spoken of in the Zemstvo, and an inspector was sent to

During the season in which the snow ceases to form a secure covering, this road is but little travelled. We saw nowhere a trace of footsteps, either of men or animals; we were the only living beings in this dreadful region. I certainly scolded my guide roundly for bringing me by such a road. But what did I gain by this? It would have been as dangerous to turn back as to go on.

spoken of in the Zemstvo, and an inspector was sent to

A change in the weather, which till now had been rather favourable, increased the difficulties of this journey. Already when we left Kalmannstunga, the sky began to be overcast, and the sun enlivened us with its rays only for a few minutes at a time. On our reaching the higher mountains the weather became worse; for here we encountered clouds and fog, which wreaked their vengeance upon us, and which only careered by to make room for others. An icy storm from the neighbouring glaciers was their constant companion, and made me shiver so much that I could scarcely keep my saddle. We had now ridden above thirteen hours. The rain poured down incessantly, and we were half dead with cold and wet; so I at length determined to halt for the night at the first cottage: at last we found one between two or three miles from Thingvalla. I had now a roof above my head; but beyond this I had gained nothing. The cottage consisted of a single room, and was almost completely filled by four broad bedsteads. I counted seven adults and three children, who had all to be accommodated in these four beds. In addition to this, the kvef, a kind of croup, prevailed this spring to such an extent that scarcely any one escaped it. Wherever I went, I found the people afflicted with this complaint; and here this was also the case; the noise of groaning and coughing on all sides was quite deplorable. The floor, moreover, was revoltingly dirty.

spoken of in the Zemstvo, and an inspector was sent to

The good people were so kind as immediately to place one of their beds at my disposal; but I would rather have passed the night on the threshold of the door than in this disgusting hole. I chose for my lodging-place the narrow passage which separated the kitchen from the room; I found there a couple of blocks, across which a few boards had been laid, and this constituted the milk-room: it might have been more properly called the smoke-room; for in the roof were a few air-holes, through which the smoke escaped. In this smoke or milk-room--whichever it may be called--I prepared to pass the night as best I could. My cloak being wet through, I had been compelled to hang it on a stick to dry; and thus found myself under the necessity of borrowing a mattress from these unhealthy people. I laid myself down boldly, and pretended sleepiness, in order to deliver myself from the curiosity of my entertainers. They retired to their room, and so I was alone and undisturbed. But yet I could not sleep; the cold wind, blowing in upon me through the air-holes, chilled and wetted as I already was, kept me awake against my will. I had also another misfortune to endure. As often as I attempted to sit upright on my luxurious couch, my head would receive a severe concussion. I had forgotten the poles which are fixed across each of these antechambers, for the purpose of hanging up fish to dry, &c. Unfortunately I could not bear this arrangement in mind until after I had received half a dozen salutations of this description.

spoken of in the Zemstvo, and an inspector was sent to

At length the morning so long sighed for came; the rain had indeed ceased; but the clouds still hung about the mountains, and promised a speedy fall; I nevertheless resolved rather to submit myself to the fury of the elements than to remain longer in my present quarters, and so ordered the horses to be saddled.

Before my departure roast lamb and butter were offered me. I thanked my entertainers; but refrained from tasting any thing, excusing myself on the plea of not feeling hungry, which was in reality the case; for if I only looked at the dirty people who surrounded me, my appetite vanished instantly. So long as my stock of bread and cheese lasted, I kept to it, and ate nothing else.

Taking leave of my good hosts, we continued our journey to Reikjavik, by the same road on which I had travelled on my journey hither. This had not been my original plan on starting from Reikjavik; I had intended to proceed from Thingvalla directly to the Geyser, to Hecla, &c.; but the horses were already exhausted, and the weather so dreadfully bad, without prospect of speedy amendment, that I preferred returning to Reikjavik, and waiting for better times in my pleasant little room at the house of the good baker.

We rode on as well as we could amidst ceaseless storms of wind and rain. The most disagreeable circumstance of all was our being obliged to spend the hours devoted to rest in the open air, under a by no means cloudless sky, as during our whole day's journey we saw not a single hut, save the solitary one in the lava desert, which serves as a resting-place for travellers during the winter. So we continued our journey until we reached a scanty meadow. Here I had my choice either to walk about for two hours, or to sit down upon the wet grass. I could find nothing better to do than to turn my back upon the wind and rain, to remain standing on one spot, to have patience, and for amusement to observe the direction in which the clouds scudded by. At the same time I discussed my frugal meal, more for want of something to do than from hunger; if I felt thirsty, I had only to turn round and open my mouth.

If there are natures peculiarly fitted for travelling, I am fortunate in being blessed with such an one. No rain or wind was powerful enough to give me even a cold. During this whole excursion I had tasted no warm or nourishing food; I had slept every night upon a bench or a chest; had ridden nearly 255 miles in six days; and had besides scrambled about bravely in the cavern of Surthellir; and, in spite of all this privation and fatigue, I arrived at Reikjavik in good health and spirits.



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