A strapping boy of eighteen acted as station master. His trowsers reached considerably above his shoulder blades, leaving barely room for a waistcoat, six inches long, to be buttoned over his collar bone. The characteristic costumes of Norway are more quaint and picturesque in the published illustrations than in the reality, particularly those of Hemsedal.

We bought the whole stock of tobacco, consisting of two cigars, and hastened out of the den. The last station of ten miles was down the beautiful Hallingdal, through a country which seemed rich by contrast with Hemsedal and the barren fjeld. Our stopping-place was the village of Næs, which we reached in a famished condition, having eaten nothing all day.

The landlord received us very cordially; and as the inn promised tolerable accommodation, he easily persuaded us to stop there for the night. His wife wore a frightful costume, which we afterwards found to prevail throughout all Hemsedal and Hallingdal.

After passing Ekre, our view opened down the valley, over a wild stretch of wooded hills, to the blue mountain folds of the Hallingdal, which crosses the Hemsedal almost at right angles, and receives its tributary waters.

We found water much more abundant the previous winter in Swedish Lapland. Leaving Bjöberg betimes, we drove rapidly down Hemsedal, enjoying the pure delicious airs of the upper fjeld. The scenery was bleak and grey; and even the soft pencil of the morning sun failed to impart any charm to it, except the nameless fascination of utter solitude and silence.