etc. in the face of a new acquaintance, without any misgivings. On this occasion I thought it more prudent to let Sigurdr make the necessary arrangements for our journey, and in a few minutes I had the satisfaction of learning that I had become the proprietor of twenty-six horses, as many bridles and pack-saddles, and three guides. There being no roads in Iceland, all the traffic of the country is conducted by means of horses, along the bridle- tracks which centuries of travel have worn in the lava plains. As but little hay is to be had, the winter is a season of fasting for all cattle, and it is not until spring is well advanced, and the horses have had time to grow a little fat on the young grass, that you can go a journey. I was a good deal taken aback when the number of my stud was announced to me, but it appears that what with the photographic apparatus, which I am anxious to take, and our tent, it would be impossible to do with fewer animals. The price of each pony is very moderate, and I am told I shall have no difficulty in disposing of all of them, at the conclusion of our expedition. These preliminaries happily concluded, Mr. J-- invited us into his house, where his wife and daughter--a sunshiny young lady of eighteen--were waiting to receive us. As Latin here was quite useless, we had to entrust Sigurdr with all the pretty things we desired to convey to our entertainers, but it is my firm opinion that that gentleman took a dirty advantage of us, and intercepting the choicest flowers of our eloquence, appropriated them to the advancement of his own interests. However, such expressions of respectful admiration as he suffered to reach their destination were received very graciously, and rewarded with a shower of smiles. The next few days were spent in making short expeditions in the neighbourhood, in preparing our baggage-train, and in paying visits. It would be too long for me to enumerate all the marks of kindness and hospitality I received during this short period. Suffice it to say, that I had the satisfaction of making many very interesting acquaintances, of beholding a great number of very pretty faces, and of partaking of an innumerable quantity of luncheons. In fact, to break bread, or, more correctly speaking, to crack a bottle with the master of the house, is as essential an element of a morning call as the making a bow or shaking hands, and to refuse to take off your glass would be as great an incivility as to decline taking off your hat. From earliest times, as the grand old ballad of the King of Thule tells us, a beaker was considered the fittest token a lady could present to her true-love-- Dem fterbend feine Buble Einen goldnen Becher gab. And in one of the most ancient Eddaic songs it is written, "Drink, Runes, must thou know, if thou wilt maintain thy power over the maiden thou lovest. Thou shalt score them on the drinking-horn, on the back of thy hand, and the word NAUD" (NEED--necessity) "on thy nail." Moreover, when it is remembered that the ladies of the house themselves minister on these occasions, it will be easily understood that all flinching is out of the question. What is a man to do, when a wicked little golden-haired maiden insists on pouring him out a bumper, and dumb show is his only means of remonstrance? Why, of course, if death were in the cup, he must make her a leg, and drain it to the bottom, as I did. In conclusion, I am bound to add that, notwithstanding the bacchanalian character prevailing in these visits, I derived from them much interesting and useful information, and I have invariably found the gentlemen to whom I have been presented persons of education and refinement, combined with a happy, healthy, jovial temperament, that invests their conversation with a peculiar charm. At this moment people are in a great state of excitement at the expected arrival of H.I.H. Prince Napoleon, and two days ago a large full-rigged ship came in laden with coal for his use. The day after we left Stornaway, we had seen her scudding away before the gale on a due west course, and guessed she was bound for Iceland, and running down the longitude, but as we arrived here four days before her, our course seems to have been a better one. The only other ship here is the French frigate "Artemise," Commodore Dumas, by whom I have been treated with the greatest kindness and civility. On Saturday we went to Vedey, a beautiful little green island where the eider ducks breed, and build nests with the soft under-down plucked from their own bosoms. After the little ones are hatched, and their birthplaces deserted, the nests are gathered, cleaned, and stuffed into pillow-cases, for pretty ladies in Europe to lay their soft, warm cheeks upon, and sleep the sleep of the innocent, while long-legged, broad-shouldered Englishmen protrude from between them at German inns, like the ham from a sandwich, and cannot sleep, however innocent. The next day, being Sunday, I read prayers on board, and then went for a short time to the cathedral church,-- the only stone building in Reykjavik. It is a moderate-sized, unpretending place, capable of holding three or four hundred persons, erected in very ancient times, but lately restored. The Icelanders are of the Lutheran religion, and a Lutheran clergyman, in a black gown, etc., with a ruff round his neck, such as our bishops are painted in about the time of James the First, was preaching a sermon. It was the first time I had heard Icelandic spoken continuously, and it struck me as a singularly sweet caressing language, although I disliked the particular cadence, amounting almost to a chant, with which each sentence ended. As in every church where prayers have been offered up since the world began, the majority of the congregation were women, some few dressed in bonnets, and the rest in the national black silk skull-cap, set jauntily on one side of the head, with a long black tassel hanging down to the shoulder, or else in a quaint mitre of white linen, of which a drawing alone could give you an idea, the remainder of an Icelandic lady's costume, when not superseded by Paris fashions, consists of a black bodice fastened in front with silver clasps, over which is drawn a cloth jacket, ornamented with a multitude of silver buttons; round the neck goes a stiff ruff of velvet, figured with silver lace, and a silver belt, often beautifully chased, binds the long dark wadmal petticoat round the waist. Sometimes the ornaments are of gold instead of silver, and very costly. Before dismissing his people, the preacher descended from the pulpit, and putting on a splendid cope of crimson velvet (in which some bishop had in ages past been murdered), turned his back to the congregation, and chanted some Latin sentences in good round Roman style. Though still retaining in their ceremonies a few vestiges of the old religion, though altars, candles, pictures, and crucifixes yet remain in many of their churches, the Icelanders are staunch Protestants, and, by all accounts, the most devout, innocent pure-hearted people in the world. Crime, theft, debauchery, cruelty, are unknown amongst them; they have neither prison, gallows, soldiers, nor police; and in the manner of the lives they lead among their secluded valleys, there is something of a patriarchal simplicity, that reminds one of the Old World princes, of whom it has been said, that they were "upright and perfect, eschewing evil, and in their hearts no guile." The law with regard to marriage, however, is sufficiently peculiar. When, from some unhappy incompatibility of temper, a married couple live so miserably together as to render life insupportable, it is competent for them to apply to the Danish Governor of the island for a divorce. If, after the lapse of three years from the date of the application, both are still of the same mind, and equally eager to be free, the divorce is granted, and each is at liberty to marry again. The next day it had been arranged that we were to take an experimental trip on our new ponies, under the guidance of the learned and jovial Rector of the College. Unfortunately the weather was dull and rainy, but we were determined to enioy ourselves in spite of everything, and a pleasanter ride I have seldom had. The steed Sigurdr had purchased for me was a long-tailed, hog-maned, shaggy, cow-houghed creature, thirteen hands high, of a bright yellow colour, with admirable action, and sure-footed enough to walk downstairs backwards. The Doctor was not less well mounted; in fact, the Icelandic pony is quite a peculiar race, much stronger, faster, and better bred than the Highland shelty, and descended probably from pure-blooded sires that scoured the steppes of Asia, long before Odin and his paladins had peopled the valleys of Scandinavia. The first few miles of our ride lay across an undulating plain of dolorite, to a farm situated at the head of an inlet of the sea. At a distance, the farm-steading looked like a little oasis of green, amid the grey stony slopes that surrounded it, and on a nearer approach not unlike the vestiges of a Celtic earthwork, with the tumulus of a hero or two in the centre, but the mounds turned out to be nothing more than the grass roofs of the house and offices, and the banks and dykes but circumvallations round the plot of most carefully cleaned meadow, called the "tun," which always surrounds every Icelandic farm. This word "tun" is evidently identical with our own Irish "TOWN-LAND," the Cornish "TOWN," and the Scotch "TOON,"--terms which, in their local signification, do not mean a congregation of streets and buildings, but the yard, and spaces of grass immediately adjoining a single house, just as in German we have "tzaun," and in the Dutch "tuyn," a garden. Turning to the right, round the head of a little bay, we passed within forty yards of an enormous eagle, seated on a crag; but we had no rifle, and all he did was to rise heavily into the air, flap his wings like a barn-door fowl, and plump lazily down twenty yards farther off.
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