Read CHAPTER V of A Yacht Voyage to Norway‚ Denmark‚ and Sweden 2nd edition , free online book, by W. A. Ross, on ReadCentral.com.

Punctual to our engagement, we met Mr. C, after dinner at half-past seven. After wandering over the town for some time without any definite object, I grumbled at the system of enjoyment we had adopted. The streets not being paved so well as the worst streets in London are, the stones, projecting with sharp points three or four inches above the ground, wound and irritate the feet to a serious extent; and my ankles were almost sprained several times in consequence of the high heels I had to my boots. I recommend thick shoes without heels to the traveller in all the northern capitals.

“You are always rusty, Bill,” said R. “Come on.”

“Let us stop,” I replied, “and determine where we are going.”

We therefore stopped in a large square, at the base of an equestrian statue, the beauty or imperfection of which I could not see at the late hour; and, with Mr. Cin the centre, consulted what could be done. Being in ignorance of the habits of the people, and the haunts where amusements existed, we three could only look at each other and be mute.

“Come along,” at last exclaimed Mr. C, as if a great idea had dawned on his mind; “let’s turn into this cafe,” directing our attention to a spacious building brilliantly illuminated.

“Port your helm, Jack,” said R, in a jesting tone of voice, and moved quickly away towards the cafe.

We entered, and to say that we saw anything at our first entrance beyond an atmosphere of tobacco smoke, so thick as to be palpable to the touch, would be out of the question. After opening and closing my eyes twice or three times, and, wiping away the tears which the pungent tobacco smoke excited, I began to take an observation.

The room in which I found myself was literally crammed with men of all denominations and all ages, and each having a cigar in his mouth in full play. Some, in this dense hot region, were reading books full of deep thought, (for I looked over their shoulders); some meditating over a game of chess, more chattering vehemently and loudly, and many playing at billiards. Mr. C, R, and Phad seated themselves in the vicinity of a billiard-table, and, when I partially recovered my senses, I followed their example. The table was about half the size of the billiard-tables in England, and the pockets were twice as large. The four balls, with which they played, were not much bigger than those generally used at bagatelle. The queus were uncovered at the top with leather; and the player had the satisfaction of hearing the sharp twang of his bare-headed queu as each time it struck the little ivory ball. No chalk was in the room. The Danes possess no word in their language expressive of that convenient mineral. In Denmark, credit is never given. You must pay, or go to prison. Thank God, I am an Englishman.

We remained an hour in this cafe; and after tasting, each of us, a glass of maraschino, which Mr. Cwould insist on paying for, we left the oven. We did not, I promise you, go into another during the week we remained at Copenhagen; and I would urge those “troubled and disquieted spirits,” who desire health and good lungs to pursue their wanderings on meadow or mountain, strenuously to avoid these gasometers and receptacles of tobacco smoke.

As it was now nearly twelve o’clock, we took leave of Mr. C, and walked towards the harbour, when, on our arrival at the Custom House, we found the gates, through which we had passed when landing, closed, and thus cutting off all communication between the yacht and ourselves. What was to be done? The Heaven, decked out in its deep blue mantle, shone brightly over our heads; and the poppy-dew of Sleep, descending on the Soul of Copenhagen, had lulled all into the profoundest silence. Lying calmly at anchor on the smooth water which reflected a thousand stars, our floating home, not a mile off, could be seen. The tramp of a sentinel struck on the ear.

“Hi! ho!” exclaimed P, distinguishing the soldier’s accoutrements. The Dane approached the iron gate, and, leering through the bars, seemed to doubt our gentility. We could not speak Danish; he did not speak English; and what was to be done with a common soldier at dead of night? Pwent near to the gate.

“Hi! ho!” a second time he exclaimed, as the soldier commenced walking the other way; “We English gentlemen want to get board jhat;” persevered P, endeavouring, by the adoption of a broken accent, to convey his meaning.

The Dane shook his head.

“We are done,” said Pcalmly, “I wish we could get him to call the officer on guard;” and, turning to the gaping sentinel again, “Officer,” he continued, “appelez officer,” speaking half French, half English.

The man ducked his shakko, and departed. Almost immediately the officer of the guard came out, wrapped in the huge folds of a military cloak, and, gazing at us through the bars, uttered a sentence in Danish. Making no reply to him, he then said, saluting us with much politeness,

Que voulez vous, Messieurs?”

Nous sommes des Messieurs Anglais qui desirent passer d’ici jusqu’à notre jhat,” replied P.

Certainement;” so saying, a second time the officer raised his cap, and, turning to two serjeants who had followed him from the guard-room, gave directions that the gates should be unlocked, and we passed unmolested through.

This was an act of courtesy and kindness which, we learned the next day, we were fortunate in receiving; for it was the stringent order of the Governor of Copenhagen, the Prince of Hesse, that the gates of the city, particularly this one, should be closed at ten o’clock, and no one permitted, on any pretence, to go in or out after this hour. The smuggling between the coast of Sweden and the town of Copenhagen being carried on to a great extent, render these restrictions very necessary; and we could only be indebted to our country for the exception which had been made to us by the officer on guard.

I rose betimes the following day, and went on deck before breakfast, in order to take a view of the harbour, its position and defences. The mouth of Copenhagen Harbour opens to the eastward. In the centre of its entrance is a small island, called Armager, well fortified; and to the south of it is another battery separated from Armager by a narrow channel, which is so shallow, that, a reef of rocks may be noted by the foam of the waves as they curl and break over it; while to the North is the tremendous citadel of Fredrikshavn, and the only passage into the harbour is between this fortress and the Island of Armager.

Gambier may have effectually bombarded Copenhagen in 1807, but, I think, such an achievement would be scarcely practicable now. However, I am no judge of either naval or military tactics, but if the metal of guns, and the strength as well as position of fortifications promise to a city protection from an enemy, be he ever so mighty, Copenhagen has that promise well guaranteed to her.

In the midst of my political meditations, the steward popped his head above the companion, touched his hair, as he always did when he had no hat on, and said,

“Breakfast ready, Sir.”

My appetite soon clambered to the summit on which my mind had been perched, and desired obedience to what I heard; and in justification of my health, I ate a good breakfast. I returned on deck, an hour afterwards, holding little Jacko in my arms, who was surfeited with coffee, marmalade, fish, and egg, even to lethargy.

It was ten o’clock. Rand I sitting on the taffrail aft, Phaving gone ashore, were basking in the bright sunshine of the Sunday May morning, and comparing the temperature, scenes, and manners of Copenhagen, with the variable winds, the Primrose Hill, and the exuberant Sabbath spirits of London, when the sailing-master came, with rather a longer face than usual, to the spot where we were lounging, and, after his customary greeting of “Good morning, my Lord,” and “Good morning, Sir,” said,

“I have a complaint to make, my Lord.”

“Well, out with it” Rreplied.

“You know, my Lord,” Dcontinued, “old Tom, Dick, and George were allowed to go ashore yesterday, and, instead of behaving like decent fellows, as they ought to have done on arriving at a foreign port, they must get drunk, and nearly drown themselves in trying to get off to the vessel.”

“The deuce they did; and when did this occur?” inquired R.

“They got drunk last night; but they nearly got drowned this morning, my Lord,” Danswered.

“Where are the men?” asked R.

“On board, my Lord,” Dsaid.

“Send them aft.”

Away went Din search of the delinquent tars; and, as soon as he had got out of ear-shot, Robserved to me,

“Is not this like these English blackguards? I dare say they have kicked up the devil’s own row ashore, and, by squabbling with the inhabitants, brought my vessel into disrepute.”

“Let us hear their story before we condemn them,” I said; and in two minutes more old Tom, Dick, and George, were arranged in a line before R, who still continued sitting, cross-legged, on the taffrail, abaft the tiller. They all three looked sheepish enough, and, if one might judge innocence and guilt from the countenance, they seemed criminal in the extreme.

“Well, Tom,” Rcommenced, “what is all this about?”

“The Cap’n, my Lord,” said Tom, twitching up his duck trowsers on the port side, “gave us leave to go ashore; and we had barely set foot on dry land, than a sort of fellow, neither fish nor man, comes to us, and, says he, in a rum kind of a lingo, ’My lads, I’ll show you about the town,’ You know, my Lord, as well as I does,”

“I don’t want any of your palavering,” interrupted R; “but I want to know why the devil you went and made beasts of yourselves?”

“Wery good, my Lord, I’m coming to the sarcumstances; but we warn’t drunk, my Lord notottoll.”

“Dsaw you drunk,” said R.

“No, my Lord, no;” calmly said Tom, “the Cap’n carn’t substanshate that air. We warn’t drunk, my Lord, notottoll.”

“How can you stand there,” interrupted Dwarmly, “and try to humbug my Lord in that kind of a way?”

“Not a bit of it,” said R; “he can’t humbug me; and don’t fret yourself about that.”

“That’s nothing more nor less than I would ax of your Lordship,” interposed Tom; and, edging in a piece of opportune sentiment, he continued, “I have sailed three seasons with your Lordship, and I have always bore myself like a British sailor, as I be. We was joyful-like to stretch our timbers; but we warn’t drunk, my Lord, notottoll.”

“If you were not at all drunk,” replied R, “you were very nearly drowned; and you don’t mean to tell me, that you could ever capsize that dingy without being drunk?”

“Notottoll, my Lord,” persisted Tom; “Dick, my Lord, took a broad sheer to starboard, and capsized the boat. We warn’t drunk, my Lord, notottoll.”

“Do you intend to say you three had no spirits to drink the whole time you were ashore?” asked R.

“Sperits, my Lord! they ain’t got such gear in this air place.”

“How do you know?” Rsaid.

“Bekase, I enkquired, my Lord.”

“Oh! did you inquire in the streets?” questioned R.

“No, my Lord; I axes in a cabbarette, as they calls it,” Tom answered.

“Then you went into a cabaret, and drank nothing. Very, like, a, whale,” said Rslowly.

“Notottoll, my Lord, we had a bottle of ordonnor_y_.”

“What’s that?” asked R, a little puzzled.

Rot-gut, my Lord,” ejaculated Tom, with emphasis; “and if, my Lord, a man wants to get the jandiss, I recommends vang ordonnor_y_;” and down went Tom’s fist, with a loud report, into the palm of his left hand. I burst into a shout of laughter at the comicality of Tom’s melancholy face, and the smacking of his lips, as he called to mind the acidity of the wine; and R, judge as he was, could not resist the farce.

“I tell you what,” said R, “and I tell you all plainly, if you fellows go ashore, and get into a row, and the police take you in charge; instead of defending you, as you fancy I will, I will appear against you, and assist the law in punishing you; and, what is more, if you are sent to prison, I will up stick, and leave you there.”

“Thank you, my Lord,” they murmured, and old Tom assisting in the thankful murmurs of Dick and George, kept reiterating till the sounds died away as he descended the fore-hatch.

“We warn’t drunk, my Lord, notottoll;” and Tom was the most notorious drunkard on board.

The story was simply this: He and his two companions, after trudging over the town, sight-seeing, till past ten, found, to their dismay, on arriving at the outer gates, that they were closed. In self-defence, all three were compelled to take shelter for the night in some low cabaret, where, meeting with a few jovial Danes, unreluctant to shun the bout, they drank the night away. Feeling the weight of Danish grog aloft, Dick, a stalwart young fellow of six feet, lost his balance in stepping into the boat next morning, and, falling athwart the little dingy’s gunwale, capsized it. Poor old Tom, out of the three, went like a 24-pounder to the bottom; but the transparency of the water allowed some bystanders to observe his carcass stretched out among the cockles as composedly as in his hammock, and to raise him, after the lapse of a short time, by applying a boat-hook to the hole of his breeches’ pocket.

Preturned at one, and told us, that he called at the guard-room, and, making the harbour-master his marshal and interpreter, had hunted up the officer so civil to us last night; and expressed our gratitude for the favour which we had received. To every one who travels inconveniences must occur, or else travelling loses half its excitement. I would rather remain all my days at home, my mind compressed within its narrow precincts, and never see the sunny South, or mingle, as I do, with people whose warm hearts are softer than the genial air they breathe, and feel, that extreme nobility of soul and sensitiveness of wrong are entwined with the purest simplicity of thought and manners, than lack the slight annoyances of a Scythian life. Pgave us to understand that he had inquired about the gates; and all the information he could collect was, that no respect could be paid to our condition; and, if we remained on shore after ten, we should run the risk of being kept out of our beds all night. The plan suggested was to write to the Prince of Hesse, and, stating our position, beg that his Royal Highness would grant us permission to pass backward and forward at any hour. Reconsidering, however, the matter, we determined not to do so; but to call on our Consul, and, through him, represent the hardship of our case to the British Minister. This determination was adopted, and ordered to be carried into execution the following day, this one being the Sabbath. Is it not strange how Englishmen long to break through all restraint, and regard the laws of foreign countries as so many impediments in their path of pleasure?

As in England, many well-dressed people were walking about under the shade of the trees planted with great regularity along the ramparts of Fredrikshavn. We could hear children calling aloud, as soon as they caught sight of the yacht, decked out with all the elegance of her whitest ensign, and best Burgee “Engelskt! Engelskt!” with shrill tongues they cried; and, denoting with their little hands the object of delight, disturbed the stillness of the holy day.

The French customs are generally followed, I fancy, in this country; for to-day, being Sunday, more entertainment is to be met with in Copenhagen than on any other day of the week. The theatres are all open, and the casino, sacred by the royal presence of Christian, lures, with its sweet tones of operatic music, the prudish Englishman from thoughts of Paradise and the fourth commandment. Moses, Daniel, and the Chronicles are quite forgotten; and, putting Ecclesiastes in our pocket, we are going to the casino to-night.

“Do you know,” suddenly said P, as he closed a large chart of Norway, up and down the rivers of which he had been floating for some time on the tip of his pen-knife, “I met old Cashore, and he stuck to me like birdlime. He is a bore; I wonder who he is!”

Like a black cloud, you sometimes see on sultry summer days, moving sluggishly across the purely azure sky; so this remark of Povershadowed my mind with a misgiving feeling; and Horace’s Ninth Satire, seizing my memory with prophetic tenacity, made me involuntarily mutter,

“Ibam forte via sacra, sicut meus est mos,
Nescio quid meditans nugarum, et totus in illis;
Accurrit quidam notus mihi nomine tantum,
Arrep”

“A note, my Lord,” and the steward placed a most diminutive note in R’s hand. It ran thus:

“My Lord and Gentlemen,

“I will accompany you to the Casino this evening at 8.
I feel it my duty to show you all the attention I can.

“Yours faithfully,

“A l r C.”

“Deuce take him!” said R; “let us go at six.”

“From Mr. C, I suppose,” remarked P, taking up and glancing at the piece of paper. “I see how it is. We must give him a civil hint; and if he won’t take it, we must do the best we can. Poor old fellow! I should not like to hurt his feelings.”

When we had made an end of the treatment it was suggested Mr. Cshould receive, I put on my best coat, and went ashore. Scarcely had I, for the second time, rested my foot on the soil of Denmark, than I caught, riveted on me, two small pig-like eyes twinkling in the centre of an ebony face.

“Me berry glad to see you, Sir,” said the owner of this countenance, and, accompanying the welcome voice, the removal of a high-crowned white hat exposed to the African warmth of noon a head of true African wool.

“Thank you, Solomon.”

“No, Sir; me Joe Joe Washimtum,” replied the black man, proudly; “but me brudder name Dabid him better dan Sarlaman.”

Deeming this the beginning and result of our acquaintance, I walked on, paying no attention to the sable Mr. C; but I had anticipated blacky’s intentions wrongfully, for a few minutes were sufficient time to place him on my left hand.

Hab you, Sir, no cumsidumration to see um town?” he inquired.

“Not to-day, Joe,” I answered. “I have formed my plans; but some other day we will navigate the town together.”

“Berry good, Sir.” And, again elevating his steeple white hat, away marched Joe, Commissionaire of l’Hotel d’Angleterre.

The day was very hot, and my feet, swollen by the heat, suffered more than they did last night from the effects of the uneven stones. I limped from one street to the other, and found the “Amalien-Gade,” not much inferior in breadth and length to Portland Place. Palaces of great symmetry, though of immense size, rose before the eye at every corner; and the residence of the Prince of Hesse is one of the most beautiful structures I have ever seen. The white colour, as at Christiansand, with which all these large buildings are painted, forces directly on the stranger’s mind their lightness and elegant proportions.

At the end of the “Amalien-Gade,” which is about a mile in length, is a large odiously-paved square intersected by four streets; and, between each of these streets, are four small palaces in the style of Italian architecture. They are inhabited by the royal family; and the old king, Christian, may be seen sometimes, of an evening, walking across to play a game of whist with the dowager-queen. Infantry and cavalry officers, gossipping in groups, and flashing in the sun’s rays, their light-blue uniform embroidered elaborately with silver lace, remind you of the Court’s vicinity; and the eternal sound of a sentinel’s challenge, as files of men march and re-march by him, proclaims, that, deference to kings is much the same in simple Denmark, as in pageant England.

In the centre of this square stands an equestrian bronze statue of Frederick the Fifth; and, though the horse’s head is considered a perfect piece of statuary, I am obstinate enough to differ, from the general opinion; and Monsieur Gorr, who executed it, will, with the politeness and generosity of his country, permit me to think as I do, and pardon me, if I be wrong. Since its foundation in 1168, three awful fires in 1729, 1794, and 1795, nearly burned down the whole city of Copenhagen; but Christiansborg, the colossal palace of the Danish kings, was levelled with the ground; and Christian, deeming, perhaps, this abode of his ancestors doomed to be destroyed a second time, avoids it with superstitious care; and has selected for himself and family the four mansions, for they are nothing more, to which I have alluded. Queen Caroline-Matilda being taken from this palace to Cronenborg, her son, Frederick the Sixth, would never reside in it afterwards; and, I think, it is more from this mingled feeling of affection and painful regret, and a desire to obliterate from their memories the recollection of her fate, that his descendants have followed the filial example of Frederick, than from any dread of sudden destruction by fire.

While walking through the streets, I could hardly dissuade myself I was not in the tropics, for the capacious archways, and central court-yards were quite oriental; and the large and numerous windows of the private houses, with jalousies thrown open, at cool of day, against the wall, reminded me also of the Antilles; and, had a black face but peeped out at me, the fancy might have seemed reality.