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asleep. We called again, but there was no awaking him. It would be useless asking Martin to turn out, we knew; so Mr. Briggs, with a groan, crawled from his snug bed and opening the tent flap, exposed himself to the full brunt of the gale. I heard him outside cursing Iceland, hammering at a peg, tugging at a guy, and tightening it. Snap! went one of the braces. “Ha!” exclaimed Mr. Briggs from without. “The extra guy rope I bought at Reykjavík, Icelandic manufacture l’’ Poor Mr. Briggs' he must be drenched by this time, and very cold, I thought, and so he was—he came in with his night gear dripping, his teeth chattering, and the rain trickling off his fat body. Next morning—I mean four hours later, when we rose— he was complaining of rheumatism down his back, not, he assured me, from having got wet through outside, but from the water having flowed into his bed from without, the tent being in a hollow. I saw now that the flooring was under water, as Grímr had prognosticated, and that the great bed had absorbed it like a sponge, no wonder that Mr. Briggs was rheumatic l The weather cleared up, and the sun showed through a watery veil; so I determined on pushing on at once to Grimstúnga, at the head of Watnsdalr. Mr. Briggs agreed to accompany me, as he did not relish the notion of another night on the heithi. “We shall have a long ride,” I said; “twelve hours in the saddle.” “Anything rather than sleeping in a puddle,” he answered; “So the sooner we start the better.” It was not, however, till twelve o'clock, that we were under way. Mr. Martin and the Yankee remained for the fishing, and Gūthmundr was to take charge of our luggage. Thus, Mr. Briggs, Grimr and I, could ride without encumbrances, and with a change of horses, to get over the ground as speedily as possible.
The farmer of Kalmanstänga guided us as far as Big Arnarvatn, where we were to fall in with the road. We passed several lakes, and noticed that in some places, snow patches, instead of discharging their thawed water by a stream into the tarns, decanted them down circular funnel-shaped openings in the mould. The beautiful angelica leaf (Archangelica officinalis) starred the black soil, by the margin of the lake: the stalk is delicious eating when full-grown, and is much used by the Icelanders. The black Iceland lichen everywhere; who first thought of using it for food, I wonder Presently a large sheet of water opened before us; it is not marked on Gunnlaugsson's map; the farmer called it Gunnarssonarvatn. “And pray who were the sons of Gunnar 2 ” I asked. “Two young men, who, about a thousand years ago, came hither from Kalmanstünga, fishing. They never returned, and when their father went to seek them, he found them seated by this lake, quite dead, with a plate of fish between them. It is supposed that the char and trout here are poisonous, and net has never been flung in the lake since.” After three quarters of an hour's fast riding, we were at the Big Arnarvatn, the most desolate spot imaginable. The lake is very large, it winds about among the hills, so that it is quite impossible to catch sight of the whole sheet at once: its waters looked chill and milky with undissolved snow; the high ridges of hill all round were perfectly barren, and swept abruptly to the marge, strewn with iron-grey and black rock in ragged splinters. Discoloured snow-blotches filled every cranny of the scarps, and the only green spot visible was the mossy headland opposite, where Grettir the outlaw, in 1019, had planted his cottage. Poor Grettir a sad place of exile indeed! Twice had he there to do battle for his life against hired assassins, and yonder is a cleft in which he and his brave friend Hallmund defended themselves against fearful odds. To the west was a long spit of black rubble, round which the lake curls, the cold waves fretted against it, lashed by a freezing gale from the north. In all the pools around, was green ice of great thickness—this too on the 27th June 1 Our horses scrambled down the hill-side, and waded through a swamp of coal-black moss, crisp with ice splinters; a bit of rubble passed, and we drew rein by a hut, occupied in summer by three fishermen and a boy, the wildest fellows I ever saw. Hut is too good a name for the mud heap, four feet high and twelve feet long, in which these poor creatures lived. There was no opening for light, except the door, and through this, thin smoke curled from a fire, which the boy had lighted for roasting coffee. On one side of the cot was a pile of trout as high as the hovel itself, and the ground about it was strewn with their entrails. The grey-bearded, fur-capped fishers kissed Grímr and the farmer; I took off my Glengarry to them, they bowed, and returned the salute, so I escaped a kiss, and we galloped on. Far, far away to the south stretched the enormous Lang jökull, forty-six miles long, ending in Lykla-fjall, faint and blue, with the quaint hunch Krákr projecting from its northern flank. At the head of the lake, the Storisandr road branches off, and here is a little hut for the convenience of benighted travellers. My guide told me a long story about some postReformation bishop, who with a dozen theological students was snowed in there, and what was the end of the story I forget; but I believe that the bishop ate the theological students, or vice versä. The Bútherá, which feeds the lake, shoots over a rock in a pretty cascade, and the road leads through the water just below it. A few marsh marigolds shone among the sedge on its bank. Then we came out on a portion of the heithi, even more bald than any we had passed, for the grey willow roots were wanting now; and, far as the eye could reach, there was nothing but an apparently endless succession of slime and rock, snow patches and pools of water.
At six o'clock we saw turf again—brown and Scanty, a patch of about two acres, below a sand-hill, in a bend of the Hólma-kvisl. Kvisl is the Icelandic for a feeder to a large river. It was a satisfaction to see the water flowing north, and to know that we had broken the neck of the heithi. We rested our horses for half an hour. Grimr unstrapped my fishing stockings from behind his saddle, and shook out of one of them kaager, and from the other, a cold leg of mutton. After having satisfied myself, I was making for the sandhill with the intention of searching for fossil freshwater shells, which are to be found in the sand formations between the trap beds, when Grimr called me back, urging the necessity of our not losing more time, as we should get no supper, if we arrived late at Grimstúnga. Near Hólma-kvisl the road for Withidalr branches off to the left. The mountains dividing that vale from Vatnsdalr rose in greater majesty before us as we proceeded, but unfortunately, their heads were shrouded in mist. “In six hours,” said Grímr, “we shall be at the head of Watnsdalr. It shall rain before we arrive,”
THE WAMPIRE'S GRAWE.
Barren Wilderness—A Cairn—The Walley of Shadows: a Saga—A magnificent Gorge—Waterfalls—The Watnsdalr—Arrival at Grimstúnga.
TowARDs seven o'clock we reached perhaps the most repulsive portion of the heithi; scarce a blade of grass was visible. The land, for the most part, was a tract of mud and stone, with only here and there a patch of grey moss, covering though not disguising the hideous nakedness of the desert. A pile of trachyte blocks indicated a road, which otherwise would have been undistinguishable, as no attempt had been made to clear the stones from the track; and it was only where these stones gave place to black mud, that by its kneaded filth we could ascertain that horses passed that way. Mr. Briggs, Grímr, and I had ridden in silence for more than an hour, our spirits depressed by the revolting scene and by the dull quilt of cloud obscuring the sun; when suddenly Grimr drew rein, and pointing to a cairn distant about a quarter of a mile from the path, said in a solemn voice— “There is Glâmr's gravel.” Had there been any exhilarating object within sight, my guide would have been the last man to point it out. Much to his discontent I turned my horse's head and rode over the rocks to the spot. The tumulus rises in a bend of the stream, and is com
posed entirely of stones gathered from the patch of ground