with high cheek-bones and a sunken nose. Her husband, who

The appearance presented by the horses, which are allowed to come down the ravine after their masters have descended, is most peculiar. One could fancy they were clinging to the walls of rock.

with high cheek-bones and a sunken nose. Her husband, who

This ravine is known by the name of Almanagiau. Its entire length is about a mile, but a small portion only can be traversed; the rest is blocked up by masses of lava heaped one upon the other. On the right hand, the rocky wall opens, and forms an outlet, over formidable masses of lava, into the beautiful valley of Thingvalla. I could have fancied I wandered through the depths of a crater, which had piled around itself these stupendous barriers during a mighty eruption in times long gone by.

with high cheek-bones and a sunken nose. Her husband, who

The valley of Thingvalla is considered one of the most beautiful in Iceland. It contains many meadows, forming, as it were, a place of refuge for the inhabitants, and enabling them to keep many head of cattle. The Icelanders consider this little green valley the finest spot in the world. Not far from the opening of the ravine, on the farther bank of the river Oxer, lies the little village of Thingvalla, consisting of three or four cottages and a small chapel. A few scattered farms and cottages are situated in the neighbourhood.

with high cheek-bones and a sunken nose. Her husband, who

Thingvalla was once one of the most important places in Iceland; the stranger is still shewn the meadow, not far from the village, on which the Allthing (general assembly) was held annually in the open air. Here the people and their leaders met, pitching their tents after the manner of nomads. Here it was also that many an opinion and many a decree were enforced by the weight of steel.

The chiefs appeared, ostensibly for peace, at the head of their tribe; yet many of them returned not again, but beneath the sword- stroke of their enemies obtained that peace which no man seeketh, but which all men find.

On one side the valley is skirted by the lake, on the other it is bounded by lofty mountains, some of them still partly covered with snow. Not far from the entrance of the ravine, the river Oxer rushes over a wall of rock of considerable height, forming a beautiful waterfall.

It was still fine clear daylight when I reached Thingvalla, and the sky rose pure and cloudless over the far distance. It seemed therefore the more singular to me to see a few clouds skimming over the surface of the mountains, now shrouding a part of them in vapour, now wreathing themselves round their summits, now vanishing entirely, to reappear again at a different point.

This is a phenomenon frequently observed in Iceland during the finest days, and one I had often noticed in the neighbourhood of Reikjavik. Under a clear and cloudless sky, a light mist would appear on the brow of a mountain,--in a moment it would increase to a large cloud, and after remaining stationary for a time, it frequently vanished suddenly, or soared slowly away. However often it may be repeated, this appearance cannot fail to interest the observer.



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