He had a good eye for everything, and Ivan Vasilyevich

Nature Difficult to Move Networkart2023-11-30 18:07:20 82 3884

On rejoining my party, I found them encamped in the meadow around a table, which had in the meantime been spread with butter, cheese, bread, cake, roast lamb, raisins and almonds, a few oranges, and wine. Neither chairs nor benches were to be had, for even wealthy peasants only possess planks nailed to the walls of their rooms; so we all sat down upon the grass, and did ample justice to the capital coffee which made the commencement of the meal. Laughter and jokes predominated to such an extent, that I could have fancied myself among impulsive Italians instead of cold Northmen.

He had a good eye for everything, and Ivan Vasilyevich

There was no lack of wit; but to-day I was unfortunately its butt. And what was my fault?--only my stupid modesty. The conversation was carried on in the Danish language; some members of our party spoke French and others German, but I purposely abstained from availing myself of their acquirements, in order not to disturb the hilarity of the conversation. I sat silently among them, and was perfectly contented in listening to their merriment. But my behaviour was set down as proceeding from stupidity, and I soon gathered from their discourse that they were comparing me to the "stone guest" in Mozart's Don Giovanni. If these kind people had only surmised the true reason of my keeping silence, they would perhaps have thanked me for doing so.

He had a good eye for everything, and Ivan Vasilyevich

As we sat at our meal, I heard a voice in the farmhouse singing an Icelandic song. At a distance it resembled the humming of bees; on a nearer approach it sounded monotonous, drawling, and melancholy.

He had a good eye for everything, and Ivan Vasilyevich

While we were preparing for our departure, the farmer, his wife, and the servants approached, and shook each of us by the hand. This is the usual mode of saluting such HIGH people as we numbered among our party. The true national salutation is a hearty kiss.

On my arrival at home the effect of the strong coffee soon began to manifest itself. I could not sleep at all, and had thus ample leisure to make accurate observations as to the length of the day and of the twilight. Until eleven o'clock at night I could read ordinary print in my room. From eleven till one o'clock it was dusk, but never so dark as to prevent my reading in the open air. In my room, too, I could distinguish the smallest objects, and even tell the time by my watch. At one o'clock I could again read in my room.

The little island of Vidoe, four miles distant from Reikjavik, is described by most travellers as the chief resort of the eider-duck. I visited the island on the 8th of June, but was disappointed in my expectations. I certainly saw many of these birds on the declivities and in the chasms of the rocks, sitting quietly on their nests, but nothing approaching the thousands I had been led to expect. On the whole, I may perhaps have seen from one hundred to a hundred and fifty nests.

The most remarkable circumstance connected with the eider-ducks is their tameness during the period of incubation. I had always regarded as myths the stories told about them in this respect, and should do so still had I not convinced myself of the truth of these assertions by laying hands upon the ducks myself. I could go quite up to them and caress them, and even then they would not often leave their nests. Some few birds, indeed, did so when I wished to touch them; but they did not fly up, but contented themselves with coolly walking a few paces away from the nest, and there sitting quietly down until I had departed. But those which already had live young, beat out boldly with their wings when I approached, struck at me with their bills, and allowed themselves to be taken up bodily rather than leave the nest. They are about the size of our ducks; their eggs are of a greenish grey, rather larger than hen's eggs, and taste very well. Altogether they lay about eleven eggs. The finest down is that with which they line their nests at first; it is of a dark grey colour. The Icelanders take away this down, and the first nest of eggs. The poor bird now robs herself once more of a quantity of down (which is, however, not of so fine a quality as the first), and again lays eggs. For the second time every thing is taken from her; and not until she has a third time lined the nest with her down is the eider-duck left in peace. The down of the second, and that of the third quality especially, are much lighter than that of the first. I also was sufficiently cruel to take a few eggs and some down out of several of the nests. { 34}

I did not witness the dangerous operation of collecting this down from between the clefts of rocks and from unapproachable precipices, where people are let down, or to which they are drawn up, by ropes, at peril of their lives. There are, however, none of these break- neck places in the neighbourhood of Reikjavik.



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