Puslapio vaizdai

dismay. First there was water in the en- in an incredibly short time both the cripgine; then, as if this were not enough, the ple and the sofa were lying in the ditch. perverse day took it into its head to deluge It was with a sense of the keenest relief us with rain. But this was only a begin- that we saw the cripple crawl out of his ning, bless you! We gave a farmer's cart difficulty uninjured, but clamoring for too much room. The road was soft, and moral and physical damages, which we caved in, and down we went, helplessly paid him to the extent of about one fourth



stalled until, with the aid of some stout of his original demand. It was only upon timbers and several willing natives, we arriving at Umea at half-past ten that night were able to work the car out of the mire. that we at last felt ourselves in anything After that the loss of forty-five minutes like sanctuary, though not, however, withby taking the wrong road did not improve out having to bend once more to fate by our tempers, already sorely tried by the building our own bridge before we could seemingly interminable days of the North. cross a bad, open space in the road. OtherBut the climax was not yet. It came wise the roads had been from fair to good, when we met a man leading a horse at- and we had managed to cover 180 miles. tached to a wagon in which was a cripple There was another ferry in store for us seated upon a sofa. The horse shied, and at Pitsund, and nine o'clock on Friday morning, July 1, saw us at Lulea, with a come to us. The good folk of the place watery crossing before us.



were much interested and unquestionably Our route now lay far to the east of curious about our adventuring. the Swedish state railway to Gellivare. When the morrow came, we arose wonThis line, over which runs the Lapland dering what the day would bring forth. express, is the northernmost railroad in We trusted it might be “gas," although the world and traverses a monotonous for- we had been told that the only supply-staest-land in order to reach the iron-ore tion north of us was Malmberget. Howmountains of the district. There is much ever, we started away hopefully at a quaruninviting swamp and lake country here- ter after eight, undaunted by the cloudy about, and farther to the north the con- sky. We had been assured that the road ditions of transport are such that the re- was "all right all the way," but after nine gion is left almost exclusively to the nomad miles it ended abruptly at a stream the Lapp and the government agent. Few bridge over which had broken down. travelers, indeed, have penetrated these in- There was nothing for us to do but to hospitable, untracked wastes.

build another, so we gathered what we We now bade farewell to the friendly could of timber and native help, and in shore of the Gulf of Bothnia as we set our record time our bridge was built, and we faces toward Morjarv. From Stockholm fared across. Then came more trouble. had come the new tires and inner tubes, 'There was an evident drop in the road and these had lightened our hearts, be- beyond, and several men at work there cause tires and inner tubes and gasolene held up their arms and gesticulated exwere the only things which now counted. citedly. We crept on, and found a frail

After six hours on the road (it was looking, temporary causeway which had then Friday, July 1), we accomplished to accommodate all traffic until the erecabout eighty miles, which ran through cul- tion of a stone bridge was completed. The tivated land and stretches of wooded coun- descent to the causeway was bad enough, try, and at eight o'clock in the evening we but the ascent was through deep sand, drew up at the wooden posting-station of with a gradient of twenty degrees. The Heden. Only thirty kilometers lay be- rear wheels spun round ominously and tween us and the Arctic Circle! A long sank deeper and deeper, but the sturdy line of dark green marked the background workmen, recovered from their astonishof forest; the foreground was occupied by ment, came to our rescue, and the danger a primitive derrick well, which we wel- was passed. comed as an old friend. There was no In a few minutes we were due to cross prodigality of comfort in the plain hostelry the Arctic Circle and leave behind the naof this Northland region, but the clean tive and more congenial atmosphere of the beds and the simple fare were indeed wel- temperate zone. We looked out for some


official evidence of the circle. We appre- from our car almost into the arms of our ciated that anything would

beaming host. The natives pressed about blazed path, a cairn, or, maybe, a substan- us as we alighted, and, as a kind of sop to tial boundary-line of metal, with polar their curiosity, we photographed the car bears rampant in high relief, set up by and them. It was amusing to see them some enthusiastic arctic club. We began posing and "looking pleasant" as they to fear that, without some such index to awaited the snap of the shutter. There apprise us, we should cross the line with- were bicycles and all other kinds of conout being aware. We argued that there veyances gathered about, for some had must be, or at least should be, a finger- evidently ridden far to see “the lions of post; for the Arctic Circle is a geographical the hour." That night, just as midnight possession of sufficient romance to make was striking, we took several more picany nation proud to own a share of it and tures, the old Lapp chapel and its graveadequately to indicate that share. But yard standing out sharply in the light, there was nothing, and it was our odom- which was that of our late afternoon. eter alone which told us when our roll- On the following day we decided to run ing wheels had carried. us across the ro- a few kilometers farther north to the mines mantic line. We were disappointed with of Malmberget, which for many generaSweden, and took our photographs of the tions has proved a lodestone to those decrossing indifferently. We were not half siring to make a home in this otherwise so enthusiastic as we had expected to be. desolate region. Our route through the Did not Peary, by the way, take his fa- town was a veritable via triumphalis, the mous picture of the pole with a sense of inhabitants lining the wayside in their the utter commonplaceness of the scene? Sunday clothes, waving handkerchiefs,

Once across, we fell to musing about aprons, and caps, and giving us many a the beyond. Therein was something worth hearty cheer. It made us curious to know the while. We had come to the end of in just what fashion we had been decivilization-such civilization as, in that scribed to these folk of the mining town frigid region, the railroad alone had by the telephone operator at Gellivare. It brought. But the road must soon end- must have been glowing, to say the least the most northern road in Europe, perhaps of it. in the whole world. Beyond it lay what? On arriving at the mines, we met the We gazed and wondered.

manager, and were delighted to find in Two hours later we crossed into Lap- him a sort of English-speaking compatriot. land. Here at last was something for He had been in America more than four which nations have a wholesome respect- years, and, in his view, “nothing was too a boundary-line. It was a well-defined,

It was a well-defined, good for an American.” We needed gasowide, sharp line cut through the forest, lene, and an abundance of it was placed at completely cleared of trees and under- our disposal. When we mentioned paybrush, and as distinct as a cañon of our ment, we were met with a prompt, “No, own West. Half an hour later we made siree!" The only thing that would please a hasty, impromptu luncheon of ham and our good-natured host was for us to help eggs at the Lapp village of Schroeven. ourselves. And we accepted it—200 preWe were now nearly a hundred miles cious liters, be it known-with a gratitude north of the Arctic Circle, and our destina- that we did not attempt to conceal. A tion, Gellivare, was almost in sight. Our profusion of gasolene so far north was road was rough and deserted and much easily explained. It was used to operate in need of repair. The houses along the a twenty-five horse-power truck that was in way were scarcely less than twenty miles daily service at the mines. It is probably apart, and between these habitations the the only car in use beyond the Arctic Cirsingle electric wire which ran above us cle, and we were told that it was chiefly emwas the sole reminder of civilization. ployed in conveying tools to the workings.

And so at last we came to Gellivare. We estimated the population of MalmThe telephone, the modern tocsin of these berget at about seven thousand. The town strange Northern people, had given notice presented something of an American apof our coming, and the entire town seemed pearance, with its churches, schools, banks, drawn up outside the hotel as we sprang and stores, and in many instances the origi


nal wooden structures had been replaced ooze and treacherous morass and swamp, by those of stone. The iron mountain, to find nothing save the foundations of which consists of gneiss, the ore being em

some peasant houses cluttered with the bedded in nearly vertical veins, is over- charcoal of roof-tree and wall, and all grown with pines and birches almost to its about them a fire-swept forest. Had we peaks, although human labor has been em- cared to venture on foot, we might have ployed here since the eighteenth century. come across the Lapps, with their wander

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It was here that the Northern road came ing herds of reindeer feeding on the yelto an end.

Beyond lay the wilderness, low mosses of the dreary earth-patches of across which, when the sun is beating the Lapp mark. Also we might have seen down, even the nomad Lapp would be something of those battered, shaggy semihard put to it to find a path. All bird life wrecks of men and sallow, pigeon-chested has perished or Aled. The winged crea- women of that far Northland, the victims tures which hold possession are the horse- of generations of inbreeding, existing in Ay and the mosquito. Farther our car veritable wallows, amid toil and starvacould not have gone, for we had heard of tion, the strain of the wilderness, and the travelers venturing afoot into those wilds, fever from insect bites and wretched food. scrambling for days through the slimy But we preferred civilization, and so returned to Gellivare, with that pleasant As we drew near our Southern goal, sense of relaxation which comes of a deed the Finnish capital, the days became peraccomplished. We had broken away from ceptibly shorter; but there was no cessaonly a few of the things associated with tion of the heat, and our enemies, the mosthe complex fabric of highly organized quitos and flies, were still with us, so that society, but as before going southward we we had to take refuge beneath veils. At halted there at the frontier of human in- all hours the insects swarmed about us, dustry and habitation, we could look ahead eagerly seeking the slightest opening in and see where the trail, leaving the bounds our veils. We were told that the only of exact ownership, frayed like a rope's- fortification against these thirsty enemies end and fluttered across the wastes of the of man in the Northern summer is to satufrozen North.

rate the head in the smoke of young twigs,

very much as a ham is cured; but, needless It was in the evening that we reached to say, we preferred hand-to-hand conflict Heden, and six hours after leaving Malm- to a procedure which savored of suicide. berget we again put up at the posting- The Finnish peasant we found to be station. From Heden our route took us unpicturesque, a figure in strong contrast back to Morjarv, and there the road to his country, which, in its alternation forked to the left for Haparanda and the of lake and stream and hillside, was a land of the Finns. We were rapidly for- rare delight to the eye. The deep green getting our Northern experiences and the of boundless forests accorded a sharp but belated exhilaration over our accomplish- not unpleasant note to the red which domiment in the eagerness with which we con- nates Finnish architecture and is the offitemplated making the acquaintance of the cial color of the country. It was in these race which, though subject to a Russian Northern forests that we obtained a lively yoke, has strange kinship with the Magyar conception of the old Norse gods' habiof Hungary. At first the roads were none tation-Vidar's impenetrable, primeval of the best, but after six hours of contin woods, where reigned deep silence and uous running we managed to make the solitude. We saw stretching before us frontier at Haparanda and once more to boundless expanses of lofty trees, almost catch a glimpse of the Gulf of Bothnia. without a path among them, regions of There we stopped and recovered the monstrous shadows and cloistered gloom, money which we had deposited as duty and we felt the grandeur of the idea which upon entering Sweden. The Russian duty forms the basis of Vidar's essence. It we paid at the neighboring Finnish town seemed as though we were amid the beof Tornea, where we enjoyed the rare

ginning of all things, in the very presence spectacle of a beautiful sunset at half-past of the Norseman's All-father, eleven at night. The following day we And as we look back now upon the days had the unique experience of crossing we passed deep in the solitudes of the from one town to the other by sail-ferry. North, we feel that it was a wonderful There were several more ferries to be world the fringe of which we crossed. We crossed in that long run down the superb had come into touch with strange and Finnish coast and through the country, wonderful people, living in days that had over a good post-road at twenty-five miles no end--a people whose minds have conan hour all the way to Helsingfors. Occa- ceived of a world created from a strange sionally we saw two-wheeled carioles tak- admixture of fire and ice, wherein the ing the steep pitches in the roads at full forces of nature, the good and the bad, gallop behind the sturdy Finnish horses. are ceaselessly struggling.

Note: Readers will recall two unique records of motor-experiences which have appeared in The Century: “Motoring in a Cactus Forest” in March, 1910, and “A Motor Invasion of Norway" in December, 1909. The present paper will soon be followed by others on trips by automobile in Tunis and in Algiers, and we shall take pleasure in giving consideration to accounts that may be offered of similarly novel trips in out-of-the-way regions. The EDITOR.

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