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A few weeks later, Percy received letters from New York,
requesting him to visit London, there to complete business arrangements
with a large export honse, and then to proceed to Copenhagen, where it
would be necessary for him to remain several months in the interest of
When the letter arrived, he had just dispatched one to Dolores, which closed as follows :
"I expect to return to America next month. I go with regret, and yet no doubt it is for the best. It will cut short our delightful yet dangerous companionship, but I trust you will permit me to call upon you and say farewell before I go. In your last, you mentioned the possibility of leaving Paris soon, but you did not tell me what your plans were. Wherever you are, I shall, with your permission, find you, before I sail for America."
What was his astonishment to receive in reply to his letter, the information that Dolores, accompanied by Mrs. Butler and Madame Volkenburg were about to start on a journey to the Land of the Midnight Sun.
"We go direct to Moscow first," wrote Dolores, ''stopping there long enough to drop a tear on the tombs of the Czars; then on to St. Petersburg; then by steamer down the Gulf of Finland and across the Baltic to Stockholm; thence by rail to Christiania, where we may linger some time, as Madame Volkenburg has dear friends there. From Christiania we go direct to the North Cape. It is our intention to return via Copenhagen and the Channels, as late in the season as we can safely make the trip. We do not leave Paris under three weeks; I hope you will call upon us before your return to America, as you have promised."
When Percy read this he laughed aloud.
"It is fate," he said. ''We are destined to be thrown together. I shall proceed at once to Copenhagen, and when my charming friends arrive in Christiania, I shall join them there and make the journey with them to the North Cape."
It needed this bright prospect to keep Percy's heart cheerful after he arrived in Copenhagen. Not a person in the city had hung out a sign of furnished rooms to let; so finally he decided to advertise. After waiting two days for the advertisement to appear, he rushed off to the printing office to demand an explanation. The clerk remarked calmly, that it had been lost, and as the next day was Sunday, he would be obliged to wait until Monday. On Monday the notice appeared, badly printed, in a column headed "Servant Girls Wanted."
During that day Percy found a room to his liking, on the Tordenskjoldsgade, but as he feared an attack of lockjaw if he atempted to direct any one to his lodgings he chose apartments on the Hovedvagtsgade instead. His breakfast, when served, consisted of a cup of coffee and a cold roll. His dinner, for which he had a ravenous appetite, was better enjoyed in anticipation than participation. The soup was devoid of any extract of flesh, fish, or fowl, but contained quantities of ginger, citron, lemon, and sugar. This was followed by boiled fish, tasteless and watery, and cauliflower swimming in sauce composed of milk and black pepper. There were no side-dishes, and the eagerly-expected dessert brought only disappointment and bread and cheese.
The next day, Percy was so curious concerning a mysterious plate of soup which was served, that he made inquiries and learned the actual ingredients. They consisted of carrots, potatoes, cabbage, sugar, eels, cinnamon, cherries, plums, and small pieces of pork. Another soup was made from the first milk of a cow; and what was known as "beer soup," flavored with various ingredients, was frequently served.
On inquiry, Percy found that other boarding-houses and hotels furnished the same menu, and he could only better his condition by boarding at the largest hotel at an exorbitant price. Finally he became reconciled to the fare : esteemed Limburger cheese as a delicacy, and hailed the advent of every new kind of soup, as he wrote home to his cousin, "with all the enthusiasm of a scientific explorer."
His next achievement was learning how to sleep in a Danish bed. The cot was so narrow, and so rounded in the middle, that if he forgot himself and fell asleep, the covers were sure to slide off one side or the other; and any effort to detain them resulted in his own downfall. Finally, he concluded to lie under the feather bed, instead of over it; and thus, braced by the wall on one side and two chairs on the other, and the huge tick settling down over him, he succeeded in wooing slumber.
After two months devoted to business in Copenhagen, he took passage one autumn afternoon, in the steamship "Aarhus," for Christiania, where he was to join Dolores and her party. Passing through the "Kattegat," a severe wind rendered most of his companions seasick, and Percy was almost the only one who escaped the infliction. The next morning, one of the passengers asked the captain if the storm had been a severe one. For answer he simply pointed to the smoke-stack, which was encrusted to its very summit with the salt from the waves which had dashed over it in the night. Percy stopped at the beautiful city of Gottenburg for a day, and made a journey into the Northwest some fifty miles to visit the famous falls of Trollhatton, which are unsurpassed in all Europe. In a letter to his cousin that night he wrote as follows :
"On the little cluster of houses, which constitute the village of Trollhatton, I was surprised to see in bold letters the name of a New York sewing-machine company. I had seen the sign in France and Germany, but I hardly expected to find it in this wild, unsettled portion of Sweden. The same day, in traversing the vast, dreary, rocky plateau which stretches from Lake Venern to the Skagerak, a large, freshly-painted sign of 'Fairbank Scales' met my eye. But in fact, where you find anything good over here in the way of machinery, you may be sure it is from America.
"In all my travels through Germany I have never seen a reaper, a mower, or a steel plow. Most of the grain seemed to be cut with a sickle. In a very few instances I saw men using an awkward sort of cradle; but they always threw their swath into the standing grain instead of away from it, and had women follow behind with sickles to pick it out and lay it in shape, so I did not see that they gained much.
"It may be true that the American is somewhat given to bragging; but when he comes to see the clumsy old-fashioned way of doing things in Europe, and compares it with the methods at home, be begins to feel that he has a foundation for his boasting. The best fire-arms, the best cutlery, the best furniture, and the best tools, all come from America, Even American cheese has found its way all over Europe, and our various brands of tobacco are as familiar to the European smoker, as to the Yankee himself."
Two days later found Percy enjoying a delightful interview with his friends in Christiania; and the next day the happy quartette started on their journey to the Land of the Midnight Sun.
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