2 JANUARY 1858, Page 26


correspondent, bids fair to do the world. Within the limits of the Vanity of Human Wishes —" from China to Peru"—he may be said to have done it al- ready, including Japan. He seems now setting about the job in the direction of latitude, and may write off a description from Pole to Pole. The volume before us embraces a winter's tour from Stockholm to Kautokeino in Finmark, lying in about 69° North latitude and 23 East longitude ; his route being nearly along the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia, and up the river Tornea, which separates Sweden from Russian Lapland. His summer excursion in Norway was in the main over the common route by carriole from Christiania to Drontheim, and then by steamer to Vadso in the Varanger Fjord, which last divides the Swedish from the Russian dominions.

One can well imagine that anybody with means and leisure might take a summer trip along the Norwegian coast, if it were only to see the sun at midnight. So many people have made the excursion, and published their accounts of it, since Mr. Barrow, years ago, undertook his carriole journey, and the Norwegian Go- vernment started the summer line of steamers, that there was scarcely occasion for another book. To look in vain for the sun at midday in Europe, as Mr. Taylor did at Kautokeino, is a fresher exploit ; though we must confess the sensation does not seem worth the sensations to be undergone before and after it. A dili- gence runs from Stockholm to Sundsvall on the Gulf of Bothnia: from Sundsvall Mr. Taylor and his friend travelled in an open carriage—in fact, made a sledge journey to within the Frozen zone—observing nothing but the "outward forms of sky and earth," and meeting no one save the people at the inns, or some hospitable Samaritan they occasionally fell in with at the larger towns. The cold was intense. During the more Northern part of their way it varied from below zero to mercury freezing. Yet such are the effects of a good constitution, contrast, and " that cold in (Arctic) moderation soon became not only endurable but pleasant. After a little use, Zero or somewhat below it with a calm atmosphere was fresh and bracing ; when the thermometer rose much above zero, the weather became warm. Indeed, here is a "correct scale of the physical effect of cold, caloulated for the latitude of 65° to 70° North."

"1° above zero—Unpleasantly warm.

• Nordic?", Prasel : Summer and Winter Pictures of Areden, 1.42)ftrad, It■aft Norway. By Bayard Taylor. Published by Loss and Ron. • -

"Zero—Mild and agreeable. "10° below zero—Pleasantly fresh and bracing. " 2/3° below zero—Sharp, but not severely cold. Keep your fingers and toes in motion, and rub your nose occasionally. "30° below zero—Very cold ; take particular care of your nose and ex- tremities: eat the fattest food, and plenty of it.

"40° below—Intensely cold; keep awake at all hazards' muse up to the eyes, and test your circulation frequently, that it may net stop somewhere before you know it.

"50 below—A struggle for life."

Between Muonioniska in Russian Lapland and Harapanda at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, this struggle took place. Intense cold and insufficient food at some of the small inns or post-houses, not only induced severe suffering, but that wan- dering of mind and torpidity of circulation which takes the form of a wish to slumber. Had the author been travelling alone, his trip might have ended in death, but the two kept each awake by discourse or even blows. The following was not the worst day, for there was even greater suffering and with a duller sky ; but it may serve as a sample both of cold and. of Arctic landscape.

"In the morning the mercury froze, after showing 49° below zero. The cold was by this time rather alarming, especially after our experiences of the previous day. The air was hazy with the fine frozen atoms of moisture, a raw wind blew from the North, the sky was like steel which has been breathed upon —in short the cold was visible to the naked eye. We warmed our gloves andboots, and swathed our heads so completely that not a feature was to be seen. I had a little loophole between my cap and boa, but it was soon filled up with frost from my breath, and helped to keep in the warmth. The road was hard and smooth as marble. We had good horses, and leaving Avasaxa and the Polar circle behind us, we sped down the solid bed of the Tomes to Niemis. On the second stage we began to freeze for want of food. The air was really terrible ; nobody ventured out of doors who could stay in the house. The smoke was white and dense, like steam ; the wind was a blast from the Norsemen's hell, and the touch of it on your face almost made you scream. Nothing can be more severe—flaying, branding with a hot iron, cutting with a dull knife, &c., may be something like it, but no


"The sun rose through the frozen air a little after nine and mounted quite high at noon. At Paekila we procured some hot milk and smoked reindeer r tolerable horses, and a stout boy of fourteen to drive our baggage- sled. Every one we met had a face either frozen, or about to freeze. Such a succession of countenances, fiery red, purple, blue, black almost, with white frost-spots, and surrounded with rings of icy hair and fur I never saw before. We thanked God again and again that our faces were turned South- ward, and that the deadly wind was blowing on our backs. When we reach- ed Korpyldla, our boy's face, though solid and greasy as a bag of lard, was badly frozen. His nose was quite white and swollen, as if blistered by fire, and there were frozen blotches on both cheeks. The landlord rubbed the parts instantly with rum, and performed the same operation on our noses. "On this day., for the first time in more than a month, we saw daylight, and I cannot describe how cheering was the effect of those pure, white, brilliant rays in spite of the ion landscape they illumined. It was no longer the setting light of the level Arctic sun ; not the twilight gleams of shifting colour, beautiful but dim ; not the faded, mock daylight, which sometimes glimmered for a half-hour at noon ; but the true white, full, golden day, which we had almost forgotten. So nearly, indeed, that I did not for some time suspect the came of the unusual whiteness and bright- ness. Its effect upon the trees was superb. The twigs of the birch and the needles of the fir were coated with crystal, and sparkled like jets of jewels spouted up from the immaculate snow. The clumps of birches can be com- pared to nothing but frozen fountains—frozen in full action, with their showery sheaves of spray arrested before they fell. It was a wonderful, a fairy world we beheld—too beautiful to be lifeless, but every face we met remanded us the more that this was the chill beauty. of Death—of dead Na- ture. Death was in the sparkling air, in the jewelled trees in the. spotless snow. Take off your mitten, and his hand will grasp yours iiire a vice ; un- cover your mouth, and your frozen lips will soon acknowledge his kiss. "Even while I looked the same icy chills were running through my blood, precursors of that drowsy torpor which I was so anxious to avoid. 13 ut no ; it would come, and I dozed until both hands became so stiff that it was barely possible to restore their powers of motion and feeling. It was not quite dark when we reached Kuckula, the last station, but thence to Hapa- randa our horses were old and lazy, and our postilion was a little boy, whose weak voice had no effect. Braisted kept his hands warm in jerking and urging, but I sat and froze. Village after village was passed, but we looked in vain for the lights of Tomes. We were thoroughly exhausted with our five days' battle against the dreadful cold, when at last a row of lights gleamed across the river, and we drove up to the inn."

And now, what did they go to see? As Mr. Taylor expresses it—" a day without a sun" ; a striking sight and something more, but hardly worth the labour ; and the traveller confesses he should not like to go again. "The sky increased in brightness as we watched. The orange flushed into rose, and the pale white hill looked even more ghastly against the bar of glowing carmine which fringed the horizon. A few long purple streaks of cloud hung over the sun's place, and higher up in the vault floated some loose masses, tinged with fiery crimson on their lower edges. About half- past eleven, a pencil of bright red light shot up—a signal which the sun uplifted to herald his coming. As it slowly moved Westward along the hills, increasing in height and brilliancy- until it became a long tongue of flame, playing against the streaks of cloud, we were apprehensive that the near disc would rise to view. When the Lansman's clock pointed to twelve, its base had become so bright as to shine almost like the sun itself ; but after a few breathless moments the unwelcome glow began to fade. We took its bearing with a compass, and after making allowance for the varia- tion (which is here very slight) were convinced that it was really past meridian, and the radiance, which was that of morning a few minutes be- fore, belonged to the splendours of evening now. The colours of the firma- ment began to change in reverse order' and the dawn, which had almost ripened to sunrise, now withered away to night without a sunset. We had at last seen a day without a sun."

A large part of the matter of the book consists of description, graphic and animated by a poetical spirit ; but always scenery, and little other than scenery, tires even in nature, much more in books. Customs and national character are the most interesting topics of Mr: Taylor's pen. It is true, he had not much time to form a judgment; but opportunities are greater in those primitive regions than in more populous and conventional countries, where the competition of numbers and the frequent presence of strangers impose rea1 reserve even under the appearance of frankness. He

also limits himself to manners and honesty, which he could test; and chastity, of which he judges by the rule of unsophistioation.

" There is something exceedingly primitive and unsophisticated in the manners of these Northern people—a straightforward honesty, which takes

the honesty of others for granted—a latent kindness and good-will which may at first be overlooked 'because it is not demonstrative, and a total un- consciousness of what is called, in highly-civilized circles, propriety.' The very freedom of manners which, in some countries, might denote laxity of morals, is here the evident stamp of their purity. The thought has often recurred to me, which is the most truly pure and virginal nature, the fastidious American girl, who blushes at the sight of a pair of boots outside a gentle- man's bedroom-door, and who requires that certain unoffending parts of the body and articles of clothing should be designated.by delicately circumlo- cutious terms, or the simple-minded Swedish women, who come into our bedrooms with coffee, and make our fires while we get up and dress, coming and going during all the various stages of the toilet with the frankest un- consciousness of impropriety ? This is modesty in its healthy and natural development, not in those morbid forms which suggest an imagination ever on the alert for prurient images. Nothing has confirmed my impression of the virtue of the Northern Swedes more than this fact, and I have rarely felt more respect for woman or more faith in the inherent purity of her nature."

Contrary to the general opinion, Mr. Taylor prefers the Swedes to the Norwegians for honesty, morality, and sobriety. He ad- mits that the statistics of Stockholm, as well as the opinion of the capital, are against him ; but then, he is speaking of the North and the provinces of Wermeland. and. Dalecarlial to which last he paid a visit on the conclusion of his Norwegian trip. The immorality of Norway may in part be explained by poverty and customs; but there it is, in his opinion. In point of frankness and courtesy there is no comparison: the Swedish peasantry are delightful, and Dalecarlia the very Arcadia of the world; the greater part of the Norwegians are mere louts. As for dishonesty, their charges are something frightful if they catch a chance, from the postmaster (or mistress) who fleeces you in passing, to the so- called hotel in the cities, where you are taken in as regards accom- modation and fare, and done for in the bill. This is not the opinion of Mr. Taylor alone. Every English or other traveller he met last summer agreed with him in this conclusion: and he attributes the change to the increase of travellers, and the lavishness of English- men, which encourages the greed of the Norwegians. When our traveller found moderation it was out of the usual route, and he duly chronicles the fact. The most striking peculiarity, he thinks, is a national techiness.

" Perhaps the most general feature of the Norwegian character is an ex- cessive national vanity, which is always on the alert, and fires up on the slightest provocation. Say everything you like, except that Norway in any respect is surpassed by any other country. One is assailed with questions about his impressions of the scenery, people, governmeet, &c. ; a very natu- ral and pardonable curiosity, it is true, and one only demands in return that his candour be respected and no offence taken. This, however, is rarely the case. If there is no retaliatory answer on the spot, you hear a remark days afterwards which shows how your mild censure has rankled in the mind of the hearer. My friend was asked by a passenger whether he did not think the women of Finmark very beautiful. It was impossible to answer in the affirmative ; the questioner went off in high dudgeon, and did not speak to him again for several days. "In the Varanger Fjord, we had pretty freely expressed our impressions of the desolate coast. Afterwards, on returning past the grand clifl scenery of Nordkyn, we were admiring some bold formation of the rocks, when a Norwegian came up and said in a tone of angry irony, Ah, you find a little to admire at last, do you ? You find some beauty in our country after all ?' So in regard to the government. The Norwegians may be justly proud of their constitution, which is as republican as our own. There is so much in the administration of the government which every one must heartily com- mend, that they should be lees sensitive in regard to minor faults. * * *

"One cannot find fault with a people for their patriotism. I have al- ways admired that love of Gamle Norge which shines through Norwegian history, song, and saga ; but when it is manifested in such ridiculous ex- tremes, one doubts the genuineness of the feeling, and suspects it of being alloyed with some degree of personal vanity. There are still evils to be eradicated, reproaches to be removed, reforms to be achieved, which claim all the best energies of the best men of the country, and positive harm is done by concealing or denying the true state of things."

These are singular remarks to be made by an American, the principal charge against whose countrymen is precisely the same. This Mr. Taylor slightly admits, when he says that you can no more talk about several things in Norway than you can against slavery in the South. Like some of the officers in the Arctic expeditions, Mr. Taylor found perpetual daylight become wearisome and oppressive at last, however agreeable in the outset. The conclusion is not new, but it is presented with the force of a practised pen, and with the fulness of a man whose trade it is to observe his own ideas and sensations as well as the external appearances of men and things. There is a shocking picture of Norwegian leprosy ; a disease which the traveller mainly attributes to dirt, though bad diet and licentious habits may have something to do with its origin. He considers the state of religion in Sweden and Norway ; and finds that in both countries it is dead, yet persecuting, and is threatened, he thinks, by a dissenting sect with vitality that pro- mises progress. When we consider how much has been written upon Norway, and in a lesser degree upon Sweden, these "Summer and Winter Pictures" are creditable to Mr. Taylor's power as a traveller and to his Skill as a describer of travels.