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Northern Travel - Summer and Winter Pictures of Sweden, Denmark and Lapland
by Bayard Taylor
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One peculiarity of the Storthing is, that a majority of its members are, and necessarily must be, farmers; whence Norway is sometimes nicknamed the Farmer State. Naturally, they take very good care of their own interests, one of their first steps being to abolish all taxes on landed property; but in other respects I cannot learn that their rule is not as equitable as that of most legislative bodies. Mugge, in his recently published Nordisches Bilderbuch (Northern Picture Book), gives an account of a conversation which he had with a Swedish statesman on this subject. The latter was complaining of the stubbornness and ignorance of the Norwegian farmers. Mugge asked, (the remainder of the dialogue is too good to be omitted):—

"The Storthing, then, consists of a majority of coarse and ignorant people?"

STATESMAN. "I will not assert that. A certain practical understanding cannot be denied to most of these farmers, and they often bestow on their sons a good education before giving them the charge of the paternal fields. One, therefore, finds in the country many accomplished men: how could there be 700 students in Christiania, if there were not many farmers' sons among them?"

AUTHOR. "But does this majority of farmers in the Storthing commit absurdities? does it govern the country badly, burden it with debts or enact unjust laws?"

STATESMAN. "That cannot exactly be admitted, although this majority naturally gives its own interests the preference, and shapes the government accordingly. The state has no debts; on the contrary, its treasury is full, an abundance of silver, its bank-notes in demand, order everywhere, and, as you see, an increase of prosperity, with a flourishing commerce. Here lies a statement before me, according to which, in the last six months alone, more than a hundred vessels have been launched in different ports."

AUTHOR. "The Farmer-Legislature, then, as I remark, takes care of itself, but is niggardly and avaricious when its own interests are not concerned?"

STATESMAN. "It is a peculiar state of affairs. In very many respects this reproach cannot be made against the farmers. If anything is to be done for science, or for so-called utilitarian objects, they are always ready to give money. If a deserving man is to be assisted, if means are wanted for beneficial purposes, insane asylums, hospitals, schools, and such like institutions, the Council of State is always sure that it will encounter no opposition. On other occasions, however, these lords of the land are as hard and tough as Norwegian pines, and button up their pockets so tight that not a dollar drops out."

AUTHOR. "On what occasions?"

STATESMAN. "Why, you see (shrugging his shoulders), those farmers have not the least comprehension of statesmanship! As soon as there is any talk of appropriations for increasing the army, or the number of officers, or the pay of foreign ministers, or the salaries of high official persons, or anything of that sort, you can't do anything with them."

AUTHOR. (To himself.) "God keep them a long time without a comprehension of statesmanship! If I were a member of the Storthing, I would have as thick a head as the rest of them."

On the 5th of September, Braisted and I took passage for Gottenburg, my friend having already gone home by way of Kiel. We had a smooth sea and an agreeable voyage, and awoke the next morning in Sweden. On the day after our arrival, a fire broke out in the suburb of Haga, which consumed thirteen large houses, and turned more than two hundred poor people out of doors. This gave me an opportunity to see how fires are managed here. It was full half an hour after the alarm-bell was rung before the first engine began to play; the water had to be hauled from the canal, and the machine, of a very small and antiquated pattern, contributed little towards stopping the progress of the flames. The intervention of a row of gardens alone saved the whole suburb from destruction. There must have been from six to eight thousand spectators present, scattered all over the rocky knolls which surround Gottenburg. The fields were covered with piles of household furniture and clothing, yet no guard seemed to be necessary for their protection, and the owners showed no concern for their security.

There is a degree of confidence exhibited towards strangers in Sweden, especially in hotels, at post-stations, and on board the inland steamers, which tells well for the general honesty of the people. We went on board the steamer Werner on the morning of the 8th, but first paid our passage two days afterwards, just before reaching Carlstad. An account book hangs up in the cabin, in which each passenger enters the number of meals or other refreshments he has had, makes his own bill and hands over the amount to the stewardess. In posting, the skjutsbonder very often do not know the rates, and take implicitly what the traveller gives them. I have yet to experience the first attempt at imposition in Sweden. The only instances I heard of were related to me by Swedes themselves, a large class of whom make a point of depreciating their own country and character. This habit of detraction is carried to quite as great an extreme as the vanity of the Norwegians, and is the less pardonable vice of the two.

It was a pleasant thing to hear again the musical Swedish tongue, and to exchange the indifference and reserve of Norway for the friendly, genial, courteous manner of Sweden. What I have said about the formality and affectation of manners, and the rigidity of social etiquette, in the chapters relating to Stockholm, was meant to apply especially to the capital. Far be it from me to censure that natural and spontaneous courtesy which is a characteristic of the whole people. The more I see of the Swedes, the more I am convinced that there is no kinder, simpler, and honester people in the world. With a liberal common school system, a fairer representation, and release from the burden of a state church, they would develop rapidly and nobly.

Our voyage from Gottenburg to Carlstad, on the Wener Lake, had but one noteworthy point—the Falls of Trollhatten. Even had I not been fresh from the Riukan-Foss, which was still flashing in my memory, I should have been disappointed in this renowned cataract. It is not a single fall, but four successive descents, within the distance of half a mile, none of them being over twenty feet in perpendicular height. The Toppo Fall is the only one which at all impressed me, and that principally through its remarkable form. The huge mass of the Gotha River, squeezed between two rocks, slides down a plane with an inclination of about 50 deg., strikes a projecting rock at the bottom, and takes an upward curve, flinging tremendous volumes of spray, or rather broken water, into the air. The bright emerald face of the watery plane is covered with a network of silver threads of shifting spray, and gleams of pale blue and purple light play among the shadows of the rising globes of foam below.



CHAPTER XXXV.

A TRAMP THROUGH WERMELAND AND DALECARLIA.

On leaving Carlstad our route lay northward up the valley of the Klar Elv, in the province of Wermeland, and thence over the hills, by way of Westerdal, in Dalecarlia, to the head of the Siljan Lake. The greater part of this region is almost unknown to travellers, and belongs to the poorest and wildest parts of Sweden. We made choice of it for this reason, that we might become acquainted with the people in their true character, and compare them with the same class in Norway. Our heavy luggage had all been sent on to Stockholm, in the charge of an Irish friend, and we retained no more than could be carried easily in two packs, as we anticipated being obliged to perform part of the journey on foot.

It rained in torrents during the day we spent in Carlstad, and some lumber merchants of Gottenburg, who were on their way to Fryxendal, to superintend the getting down of their rafts, predicted that the deluge would last an entire month. There was always a month of rainy weather at this season they said, and we had better give up our proposed journey. We trusted to our combined good luck however, and were not deceived, for, with the exception of two days, we had charming weather during the remainder of our stay in Sweden. Having engaged a two-horse cart for the first post-station, we left Carlstad on the morning of the 11th of September. The clouds were still heavy, but gradually rolled into compacter masses, giving promise of breaking away. The city is built upon a little island at the head of the lake, whence we crossed to the mainland by a strong old bridge. Our road led eastward through a slightly undulating country, where broad woods of fir and birch divided the large, well cultivated farms. The gards, or mansions, which we passed, with their gardens and ornamental shrubbery, gave evidence of comfort and competence. The people were in the harvest-fields, cutting oats, which they piled upon stakes to dry. Every one we met saluted us courteously, with a cheerful and friendly air, which was all the more agreeable by contrast with the Norwegian reserve.

At the station, Prestegard, we procured a good breakfast of ham, eggs, and potatoes, and engaged two carts to take us further. We now turned northward over a lovely rolling country, watered with frequent streams,—a land of soft outlines, of woods and swelling knolls, to which the stately old houses gave an expression of contentment and household happiness. At Deye we left our carts, shouldered our packs, and trudged off on foot up the valley of the Klar Elv, which is here a broad lazy stream, filled with tens of thousands of pine-logs, waiting to be carried down to the Wener by the first freshet. The scenery charmed us by its rich and quiet beauty; it was without grand or striking features, but gently undulating, peaceful, and home-like. We found walking very fatiguing in the hot sun, which blazed upon us all the afternoon with a summer heat. The handsome residences and gardens, which we occasionally passed, gave evidence of taste and refinement in their possessors, and there was a pleasant grace in the courteous greetings of the country people whom we met. Towards evening we reached a post-station, and were tired enough to take horses again. It was after dark before we drew up at Ohlsater, in the heart of Wermeland. Here we found a neat, comfortable room, with clean beds, and procured a supper of superb potatoes. The landlord was a tall, handsome fellow, whose friendly manners, and frank face, breathing honesty and kindness in every lineament, quite won my heart. Were there more such persons in the world, it would be a pleasanter place of residence.

We took horses and bone-shattering carts in the morning, for a distance of thirteen miles up the valley of the Klar Elv. The country was very picturesque and beautiful, well cultivated, and quite thickly settled. The wood in the sheltered bed of the valley was of remarkably fine growth; the birch trees were the largest I ever saw, some of them being over one hundred feet in height. Comfortable residences, with orchards and well-kept gardens attached, were quite frequent, and large sawmills along the river, which in some places was entirely concealed by floating rafts of lumber, gave an air of industry and animation to the landscape. In one place the road was spanned, for a considerable distance, with triumphal arches of foliage. I inquired the meaning of this display of the boy who accompanied us. "Why," said he, "there was a wedding a week ago, at the herregard (gentleman's residence); the young Herr got married, and these arches were put up for him and his bride." The herregard, which we passed soon afterwards, was an imposing mansion, upon an eminence overlooking the valley. Beside it was a jernbruk, or iron-works, from which a tramway, some miles in length, led to the mines.

Resuming our knapsacks, we walked on up the valley. The hills on either side increased in height, and gloomed darkly under a threatening sky. The aspect of the country gradually became wilder, though, wherever there was cultivation, it bore the same evidence of thrift and prosperity. After a steady walk of four hours, we reached the village of Rada, where our road left the beautiful Klar Elv, and struck northwards towards Westerdal, in Dalecarlia. We procured a dinner of potatoes and bacon, with excellent ale, enjoying, meanwhile, a lovely view over a lake to the eastward, which stretched away for ten miles between the wooded hills. The evening was cold and raw: we drove through pine-woods, around the head of the lake, and by six o'clock reached Asplund, a miserable little hamlet on a dreary hill. The post-station was a forlorn cottage with a single room, not of the most inviting appearance. I asked if we could get quarters for the night. "If you will stay, of course you can," said the occupant, an old woman; "but there is no bed, and I can get you horses directly to go on." It was a distance of thirteen miles to the next station, but we yielded to the old woman's hint, and set forward. The road led through woods, which seemed interminable. We were jammed together into a little two-wheeled cart, with the boy between our knees. He seemed much disinclined to hurry the horse, but soon fell asleep, and one of us held him by the collar to prevent his tumbling out, while the other took the lines, and urged on our slow beast. The night was so dark that we had great difficulty in keeping the road, but towards eleven o'clock we emerged from the woods, and found, by shaking the boy, that we were approaching the station at last. This was a little place called Laggasen, on the northern frontier of Wermeland.

Everybody had gone to bed in the hut at which we stopped. We entered the kitchen, which was at the same time the bedroom, and aroused the inmates, who consisted of a lonely woman, with two or three children. She got up in a very scanty chemise, lit a wooden splinter, and inspected us, and, in answer to our demand for a bed, informed us that we would have to lie upon the floor. We were about to do this, when she said we could get good quarters at the Nore, on the top of the hill. Her earnestness in persuading us to go made me suspect that she merely wanted to get rid of us, and I insisted that she should accompany us to show the way. After some hesitation she consented, and we set out. We first crossed a broad swamp, on a road made of loose logs, then climbed a hill, and trudged for some distance across stubble-fields, until my patience was quite worn out, and Braisted made use of some powerful maritime expressions. Finally, we reached a house, which we entered without more ado. The close, stifling atmosphere, and the sound of hard breathing on all sides, showed us that a whole family had been for some hours asleep there. Our guide thumped on the door, and hailed, and at length somebody awoke. "Can you give two travellers a bed?" she asked. "No," was the comfortable reply, followed by the yell of an aroused baby and the noises of the older children. We retreated at once, and opened a battery of reproaches on the old woman for having brought us on a fool's errand. "There is Ohlsen's," she replied, very quietly, "I think I can get you a bed there." Whereupon we entered another house in the same unceremonious manner, but with a better result. A plump, good-natured housewife jumped out of bed, went to an opposite door, and thumped upon it. "Lars!" she cried, "come out of that this minute!" As we entered, with a torch of dry fir, Lars, who proved to be a middle-aged man, got out of bed sleepily, picked up his clothes and marched off. The hostess then brought clean sheets and pillow-cases, and by midnight we were sweetly and blissfully stowed away together in the place vacated by poor Lars.

Nothing could exceed the kindness and courtesy of the good people in the morning. The hostess brought us coffee, and her son went off to get us a horse and cart. She would make no charge, as we had had so little, she said, and was quite grateful for the moderate sum I gave her. We had a wild road over hills, covered with pine forests, through the breaks in which we now and then caught a glimpse of a long lake to the westward, shining with a steel-blue gleam in the morning sun. There were but few clearings along the road, and miles frequently intervened without a sign of human habitation. We met, however, with great numbers of travellers, mostly farmers, with laden hay-carts. It was Sunday morning, and I could not help contrasting these people with those we had seen on the same day three weeks previous whilst crossing the Fille Fjeld. Here, every one had evidently been washed and combed: the men wore clean shirts and stockings, and the women chemises of snowy whiteness under their gay boddices. They were mostly Dalecarlians, in the picturesque costume of the province. We entered Dalecarlia on this stage, and the frank fresh faces of these people, their unmistakable expression of honesty and integrity, and the hearty cordiality of their greetings, welcomed us delightfully to the storied ground of Sweden.

Towards noon we reached the village of Tyngsjo, a little settlement buried in the heart of the wild woods. A mile or two of the southern slope of a hill had been cleared away, and over this a number of dark wooden farmhouses were scattered, with oats and potato-fields around them. An odd little church stood in midst, and the rich swell of a hymn, sung by sweet Swedish voices, floated to us over the fields as we drove up to the post-station. The master, a tall, slender man, with yellow locks falling upon his shoulders, and a face which might be trusted with millions, welcomed us with a fine antique courtesy, and at once sent off for horses. In a little while three farmers came, saluting us gracefully, and standing bareheaded while they spoke to us. One of them, who wore a dark brown jacket and knee-breeches, with a clean white shirt and stockings, had a strikingly beautiful head. The face was a perfect oval, the eyes large and dark, and the jet-black hair, parted on the forehead, fell in silky waves upon his shoulders. He was as handsome and graceful as one of Vandyk's cavaliers, and showed the born gentleman in his demeanour. He proposed that we should take one horse, as it could be gotten without delay, while two (which the law obliged us to take and pay for, if the farmers chose), would have detained us an hour. As the women were in church, the postmaster himself cooked us some freshly-dug potatoes, which, with excellent butter, he set before us. "I have a kind of ale," said he, "which is called porter; if you will try it, perhaps you will like it." It was, in reality, so good, that we took a second bottle with us for refreshment on the road. When I asked how much we should pay, he said: "I don't think you should pay anything, there was so little." "Well," said I, "It is worth at least half a rigsdaler." "Oh, but that may be too much," he answered, hesitatingly.

Our postillion was a fine handsome fellow, so rosy and robust that it made one feel stronger and healthier to sit beside him. He did not spare the horse, which was a big, capable animal, and we rolled along through endless forests of fir and pine as rapidly as the sandy road would allow. After we had gone about eight miles he left us, taking a shorter footpath through the woods. We guessed at our proper direction, sometimes taking the wrong road, but finally, after two hours or more, emerged from the woods into Westerdal, one of the two great valleys from which Dalecarlia (Dalarne, or The Dales) takes its name. The day was magnificent, clear, and with a cold north-east wind, resembling the latter part of October at home. The broad, level valley, with its fields and clustered villages, lay before us in the pale, cold autumnal sunshine, with low blue hills bounding it in the distance. We met many parties in carts, either returning from church, or on their way to visit neighbours. All were in brilliant Sunday costume, the men in blue jackets and knee-breeches, with vests of red or some other brilliant colour, and the women with gay embroidered boddices, white sleeves, and striped petticoats of blue, red, brown, and purple, and scarlet stockings. Some of them wore, in addition, an outer jacket of snowy sheepskin, with elaborate ornamental stitch-work on the back. Their faces were as frank and cheerful as their dresses were tidy, and they all greeted us with that spontaneous goodness of heart which recognises a brother in every man. We had again taken a wrong road, and a merry party carefully set us right again, one old lady even proposing to leave her friends and accompany us, for fear we should go astray again.

We crossed the Westerdal by a floating bridge, and towards sunset reached the inn of Ragsveden, our destination. It was a farmer's gard, standing a little distance off the road. An entrance through one of the buildings, closed with double doors, admitted us into the courtyard, a hollow square, surrounded with two story wooden dwellings, painted dark red. There seemed to be no one at home, but after knocking and calling for a time an old man made his appearance. He was in his second childhood, but knew enough to usher us into the kitchen and ask us to wait for the landlord's arrival. After half an hour our postillion arrived with four or five men in their gayest and trimmest costume, the landlord among them. They immediately asked who and what we were, and we were then obliged to give them an account of all our travels. Their questions were shrewd and intelligent, and their manner of asking, coupled as it was with their native courtesy, showed an earnest desire for information, which we were most willing to gratify. By and by the hostess came, and we were ushered into a very pleasant room, with two beds, and furnished with a supper of fresh meat, potatoes, and mead. The landlord and two or three of the neighbours sat with us before the fire until we were too sleepy to answer any more questions. A more naturally independent and manly bearing I have never seen than that of our host. He was a tall, powerful man, of middle age, with very handsome features, which were softened but not weakened in expression by his long blond hair, parted on his forehead. He had the proper pride which belongs to the consciousness of worth, and has no kinship with empty vanity. "We have come to Dalecarlia to see the descendants of the people who gave Gustavus Vasa his throne," said I, curious to see whether he would betray any signs of flattered pride. His blue eye flashed a little, as he sat with his hands clasped over one knee, gazing at the fire, a light flush ran over his temples—but he said nothing. Some time ago a proposition was made to place a portrait of Gustavus Vasa in the church at Mora. "No," said the Dalecarlians, "we will not have it: we do not need any picture to remind us of what our fathers have done."

The landlady was a little woman, who confessed to being forty-nine years old, although she did not appear to be more than forty. "I have had a great deal of headache," said she, "and I look much older than I am." Her teeth were superb, as were those of all the women we saw. I do not suppose a tooth-brush is known in the valley; yet the teeth one sees are perfect pearls. The use of so much sour milk is said to preserve them. There was a younger person in the house, whom we took to be a girl of sixteen, but who proved to be the son's wife, a woman of twenty-six, and the mother of two or three children. The Dalecarlians marry young when they are able, but even in opposite cases they rarely commit any violation of the laws of morality. Instances are frequent, I was told, where a man and woman, unable to defray the expense of marriage, live together for years in a state of mutual chastity, until they have saved a sum sufficient to enable them to assume the responsibilities of married life. I know there is no honester, and I doubt whether there is a purer, people on the earth than these Dalecarlians.

We awoke to another glorious autumnal day. The valley was white with frost in the morning, and the air deliciously keen and cold; but after sunrise heavy white vapours arose from the spangled grass, and the day gradually grew milder. I was amused at the naive curiosity of the landlady and her daughter-in-law, who came into our room very early, that they might see the make of our garments and our manner of dressing. As they did not appear to be conscious of any impropriety, we did not think it necessary to feel embarrassed. Our Lapland journey had taught us habits of self-possession under such trying circumstances. We had coffee, paid an absurdly small sum for our entertainment, and took a cordial leave of the good people. A boy of fifteen, whose eyes, teeth and complexion kept my admiration on the stretch during the whole stage, drove us through unbroken woods to Skamhed, ten miles further down the valley. Here the inn was a little one story hut, miserable to behold externally, but containing a neat guest's room and moreover, as we discovered in the course of time—a good breakfast. While we were waiting there, a man came up who greeted us in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, on learning that we came from America. "Are you not afraid to travel so far from home?" he asked: "how could you cross the great sea?" "Oh," I answered, "there is no more danger in one part of the world than another." "Yes," said he, "God is as near on the water as on the land"—unconsciously repeating the last words of Sir Humphrey Gilbert: "Christ walked upon the waves and quieted them, and he walks yet, for them that believe in Him." Hereupon he began repeating some hymns, mingled with texts of Scripture, which process he continued until we became heartily tired. I took him at a venture, for an over-enthusiastic Lasare, or "Reader," the name given to the Swedish dissenters.

We had a station of twenty three miles before us, to the village of Landbobyn, which lies in the wooded wilderness between Osterdal and Westerdal. Our postillion, a fine young fellow of twenty-two, over six feet in height, put on his best blue jacket and knee-breeches, with a leather apron reaching from his shoulders to below his knees. This is an article worn by almost all Dalecarlians for the purpose of saving their clothes while at work, and gives them an awkward and ungraceful air. This fellow, in spite of a little fear at the bare idea, expressed his willingness to go with us all over the world, but the spirit of wandering was evidently so easy to be kindled in him, that I rather discouraged him. We had a monotonous journey of five hours through a forest of pine, fir, and birch, in which deer and elk are frequently met with; while the wolf and the bear haunt its remoter valleys. The ground was but slightly undulating, and the scenery in general was as tame as it was savage.

Landbobyn was a wretched hamlet on the banks of a stream, with a few cleared fields about it. As the sun had not yet set, we determined to push on to Kettbo, eight or ten miles further, and engaged a boy to pilot us through the woods. The post-station was a miserable place, where we found it impossible to get anything to eat. I sat down and talked with the family while our guide recruited himself with a large dish of thick sour milk. "Why do you travel about the earth?" asked his mother: "is it that you may spy out the poverty of the people and see how miserably they live?" "No," said I, "it is that I may become acquainted with the people, whether they are poor or not." "But," she continued, "did you ever see a people poorer than we?" "Often," said I; "because you are contented, and no one can be entirely poor who does not complain." She shook her head with a sad smile and said nothing.

Our guide poled us across the river in a rickety boat, and then plunged into the woods. He was a tall, well grown boy of fifteen or sixteen, with a beautiful oval face, long fair hair parted in the middle and hanging upon his shoulders, and a fine, manly, resolute expression. With his jacket, girdle, knee-breeches, and the high crowned and broad brimmed felt hat he wore, he reminded me strongly of the picture of Gustavus Vasa in his Dalecarlian disguise, in the cathedral of Upsala. He was a splendid walker, and quite put me, old pedestrian as I am, out of countenance. The footpath we followed was terribly rough; we stumbled over stock and stone, leaped fallen trees, crossed swamps on tussocks of spongy moss, and climbed over heaps of granite boulders: yet, while we were panting and exhausted with our exertions to keep pace with him, he walked onward as quietly and easily as if the smoothest meadow turf were under his feet. I was quite puzzled by the speed he kept up on such a hard path, without seeming to put forth any extra strength. At sunset he pointed out some clearings on a hill side over the tree tops, a mile or two ahead, as our destination. Dusk was gathering as we came upon a pretty lake, with a village scattered along its hilly shore. The post-station, however, was beyond it, and after some delay the boy procured a boat and rowed us across. Telling us to go up the hill and we should find the inn, he bade us good bye and set out on his return.

We soon reached a gard, the owner whereof, after satisfying his curiosity concerning us by numerous questions, informed us that the inn was still further. After groping about in the dark for awhile, we found it. The landlord and his wife were sitting before the fire, and seemed, I thought, considerably embarrassed by our arrival. There was no bed, they said, and they had nothing that we could eat; their house was beyond the lake, and they only came over to take charge of the post-station when their turn arrived. We were devoured with hunger and thirst, and told them we should be satisfied with potatoes and a place on the floor. The wife's brother, who came in soon afterwards, was thereupon despatched across the lake to bring coffee for us, and the pleasant good-wife put our potatoes upon the fire to boil. We lit our pipes, meanwhile, and sat before the fire, talking with our host and some neighbours who came in. They had much to ask about America, none of them having ever before seen a native of that country. Their questions related principally to the cost of living, to the value of labour, the price of grain, the climate and productions, and the character of our laws. They informed me that the usual wages in Dalecarlia were 24 skillings (13 cents) a day, and that one tunne (about 480 lbs.) of rye cost 32 rigsdaler ($8.37-1/2). "No doubt you write descriptions of your travels?" asked the landlord. I assented. "And then, perhaps, you make books of them?" he continued: whereupon one of the neighbours asked, "But do you get any money for your books?"

The potatoes were finally done, and they, with some delicious milk, constituted our supper. By this time the brother had returned, bringing with him coffee, a pillow, and a large coverlet made entirely of cat-skins. A deep bed of hay was spread upon the floor, a coarse linen sheet thrown over it, and, with the soft fur covering, we had a sumptuous bed. About midnight we were awakened by an arrival. Two tailors, one of them hump-backed, on their way to Wermeland, came in, with a tall, strong woman as postillion. The fire was rekindled, and every thing which the landlord had extracted from us was repeated to the new comers, together with a very genial criticism upon our personal appearance and character. After an hour or two, more hay was brought in and the two tailors and the postillioness lay down side by side. We had barely got to sleep again, when there was another arrival. "I am the post-girl," said a female voice. Hereupon everybody woke up, and the story of the two foreign travellers was told over again. In the course of the conversation I learned that the girl carried the post twenty English miles once a week, for which she received 24 rigs ($6.25) annually. "It is a hard business," said the hump-backed tailor. "Yes; but I am obliged to do it," answered the girl. After her departure we were not again disturbed, and managed to get some sleep at last.

We all completed our toilettes in the same room, without the least embarrassment; and, with a traveller's curiosity, I may be pardoned for noticing the general bodily cleanliness of my various bed-fellows, especially as the city Swedes are in the habit of saying that the country people are shockingly dirty. We had coffee, and made arrangements with the girl who had brought the tailors to take us back in her cart. Our host would make no charge for the bed, and next to nothing for our fare, so I put a bank-note in the hand of little Pehr, his only child, telling him to take care of it, and spend it wisely when he grew up. The delight of the good people knew no bounds. Pehr must hold up his little mouth to be kissed, again and again; the mother shook us warmly by the hand, and the father harnessed his horse and started with us. May the blessing of God be upon all poor, honest, and contented people!

Our road led between wooded hills to the Siljan-Forss, a large iron-foundry upon a stream which flows into the Siljan Lake. It was a lovely morning, and our postillion who was a woman of good sense and some intelligence, chatted with me the whole way. She was delighted to find that we could so easily make ourselves understood. "When I saw you first in the night," said she, "I thought you must certainly be Swedes. All the foreigners I saw in Stockholm had something dark and cloudy in their countenances, but both of you have shining faces." She questioned me a great deal about the sacred localities of Palestine, and about the state of religion in America. She evidently belonged to the Lasare, who, she stated, were very numerous in Dalecarlia. "It is a shame," said she, "that we poor people are obliged to pay so much for the support of the Church, whether we belong to it or not. Our taxes amount to 40 rigs yearly, ten of which, in Mora parish, go to the priest. They say he has an income of half a rigs every hour of his life. King Oscar wishes to make religion free, and so it ought to be, but the clergy are all against him, and the clergy control the Bondestand (House of Peasants), and so he can do nothing." The woman was thirty-one years old, and worn with hard labour. I asked her if she was married. "No," she answered, with a deep sigh, looking at the betrothal-ring on her finger. "Ah," she continued, "we are all poor, Sweden is a poor country; we have only iron and timber, not grain, and cotton, and silk, and sugar, like other countries."

As we descended towards the post-station of Vik we caught a glimpse of the Siljan Lake to the south, and the tall tower of Mora Church, far to the eastward. At Vik, where we found the same simple and honest race of people, we parted with the postillioness and with our host of Kettbo, who thanked us again in Pehr's name, as he shook hands for the last time. We now had fast horses, and a fine road over a long wooded hill, which was quite covered with the lingon, or Swedish cranberry. From the further slope we at last looked down upon Mora, at the head of the Siljan Lake, in the midst of a broad and fertile valley. Ten miles to the eastward arose the spire of Orsa, and southward, on an island in the lake, the tall church of Solleron. "You can see three churches at once," said our postillion with great pride. So we could, and also the large, stately inn of Mora—a most welcome sight to us, after five days on potato diet.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

LAST DAYS IN THE NORTH.

Mora, in Dalecarlia, is classic ground. It was here that Gustavus Vasa first harangued the people, and kindled that spark of revolution, which in the end swept the Danes from Sweden. In the cellar of a house which was pointed out to us, on the southern shore of the Siljan Lake, he lay hidden three days; in the barn of Ivan Elfssen he threshed corn, disguised as a peasant; and on the road by which we had travelled from Kettbo, in descending to the lake, we had seen the mounds of stone, heaped over the Danes, who were slain in his first victorious engagement. This district is considered, also, one of the most beautiful in Sweden. It has, indeed, a quiet, tranquil beauty, which gradually grows upon the eye, so that if one is not particularly aroused on first acquaintance, he at least carries away a delightful picture in his memory. But in order to enjoy properly any Swedish landscape whatsoever, one should not be too fresh from Norway.

After dinner we called at the "Parsonage of Mora," which has given Miss Fredrika Bremer the materials for one of her stories of Swedish life.

The Prost, Herr Kjelstrom, was not at home, but his wife received us with great cordiality, and insisted upon our remaining to tea. The magister——, who called at the same time, gave us some information concerning the porphyry quarries at Elfdal, which we were debating whether we should visit. Very little is doing at present, not more than ten men in all being employed, and in his opinion we would hardly be repaid for the journey thither; so we determined to turn southward again, and gradually make our way to Stockholm. Fru Kjelstrom was one of the few Swedes I met, who was really an enthusiastic admirer of Tegner; she knew by heart the greater part of his "Frithiof's Saga."

The morning after our arrival in Mora dawned dark and cloudy, with a wailing wind and dashes of rain. There were threats of the equinoctial storm, and we remembered the prediction of the lumber merchants in Carlstad. During the night, however, a little steamer belonging to an iron company arrived, offering us the chance of a passage down the lake to Leksand. While we were waiting on the shore, the magister, who had come to see us depart, gave me some information about the Lasare. He admitted that there were many in Dalecarlia, and said that the policy of persecution, which was practiced against them in the beginning, was now dropped. They were, in general, ignored by the clerical authorities. He looked upon the movement rather as a transient hallucination than as a permanent secession from the Established Church, and seemed to think that it would gradually disappear, if left to itself. He admitted that the king was in favour of religious liberty, but was so guarded in speaking of the subject that I did not ascertain his own views.

We had on board about sixty passengers, mostly peasants from Upper Elfdal, bound on a peddling excursion through Sweden, with packs of articles which they manufacture at home. Their stock consisted mostly of pocket-books, purses, boxes, and various small articles of ornament and use. The little steamer was so well laden with their solid forms that she settled into the mud, and the crew had hard poling to get her off. There was service in Mora Church, and the sound of the organ and choir was heard along the lake. Many friends and relatives of the wandering Elfdalians were on the little wooden pier to bid them adieu. "God's peace be with thee!" was a parting salutation which I heard many times repeated. At last we got fairly clear and paddled off through the sepia-coloured water, watching the softly undulating shores, which soon sank low enough to show the blue, irregular hills in the distant background. Mora spire was the central point in the landscape, and remained visible until we had nearly reached the other end of the lake. The Siljan has a length of about twenty-five miles, with a breadth of from six to ten. The shores are hilly, but only moderately high, except in the neighborhood of Rattvik, where they were bold and beautiful. The soft slopes on either hand were covered with the yellow pillars of the ripe oats, bound to upright stakes to dry. From every village rose a tall midsummer pole, yet laden with the withered garlands of Sweden's fairest festival, and bearing aloft its patriotic symbol, the crossed arrows of Dalecarlia. The threatened storm broke and dispersed as we left Mora, and strong sun-bursts between the clouds flashed across these pastoral pictures.

Soon after we left, a number of the men and women collected together on the after-deck, and commenced singing hymns, which occupation they kept up with untiring fervour during the whole voyage. The young girls were remarkable for weight and solidity of figure, ugliness of face, and sweetness of voice. The clear, ringing tones, with a bell-like purity and delicious timbre, issued without effort from between their thick, beefy lips, and there was such a contrast between sound and substance, that they attracted my attention more than I should have thought possible. Some of the men, who had heard what we were, entered into conversation with us. I soon discovered that they were all Lasare, and one of them, who seemed to exercise a kind of leadership, and who was a man of considerable intelligence, gave me a good deal of information about the sect. They met together privately, he said, to read the New Testament, trusting entirely to its inspired pages for the means of enlightenment as to what was necessary for the salvation of their souls. The clergy stood between them and the Voice of God, who had spoken not to a particular class, but to all mankind. They were liable to a fine of 200 rigs ($52) every time they thus met together, my informant had once been obliged to pay it himself. Nevertheless, he said they were not interfered with so much at present, except that they were obliged to pay tithes, as before. "The king is a good man," he continued, "he means well, and would do us justice if he had the power; but the clergy are all against him, and his own authority is limited. Now they are going to bring the question of religious freedom before the Diet, but we have not the least hope that anything will be done." He also stated—what, indeed, must be evident to every observing traveller—that the doctrines of the Lasare had spread very rapidly, and that their numbers were continually increasing.

The creation of such a powerful dissenting body is a thing that might have been expected. The Church, in Sweden, had become a system of forms and ceremonies. The pure spiritualism of Swedenborg, in the last century, was a natural and gigantic rebound to the opposite extreme, but, from its lofty intellectuality, was unfitted to be the nucleus of a popular protest. Meanwhile, the souls of the people starved on the dry husks which were portioned out to them. They needed genuine nourishment. They are an earnest, reflective race, and the religious element is deeply implanted in their nature. The present movement, so much like Methodism in many particulars, owes its success to the same genial and all-embracing doctrine of an impartial visitation of Divine grace, bringing man into nearer and tenderer relations to his Maker. In a word, it is the democratic, opposed to the aristocratic principle in religion. It is fashionable in Sweden to sneer at the Lasare; their numbers, character, and sincerity are very generally under-estimated. No doubt there is much that is absurd and grotesque in their services; no doubt they run into violent and unchristian extremes, and often merely substitute fanaticism for spiritual apathy; but I believe they will in the end be the instrument of bestowing religious liberty upon Sweden.

There was no end to the desire of these people for knowledge. They overwhelmed us with questions about our country, its government, laws, climate, productions and geographical extent. Next to America, they seemed most interested in Palestine, and considered me as specially favoured by Providence in having beheld Jerusalem. They all complained of the burdens which fall upon a poor man in Sweden, in the shape of government taxes, tithes, and the obligation of supporting a portion of the army, who are distributed through the provinces. Thus Dalecarlia, they informed me, with a population of 132,000, is obliged to maintain 1200 troops. The tax on land corresponded very nearly with the statement made by my female postillion the previous day. Dalecarlia, its mines excepted, is one of the poorest of the Swedish provinces. Many of its inhabitants are obliged to wander forth every summer, either to take service elsewhere, or to dispose of the articles they fabricate at home, in order, after some years of this irregular life, to possess enough to enable them to pass the rest of their days humbly at home. Our fellow-passengers told me of several who had emigrated to America, where they had spent five or six years. They grew home-sick at last, and returned to their chilly hills. But it was not the bleak fir-woods, the oat-fields, or the wooden huts which they missed; it was the truth, the honesty, the manliness, and the loving tenderness which dwell in Dalecarlian hearts.

We had a strong wind abeam, but our little steamer made good progress down the lake. The shores contracted, and the white church of Leksand rose over the dark woods, and between two and three o'clock in the afternoon, we were moored in the Dal River, where it issues from the Siljan. The Elfdal peddlers shouldered their immense packs and set out, bidding us a friendly adieu as we parted. After establishing ourselves in the little inn, where we procured a tolerable dinner, we called upon the Domprost Hvasser, to whom I had a letter from a countryman who made a pedestrian journey through Dalecarlia five years ago. The parsonage was a spacious building near the church, standing upon the brink of a lofty bank overlooking the outflow of the Dal. The Domprost, a hale, stout old man, with something irresistibly hearty and cheering in his manner, gave us both his hands and drew us into the room, on seeing that we were strangers. He then proceeded to read the letter. "Ho!" he exclaimed, "to think that he has remembered me all this time! And he has not forgotten that it was just midsummer when he was here!" Presently he went out, and soon returned with a basket in one hand and some plates in the other, which he placed before us and heaped with fine ripe cherries. "Now it is autumn," said he; "it is no longer midsummer, but we have a little of the summer's fruit left." He presented us to his sister and daughter, and to two handsome young magisters, who assisted him in his parochial duties.

We walked in the garden, which was laid out with some taste along the brow of the hill. A superb drooping birch, eighty feet in height, was the crowning glory of the place. The birch is the characteristic tree of Sweden, as the fir is of Norway, the beech of Denmark, the oak of England and Germany, the chestnut of Italy, and the palm of Esrypt. Of northern trees, there is none more graceful in outline, but in the cold, silvery hue of its foliage, summer can never find her best expression. The parson had a neat little bowling-alley, in a grove of pine, on a projecting spur of the hill. He did not disdain secular recreations; his religion was cheerful and jubilant; he had found something else in the Bible than the Lamentations of Jeremiah. There are so many Christians who—to judge from the settled expression of their faces—suffer under their belief, that it is a comfort to find those who see nothing heretical in the fullest and freest enjoyment of life. There was an apple-tree in the garden which was just bursting into blossoms for the second time. I called the Domprost's attention to it, remarking, in a line from Frithiof's Saga:—"Hosten bjuder sin thron til varen" (Autumn offers his throne to the spring). "What!" he exclaimed in joyful surprise, "do you know Tegner?" and immediately continued the quotation.

There was no resisting the hospitable persuasions of the family; we were obliged to take supper and spend the evening with them. The daughter and the two magisters sang for us all the characteristic songs of Wermeland and Dalecarlia which they could remember, and I was more than ever charmed with the wild, simple, original character of the native melodies of Sweden. They are mostly in the minor key, and some of them might almost be called monotonous; yet it is monotony, or rather simplicity, in the notation, which sticks to the memory. The longings, the regrets, the fidelity, and the tenderness of the people, find an echo in these airs, which have all the character of improvisations, and rekindle in the heart of the hearer the passions they were intended to relieve.

We at last took leave of the good old man and his friendly household. The night was dark and rainy, and the magisters accompanied us to the inn. In the morning it was raining dismally,—a slow, cold, driving rain, which is the climax of bad weather. We determined, however, to push onward as far as Fahlun, the capital of Dalecarlia, about four Swedish miles distant. Our road was down the valley of the Dal Elv, which we crossed twice on floating bridges, through a very rich, beautiful, and thickly settled country. The hills were here higher and bolder than in Westerdal, dark with forests of fir and pine, and swept south-eastward in long ranges, leaving a broad, open valley for the river to wander in. This valley, from three to five miles in width, was almost entirely covered with enclosed fields, owing to which the road was barred with gates, and our progress was much delayed thereby. The houses were neat and substantial, many of them with gardens and orchards attached, while the unusual number of the barns and granaries gave evidence of a more prosperous state of agriculture than we had seen since leaving the neighborhood of Carlstad. We pressed forward in the rain and raw wind, and reached Fahlun towards evening, just in time to avoid a drenching storm.

Of the celebrated copper-mines of Fahlun, some of which have been worked for 600 years, we saw nothing. We took their magnitude and richness for granted, on the strength of the immense heaps of dross through which we drove on approaching the town, and the desolate appearance of the surrounding country, whose vegetation has been for the most part destroyed by the fumes from the smelting works. In our sore and sodden condition, we were in no humour to go sight seeing, and so sat comfortably by the stove, while the rain beat against the windows, and the darkness fell. The next morning brought us a renewal of the same weather, but we set out bravely in our open cart, and jolted over the muddy roads with such perseverance, that we reached Hedemora at night. The hills diminished in height as we proceeded southward, but the scenery retained its lovely pastoral character. My most prominent recollection of the day's travel, however, is of the number of gates our numb and blue-faced boy-postillions were obliged to jump down and open.

From Hedemora, a journey of two days through the provinces of Westeras and Uppland, brought us to Upsala. After leaving Dalecarlia and crossing the Dal River for the fifth and last time, the country gradually sank into those long, slightly rolling plains, which we had traversed last winter, between Stockholm and Gefle. Here villages were more frequent, but the houses had not the same air of thrift and comfort as in Dalecarlia. The population also changed in character, the faces we now saw being less bright, cheerful, and kindly, and the forms less tall and strongly knit.

We had very fair accommodations, at all the post-stations along the road, and found the people everywhere honest and obliging. Still, I missed the noble simplicity which I had admired so much in the natives of Westerdal, and on the frontier of Wermeland,—the unaffected kindness of heart, which made me look upon every man as a friend.

The large town of Sala, where we spent a night, was filled with fugitives from Upsala, where the cholera was making great ravages. The violence of the disease was over by the time we arrived; but the students, all of whom had left, had not yet returned, and the fine old place had a melancholy air. The first thing we saw on approaching it, was a funeral. Professor Bergfalk, who had remained at his post, and to whom I had letters, most kindly gave me an entire day of his time. I saw the famous Codex argenteus, in the library, the original manuscript of Frithiof's Saga, the journals of Swedenborg and Linnaeus, the Botanical Garden, and the tombs of Gustavus Vasa and John III. in the cathedral. But most interesting of all was our drive to Old Upsala, where we climbed upon the mound of Odin, and drank mead out of the silver-mounted drinking horn, from which Bernadotte, Oscar, and the whole royal family of Sweden, are in the habit of drinking when they make a pilgrimage to the burial place of the Scandinavian gods.

A cold, pale, yellow light lay upon the landscape; the towers of Upsala Cathedral, and the massive front of the palace, rose dark against the sky, in the south-west; a chill autumnal wind blew over the plains, and the yellowing foliage of the birch drifted across the mysterious mounds, like those few golden leaves of poetry, which the modern bards of the North have cast upon the grave of the grand, muscular religion of the earlier race. There was no melodious wailing in the wind, like that which proclaimed "Pan is dead!" through the groves of Greece and Ionia; but a cold rustling hiss, as if the serpent of Midgard were exulting over the ruin of Walhalla. But in the stinging, aromatic flood of the amber-coloured mead, I drank to Odin, to Balder, and to Freja.

We reached Stockholm on the 22nd of September, in the midst of a furious gale, accompanied with heavy squalls of snow—the same in which the Russian line-of-battle ship "Lefort," foundered in the Gulf of Finland. In the mild, calm, sunny, autumn days which followed, the beautiful city charmed us more than ever, and I felt half inclined to take back all I had said against the place, during the dismal weather of last spring. The trees in the Djurgard and in the islands of Malar, were still in full foliage; the Dalecarlian boatwomen plied their crafts in the outer harbour; the little garden under the Norrbro was gay with music and lamps every evening; and the brief and jovial summer life of the Swedes, so near its close, clung to the flying sunshine, that not a moment might be suffered to pass by unenjoyed.

In another week we were standing on the deck of the Prussian steamer "Nagler," threading the rocky archipelago between Stockholm and the open Baltic on our way to Stettin. In leaving the North, after ten months of winter and summer wanderings, and with scarce a hope of returning again, I found myself repeating, over and over again, the farewell of Frithiof:—

"Farval, J fjallar, Der aran bor; J runohallar, For valdig Thor; J blaa sjoar, Jag kant sa val; J skar och oar, Farval, farval!"

THE END.



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SITE OF WASHINGTON'S BIRTHPLACE, NEW YORK IN 1768, MOUNT VERNON, Rear View, HUDSON HIGHLANDS—ODDIE, MOUNT VERNON, Front View, BAY OF NEW YORK, (Vignette), PHILLIPSE MANOR HOUSE, BRADDOCK'S BATTLE FIELD, WEST POINT IN 1780, LAKE CHAMPLAIN—MILLER, HEAD QUARTERS AT TAPPAN, LAKE GEORGE—MILLER HEAD QUARTERS AT NEWBURGH, VALENTINE'S HILL, OLD CITY HALL, NEW YORK.

Historical Scenes.

WASHINGTON AS A SURVEYOR—DARLEY. BATTLE OF PRINCETON—TRUMBULL. WASHINGT'N AT FORT NECESSITY— SCENE IN FARM HOUSE—McNEVIN. McNEVIN SURRENDER OF BURGOYNE—TRUMBULL. WASHINGTON AT WINCHESTER—DARLEY. BATTLE OF GERMANTOWN— WASHINGTON IN DISMAL SWAMP— SCHUESSELLE McNEVIN. WASHINGTON AT VALLEY FORGE— WASHINGTON'S FIELD SPORTS— DARLEY. DARLEY. WASHINGT'N AND LEE AT MONMOUTH— WASHINGTON GOING TO CONGRESS— DARLEY. DARLEY. WASHINGTON TAKING LEAVE OF HIS FORTIFYING BUNKER HILL—DARLEY. OFFICERS—DARLEY. WASHINGTON SUBDUING CAMP BRAWL. WASHINGTON'S INAUGURATION— ARRIVAL OF KNOX—DARLEY. DARLEY DECLARAT'N OF INDEPENDENCE. WASHINGTON RESIGNING HIS COMMISSION— CROSSING THE DELAWARE—DARLEY. TRUMBULL. BATTLE OF TRENTON—SCHUESSELLE.

IN PRESS. THE CHARACTER AND PORTRAITS OF WASHINGTON. By HENRY T. TUCKERMAN. With 12 steel plates, 8vo. $2.00. Quarto, with proof plates. $5.00.

CAPT. COGGESHALL.

Voyages to Various Parts of the World.

New edition, Illustrated.

3 vols. complete in 1 vol. 8vo. $2.50.

"Some of them of very exciting interest, and all of such a character that the reader of the book will wish to read on and on, and will be sorry when he has ended."—Evening Post.

History of American Privateers.

New edition, Illustrated, 8vo. $2.

This interesting and important work is highly recommended by the Hon. Messrs. J. C. DOBBIN and ISAAC TOUCEY, Secretaries of the Navy; Hon. LEWIS CASS; Hon. HAMILTON FISH, and other eminent men.

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A Manual of Political Economy.

DESIGNED FOR POPULAR READING, AND AS A TEXT BOOK.

12mo., Cloth, $1.

New edition: used as a Text Book in several Colleges.

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Transcriber's Note: Some inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have been preserved. Periods added to dollar amounts Typographical errors corrected in the text: Page xii Guldbrandsde changed to Guldbrandsdal Page xiii FINNARK changed to FINMARK Page 13 Lubeck changed to Lubeck Page 15 afterward changed to afterwards Page 15 laboriously changed to labouriously Page 19 Tornea changed to Tornea Page 24 decended changed to descended Page 25 labor changed to labour Page 30 Freya changed to Freja Page 33 fiord changed to fjord Page 39 Trondjem changed to Trondhjem Page 47 Angesjo changed to Angesjo Page 57 Skeleftea changed to Skelleftea Page 61 Pitea changed to Pitea Page 62 dosed changed to dozed Page 65 Tornea changed to Tornea Page 74 civilized changed to civilised Page 75 Muonioniski changed to Muonioniska Page 109 conducter changed to conductor Page 110 Muonivara changed to Muoniovara Page 119 Lippivara changed to Lippavara Page 127 civilization changed to civilisation Page 129 fiord changed to fjord Page 144 labor changed to labour Page 147 plateaux changed to plateaus Page 149 Lippajarva changed to Lippajarvi Page 149 Palajock changed to Palajok Page 152 civilized changed to civilised Page 156 drunkeness changed to drunkenness Page 157 cotemporary changed to contemporary Page 160 Isaki changed to Isaaki Page 162 civilization changed to civilisation Page 166 Jokijalki changed to Jokijalka Page 173 Korpykila changed to Korpilila Page 179 Mansbyn changed to Mansbyn Page 189 Skeleftea changed to Skelleftea Page 223 cotemporary changed to contemporary Page 248 radient changed to radiant Page 250 odors changed to odours Page 259 Romdal's changed to Romsdal's Page 286 Dronthiem changed to Drontheim Page 287 Dronthiem changed to Drontheim Page 310 lagest changed to largest Page 313 Tromso changed to Tromsoe Page 328 heartly changed to heartily Page 330 DRONTHIEM changed to DRONTHEIM Page 330 Dronthiem changed to Drontheim Page 336 practised changed to practiced Page 342 naive changed to naive Page 343 civilization changed to civilisation Page 353 lifve changed to lifvet Page 360 daguerrotypes changed to daguerreotypes Page 361 bodice changed to boddice Page 364 inn-door changed to in-door Page 366 Naerdol changed to Naerodal Page 368 except changed to expect Page 372 labryrinthine changed to labyrinthine Page 377 Hemsedel changed to Hemsedal Page 378 Bjoborg changed to Bjoberg Page 381 Naes changed to Naes Page 393 quickeuing changed to quickening Page 406 develope changed to develop Page 407 Westerdale changed to Westerdal Page 410 herregara changed to herregard Page 411 nothern changed to northern Page 413 unmistakeable changed to unmistakable Page 430 Sijan changed to Siljan Page 431 nothern changed to northern Page 431 pedlers changed to peddlers Page 436 practised changed to practiced Page 443 SURRENDERR changed to SURRENDER

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