Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and safe. The holm, or arsenal, is not shown without the permission of the admiral. The ships in ordinary are finely arranged and make a gallant show: a gallery or narrow bridge, resting upon piles, runs on each side of the line, which is patroled day and night. The magazines, forges, and workshops are upon an admirable construction : each ship has her different magazine, containing all the materials for her rapid equipment. This depot is furnished with iron from Norway, hemp from Riga, cloth from Russia and Holland, and wood from Pomerania. The rope-walks are each a thousand feet long. As I was enjoying, one fine afternoon, a row in that part of the harbour where the arsenal is, and nothing can be more beautiful or interesting than such an excursion, I observed a man-of-war lying near the quay, of a peculiar construction : she swelled amazingly in the upper sides, forming a considerable portion of a circle, for the purpose of enabling her to bring several of herafter guns to act with her bow guns or with her stern chasers: she had a very clumsy appearance, and I was informed that the experiment had not answered the wishes of government. The number of merchant vessels we saw at the quay confirmed the account we received of the magnitude of the Danish commerce. Nature, which has broken the kingdom into islands, has instinctively made the Danes merchants and sailors: their principal foreign trade is with France, Portugal, and Italy, and the East and West Indies : their principal domestic trade is with Norway, and even with Iceland, which, to all but its patriotic and contented native, is a most deplorable country, the very outskirts of the world. The seamen are registered, and are divided into two classes : the stationary sailors, who are always in the employ of the crown; the others are, in time of peace, permitted to enter into merchant ships, subject to recall in case of war, and have a sinall annual stipend. The academy of marine cadets forms one of the palaces in the Octagon : it was founded by Frederic V. Here, and at an hotel which belongs to it, sixty youths are maintained and instructed in the principles of navigation, at the expense of the

There are also several other young gentlemen admitted to the school, but are not maintained there. Every year several of these gallant pupils make a cruise in a brig of war, that they may blend practice with theory. The academy of land cadets is pretty nearly upon the same establishment: fifty boys are main. tained and educated for a military life by the crown, and others are admitted to the school, but maintained at their own expense. The former are well fed, but are never permitted to drink tea. In the academy is a riding house, and in the adjoining stables eight horses are kept for the use of the young pupils in the art of riding. - In the course of my rambles I visited the citadel, which is small, and stands at the extremity of the city, and contains two battalions. It has two gates; one towards the city, and the other towards the country ; the latter is well fortified by five bastions. Adjoining the chapel is the dungeon in which the count Struensee was confined; it is indeed a most dismal hole; it was here that he lightened the weight of his chains and the horrors of imprisonment by his flute, upon which, so little apprehensive was he of his impending fate, that his favourite air was from the Deserteur, beginning with Mourir c’est notre dernier ressort. Upon quitting this melancholy abode we requested the soldier who conducted us to shew us that of his unhappy fellow-sufferer, Brandt. He accordingly led us through a gloomy stone passage ; and, after unlocking and unbarring a massy door, conducted us up a winding stone staircase into the cell, where, to my surprise, a sun-beam, slanting through a small grated window, presented to us the figure of a man of respectable appearance, and of about the middle age of life, emaciated by long confinement, and bowed down by grief. As we approached him, a faint blush partially spread over his sallow cheek, and a tear stood in his eye, which he endeavoured to conceal with his hand, and with a bow of humiliation turned from us to a little bird-cage, which he was constructing. We apologized for our intrusion, and hastily turning towards the door, we beheld a beautiful boy standing near it, apparently about eight years old ; his look at once explained that the prisoner was his father : the face of this little child of sorrow was the most artless and expressive I ever beheld. As we descended, he followed ; and when at the bottom of the stairs, we asked him why he looked so pale ; the little creature replied in French, “Ah, sir! I look so because I have just recovered from a fever. I do not always look so: I shall soon be well ; but my poor papa never will.” We put money in his hand, and begged him to take it to his father : this he immediately returned, saying, “ No, sir, indeed I must not; my father will be angry with me." All our efforts were in vain ; it was a scene of affecting mystery. The soldier took up the child and kissed it, and bidding him return to his father, closed the door. He informed us that the prisoner had been convicted of forgery, but stated that there were many strong circumstances in his favour. Oh, how I wished that that merciful prince, whose ears are ever more open to the sounds of suffering than of flattery, had heard what we heard! the looks and language of the little prattler would have pleaded for the wretched prisoner.

crown.

The little ancient palace of Rosenberg, said to be built by Inigo Jones, attracted our notice; the gardens belonging to which form the principal town-parade of the belles and beaux of Copenhagen. The statues in these gardens are not worthy of notice, although recommended to the notice of travellers by many of the Copenhagers. In the street adjoining are the barracks for the foot guards, and a covered hall for military exercise, of four hundred feet long. This Gothic edifice is principally remarkable for containing the room in which the King holds his annual bed of justice, and for the jewel office : the former is a long low room, the whole length of the building. Before the throne, upon the floor, stand three lions of massy silver, in different attitudes, as large as life, and excite a fine idea of barbarous grandeur: the walls are surrounded with large pieces of ancient tapestry, somewhat the worse for age, representing the exploits of the most military of the Danish monarchs in their wars with the Swedes. In a little room adjoining the hall are several services of plate, vases, wine-glasses, and goblets, in chrystal, which were presented to Frederic IV, by the Venetian States ; the collection is very valuable, and tastefully arranged. In another small apartment we saw the saddle of Christian IV, covered with pearls, said to be worth 30,0001. which he once used upon a magnificent gala-day in Copenhagen. In the cabinet of jewels are the coronation chairs, crowns, and various valuable and curious assortments of jewelry ; but I was most gratified by a beautiful service of Danish porcelain, which was made in the new manufactory of china, on which was exquisitely painted the Flora Danica, or the indigenous botanical productions of Denmark and Norway. We found it difficult to get a peep at this place, on account, as we were told, of the grand marshal of the court always having

the custody of the key. An old officer, of the rank of colonel, shewed the curiosities, and through the hands of an attendant received a ducat for his trouble.

From the palace I proceeded to the observatory, a noble round tower, one hundred and twenty feet high, in which a spiral road of brick nearly winds to the top; so that thus far any one might ascend or descend on horseback with perfect ease and safety : at the top is the observatory of the celebrated Tycho Brahe. The instruments are good, and in excellent condition ; amongst the telescopes there is one that is twelve Danish feet long, and magnifies eight hundred times, made by Alh of Copenhagen. From this tower a young Dane precipitated himself, a short time before we visited it, and was dashed to pieces : at the school to which he belonged, the master had passed over his merits, as he too rashly thought, to compliment a boy of higher rank, but his inferior in learning. The wounded sensibility of the former drove him to frenzy, and caused the melancholy catastrophe above related. Nor far from the observatory is the university library; it contains about four thousand volumes ; they are chiefly upon theology and jurisprudence. There are also about two thousand manuscripts: amongst the most rare of the latter is a bible in Runic characters. This library has an annual revenue of eight hundred crowns for the sole purpose of purchasing books, and is open to the public. The school of surgery is a small, neat and handsome modern building: under this roof a singular instance of acute sensibility happened a few years since, which is still much talked of: As Kruger, a celebrated anatomical lecturer, was addressing his pupils, he received a letter announcing the death of a very dear friend at Paris; he was observed to be much agitated, and exclaimed, “ I have received intelligence which I shall never long survive ; I cannot recover the shock.” His scholars, who very much loved him, pressed round, and bore him to his home in their arms, where he expired a few hours after. The hospital for secret lying-in is a handsome edifice : here pregnant women, who have reasons for seeking concealment, are received, upon paying a small stipend; they enter at night in masks, and are never seen but by those who are necessary to their comfort, and their names are never required. This is a noble institution, and

is said to have produced a very visible diminution in the crime of infanticide.

At the tables-d'hote at Copenhagen, a stranger is at first struck with the appearance of noblemen with stars glittering upon their breast, being seated at the same table with the rest of the company. This seldom occurs but in the summer, when the heads of noble families, who pass that season of the year at their chateaus, come occasionally to town, where their houses are generally shut

up

till the winter. It was at one of these places that I met with an extraordinary instance of the ignorance in which a native of one country may remain of the manners of another. A Danish gentleman, as he was picking his teeth with his fork, a delicate custom, very prevalent upon the continent amongst all classes, observed that he had heard the English women were very pretty, but he was confident that he never could love them : upon being pressed for his reason, he replied, because he understood they were never seen without a pipe in their mouths! We told him that it was very true they had frequently pipes in their mouths, and very sweet ones too, but that they never smoked ; nay, so much did they abhor it, that they regarded the man with disgust who indulged himself in the habit.

At Copenhagen I had an opportunity of observing that a Turk in a Lutheran country can get as gloriously drunk as a Christian. At a table d'hote which I frequented, we were occasionally amused by a little fat follower of Mahomet, who had just arrived, with some appearance of consequence, but with a suspicious application to the Danish government: the mussulman very soon forgot or defied the sumptuary provisions of the Alcoran, and became enamoured with some excellent port wine and English bottled porter; his libations, which were pretty copious, were generally followed by dancing and kicking his turbán round the room ; at length, he was suddenly told to look out for other quarters. A little facetious waiter was asked whether he had removed him, to prevent his further augmenting the anger of the prophet? “I know no* thing about his prophet” said he; « all that I know is, that he « has got no more money.”

After having perused the description which travellers have given of the grounds and house of count Bernstoff, I was some

« AnteriorContinuar »