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these slopes trembling, and with the greatest caution, dislodging quantities of rubble and sand as they planted each foot, sending them in avalanches down the gorge. In the marshes at the head of the passes are the sources of the Northrá and Öxnará, which flow respectively west and east, the former flowing into the Heradsvatn, which pours into the Skaga-fjord, and the latter joining the Hörgá, which enters the Eyja-fjord some miles north of Akureyri. The Öxnadal, down which we rode, is girded in by bluffs of basalt reaching to the snows, overleaped by magnificent waterfalls; through the gaps they have torn one obtains peeps of Snowy cones and pyramids. The porkpie-shaped mountain top I engrave, was hastily scribbled down whilst I was in my saddle, as the clouds momentarily parted around it. It was four o'clock in the morning when we reached Steinstathr, drenched to the skin by the passage of the Thwerá (cross-stream), a fretful torrent which lay athwart our path. The farmer, an M.P. for his district, received us warmly, though we had to rout him out of bed on our arrival. A bed was made for me, but Grimr had, I believe, to share one with the farmer and his wife. We were not down to breakfast till two o'clock in the afternoon, and then we had an excellent repast off roast mutton. As the sun was burning brightly in the sky, I retired behind a wall which sheltered me from the bitter wind, to bask in the unwonted warmth. It was pleasantly hot, but too much for Grímr, who lay for a little while beside me, and was then so overcome by the sun's power as to be indisposed for the rest of the day, and obliged to go to bed. Steinstathr is prettily situated immediately under ajökull, which rises up in one start to the snows, and without buttresses. Opposite the farm is a range of singular rocks, several thousand feet high, with a saw-like edge, apparently quite sharp, so that the Snow can never lie on them. During the night a caravan belonging to a Danish merchant arrived, consisting of thirty horses, laden with wares from the station of Höfsós (pronounced Hopsoase), at which a ship had arrived with goods. These he was conveying to Akureyri, the capital of the north. We all started together in the morning, and I found the Dane very agreeable, as he spoke a little English. I mentioned my regrets at having deprived him of the guest bed at Steinstathr. “Dank you!” he answered; “but I never slip in an Island bed.” “Did you lie on the bench in the sitting-room ?” “Yes, I not like a bed in a native byre. It is so dirty, and so full of insect.” Then after a pause he said, “You should come to Húsavik, and see of the fair; it will be dare in dree week.” “I wish that I could, but I shall not be in the neighbourhood then. What trade is carried on at the fair, may I ask?” “Oh, de merchants sells of crockery, of corn-brandy, and of clodes.” “How do the natives pay ? They have no money!” “No,” answered the merchant; “but dey have fleas.” “I am well aware of that, but how comes that to alter the case ?” “Why l’’ replied the Dane; “dey takes of de vares, and dey gives us de fleas. De people of Denmark likes of de Island fleas very much.” “A singular taste!” I remarked. “Indeed, I may say, very singular. What can there be in them so attractive 2 ” “Oh I’’ with enthusiasm; “dey is more big and more long dan in any odder country.” “Woe's me!” I exclaimed; “your statement is corroborated by my experience.” “De colder de vinter, de bigger de fleas 1” remarked my Companion. “And they bring these abominations to the merchant stations for barter l’” “When dey have washed and dried de fleas. Dare l’”
My eye followed the direction of my companion's finger, and I saw a quantity of sheep's-wool—fleece—lying in the tün of a small farm. At the time that I was in Iceland, the engagement of the Prince of Wales to the Princess Alexandra had not taken place, but the possibility of such an event had been mooted. I mentioned it to my friend, the Dane. “Well!” said he ; “ve should be very sorry to lose her for any odder nation dan England. We all love her in Denmark, very, very much; and, if ever she become Princess of Wales and Queen of England, you will learn to love her as we have, for her own merits.” Now,” said I, “let us have the rights of the Holstein squabbles.” The discussion of these rights occupied the Dane some hours. I will spare the reader. I never did understand them, and fear that I do not comprehend them a bit better now. Eyja-fjord broke on us in all the glory of a breezy noon, the bright quivering blue frith skirted by jökulls, and furrowed by white-sailed fishing smacks. To our left we saw the stone mansion Fredriksgave, which is the residence of the Governor of the North—a sort of railway shed, undoubtedly much colder than the turf houses of the natives. This stone house occupies the site of the ancient monastery of Möthruvellir, founded in 1295 by Bishop Jörundr of Hólar, and burned down in 1316, but rebuilt by Bishop John of Hólar in 1328. Not a trace of the ancient buildings remains. Our horses snuffed the wind, and set off at a scamper for the beach, where they paused to drink the seawater and nibble the weed. We rattled along a shingly shore, and entered Akureyri, whilst the Danish flag was flying half-mast high from all the stores, and from some of the craft in the bay. “Who is dead?” I breathlessly asked, with forebodings of death in the Danish royal family. “Who is dead?” “The baby daughter of a priest, ten miles up the fjordhead, has died, poor little thing, of croup !” was the reply.