Puslapio vaizdai

we found ourselves cloaked in a heat which set at about eleven o'clock. From here even the motion of the car made it difficult we still had a long run to make before we for us to endure. Sometimes we were should reach the northern shore of the actually compelled to stop to cool off both Gulf of Bothnia, and we therefore took ourselves and the tires.

the wise precaution of providing our car Sweden has had a method of road main- the first extra supply of gasolene and oil. tenance which, aside from being unique, We purchased a sixty-five-liter can, and doubtless works out better in theory than we also filled up with an extra 210 liters. in practice. The care of the highway is Figured out on the basis of two and a supposed to devolve upon the owner of the half miles to the liter, some idea may be adjacent land. He is required to erect a gained of the amount we carried. But the

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small wooden sign or a stone bearing his precautionary measures of the trip had not name in plain letters, so that he may be really begun there. Knowing that the suceasily reported in case of dereliction. But cess of most expeditions depends as much it was evident to us that few reports, if upon careful preparation as upon moral any, are ever sent in. Perhaps one of the "sand," we had given directions in Stockbest descriptions of Swedish roads is that holm to have an extra supply of shoes and they are "wavy,” a condition we found inner tubes shipped northward, and these very disagreeable, owing to the bouncing we eventually picked up at Lulea, which motion given to the tonneau, which was we made in four days from Sundsvall, certainly an imposition upon the springs. after many an adventure and mishap. It

As we fared into the Northland there is difficult to be much of a stoic when a was a noticeable difference in the length new spring-hanger does not fit and threatof the days. In Sundsvall, which we ens a mechanical collapse; and we confess reached in one day from Gefle, it was still to a bad quarter of an hour when we dusk at midnight, although the sun had caught sight of the pocket edition of the



steam-ferry at Högsjö, which threatened the satisfaction of knowing that this opeto go to the bottom of the river if ever our ration had saved us a detour of at least trusty car was placed upon it. But a 150 miles. Everybody spoke English from friendly barge, in tow of the toy steamer, the captain down, and we still retain vivrelieved our despair, and after three hours idly a picture of his pretty, blonde daughof waiting, necessitated by unloading the ter offering us her welcome sympathy in barge of its original freight, we ran aboard our own tongue. and went on our way rejoicing. We had The next day was one of ill fortune and

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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


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