Norway – Leaving old home and friends

After that outgoing vessel gets fairly out into the channel she will turn a little more toward the south-west (right), and go all the afternoon steaming down among the capes and islands of the fjord. In forty-eight hours she will reach the English port of Hull and transfer passengers to an Atlantic liner for New York. It would take fifty-four hours to reach Ham-burg, sixty to either Amsterdam or London, eighty to Antwerp. For three months in the year the harbor waters here are frozen, though, curiously enough, some of the west coast harbors, hundreds of miles farther north, are kept open all the year round by the near flowing of warm ocean currents.

More than 25,000 Norwegians have emigrated in a single year, nearly all bound for the western United States—some for the western provinces of Canada. The beginning of this great American emigration was made in 1825, when a party of neighbors sailed from Stavanger and settled in New York State. A few of the voyagers we see now may return to the old home after accumulating modest fortunes ; some will come back after a number of years just to revisit temporarily the scenes of their childhood; but most of them will never see these Norwegian hills again except in their dreams. They will, however, remember generously the relatives left behind—post-office statistics show a million dollars coming back here in a single year from those who have gone to the other side of the world.*

The famous story of The Pilot and His Wife, by the popular Norwegian author, Jonas Lie, locates the home of the young people at Arendal, farther south-west, down on the Skagerrak. It is a story well worth reading and can be found in English translation. Probably a large proportion of these people on the pier know the story in the original version.

Now to see something of the town itself. Consult the map once more; see where it locates our third standpoint in the eastern part of the town not very far from the head of the harbor, and what it tells about our proposed view ; the branching red lines reach east-ward across an open square and some distance beyond.