Travel Letters: Lillehammer, Norway (1872)

DEAR WILLIAM, — I have written to you in the course of our correspondence from many queer places, but perhaps this tonight is the queerest of them all. It is the neatest, triggest, cosiest little Norwegian inn, one day’s journey from Christiania, just set in among the mountains at the head of lake Mjosen. The people in the courtyard under the windows are jabbering Norwegian and getting the horses ready for our carioles, which set out to-morrow morning at half past five. It is half past nine o’clock in the evening, and broad daylight, so that a candle would be an absurdity. Last night at Christiania, I literally read a letter in the street at eleven o’clock, as you would at noon in Boston.

But I must go back. Last Thursday evening I left Frederick in London, and went on board the steamer Oder for Christiania, which sailed the next morning at four o’clock. We had a pleasant little voyage of three days and a half across the North Sea and up the Skager Rack, touching on Sunday morning at Christiansand, and arriving on Monday at Christiania. The steamer was good, the sea smooth, and all went very pleasantly. The sail along the Norwegian coast and up the Christiania Fiord was very beautiful. At Christiania, which is a very pretty, pleasant place, we spent yesterday, got our carioles, which are the jolliest-looking traps you can imagine, this morning took them on the train, and then on the boat upon the lake to this village. To-morrow morning we mount them for our first drive into the country. I wish that you could see us pass. Much more, I wish there were a third cariole, and you were in it.

I wonder how Fred comes on. He seemed to be having a good time. I went with him to several of the great sights of London, which he appeared to en-joy, and was in good health and spirits. I hope he will find some companion for the Continent, for I am afraid he will be a little homesick sometimes, if he does not. He hopes to return with us in the Thuringia from Havre, September 14.

Will you do something for me ? Will you go and see Mr. James T. Fields, and ask him (as I shall be rather later than I expected in getting home) to put my lecture on English Literature as late in the course as possible ? — at the very end if he can. I think he will have no trouble in doing it.

No letters from you yet. I hope many are on the way, but we shall not get them till we come to Bergen some time next week ; but do keep on writing, and tell all the news, little and great. I hope you are having a pleasant summer.