with crowns on their capricious heads, lovely little mirrors

Nature Difficult to Move Networkmethod2023-11-30 19:39:34 1 22869

The inhabitants of more southern regions have no idea of the extraordinary clearness and brilliancy of a northern moonlight night; it seems almost as if the moon had borrowed a portion of the sun's lustre. I have seen splendid nights on the coast of Asia, on the Mediterranean; but here, on the shores of Scandinavia, they were lighter and brighter.

with crowns on their capricious heads, lovely little mirrors

I remained on deck all night; for it pleased me to watch the forests of masts crowded together here, and endeavouring simultaneously to gain the entrance to the Sound. I should now be able to form a tolerable idea of a fleet, for this number of ships must surely resemble a merchant-fleet.

with crowns on their capricious heads, lovely little mirrors

On the twentieth day of our journey we entered the port of Helsingor. The Sound dues have to be paid here, or, as the sailor calls it, the ship must be cleared. This is a very tedious interruption, and the stopping and restarting of the ship very incommodious. The sails have to be furled, the anchor cast, the boat lowered, and the captain proceeds on shore; hours sometimes elapse before he has finished. When he returns to the ship, the boat has to be hoisted again, the anchor raised, and the sails unfurled. Sometimes the wind has changed in the mean time; and in consequence of these formalities, the port of Copenhagen cannot be reached at the expected time.

with crowns on their capricious heads, lovely little mirrors

If a ship is unfortunate enough to reach Helsingor on a dark night, she may not enter at all for fear of a collision. She has to anchor in the Cattegat, and thus suffer two interruptions. If she arrives at Helsingor in the night before four o'clock, she has to wait, as the custom-house is not opened till that time.

The skipper is, however, at liberty to proceed direct to Copenhagen, but this liberty costs five thalers (fifteen shillings). If, however, the toll may thus be paid in Copenhagen just as easily, the obligation to stop at Helsingor is only a trick to gain the higher toll; for if a captain is in haste, or the wind is too favourable to be lost, he forfeits the five thalers, and sails on to Copenhagen.

Our captain cared neither for time nor trouble; he cleared the ship here, and so we did not reach Copenhagen until two o'clock in the afternoon. After my long absence, it seemed so familiar, so beautiful and grand, as if I had seen nothing so beautiful in my whole life. My readers must bear in mind, however, where I came from, and how long I had been imprisoned in a vessel in which I scarcely had space to move. When I put foot on shore again, I could have imitated Columbus, and prostrated myself to kiss the earth.


On the 19th August, the day after my arrival from Iceland, at two o'clock in the afternoon, I had already embarked again; this time in the fine royal Norwegian steamer Christiania, of 170 horsepower, bound for the town of Christiania, distant 304 sea-miles from Copenhagen. We had soon passed through the Sound and arrived safely in the Cattegat, in which we steered more to the right than on the journey to Iceland; for we not only intended to see Norway and Sweden, but to cast anchor on the coast.



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