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have in calling upon him, if he would name an hour convenient to himself; and I was awaiting my messenger's return with some impatience, when suddenly I heard the thump of his heavy sea boots on the deck above. In a few moments he entered the cabin, and reported that the governor was absent, but that his office was temporarily filled by agentleman who had been good enough to accompany him on board, –the surgeon of the settlement, Doctor Molke; and then stepping aside, Doctor Molke passed through the narrow doorway and stood before me, bowing. I bowed in return, and bade him welcome, saying, I suppose, just what any other person would have said under like circumstances, (not, however, supposing for a moment that I was understood,) and then, turning to the officer, I signified my wish that he should act as interpreter. But that was needless. My Greenland visitor answered me, in pure, unbroken English, with as little hesitation as if he had spoken no other language all his life; and in conclusion he said: “I come to invite you to my poor house, and to offer you my service. I can give you but a feeble welcome in this outlandish place, but such as I have is yours; and if you will accompany me ashore, I shall be much delighted.” The delight was mutual; and it was not many minutes before, seated in the stern sheets of a whale-boat, we were pulling towards the land. My new-found friend interested me at once. The surprise at finding myself addressed in English was increased when I discovered that this Greenland official bore every mark of refinement, culture, and high breeding. His manner was wholly free from restraint; and it struck me as something odd that all the self-possession and ease of a thorough man of the world should be exhibited in this desert place. He did not seem to be at all aware that there was anything incongruous in either his dress or manner and his present situation; yet this man, who sat with me in the stern sheets of a battered whale
boat, pulling across a Greenland harbor to a Greenland settlement, might, with the simple addition of a pair of suitable gloves, have stepped as he was into a ball-room without giving rise to any other remark than would be excited by his bearing. His graceful figure was well set off by a neatly fitting and closely buttoned blue frock-coat, ornamented with gilt buttons, and embroidered cuffs, and heavily braided shoulder-knots. A decoration on his breast told that he was a favorite with his king. His finely shaped head was covered by a blue cloth cap, having a gilt band and the royal emblems. Over his shoulders was thrown a cloak of mottled sealskins, lined with the warm and beautiful fur of the Arctic fox. His cleanly shaven face was finely formed and full of force, while a soft blue eye spoke of gentleness and good-nature, and with fair hair completed the evidences of Scandinavian birth. My curiosity became much excited. “How,” thought I, “in the name of everything mysterious, has it happened that such a man should have turned up in such a place?” From curiosity I passed to amazement, as his mind unfolded itself, and his tastes were manifested. I was prepared to be received by a fur-clad hunter, a coppery-faced Esquimau, or a meek and pious missionary, upon whose face privation and penance had set their seal; but for this high-spirited, high-bred, graceful, and evidently accomplished gentleman, I was not prepared. I could not refrain from one leading observation. “I suppose, Doctor Molke,” said I, “that you have not been here long enough to have yet wholly exhausted the novelty of these noble hills " “Eleven years, one would think," replied he, “ought to pretty well exhaust anything; and yet I cannot say that these hills, upon which my eyes rest continually, have grown to be wearisome companions, even if they may appear something forbidding." Eleven years among these barren hills Eleven years in Greenland 11 Surely, thought I, this is something “passing strange.” The scene around us as we crossed the bay was indeed imposing, and, though desolate enough, was certainly not without its bright and cheerful side. Behind us rose a majestic line of cliffs, climbing up into the clouds in giant steps, picturesque yet solid, -a great massive pedestal, as it were, supporting mountain piled on mountain, with caps of snow whitening their summits, and great glaciers hanging on their sides. Before us lay the town, – built upon a gnarled spur of primitive rock, which seemed to have crept from underneath the lofty cliffs, as a serpent from its hiding-place, and, after wriggling through the sea, to have stopped at length, when it had almost completely enclosed a beautiful sheet of water about a mile long by half a mile broad, leaving but one narrow, winding entrance to it. Through this entrance the swell of the sea could never come to disturb the silent bay, which lay there, nestling among the dark rocks beneath the mountain shadows, as calmly as a Swiss lake in an Alpine valley. But the rocky spur which supported on its rough back what there was of the town wore a most woe-begone and distressed aspect. A few little patches of grass and moss were visible, but generally there was nothing to be seen but the cold gray-red naked rocks, broken and twisted into knots and knobs, and cut across with deep and ugly cracks. I could but wonder that on such a dreary spot man should ever think of seeking a dwelling-place; and my companion must have interpreted my thoughts, for he pointed to the shore, and said playfully, “Ah it is true, you behold at last the fruits of wisdom and instruction, — a city founded on a rock.” And then, after a moment's pause, he added: “Let me point out to you the great features of this new wonder. First, to the right there, underneath that little, low, black, peaked roof, dwells the royal cook, - a Dane who came out here a long time ago,
married a native of the country, and rejoices in a brood of half-breeds, among whom are four girls, rather dusky, but not ill-favored. Next in order is the government-house, – that pitch-coated structure near the flag-staff. This is the only building, you observe, that can boast of a double tier of windows. Next, a little higher up, you see, is my own lodge, bedaubed with pitch, like the other, to protect it against the assaults of the weather, and to stop the little cracks. Down by the beach, a little farther on, that largest building of all is the store-house, &c., where the Governor keeps all sorts of traps for trade with the natives, and where the shops are in which the cooper fixes up the oil-barrels, and where other like industrial pursuits are carried on. A little farther on you observe a low structure where the oil is stored. On the ledge above the shop you see another pitchy building. This furnishes quarters for the half-dozen Danish employees, fellows who, not having married native wives, hunt and fish for the glory of Denmark. Near the den of these worthies you observe another, — a duplicate of that in which lives the cook. There lives the royal cooper; and not far from it are two others, not quite so pretentious, where dwell the carpenter and blacksmith, – all of whom have followed the worthy example of the cook, and have dusky sons and daughters to console their declining years. You may perhaps be able to distinguish a few moss-covered hovels dotted about here and there, — perhaps there may be twenty of them in all, though there are but few of them in sight. These are the huts of native hunters. At present they are not occupied, for, being without roofs that will turn water, the people are compelled to abandon them when the snow begins to melt in the spring, and betake themselves to seal-skin tents, some of which you observe scattered here and there among the rocks. And now I ove shown you everything, — just in time, too, for here we are at the landing.” We had drawn in close to the end of
thinly tenanted by a few common fowl, hibiting his sunburnt, work-stained and across the yard to a road which hand. skirted its lower extremity and was ac- “Richard," said Gertrude, " you nevcessible by an open gate. No human er had less need of excuse in your life. figure was in sight; nothing was vis- You never looked half so well.” ible in the hot stillness but the scat He fixed his eyes upon her a motered and ripening crops, over which, in ment. “Why, you have forgiven me!”. spite of her nervous solicitude, Miss he exclaimed. Whittaker cast the glance of a connois “Yes,” said Gertrude, “I have forseur. A great uneasiness filled her given you, - both you and myself. We mind as she measured the rich domain both of us behaved very absurdly, but apparently deserted of its young master, we both of us had reason. I wish you and reflected that she perhaps was the had come back." cause of its abandonment. Ah, where Richard looked about him, apparwas Richard ? As she looked and lis- ently at loss for a rejoinder. “I have tened in vain, her heart rose to her been very busy," he said, at last, with a throat, and she felt herself on the point simplicity of tone slightly studied. An of calling all too wistfully upon his odd sense of dramatic effect prompted name. But her voice was stayed by him to say neither more nor less. the sound of a heavy rumble, as of An equally delicate instinct forbade cart-wheels, beyond a turn in the road. Gertrude to express all the joy which She touched up her horse and can- this assurance gave her. Excessive joy tered along until she reached the turn. would have implied undue surprise ; A great four-wheeled cart, laden with and it was a part of her plan frankly to masses of newly broken stone, and expect the best things of her compandrawn by four oxen, was slowly ad- ion. “ If you have been busy," she vancing towards her. Beside it, pa- said, “I congratulate you. What have tiently cracking his whip and shouting you been doing?”. monotonously, walked a young man in “O, a hundred things. I have been a slouched hat and a red shirt, with his quarrying, and draining, and clearing, trousers thrust into his dusty boots. and I don't know what all. I thought It was Richard. As he saw Gertrude, the best thing was just to put my own he halted a moment, amazed, and then hands to it. I am going to make a advanced, flicking the air with his stone fence along the great lot on the whip. Gertrude's heart went out to hill there. Wallace is forever grumwards him in a silent Thank God! Her bling about his boundaries. I 'll fix next reflection was that he had never them once for all. What are you laughlooked so well. The truth is, that, in ing at?" this rough adjustment, the native bar- “I am laughing at certain foolish barian was duly represented. His face apprehensions that I have been indulgand neck were browned by a week in ing for a week past. You 're wiser the fields, his eye was clear, his step than I, Richard. I have no imaginaseemed to have learned a certain man- tion." ly dignity from its attendance on the “Do you mean that I have ? I heavy bestial tramp. Gertrude, as he have n't enough to guess what you do reached her side, pulled up her horse mean." and held out her gloved fingers to his “Why, do you suppose, have I come brown dusty hand. He took them, over this morning ?" looked for a moment into her face, and “Because you thought I was sulking for the second time raised them to his on account of your having called me a lips.
fool.” “Excuse my glove," she said, with a “Sulking, or worse. What do I delittle smile.
serve for the wrong I have done you ?" "Excuse mine," he answered, ex- “You have done me no wrong. You
reasoned fairly enough. You are not end short off in a precipice, and that if obliged to know me better than I know you stumble or lose your footing as you myself. It's just like you to be ready cross them horizontally, why you go to take back that bad word, and try to shooting down, and you 're gone ; that make yourself believe that it was unjust. is, but for one little dodge. You have a But it was perfectly just, and therefore long walking-pole with a sharp end, you I have managed to bear it. I was a fool know, and as you feel yourself sliding, at that moment, -a stupid, impudent - it 's as likely as not to be in a sitting fool. I don't know whether that man posture, — you just take this and ram it had been making love to you or not. into the snow before you, and there you But you had, I think, been feeling love are, stopped. The thing is, of course, for him, - you looked it; I should have to drive it in far enough, so that it been less than a man, I should be un- won't yield or break; and in any case it worthy of your - your affection, if I hurts infernally to come whizzing down had failed to see it. I did see it, -I upon this upright pole. But the intersaw it as clearly as I see those oxen ruption gives you time to pick yourself now; and yet I bounced in with my up. Well, so it was with me the other own ill-timed claims. To do so was to day. I stumbled and fell; I slipped, be a fool. To have been other than a and was whizzing downward; but I fool would have been to have waited, just drove in my pole and pulled up to have backed out, to have bitten my short. It nearly tore me in two; but it tongue off before I spoke, to have saved my life.” Richard made this done anything but what I did. I have speech with one hand leaning on the no right to claim you, Gertrude, until I neck of Gertrude's horse, and the other can woo you better than that. It was on his own side, and with his head the most fortunate thing in the world slightly thrown back and his eyes on that you spoke as you did : it was even hers. She had sat quietly in her sad- . kind. It saved me all the misery of dle, returning his gaze. He had spoken groping about for a starting-point. Not slowly and deliberately; but without to have spoken as you did would have hesitation and without heat. “This is been to fail of justice; and then, prob- not romance," thought Gertrude, “it's ably, I should have sulked, or, as you reality.” And this feeling it was that very considerately say, done worse. I dictated her reply, divesting it of ro
had made a false move in the game, mance so effectually as almost to make · and the only thing to do was to repair it sound trivial.
it. But you were not obliged to know " It was fortunate you had a walkingthat I would so readily admit my move pole,” she said. to have been false. Whenever I have “I shall never travel without one made a fool of myself before, I have again.” been for sticking it out, and trying to “ Never, at least,” smiled Gertrude, turn all mankind — that is, you into a “with a companion who has the bad a fool too, so that I should n't be an habit of pushing you off the path." exception. But this time, I think, I “0, you may push all you like," said had a kind of inspiration. I felt that Richard.“ I give you leave. But is n't my case was desperate. I felt that if I this enough about myself ?”. adopted my folly now I adopted it for- “ That's as you think." ever. The other day I met a man who “ Well, it's all I have to say for the had just come home from Europe, and present, except that I am prodigiously who spent last summer in Switzerland. glad to see you, and that of course you He was telling me about the mountain- will stay awhile." climbing over there, - how they get over “ But you have your work to do.” the glaciers, and all that. He said that “Dear me, never you mind my work. you sometimes came upon great slip- I've earned my dinner this morning, if pery, steep, snow-covered slopes that you have no objection; and I propose
to share it with you. So we will go back or that it had waxed into a steadto the house." He turned her horse's fast and eternal sun. The solution of head about, started up his oxen with her doubts was not far to seek ; Richhis voice, and walked along beside her ard was absolutely at his ease in her on the grassy roadside, with one hand presence. He had told her indeed in the horse's mane, and the other that she intoxicated him; and truly, in swinging his whip.
those moments when she was comBefore they reached the yard-gate, pelled to oppose her dewy eloquence Gertrude had revolved his speech. to his fervid importunities, her whole “Enough about himself,” she said, si- presence seemed to him to exhale a lently echoing his words. “Yes, Heav- singularly potent sweetness. He had en be praised, it is about himself. I told her that she was an enchantress, am but a means in this matter, — he and this assertion, too, had its measure himself, his own character, his own of truth. But her spell was a steady happiness, is the end.” Under this one ; it sprang not from her beauty, conviction it seemed to her that her her wit, her figure, -it sprang from part was appreciably simplified. Rich- her character. When she found herard was learning wisdom and self-con- self aroused to appeal or to resistance, trol, and to exercise his reason. Such Richard's pulses were quickened to was the suit that he was destined to what he had called intoxication, not by gain. Her duty was as far as possible her smiles, her gestures, her glances, or to remain passive, and not to interfere any accession of that material beauty with the working of the gods who had which she did not possess, but by a selected her as the instrument of their generous sense of her virtues in action. prodigy. As they reached the gate, In other words, Gertrude exercised Richard made a trumpet of his hands, the magnificent power of making her and sent a ringing summons into the lover forget her face. Agreeably to fields; whereupon a farm - boy ap- this fact, his habitual feeling in her proached, and, with an undisguised presence was one of deep repose, -a stare of amazement at Gertrude, took sensation not unlike that which in the charge of his master's team. Gertrude early afternoon, as he lounged in his rode up to the door-step, where her orchard with a pipe, he derived from host assisted her to dismount, and the sight of the hot and vaporous hills. bade her go in and make herself at He was innocent, then, of that delicious home, while he busied himself with the trouble which Gertrude's thoughts had bestowal of her horse. She found that, touched upon as a not unnatural result in her absence, the old woman who ad- of her visit, and which another woministered her friend's household had man's fancy would perhaps have dwelt reappeared, and had laid out the prep- upon as an indispensable proof of its arations for his mid-day meal. By the success. “Porphyro grew faint,” the time he returned, with his face and poet assures us, as he stood in Madehead shining from a fresh ablution, and line's chamber on Saint Agnes' eve. his shirt-sleeves decently concealed by But Richard did not in the least grow a coat, Gertrude had apparently won faint now that his mistress was actually the complete confidence of the good filling his musty old room with her wife.
voice, her touch, her looks; that she Gertrude doffed her hat, and tucked was sitting in his unfrequented chairs, up her riding-skirt, and sat down to trailing her skirt over his faded carpet, a tête-à-tête over Richard's crumpled casting her perverted image upon his table-cloth. The young man played the mirror, and breaking his daily bread. host very soberly and naturally; and He was not fluttered when he sat at Gertrude hardly knew whether to au- her well-served table, and trod her gur from his perfect self-possession muffled floors. Why, then, should be that her star was already on the wane, be fluttered now ? Gertrude was her