Изображения страниц

Eurns to the sea with a violence and noise unequalled by the loudest cataract. It is heard at the distance of many leagues, and forms a whirlpool of great depth and extent; its power is so tremendous, that if a ship approaches within its attraction, it is immediately drawn irresistibly into the vortex, and there, after being furiously,whirled round, it suddenly disappears, and is seen no more: just at the turn of ebb and flow, when the water is still, for about a quarter of an hour, shat's tered fragments are seen to float on the surface; but so completely shapeless, that they may be parts of the wreck, or parts of trees which are sometimes swallowed up by the stream, and dashed to pieces against rocks at the bottom of the ocean. In stormy weather its effects are terrific: ships laying at the distance of a Norwegian mile have been suddenly impelled forwards, and hurried into the middle of the whirlpool. Few situations can be more agonizing than such à one as this, where the unfortunate victims contemplate with tlespair their inevitable fate.

In a storm in the open sea, hope to the last moment encourages the hapless mariner ; he perhaps can swim, or possibly he may Aatter himself that by clinging to a part of the wreck, he shall be saved; but here no ray of hope cheers the sinking spirits of the despairing sailors. The impetuous torrent still urges them on, till they approach the whirlpool, where an overwhelming destruction awaits them.” “ Poor creatures!” exclaimed Edward, as the Doctor paused, overcame by the picture he had drawn-“ Poor creatures ! I sirould hardly think myself safe on dry land if I were near this dreadful whirlpool !" “ Animals, resumed the Doctor, “ which have come within the power of the stream, express the greatest dismay, even enormous whales, when they feel the force of the stream, on approaching the verge of the vortex, struggle against it with all their might, making a hideous noise. And now, Edward, suppose we take a brief survey of the climate, soils, productions, and in fact, of Norway altogether, that we may be a little aware what sort of country we are going to traverse.

“ The surface and climate of Norway may he mentioned in few words. On the eastern boundaries, along the middle tracts, from Drontheim southward, are immense masses of primitive mountains, which are wild, rugged, and picturesque. The south east is varied with hills and lakes; its islands are very numerous, and the coast is much indented. The air of Norway is salubrious, and the inhabitants, in general, attain

[ocr errors]


extreme old age; and though the weather is very cold, yet the harbours are very seldom frozen. The most elevated table land is 2655 feet, and the highest vale 2000 feet. In the south of Norway, the pine grows at the altitude of 3000 feet; in the latitude of 68į degrees, it does not exceed the elevation of 690 feet. The oak disappears at the latitude of Drontheim.

“ It produces barley, peas, potatoes, flax, hemp, and abounds with extensive forests of pine, beech, and oak. The vallies yield good pasture, but arable land is in great disproportion.

« Norway abounds with all kinds of rocks, gold, silver, lead, an abundance of copper, cobalt, and iron. Of mines there are ahout 800. The cobalt mine at Fossum yields a revenue to the government of 15,0001. annually; near it is a rich vein of quartz, containing large masses of talc; and at Konigsberg the silver mine, I intend you should visit, it is said yields 70,0001. annually.

“ The fowls and quadrupeds common to Europe are met with here ; besides which Norway produces the elk and rein deer, which are peculiar to this country, Sweden and Russia. The wild animals become white, or nearly so, in winter.

" Its exports are timber, copper, iron, hides, furs, tallow, tar, train oil, and fish. The annual exports of deal are estimated at 175,0001.; of iron 70,0001.; of copper 5000lbs. of goat skins 80,000 raw, and 1000 manufactured ; and its imports are grain, salt, hardware, linen, brandy, wine, East and West India produce. The balance of trade is in favour of Norway.

“ The chief Ports are Bergen, Christiana, Drontheim, and Christiansand. “Of the Principal Towns I will give you a brief sketch :

Bergen is nearly semicircular, and is built of wood, a few public edifices excepted. It has a brisk trade in fish, hides, and timber. The coast is dangerous.

“ Christiana is the most regular and beautiful city in Norway; it has the chief court of justice, a fertile and most picturesque district, and some alum works in its vicinity. İt exports timber, and supplies the interior with foreign commodities ; it trades chiefly with Great Britain.

“ I shall of course say but little of Drontheim. The ancient kings of Norway resided here. It has a good trade, and the district abounds with copper mines. This city, as you must have observed, though built of wood, public edifices excepted, is remarkably clean and handsome; it has an dcé. demy of sciences, enriched with mineral collections and a good library; the inhabitants are distinguished for their information, refinement, and elegance of wanners. Of this we have had proof positive. Villas are frequent in its environs, the sites of which are very romantic.

“ Frederickshall, a frontier town, is memorable for the death of Charles XII. of Sweden, with whose history you are well acquainted.

;" Frederickstadt, on the river Glomme, 34 miles N. W. of Frederickshall, is the most important fortress in Norway. It trades in timber.

- A melancholy circumstance took place in the neighbourhood of this place many years ago. The family seat of Borge suddenly sunk with all its towers and battlements, and its site was instantly filled with water. 14 people, and 200 head of cattle perished by this melancholy accident. It was occasioned by the foundation being undermined by the waters of a river.

“ Tonsberg, 50 miles 8. s. w. of Christiana, exports furs, tallow and butter : imports grain and malt. In its vicinity the best cannon are cast.

“ Skeen, 12 miles s. of Tonsburg, is remarkable for its mines of iron and copper.

“ Ahrendahle has iron mines in its neighbourhood, and trades extensively in timber.

“ At Vaage, in Lapland, the centre of the great fisheries, 18,000 men, and nearly 4000 small boats are employed. About 16 millions of large tusk and cod are annually caught among the creeks and islands, where they come to cast their spawn.

At Helliesund, in the south of Christiansand, is an extensive lobster fishery; nearly 30,000 of these shell-fish are annually sent to the London market.,

Norway has undergone a variety of revolutions, and it did not escape a concussion in the great convulsions which lately shook the principal powers of Europe to their foundation. Norway was united to Denmark in the reign of Margaret of Waldemar, the Semiramis of the North, as she is called, A. D. 1397 ; but it now forms part of the dominions of the king of Sweden. This union was not effected without much opposition from the people. The Norwegians are a very brave people, but extremely illiterate; they are pas sionately attached to their country. The peasantry are frank, open, and undaunted; respectful, but not fawning to their superiors ; independent, not violent in their usual demeanor. They live chiefly on milk, cheese, dried fish, and occasionally a bit of dried meat, as a luxury."

Norway is reckoned one of the most mountainous countries in Europe, and our travellers were

at first not a little alarmed at contemplating the small wooden bridges that united the frightful precipices which repeatedly crossed their route, while a foaming torrent rolled beneath them. The views in this wild romantic country, are slost picturesque; huge masses of granite rock, their summits crowned with the solemn fir, assuming every shape, intersected by cataracts, which precipitating themselves some hundreds of feet deep, dashed against their sides, and producing a thundering noise, terrifying those unaccustomed to view nature in her wild and majestic forms.

Edward was not a little astonished at the dexterity and activity of the natives in recovering their sheep and goats, which by a false step, often fall into some of the deep crevices and glens, that are inaccessible, but by adopting the following perilous plan. The daring peasant placing himself on a cross stick, which is fastened to a strong rope, is then lowered from the top of the mountain, or precipice, and having reached the spot where the animal is lodged, he jastens it to the rope, and they are both drawn up together.



Our travellers visited many of the caverns that are found in these mountains; one in particular, called Dolstein, of which they had heard extraordinary accounts. Having provided themselves with torches they penetrated so far that they at last heard the sea dashing over their heads: they now thought proper to return, although a second flight of natural steps presented themselves. This passage was as wide and as high as an ordinary church ; the sides were perpendicular, and the roof vaulted.

As they traversed this mountainous country they were not a little surprized at finding large reservoirs of water on the top of the highest of the rocks.

« The copper mines at Raras are the richest in Europe, except that of Parys, in the Isle of Anglesea :” said Dr. Walker to his pupil, 6 and this wild country produces also quicksilver, salt, and coal mines, crystals, agates, amethysts, asbestos, thunder.stones, and eagle-stones. You know the properties of the asbestos; it remains unconsumed by fire. When the delicate cloth woven from its soft fibres, is soiled, it is cleansed by being thrown into the fire.”

Upon crossing one of the rocks they were suddenly surprized by so large a flock of the birds called Alks, that the air appeared darkened, and the noise produced by their wings resembled very much that produced by a storm. They also saw several large eagles, two kinds of which are found in Norway, the land and sea eagles ; the former is so strong, as to be able to carry away a child of two years old, and the latter sometimes darts with such force

upon the larger class of fishes, that it is often dragged to the bottom of the sea from its incapability of extricating its claws.

“ What a majestic bird that is,” said Edward, as one of these eagles towered majestically over their heads, till they could scarcely trace his flight.“ How grand, how beautiful is this wild scene !"

As they approached the southern parts of Norway the road became less dangerous, and although delighted with the romantic scenery they had passed through, they rather enjoyed their present route.

Upon entering Kongsberg they fixed themselves at an inn, where their accommodations were not indeed of the most sumptuous kind, but far preferable to the asylums they had found among the mountains.



Kongsberg is a flourishing town, that contains no less than 11,000 souls, among whom are many Danes and Ger.

A mint was set up here as early as the year 1686, and 1689 the mine college was erected. The silver mines were discovered in 1623, upon which the town was immediately built, and peopled with German miners. In 1751 forty-one shafts, and twelve veins were wrought in

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »