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during the winter, and takes about five days on the road. The postman passes by Thingvellir, Kaldidalr, the Arnarvatn heithi, then branches off from the road I had gone, and comes direct to Akureyri, over the Storisandur. In autumn and spring the postman has to do the greater part of the journey on foot, and sleeps, when benighted, in snow-pits, which he digs for himself. The privations which this poor man has to undergo are often very great; his predecessors have perished in the snows or have been lost in crossing half-frozen rivers. There are two other ways to Reykjavik besides that taken by the postman, these are the Kjal-vegr and Sprengisandur vegr. The former follows the Eyja-fjord river to its source near the Hofs jökull, then passes between that and Lang jökull, skirts the large Hvitár lake, and passing the Geysir and Thingvellir, enters Reykjavík. The Sprengisandur road is longer and more arduous. Leaving Akureyri, it passes the Wathla skarth, follows up the Fnijoská dale, then crosses to that of the Skjalfanda-fljot, “ or flood of quivering waves;” this it follows to the little grass patch of Kithagil, after which there is a gallop of twenty-two hours over a lifeless desert of black sand to the roots of Tungnafells and Arnarfells jökulls, where there is a grass patch called Eyvindarkofaver. Thence it passes along the Thiorsá, near Hekla, to the Geysir, and so by Thingvellir to Reykjavik. The great event of the year at Akureyri, is the arrival of the first ship from Copenhagen. Many a lady expects by it her spring and summer dresses, some article of ornament, or a long wished for piece of furniture; the merchants await some additions to their stock, and the natives are looking for various articles which they have ordered through the Danish traders. Last autumn a farmer came to one of the merchants, with the request that he would procure him a clock. The order was transmitted to Copenhagen, and by the first vessel in the spring there arrived a clock, but it proved to be such an inferior article, that the merchant returned it and demanded another. The new one had not arrived when I was at Akureyri, and the farmer was told that he should have his clock by a vessel due in August, just nine months after the good man had given his order. Once a year the men of Grimsey visit Akureyri to lay in , stores for winter, and part with the oil, fish, and feathers they have collected in their lonely isle. In the autumn of 1861, these poor fishermen, after having bartered their wares, and laden their boat, started down the fjord on their return to Grimsey, sixty-five miles distant. As they rowed down the frith, some of the party remembered that they had friends at the little farm of Sauthanes (the Sheep-ness), and, considering that this was their only chance, for a year, of renewing old acquaintance, they persuaded the rest to put ashore. The whole party left the boat and adjourned to the farm, where they sat drinking and talking till midnight, when they thought fit to return to their boat. But, alas ! the tide had risen and carried their boat away. Next day it was discovered stranded, keel uppermost, in a creek not far distant. All the stores were at the bottom of the fjord, but the boat was not much injured. The poor fellows at once returned to Akureyri, where they related their piteous tale ; the inhabitants raised a contribution for them, and furnished them again with all that was necessary to support life. Grimsey is the smallest cure in Iceland; it has its church, that of North-garth, and priest. When Henderson was at Akureyri, he found the Grimsey priest and a mainland priest at loggerheads about a Bible, which the latter had lent to his island brother, and which had never been returned. The mainland pastor sent demands for the restitution of his book by the Grimsey boat when it visited Akureyri, but on its return the following summer, there was neither book nor message from the Grimsey parson. Henderson settled the dispute by presenting two copies to the island, one for the use of the church, the other for the minister himself. The present priest is such an inveterate drunkard that the islanders kicked him out a few years back, and lived without a
pastor, till they found that they could get no other, so they sent a boat to land and brought him back again. The Grimsey fishermen are said to be a lawless, quarrelsome set, and very different in temperament from the natives of the mainland. A considerable amount of driftwood is cast on their shores, and their hearths are supplied with the mahogany of Honduras, the palms of Haiti, and the costly woods from the venerable forests of the Amazon and Orinoco. The water drunk by these poor fishermen is that which is left by the rain in bogs; this is neither pure nor wholesome, and in order to be made at all palatable, it has to be given a flavour, by an infusion of the juice of scurvy-grass, or the squeezed berries of the samphire. As there is but little herbage on the islet, only a few cows can be kept, so that milk becomes a luxury. The people suffer severely from scorbutic attacks and leprosy, which carry them off very speedily, unless they are removed to the mainland and supplied with wholesome and nutritious food. My guide, Grímr, was excitable on the subject of Grimsey, and for the following reason: After having passed his theological examination, a message reached him from the bishop and governor, telling him that the island parish was without a pastor, as the inhabitants had expelled their ancient priest, and that he was to take the living. On the receipt of this communication, Grímr caught up his hat, and rushed to the residence of his Excellency. “Mr. Governor l am I requested or commanded to take this post 2" “Commanded, most certainly 1" “But I decline the curel ” “You cannot help yourself; take it you must.” “This is quite unexpected. I–the best candidate of the Theological College—to be bundled off at a moment's notice to the smallest living in your gift—to an inhospitable island cut off from the world; to a parish of lepers | This is preposterous !”
“Listen to me,” said the Governor. “Grimr Arnason, this is only a first step to a better living.” “Ah! but out of sight out of mind. When once I am banished to Grimsey, I am forgotten, as a dead man.” “The people of Grimsey are a savage, semi-Christian set, and we wish you to convert them.” “‘Evil communications corrupt good manners.' I should deteriorate wofully if I were among the Grimsey folk.” “We have always regarded you as the most religious young man in Reykjavík,” said the Governor. “More's the reason that I should not be sent to the place of torment before my time.” After a pause, Grimr observed—“Besides, I have a strong desire to be married; and if it is once known that I am to be exiled to that hateful rock, not a woman could I get to join her lot with mine.” “Oh, Grimr l’” said the Governor; “any girl would marry you!” “I think, Mr. Governor, that if you banish me to the island, you are bound to provide me with a wife.” “How is that possible 2" asked his Excellency in amazement. - “You have a very charming daughter, who Grimr never finished the sentence, and ever after showed an invincible repugnance to setting his foot within the Governor's door. The end of the matter was, that Grímr disputed the right of the Governor to send him, will he nil he, to Grimsey, and his appeal went before the King of Denmark, who decided that Grimr was in the right, as the law stood; at the same time, he decreed that henceforth all theological candidates should be Sent wherever the Governor chose. The result of this decree was, that more than half the theological candidates withdrew from the college, and no fresh entries have been made. When I left Iceland there were eight livings vacant, and no pastors ready to fill them.
It is certainly only just that those trained free of expense
at the college, should enter the ministry or return to government the cost of their education. I was most hospitably received by Mr. Havsteen, a Danish merchant, who volunteered to lodge me, as there is no inn in the town. My horses were driven up the hill, and turned adrift on the moor, with their feet hobbled. Grimr and I drew our boxes into the merchant's storehouse, and we then made ourselves as presentable as possible before entering the house. Mrs. Havsteen met us, and in the kindest manner welcomed us to Akureyri. Coffee and cakes were brought in, and we were introduced to the young ladies, whose cheerful faces and blooming complexions spoke well for the air of Eyja-fjord. After having shaken hands all round, I sallied forth on a visit to the printer, who lived on the way to the new church. I found his house to be a small wooden cottage, so close and stifling as to be quite insupportable, so that after having purchased a couple of books, I was glad to withdraw. A newspaper, the Northri, appears at intervals from this printer's establishment, edited by Svein Skúlason; but as this gentleman has left Akureyri, the periodical will in all likelihood cease to appear. It contains an epitome of the news of Europe, articles on the topics of the day, local intelligence, letters from correspondents, and advertisements, among which, for a wonder, I did not see a commendatory notice of Holloway's pills. On my return to the Havsteen's house, I found that an ample supper had been provided, and that the table was covered with delicacies: these consisted of flakes of smoked salmon, slices of garlic-sausage, and ham; hot mutton flavoured with whortleberry jam and potatoes, cold smoked shark's flesh, steaks of whale and seal, good Bavarian beer, IRhenish wine, and corn-brandy clear as crystal. Hungry mortal that I was 1 I did ample justice to the meal; so too did Grimr, whose tongue was loosed under the influence of the good cheer, and he told the story of his Grimsey grievance in extenso. There is no grace said before and after meals, but it is