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have in calling upon him, if he would name an hour convenient to himself; and I was awaiting my messenger's return with some impatience, when suddenly I heard the thump of his heavy sea boots on the deck above. In a few moments he entered the cabin, and reported that the governor was absent, but that his office was temporarily filled by a gentleman who had been good enough to accompany him on board, – the surgeon of the settlement, Doctor Molke; and then stepping aside, Doctor Molke passed through the narrow doorway and stood before me, bowing. I bowed in return, and bade him welcome, saying, I suppose, just what any other person would have said under like circumstances, (not, however, supposing for a moment that I was understood,) and then, turning to the officer, I signified my wish that he should act as interpreter. But that was needless. My Greenland visitor answered me, in pure, unbroken English, with as little hesitation as if he had spoken no other language all his life; and in conclusion he said: “I come to invite you to my poor house, and to offer you my service. I can give you but a feeble welcome in this outlandish place, but such as I have is yours; and if you will accompany me ashore, I shall be much delighted.” The delight was mutual ; and it was not many minutes before, seated in the stern sheets of a whale-boat, we were pulling towards the land. My new-found friend interested me at once. The surprise at finding myself addressed in English was increased when I discovered that this Greenland official bore every mark of refinement, culture, and high breeding. His manner was wholly free from restraint; and it struck me as something odd that all the self-possession and ease of a thorough man of the world should be exhibited in this desert place. He did not seem to be at all aware that there was anything incongruous in either his dress or manner and his present situation; yet this man, who sat with me in the stern sheets of a battered whale
boat, pulling across a Greenland harbor to a Greenland settlement, might, with the simple addition of a pair of suitable gloves, have stepped as he was into a ball-room without giving rise to any other remark than would be excited by his bearing. His graceful figure was well set off by a neatly fitting and closely buttoned blue frock-coat, ornamented with gilt buttons, and embroidered cuffs, and heavily braided shoulder-knots. A decoration on his breast told that he was a favorite with his king. His finely shaped head was covered by a blue cloth cap, having a gilt band and the royal emblems. Over his shoulders was thrown a cloak of mottled sealskins, lined with the warm and beautiful fur of the Arctic fox. His cleanly shaven face was finely formed and full of force, while a soft blue eye spoke of gentleness and good-nature, and with fair hair completed the evidences of Scandinavian birth. My curiosity became much excited. “How,” thought I, “in the name of everything mysterious, has it happened that such a man should have turned up in such a place P” From curiosity I passed to amazement, as his mind unfolded itself, and his tastes were manifested. I was prepared to be received by a fur-clad hunter, a coppery-faced Esquimau, or a meek and pious missionary, upon whose face privation and penance had set their seal; but for this high-spirited, high-bred, graceful, and evidently accomplished gentleman, I was not prepared. I could not refrain from one leading observation. “I suppose, Doctor Molke,” said I, “that you have not been here long enough to have yet wholly exhausted the novelty of these noble hills | * “Eleven years, one would think,” replied he, “ought to pretty well exhaust anything; and yet I cannot say that these hills, upon which my eyes rest continually, have grown to be wearisome companions, even if they may appear something forbidding.” Eleven years among these barren
hills ! Eleven years in Greenland !! married a native of the country, and reSurely, thought I, this is something joices in a brood of half-breeds, among “passing strange."
whom are four girls, rather dusky, but The scene around us as we crossed not ill-favored. Next in order is the the bay was indeed imposing, and, government-house, — that pitch-coated though desolate enough, was certainly structure near the flag-staff. This is not without its bright and cheerful side. the only building, you observe, that Behind us rose a majestic line of cliffs, can boast of a double tier of windows. climbing up into the clouds in giant Next, a little higher up, you see, is my steps, picturesque yet solid, - a great own lodge, bedaubed with pitch, like massive pedestal, as it were, support- the other, to protect it against the asing mountain piled on mountain, with saults of the weather, and to stop the caps of snow whitening their summits, little cracks. Down by the beach, a and great glaciers hanging on their little farther on, that largest building sides. Before us lay the town, - built of all is the store-house, &c., where the upon a gnarled spur of primitive rock, Governor keeps all sorts of traps for which seemed to have crept from under- trade with the natives, and where the neath the lofty cliffs, as a serpent from shops are in which the cooper fixes up its hiding-place, and, after wriggling the oil-barrels, and where other like through the sea, to have stopped at industrial pursuits are carried on. A length, when it had almost completely little farther on you observe a low enclosed a beautiful sheet of water structure where the oil is stored. On about a mile long by half a mile broad, the ledge above the shop you see anleaving but one narrow, winding en- other pitchy building. This furnishes trance to it. Through this entrance quarters for the half-dozen Danish emthe swell of the sea could never come ployees,- fellows who, not having marto disturb the silent bay, which lay ried native wives, hunt and fish for the there, nestling among the dark rocks glory of Denmark. Near the den of beneath the mountain
shadows, as calm- these worthies you observe another, — ly as a Swiss lake in an Alpine valley. a duplicate of that in which lives the
But the rocky spur which supported cook. There lives the royal cooper ; on its rough back what there was of and not far from it are two others, not the town wore a most woe-begone and quite so pretentious, where dwell the distressed aspect. A few little patches carpenter and blacksmith, - all of whom of grass and moss were visible, but have followed the worthy example of generally there was nothing to be seen the cook, and have dusky sons and but the cold gray-red naked rocks, daughters to console their declining broken and twisted into knots and years. You may perhaps be able to knobs, and cut across with deep and distinguish a few moss-covered hovels ugly cracks. I could but wonder that dotted about here and there, - perhaps on such a dreary spot man should ever there may be twenty of them in all, think of seeking a dwelling-place ; and though there are but few of them in my companion must have interpreted sight. These are the huts of native my thoughts, for he pointed to the hunters. At present they are not ocsbore, and said playfully, “Ah! it is cupied, for, being without roofs that will true, you behold at last the fruits of turn water, the people are compelled to wisdom and instruction,-a city found- abandon them when the snow begins ed on a rock.” And then, after a mo- to melt in the spring, and betake themment's pause, he added: " Let me point selves to seal-skin tents, some of which out to you the great features of this you observe scattered here and there new wonder. First, to the right there, among the rocks. And now I 've underneath that little, low, black, peaked shown you everything, - just in time, roof, dwells the royal cook, - a Dane too, for here we are at the landing." who came out here a long time ago, We had drawn in close to the end of
a narrow pier, run out into the water account, if on no other, I was not sorry on slender piles, and, quickly ascending when we reached our destination... some steps, the Doctor led the way up “You like not this Greenland odor?" to his house. The whole settlement said my conductor. “Luckily it does had turned out to meet us, men, wo- not reach me here, or I should seek a men, children, and dogs, - which lat still higher perch to roost on";- sayter, about two hundred in number, ing which, he opened the door and led "little dogs and all,” set up an ear- the way inside, first through a little vessplitting cry, wild and strangely in tibule into a square hall, where we dekeeping with every other part of the posited our fur coats, and then to the scene, and like nothing so much as right, into a small room furnished with the dismal evening concert of a pack a table, an old pine bench, a single of wolves. The children, on the other chair, a case with glass doors containhand, kept quiet, and clung to their ing white jars and glass bottles having mothers, as all children do in ex- Latin labels, and smelling dreadfully of citing times; the mothers grinned doctor's stuffs. and laughed and chattered, “as be- “I always come through here," said comes the gentler sex” in the savage my host, “after passing the town. It state ; while the men, all smoking short gives the olfactories a new sensation. clay pipes, (one of their customs bor- This, you observe, is the place where rowed from civilization,) looked on with I physic the people." that air of stolid indifference peculiar "Have you many patients, Doctor ?" to the male barbarian. They were I inquired. mostly dressed in suits of seal-skins, “Not very many; but, considering but some of them wore greasy Guern- that I go sometimes a hundred miles sey frocks and other European cloth- or so to see the suffering sinners, I ing. Many of the women carried cun- have quite enough to satisfy me. Not ning-looking babies strapped upon their much competition, you know. But backs in seal-skin pouches. The heads come, we have some lunch waiting for of men and women alike were for the us in the next room, and Sophy will be most part capless; but every one of growing impatient.” the dark, beardless faces was sur- A lady, eh ? mounted by a heavy mass of straight, The room into which the Doctor uncombed, and tangled jet-black hair. ushered me was neatly furnished. On There were some half-breed girls stand the walls were hung some prints and ing in little groups upon the rocks, who, paintings of fruits and animals and adding something of taste to the simple flowers, and in the centre stood a small need of an artificial covering for the round table covered with dishes carebody, were attired in dresses, which, fully placed on a snowy cloth. although of the Esquimau fashion, were All very nice, but who's Sophy ? quite neatly ornamented. While pass- The Doctor tinkled a little bell, the ing through this curious crowd, the eye tones of which told that it was silver ; could not but find pleasure in the novel and then, all radiant with smiles and scene, the more especially as the delight beaming with good-nature, Sophy enof these half-barbarous people was ex- tered. A strange apparition. cited to the highest pitch by the strange “ This is my housekeeper,” said the being who had come among them. Doctor, in explanation; “speak to the
But if what the eye drank in gave American, Sophy." delight, less fortunate the nose ; for And, without embarrassment or pausfrom about the store-house and the ing for an instant, she advanced and native huts, and, indeed, from almost bade me welcome, addressing me in everywhere, welled up that horrid odor fair English, and extending at the of decomposing oil and fish and flesh same time a delicate little hand, which peculiar to a fishing-town. On this peeped out from cuffs of eider-down.
“ I am glad," said she, " to see Sophy dotted the clean white cloth, the American. I have been looking the “luck” was perfect, and there was through the window at him ever since nothing further to desire. he left the ship.”
“Ah ! here we are," said my enter“Now, Sophy," said the Doctor, “let tainer. “Sophy wishes to make amends us see what you have got us for lunch." for the dryness of her fare. This is a
“O, I have n't anything at all, Doc- choice Margaux, and I can recommend tor Molke,” answered Sophy; “but it. But, Sophy, here, you have n't I hope the American will excuse me warmed this quite enough. Ah! my until dinner, when I have some nice dear sir, you experience the trouble trout and venison.”
of a Greenland life. One can never ** Pot-luck,' as I told you,” exclaimed get his wines properly tempered.” my host. “But never mind, Sophy, let's One cannot get his wines properly have it, be it what it may.” And tempered !-- and this is the trouble of Sophy tripped lightly out of the room a Greenland life!! “Surely,” thought to do her master's bidding.
I, "one might find something worse “ A right good girl that,” said the than this." Doctor, when the door was closed. “Here," picking up the next bottle, “ Takes capital care of me.”
“ we have some Johannisberg, very fine Strange Sophy! A pretty face of as I can assure you ; but I have little dusky hue, and a fine figure attired fancy even for the best of these Rhenin native costume, neatly ornamented ish wines. Too much like a pretty and arranged with cultivated taste. woman without soul. They never Pantaloons of mottled seal-skin, and warm the imagination. There's someof silvery lustre, tapered down into thing better to build upon there close long white boots, which enclosed the beside your elbow. Since the claret 's neatest of ankles and the daintiest of forbidden us for the present, I 'll drink feet. A little jacket of Scotch plaid, you welcome in that rich Madeira. with a collar and border of fur, coy- Why, do you know, sir,” rattled on the ered the body to the waist, while Doctor, as I passed the bottle, seemfrom beneath the collar peeped up a ingly rejoiced in his very heart at pure white cambric handkerchief, coy- having some one to talk to, -“ do you ering the throat; and heavy masses know, sir, that I have kept that by me of glossy black hair were intertwined here these ten years past? My good with ribbons of gay red. Marvel- old father sent it to me as a mark lous Sophy! Dusky daughter of a of special favor. Why, sir, it has a Danish father and a native mother. pedigree as long as one of Locksley's From her mother she had her rich cloth-yard shafts. But the pedigree will brunette complexion and raven hair; keep : let's prove it," - and he filled up from her father, Saxon features, and two dainty French straw-stem glasslight blue Saxon eyes.
es, and pledged me in the good old If the housekeeper attracted my at- Danish style. Then, when the claret tention, so did the dishes which she came back, this time all rightly temset before me. Smoked salmon of pered, the Doctor filled the glasses, exquisite delicacy, reindeer sausages, and hoped that, when I “left this place, reindeer tongues nicely dried and thin- the girls would pull lustily on the towly sliced, and fine fresh Danish bread, ropes.” made up a style of “pot-luck” calcu- Hunger and thirst were soon aplated to cause a hungry man from the peased. “And now," said the Doctor, high seas and sailors' “ prog” to wish when this was done, “I know you are for the same style of luck for the re- dying for the want of something fresh mainder of his days. But when all and green. You have probably tasted this came to be washed down with the nothing that grew out of dear old Mothcontents of sundry bottles with which er Earth since leaving home" ;-and
he tinkled his silver bell again, and So- lunch and chatted for a while, the Docphy of the silver seal-skin pantaloons tor surprised me again by asking if I and dainty boots tripped softly through would like a game of billiards. (Bilthe door.
liards in Greenland, as well as radish“ Sophy, have n't you a surprise for es!) “ But first,” said he, “let us try the American ?”
this sunny Burgundy. Ah! these red Sophy smiled knowingly, and said, wines are the only truly generous “ Yes," as she retreated. In a mo- wines. They monopolize all the senment she came back, carrying a little suous glories and associations of the silver dish, with a little green pyramid fruit. With these red wines one drinks upon it. Out from the green peeped in the very soul and sentiment of the little round red globes, – radishes, as I lands which grow the grapes that breed lived! - round red radishes ! - ten them.” round red radishes!
“Even if drank in Greenland ? " “What! radishes in Greenland !” I “Yes, or at the very Pole. Geoexclaimed involuntarily..
graphical lines may confine our bodies; “Yes, and raised on my own farm, but nature is an untamed wild, where too ; you shall see it by and by.” The the spirit roams at will. If I am here Doctor was enjoying my surprise, and hemmed in by barren hills, and live in Sophy looked on with undisguised sat a desert waste, yet, as one of your isfaction. Meanwhile I lost no time in sweetest poets has put it, my tumbling the pyramid to pieces, and
“Fancy, like the finger of a clock, crunching the delicious bulbs. They Runs the great circuit and is still at home'; disappeared in a twinkling. Their rich and truly, I believe that I have in this and luscious juices seemed to pour at retreat about as much enjoyment of once into the very blood, and to tingle life as they who taste of it more freeat the very finger-tips. I never knew ly; for while I can here feel all the before the full enjoyment of the fresh world's warm pulsations, I am freed growth of the soil. After so long a from its annoyances : if the sweet is deprivation it was indeed a strange, as less sweet, the bitter is less bitter. it will remain a lasting sensation. Ney. But - Well, let's have the billiards." er to my dying day shall I forget the My host now led the way into the ten radishes of Greenland.
billiard-room, which was tastefully or“You see that I was right,” ex- namented with everything needful to claimed my host, after the vigorous as- harmonize with a handsome table standsault was ended. “And now," con- ing in its centre, upon which we were tinued he, addressing Sophy, “bring soon knocking the balls about in an the other things.”
ill-matched game, for he beat me sadly. The “ other things” proved to be a I was much surprised at the skilfulness plate of fine lettuce, a bit of Stilton of his play, and remarked that I thought cheese, and coffee in transparent little it something singular that he “should china cups, and sugar in a silver bowl, there find any one to keep him so well and then cigars, - everything of the best in hand.” and purest; and as we passed from one “Ah! my dear sir," said he, “you thing to another, I became at length have yet much to learn. This country persuaded that the Arctic Circle was a is not so bad as you think for. Sophy myth, that my cruise among the ice- - native-born Sophy — is my antagobergs was a dream, and that Greenland nist, and she beats me three times out was set down wrongly on the maps. of five." Wonderful Sophy! Long before this I had been convinced The game finished, my host next that Doctor Molke was a most mysteri- led the way into his study. A charmous character, and wholly unaccount- ing retreat as ever human wit and inable.
genuity devised. It was indeed rather After we had finished this sumptuous a parlor than a study. The room was