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  A Norwegian Honeymoon Henry van Dyke

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The rural landscape of Norway, on the long easterly slope that leads up to the watershed among the mountains of the western coast, is not unlike that of Vermont or New Hampshire. The railway from Christiania to the Randsfjord carried us through a hilly country of scattered farms and villages. Wood played a prominent part in the scenery. There were dark stretches of forest on the hilltops and in the valleys; rivers filled with floating logs; sawmills beside the waterfalls; wooden farmhouses painted white; and rail-fences around the fields. The people seemed sturdy, prosperous, independent. They had the familiar habit of coming down to the station to see the train arrive and depart. We might have fancied ourselves on a journey through the Connecticut valley, if it had not been for the soft sing-song of the Norwegian speech and the uniform politeness of the railway officials.

What a room that was in the inn at Randsfjord where we spent our first night out! Vast, bare, primitive, with eight windows to admit the persistent nocturnal twilight; a sea-like floor of blue-painted boards, unbroken by a single island of carpet; and a castellated stove in one corner: an apartment for giants, with two little beds for dwarfs on opposite shores of the ocean. There was no telephone; so we arranged a system of communication with a fishing-line, to make sure that the sleepy partner should be awake in time for the early boat in the morning.

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The journey up the lake took seven hours, and reminded us of a voyage on Lake George; placid, picturesque, and pervaded by summer boarders. Somewhere on the way we had lunch, and were well fortified to take the road when the steamboat landed us at Odnaes, at the head of the lake, about two o'clock in the afternoon.

There are several methods in which you may drive through Norway. The government maintains posting-stations at the farms along the main travelled highways, where you can hire horses and carriages of various kinds. There are also English tourist agencies which make a business of providing travellers with complete transportation. You may try either of these methods alone, or you may make a judicious mixture.

Thus, by an application of the theory of permutations and combinations, you have your choice among four ways of accomplishing a driving-tour. First, you may engage a carriage and pair, with a driver, from one of the tourist agencies, and roll through your journey in sedentary case, provided your horses do not go lame or give out. Second, you may rely altogether upon the posting-stations to send you on your journey; and this is a very pleasant, lively way, provided there is not a crowd of travellers on the road before you, who take up all the comfortable conveyances and leave you nothing but a jolting cart or a ramshackle KARIOL of the time of St. Olaf. Third, you may rent an easy-riding vehicle (by choice a well-hung gig) for the entire trip, and change ponies at the stations as you drive along; this is the safest way. The fourth method is to hire your horseflesh at the beginning for the whole journey, and pick up your vehicles from place to place. This method is theoretically possible, but I do not know any one who has tried it.

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Fisherman's Luck
Henry van Dyke

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