SPORT IN NORWAY.*
BESIDES possessing features of considerable interest to the general reader, this book appeals especially to a large and well defined class of Englishmen. Between the few adventurous spirits whose sole ambition is to shoot unknown animals in unknown countries with "batteries" of prodigious power, and the many whose thoughts do not go beyond the autumn stubbles and winter cover sides, there are hundreds of Englishmen who occasionally want a total change of climate, scenery, and everything else—a little adventure, some exercise of their powers of roughing it," and novel sport of some kind, all to be obtained within a moderate time, and at a moderate expense. For such Norway is just the country, and Mr. Barnard's little work just the node niecum. It is far from complete as a guide to all the requirements of travellers and the best mode of satisfying them, but perhaps its great charm in the eyes of intending tourists will be the tone of exploration which per- vades it, and the absence of the detestable characteristics of the modern " handbook." A French contemporary recently announced its discovery of the real motive which annually impels thousands of wide-awaked Englishmen to rush frantically and uncomfortably over certain beaten routes on the Continent. The secret was that the national love of practical exactitude led whole classes to volunteer their services and sacrifice their leisure in the arduous and ungrateful labour of verifying the correctness of Mr. Murray's handbooks ! A change, however, is clearly in progress ; every one who travels at all will soon have at least once seen Paris, the Rhine, Switzerland, and Italy. English- men, as a rule, seem to work harder, have more money and less leisure to spend, and to live more high-pressure lives every year. Just in proportion,too, to this increased expenditure of vital force, ought the novelty, distraction, and general recreative power of his annual "outing" to be increased. There are few Englishmen in whom there is not latent somewhere a spark ofthe natural murder- ous instincts of man, and any one to whom the prospect of landing huge salmon from magnificent torrents, shooting all kinds of fowls of the air, from eagles down to partridges, hunting bears, reindeer, and lynxes, is an incentive in addition to that of a primitive and interesting people, glorious scenery, and total change of every kind, cannot possibly do better than read Mr. Barnard's book and go to Norway.
The return fare between Hull and Christiana is but 6/., and the average passage is less than three days. The " Scandina- viaa " is the English boat, and the "Ganger Rolf,"—whether Rollo himself ever " ganged," or even existed or not, the boat is a good one—is the Norwegian. A "battery " of a rifle and a double-barrel smooth bore, fishing tackle of all kinds, a small hamper from Fortnum and Mason's, a strong deal
• Spor* at Norway, aad where to Aid it. By the Rev. M. A. Baruard, M.A., Chaplain to the Brituth Consulate, Christiana. London: Chapman and Han, law.
box, a knapsack, a complete waterproof suit, and means of pro- tection against the penetrating dust of the summer, form the greater portion of the English outfit. Mr. Bennett, of Christiana, will supply everything specially required for Norwegian sport, in- cluding a species of canine hammock, in which the sportsman's dogs may be comfortably slung from the bottom of the rough jolting carts in which they must be conveyed. Mr. Barnard devotes the first half of his work to a concise account of the rivers and local characteristics of each amt, or county, of Norway, and the means of access to it from Christiana. The northernmost ands, though, containing some of the grandest scenery in Norway, add abounding with elk, reindeer, and bears, are too difficult of access to attract many tourists, and the hideous Lapps who inhabit them are far less pleasant to deal with than the Scandi- navian population of the rest of Norway. The journey from Chris- tiana to the Finmarken Amt, the largest and most northern of all, occupies at least eighteen days, via Trondjem and Hammerfest. In return there is magnificent fishing, most of it either free or to be hired from the Government inspector, first-rate shooting, and, what must be to the inexperienced traveller no small attraction, all the strange and impressive characteristics of a land where the sun never dips under the horizon for the short Arctic summer. Tents must be provided, as accommodation in the ordinary sense of the word is nil, and mosquito nets and veils are an absolute necessity. Some idea of the fishing in this unfrequented locality may be gathered from the fact that in several of its numerous rivers, all of which abound with fish, the salmon run up fully two hundred miles. For those who can rough it, and live on the salmon they catch—the rest being offered politely to the natives—the best of fishing can be had here for a few dollars a week. Throughout the more central and accessible parts of Nor- way the fishing is more generally private property, and tourists will find more difficulty in obtaining good sport at a moderate expense. Bears and deer of all kinds, too, are much less common ; but this part of Mr. Bernard's volume is intended for those actually about to visit Norway, rather than for those who may be induced to do so.
In speaking of the larger wild animals of Norway, the rein- deer, of course, comes first. It has been almost decisively proved by Mr. Asbjiiansen, in his history of the reindeer, that it first appeared in Norway subsequently to its occupation of the great north German forests, and by a different route. His theory is that the Norwegian reindeer, instead of spreading northward from Germany, must have preceded the Lapps in their migration from the alps of central Asia, and in the same route. However this may be, the reindeer is now flourishing in Norway to an almost in- credible extent. Not many years ago, a trustworthy traveller men- tions having met with a herd which reached for three miles and a half, and as close as a flock of sheep. It is far from uncommon in the celebrated Dovre Fjeld to meet with herds of 300 to 1.000 deer. They wander a great deal, and are frequently reduced in number in particular districts by tbeir constant enemies the wolves, in which case they migrateto more secure districts. In the northern provinces, the tame reindeer, supposed to number 28,000, preponderate, and woe to the nnluokly traveller who kills one of them even by mistake f The Lapp exacts the most re- morseless vengeance for the death of his reindeer, and will spare no exertion to overtake the offender. Further south, however, the reindeer are exclusively wild. There cannot be sport more arduous or more exciting than bunting reindeer, and it is surprising it has not become more universally popular in Eng- land. Nest to the reindeer, the elk is the most important wild animal of Norway. About the commencement of the century the ravages of wolves and remorseless hunting had well nigh exterminated the elk but a law stringently forbid- ding destruction of an elk for twenty years, and since then, only under restrictions, has averted their fate, and they are now on the increase in Norway. Mr. Barnard tells some curious anecdotes of the strange power over the most hardened bunter exercised by the dying glance of an elk. A great elk hunter, of whom Mr. Barnard neard, says that on one occasion, when he had mortally wounded an elk, the reproachful expression of its eyes not only rendered him absolutely incapable of giving the poor animal the coup de gi dee, but also induced him to make a solemn vow never again, under any circum- stances, to expose hiurelf by shooting an elk to the chance of a similar glance ! The Lapps generally hunt the elk in snow shoes of a peculiar kind, in which they glide with immense speed over snow drifts, in which the elk soon sinks and becomes helpless. These snow shoes supply the only means of locomotion in many of the northern districts where there are no roads. The Lapps all skate, or rather slide, to church in them, the women carrying their babies slung over their shoulders. In order to prevent the possibility of the latter being obstreperous during tho service, they simply dig holes in the snow outside, deposit the babies in them, and leave a dog as sentry against the wolves until service is over, when a general resurrection of babies takes place. To return to the elk, however, Mr. Barnard speaks confidently of the possibility of acclimatizing this noble animal in the north of Scotland. The experiment has been tiled with reindeer, but failed. In consequence of the very severe game laws of Norway—every provision of which must be carefully learnt by the tourist—the number of elk is now not much under 5,000 head. The feathered game of Norway is numerous and varied, the hjerpe, a bird resembling a French partridge, capercailzie, ptarmigan, black game, and the ordinary partridges, being the principal objects of sport. The eider duck, a bird of great import- ance to all lovers of feather birds, is still decreasing, iii spite of stringent legal protection. Bear-hunting is an amusement very easily to be obtained in most parts of Norway, but Bruin is in general far too clover a beast to afford much successful sport to those who are not thoroughly acquainted with his habits and little weaknesses. The natives, when lucky enough to find a "hie" or den, assail it with as little ceremony as English schoolboys do a wasp's nest. They thrust a long stick down the entrance, and when a " bite'is felt two or three rifles are discharged in the direction of the end of the pole. Sometimes great wait is laid for Bruin, suds sort of infernal machine, consisting of the carcase of a cow so placed as to receive the concentrated fire of half-a-dozen spring guns, is contrived for his especial benefit. Notice of the proceeding must, however, be given on the previous Sunday in the parish church. Bruin, though comic by profession, is also occasionally dangerous, and there aro instances on record of his having at- tacked and killed people without provocation. Being constantly stirred up in the middle of an after-dinner nap with a sharp pole, and receiving a couple of bullets on remonstrance, is certainly not calculated to improve the temper of any race of animals. Lynx-hunting, though never yet attempted by Eng- lish tourists, seems, according to Mr. Baruard's account, to offer great attractions to those who are prepared to encounter considerable difficulty and a little danger. Eagles abound, and the number of pronia for the destruction of birds of prey paid by Government during the last fifteen years is no less than 64,120. The reward, however, is adjudged by a leudsman, a sort of civil officer appointed for the purpose, and there is no doubt that the small knowledge of natural history possessed by these functionaries frequently allows the young of the harmless mousing hawk to the palmed off as eaglets.
Mr. Barnard gives us few sketches either of the scenery or the people of this curious country, which is much to be re- gretted, as his description of the manners and customs of the in- habitants of Seetersdal, a secluded district of Thelemaiken, is most interesting. They differ considerably from the average Norwegian peasant, and have acquired their distinctive charac- teristics from long-continued intermarriage. They are far from an estimable race, being drunken, lazy, quarroleolue, greedy, avaricious, and filthy beyond comparison. The most marked ac- knowledgment of the festive season of Christmas which they can think of is naturally to wash themselves, which they then do for the only time throughout the year. Pigs, cats, goats, fowls, and ducks all share the cabin with the peasant. The great pride of the youth of the district is in a species of pigtail, a lock of hair twisted over one oar ; and they entertain an in- superable objection to military service, for the solo reason that their much loved " spiir " must then be dispersed with. In case of a fight, the object of each combatant is to seize this appendage with his fingers, and thou adroitly gouge out the eye of his opponent with his disengaged thumb. The women do all the hard work of life, and the men never do more than drive the produce to town. We wish Mr. Barnard had given us an account of the inhabitants of some other more enlightened districts of Norway, if only to counter- act the unpleasant impression left by his monograph on the Scetersdal variety of the human race. It is to be hoped that the remainder of the population are very far from resombliug these wretches, or all the attractions to tourists dwelt iipon by Mr. Barnard will scarcely induce a second visit to Norway.