But to me the most interesting sight in Bergen was the grave of the Norwegian violinist, Ole Bull. His last appearance in America was in 1879 - too long ago perhaps for many to recollect him - for, alas! even those who entertain the public best are soon forgotten. But some of my readers no doubt recall that Paganini of the North, tall and erect, with large blue eyes and flaxen hair- the personification of a valiant Norseman, whose fire and magnetism in this nineteenth century displayed themselves in music rather than in maritime adventure. As his old Viking ancestors had no doubt wielded sword and battle-ax, so his bow was of such unusual length that no one of inferior strength and stature could have used it advantageously.
A Busy Day In Bergen.
From this musician's grave one looks off over the lovely bay of Bergen. This peaceful view, which he so loved, produced upon my mind, in the soft evening light, the same effect as did the music of that skillful hand which now reposed beneath the flowers. To me his playing was enchanting, and unlike that of any other violinist I have ever heard. There was a quality in the tones that he would call forth from his violin, which seemed as weird and fascinating as the poetry of the sagas, and as mysterious as the light which lingered on his mountains and fjords. What wonder that his death in 1880 was deplored in Norway as a national calamity?
The Grave Of Ole Bull.
Taking our leave reluctantly of Bergen, we entered on what proved to be one of the most delightful features of our tour in Norway, a sail of twenty-four hours along the coast to the town of Molde. How can I adequately describe that most unique and memorable journey? Our entire course lay through a labyrinth of islands, beyond which, every now and then, we gained a glimpse of the Atlantic rolling away toward the horizon. The proximity and number of these islands astonished me. For, hour after hour, they would come into sight, wheel by us slowly, and then disappear, to be succeeded by their counterparts. We went down to dinner or to our staterooms, yet when we came on deck again, islands still surrounded us. We saw them glittering in the sunset ere we went to sleep, and in the morning we were once more environed by them. Sometimes I could have fancied that they were sailing with us, like a vast convoy of protecting gunboats, moving when we moved, halting when we halted, patient and motionless till we resumed our voyage.
Meantime, just opposite these islands, is the coast, - a grand succession of bold headlands and dark, gloomy mountains, beyond which always are still higher summits capped with snow. At frequent intervals some beautiful fjord leads inward, like the entrance to a citadel; and here and there, within a sheltered nook, we see some fishing hamlet crouching on the sand. This is surely the perfection of ocean travel. For, though this mountain-bordered channel is hundreds of miles in length, the sea within it is as smooth as a canal. Once only throughout the day was the great swell of the Atlantic felt, when for a little space the island breakwater was gone. Our sail along the coast had, late at night, a most appropriate ending in our arrival at Molde. There are few places in the world more beautiful. It lies upon the bank of a fjord, on the opposite side of which is an array of snowy mountains forty miles in length. Molde is sometimes called the "Inter-laken of Norway," but that does not by any means describe it. For here there is no single mountain, like the Jungfrau, to compel our homage, but rather a long series of majestic peaks, resembling a line of icebergs drifting in crystal splendor from the polar sea.
The Norwegian Coast.
Filled with enthusiasm over this splendid spectacle, we left the steamer, and soon found ourselves within a comfortable hotel. It was the hour of midnight, but, far from being dark, the eastern sky was even then brightening with the coming dawn. A party of excursionists was just returning from a mountain climb. Some passengers were embarking on the steamer we had left. Supper or breakfast (I know not which to call it) was awaiting us. Under such circumstances it seemed ridiculous to go to bed. Accordingly, we laughed and chatted on the balcony, until a wretched man thrust out his head from an adjoining window, and remarked: