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selves on board a yacht, was ready to take | grew denser, the pines became more imus up the Göta Elf against stream. Here posing, and the hills seemed to draw closer the river has not yet joined the sea on its in around us. When we reached Trolljourney from the great Lake Venern, after hättan the sun had already set, but the leaping the Trollhättan, and it is much wonderful northern twilight did but soften narrower than below Gothenburg, where the contours of the distant hills, leaving an its waters mingle with ocean. Immedi- opal glow which, as late as ten o'clock, ately upon leaving the town the charm of made it possible to read a letter in the the journey began to grow. open air. Trollhättan means the "roaring wizard," and the falls fully justify the mythic title. On the top of a steep hill just above our landing-place lies the village of the same name, overlooking that part of the river which flows from Lake Venern towards the fall. Here the stream runs placidly enough, winding past mossy banks, with graceful weeping silver birches moistening the tips of their leaves in the current. But near to the hotel the bed narrows suddenly; a little farther on the river leaps down among large boulders in a curved volume of deep green water, which at once is churned into a wealth of bubbling foam. Leaping the rocks again and again, it rushes downward on a sharp declivity for nearly half a mile.
On either bank were verdant meadows with contented cows placidly browsing. Here and there, from surrounding clumps of feathery birch and larch, peeped forth some substantial homestead, built of timber of course; the dwelling-house painted deep red, relieved by a border of white round the window-frames; the wooden shingled roofs tarred and weather-stained to a sombre blue.
The groups of buildings, thus set in three shades of vivid green, from meadow, birch, and larch, made delightful harmonies of color. They occurred perhaps too rarely, however, the farther Gothenburg was left behind, and presently the sense of being in a large country where space was not yet cramped, and where there was On one side of the cataract the cliff a breadth and vastness that one generally rises high and steep, clothed with closeimagines exists only on the other side of set files of sombre pine-trees, enlivened the Atlantic or at the Antipodes, was here and there with patches of birch. On borne in upon one. We glided by saw- the village side the hill descends gradually mills, either sunk in a dell or hollow on with the falls, and on its top a row of deepthe river's edge, or near a lock, the water red buildings seems almost to overhang the of their mill-ponds supplied by the Elf, torrent. These are merely prosaic ironand falling with full force over the huge works, saw-mills, and other factories that revolving wheels. In adjacent reservoirs use the energy of the fall as motive power; were men with long poles with hooks, sort-but, being built of timber, colored to the ing the pine logs, which, after an adven- universal red tint, their solid outlines do turous and independent course across not clash with, but even lend to the picgreat lakes and down streams, arrive here turesque. From one of these factories an from far away inland. Frequently our iron bridge is thrown across; and, standsteamer would slacken, and peasants (the ing on this, one best realizes the mighty men almost invariably provided with a power of this seething volume, flowing leathern apron, the most distinctive feature incessantly and with giddy velocity be of their dress hereabouts) would come neath one's feet. The noise is deafening, alongside in their boats to fetch sacks of and one wonders unconsciously why this flour and sundry groceries, or a bundle of rush does not finally empty all the lakes children and a wife; or we passed by oth- in Sweden. Above, where the fall beers ashore waiting for the ferry with cart gins, from time to time a log floats unconand horses, their figures reflected in the cernedly to the brink, when suddenly down limpid water. In the distance were vil it is hurled into the fuming cauldron belage spires, and, as a background, an in- low, disappearing, reappearing, end up, to terminable line of bald grey hills with be again and repeatedly flung forward, scanty patches of moss on their hoary only recovering equilibrium when finally tops. Formerly their ridges were thickly reaching less turbulent waters below. covered with pine woods; but, being so The huge trunks cut in midwinter and sent easy of access, these forests were the first adrift in spring to continue their eventful to fall before the constantly growing de- journey, each bear a distinctive mark. At mand from abroad. various stages on the rivers men are staBy imperceptible degrees the character tioned who intercept, sort, and retain of the landscape changed from pastoral to those intended for their particular mill, sylvan. The copses of birch and larch | sending the remainder onward till ulti
mately they reach their destination; but it is generally not until after midsummer, when the hay is safely stacked, that the peasant finds time to visit the mill and settle accounts. Here he goes straight to the sorter's office, where the clerk, having consulted his books and reckoned up how many logs of this particular brand have reached them, takes a piece of chalk and jots down the sum total on his client's back. The latter ambles contentedly off to the head offices sometimes at the other end of the town - where he receives his money, and by the aid of a clothesbrush the account is acquitted. Whether the Swedish chancellor of the exchequer can enforce the affixture of a receipt stamp in these cases I have been unable satisfactorily to ascertain.
Our steamer had passed into a canal by the side of the fall, where, through a succession of locks, she was gradually raised to the level of the river above; an operation that occupies the whole night, which is wisely spent by travellers at the adjacent and comfortable hotel. This canal is a fine piece of engineering work, commenced in 1793 and finished in the beginning of this century. At Venersborg, the capital of Vermland, an old-fashioned, quaint little country town, the Lake Venern opens out broad and wide. This is the largest inland sea in Sweden, and connected with Stockholm through a succession of lakes and canals. Our course lay to the left side, which necessitated a change of steamer, and though our new boat was somewhat smaller than the one we quitted, it was equally commodious, equally clean, white-painted, and well arranged. The lake is large enough to allow of losing sight of land when in the centre, and it can be rough, which, however, in summer time is rare. Following the western coast for some distance, we entered the river Sefle. Through the heart | of Vermland, and away over the frontier, nearly to Kongsvinger in Norway, a string of romantic lakes is opened up by means of this watercourse. The entrance is through a lock so narrow that our crew, standing by the bulwark, were able comfortably to put a leg over on to the quay and, by a judicious push, aid the steamer through. Here is the town of Sefle, which, to judge from several three-storied, white-painted buildings, should be of some importance; for in this part of the world white paint seemed to indicate a higher level of refinement, the picturesque red being mainly confined to rural homesteads.
Soon the stream widened into a broad expanse, bordered alternately with rich arable land, pastures, or dense forests, and dotted with islets covered with copsewood; then again narrowing to a channel, it led to a fresh lake. Every moment frightened teal and duck rose on the wing and passed overhead. We saw large viliages, with substantial, well-to-do houses surrounding the church, and frequently glimpses were caught of the gables and high roof of some pretentious mansion standing in its own grounds, with extensive farm buildings at its back. The estates in this part of the country are very fine, some of them with as much as forty thousand acres of forest. In one of the lakes an isolated church, perched on the brink of a steep hill, was faithfully reflected, even to the golden cross on its spire, in the placid blue beneath. Later it was my privilege, one Sunday, to witness the congregation, in smart attire, arriving from all sides of the lake in fouroared boats to attend divine service here. On week-days, returning in the evening from their labor, they accompany the measured stroke of their oars with song, and their voices, floating across the water, are caught up and melodiously echoed against the close-set ranks of pines. Otherwise the most striking characteristic of these tracts is the prevailing stillness. The rumble of wheels and cracking of whips are seldom heard, the waterway being greatly preferred for the carting of hay from the meadows, etc., or as a route to the nearest town. The deep aisles of the forest are silent. No birds chirp and twitter between the needles of the pine boughs, only now and again the gentle ripple of a brook, scattering itself over rocks that seem soft as velvet from their thick covering of moss, falls on the ear, or a few dry twigs crackle for a moment as a fox slips through the bank into its hole: these are the only sounds in spring. The early morning, before sunrise, however, is an exception. Then the capercailzie gives forth his curious notes, that most resemble the sound of wine poured from a long-necked bottle; the woodcock and blackcock flutter in the open spaces, and the squirrel mounts hastily to the top of the tree to watch the figure of man creeping stealthily on his prey. The croak of the "hoodies a large crow - is heard near a glade and round the clearings. Jackdaws are plentiful, growing bold near the houses, and still managing joyfully to secrete an occasional spoon.
My destination reached, I was put
ashore at a small private landing-stage. | cutting the Gordian knot. When a casual Having proceeded up a broad birch-tree acquaintanceship has ripened into genial avenue two miles long, and through a gar- sympathy or mutual respect, your Swedish den, I stood before an imposing white friend at once proposes a brotherhood." mansion with a tall pointed roof. The This is a distinct social ordeal, the initiawide-open hall doors showed me a spa- tion to which demands a special rite. cious ante-room, but it was impossible to man who has requested the honor of bediscover either bell or knocker, and no coming your brother provides you with a one appeared. Within, an open door to glass of wine filled to the brim, he himself the right disclosed a study, or smoking. holding another; both rise, each linking room, with guns and several sets of elks' the right arm of each; looking one anantlers on the walls; to the left, through other boldly in the eyes and pronouncing another open door, a billiard-table was the words Skal bror!* the beakers are visible, and in front a flight of carpeted emptied. Henceforth you are expected to stairs led to the floor above. But no liv- use the pronoun "thou," and you take ing being was anywhere to be seen. Hav- your stand on the footing of relationship. ing coughed and given other similar signs Among the reminiscences of this visit to of an embarrassed presence, I was about to Vermland is an evening when I acquired mount the stairs, when a large brown dog no less than six new and stalwart brothsuddenly showed himself, and, coming up ers. On the subject of ancienne politesse, to me, placed a damp nose confidingly in I should mention, by the way, that there my hand, bringing forward a pair of shorn is a well-known Swedish gentleman who and pointed ears, wagging a stumpy tail, always gives precedence to his own son, and looking up with an expression that because "he has one ancestor more than plainly said: "Yes, you see, they cut my his father." ears, but I don't mind now. Having ac- The national character is anything but cepted this new acquaintance, I came to gloomy or morose, and social gatherings the conclusion that my best course would and festivities abound. The people, both be to follow wherever he might lead; and high and low, always find happy excuses as presently he returned to the garden, I for dancing, singing, skating, and sledg. did likewise. He appeared flattered, wag-ing, managing in some way or other to ging the stumpy tail emphatically, and then, turning sharply round the corner of a shubbery, revealed to me three young ladies in an arbor, one with a book, one embroidering, and one leaning back, try. ing hard to balance a flower on the tip of a very pretty little nose. At the sight of a stranger there were signs of perturbation, which sensibly increased when they found themselves addressed in a strange tongue. At that moment, however, my host appeared, and, amidst much laughter and in excellent English, made me cordially welcome.
make existence cheerful. Á fine voice is as common property as are dark eyes in Spain, and with the better classes it is generally well trained. The peasants' dress is not particularly curious, though an occasional red petticoat may help to bring color into the fields; their rich folklore and quaint legends, however, are full of mystic charm, and are still told, and listened to, with awe. Thus, in the house where I was a guest, there had been somewhere about the sixteenth century a certain dame, a widow owning the estate, I who was renowned far and wide for her All through Sweden social intercourse miserly temper and cruelty. Amongst is encumbered with much ceremonious many other things she had one day, in a etiquette, particularly among the landed fit of anger, pushed a poor kitchen wench gentry. The three Scandinavian tongues into a cauldron of boiling water. Enteremploy the two personal pronouns "thou" ing her great drawing-room immediately and "you; "the first familiarly, the sec-after this deed, the irate dame was someond when speaking to a mere acquaint- what surprised to find there, awaiting her, But a well-bred Swedish gentleman a gentleman, grave and decorous, dressed addressing a stranger will always, with in rich black velvet with finest lace rufold-fashioned courtesy, substitute the equivalent for "Monsieur," regardless of harrowing repetitions, and where a title is demanded, even under the difficulties of rapid speech, it is never for a moment omitted. As such politeness, however, in the end becomes both monotonous and wearisome, they have a practical way of
fles, but having a rather fiercely upturned
Your health, brother.
kiss the tips of your sweet fingers?" The stranger here held out a bejewelled hand, and the lady foolishly put hers into it; the next moment they were whirling together in the mazes of a wild waltz. Breathless, she begged to stop, but her cavalier was untiring and held her fast, dancing and dancing till her shoes were worn from her bleeding feet. At last he flew through the wall with his shrieking partner, but where they disappeared a hole remained in the masonry, no bigger than a pea, it is true; nevertheless, by no human skill could it ever be closed. Thus runs the legend, and it is proved by the fact that even now, when modern art has invented all sorts of wall decorations, still there is always a draft in that room!
The tales about "trolls" and other wicked imps should be heard in the forest cabin, especially in the gloaming, when the gaunt old crone has a flickering pine knot on the hearth. Her brow perpetually puckered, she relates her story with a manifest unwillingness that in itself gives great force to the delivery; the flare from the fire throws the rude rafters overhead into weird, fitful prominence, illuminates the scared faces of a couple of youngsters, who cower together in a corner near the window, as the wind moans sadly in the pines or makes a frantic rush at the door. Game of all sorts is plentiful in Vermland. The smaller streams are stocked with trout, while the lakes swarm with teal and wild duck. In the forests are blackcock, woodcock, capercailzie, and, best of all, elk. For the latter, however, the close time extends over eleven months of the year, and only in September is it lawful to shoot this big game. A peculiar breed of dogs which somewhat resembles the Pomeranian spitz, but larger, stronger, and with a rougher coat, is kept for this sport. They are trained to follow and tease the elk in mock combat, thus allowing the hunter to approach his swift and wary quarry, which, even with this aid, often takes a day to stalk. Only a true sportsman and steady shot can bring down an elk, which must be hit in a vital spot, a dozen bullets elsewhere being merely a further incentive for a gallant leap into the distance, where he is forever lost to his pursuer. This fact has caused many Swedish sportsmen to discontinue the drives which formerly occasioned merry autumn gatherings at the country houses. Some years ago the owner of an estate here entertained a shooting-party under remarkable circumstances. His nephew and heir- a youngster who was every
one's favorite and no one's enemy but his own- - made a tour on the Continent, staying for some time in London and Paris and enjoying himself amazingly, but returning discovered that he had unfortunately outrun his uncle's liberal allowance to an extent he dared not confess. The old bachelor listened with grim pleasure to the tales of society, sport, races, and other gaieties abroad, but on pecuniary matters he held views of his own, and his nephew remained bashfully reticent with regard to his difficulties, though these grew steadily more and more oppressive. would do these foreigners good to see what sport there is still in old Sweden!" his uncle had observed with a slight sense of pride one day, and he added that he thought his nephew might with advantage have invited some of his foreign friends for the elk-shooting, which in his forest had been left undisturbed for nearly a quarter of a century. The young fellow caught at the idea, and some six weeks later announced the expected arrival of some Englishmen for the elk season; whereupon the old gentleman rubbed his hands with great satisfaction, and swore he would show his boy's friends what Swedish hospitality was made of. His nephew, however, received this enthusiasm gravely, talked a great deal about what was good form in the present day, and finally insisted that since neither his uncle nor any of his neighbors understood a word of English, the correct thing would be for him to take this opportunity to pay his annual visit to Stockholm. To this startling proposition the old gentleman at first demurred, but as he had never won renown as a shot, he ultimately consented to leave for town when once he had received and installed his guests; upon this point he insisted.
On the day fixed for the arrival of the expected visitors a gorgeous banquet was laid for them, and some other guests invited in their honor in the great hall, and carriages with servants in dress liv. eries were sent to meet the steamer. Whether the four English sportsmen were pleased or otherwise I know not, but considering that they had merely combined to hire this shooting through the Field, without even the remotest knowledge of the name and position of the owner, they must have felt considerably puzzled. I was told that only one was able to sit down to dinner in a dress coat, the others appearing promiscuously in tweeds and norfolks. The young schemer, who had conceived this daring plan for clearing his
debts, knew well that his uncle would be implacable should he discover the real truth about the strangers, and in his anxiety that all might go smoothly, had proposed to send dress suits of his own to their respective rooms, but this offer was declined. The dinner, however, went off well. Completely unsuspecting, the old gentleman sat at the head of his table, beaming genially upon his guests, and making pretty little speeches through the intermediary of his nephew, the only interpreter, who, very nervous, talked profusely. Luckily for this reckless youngster, the Englishmen who had taken the shooting were not only young men, but also high-bred gentlemen, and their young host's usual charm of manner in the end worked wonders. Some years after the secret leaked out, and the outraged uncle made a will cutting his nephew off with a shilling. Thanks, however, to a bracing climate and a sturdy constitution he lived long enough to tear up this instrument and fold to his manly chest a young scapegrace who has since become an ornament to his country.
But M. Scherer and other critics, who do not require us to admire Amiel's poetry, maintain that in his journal he has left "a book which will not die," a book describing a malady of which "the secret is sublime and the expression wonderful;" a marvel of "speculative intuition," a "psychological experience of the utmost value." M. Scherer and Mrs. Humphry Ward give Amiel's journal very decidedly the preference over the letters of an old friend of mine, Obermann. The quotations made from Amiel's journal by his critics failed, I say, to enable me quite to understand this high praise. But I reIt is somewhat late to speak of Amiel, member the time when a new publication but I was late in reading him. Goethe by George Sand or by Sainte-Beuve was says that in seasons of cholera one should an event bringing to me a shock of pleasread no books but such as are tonic, ure, and a French book capable of renewand certainly in the season of old ageing that sensation is seldom produced now. this precaution is as salutary as in sea- If Amiel's journal was of the high quality sons of cholera. From what I heard I alleged, what a pleasure to make acquaintcould clearly make out that Amiel's jour-ance with it, what a loss to miss it! In nal was not a tonic book; the extracts from it which here and there I fell in with did not much please me; and for a good while I left the book unread.
From Macmillan's Magazine.
spite, therefore, of the unfitness of old age to bear atonic influences, I at last read Amiel's journal, read it carefully through. Tonic it is not; but it is to be read with profit, and shows, moreover, powers of great force and value, though not quite, I am inclined to think, in the exact line which his critics with one consent indicate.
But what M. Edmond Scherer writes I do not easily resist reading, and I found that M. Scherer had prefixed to Amiel's journal a long and important introduction. This I read; and was not less charmed by the mitis sapientia, the under- In speaking of Amiel at present, after standing kindness and tenderness with so much has been written about him, I which the character of Amiel himself, may assume that the main outlines of his whom M. Scherer had known in youth, life are known to my readers; that they was handled, than interested by the criti-know him to have been born in 1821 and cism on the journal. Then I read Mrs. to have died in 1881, to have passed the Humphry Ward's interesting notice, and then for all biography is attractive, and of Amiel's life and circumstances I had by this time become desirous of knowing the "Etude Biographique" of Mademoiselle Berthe Vadier.
three or four best years of his youth at the University of Berlin, and the remainder of his life mostly at Geneva, as a professor, first of æsthetics, afterwards of philosophy. They know that his publications and lectures, during his lifetime,