A Northern Landscape.
As a rule, Norwegian time-tables are about as difficult to decipher as the inscriptions on a Chinese tea-caddy. Even Bradshaw, the author of that English railway guide which is the cause of so much apoplexy, came here to Norway a few years ago, and died in trying to make out its post-road and railway system. Some think that it was a judgment upon him. At all events, his grave is near Christiania, and he sleeps, while the "globe-trotter," whom he long befriended, still rushes to and fro.
Although an Englishman by birth, "Bennett" has been for fifty years a resident of Norway, and is a blessing to all travelers in that country. At first he gave his services gratuitously; but as the tourists began to multiply, he found that such disinterestedness was impossible. He at length made a business of it, and year by year it has steadily increased.
A new edition of his guide-book comes out every season; and to still further help the public, he has begotten four young Bennetts, who act as courteous agents for their father, in Bergen, Trondhjem, and Christiania. He has no "personally conducted parties." He has no wish to go outside of Norway. But here, on account of the peculiar style of traveling, and the difficulty of the language, it certainly is a great convenience to employ him.
Our arrangements with this guardian of Norwegian tourists having at length been concluded, we strolled for some time through Chris-tiania's streets. It is a clean and cheerful city, though it can boast of little architectural beauty. The Royal Palace is its finest building, but even this, on close inspection, proves to be more useful than ornamental, and well suited to a nation forced to practice strict economy. In inspecting the structure it is interesting to remember how independent Norway is of Sweden, although both countries are governed by one King. The Parliament in Christiania is wholly separate from that of Stockholm. No Swede may hold political office here. Even the power of the King is limited; for if a bill is passed three times in the Norwegian Parliament, then, notwithstanding the royal veto, it becomes law.
The Palace At Christiania.
Moreover, in accordance with the Constitution, the King of Sweden and Norway must be crowned in Norway; he must reside here three months in the year; here, also, he must open Parliament in person, and hold receptions, for no Norwegian wishes to go to Stockholm for a presentation to his sovereign. In this portion of his realm, also, he must be addressed as "King of Norway and Sweden," not of "Sweden and Norway." A certain rivalry still exists between these two nations. Norwegians sometimes say: "We love the English, and drink tea; the Swedes love the French, and drink coffee!"
A View Near Christiania.
One of the first things that attracted my attention in my walks through Christiania was the peculiar sign, "Rum for Resande." Judge not, however, from appearances in this strange language of the north. It is said that not long ago an English-speaking traveler of strong prohibition principles was horrified at seeing this announcement frequently displayed.
"What does that last word 'Resande' mean?" he asked suspiciously.
"Travelers," was the reply.
"Rum for travelers!' he exclaimed. "Oh, this is terrible! What an insult to the traveling public! Now I, for one, protest against such misrepresentation. I am a traveler, but I never take a drop of rum".
An Ambiguous Sign.
A Bit Of Norway.
"Not quite so fast," rejoined a Norwegian, who was laughing heartily; "that first word means, not rum, but rooms; the whole sentence, therefore, merely signifies, 'lodging for travel-ers.' " Eager to start upon our northward journey, we left some interesting features in Christiania for a later visit, and on a beautiful June morning set out for the coast. The train conveyed us in two hours to Lake Mjosen, where we embarked upon a little steamer. From that time on, although continually traveling, we saw no more railways for a month. This lovely sheet of water has a marvelous depth, its bed, in places, being one thousand feet below the level of the sea. This fact grows more mysterious when we remember that on the occasion of the Lisbon earthquake, in 1755, the waters of this lake, although so remote from Portugal, were so terribly disturbed, that they rose suddenly to the height of twenty feet, and then as suddenly subsided.