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34

ZEALAND TURNPIKE GATE.

abounding with picturesque scenery; its shores are lined with pretty towns, noble chateaus, and extensive and well-wooded domains, but upon the high road we did not observe, until our near approach to the capital, any indication of such exuberance and beauty ; although it was at this time the third of June, the gooseberries and currants were but just formed into berries.

Upon our first post in this island, we met with, for the first time in Denmark, a turnpike gate, which was erected at the end of every Danish mile. As the roads were tolerably good, the impost was unobjectionable, which for a carriage and four horses is six skillings Danish currency. This toll, in consequence of a recent ordinance, is paid before the traveller sets off, to the post-master, which saves the inconvenience of stopping. The turnpike-gate, like all the barrier gates of the north, is simply constructed of a long pole or bar, which turns upon a pivot, fastened in a strong post, about four feet high, placed on one side of the road : the end of this pole is charged at the end with a preponderating weight of stone or blocks of wood, so that when the post-master slackens the string or slight chain which attaches it horizontally to a post on the other side of the road, the bar rises sufficiently high to let a carriage pass

under.

The mile-stones here, the first which we saw in the country, are formed of granite in the shape of a handsome obelisk,

INTELLIGENCE OF WOMEN.

35

and enumerate the miles and half miles, and bear the names of Christian and sometimes of Fred. V. In our route we saw several storks, who shewed no other symptoms of alarm when we approached them, than awkwardly moving from us upon their red, tall, lean legs, upon which the body seemed mounted as upon stilts. The country from Slagelse to Ringsted was very picturesque. The most ancient church in Denmark is in this town; it is built of brick, with two low towers: there are some royal tombs here very ancient, which are principally filled with the ashes of the descendants of Sweyn II., and are level with the pavement. We passed many forests of fine beech and oak, feathering the shores of several extensive and beautiful lakes. As we approached the capital we were a little surprised to find every thing become cheaper, and the horses and drivers leaner and shabbier.

I must not omit to state, for the honour of the female sex, that however we were at a loss to explain ourselves on account of our ignorance of the Danish language, and had exhausted our stock of gestures upon the men in vain, we always found that the women comprehended us with onethird of our pantomimic action; and to the end of my days I shall gratefully and experimentally contend for the superior quickness of female comprehension.

We arrived on a Sunday at Roskild, which, according to

36

THE TOMB OF JULIANA MARIA.

Holberg, was formerly a city of many parishes, and contained within its walls twenty-seven churches, and an equal number of convents, though now a place of very little import. We went to the cathedral, a heavy pile of brick covered with copper, with two spires, the most ancient part of which was erected under the auspices of Harold, the grandfather of Canute the Great, king of England and Denmark. The inside of this building owes its grandeur to its size: the ceiling is stained with little sprigs of flowers in a vile taste, and are wholly unenriched by those exquisite interlacings in the roof that form the principal beauty of Gothic architecture, the rudiments of which nature first imparted to our early forefathers, by placing before their imitative eyes the graceful intersections of a simple bower: the organ is upon an immense scale, and the tone very fine : the stops are moved by the feet of the organist. In a large octagon chapel, divided from the body of the cathedral by an iron grate, so finely wrought, that at a distance it resembles black gauze; and in a subterranean vault, repose the remains of the royal family of Denmark, in several raised stone coffins, which are coveredwith black velvet palls, embroidered with small crowns of gold, falling in full drapery upon the floor. It is foreign to my purpose to enumerate them all. The most superb tomb is that of Juliana Maria, whose sanguinary conduct towards the hapless Queen Matilda and the unfortunate Counts Struensee and Brandt,

MARGARET OF VOLDEMAR.

37

excited so much sensation some years since. As I gazed upon this gloomy depository of unrelenting jealousy and ambition, imagination raised the bleeding shades of those devoted men, consigned from the pinnacle of power and royal favour to the dungeon and the scaffold. Alas! the common tyrant, in no wide lapse of time, has closed the eyes of the ruthless destroyer and her victims.

I must not omit the tomb of that wonderful woman Margaret of Voldemar, or, as she was styled with a derision which she well revenged, the king in petticoats. She flourished in the 13th century, and bore upon her brow the crowns of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The northern Semiramis was destined to astonish the world by her marvellous exploits, and her very entrance into it was rendered somewhat extraordinary on account of her being the legitimate daughter of her father and mother. The former becoming disgusted with her mother, confined her in a castle, and about the same time fell violently in love with one of her dames d'honneur, and was a suitor for her favours; the good-humoured girl affected to consent, but imparted the assignation to the unhappy queen, was instrumental in conveying her in disguise to the spot, and Margaret was the fruit of this singular intrigue.

We were much gratified by seeing in one of the chapels

38

THE MOURNING MOTHER.

the rich and beautiful mausoleums of Frederic II. and Christian III.; they were designed and made in Italy, at an immense cost, by the order of Christian IV. The sovereigns are represented in recumbent postures the size of life, under a stone canopy, supported by Corinthian pillars ; the basso relievos which adorn the tomb of Frederic II. are exquisite pieces of sculpture. Here are also interred many distinguished heroes, who have raised the glory of their country, and live in the page of history.

The beautiful ideas of Addison came into my mind “ When I see kings lying by those who deposed them; when

I consider rival wits placed side by side; or the holy men “ that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I re“ flect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competi“ tions and debates of mankind; when I read the several dates

of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six “ hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we “ shall all of us be cotemporaries, and make our appearance “ together.”

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As we crossed the church-yard to return to the inn, we were stopped by the appearance of an interesting young woman, who, with much grief in her countenance, was scattering slips of lilac and half-blown tulips and fine sand from a little basket which she held in her hand, upon a fresh

grave,

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