Read CHAPTER XVI - AN EXCURSION TO KLAMPENBORG AND ELSINORE of Up The Baltic Young America in Norway‚ Sweden‚ and Denmark , free online book, by Oliver Optic, on

Peaks sat near the brig and read his book, which he had procured from the librarian in anticipation of a dull and heavy afternoon.  Clyde sat in his cage, watching the boatswain.  The book was evidently a very interesting one, for the reader hardly raised his eyes from it for a full hour, and then only to bestow a single glance upon the occupant of the ship’s prison.  The volume was Peter Simple, and the boatswain relished the adventures of the hero.  Once in a while his stalwart frame was shaken by an earthquake of laughter, for he had a certain sense of dignity which did not permit him to laugh outright all alone by himself, and so the shock was diffused through all his members, and his body quaked like that of a man in the incipient throes of a fever and ague fit.  The magnanimous conduct of O’Brien, who flogged Peter for seasickness, simply because he loved him, proved to be almost too much for the settled plan of the boatswain, and it was with the utmost difficulty that he restrained an outbreak of laughter.

For a full quarter of an hour Clyde convinced himself that he was entirely satisfied with the situation.  The brig was not a bad place, or, at least, it would not be, if the boatswain would only leave the steerage and allow the prisoner to be by himself.  He wished very much to try the carpenter’s saw upon the slats of his prison.  At the end of the second quarter of an hour, the Briton was slightly nervous; the close of the third found him rather impatient, and at the expiration of an hour, he was decidedly provoked with Peaks for staying where he was so long.  When the stout sentinel glanced at him, he flattered himself with a transitory hope; but the boatswain only changed his position slightly, and still appeared to be as deeply absorbed as ever in the book.

Clyde was disgusted, and emphatically angry at the end of another half hour.  The brig was a vile place, and putting a free-born Briton into such a den was the greatest indignity which had yet been offered to him.  It was even worse than ordering him to be silent, or to go forward.  It was an insult which required both redress and vengeance.  He rose from his seat, and walked to the door of his prison, but with his gaze still fixed upon his jailer.  He had come to the conclusion that, if he moved, Peaks would, at least, look at him; but that worthy did not raise his eyes from his book.  Clyde took hold of the barred door and began to shake it, making considerable noise by the act.  Peaks took no notice whatever of him, and it seemed just as though the boatswain intended to insult him by thus disregarding him.  He shook the door again with more violence, but did not succeed in attracting the attention of his custodian.  Then he began to kick the door.  Making a run of the length of the brig, he threw himself against it with all the force he could, hoping to break it down; but he might as well have butted against the side of the ship.  It yielded a little, and rattled a great deal; but it was too strong to be knocked down in any such manner.

The prisoner was boiling over with wrath, as much because Peaks did not notice him, as on account of the indignity of his confinement.  He kicked, wrenched, and twisted at the door, till he had nearly exhausted his own strength, apparently without affecting that of the door.  The boatswain still read, and still shook with suppressed laughter at the funny blunders and situations of Peter Simple.  He had seen just such fellows as Clyde in the brig; had seen them behave just as the present prisoner did; and he had learned that it was better to let them have their own way till they were satisfied, for boys are always better satisfied when they solve such problems for themselves.

“I’m not going to stay in this place!” howled Clyde, when he had wasted all his powers upon the obstinate door.


The boatswain happened to be at the end of a chapter in his book, and he closed the volume, uttering only the single negative participle, with the interrogative inflection, as he glanced at his charge in the brig.

“No, I’m not!” roared Clyde, rousing from his seat, upon which he had dropped in sheer exhaustion, and throwing himself desperately against the unyielding door.  “I won’t stay in here any longer!”

“Well, now, I thought you would,” added Peaks, with the most provoking calmness.

“I won’t!”

“But it seems to me that you do stay there.”

“I won’t any longer.”


“I’ll send for the British minister.”


“I won’t stand it any longer.”

“Sit down, then.”

Clyde dashed himself against the door again with all the remaining force he had; but the boatswain, apparently unmoved, opened his book again.  It was terribly lacerating to the feelings of the Briton to be so coolly disregarded and ignored.  Clyde had the saw, but he had sense enough left to know that any attempt to use it would attract the attention of his jailer, and end in the loss of the implement, with which he could remove a couple of the slats when left alone, or when all hands were asleep at night.  Finding that violence accomplished nothing, he seated himself on his stool, ­which, however, was far from being the stool of repentance, ­and considered the situation more calmly.  He was in a profuse perspiration from the energy of his useless exertions.  Perhaps he was conscious that he had made a fool of himself, and that his violence was as impolitic as it was useless.  In a few moments he was as quiet as a lamb, and remained so for half an hour, though his bondage was no less galling than before.

“Mr. Peaks,” said he, in the gentlest of tones.

“Well, my lad, what shall I do for you?” replied the boatswain, closing his book, and going to the door of the brig.

“I’m very thirsty, and want a glass of water.  Will you give me one?”

“Certainly, my boy.”

The boatswain passed a mug of water through the bars, and Clyde drank as though he was really thirsty.

“You have worked hard, and it makes you dry,” said Peaks.  “You can keep a mug of water in the brig if you like.”

“I will,” replied Clyde, as he placed the mug on the deck, after the boatswain had filled it.  “Can’t you let me out, Mr. Peaks?”

“Certainly I can.”

“You will ­won’t you?”

“With all my heart.”

“Do, if you please.”

“On certain conditions, you know.”

“What conditions?”

“That you won’t attempt to run away.  But, my lad, it is only a few hours since you said the brig was a very nice place, and you would grow gray in it before you would promise not to leave when you got a good chance.”

“I hadn’t tried it, then.  But I think it is an insult to a fellow to put him in here.  I would rather be flogged outright.”

“We don’t flog the boys.”

“I would rather take a flogging, and have it done with.”

“That’s one of the reasons why we don’t do it.  We don’t want to have it done with till the boy means to do about right.  You are a smart boy, my lad; but you have got a heap of bad blood in your veins, which ought to be worked off.  If you would only do your duty like a man, you would be comfortable and happy.”

“I never can stay in this ship.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t understand the duty.”

“You will soon learn all the ropes in the ship, and they will all come as handy to you as the key of your own watch.”

Clyde pulled out his watch, and glanced at the boatswain.

“That’s a nice time-keeper you have, my lad; gold, I suppose.”

“Yes; it cost thirty pounds.  Wouldn’t you like it?”



“Well, I have a pretty good silver one, which answers my purpose very well,” replied Peaks, smiling.

“I’ll give it to you, if you will let me out, and permit me to go on shore,” added Clyde, in an insinuating tone.

“Thank you, my lad, I don’t want it bad enough to do that.”

“You can sell it, you know.  Or I will give you thirty pounds in cash, if you prefer.”

“I can’t afford to do it for that,” laughed the boatswain.

“I’ll give you fifty pounds then,” persisted Clyde.

“Can’t afford to do it for that, either.”

“Say sixty, then.”

“Say a hundred, if you like, my lad; and then say a thousand.  I can’t afford to do it for all the money your mother is worth.  You are on the wrong tack, my lad.  I can’t be bought at any price.”

“I won’t ask you to let me out.  If you will only go on deck, and keep out of the way, I will manage it all myself.”

“No, no; sheer off, my hearty.  When I have a duty to do, I always mean to do it; and if it isn’t done, it isn’t my fault.  You can’t leave the ship with my consent.”

“I can’t stay here, I say.  I should die in a month.”

“Very well, die like a man, then,” said Peaks, good-naturedly; for, though he could not be bought at any price, he did not indulge in any righteous indignation against his victim.  “Learn your duty, and then do it.  There is plenty of fun going on in the ship, and you will enjoy yourself as soon as you get on the right tack.  That’s the up and down of the whole matter.”

“I can’t take off my cap to these young squirts of officers, and be ordered around by them.  It isn’t in an Englishman to do anything of the sort.”

“Upon my word, I think it is in them.  They make first-rate sailors, and always obey their officers.”

“Common sailors do; but I’m a gentleman.”

“So am I; but I always obey orders,” replied the democratic Peaks, warmly.  “The officers of this ship are required to behave like gentlemen, and give their orders in a gentlemanly manner.  If they don’t do it, they are liable to be reduced.  Do your duty, and you may be an officer yourself.”

Peaks continued for some time to give the prisoner good advice, assuring him that he was no better than the rest of the crew, and that it would not hurt him any more than others to obey the orders of the officers.  But it was sowing seed in stony ground, and Clyde, finding he could make nothing out of the honest boatswain, decided to await his time with what patience he could command, which, however, was not much.  Peaks was permitted to follow Peter Simple in his stirring career during the rest of the afternoon.  The crew returned from Tivoli at eleven in the evening, and soon the ship was quiet, with only an anchor watch, consisting of an officer on the quarter-deck, and two seamen on the forecastle.

Clyde’s supper was given to him in his prison, and a bed made up for his use.  He kept awake till all the students came on board, and while he was waiting for the crew to slumber, he dropped asleep himself, and did not wake till all hands were called in the morning.  He was vexed with himself for his neglect, and afraid that the carpenter would miss the saw, and remember where he had left it.  He was determined to keep awake the next night, and make his escape, even if he was obliged to swim to the land.

After breakfast, all the students went on shore for an excursion to Klampenborg and Elsinore.  In the custom-house enclosure, a procession of four in a rank was formed, to march to the railroad station, which was near the Tivoli Garden.  The students were generally rather fond of processions, not at home, but in the streets of foreign cities.  The parade was quite imposing, when every officer and seaman wore his best uniform.  They had been carefully taught to march, and Professor Badois had organized a band of eight pieces, which performed a few tunes very well.  Unfortunately, on the present occasion, the band was not available, for Stockwell, the cornet player, and Boyden, the bass drummer, belonged to the absent crew of the second cutter, and the procession moved to the sterling notes of the drum and fife.

On parades of this kind, the first and second pursers acted as the fleet staff of the commodore, who would otherwise have been “alone in his glory,” and these two useful officers seemed like “odds and ends” in any other position.  As this procession was frequently formed, and marched through the streets of various cities, the order is given to satisfy the reasonable curiosity of the reader.

The Commodore,
And Staff of the Fleet. 
The Captain of the Young America. 
The Four Masters. 
The Four Midshipmen. 
The First Lieutenant. 
The First Part of the Starboard Watch,
Consisting of Eighteen Seamen. 
The Second Lieutenant. 
The Second Part of the Starboard Watch. 
The Third Lieutenant. 
The First Part of the Port Watch. 
The Fourth Lieutenant. 
The Second Part of the Port Watch. 
The Captain of the Josephine. 
The Four Masters. 
The First Lieutenant. 
The First Part of the Starboard Watch,
Consisting of Eight Seamen. 
The Second Lieutenant. 
The Second Part of the Starboard Watch. 
The Third Lieutenant. 
The First Part of the Port Watch. 
The Fourth Lieutenant. 
The Second Part of the Port Watch. 
The Captain of the Tritonia. 
The Four Masters. 
The First Lieutenant. 
The First Part of the Starboard Watch,
Consisting of Eight Seamen. 
The Second Lieutenant. 
The Second Part of the Starboard Watch. 
The Third Lieutenant. 
The First Part of the Port Watch. 
The Fourth Lieutenant. 
The Second Part of the Port Watch.

Sometimes the order was varied by placing all the officers at the head of the procession, except the lieutenants in command of sections, as, ­

The Commodore and Staff. 
The three Captains. 
Three ranks of Masters. 
One rank of Midshipmen.

But keeping all the officers and seamen of each vessel together, as in the first order, was generally preferred.  Of course the ranks were not always full, as on the present occasion; but even when the full band was at the head of the column, there were enough for four full ranks in each half-watch of the ship, and two ranks in those of the other vessels.  The students had practised so much that they marched exceedingly well, and being aligned according to their height, the effect was very fine.  The Copenhageners left their occupations, and hastened to the doors and windows of their houses and shops to see the procession; and even the king and royal family were spectators at the palace windows, as the column moved through Frederiksplads.  As it passed the Royal Hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Kendall, with Dr. Winstock and Joseph, were entering a carriage, in which they intended to ride to Klampenborg, in order to see more of the country.  At the railroad station, the officers and seamen took seats in the third-class carriages, which were two stories high, the upper as well as the lower one having a roof.  The distance to Klampenborg is eight and a half English miles, and the fare is sixteen skillings, or nine cents, third class; twenty-four skillings, or thirteen and a half cents, second class; and thirty-two skillings, or eighteen cents, first class.  The third-class compartments are clean and neat, but there are no cushions on the seats.  An aisle extends through the middle of them, but the seats are placed in pairs, on each side, so that half the passengers are compelled to ride backwards.  In about half an hour the train arrived at Klampenborg.

Paul Kendall’s party drove first to the summer residence of Mr. Melchoir, which was in the suburbs of the city, near the sea-shore.  The house was a very pretty one, with a neat garden, not unlike the little country places one sees in the vicinity of the large cities of the United States.  Joseph rang the bell, and stated the errand of the party to the servant.  They were shown up one flight of stairs, where the girl knocked at the door, which was immediately opened by Hans Christian Andersen, and the tourists were ushered into a plainly-furnished room, with a few engravings on the walls.  On a table were the writing-materials of the great author, and Paul looked with interest at the little pile of letter sheets, closely written over, and the unfinished one, on which the ink was not yet dry.

Mr. Andersen’s face was covered with a smile as he greeted the party.  Dr. Winstock had met him before, and stated the fact.

“O, I’m very glad to see you again,” said the author, grasping the doctor’s hand with both of his own.

“My young friend here, and his lady, have both read all your books, and desired to see you even more than to look upon the beautiful works of your great sculptor.”

“Ah, you are very kind,” added Mr. Andersen, again grasping the doctor’s hand with both of his own.

Then, darting nervously to Paul, he seized his hand in the same manner.

“This is Captain Paul Kendall, commander of the yacht Grace,” added Dr. Winstock.

“I am so pleased to see you!” said Mr. Andersen.

“I have read all your books with the most intense pleasure.”

“O, you are too kind, Captain Kendall,” replied the genial author, smiling all over his face, and once more grasping his hand as before.

“Mrs. Kendall,” added Paul, presenting Grace.

“I am so pleased to see you!  You are very kind to take so much trouble to visit me.”

“Indeed, sir, you are very kind to permit us to trouble you, when you are so busy,” continued Paul.

“O, I have plenty of time to see my good friends.”

“In America we love your books, and they are in all our libraries and most of our houses.”

“You are so kind to speak so pleasantly of my works!” replied Mr. Andersen, grasping Paul’s hand again.

“We value them very highly.”

The conversation continued for a few moments, in which Paul and the doctor expressed the high appreciation of the reading public of the great writer’s works.  At least a dozen times more he grasped the hand of the speaker with both his.  Mr. Andersen is a tall gentleman, with a thin face, ­the features of which are far from handsome, ­and iron-gray hair.  His countenance is always covered with smiles when he speaks, and his whole manner is child-like and simple.  He is full of the love of God and of man, which seems to shine out in his face, and to be the interpretation of his ever-present smile.  His dress was scrupulously neat and nice in every detail.

The doctor told him about the Academy squadron, of which he had read a brief notice in the newspapers, and invited him to visit the ship, which he promised to do, on the following day.  The party took their leave of him, and continued on the way to Klampenborg.  The road was on the margin of the sea, and was lined with small country houses, with pleasant gardens.  It was a lovely region, with an occasional large villa, and even a summer palace or two.  All along this road, called the Strandway, are small and large houses of entertainment, on the sea-side, each one of which has a bathing establishment on a very small and simple scale.

“Here is Charlottelund Castle, in this park,” said Joseph, as they passed what seemed to be merely a grove, with a rather dilapidated fence.

“It was formerly the country-seat of the Landgrave of Hesse, I believe,” added Dr. Winstock.

“Yes, sir; but it is now the summer residence of the crown prince.  He comes out here in June.”

“These carriages are called ‘privateers,’” continued the guide, pointing to several vehicles like a small omnibus with no top.  “They formerly went by the name of ‘coffee-mills,’ because they made a noise like those machines.”

Constantia Tea-Garden, where the Copenhageners go to spend the evening in hot weather, and several fishing villages, were passed, and then the carriage reached the Deer Park, where the students had already arrived, which is a very extensive enclosure, with a few roads extending through it.  A portion of it is covered with groves, and it contains about a thousand deer, which are quite tame, and may be seen grazing in herds on the gentle slopes.  There is nothing very attractive in the park, though it is much frequented by the people from the city.  Neither the roads nor the grounds are well kept, and the government “turns an honest penny” by the letting of it out for the pasturage of horses.  On some rising ground, which Denmarkers call a hill, is a large, square, barn-like building, known as the “Hermitage,” which was built by Christian VI. for a hunting lodge.  This park and that at Charlottelund contain thousands of acres of excellent land, which is almost useless, and which the government cannot afford to keep in condition as pleasure-grounds.  They would make thousands of farms, and thus increase the productive industry and the revenues of the nation, if they could be cut up and sold.  Royalty is an expensive luxury, which a small kingdom like Denmark cannot afford to support.

Near the entrance to the park is the garden proper of Klampenborg, where music is provided on summer evenings, and refreshments sold.  What is called a Norwegian house is erected in the middle of the grounds, which contains a bar and private rooms, and is surrounded by tables and chairs, where the pleasure-seekers may sit and enjoy their beer and the music.  A small fee for admission is paid at the gate, where the ticket-seller is kept honest by the aid of the “control-mark.”  Near this garden is a hotel built for a water-cure establishment, though it is now mainly used as a summer boarding-house.  Close by it is a village of small cottages, devoted to the same use, with concert-rooms and bathing-houses in abundance.  This place is a favorite resort of the Copenhageners in summer, ­in fact, their Newport or Long Branch.  For a couple of hours the students wandered through the park and gardens.  The railroad station is very near the entrance, where, indeed, the whole beauty of the place is concentrated.

The railway to Klampenborg is a branch of the one which extends from Copenhagen to Elsinore, and in another hour the entire party were transported to the latter place.  This town has nine or ten thousand inhabitants, and is located on a basin of the Sound, nearly land-locked by natural and artificial dikes.  The Danish name of the place is Helsingoer, and is the scene of Shakespeare’s tragedy of Hamlet.  The excursionists visited the cathedral, which is the principal object of interest in Elsinore, and contains several very old tombs.  Near the town, and on the shore of the Sound, is the Castle of Kronberg, erected in 1580.  It is a large, oblong, Gothic structure, built of a whitish stone.  It contains a chapel and other apartments.  Those occupied by the commandant were the prison of Caroline Matilda, who was confined here for a high crime, of which she is now universally believed to be innocent.

Under the castle are casemates for a thousand men, one of which is said to be the abode of Holger Danske, who was the Cid Campeador of Denmark, and the hero of a thousand legends.  When the state is in peril, he is supposed to march at the head of the armies, but never shows himself at any other time.  A farmer, says the story, happened into his gloomy retreat by accident, and found him seated at a stone table, to which his long white beard had grown.  The mystic hero demanded the hand of his visitor, who was afraid to trust flesh and blood in the grasp of one so mighty, and offered the iron bar used to fasten the door.  Holger Danske seized it, and squeezed it so hard that he left the print of his fingers on the iron.

“Ha, I see there are still men in Denmark!” said he, with a grim smile of satisfaction.

Near the castle are a couple of natural ponds, small and round, which are called “Holger Danske’s Spectacles.”

“This is where Hamlet lived, I suppose,” said Captain Lincoln.

“Where Shakespeare says he lived,” replied Dr. Winstock.

“But I was told his grave was here.”

“Perhaps Hamlet divided himself up, and occupied a dozen graves, for I think you may find a dozen of them here,” laughed the doctor.  “A resident of this vicinity had what was called the grave of Hamlet in his grounds, which proved to be a nuisance to him, on account of the great number of visitors who came to see it.  In order to relieve himself of this injury to his garden, he got up another ’grave of Hamlet,’ in another place, which he proved to be the authentic one.”

“It is too bad to trifle with history in that manner,” protested the captain.

“There is no history about it, Lincoln.  His residence in this part of Denmark is all a fiction.  Shakespeare makes terrible blunders in his allusions to this place; for there is no ‘eastern hill,’ no ’dreadful summit of the cliff,’ or anything of the sort.  Hamlet lived in Jutland, not in Seeland, about four centuries before Christ, and was the son of a pirate chief, instead of a king, who, with his brother, was governor of the province.  He married the daughter of the king, who was Hamlet’s mother.  The chief was murdered by his brother, who married the widow, and was then the sole governor.  Hamlet, in order to avenge his father’s death, feigned madness; but his uncle, suspecting the trick, sent him to England, with a message carved in wood, requesting the king to destroy him.  During the voyage, he obtained the wooden letter, and altered it so as to make it ask for the killing of the two men, creatures of his uncle, who had charge of him, which was done on their arrival.  According to the style of romances, he married the king’s daughter, and afterwards returned to Jutland, where, still pretending insanity, he contrived to surprise and slay his uncle.  He succeeded his victim as governor, and married a second time, to a queen of Scotland, and was finally killed in battle.  The main features of the tragedy correspond with the incidents of the story, but the locality is not correct.”

The party walked to Marienlyst, a pleasant watering-place, which contains a small royal chateau.  The view from this place, as from the tower of Kronberg, is very beautiful.  At four o’clock the party took the steamer, and arrived at Copenhagen before dark.