It had a strong smell of mice, bees, cobwebs and birds.

I had the luck to see another eruption before my departure at half- past eight o'clock; and this one was nearly as beautiful as the first. This time also the outer basin was entirely emptied, and the inner one to a depth of six or seven feet. I could therefore again descend into the basin, and bid farewell to the Geyser at the very brink of the crater, which, of course, I did.

It had a strong smell of mice, bees, cobwebs and birds.

I had now been three nights and two days in the immediate vicinity of the Geyser, and had witnessed five eruptions, of which two were of the most considerable that had ever been known. But I can assure my readers that I did not find every thing as I had anticipated it according to the descriptions and accounts I had read. I never heard a greater noise than I have mentioned, and never felt any trembling of the earth, although I paid the greatest attention to every little circumstance, and held my head to the ground during an eruption.

It had a strong smell of mice, bees, cobwebs and birds.

It is singular how many people repeat every thing they hear from others--how some, with an over-excited imagination, seem to see, hear, and feel things which do not exist; and how others, again, tell the most unblushing falsehoods. I met an example of this in Reikjavik, in the house of the apothecary Moller, in the person of an officer of a French frigate, who asserted that he had "ridden to the very edge of the crater of Mount Vesuvius." He probably did not anticipate meeting any one in Reikjavik who had also been to the crater of Vesuvius. Nothing irritates me so much as such falsehoods and boastings; and I could not therefore resist asking him how he had managed that feat. I told him that I had been there, and feared danger as little as he could do; but that I had been compelled to descend from my donkey near the top of the mountain, and let my feet carry me the remainder of the journey. He seemed rather embarrassed, and pretended he had meant to say NEARLY to the crater; but I feel convinced he will tell this story so often that he will at last believe it himself.

It had a strong smell of mice, bees, cobwebs and birds.

I hope I do not weary my readers by dwelling so long on the subject of the Geyser. I will now vary the subject by relating a few circumstances that came under my notice, which, though trifling in themselves, were yet very significant. The most unimportant facts of an almost unknown country are often interesting, and are often most conclusive evidences of the general character of the nation.

I have already spoken of my intoxicated guide. It is yet inexplicable to me how he could have conducted me so safely in such a semi-conscious state; and had he not been the only one, I should certainly not have trusted myself to his guidance.

Of the want of cleanliness of the Icelanders, no one who has not witnessed it can have any idea; and if I attempted to describe some of their nauseous habits, I might fill volumes. They seem to have no feeling of propriety, and I must, in this respect, rank them as far inferior to the Bedouins and Arabs--even to the Greenlanders. I can, therefore, not conceive how this nation could once have been distinguished for wealth, bravery, and civilisation.

On this day I proceeded on my journey about twenty-eight miles farther to Skalholt.

For the first five miles we retraced our former road; then we turned to the left and traversed the beautiful long valley in which the Geyser is situated. For many miles we could see its clouds of steam rising to the sky. The roads were tolerable only when they passed along the sides of hills and mountains; in the plains they were generally marshy and full of water. We sometimes lost all traces of a road, and only pushed on towards the quarter in which the place of our destination was situated; and feared withal to sink at every pace into the soft and unresisting soil.



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