YltvonthaBontatoThlnrralla ......... 08 

St Ravin* 78 

81 Dcowst toto the Almaaaagfi. .81 

81 Amwanag)* 88 

84. Fording the Oxer* 83 

«. IttesfaHeaseatTblngvalla 84 

81 AJthing and Lflgborg from behind thochorch 87 

87. Lake of Thlngvalm from the LAgberg ...... . , 83 

81 WefttrmU of the Oxer* ao«*ea from tl»L8*>rg 90 

81 YeatofTlntroa 84 

81 na do rmag oofVartooto nr o A HlUa 86 

81 CromlagthoDraarl 104 

81 ThaOfoatGoraar 189 

81 Stents* JSkul 134 

K llevntHekla 136 

«. Lak**fTbia*^aJUfremthei>orth-we*t 139 

81 loalaadkFann, two honfa*rldo from Reykjavik . . .149 

87. Jfesfe la an Iceland* homo (playing the laagaplal) 145 

81 Camwaa Poll (Urm panel) 169 

81 Ora*J*n1, the higboat mountain la Iceland 160 

41 mmeYnttkiil, from ifty miles at sea 161 

4L Part of MyrdalaJolrol and KStlnjd range 184 

48. Or*feJ8knl, from the aoa 185 

41 EatraamtoKeydarnord--eaateoaat 197 

44 Nearthaantraiioatollornaiord < 198 

41 Mr. Moaaoreotfa Factory at the head of 8eydionord 909 

41 FamHoaaa l 8eydienord 906 

47. eoydfaiord, looking oaat towarda the aoa 907 

41 MmmmFjall 806 

481 KaalaOe— Faroe 818 

84 Ia*raam»tl*Sem*1endlBgtoThore1uKTn 918 

84. Hremee Faroe, leaking north-east from below the Fort at Thoraham . 816 

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Can Iceland — that distant island of the North Sea, 
that land of Eddas and Sagas, of lava-wastes, snow- 
jBkuls, volcanoes, and boiling geysers*— be visited during 
a summer's holiday? This was the question which for 
years I had vaguely proposed to myself. Now I wished 
definitely to ascertain particulars, and, if at all practi- 
cable, to accomplish such a journey during~the present 

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Three ways presented themselves — the chance of 
getting north in a private yacht — to charter a sloop 
from Lerwick— -or to take the mail-steamer from Copen- 
hagen. The first way seemed very doubtful; I was 
dissuaded from the second by the great uncertainty as to 
when one might get back, and the earnest entreaties of 
friends, who, with long faces, insinuated that these wild 
northern seas were not to be trifled with. However, the 
uncertainly as to time, and the expense, which for one 
person would have been considerable, weighed more with 
me than any idea of danger. Of the mail-steamer it 
was difficult to obtain any information. 

One morning, when in this dilemma, my eye fell on 
an advertisement in the Times, headed "Steam to 
Iceland," informing all whom it might concern that the 
Danish mail-steamer "Arcturus," would, about the 20th 
of July, touch at Leith on its way north, affording 
passengers a week to visit the interior of the island, and 
would return to Leith within a month. I subsequently 
ascertained that it was to call at the Faroe and 
Westmanna Isles, and that it would also sail from 
Reykjavik round to Seydisfiord, on the east of Iceland, 
so that one might obtain a view of the magnificent range 
of jtfkuls and numerous glaciers along the south coast 

The day of sailing was a fortnight earlier than I could 
have desired, but such an opportunity was not to be 
missed. Providing myself with a long waterproof over- 
coat* overboots of the same material — both, absolutely 
essential for riding with any degree of comfort in Iceland, 
to protect from lashing rains, and when splashing 
through mud-puddles or deep river fordings — getting 
together a supply of preserved meats, soups, &c. in tin 

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cans, a mariner's compass, thermometer, one of De La 
Rue's solid sketch-books, files of newspapers, a few- 
articles for presents, and other needful things, my traps 
were speedily put up; and, on Wednesday the 20th of 
July, I found myself on board the "Arcturus" in Leith 

It was a Clyde-built screw-steamer, of 400 tons burden. 
Captain Andriessen, a Dane, received me kindly; the 
crew, with the exception of the engineer, a Scotchman, 
were all foreigners. In the first cabin were eight fellow- 
passengers, strangers to each other ; but, as is usual at 
sea, acquaintanceships were soon formed; by degrees we 
came to know each other, and all got along very 
pleasantly together. 

There was only one lady passenger, to whom I was 
introduced, Miss Lobner, daughter of the late governor 
of Faroe, who had been south, visiting friends in 
Edinburgh. Afraid of being ill, she speedily disappeared, 
and did not leave her cabin till we reached Thorshavn. 
Of our number were Professor Chadbourne, of William's 
College, Massachusetts, and Bowdoin College, Maine, 
U.S. ; Capt. Forbes, RN. ; Mr. Haycock, a gentleman 
from Norfolk, who had recently visited Norway in his 
yacht; Mr. Cleghorn, lately an officer in the Indian 
army; Mr. Douglas Murray, an intelligent Scottish 
farmer, from the neighbourhood of Haddington, taking 
his annual holiday; Dr. Livingston, an American M.D. ; 

and Capt B , a Danish artillery officer, en route 

from Copenhagen to Reykjavik. 

There were also several passengers in the second cabin, 
some of whom were students returning home from their 
studies in the Danish universities. 

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There was a large boat to be got on board, for dis- 
charging the steamer's cargo at Iceland, which took 
several hours to get fastened aloft on the right side of 
the hurricane deck — with the comfortable prospect of 
its top-heaviness acting like a pendulum, and adding 
considerably to the roll of the ship, should the weather 
prove rough. 

Shortly after seven P.M. we got fairly clear of the 
dock. Strange to think, as the last hawser was being 
cast off, that, till our return, we should hear no post- 
man's ring, receive no letters with either good tidings 
or annoyances — for we carry the mail, — and see no later 
newspapers than those we take with us! Friends may 
be well or ilL The stirring events of the Continent, 
too, leave us to speculate on changes that may suddenly 
occur in the aspect of European affairs, with the chances 
of peace, or declarations of war. 

However, allowing such thoughts to disturb me as little 
as possible, and trusting that, under a kind Providence, 
all would be well with those dear to me, hopefully, and 
not without a deep feeling of inward satisfaction that a 
long cherished dream of boyhood was now about to be 
realised, I turned my face to the North. 

A dense mist having settled on the Frith of Forth, 
the captain deemed it prudent to anchor in the roada 
During the night it cleared off, and at five o'clock on 
Thursday morning, 21st July, our star was in the 
ascendant, and the "Arcturus" got fairly under way. 

The morning, bright and clear, was truly splendid; 
the day sunny and warm; many sails in sight* and 
numerous sea-birds kept following the ship. 

Breakfast dinner, and tea follow each other in regular 

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succession, making, with their pleasant reunions and 
friendly intercourse, a threefold division of the day. On 
shipboard the steward's bell becomes an important insti- 
tution, a sort of repeating gastronomical chronometer, 
and is not an unpleasant sound when the fresh sea-air 
has sharpened one's appetite into expectancy. 

The commissariat supplies were liberal, and the 
department well attended to by a worthy Dane, who 
spoke no English, and who was only observed to smile 
once during the voyage. Captain Andriessen's fluent 
English, and the obliging Danish stewardess' German, 
enabled us all to get along in a sort of way; although 
the conversation at times assumed a polyglot aspect, 
the ludicrous oUa-$odmda nature of which afforded us 
many a good hearty laugh. 

The chief peculiarities in our bill of fare were lax or 
red-smoked salmon; the sweet soups of Denmark, with 
raisins floating in them; black stale rye-bread; and a 
substantial dish, generally produced thrice a day, which, 
in forgetfulness of the technical nomenclature, we shall 
venture to call beef-steak fried with onions or garlic — 
that bulb which Don Quixote denounced as pertaining 
to scullions and low fellows, entreating Sancho to 
eschew it above all things when he came to his Island. 
At sea, however, we found it not unpalatable. There 
must ever be some drawbacks on shipboard One of 
these was the water produced at table, of which 
Captain Forbes funnily remarked, that it "tasted badly 
of bung cloth — and dirty cloth, tool" But* such as it 
was, the Professor and I preferred it to winer 

Thus much of culinary matters, for, with the excep- 
tion of a few surprises, which, according to all our 

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previous ideas, confused the chronology of the dishes- 
making a literal mess of it — and sundry minor variations 
in the cycle of desserts proper, the service of one day 
resembled that of another. 

There was only wind enough to fill the mainsail, and 
in it* on the lea side of the boom, as if in a hammock, 
sheltered from the broiling sun, I lay resting for hours. 
Off Peterhead, we saw innumerable fishing boats — 
counted 205 in one fleet Off Inverness* far out at sea, 
we counted as many, ere we gave in and stopped. 
Their sails were mostly down, and we, passing quite 
near, could observe the process of the fishermen shooting 
their nets; the sea to the north-east all thickly dotted 
with boats, which appeared like black specks. A 
steamer was sailing among them, probably to receive 
and convey the fish ashore. 

Perilous is the calling of the fisherman I Calm to-day, 
•quails may overtake him on the morrow— 

"Bat men mutt work, and woman must weep, 
Though storms be sudden, and waters deep, 
And the harbour bar be moaning." 

As the sun went down, from the forecastle we 
watched a dense bank of cloud resting on the sea; 
its dark purple ranges here and there shewing openings, 
with hopeful silver linings intensely bright — glimpses, 
as it were, into the land of Beulah. Then the lights 
and shadows grandly massed themselves, gradually 
assuming a sombre hue; while starry thoughts of dear 
ones at home rose, welling up within us, as the day- 
light ebbed slowly away over the horizon's rim. 

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Friday morning, July 22. — Rose at seven; wea- 
ther dull; neither land, sky, nor sail, visible; our 
position not very accurately known. At four in the 
morning the engine had been stopped, the look-out 
having seen breakers a-head — no observation to be had. 
Our course to the North Sea lay between the Orkney 
and Shetland Islands. After breakfast it cleared, and 
on the starboard bow, we saw Fair Isle, so that our 
course was right, although we had not known in what 
part of it we wera 

There was cause for thankfulness that the Orkneys 
had been passed in safety. Where the navigation is 
intricate and requires care at best* our chances of 
danger during the uncertainty of the night had doubt- 
less been great The south of the Shetland Isles also 
appeared to rise from the sea, dim and blue, resting on 
the horizon, like clouds ethereal and dreamlika 

At 11 o'clock A.H., sailing past Fair Isle, made 
several sketches of its varied aspects, as seen from 
different points. Green and fair, this lonely island lies 
about thirty miles south-west of the Shetland group, 
and in the very track of vessels going north. 

It has no light-house, and is dreaded by sailors; for 
many are the shipwrecks which it occasion* Before 
now, we had heard captains, in their anxiety, wish it 
were at the bottom of the sea. Could not a light be 
placed upon it by the Admiralty, and a fearful loss of 
life thus be averted? 

The island contains about a hundred inhabitants, who 
live chiefly by fishing and knitting. They are both skilful 
and industrious. During the winter months, the men, at 
veil as the women, knit caps, gloves, and waistcoats; 

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and for dyeing the wool, procure a variety of colours 
from native herbs and lichens. 

True happiness, springing as it ever does from 
above and from within, may have its peaceful abode 
here among those lonely islanders quite apart from the 
noise and bustle of what is called the great world, 
although the stranger sailing past is apt to think such 
places "remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow." l 

Ere long we could distinguish the bold headland of 
Sum burgh, which is the southern extremity of Shetland ; 
and a little to the north-west of it, by the aid of an opera- 
glass, fitful Head,* rendered famous by Sir Walter Scott 
as the dwelling place of Noma, in "The Pirate." 

Last summer I visited this the most northern group 
of British islands, famed alike for skilful seamen, fear- 
less fishermen, and fairy-fingered knitters; for its hardy 
ponies, and for that soft* warm, fleecy wool which is 
peculiar to its sheep. 

Gazing on the blue outline of the islands, I now 
involuntarily recalled their many voes, wild caves, and 
splintered skerries, alive with sea gulls and kittiwakes. 
The magnificent land-locked sound of Bressay too, where 
her Majesty's fleet might ride in safely, and where 
Lerwick — the capital of the islands, and the most 
northerly town in the British dominions — with its quaint, 
foreign, gabled aspect, rises, crowning the heights, from 
the very water's edge, so that sillacks might be fished 

1 Beduced to extreme destitution, by the failure of crops, subscrip- 
tion* are at present (1S63) being collected to enable the inhabitants of 
Fair Isle to emigrate. 

'The original name is Fitfiol — probably the white mountain—/* 
signifying white, and jfeZ, fell or mountain* In the same way England 
was called ANa* t from its white cliffs. 


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from the windows of those houses next the sea. Boating 
excursions and pony scamperings are also recalled; the 
Noss Head, with its mural precipice rising sheer from 
' the sea to a height of 700 feet, vividly reminding one of 
Edgar's description of Dover Clif£ in "Lear," or of that 
which Horatio pictured to Hamlet — 

" The dreadful summit of the cliff, 
That beetles o'er his base into the sea . • . 
The Yery place pats toys of desperation, 
Without more motire, into every brain 
That looks so many fathoms to the soa, 
And hears it roar beneath." 

Nor is the much talked of cradle fbigotten, slung on 
ropes, for crossing the chasm between a lower cliff and 
the Holm of Noss; — a detached rocky islet, the top of 
which only affords pasture, during the summer months, 
for some half dozen sheep. 

The curious and singularly-perfect ancient Pictish 
or Scandinavian Burgh, in the Island of Moosa, rises 
again before me; Scalloway Bay, with its old Castle in 
ruins, its fishermen's cots, and fish-drying sheds. A 
high, long, out-jutting rocky promontory too, on which 
I had stood watching the "yeasty waves" far below, as 
they rolled thundering into an irregular cave, which, in 
the course of ages, they had scooped out among the 
basaltic crags, and, leaping up, scattered drenching 
showers of diamond spray. Every succeeding dash of 
the billows produced a loud report like the discharge 
of artillery, the reverberations echoing along the shore. 
In the black creek below, the brine seething like a 
caldron was literally churned into white foam-flakes, 
which, rising into the air on sudden gusts of wind. 

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sailed away inland, high overhead, like a flock of sea- 
bird* These flakes were of all sizes, large masses of 
froth at times floating down, and alighting at our very 
feet, from so great a height that they had merely shewed 
as black specks against the bright sunlight In lulls 
one could actually lift them bodily from the ground, 
upwards of two cubic feet in size; but when the wind 
rose, such masses of whipped sea-cream were again seized 
upon, swept aloft, divided into smaller portions, and 
carried away across the island. These and other pleasing 
memories presented themselves as we now gazed on the 
distant, dim-blue Shetland Isles. 

Saw a large vessel disabled and being towed south- 
wards from Shetland, where she appears to have come 
to grie£ Topmasts gone, sides battered and patched 
with boards. She is high out of the water, so that the 
cargo must have been discharged All our opera-glasses 
and telescopes are in requisition. 



Sat on the boom for hours, the vessel rolling heavily 
over the great smooth Atlantic billows. In the afternoon 
passed the island of Foola, which has been called the St 

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Kilda of Shetland It lies about sixteen miles west of 
Mainland, and is high and precipitoua The cliffs are 
tenanted by innumerable sea-fowls, which are caught in 
thousands by the cragsmen, and afford a considerable 
source of revenue to the inhabitants. 

Blue and cloudlike the detached and isolated heights 
of Mainland, Yell, and XJnst — the promontory of 
Hermanness, on the latter, being the most northerly 
point of the British islands — are fast sinking beneath 
the horizon. Ere long Foola, left astern, follows the 
others. No land in sight, not a sail on the horizon; all 
round is now one smooth heaving circular plain of blue 
water — the ever changing level producing a most singular 
optical effect 

In the evening walked the deck with Mr. Haycock, 
discoursing of Norwegian scenery, and of yacht excursions 
thither. The evening clear and pleasant, although the 
ground-swell continued to increase. Turned in, at half- 
past ten o'clock. The vessel rolled much during the 
night Professor Chadbourne, Mr. Murray, and Mr. 
Cleghorn'8 berths were in the same state-room as mine. 
The quarter-deck being elevated, one of our windows 
opened towards the deck, and could at all times afford 
good and safe ventilation; but the stewards always 
would shut it, watching their opportunity of doing so 
when we were asleep. We always opened it again, when 
on waking we found the deed had been done; and all of 
us made a point of shouting out ferociously when we 
caught them stealthily at it This shutting and opening 
occurred several times every night* and seemed destined 
to go on, spite of all our remonstrances; a nuisance only 
relieved by a slight dash of the ludicrous. Danes don't 
seem to like fresh air. 

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^-•^ ' " - ww>x i i imm im wr 1 


/Saturday morning, July 23. — No land in sight, 
open sea from Norway to America; heavy swell on the 
Atlantic, and wind changing from N.E. to N*W. ; 
numerous whales blowing, quite close to the vessel; 
gulls and Irittiwakes flying about 

At mid-day came in sight of the Faroe Islands rising 
above the horizon; fixed the first glimpse of them, and 
continued sketching their outline from time to time, as 
on nearing them it developed itself — watching with 
great interest the seeming clouds slowly becoming crags. 
Little Dimon, a lofty rock-island, somewhat resembling 
Ailsa* and purple in the distance, was, from the first, the 
most prominent and singular object on the horizon Una 

The waves rolling so heavily that not only the hull, 
but the mast of a sloop, not very far off, is quite hid by 
each long swelL The Professor, Dr. Livingston, and Mr. 
Murray all agree in saying that they never had such 
heavy seas in crossing the Atlantic, 

The Faroe group consists of twenty-two islands, 
seventeen of which are inhabited. A bird's-eye view of 
them would exhibit a series of bare, steep, oblong hills, 
in parallel ranges; with either valleys or narrow arms of 
the sea between them, and all lying north-west and 
south-east The name Faroe is said to be derived from 
faar or foer, the old word for a sheep; that animal 
having probably been introduced by the Norse sea-rovers 
long before these islands were permanently colonised in 
in the time of Harold. However, fier — the Danish 
word for feathers — is more likely to be the correct 
etymology; for these islands are the native habitat of 
innumerable sea-birda 

They lie 185 miles north-west of the Shetland Isles, 

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400 west of Norway, and 320 south-east of Iceland; 
population upwards of 3000, and subject to Denmark. 

We are now approaching Suderoe, the roost southerly 
of the islands. On our left lie several curious detached 
rocks, near one of which, called the Monk, is a whirlpool, 
dangerous in some states of the tide; although its perils, 
like those of Corrivrockan between Jura and Scarba in 
the Hebrides, have been greatly exaggerated On one 
occasion I sailed over the latter unharmed by Sirens, 
Mermaids, or Kelpies; only observing an irregular fresh 
on the water, where the tide-ways met, and hearing 
nothing save a dripping, plashing noise in the cross-cut 
ripple, as if many fish were leaping around the boat 

In storms, however, such places had better receive a 
wide berth. 

The approach to the Faroe group is very fine, present- 
ing to our view a magnificent panorama of fantastically- 
shaped islands — peaked sharp angular bare precipitous 
rocks, rising sheer from the sea; the larger-sized islands 
being regularly terraced in two or more successive grades 
of columnar trap-rock. Some of these singular hill-islets 
are sharp along the top, like the ridge of a house, and 
slope down on either side to the sea, at an angle of fifty 
degrees. Others of them are isolated stacks. 

The hard trap-rock, nearly everywhere alternating 
with soft tufa, or claystone, sufficiently accounts for the 
regular, stair-like terraces which form a striking and 
characteristic feature of these picturesque islands. The 
whole have evidently, in remote epochs, been subjected 
to violent physical abrasion, probably glacial, during the 
period of the ice-drift; and, subsequently, to the 
disintegrating crumbling influences of moisture, and of 

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the atmosphere itself Frost converts each particle of. 
moisture into a crystal expanding wedge of ice, which 
does its work silently but surely and to an extent which 
few people would imagine. 

We now pass that singular rock-island, Little Dimon, 
which supports a few wild sheep; and Store Dimon, on 
which only one family resides. The cliffs here, as also 
on others of the islands, are so steep that boats are 
lowered with ropes into the sea; and people landing are 
either pulled up by ropes, or are obliged to clamber up 
by fixing their toes and fingers in holes cut on the face 
of the rock. Sea-fowls and eggs are every year collected 
in thousands from these islets by the bold cragsmen. 
These men climb from below; or, like the samphire- 
gatherer — " dreadful trade" — are let down to the nests 
by means of a rope, and there they pursue their perilous 
calling while hanging in "midway air" over the sea. 
They also sometimes approach the cliffs at night, in 
boats, carrying lighted torches, which lure and dazzle the 
birds that come flying around them, so that they are 
easily knocked down with sticks, and the boat is thus 
speedily filled As many as five thousand birds have 
been taken in one year from Store Dimon alone, and in 
former times they were much more numeroua 

We watch clouds like white fleecy wool rolling past, 
and apparently being raked by the violet-coloured peaks ; 
whilst others lower down are pierced and rest peacefully 
among them. 

Having passed Sandoe, through the Skaapen Fiord, 
we see Hestoe, Eolter, Vaagoe, and other distant blue 
island heights in the direction of Myggenaes, the most 
western bland of the group. We now sail between 

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Stromoe on the west, and Naalsoe on the east. Stromoe 
is the central and largest island of the group, being 
twenty-seven miles long and seven broad. It contains 
Thorshavn, the capital of Faroe. Naalsoe, the needle 
island, is so called from a curious cave at the south end 
which penetrates the island from side to side like the 
eye of a needle — larger, by a long way, than Cleopatra's. 


Daylight shews through it, and, in calm weather, boats 
can sail from the one side to the other. We observe a 
succession of sea-caves in the rocks as we sail along, the 
action of the waves having evidently scooped out the 
softer strata, and left the columnar trap-rock hanging 
like a pent-house over each entrance. These caves are 
tenanted by innumerable sea-birds. On the brink of 
the water stand restless glossy cormorants; along the 
horizontal rock-ledges above them, sit skua-gulls, kitti- 
wakes, auks, guillemots, and puffins, in rows; and 
generally ranged in the order we have indicated, begin- 
ning with the cormorant on the lower stones or rocks 
next the sea, and ending with the puffin, which takes 
the highest station in this bird congress. 

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If disturbed, they raise a harsh, confused, deafening 
noise ; screaming and fluttering about in myriads. Their 
numbers are so frequently thinned, and in such a variety 
of ways, that old birds may, on these occasions, be 
excused for exhibiting signs of alarm. 

The Faroese eat every kind of sea-fowl, with the 
exception of gulls, skuas, and cormorants ; but are partial 
to auks, guillemots, and puffins. They use them either 
fresh, salted or dried. The rancid fishy taste of sea-birds 
resides, for the most part, in the skin only — that removed, 
the rest is generally palatabla In the month of May 
the inhabitants of many of the islands subsist chiefly on 
eggs. Feathers form an important article of export 

We watched several gulls confidingly following the 
steamer; one in particular, now flying over the deck as 
far as the funnel, now falling astern to pick up bits of 
biscuit that were thrown overboard to it Long I stood 
admiring its beautiful soft downy plumage, its easy 
graceful motions, the great distance to which a few 
strokes of its powerful pinions urged it forward, or, 
spread bow-like and motionless, allowed it simply to 
float and at times remain poised in the air right over 
the deck, now peering down with its keen yet mild eyes, 
and leaving us to surmise what embryo ideas of wonder 
might now be passing through its little bird-brain. 

The Danish officer raised, levelled his piece, and fired ; 
the poor thing screamed like a child, threw up its wings, 
turned round, and fell upon the sea like a stone; its 
companions came flying confusedly in crowds to see 
what was wrong with it, and received another shower of 
lead for their pains. 

Holding no peace-society, vegetarian, homeopathic &c 

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views, I do not object to the bona fide clearing of a 
country from dangerous animals; or to shooting, when 
rendered necessary for supplying our wants; but — from 
the higher, healthier platform of Christian manliness, 
reason and common sense — would most emphatically 
protest against thoughtless or wanton cruelty. Such 
barbarism could not be indulged in, much less be 
regarded as sport, but from sheer thoughtlessness in 
the best; while, under almost any circumstances, the 
destruction of animal life will, by the true gentleman, 
be regarded as a painful necessity. 

Those who love sport for its own sake may be divided 
into three classes — the majority of sportsmen it is to be 
hoped belonging to the first of these divisions; — viz., 
the thoughtless, who have never considered the subject 
at all, or looked at any of its bearings; those whose 
blunted feelings are, in one direction, estranged from 
the beauty and joy of existence; and the third and last 
class, where civilization makes so near an approach to 
the depravity of savage natures, that a tiger-like eager- 
ness to destroy life takes possession of a man and 
becomes a passion. He then only reckons the number 
of braces bagged, and considers not desolate nests, 
broken-winged pining birds, and the many dire tragedies 
wrought on the moor by his murderous gun. 

A study of the habits of birds, taking cognizance of all 
the interesting on-goings of their daily lives, of their 
wonderful instincts and labours of love, would, we should 
think, make a man of rightly-constituted mind feel the * 
necessity of destroying them to be painful; and he cer- 
tainly would not choose to engage in it as sport The 
fable of the boys and the frogs is in point, and the term 


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"sport> w thus applied, is surely a cruel, and certainly & 
one-sided word. In low natures, sympathy becomes 
totally eclipsed and obscured by selfishness; and all 
selfishness is sin. 

Although shocked at witnessing the needless de- 
struction of the poor gull, for the sake of the officer, 
who was of a gentle kindly nature, doubtless belonging 
to the "first division/' we tried hard to palliate the 
deed ; but that pitiful cry of agony haunts us yetl 

"Farewell, farewell! but this I tell 

To thee, thou Wedding guest! 

He prayeth well, who loreth well 

Both man, and bird, and beast* 

"He prayeth best, who loreth best 
All things both great and small; 
For the dear God who loreth as, 
He made and loreth all.'' 

Whales rising to the surface and spouting around the 
Vessel; also shoals of porpoises tumbling and gambolling 
about; sometimes swimming in line so as closely to 
resemble the coils of a snake moving along; such an 
appearance has probably originated the mythic sea- 

There are still many caves in the rocks close on the 
sea; innumerable birds flying out of them and settling 
on the surface of the heaving water close under the cliffs. 

We now approach a little bay, surrounded by an 
amphitheatre of bare hills; the hollow, for a wonder, 
slopes down to the shore; we observe patches of green 
among the rocks, and a flag flying. Several fishing 
sloops lie at anchor, but there is no appearance of a town. 
Here we are told is Thorshavn, the capital of Faroe— 


zed by G00gle 


the haven of Thor. As we approach, we discover that 
it is a town, the chief part of it built upon a rocky 
promontory which divides the bay; we can also di*» 
tinguish the church and fort The green tint we had 
observed is grassy turf— but it happens to be growing 
on the roofs of the wooden houses; and the houses are 
scattered irregularly among the brown rocks. On the 
promontory, house rises above house from the water's 
edge; and the black, wooden church tower rising behind 
appears to crown them all On an eminence, to the 
right of the town, is the battery or fort, with a flagstaff 
in front All glasses in requisition, we curiously 
examine the place and discover several wooden jetties- 
landing places for fishing boats. Beneath the fort and 
all round, split fish are spread on the rocks to dry; 
many square fish-heaps also are being pressed under 
boards, with heavy stones placed above them. 

The scenery around is not unlike that of Loch Long 
in Scotland, while the general aspect of Thorshavn 
itself resembles the pictures of old towns given in the 
corners of maps of the fifteenth century. 

As we enter the bay with colours flying, the Banish 
flag is run up at the fort, displayed by the sloops, and 
flutters from the flagstaff at Mr. Mtiller's house. This 
gentleman is one of the local authorities and also agent 
for the steamer. A cold wind blows down the ravine, 
boats are coming off, the steam-whistle rejoices on hear- 
ing itself echoed among the hills, and the anchor is let 
go. Now, that we are near it, the town appears really 
picturesque and carries one several hundred years 
back, with its veritable old-world, higgledy-piggledy 

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Utf^S^ .... 


Saturday night, 6 p.m. — Went on shore in the 
captain's boat, called at Mr. Milller's office — a comfort- 
able new erection— and then separated into parties to 
explore the place. Crowds of men, women, and children, 
standing at every door, stare at us with undisguised 
child-like wonder; the men — middle-sized stalwart 
fellows with light hair and weathered faces — taking off 
their caps to us as we pass along returning their salutes. 

" An ancient fishy smell," together with a strong 
flavour of turf-smoke, decidedly predominate over sundry 
other nondescript odours in this strange out-landish 
town. The results of our exploration are embodied in 
the following jottings, which, at all events, participate 
so far in the spirit of the place as to resemble its ground- 

Houses, stone for a few feet next the ground, then 
wood, tarred or painted black, and generally two stories 

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in height; small windows, the sashes of which are painted 
white; green turf on the roofs. The interiors of t^e 
poorer sort of houses are very dark; an utter absence of 
voluntary ventilation; one fire, and that in the kitchen, 
the chimney often only a hole in the roo£ Tet even in 
these hovels there is generally a guest-room, comfortably 
boarded and furnished. In such apartments we observed 
chairs, tables, chests of drawers, feather-beds, down 
coverlets, a few books, engravings on the walls, specimens 
of ingenious native handiwork, curiosities, &a This 
juxtaposition under, the same roof was new to us, and 
struck every one as something quite peculiar and con- 
trary to all our previous experiences. The streets of 
Thorshavn are only narrow dirty irregular passages, 
often not more than two or three feet wide; one walks 
upon bare rock or mud These passages wind up steep 
places, and run in all manner of zigzag directions, so 
that the most direct line from one point to another 
generally leads "straight down crooked lane and all 
round the square." Observed a man on the top of a 
house cutting grass with a sickle. Here the approach 
of spring is first indicated by the turf roofs of the houses 
becoming green. Being invited, we entered several 
fishermen's houses; they seemed dark, smoky, and dirty; 
and, in all, the air was close and stifling. In one, 
observed a savoury pot of puffin broth, suspended from 
the ceiling and boiling on a turf fire built open like a 
smith's forge, the smoke finding only a very partial 
egress by the hole overhead; on the wall hung a number 
of plucked puffins and guillemots ; several hens seen 
.through the smoke sitting contentedly perched on a 
spar evidently intended for their accommodation in the 


zed by G00gle 


comer of the apartment; a stone hand-mill for grinding 
barley, such as Sarah may have used, lay on the floor; 
reminding one of the East, from whence the Scandin- 
avians came in the days of Odin. 

In passing along the street we saw strips of whale- 
flesh, black and reddish-coloured, hanging outside the 
gable of almost every house to dry, just as we have seen 
herrings in fishing-villages on our own coasts. When a 
shoal of whales is driven ashore by the boatmen, there 
are great rejoicings among the islanders, whose faces, we 
were told, actually shine for weeks after this their 6eason 
of feasting. What cannot be eaten at the time is dried 
for future use. Boiled or roasted it is nutritious, and 
not very unpalatable. The dried flesh which I tasted 
resembled tough beef, with a flavour of venison. Being 
"blood-meat," I would not have known it to be from 
the sea; and have been told that, when fresh and 
properly cooked, tender steaks from a young whale can 
scarcely be distinguished from beef-steak. 

The costume of the men is curious, and somewhat like 
that of the Neapolitans ;— a woollen cap, like the 
Phrygian, generally dark-blue or reddish; a long jacket 
and knee-breeches, both of coarse home-made cloth, 
blue or brown; long stockings; and thin, soft, buff- 
coloured lamb-skin shoes, made of one piece of leather, 
and without hard soles, so that they can find sure 
footing with them on the rocks, or use their toes when 
climbing crags almost as well as if they had their bare 
feet There is less peculiarity in the female costume. 
The men and women generally have light hair and blue 
eyes. Honest and industrious, crime is scarcely known 
amongst them. 

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Visited the Fort, which is very primitive; simply a 
little space on a hill-side, enclosed with a low rough 
stone wall; four small useless cannon lying on the grass, 
enjoying a sinecure — literally lying in clover; a wooden 
sentry-box in the corner; a flag-staff in front of it, and 
two little cottages behind, to accommodate several of 
the garrison, who prefer living there to lodging in the 
town, as their comrades do. There are only some eight 
or ten soldiers altogether; and these, with the com- 
mander, constitute the sole military establishment in 


Faroa They appear to occupy themselves with fishing, 
&c., very much like the other inhabitants of the place. 

Visited the library, which was established by a former 
Amptman or Governor. It occupies two rooms, which 
are shelved all round and comfortably heated with a 
stove. We observed many standard Danish, German, 
French and English books, several valuable folio works 
of reference, and many trashy modern novels. The 

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Faroese are inquisitive and intelligent, show a taste for 
reading, but possess no native literature like the 

Visited the church, which is built of wood The service 
performed in it is the Lutheran, as in Denmark. It 
contains an altar-piece intended to represent "Joseph 
of Arimathea with the dead body of Christ/' two large 
• candles, and a silver and ebony crucifix The galleries, 
of plain unvarnished wood, are arranged like opera 
stalls, one above the other from the floor, and with 
green curtains to each. At the right side of the pulpit 
were three large sand-glasses, an old custom once 
common in all our churches; fronting the altar was the 
organ-loft Everything about the church was neat, 
clean, and primitive. Flower-beds were planted so as 
to form wreaths or crosses on the graves in the church- 
yard; and all appeared to be carefully tended and kept 
in order by loving handa 

Went by invitation of Fraulein Lobner to drink tea 
at her mother's, the Danish officer with me. We were 
ushered into a charming old-fashioned room with low 
panelled roof; everything in it was neat, scrupulously 
clean, and primitive. A valance of white Nottingham lace- 
curtain ran along the top of the diamond-paned lattice 
windows; while a row of flower-pots, with blooming 
xoees and geraniums, stood in the window-sill. There 
were cabinets with rich old china-ware; several paintings 
on the wall, two of which were really excellent— one, a 
portrait in oil of her late father who had been Governor 
of Faroe; the other a portrait of her brother, also 
deceased. Her father was a Dane of German extraction; 
and her mother — a kindly old lady to whom we were 
now introduced— a native of Faroe. 

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At tea we had preserves, made from rhubarb grown 
in their own garden; a silver ewer of delicious cream 
highly creditable to Faroese dairyship; and buns, tarts, 
almond-cakes, &c, baked by the one baker of Thorshavn, 
and quite as good as could be had in London. 

While the officer was sketching from the window, our 
kind hostess wound up a musical box, at the same time 
expressing her regret that the piano-forte, which I had 
observed standing in the room, was under repair. She 
also showed us a folio of her own drawings, and many 
engravings. Here a lady of cultivated mind, and who 
has mingled in good society, is happy and content to 
dwell in this remote isle; for to her it posseses the magic 
of that endearing word — home I 

She tells us that wool, fish, feathers, and skins form 
the chief articles of export; that barley is the only grain 
raised in Faroe, but the summer is so short that it has 
not time to ripen. The ears are plucked by the hand 
and dried in a kiln. The rye, of which their black bread 
is made, is imported chiefly from Denmark. The hay- 
harvest is of great importance to the inhabitants. There 
are numerous sheep in the islands — some individuals 
possessing flocks of from four to five hundred, besides a 
few ponies and cows. Dried, the mutton is serviceable 
for food during winter, when frequent storms interfere 
with fishing operations. 

As in Shetland, the wool is collected from the sheep 
by the hand, at the season of the year when they are 
casting their fleeces; for shearing, besides being a more 
painful process, would deprive them of the long hair so 
necessary for their protection in an uncertain climate, 
and leave them to shiver exposed to the untempered 

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foxy of the northern blast The sheep thus enables the 
islanders to supply their own home wants, and also 
annually to export many thousand pairs of knitted stock- 
ings and gloves, together with the overplus raw material. 

Miss L, informs us that Thorshavn contains about 
eight hundred inhabitants. Of these, most of the men 
are fishers when the weather will admit of their going 
off The people are very ingenious, and make knives of 
all sizes, with curiously inlaid wooden handles and 
sheatha The wood for such purposes is obtained from 
logs of mahogany, which are frequently found as drift- 
wood among these islands. We were shewn a home- 
made fancy work-table, neatly put together in a very in- 
genious and workman-like manner. 

Each man here is a sort of Jack-of-all-trades, from the 
mending of boats or nets, to the killing of sheep and 
drying them in sheds for the winter store of provisions; 
from the making of lambskin shoes to the building of 
houses, or the manufacture of implements. 

Miss Lobner has kindly and obligingly undertaken to 
procure some specimens of these manufactures and local 
curiosities against my return from Iceland. 

Gazing round, as we take leave of our kind enter- 
tainers, I 'fix in my mind's eye the lady-like air and 
quaint point-devise costume of the elder lady, who, with 
silvery hair combed back from her brow, had moved 
about most assiduously performing all the sacred rites of 
hospitality to her guests; the mediaeval aspect of every- 
thing in the room, — from the stove to the timepiece, 
from the polished wooden floor to the panelled ceiling; 
the diamond-paned lattice windows, with their old-world 
outlook on the town and the flat wooden bridge, close 

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by, which crosses a brawling stream rushing impetuously 
over rocks from the gully behind; the absolute cleanness 
and polish of everything; and the monthly roses bloom- 
ing freshly as of old; — all so vividly impress themselves 
upon my mind that the whole becomes a waking dream 
of other days; and it would not seem much out of keep- 
ing, or at all surprising, were the Emperor Charles V. 
himself to open the door and walk into the quaint old 
apartment we are now about to leave. 

Nine P.M. — Wandered alone by the shore, and 
sketched the view, looking north, from beneath the fort; 
also made a drawing of the bay from the wooden jetty ; 
while engaged on the latter, crowds of fishermen gathered 

) -=* 


around me making odd remarks of wonder, the general 
scope of which I could gather, as they recognised the 
steamer, boats, hills, &c., coming up on the paper; 

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sketched one of the onlookers, an intelligent looking 
fellow, and here he is. 

pabBbss boatxay. 

The fishing boats or skiffs, have all the high bow and 
stern of the Norwegian yawl; square lug-sails very broad 
and carried low are the most common. The weather 
is so very uncertain, the gusts so sudden and violent, 
that* preceded by a lull during which a lighted candle 
may be carried in the open air, they come roaring down 
the valleys or between the islands, bellowing with a 
noise like thunder, and sometimes strip the turf from 
the hill side, roll it up like a sheet of lead and carry it 
away into the sea, while the air is darkened by clouds 
of dust and stones. 

Felt comfortably warm when sketching in the open 
air between ten and eleven P.M., for, though the climate 

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is moist, the mean temperature is warmer than that of 
Denmark, and, on account of the gulf stream, not much 
below our own. Forchhammer states that at Thorshavn 
in mild years, it is 49*2°; in cold years, 42'3*; the aver- 
age temperature being 45*4°. The greatest height of the 
thermometer during his observations was 72*5°, and the 
lowest 18-5°. 

Shortly before eleven o'clock the soldiers of the fort 
manned their boat, and rowed us off to the steamer. 

After narrating our various experiences on shore, had 
a pleasant quiet home-talk with Professor Chadbourne, 
read a few verses of the New Testament, and as the week 
was drawing to a close we retired to our berths, wishing 
each other a good night's rest after all the novel excite- 
ment, wonder, and fatigues of the day. 

Sabbath, July 24. — Wind high, and the lashing raiii 
pouring down in torrents. Went ashore at ten o'clock 
to attend church; heard the pleasing sound of psalm- 
singing in various of the fishermen's dwellings aswe passed 
along. Called for Mr MliUer, who had invited me to his 
pew. The service was Lutheran, and began at eleven 
o'clock. The pastor was absent, but the assistant, M. 
Llitzen, who is also schoolmaster and organist, officiated. 
All the people, singing lowly, joined in several fine old 
German chorales, led by the organist, who also played 
some of Sebastian Bach's music with much taste and 
feeling— although little indebted to the instrument* which 
was old and infirm, piping feebly and tremulously in it* 
second childhood. 

The area of the church was entirely occupied by women, 
many of them with their bare heads, but most of them 
with a quaint little covering on the back part of the 

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head for hair and oomb; only saw two bonnets in the 
whole congregation. One old lady — with her hair combed 
back, a black silk covering on the back part of her head, 
and, from where it terminated behind her ears, a stiff 
white frill sticking right out — looked as if she had just 
stepped out from one of Holbein's pictures; others 
resembled Gerard Dow's old women. The men "were 
drest, in their Sunday's best;" — long jackets and knee- 
breeches of coarse blue or brown cloth, frequently orna- 
mented with rows of metal buttons; stockings of the 
same colours; and the never-varying buff-coloured lamb- 
skin shoes. 

It was pleasing to see these stalwart descendants of 
the brave old Vikings "the heathen of the Northern 
sea," — these men whose daily avocations exposed them 
to constant perils by sea and land, here, in the very 
haven of Thor, walking reverently into a Christian church, 
with their caps and Bibles in their hands, and quietly 
entering their pews to worship God. 

Although the day was very wet, and the regular 
minister absent, there was present a congregation of 
about two hundred; and all seemed truly devotional 
during the service 

From the roof, between two old-fashioned brass chan- 
deliers, was suspended a brig, probably the gift of some 
sailor preserved from shipwreck. The service began at 
eleven o'clock, and ended at half-past twelve. When it 
was over, I spoke with Skolare Liitzen, who had offici- 
ated. He is a native of Copenhagen, speaks little 
English, but good German. He took me over the build- 
ing, and into the pulpit Altogether, the quaint appear- 
ance of the church, the organ, the singing of the people, 

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the devout reading and simplicity of the service, and the 
curious old costumes carried one back to the time of the 
Reformation, and to me all was singularly interesting. 
One could fancy that here, if anywhere, the European 
world had stood still, and that Luther himself would not 
have detected the lapse of centuries, if permitted once 
more to gaze on such a scene as was here presented. 

Two of us accompanied Mr Muller to his house before 
going on board the steamer. His wife and daughter 
were hospitable and kind; and, as usual on a visit here, 
tarts, cakes, und wine were produced. His home resem- 
bles a museum, containing many stuffed birds, eggs, 
geological specimens and other natural curiosities col- 
lected in these islands. His little son's name is Erasmus. 

Captain Andriessen had wished to sail to-day, but 
could not get men to work on Sabbath discharging the 
cargo; at which I was well pleased, both for the right 
feeling it indicated on the part of the Faroese, and for 
our own sakea Here we lie peacefully anchored in the 
bay, enjoying the Sabbath quiet, while the tempest is 
now howling wildly outside the islands, and the lashing 
pelting rain is pouring down on the deck overhead like 
a shower-bath. 

" Such groans of roaring wind and rain I nerer 
Remember to have beard." 

The rain having abated, ere retiring for the night, 
walked the deck for half an hour. Thorshavn, as seen 
in the strong light and shade of evening from the 
steamer's deck, has truly a most quaint old-world 
look — all the more so now that we know it from 
exploration — so very primitive that one can scarcely 
imagine anything like it It is unique. 

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Monday morning, July 25.— From an early hour, 
all hands busily occupied discharging the cargo, heavily- 
laden boats following each other to the shore. At half- 
past one o'clock, the last boat pushes off, the steam- 
whistle is blown, and we sail away round the south point 
of Stromoe, shaping our course north-west through 



Hestoe Fiord The coast of the islands is abrupt, 
mostly rising sheer from the sea; many basaltic 
columns, and a succession of wave-worn caves, in front of 
which countless sea-birds are flying, swimming and div- 
ing. The trap hills are regularly terraced like stairs. 
Clouds drifting among the hills, and from every gully 
cataracts leaping down in white foam to the sea The 
general colour of the rocks is gray and brown, slightly 
touched here and there with green. These islands 
might be characterized as several groups or chains of 
hills, lying nearly parallel to each other and separated 
by narrow arms of the sea, which run in straight lines 

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north-west and south-east The summits of the larger 
islands reach an elevation of from one to two thousand 
feet; while the highest hill — Slattaretind, near Eide in 
Oesteroe — is two thousand nine hundred feet high. 

The hills around still exhibit a succession of grassy 
declivities, alternating with naked walls of black or 
brown rock. The flat heights of these islands, we are 
told, are either bare rock or marshy hollows. There are 
also several small lakes, the largest of which, in Vaagoe, 
is only two miles in circumference, and lies surrounded 
by wild rugged mountain masses. 

We count a dozen foaming cataracts, all in sight at 
once, and falling down over precipitous rocks around 
us into the sea. The wind perceptibly sways them 
hither and thither, and then dispersing the lower por- 
tion of the water raises it in silvery clouds of vapour 
on which rainbows play. They resemble the Staubach 
in Switzerland; and remind us of the wild mist-veil 
apparition of Ktthleborn, in the charming story of 

The tidal currents, in the long narrow straits which 
divide the northern islands from each other, are strong 
but regular ; running six hours the one way and six hours 
the other. Boatmen must calculate and wait for the 
stream, as the oar is powerless against it 

The atmospheric effects are beautiful; — a bold head- 
land, ten miles to the south, appears in the bright sun- 
shine to be of the deepest violet colour; no magic of the 
pencil could approach such a tint It is heightened too 
by the white gleaming sail of a fishing smack relieved 
against it 

When we got clear of the islands, the ground-swell 
/ o 

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became much heavier; for the storm of the preoeding 
day had been terrific Great heavy waves of smooth 
unbroken water, worse than Spanish rollers; boat 
tumbling and plunging about; with sail set to steady 
her; walked the deck for an hour and found use for my 

Several gulls follow the ship; I never tire of watching 
their graceful motions, as, with white downy plumage 
and wings tipt with blade, they fly forward round the 
mast, remain poised over the deck, or fall astern keeping 
in the steamer's waka Two of our companions have 
discovered a capital sheltered nook and sit smoking; 
perched up inside the large inverted boat which we 
axe taking north with u& 

An Icelander and a Dane are among the second-class 
passengers; got them to read aloud to me Icelandic and 
Danish, also Greek and Latin. In pronouncing the 
latter two, they follow the classic mode and give the 
broad vowel sounds, as taught in the German and Scottish 
universities but not at Oxford or Cambridge. 

The dim Faroes are fast falling astern— 

"Fiwff mountains tnrnld into cloud*.* 

The vessel by the log makes eight knots— course, N. 
by W. and sails set 

The day lengthens as we go north, and at mid- 
night I can now see to read large print, although the 
aky is very cloudy. 

• No land— no sail in sight; we heave over the billows 
of the lonely Northern Sea, and now all is clear before 
us for Iceland I 

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or fabOe and Iceland. 35 

SB ^7^ )- ~ ; - _ 

^ — i: . 

— -j c* m i'~ ; 



Tuesday morning, Jvly 26. Open sea and not a sail 
visible, although we carefully scan "the round ocean." 

Tremendous rolling all night; everything turning 
topsy-turvy and being knocked about — my portmanteau, 
which was standing on the cabin floor, capsized Only 
by dint of careful adjustment and jambing in the form 
of the letter z could we prevent ourselves from being 
shot out of our bertha 

To-day we have the heaviest rolling I ever experienced. 
It is impossible even to sit on the hurricane deck without 
holding on by a rope, and not easy even with such 
assistance. Deck at an angle of 40 to 45°. The boat 
fastened aloft aggravates matters. A very little more, or 
the slightest shifting of the cargo, would throw us on our 
beam ends. The boat getting loose from its fastenings 
when we are on the larboard roll would break off the 
funnel. The Captain has hatchets ready, at once to send 
it overboard or break it up if requisite for our safety. 

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The bell tolling with the roll of the ship, first on the one 
side, and then on the other; generally four or five times 
in succession. A series of large rollers alternate with 
lesser waves; the bell indicates the former. Waves 
without wind roll in from the N. and N.W., both on the 
starboard and port bow. 

In the afternoon saw a piece of wreck — mast and 
cordage — floating past, most likely a record of woe; 
involving waiting weary hearts that will not die. 

Not a speck on the whole horizon line; a feeling of 
intense loneliness would at times momentarily creep over 
us. Birds overhead flying south brought to mind 
Bryant's beautiful poem addressed to "The Waterfowl," 
which he describes as floating along darkly painted on 
the crimson sky: 

"There it a Power whose care 
Teaches th j way along that pathless coast,— 
The desert and illimitable air 

Lone wandering but not lost. 

Thon'rt gone, the abyss of hearen 
Hath swallowed op thy form; yet, on my heart, 
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast giren, 

And shall not soon depart 

He, who from xono to cone 
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, 
In the long way that I must tread alone 

Will lead my steps aright" 

The heavy rolling still continues. Hope the cargo 
will keep right, or we shall come to grief. Thought of 
the virtues of my friends. However, maugre a dash of 
danger, a group of us on the hurricane deck really 
enjoyed the scene as if we had been veritable Mother 
Carey's chickens. One sang Barry Cornwall's song 

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"The Sea;" another by way of contrast gave us "Annie 
Laurie" and "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled;" and 
towards evening we all joined in singing "York ;" that 
grand old psalm tune harmonizing well with the place 
and time— • 

VTho setting sun, and music at the close !" 

The gulf-stream and the rollers meeting make a wild 
jumble. Barometer very low — 28*?; low enough for a 
hurricane in the tropica Stormy rocking in our sea- 
cradle all day and all night 

Wednesday, Jvly 27. — Vessel still rolling as much as 
ever. Saw a skua — a black active rapacious bird, a sort of 
winged pirate-— chasing a gull which tried hard to evade it 
by flying, wavering backwards and forwards, zigzagging, 
doubling, now rising and now falling, till at last, wearied 
out and finding escape impossible, it disgorged and dropt 
a fish which the skua pounced upon, picking it up before 
it could reach the surface of the sea. The fish alone had 
been the object of the skua's pursuit The skua is at 
best but a poor fisher and takes this method of supplying 
its wants at second hand. Subsequently we often 
observed skuas following this their nefarious calling; 
unrelentingly chasing and attacking the gulls until they 
gave up their newly caught fish, when they were at once 
left unmolested and allowed to go in peace ; but whether 
the sense of wrong or joy at escape predominated, or 
with what sort of feelings and in what light the poor 
gulls viewed the transaction, a man would require to be 
a bird in order to form an adequate idea. 

We cannot now be far from Iceland, but clouds above 
and low thick mists around preclude the possibility of 

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taking observations or seeing far before us. In clear 
weather we are told that the high mountains are visible 
from a distance of 100 or 150 miles at sea 

At half-past Three o'clock P.M., peering hard through 
the mist* we discover, less than a mile ahead, a white 
i fringe of surf breaking on a low sandy shore for which 

| we axe running right stem on. It is the south of Iceland; 

I dim heights loom through the haze; the vessel's head is 

\ turned more to the west and we make for sailing, in a 

jf westerly direction with a little north in it> along the 

shore up the western side of the island which in shape 
somewhat resembles a heart 

The mist partially clears off and on our right we sight 
Portland Huk, the most southern point of Iceland Here 
rocks of a reddish brown colour run out into the sea 
rising in singular isolated forms like castellated buildings; 
one mass from a particular point of view exactly resembles 
the ruins of Iona, even to the square tower ; other peaks are 





like spires. Strange fantastic needle-like rocks or drongs 
shoot up into the air— the Witches' fingers (Trollkone- 
finger) of the Northmen. The headland exhibits a great 
arched opening through which, we were told, at certain 
states of the tide, the steamer could sail if her masts 

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were lowered It is called Dyrh61aey — the hill door— 
and from it the farm or village close by is named 
Dyrh61ar. Behind these carious rocks appeared a range 
of greenish hills mottled with snow-patches, their white 
summits hid in the rolling clouda 

There are numerous waterfalls; glaciers— the ice of a 
pale whity-green colour— fill the ravines and creep down 
the valleys from the Jokuls to the very edge of the water. 
Their progressive motion here is the same as in 
Switzerland, and large blocks of lava are brought down 
imbedded in their moraina I perceived what I thought 
to be curved lines on the surface like the markings on 
mother-of-pearl, indicating that the downward motion of 
a glacier is greater in the centre than where impeded by 
friction at the sides. 

On the shoulders of the range of heights along the 
coast, enow, brown-coloured patches and green-spots 
were all intermingled ; while the upper mountain regions 
of perpetual snow were meanwhile for the most part hid 
in clouds which turban-like swathed their brows in 
fleecy "folds voluminous and vast" 

The steamer is running, at nine knots, straight for the 
Westmanna Islands, where a mail is to be landed. 
They lie off the coast nearly half way between Portland 
Huk, the south point, and Cape Reykjanes the south* 
west point of Iceland. 

How gracefully the sea-birds skim the brine, taking 
the long wave-valleys, disappearing and reappearing 
amongst the great heaving billows. We note many 
waterfalls leaping from the mountain sides to the shore, 
and at times right into the sea itself, from heights 
Apparently vaiying from two to four hundred feet 

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• We now approach the Westmanna Islands, so called 
from ten Irish slaves — westmen — who in the year A.D. 875 
took refuge here after killing Thorleif their master. They 
are a group of strange fantastically shaped islets of 
brown lava-rock ; only three or four however have any 
appearance of grass upon them, and but one island, 
Heimaey — the home isle, is inhabited The precipitous 
rock-cliffe are honeycombed with holes and caves which 
are haunted by millions of birds. These thickly dot the 
crevices with masses of living white; hover like clouds 
in the air, and swarm the waters around like a fringe- 
resting; fluttering, or diving, by turna 

Westmannshavn, the harbour of the islands, is a bay 
on the north-west of Heimaey where a green vale slppes 
down to the sea. It is sheltered by the islands of 
Heimaklettur on the North, and Bjarnarey on the East 
We observed a flag flying, and a few huts scattered 
irregularly and sparsely on the slope. This place is 
called Eaupstadr— -or head town — but there is no other 
town in the group. The roofs of the huts were covered 
with green sod and scarcely to be distinguished from the 
gTass of the slope on which they stood save by the light 
blue smoke which rose curling above them from turf 

A row-boat came off for the mail, which, we were told, 
had never before been landed here from a steamer; the 
usual mode is to get it from Reykjavik in a sailing 
vessel For those accustomed to at least half a dozen 
deliveries of letters every day, it was strange to think 
that here there were fewer posts in a whole year. These 
Islands have, on account of their excellent fisheries, from 
very remote periods been much frequented by foreign 

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vessels. Before the discovery of Newfoundland, British 
merchants resorted hither, and also to ports on the west 
coast of Iceland, to exchange commodities and procure 
dried stock-fish. Icelandic ships also visited English 
ports. This intercommunication can be distinctly traced 
back to the time of Henry III; but by the beginning 
of the fifteenth century it had become regular and had 
risen to importance. It was matter of treaty between 
Norway and England; but, with or without special 
licenses, or in spite of prohibitions — sometimes with the 
connivance and permission of the local authorities, and 
at other times notwithstanding the active opposition of 
one or both governments — the trade being mutually pro- 
fitable to those engaged in it continued to be prosecuted 
English tapestry and linen are mentioned in old Ice- 
landic writings, and subsequently we learn that English 
strong ale was held in high estimation by the Northmen. 

Edward III. granted certain privileges and exemptions 
to the fishermen of Blacknie and Lyne in Norfolk on 
account of their Icelandic commerce. In favourable 
weather the distance could be run in about a fortnight 

From Icelandic records we learn that in the year A.D. 
1412, "30 ships engaged in fishing were seen off the 
coast at one tima" "In A.D. 1415 there were no fewer 
than 6 English merchant ships in the harbour of Hafha 
Fiord alone." 

Notwithstanding the proclamations and prohibitions 
both of Eric and Henry Y. the traffic still continued to 
increase; and we incidentally learn that in the year A.D. 
1419 "Twenty-five English ships were wrecked on this 
coast in a dreadful snow-storm/' Goods supplied to the 
natives then, as in later times, were both cheaper and 

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better than could be obtained from the Danish mono- 
polists. It will be remembered by the reader that when 
Columbus visited Iceland he sailed in a bark from the 
port of Bristol. 

Gazing on this singular group of rocky Islands, on the 
coast of Iceland, so lone and quiet, and reverting to the 
early part of the thirteenth century, it was strange to 
realize that into this very bay had then sailed and cast 
anchor the ships of our enterprising countrymen— quaint 
old-&8hioned ships, such as we may still see represented 
in illuminated MSS. of the period; and that their latest 
news to such English merchants or fishermen as had 
wintered or perhaps been stationed for some time at 
Westmannshavn — supposing modern facilities for the 
transmission of news— would not have been the peace of 
Yillafranca but the confirmation of Magna Charta;— 
instead of the formation of volunteer corps, nobles 
hastening to join the fifth Crusade; — not the treading 
out of a Sepoy revolt, but Mongolian hordes overrunning 
the Steppes of Russia;— and instead of some important 
law-decision, celebrated trial, or case in Chancery, 
they might hear of an acquaintance who had perished in 
single combat, or who had indignantly and satisfactorily 
proved his or her innocence by submitting to trial by 
ordeaL These were the old times of Friar Bacon — the 
days of alchemy and witchcraft Haco had not yet been 
crowned King of Norway; Snorre Sturleson was yet a 
young man meditating the " Heimskringla/' The chisel 
of Nicolo Pisano and the pencil of Cimabue were at 
work in Italy. Neither Dante nor Beatrice as yet 
existed; nor had the factions of Guelph and Ghibeline 
sprung into being; Chancer was not born till the 

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following centuiy. Aladin reigned; Alphonzo the Wise, 
King of Leon and Castile, had not promulgated his code 
of laws. Not a single Lombard moneylender had arrived 
to settle in London; and the present structure of 
Westminster Abbey had not then been reared 




On leaving Westmannshavn, sailing north between the 
islands of Heimaklettur and Bjarnarey, we saw two men 
rowing a boat deeply laden to the gunwale with sea-fowls, 
probably the result of their day's work. The cliflfe every- 
where alive with birds, and the smooth sea beneath 
them, in the glorious light of the evening sun, dotted 
black as if peppered with puffins and eider-ducka 

Nine P.M. Sketched various aspects of the islands 
and several of the strange outlying skerries. 


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When the Westmanna Islands are reckoned at 
fourteen, that number does not include innumerable little 
rocky stacks and islets of all fantastic shapes alone or in 
groups; some like Druidical stones or old ruins, others 
of them far out and exactly like ships in full sail, 
producing a strange effect on the horizon. 

The island nearest the coast of Iceland on the east of 
Heimaey is called Erlendsey; that furthest north-west 
is Dr&ngr; and the furthest west Einarsdrangr. On 
the south-west is an islet called Alsey; we have also an 
Ailsa in the frith of Clyde: both names probably signify- 
ing fire-isla The islet furthest south is called Geirfu- 
glasker. These names are necessarily altogether omitted 
on common small maps. 

We witness a glorious sunset on the sea,— the horizon 
streaked with burning gold : 

"Now *gan the golden Phosbns for to steep* 
His fierj faoe in billows of the west, 
And his faint steedes watered in ocean deepe 
Whiles from his journall labours he did rest." 

Although the surface of the sea is quite smooth, a 
heavy ground swell keeps rolling along. A bank of 
violet cloud lies to the left of the sun, while dense 
masses of leaden and purple-coloured clouds are piled 
above it An opening glows like a furnace seven times 
heated, darting rays from its central fire athwart the 
sky, and opening up a burning cone-shaped pathway of 
light on the smooth heaving billows, the apex of which 
reaches our prow. 

Such the scene, as we sail north-west between the 
northernmost out-lying skerries of the Westmanna group 
And the south-west coast of Iceland and silently 

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watch the gorgeous hues of sunset Strangely at such 
times "hope and memory sweep the chords by turns," 
till the past, fused down into the present, beoomes a 
magic mirror for the future. 

The air is mild and warm; time by Greenwich 
twenty-minutes to eleven. The sun is not yet quite 
down, and — by the ship's compass, without making any 
allowance for deviation — is setting due north. At a 
quarter-past 12 A.M. when we leave the deck, it is still 
quite light 

Thursday Morninff, July 28. Rose early — we are 
sailing along the Erisuvik coast in the direction of Cape 


Reykjanes — smoky cape — which runs out from the 
south-west of Iceland The low lying coast is of black 


lava; behind it rise serrated hill-ranges, and isolated 
conical mountains; some of a deep violet colour, others 

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covered with snow and ice, the dazzling whiteness of 
which is heightened by contrast with the low dark fire- 
scathed foreground. White fleecy clouds are rolling 
among the peaks, now dense and clearly defined against 
the bright blue sunny sky— now hazy, ethereal, and 
evanescent We observe steam rising from a hot sulphur 
spring on the coast These are numerous in this 
neighbourhood, which 'contains the principal sulphur 
mines of the island Here, where we sail, volcanic 
islands have at different times arisen and disappeared; 
flames too have sometimes been seen to issue from 
submarine craters; this latter phenomenon the natives 
describe as "the sea" being "on fire." 


On our left we pass Eldey— or the Fire Isle — a curious 
isolated basaltic rock resembling the Bass, but much 
.smaller. It rose from the deep in historic times. The 
top slopes somewhat, and is white; this latter appearance 
has originated its Danish name "Maelsek," which is 
pronounced precisely in the same way as "meal-sack" 
would be in the Scottish dialect; — in fact the words are 
the same. Many solan geese flying about ; whales gam- 
boling and spouting close to the vessel. 

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Nine AM., Greenwich time. Got first glimpse of 
Snsefells Jokul — the fifth highest mountain in Iceland — 
height 4577 feet — lying nearly in a north-west direction, 
far away across the blue waters of the Faxa Fiord. A 
pyramid covered with perpetual snow and ice, gleaming 
in the sun, its outline is now traced against a sky of 
deeper blue than any of us ever beheld in Switzerland 
or Italy. 

The Faxa Fiord, situated on the south-west, is the 
largest in the island, and might be described as a 
magnificent bay, forming a semicircle which extends 
fifty-six miles from horn to horn; while its shores are 
deeply and irregularly indented by arms of the sea, or 
Fiords proper, which have names of their own, such as 
Hafhafiord, Hvalfiord, or Borgarfiord. Snoefell, on the 
north side of it, rises from the extremity of the long 
narrow strip of steep mountain promontory that runs 
out into the sea, separating the Faxa from the Breida 
Fiord — another large bay; — while on the south the 
Guldbringe Syssel, terminating with Cape Reykjanes, is 
a bare low-lying black contorted lava field. 

The Faxa Fiord, then, sweeping in a semicircle from 
Sn&fell to Reykjanes, contains several minor Fiords, 
and is crowded with lofty mountain-peaks, sharp, steep, 
and bare. The intense clearness of the northern 
atmosphere through which these appear, together with 
the fine contrast of their colours — reds, purples, golden 
hues, and pale lilacs; rosy-tinted snow or silvery- 
glittering ice — all sharply relieved against the blue sky, 
as if by magic confound southern ideas of distance, so 
that a mountain which at first glance appears to be 
only ten or fifteen miles distant, may in reality be forty 
or fifty, and perhaps considerably mora 

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The capital of Iceland lies in the south-east of this 
great bay. We have been sailing due north from Cape 
Reykjanes to the point of Skagi, and, rounding it, we 
sail east by north right into the Faxa Fiord, cutting 
off the southern segment of the bay, and are making 
straight for Reykjavik. 

Several low-lying islands shelter the port and make 
the anchorage secure; one of these is Videy on which 
some of the government offices formerly stood, but it is 
now noted as a favourite resort of eider ducks which are 
here protected by law in order to obtain the down with 
which their nests are lined 

Solitary fishermen are making for the shore in their 
skiff-like boats. A French frigate and brig, a Danish 
war schooner and several merchant sloops are seen 
lying at anchor, shut in by the islands and a low lava 
promontory. All are gaily decked with colours. On 
rounding the point, Reykjavik the capital of Iceland lies 
fairly before us. It is situated on a gentle greenish 
slope rising from the black volcanic sand of that 
"Plutonian shore." There are grassy heights at either 
side of the town and a fresh water lake like a large pond 
behind it The cathedral in the centre, built of brick 
plastered brown stone colour, and tho windmill on the 
height to the left, are the two most prominent objects. 
The front street consists of a single row of dark-coloured 
Danish looking wooden houses facing the sea. These 
we are told are mostly merchants' stores. Several of 
them have flag-staffs from which the Danish colours now 
flutter. All our glasses are in requisition. Numerous 
wooden jetties lead from the sea up to the road in front 
of the warehouses, and, on these, females like the fish- 

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women of Calais, "withered, grotesque, wrinkled," and 
seeming "immeasurably old," with others younger and 
better looking, are busily engaged in carrying dried fish 
between the boats and the stores. Young and old alike 
wear the graceful Icelandic female head-dress — viz. a 
little black cloth scull-cap, jauntily fastened with a hair 
pin on the back part of the head. From the crown of 
this cap hangs a silver tube ornament, out of which flows 
a long thick black silk tassel falling on the shoulder. 

Two streets run inland from the front street, and at 
right angles to it That on the left contains the Governor's 
house, and the residences of several officiala It leads to 
the house where the Althing or Icelandic Parliament 
now assembles, and where, in another part of the same 
building, Rector Jonson teaches in the one academy of 
the island. The other street on the right contains 
several shops, merchants' dwelling-houses, the residence 
of J<5n Gudmundson, president of the Althing, advocate, 
and editor of a newspaper. It leads to the hotel, and to 
the residence of Dr. Hjaltelin, a distinguished anti- 
quarian and the chief physician of the island. In the 
same direction, a little higher up, is the lonely church- 

Between these two streets, houses stand at irregular 
intervals, and nearly all have little garden-plots attached 
to them. 

On the outskirts, flanking the town, which in appear- 
ance is more Danish than Icelandic, are a few 
fishermen's huts, roofed over with green sod; and these, 
we afterwards found, were more like the style of build- 
ings commonly to be met with throughout the island. 

As we cast anchor, the morning sunshine is gloriously 

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bright and clear, sea and sky intensely blue, and the 
atmosphere more transparent than that of Switzerland 
or Italy. Beyond Reykjavik, wild bare heights rise all 
round the bay; here— mountains of a ruddy brown colour, 
deeply scarred and distinctly showing every crevice; 
there — snow-patches gleaming on dark purple hills; 
here — lofty pyramids of glittering ice; there— cones of 
black volcanic rock; while white fleecy clouds in horizontal 
layers streak the distant peaks, and keep rolling down 
the shoulders of the nearer Essian range. 

The arrival of the steamer is quite an event to the 
Icelanders. A boat came off from the shore, and 
another from the French brig, to get the mail-bags. 
We brought tidings of the peace ' of Villafranca, and 
heard the cheering of the French sailors when the news 
was announced to them. Dr. Mackinlay, who had 
remained, exploring various parts of the island, since the 
previous voyage of the Arcturus, and for whom we had 
letters and papers, kindly volunteered to give us 
information about the Geyser expedition. From his 
habits of keen observation, patient research, and kind- 
heartedness, he was well qualified to do so. 

He recommended Geir Zoga, who had accompanied 
him on board, as a good trustworthy guida We wished 
to start at once, so as to make the most of our time, but 
the undertaking was a more serious affair than we had 
anticipated. Ultimately, before landing, we arranged 
to start next morning at eight o'clock, as the very best 
we could do. 

The distance to be got over is 72 miles, literally 
without roads or shelter; and mostly over wild rough 
stony wastes, in comparison with which the bed of a 

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mountain water-course would be a good macadamized 
road. Provisions, traps, and everything we require have 
to be taken along with us. 

We are a party of six; the guide has two assistants; 
nine riders in all, each requires a relay horse, so that 
eighteen ponies for the riders, and six for the baggage 
are requisite for our expedition. These have to be 
bargained for and collected together by Zoga from the 
farms around Reykjavik; and as the ponies now run 
almost wild over the wastes in pursuit of scant herbage, 
and neither receive grooming, stabling, nor feeding, this 
is a work of time, and will occupy, Dr. Mackinlay tells 
us, not only the whole afternoon but the greater part of 
the night 

No one had brought provisions north but myself, so 
arrangements are made with the steward of the steamer 
for supplying them, and mine thrown in with the rest 
pro bono publico. Having fixed that Zoga should call 
in the evening at the hotel and report progress, at 
half-past 11 o'clock A.M. we got into the Captain's boat 
to land, where, long ago, Ingolf the first colonist had 
drawn his ship on shore. As the remainder of the day 
is at our disposal, curiosity is on edge to explore 
Reykjavik, the general plan and appearance of which 
has already been described — partly by anticipation. 

The sun-glare is oppressively hot As we approach 
the jetty we observe groups of men and women standing 
on the beach to see the passengers land. Some of the 
younger women are good-looking, and become the 
picturesque costume of the country; — those curious little 
black caps with silver ornaments and long black silk 
tassels already described; jackets faced with silver laco 

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or rows of metal buttons; belts similarly ornamented; 
long flowing dark wadmal skirts of home manufacture; 
and primitive shoes made of one bit of cow-skin or any 
kind of hide, prepared so as in colour to resemble 
parchment or the skin one sometimes sees stretched 
like a drum-bead over the mouth of a jar of honey. 

A few other ladies are in morning dress, with shawls 
or handkerchiefs thrown gracefully over their heads, 
and nothing peculiar or different in their costume from 
what we are accustomed to see at homa 

Mr. Haycock had received a letter of introduction to 
Mr. Simson, and I had one to Mr. Sievertsen ; the latter 
is a retired merchant, and the former carries on a large 
business of a very miscellaneous kind — such being the 
character of all the stores or factories here. As the 
houses of these gentlemen both lay in the same direction, 
we set out together in order to obtain advice as to what 
was to be seen in Reykjavik and its neighbourhood. 
In passing along the front street, the stores — mostly 
belonging to Danish merchants — presented quite a 
bustling business aspect; while the dwelling houses, 
with lattice windows, white curtains and flower-pots of 
blooming roses and geraniums, exhibited an air of 
cleanliness comfort and refinement From the absence 
of roads, carts are useless; one wheel barrow which we 
saw, belonging to an enterprising storekeeper, we were 
told, was the only wheeled vehicle in the island. 

Mr. Sigurdur Sievertsen received us most cordially. 
This intelligent old gentleman conducted Sir George 
Mackenzie, who was his father's guest* to the Geysers; 
and he is alluded to by Sir George, in his travels, as 
"young Mr. Sievertsen," Time works changes! or, as 

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Archbishop Whately would more accurately put it, 
changes are wrought, not by, but "in time." However, 
Mr. Sievertsen is hale and hearty, and many summers 
may he yet see! On the wall we saw the portrait of 
his gifted and much lamented son, who several years 
ago died in Paris. He had been taken there by Louis 
Philip to receive a free education, as a graceful acknow- 
ledgment to the Icelanders for kindness shewn to the 
crew of a French vessel wrecked on their coast 

Our host has visited Britain, and both speaks and 
writes English fluently. Neither he nor his amiable 
wife spared any pains in trying to be of service to us. 
They gave us all manner of information, and kindly 
assisted us in procuring specimens of native manufacture, 

l Men's shoes, o Girt*' shoes. • 8nuffbox made of walrus task. ■ Female-head- 
dress with flowing silk tassel (see p. 49). » Distaff, m Two-thumbed raits. 

such as — silver trinkets of beautiful workmanship; fine 
knitted gloves soft as Angola wool; fishermen's mits 

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with no divisions for the fingers but each made with 
two thumbs, so that when the fishing line wears through 
one side the other can be turned ; caps ; men and women's 
oboes; quaint snuff boxes made of walrus tusk, or horn; 
and sundry other souvenirs which we wished to take 
south with us. 

In Mr. Simson's store we saw everything from a 
needle to an anchor; from the coarsest packsheet to 
French ribbons, At Mr. Smith's, whose son had come 
north with us on his way from Copenhagen, we invested 
in seal-skins and eider-down — the latter for pillows and 
coverlets. This down, the eider-duck plucks from its 
breast to line its nest; it and the eggs are taken away. 
Again the nest is lined, and again robbed. The third 
time, the drake repairs it> supplying the down ; and if this 
be also taken away the nest is altogether deserted by the 
ill-used pair. One nest yields about two and a half 
ounces of the finest clean down, or about half a pound 
in all if removed three times. What is plucked from 
the dead bird, it is said, possesses none of that wonderful 
elasticity which constitutes the value of the other. We 
should think, however, that this would depend on the 
state of the plumage at the time. Many thousand pounds 
weight of it are annually exported for quilts, pillows, 
cushions, &a It sells in Iceland at from 10/6 to 17/6 
per lb. From three to four lbs. are sufficient for a 
coverlet, which, to be enjoyed in perfection, ought to be 
used unquilted and loose like a feather bed. Quilting is 
only useful where a small quantity of down is required 
to go a long way; but, with three or four pounds at 
command, there is no comparison in point of comfort 
between loose and quilted— we have tried both. The 

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eider coverlet combines lightness and warmth in a degree 
which cannot be otherwise obtained With a single 
sheet and blanket, it is sufficient for the coldest wintry 
night Its elasticity is proverbial; hence the Icelandic 
conundrum we had propounded to us by our good friend 
Mr. Jacobson, " What is it that is higher when the head 
is taken off it?" Answer — "An eider-down pillow!" 

In walking along we saw some young ladies, in elegant 
Parisian costume, out sunning themselves like butterflies. 
The thermometer stood at 72°, so, light coloured fancy 
parasols were in requisition and enjoyed no sinecure 
to-day, even in Iceland. Single days here are sometimes 
very bright and warm, though rarely without showers; 
for the weather is very changeable, and summer short at 
best Less rain falls in the northern part of the island 
than in the southern; because the mountains in the 
south first catch and empty the rain clouds floating from 
the south-west over the course of the gulf-stream. For 
this reason there is more sunshine in the north, crops too 
are heavier and earlier; for, notwithstanding the 3° 
higher latitude, the summer temperature is nearly the 
same as that of the south. In winter, however, it is 
colder, from the presence of Spitsbergen icebergs and 
Greenland ice-floes stranded on the shore, while the sea 
to the north and east is filled with them. Last winter 
was very severe ; the south and west were also filled 
My friend Dr. Mackinlay has treated this subject— the 
the climate of Iceland — so admirably, that I cannot 
refrain from quoting his MS. notes: 

"The number and size of the rivers" says he, ''cannot 
fail to strike the attention of every visitor who sees much 
of the country especially along the coasts. The main 

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cause of ibis is, of course, the abundant rain-fall which 
is out of all proportion to the latitude of Iceland 

"This excess is owing to two causes — The mountainous 
nature of the country; and its geographical position. 
Iceland lies in the direct course of one of the branches 
of the gulf-stream. No land intervenes between it and 
the Bermudas. The rain-charged clouds from the south- 
west axe therefore ready to part with their moisture as 
soon as they touch the shores of Iceland. As they move 
northwards, to the back-bone of the island, their 
temperature diminishes so rapidly that the whole of 
their moisture becomes precipitated. Winds from the 
S.W., S., and S.E., drench the southern part of the 
Island, but bring fair weather to the north. 

"As the southernly winds are the most frequent, the 
north side enjoys the greatest number of sunny days 
in summer; and hence vegetation is more luxuriant 
there, even though the latitude is 3° higher, and the 
southernly winds are chilled in passing over the great 
mountain chain. The mean summer temperature of the 
north is almost as high as that of the south; but the 
mean temperature of the year is 1 4° lower. In the south 
this is 47°, but in the north it is 33°. The climate of 
the south is insular in its character, while that of the 
north is continental Severe continuous frosts are rare 
about Reykjavik; while along the north coast the 
winters are very severe. The severity of the winters is 
mainly caused by the presence of ice in the adjoining 
seas. The cold Arctic current from Spitsbergen, which 
impinges on the north coast, comes freighted in winter 
with an occasional iceberg ; while the westerly winds and 
the west Icelandic branch of the gulf-stream combine to 

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OF FAEOB and iceulnd. 57 

fill the seas to the north and east of the island with ice 
floes from Greenland In ordinary winters, the seas to 
the south and east are open ; but in extraordinary winters 
they also are filled. Such a winter was that of 1858-9. 
The corresponding winter in Britain was very mild, and 
owed its mildness to the same cause which produced 
the hard winter of Iceland — the unusual prevalence of 
westerly winds. 

"In the first months of 1859, the sea between Green- 
land and Iceland — 200 miles wide — was packed with 
ice floes ; and upon these several bears made their way 
across to Iceland. Floating ice surrounded the island; 
but along the north coast the sea itself was frozen so far 
out that the people of Grimsey, twenty miles or so from 
the nearest point of Iceland, actually rode across to the 
mainland. At Akur Eyri in the beginning of April, 
Reaumur's thermometer registered 26° of cold — a 
temperature equal to 26J° of Fahrenheit So late as 
June, seven French fishing boats were lost in the ice on 
the north coast, and a French ship of war nearly met 
with the same fate. Speaking of northern ice, Captain 
Launay, of the French man-of-war referred to, told me 
that its approach could be foreseen at the distance of 
twenty-five to thirty miles by a peculiar reflection of the 
sky. As the distance diminishes, the sky gets overcast, 
the temperature falls rapidly, and fish and sea-fowl 
disappear. The Greenland ice is much more dangerous 
than the Spitsbergen. The latter is 120 to 1 50 feet high, 
massive and wall-sided, but of no great extent The 
former is in immense floes, often forming bays in which 
ships are caught as in a snare. It seldom exceeds 40 
feet in height; but is jagged and peaked Sometimes 

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drift-timber gets nipped between the floes, and is set 
fire to by the violent friction it sustains. The sound of 
the crushing ice was described by Captain Launay as 
most horribla" 

Thus much of the climate. 

Dr. Mackinlay took Mr. Haycock and me to call for 
the Governor, the Count Yon Trampe, who is a Dane, 
and well known for his urbanity to strangers. He 
kindly introduced us to his family. The house itself 
resembles, and at once suggests pictures we have seen of 
missionaries' houses in Madagascar. Within doors, 
however, all is tasteful and elegant One peculiarity is 
worth noting, viz. : that the walls of his suite of apart- 
ments are covered with French portraits, paintings, 
engravings, and lithographs, nearly all presentations. 
In the public room, I only observed one that was not 
French. Judging from the walls, we might have been 
in the residence of a French Consul. French frigates are 
put on this station, year after year, ostensibly to look after 
the fisheries. Great court is paid to the leading islanders, 
and France would fain be in the ascendant here as 
elsewhere. Iceland, meanwhile, costs Denmark an outlay 
of several thousands a year; because, say some of the 
Icelanders, more is not invested in improvements of 
various kinds in order to make it pay. This state of 
matters would render negotiations easy on the part of 
Denmark, were the acquisition of the island an object to 
Franca It would be an easy method of paying for 
assistance rendered in any Holstein difficulty or other 
cunningly laid European mine that may yet explode; 
when the cause of justice and right, as it ever is, being 
declared all on the side of France, she will disinterest- 
edly go forward with her eagles for freedom and glory. 

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Such contingencies may arise, although the Danes are 
our natural allies and our Scandinavian brethren. It may 
be asked, what would the French do with the island? 
It would be chiefly useful to them for forming and 
training hardy seamen for the navy, as they already do 
to some extent both here and on the Newfoundland 
coast where the fisheries are maintained and subsidized 
for that very purpose. It would furnish a station in the 
North Sea, from which to descend and menace our 
North American traffic; and it contains extensive 
sulphur mines, which, in the event of Sicily being shut 
against us, are available for munitions of war in our 
gunpowder manufactories; in another point of view, it 
is invaluable, as the great salmon-preserve of Europe. 

Intelligent Icelanders who cherish the memory of 
their ancient freedom, to my certain knowledge, regard 
all such French tendencies and contingencies with 
decided aversion. But in the event of a transfer being 
mooted, would the Icelanders be consulted in the matter? 
I fear not, and that it would only be announced to them 
in the French fashion, as fait accompli: may such 
however, never be the fate of this interesting island I 

These remarks, although suggested here by the 
pictures in the Governor's drawing-room, have no 
reference, it is right to state, to the Count Von Trampe's 
views on this subject, which I do not happen to know; 
nor on the other hand, to the officers' of the vessels 
stationed here, who all seem to be gentlemanly kind- 
hearted fellowa A variety of facts and observations, 
however, all tended to confirm me in this impression ; 
besides, it is the policy which the French are pursuing 

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From the Governor's, we proceed to call for Mr. 
Randrop, the states apothecary, and receive a most 
hospitable, true, northern welcome. We meet several 
French officers and see the usual quantum of French 
prints on the walla But he is the French consul or agent 
Coffee, cakes, and wine, are handed round to us by the 
ladies, this being the custom of the country, and in drink- 
ing to us, the form is always, "Welcome to Iceland. 
Mr. Randrop speaks a little English, and the two young 
• ladies, his step-daughters, are acquiring it Here, as in 
Germany, the class book in common use is "The Vicar 
of Wakefield." Madame Randrop, who speaks French 
and German and plays on the piano-forte, shewed us 
several beautiful silver trinkets, bracelets, pins, &c, of 
Icelandic manufacture; the style an open mediaeval 
looking fretwork, that might satisfy the most fastideous 
artistic taste. 

The Governor's house and Mr. Randrop's are the two 
centres of Reykjavik society, and at one or other of them, 
of an evening, any stranger visiting these parts is almost 
certain to be found. One is expected to make quite a 
round of visits if he be authenticated, or have any sort of 
introduction to any one of the circle; an omission would 
even be regarded as a slight Hence Dr. Mackinlay 
took us to call for a considerable number of people, all of 
whom were cordial and glad to see us. 

Our next visit was to the Rev. Olaf P&lsson, Dean and 
Rector of the Cathedral Learned, intelligent* communi- 
cative and obliging, he at once, in the kindest manner 
possible, placed himself at our service and offered us 
every assistance in his power. In his library I observed 
many standard works of reference in various languages, 

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and opened several volumes that seemed to recognize me 
as a friend whom they had met before: "Lord Dufferin's 
Letters from High Latitudes" — a presentation copy — 
"Caird's Sermons;" "Life of the Rev. Ebenezer 
Henderson" — the Icelandic traveller; "Stanley's Sinai 
and Palestine," &c. The worthy pastor both speaks and 
writes English fluently, and has translated a number of 
Icelandic stories and fairy tales. 1 

The Pastor's honest ruddy face, light flaxen hair, aud 
unassuming manner; his rosy cheeked children, the 
monthly roses in the window-sill, and the library — all 
go to form a pleasing 'picture in the Walhalla of memory. 
He afterwards accompanied us to call for Rector Jonson. 
The Rector is a good specimen of the genus homo; tall 
and burly, while his active mind is vigorous, inquisitive, 
and accomplished. He showed us over various rooms, 
where the different branches are taught, some of them 
containing cabinets of geological and zoological specimena 
The school is supported by government; and about sixty 
select young men intended for the church and other 
learned professions here receive a free education; a few 
of them only go to Copenhagen yet further to complete 
their studies. 

Although the island contains 64,603 inhabitants, this, 
as we have said, is the only Academy or College; and 
there is not a single juvenile school. 

The population is so widely scattered that schools 
would be quite impracticable ; for the six thousand farms 
which the island contains, on the habitable coast belt 
which surrounds the central deserts, are often separated 

1 For a selection of those, tea Appendix. 

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from each oilier by many dreary miles of lava wastes 
and rapid rivers dangerous to ford. 

Parents, however, all teach their children to read and 
write by the fire-side on the long winter evenings, as 
they themselves were taught; and the people are thus 
home educated from generation to generation, and 
trained to habits of intellectual activity from their youth. 
Thus, as a mass, the Icelanders are without doubt the 
best educated people in the world. 

For six centuries the Icelanders have evidenced their 
love of literature by writing and preserving old Sagas 
and Eddas; — by producing original works on mythology, 
law, topography, archaeology, Ac. — several of. these at 
once the earliest and best of their kind in Europe ; and by 
executing many admirable translations from the classics. 
Such literary labours have often been carried on by 
priest* in remote districts, who subsist on a miserable 
pittance, and dwell in what we would consider mere 
hovels, — men who are obliged to work, at outdoor manual 
labour, the same as any of their neighbour peasants and 
parishoners, in order to keep the wolf from the door. 
Henderson found Thorl&ksson, the translator of " Paradise 
Lost," busy making hay. His living only yielded him 
£7 per annum, and the one room in which he slept and 
wrote was only eight feet long by six broad. This 
translation was not printed till after his death. Verily 
good work lovingly done is its own reward. These men 
had little else to cheer them on. . 
. We next visited the Cathedral, which stands in the 
back part of the town, with an open square space in front 
of it, and a little fresh water lake — inland — to the left 
It is a modern edifice, built of brick, plastered. At the 

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entrance we were joined by our friend Professor Chad- 
bourne. The interior is very neatly fitted up with pews, 
has galleries, organ, &c. ; and can accommodate three or 
four hundred people. 

An oil painting above the communion table represents 
the resurrection ; but the only object of artistic interest 
is a white marble baptismal font, carved and presented 
to the Cathedral by Thorwaldsen, whose father was an 
Icelander. It is a low square obelisk. The basin on the 
top is.surrounded with a symbolical wreath of passion- 
flowers and roses, delicately carved in high relief out of 
the white marble. On the front is represented, also in 
relief, the baptism of our Saviour by St John; on the 
left side, the Madonna and Child, with John the Baptist 
as an infant standing at her knee; on the right, Christ 
blessing little children; while at the back, next the altar, 
are three cherubs, and underneath them is inscribed the 
following legend: "Opus haec Romae fecit, et Islandiae, 
terrae sibi gentiliacae, pietatis causA, donavit Albertus 
Thorvaldsen, anno mdcccxxvii." It is a chaste and 
beautiful work of art 

In the vestry the Rev. Olaf Pilsson opened sevefal 
large chests, and shewed us numerous vestments belong* 
ing to the bishop and priests; one of these with gorgeous 
embroideries had been sent here to the bishop by Pope 
Julius II. in the beginning of the sixteenth century. 
The cloth was purple velvet, embroidered and stiff with 
brocade of gold. 

Above the church, immediately under the sloping roof, 
an apartment runs the whole length of the building. In 
it is deposited the free public library of Reykjavik, which 
consists of more than 6000 volumes in Icelandic, Danish 

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Latin, French, English, German, and various other 
languages. A copy of every book published at Copen- 
hagen is sent here by government, and from time to time 
it receives numerous presentations from foreigners. The 
ancient original Icelandic MSS. have all been removed 
to Denmark, so that here there is now nothing very old 
to be seen, except what has been reprinted. With great 
interest we turned over the leaves of a copy of Snorre 
Sturleson's "Heimskringla," and the "Landn&ma Bok," 
shewn us by the librarian and learned scholar Mr. J6n 

The hotel at Reykjavik is merely a kind of tavern, with 
a billiard room for the French sailors to play, lounge, 
and smoke in; a large adjoining room, seated round, 
for the Reykjavik fashionable assemblies ; a smaller room 
up stairs, and some two or three bedrooms. On reach- 
ing it we were received by the landlord and shewn up 
stairs, where we found Mr. Bushby, who gave us a most 
courteous English welcome, notwithstanding our uninten- 
tional intrusion. He had, that morning, when the 
steamer came in sight, set out and ridden along the coast 
from the sulphur mines at Erisuvik — perhaps one of the 
wildest continuous rides in the world — to meet Captain 

Knowing the scant accommodation at the landlord's 
disposal, he at once placed the suite of rooms he had 
engaged at our service, to dress and dine in, thus proving 
himself a friend in need. A good substanial dinner 
was soon und&r weigh, and rendered quite a success by 
the many good things with which Mr. Bushby kindly 
supplimented it, contributing them from his own private 

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. OF FAROE and iceulnd. 65 

Mr. Gisli Brynjftlfsson, the young Icelandic poet- 
employed in antiquarian researches by the Danish 
Government chiefly at Copenhagen, but at present here 
because he is a member of the Althing or Parliament 
now sitting— joined us at table, having been invited by 
Dr. Mackinlay. He speaks English fluently, and gave 
us much interesting information. He kindly presented 
me with a volume "Nordurfari," edited by himself and 
a friend, and containing amongst other articles in prose 
and verse, "Bruce's Address at Bannockburn," translated 
into Icelandic, in the metre of the original. This 
northern version of Burns' poem may interest the 
reader. 1 




8kotar, er Wallace vordust mod 
Vig mod Brace opt hafid sjed ; 
Vtlkomnir ad bl6dgam bed, 
Bjartri eda sigurfraegd ! 

Stand og dagur dfr nd er ; 

Daudinn ognar hvar torn sjer ; J 

Jatvards ad oss aedir her— 
Ok og hlekkja naegd I 

Hvorr vill bora nidinga nafnf 
N4 hvor bloydn sed^ja hrafn ? 
Falla tbrael 6rfjdlaum jafn 1 
Ftyti haiin burtu sjorl 

Hverr vill hlinur Hildar bale 
Hjor nu drag* hios g6da mils, 
Standa b»di og falla fijils 1 
Fan hann eptir mjer 1 

1 Where the two Icelandic letters occur which are wanting in the 
English alphabet, they are here represented, respectively, by d and th. 


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Xnaudar rid eymd og grond I 
TcUr sona thnaldfrni bond I 
Vjtr yifjum lit* lif og and, 
En le jsa <ir hlekly um thi t 

Fellid grimma fjendur thri I 
Frelti er hverju hoggf i I 
Qj&i om hrfea igiri nf 
S6i, edaordu*«dntl 

After finally arranging with Zoga to start for the 
Geysers at 8 o'clock next morning, Dr. Mackinlay, Mr. 
Haycock, Professor Chadbourne and I took a walk through 
the town, called for Dr. Hjaltelin, who unfortunately was 
not at home, and strolled along to the church-yard. It is 
surrounded by a low stone and turf wall We gathered 
forget-me-nots, catch-flies, saxifrage and buttercups 
among the grass; observed artificial flowers, rudely made 
of muslin and worsted, stuck upon a grave, but do not 
know if this is an Icelandic custom or the work of the 
stranger over the last resting place of a comrade. 

Looking down upon Reykjavik from the elevation on 
which we stand all is bight in the mellow glare of 
evening; the windows of the houses gleam in the sun 
like the great jewel of Ghiamsheed; the near Essian 
mountains have a ruddy glow, and the bay, intensely 
btue^ is gay with vessels and flags. 

Gazing inland all is one wild dreary black lava waste — 
miles upon miles of bog, stones and blocks of rock. 
Botanized for an hour with the Professor. 

On returning saw several heaps of large cod-fish heads, 
pled up near the sod-roofed houses of the fishermen in 
the outskirts of the town. On enquiry we were told that 
.the heads .offish dried for exportation are thus retained; 

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the people here eat them, and one head is said to be a 
good breakfast for a man. 

Most of the houses in and around Reykjavik have little 
plots of garden-ground surrounded with low turf walk 
In these we generally observed common vegetables such 
as parsley, turnips, potatoes, cresses, a few plants for 
salads, &c. ; here and there a currant bush, and some- 
times a few annuals or other flowers. These, however, 
seldom come to any great degree of perfection, and are 
often altogether destroyed; for the climate is severe and 
very changeable, especially in the southern portion of the 


The Governor called at the hotel for Mr. Haycock and 
me, insisted on us taking the loan of his tent, and kindly 
invited us to come along and spend the ev enin g with 
him. As we had to start in the morning for the Geysers 

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for the present we declined the preferred hospitality, but 
promised to call on our return. 

As there was not accommodation for us at the hotel, we 
were rowed off to the "Arcturus" by the indefatigable 
Zoga at half-past 10 o'clock at night, and slept on board. 



minno lady m full 

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OF FABOB un> Iceland. 




Friday marnimg, July 29. Landed from the 
steamer between 7 and 8 o'clock, and found the baggage 
and riding horses with the relays, twenty-four in all, 
assembled at the hotel court; Zoga the guide, with his 
brother and a boy who were also to accompany us, busy 
adjusting saddles, 6tirrup straps, && For four days we. 
shall be thrown entirely upon our own resources, so that 
provisions, tent, plaids and everything wo are likely to 
need during a wilderness journey, must be taken with 
us. Our traps had been sent on shore late on the 
previous evening. The mode of loading the sumpter 
ponies is peculiar; a square piece of dried sod is placed 
on the horses back, then a wooden saddle with several 
projecting pins is girded on with rough woollen ropes; to 

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either side of the saddle, is hooked on, a strong oblong 
wooden box generally painted red ; while on the pins are 
hung bags, bundles, and all sorts of gipsy looking gear. 
These need frequent re-adjustment from time to time; 
as the ponies trot along, one side will weigh up the 
other, or the animals get jammed together and knock 
their loads out of equilibrium, the saddles then perhaps 
turn round and articles fall rattling to the ground The 
strong little boxes are constructed and other arrange- 
ments made with a view to such contingencies, . and 
however primitive, rude, or outlandish they may at first 
seem to the stranger, he will soon come to see the why 
and the wherefore, and confess their singular adaptation 
to the' strange and unique exigences of Icelandic travel. 

The baggage train at length moved off, accompanied 
by the relief ponies, which were tied together in a row, 
the head of the one to the tail of the other before it 

Dr. Mackinlay, Mr. Bushby, Mr. Sievertsen, and 
other acquaintances came to see us start Equipped 
with waterproofs and wearing caps or wide-awakes, no 
two of us alike, at half-past eight o'clock, a long stragg- 
ling line of non-descript banditti-looking cavaliers, all 
in excellent spirits and laughing at each others odd 
appearance, we rode at a good pace out of Reykjavik. 

"Rarely it occurs that any of us makes this journey 
on which I go/' 1 words spoken to Dante by his guide, 
in the ninth Canto of the Inferno, forcibly suggested 
themselves to me as I "entered on the arduous and 
savage way/' and gazed around on the "desert strand" 

Inoootra, me rispote, che di noi 
FftotiA eammino aleun per quale io vado." L 19-81. 

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The road terminated when we reached the outskirts 
of the town, and the track lay over a wild black stony 
waste with little or no vegetation; everything seemed 
scorched. The relay ponies were now loosed from each 
other, and, perfectly free, driven before us like 

" A wild and wanton herd, 
Or race of yoathful and unhandlod colts, 
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud, 
Which is the hot condition of their blood." 

They were apt to scatter in quest of herbage, but Zoga, 
when his call was not enough or the dogs negligent, 
quickly out-flanked the stragglers, upon which, they, 
possessed by a salutary fear of his whip, speedily rejoined 
their fellows. 

We soon lost sight of the sea, and in a short time 
came to the Lax-elv— or salmon river — which we forded. 

Enormous quantities of fish are taken at the wears a 
little higher up where there are two channels and an 
arrangement for running the water off, first from the one 
and then from the other, leaving the throng of fishes 
nearly dry in a little pool from which they are readily 
taken by the hand The fishermen wear rough woollen 
mittens to prevent the smooth lithe fish from slipping 
through their fingers when seizing them by head and 
tail, to throw them on shore. From five hundred to a 
thousand fishes are sometimes taken in a day. The 
fishery is managed by an intelligent Scotchman sent 
here by a merchant in Peterhead who leases the stream 
and has an establishment of some fifteen tin-smiths 
constantly at work making cans for "preserved salmon/ 9 
The fish are cut into pieces, slightly boiled — then soldered 
and hermetically sealed up in these tin cases containing 

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•ay 2 or 4 lbs. each, and sent south packed in laige 
hogsheads to be distributed thence over the whole world. 

The few grass-farms we saw were like hovels; 
many separate erections, stone next the ground, the gable 
wood, and the roof covered with green sod. The rafters 
are generally made of drift wood or whale's ribs. Turf 
is used as fuel; but in common Icelandic houses there is 
only one fire— that in the kitchen — all the year round. 
The beds are often mere boxes ranged around the 
room, or, where there is such accommodation, underneath 
the roof round the upper apartment, which is approached 
by a trap-stair. They are filled with sea-weed or feathers 
and a cloth spread over them. In the farm houses we 
entered there was a sad want of flight and fresh air; in 
fact, these sleeping rooms were so dose and stifling that 
we were glad to descend and rush out to the open air 
for breath. 

The little bit of pet pasture land, round each farm, 
enclosed by a low turf wall, is called "tun," a word still 
used in rural districts of Scotland— spelt toon, or town — 
with the same sound and similar signification. 

Bode many miles through wild black desolate dreary 
volcanic wastes — no near sounds but the metallic bicker 
of our ponies' hoofs over the dry rocks and stones, or 
fearless splashing through mud puddles — and no distant 
sounds save the eerie cries, tremulous whistlings and 
plaintive wails of the curlew, plover, and snipe. Observed 
the abrasions of the ice-drift vexy distinctly traced on 
the rooks, these all running nearly south-west The 
slightly elevated rock-surface was frequently polished 
quite smooth, scratches here and there showing the 
direction of the friction by which this appearance had 

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been produced In some instances the rock was left 
bare, in others detached 6tone blocks of a different 
formation rested on the surface. 

Wild geranium, saxifrage, sedum, and tufts of sea* 
pink are very common, when we come to anything green. 
The wild geranium, from the almost nightless summer 
of the north, is six times larger than in Britain, and 
about the size of a half-penny. 


Came to a deep ravine, wild, horrid, and frightful; 
rode along the edge of it, and then through dreadfully 
rough places, with nothing to mark the track; amidst 
great and little blocks of stone— trap, basalt, and lava— 
mud-puddles — up-hill, down-hill, fording rivers, and 
through seemingly impassible places; yet the Icelandic 
horse goes unflinchingly at it Mr. Haycock says it 
would be sheer madness to attempt such break-neck 
places in England; there, no horse would look at it; 
steeple-chasing nothing to it His horse was repeatedly 

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up to the girths in clayey mud, and recovered itself 
notwithstanding its load as if it were nothing to pause 
about Truly these are wonderful animals, they know 
their work and do it welL 

Came to a grassy plot, in a hollow by a river's side, 
where we halted, changed the saddles and bridles to the 
relief ponies, and, clad in mackintosh, thankfully fiat 
down on the wet grass to rest, while we ate a biscuit 
and drank of the stream. In the course of the day, we 
had come to several green spots, like oasis in the black 
desert^ where the horses rested for a short time to have 
a feed of grass. 

After storting, ascended for about an hour through a 
ravine, where we saw some lovely little glades full of 
blaeberries — sloe, — low brushwood, chiefly of willows 
and birch, and a profusion of flowers, such as wild 
geranium, thyme, dog-daisy, saxifrage, sea-pink, catch- 
fly, butter-cup, a little white starry flower, and dia- 
pcnsia; the latter is found, here and there, in round 
detached patches of fresh green like a pincushion, gaily 
patterned with little pink flowers. I am indebted to 
Professor Chadbourne for the name of it Obtained a 
root of this plant for home, and gathered flowers of the 
others to preserve. 

We now came to an elevated plateau which stretched 
away — a dreary stony moor — bounded in one direction by 
the horizon-line and in another by hills of a dork brown 
colour. Here there was not a patch of verdure to be 
seen; all one black desert lava-waste strewn with large 
boulders and angular slabs, lying about in all conceivable 
position* In riding, one required to keep the feet in 
constant motion, to avoid contact with projecting stones,. 

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as the ponies picked their way among them. Our feet' 
consequently were as often out of the stirrups as in them. 
Shakspere says "Wisely and slow, they stumble that 
run fast;" not so, however, with the surefooted Icelandic 
ponies; for, even over such ground, they trotted at a 
good pace and no accident befell us. 

I generally rode first with Zoga the guide, or last with . 
Professor Chadbourne. The driving of the relief horses 
before us, like a stampedo, and the keeping of them 
together afforded some of us much amusement as we 
rode along. Here no sheep or cattle could live. It was 
literally "a waste and howling wildernesa" We saw 
several snow-birds and terns flying about, and often 
heard the eerie plaintive whistle of the golden plover. 
These birds were very tame and examined us with 
evident curiosity. They would perch on a largo lava 
block before us, quite close to our track, and sit till we 
came up and passed — then fly on before, to another block, 
and sit there gazing in wonder; and so on for miles. 
They had evidently never been fired at Mr. Murray 
humanely remarked that it would be murder to shoot 
them ! In this black stony plateau there was often not the 
least vestige of a track discernible; but we were kept in 
the right direction by cairns of black stones placed here 
and there on slight elevations. These guiding marks— 
"varder" as they are called — are yet more needed when 
all the surface is covered with snow; then, "vexed with 
tempest loud/' Iceland must resemble Milton's descrip- 
tion of Chaos. 

"Far off, . 

Dark, waste and wild under tho frown of night, 
8tarleat exposed and ever threatening storms 
Of Chaos blustering round." 

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We saw one rude house of refuge, without any roof, 
built of lava blocks, in the midst of this black desert 
where everything seemed blasted. Came now on spots 
where a few tufts of sea pinks, and many bright coloured 
wild-flowers were springing up among the stones. Saw 
flat rock-surfaces shrivelled up and wrinkled like pitch, 
an effect which had evidently been produced when the 
lava was cooling; others were ground down and polished 
smooth in grooves by the ice-drifL As near as I can 
calculate, some fourteen or fifteen miles of our journey 
lay over this one long long dreary stony waste, hence- 
forth, ever to be associated in memory with the plover's 
wild lone plaintive tremulous whistle. 

At 3 PJt we came in sight of the blue lake of Thing- 
valla, 1 lying peacefully in the valley before us ; while the 
range of the hills beyond it, bare, bold and striking in 
their outline, was mostly of a deep violet colour. 

During the day, arrowy showers of drenching rain 
"cold and heavy/' like that described by Dante in the 
third circle of the Inferno, or wet drizzling mists had 
alternated with gleams of bright clear sunshina 
Towards the afternoon the weather had become more 
settled and the effect of the prospect now before us, 
although trtdy lovely in itself, was heightened by our 
previous monotonous though rough ride over the dreary, 
stony plateau. The lake far below us, with its two 
little volcanic islands Sandey and Nosey, lay gleaming 
in the sun like a silver mirror; while the wild scenery 
around forcibly reminded us of Switzerland or Italy. 

Thingvalla was to be our resting place for the night, 
and seeing our destination so near at hand in the valley 
1 Pronounced Tingratla. 

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below us, some one purposed a rapid scamper, that we 
might the sooner rest, eat, and afterwards have more 
leisure to explore the wondrous features of the place. 
Forthwith we set off at a good pace, but the Professor 
was too tired to keep up with us, so I at once fell 
behind to bear him company. The others were speedily 
out of sight Knowing that dinner preparations would 
occupy Zoga for some time after his arrival, we rode 
leisurely along, admiring the green level plain far below 
ua When wondering how we were to get down to it, we 
suddenly and unexpectedly came to a yawning chasm or 
rent running down through the edge of the plateau. It 
seemed about 100 feet deep, 100 feet wide, and was par- 
tially filled with enormous blocks of basalt which had 
toppled down from either side; where more, cracked and 
dissevered, still impended, as if they might fall with a 
crash at the slightest noise or touch. This was the 
celebrated Almanna Gj& or Chasm, of which we had 
read so much but of which we had been able to form no 
adequate idea from descriptions. 

Of a scene so extraordinary, indeed unique, I can only 
attempt faithfully to convey my own impressions, without 
hoping to succeed better than others who have gone 
before me. 

Let the reader imagine himself, standing on the stony 
plateau; below him stretches a beautiful verdant valley, 
say about five miles broad, and about 100 feet below 
the level on which he is standing ; to the right before him 
also lies the lake which we have been skirting for some 
milee in riding along. It is in size about ten miles each 
way, and is bounded by picturesque ranges of bare 
volcanic hilla This whole valley has evidently sunk 




down in one mass to its present level, leaving exposed a 
section of the rent rocks on either side of the vala 
These exposed edges of the stony plateau running in 
irregular basaltic strata, and with fantastic shapes on the 
top like chimneys and ruined towers, stretch away like 
black ramparts for miles, nearly parallel to each other, 
with the whole valley between them, and are precipitous 
as walls, especially that on the left 

The top of the mural precipice, overlooking the gorge 
at our feet, is the original uniform level of the ground 
before the sinking of the valley. It forms the edge of 
the plateau which stretches away behind and also before 
us to the left of the precipice; for we look down the 
chasm lengthways, along the front of the rock-wall, and 
not at right angles from it A mere slice of the rock 
has been severed and is piled up on our right, like a 
Cyclopian walL It runs parallel with the face of the 
rent rock to which it formerly belonged, for, say, about 
the eighth of a mile N.E. from where we stand, and then 
terminates abruptly there in irregular crumbling blocks 
like a heap of ruins; while the trench or gj& itself also 
runs back in a straight line S.W. for about two miles, 
and terminates at the brink of the lake. 

The N.E. side of the valley is the highest, and the 
S.W. the lowest — shelving beneath the blue water, and 
forming the bottom of the laka The river Oxerk, which 
thunders over the rock-wall on the right, forms a mag- 
nificent waterfall, and then flows peacefully across the 
•outh-west corner of the valley to the laka 

Between these two rock-walls — the left forming the real 
boundary of the valley on that side, but the right wall 
being only a slice severed from the left, and not thq 

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other boundary of the valley, which is situated about 
five miles distant — a long narrow passage descends, 
leading to the plain below. The flat bottom of this 
passage 100 feet deep is strewn with debris, but other- 
wise covered with tender green sward. The bottom is 
reached from the elevated waste where we stand by a 
very rough irregular winding incline plane — for although 
the descent is full of great blocks of stones, dreadfully 
steep, and liker a deranged staircase than anything else, 
we still call it a steep incline plane from the level of the 
plateau to the passage beneath which leads into the 
valley — high rock-walls rising on either side as we 
descend. Entering the defile and moving along on level 
ground, the wall on the right* evidently rent from the 
other side as if sliced down with some giant's sword 
from the edge of the plateau, soon terminates in the 
valley; but that on the left runs on for many miles like 
a fire-scathed rampart The stony plateau stretches 
back from the edge or level of the summit of this rock- 
wall, and the lovely green valley of Thingvalla extends 
from its base to the Hrafna Gj& or Raven's Chasm — the 
corresponding wall and fissure, like rampart and fosse — 
which bounds the other side of the valley. 

I am thus particular, because certain descriptions led 
me to suppose that here we would encounter a precipice 
at right angles to our path, and have to descend the face 
of it, instead of descending an incline parallel to its face, 
from where the stair begins on the old leveL As it is, 
however, it seemed quite steep enough, with the rock- 
walled incline reaching from the valley to our feet. 
This wild chasm is called the Almanna Gj£— all men's or 
main chasm; while the one on the other side of the 

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vale of Thingvalla is called the Hrafna Qj& or Raven's 
Chasm. The whole character of the scene, whether 
viewed by the mere tourist, or dwelt upon by the man 
of science, is intensely interesting, and in several 
respects quite unique; hence I have tried to describe it 
so minutely. 

When Professor Ghadbourne and I came up to it, we 
gazed down in awe and wonder. We knew that our 
companions must have descended somehow, for there 
was no other way: but how, we could pot telL Were we 
to dismount and let the horses go first, they might 
escape and leave us; if we attempted to lead them down 
they might fall on the, top of us; to descend on foot 
would be extremely difficult at any time, and dismount- 
ing and mounting again at this stage of our proceedings, 
was rather a formidable undertaking. "How shall we 
set about it?" I asked my friend. "You may do as you 
please/' said he, "but I must keep my seat if I can," 
"So shall I, for the horse is surer footed than I can 
hope to be to-day." "Lead on then" said the Professor, 

So leaving my pony to choose its steps, it slowly 
picked its way down the steep gorge; zig-zagging from 
point to point and crag to crag, or stepping from one 
great block of stone to another. I was repeatedly 
compelled to lean back, touching the pony's tail with 
the back of my head, in order to maintain the perpen- 
dicular, and avoid being shot forward, feet first, over its 
head, among the rocks. Sometimes at steep places it 
drew up its hind legs and slid down on its hams, many 
loose stones rattling down along with us as the pony 
kicked out right and left to keep its balance, and 

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made the sparks fly from its heels. Descending in 
silence, at last we reached the bottom in safety, thinking 
it rather a wild adventure in the way of riding, and one 
not to be attempted elsewhere. 



Looking back with awe and increasing wonder at the 
gorge we had descended, for it certainly was terrifically 
steep, we both remarked the cool indifference and utter 
absence of fear with which we had ridden down such 
a break-neck place. The fresh air and excitement pre- 
vent one from thinking anything about such adventures 
till they are over. 

The high rock-walls, now hemming us in on either side, 
bore a considerable resemblance to the pictures of Petra 
— Wady Mousa — in Arabia, and here we could fancy 
mounted Bedouins riding up with their long matchlocks. 
All was silent as the grava The ground was green with 


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tender herbage; great blocks of stone lay about, and 
others seemed ready to topple over and fall down upon us. 
Biding along, the rocks on the right soon terminated 


like a gigantic heap of burned ruins, and allowed us to 
gaze across the vale of Thingvalla, with the river Oxer& 
in the foreground. Here we overtook our friends who 
told us that they had all dismounted and led their horses 
down the chasm, and would scarcely believe that we had 
ridden down. All of us were lost in wonder and struck 
with awe at the scenes we had witnessed. We forded 
the river in a row, following Zoga's guidance; and at 5 
o'clock in the afternoon rode up to the priest's house 
on the other side. It was simply a farm, like others 
we had seen, consisting of a group of separate erections 
with wooden gables, green sod on the roof and 
the whole surrounded with a low stone wall coped with 
turf Beside it was the silent churchyard with its 
simple grassy graves of all sizes. Immediately behind 

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the house were piles of sawn timber, and several 
carpenters at work rebuilding the little church, which 
having become old and frail had been taken down. 
Its site was only about 25 feet by 10. 


Zoga went in to tell the pastor of our arrival, leaving 
us to dismount in a deep miry lane between two rough 
stone walls leading to the house. He had been busy 
with his hay, but speedily appeared and hospitably 
offered us what shelter he could afford. 

Zoga arranged for the grazing of the ponies; we were 
to dine in the largest room of the house, and he was 
to have the use of the kitchen fire to cook our dinner — 
the preserved meats, soups, &a — which of course we had 
brought with us. The pastor provided a splendid trout 
from the river, to the great delectation of half a dozen 
travellers all as hungry as hawka 

Now commenced the unstrapping and unpacking, 
presided over by the indefatigable Zoga; boxes, bags, 

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and packages, bespattered with mud, lay about singly 
and in piles. Everybody seemed to want something or 
other which was stowed away somewhere, and forthwith 
the patient obliging Zoga, in a most miraculous manner, 
never failed to produce the desiderated articlea Taking 
a rough towel and soap, I performed my ablutions in the 
river close by, while dinner was getting ready and felt 
quite refreshed. "Time and the hour runs through the 
roughest day," and this was certainly one to be marked 
in our calender. Shortly after 6 o'clock we dined and 
attempted some conversation in Latin with the priest* Mr. 
SL D. Beck. He is a pastor literally and metaphorically, 

farming and fishing as well as preaching. Hay, however, 
is the only crop which is raised here; and the Icelanders 
are consequently veiy dependent upon the hay-harvest 
With their short summer they might not inappropriately 
quote Shakspeare's lines, 

"The ton shines hot; sod if we use dels? 
Cold biting winter msrs our hoped for hsy," 

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The scythe used by the Icelanders is quite straight and 
not half the length of ours. The numerous little 
hummocks, with which pasture land is covered, necess- 
itate the use of a short implement, so that it may mow 
between and around them; the hillocks are from one to 
two feet high, and from one to four feet across. In 
some places the ground presents quite the appearance of 
a churchyard or an old battle-field. These elevations are 
occasioned by the winter's frost acting on the wet 
subsoiL If levelled they would rise again to the same 
height in about 7 or 8 years; but the farmers let them 
alone, because they fancy they get a larger crop from the 
greater superficial area of the field, and this old let-alone 
custom certainly saves them much labour. The primi- 
tive state of their agriculture, as well as the peculiar 
nature of the Icelandic soil, may be inferred from the 
fact, that there are only two ploughs in the whole island 
and no carta A spade, a scythe two feet long, a small 
rake with teeth about an inch and a half deep, and ropes 
made of grass or hair to bind the hay, which is carried 
on men's backs or conveyed by horses to be stacked, are 
all that the fanner requires for his simple operations. 
The hay, especially that which grows in the tuns, is of 
fine quality, tender and nutritive; and, with even any 
ordinary attention to drainage, many a fertile vale could 
be made to yield much more than is now obtained from 
it Latin was our only mode of communicating directly 
with the priest; but having had little colloquial practioe 
of that kind, we blundered on, feeling that, in appropriat- 
ing the stately language of Cicero and Virgil to creature 
oomforts and the vulgar ongoings of daily life, we were 
almost committing a species of desecration: yet the 

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ludicrous combinations and circumlocutions, grasped at 
in desperation to express modern things in a dead 
language, afforded us no little amusement Professor 
Ghadboume, Mr. Murray, and myself got most of the 
work to do, and were often greeted with the pastor's 
goodnatured "Ita," or "Intelligo," when our pro- 
positions could not have been particularly remarkable 
for perspicacity Amongst foreigners, charity covers a 
multitude of sins of this kind. We cannot however 
apply the same remark to our own countrymen, who are 
often more inclined to laugh at a foreigner's mistakes 
than to help him. 

The fragrant tedded hay and the green vale of 
Thingvalla stretching before us were peculiarly refresh- 
ing to the eye, after the dreary rugged lava-wastes 
through which we had passed— where tracks of flat rocks 
were corrugated and shrivelled up like pitch, having 
been left so when the lava set; and where other rock- 
surfaces appeared ground and polished in grooves by the 
ice-drift; or where all was covered with a pack of lava 
blocks and slabs, of all sizes and lying in every 
conceivable direction, 

After tea I walked out alone a little way north-west 
of the church to examine the Althing, on the upper part 
of which stands the Logberg or sacred law hill, where, 
when the Parliament or Althing was assembled! the 
judges sat; and where justice was administered to the 
Icelanders for nearly 900 years; thus rendering Thing- 
valla* with its numerous associations and stirring 
memories, to speak historically, by far the most interest- 
ing spot in the island. 

The Althing is a long sloping ridge of lava* about 200 

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feet long and from 30 to 50 broad, covered on the top 
with the most tender herbage and flowers. At the end 
next the church it is low and approachable, by climbing 
over a few stones among and below which one can see 
water, but it is entirely separated from the surrounding 
plain by two deep perpendicular rocky fissures or chasms 
running parallel on either side and joining at the further 
end. Only at one place is the chasm so narrow — 1 6 feet — 
that, once on a time, Flosi, leader of the burners of 
Njal's house, made his escape from justice by taking a 
desperate leap. These chasms contain clear water, so 
that the Althing is in fact a narrow peninsula, which 
with the entrance guarded was as secure as a fortress. 



One looks sheer down, say 20 or 30 feet, to the surface 
of the water in the chasms ; while the water itself is from 
80 to 90 feet deep, and in some places said to be un- 
fathomable. These fissures run S. W. to the lake which 

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is about a mile distant Through the water, one sees 
huge blocks of lava of a whitish blue colour and dark 
masses of basalt gleaming from the green depths. 
Beautiful tender fairy-like ferns grow on the edges and 
in the sheltered crevices of the rocks; and I gathered 
specimens of grasses, mosses, violets, butter-cups and for- 
get-me-nots, from the soft verdant carpet which covered 
the surface. Here, the Icelandic Parliament, such as it 
was, continued to meet, down to the year 1800, when 
the seat of government was finally removed to Reykjavik. 

In the old palmy days, prior to A.D. 1261 when the 
island became subject to Norway, the Althing was the 
scene of many a spirited debate; affairs of the greatest 
import were here freely discussed, and finally disposed 
of, in open assembly. Thus, in the year A.D. 1000, after 
a stormy debate, it was determined that Christianity 
should be introduced as the religion of the island. Here, 
measures of general interest were proposed, taxes levied, 
law-suits conducted, the judgments of inferior courts 
revised, subordinate magistrates impeached for dereliction 
of duty and dismissed from their office; while criminals 
were tried, and if found guilty of capital offences 
were summarily, executed. Criminals were beheaded 
on the little Island of Thorievsholm in the OxeriL; in a 
pool of the same river, female offenders, sewed in a sack, 
were drowned; and those condemned for witchcraft were 
precipitated from the top of a high rock on the east side 
of the Almannagjl 

The Althing commonly met in the middle of May 
and sat for 14 daya Every freeholder had a right to 
attend and express his opinion on measures under 
oonsideration: thus, at Thingvalla> friends and acquaint* 

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ances from distant parts of the island — members and 
friends of both sexes — annually availed themselves of 
this opportunity of meeting each other. The people 
pitched their tents on the banks of the Oxerit and in 
the plain around the Althing; so that a wild lone soene 
usually silent as the grave, for the time became quite 
a busy one, enlivened by the presence of nearly all the 
elite of the island. 

Gazing from the Althing, so as to take in the general 
aspect of the wondrous scene around us, the whole 
valley seems obviously to have sunk down en masse to 
its present leveL The tops of the two extreme wall-like 
boundaries, with chasms at their base, on either side of 
the vale, respectively called the Almannagji and the 
Hrafhagj£> show the original height of the whole, and 


also exhibit a section of the rock. This view of the 
matter is proved by the fact, that the numerous cracks, 
rents, or fissures, such as those around the Althing, with 
which the valley is intersected, when examined are 

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found exactly to correspond in their sections — trahytic 
trap capped by lava — with the edges left standing as they 
were before the subsidence of the valley and now 
bounding it like a black rampart The pastor's dwelling, 
from where I stand, presents the appearance of a few 
grass hillocks or potato-pits. The site of each erection 
is partly excavated from the side of a little slope, to pro- 
tect it from the storm. Grass-turf covers the roofs, and 
the whole group of buildings is surrounded by a three- 
foot turf-wall; consequently, like many other Icelandic 
farms we have seen, little more than the roofs appear 
above ground At midnight I made several sketches of 
the lake of Thingvalla; the river Oxera as it fell 


thundering over the dark rock-wall in a sheet of white 
foam; and the bare heights to the north-east, purple in 
the evening glow and mottled with snow patches. 
On returning to the pastor's, I found my companions 

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fast asleep on the floor. The canvas tent which had been 
left by the French expedition served them for a bed, 
portmanteaus or packages were appropriated for pillows, 
and plaids and wrappers spread over them for blankets. 
They lay packed like herrings in a barrel. I stepped over 
them as quietly as I could, found an unoccupied space 
near the open window, speedily ensconced myself for the 
night, and in a few minutes sank into a well-earned and 
blessed state of obliviousness. 

Saturday Morning, July 30. — Breakfasted and left 
Thingvalla at 9 AM. The first five miles or so of our 
journey across the valley lay through low green brush- 
wood, where the vegetation was fresh and luxuriant This 
in Iceland is called a forest; but the trees, chiefly birches 
and willows, are all dwarfs. The birches were about 3 
feet high, very few of them attaining to the height of 4 
or 5 feet; the willows were of three kinds; one with a 
leaf resembling bog myrtle; the leaves of another white, 
green, and flossy — both these varieties only 10 to 1 2 inches 
high; while the third, although Professor Chadbourne 
assured me it was a genuine willow, was only about one 
and a half inches; we observed catkins on them alL 
Wild geraniums, forget-me-nots, butter-cups, the beau- 
tiful rose-coloured sedum so common in Iceland, clover, 
sea-pinks, &a, grew in profusion, and imparted to the 
whole the appearance of a rich fresh green coppice. 
When the ponies could snatch at a stray bite of grass 
as they passed along, in doing so, they would often at 
the same time take up a tree by the roots and carry it 
off in their mouths. 

We came upon yawning chasms, every little way, 
where the rocks had been rent asunder; the cracks or 

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fissures about 100 feet deep, 10 or 20 wide, dry, and all 
running in the same direction from the laka These we 
either avoided, or crossed at places where blocks of 
stone had fallen in, so as to fill up part with debris, or 
form natural bridges which afforded as good footing as 
the most of the track we had ridden over. The lake of 
Thingvalla lay peacefully behind us on our rights fair as 
a silver mirror. Ascending a green bosky hill, where 
numerous hillocks around were clothed with low brush- 
wood to the very top, we came to the Hrafnagji, or 
Haven's chasm, which forms the eastern boundary of 
Thingvalla. It is a deep broad irregular abyss, several 
miles in length, and on the further side, high like a 
rampart We got across it, and up to the level of the 
plateau, by picking our way over the ridge of an aval- 
anche of rock and stones, which had fallen in, leaving 
gaps, rude arches, and frightful openings into the dark- 
ness beneath us; while, right and left, the chasm itself 
stretched away like the dry fosse of a giant's castle which, 
through successive ages, had withstood the assaults of all 
the rock-jotuns. Up this perilous way, steeper than a 
stair, winding, zig-zagging, doubling, leaping like cats 
from block to block, or standing for a second like goats 
with four feet on one stone to consider their next move, 
our patient ponies toiled upwards and took us safely 
across. Looking back, we bade adieu for a time to 
the lovely green vale of Thingvalla beneath us, and 
were lost in wonder, both at the wild savage grandeur 
of the chasm we had just crossed and at the sure- 
footedness and pluck of our trusty little steed* 

The plateau now attained was of the same level as 
that over which we had passed before descending into 

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Thingvalla, but here, it did not extend very far, being 
bounded by irregular heights and bare hills. 

Vegetation disappeared, everything seemed blasted. 
Plovers again sat quite close to us, or flitted past, 
uttering their shrill plaintive whistle; passing so near 
that we could distinctly observe the tremulous motion 
of their mandibles. The ponies stepped aside from holes 
in our very track, opening into hollow darkness, where 
stones thrown in were long heard striking against the 
sides. At one place, we came to a black cave 20 or 30 
feet in size, arched right into and under great blocks of 
stone. It appeared to be a huge lava-blister which had 
taken its present shape in cooling. The bottom of the 
cave, protected from the warm rays of the sun, was 
covered with snow; and, for the same reason, white 
patches of snow lay in crevices of the bare rocky hills 
around us. The path now ascended flanking the sides 
of the hills on the left, while the whole region seemed 
fire-scathed and blasted. The hills and slopes were 
covered with dark volcanic sand, pulverized ashes, and 
slag, out of which abruptly rose irregular masses of rock. 
Here, leaving our horses, we turned aside to examine a 
small extinct crater or vent, called Tintron, crowning a 
little eminence to the right In ascending it, we wen* 
up to the ancles in fine black sand or slag, which, 
yielding beneath the feet at every step, made walking 
extremely awkward, if not difficult The crater itself 
was composed of great blocks of red and black vitrified 
lava, over which wo looked down into the darkness 
as into Pluto's chimney. We threw in some large 
stones, but could not from their sound form an estimate 
of the depth. Perhaps this vent may be only & 

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lava-blister which has burst on the top, instead of 
forming a cave like the other we lately saw. However, 
though small, it presented the appearance of a regular 
crater. From it, we saw, on the one side, the beautiful 
Lake of Thingvalla; and, on the other, the near hills 
opposite, with the slope between them and us all 
covered with black scoriae. 

After pocketing a few specimens of the lava, I made a 
rough sketch of the crater and gathered a sprig of wild 


thyme, and a little white flower (parnastia), which was 
blooming all alone on its very brink. Mounting our 
ponies and descending for about an hour, on clearing 
the hillside we came in sight of a level plain of green 
meadow land, lying below us, shaped like a horse shoe, 
and occupying an area of 3 or 4 miles. It appeared to 
have been submerged at no very distant period, and, like 
other Icelandic valleys, was sadly in want of drainaga 
The rocky hill-range, which at the same time came into 
view on the left and formed the boundary of the plain, 

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was one of the most singular I ever beheld. It was 
composed of black, yellow, and red volcanic rock; rising 
in fantastic cones, or receding into savage gorges, steep, 
abrupt, and angular. The surface was absolutely without 
vegetation of any kind, and every cleavage, rent or 
crevice, so fresh, bare, and unweathered, one could fancy 
that the rocks had only during the last hour been 
smitten, shattered, and splintered by Thor*s hammer; 
while the rich effect of their vari-coloured tints was 
heightened by the pure white clouds which incense-like 
were now muffling and rolling about their summits, and 
by the verdure which extended to their base like a carpet 
Our track lay along the foot of them, and wonder only 
increased as we obtained a nearer view of their Tartarian 
Here we halted, and I made a slight sketch of a por- 



tion of the range. As a mere study of light and shade, 
to say nothing of other striking features, the scene would 
have made a magnificent photograph. 

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Starting, we rode on, till we reached the end of the 
cinder range, doubled the outmost spur, and, after 
ascending for sometime, came in sight of gently sloping 
hills. Their flowing outlines were covered with verdure 
to the very top, and, from our path, opened up here and 
there into little green bosky valleys "where the blae- 
berries grow/' Before us, in a vast level plain which 
stretched away from the roots of the hills near to the 
horizon, lay the Lauger-vatn; and further to the south, 
linked by a river, the Apa-vatn, a lake much larger; 
while several other rivers meandered in gleaming serpen- 
tine courses over the vast green prairie-like meadow. 

On the brink of the Lauger-vatn are several hot 
springs from which it takes its name. We observed 
columns of white steam rising from them on the brink 
next us, just below the farm of Laugervalla; and also 
across on the other side of the lake. Approaching the 
farm, we halted, outside the tun, to lunch, rest for an 
hour and let the horses graze. It presented the usual 
appearance of Icelandic farms; not unlike an irregular 
group of potato-pits or tumuli The roofs were of the same 
colour as the plain, and the whole shut in from the 
surrounding pasture land by a rude four-foot wall, also 
covered on the top with green turf The tun, or few acres 
thus enclosed, receives a top-dressing of manure and 
bears a luxuriant crop of hay ; the rest is left in a state 
of nature, and reaped without sowing. The hay, when 
stacked, is protected from the rain by thin slices or 
strips of turf from 6 to 10 feet long. Nearly all Ice-' 
landic forming has reference to the rearing of stock— 
the summer being too short for grain to reach maturity. 

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A few words, here, while we rest, as to Icelandic 
Farms in general 

Most farms have a weaving room, a smithy, a milk 
room, a sitting room — used also for eating and sleeping in 
—called stofa; a guest-chamber, cattle-houses, which are 
sometimes placed immediately under the sleeping-room 
but more frequently detached, and a kitchen; which last 
my friend Dr. Mackinlay neatly describes as often "a 
dingy dark place, with a peat fire on a lava block, and a 
hole in the roof to let in light and let out smoke." The 
turf is inferior; wood is too scarce and valuable to be 
much used for fuel Coal costs £5 per ton, is retailed in 
small packages at about 2d. per pound, and is only used 
in smithies. When turf is not available, the Icelanders, 
like the Arabs, burn dried cows'. dung; and on the coast, 
where even that is scarce, they use the dried carcases of 
sea-fowL Why do they not burn dried sea-weed, which 
is extensively used for fuel in the Channel Islands? 

Their daily food is taken cold, and consists chiefly of 
raw dried stockfish and skier. The latter dish is simply 
milk allowed to become acid and coagulate, and then 
hung up in a bag till the whey runs off In this form it 
is both nutritive and wholesome, being more easily 
digested than sweet milk ; while, to those wlv* cake to it, 
it is light, palatable and delightfully cooling. Milk is 
prepared in this way by the Shetlanders, who in the 
first stage call it "run milk," and when made into skier 
"hung milk." The same preparation is made use of 
by the Arabs, and it is also the chief diet of the Kaffirs 
and Bechuanas at the Cape. Our idea that milk is 
useless or hurtful when soured is merely an ignorant 
prejudice. Those who depend for their subsistence 

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chiefly on milk diet, and have the largest experience, 
prefer to use it sour, and medical authority endorses 
their choice. In Icelandic farms hard black rye bread 
is at times produced as a luxury; butter is always cured 
without salt, and used rancid, however, after it reaches 
a certain mild stage it gets no worse ; meat is dried at 
certain seasons of the year for occasional use, and the 
rivers abound in excellent Ash. The chief use to which 
the kitchen fire is put, is to prepare a cup of warm 
coffee. Snaps, sugar candy, coffee, grain, and other 
foreign commodities, they obtain at the factories. 

The scarcity of fuel tempts people to crowd together 
for heat; sometimes 15 or 16 people in one small sleep- 
ing apartment, and that often placed over another where 
cattle are kept The state of such an atmosphere may 
be imagined, while many dirty habits and the frequent 
recourse to stimulants are thus accounted for. Nor will 
any ope wonder much, although there were no other 
causes, that, in one district of the south, 75 per cent of 
all the children born die before they complete their 
twelfth month. 

As for indoor occupations, the farmers, as in colonial 
outposts, of necessity are Jacks-of-all-trade& They forge 
scythes, make saddles and bridles, make their simple 
household furniture, horse-shoe nails, and even build or 
. repair their own houses. Females do the tailoring, but 
men make their own shoes and take their turn at the 
spinning wheel, the knitting needles, and the loom. 
All work together by lamplight, while some one reads 
aloud some old-world story. The out-door occupations 
are both fishing and farming. The ver-tima, or fishing 
season, lasts from February till May, and is chiefly 

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carried on, on the south-west coast, which, from thus be- 
coming a source of wealth, is called Guld-bringu— or the 
gold bringing — Sysla. At the beginning of the season, 
men move down to the fishing stationa The boats 
have each from 4 to 10 oars, and crews. of from 10 to 20 

Lines only are used, and the fish caught are chieHy 
cod and ling. Part are salted and dried for exportation, 
part dried for homo uso without salt and left at the 
stations to be fetched at midsummer, when many 
people resort to the annual fair for the sale of product*, 
or rather the exchange of commodities. The deep sea 
fishing is not prosecuted by the Icelanders, but is 
chiefly carried on by the Norwegians, French, anil 
Dutch. All journeys are performed on horseback. 

These statements will enable the reader to form an 
idea of the ongoings of daily life in the numerous farms, 
which are scattetcd over the habitable belt of pasture- 
land which nearly surrounds the island. 

Through Zoga, we had an interview with the farmer, 
and arranged for the grazing of the ponies on the farm 
of Laugervalla. A girl brought out a large basin of 
skier, together with a plentiful supply of milk and cream 
to us. 

We looked wistfully to the south-east in the direction 
of Uekla which lay about 35 miles distant, but at this 
time it was quite hid by an impenetrable veil of clouds 
resting on the horizon line. As we were about half-way 
from Thingvalla to the Geysers, we mounted the relay 
horses, and now it was the turn of those that brought 
us thither to be driven before us. 

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In Iceland, at whatever pace the ponies run, they are 
supposed to be resting, when they carry no load. 

Our course lay over some wet marshy land — from 
which we gathered heather, moss, cotton-grass, and buck- 
bean — across a shallow river brawling over white and 
slaty coloured stones on its way to the lake; and then 
higher up, along the sides of the green hill-range which 
trends in the direction of the Geysers. Here dwarf- 
birches and willows grew in profusion; while the broken 
cakes of black lava, which projected from among them, 
served by contrast to add freshness to the green th of the 
foliage, and yet more brilliance to the vari-coloured 
flowers which bloomed in beauty on every side. We 
saw innumerable coveys of ptarmigan on the hill-sides, 
many plovers, snipe, and a few snow-birda All were 
very tame, flitted quite near and seemed to wonder at 
our intruding on their amenities. We did not abuse 
their confidence, but admiringly allowed them to go, as 
they came, in peace. 

Coming to a part where the soil was of soft earth and 
turf, we found it> for miles, worn by the ponies into very 
narrow tracks, averaging two feet in depth. There were 
from six to twelve of these tracks, with thin grassy ledges 
lietween them, lying close together nearly parallel and 
every little way running into each other; where the 
ground sloped, they were dry; and, where it was level or 
low, they were full of mud or water. Riding along at a 
hard trot> we required to be ever on the alert> and to 
maintain an incessant motion of the feet* in order to avoid 
collision with the irregular surface and the projecting 
stones on either side of us. Tempted by a wild flower 
of unusual beauty, I dismounted, but was astonished to 

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find that the deep tracks were so narrow that I could 
not walk in them, there not being width for my one foot 
to pass the other: yet a horse finds no difficulty iu 
trotting along; actually, however paradoxical it may 
seem, requiring less space for its feet tlian a man. 

We saw numerous farms as we passed along, each 
consisting of a group of irregular hillocks, with the 
windows hid deep in the grassy turf like port-holes, 
and generally all turned inwards so as to be sheltered 
from the roaring blasts of winter. We met ponies 
trudging along conveying lambs from one farm to 
another. It was curious to see the little animals looking 
out of square crate-like boxes, made of spars of wood. 
slung in the manner of panniers on a donkey, and 
to hear them bleat: reminding one of the old nursery 
rhyme "young lambs to sell ! " 

They could not be otherwise transported over lava 
tracks and across the rivers which separate one valley 
from another. We saw several small caravans or 
companies of Icelanders on the way. They had the 
same sort of boxes as our baggage ponies, and the same 
quaint horse gear, down to the rough hair cords tied and 
fastened by passing a sheep's knee-bone through a loop 
to prevent knots from slipping. They had tents anil 
provisions; one of the ponies carried a leather bottle 
probably filled with skier. It was a calfs skin sewed 
up, with the head and legs left on it, so that it presented 
a quaint old world look ; and recalled pictures in the 
catacombs of Egypt Notwithstanding the difference of 
climate, when in contact with the people, one is here, 
at every point, reminded of the East and carried back to 
patriarchal times. We touched our hats in returning 

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the salutations of those we met, although we did not 
know the exact import of what was said to us on such 
occasions till afterwards, when Dr. Mackinlay told me 
tliat an Icelander when he meets a stranger invariably 
doffs his bonnet and accosts him with the phrase "Saellar 
verith thferl" — "Happy may you be!" or occasionally 
with one still more expressive, "Guts fride!" — "God's 
peace be with you!" On saying good-bye, he uncovers 
again, and repeats the first phrase with a slight inversion, 
" Verith thfer saellar!"— "Be ye happy!" 

After the customary salutations, he accosts everybody 
on the road with a series of questions, like a master 
hailing a ship. The first question put, is "What is your 
name?" the second "Whose son are you?" — for the 
general absence of surnames renders this necessary — 
the third "Where do you come from?" Then follows 
" Whither are you going ? " and " What are you going to do . 
there?" These questions are not regarded as impert- 
inent, but as exhibiting a kindly interest Henderson 
says, "When you visit a family in Iceland, you must 
salute them according to their age and rank, beginning 
with the highest and descending according to your best 
judgment to the lowest, not even excepting the servants; 
but, on taking leave, this order is completely reversed ; 
the salutation is first tendered to the servants, then to 
the children, and last of all to the mistress and master 
of the family." Old friends meeting, salute each other, in 
the old Icelandic way, with the kiss of peace. Clergy- 
men are a privileged body, for, in salutation, even 
strangers male or female give them the kiss of peace 
and address them as "Sira," Father. Hence our words 
wre and sir. Out of Reykjavik, and away from the 

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factories, there is much of the oriental type about the 
manners and customs of the Icelanders; the same 
simplicity, the same native politeness, the same disre- 
gard of cleanliness, and the same dislike of change. 

We now rode over uneven rocky ground, enriched with 
brushwood, till we reached the banks of the BruariL 
This broad, deep, rapid river drains the valley of Lauger- 
valla, receiving the waters of two lakes, Laugervatn and 
Apavatn; which in turn are fed by rivers and streams 
from the snow mountains beyond. A few miles south 
of us, near Sk&lholt, it receives the joint waters of the 
Ttingufljot from Haukadal with the overflow of the 
Geysers, the magnificent river Hviti which flows from a 
lake of the same name at the foot of Lang Jokul, and 
the Lax&, from Groonavatn; further down to the south- 
west it also receives the Sog flowing from the lake of 
Thing valla; and after draining several hundred miles 
of country, these waters, united in a little gulf called 
Olfusd, flow into the sea on the west coast 

Properly speaking, the BruariL terminates when it 
joins the longest and principal river of those named— 
the Hvitd or White-river — aud below the junction, the 
whole waters united in one river are simply called the 
Hviti; while the gulph, formed on the coast where it 
debouches into the sea, is called Olfusi. 

The place selected for fording the BruariL is immed- 
iately above a singular waterfall shaped like a horse- 
shoo — the concave looks downwards — with a volcanic 
fissure or rent from two to three hundred feet long in the 
middle of it This wedge-shaped gap in the bed of the 
river runs back to a point, and the water rushes down into 
it, from either side, falling into the chasm with a noise 

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like thunder. Over this chasm, near the point or part of 
it highest up the river, are placed some planks with a 
alight hand-rail on either side, forming a rude bridge 
about twenty feet long and seven or eight broad. The 


river was swollen by recent rains, so that at least a 
foot of water lay upon or rather rushed over the bridge 
itself Some thirty feet of the river had to be waded 
through ere the bridge in the middle could be reached ; 
and — guessing its whole width here, say at 70 feet — 
again other 20 feet had to be forded after the bridge was 
passed, ere the steep rough bank, up which we had to 
scramble on the other side, could be attained. The water 
was deep, turbulent and rapid ; while we could hear large 
stones grating on each other as they were borne along 
in the current The eye took in all these bearings at a 
glance; there was no pause, Zoga led on and we followed. 
Our horses were up to the girths, and seemed walking 
over large movable boulders. They leant up the river so 

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as to withstand the current The arrowy swiftness of the 
flowing water produced a strange illusory feeling, akin 
to giddiness; one could not tell whether the motion 
pertained to one's self, or to the river. A little to our 
right was the roaring cataract, so wo kept the horses' 
heads well up the river, to avoid missing the bridge; in 
that case we should inevitably have been swept over. 
The view, from the bridge, of the foaming mass of water 
through which we moved, and of the yawning gulph into 
which it was tumbling and furiously rushing along, far 
below our very feet, impressed the situation on our 
minds as something unique. 

All having got over in safety, we paused for a few 
minutes on the top of the high bank to gaze back on the 
strange spectacle; while, before us, the river rushing 
along into the chasm, although on a smaller scale and 
different in kind, suggested Dr. Livingstone's description 
of the great Victoria Falls on the Zambesi The bridge 
has been renewed here from of old. On this account, 
the river is named Bruara or Bridge-river; a sufficient 
reason, when we mention that there is only one other 
bridge in the whole island. 1 

In the neighbourhood of the river we saw many small 
butterflies — blue and white — both fluttering and flying 
kinds; and were much annbyed with mosquitoes like 
gnats, that bit our faces severely and would get in 
about our necks, persecuting us most pertinaciously. 

The Iceland ponies are truly wonderful animala They 
carry one over smooth bare rocks, over great blocks of 
lava* up places steeper than a stair but with footing not 

l In tho same way a rivor in Perthshire is callod Bruarj evidently 
from the natural rock-bridge by which it is spanned. 

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half 80 good; through mud-puddles, water or bogs; 
over tracks of volcanic sand; through coppices; up hill, 
down hill ; or across rivers. Patient and sure-footed, they 
stick at nothing. They are guided by the feet as much as 
by the bridle; a gentle touch with the heel being the 
Icelandic they are trained to understand. Some riders, 
we saw, kept up a constant drumming on the poor beasts' 
8ide& After their day's work is done, they receive no 
manner of grooming or stabling ; saddle and bridle taken 
off, they are then left to shift for themselvea 

To our intense satisfaction, Zoga pointed out a hill 
about ten miles off, on the other side of which lay the 
Geysers. It was detached from the range of hills we 
had to skirt, rising with a gentle slope at right angles 
to them, and falling abruptly on the other side; 
forming a sort of bluff head-land resting on a marshy 
plain. Part of our track lay through a plashy bog ; then 
we had long level tracks of beautiful velvet turf at the 
foot of the hills, which both riders and horses seemed to 
think were made expressly for running races upon. 
When the ponies could be got into their peculiar amble, 
we progressed very pleasantly, and almost as fast as 
at a gallop. The hills on our left were mostly green, 
covered with dwarf birches, willows and blae-berriea 
On their slopes we saw farms, here and there, as we passed 
along. The plain immediately on our right, bounded by 
distant mountains and jokuls, was marshy. When it 
became very spongy and impassible, generally, we had 
only to move a little way higher up along the hill side, 
in order to obtain firmer footing. Approaching the hill 
which separated us from the Geysers, we crossed the 
morass, forded a river, rode up a miry lane past a farm 

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house, turned the flank of the hill, and beheld clouds of 
white steam rising from the slope. The wished for goal 
now lay before us. Pushing on rapidly, my trusty little 
pony soon reached and picked its way over a gritty 
slope, among numerous plopping pits, steaming holes, 
boiling springs and fountains, up to the side of the 
Great Geyser, where I dismounted at 9 o'clock at night, 
having been ten and a half hours in the saddle. 

The Geysers are boiling springs, situated seventy-two 
miles north-east of Reykjavik, on a gritty slope, at the 
foot of a trap-hill three hundred feet high; and on the 
upper border of a green-marshy plain, sloping down 
towards a small river which runs meandering through 
it in a southern direction. They are about a hundred in 
number, and all located in an area of about a quarter of 
a mile. Three of them are erupting — the Great Geyser, 
Strokr, and the Little Geyser. These, with Blesi, the most 
beautiful of the non-erupting springs, and situated a little 
way above the great Geyser, are the principal attractions 
to a traveller; although all the others, with everything 
pertaining to such phenomena, are intensely interesting. 

Geyser means gusher or rager; Strokr is derived from 
the verb to agitate, and signifies a chum. Instead of an 
abstract summary, I shall endeavour as far as possible 
to give a detailed account of what we saw, and in the 
order of its occurrence. This will enable the reader, as it 
were, to accompany us, and gather the distinctive and 
varied features of this marvellous scene from the same 
points of view. 

We stand at the side of the great Geyser, on the upper 
or north-west corner of a slope; a low trap-hill above us» 
the green valley of Haukadal below, and columns, jets, 

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and clouds of white steam rising, curling and waving 
from the numerous springs on this upper arid slope on 
which we stand. The surface immediately around us — 
flinty and paved in thin scaly layers — is of a gritty 
reddish irony colour, with streamlets of hot steaming 
water, trickling along from the overflow of the Geysers, 
on their way to join the river below. A long continuous 
strip of verdant turf runs up into this slaggy region, be- 
tween the great Geyser and Strokr; and elsewhere 
various little round green islet-patches about a foot in 
diameter occur in it; blooming like oases, and covered 
with parnassia, sea-pink, wild-thyme and butter-cups, all 
thriving and seeming to enjoy the thermal heat Here 
we found many bits of stick, turf, moss, and flowers, in- 
crusted over with the silicious deposit of the water and 
converted into beautiful petrifactions. 

The great Geyser basin is situated on the top of a 
cone shaped mound, which, on account of the uneven 
nature of the surrounding ground, seems, from every 
different point of view, to vary in height As we 
approached, it appeared seven feet; moving downwards 
from the plain, it seemed more than twice as high ; while, 
from the bottom of a deep gully running immediately 
behind and separating it in one direction from the hill, 
it seemed to attain an elevation of thirty feet 

The basin — perfectly smooth, of a whitish colour, 
saucer-shaped, slightly oval instead of round, seventy- 
two feet at its greatest breadth, seventy feet mean 
diameter, and about four feet deep— is full of water to 
the brim. In the bottom or centre of this gigantic 
saucer, through the clear hot fluid, is seen a round hole 
ten feet in diameter. This is the top of a stony funnel 

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or pipe which goes down perpendicularly to a depth of 
eighty-three feet 

The Geyser- water, 1 like many hot springs in India and 
other parts of the world, holds in solution a large propor- 
tion of silica or flint It is well known that this substance, 
when fused with potash or soda, under certain circum- 
stances readily dissolves in boiling water; and, under 
various other conditions, it diffuses itself throughout the 
arcana of nature; finding its way to varnish the stalk of 
corn in our fields, or the bamboo in Indian jungles, both 
preserving them from damp and adding strength to their 
extreme lightness. Fused masses of silica have at times 
been found among the ashes of a haycock which has been 
accidentally burned; and the same substance, arrested 
and deposited in crystalline lumps, is at times met with, 
though rarely, in joints of cane, and when so found is by 
the natives called Tabasheer. 

This flint-depositing property, resident in the water, 
has enabled the Geyser to raise its own pipe, basin and 
mound. The original basin or orifice, when the spring 
began, must have been at the bottom of the tube; the 
overflow, spreading, would then continue to go on and 
form thin laminated cakes of silicious deposit around it; 
eruptions would keep the hole open and smooth at the 
edge, ever adding layer to layer till it became a tube 

l Dr. Black's analysis of the Geyser water is— 
Soda, ... 0.05 
Dry Sulphate of Soda, 1.46 
Muriate of Soda, - 2.46 
Silica, ... 5.40 
Alumina, - - 0.48 


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Thus through the lapse of time — probably about a 
thousand years — tube, basin and cone have, without 
doubt, been built up to their present elevation ; and will 
continue to rise till the weight of the super-encumbent 
column of water becomes so great as to exceed the erup- 
tive forces, or these latter from any other cause cease to 
operate, when the Geyser will probably remain tranquil 
for a time, and then slowly continue to deposit flint on 
the surface edges, till at length they meet and finally 
altogether seal up the cone. 

This supposition is not altogether hypothetical, but is 
deduced from our having observed, both here and else- 
where, mounds, plainly of Geyserine formation, thus 
covered over, extinct and silent; little rocky elevations 
left like warts on the surface of the ground ; and even 
the tracks or dry-beds of the meandering rivulets, which 
once carried away their overflow, still left, distinctly 
traceable, down the sintery slope. 

Strokr is situated about four-hundred feet south from 
the great Geyser. It has not a regularly formed basin 
like the other, but is surrounded to a considerable 
distance by a slight elevation, of light flinty grit and 
laminae, with sundry depressions in' it; all being depo- 
sited after the manner already described. In the centre, 
through brown coloured sinter, is a deep hole, like a well, 
six feet in diameter at the surface, contracting as it de- 
scends and attaining a depth of nearly fifty feet On look- 
ing down, the water is seen, ten or twelve feet from the 
surface— boiling hard, plop-plopping, roaring, choking, 
and rumbling continually ; in fact, as its name indicates, 
agitated and seething like a churn. The edge, however, 
must be approached with great caution, as eruptions 

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occur without any warning; when jets of boiling water 
shoot up to the height of sixty feet, or, when choked 
with turf to provoke an eruption, to the height of 150 

The Little Geyser, situated upwards of 300 feet south 
of Strokr, presents a similar appearance, only it is on 
a smaller scale; the tube is less than forty feet deep. 
The eruptions, occurring every half-hour or so, were like 
playing fountains; but they only attained a height of 10 
to 1 5 feet, and lasted about five minutes. 

The chief non-erupting spring, Blesi — so called from 
its fancied resemblance to white marks on a horse's 
face — is situated say about 250 feet to the west of the 
Great Geyser, and a little higher up the hill. It is a 
large irregular oval opening into a cavern full of clear hot 
water, up to the same level as the ground. It is about 
40 or 50 feet long, 10 to 20 broad, and spanned across 
the centre, so as apparently to form two separate oval 
pools, by a natural rock bridge. The top of this bridge 
is only about a foot broad, and raised an inch or so above 
the surface of the water, while the arch is quite under 
it One can thus see through the clear water from the 
one pool to the other, the same as if this curious 
division were not there. 

Standing with our backs to the hill, we observed that 
the south edge of the spring was only a shelving ledge 
of silicious sinter, covering in or roofing the water; and 
that, 3 or 4 feet further in, the side of the cavern 
dipping abruptly and continuing to cave into fathomless 
darkness, with its whitish crags, precipices, and project- 
ing ledges, could be distinctly followed for 40 or 50 feet 
far down through the clear pure scalding water which 

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was perfectly stilL It never boils ; but its gentle overflow 
winds southward along the slope, steaming all the way. 
The blue tint of the transparent water near tho side was 
exquisitely delicate, and appeared to be caused by light, 
modified and reflected somehow from the craggy sides, 
although they* were whitish in colour, while the 
crystalline water near the sides was actually as bright 
as lapis-lazuli, shading magically into the most tender 
sea-green. Gazing down on the subaqueous jags, the 
yawning fissure, spite of its stillness and heat, suggested 
Schiller's poem of the Diver, and then again Hans 
Christian Andersen's brilliant word picture of the Blue 
grotto of Capri; combining, as it does, elements both of 
terror and beauty. We were strangely fascinated by this 
spring, which although now so tranquil only ceased to be 
an active erupting Geyser in A.D. 1784, the year after the 
terrific eruption of Skaptar, when earthquakes disturbed 
and wrought sundry changes on the Geyser ground, and, 
according to Henderson, opened up thirty-five new 

The rest of the springs are situated chiefly on the 
lower, or south-west corner of the slope, and also at 
the foot of the hill, in the deep gully at the back of the 
great Geysefc They are of various kinds and close 
together; little pools of hot water level with the surface; 
•others, boiliiig hard, below it; dark holes with steam 
rising from them; others where, though no water could 
be seen, it was heard seething below, and felt to be 
boiling 'by the vibratory motion it communicated to the 
ground on which we stood; others seemed caldrons of 
seething clay; while, in many places around, when a 
stick was thrust 12 or 18 inches into the ground and 
withdrawn, steam issued from the hole so made. 

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Nearly all these springs have an alkaline reaction, 
and give out more or less sulphurated hydrogen. My 
thermometer, dipt in at the edge of the great Geyser 
when at rest but full to the brim, indicated 178°, and 
the temperature was pretty equal all round its basin. 
Blesi was hotter, and on repeated trials stood at 196°. 

While Zoga was busy pitching the tent, lent us by 
the Count Von Trampe, on the narrow turf plat, about 
30 or 40 yards south-west of the great Geyser, we 
observed, besides the white vapour which always hovers 
over it, bubbles rising from the surface of the water 
over the hole in the centre of the saucer-shaped basin ; 
then the water became troubled; a stream of hissing 
steam rushed up with a noise resembling the whiz of a 
rocket; we heard subterranean sounds like the rumbling 
of distant thunder, broken in upon at intervals by the 
booming of artillery; a dome of water, like a gigantic 
glass shade eight or ten feet high, then rose and burst 
with a loud explosion, as if a submarine blast had just 
been fired. We expected a grand eruption, but this 
time were disappointed; for only one other bell, smaller 
than the first, rose and fell, enveloped in dense clouds of 
steam slightly impregnated with sulphur; the troubling ' 
of the water speedily subsided, low muffled sounds died 
away, losing themselves in distant mutterings, and the 
Geyser pot boiled over; but very quietly, as there was \ 
no fire outside to be put out by the little rills of scalding 
water. These ran trickling down the sides all round, 
but chiefly on the south-west where there are several ' 
slight indentations in the lip of. the basin, and where at 
the foot df the mound tho bed of a shallow streamlet has 
been formed which winds through . the gritty slope, 


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conveying the Geyser's overflow, steaming as it runs, 
down to the river. This little rivulet spreads out broad 
and shallow, as it flows over the gritty surface, being 
only, excepting after eruptions, one or two inches deep, 
with many little islet-patches of verdure in it 

These islets are sometimes formed by a single tuft of 
butter-cups, sea-pinks, wild-thyme, or parnassia; quietly 
blooming in freshness and beauty in this strange habitat, 
cared for and cherished by the same beneficent hand 
that controls the under-lying and central fires, with all 
their marvellous and terrific phenomena 

Our attention was now called to the Little Geyser, 
which exhibited great activity, shooting up several jets 
of water at the same time like a fountain, while great 
volumes of steam rolled away from it to the leeward. 
Its eruptions did not attain, as already stated, more than 
a height of from ten to fifteen feet, and lasted only for 
about five minutes; but they occurred every little while 
during our stay. 

We sketched this singular region from various points 
of view ; wonder ever increasing, as we wandered about 
and discovered one marvel after another. For, be it 
confessed, that on approaching the Geysers, utterly 
fagged and weary, I felt all curiosity so blunted, that, 
for the first fifteen minutes, I believe I would scarcely 
have risen from the turf on which I sat to walk a mile, 
though it had been to see the earth split open to its 
very centre; and, for the moment, serious thoughts of 
bow I was ever to undergo the ride back occupied my 
mind. Such however are the recuperative powers of 
nature, that, after a rest of twenty minutes, I again felt 
equal to anything, and wandered about seeing what was 

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to be seen till 1 1 o'clock P.M., when Zoga announced 
that dinner was ready. 

Tea was made with hot water from the great Geyser, 
because it afforded the nearest supply; but our provisions 
were cooked in Blesi, because it was of a higher 
temperature. The water had no unpleasant taste and 
was quite fit for our temporary use. 

Zoga's mode of cooking was simple, a fine large trout* 
with head and tail tied together, was fastened to one end 
of a string, and a big stone to the other; the fish was 
plumped into the water and the stone left outside near 
the edge to moor it; so with tins of preserved meats, 
soups, &c They required to be immersed for about 
twenty minutes. With these, a plentiful supply of bread, 
biscuit and cheese, and the addition of a pailful of milk 
from the farm, we fared sumptuously; dining al-fresco, 
in broad day-light and the thermometer indicating 58*, 
although it was near midnight. 

Several loud reports, rumblings, noises, and minor 
troubliugs of the water, again brought us to the side of 
the great Geyser, in expectation of a grand eruption, but 
these came to nothing, and again we were disappointed. 

The tent was small ; three of our companions crept in 
and lay down, leaving a place for me to follow. Professor 
Chadbourne, fearing he might miss an eruption, would 
not leave the ground, although he had been offered 
quarters at the farm ; but, selecting a warm ledge of rock 
immediately under the Geyser, on the north side, lay 
down to sleep, wrapt up in ray storm-coat 

All had now retired but Mr. Murray who accompanied 
me to the hill behind, from which wo obtained a bird's- 
eye view of the plain, with the river meandering through 

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it, and of the numerous springs in the corner immediately 
below us. 

The sun in the north did little more than dip and 
skim along a little way below the horizon; so that 
between twelve and one o'clock A.M. it was lighter than 
on a southern cloudy day at noon; while the whole 
atmosphere, in the light "dim/' exhibited a northern 
depth, transparency, and calm spiritual purity, surpass- 
ing the loveliest of our summer twilights. Those who 
love Dante will perhaps realize the impression it 
produced on our minds, when we say, that, although it 
was too light for any stars to be visible, the ethereal 
beauty of the sky suggested Beatrice. Returning to the 
tent before one o'clock, Mr. Murray ensconced himself 
comfortably outside, in the lee of it; and I crept in, 
spread my plaid and lay down without disturbing any 
one, although the four of us inside were packed together 
as closely as sardines/ 

After Mr. Murray had bade me good night through 
the canvas, hearing the harsh croak of the raven, and 
the eerie whistle of the plover, I, too, quickly fell asleep, 
and dreamt a queer disjointed jumble of Scandinavian 
myths new and old, of which I only remembered, Odin's 
Raven flapping its wings and leading me to Rabna 
Floki; seeing that worthy thrash Thor, after having 
eaten his hammer; and Loki kindling Midgard with fire 
from the Serpent's eyes; the winds, all the while, sighing 
a requiem for Baldur, through IgdrasUl the ash tree of 
existence. The rocks were being burled about by the 
Jotuns, who in the midst of their conflict opened a space 
and respectfully stood aside, to allow Professor Chad- 
bourne to approach me. Hearing myself called upon by 

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name, I suddenly woke up, and saw my friend, in front 
of the tent, beckoning to me in a state of great 

Subterranean noises like thunder were waxing louder 
and louder; each earth-shock accompanied by a tremor of 
the ground, more or less violent, but quite unmistakeable. 
Bells of water in quick succession were rising from the 
basin and falling again, ever increasing in size, till a 
large one burst; and then jets of water, in successive 
spurts, rushed up in sheafs from the tube; at first 
about 10 feet, then the height was 15, 20, 30, 50 feet 
and so on, each effort surpassing the preceding, till it 
attained the height of 200 feet The fountain did not 
fall down between each jet, but, nearly holding the 
elevation once gained, the whole grew up bodily by a 
series of jerks each higher than the last Dense clouds 
of steam enveloped the whole, and only afforded occas- 
ional glimpses of the columns of water from the lee- 
ward side. White vapour also spread out above the 
fountain, rolling away in vast curling volumes, which, 
condensing in the air, came down like heavy dew. 
Tremendous sounds were continuously heard, like the 
roaring of an angry sea, broken in upon by the near 
discharge of minute guns. It is at last, what we longed 
to behold, a grand eruption of the great Geyser. 

Professor Chadbourne, who came running to the tent 
to rouse me, had been sleeping for warmth on a ledge 
immediately under the basin ; and, when wakened by the 
loud noises, two streams of boiling water were running 
down the mound in minature cascades on either side of 

The vast body of water from the central pipe contin- 

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tied jetting up, till, as I have said, it attained the height 
of 200 feet, falling down again into the basin which 
was brimful to overflowing. The subterranean rum- 
bling sounds and reports, accompanied with vibration of 
the ground, were fearful Jets of water rushed up, in 
sheaf, with a continuous noise, such as would be pro- 
duced by 500 rockets discharged into the air at the 
same instant 

Even the beautiful clouds of steam which robed the 
Geyser were regarded by us with an indescribable 
feeling of mysterious awe and wonder, as if we had 
actually discovered the fabled magic vapour, from which 
the eastern Ufret, or any other vision, might arise; while 
the sharp tinkling plash of the descending water could, 
at times, be heard amidst the loud hissing, roaring, 
booming and confused Babel of all unearthly sounds. 
The eruptive forces having now expended themselves 
for the time, the fountain gradually subsided in the same 
manner, though more speedily than it had risen. The 
whole terrific spectacle lasted about twenty minutes. 
We were singularly fortunate, as, from what we were told, 
few eruptions of late have lasted more than four or five 
minutes, or attained half the height of this which we 
had just witnessed. 

When over, the water subsided and left the basin 
empty, so that one could walk in it to the edge of the 
central tube-hole, and look down. As the water thus 
sank, so great was the heat in the stone that the cup was 
instantaneously, though bit by bit, left as dry as an oven* 
Smooth and of a whitish colour, it resembled the chalice 
of a gigantic water-lily. At the edges however, where 
•ilex has been deposited from the spray and condensed 

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steam, the surface, although of the same colour, is rough 
like coral, or rather granulated like the head of a. 
cauliflower. I broke off specimens of this singular 
formation from the lip, and also obtained bits of shingly 
laminoe from the mound, the latter not unlike the outside 
of an oyster-shell; on several of the fragments was a 
deposit of sulphur. 

I now retired to the tent, but the Professor mode to 
sleep, sitting on the edge with his feet in the dry basin, 
determined to miss nothing. In an hour or so he was 
warned back by the water gradually rising and again 
filling the cup. There was not much hazard in his so 
doing, as the premonitory symptoms are generally "loud 
enough," as my friend Dr. Mackinlay quaintly remarked, 
"to disturb the repose of Rip Van Winkle himself" 
However, danger may arise from these symptoms being 
disregarded, as they also precede abortive attempts, in a 
very deceptive and tantalizing way; getting louder and 
louder up to a certain point, and then, instead of coming 
to a head, gradually subsiding again into perfect still- 
ness. The deafening detonations and rumblings are 
most frequent fast and furious, immediately before, and 
during eruptions. 

The Geyser made another grand display, early in the 
morning between four and five o'clock ; but it fell far 
short of the first in magnitude. Tired with the fatigues 
of the preceding days, with broken rest and excitement, 
I only mechanically sat up, thrust aside the canvas of the 
tent and gazed out on the strange scene, scarcely able 
to keep my eyes half open the while. My recollections 
of it are consequently somewhat vague and nebulous; 
having reference to loud discordant noises muffled up in 

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white clouds, both strangely rising from the earth. In 
fact, to me scarcely half awake and perfectly passive, all 
seemed an evanescent dream, and I speedily sank back 
again to enjoy "the honey heavy dew of slumber;" for 
to the way-worn and weary, nature's soft nurse proffers 
that which is best for them, viz., repose; and as the 
laureate sings, 

M Why should a roan desire in any way 
To differ from the kindly race of men?" 

July 31. — Had the luxury of a hot bath at the great 
Geyser; dipping a rough towel into its basin, and tem- 
pering down the heat in one of the cooler little pools 
formed on its ledge by the overflow. When bathing my 
feet and half dressed, the Geyser exhibited premonitory 
symptoms of an eruption, the water bubbling violently 
over the pipe, streams of hissing steam, noises like 
thunder, then like artillery, a tremor of the ground, 
then a transparent dome of water heaved up about four 
feet and burst Gathering up my clothes, bare-footed, I 
scampered off as fast as possible; fortunately without 
cutting myself on the flinty scale-like laminae, which on 
the edges are as hard and sharp as knives. It was only 
a little disturbance which subsided in a few minutes, 
but shallow streams of boiling water flowed down over 
the very part of the basin where I had been standing. 
Afterwards returning with Professor Chadbourae, we 
completed our toilet, giving a keen edge to our razors by 
dipping them into the hot water of the great Geyser, at 
the same time making use of a little pool at the side as 
a mirror. The matter-of-fact oddness of the situation re- 
called sundry adventures of Don Quixote, when in quest 

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of another basin — that of the barber, which he mistook 
for the enchanted golden helmet of Mambrino. The 
Geyser also did efficient duty as pot and tea-kettle for 

About ten o'clock A.M. we witnessed an eruption of 
Strokr. All of a sudden, we heard as it were the whiz of 
a rocket, and saw a jet of water spouting up in a single 
column, to the height of fifty or sixty feet, straight as 
the trunk of a palm tree, but spreading out at the top, 
bending gracefully down all round, and falling in clouds 
of spray. It lasted for about ten minutes, subsided, and 
began again. Some of us, looking down, narrowly 
escaped being scalded by its sudden vehement and un- 
expected spurts. The ascending water shewed beauti- 
fully clear and transparent against the sky; and gleam- 
ing rainbows came and went — now bright as the tint of 
flowers, now dim and evanescent — lending opaline lustres 
to the falling showers of diamond spray. 

After all was over, Zoga collected several heaps of turf 
at the side, and then at once plumped them all in, to 
provoke an eruptioa We expected the dose would take 
effect in twenty minutes or half-an-hour; but a whole 
hour having elapsed without any sign, we began to fear 
it would exhibit no resentment at being made to eat 
dirt Five minutes more, however, and up it came, 
rushing with tremendous force, in several jets, and 
attaining a height of from a hundred to a hundred and 
fifty feet The water falling back, nearly in a perpen- 
dicular line, was met by up-rushing steam, and thus 
formed a glassy dome, from which jets of water sprang 
up. This disturbance lasted twenty-one minutes; was 
followed by a lull; then it commenced again, subsided 

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and ended by one or two explosions and spurts, after 
which the water sunk down into the pipe, rumbling, 
seething, boiling hard, and plop-plopping as before. The 
water this time was black and dirty with the particles of 
sand and turf which had been administered to it; so 
that, although higher, it lacked the fairy-like beauty of 
the last eruption. I had thrown in a white cambric 
pocket handkerchief with some turf tied in it; but, 
instead of its being washed and thrown up, suppose it 
must have been cooked, and reduced to "shreds and 
patches" or pulp, as I saw no more of it 

Several cows were wandering near the Geysers quite 
unconcerned. Many sheep and lambs browse in the 
valley beneath, occasionally approaching the springs. 
Accidents, however, seldom occur; although we were 
told of an unlucky ox having once stumbled into Blesi, 
where it was boiled alive. Sea-swallows were flying 
overhead; and at our feet, among the stony grit, grew 
isolated patches of wild-thyme, sea-pinks, dandelions, 
butter-cups, sorrel and parnassia — all of them old friends, 
and quite homa-lika The thermometer stood at 60° in 
the shade. At noon, being Sabbath, we sat down in the 
lee of the tent, which was fluttering in the breeze, and 
Mr. Haycock read the service for the day — Professor 
Chadbourne and I taking the lessons; gave an English 
Testament, and some of the Religious Tract Society's 
illustrated publications to Zoga, who could both read 
and translate them to his brother guides. 

After dinner walked down to the river. On either 
side of its course lies a strip of meadow, where the 
herbage is rich, green, tender and luxuriant like a velvet 
carpet; the valley around, though also green, is in many 

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places wet and spongy; covered with heather and moss- 

The overflow of the Geysers comes down, steaming, to 
the river, through the brown shingle which is variegated 
here and there with little strips and patches of verdure. 
After great eruptions there is some body of water; at 
other times it merely trickles, spread over a wide bed. 

Wandering about, I visited every one of the springs 
alone. In the south corner of the Geyser ground, steam- 
ing pits occur every little bit: the crust there is very 
thin, so that one requires to tread with caution. Some 
, of them are merely holes in this thin crust, showing 
steaming pools of hot water, flush with the surface and 
extending under it; others are holes in rocks, deep, dark 
and craggy, with the water far down boiling furiously 
and seething in white foam ; such is Strokr. Some are 
as if one looked down the kitchen chimney of a castle in 
the olden time when good cheer was preparing: you 
hear boiling going on but see nothing, for all is dark. 
Others throw up jets of steam. At many places you 
hear internal cauldrons boiling violently, at others you 
can also see puffs of steam escaping at intervals from 
small clay holes. The Little Geyser enlivens the scene 
by throwing up many jets of steaming water, at different 
angles, playing like a fountain several times in the 
course of an hour or so; nor does the great Geyser 
allow itself to be long forgotten : loud noises, rising bells 
of water, and other premonitory symptoms frequently 
calling us up to its side in expectation of grand erup- 
tions; for, more perfect in its formation and larger than 
any of the other springs, it is justly regarded as the chief 
attraction of the place. 

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Sir George Mackenzie attempted to explain the 
mechanism of the Geyser eruptions, by supposing that 
the tube was fed from hot water confined in a neighbour- 
ing subterranean cavern. This water was forced into 
and up the tube by the pressure of steam, accumulated 
between the surface of tho water and the roof of the 
hypothetical cavern, when it had attained power sufficient 
to overcome the resistance of tho column of water con- 
tained in the tube. 

For several reasons, this explanation is unsatisfactory ; 
and the more likely theory is the chemical one, pro- 
pounded by Buusen who spent eleven days here. In 
few words it is as follows. The water in tho lower part 
of tho tube gets heated far above tho boiling point by the 
surrounding strata; water, thus super-heated for a length 
of time, is known to undergo certain changes which 
materially modify its composition; particles of air are 
expelled, the component molecules consequently adhere 
more closely together, so that it requires a much higher 
temperature to mako it boiL When, however, under 
theso conditions, it does boil, the production of steam is 
so great and instantaneous as sufficiently to account for 
all the phenomena of a Geyser eruption. 

This theory is supported by various facts. The 
temperature, both in tho Geyser tube and in Strokr, 
gradually rises towards the bottom, and increases before 
eruption* It has actually been found as high as 261° 
Fahrenheit, which is 3i)° above the boiling point. In 
ordinary circumstances it would be found equal through- 
out, or, if a difference were appreciable, tho hottest 
water, being the lightest, would rise to the top. Stones 
have been suspended at the bottom and remained 

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undisturbed by eruptions, showing that the super-heating 
process went on abovo them in the tube itself; and 
lastly, M. Donny, of Ghent, has produced precisely the 
same effects in miniature ; using for tho experiment a 
brass tube stopped with a cork, and heating it all round 
with charcoal fires; one, if we remember rightly, at the 
bottom of the pipe, and another half-way up. 

This theory would also explain the terrific and 
destructive water eruptions of KotlugjA, provided the 
water actually does come from the crater, as is said, anil 
not rather from tho great deposits of surface snow and 
ice melted by the internal heat of tho mountain. One of 
these eruptions in 1755 — tho year of the earthquake at 
Lisbon— destroyed 50 farms in the low country, with 
many men and cattlo. Of the "two Geyser-theories, 
Bunsen s is the more likely to provo the correct ono. 

After exploring the plain and gazing on the farm of 
Haukadal, which is situated on a height about three 
quarters of a mile to tho north of the Geyser and 
celebrated as tho birth-place of Ari Frodi tho earliest 
historian of tho north and the first compilor of the Land- 
n&mabok, accompaniod by Mr. Murray, I ascended the 
hill behind so as to get a complete bird's-eye view of the 
Geyser ground, and the whole valley of Haukadal or 
Hawk-dale. Tho view of this singular region from 
thence, is peculiar, and I shall try to convey an idea of 
it, even at the risk of repetition. 

Below, a green marshy plain runs nearly north and 
south ; tho river, winding through it, shows here and 
there little serpentine reaches of water liko bits of 
mirror; the horizon, on tho south and south-east, is 
bounded by a low sloping range of purple hills, and 

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several low detached heights shaped like the Nineveh 
mounds. On the north and north-east rise several 
distant mountains One of them is a Jokul, with 
perpetual snow and ice on its summit, and ribbed with 
white streaks down its sides On the west is the hill- 
range on which we now stand. It is considerably 
higher, rougher, and wilder in character than the heights 
on the other side of the valley. Near the foot of the 
hills, at our feet, are bluff banks covered with reddish 
irony mould, not unlike old red sandstone; these 
deposits however we afterwards found to be fine clay, 
containing iron oxidized by exposure to the air, and 
very slippery to walk upon. From these red banks 
there stretches a gentle slope, mostly covered with a 
brown and white silicious stuff like slag, such as is seen 
on many garden walks On this little slope are the 
Gey sere; and all the springs occur within the small 
space of about fifty acres. 

The great Geyser is the most northern, and lies on 
our extreme left From where we stand, it resembles 
an artificial mill pond with an embankment rising all 
round it and slanting — to compare great things with 
small — like the sides of a limpet-shell from which the 
top or cone has been struck oft Clouds of white 
vapour hovered over it, as it lay gleaming like a silver 
shield. Near it, is our tent, and a heap of boxes, 
saddles, and other gear lying piled on the ground. 

A little higher up and nearer us, on the right, lies the 
tranquil and beautiful spring of Blesi. More to the 
right, but lower down, that dark hole like a well is 
Strokr. Yet further, in the same direction, the little 
Geyser is in full play, sending up numerous jets of 

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water like a fountain; while volumes of steam are 
rising from it, and rolling away to the south. To the 
right of the little Geyser, and on the slope which runs 
down eastward below it, are numerous little round pools, 
close together, which reflect the sky, and look as if. 
they were blue eyes gazing from earth to heaven. Little 
jets and puffs of white vapour rise from among them. 
Several farms are in sight; cattle are grazing on the 
plain; tern and snipe are flying athwart the sky; wind- 
clouds are gathering in the north ; but the hazy veil in 
the south-east, which conceals Hckla and other moun- 
tains in that direction, has not been lifted. Instead of 
being sated ,with the scene before us, wonder increases 
every time we survey it, or dwell on the striking features 
of its marvellous phenomena. 

It was now between ten and eleven o'clock P.M. We 
descended leisurely to the brink of the Geyser, were 
joined by several of our party, and there sang several fine 
old psalm-tunes, such as "York" and the "Old Hundred," 
in full harmony. 

These, associated as they ever are in our minds with 
the language of Scripture, lost none of thoir impressive 
grandeur, thus heard by waters that are not always still, 
in the land of destroying mountains, burnt mountains, 
earthquakes, and storms. Where we have Geysers — 
gushers or pourers forth — as in the valley of Siddim ; 
indeed, there is a valley with tho very same name, rendered 
in Icelandic instead of Hebrew, viz. Geysadal, a little to 
the north-west of Krabla. Places with parched ground, 
waste and desolate; a wilderness wherein thoro is no 
man. A land where rod-hot pumice or ashes, fire and 
brimstone, shot up into the air by volcanoes, have oft-times 

) • Digitized by GoOgle 


been rained from heaven ; and, on every side the once 
molten lava flood — which is graphically described by Job 
as overtaking and arresting mortals, carrying their 
substance away and devouring their riches by fire- 
may be observed crossing the ancient track. 

Where, excepting for a few months in the year, hoar- 
frost is scattered like ashes, and the treasures of the snow 
or of the hail are not hid ; and the face of the deep itself 
is often frozen. Again, He causeth His wind to blow 
and the waters flow. 

Where spring comes with the small rain on the tender 
herb; valleys are watered by springs; grass grows for 
the cattle, and the pastures are clothed with flocks. 
Where we encounter nomades pitching their tents, and 
many old eastern customs that remind us of the dwellers 
in Mesopotamia Where we behold the eagle mounting 
on high and spreading abroad her wings, and hear the 
young ravens which cry. The swan too, and other 
migratory birds may be seen stretching their wings 
towards the south. Around its shores leviathans 
play in the deep; and there too go the ships. 

Here in an especial manner we are reminded, at every 
step, of the wondrous works of Him who looketh on the 
earth and it trembleth; He toucheth the hills and they 
smoke: the mountains quake at Him and the hills melt, 
and the earth is burnt at His presence. His fury is 
poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down 
by Him. The earth shook and trembled, the founda- 
tions of the hills moved and were shaken. Truly 
wonderful are His works, who maketh His angels spirits, 
His ministers a flaming fire I 

Such were some of our thoughts as we stood, at mid- 

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night, singing these grand old psalm tunes, by the side 
of the Geyser; reminded, in a peculiar manner, that 
the whole surface of the globe is after all but a thin 
crust, cooled down and caked over the great molten 
central mass of liquid fire which constitutes our planet; 
and how easily, were latent forces called forth, or even 
were those powers which are already developed only 
roused into more energetic action, the whole might 
explode 1 like a shell filled with molten iron — the myriad 
scattered fragments then "spinning down the ringing 
grooves of change" as a shower of asteriods — nor could 
the orphaned moon survive the dire catastrophe I 


Although midnight is spoken of, it was quite light, and 
I sketched for nearly an hour and a half, beginning at a 

1 From the specifio gravity of the globe, token m conuectiou with tho 
increasing ratio of heat as we descend from the surface, it is calculated 
that all metals and rocks are melted at a depth of thirty miles below 
the sea level, and that the fluid mass is chiefly meted iron; while tho 
temperature would indicate somewhere about 4000° Fahrenheit 


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quarter-past 12 o'clock. Before Professor Chadbourne 
left for the night-quarters which Zoga had secured for 
him at the neighbouring farm, we two stood together on 
the brink of the Great Geyser, filled our glasses with its 
hot water — pure, and, as soon as it cooled down below 
the scalding point, drank to absent friends on both sides 
of the Atlantic ; this toast having special reference to 
our own distant homes. Then four separate Geyser- 
bumpers were devoted respectively to Longfellow, 
William and Mary Howitt, Dr. Laurence Edmondston 
of Shetland, and Gisli Brynjfilfsson the Icelandic poet 

Properly speaking there was no night at all; only a 
slight dim towards two o'clock in the morning, which I 
took as a hint to get quietly under the canvas of our 
tent The wind rose, increasing to a gale; our tent- 
lining came down and the sides flapped up, fluttering 
in the wind with a noise like platoon firing. For me. 
sleep was impossible; but as I was very tired and 
things could not well be much worse, I patiently lay 
still till five o'clock in the morning, when we all rose, 
and Zoga struck the tent The wind blowing from the 
north-coast on which many icebergs were at present 
stranded, was piercingly cold, and reminded us of the 
Duke's allusion, in the forest of Arden, to 

"The icy fang 
And churlish chiding of tho winter's wind ; 
Which when it bites and blows upon my body 
Eren till I shrink with cold, I smite and say, 
This is no flattery.*' 

As breakfast would not be ready for a couple of hours, 

I took some brandy and hot water at the Geyser, literally 

' to stop my teeth from chattering, and descended into the 

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gully behind to examine the bonks of coloured clay. 
These lie, just under the Geyser, on the north-west side. 
Steam may be observed escaping from many little clay 
holes, and the sound of boiling may be heard inside at 
places where there are no holes. This hot clay is deposited 
in horizontal layers, red, purple, violet, white, light blue, 
and pale green. These colours occur by themselves, 
and are also occasionally found mixed together, mottled 
and variegated like a cake of fancy soap or a sheet of 
marble paper. Judging by the taste, the clay seems 
impregnated with sulphuric acid; and, to the touch, it is 
of a very fine consistency, having no grit whatever. I 
secured specimens of the finest colours, cutting them like 
butter with a table knife, and filled several empty pre- 
served-meat cans to take home for analysis. The colours 
are most beautiful, but, apparently caused by oxydized 
iron, would, I fear, be useless as pigments. If this fine 
clay could be put to any use in the potteries, thousands 
of tons might be obtained here and also at Erisuvik. 

What leads me to suppose that the colouring matter 
of the alumina chiefly consists of iron, is the fact that, 
excepting where the layers were evidently freshly laid 
bare to view by water or by some other mechanical 
means, the banks, however beautifully variegated be- 
neath, invariably exhibited no colour but red on the sur- 
face; or, in other words, the iron was uniformly oxydized 
by exposure to the air. 1 

Further down the gully, we came upon large rough 
slabs of whitish stone, beautifully variegated with tints 

1 The specimens nearly all became rod before they got home, and Dr. 
R. Angus Smith, F.R.S. &c., has sinco fully confirmed my surmise as 
to the origin of the colours. 

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of violet, red, and yellow, dashed with blue. These were 
in compact laminae, and each colour about the fourth of 
an inch in thicknesa In several instances however the 
colours, as in the clays, were mixed I broke up several 
masses, and secured a number of the most characteristic 
and beautiful specimens. We also obtained chalcedony 
and agate, at times approaching to opal; these and cor- 
nelian being only varieties of silex, colour making the 
chief difference. 

Before filling some bottles with Geyser water, as the 
wind was fresh, I set one of them afloat to be carried 
across the basin before it When the half of its ventur- 
ous voyage was accomplished and it had reached the 
tube in the centre, a little eruption came on, by which 
the bottle was thrown up, and floated over the outer edge 
of the basin. I succeeded in getting hold of it .uninjured, 
arrested in a little pool amid the boiling water which 
was flowing down the sides, and afterwards filled it, 
marking it specially for Dr. R Angus Smith; — "one 
whose name," in a different sense however from that in 
which Keats used the expression, "is writ in water/' 
and let me add, in air too; for, in connection with 
sanatory matters and the supply or purification of these 
two health-giving elements to towns, no man in Europe 
has analyzed more water; nor was there any known 
index of local atmospheric insalubrity but the mortality 
bills, till he made his great discovery — the Air-test On 
all such subjects there is no higher scientific authority. 

Wandering, once more to bid farewell to the other 
springs, we could not but remark that the whole slope is 
a thin crust, with innumerable caldrons below; these each 
preserve their individuality, although the central heat be 

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common to all, for the various eruptions seem to be 
quite independent of each other. Blesi was quite tran- 
quil during the eruption of its neighbour the great 
Geyser; and the other springs take as little notice of the 
Little Geyser's activity as it does of Strokr. Wonder 
ever increases, although the ground has been gone over 
so often as to be already quite familiar to us. 

Breakfast waits and is soon despatched with keen 
relish. Packing done, horses ready, and a guide left to 
find three that have strayed, we start on our return 
journey to Thingvalla and Reykjavik at a quarter to 
eight A.M. Truly, as Shakspere hath it, 

"Nature oftentimes brooks forth 
In strange eruptious I" 

The wind was still from the north and bitterly chilL 
On rounding the shoulder of the hill, we picked up the 
Professor, at the farm house. The room he slept in had 
been all carefully washed out on purpose to receive him, 
the earthen floor as well, so that it was very damp. He 
was assisted to undress by the hostess, till he called a 
halt, and insisted on retaining some portion of his under- 
clothing. Then, after he lay down, a basin of milk was 
brought and placed at his bed-side. Had he looked 
under the pillow, he would probably have discovered a 
bottle of brandy deposited there for his own especial use ; 
but, as the worthy Professor would have left it precisely 
as he found it, no "sense of loss" dawned upon him 
when the probability was hinted at 

Rector Jonson subsequently explained to me the 
rationale of the hostess, or her daughter, attending to 
guests. Among the Icelanders, wet feet and thorough 

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drenchings are incident to locomotion. It is the univer- 
aally acknowledged duty of the female department to 
render the way-worn traveller such assistance as he may 
require, taking away his wet stockings and mud-soaked 
garments at night, and returning them to him, dry and 
comfortable, in the morning. This simple old custom, 
which is also to be met with in various parts of Norway 
and Sweden, will give the key to many funny exaggera- 
tions on the subject, where the art of putting things has 
been employed chiefly in the direction of the ludicrous. 

We see on the way many lovely wild flowers, which 
confirm our previous observation that they are larger in 
the petals, but smaller in the leaves and stems than the 
same kinds at home; the aroma is also less. This is 
caused by their receiving more light and less heat, in the 
short Icelandic summer, than in more southern climes. 

Graceful white sea-swallows are darting about; cur- 
lews are very tame, flying within a few yards of us or 
Fitting unconcerned on stones till we ride past them, 
noting their beautifully speckled breasts, long bent bills, 
and plaintive tremulous whistle. 


The atmosphere was now much clearer, and many 
distant snow-covered mountains were visible on our left 

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I 1 



Zoga pointed out one of a peculiar shape, which he in- 
formed us was Skaptar Jokul, the most destructive vol- 
cano in the island. Of this, however, again. 

A bird, with a red breast, perched on a block of lava 
near us; this, the Professor told me, was the American 
robin. It seemed as large as our blackbird. 

Retracing our steps, we crossed the BruarA, ascended 
the heights, and at length got into the green level plain, 
halting at the same spot where we had rested in coming 
along. Here we obtained a magnificent view of Hekla, 
and made a number of sketches. The prospect varies 
but little, as we ride along skirting the hills and at 
length ascend them on the other side of the plain. From 

&J\\y / *^^*~^^^^S m— m^T T P i ~ ^S5-yL£~T&* 4 


this point, Hekla still appears dome-shaped ; the three 
peaks being scarcely perceptible from the distance — 
about thirty miles — at which we stand, and only indi- 
cated by very slight dints in its rounded outline. The 
mountain, covered with snow and mottled here and there 
with black patches, rises beyond a low range of purple 
hills and towers high above them, in shape and colour 
not unlike Mont Blanc as seen from the banks of the 

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Arve below Geneva, if we could only imagine the mon- 
arch of mountains deprived of his surrounding Aiguilles, 
and left standing alone over the vale of Chamouni 

The bird's-eye view of the great flat green plain, with 
rivers meandering through it, which stretches from the 
low range of purple hills over which Hekla rises, to the 
foot of the heights on which we now ride, is both striking 
and picturesque. 

About twenty volcanoes have been in action in 
Iceland for the last 1000 years. Of these the eruptions 
of Hekla have been the most frequent, although by no 
means so destructive as many of the others. Only 
attaining a height of about 5000 feet, it owes its 
celebrity to the frequency of its eruptions; to its rising 
from a plain, being visible from a frequented part 
of the island, and quite accessible; and also to the fact 
of its being well seen, from the sea, by vessels sailing to 
Greenland and North America. Four and twenty 
eruptions, of lava, sand or pumice, are recorded ; the last 
having occurred in 1846. The intervals between these 
eruptions vary from six to seventy-six years, the average 
period being thirty-five; but some of them have lasted 
as long as six years at a time. . 

We give an account of one of these eruptions, 
selecting that of 1766, which was remarkable for its 
violence. "Four years before it took place, when 
Olafsen and Povelsen were there, some of the people 
were flattering themselves with the belief, that as there 
had been no outbreak from the principal crater for 
upwards of seventy years, its energies were completely 
exhausted Others on the contrary, thought that there 
was on this account only more reason to expect that it 

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would 80011 again commence. The preceding winter 
was remarkably mild, so that the lakes and rivers in the 
vicinity seldom froze, and were much diminished, 
probably from the internal heat On the 4th April 
1766, there were some slight shocks of an earthquake; 
and early next morning a pillar of sand, mingled with fire 
and red hot stones, burst with a loud thundering noise 
from its summit Masses of pumice, six feet in circum- 
ference, were thrown to the distance of ten or fifteen 
miles, together with heavy magnetic stones, one of 
which, eight pounds weight, fell fourteen miles ofi, and 
sank into the ground though still hardened by the frost 
The sand was carried towards the north-west, covering 
the land, one hundred and fifty miles round, four inches 
deep; impeding the fishing boats along the coast, and 
darkening the air, so that at Thingore, 140 miles 
distant, it was impossible to know whether a sheet of 
paper was white or black. At Holum, 155 miles to the 
north, some persons thought they saw the stars shining 
through the sand-cloud. About mid-day, the wind 
veering round to the south-east, conveyed the dust into 
the central desert, and prevented it from totally 
destroying the pastures. On the 9th April the lava 
first appeared, spreading about five miles towards the 
south-west, and on the 23d May, a column of water was 
seen shooting up in the midst of the sand. The last 
violent eruption was on the 5th July, the mountains in 
the interval often ceasing to eject any matter; and the 
large stones thrown into the air were compared to a 
swarm of bees clustering round the mountain-top; the 
noise was heard like loud thunder forty miles distant, 
and the accompanying earthquakes were more severe at 

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Krisuvik, eighty miles westward, than at half the 
distance on the opposite sida The eruptions are said to 
be in general more violent during a north or west wind 
than when it blows from the south or east, and on this 
occasion more matter was thrown out in mild than in 
stormy weather. Where the ashes were not too thick, it 
was observed that they increased the fertility of the 
grass fields, and some of them were carried even to the 
Orkney islands, the inliabitants of which were at first 
terrified by what they considered showers of black 
snow." 1 

This mountain, with its pits of burning sulphur and 
mud, and openings from whence issue smoke and flames, 
is associated with the old superstitions of the Icelanders 
as the entrance to the dark abode of Hela, and those 
gloomy regions of woe where the souls of the wicked are 
tormented with fire. Nor are these ideas to be wondered 
at in connection with the terrible phenomena of such an 

As Hekla lay gleaming peacefully in the sunshine, 
with a heavier mantle of snow, we are told, than usual, 
I bade adieu to it by attempting yet another sketch 
from the pony's back, pulling the rein for five minutes, 
and then galloping on after my companions. 

Having rounded the shoulder of the hill, we now lost 
sight of Hekla and the greater part of the plain. In a 
region where some brushwood and a few flowers grew 
among dark coloured rocks, we came upon a fine 

'See Olafreu's Roise, th. ii. p. 138-140. Finnson's Eftorrotning om 
Tildrogelserne rod Diergot Hekla. (Copenhagen 1767). Barry's 
Orkney Islands, p. 13; quoted by tho author of Iceland, Greenland, 
and the Fariie Islands, pp. 8(M. 

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example of ropy looking lava, curiously wrinkled in 
cooling, and all corrugated in wavy lines. Soon after- 
wards we saw a sloping mass of rock, some sixty feet 
square, inclined at an angle of 2.5°, polished smooth by 
the ice-drift, and deeply abraded in grooves, all running 
southwards. The marks were not to l>e mistaken, and 
were more distinct than those we had observed in 

Here I gathered specimens of geraniums and other 
flowers, placing them between the leaves of my pocket 
Wordsworth. Coming to a glade of dwarf willows, we 
observed bees feeding on the flowers of the flossy species, 
and were forthwith, even in this northern region, re- 
minded of Mount Hybla, recalling Virgil's line, 

"Ilyblrois apibus florom depaatA salictt." 


The Professor, Mr. Murray, and I, riding together, 
now reached and descended the Hrafnagji or Raven's 
Chasm, which has already been described. It waa 
steeper than a stair, full of breaks and irregular turna. 

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At some places, the ponies drew up their hind legs and 
slid down. It seems more perilous to descend than to 
climb such places, but the ponies are very sure-footed. 
On a bosky slope, I pulled the bridle and made a sketch 
of the lake of Thingvalla, the waters of which were 
intensely blue. 

Crossing the plain of Thingvalla,. we reached our 
rendezvous — the Pastor's house — about nine o'clock at 
night, after a splendid day's ride; some of us, much to 
our own surprise, being not only in excellent spirits, but 
fresh and in good physical condition; rough-riding feats 
and prolonged fatigues notwithstanding. We dined on 
trout, soup, &<x ; and at 20 minutes to 11 P.M. I wandered 
out, alone, to the Althing to sketch and gather flowers. 

The three lost ponies, that strayed from the Geysers, 
have just come in. I see them now scampering before 
the guide and passing the waterfall of the OxerA, which 
thunders over the black rock-wall, about half a mile 
from the descent into the Almannagji. The fall looks 
like a square sheet of burnished silver from the sacred 
Logberg or Hill of Laws, on which I now sit writing, 
entrenched and moated round with deep volcanic chasms 
about two-thirds filled with clear water. 

Skialdbreid— or Broadshield — Jokul, to the north- 
west* is mottled towards its base with black patches, but 
its summit and flanks are lit up with pure roseate light 
Armannsfell, one of a range nearer and more to the 
north, is of a dark rich Venetian red colour touched with 
bronze and exhibits a living glow, an effect I have never 
elsewhere seen equalled or even approached. When- 
ever the light falls, all is transfigured and glorious 
beyond description ; yet there is no approach to hardness, 

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either of line or tint, but an atmosphere of subduing 
softness, transparency, and purity, magically invests 
everything with an etherial spiritual beauty : such effects 
are peculiar to Iceland. 

Having made a sketch of the lake, I retired to rest, 
the last of our party. We slept, without undressing, in 
our old quarters — on the floor of the pastor's parlour. 

Tuesday morning. — Rose between five and six 
o'clock, and went out to gather ferns— aspidium or 
crystoperis— on the Althing. The scene around was 
singularly wild, and yet strikingly picturesque in its 
desolate strangeness ; while the tender green of the valley 
itself afforded a refreshing rest to the eye. On return- 
ing I made a sketch of the priest's house; 1 examined 
the site of the little church which was being re-erected; 
strolled down by the river side, and performed my 
ablutions in it — laying my clothes in the priest's fishing 
coble, which was lying hauled up on the bank 

I then paused at the simple churchyard close by, and 
tried to conjure up life and heart histories for those who 
had entered this "Saula-hleith" — or soul-gate, as the 
churchyard is beautifully named — while hymns were 
l>eing chanted over them, and who were now resting 
peacefully beneath the green sod. 

Conversation with the pastor was again attempted to be 
carried on in Latin. His morning salutation was "bonus 
dies," or other remarks about the weather, as with our- 
selves. After squaring accounts, on leaving, we gave him 
— as a nimbus for the rix-dollars — a mediaeval "pax- 
vobiscum," in exchange for his many expressions of good- 
will towards us, and his rounded classical "vale I" 
1 See illustration at p. 84. 

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The glebe hay was being tedded, but the ground here 
as elsewhere is covered with little hummocks. Were it 
only levelled and drained, the soil, one would think, 
should raise turnips in quantity, and, certainly, larger hay 
crops would be obtained During the short summer 
there is not time for the grain to ripen ; but food suitable 
for cattle might readily be grown in the valleys; for it 
is chiefly by the rearing of stock, that Iceland, when she 
can muster the requisite enterprise and activity, will, in 
all probability, advance to commercial prosperity. 

After sketching the gorge of the Almannagjfi — see 
illustration, p. 81 — we ascended it, crossed the lava 
plateau, and rapidly retraced our steps to the capital, 
only pausing now and again to take a sketch. 


Over the last part of our journey, from the river which 
we forded just below the farm house on the hill, to 
Reykjavik, we rode like the wind — men and horses alike 
eager to get to the end of their journey. Our entry into 
the town was a regular scrimmage. It was a quarter to 

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three p.m. when we got in, having done the distance from 
Thingvalla in six houra By this time we had ceased to 
wonder at any feats performed by the ponies. Seldom, 
if ever, disconcerted, they go at anything in a most 
patient philosophical manner, and get over difficulties 
which elsewhere one would think insurmountable, and 
sheer madness to attempt Thanks to mackintosh over- 
boots — made specially for the purpose — at the end of the 
journey, I was the only one of our party whose feet 
were dry. 


Mr. Bushby invited us to dine with him at the hotel, 
and Dr. Mackinlay kindly gave us his room to dress in. 

How oddly things sometimes turn up I We saw lying 
on the floor a box of "Brown and Poison's Patent Corn 
Flour," which at once suggested two very different, al- 
though not incongruous, trains of ideas; one, the contrast 
between the hurry and bustle of railway stations in 
Britain, where the corn flour is everywhere so extensively 
advertised, and the primitive locomotion of Iceland, in 
which not a single steam engine has been erected ; and the 
other, associating the beautiful locality where the flour 
is made— near Paisley, at the foot of "the Braes of 
Gleniffer" celebrated in song by Tannahill, one of Scot- 
land's sweetest minstrels — with some of the loveliest 
scenes we had lately witnessed. For here, are we not in 
the land of Eddas and Sagas I and is not the Poet found 
singing wherever there are human hearts I 

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A gentleman told me, that having obtained permis- 
sion, he had, that afternoon, caught seventy trout in the 
salmon river — three of them from his pony's back; he 
had only to throw the fish over his head on the grass 
behind him, as fast as he could whip them up. He had 
seen a fisherman get 130 at one haul of the net I saw 
the manager of the fishery, an active intelligent Scotch- 
man, whom, from his appearance, one would take to be 
the mate of a vessel He told me he had been three 
years in Iceland, and had some of his family here with 

Mr. Bushby procured us several specimens of double 
refracting Iceland spar, obtained from the other side of 
the island It polarizes light, and is valuable in various 
ways, both to science and the arts. 
. Mr. Murray and Mr. Cleghorn set out after dinner to 
visit the sulphur mines of Krisuvik; I, on the principle 
of letting well alone, preferred remaining at Reykjavik 
to undergoing the fresh fatigue of such a ride immed- 
iately after the Geyser-journey. Three of us spent the 
evening, by invitation, at the Governor's — the Count 
Yon Trampe. I had a long conversation with him in 
German,' during which he mentioned that all the old 
Saga and Edda MSS. had been removed to Copenhagen; 
and, in answer to sundry enquiries, told me that the 
"lang spiel" is the only Icelandio musical instrument 
now in use. It is something like a guitar or banjo, 
has four strings, and is played with a little bow. The 
airs now played are chiefly Danish dance music, and 
other foreign melodies. 

The Icelanders, like the natives of Madagascar, have 
adopted the music of our "God save the Queen" as 

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their national air. The words to which it is sung were 
composed in the beginning of the present century, by 
the late Biarni Thorarensen, Governor of the northern 
province of the island, when he was a student at the 
university of Copenhagen. The song is called "Islands 
Minni," or the "Remembrance of Iceland;" and finely 
illustrates the intense love of country displayed by 
Icelanders, who, wherever they may travel or sojourn, 
always sooner or later return home though but to 
die; for to them, as their own proverb has it, "Iceland 
is the best land on which the sun shinea" We here 
give the words of this national song, which, calling up 

S-. ' '" 

- '■ 




in foreign lands memories of sweet home, is no less 
to the Icelander, than is the Rama de Vaches to the 


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Swiss when far away from the one chalet he loves best 
in the world, perched, it may be, on the lofty mountain 
side, or lying peacefully in some green sunny valley. 


Eldgamla Iaafold, 
Astkaora f6sturraold, 
Fjallkonan frid! 
Moguro thin muntu k»r, 
Medan loud girdir s»r 
Og gumar girnast mnr; 

Hafnar <ir gufu her 
Heim allir girnmunst vor ~ 
Thig thokka ad sja; 
Glepur 068 glaunrarinn, 
Ginnir oas aollurinn, 
III»r ad oas hoimskinginn 
Hafnar al6d a. 

Loidist oaa Qall-laust fr6n, 
Fa>r oas opt hoilsutj6n 
Sviplj6tt land synist m6r 
Sifelt ad rora Mr, 
Sem noflaus asynd er 
Augnalana mod. 

Odruvfs or ad sju 
A thjer hvftfaldinn hi 
Hoid-hirain vid; 
Eda thwr krystalls Ar t 
A hverjar rflin gjjar, 
Og hoidar himin-blar, 
Hi-jokla ri<L 



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Eldgamla Isafold, 
Astkara ftsturmold, 
Agtotust audnan thor 
Upp lypt, bidjum vir, 
Mcdon ad uppi or 
Oil hcimains tid! * 

From the literal prose-rendering into English which 
follows, the reader will be able to gather how beautiful 
such thoughts must be, when clothed in the flowing 
rhythmic music of the original stanzas. 


Old land of ice, 
Dearly boloyod natiro land, 
Fair maid of tho mountains! 
Dear thou shalt bo to thy son* 
As long as land is surrounded by aoa; 
As men lore women ; 
Or suu-gloam falls on the hill-side. 

Hero, from the midst of Copenhagen's smoke, 
Wo all yearning after homo 
Long, door one, again to behold thee. 
The noisy din irks us; 
Revelry tompts us in vain; 
And tho fool jeers contemptuously at us 
In tho streets of Copenhagen. 

Wo are tired of a mountainloss land; 
We are constantly losing our health 
In this smoky thick atmosphoro; * 
I find this country ovory whoro 
To bo destitute of fino features, 
A land liko a foco without nose, 
And oven without eyes. 

i Sot note it footer page ft*. 

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How different it is to see 

Thy high-pcakcd head-dross of snowy whito l 

Reaching the cloudless sky; 

Or the crystal rirers 

Which sparklo in the sunshine; 

And the bright bluo heavons 

Orer the jokul's brow. 

Old land of ioo, 
Dearly beloved native land, 
Fair maid of tho mountains! 
The best luck attend thee 
Ever, we pray, 
As long as shall last 
All the years of tho world ! 

One or two old Icelandic airs linger amongst the 
people, but are seldom heard ; and as there was — so 
I understood the Governor to say — no musical notation 
to hand them down, little reliance can be placed on 
their accurate transmission. 

I was introduced to the Compte d'Ademas of the 
Artemise frigate, an officer who speaks English well. 
He is Lord Dufferin's cousin. There were several 
other French officers present After leaving the Gover- 
nor's, we called for M. Bandrop, the state's apothecary, 
who received us in the wonted hospitable Icelandic man- 
ner. Madam Bandrop kindly played to us on the piano- 
forte "Bobin Adair," "Cheer Boys," "Fin chan dal 
vino," "Hear me, Norma," a Danish dance, and an Ice- 
landic song. Her two daughters, the Misses MUller, 
are learning English, and her son is going south by our 
steamer to attend the university at Copenhagen. 

1 Alluding to the old Icelandic female head-dress which is now 
acain being introduced— 8oe illustration p. 68. 

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The Arctwua having left the bay and gone somewhere 
for cargo, and the few bedrooms upstairs at the hotel 
being all occupied, as it was late, we resolved to sleep 
down stairs on the narrow sofa-seat which runs round 
the assembly room. 

Through a large door, that opened into the billiard- 
room, came the loud clicking of ivory balls, noisy voci- 
ferations from the French sailors, and strong fumes of 
tobacco; notwithstanding which, we somehow contrived 
to fall asleep, and knew no more till the morning, when 
we beheld blue-eyed flaxen-haired Thea, the maid-of-all- 
work, standing before us. She was clad in a close fitting 
dress of home-made stuff, wore the common little jaunty 
black cap with its silver ornament and long silk tassel 
flowing down at the side of her head, and her waist-belt 
was covered with richly-wrought filigreed bossy silver 

She brought in a cup of coffee and milk and a biscuit, 
depositing them on a little table which she placed be- 
side my long narrow couch. This good old Norse custom 
is called "the little breakfast;" and, from the experience 
of years, I can testify that in no way does it interfere 
with or spoil the regular breakfast which follows, while 
the benefit at the time is undeniable. 

Then followed water, soap and towels, indicating that 
we were expected to get up ; and as breakfast was to be 
served in the apartment where we lay, Thea's hint was 
speedily taken. 

After breakfast I called for Mr. Sivertsen, who pro- 
cured for me some coarse mits, made with two thumbs 
but no finger-divisions. These are the customary wear 
of the fishermen, who, when the line cuts the one side, 

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are thus enabled to torn them and use the other. I also 
obtained a curious snuff box like a bottle, 1 made of wal- 
rus-tooth; a collection of stuffed birds, with a large black 
ttkua, a pair of Richardson's skua-gulls, a pair of jer- 
falcons, an eider duck and drake, a puffin, an arctic gull, 
and a pair of pheasant-tailed ducks among them; also 
silver bracelets and brooches of exquisite workmanship. 
These trinkets are made of Danish dollars by native 
silver-smiths, who have certainly arrived at great pro- 
ficiency in their art 

I found that the few English Testaments I had brought 
with me to give away, were greatly prized by those who 
were acquiring our language ; the cheapest edition of the 
New Testament in Icelandic costs between three and 
four shilling* 

Last night Captain Launay, of the Agile French 
war brig, had called at the hotel and invited us to visit 
him, on board his vessel, to-day at 11 o'clock. At the 
appointed time we went down to the jetty and found a 
ten-oared boat waiting for us. Our party consisted of 
Dr. Mackinlay, Captain Forbes, Mr. Haycock, Rector 
Jonson and his daughter, Professor Chadbourne, and 
myself We were kindly received and shown over the 
brig; everything on board was neat and clean; the 
sailors were, for the most part, diminutive in size, like 
Maltese, and, although lithe and agile, wanted the 
physical build and stamina of British sailors. The men 
were at mess and seemed to be well cared for. 

In the captain's cabin, cakes, bonbons, and cham- 
pagne were produced, and we were entertained by the 
officers with that frank and graceful hospitality peculiar 

1 £to illastration at p. 63. 

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to the French. Captain Launay showed us collections of 
geological specimens from Faroe, from the east of 
Iceland, and also from the neighbourhood of Reykjavik; 
all kept distinctly separated, and laudably labelled as 
such specimens ever ought to be. He offered me what 
of them I wished, and then addressing Professor Chad- 
bourne, added, *'Take all, and leave me one, I am only 
an amateur"! He gave me some Faroese sea-weeds of 
his own preserving, and I also accepted one or two little 
geological specimens as mementos of a pleasant hour 
spent with one who is deservedly a favourite with all 
who know him. 

The sailors, he told me, called him Captain Long-life, 
because he has been five years in the north without 
losing a man. His present crew is a hundred, but 
during that period, he has, one way and another, passed 
a thousand men through his hands. This happy result 
he attributes partly to the regular use of lime juice, 
which he flavours and renders palatable by mixing it 
with a little brandy or rum. The addition of the spirits 
adds nothing to its virtue, probably the reverse, but the 
sailors like it so, and are thus induced to take it In 
many ships, he added, the men, if not watched, throw it 
over their heads into the sea. 

A boat came alongside with an invitation from Captain 
Vdron for us also to visit his frigate the Artemis* 
It has a crew of 250. The men were at mess betweeA- 
decks; and, both seats and tables being swung, the per- 
pendicular ropes made the whole look not unlike the 
floor of a great factory. An officer took me over the 
ship and through the storea What an immense estab- 
lishment is a war ship I 

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The French officers are well paid, and have a hand- 
some allowance per day for mess, over and above their 
pay. On this station they have double pay, are put to 
little expense, consequently save money fast, and get 
leave of absence now and again to go home and spend 
it Here we were again offered champagne but declined 
it; and, at half-past one P.M., were rowed ashore in a 
ten oared gig, much pleased with the kind frank atten- 
tions of all the officers. 

When we landed 1 called for Mr. Sivertsen, and after- 
wards visited the library with Dr. Mackinlay. The Eev. 
Olaf P&sson dean and rector of the cathedral, and Mr. 
J6n Arnason, secretary to the Bishop and also librarian, 
were there before us by appointment and kindly gave 
us every information we required. There were no manu- 
scripts to be seen here older than the fifteenth century, 
and these were chiefly genealogies, or translations of 
mediaeval tales or romances such as "Charlemagne." 
We saw a fine folio edition of Snorro Sturleson's writ- 
ings, and hastily looked over the work on Iceland got up 
by the French expedition under Gaimard It embraces 
views of places, natural history, manners and customs, 
costumes &a Some views of localities we had visited 
were very good, but others were inaccurate and careless, 
being only modified compositions instead of faithful 
representations of the places indicated. Ere leaving, I 
received several original little works, in Icelandic, both 
from the dean and the librarian; those from the former 
were inscribed in English "with the author's best 
respects;" and those from the latter with a 
at similar import in Icelandic 
As the althing or parliament, which ceased to meet 

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at Tbingvalla in A.D. 1800, was now assembled here, we 
went to see it The place of meeting is an oblong ball 
in the same building as the collega You enter by the 
side, and see, facing you, a raised platform where the 
president and two or three officials sit at a table covered 
with papers and writing materials. Portraits in oil of the 
King and Queen of Denmark hung behind them. On 
two rows of seats, like school forms with simple spar 
backs, sit the members, forming an oblong square around 
the table; visitors find places outside this square. 
There are several writing desks and other conveniences 
in the room. 

The most of the deputies were sturdy intelligent 
looking men — peasant-farmers dressed in brass buttoned 
wadmal jackets, and wearing cow-skin shoes. On rising 
to speak, many of them expressed themselves in an 
animated manner, which seemed to us, with the aid of 
Mr. Brynjfilfsson's explanations and interpretations, to 
be at once fluent, pointed, eloquent, and effective. 

The population of Iceland is, as already stated, 

64,603. Parliament meets every second year, and is 

composed of a deputy from each of the eighteen syssels 

or counties into which the island is divided, and six 

deputies, generally officials, nominated by the King. 

The members are elected by household suffrage, but, on 

account of the great distances, and the bad roads, few 

people care to vote. Dr. M ackinlay mentioned one case, 

at last election, where a member had only one single 

vote— and that his own 1 1 This indifference to matters 

political, as contrasted with the stirring old times when 

the Althing was supreme— being then both deliberative 

and executive, "parliament and high court of justice in 

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one" — may be accounted for, by the fact that it does 
not now possess legislative power. The result of its 
deliberations is merely a petition to the King, suggest- 
ing that certain things should be done; and only under 
certain circumstances, can they levy taxes or recommend 

The island is divided into three governments, each 
government being in civil matters quite independent of 
the othera The governor or stiftsamptsman who resides 
at Reykjavik, is at the head of the civil administration, 
"conducts all public affairs, presides in the supreme 
courts of justice, watches over the execution of the laws, 
the collecting and expenditure of the public revenue, 
and, along with the Bishop, directs the school, and 
appoints the clergy" throughout the whole island The 
governor is sometimes a native of the island, though 
oftener a Dane. "He continues in office five years, with 
a salary of about i?300 per annum, and is entitled to 
promotion on his return to Denmark Under him are 
the amtmen, of whom there ought to be four, but as the 
governor holds this office in the southern province, and 
the northern and eastern are united, there are only two 
othera These have the superintendence of the inferior 
officers, and nearly the same duties in their province as 
the governor exercises in relation to the whole island. 
Subordinate to them are the sysselmen or sheriffs, 
nineteen in number, who are empowered to hold courts, 
appoint justices of the peace and notaries, and to 
administer the laws concerning inheritances. They are 
chosen by the crown from among the principal 
proprietors in the district Under these are the hrepp- 
stiorar or bailiffs, who assist the sheriff in preserving 

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the peace and public order, and have at the same time, 
the charge of the poor. 

"All causes civil and criminal, come in the first 
instance before the sysselman in the Heradsthing, one of 
which is held regularly, once in twelve months, though 
extraordinary sessions are also called. This court 
consists of the sheriff as judge, with four assistants 
named meddomsmen. The landfoged or steward, who 
is receiver-general of the island, and police-master of 
Reykjavik, holds a similar court in that town. From 
their decision there is an appeal to the highest tribunal, 
instituted in A.D. 1800, on the suppression of the 
althing, and which consists of the governor as president, 
who takes no part in the proceedings, a chief-justice, 
two assessors, a secretary, and two public pleaders. 
Cases are here decided according to the native laws, or 
Jonsbook, introduced in A.D. 1280, and the latter royal 
ordinances; and from their judgment the last appeal 
lies to the supreme court of Copenhagen. The high 
moral character of the people renders the last court 
nearly a sinecure, — not more than six or eight cases, 
public or private, occurring annually. The crimes are 
mostly sheep-stealing and small thefts, and the only 
punishments inflicted in the country are whipping or 
fines. Those condemned to hard labour are sent to 
Copenhagen; and a peasant, being capitally convicted 
many years ago, for murdering his. wife, it was found 
necessary to carry him to Norway for execution. 

"The taxes collected in the island, being very incon- 
siderable, impose little burthen on the inhabitants. They 
are principally levied on property according to several 
old customs ; and payment is chiefly made in produce of 

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various kinds, which is converted into money by the 
sysseiman, and transmitted, after deducting a third for 
his own salary, to the landfoged or treasurer. The 
whole amount does not exceed 50,000 rix-dollars, and 
does not even suffice for the support of the civil govern- 
ment of the island" 1 

The machinery of civil government is well arranged; 
but the people are peaceable, and to a large extent 
govern themselves; thus rendering the duties of the 
officials very light In reference to this pleasant state 
of matters, Dr. Mackinlay quaintly remarked, "Each 
country is presided over by a sysseiman or sheriff, who, 
besides his judicial duties, has to discharge the duties of 
lord lieutenant and revenue officer, postmaster, poorlaw 
guardian and head constable. As the average popul- 
ation of each syssel is only 3700, he has, after 
discharging all his duties, time enough on hand to be 
his own clerk and message boy I" 

At five o'clock, Dr. Mackinlay, Mr. Haycock, Dr. 
Livingston, Professor Chadbourne, and myself, dined at 
the hotel, with Gisli Brynjulfsson, Mr. Bushby, and 
Captain Forbes; it was our last dinner at Reykjavik. 
The Arcturus is to sail with us to-night at ten o'clock 
for the east of the island. All last things have a touch of 
sadness about them; we have been happy together, and 
shall not likely all meet again. 

Mr. Murray and Mr. Cleghorn have not yet re- 
turned from Krisuvik. Gisli Brynjulfsson the poet is an 
MJ\, and at present here to attend the althing. He is 

1 Hotel, toL 10. p. 381-288. Mackenzie, p. 812-828 Henderson, 
toL 1. p. xxri. Barrow, pp. 298-806. Iceland, Greenland, and tins 
Faroe Islands, pp. 209*10. 

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employed, as already mentioned, by the government at 
Copenhagen in connection with Icelandic antiquities 
and literature, and has a work on these subjects in pre- 
paration. He speaks English fluently, and gave us 
much interesting information. 

After dinner Dr. Mackinlay called with me for Mr. J6u 
Gudmundsson, editor of the "Thiotholfr," a Reykjavik 
newspaper — a quarto 6heet of 8 pp. — in which, along Math 
other news, the proceedings of the althing now sitting 
are reported in a condensed form. No particular time is 
fixed for publication, so that it appears at irregular in- 
tervals when there is news to communicate. Mr. Gud- 
mundsson is an advocate, and holds an official appoint- 
ment in the althing. He presented us with several 
numbers of his paper. The type is clear and the 
paper good, so that it and another Reykjavik newspaper 
the "Islendingur," a folio of 8 pp., — both printed at the 
same government office — are without exception the most 
beautifully printed newspapers I ever saw anywhere. 

In Mr. Gudmundsson's house we saw medallions of 
Finn Magnusen, Finnsen, aud other distinguished Ice- 
landers. He was exceedingly polite and courteous, but, 
as we knew he must be much occupied at present, we 
made our visit a short one. 

We then saw Dr. Hjaltalin, chief physician of the 
island, and well known for his antiquarian and scientific 
acquirements. He and Rector Jonson are good, tall, 
portly specimens of humanity. The latter good-naturedly 
told me that when some one called him a John Bull, 
although he did not quite understand the phrase, he 
knew that it somehow associated him with England, and, 
for that reason, felt "flattered — very much flattered!" 

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Our friends returned while we were making calls, and 
describe their moonlight ride of thirty miles to Krisuvik 
as more like a wild dream of chaos than a reality. Their 
path lay among lava chasms, along the tops of narrow 
lava ridges, irregularly jugged like a saw; through huge 
lava blocks, like ten thousand Stonehenges huddled to- 
gether; over volcanic sand and cinder heaps; over hol- 
low lava domes, and through great burst lava bubbles, 
or extinct craters. Lava everywhere, parts seemed like 
a troubled sea which had been suddenly spelled into 
atone, and then roasted, baked and cracked. This scene 
has been aptly characterized by an old traveller as "a 
congealed pandemonium." In a boggy, valley were seen 
several boiling mud-caldrons, which exhale sulphurious 
fumes. These gases condense in the atmosphere and 
deposit a crust of sulphur, in layers of various thickness, 
on the coloured clay banks on the side of the hill. Many 
jets of steam and smoke rose around; while on their 
right lay the lovely blue lake of Kleiservatn. Mr. Bush- 
by had kindly furnished them with a letter to his agent, 
which procured for them such shelter and creature com- 
forts, as his iron house could afford. 

It was now about 9 o'clock ; and, not without sincere 
regret, on pushing off from the shore, did we bid adieu 
to those kind-hearted, learned, yet simple-minded gentle- 
men at Reykjavik, who had done so much to make our 
visit to their island a pleasant one. 

While some ponies'were being taken on board from 
a large boat alongside, the steam was suddenly blown 
off; the noise frightening them, one jumped into the sea 
and swam ashore, a distance of a mile, with a boat after 
it However it was got on board again, none the worse 

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for its adventure. It turned out to be a pony which Mr. 
Murray had purchased, and was taking south with him 
to Long-yester. 

Mr. Bryujtilfsson had accompanied me to the steamer, 
and, before starting, Mr. Arnason also came on board to 
bid us another adieu 1 

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At ten o'clock p.m., August 3, the anchor was heaved 
and we sailed for the east of the island 

The bay at Reykjavik is very lovoly. Every crevice 
of the Essian mountains is distinctly shown ; while the 
positive colours and delicate tints of these and other 
heights rising far inland, which the eye takes in, in 
sweeping round the semicircle from Snajfell to Skagi, are 
bright, varied, and beautiful beyond description. Deep 
indigoes dashed with purple, violet peaks, palo lilac 
ranges; and, relioved against them, cones of dazzling 
snow and ice glittering like silver, side by side with rosy 
pinks and warm sunny browns, all rising over a fore- 
ground of black lava. The sky overhead is blue; and 
the northern horizon lit up with a mellow glow of golden 

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Tho frigate Artcmisc, the brig Agile, the Danish 
schooner Emma, and several trading vessels lying at 
anchor, animate the scene. 

Snajfell Jokul — rising to the north-west on the ex- 
treme of yonder narrow ridge that runs out due west 
into the sea for nearly fifty miles, separating the Faxa 
from tho Breida fiord— dome-shaped, isolated and per- 
petually covered with snow, is now touched with living 
rosy light. 

At its foot lie the singular basaltic rocks of Stappen, 
somewhat like the Giant's Causeway, or tho island of 
Staffa in the Hebrides. Indeed, stapp is the same word 
as staff, and indicates the character of tho columnar for- 

For the first time, since leaving home, we see the stars. 
One or two, only, are shining in tho quivering blue over- 
head, with a quiet, subdued, pale golden light I made 
a sketch of Snrofell as it appeared from tho quarter deck 


of the steamer at a distance of fifty miles; it seemed a 
low cone rising from the sea. As the evening was calm 
and beautiful, ere retiring, we walked the deck till a late 


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hour, musing on the structure and marvellous phenomena 
of this half-formed chaotic island, where Frost and Fire 
still strive for the mastery before our very eyes. 

August 4. — On getting upon deck, I found we were 
past Cape Reykjanes, and making for the Westmanna 
Islands. Eldey — the rock like a meal-sack — lies, in the 
distance, far astern. 

My place at table is between Dr. Mackiulay and Mr. 
Haycock, the latter being next the chairman Rector 
Jonson who is going to Copenhagen ; Mr. Murray, Mr. 
Cleghorn, Professor Chad bourne and Dr. Livingston sit 
opposite. The Danes are all congregated at the other 
end of the table with the captain. 

Half-past three p.m. Saw Eyafialla Jokul, and 
Godalands Jokul, Myrdals Jokul, and Kotlugji. These 
form part of the most southern range of snow-mountains 
in the island, and rise distinctly over a dark greenish 
and purple range of hills, away to the east on our port 
bow. Eyafialla is the second highest mountain in Ice- 
land, being next in height to Onofa Jokul. It has a 
distinct crater. Only one violent eruption, that of A.D. 
1612, is recorded previous to A.D. 1821. "But on the 
night between the 20th and 21st December, of that 
year, the lofty Eyafialla Jokul, of which the movement 
of A.D. 1612, was the only one formerly known, burst its 
icy covering, and began to cast out ashes, stones, and 
dust> accompanied with a strong flame. It continued 
till January throwing out great quantities of pumice 
ashes, which covered all the surrounding fields; and in 
February 1822, a lofty pillar of smoke still rose from the 
crater. In June of the following year it again began to 
burn, and on the 26th of the same month, destroyed a 

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part of the adjacent land ; but after pouring out some 
streams of water, in the beginning of July, it was one*? 
more quiet In this month also the Kotlugji, after 
sixty-eight years repose, threw out sand and ashes, 
covering nearly one hundred square miles of ground." ' 

KotlugjA — the gj£, fissure, or chasm of Kotlu— is 
not a separate mountain with a crater, but simply a 
yawning rent, so large as to resemble an extensive 
valley, situated on the north-west shoulder of Myrdals- 
Jokul, which is a lofty ice-mountain. From its inac- 
cessibility it has never been explored, having been only 
examined from a distance. The rent is visible from the 

Records of volcanic eruptions occurring throughout 
the island have, in general, been carefully kept by the 
Icelanders from the earliest times; but in this case, from 
the proximity of numerous other volcanic vents, and the 
distance of the spectators, along with the long continued 
and intermittent nature of single eruptions — sometime* 
lasting for years — there appears to be some confusion in 
the various accounts, which renders it difficult to reckon 
the number of 



The first outbreak, which, by the way, is the earliest 
recorded date of an eruption in the island — being before 
Elldborg to which that honour is usually assigned — 
occurred in the year A.D. 894, and the last in A.D. 1823.* 

1 " Iceland, Groonlund, and tho Faroe Inland*/' p. 87. 
* Since our visit, tlioro has boon another oruption of Kotlugju in 
1800, tho particulars of which havo boon colloctod by Lauder Lindsay, 

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The number of them during that period is reckoned by 
the best authorities at fourteen, the longest interval be- 
tween two eruptions being 311 years, and the shortest 6T 
As its devastations have only been less terrible than 
those of Skapt£r, we shall now, after presenting a concise 
table of dates, glance at the various eruptions of Kot- 
lugj£» extracting or briefly condensing from reliable 
sources, dwelling more particularly on those of A.D. 1625, 
and 1755, two of the most fearful and destructive. 

Esq. M.D., F.L.S. &c, ami published in the Edinburgh "Philosophical 
Journal " for January. From his interesting and admirable scientific 
paper, which treats tho subject largely, wo learn that this eruption, 
tike that of 1823, was "mild and innocuous.*' It began on tho 8th, and 
continued to tho 28th or 20th of May, and was preceded for several 
days by earthquakes. On tho morning of the eighth a dark cloud was 
seen to rise from tho mountain, which at tho same moment sent forth 
an enormous flood of water, with very largo pieces of ico, running with 
tho water-stream into the sea. Some of the pieces of ico were so largo 
that they were stranded at a twenty fathom depth in tho sea. On the 
12th of May the flames could bo seen from Reykjavik, although this 
town is no less than about eighty English miles distant. During tho 
evenings flashes of lightuing wcro scon in tho some direction. On tho 
16th May, tho smoke was about twenty-four thousand (?) feet high; it 
was sometimes of a dark colour, but at other times it resembled steam. 
At this time tho fire was seen from several places at a distanco of 
about 80 English miles. The wind being northerly during tho erup- 
tion, tho sand and ashes fell chiefly in Myrdals-sand, which was tho 
direction also taken by tho waterfloods. Sulphur was found floating 
in the sea, and tho fish disappeared from certain parts of tho neighbour- 
ing coasts. A largo quantity of cinders was mixed with the wator* 
floods. Cinders and balls of fire, as well as smoko, were thrown up ; 
but the cinders and ashes, from being carried by the wind partly into 
the sea and partly to tho neighbouring snow-flclds, did comparatively 
little damage to tho lowland farms; although tho well-known devasta- 
tions of former eruptions, especially those of 1666 and 1766, gave riso 
to extreme alarm and the most serious apprehensions among tho poor 

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For the table, and the collecting of many of the facts 
and paragraphs which follow relating to Kotlugjd, I am 
indebted to my friend Dr. Lauder Lindsay. 

1st eruption AD. 89-t. Interval since previous eruption. 










5 th 






























40 yean. 

























The first eruption, in AD. 894, destroyed the pasture 
lands between the hill called Hafrsey, and the HolmsA 
river. Eight farms were abandoned, and the district of 
country in question is still almost entirely a sandy desert 

The second, AD. 934, was also a formidable one, and 
formed the extensive sandy desert now known as the 
Solheima-sand, a tract about twenty miles long ; and 
formed altogether of volcanic sand, ashes, or lapilli, and 

The third, in AD. 1245, covered a tract of country, 
though of what extent we are not informed, with sand 
and ashes to the depth of six or eight inchea 

• Longest interval, t Shortest interval. % Host important eruption* 

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The fourth, A.D. 1262, or, according to some writers, 
1263, was attended by such an ejection of dust and 
ashes, that the sun could not be seen at mid-day in serene 
weather. During this eruption, the large river called 
Fulilaekr, the Jokulsi— or Jokul river — which divides 
the Skoga-sand from the Solheima-sand, suddenly made 
its appearance. 

The fifth, in A.D. 1311 (some say 1332), appears to 
have been more destructive to life than any of the pre- 
vious ones. Many farms were destroyed in the district 
called Myrdals-sand; several sand-hills and other hills 
were formed, and several marshes sprang into existence. 
It vomited ashes and sand during the greater part of 
the winter, and, melting the ice about the crater, the in- 
habited tract in the vicinity was inundated, and all the 
inhabitants except two perished in the flood. Another 
account states that this eruption was known as "Stur- 
luhlavp" from only one man of the name of Sturla 
having been saved, of those overwhelmed by the volcanic 

The sixth, A.D. 1416. The lava or waterfloods took 
the direction of Hjorleifshofdi, an isolated hill and pro- 
montory on the coast of the Myrdals-sand, considerably 
to the south-east of KotlugjA. 

The seventh, A.D. 1580. During this eruption it is 
stated that Myrdab Jokul was rent asunder, and as the 
name Eotlugjd is now first given to the crater or fissure 
of eruption, it is probable that at this date the chasm was 
first recognised or discovered, if not formed This erup- 
tion was characterized by fire, darkness, and a rain of 
ashes, as well as by waterfloods; one of which latter went 
eastward toward the monastery of Thyckvaboe, and 

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another southward to MyrdaL Many farms were de- 
stroyed, but there appears to have been no loss of 
human life. 

The eighth, in 1612, was attended, it is conjectured, 
by a subsidence to some extent of the Fall-Jokul, which 
is situated between Eyaffialla and Myrdals Jokul, as well 
as of the lower lands between Langanes and Thorsmerkr. 
The accompanying fire was such, that the eruption was 
visible extensively in the north of Iceland. 

The ninth, in A.D. 1625, was "one of the grandest and 
most devastating eruptions of Kotlugja that has ever 
occurred. Its historian is Thorsteinn MagnAsson, at the 
time sysselman or sheriff of Skaptafells-syssel (or district), 
who lived in the monastery of Thyckvaboe. His account 
was published in Copenhagen in A.D. 1627. According 
to him, 'at daybreak on the second of September it began 
to thunder in the Jokul ; and about 8 o'clock A.M. floods 
of water and ice were poured down upon the low country, 
and carried away upwards of 200 loads of hay 1 which lay 
in the fields about Thyckvaboe. These floods continued 
to be poured forth like a raging sea till past one o'clock 
in the afternoon, when they gradually diminished, but 
were succeeded by terrible darkness, earthquakes, thun- 
der, flames, and showers of sand. Nor was it in the 
immediate vicinity of the crater alone that the fire 
appeared, but down in the inhabited tract, at the dis- 
tance of nearly twenty miles from the mountain, igneous 

1 ' In estimating the seriousness of such a loss, it is necessary to 
bear in mind that the hay harvest is, so far as the vegetable kingdom 
is concerned, tho only harvest in Iceland ; and that hay is almost the 
sole provender for horses, sheep, and cattle during throe-fourths of Uie 
year. 1 

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vapours were seen attaching themselves to the clothes of 
the inhabitants. (?) This dreadful scene continued, with 
little variation, till the 13th of the month. It was fre- 
quently so clear at night that the mountains, with all 
their clefts and divisions, were seen as distinctly at the 
distance of twenty miles as they were in the clearest day. 
Sometimes the flames were pure as the sun, sometimes 
they were red, and at others they discovered all the 
colours of the rainbow. The lightenings were visible 
now in the air, and now running over the surface of the 
ground} and such as witnessed them were more or less 
affected in such parts of their bodies as were un- 
covered, [I] These flashes were accompanied by the 
loudest claps of thunder, and darted backwards and for- 
wards; now to the ground, and now into the air, divid- 
ing sometimes into separate bolts, each of which appeared 
to be followed by a separate report; and after shooting 
in different directions, they instantly collected again, 
when a dreadful report was heard, and the igneous 
appearance fell like a waterspout to the ground, and be- 
came invisible. While the showers of sand lasted, it 
was frequently so dark in the day time that two individ- 
uals holding each other by the hand could not discover 
each other's face.' Dr. Hjaltalin states that the water- 
floods, bearing large masses of ice, 'surrounded the 
monastery of Thyckvaboe, with its adjacent farms, one 
of which was overflowed by the stream; but the people 
saved themselves on a high hill, where the flood could 
not reach them. The flood was followed by such heavy 
shots and continual thunder, that the people thought the 
heavens would burst to pieces, and they were surrounded 
with continual flashes of lightning. The pasturages 

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were so covered with ashes and pumice, that cattle, 
horses, and sheep could not get any food, and were seen 
running about in wild confusion. During the eruption 
such a darkness prevailed sometimes tliat days were 
darker than nights; aud it is related that showers of 
ashes from this eruption reached the town of Bergen in 
Norway, which is the greatest distance to which volcanic 
ashes were ever thrown from Iceland.' The account in 
the 'Islendingur' of June 16, p. 45, mentions further, 
that the mixed water and ice flood flowed in cascades 
and waves over Myrdals-sand; that the inhabitants fled 
to the heights for safety; that the depth of the water- 
flood, which surrounded the monastery of Thyckvaboe, 
was such that a large ocean-vessel might have sailed be- 
tween the byres and the principal building, and that 
there was an excessive falling of sand in the district to 
the north-east of Kotlugji, called the Skaptartunga. 
This eruption thus lasted for about twelve days, wholly 
destroying many farms, and partially destroying or ren- 
dering temporarily useless others. The damage done 
was greatest in the low lands to east, north-cast, and 
south-east of Kotlugji. 

The tenth, AD. 1660— commencing on 3d November— 
"appears scarcely to have been less formidable than the 
preceding eruption. Water-floods overwhelmed and de- 
stroyed the farm and church of Hofdabrekka* which 
latter was cast into the sea immediately adjoining, ap- 
parently by an earthquake-shock. Only such articles 
were saved from the building as could, at the moment, 
be snatched away by the clergyman J6n Salamonsson. 
The quantity of sand, ashes, and sulphur, thrown out 
and deposited on the coast about Hofdabrekka was such, 

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that what formerly was a depth of twenty fathoms of 
sea water, became at once dry land Such is the 
account in the 'Islendingur.' Dr. Hjaltalin says the 
clouds of pumice, ashes, and sand, rendered the 
atmosphere, in the vicinity of Kotlugjd, very dark 
during nine days. Many farms were destroyed. 
Karnes and ashes were ejected during the greater part 
of winter. Henderson asserts, that 'the quantity of ice, 
Ac, carried down by the inundation, was so great, that 
where it was deposited, it rose to the height of forty-nine 
fathoms above the surface of the former depositions. 
The church of Hofdabrekka' constructed wholly of wood, 
and of limited dimensions, 'was observed to swim 
among the masses of ice, to a considerable distance in 
the sea, ere it fell to pieces/ The volcano appears, with 
some intermission, to have erupted sand the two 
following years." 

The eleventh, A.D. 1721, began at nine A.M. on the 
11th May. Dr. Hjaltalin says "the narrative of this 
eruption proceeds from certain of the inhabitants of the 
north of Iceland, who observed the phenomena from 
the distance of about 100 English miles 1 These dis- 
tant witnesses, state that the eruption was preceded 
by heavy shots, like shots of artillery, lasting less or 
more for several days, and distinctly heard by them in 
the north of the island. These sounds were followed 
by a heavy fire — which expression seems translateable as 
vivid flames — also visible at the great distance above 
named. The flames or fire were followed by clouds of 
ashes, so dense and so extensive, as to have produced 
complete darkness for some hours, at the remoteness of 
80 or 100 miles." "The • Islendingur' refers to an earth- 

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quake chiefly felt in Myrdal, but extending east-ward to 
Lidu, and west-ward to Fljdtshlid. About noon of the 
same day — 11th May — the earth became fissured at 
various points; loud sounds were heard, and lastly, 
flames, with steam or smoke, were seen to issue from 
KotlugjA, A water-flood now descended from the 
volcano, bearing huge pieces of ice, resembling in bulk 
small islands; which icebergs sailed along as rapidly as 
. a ship in a good breeze. These icebergs were borne by 
the flood from Hofdabrekka eastward to Hjorleifshofdi 
and Hsfrsey. One village was destroyed in the east of 
the Myrdals-sand district" Again, Henderson states, p. 
21 3, x the "inundations lasted nearly three days, and 
carried along with them such amazing quantities of ice r 
stones, earth, and sand, that the sea was filled with 
them to the distance of three miles from the shore. 
The sun was darkened by the smoke and ashes which 
were thrown into the air; sand and pumice were blown 
over almost the whole island; and the ice and water 
desolated a considerable tract of grass land, over which 
they flowed." 

The twelfth, A.D. 1727, is believed to have been of 
little intensity or importance. 

The eruption which follows— the thirteenth, that of 
1755 — is the "most celebrated of all the outbreaks of 
Kotlugji, on account alike of its grandeur, its duration, 
and its frightful results — an eruption which has since 
caused Kotlugji to be dreaded by the Icelanders as one 
of their most dangerous volcanoes^ if not their most 

1 Founding hit statements on the manuscript of the Surgeon Sreinn 
Palsson, and on Horrobow's Natural History of Iceland— p. 12: London 

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dangerous one." It began about noon on the 17th of 
October, and "continued, with intermissions, till 25th 
August 1756 — its duration, therefore, being nearly a year. 
The 'Islendingur' gives a very short reference merely; 
but the accounts of Dr. Hjaltalin and of Henderson are 
comparatively full According to Dr. Hjaltalin, the 
eruption was preceded by a series of earthquakes, 
beginning in September; they were especially severe in 
the north-east of Iceland, near Cape Langanes, about 
150 or 180 miles distant from Kotlugj& In this district 
they overthrew several farms; and in a milder degree 
they were felt over a considerable extent of country. 
The eruption itself began at ten A.M. of 17th October, 
about a fortnight prior to the earthquake which destroyed 
Lisbon. Vivid flames shot towards the sky, accompanied 
by severe earthquakes, sounds like thunder, and light- 
nings. The volcano was enveloped in smoke or steam ; 
showers of ashes and pumice fell constantly, while volcanic 
bombs were hurled high into the air. The latter must 
have been of great size, for they were seen bursting, and 
the accompanying detonating reports were heard at a 
distance of upwards of a hundred miles. The days, it is 
said, were darker than the nights; and the flames and 
bombs gave so unearthly a character to the scene, that 
the poor inhabitants fancied that the day of judgment 
had arrived, and that our globe was bursting into atoms. 
Over large tracts of counrty, the soil was covered with 
sand and ashes to a depth of two or three feet; cattle, 
horses, and sheep, consequently died in great numbers. 
This devastation caused a famine and pestilence among 
the inhabitants, who perished by the hundred. The 
eruption was violent for fourteen daya The water-floods 

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over-flowed the district of Myrdals-sand, which is about 
twenty miles long and sixteen broad. Five parishes 
were more or less devastated, and fifty farms were 
destroyed. These were the more local disasters; but, in 
addition to this, the sand and ashes were spread over a 
great portion of the island, producing fatal epidemics and 
epizootics, 1 and it is said even the wild-fowl fled from 
many parts of the island. The earthquakes were 
characterized by distinct wave-like motions of the land, 
which fluctuated like an agitated ocean, and the same 
earthquake-waves were propagated from the coasts out- 
ward to sea, to the serious damage of the shipping/ 1 
Henderson says — vol 1. p. 314— "The inhabitants of the 
track about Kotlugjd were first apprised of the impend- 
ing catastrophe on the forenoon of the 17th October, by 
a number of quick and irregular tremifactions, which 
were followed by three immense floods, from the Jokul, 
that completely overflowed Myrdals-sand, and carried 
before them almost incredible quantities of ice and 
gravel. Masses of ice, resembling small mountains in 
size, pushed one another forward, and bore vast pieces of 
solid rock on their surfaca After the rocking had con- 
tinued some time, an exceedingly loud report was heard, 
when fire and water were observed to bo emitted 
alternately by the volcano, which appeared to vent its 
rage through three apertures situated close to each other. 
At times the column of fire was carried to such a 
height that it illuminated the whole of the surrounding 
atmosphere, and was seen at the distance of one hundred 
and eighty miles; at other times the air was so filled 

1 From tho Greek it* and £*w— a term applied to di*ea*os among 
animal*; e.g. murrain, in which cattlo are preyed upon by parasite*. 

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with smoke and ashes that the adjacent parishes were 
enveloped in total darkness. Between these alternations 
of light and obscurity, vast red-hot globes were thrown 
to a great height, and broken into a thousand pieces. 
The following night presented one of the most awful and 
sublime spectacles imaginable. An unremitting noise, 
like that produced by the discharge of heavy artillery, 
was heard from the volcano. A fiery column of varie- 
gated hues rose into the atmosphere; flames and sparks 
were scattered in every direction, and blazed in the most 
vivid manner." 

" The eruption continued with more or less violence 
till the 7th of November, during which period dreadful 
exundations of hoLvxUer were poured forth on the low 
country; and the masses of ice, clay, and solid rock, that 
they hurled into the sea, were so great that it was filled 
to Hie distance of more Hum fifteen miles; and, in 
some places, where it was formerly forty fathoms deep, 
the tops of the newly deposited rocks were now seen 
towering above the water. A violent eruption happened 
again, on the 17th of November, when the volcano 
remained inactive till the following year, during which it 
emitted fire and water five times — viz., on January 15, 
June 28 and 29, and August 12 and 25." 

"The principal damage occasioned by these eruptions, 
consisted in the destruction of the pasture-grounds 
throughout the most part of the syssel— or district. 
Numbers of the cattle were carried away by the deluge ; 
and the mephitic substances, with which everything waa 
impregnated, brought on a raging mortality in different 
parts of the country. On the breaking forth of the 
water, a number of people fled for refuge to an insulated 

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mountain called Hafrsey, where they were obliged to 
stay seven days without either meat or drink ; and were 
exposed to the showers of stones, fire, and water which 
fell around them. The lightning, which was very violent 
during the eruption, penetrated through solid rocks, and 
killed two people and eleven horses, three of which were 
in a stable. One of the persons killed was a farmer, 
whom it struck dead as he left the door of his house. 
What is remarkable, his upper clothes, which were of 
wool, bore no marks of fire, but the linen ho had under 
them was burned ; and when he was undressed, it was 
found that the skin and flesh of his right side were con- 
sumed to the very bone. [1] His maid-servant was struck 
with the lightning at the same time ; and though her 
clothes were instantly changed, it continued to burn in 
the pores of her body, and singed the clothes she put 
on. [1] She died a few days afterwards, having in the 
meantime suffered inexpressible pain." 

This eruption, Henderson very truly remarks, becomes 
the more noteworthy from "the terrible convulsions to 
which at the same time a great part of the terrestrial 
globe was subjected. Not only were the British isles 
rocked by repeated and violent shocks of an earthquake, 
houses thrown down, rocks split, and the waters of the 
sea and lakes 1 heaved up; but in Norway, Sweden, 
Germany, Holland, France, and Italy, the same phen- 
omena were experienced. Spain and Portugal, however, 
suffered most from the shocks. Numerous villages, con- 
vents, and churches were demolished; the largest moun- 

1 • The celebrated agitation of the waters of our own Loch Nosa 
occurred contemporaneously with the great earthquake of Lisbon, 
here also referred to. 9 

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tains shaken from the foundations, and the low grounds 
inundated by the swelling and overflowing of the rivera 
Lisbon, in particular, exhibited a scene the most tragical 
and melancholy. The most ponderous edifices were 
heaved up and shaken; steeples, towers, and houses 
thrown down; the ground and streets danced under the 
feet of the inhabitants; and many thousands of them 
were buried in the ruins. Nor was the earthquake con- 
fined to Europe. It stretched over into Barbary, and 
destroyed upwards of a dozen of cities on the coasts of 
Africa. Its concussions were also felt in Persia, in the 
the West Indies, and in America." 1 Sir George S. 
Mackenzie and Sir William Hooker 1 both also describe 
this eruption in their respective works of travel, but the 
incidents do not differ from those given above. The 
latter writer characterizes the sounds accompanying the 
eruption as "most frightful and horrible roarings." The 
illuminations at night were so vivid, "that heaven and 
earth seemed to be equally in a state of conflagration." 
On the 19th of October a column of smoke issued from the 
volcano, which column was black by day; but the smoke 
was intermixed with balls and sparks of fire, which by 
night lighted up the whole of the Myrdal district, while 
the country to the east thereof was in darkness both day 
and night "Ashes fell like rain" in FarOe, 300 miles 
distant, and subterranean noises were heard as far as the 
Guldbringd and Eiosar syssels — 80 to 90 miles distant" 

1 Stnkcslcy'e M Philosophy of Earthquakes/' 3d eel., London 1766, 
8vo, pp. 9-80. 

* "Journal of a Tour in Iceland in the Summer of 1S09," 2d ed., S 
Tola, London 1S13, by Sir William Jackson Hooker, K.H., D.C.L., 
L.L.D., fto, the present distinguished Director of the Royal Botanic 
Oerden at Kew. 

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The fourteenth, AD. 1823, began on the 1st and ended 
on the 26th July. The phenomena were, as usual, 
chiefly water-floods, showers of ashes, slight earthquakes, 
and vivid lightnings, which latter struck several persons. 
Only one farm, Solheimar, was destroyed, and compar- 
atively little damage was done elsewhere; altogether 
the eruption was one of the mildest and most innocuous 
hitherto recorded of Kotlugj& 

These glimpses of the recorded volcanic history of 
that one spot on which we now gaze, will convey to the 
reader some idea of the terrific visitations to which the 
islanders are exposed; even when there are not lava 
streams licking up rivers, pastures, farms, and people in 
their fiery floods, filling up whole valleys or rushing out 
into the sea and forming capes, hissing, the while, louder 
than the Midgard Serpent, which encompasses the whole 

White fleecy clouds come and go, at times muffling 
the summit of these jokuls, which are deemed the 
most picturesque in Iceland, if we except Snaefell on 
the west coast, and Onefa on the south-east 

After passing the Westmanna islands and the east- 
most mouth of the MarkarflI6t river, which sweeps 
round the north and west sides of Eyafialla Jokul, the 
south-east mountain ranges, on which we have long been 
gazing, begin; the general character of the coast, north 
of this point, having been low like the Guldbring4 sysseL 
This district has been rendered classic ground, as the 
scene of NjaTs Saga, 1 and we only wish it were permitted 
us to land and visit Bergthorsknoll and Lithend, to cross 

1 8ee Dasent'i admirable translation of "Burnt Njal/' iiiiee published. 


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the rivers, scamper over the plains, or scale the Three- 
corner mountain. It is now clear, and one can take in 
the general character of the whole district at a glance. 

The colour of the sea now assumed a light green 
aspect, broken here and there by white crested waves. 
Snow patches lay on the rugged purple hills; these, 
again, were touched with lines of intense fiery gold, 
actually excandescent Sea-birds flitted past like white 
gleams; and, altogether, the scene, flooded with golden 
light, presented a magnificent study of colour. I made 
jottings of the outlines, tints, and atmospheric effects, for 
a water colour drawing; to be painted "some day "—-that 
unattainable period when so many things are to be done, 
but which ever recedes from us like the horizon line; 
luring us on and on, and cheating us from day to day 
with a vague phantom shadow of 

" Something eyennore about to be." 

The Skogar-foss — force or waterfall — yonder, foiling 
sheer over the rock cliffs into the sea, gently sways to 
and fro in the wind. It falls from so great a height 
that it appears to lose itself in vapour or dust, like the 
Staubach. There is an old tradition that an early 
colonist — Thrasi — before dying, buried a chest of gold 
and jewels in the deep rock-basin into which this 
magnificent sheet of water tumbles. l 

t Mr. Brynjtilfeson had the following lines— intimating the hopeless- 
' nets of searching for the treasure concealed below— repeated to him, 
when recently Tiaitiug the locality. They are thus literally rendered 
fcy him into English. 

"Thrasa kista afidug er N Thrasi's chest wealthy is 
Under forsi 8kbga Under foes of Skogar ; 

Htct tern thangast ryrsti for Whosoerer thither first goes 
Fiflakt hefir n6ga». H Foolishness has enough." 

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Sun-gleams rest on the snow-mountains and play on 
the ice of the glaciers. These are very numerous near 
the coast, the ice being generally of a light whity-green 
colour and corrugated in wavy linea 

As the weather is clear and bright, we see the coast 
near Portland to more advantage than on our first 
approach to the island. The wild fantastic promon- 
tories, rock-islets, and needle shaped drongs — serrated, 
peaked and hummocky — resemble the ruins of old castles 
nid cathedrals. The likeness of one of them to Iona, 
tlready remarked upon, is now even still more apparent 
Behind these rocks is a low range of hills, beyond which 
rise the jokuls. 

The summits of these mountains are white with 
perpetual snow. The shoulders shade downwards into 
pale green ice, which terminates abruptly at the edge of 
a dark rugged precipitous line of rock th^t descends 
sheer into the valley behind the low range of hills next 
the sea. The precipice looked as if the sides of the 
mountains had, in some way, been sliced down, say 
from a third of their height, leaving the snowy summits 
and icy shoulders untouched. 

Glaciers were formed, wherever the nature of the slope 
would admit of them. In some instances they seemed 
to approach the brink of the precipice and overhang it; 
but more frequently they chose places where rents, 
chasms, irregularities, or depressed spaces, occurring be- 
tween any two mountains in the range, broke the wall, 
and thus afforded an incline plane all the way down to 
the valley. 

Many whales continue to sport round the vessel, 
spouting up jets of water, tumbling about and showing 

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the whole of their large taik At times they leap nearly 
altogether out of the sea, and fall with a great splash. 
They often remain perfectly motionless for a considerable 
time. When diving down, both the rounded shape of 
the fish, and the peculiar parabolic motion with which 
it rises and falls, make the ridge of the back with its 
dorsal fins resemble the segment of a great black revolv- 
ing disk, like a monster saw-wheeL Gulls, skuas, and 
pheasant-tailed ducks are flying about 

A lot of beer-drinking and meerschaum-smoking 
Danes are on board, going to Copenhagen. The smell of 
tobacco is felt everywhere, above, below, and at all hours. 
Their voices are frequently heard during the day calling 
for "snaps." They consider a glass of this spirit indis- 
pensible for breakfast, and take it every morning to be- 
gin with. However, the hours passed very pleasantly 
on shipboard. The following 

Icelandic Statistics 

will interest the reader. From the last census— 1855 — 
we learn that the population of the island is 64,603; of 
that number 52,475 live by farming, and 5,055 by fish* 
ing, thus accounting for nearly three-fourths of the whole 
population. In exact figures the number is only 923 
short of that proportion. 

There were then in the island 65 persons deaf and 
dumb, and 202 blind. Curious to observe that, although 
there previously had been and again may be, there 
was not then a single watchmaker on the island. The 
extreme paucity of common tradesmen — less than 11 to 
the 1000 — indicates a very primitive pastoral state of 
society amongst the islanders; home wants being 

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generally supplied by home skilL The following table 
is constructed, from data contained in the census, to show 

at a glance the various occupations of the Icelanders, 
and also what relative proportion these bear to each 
thousand of the population. 

Total numbers In the Proportion to each lOQt 

Island at consns In ISM. of too wnolo population. 

Clorgymcn, profosaors And toachors at 

tho college, and omploycs at churches 3,365 — 80*61 

Civil officers ..... 454 ... 703 

Do. out of office .... 140 ... 2*17 

Farmers who live by agriculture • 52,475 ... 812*27 

Farmors who depend chiefly on tho 

fisheries 5,055 ... 78*26 

Tradcsmon as follows : 

Bakers 10 ... 016 

Coopers 35 ... 0*55 

Gold and silversmiths ... 80 ... 1*24 

Carpenters .61 ... 0*94 

Blacksmiths 80 ... 1*24 

Masons ...... 6 ... 0*09 

Millers ...... 4 ... 007 

Turners 8 ... 013 

Boat builders 38 ... 69 

Shoemakers 18 ... 0*28 

Tailors 27 ... ' 0*41 

. Joiners 174 ... 2*69 

Saddlers ...... 46 ... 0*71 

Weavers ...... 20 ... 0*80 

Men who live by othor industrial Occupa- 
tions 103 ... 1*59 

. Morchauts and innkeepers • . 730 ... 11*30 . 
Pensioners, and poople living on their 

own moons 856 ... 6*51 

Day labourers .... 523 ... 8 09 

Miscellaneous occupations not classed 686 ... 9*07 

Paupers. 1,207 ... 18*68 

Prisoners 2 ... 0* 3 

64,603 1000 

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There are only sixty-three native Icelandic surname* 
Few people have got any; the custom is, after telling 
one's own christian name, when asked whose son are 
you? to answer in old Hebrew fashion, son of, or 
daughter of so and so. There are 530 men's christian 
names, and 529 women's names in use; so that there 
need be no lack for choice of names in a large family. 
Many of them, slightly modified in spelling, are familiar 
to us, but chiefly as surnames, eg. Kettle, Halle, Ormur, 
Oils, Olafur, &c 

The number of individuals bearing certain names, is 
all duly recorded in the last census. I note a few of 
them, from which the reader may infer that Casa's droll 
extravaganza, depreciating the name John under its 
various forms, is as applicable to Iceland as to Italy; 
and that Sigridur, Kristin, and Helga, are favourite names 
among the ladies. 

The figures in the following list indicate the total 
number of persons, in the whole island, who bear these 
respective namea 

Androe, 136; Ausumunder, 125; Bjarni, 869; Einer, 
878; Eiriken, 351; Gisli, 681; Gunnar, 150; Halldor, 
428; Johann,494; Johannus, 498 ; J6n, 4827; Magnus* 
1007; Odin, 169; Olafur, 992; Thordur, 445; Thor- 
waldsen, 106 &a 

Female names: — Anna, 869; Elin, 438; Elizabeth, 
194; GnJa, 269; HalliWra, 515; Helga, 1135; Johanna, 
630; Kristin, 1615; Rosa, 269; Sigridur, 2641; Lilja, 
120; Soffia, 182; Thorbjoig, 436; Sessilja* 326 &x 

Half-past 6 P.K. Looking back to Portland Hue, 
over the light-green sea with its white crested waves, 

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the reddish brown fantastio islets, and the singular 
arched opening in the rock — Dyrhdlaey — show distinctly 
and beautifully against the amber light of the horizon. 

As we paced the deck, talking about the old Norse 
languago — which is still spoken in Iceland as it used to 
be in the eighth and ninth centuries in Norway, Sweden, 
and Denmark, in the Orkney, Shetland, and Faroe 
islands, in the two northern counties of Scotland, and 
in other Scandinavian settlements along the British 
coast — Dr. Mackinlay remarked, that "so well had the 
language been preserved, an Icelander of the present 
day had no difficulty in understanding the most ancient 
writings of his country/' This can be said of no other 
tongue in western Europe. 

To this — the very language of the Vikings — both the 
old lowland Scotch, and, at a further remove, our modern 
English, chiefly owe their directness, expressiveness, and 

Many words, which we now use with a secondary or 
restricted meaning, still retain their primitive significa- 
tion in Icelandic; Thus the word "smith" — a contrac- 
tion for smitoth — which with us is restricted to a worker 
in metals, in Icelandic still retains its old sense of hand- 
craftsman. Hence the Icelander not only talks of a 
goldsmith as a guldsmidr, a silversmith as silfursmidr, 
but of a saddler as sodiasmidr, a cooper as a koparsmidr, 
a shoemaker as a skorsmidr, a joiner as a tr&midr, a 
builder as a husasmidr, a printer as a prentsmidr, a 
blacksmith as a jarnsmidr, a cabinet-maker as a ekrin- 
smidr, a watchmaker as an ursmidr, and, in a metaphorical 
sense, of a poet or ode-writer as an odarsmidr; just as 
the Anglo-Saxons talked of a warrior as a war-smidr. 

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Over a narrow strip of low sand-beach, the near snow- 
mountains and icefields, like frosted silver burnished in 
parts, now lie gleaming with dazzling brightness in the 
sun; coloured here and there with living gem-like streaks 
of opal, amber, crimson, and orange which glow yet 
more intensely, as if the snow and ice had been magi- 
cally touched with an unextinguishable pencil of fire. 

Portland point is left astern, and over it, dark clouds, 
of a leaden hue and ruddy edges, came down to within 


a short distance of the transparent glowing horizon. The 
coast-range and islets, off tho point, are deep purple, 
relieved against a narrow golden belt of light below the 
leaden cloud. In it, hang motionless a few cloud 
streaks — light* fleecy, purplish gray — and, lower down, 
others of only a lighter amber than the pure ether in 
which they float 

The sea is of a light sap green; the level sun-glare 
slants across the wake of the steamer, and touches the 
crested waves; while a line of light* like a silvery mist, 
marks the edge of the sea, by running along the coast at 
the foot of the snow-capped hills. Sea-gulls flying about 

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ore following the vessel, and screaming with delight or 
expectation. All is a perfect study of colour — warm 
purples, glowing ambers, fiery crimsons, and cool greens 
—each heightened by neutral tints in the clouds, and 
crests of white foam, little more than a ripple, on the 
green sea. I walked the deck for two hours with the 
captain, and turned in at eleven o'clock. 

Friday morning. We are passing Onefa Jokul, 
which, by the latest measurement, rises 6,405 English 
feet* above the sea level, and is the highest mountain in 
the island. It is an immense mass, covered with snow 
and ice, and exhibiting glaciers creeping down to the sea. 
Sometimes the internal heat of this volcano melts and 


cracks the surface ice-mail, so that it splinters and rushes 
down the sides as an avalanche of ice and water, filling 
up hollows and valleya When in action it only ejects 
ashes and pumice; never lava. 1 By the side of the 

1 Thoro was a slight eruption of this mountain on March 23, 1861, 
which only lasted a fow days. Tho sraoko and sulphurous gases which 
it exhalod tarnished metal at 60 miles distance. 

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mountain is a gently sloping snow-field, with several 
pointed black peaks rising abruptly out of it This field 
stretches away far inland. Dr. Mackinlay tells me that, 
from the land-side, Onefa appears a double-peaked broad 
shouldered mountain; one of the peaks or ridges 
presenting a deep scarped side like that of Salisbury 
Craga 1 

With but few interruptions, a chain of snow-mountains 
stretches across the island, from Snaefells Jokul in the 
west, to Thrandar Jokul in the east; while the central 
desert or plain, running across from sea to sea between 
this range and that on the south-east, is nearly 100 
miles broad, from 2000 to 2200 feet above the sea level, 
and only 400 or 500 feet from the snow-line, The 
south-east corner of the island is an enormous unex- 
plored enow or ice plateau, called Elofa or Vatna Jokul, 
of about 2400 square miles, chiefly covered with, or at 
all events surrounded by ranges of jokuls, over which 
Orsefa, the most southern jokul of this unexplored 
region and the king of Iceland mountains, keeps watch 
and ward. 

Away to the north-west, bounding this icy region on 
the west, rises Skapt&r Jokul, by far the most destruc- 
tive volcano in the island. 8 And "in no part of the 
world," remarks Dr. Lindsay, "are volcano phenomena 
on so gigantic a scale as in Iceland. In it there are lava 
streams fifty miles long, twelve to fifteen miles broad 
and six hundred feet deep. Portions of these streams 

1 See illustration, p. 160. 

* See illustration p. 184, where Skaptfr is represented as rising in 
the distance, orer a hill-range on the other side of a lerel plain, which 
In the woodcut resembles and might be mistaken for water. 

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sometimes form hills as high as Arthur's Seat or 
Salisbury Crags; and such is the persistence of the heat* 
that rents in the lava have been found still smoking, or 
filled with hot water, so long as eleven years after an 
eruption. In no part of the world of the 6ame extent, 
are there so many widely separate vents or foci — about 
twenty— of subterranean igneous action. The boiling 
springs which are most numerous, show of themselves 
that such action is going on under the whole island. 
The calculations of Professor Bischoff show, that the 
mass of lava thrown up by the eniption of Skapt&r Jokul, 
A.D. 1783, was greater in bulk than Mont Blanc. A 
larger mass of lava by far, than was ever thrown out 
from a single volcano, at any time, in any part of the 

As a particular example of the ravages produced by 
these terrible convulsions of nature may give the reader 
a clearer and more vivid idea of their action, than any 
general description, we shall select the 


in 1783; it having been not only very violent* but the 
one of which we possess the fullest and most authentic 

"The preceding winter and the spring of that year 
had been unusually mild, and nothing seemed to foretell 
the approaching danger, till towards the end of May, 
when a light bluish fog was seen floating along the 
ground, succeeded in the beginning of June by earth- 
quakes, which daily increased in violence till the 8th of 
that month. At nine in the morning of that day 

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numerous pillars of smoke were noticed rising in the hill 
country towards the north, which, gradually gathering 
into a dark bank, obscured the atmosphere, and proceed- 
ing in a southerly direction against the wind, involved 
the whole district of Sida in darkness, showering down 
sand and ashes to the thickness of an inch. This cloud 
continued to increase till the 10th, when fire-spouts 
were observed in the mountains, accompanied by earth- 
quakes. Next day the large river Skaptai, which in the 
spring had discharged a vast quantity of fetid* water, 
mixed with gravel or dust, and had lately been much 
swollen, totally disappeared This incident was fully 
accounted for on the 12th, when a huge current of lava, 
burst from one side of the volcano, and rushed with a 
loud crashing noise down the channel of the river, which 
it not only filled, but even overflowed, though in many 
places from four to six hundred feet deep and two 
hundred broad. The fiery 6tream after leaving the hills, 
threatened to deluge the low country of Medalland, 
when a lake that lay in its way intercepted it during 
several days. But at length the incessant torrents filled 
the basin, and proceeded in two streams, one to the 
east, where its progress was for a short time interrupted 
by the Skalarfiall, up which, however, the accumulating 
flood soon forced its way, rolling the mossy covering over 
the mountain before it like a large piece of cloth. The 
other current directed its progress towards the south, 
through the district of Medalland, passing over some old 
tracts of lava, which again began to burn, whilst the air 
in its cavities escaped with a strange whistling noise, or 
suddenly expanding, threw up immense masses into the 
air to the height of more than 120 feet The waters of 

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the rivers, swollen by the melting of the Jokuls in the 
interior, and intercepted in their course by the glowing 
lava, were thrown into a state of violent ebullition, and 
destroyed many spots spared by the fire. In this 
district, the liquid matter continued to flow to the 20th 
of July, following principally the course of the Skaptai, 
where it poured over the lofty cataract of Stapafoss, 
filling up the enormous cavity the waters had been 
hollowing out for ages. During the whole of this erup- 
tion, the atmosphere was filled with mephitic vapours, or 
darkened with clouds of ashes, by which the sun was 
either concealed from the miserable inhabitants, or 
appeared like a blood-red globe, adding to their terror 
and consternation. 

"The molten elements had so long confined their fury 
to the Skapta£, that the inhabitants of the eastern 
district on the Hverfisfiiot, though much incommoded 
by the showers of ashes, hoped to escape its more 
immediate visitations. But on the 28th of June, a cloud 
of sand and smoke caused so thick a darkness, that in the 
houses at noon, a sheet of white paper, held opposite the 
window, could not be distingushed from the black walls, 
whilst red-hot stones and dust burnt up the pastures, 
poisoned the waters, and threatened to set fire to the 
dwellings. On the 3d of August a thick vapour rising 
from the Hverfisfiiot, the entire disappearance of its 
waters, and a foaming fire-stream, which on the 9th 
rushed with indescribable fury down its bed, overflowing 
the country in one night to the extent of more than four 
miles, converted the fearful anticipations of the natives 
into dreadful realities. The eruptions of sand, ashes, 
pumice, and lava, continued till the end of August, when 

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the volcano appeared completely exhausted; but flames 
were still seen in February, 1784, and thick clouds of 
smoke, even in July of that year. The whole catastrophe 
closed in August with an earthquake of such extreme 
violence that men were thrown to the ground. 

"The immediate source whence this enormous mass of 
matter issued is entirely unknown, being situated in that 
great central desert of sand and snow which none of the 
natives have ever penetrated; and no traditions of any 
former occurrence of this kind have been preserved 
Some persons who went up into the mountains during 
the continuance of the eruption were, in consequence of 
the thick smoke, compelled to return, and some subse- 
quent attempts met with no better success. It is not 
even known whether the current that flowed from the 
SkuptaA and that in the Hverfisfliot proceeded from the 
same crater; it is, however, probable their sources were 
different though closely connected. 

"The extent of the lava can only be accurately known 
in the inhabited districts. The stream that flowed down 
the Skaptad is calculated at about fifty miles in length, 
by twelve or fifteen at its greatest breadth: that in the 
Hverfisfliot at forty miles in length by seven in breadth. 
In the narrow channel of the Skaptad it rose to 500 or 
600 feet; but in the plains its extreme height does not 
exceed 100, and in many places is only eight or ten feet 
From its immense thickness, it was a long time in cool- 
ing, being so hot in July 1784, twelve months after the 
eruption, that Mr. Stephenson could not cross it, and 
even then sending up a thick smoke or steam. In the 
year 1794 it still retained an elevated temperature, 
emitting vapours from various places, and many of its 

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crevices being filled with warm water. This long reten- 
tion of heat will appear more extraordinary, when we 
consider the numerous globular cavities and fissures it 
contained, permitting a free circulation of the water and 

"The destructive effects of this volcano were not con- 
fined to its immediate vicinity, vast quantities of sand 
and ashes being scattered over the remoter parts of the 
country* and some were conveyed to the Faroe islands, 
a distance of nearly 300 miles. 1 The noxious vapours 
that for many months infected the air were equally per- 
nicious to man and beast, and covered the whole island 
with a dense fog which obscured the sun, and was per- 
ceptible even in England and Holland. The steam ris- 
ing from the crater, or exhaled from the boiling waters, 
was condensed in the cooler regions of the atmosphere, 
and descended in floods that deluged the fields and con- 
solidated the ashes into a thick black crust A fall of 
snow in the middle of June, and frequent showers of 
hailstones of unusual magnitude, accompanied with tre- 
mendous thunder-storms, tearing up huge fragments of 
rock, and rolling them down into die plains, completed 
the scene of desolation. The grass and other plants 
withered, and became so brittle that the weight of a 
man's foot reduced them to powder; and even where the 
pastures seemed to have recovered, the cattle refused to 
touch them, dying of actual starvation in the midst of 
the most luxuriant herbage. Small unknown insects 
covered many of the fields, while other portions of the 
soil, formerly the most fertile, were changed by the ashes 
into marshy wastes overgrown with moss and equiseta. 
1 Thia also happened during the eruption of Hekla in 169$. 

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192 pen And pencil sketches 

A disease resembling scurvy in its most malignant type 
attacked both men and cattle, occasioned in the former 
no doubt by the want of food, and the miserable, often 
disgusting, nature of that which alone they could obtain. 
Many lived on the bodies of those animals which had 
perished from hunger or disease, whilst others had re- 
course to boiled skins, or substances still more nauseous 
and unwholesome. The numerous earthquakes, with the 
ashes and other matter thrown into the sea, caused the 
fish to desert many parts of the coast; whilst the fisher- 
men, seldom daring to leave the land enveloped in thick 
clouds during most of the summer, were thus deprived 
of their usual stock of winter provisions. We cannot 
better conclude this frightful catalogue of evils, than by 
the following summary of the numbers of men and cattle 
more or less immediately destroyed by it in two years. 
The most moderate calculation makes these amount to 
1300 human beings, 19,488 horses, 6,801 horned cattle, 
and 129,937 sheep." Stephenson makes these numbers 
still higher and says, "9,336 men, 28,000 horses, 11,461 
cattle, and 190,488 sheep." 1 

Fine dust and vapour from this terrific eruption over- 
spread Asia, Europe, and America during the whole 
summer. Franklin speculated on the cause of this haze, 
and Dr. Mackinlay reminded me that Cowper, who 
frequently refers to it in his letters, has, in the second 
Book of the "Task," a beautiful allusion to it, and also 

1 "Greenland, Iceland, and Faruo," pp. 88-42: chiefly abridged 
from 8tophenson's "Account of the Eruption," published at Copen- 
hagen in 1786, which will be found translated in Hooker's Journal 
toL SL, 124-261* 8eo also Henderson, toI. i., pp. 272-290 ; and 
diemann, pp. 107-109. 

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to the earthquake in Calabria which occurred nearly at 
the same time as the Skaptfr eruptions: 

"Fires from beneath, and motoors from afore, 
Portentous, unexampled, unoxplainod, 
Havo kindled beacons in tho skies; and th f old 
And crasy earth has had her shaking fits 
More frequent, and foregone her usual rest 
Is it a time to wrangle, when tho props 
And pillars of our planet seem to (ail, 
And Naturo, with a dim and sickly eye, 
To wait the close of all ? " 

A.D. 1784, the year after the outbreak of Skaptfr, 
which left the whole island in mourning, was almost 
as memorable for earthquakes, not only in Iceland, 
but in many parts of the world widely separated from 
each other, as 1755 had been in connection with the 
eruption of Kotlugjl 

Most of the Icelandic mountains are volcanic, and, 
from the native history, we learn the frequency with 
which they have manifested this character. Let us 
glance at the following brief sketch of their 


chiefly compiled by the author of "Iceland, Greenland, 
and the Faroe Islands." 

Of these mountains, this writer says, "most of them 
seem now to be in the state of intermittent activity, in 
which more or less violent paroxysms occur at intervals of 
longer or shorter duration; and, but for the uncertainty 
of these periods, we might consider some as in a state of 
complete repose. These alternations of movement and 
rest seem common to the separate members and to the 


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whole system; there being many years in which the 
island remains undisturbed, whilst at other epochs it 
appears as if entirely devoted to the fury of contending 
elements. The most terrible of the volcanoes known in 
ancient times were Hekla, Orafa-Jokul, and the Kot- 
lugj£; to which have recently 1 been added Krabla, 
Leirhnukr, and Skaptifells, which commenced only in 
the 18th century. The earliest record of such an occur- 
rence is that of Elldborg,' in the western part of the 
island, said to have happened in the 9th or 10th century. 
This was followed by the eruption from the mountains 
in Guldbring4 syssel in the year 1000, at the time when 
the althing was deliberating as to the reception of the 
Christian religion. In the 11th century Hekla appeared 
in a state of violent commotion, which extending, in the 
middle of the 12th, to many others, devastated the land 
from north to south, and was accompanied by destruc- 
tive earthquakes. In the beginning and at a later 
period of the 13th century, the south-western quarter 
was particularly excited; whilst in the middle of the 
succeeding one, the island was desolated by the most 
terrible convulsions, concluding in 1391 with a violent 
earthquake, felt over the whole country. From this date 
till the beginning of the 16th, the volcanoes were com- 
paratively quiet; but at that period, and in the end of 
the century, they raged both in the south and the 
north. The 17th was again an interval of repose, in 
which only the southern ones were active; but the 
eighteenth age proved that their energies had undergone 
no diminution, by eruptions even more violent than those 
of the fourteenth. Between 1720 and 1730 the same 

1 8ooond od. publUbod in 1841. • Should bo KottugjO. a^.8. 

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mountains were in incessant action, accompanied by 
earthquakes; whilst in the north, Krabla and Loirhnukr 
began their devastations. In the years 1753 and 1755 
the Skeideno and KotlugjA Jokuls poured out every 
variety of volcanic matter. In 1766 Hekla again com- 
menced, and the destructive outbreak of the Skapt&r in 
1783 closed these frightful scenes. From that time till 
1821, with the exception of some slight agitations, and 
probably a few inconsiderable eruptions in the desert 
part of the country, no displays of volcanic action 

Eyafialla Jokul continued in eruption from A.D. 1821 
till 1822. In July 1823 it again began to burn. In 
the same month KotlugjA covered nearly 100 miles of 
ground with sand and ashes. "In July 1825, both sides 
of the island were visited by earthquakes, accompanied 
by destructive hurricanes and floods; whilst on the 13th 
of February 1827, there was an eruption of the Skeider© 

The subjoined list of Icelandic volcanoes, with the 
dates of their eruptions, is transcribed from the same 
source, and presented to the reader, not by any means . 
as complete, but as the best to which I at present have 
access. It will aid him in realizing the fearful results 
of these terrific energies so frequently at work. 

"Hekla, 1004, 1029, 1105, 1113, 1157, 1206,1222, 
1294, 1300, 1340, 1374, 1390, 1436, 1510, 1554, 1583, 
1619, 1625, 1636, 1693, 1728, 1754, J766. 
Guldbringu Syssel, 1000. 
Eyafialla Jokul, 1821. 

Solheima Jokul, about 900, 1245, 1262, 1717. 
Kotlugja or Myrdals-Jokut, 894, 1311, 1416, 1580, 
1625, 1661, 1721, 1727, 1765, 182a 

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Skaptdr-Jokul, 178a 

SidarJokul, in tenth century, and in 1753. 

Skeidare-Jokul, 1725, 1727, 1827. 

OnefhrJokul, 1362, 1720, 1727, 1755. 

HnappafellWokul, 1332, 1772. 

HeinabegrWokul, 1362. 

Trolladynger, 1151, 1188, 1340, 1359, 1475, 1510. 

Herdubreid, 1340, 1510, 1717, 

Krabla, and Leirhnukr, 1725—1730. 

Grimsvatn, 1716. 

Elldborg, end of ninth or beginning of tenth century. 

Submarine eruption, Breida fiord, 1345. 

Submarine Reykjanes, 1211, 1226, 1238, 1240, 12—, 
1S40, 1422, 1583, 1783, 1831." 

Here are records of nineteen vents and seventy-seven 
eruptions. ''These have occurred in about ten centuries, 
or, • on an average, one in thirteen years. The most 
violent paroxysms seem to have occurred in 1340, 1362, 
1725—1730, and 1754—1755. To complete this view 
of internal activity, we may add, that the following years 
were distinguished by violent earthquakes; 1181, 1182, , 
1211, 1260, 1261, 1294, 1300, 1311, 1313, 1339, 1370, 
1390, 1391, 1552, 1554, 1578, 1597, 1614, 1633, 1657, ; 
1661, 1706, 1755, 1784, 1789, 1808, 1815, 1825/' 

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Sailing north-east along the coast, we see the Breida- 
merkr ice-plains, and the mouth of the river JokulsA, 
which is only a milo or two long. Dr. Mackinlay informs 
us that the most dangerous rivers in Iceland are the 
shortest They spring, full formed, from the bosom of 
the thick-ribbed ice. The Jokulsd, which crosses Brieda- 
merkasandr, is one of the most dreaded of these. It 
springs from Breidamerks-Jokul, which, however, is not 
a snow-mountain, but only a high field of ice projected 
southward into the plain from the great snow-range to 
the north. Some years it is eight or ten miles from the 
sea, in others only one; the length of the river varies 
accordingly. It is half a mile broad. Sometimes this 
river gets dammed up, then bursts from caverns of ice 
with a noise like thunder, carrying along with it masses 
of ice with uncontrollable fury to the sea* Sunshine 

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melting the ice swells such rivers more rapidly than 
rain. The near view of this cold icy region — so dreary, 
lone and still — made one almost feel cold, although the 
sun was bright and the thermometer, at noon, stood at 
100 degrees. 1 The dazzling whiteness of the snow and 
the ice-blink, made our eyes ache. It was literally 

M A waste land where no ono comes 
Or hath come since the making of the world." 

As we approach Hornafiord the character of the 
mountains changes; instead of great white massive 

Msam Tim bmtravgi to hobhatiobd. 

ranges, many isolated, sharp-pointed, rugged peaks, 
called horns, now rise. They are almost free from snow, 
and of richly varied tints, chiefly lilacs and browns, 
glowing in the sunshina 

The general character of the mountain-ranges at this 
point, and indeed along the entrances to the fiords of the 
east coast, as far as Seydisfiord, resembles Ooatfell and 
the Holy Island in Arran — firth of Clyde— only it is 
higher, wilder, even more serrated, and, in addition, ex* 

1 At night it sank to 50°. 

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hibits many curious fantastic pointed rocks or dr&ngs. 
Fleecy clouds often rested on the peaks, or rolled, 
incense-like, among them. 

The western half of the island is diversified by a great 
network of lakes, on whose lonely waters, Dr. Mackinlay 
remarked, "thousands of milk white swans sport in the 
summer sunshine/' while the eastern half is broken up 
by isolated volcanoes whose smouldering fires are capped 
with snow. 

The western coast is scooped out into two enormous 
gulfs, the Faxa and Breida-fiords; while that portion of 
the east coast, to which we have referred, viz.: from 
Hornafiord to Seydisfiord, is all along closely indented 
with little fiords or arms of the sea These run inland 
for a distance of from ten to eighteen miles, and average 
say about two miles in breadth. They are separated from 
each other by lofty mountain ridges, such as we have 
described, running far out into the sea, and ending in 
sheer precipitous headlands or lofty horns. Let the 
reader lay his hand flat down on this page with his 
fingers stretched apart, let him then suppose each of the 
fingers to represent a mountain range, and the inter- 
spaces fiords, and he will be able to form an idea of the 
way in which the coast is indented. At Reydar and 
Berufiords, these ridges appear to be about 2000 feet 
high, with many sheer precipices, half that height, from 
which a stone could be pitched into the sea It will 
thus be seen, that the fiords are shut in on both sides by 
steep mountain ridges like walls of rock, the summits of 
which are often veiled in dark clouds, and in some places 
are covered with perpetual snow. These rocky heights are 
as bare as if they had newly been splintered — not a tree or 

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shrub on their sides— And the lone stillness of the fiords 
is only broken by the wild "water lapping on the crag/ 9 
the cataract roaring and leaping down rock gulleys, or 
the streamlet trickling down the broad stair-like ledges 
. of the trap, dripping from step to step like a white 
glassy fringe. These fiords appear to have been rents 
formed when the island was first heaved up ; and, where 
the arm of the sea terminates, they are continued further 
into the interior as green valleys down which rivers flow. 
In places where mountain-tracks are utterly impracti- 
cable, these river-courses serve for bridle-paths in pass- 
ing from one valley or fiord to another. 

The tender herbage affords delightful pasture for 
sheep; fish, chiefly cod, are to be had in abundance in 
the fiords, and the streams abound in trout Vessels 
can sail up and find sheltered havens in which to lie, 
thus affording water carriage for the exchange of com- 
modities, and bringing the advantages of the coast to the 

In the country one never meets anything approaching 
to a village. It isa populous district where you see a farm 
in a valley, another group of turf hovels, called a thorpe, 
a few miles further up, and perhaps, a homestead of some 
land perched on the green slope of a neighbouring hill- 
side. Should there be, in addition to these, a black wood 
building near the edge of the water, with a white 
flagstaff before it — it is a merchant's factory and gives to 
the place the importance of a market-town. 

It was now between 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning, 
but as the sky was clear and lovely, and we were sailing 
along a coast, the striking features of which, although 
singularly picturesque, we had never seen described 

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in books, I remained on deck most of the night, and 
only, from a forced sense of duty, lay down for a short 
time without undressing. 

These fiords on the east coast are very similar in 
character; most of the features we have noted being . 
common to them alL I shall therefore simply enumerate, 
in their order, the names of those we passed between 
Hornafiord and Seydisfiord, a distance of about 100 
miles, for the first 75 of which the steamer's course lay 
north-east, and for the remaining 25 nearly due north: — 
Skardsfiord, Fapafiord, Lonfiord, Altafiord, Hamarsfiord, 
Berufiord, Stodvarfiord, Faskrudsfiord, Reydarfiord, 
Nordfiord, and Mjofifiord. 

On Saturday morning, between 5 and 6 o'clock, we 
entered Seydisfiord, sailed up to the head of it and 
dropped anchor, having now reached the extreme point 
of our destination. 

This lonely fiord on the north-east of Iceland, is 
land-locked like Lochgoil or Teignabraich in Scotland. 
The valley at the head, with hills on either side, makes 
a bend to the north, so that there are high hills all 
round us. Those on the south— our left hand side- 
sweep round, forming an amphitheatre, till they are 
apparently met by those of the north-side; the fiord is 
thus shut in on the west, and the continuation of the 
valley, beyond it, shut out 

The hill-sides are terraced with sixteen or eighteen 
trap-steps, which run in regular horizontal layers and 
yet further complete the resemblance of the head of the 
fiord to a great amphitheatre. From these steps, water, 
glassy-white, may be seen trickling down, every little 
way, all round; with here and there a mountain cataract 

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which has made a deep gully for itself. The hill-range 
on the left, which sweeps round and bounds the view, is 
capped with a series of singular rocky cones, occurring 
at regular intervals, and in shape resembling the chim- 
neys of a glass work. They are mottled with snow-. 
patches; mist streaks float athwart them; while in the 
west, not only those chimneys, but the top of the ridge 
itself is now hid from view, muffled up in dense clouds 
which form the curtain of the amphitheatra A river 
flows into the fiord from the valley, which, although 
green and yielding a hay-crop, is marshy and much in 
want of draining. From the sloping nature of the 
ground, this could easily be done at little expense, and 
would, we doubt not, prove a highly remunerative 


Near the beach are three stores, or factories as they 
are called; two belong to Danes, and the other to Mr. 

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Henderson, one of the owners of the Arcturus, who has 
been here for sometime but is going south with us to- 
night The factories are one-storey houses, built of wood. 
A traffic in produce, chiefly Ash and wool, is carried 
on with the farmers, whose sod-covered dwellings are 
sparsely scattered along the neighbouring coast, or in 
valleys above the fiords. Customers are sometimes 
attracted from much greater distances; we saw long 
strings of ponies riding down water-courses, and crossing 
the shoulders of bare hills where one would think there 
was scarcely footing for a goat 

Before breakfast Dr. Mackinlay and I had a swim in 
the fiord, and found the water much warmer than we 
anticipated; indeed, it was pleasanter in this respect 
than the last bath I had in the sea at Teignabraich. 
We then breakfasted with Mr. Henderson, who gave us 
a most cordial welcome. The steamer was several days 
later in arriving than the time he had expected her, so 
that he had almost begun to despair of her ever coming 
for him, and was conjuring up gloomy visions of being 
obliged to winter here, and fancying all sorts of things. 
Now, for him, all was changed and bright I tried to 
masticate a bit of raw dried stock-fish, which the Ice- 
landers commonly use, eating it as we do bread. I also 
tasted "snaps," of which the Danes are so fond, for the 
first and last time; it seemed like a mixture of gin and 
kirchen-wasser, flavoured with coriander seed. The 
breakfast before us was a most substantial one, there 
being no lack either of welcome, which is the best of cheer, 
or of mutton, fish, beer, coffee, milk, and stale black rye- 
bread Be it remembered that this breakfast was neither 
Icelandic, Danish, nor Scotch; but,. exhibiting some of 

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the characteristics of all three, seemed marvellously 
adapted to our present requirements in this distant 

We stepped into the store, and saw exposed for sale 
hardware and soft goods of all kinds. In a corner were 
standing lots of quart-bottles gaudily labelled "essence 
of punch/' whatever that may be. Mr. Henderson 
showed me some specimens of double refracting calc, or 
Iceland spar, which is obtained in the neighbourhood. 
It only occurs in one place of the island, filling a fissure 
of greenstone from two to three feet wide and twenty to 
twenty-five feet long, on the north bank of the Reydar- 
fiord, about a thousand feet above the sea level There, 
a cascade rushes over the rock, bringing down fragments 
of the spar from time to time. The mass itself gets 
loosened, bit by bit, through the action of frost on the 
moisture which enters edgeways between the laminae, 
wedging them apart in the direction of the cleavage of 
the crystals. Transparent specimens more than a few 
inches in size are rare and valuable. Mr. Henderson 
presented me with a beautiful large semi-transparent 
chalcedony weighing ] fl> 7 oz., and some pebbles. 

His partner, Mr. Jacobson, an Icelander, also gave me 
a young raven to make a pet o£ It was this year's bird 
and quite tame, I called it Odin; and, having got 
hold of an old box, improvised a door with a few spars, 
that it might have a sheltered place to roost in at night 
till it got to the end of its voyage. 
. I now wandered up the valley, for an hour or two, alone, 
and sat down on a slope, on the right side of it, to look 
around me and rest The river, near where I sit, flashes 
down over a steep rock and forms a fine waterfall, the 

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roaring of which is echoed from the chimney-capped 
amphitheatre of hills opposite. Beneath the fell, it flows 
peacefully along, runnelHng and rippling on, to the blue 
fiord, through the quiet green valley. White streamlets 
of water trickle down the trap hill-sides, every forty or 
fifty yards; the whole producing a continuous quiet 
murmur or undertone, not unlike that from the wings 
of an innumerable swarm of gnats playing in the sun- 
shine on a warm summer's day, but ever broken in upon 
by the clear liquid tinkle of the streamlets nearest us, 
heard drip, dripping, with a clear metallic sound which 
might be compared to the chirp of the grasshopper. 
This solitary glen, now lying bathed in light, is fanned 
by the gentle breeze, fragrant with the smell of tedded 
hay, and richly variegated with wild flowers — harebells, 
buttercups, wild thyme, cotton-grass, and forget-me-nots 
*— a gathered bunch of which is now lying beside me 
on a moss-cushioned rock. Quietly musing here on all, 
of strange or new, I have seen since leaving home, and 
dwelling more particularly on the great kindness I have 
received at all hands, I feel grateful to God, who has 
hitherto opened up a way for me and given me friends 
amongst strangers wherever I chanced to wander. 

We saw specimens of surturbrand, which crops out on 
the top of a steep mountain, at the mouth of the fiord, 
on the north side, and obtained a few more geological 
specimens and plants. 

After dinner, I strolled for a quarter of a mile up the 
valley with Mr. Henderson and Dr. Mackinlay, to visit 
the farm behind the store. It consists of a group of 
hovels, the walls are stone and turf, the gables wood^ 
and the roofs covered with green sod. The entrance is a 

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• si»w* ■* Jwer.'ii. - j ~ r= — v _- .-. . 



dark muddy passage leading into a ground-floor apart- 
ment as dark and muddy, where, in winter, cattle are 
kept The kitchen is a dirty, smoky, sooty hole, with 
fish hanging in it to smoke and dry; a pot of seal- 
blubber stands steaming in a corner. The fire is raised 

FAttM HOUSE, 8KT018F10RO. 

on a few stones above the floor, like a smithy-forge; 
while there is a hole in the roof for the smoke. Picking 
our way through another long passage, dark and dirty, 
we found a trap-ladder and ascended to a little garret, 
where I could only walk erect in the very centra 
The apartment was floored and fitted up with bunks all 
round the sides and ends. In these box-beds, at least 
seven people — men, women and children — sleep at night, 
and sometimes a few more have to be accommodated. 
The little windows in the roof are not made to open, and 
no regard whatever is paid to ventilation. Dr. Mackinlay 
prescribed for an old man we found lying ill in this 

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abominable fetid atmosphere, where his chances of re- 
covery were very slight He was an old farm servant 
about whom nobody seemed to care anything. 

In a little apartment shut off from this one, and in 
the gable portion of the building which in this case 
constitutes the front of the house, an old woman at the 
window sits spinning with the ancient distaff, 1 precisely 
as in the days of Homer. 

To amuse the farmer's daughters I showed them my 
sketches, with which they seemed much interested. 


I understood part of their remarks, and could in some 
degree make myself understood by them, with the few 
Danish and Icelandic words I kept picking up. On 
receiving a little money and a few knick-knacks, they, 
all round, held out their hands and shook mine very* 
heartily. This, the Icelanders always do, on receiving a 
present of anything however trifling. 

1 Soo illustration d at p. 63. 

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After sketching the farm-house, I took two views of 
Mr. Henderson's store; one of them from a height 
behind, looking down towards the fiord, and the other 
from the brink of it> looking up the valley. In the latter, 
a part of the same farm-house appears, and thus indicates 
its exact position. 1 With the assistance of these three 
sketches taken together, the reader will be enabled to 
form some idea, of the appearance presented by this arm 
of the North Sea. 

We sailed from Seydisfiord at half-past six P.M. on 
Saturday night, direct for the Faroe islanda 

There is a singular cone-shaped mountain called 
Brimnaes Fjall at the mouth of the fiord, showing masses 
of clay-rock alternating with and pushing up trap, 
which is deposited in thin layers of perpendicular struc- 
ture. Several pillars or shafts are left standing singly 
on the very summit, and present a very curious appear- 
ance, distinctly relieved against the amber light of the 
sky. At Dr. Mackinlay's request I made a sketch of it. 


A vessel of Mr. Henderson's, which had been given up 
i lost, now unexpectedly came in sight, which necees- 
1 Compare illustrations pp. 802, 206, and 207. 

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itated Mr. Jacobson and a young Iceland lad, who were 
en route to Copenhagen, to get on board her and return 
to Seydisfiord to look after her cargo, evidently much to 
their disappointment 

The wild scenery of the coast, especially at Reydar- 
fiord, was strikingly picturesque. 1 

Mr. Murray, Professor Chadbourne, Mr. Henderson 
and I walked the deck till a late or rather an early 
hour, and watched the fast receding mountain-ranges of 
Iceland — pale lilac, mauve, or deep purple — and the 
distant horns, shading through similiar tints from rose 
to indigo, all distinctly seen athwart the golden light 
of the horizon which for hours has been ebbing slowly 
and softly away, but is now on the turn, and about to 
flow again. 

Sabbath, August 7. The weather is fine; no land or 
sail in sight all day; whales playing about the ship. 
Had many pleasant deck-walks and talks, and several 
quiet hours, sitting perched on the stem, reading, or 
watching the prow, below, cutting and cleaving through 
the clear green water like a knife. 

Monday mornmg, August 8. We are sailing be- 
tween two of the Faroe islands, bright sunshine lighting 
tip all the regularly terraced trap-rocks, caves, and cre- 
vices of this singular group. 

I have now got a pet to look after, and, without 
Shakspere's authority for it, we know that 
" Young ravens mnst here food." 

The last thing I did last night was to shut Odin in his 
box, and the first thing this morning to let him out 

1 See Olostration p. 197. 

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again and give him the freedom of the ship. The bird 
knows me, is pleased when I scratch his head, and con- 
fidingly runs hopping to me for protection when the 
boys about the ship teaze him more than he likes. His 
fellow traveller, a young Icelandic fox brought on board 
at Reykjavik to be sent to the Marquis of Stafford, also 
runs about the ship during the day. At first we had 
some misgivings on the subject; for 

"Treason is but trusted liko the fox— 
Who ne'er so tamo, so cherished, and locked up, 
Will hare a wild trick of his ancestors." 

However, these fears were soon dissipated; for Odin can 
hold his own, and when the fox, approaching furtively, 
uses any liberty with his tail feathers, he suddenly gets 
a peck from the bird's great formidable beak, which he 
does not seem much to relish. The salutary fear con- 
tinues for a short time, is forgotten, and again the dab 
comes as a reminder. We were often greatly amused, 
watching their individual habits and droll ways, when 
the one intruded upon the other. It was half play, half 
earnest, a sort of armed neutrality with a basis of mutual 

On the west coast of Stromoe is the roofless ruin of 
the church of Kirkuboe. It was begun in the twelfth 
century, but never finished. It is built of stone, has five 
large windows and several small ones below; a little 
farm house or hut, with red tiles on the roof, stands near 
it What a strange lonely place for a church 1 Thors- 
havn lies on the other — the east — side of the island. It 
is only five miles distant as the crow flies, but as we 
have to sail round the south point, and Stromoe is 
twenty-seven miles long, we do not reach it till near noon. 


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On landing, Mr. Haycock accompanied me to call for 
Miss Lobner, who has been poorly ever since her sea 
voyaga Her mother presented wine, cake, coffee &a, 
and was most hospitable. None of us being able to 
speak Faroese, at first we felt a little awkward; but a 
brother of the old lady's who speaks English soon came 
to the rescue and acted as interpreter. With justifiable 
pride, they again showed us their flower and kitchen 
garden. I got the whale-knives, caps, shoes, gloves &a, 
which had been made or procured for me during my 
absence in Iceland. Ere leaving, Miss Lobner appeared 
to say adieu! and insisted on my accepting several other, 
specimens of Faroese workmanship as remembrances of 
Thorshavn. No people could have been kinder. 

Again, wandering about, we explored the town, looked 
at the church, stepped into the stores, passed the 
governor's garden, and wandered a mile or two in that 
direction in order to obtain a view, and get quit of the 
fishy smells which superabound in Thorshavn. 

On our return we called for Mr. Muller, who presented 
me with a copy of the gospel of St Matthew in Danish 
and Faroese, arranged in parallel columns. I understood 
him to say that this was the only book ever printed in 
the Faroese dialect, and that it is now out of print and 
very rare. It bears the date of 1823. 

Here we saw an old man 76 years of age, an Icelander 
who has been in Faroe for the last 40 years. He had 
spent several years in England, and told me that, in 
1815, he saw our regiments land at Liverpool after the 
battle of Waterloo. He speaks English fluently. 

A Thames fishing smack, and a sloop from Lerwick, 
are lying in the bay. . Piping and dancing goes merrily 

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on, on board the latter, relieved by intervals of music 
alone. In one of these, we heard "The Yellow Hair'd 
Laddie," rendered with considerable taste, although, 
doubtless, several "improvements and additions" were' 
made on the original score. 

We took some Faroese boatmen into the saloon of the 
steamer, and I sliall not soon forget the look of wonder 
and utter astonishment pourtrayed on their countenances, 
as they gazed on the mirrors and everything around, or 
were shown things with which they were not familiar 
and heard their uses explained. They were greatly 
pleased with my life-belt Dr. Mackinlay showed them 
a multiplying-glass, and, as it was handed from one to 
another— each man first making the discovery of what 
had so inexplicably excited the wonder of the last 
looker— the queer exclamations of amazement accom- 
panied by inimitable pantomimic gestures reached their 
culminating point, and were irresistibly drolL 

The weather is all we could desire. The sailors are 



singing some curious Danish songs, with the time well 
marked, as they heave the anchor; and at 20 minutes 

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past 6 o'clock p.m. we are steaming out of the bay. The 
evening is lovely, and the Thermometer, on the deck, 
stands at 68°. Thorshavn soon disappears, and we leave 


the Faroe islands astern, relieved against an amber sky, 
Dimon being the most striking and conspicuous of the 
group. A few stars shone overhead, and I walkod the 
deck till midnight 

Tuesday, August 9. At breakfast, tasted a whale- 
steak which Miss Lobner had yesterday sent on board 
for me, with particular instructions to the stewardess to 
have it properly cooked. The flesh looked and tasted 
like dry tough beef, with a slight flavour of venison. 
The blubber, however was too strong for any of us to do 
more than merely satisfy — not gratify — our curiosity. 

The day was lovely. Professor Cliodbourne invited 
me to visit and spend a month with him during his 
holiday. Indeed, cordial, pressing invitations, all round, 
were the order of the day. As fellow-travellers we had 
been happy together, and felt sorry at the near prospect 
of our little party being broken up and scattered; for 
several valued friendships had been formed. 

Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, the 
thermometer indicated 98° in the sun and 75° in the 

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shade. Dr. Mackiulay showed me on old Danish dollar 
he bad got, in change, at Reykjavik; it bore the date of 
A.D. 1619, the year of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers 
from the May Flower. Part of the day was spent in 
writing out these pages from my diary. In the evening 
we saw, far to our left, faint and dim on the horizon 
line, the north-west islands of Shetland ; and by a quarter 
to 8 o'clock P.M. were sailing twenty miles to the west 
of Fair Isle, which lies between Orkney and Shetland. 
Both groups are in sight We have not seen a sail since 
we left Faroe, and now, what we at first fancied to be one, 
off the north end of the Orkneys, turns out to l>o a light- 
house, rising apparently from the sea, but in reality from 
low lying land which is yet below the horizon. 

The sunset to-night is gorgeous; cavernous recesses 
opening through a dense purple cloud-bank into glowing 
regions of fire; while broad flashing gleams ray out on 
every side athwart the sky, as if from furnace-moutha 
Then we have moonlight on a sea smooth as glass, and 
not even a ripple to be seen. The Orkney light-house, 
now gleaming like a setting star, is left far astern. The 
phosphoresence along the vessel's side and in her wake 
is most brilliant; while, seething, electric-like, from the 
screw, it rivals the "churned fire-froth" of the demon 
steed. The moon, half-hid, is at times deep crimson and 
again bright yellow. Many falling stars are shooting 
M madly from their spheres;" not that our music lured 
them, although, "on such a night" of nights, when all is 
harmonious, we cannot but sing. Mr. Murray gives us 
"Home, sweet home" and "The last rose of summer," 
and ere retiring at midnight, all of us join together in 
tinging the "Spanish Chant" 

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Wednesday morning, August 10. Weare off Inver- 
ness; wind a-head and rising. Professor Chadbourne 
to-day gave me an oak-leaf which he plucked from the 
tree, at Upsala, planted by Linnaeus with his own hands. 
Wrote as long as the heaving of the ship would admit of 
it, then arranged botanical specimens and read Words- 
worth. The wind is blowing so fresh, off Peterhead, that, 
with full steam, we are not making above one and a half 
knots; and at times can scarcely keep any way on. 
Passed the Bell-Bock ; the sea still rising. Went to bed 
at 11 o'clock P.M. ; vessel pitching a good deal. 

Thursday morning, August 1 1. Rose at four o'clock 
and was on deck ere the Ardurue dropt anchor in 
Leith Roads. But as we cannot get our traps on shore 
till the custom-house officer comes at nine o'clock to 
overhaul them, we remain and breakfast on board, The 
examination made, at half-past ten o'clock AJL, we landed 
by a tug steamer, and made for our respective railway 
stations, each, on parting, bidding the other "a bright 
adieu 1" in the hope that it might only be for "a brief 
absence!" "Odin" was in good feather: his owner sun- 
bronzed and strong. 

At length, comfortably ensconsed in the fast express, I 
lay back in the corner of a compartment, closed my eyes 
and resigned myself to see pleasant pictures and dream 
waking dreams— of snow-jokuls, volcanoes, glaciers, and 
ice-fields; of geysers, mud-cauldrons, and sulphur-pits; 
of lava plains, black, wierd and blasted, or dreary wastes 
of ice; of deep rapid rivers, flashing waterfalls, leaping 
tprrents; of frightful chasms, rugged cliffs, and precipitous 
mountains mirrored in deep blue fiords; of pathless 
stony deserts, enlivened at times with oasis-like spots of 

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tender green herbage and bright coloured flowers; of 
wild break-neck rides, over bare rocks, among slabs and 
lava-blocks of all shapes and sizes and lying in every 
conceivable direction ; through volcanic sands and scoriae ; 
by red and black vetrified craters, or across dangerous 
fords; of multifarious scamperings too, and mud-plash- 
ings over hill and dale; or wild rides down rocky steeps, 
not on a phantom steed, but on a sure-footed Iceland 
pony; of pleasant companionship by the way ; of cordial 
welcome and great kindness received, in quiet home- 
steads, and at all hands from the people, wherever we 
went; then again of Frost contending with Fire, and of 
all the varied and marvellous phenomena of Iceland, 
that singularly interesting island in the lone North 



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Long, long ago, when Trolls and Giants lived among 
men, there was a famous school where curious youths 
were taught the mysteries of witchcraft. France and 
Germany both claim the honour of it, but no one knows 
where it really was. 

It was kept in a dismal cavern, deep underground, 
into which no ray of sunlight ever entered. Here, the 
scholars had to stay no less than seven winters; for it 
took them all that time to complete their studies. They 
never saw their teacher from one year's end to another. 
Every morning a grey grizzly hand, all covered with hair, 

1 Sffimund Frodi, like other learned men of those days, was rap* 
posed to bo in possession of magic powers. He was tho Friar Bacon of 
Iceland ; and these stories in which his name figures, handed down 
by tradition, are still often told iu Iceland by the fireside on tho long 
winter evenings. Curious to observe, that, in most medisBval stories 
of this kind, Satan is always outwitted and gets the worst of it a jj. 

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pushed itself through the cavern wall and gave to each 
one his lesson book. These books were written all over 
with letters of fire, and could be read with ease, even in 
the dark. The lessons over, the same grizzly hand 
again appeared to take away the books and bring in the 
scholars' dinner. 

At the close of winter, the scholars who had then got 
through their seven years apprenticeship were dismissed. 
The great iron door was opened, and the master stood 
watching those who went out; for he had stipulated that 
the scholar who walked hindmost, in passing through, 
was to be seized by him and kept as a thralL But who 
was this strange school-master? Why, Old Nick himself. 
No wonder, then, that each of the scholars struggled 
hard to be first in passing the fatal threshold. 

Once on a time, there were three Icelanders at the 
dark school; Staemund Frodi, afterwards parish priest at 
Oddi, Kalfar Arnason, and Halfdan Eldjarnsson, after- 
wards parish priest at Fell, in Slettuhlid. They were 
all dismissed at the same time. Soemund, to the great 
delight of his companions, offered to walk hindmost in 
going out of school, so he dressed himself in a. long 
loose cloak, which he took care to leave unbuttoned, and 
bidding good bye to school-fellows left behind, prepared 
to follow his countrymen* Just as he was putting his 
feet on the first step of the stair which led up from the 
school door, Old Nick, who was watching hard by, made 
a clutch at the cloak and called out, 

"ftomund Frodi, put not tho door, 
Thou art my thrall for overmoro." 

And now the great iron door began to turn on its hinges '; 

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but, before Old Nick hod time to slam it too, Stemund 
slipt his anna out of the sleeves of his cloak, and sprung 
forward out of the grasp of his enemy. 

In doing so, the door struck him a heavy blow on the 
heel, which gave him a good deal of pain, when he said, 

"The door bath swung too near the heel, 
But better sore foot than servo the DeiL" 

And so Ssemund outwitted Old Nick, and got away 
from the dark school along with his two friends. Since 
then, it has become a common saying in Iceland, when 
a person has had a narrow escape from danger, that "the 
door swung too near his heels." l 


At the time Saomund, Kalfur, and Halfdan came out 
of the dark school, there was no priest at Oddi, for the 
old priest had just died All three of them would fain 
have the living, and so each went to the king to ask it 
for himself. The king knew his men ; and so he sent 
them all away with the same answer, that whoever 
reached Oddi first, should be made priest of that place. 

Thereupon Saemund summoned Old Nick and said to 

1 Tin's story may explain tho origin of the Scotch proverb, "Boil 
tok* tho hindmost." — There is anothor rcrsion of Saunund's mode 
of escape; vis.! That when ho was about to bo seised, pointing to 
his shadow on the wall, he said, " I am_ not the hindmost, dent you 
see him that is coming behind mel" Old Nick then caught at tho 
shadow, and thought it was a man ; but 8amund got out, and tho 
door was slammed on his heels. But after that time, it is added, 
8*Mnund was always without a shadow, for Old Nick would not let 
his shadow free again. Here, in this old-world story, wo have the 
germofChamisso's M Shadowless Man.** ua 


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him, "Now, 111 make a bargain with you, if you swim 
with me on your back across to Iceland, and land me 
there without wetting my coat-tail, 111 be your servant 
as long as I live." Old Nick was highly pleased with 
the offer and agreed at once. So, in less than no time, 
he changed himself into a seal, and left Norway with 
Saemund on his back. 

Saemund took care to have his prayer book with bim, 
and read bits out of it every now and then while on the 
way. As soon as they got close to the shores of Iceland, 
which they did in less time than you would think, he 
closed the book and suddenly struck the seal such a 
heavy blow on the neck with it that the animal went 
down all at once into deep water. Saemund, now left 
to himself, struck out for the shore and got easily to 
land. In this way Old Nick lost his bargain, and 
Saemund got the living of Oddi. 


When Saemund was priest of Oddi, he once had a 
cowherd — a good servant withal, but greatly addicted to 
swearing. Saemund often reproved him for this, but all 
his reproofs were of no avail. At last he told him, he 
really ought to leave off his bad habits, for Old Nick 
and his servants lived upon people's curses and wicked 
worda "Say you so?" said the cowherd, "if I knew for 
certain that Old Nick would lose his meals by it, I would 
never say a bad word more." So he made up his mind 
to mend his ways. 

"Ill soon see whether you are in earnest or not," said 
Saemund, and so, he forthwith lodged a goblin in the 

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cowhouse. The cowherd did not like his guest, and no 
wonder: for he was up to every kind of mischief, and 
almost worried the life out of him with his wicked 
pranks. The poor cowherd bore up bravely for a time, 
and never let slip an oath or angry word. The goblin 
got leaner day by day, to the intense delight of the cow- 
herd, who hoped, bye and bye, to see an end of him. 

One morning, on opening the byre door, the poor cow- 
herd found every thing turned topsy-turvy. The milk 
pails and stools were broken in pieces and scattered 
about the floor; and the whole of the cows — and there 
were many of them — tied tail to tail, were straggling 
about without halters, and goring each other. It needed 
but half an eye to see who had done the mischie£ So 
the cowherd in a rage turned round to the goblin who, 
shrunk and haggard, lay crouched up in a corner of a 
stall, the very picture of wretchedness, and poured forth 
such a volley of furious curses as would have overwhelmed 
any human being in the same plight The goblin all at 
once began to revive; his skin no longer shrivelled 
looked smooth and plump ; his eye brightened up, and 
the stream of life again flowed joyously through his veins. 

"0, oh!" said the cowherd, as he suddenly checked 
himself, when he saw the wonderful effect his swearing 
had on the goblin, "Now I know for certain that Sa- 
mund was right" And from that day forward he was 
never known to utter an oath. As for the goblin, he 
soon pined away again and has long since been beyond 
troubling anybody. May you and I, and all who hear 
this story, strive to follow the good example of Semund's 
cowherd t 

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Ssemund one day asked Old Nick how little he could 
make himself " Why," replied he, "as for that I could 
make myself as small as the smallest midge." There- 
upon Saemund bored a tiny hole in the door post, and 
asked him to make good his boast by walking into it 
This he at once did; but no sooner was he in, than S&- 
mund stopped the hole with a little plug of wood, and 
made all fast 

Old Nick cursed his folly, cried, and begged for mercy ; 
but Saemund would not take out the stopper till he 
promised to become his servant and do all that he was 
told. This was the reason why Sasmund always had it 
in his power to employ Old Nick in whatever business 
he liked. 


As might be expected, Old Nick always harboured 
a great ill will against Saonund: for he could not help 
feeling how much he was in Saemund's power. He 
therefore tried to revenge himself on various occasions; 
but all his tricks failed, for Saamund was too sharp for 

Once, he put on the shape of a little fly, and hid him- 
self — so he thought, at least — under the film that had 
gathered on the priest's milk jug, hoping that Ssamund 
would swallow him unawares, and so lose his life. But 
Seemund had all his eyes about him; so instead of 
swallowing the fly he wrapped it up in the film, covered 
the whole with a bladder, and laid the package on the 
altar. There, the fly was obliged to remain till after the 

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service, when Ssemund opened the package and gave Old 
Nick his liberty. It is told, as a truth, that old Nick 
never found himself in a worse case than when lying on 
the altar before Staemund 


Saemund had a whistle of such wonderful power, that 
as often as he blew it, one or more goblins appeared be- 
fore him, ready to do his bidding. 1 One day, on getting 
up, he happened to leave the whistle under his pillow, 
and forgot all about it till the afternoon when the house- 
maid was going to make his bed. He charged her, if 
she found anything unusual about the bed, she was on no 
account to touch it, or move it from its place. But he 
might have saved himself the trouble of speaking; for, 
as soon as the girl saw the whistle, she took it up in her 
hand, and looked at it on every side. Not satisfied with 
much handling it, she put it to her mouth and blew it 
lustily. The sound of the blast had not died away before 
a goblin stood before her, saying, "what will you have 
me to do?" The girl was not a little startled, but had 
the presence of mind to conceal her surprise. 

It so happened that the hides of ten sheep, that had 
been killed that day, were lying on the ground in front 
of the parsonage. Recollecting this, the girl replied to 
the goblin, "Go and count all the hairs that are on the 
ten hides outside, and, if you finish your task before I 
get this bed made, I'll consent to many you." The 

1 The reader will here bo reminded of Aladdin's Lamp, Genii, and of 
the East, from whonco these Stories also originally came in the days 
of Odin. 


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goblin thought that a task worth undertaking for such a 
prize; and hurrying out, fell to counting the hairs with 
all his might The girl who did not like the idea of 
being the wife of a goblin, lost no time, you may be sure, 
in getting through with her work; and it was well she 
bestirred herself; for, by the time the bed was made, the 
goblin had almost finished his task. Only a few hairs 
of the last hide remained uncounted, but they were 
enough to make him lose his bargain. When Sffimund 
afterwards learned how prudently the girl had got out of 
her scrape, he was very well pleased. 


Once on a time, a worthy couple, Sveinn and his wife, 
occupied a farm, on the shores of the beautiful Skaga- 
fiord, in the north country. They were in easy 
circumstances and were blessed with two fine children, a 
son and daughter, who were the joy of their hearts. 
Biarni and his sister Salvor — for those were the names 
of their children — were twins and greatly attached to 
each other. 

1 To the right understanding of the story of "Biarni Svcinsson," it 
must be remembered that a superstition prevailed amongst the 
Icelanders regarding the central deserts. These, they believed, were 
iuhabited by a strange mysterious race of men who held no 
intercourse with the other inhabitants, and were said to be in tho 
habit of kidnapping women from tho country. This belief may hare 
had its origin in the fact, that, in former days, some few outlaws and 
their families took refuge in the deserts, and lived there for a time in 
order to escape the hands of justice, a. j. s. 

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In the spring of the year, 1 about St John's* day, when 
these two had reached the age of twenty, the people of 
Skagafiord were arranging a party to make a journey to 
the mountains of the interior, to gather Iceland-moss for 
making porridge. Sveinn promised to let his son go with 
the party. As soon as Salvor knew that, she felt a 
great desire to go too; and so she went to her parents to 
ask their consent This was not so easily got, as they 
did not wish to part with both their children at once; 
and besides, they knew she was ill fitted to bear the 
hardships and fatigues of mountain travelling. But she 
fretted so much at the thought of being left behind, that, 
at last, they consented to let her go. 

The night before the moss-gatherers were to leave, 
Sveinn the farmer dreamed that he had two beautiful 
white birds, of which he was very fond, and that all at 
once, to his great grief, the hen-bird disappeared and 
' could nowhere be found. On awaking in the morning, 
he could not help thinking that his dream betokened no 
good to his darling Salvor, so he called her to him, and 
after telling her his dream, he said to her, "Salvor dear! 
I cannot bear to part with you, you must stay at home 
with your mother and me, for I would never forgive 
myself if any ill befel you by the way." Salvor who 
had been in great glee at the prospect of riding, day 
after day, up the romantic valleys to the south of 
Skagafiord, and there tenting out amidst the mountains, 
was neither to hold nor to bind, when she found that, 
after all, she would have to stay at home; she wept with 
vexation and distressed herself so much that her father 
could not bear it, and again gave an unwilling consent 
1 Iu Iceland vegetation is late. 

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to let her go. So she accompanied her brother and the 
rest of the party to the mountains. 

The first day after getting there, she gathered Iceland 
moss with the others, but during the night she fell 
suddenly ill and was unable to leave her tent on the 
following day. Biarni stayed with her, and did all that 
a brother could do to help and comfort her. For three 
whole days he was her companion, but, on the fourth 
day, he left her for a time in charge of a friend, while he 
himself joined the moss-gatherers. After partly filling 
his bag, he sat himself down by a large stone, and, 
resting his head on his hand, brooded over his sister's 

unhappy fate; he feared she was going to die among 

the mountaina 
By and by he heard a great tramping of horses, and, 

on looking about, he saw two men riding towards him 

at a quick pace. One of them wore red coloured 

clothes, and had a red horse ; the other who was younger, 

was dressed in black, and was mounted on a black horse. 

On reaching the place where Biarni was sitting, they 

dismounted and saluted him by name. 

"What ails you Biarni/' said the elder of the two 

strangers." For a time Biarni answered not a word, but 

on being pressed to do so, he opened up his heart to 

them and told all about his sister's illness. 
"My companions are going to return home, but I 

must stay to watch over Salvor; and who knows how 

«oon she may die in my arms." 

"You are in a hard case Biarni," said the other, "and 

I am sony for you, but wont you leave your sister with 

me, and I will take good care of her." 

"No, no," said Biarni, "that I dare not do, for I know 

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neither who you are, nor where you come from. But 
will you tell me where your home is?" 

"That's no business of yours," said the other, rather 
gruffly, and then, taking from his pocket a silver-gilt box 
set with precious stones, added, "Won't you sell me your 
sister for this box." 

"No," said Biarni, "nor for a thousand like it I 
would not give her to you for any money." 

"Well! well! there is no help for it, you will at all 
events accept this box, as a token that you have met 
with men among the mountains." 

Biarni took the offered gift with pleasure, and thanked 
the giver. The two men then bade him farewell and 
rode away, while he returned to the tent Next 
morning his companions went away home, leaving him 
alone with his sister. Though she was now a little 
better, he dared not sleep, for he was afraid lest the 
strangers should come and steal her away. But, after 
watching a whole day and night, he felt overcome with 
fatigue; so he lay down, and folding his arms round her 
waist to protect her, fell into a sound sleep. But, when 
he awoke, his sister was gone, and was nowhere to be 
found. He spent a whole day sorrowfully wandering 
from spot to spot, looking and calling for her, but it was 
all in vain. He then turned his back on the mountains, 
and with a heavy heart went homeland told his parents 
what had happened. 

"Woe is me," said Sveinn, "what I feared most has 
come to pass, but God's will be done!" 

There was great grief in Skagafiord when the news 
spread from farm to farm ; for Salvor, with all her way- 
wardness, was a promising girl, and was every body's 

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favourite. A party of young men returned to the moun- 
tains to look for her, but nowhere was the least trace of 
her to be found. 

And now ten years had passed away. By this time 
Biarni was married and settled on a farm, not far from 
his father's. During autumn all his sheep went amissing, 
and his shepherd could not discover what had become of 
them though he searched diligently for them three whole 
daya On learning this, Biarni bid his wife provide him 
with a week's supply of food, and an extra pair of shoes; 
"for," said he, "I shall go to the mountains myself to 
look for the sheep." His parents, who were still alive, 
urged him to stay at home ; for they feared that, if he 
went to the mountains, they might never see his face 

"I must go/' said he to them, "I cannot afford to lose 
the sheep. But be of good heart* and do not begin to 
weary for me till the week is over." 

He then went away on foot, and did not leave off 
walking for three days. At the end of that time he 
came to a cavern, where he turned in and lay down to 
sleep. On waking, he could not see a yard before him; 
for a thick fog which rested on the ground He con- 
tinued his journey, but soon lost his way. Towards 
evening the fog cleared off, and he found himself in a 
spacious valley, not far from a large well built farm 
house. It was the hay season, so that all the people of 
the farm were busy in the meadow. On getting near the 
house, he noticed, in particular, two women and a girl 
who were tedding the hay. "God's peace be with you," 
said he, on reaching the spot; and then, telling them ' 
of his mishaps, he asked permission to stay all night 

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'under their roof. They gave him a hearty welcome, and 
the girl went with him to the house. She was of more 
genteel appearance than the rest — young and handsome 
— and, as Biarni thought, bore some resemblance to his 
long lost but well remembered sister. This unexpected 
circumstance renewed his old griefs, but he did what he 
could to seem cheerful before his young hostess. She 
led him through several apartments to a large well 
furnished room, where everything was neat and tidy. 
Here, she drew in a chair, and kindly asked him to sit 
down and rest, while she brought in supper. He had 
not long to wait; for she soon placed upon the table a 
plentiful supply of meat and wine. 

After supper, she showed him to the little room where 
he was to sleep for the night; she then took away his 
wet clothes, wished him a kind good night, and left the 

As Biarni lay in bed, he fell a-wondering where he 
was, and how the sight of the girl should have so waked 
up the sad memories of the past He fell asleep think- 
ing of these things, but was soon awakened by the sound 
of singing in a room over his head. It was the family 
at evening worship, as is the custom of the country. He 
heard both men and women singing, but one voice 
sounded clear above all others, and thrilled to his very 
hearty so strongly did it remind him of his sister Salvor. 
Thoughts of the past filled his mind and kept him awake 
for hours, but he fell asleep again, and slept on, till he 
was roused up in the morning by the girl She brought 
with her a suit of fine clothes, and bade him put them on. 

"To-day is Sunday/' she added, "and you must stay 
here till to-morrow/' She then left the room. 

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While Biarni was putting on his clothes, a little boy 
in a green coat, and very nicely dressed, came into the 
room and wished him good morning. "What has 
brought you here, so far away from home?" said the 
little fellow to him. 

"I have come to look for some sheep that I have 

"Well, I have not seen them in this valley. But I 
hope you wont go to look for them to-day. Father is 
going to hear service in the church, and you must be 
there too." 

Before Biarni had time to reply, some one called the 
boy away, saying, "Sveinn, come here, and don't plague 
the stranger with your nonsense." 

At breakfast, Biarni was waited on by the girl who 
had treated him so well the evening before. 

Towards mid-day, people began to come from far and 
near, to join in the public service in the church close by. 
The boy came for Biarni, and led him by the hand into 
the church and showed him to a seat On looking 
about, what was his surprise to see by his side the man 
in the red clothes whom he had seen, ten years before, 
among the mountains I But* his surprise was greater 
still, on discovering that the clergyman who conducted 
the service, was no other than the man in the black 
drees who had travelled with the other. The church 
was full of people. Most of the men were tall and 
strongly built, but had something forbidding about their 
looks. Some wore brown knitted garments of undyed 
wool Biarni said nothing to his neighbour, but took 
out the gilt box and offered him a pinch of snuff This ■ 
he took, but without seeming to recognize Biarni 

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1 By and by, Biarni saw, seated just in front of the 

pulpit, a comely well dressed woman who seemed the 
very picture of his sister. When their eyes met, she was 
overcome with emotion and began to smile and weep by 
turns. Biarni now felt confident that it was indeed his 
beloved sister Salvor whom he now saw before him. 

The service decently performed to the end and the 
blessing pronounced, the boy again took Biarni by the 
hand and led him out In passing the church door, an 
old ill looking man, who sat there, tripped Biarni up and 
made him falL On this, the man in the red clothes 
came forward and chastised the offender, while Biarni 
went with the boy into the farm house. The two men 
whom Biarni had met among the mountains, shortly 
after came in and saluted him. 

"Do you know us, Biarni I" said they to him kindly. 

"Yes/' replied he. But not another word could he 
utter for emotion. 

A moment after, the woman, he had seen in the 
church and taken for his sister, entered the room. She 
flew into his arms and pressed him to her bosom saying, 

"Before we were born we lay in each other's arms, I 
was taken weeping from thy embrace, and now I return 
laughing to thy arms, my brother." 

It was a joyful meeting. 

When Biarni recovered himself, he told his sister 
about his parents, and also all that had happened in 
Skagafiord since her departure." The man in red clothes 
then addressed himself to Biarni, and said, 

"Whilst thou wert asleep among the mountains, I 
took thy sister away from thee and gave her in mar- 
riage to this man in the black dress, who is my son. He 

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is the clergyman of the valley and I am the sysselman. 
It was I that took away the sheep and led thee astray to 
this place, that brother and sister might meet again. 
To-night thou must stay here with thy sister. To-morrow 
I shall give thee back thy lost sheep and go with thee 
part of the way to Skagafiord." 

Biarni spent a happy evening with Salvor. In the 
morning he took leave of her with many tears, and de- 
parted under the guidance of her husband and of her 
father-in-law, who gave him back his sheep, and helped 
him to drive them. On reaching the inhabited part 
of the country, his new friends parted with him and 
bade him an affectionate farewell; but not before they 
had made him promise to leave Skagafiord and live 
with them. 

"You must come and settle in the valley beside us/' 
said they to him, "we shall return next summer and 
lead you and your friends to your Bister's home." 

On getting to Skagafiord, Biarni told his wife and 
mother all that had happened to him, when away, and 
also the promise he had made to remove to the 
mountains; but charged them to say nothing to, the 
neighbours about it His parents were rejoiced to 
learn that Salvor was still alive, and promised to go with 
him and his wife. 

In June of the next year, three men, from the 
mountains, rode up one night to Biarni's house. The 
night following, Biarni, and his parents, and all his 
household went away with them and in due time reached 
the valley where Salvor lived. How it rejoiced Sveinn 
and his wife to see again their long lost daughter 1 They 
settled in the valley and died there, at a good old age. 

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;■.!.. ewwpimi 


Biarni lived there too, for many years, but he could 
never forget the beautiful Skagafiord; so when age came 
upon him, he returned to his old home, and spent his 
latter years among the friends of his youth. 


Many many years ago, a strapping young fellow, called 
Qeir, was settled in the farm of Randafell, on the south 
slope of the Eyafialla mountains, near the sea-coast 
Every thing prospered with him; for he was active and 
industrious, and scorned to eat the bread of idleness. 
His wife was as industrious as himself, but unfortunately, 
she took ill and died, shortly after their marriage. At 
the hay-making season, which came on soon after, he 
missed his wife greatly; for the maid servants were too 
few to look after the house and make the hay. 

One day, when they had a good deal more work before 
them than they were able to get through, a strange wo- 
man made her appearance in the hay field, and, without 
so much as saying, "by your leave/' began at once to 
handle the rake; and cleverly she bandied it, too, for she 
got through more work than any two of them. She was 
young and handsome, but silent as the grave. Not a 
word could Geir, or any one else, get out of her the live 
long day. At night she disappeared, no one knew 
where; but, when morning came, there was she, first in 
the field, ready to take her place among the women. 

Things went on in this way till the end of the harvest, 
when Qeir went up to her, and thanked her kindly for 
the help she had given them. 

She took what he said in good part, and no longer re- 

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fused to talk with him. They had a long chat together, 
but Geir was not made a bit the wiser, as to where she 
lived, or whose daughter she waa She told him, how- 
ever, that her name was Una. 

"Una," said he to her at last, "I am greatly in want 
of a housekeeper; I dont know any body so likely to 
suit as you; will you take the situation?" 

"I have no objection to do so," she replied, "when 
do you want me?" 

"The sooner the better." 

"Well, I shall come with my luggage to-morrow, and 
take up my abode with you." She then disappeared. 

Next morning, she walked into the farm house, and 
set down a large chest, full of clothes, which she had 
brought with her. This she put out of the way in the' 
closet, and then began to bustle about the house, looking 
after household duties. 

And now things began to prosper again with the 
Bandafell farmer. Una was a capital manager, and 
soon became famous all over the country side for her 
good butter, and her well ordered house. Geir was 
delighted with his housekeeper; but one thing distressed 
him — he could not persuade her to go to church. 

When Christmas Eve came round, Geir and all the 
servants went to church, to the vesper service. Geir was 
anxious that Una should go too. But no I she would 
not budge, excusing herself by saying, that she was needed 
at home to look after the house. It was morning before 
the church goers got back, for the church was a good 
three hours' ride from RandafelL On returning they 
found Una busy preparing the Christmas feast The 
ordinary work of the house was done, so that they had 

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nothing to do but to take a few hours rest, before sitting 
down to enjoy themselves. 

By the time the third winter came round, Geir began 
to think of taking a wife, and who so likely to suit him 
as Una I And so thought all the neighbours too. Many 
a talk they had about her, when gathered together in 
the churchyard, on the Sundays, waiting the arrival of 
the clergyman. After discussing her good qualities, 
"Isn't it strange," the one would say to the other, "that 
we can't find out who Una is, or where she comes from?" 

"Aye! that is true/' another would say, "but isn't 
it stranger still, that all the time she has been at 
Randafell, she has never once entered the church door?" 

Geir was very fond of her, but could not make up his 
mind to ask her to marry him, so long as she refused to 
bend her knee in prayer to God. 

On the third Christmas Eve, Geir set out* with all his 
household, to the midnight service in the church. Una 
as usual remained at home. When they were on the 
road, Geir's serving man suddenly complained of severe 
pain. He lay down on the spot, and said he would rest 
there till he got better; so Geir and the others went on 
without him. 

As soon as they were out of sight, the man got up to his 
feet, mounted his horse and rode back again to the farm. 
His sickness was only feigned, in order to get the chance 
of finding out what could tempt Una always to stay at 
home, at a time when every true hearted Icelander made 
a point of joining his neighbours, in the house of God, 
to commemorate the anniversary of that blessed night 
when Christ was born in Bethlehem. 

On reaching the farm, he unsaddled the horse, and 

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slipped quietly in, taking care to hide in a dark corner 
.where he could see all that was going on, without being 
himself seen. Una was busy sweeping and cleaning the 
house; and so cleverly did she go about her work that 
everything was put to rights in a very short time. After 
washing herself, she went to the store-closet and put on 
a dress which the man had never seen till now, and 
which was more befitting a king's daughter than a poor 
farmer's housekeeper. Never before had Una looked so 
handsome and beautiful 

She now took out of her chest a piece of red cloth, 
which she put under her arm. Shutting her chest and 
the closet door, she left the house and ran down the 
meadow, till she came to a pool of water. Here she 
spread out the red cloth, and placed herself upon it At 
this instant the man, who had been breathlessly following 
her, came up, and unseen by her just succeeded in 
getting his foot on a corner of the cloth. And now they 
sunk down and down into the earth, with a feeling as if 
they were going through smoke. By and by they landed 
. on a green plain, not far from a splendid farm house. 
Una took up the cloth, put it under her arm, and went 
up to the house. The man walked softly behind, taking 
care to keep out of her sight A great many people 
came out of doors to welcome Una, who seemed rejoiced 
to see them, and saluted them kindly. 

Great preparations were going on inside for a feast 
The guest chamber was swept and garnished, and the 
table laid. As soon as the people took their places 
several dilbes were brought, and abundance of good wine. 
The serving man, who had slipped in with the others 
unknown to Una, took his place among the guests. 

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Among other things he was presented with a fine rib of 
smoked mutton, which he took and preserved, for he had 
never seen so fat a rib before. After supper the people 
amused themselves with games of different kinds, and 
were all very happy. 

Just as day began to break, Una told her friends, she 
would have to go away, as her master, the peasant, would 
soon be back from church. So she took a kind leave 
of every one, and walked to the spot where she had 
alighted, on coming down. 

The man followed her, and again succeeded in getting 
his foot on the cloth, -without being seen. So they as- 
cended together through the dark earth, till they came 
to the pool of water again. Una took up the cloth, and 
went straight to the store-room to change her dress. 
After that she went into the house, to await the return 
of the peasant, and make ready the Christmas feast 

The serving man had, meantime, taken up his place 
at the spot where he had been left behind the night be- 
fore. When the farmer came up he asked him how he 

"I am almost well again/' said the man, "and quite 
able to go home with you." 

So they all rode together to RandafelL 

Una received them with a smiling face, and told them 
that the feast was quite ready. So they were not long 
in taking their places. As is usual on such occasions, 
the principal dish was smoked mutton. As this happened 
to be very fine, the farmer took up a large rib, and hold- 
ing it up said, 

"Have any of you ever seen such a rib as this" 

"I think I have; what think you of that/' said the 

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serving man, as he held up before them the rib he had 
' got the night before. 

As soon as Una saw this, she changed colour, went out 
without saying a single word, and was never afterwards 


Once on a time, a smart active young peasant occupied 
a farm under the Eyafialla mountains. As his pasture 
land was good, he kept many sheep. These yielded him 
no small store of wool, and yet, it was no easy matter for 
him to keep a coat on his back; for the wife whom he 
had lately married, though young and healthy, was lazy 
to a degree, and gave herself little concern about the 
affairs of the house. Her husband was greatly dis- 
satisfied, but could not induce her to mend her ways. 

At the close of summer he g^ve her a large bundle 
of wool, and told her to be sure to spin it and work it up 
into coarse wadmal during the winter montha "Very 
well/' she said, "I'll see about it bye and bye;" but at 
the same time looked as if she would far rather have 
nothing to do with it She let it lie in a corner un- 
touched, spite of the hints she got every now and then, 
from her husband. It was mid-winter before she fully 
made up her mind to set to work; and then she began 
to perplex herself, as to how she could get so much wool 
worked up, before the close of winter. 

Just then, an ugly old woman came to the door, 
begging for alms. 

"Can you do any work for me in return/' asked the 
peasant's wife. 

"Perhaps I can/' replied the old woman. 

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? "But what kind of work would you have me to do?" 

i "I want you to make some coarse cloth for me, out of 

this wool." 

"Very well, let me have the wool then." 

And so, the peasant's wife handed the large bag of 
wool to the old woman, who, without more ado, tossed it 
up on her back, at the same time saying, 

"You may depend on my coming back with the 
cloth, the first day of summer." 

"But what payment will you ask for your work when 
you bring the cloth," said the peasant's wife. 

"I wont take any payment; but you must tell me 
what my name is, in three guesses." 

The peasant's wife, too lazy to spin and weave for 
herself, agreed to this strange condition, and so the old 
woman departed. 

As the winter months passed on, the peasant often 
asked what had become of the wooL 

"Give yourself no concern about it," said the wife, 
"you'll have it back, all spun and woven, by the first 
day of summer." 

As he never could get any other answer, he at last 
ceased to talk about the wool All this time his wife was 
trying to find out the old woman's name, but all her efforts 
were unavailing. By the time the last month of winter 
came round she became so anxious and uneasy that she 
could neither eat nor sleep. Her husband was greatly 
distressed at the change whicluiad come over her, and 
begged her to let him know what ailed her. Unable 
longer to keep the matter secret, she told him the whole. 

He was very much startled at what he heard, and told 
her how very imprudent she had been, as the old woman 


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was, most certainly, a witch, and would take her away if 
she failed in her bargain. 

A day or two after this conversation, he had occasion 
to go up the adjoining mountain. He was so bowed 
down with grief, at the thought of losing his wife, that 
he scarcely knew what he was about; and so wandered 
from the road, till he came to the bottom of a lofty cliff 
While he was considering how he could get into the right 
road again, he thought he heard a sound as of a voice 
inside the hilL Following the sound he discovered a 
hole in the face of the cliff On peeping through this 
hole, he saw a tall old woman sitting weaving with the 
loom between her knees; and, as she beat the treadles, 
every now and then breaking into a snatch of song, 

"Ha! Hal and Ho! Ho! 
Tbo good wife does not know 
That Gilitrutt is my name. " 

"Aha I" muttered the peasant to himself, if she does 
not know now, she will know bye and bye ;" for he felt 
quite sure that was the same old hag who had so imposed 
on his poor foolish wife 

All the way home, he kept repeating the word 
Gilitrutt, and, as soon as he got in doors, he wrote it 
down on a piece of paper, that he might not forget it But 
he did not, at that time, give his wife the least inkling 
of what had befallen him. The poor woman grew more 
and more sorrowful, as the days passed on; and, when 
the closing day of winter came, she was so woe-begone 
that she had not the heart even to put on her clothea 
In the oourge of the day, her husband enquired if she 
had found out her visitor's name yet 

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"Alas, not Would to God I could find it out! for 
I am like to die of grief/' 

"There is no occasion for that," he replied cheerfully, 
" I've found out the name for you; so you need not be 
afraid to meet the old hag." With that, he handed her 
the piece of paper, and at the same time told about his 
adventure on the mountain. She took the paper, with a 
trembling hand, for at first she feared that the news 
was too good to be true; and, though her husband's story 
comforted her not a little, she could not get rid of a 
suspicion that the name might not be the true one. ' 

She wanted her husband to stay indoors the next day, 
so as to be present when the old woman called 

" No 1 nol " said he, " you kept your own counsel when 
you gave her the wool, so, you must do without me when 
you take in the cloth, and pay her the wages agreed on." 

He then left the house. 

And now came the first day of summer. The peasant's 
wife was in the house alone, and lay a-bed, listening with 
a beating heart for the first sound of the old hag's foot- 
steps. She had not long to wait ; for, before the morning 
passed, a trampling noise was heard, and in stalked the 
old woman with a bundle on her back, and a scowl on 
her face. As soon as she got within the room, she threw 
down the big bundle of cloth, and, in an angry tone, 
called out, 

" What is my name now? What's my name?" 
, The peasant's wife, who was almost dead with fear, 

"That my name! That my name! guess again, good 

"Asa," said she. 

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"That my name I That my name I No indeed You 
must guess again ; but remember this is your last chance." 

" Axe you not called Gilitrutt?" said the woman timor- 

This answer came like a thunderbolt on the old hag, 
who fell down with a great noise on the floor, and lay 
there for sometima She then got up, and, without 
speaking a word, went her way out of the house, and 
was never more seen in the oouDtry-sida 

As for the peasant's wife, she was full of joy at her 
deliverance, and, ever after, was a changed woman. She 
became a pattern of industry and good management, and 
henceforth always worked her own wool herself. 


Once on a time a farmer settled in a mountainous part 
of the country, but the particular spot is not mentioned, 
nor has his name come to us; but we do know that he 
was a bachelor, and had a housekeeper named Hildur. 

Who Hildur was, neither the farmer nor any of the 
neighbouring gossips could find out: but as she took 
good care of the household and discharged her duties 
faithfully, she was allowed to keep her own secret All 
the servants liked her, and the farmer thought himself 
very fortunate in having fallen in with such a house- 
keeper. She was of a quiet disposition, but always 
kind and obliging. 

The farmer's affairs were in a flourishing state: his 
sheep throve and multiplied, and he had nothing to 
annoy him except this, that he had great difficulty in 
getting shepherds to enter his service. . The cause of this 

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was not that the farmer treated his shepherds badly, bat 
that, one after another, they were found dead in bed, on 
Christmas morning. 

In olden times, it was the custom for the Icelanders, 
on Christmas Eve, to meet together at midnight for 
public worship ; and any one who absented himself from 
church, on that occasion, was considered as much to 
blame as if he were keeping away on Christmas day it- 
self. Those living up among the mountains, and who 
had long weary roads to go, had often great difficulty in 
getting to church in time; especially those who were not 
able to leave home before the Pleiades could be seen in 
the south-eastern heavens. 

In this farm, the shepherds did not usually get home 
from work before that time, so that they generally 
missed the opportunity of attending the Christmas Eve 
service. Hildur never went on those occasions, as she 
preferred staying at home to watch the house-— as is 
customary for some one to do on Christmas Eve— and 
attend to the preparations for the Christmas feasi She 
was always busily occupied in this way till the night was 
far advanced, so that the church-goers were back from 
the services and asleep in bed, before she retired for the 

As often as Christmas morn came round, the farmer's 
shepherd, whoever he might be, was found dead in bed. 
This strange fatality was well known over all the country 
side. No wonder, then, that shepherds were afraid of 
entering the farmer's service, even though offered better 
wages than they could get elsewhere. No mark of vio- 
lence was ever seen on the body of the unfortunate shep- 
herd, so that no blame could be attached either to the 

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fanner, or to any one in the bouse. At last the farmer 
declared that he could not find it in his heart to engage 
shepherds, with the prospect of certain death before 
them, and that he would, for the future, leave his sheep 
to take care of themselves. 

When things had reached this pass, there came to 
him, one day, an active hardy man, who offered his 
services as shepherd. 

"I am not so much in want of your services as to be 
willing to take you." 

"Have you engaged a shepherd for next winter?" 
asked the stranger. 

"No, I have not/' replied the farmer, "but surely you 
have heard how sad has been the end of all that have 
been before you." 

"Oh yes, I've heard all about it; but their fate will 
not hinder me from taking care of your sheep, if you are 
only willing to engage ma" 

At last, the farmer complied with his entreaties, and 
engaged him as shepherd. He soon shewed that he was 
in every respect fitted for the place. He was kind and 
obliging; and both able and willing to lend a hand at 
any farm work, so that he soon became a favourite with 

Till Christmas-tide, nothing extraordinary happened. 
On Christmas Eve, the farmer went to church as usual 
with his domestics. The housekeeper alone stayed at 
home, and the shepherd was left in charge of the sheep. 
Towards evening the shepherd came in from his work, 
and after partaking of dinner, lay down to rest in bed. 
He took care, however, not to drop asleep; for, though 
free from fear, he thought it only prudent to keep awake. 

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When the night was advanced he heard the church-goers 
come in, and take some refreshment before going to bed* 
Up till this time, he had not remarked anything unusual ; 
but when the others had fallen asleep, he felt languid 
and weary. He was afraid lest he should be over- 
powered with sleep, and did his best to keep awaka A 
little while after, some one, whom he believed to be the 
housekeeper Hildur, stealthily approached the bed-side. 
Thinking he was asleep, she began to try to. put some- 
thing in his mouth. He felt certain that it must be a 
magic-bridle, and so, pretending to be quite unconscious 
of what was going on, he let himself be quietly bridled. 

As soon as the bridle was on, she led him out very 
easily; mounting on his back, she rode away at a smart 
pace till they reached a yawning chasm in the earth. 
Then she dismounted beside a stone, and letting go her 
hold of the bridle, disappeared into the chasm. The 
shepherd did not want to lose sight of her, and so tried 
to follow; but he soon found that that was out of his 
power, so long as he had on the bridle. By dint 
however of rubbing his head against the stone, he got 
rid of the bridle, and leaving it behind, he threw 
himself into the chasm into which Hildur had sprung. 

As far as he could judge, he had not gone very deep 
down till he saw Hildur again. She was then landed on 
a fine level meadow, along which she was walking 
quickly. From what he saw he came to think that all 
was not right with Hildur, and that she was not the 
woman she had seemed to be in the fanner's house. In 
order to keep her from seeing him as he followed her 
over the plain, he took out of his pocket a stone which 
had the wonderful property of making him invisible so 

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iong as he held it in his hand. With this stone of 
darkness in his left-palm, he made after her as fast as he 
could, and kept close behind her the rest of the way. 

After walking some distance over the plain, there 
appeared in sight a splendid palace of great size, 
towards which Hildur directed her steps. A great 
crowd of people came out to meet her. Foremost 
among them was a man dressed in purple and gold, who 
bade her welcome, at the same time calling her his 
beloved wife, and embracing her very affectionately. 
Those who attended him saluted her as their queen, and 
received her with every mark of respect By the king's 
side were two children, of eight or ten years of age, who 
ran joyfully into Hildur's arms, and called her mother. 

On entering the palace, Hildur was very honourably 
received. She was dressed in a royal robe, and hod 
rings of gold put upon her hand. The shepherd followed 
the crowd into the palace, and took up his place where 
he could see all that was going on without running the 
risk of being found out The furniture was rich and 
gorgeous beyond conception, so that he was completely 
dazzled with the sight 

In the principal saloon a table was set out and a 
feast prepared, the splendour of which cannot be de- 

Hildur then made her appearance, magnificently 
attired, and sat down on the throne beside the king, 
while the other guests took their places on each sida 

At the close of the feast, the table was removed, and 
soon the guests began to pass the time in dancing, or 
other amusements. The king and queen paid no heed 
to what was going on, but sat alone, engaged in a close 

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conversation which seemed to the shepherd to be at 
once kind and sorrowful 

While the king and queen were thus occupied, three 
children, younger than those before mentioned, came 
forward, and their mother Hildur, who received them 
kindly, took the youngest on her knee and fondled it 
But, as the child was restless .and uneasy, she set it 
down again. She then drew a ring from her finger, and 
gave it to the child as a plaything. The child amused 
itself for some time with it, and then dropped it on the 
floor. The shepherd, who was standing close by, at the 
time, hastily snatched it up and put it into his pocket, 
without being observed by any one. As soon as the 
ring was missed, a careful search was made for it, but, to 
the great astonishment of everybody but the shepherd, 
it was nowhere to be found. 

As the night was now far advanced, the queen — 
Hildur — began to prepare for her departure. Those 
present were sorry to see this, and begged her to stay 
longer with them. The king also added his entreaties, 
but all without effect Before this time, the shepherd 
had noticed an ill-looking woman, who sat all alone in a 
corner of the room. She was the only one that had 
failed to give Hildur a joyful welcome to the palace, or 
ask her to prolong her stay. As soon as the king saw 
that Hildur was bent on going, he stepped up to this 
old woman, and said, "Take back your words, mother! 
at my humble entreaty, so that my queen may no 
longer be bound to absent herself from home, and from 
those nearest and dearest to her/' 

The old woman replied angrily, "All my words shall 
stand, I will by no means retract them." 

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- With a sorrowful heart, he went back to the queen, 
and, folding his arms around her, begged her in words 
of kindness not to leave him again. 

"Alas," said she, "I cannot stay here, in consequence 
of the spell by which your mother has bound me, and 
who knows if I shall ever see you more." 

She then told him she had killed so many men it 
could no longer be concealed, and that she would 
certainly be punished, even though what she had done 
was sore against her wilL 

While she was lamenting her unhappy lot, the 
shepherd, seeing how matters stood, made the best of 
his way out of the palace, and went straightway to the 
bottom of the chasm. He reached the top, with the 
greatest ease. After that, he put the stone of darkness 
in his pocket, and putting the bridle in his mouth again, 
waited patiently on Hildur. It was not long before 
Hildur made her appearance, looking very sorrowful. 
Taking a hold of the bridle, she mounted on his back 
and rode quickly back to the farm. 

On her arrival she laid the shepherd quietly in bed, 
and unbridled him, and then slipped away to her own 
bed, where she lay down to sleep. Although the 
'shepherd had been all this time wide awake, he feigned 
sleep so well that Hildur was quite deceived. After she 
had gone to bed, he was no longer on his guard, but fell 
asleep, and as might be expected slept till it was broad 
day. The farmer was astir early in the morning, for he 
was anxious to know if this Christmas, like so many that 
was gone, was to be a season of mourning in place of a 
season of rejoicing. The most of the servants got up 
early too, but, while they were dressing, he went quietly 

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to the shepherd's bed, and touching him with his hand, 
found that he was alive and apparently well This 
rejoiced the heart of the farmer, who falling down on 
his knees, praised God loudly for his great goodness. 
The shepherd, shortly after, got up in the best of health. 
As soon as he was dressed, the people of the house 
gathered about him, to ask if anything unusual had 
befallen him during the night 

"Nothing," said he, " except that I had a very won- 
derful dream." 

"What kind of a dream?" 

The shepherd began with the tale, as it is here told; 
how Hildur came to his bed and bridled him ; and every 
thing exactly, as far as he could recollect When he had 
done, all were silent except Hildur, who said, 

"If you tell the truth, show us some token to prove 
what you say." 

The shepherd, noways daunted by this demand, shewed 
them the ring, which he had picked up from the floor of 
the fairy palace during the night, and said, 

"Though I am not bound to bring forward proofs, I 
can easily do so, for there is token sufficient that I have 
been with the fairies. Is not that your ring, Queen 

"To be sure it is," replied Hildur "and may good 
fortune ever attend you, for you have delivered me from 
the spell by which my cruel mother-in-law bound me, 
and through which I have been compelled to do so many 
bad deeds which my soul abhorred." 

Then queen Hildur told her story as followa "I was 
a fairy maid of low degree, but the present fairy king 
fell in love with me. The marriage was so displeasing 

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to his mother, that she became furious with rage and told 
him that he would have to part with me soon, and that, 
after that, we could enjoy each other's society only at 
rare intervals and for a short time together. But me 
she bound with such a spell, that I was forced to become 
a servant in the world of woe, and, every Christmas Eve, 
to kill a man. I was to bridle him when asleep, and ride 
on his back along the same road that I took with the 
shepherd last night in going to meet the king. This 
I was to do till I was convicted of murder and put to 
death, unless, before that, I should fall in with a man so 
courageous as to dare to go with me to the world of 
Fairies', and then be able to show plain proofs that he 
had been there and seen what was dona Now, it is 
clear that all the other shepherds of this farmer have 
suffered death for my sake, but, as it was not in my 
power to prevent it, I hope their deaths will not be laid 
to my charge. This stout-hearted man is the first who 
dared to venture into the dark road that leads to Fairy- 
land. I shall yet reward him for delivering me from 
the spell of my cruel mother-in-law. I thank you all 
for your kindness to me, during the years I have been 
among you. But I must stay here no longer, for I long 
for my proper home." 

After these words Queen Hildur disappeared, and 
since then, she has never once been seen in the world of 

Of the shepherd, it is told, that he married and 
settled down on a farm, in the following spring. He 
was generously treated by the farmer, who, when they 
parted, stocked his farm free of all cost to him. Ere 
long he became noted as one of the best farmers of the 

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neighbourhood, and was often called upon for hi* advice 
and assistance in matters of difficulty. He was beloved 
by all, and successful beyond all his expectations in 
whatever he undertook. None of his neighbours could 
boast of such thriving flocks and herds as his. But his 
wonderful good fortune did not make him proud, for, as 
he often said, he owed all his success to Hildur the 
Fairy Queen. 

a clergyman's daughter harried to a fairy 


In a certain district of Iceland, there lived a clergy- 
man who had a daughter in the early bloom of woman- 
hood. One day, when the conversation turned on the 
subject of elves or fairies, the young woman happened 
to say, 

"I should like to be married to a faiiy man, if he 
were only a brave on&" 

Her father was very angry at her words, and gave her 
a good scolding and a box on the ear besides. Shortly 
afterwards, a child about the parsouage saw a man ride 
up to the door of the house, and then dismount Watch- 
ing his opportunity, the man stepped indoors, and soon 
reappeared, leading the clergyman's daughter by the 
hand. Before he could be prevented, he mounted on 
horseback and rode off with her. Her sorrowful parents 
searched for her throughout all the neighbouring country, 
but nowhere could she be found. 

It is told, that three winters after this time, a shepherd 
who had been long in the clergyman's service, and had 
loved his daughter dearly, one day lost his way and all 

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the sheep. After wandering about for hours, he found 
himself at the door of a farm house he had never before 
seen. The farmer, a fine manly looking fellow, came out, 
and after listening to his stoiy offered him a bed for the 
night He accepted the offer gladly, but at the same 
time lamented over the loss of the sheep. 

"Don't bother yourself about them to-night/' said the 
farmer, "be sure they will turn up again;" and with 
that he led him to a room up stairs. There he saw an 
old man and woman, and two children who were playing 
on the floor. But, besides these, he Saw the clergyman's 
lost daughter who was now the wife of the man who had 
asked him in. 

The shepherd was entertained with the best that was 
in the house; and when bed-time came, was shown to a 
private sleeping room. The clergyman's daughter then 
went to him, and handing him a leather bag, asked him 
faithfully to deliver to her mother some valuables she 
had put in it She also bade him tell her mother that 
though her husband was a fairy man, he did not hinder 
her from saying her prayers every night On the shep- 
herd asking her if ever she went to church, she said 
she was there just as often as himself, and that she 
always sat under the pulpit, with her husband, beside 
the altar. 

"How does it come that nobody ever sees you in 

"Oh, the reason is," she replied, "that we always leave 
the church before the blessing. But dont toll anybody 
what I have now mentioned. Only deliver the leather 
bag to my mother; for if you blab what I've told you, be 
•ore you will be an unfortunate man." 

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He gave her a promise of secrecy; on that* she left the 
room. On getting up in the morning, he was glad to 
learn that his lost sheep had turned up. The farmer, 
who had fed them on hay during the night* delivered 
them up to him, and put him on the right road He 
got home with the sheep in safety, and after a very short 
journey; but he never could tell which way he came. 
As for the promise of secrecy, he paid no attention to it; 
but on the contrary gave a full and exact account of 
everything he had seen and heard. 

Now, the clergyman, who was anxious to find his 
daughter, bethought himself of a plan, and that was, to 
pronounce the blessing before she could have time to 
get out of church. So he went round among his 
parishoners, and told them not to be shocked if they 
should hear him the next Sunday pronounce the blessing 
at an earlier stage of the service than usuaL When 
next Sunday came, his daughter occupied her customary 
seat* though not visible to any one in the church. In 
the middle of the service the clergyman stopped and 
pronounced the blessing. His daughter, thus caught 
unawares, was obliged to discover herself He did what 
he could to induce her to stay, but all in vain. 

"If you try to force me," said she, "the consequences 
will be very serious; and besides, it would not be right 
in me to leave a husband who has always treated me so 

Of the shepherd, it is told, that he was from that day 
unfortunate in all that he had to do with. But one 
cannot be sorry for him, as he brought his troubles on 
his own head through his want of truthfulnesa 

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In Prestsbakki, in the Skapt&fells district, there once 
lived a clergyman, named Einar. He was well to do in 
the world, and had a numerous family. No one cared 
less about fairy tales than he did. In fact, he used to 
speak of fairies as if there were no such being*. In his 
idle moments he would tauntingly dare them to shew 
themselves to him; and then, as they did not choose to 
obey his orders, he would boast that there were no 
fairies to come. 

Well, on one night while asleep, he dreamed that a 
man came to his bedside and said to him, 

"You have provoked the fairies long, but now they 
will have their revenga From this time forward you 
shall not dare to deny their existence. I will take away 
your eldest daughter, and you shall never see her more/' 

And sure enough, in the morning, when the clergyman 
awoke, he found that his eldest daughter, who was twelve 
years of age, had disappeared. Search was made for her 
in all directions, but nowhere could she be found. As 
time passed on, site often made her appearance among 
her brothers and sisters, while they were playing in the 
meadowa Again and again, they tried to prevail on her 
to go home with them; but, just as she seemed willing 
to do so, she always became invisible. When asked as 
to her welfare, she always said that she was in good 
health, and kindly treated by her new friends. Her 
father frequently saw her in his dreams, and to him she 
told the same story, only adding .that she was to be 
married, bye and bye, to the fairy clergyman's son. Some 
time after she appeared to her father again in a dream, 

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and invited him to come to her marriage, which was to 
take place on the following day. This was the last time 
he ever dreamed about her, and never after did she show 
herself among her brothers and sisters. 


It was a common belief, in olden times, that the fairies 
often took away infant children who happened to be left 
alone, and changed them for decrepit old men or women 
who were made to appear as children. These change- 
lings, however, neither grew nor spoke after the manner 
of children, and were very apt to become idiots. It 
once happened that all the people of a certain farm were 
working in the meadows, except the mistress of the house 
who was at home looking after the house and her little 
son, a boy three or four years old. Up to that time the 
boy had thriven amazingly. He could talk well, and 
was a clever promising child. As there was no one to 
assist the mother with the household work, one day, she 
was obliged to leave the boy by himself for a short time, 
while she went to wash the milk pails in a brook close 
by. On returning soon after, she was surprised to find 
the boy, at the door, weeping and howling in a strange 
uncouth way, very different from his wonted manner. 
Usually he was very quiet, gentle and obedient, but now 
she could not get a word out of him. Time passed on, 
but the child remained silent restless, and thoroughly 
untractabla His body ceased to grow, and his behaviour 
was like that of an idiot His mother could not account 
for the strange change that had come over him. In the 
midst of her grief, she at last bethought herself of going 

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to take the advice of a neighbour woman who was 
famous for her prudence and skilL The neighbour 
listened attentively to all she had to say about the boy, 
and then said to her, 

"Don't you think, good wife, that the boy is a 
changeling? for, it seems to me, that the fairies must 
have taken away your own boy the day you left him 
alone, and have put another in his place." 

"How could I find out, if what you say is true?" raid 
the surprised mother. 

"Oh, very easily, just go home, and take the first 
opportunity of leaving the boy alone beside something 
that is likely to call forth his surprise. When his eye 
catches what you have put purposely in his way, if 
nobody is within sight, he is sure to make some remark 
about it to himself You must listen to what he says, 
and if you find anything strange or suspicious about it, 
go in at once and flog him without mercy, till something 
comes out of it" 

The boy's mother thanked her neighbour humbly for 
her advice, and went away home to put it into practice. 
The first thing she did on returning was to place the 
little porridge pot in the middle of the kitchen floor. 
She then bound a great many sticks together, so as to 
make a long rod, and fastened the spurtle to one of the 
ends. The rod was so big, that when the spurtle rested 
in the pot the upper end was away up the chimney. 
Leaving it in this position, she went away and fetched 
the boy to the kitchen, and then left him all alone. On 
going out she drew the door behind her; but not so 
closely as to prevent her from peeping in to see what 
was going on. 

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As soon as the boy thought he was alone, he began to 
trip round the pot, wondering greatly what could be the 
meaning of the long spurtle. At last he said, "Well, old 
as I am, and I am no chicken now, as my grey beard 
and my eighteen children in Faiiyland can testify, I 
never, in all my born days, did see such a long spurtle 
for such a little porridge pot 

This was enough for the mother, who was not long of 
making her appearance in the kitchen with a good 
sized stick in her hand Seizing hold of the changeling, 
she flogged him unmercifully for a long while, spite of 
his heart-rending cries. 

Bye and bye a strange old woman walked in, holding 
on her arms a little boy whom she fondled kindly. 
Addressing the farmer's wife, she said, "Why should 
you treat my husband so cruelly. Your conduct is a 
sorry recompense for the care I have bestowed on this 
little boy of yours." So saying, she laid the little boy 
at his mother's feet, and took her husband away with 

The fairy man and woman were never more seen 
again. The now recovered boy remained with his 
parents, and grew up a fine manly youth, the joy of his 
mother's heart 1 

1 These popular northern fireside stories and tales are partly gathered 
from direct oral narration, and parti/ taken from a small Totame, 
" Islenzk iEfintyri," the oolleotion of Messrs. M. Grimson and J. Arnasoft, 
published in Ioelaudie, at Reykjafik, in 1852. 

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In the "Volusp&/ M from the older Edda, we have a 
sublime description of chaos; of creation; an account of 
a period of strife, crime, and suffering; dire conflicts be- 
tween the powers of good and evil; of the destruction 
of the world of Odin and the dissolution and conflagra- 
tion of the universe; of the Regnarok or twilight of the 
Gods; of the renovated world, the descent of Baldur the 
Good, the punishment of the wicked, and the happiness 
of the good in Giml4 or Heaven. From this poem — 
the most remarkable in the whole range of Scandinavian 
mytho-cosmogony — the following verses are extracted: 

"It was time's morning Where was his dwelling; 

When Tmer lived. The stars knew not 

There was no sand, no sea ; That they had a firmament ; 

No cooling billows ; The moon knew not 

Earth there was none, What powers she possessed. 
Wo lofty heaven ; .... 

Only the Gulph of Ginunga, The tree Yggdrasil 

But no grass. Bears a sorer burden 

Than men know of. 

The son knew not Above the stags bite it ; 

1 Volu-spd or spae, the Prophesy— wisdom, oracle, or mystic song— 
of Voln (Volu is the genitire of Vola). Scotice, Vala's spae, as in 
the word gxie-wife. One of these Valor, or Northern sybills, whom 
Odin consulted in Neifelhem, when found in the tomb where she had 
lain for ages, is represented as saying— 

M I was snowed over with snows, 
And beaten with rains, 
And drenched with the dews; 
Dead have I long been.* 

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On iti sides age roti it ; 
Nighdgg guaws below. 

There saw the wade 
In tho heavy streams 
Men — foul perjurers, 
And murderers. 

Brothers slay brothers : 
Sisters' children 
8hed each other's blood. 
Hard is the world ; 
Sensual sin grows huge* 
There are sword-ages, axe-ages, 
Earth-clearing cold ; 
Storm-ages, murder-ages, 
Till the world falls dead, 
And men no longer spare 
Or pity one another. 

Mimor's sons play, 

But the world is kindled 

By the ancient 


Loud blows Hcimdall, 

His sound is in the air : 

Odin talks 

With the head of Mimer. 

Quivers then Yggdrasil, 
The strong-rooted ash: 
Rustles the old tree 
When Jotun gives way. 
All things tremble 
In the realms of Hel, 

Till Suitor's son 
Swallows up Odin. 

Garmer he shouts 
By the Gnipa-haU 
Tho band roust burst 
And the wolf fly. 

Hrymer drives eastward, 
Bears his shield before him ; 
Jormungaud welters 
In giant fierceness. 
The waves thunder ; 
The eagles scream; 
Death rends the corpses 
And Nageliar gives way. 

Kol hios eastward ; 
Gome must Biuspel's 
Folk to the sea. 
Loko rows afar; 
All the children of madness 
Follow the wol£ 
Bileist*s brother 
Journeyeth with them. 

Surtur fares southward. 

With flickering flames 

From his sword 

God's sun flashes. 

Break tho stone mountains; 

The weird women flee, 

Men throng Hel's dread roads, 

And Heaven is rent." 

Then Surtur flings fire over the world. 

" The sun grows dark. 
Earth sinks in the sea. 
From heaven vanish 

The lustrous stars. 
High from the flames 
Bolls the reek; 

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High play the fires 
'Gainst heaven itself. 

Up, sees she come 
Yet once more, 
The earth from the sea, 
Gloriously green. 

Then comes the Mighty One 
To the groat Judgment— 
The great abore all- 

He who guides all things. 
Judgments he utters; 
Strifes he appeaseth ; 
Laws He ordaineth 
To flourish for over. 

In Giral6 the lofty 
There shall the hosts 
Of the virtuous dwell, 
Aud through all ages 
Taste of deep gladnoss." 

The "S<Slar Lj6d"— "Sol" or "Sun-song"— was com- 
posed by Saemund himself, the collector of the Edda, 
and a Christian priest, ages before the time of Dante. 

"By the Nornors* seat 
Nine days I sate, 
Then to horse was lifted. 
The suu of the giant raco 
Gleamed sadly 
Out of heaven's weeping clouds. 

Without and within 
Soemed I to journey 
Through the seven worlds 
Abore and below. 
Better path I sought 
Than there was to find. 

And now to be told is 
What first I beheld 
In the home of torture. 
8corchod birds wore flying- 
Wretched souls in myriads, 
Tuck as mosquito legions. 

Flying saw I 

Hope's dragons 

Aud mil in drear waste places. 

They shook their wings 
Till to me seemed that 
Heaven and earth were rent 

The stag of the sun 
Southward saw I journey. 
His feet stood 

On earth, but his huge antlers 
Travorsod the heavens above 

Northward saw I ride 

The sons of the races ; 

Seven they were together. 

From the full horn they drank 

The purest mead 

From wells of heavenly strength. 

The winds stood still, 
The waters ceased to flow. 
Then heard I a droad cry. 
There for their husbands 
False vengeful women 
Ground earth for food. 

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Bloody atonef 
Thofe women dark 
Dragged sorrowfully, 
Their gory hearts 
Hung from their breasts 
Weighed with hoary weights. 

Many mou 

Along the burniug ways 

Sore wounded saw I go. 

Their visages 

Seemed deeply dyed 

With blood in murder shed. 

Many men 

Saw I amongst the dead 

Without one hopo of grace. 

Pagan stars there stood 

Over their heads 

All scored with cruel runes* 

Men saw I too 

Who enviously had scowled 

Upon the good of others. 

Bloody runes 

Wcro on their breasts 

Ploughed out by hands of men. 

Men saw I there 
All full of woe, 
All mazed in wondering. 
This do they win 
Who to eternal loss 
Love this world only. 

Men saw I too 

Who sought always to snatch 
From others their possessions. 
In throngs they were, 
And to the miser's hell 
Bore groaning loads of lead. 

Men saw I next 

Who many had bereaved 

Of life and goods, 

And through the hearts of these 

For ever fiercely ran 

8trong venom snakes. 

Men too I saw 
Who nevor would observe 
Sabbaths and holy days. 
Their unblessed hands 
Fast rivctted together 
With ever burning stones. 

Men too I saw 

Who with huge brag and boast 

On earth did vaunt themselves* 

Here their clotbos 

Wore vilely squalid 

And with fire enwrapt 

Men saw I too 

Who with their slanderous breath 

Had blasted others. 

Hoi's ravens 

Romorsolessly their eyes 

Tore from their heads. 

But all tho horrors 

Thou canst not know 

Which Hoi's condemned endure. 

Sweet sins 

There bitterly aro punished, 

False pleasures reap true pain. 

Men did I see 
Who the Lord's laws 

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Had followed stanchly. 
Purest light 

For ever growing clearer 
Passed brightly o'er their heads. 

Hon did I see 

Who with unwearied seal 

Did seek the good of others. 

Angels read 

Tho holy books 

Upon their radiant hoods. 

Hen did I see 

Who with sharp fasts 

Their bodies had subdued ; 

God's holy hosts 

Before them all bow'd down 

And paid them highest homage. 

Hen did I see 
Who had thoir mothers 
Piously oherished, 
And their place of rest 

Amid heaven's beams 
Shone gloriously. 

Holy maids there were 
Who their pure souls 
Had kept unsoiled by sin, 
And souls of those 
Who thoir rebellious flesh 
Did ever sternly quail. 

Lofty chariots saw I 

Travel through hoavon 

Having access to God ; 

And thoy wore filled with those 

Who causelessly 

Had on the earth been slain* 

Father Almighty I 
Illustrious Son I 
And Holy Spirit of Heaven. 
Thee do I implore, 
• Who didst make all things, 
To keep us from all sin I " 

Scemund concludes this remarkable poem with these 

"This song 

Which I havo taught thee 
Thou shalt sing unto the living. 
The 8un's song, 
Which in its solemn theme 
Hath little that is feigned. 

Hero do we part, 
But part again to meet 
On tho Great Day of men. 

Oh, my Lord 1 
Give the dead rest, 
Comfort to those who live ! 

Wonderful wisdom, 

To thee in dream is sung, 

Tis truth which thou hast seen 1 

And no man is so wiso 

Of all who are created 

As, ero this, to have hoard 

One word of this Sun's Song! 

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From the heroic poems relating to Sigurd and Bryn- 
hild — the originals from which the German "Niebelungen 
lied" is taken — the following passage is extracted. In it 
Gudrun, in conversation with Thjodreck, describes her 
youth before the murder of Sigurd: "A maid was I 
amongst maidens; my mother reared me lovely in bower. 
Well loved I my brothers, till me Gjuk4 apportioned 
with gold, with gold apportioned and gave me to SigunL 
So raised himself, Sigurd, over the sons of Gjukd, as the 
green lily above the grass grows; or the high-an tiered 
stag, above other beasts; or the fire-red gold above the 
silver grey. My brothers were incensed that I should 
have a husband more illustrious than any. Sleep they 
could not, nor decide on anything, before they Sigurd 
had caused to perish. Grange' (Sigurd's steed) galloped 
to the Ting (assembly of the people), wild was his 
neighing, but Sigurd himself was not there. All the 
horses were covered with sweat, and with blood of the 

"Weeping I went to speak to Gran4, the blood 
sprinkled; of his master I asked him; then hung down 
Grand mornfully his head, for the creature knew that his 
lord was not living. Long did I wander, long was I 
confused in mind before of the Prince I could ask after 
my King." 

The "Hdvamdi"— Odin's High Song"— displays a 
shrewd insight into human nature, and contains many 
maxims, both of a moral and social kind, which one 
would scarcely expect to find embodied in the heathen 
ethics of an ancient Scandinavian Scald. The whole 
poem is here presented to the reader. 

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M In every corner 
Carefully look thou 
Etc forth thou goest ; 
For insecure 

If the house when an enemy 
Sitteth therein, 

With tho deep thinker 
Speak thon but little; 
But guard well thy temper ; 
When the noble and silent 
Come to thy dwolling, 
Least errs the cautious. 

Hail him who giveth 1 
Enters a guest 
Where shall he be seated t 
Yet, ill shall faro he 
Who seeks his welfare 
In other men's houses. 


Good sense is needful 
To tho far traveller ; 
Loast errs the cautious ; 
For a friend trustior 
Than good understanding 
Findoth man never. 

Fire will bo needful 
For him who enters 
With his knees frozen. 
Of meat and clothing 
8tands he in need 
Who journeys o'er mountains. 

A cautious guest 
When he comes to his hostel 
8peakcth but little; 
With his ears he listoneth ; 
With his eyes he looketh ; 
Thus the wiso loarnoth. 

Water is needful 
A towel and kindness 
For this guest's wolcome ; 
Kind inclinations 
Let him experience ; 
Answer his questions. 


Happy is he 

Who for himself winneth 
Honour and friends. 
All is uncertain, 
Which a man holdeth 
In the heart of another. 

Good sense is needful 

To the far traveller; 

Each place seems home to him. 

He is a laughing-stock 

Who, knowing nothing, 

Sits mid the wise. 

Happy is he 

Who prudent guidance 

From himself winneth ; 

For evil counsel 

Man oft receiveth 

From the breast of another. 

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No better burden 
Bears a man on his journoy 
Than micklo wisdom. 
Better is she than gold 
Whore he is a stranger ; 
In need sho is a helper. 

Be silent and diligent, 
Son of a Prince, 
And daring in combat ; 
Cheerful and generous, 
Let every man bo, 
Till death approaches. 


No better burden 

Bears a man on his journey 

Than micklc wisdom. 

No worse provision 

Takes a man on his journey 

Than frequent drunkenness. 


A foolish man fancies 
He shall live for ever 
If he shuns combat. 
But old age will give 
To him no quarter, 
Although tho spear may. 

Ale is not so good 
As pooplo havo boasted 
For the children of men* 
For less and still less, 
As more he drinketh, 
Knows man hirosolf. 


The fool stares about 

When ho goes on a visit, 

Talks nonsense or slumbers. 

All goes well 

When he can drink, 

For then tho man speaks his mind 


The hern of forgotfulness 

Sits on tho drunkard, 

And steals tho man's senses* 

By tho bird's piuions, 

Fottered I lay, 

In Gunlada's dwelling* 


Ho, ho only 

Who has far travelled, 

Has far and wide travelled, 

Knowoth evory 

Temper of roan, 

If he himself is wise 


Drunkon I lay, 
Lay thoroughly drunken, 
With Fjalar the wise. 
This is the best of drink. 
That every one afterwards 
Comes to his senses. 


If cups thou lackest 

Yet drink thou by measure : 

Speak what is seemly or be still. 

No one will charge thee 

With evil, if early 

Thou goest to slumber. 

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The gluttonous man, 
Though he may not know it, 
Eats hie life's sorrow : 
Lost of drink, often 
Make* the fool, foolish 


A foolish man 
Thinks all aro friendly 
Who meet him with smiles. 
Nor knows he the difference 
Though they laugh him to scorn 

Makes tike tool, roousn Though wicy laugh him to scorn 

When he comes mid the prudent. When he sits 'mong the knowing 


The flocks they have knowledge 
When to turn homeward 
And leare the green pastures ; 
But he who is foolish 
Knoweth no measure, 
No bounds to his enuring. 

A foolish man 

Thinks he knows ererything 
While he noeds not the know- 
But he knows not [ledge. 
How to make answer 
When he is questioned. 


And a carping temper 

Jeer at all things. 

He knows not ; 

He ought to know, 

That himself is not faultless. 

A foolish man, 

When he comes into company 

Had bettor keep silence. 

No one remarkcth 

How little he knows 

Till he begins talking. 

A foolish man 

lies awake the night through 

And resolTes on many things. 

Thus is he weary 

When the day cometh ; 

The old care remaineth. 

He appears wise 
Who can ask questions 
And give replies. 
Ever conceal then 
The failings of others, 
The children of i 

A foolish 

Thinks all are friendly 

Who meet him with smiles ; 

But lew he findeth 

Who will aid his cause, 



Who cannot keep silence 
Uttcreth many 
A word without purport 
Tho tongue of the garrulous, 
Which keepeth back nothing, 
Talks its own mischief. 

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Hold in derision 
No one, although he 
Como as a stranger. 
Many a one, when he has had 
Rest and dry clothing, 
Thou mayest find to be wise. 

Do not too frequently 
Unto the same place 
Go as a guest. 
Sweet becomes sour 
When a man often sits 
At other men's tables. 


He seemoth wise 

Who in speech triumphs 

O'er mocking guests. 

The talkativo man 

Knows not at the table 

If he talks with his enemies. 

One good house is there 
Though it bo humble : 
Each man is master at home. 
Though a man own but 
Two goats and and a straw-rick, 
. »Tis better than boggiug. 

Many are friendly 
One to another ; 
Yet storm arisoth. 
Strife will arise 
For ever, if one guest 
Affronteth another. 

One good house is there 
Though it be humble : 
Each man is master at home. 
The man's hoart bleodeth 
At every mealtime 
Who his food beggoth. 

Thou mayst dine early 
Unless thou art going 
Unto the banquet. 
Sits he and flatters; 
Hungry he seemeth, 
Yet few things he loarnoth. 

Without his weapon 
Goes no man 
A-foot iu the field. 
For it is unsafe 
Out on the by-paths 
When weapons are needful. 


Loug is the journey 
To a deceitful friend 
Though he dwell near thee. 
But, direct lies the path 
To a friend faithful, 
Though he dwelletb afar off. 

Never found I so generous, 

So hospitable a man 

As to be above taking gifts. 

Nor one of his money 

So littlo regardful 

But that it vexed him to lend. 

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He who has laid up 
Treasures of wealth 
Finds want hard to bear. 
Adversity often uses 
What was meant for prosperity, 
For many things are contrary to 

With weapons and garments, 
As best may be fitting 
Give thou thy friends pleasure. 
By gifts interchanged 
Is friendship made surest ; 
If the heart proffers them. 

Let a man towards his friend, 
Ever bo friendly, 
And with gifts make return for 

With thy cheerful friend 
Be thou cheerful ; 
With thy guileful friend on thy 



Let a man towards his friend 
Erer bo friendly ; 
Towards him and his friend. 
But with an enemy's friend 
Can no man 

Be friendly. 


If thou hast a friend - 
Whom thou canst confide in 
And wouldst hare joy of 

Then, mingle thy thoughts with 

Giro gifts freely, 
And often be with him. 


If thou hast another, 
Whom thou hast no faith in 
Tot wouldst have joy of his 

Thou must speak smoothly ; 
Thou must think warily, 
And with cunning pay back his 



Yet one word 

About him thou .nistrusteth 
And in whom thou hast no re- 
Thou must speak mildly, 
More so than thou meanest; 
Paying back like with like. 

Young was 1 formorly ; 
Then alone went I, 
Taking wrong ways. 
Rich seemed I to mysolf 
When I found a companion ; 
For man is man's pleasure. 


The noble, the gentle 
Lire happiest, 
And seldom meet sorrow. 
But the foolish man, 
He is suspicious, 
And a niggard grieves to give. 

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I bong id j garment! 
On the two wooden men 
Who f tend on tho wall. 
Heroes the y eeemed to be 
When the j were clothed I 
The ended are decpieed. 

The tree withereth 

Which stands in the court-yard 

Without shelter of bark or of le*Z 

So is a man 

Destitute of friends. 

Good understanding 
Ought all to possess, — 
But not too much wisdom. 
Those human beings 
Whose liTcs are the brightest, 
Know much and know it well. 


Good understanding 
Ought all to possess, 
But not too much knowledge. 
For the heart of a wise man 
8oldom is gladdened 

Why should he still lire on? By knowledge of all things. 


Eren as fire, 

Burns peace between enemies, 

For the space of Are days. 

But on tho sorenth 

It is extinguished, 

And the less is their friendship. 

Only a little 

Will a man giro ; 

He often gets praise for a little. 

With half a loaf 

And a full bottle 

I won a companion. 


Good understanding 
Ought all to possess, 
But not too much knowledge. 
Let no one beforehand 
Iuquire his own fortune. 
The gladdest heart knoweth it 


Brand with brand burnetii 
Till it is burned out : 
Fire is kindled by fire. 
A man among men 
Is known by his speech ; 
A fool by his arrogance. 

Small are the sand-grains, 
Small are the water-drops: 
Small human thoughts : 
Tet are not these 
Each of them equal. 
Erory century bears but one 

Betimes must he rise 
Who another man's life 
And goods will obtain. 
The sleeping wolf 
8eldom gets bones. 
No sluggard wins battle. 

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Betimes mutt be rise 
And look alter his people 
Who has but few workmen. 
Much he ncglectotb 
Who sleeps in the morning. 
On the matter's presence depends 
half the profit 


Like to dried faggots, 
.And hoarded up birch bark, 
Are the thoughts of a man, 
The substance of firewood 
May last, it is true, 
A year and a day. 


Erery wise man 

And prudent, his power will use 

With moderation. 

For he will find 

When he comes 'mong the brave 

That none can do all things. 


Lot every man 

Be prudent and circumspect 

And cautious in friendship. 

Often that word 

Which we trust to another 

Very dear costs us. 

Cleanly and decent, 
Ride men to the Ting 
Although unadorned. 
For his shoes and apparel 
Nobody blushes, 

Nor yet for his horse, though 
none of the best 

Question and answer 
Is a clever thiug, 
And so it is reckoned. 
To one person trust thyself, 
Not to a second. 
The world knows what is known 

onto three. 

Bewilderedly gases 
On the wild sea, the eagle, 
When he reaches the strand. 
So is it with the man 
Who in a crowd standeth 
When he has but lew friends 


Greatly too early 
Came I to some places ; 
Too late to others. 
Here the feast was over ; 
There unprepared. 
8eldom opportunely 
unwelcome guest 

Here and everywhere 
Have I been bidden 
If I fell short of a dinner. 
But the fragments are easily 
Loft for his faithful friend 
When a man has eaten. 


Fire is pleasant 

To the children of men, 

And the light of the sun, 

If they enjoy 

Health uninterrupted, 

And live without crime 

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Short are the boat-oars; 

• • • • 

Unstable autumnal nights* 
The weather changes 
Much in fire days; 
Still more in a month. 


Perfectly wretched 

Is no man, though he may be 

One is blessed in his sons ; 
One in his friends; 
By competence one ; 
By good works another. 


Bettor are they 

Who lire than they who are 

The living man may gain a cow. 
I saw the fire blazing 
In the hall of the rich man, 
But death stood at the threshold. most wisdom. 

Little enongh knows he 
Who nothing knows: 
Many a man is fooled by another: 
One man is rich, 
Another man is poor ; 
But that prores not which has 

The lamo may ride ; 
The deaf fight bravely ; 
The one-handed tend the flocks, 
Better be blind 
Than entombed: 
The dead win nothing. 

It is good to have a son 
Although he be born 
After his fathoms death. 
Seldom are the cairn-stones 
Raised by the way-side 
Save by the son to his father* 

There are two adversaries ; 
The heaviness of the brain, 
And death by the bedside. 
He who has gold for his journey 
Bejoioes at night 
When he grows weary. 


Thy flocks may die ; 

Thy friends may die ; 

So also mayest thou, thyself; 

But never will die 

The fame of him 

Who wins for himself good re- 


Thy flocks may die ; 

Thy friends may die ; 

So also mayst thou thyself. 

But one thing I know 

Which nevor dies, 

The doom which is passed on the 

I saw the well-filled barns 

Of the child of wealth; 

Now leans he on the staff of the 

Thus are riches, 
As the glance of an oye, 
They are an inconstant friend. 


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A foolish man, 

If he gain wealth 

Or the favour of woman, 

Grows in self-esteem, 

Though he understands nothing: 

Forth gooa he in arrogance. 


Know thou, that when 
Thou enquirest of the ranee, 
Known to the world, 
What the holy Gods did, 
What the great Scalds hare 

It is beet for thee to be still. 

Praise the day at eventide ; 
The wife when she i» dead ; 
The sword when thou hast 

proved it ; 
The maid when she is married'; 
Ioe when thou hast crossed it ; 
Ale when thou hast drunken it 

In wind cut thou fire-wood ; 
In wind sail the ocean ; 
In darkness woo a maiden, 
For many eyes has daylight. 
In a ship man voyages ; 
The shield it defends him ; 
The sword is for slaughter, 
Bat the maid to be oourted. 

Drink ale by firelight; 
On the ioe drire the sledge; 
8ell thou the lean horse 

And the sword that is rusty; 
Foed the horse at home; 
Bed the dog in the courtyard* 


The word of a maiden- 
No one can trust ; 
Nor what a woman speakoth ; 
For on a turning wheel 
Was the heart of woman formed* 
And guile was laid in her breast* 


A breaking bow ; 
A burning flame ; 
A hungry wolf; 
A chattering crow ; 
The grunting swine ; 
The rootless tree ; 
The heaving billows ; . 
The boiling kettle ; 

The flying spear ; 
Sinking waters ; 
One night's ice; 
The coiled-up snake ; 
The bride's fond talk; 
Or the broken sword ; 
A bear's play; 
Or a king's son ; 

A sick calf; 
A freed bondsman ; 
A false fortune-teller; 
The newly-slain on the field; 
A bright sky; 
A smiling master; 
The cry of a dog; 
A harlot's sorrow ; 

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An early town field 
Let no one trust, 
Neither hit ton too toon ; * 
The field depends on the weather; 
The youth on hit sense, 
And both are uncertain. 

He tpeakoth smoothly 
Who would win the maiden ; • 
Ho offers property, 
And praises the beauty 
Of the lair maiden; 
Ho wint who it in earnest. 

A brother's death, 
Though it be half-way here; 
A half-burned house; 
A steed Tery lively, 
(For a horse hat no ralue, 
If one foot ttumble), 
Are not so sure 
That a man may trust to them. 


Thut it peace among women ; 
Like a fleeting thought ; 
Like a journey oyer slippery ice, 
Ou a two-years-old horse 
With unroughed shoes, 
And ill broken in; 
Or in wild tempests 
Tossed in a helmless ship ; 
Or trying to capturo 
Deer mid the thawing snow of 
the hills. 

Now tpeak I truly, 
For I know what I tpeak of, 
Deceitful to woman it the pro- 
mise of lore: 
When we tpoak fairest, 
Then mean we foulest ; 
The purest heart may be beguiled. 

The lore of another 
Let no man 
Find fault with. 
Beautiful colours 
Oft charm the wise, 
While they snaro not the fool. 


For that failing 

Which is common to many 

No man it blamed. 

From the wise man to the fool, 

'Mong all children of men, 

Goes ho, Lore, the mighty one. 


Thought alone knoweth 
What the heart chorisheth, 
It alone knows the mind. 
No disease is worse 
For the wise man 
Than joy in nothing. 

This I experienced 
When I sate mid the rushes 
Awaiting my love* 
The good maiden 
Was to mo life and heart; 
Mine it the no longer. 

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The maid of Billing 
White as snow found I, 
In her bed sleeping. 
Princely glory 
Was to me nothing 
If Hired not with her! 

Few are so noble 
Bat that thoir fancy 
May undergo change* 
Many a good girl 
When she is well known 
Is deceitful towards men. 

"To the court, Odin, 
Come towards the erentide 
If thou wilt woo me-; 
All will be ruined 
If we do not in prirete 
Know how to manage." 

That I experienced 
When the quick-witted maiden 
I decoyed into danger. 
She heaped reproach on me, 
The merry maiden, 
And I won her never. 

Thither I sped again ; 
Happy I thought myself 
More so than I knew of, 
For I boliered 
I had half won her favour 
And the whole of her thoughts. 


Gay at home 
And liberal, must 
Be the man of wisdom. 
Full of talk and pleasant memo- 
Will he be ofttimes, 
With much cheerful conrerse. 

80 again came I, 
When the quarrelsome people 
All were awake. 
With candles burning 
And pOed-up firewood 
Received she my visit. 

A few morrows after, 
When again I went thither, 
All the house-folk were sleeping. 
There found I a dog, 
Of the fair maiden's 
Bound on the bed. 

He iB called Fimbolfambi 
Who but few things can utter; 
Tis the way of the simple. 
I was with the old giants, 
Kow am I returned; 
There was I not silent, 
With affluence of speech 
I strore to do my best 
In the hall of Suttung. 

Gunlod gare me, 
On a golden chair seated, 
A draught of mead delicious; 

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Bat the return wm evil 
Which she from me experienced, 
With all her faithfulness, 
With ail her deep love. 

I let words of anger 
By me be spoken, 
And knawed the rock. 
Above and below me 
Went the paths of the giants; 
Thus Yentured I life. 

Dear-bought song 
Haye I much rejoiced in ; 
All succeeds to the will; 
Because the Odrejrer 
Now haye ascended 
To the old, holy earth. 


Uncertain seems it 

If I had escaped 
From the courts of the giants 
Had I not been blessed by 
The dear lovo of Gunlod, . 
She, whom I embraced. 


On the day following 
Went the Bimthursar 
To ask the gods council, 
In the halls lofty ; 
Ask whether Bolverk were. 
Come mid the mighty gods, 
Or if Suttung had slain him. 

A holy ring-oath 
I mind me, gave Odin. 
Now who can trust him. 
Suttung is cheated; 
His mead has been stolen 
And Gunlod is weeping. 1 

1 These specimens of old Icelandic poetry are selected from "The 
Literature and Romance of Northern Europe," by William and Mary 
Howitt : 2 vols. 8vo., Colburn & Co., 1852. 

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In an unoeasing, ebbless flow, around 
The peaceful homes of Thul£, her best safety 
.Boll Arctic billows, rearing giant crests 
In proud defiance— bulwarks impassable 
Against the intruder's steps. Fiercely and bold, 
Even as a lioness doth guard her 'fenceless young, 
Do they, the unconquerable surges, foam and champ, 
And keep unslumbering vigils round the graves— 
The restless, storm-rocked graves — of the Vikings 
Their sons— those tameless spirits of the past — 
Whose dirge their sighing parent hourly waileth 
As erst they rode exultant on his bosom. 

Boldest and noblest of earth's kind were ye — 
Conquerors of nations-— fathers of a race 
Of giant princes — ah ! how fallen now I 

Meet were it that your honoured dust should dumber 

Written ia reply to the following lines, by Delta, sent her by way of 


• To where the Arotie billow faun* 

Round Shetland's end and silent homes, 
There sighs the wind and wails the surge 
As 'twere of tiring things the dirge." 

In these old heathen days, be it remembered, where all were see*OTers 
there were good and bad among them. For a fine description of the best 
type of the Viking and his code of honour, see Tegner's beautiful northern 
, •The Frithjof Saga." 

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In this your polar cradle; rocked by northern gales, 
Lulled by the sighing surges whose strong hands 
Hare hong a cloudy curtain o'er your rest 

Meet were it that the springtide rain should weep 
O'er the degeneracy of your race— 
The scattered glory of your Fatherland I 

Fitting were it that the dark thunder-cloud 
6hould be the swift-winged chariot upon which 
Tour spirits love to ride— your path meanwhile 
Lit by the fitful rays of yonder cold 
Mysterious, flickering night-lamp, BorcalU. 
Nought less sublime, less wildly grand than these 
Would be in harmony with your proud spirits. 
Would ye not laugh to soorn the spicy breezes 
Of India's drowsy dime, or soft Italia's 
Radiant skies?— and ah ! methinks ye whisper. 
Were but the ocean charmed, that he should cease 
His mournful lullaby around your pillow ; 
Or did old Winter's gales less rudely blow, 
Te then would rise in vapoury clouds, and leave 
A land unworthy even to be your tomb. 


Offfluga hrattar Og ttflugust vfgi 

Oldnr streyma Byggja urn kyrrar 

I'shaff him nyrtra, Byggttir Thnlu. 

1 Tho "Lay of the Vikings," translated into Icelandic verse by the 
Bey. Olaf Palsson. It it in the free.metre of the old sagas— the same 
as that which Thorlakson adopted in his translation of M Paradise 
Lost" The following is the translation of Delta's lines: 

par sem um Hjaltlands Stynja >ar stormar, 

Heimkynni ptigul Stdra brimboSar, 

Nortfurhafe dldur Lifandi vera 

Olmar irey&a, Likar sorgriJddnm. 

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Hamramar m 
P»r hroykja kollum, 
Ogoruggar varnir 
M6t rfrdsarmonnum 
Bda, >«r aldrei 
Bila kunna. 
8em rakir Ijooainna. 
Ungum yfir 
Metf afarmrf&i, 
Freytfa tro oldur 
Halda )»r Yorfl 
Urn Vikingaleifli; 
Pri blonda 1 klettam 
Brimi skelfdura 
HartTii&gir nitfjar 
Fri horfnum dogum; 
F6kk >eim ei hngur 
rbrjoeti bilatf ; 
Harmar >ri mdtfcr 
Og hrvggftar aaongra 
Aldroi for alititf, 
£r htin minniet 
Peirra, er <8nr 
Ungir Idkn 
A' md&urbrjdeti. 

Leit ei nokknr 
Af niQ'mn jartfar 
A&ra tignari 
Effmr knirri 
Yfiur, aem fcjdtfir 
Unnutf ffrer&um, 
Fetfar jdtna, 
Sr folki •tyrtJu. 

Horrfiun er beitfur, 
Ed beitTraftar moldir 
Ntite bvild hafti 
Und porgorfaeiiuaf kattti ; 

IVoggu >oim Tolta 
Vindar stri&ir; 
VogguljdO kvetfa 
Veinandi unuir, 
P»r er mcff mundum 
Logffu tk^btonr 
A' lciffi niffja. 

Var )>a8a& yerffang, 
Er varandi unnir 
Ytfar m gnUa 
JEttar bnignun, 
Og frama horfinn 

Pa& og rel harftfi, 
Er Jwiniuakjin, 
Vagnar >an urtfu 
Vamgjum btioir, 
YCar tern aka 
Andar glatfir; 
En tyea d rcgi 
Ljtegoislar kaldir 
Leiptrandi Nortfor— 
Ijosa sk»rra. 

SUt far lagra neitt 
EtTur tTipminna 
YCar aamboffiff 
Atida brfum. 
Munduff >cr kfma 
lfcgnum bl&ri 
Atf ilroandi rindnm, 
Urn er fcj6ta 
OfardrAnga lopt 
Etfur geialaodi 
Uppheimt boga, 
Yfir er breitfist 
Italaka grand. 
Er mer eembeyri 
YOnr hvlala: 

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JSgir ef fengi, Geysa svo vinda, 

Umvafinn fjotrnm, Som gjorir hann nfi ; 

Sorgleg ei lengur Mtuiduff >cr )>& 

Stingiff kvatfi I'mekkjum sudda 

pan urn haegindi HcQa ldtast 

Hoyrast yffar, Frn hauffri burta, 

Ogaldinn votur Ytfra o*h»fa 

Ei 6lme Idti Grof aft geyma. 

it ni iisuw Jims stmwotob. 

Beside a weird-like Norway bay, 
Where wild and angry billows play, 
And seldom meet the night and day, 
A Raven sat. 

He was the last, of all his race 
That lingered in that lonely place; 
Age, grief, were stamped upon his face, 
Sad, desolate. 

1 The raven wai regarded ae sacred, and greatly reiterated by the old 
Norse Vikings, who had always one or two of these birds in their snipe 
When setting out on marauding expeditions the raren was let loose aed 
his flight followed by the bold voyagers, in the belief that he led them te 
war and victory. These birds it was supposed lived to a fabulous age. 
Odin's shield bad a raven on it, and so had the Landeyda or battle-flag of 
Sigurd, which ever led to victory, although its bearer was doomed to die. 
Hiatland is the ancient name of Shetland. The Norse rovers thought it 
a disgrace, to die in their beds in peaoe; and when they found their end 
approaching, clad in armour, had themselves carried on board their 
ships which were then set fire to and sent adrift, that the old heroes 
might die, as they bad lived, on the ocean, and thence worthily rise to 

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Yet to that darkling norland sky 
He raised an undimmed, fearless eye, 
As though he proudly would defy 
And battle fate. 

His mate long dead, his nestlings flown. 
The moss had o'er his eyry grown; 
And all the scenes his youth had known 

Were changed and old. 

For he had heard the vikings all 
Responding to the mystic call, 
That summoned to great Odin's hall 
Those heroes bold. 

He oft had skimmed the Polar seas; 
And Harold's sail aye wooed the breeze, 
To follow where the Raven flees 

On tireless wing. 

But victory ceased on them to smile- 
On Hialtland's rugged, rock-bound isle 
He saw them raise the funeral pile 
Of the Sea-King. 

Onoe his unerring pinions led 
To where the shafts of battle sped; 
But, when the conquered Northmen fled, 
He scorned to flee; 

But watched where brave young Ingolf lies, 
With drooping heart and fading eyes, 
Pining for his native skies, 

A captive be. 

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A maiden of the sonny South 

There loved and would have freed the youth, 

But he was wed to Gulda Brftth. 

His norland bride. 

And she, across the stormy main, 
Had turned her weary eyes in vain; — 
Her hero ne'er returned again : 

And so she died. 

No Saga tells where rests the brave, 
No mourner weeps by Ingolf 's grave; 
The Baven's sable pinions wave 

There all alone. 

And then he spread his pinions wide 
Upon the free north wind to ride, 
With mien erect, and eye of pride ; 

His task well done. 

And nought around, howe'er so bright, 
Could win his stay, or stop his flight 
From where he saw the pole-star's light 
Shine o'er the north. 

When, hark! a wild exulting cry 
Palls on his ear; his piercing eye 
A burning vessel can descry 

That flashes forth, 

Like to the fitful spirit-gleam 
Of^the Aurora's restless beam; 
But ahl he knows it is no dream, 

And droops his wing. 

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Beside the blazing spectral pyre— 
A spark from Baldur's sacred fire 
Lighteth to death a Norseman sire,— 

Brave old Thorsteing. 

His arms are folded o'er his breast, 
And on his noble brow doth rest 
The shadow from his warrior crest 

That waves on high. 

His glances on the ocean fell ; 
Fondly he marked its rising swell- 
That ocean he had loved so well- 
Then raised his eye. 

And when he saw the faithful bird, 
The soul of song within him stirred. 

Hast thou once more returned, 
Thou trusty friend, to me ? 
What news hast thou of Ingolf, 
My son, the brave and free? 
Hath he in battle fallen, 
His good sword by his side ? 
Or, captive, is he sighing 
To see once more his bride ? 

Ah 1 no, his soul would scorn 
In captive chain to lie ; 
I know he hath been borne 
To Valhalla's halls on high, 
And 111 meet him in the sky 

E're the morn. 

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Alas! with us will perish 

The Vikings' race and name, 
That long made fbemen tremble 

When Scalds rehearsed oar Came. 
And thou, dark bird of omen, 

Back to our oountry hie, 
And tell her recreant children 

How Norsemen ought to die. 
But to guard my mountain home 

My spirit yet will soar, 
And on old ocean roam 

As in the days of yore. 
Oft to visit yon loved shore 
I will come* 

The song hath ceased, and Thorsteing brave 
Is sleeping now in Odin's cave. 

Athwart the sky the lightnings flash. 
While down the Fiords the thunders crash, 
And sullen waves in fury lash 

The fretted shore. 

Where is that Raven, grim and lone?— 
Uprooted is the old grey stone 
Where late he sat, and he is gone 

To come no more. 

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BT A.J.S. 

Haste, clothe mo, juris, in my royal robe ; 
My keen biting sword gird ye. 
Haste ! for I go to tiu Fatherland, 
Both king of earth and sea. 
• My blade so true, with a spirit-gleam— 
Death lurks in its skinkling fire— 
I grasp thee now as of olden time 
In conflict hot and dire. 

I've trampled foes; from their blanched sculls 

Now drain off tho dark-red wine ; 

Fall bravely all in the battlo field, 

Be crowned with wreaths divine I 

My eyes wax dim, and my onco jet lodes 

Now wave with a silvery white ; 

Feeble, my arm cannot wield tho blade 

I dote on with delight 

Grim Hela breathes a chilling shade, 
I hear tho Valkyrii sing ; 
Now to the halls of the brave 111 rise, 
As fits an old Norse King. 
Heimdallar's ship, with tho inoense wood, 
Prepare as a pyre for mo ; 
Biasing, 111 rise to the Odin halls, 
At once in the air and seal 

They've lit slow fire in the incense ship ; 
The sun has just sunk in the wave ; 
8et are the sails, he is launched away, 
This hero-king so brave I 

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The death chaunt floats in the deep blue skies, 
All wild, in the darkling night ; 
Fearful there glares from the blazing ship 
A wild red lurid light. 

. It shimmering gleams o'er the lone blue sea, 

The flickers shoot wild and high — 

Odin hath welcomed the brave old king 

To his palace in the sky ! 

The bale-flames die, and a silence deep 

Now floats on the darkness cold, 

Where so fearless and free, on the deep blue sea, 

Had died this Norse king bold 1 



Skundiff Jto, jariar! 
Slgdtt mig b&itf 
Skrutfclooftum, besta 
Skarti jofurs, 
Og meginbitram 
Mooki girttitf; 
prf hoim Til og halda * 
Til hfirsa fojfor, 
Ldvar&ur bjorinn. 
Tryggvan, gljdandi 
Tek eg mooki— 
Af bonum loiptrar 
OOmur dautfi— 
Hann vil og nti 
Ilidndum bora, 

Sera altar f griranram 

Hofi egfjendur 
Fo'tam trotfna; 
Myrkrautfar drekka 
Mogitt na voigar 
Sk^gtfum af hausa— 
Skeljam peirra. 
Hnfgitf som ho^jar 
Orlog Jrf kalla, 
JEtfetom hoiffri 
Kjtf ndir af gotfom 
Poim & Gimli b6a. 
Dapratt m6r «joo 

1 The "Death of the Old Norse King/* translated into Icelandic 
verse by the Ber. Olaf Palston. 

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Ogddkkrir &ur 
Leika ailfnrlit 
Lokkar tf bofttf; 
Armor aflrana 
Ei for yalditf 
Mold, >cim unatf 
If estam reldur 

Hoftir npp myrkra 
Ira* Holju kaldan; 
Atf borst oyrum 
(Xmur Valkyrjn; 
Hcfur mig hngor 
Til hctjuwtfa; 
8to ber Norttmanna 
Nftum jbfri 

Heimdallt >er tnekkju 
Hratfr buiff, 
Og ylmandi l&itf 
Vfl eg )*r nar 
A' Tito bronna; 
En hngur mig bor 
Til hallar OWni 
Til apphimins jafot 
Og Unnar gala. 

Brennur akitfoldur 
A'ikipi kveiktur; 
lfor hrerftur •# 

I'marar skauti; 
Undin cm segi, 
Ytt fat landi 
Siglir )>ar hotjan, 
Hilmir fregur. 
Ndtra nd hljdd 
I'niffmyrkvu lopti; 
Bregtfur d bfsnum 
Fblindmyrkri n»tar; 
Leiptra goigvamir 
Logar fni gnoklyu, 
Og dokkrauffri miffla 

Bronnar oinskipa 
Um blaan Mgi 
Umrafin skeitf 
I'ogna blossom; 
En O'ffinn fagnandi 
Aldinn &j<51a 
Til himinsala 
ITofir loiddan, 
Drina burt logar 
Og djnpri lystor 
Mogin J»6gn yfir 
Myrkva kaldan; 
par f myskblao 
Mararskanti ; 
Hilmir Nor&manna, 
Hetfan fasgost, 
Hogprottar, frjals, 
B4d 8ie\jo gista. 

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Reykjavik, 20th Nov. 1861. 
My Dear Friend! 

According to your wish in your 
kind note of 15th August this year, I will now try to 
give some answers to the queries you have there put to 
me, about several matters which it may be useful for 
strangers who travel in Iceland to know. 

I have since conferred with Zoga, who is assuredly the 
very best guide in this place, and well versed in these 
matters. The hints that I am able to give are as fol- 
lows, and correspond to the order of the queries put 

let I have not such an extensive acquaintance with 
the coasts of Iceland as to be able to describe all places of 
shelter that might be found around the island ; for doubt- 
less they are many. But I am sure, that it will not be 
advisable for any foreign vessel to approach the south 
coast; for, from Cape Reykjanes to Berufiord, there is no 
shelter at all along the whole south side of Iceland, ex- 
cept in the Westmanna Islands, which lie some ten miles 
from the shore. 

As a general rule, every merchant place, marked on 
the map, will be found tolerably safe. 

2d. For the Englishman who arrives at Reykjavik, or 
for any traveller who has some knowledge of English, it 
is not absolutely necessary to know other languages; for 


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guides who know that language can be had there, and 
these make tolerably good interpreters in the country. 

This, however, will scarcely be the case in any other 
merchant place in Iceland. 

3d As to expenses of travelling; I can only remark 
that a guide is paid about 2 rix dollars 1 a day (4/6). 

Every gentleman will be obliged to have two ponies 
each at 64 skillings per day (1/5). A jack horse is to 
be got at 48 skillings per day, and will not comfortably 
carry more than 100 to 120 lbs. weight If this horse is 
provided with pack saddle and chests for preserving 
goods in, it will cost 64 skillings. If the travellers 
should wish to be away for a longer time from human 
habitations, it will be necessary for them to bring with 
them a tent, a sufficient quantity of victuals, &c Thus 
it will be found that two gentlemen travelling cannot 
easily do with less than five pack horses, and then they 
will require to have two guides, one to take care of the 
horses and baggage, and the other to attend upon them- 
selves when they wish to travel faster, or to visit places 
where the train of baggage horses cannot easily go with 

From this I hope an idea can be formed of the aver- 
age cost of such travelling for a week or so. For a 
more protracted journey through the island, it will cer- 
tainly be preferable to buy the horses, and dispose of 
them again by auction on returning to Reykjavik. The 
average price of a pack horse will be 24 rix dollars, and 
for a riding pony 30 to 40 rix dollars. They will again 

1 A rix dollar U tqual in ralme to 2/3 EnjUih. A •killing if a fraction 
awn than a Jartaing, 

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sell at a half, or at least a third of the money, according 
to the length of the journey, their condition, and the 
season of the year. This calculation is made for a 
journey begun from Reykjavik, which in most respects 
will be found the most convenient place to start from. 

4th. An india-rubber boat will very probably be ser- 
viceable, but it will seldom be needed; for on almost 
every one of the larger rivers there are plenty of ferries. 

5th. The very best month for travelling in Iceland 
undoubtedly is July, and next to it August A journey 
can be begun in the middle of June. At an earlier time 
there will not be sufficient grass for the horses. The 
journey can usually, without the risk of getting bad 
weather, be prolonged to the middle of September. 

These, my dear sir, are all the hints I am able to give 
you. I am sure there are many other things which 
might be taken into consideration, but I have written 
this to my best ability, although in great haste, which 
may excuse the many faults I am sure will be found 
with my English. With my best wishes &a 

Yours very truly, 

0. Palsson. 

Noti.— The screw steamer Arcturu* makes six trips during the 
season, carrying the mails from Copenhagen to Iceland, and coiling at 
Grangemouth aud the Faroe Islands. The first sailing north is gen- 
erally about the beginning of March, and the last towards the end of 
October. Fares— First cabin £5; second do. £3 10s. Return— only 
available for the same voyage-— first cabin £9; secoud do. £6. Farther 
information may be obtained by applying to Mr. P. L. Henderson, 30 
Dixon Street, Glasgow ; Messrs. David Robertson & Co., Grangemouth ; 
or Messrs. Koch & Henderson, Copenhagen. * 

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The following Explanatory list of Geographical Tonus will assist the 
memory, aid the pronunciation, and, it is believed, prove of interest 
and practical utility. * 

& or as, river. 
bakkt, A0Z. 
hern, bare. 

beiu-fjordr, bare frith. 
Ma, hlae. 

bol, or bol-stadr, main farm, or 

steading (bu or boo, in Orkney), 
brekka, brink of a precipice. 
bro, bridge. 
dalr, valtejf. 

einri, or bagij meadow, or field. 
ey(eyjar,gemtivo,singu]ar; eyja, 

genitive pluralj, an island 
eyri, sand, eandiank or bar (ere, 

in north of England) 
fell, eame a$ (jail. 
fjall, (plural fioll), fell, or Aeyfe ; 

as 6la%fjall, blue /eU, or, in 

English, ScawfeU, £e. 
fjordr, frith. 
njot, a rteer (/ert) 
fors, /orce, or waterfall 
ha)*, r&fye, or est 
hadir, Aet^af* . 
heidi, aeof a. 

hot or hofdi, Aeoe?, or aeaoVaao?. 
boll, ML 
holt, wood. 
breppr, a rape (whence divisions 

of land, and "rapes" of Sussex), 
hvamm. a combe, or recess sur- 
rounded bg hUls; as llfra-oombe. 
bvit, wade (hence hrit-tf, white 

1, toe momUoin. 

jokuis-d, is the namo given to 
many rivers, and means only 
ice river; but it is usually as- 
sociated with another name, 
such as Axa-firdi Jokuls-4, or 
tee river of the Axa frith. 

kirk, church. 

kverk, chin (hence Kverk-fjdll, 

lid, lithe, provincial for a sloping 
bank (whence Roykja-lid, th* 
smoking bank). 

loekr, brook, stream. 

muli, mvll, or cliff; thitig-muli, the 
heights, or cUffs, under which an 
assembly was held. 

myri, morass. 

ncss, headland. 

nupr, bluff, or inland cliff. 

orcefi, wastes. 

mfn, rapen. 

reyk, #wiote. 

sandr, saiufe. 

skard, jkisi, cfc/We. 

sk6gr, underwood 

stadr, stafe, #te<wi, or stedf as 

Stroud, strand. 

svsla, or s^ssel, district. 

thing, meeting. 

vatn (plural, vdtn), fafe. 

veliir, ©Jam 

vik, vikr, oay; Grunda-vik, are en. 
bag; Greenwich ■■ Grecn-vik. 


lExtnctel from the poeteertpt to Mr. WUUmb Loofmtn't w 8uffgeitloM for the 
Bxp l e rsU sa of Uriand"-** eedrcn aeurere* to the member* of the Alpine Cleb, of 
whle1iaekVkePr«Meni Lofan * Oa, 1SSI. 

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Few subjects possess greater interest for the British 
race than the Scandinavian North, with its iron-bound 
rampart of wave-lashed rocks, its deeply indented fiords, 
bold cliffs, rocky promontories, abrupt headlands, wild 
skerries, crags, rock-ledges, and caves, all alive with 
gulls, puffins and kitti wakes; and in short, the general 
and striking picturesqueness of its scenery, to say 
nothing of the higher human interest of its stirring 
history, and the rich treasures of its grand old literature. 

The British race has been called Anglo-Saxon; made 
up however, as it is, of many elements — Ancient Briton, 
Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Dane, Norman, and Scandinavian 
— the latter predominates so largely over the others as 
to prove by evidence, external and internal, and not to 
be gainsaid, that the Scandinavians are our true pro- 

The Germans are a separate branch of the same great 
Gothic family, industrious, but very unlike us in many 
respects. The degree of resemblance and affinity may 
be settled by styling them honest but unenterprising 
inland friends, whose ancestors and ours were first cousins 
upwards of a thousand years ago. 

To the old Northmen — hailing from the sea-board of 
Norway, Sweden, and Denmark — may be traced the 
germs of all that is most characteristic of the modern 

1 This chapter, written in December 1869, has already appeared in 
the pages of a periodical.— a. j. a. 

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Briton, whether personal, social, or national The con- 
figuration of the land, and the numerous arms of the sea 
with which the north-west of Europe is indented, necessi- 
tated boats and seamanship. From these coasts, the 
Northmen — whether bent on piratical plundering expe- 
ditions, or peacefully seeking refuge from tyrannical 
oppression at home— sallied forth in their frail barks or 
skiffs, which could live in the wildest sea, visiting and 
settling in many lands. We here mention, in geographical 
order, Normandy, England, Scotland, Orkney, Shetland, 
Faroe, and Iceland. Wherever they have been, they have 
left indelible traces behind them, these ever getting more 
numerous and distinct as we go northwarda 

Anglen, from which the word England is derived, still 
forms part of Holstein a province in Denmark; and the 
preponderance of the direct Scandinavian element in the 
language itself has been shewn by Dean Trench, who 
states, that of a hundred English words, sixty come from 
the Scandinavian, thirty from the Latin, five from the 
Greek, and five from other sources. 

In Scotland many more Norse words, which sound 
quite foreign to an English ear, yet linger amongst the 
common people; while, as in England, the original Celtic 
inhabitants were driven to the west before the Northmen, 
who landed for the most part on the east In certain 
districts of the Orkneys a corrupt dialect of Norse was 
spoken till recently, and the Scandinavian type of fea- 
tures is there often to be met with. 

The Norse language is still understood and frequently 
spoken in Shetland, where the stalwart, manly forms of 
the* fishermen, the characteristic prevalence of blue eyes 
and light flaxen hair, the universal observance of the 

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Norse Yule, and many other old-world customs, together 
with the oriental and almost affecting regard paid to the 
sacred rites of hospitality, on the part of the islanders, 
all plainly tell their origin. 

The language of the Faroe islanders is a dialect of the 
Norse, approaching Danish, and peculiar to themselves. 
It is called Faroese. The peaceful inhabitants not only 
resemble, but are Northmen. 

In Iceland we have pure Norse, as imported from 
Norway in the ninth century, the lone northern sea 
having guarded it, and many other interesting features, 
from those modifications to which the Norwegian, 
Danish, and Swedish have been subjected by neighbour- 
ing Teutonic or German influences. This language, the 
parent, or at least the oldest and purest form of the 
various Scandinavian dialects with which we are ac- 
quainted, has been at different times named Donsk- 
tunga, Norrena* or Norse, but latterly it has been simply 
called Icelandic, because peculiar to that island. 

The language, history, and literature of our ancestors 
having been thus preserved in the north, we are thereby 
enabled to revisit the past, read it in the light of the 
present, and make both subservient for good in the future. 

Herodotus mentions that tin wan procured from 
Britain. Strabo informs us that the Phoenicians traded 
to our island, receiving tin and skins in exchange for 
earthenware, salt, and vessels of brass; but our first 
authentic particulars regarding the ancient Britons are 
derived from Julius Caesar, whose landing on the south- 
ern portion of our island, and hard-won battles, were but 
transient and doubtful successes. The original inhabi- 
tants were Celts from France and Spain; but* as we learn 

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from him, these bad long before been driven into the 
interior and western portion of the island by Belgians, 
who crossed the sea* made good their footing, settled on 
the east and south-eastern shores of England, and were 
now known as Britons. With these Caesar had to da 
The intrepid bravery of the well-trained and regularly 
disciplined British warriors commanded respect, and left 
his soldiers but little to boast of The Roman legions 
never felt safe unless within their entrenchments, and, 
even there, were sometimes surprised. Strange to realise 
such dire conflicts raging at the foot of the Surrey hills, 
probably in the neighbourhood of Penge, Sydenham, and 
Norwood, where the Crystal Palace now peacefully stands. 
Even in these dark Druid days, the Britons, although 
clothed in skins, wearing long hair, and stained blue 
with woad, were no mere painted savages as they have 
sometimes been represented, but were in possession of 
regularly-constituted forms of government They had 
naval, military, agricultural and commercial resources to 
depend upon, and were acquainted with many of the 
important arts of life. The Briton was simple in his 
manners, frugal in his habit), and loved freedom above 
all things. Had the brave Caswallon headed the men of 
Kent* in their attack upon the Roman maritime camp, 
Caesar and his hosts would never, in all likelihood, have 
succeeded in reaching their ships, but would have found 
graves on our shores. His admirable commentaries 
would not have seen the light of day, and the whole 
current of Roman, nay, of the world's history might have 
been changed. 

Our British institutions and national characteristics 
were not adopted from any quarter, completely moulded 

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and finished, as it were, but everywhere exhibit the 
vitality of growth and progress, slow but sure. Each 
new element or useful suggestion, from whatever source 
derived, has been tested and modified before being 
allowed to take root and form part of the constitution. 
The germs have been developed in our own soil. 

Thus, to the Romans, we can trace our municipal in- 
stitutions — subjection to a central authority controlling 
the rights of individuals. To the Scandinavians, we can 
as distinctly trace that principle of personal liberty which 
resists absolute control, and sets limits — such as Magna 
Charta — to the undue exercise of authority in governors. 

These two opposite tendencies, when united, like the 
oentripedal and centrifugal forces, keep society revolving 
peacefully and securely in its orbit around the sun of 
truth. When severed, tyranny, on the one hand, or 
democratic license, on the other — both alike removed 
from freedom — must result, sooner or later, in instability, 
confusion, and anarchy. France affords us an example 
of the one, and America of the other. London is not 
Britain in the sense that Paris is France; while Wash- 
ington has degenerated into a mere cockpit for North 
and South. 

From the feudal system of the Normans, notwith- 
standing its abuses, we have derived the safe tenure and 
transmission of land, with protection and security for all 
kinds of property. British law has been the growth of 
a thousand years, and has been held in so much respect 
that even our revolutions have been legally conducted, 
and presided over by the staid majesty of justice. Were 
more evidences wanting to show that the Scandinavian 
element is actually the backbone of the British race— 

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contributing its superiority, physical and moral, its 
indomitable strength and energy of character — we would 
simply mention a few traits of resemblance which incon- 
testably prove that the "child is father to the man." 

The old Scandinavian possessed an innate love of truth ; 
much earnestness; respect and honour for woman; love 
of personal freedom; reverence, up to the light that was 
in him, for sacred things; great self-reliance, combined 
with energy of will to dare and do ; perseverance in over- ' 
coming obstacles, whether by sea or land; much self- 
denial, and great powers of endurance under given cir- 
cumstances. These qualities, however, existed along with 
a pagan thirst for war and contempt of death, which was 
courted on the battle-field that the warrior might rise 
thence to Valhalla 

To illustrate the love of freedom, even in thought, 
which characterises the race, it can be shewn that* while 
the Celtic nations fell an easy prey to the degrading 
yoke of Romish superstition, spreading its deadly miasma 
from the south, the Scandinavian nations, even when for 
a time acknowledging its sway, were never bound hand 
and foot by it, but had minds of their own, and sooner or 
later broke their fetters. In the truth-loving Scandin- 
avian, Jesuitical Rome -has naturally ever met with its 
most determined antagonist; for 

11 True end tender is the North.'* 

In the dark days of the Stuarts, witness the noble 
struggles of the Covenanters and the Puritans for civil 
and religious liberty. 

Notwithstanding mixtures and amalgamations of 
blood, as a general rule the distinctive tendencies of race 

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survive, and, good or bad, as the case may be, reappear 
in new and unexpected forms. Even habit becomes a 
second nature, the traces of which, centuries with their 
changes cannot altogether obliterate. 

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Puritan Fathers, 
their descendants, and men like them, have been the salt 
of the north; while many of the planters of the south, 
tainted with cavalier blood, continue to foster slavery — 
"that sum of all villanies" — and glory in being man- 
stealers, man-sellers, and murderers, although cursed of 
God, and execrated by all right thinking men. John 
Brown of Harper's Ferry, who was the other day judi- 
cially murdered, we would select as an honoured type of 
the noble, manly, brave, truth-loving, God-fearing Scan- 
dinavian — The Times and Athenccum notwithstanding. 1 
His heroism in behalf of the poor despised slave had 
true moral grandeur in it — it was sublime. America 
cannot match it Washington was great — John Brown 
was greater. Washington resisted the imposition of un- 
just taxes on himself and his equals, but was a slave- 
holder; John Brown unselfishly devoted his energies — 
nay, life itself—to obtain freedom for the oppressed, and 
to save his country from just impending judgments. 
The one was a patriot; the other was a patriot and phil- 
anthropist The patriotism of Washington was limited 
by colour; that of Brown was thorough, and recognised 
the sacred rights of man. He was hanged for trying to 
accomplish that which his murderers ought to have done 

1 These journals, whilt admitting, in a general though apologetie way. 
that great erils exist in oonneotion with slarery, yet, somehow, on trtry 
oocasion, systematically and persistently uphold pro-slatery measures and 

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— nay, deserved to be hanged for not doing — hanged for 
that which they shall yet do, if not first overtaken and 
whelmed in just and condign vengeance; for the cry of 
blood ascends. He was no less a martyr to the cause of 
freedom than John Brown of Priesthill, who was ruth- 
lessly shot by the bloody Claverhouse. These two noble 
martyrs, in virtue alike of their name and cause, shall 
stand together on the page of future history, when their 
cruel murderers and the abettors of them have long gone 
to their own place. For such deeds there shall yet be 
tears of blood. The wrongs of Italy are not to be named 
in comparison with those of the slava Let those who 
boast of a single drop of Scandinavian blood in their 
veins no longer withhold just rights from the oppressed 
— rights which, if not yielded at this the eleventh hour, 
shall be righteously, though fearfully, wrested from the 
oppressors, when the hour of retribution comes. 1 

Perhaps the two most striking outward resemblances 
between Britons and Scandinavians may be found in 
their maritime skill, and in their powers of planting 
colonies, and governing themselves by free institutions, 
representative parliaments, and trial by jury. 

The Norse rover — bred to the sea, matchless in skill, 

1 Falter information and subsequent events in America hare justified 
and amply confirmed thii estimate of Brown, formed at the time. Hav- 
ing had aeoeei to documents, published and unpublished, and being in a 
position to judge, we would confidently refer the reader to a volume of 
452 pp. 8?c since published by Smith, Elder A Co.— M The Life and 
Letters of Captain John Brown, edited by Riohard D. Webbe "—as pre* 
seating a fair statement of the facts of the case. From Brown's deeds 
and words, therein recorded, it will be clearly seen, how calm, noble and 
dignified was the bearing of the man whom short-sighted trimmers, on 
both sides the Atlantic, hare attempted to brand as a ftnatic 

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daring! loving adventure and discovery, and with any 
amount of pluck — is the true type of the British tar. 
In light crafts, the Northmen could run into shallow 
creeks, cross the North Sea, or boldly push off to face 
the storms of the open Atlantic. These old Vikings 
were seasoned "salts" from their very childhood — 
"creatures native and imbued unto the element;" neither 
in peace nor war, on land nor sea, did they fear anything 
but fear. 

M Tameless •pints of the past ! 

Boldest and noblest of earth [s kind were ye— 

Conquerors of nations— fathers of a raoe 

Ofgiantprinoes." 1 

In them we see the forerunners of the buccaneers, and 
the ancestors of those naval heroes, voyagers, and dis- 
coverers — those Drakes and Dampiers, Nelsons and 
Dundonalds, Cooks and Franklins, who have won for 
Britain the proud title of sovereign of the seas — a title 
which she is still ready to uphold against all comera 

In Shetland, we still find the same skilled seamanship, 
and the same light open boat, like a Norwegian yawl ; 
indeed, planks for building skiffs are generally imported 
from Norway, all prepared and ready to put together. 
There the peace-loving fishermen, in pursuit of their 
perilous calling, sometimes venture sixty miles off to sea, 
losing sight of all land, except perhaps the highest peak 
of their island-homes left dimly peering just above the 
horizon-lina Sometimes they are actually driven, by 
stress of weather, within sight of the coast of Norway, 
and yet the loss of a skiff in the open sea, however high 
the waves run, is a thing quite unknown to the skilled 

1 See M Lay of the Vikings," p. 278. 

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Shetlander. The buoyancy of the skiff (from this word 
we have ship and skipper) is something wonderful Its 
high bow and stern enables it to ride and rise over the 
waves like a sea-duck, although its chance of living seems 
almost as little, and as perilous, as that of the dancing 
shallop or mussel-shell we see whelmed in the ripple. 
Its preservation, to the onlooker from the deck of a large 
vessel, often seems miraculous. It is the practice, in 
encountering the stormy blasts of the North Sea, to 
lower the lug-sail on the approach of every billow, so as 
to ride its crest with bare mast, and to raise it again as 
the skiff descends into the more sheltered trough of the 
wave. By such constant manoeuvering, safety is secured 
and progress made. When boats are lost — and such tra- 
gedies frequently occur, sometimes leaving poor lonely 
widows bereft, at one fell swoop, of husband, father, 
and brothers, for the crews are too often made up of 
relatives — it is generally when they are caught and 
mastered by strong currents running between the islands, 
which neither oar nor sail can stem. Such losses are 
always on the coasts — never at sea. 

Of the Scandinavian powers of colonising: — There is 
ample evidence of their having settled in Shetland, Ork- 
ney, and on our coasts, long before those great outgoings 
of which we have authentic historical records. To several 
of these latter we shall briefly advert) viz., the English, 
Russian, Icelandic, American, and Norman. 

We may first mention that, in remote ages, this race 
swept across Europe from the neighbourhood of the region 
now called Circassian lying between the Black Sea and 
the Caspian, to the shores of the Baltic, settling on the 
north-west coast of Europe. Their traditions, and num- 

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erous eastern customs — allied to the Persians and the 
inhabitants of the plains of Asia Minor in old Homeric 
days — which they brought along with them, all go to 
confirm their eastern origin. Nor did they rest hoe, 
but, thirsting for adventure in these grim warrior ages, 
sailed forth as pirates or settlers, sometimes both, and, 
as can be shewn, made their power and influence felt in 
every country of Europe, from Lapland to the Mediter- 

They invaded England in A.D. 429, and founded the 
kingdoms of South, West, and East Seaxe, East Anglia, 
Mercia, Deira, and Bernicea; thus overrunning and fix- 
ing themselves in the land, from Devonshire to North of 
the Humber. From the mixture of these Angles, or 
Saxons, as they were termed by the Britons, with the 
previous Belgian settlers and original inhabitants, we 
have the Anglo-Saxon race. The Jutes who settled in 
Kent were from Jutland. In A.D. 787, the Danes ra- 
vaged the coast, beginning with Dorsetshire; and, con- 
tinuing to swarm across the sea, soon spread themselves 
over the whole country. They had nearly mastered it 
all, when Alfred ascended the throne in 871. At length, 
in A.D. 1017, Canute, after much hard fighting, did 
master it, and England had Danish kings from that 
period till the Saxon line was restored in 1042. 

In the year A.D. 862, the Scandinavian Northmen 
established the Russian empire, and played a very im- 
portant part in the management of its affairs, even after 
the subsequent infusion of the Sclavonic element In 
the "M&noires de la Soci&4 Royale des Antiquaries du 
Nord," published at Copenhagen, we find that, of the 
fifty names of those composing Ingor's embassy to the 


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Greek Emperor at Constantinople in the year A.D. 994, 
only three were Sclavic, and the rest Northmen — names 
that occur in the Sagas, such as Ivar, Vigfast, Eylif, 
Grim, Ulf, Frode, Asbrand, &c The Greeks called them 
Russians, but Frankish writers simply Northmen. 

In the year A.D. 863, Naddodr, a Norwegian, dis- 
covered Iceland, 1 which* however, had been previously 
visited and resided in at intervals for at least upwards of 
seventy years before that time, by fishermen, ecclesiastics, 
and hermits, called Westmen, from Ireland, Iona and 
other islands of the Hebrides. Of these visits Naddodr 
found numerous traces. 

In A.D. 874, Ingolf with followers, many of whom 
were related to the first families in Norway, fleeing from 
the tyranny of Harold Horfogra, began the colonisation 
of Iceland, which was completed during a space of sixty 
yeara They established a flourshing republic, appointed 
magistrates, and held their Althing, or national assembly, 
at Thingvalla 

Many of the Northmen who at various times had 
settled on our shores, accompanied by their acquired 
relatives, also set sail and joined their brethren; thus 
making use of Britain as a stepping stone between 
Scandinavia and Iceland. Many traces of these early 
links yet remain. We heard of a family in the island 
that can trace its descent, in a direct line, from a royal 
ancestor of Queen Victoria 

1 Tbt antiquarian book to wbioh wo ba?o already referred, erroneously 
attribatee the discorery to Carder, a Dane of Swedish origin. Oar au- 
thority ie Gf»U BryajuKeeoo, the Ieelandie poet, now resident in Copen* 
bagon, to whose kind n ess we are also indebted for the oopy of thie work 

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Thus, in this distant volcanic island of the Northern 
Sea, the old Danish language was preserved unchanged 
for centuries; while, in the various eddas, were embodied 
those folk-songs and folk-myths, and, in the sagas, those 
historical tales and legends of an age at once heroic and 
romantic, together with that folk-lore which still forms 
the staple of all our old favourite nursery tales, as 
brought with them from Europe and the East by the 
first settlers. 1 All these, as well as the productions of 
the Icelanders themselves, are of great historical and 
literary value. They have been carefully edited and 
published, at Copenhagen, by eminent Icelandic, Danish, 
and other antiquarians. We would refer to the writings 
of Muller, Magnusen, Bafn, Bask, Eyricksson, Torfaus, 
and others. Laing has translated "The Heimskringla," 
the great historical Saga of Snorro Sturleson, into 
English. 1 Various other translations and accounts of 
these singularly interesting eddas, sagas, and ballads, 
handed down by the scalds and Sagamen, are to be met 
with; but by far the best analysis, with translated speci- 
mens, is that contained in Howitt's "Literature and 
Romance of Northern Europe/' • We would call atten- 
tion, in passing, to that Edda, consisting of the original 
series of tragic poems from which the German "Niebel- 
ungen-lied" has been derived. Considered as a series of 
fragments, it is a marvellous production, and, to our 

1 For these bat, we would refer to Thorpe's " Yuletide Stories," 
Dasent's M Popular Tales from the Norse," oar own Nursery Lore, and to 
preceding Stories and Tales in this appendix. 

* Mr. Dafent has since published an admirable translation of * Njal's 
Saga, M which presents a yirid picture of life in Iceland at the end of 
the tenth century. 

1 See the preceding specimens of old Icelandic poetry. 


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thinking, absolutely unparalleled in ancient or modern 
literature, for power, simplicity, and heroic grandeur. 

Christianity was established in Iceland in the year 
1000. Fifty-seven years later, Isleif, Bishop of Skalholt, 
first introduced the art of writing the Roman alphabet, 
thus enabling them to fix oral lessons of history and 
song; for, the Runic characters previously in use were 
chiefly employed for monuments and memorial inscrip- 
tions, and were carved on wood staves, on stone or metal 
On analysis, these rude letters will be found to be crude 
forms and abridgments of the Greek or Roman alphabet 
We have identified them all, with the exception of a few 
letters, and are quite satisfied on this point, so simple 
and obvious is it, although we have not previously had 
our attention directed to the fact 

Snorro Sturleson was perhaps one of the most learned 
and remarkable men that Iceland has produced. 

In 1264, through fear and fraud, the island submitted 
to the rule of Haco, king of Norway: — he who died at 
Kirkwall, after his forces were routed by the Scots at the 
battle of Largs. In 1387, along with Norway, it be- 
came subject to Denmark. In 1529, a printing press 
was established; and in 1550 the Lutheran reformation 
was introduced into the island — which form of worship 
is still retained. 

True to the instinct of race, the early settlers in Ice- 
land did not remain inactive, but looked westward, and 
found scope for their hereditary maritime skill in the 
discovery and colonising of Greenland. They also dis- 
covered Helluland (Newfoundland), Markland (Nova 
Scotia), and Vineland (New England). They were also 
acquainted with American land, which they called 

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Hvitramannaland, (the land of the white men), thought 
to have been North and South Carolina, Georgia, and 
Florida. We have read authentic records of these 
various voyages, extending from A.D. 877 to A.D. 1347. 
The names of the principal navigators are Gunnbioru, 
Eric the Bed, Biarne, Leif, Thorwald, &a But the 
most distinguished of these American discoverers is 
Thorfinn Karlsefhe, an Icelander, "whose genealogy," 
says Bafn, "is carried back, in the old northern annals, 
to Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Scottish, and Irish an- 
cestors, some of them of royal blood." With singular 
interest we also read that, "in A.D. 1266, some priests at 
Gardar, in Greenland, set on foot a voyage of discovery 
to the arctic regions of America. An astronomical obser- 
vation proves that this took place through Lancaster 
Sound and Barrow's Strait to the latitude of Wellington's 

When Columbus visited Iceland in A.D. 1467, he may 
have obtained confirmation of his theories as to the 
existence of a great continent in the west; for, these 
authentic records prove the discovery and colonisation of 
America, by the Northmen from Iceland, upwards of five 
hundred years before he re-discovered it 

The Norman outgoing is the last to which we shall 
here allude. In A.D. 876 the Northmen, under Rollo, 
wrested Normandy from the Franks; and from thence, 
in A.D. 1065, William, sprung from the same stock, 
landed at Hastings* vanquished Harold, and to this day 
is known as the Conqueror of England. It was a contest 
of Northmen with Northmen, where diamond cut dia- 

Instead of a chapter, this subject* we feel, would re- 

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. quire a volume. At the outset we asserted that north- 
ern subjects possessed singular interest for the British 
race. In a very cursory manner we have endeavoured to 
prove it, by shewing that to Scandinavia, as its cradle, 
we must look for the germs of that spirit of enterprise 
which has peopled America, raised an Indian empire, 
and colonised Australia, and which has bound together, 
as one, dominions on which the sun never sets; all, too, 
either speaking, or fast acquiring, a noble language, 
which bids fair one day to become universal. 

The various germs, tendencies, and traits of Scandin- 
avian character, knit together and amalgamated in the 
British race, go to form the essential elements of great- 
ness and success, and, where sanctified and directed into 
right channels, are noble materials to work upon. 

It is Britain's pride to be at once the mistress of the 
seas, the home of freedom, and the sanctuary of the 
oppressed. May it also be her high honour, by wisely 
improving outward privileges, and yet further developing 
her inborn capabilities, pre-eminently to become the 
torch-bearer of pure Christianity — with its ever-accom- 
panying freedom and civilisation — to the whole world! 

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Abrasions of Ieedrift, 72, 76, 86 

Academy, 61 

Ailsay, 44 

Akur fcyri, 57 

Almanua Gj*, 77-8% 88-89 

Alsey, 44 

Althing, 86-90, 141 

America discovered by Northmen, 

Amphitheatre, head of Seydisfiord, 

Amptmen, 154 
Anchorage at Reykjavik, 48 
Anglen, 294 
Angles, 303 
Apavatn, 103 

Appearance of Great Geyser, 1-6 
Approach to Faroe, 13 
Approaoh to the Geysers, 106-7 
Arch of rock under water, 11 1 
Arctic discovery in a.d. 1266, 807 
Armann8fell, 140 
Arri?al of Steamer, 50 
Ascent of Hrafnagja, 92 
Ashes carried to Bergen, 169, to 

Faroe, 176, 191 
Auks, 15 

Balls of fire, 164 

Bannockbnrn, Burn's, in Ice- 
landic, 65 

Basin of Great Geyser, 108 

Bay at Reykjavik, 160 

Beok, Rev, S. D. 84 

Beds, 72 

Bells of water, 118 

Berufiord, 199, 201 

Biarni Sveinsson and his sister 
Salvor, 226 

Bible associations, 127-8 

Birches, 91, 100, 106 

Birds very tame, 100 

Biarnarey, 43 

Blaeberries, 106 

Blesi,lll, 136, Blue tint oft 112 

Boats 9 crews, fishing, 99 

Boxes for baggage, 70 

Breida Fiord, 47, 199 

Breidamerks Jukul, 197 

Bressay, 8 

Bridge at Bruara Waterfall, 103-6 

Brimmcs Fjall, 208 

Britain's, honour and duty, 808 

British race, Origin ot, 293 

Brown, Capt. John, of Harper's 

Ferry, 299 
Bruara, 103, Fording of, 103-5, 

Brace's address at Bannookburn, 

in Icelandic, 65 
Brushwood, 91 
BrynjuMfeson, Glsli, 65 
Bunsen's Geyser theory, 124 
Buttercups, 108 
Butterflies, 106 

Canute, 303 

Cathedral at Reykjavik, 48, 62-4 
Celtic nations, Traits of, 298 
Central authority, 297 
Central molten fire, 129 
Chadboume's, Professor, night 

quarters at Farm, 133 
Chalcedony, 204 
CAangeling, The, 257 
Chaos, Iceland in winter like, 76 
Chasms, 91 

3 capped amphitheatre of 
ty introduced, 88, 306 

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Christian Names, 182 
Church Swimming, 170 
, Church at Thorsliavn, 24 
Church re-building, 03 
Churchyard at Reykjavik, 66, at 

Tbingvalla, 141 
Cinder-range, 94-6 
Circassian origin of the Northmen, 

Clearness of northern atmosphere, 

Clergyman's daughter married to 

a Fairy Man, 2*3 
Climate of loeland, 66-58, 67 
Coal. 97 

Coast near Reykjavik, 45 
Cod-fish Heads, 66 
Colonies. Planting, 300, 302 
Coloured Clays, 131 
Columbus, 42, 307 
Column of Fire, 173 
Commissariat on Shipboard, 5 
Conundrum. Icelandic, 55 
Cooking at the Geysers, 115 
Coppice, 91 
Cormorants, 15 
Corrivreekau, 13 
Corrugated Lara, 76, 86, 139 
Costume of the Faroese, 22, 28, 

29; of loslandio Ladies, 61, 

52, 68 
Cowper on Earthquakes and 

Volcanoes, 193 
Cragsmen, 14 
Crater, Extinct, 93-4 
Crimes, 156 
Criminals, 88 
Cnrlsw, 72, 134 

Dark School, The, 219 
Danish Monopolists, 41*2 
Death of the Old Norse King, 206 

Do. in Icelandic, 207 
Defile, 79 

Derivation of name Faroe, 12 
Descent Into Alntannagjd, 78—81 
Diapcnsla, 74 
Dimon, 14 
Dirty Habits, 98 
Distaff in use, 207 
Distance, Ideas *, compounded, 47. 

Dome of water, 118 

Donny, M., of Ghent's Geyser 

Experiment, 126 
Drainage needed, 142 
Drttngr, 44 

Dream at the Geyser, 116 
Dried Fish, 99 
Drongs, 179 
Druid days 296 
Dwarf Willows, 139 
Dyrh61aey, 39 

Earthquakes, 164, 169, 172, 173, 
176,176. List of, 196 

East, Iceland recalls the, 101, lu.\ 

East ooost, 197 

Education, 61-2 

Eider-down, 64. Docks, 48 

Einars-dntngr, 44 

Eldey,46, 162 

Endurance, Powers of, 298 

English Tapestry and Linen in 
Iceland, 41 

Eric, 41, 307 

Erlendsey, 44 

Eruptions, List of, 196-6 

Essian Mountains, 160 

Evening at Governor's, 144 

Exports from Faroe, 25 

Extinct Geypers, 110 

EyafiallaJokul, 162 

Factories, 200, 203, Mr. Hender- 
son's, 202 

Fair, Annual, 99 

Fair Isle, 7-8, 214 

Fairy Tales, 226 

Famine and pestilenoe, 172, 192 

Farms, 72, i>6-8, 101. Above 
Seydisfiord, 205. Fifty de- 
stroyed, 173 

Faroese, 12-34, 209 

Fardese Atmospherio effects, 33. 
Birds, 16, 34. Boatman, 28. 
Boatmen in saloon of steamer, 
212. Book, 211. Cataracts, 
33. Interior, Mediooval aspect 
of; 26. Knives, 26 Lakes, 33. 
Tidal currents, 33 

Fnxa Fiord, 47, 199 

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Fellow traveller!, 8 
Kerne, 88 

Feudal system, 307 
Fiords, 1 08-201 . Uses of, 200 
First sight of Iceland, 38 
Fisheries at Weetmanna Islands, 40 
Fishermen ou Ea*t coast of Scot- 
laud, 0* 
Fishing boats, Faroese, 28 
Fish, Mode of en toning, at Lax-elr, 

Fissures at Althing, containing 

water, 87 
Fitful Head, 8 
Fishermen's houses at Reykjavik, 

Flames and floods, 168, 171 
Flosi, 87 

Flowers larger in the North, 73 
Fly, The, 2*24 
Foaming fire-ntream, 180 
Foam-flnkes, 9 
Folk- lore, 805 
Food, 07 
Foola, 10 

Forest, Dwarf, 01, 100 
Formation of Faroe islands, 12-13, 

Fort at Thorshavn, 23 

Free institutions, 206, 300 
French policy and interests in 

Iceland, 58-0 
Frodi, An, 125 
Front street of Reykjavik, 52 
Frost, Action of, on rooks, 14 
Fuel, 07 

Garden-plots at Reykjavik, 67 

Geirfuglasker, 44 

Geranium, Wild, 73 

German race, 203 

Germs of British character, 208, 

Geyser bumpers, 180 
Geysers, how formed, 100, 100 
Geyser Eruption, 117* Expedition, 

Arranging for, 50-1 
Geyser ground, 123 
Geyser water, Analysis of, 100 
Gilitrntt, 240 

Glaciers, SO, 170 

Glades, 74 

Glen above Seydisfiord, 203 

Globes, Vast red- hot, 174 

Glossary, 202 

Goblin, The, and the Cowherd, 222 

Goblin's Whistle, The, 223 

GoldbringO*, Sysia, 00 

Government, 154 

Governor, 154 

Graud eruption of Great Geyser, 

Grassy plot, 74 
Great Geyser, 107 
ftrimsey, Island of, 57 
Gritty slope, 107-8 
Granvatn, 103 
Guide, 50 
Guillemots, 15 
Gudmundsson, M., 157 
Gudrun and Sigurd, 265 
Gusts in Faroe, 28 

Haoo, 306 

Harold Harfagra, 304 
Hastings, 307 
Haukadal, 103, 107 

Bird's eye view of, 126 
« HavaimU," The, or High Song of 

Odin, 265 
Hay-harvest, 84. In tuns, 85, 08. 

200 Loads of, destroyed, 167. 
Head-dress of Icelandic females, 

40, 61, 68 
Heimaklettur, 43 
Heimaey, 40 
Hekla, 00, 135, Eruption ot iu 

a.d. 1766. 136. Abode of 

Ilela, 138 
Heradsthing, 155 
Hermann ess, II 
Ilildur tho Fairy Queen, 244 
lIolunH 137 
Hornafiord, 108 
Horses surefooted, 73, 75, 80, 02. 

Hostess' duties to Guosta, 133-4 
Hotel at Reykjavik, 64, 140 
Hot Springs, 112. At Laager - 

vatn, 06 
Houses of Faroese Fishermen, *2I 

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Houses at Reykjavik, 67 
Household Suffrage, 163 
Hraiha Gjd, 70, 89, 92, 139 
Hummocks on pasture land, 85 
Hong-milk, 97 
Hvita, 108 

lee-floes from Greenland, 55-8 
Icebergs from Spitsbergen, 5A-8 
lcedrift, KffeeU of, 72, 76, 86 
Iceland Spar, 144, where found, 

Ireland left behind, 209 
Illusory feeling over flowing water, 

In door occupations, 98 
Injolf, 804 
Intercourse between Britain and 

Iceland in Fifteenth century, 

Inundations of melted lee, 166 
Islands Minni, 146 
Islendingur newnpaper, 157 
Islet-patches, 108 

Jseksof-all-trades, 98 
Joknls. 106 

Jokukui, 197. formed, 166 
Jonsbook, 15A 
Jouson, Rector, 157 
Jutes, 803 

Kaupstadr, 40 
Kirkuboe, Church ot 210 
Kiss of peace, 102 
Kitchen fires, 72 
Kittiwskes, 16 
Kleiservatn, 158 
Krisuvik.45. Ride to, 168 
Kfltlugj**, 125, 162. Eruptions of, 

Lambs, Mode of carrying, 101 

LandJbgged, It* 

Lang J&ul, 1«3 

Lang-spiel, 144 

Laugervalla, 96, 99, 108 

Laugervatn, 96 

Language, Scandinavian element 

in, 294 
Lauuay's, CapU vessel, AgtU, 160 

Latin conversation, 85, 141 
Latin Vowel Sounds, 34 
Lara-blister, 93 
Lava, ejected by Skaptar, Bulk of, 

Lara- waste, 74, 86 
Lava-streams, Fluid, 188. Extent 

of. 1.00 
Lay of the Vikings, 278. do. in 

Icelandio, 279 
Laxrt,l03 . 

Lax-elv, or salmon river, 71 
Leather bottle, 101 
Leif. 307 

Lerwick, 8. Sloop, 211 
Library at Reykjavik, 162. at 

Thorshavn, 23-4 
Lighthouse north of Orkney, 214' 
Lime juice, 151 

Literature, Icelandic love of, 62 
Little breakfast, 149 
Little Geyser, 107, 111,114,133 
Lubner, Miss, visit to 211 
Logberi, 86-90 
Love of country, 145 
Love of truth, 298 
Lutheran Service at Thorshavn, 


Maelsek, 46 
Magna Charta, 297 
Magnetio stones, 137 
Mackenzie's, Sir George, Geyser 

theory, 121 
Markarfliot, 177 
Meddomsmen, 155 
Meeting on the Althing, 8«-9 
Milk diet, 97-8 
Mits with two thumbs, 53-4 
Mortality of children, 98 
Mosquitoes, 105 
Mud-caldrons, 158 
Municipal institutions, 297 
Mural precipice, 78 
Myrdafs Jokul, 162 

Naalsbe, 16, 212 
Kaddodr, 304 
National Song, J 44 
Native Manufactures of Iceland, 

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Needle Rocks or Drongs, 88 

Nosey, 76 

Newspapers, 157 

Njal»s Sin, 305. Scene of, 177 

Nordurfari, 65 

Noim Language, 185 

None Words, 294, Customs, 295 

Norfolk eeauaeree with Iceland, 41 

Norman outgoing, 307 

Northern "Dim* 116 

Northmen, The, 293. Traces of, 
294, 303. Invade England, 
303. In Russia, 303. 

Nov, 9 

Occupations of Fariiese, 26. Of 

the Icelanders, 181. 
OM Nick Made himself at little 

m he was able, 224 
Olfusa, 103 
Oncfo Jiikul, 185 
Organ in Church at Thorshavn, 29 
Onr Scandinavian Ancestors, 293 
Outfit for Iceland, 2, 2H9 
Out-door Occupations, 98 
Oxer*, 82, 88-90, MO. Waterfall 

of, 78 

Pack of Lava Blocks, 86 
Pdlston's, Rot. Olaf, Library, 60-1 
Parliament, Functions ot, U8. 

Assembled, 152 
Parnassia, 91, 108 
Pasturage covered with ashes. 

169, 172, 191 
Perseverance, 298 
Personal Liberty, 297 
Pet Raven, 209 
Petrifactions, Geyser, 108 
Piratical Habits, 294, 300, 303 
Plain, 94, 
Plateau, 74, 
Planters, 299 
Plopping Pits, 107, 
Ploughs, 85 

Plover, Golden, 75, 93, 100 
Pluck, 301 

Poems on Northern Subjects, 278 
Poetry, Specimens of old Icelandic 


Ponies, 51. Guided by the heel, 

100. Lea to shift for the*. 

selves, 106. Adventure of a, 

Population of Faroe, 13, 26. Of 

Iceland, 61 
Porpoises, 18 
Portland, 179,182,184 
Portland Huk, 38 
Premonitory symptoms of Ofyeer 

eruptions, 113 
Preserved salmon, 71 
Priest's house, 82, 90 
Produce, 203 
Ptarmigan, 100 
Puffins, 15 
Pumice, 137 
Puritan Fathers, 299 

Rainfall, 55-6 

Rake, 85 

Rampart, 79 

Randrop, Mr., 60 

Rango of varicoloured lulls, 94*5 

Raven, Tame, 204 

Ravine, 73 

Red-hot stones, 189 

Relay ponies, 71, 75 

Remembrance of Iceland, The, 1 47 

Representative parliaments, 153, 

29C, 304 
Retrospect of Icelandic travel, 

Reverence, 298 
Reydarfiord, 199, 204, 209 
Reykjanes, 45, 162 
Reykjavik, 48—68, 143. Library 

of, 63-4 
Ride to the Geysers, 69 
River disappears, 188 
Rock-walls, 78, 79, 82 
Rolling of ship, 35 
Roll©, 307 
Rover, Norse, 300 
Runic characters, 306 
Run-milk, 97 

Smmund gets the living of Oddi. 

221. Stories of; 219 
Sagas, *05 

Digitized by 




. Salmon-proem of Europe, Iceland 

the, 59. Hirer, 144 
^Salutations, 101-2 
Sandey, 76 
Sand-glasses in ohureh at Thorn* 

ham, 24 
Saula-hleith, Ul 
Scalds, 305 

SeandinaYian Ancestors, Oar, 293 
Scoria, 74 
Scythe, 85 
Sen-birds, Graceful moiione oft 89 

Swnnne of, 40, 48 
Sea training, 294, 801 
Sea pinks, 76, 108 
Sea swallows, 134 
Sea-fowls need as food, 16 ' 
Sea-gull shot, 16 
Seamanship, Shetland, 801 
Seething clay. 112 
Self-denial, Self-reliance, 298 
Seydisfiord, 201 
Sheep's knee bone, 101 
Shetland Isles, 8— 11 
Shoes, leelandie, 53 
Showers, 76 
Silex, 132 

Silica in solution, 109 
Silver Trinkets, 53, 60, 150 
Sira, 102 
Sirertsen,Mr.,52-3. Hislatcfon, 


Skaptdr JSknl, 135, 186-7. 

Eruption oft in a.d. 1783, 

Skialdbreid, 140 
Skier, 97-8, 99 
Skifls of the Northmen, 302 
Skogar-foss, 178 
Skua-gulls, 13. Mode of obtaining 

fish, 37 
Sky darkened with dust and ashes, 

166, 170, 171, 174, 189 
Slag. 93 
Slattaretbd, 33 

Sleeping Apartment in Farm, 206 
Sleeping at Thjngralla, 91 
Smith, Or. R. Angus, 132 
Smith, Ioelandio use of the word, 


SmofelTs Jbkul, 47, 161 

Snaps, 203 

Snorro Sturleson, 305 

Snow-birds, 75, 100 > 

Sog. The, 103 

"Sdlar IjdM," or "Sun Song," 

Solheima Sand formed, 165 

Sport, 17-18 

Stappen, 161 

Start for the Geysers, 70 

Statistics, 180-2 

Steaming Holes, 107 

Steward's Dell, 5 

Stook fish, 203 

Stock, Icelanders rear, 96 

Stony Moor, 74 

Store at Seydisfiord, 204 

Streets of Thorsharn, 21 

Strokr, 107, 110, 121, 123. Erup- 
tion of, proroked by turf, 111, 

Stromoe, 15. Cares on, 32, 210 

Stuffed Birds, 150 

Sulphur Banks, 158. Spring, 46 

Sumburgh Head, 8 

Sumpter Ponies, Mode of loading, 

Sunset, 6, 44. Due north, 45 

Surnames, 182 

Surtorbrand, 205 

Sysselmen, 154 

Tabasheer, 109 

Temperature of Geysers, 118. Of 

Faroe, 29. Of Iceland, 55-8 
Tent in a gale, 130 
Terns, 75 
Thea, 149 
Thingvalla,86,92, 140 Lake of, 

76, 92. Vale oft 77-80 
Thiogore, 137 
Thibtbdlfr Newspaper, 137 
ThorUfksson, 62 
Thorsharn, 18-31 
Thorlertbolm, 88 
Thorpe, 200 
Thrasi's Treasure, 178 
Thorwaldsen's Font, 63 
ThyokTuboe, 169 
Thyme, 94, 108 

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Time of Henry III, 41 
Tints of Mountain* 47, 60. 

Peeks, Reykjavik, 160 
Tintren, Crater of, 93-4 
Toilet at the Geyser, 120 
Tourists, Information lor intend* 

ing. 2 
Traokless wastes, 75 
Tracks worn in Turf, 100 
Traffic, 203 

Trampe, Count Von, 58 
Transparency of Atmosphere, 141 
Trap Hills in Faroe, 13, 82 
Trial by Jury, 300 
Trout, 83 
Tun, 72, 85, 96 
, Tfagufljot, 103 
' Turf-fires, 72 
Turf-room, 10, 21, 40, 49, 82, 00, 

Two-thumbed mite, 149 

Una the Fairy, 235 
Unpacking Traps, 83 

Vale of Thingvalla, 77-80 
Varder or Guiding Marks, 75 
Vegetables grown, 67 
Velvet Turf; 106 
Ventilation on Shipboard, 11 

Vtfron's, Cant, Vessel, AHtmisc, 

Vor-tima, 98 

Vestments of the Bishop, 63 
Videy, 48 

Vikings, 301. Raven, The, 281 
Volcanic History, 193. Sand, 93. 

Wastes, 72 
Voluspa* 260 

War, Thirst for, 298 
Waterfalls, 39. Of the Oxera, 90. 

Above Seydisflord, 204 
Waterfloods, 167, 172 
Waterfowl, Lines to, 36 
Westmanna Islands, 39-45. In 

the 18th and 19th century, 

Westmanna Skerries, 43, 44 
Westmannshavn, 40 
Whales, 179-80. Whale-flesh, 22. 

Rib-rafters, 72. Steak, 213 
Whirlpool at the Monk, 13 
Wild-flowers, 74 t 88, 100, 134 
Wilderness, 75 
William the Conqueror, 307 
Willows, Dwarf; 91, 100, 106 
Witchcraft, 88 
Wrinkled rock-snrfaces, 76, 86, 130 

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Just Publiahod, foolscap 8vo. price 5s. cloth. 
Niw Editioh. 





Andrew James Symington. 

Al$o t by tk* $om Author, 




In 3 roU. crown 8vo. price 21t. doth. 


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TACKSON AND GRAHAM having, in addition to their 
** former extensive Premises, annexed No*. 33 and 34, Oxford Street, 
respectfully invite the public to visit their Manufactory, Show-Rooms, 
and Galleries. In their Manufactory J. & G. have introduced machinery, 
worked by steam power, in various operations, for the manufactmc of 
caoinet furniture, together with all known means and appliances necessary 
to insure superiority, and economise the cost of production. Their 
spacious show-rooms and galleries, comprising five houses in Oxford 
Street, and extending into Perry's Place, Preston Place, Newman Yard, 
and the rear of Nos. 5, 6, and 7, Newman Street, all communicating and 
adjoining, comprise a superficial area of more than 27,000 feet, and are 
filled with a stock unrivalled for extent, quality, and taste; the prices of 
which are marked in plain figures at the most moderate rate for ready 
money. Four show rooms, each 130 feet long, are exclusively devoted 
to Bedsteads of iron, brass, and various woods, and to suites of Chamber 
Furniture, in Walnut, Birch, Sal in-wood, Maple, and Mahogany, suitable 
for best rooms, and polished and painted deal for secondary rooms and 
servants* apartments. To form an adequate idea of the extent and re* 
sources of the (establishment, or the sidvama^es it offers to the public, a 
visit is necessary. Each of the undermentioned departments will be 
found as comple'e as if it formed a separate business, vix.: — 

TIONS of all kinds. 

CARPETS of SUPERIOR MANUFACTURE of every description. 



VENETIAN TAPKSTKIES, Chintzes, Utrecht Velvets, Arras, 

Reps, Merino Damasks, Cloths, Sec. &c. 

BEDSTEADS of IRON, BRASS, and various WOODS, and su- 
perior BEDDING and MATTRESSES of all kinds. 

PLATE GLASS, Carving and Oilding. 

GALLERY of BRONZES D'AUT, (sole depot for the productions 
of Babedienne and Co., Paris,) CLOCKS, CANDELABRA, 
VASES, and Ornamental Porcelain. 

The public are thus enabled to select their paper hangings or decora- 
tions, carpets, curtains, and furniture all in harmony with each other, 
without the trouble and inconvenience of going to different houses. 

33, 34, 35, 37, and 38, OXFORD STREET, Perry's Place, 

Freston Place, and Newman Yard, ^ 

Ailjoin'mg at the Rear. A i , /• 

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