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CHRISTIANIA. Situation of Bergen with respect to the rest of Norway
Bernard and Peter Anker - Visit to the Governor A Rout — Barbarisms — Army Regulations - L
Laws respecting Marriage - Climate-Nobility-Character of Prince Frederic-State of the Army—Danish Policy with regard to Norway-Domestic Economy at Christiania — Hospitable Entertainment - Anecdotes of the Emperor Paul of Russia-Antient Teutonic Customs
Lamentable Conduct of Great Britain towards NorwayCeremonies of retiring from Table Magnificent Villa of Peter Anker-His Collection of Pictures-Vast Establishment-Prejudices of the Norwegians respecting Food-Courts of Judicature-Commerce of Christiania
- Population-Manners of the Christianians-Comparison between the Inhabitants of Trönyem and Christiania-Effect of Foreign Intercourse-Institutions for the Poor-Character and Exemplary Conduct of the two Ankers.
CHAP. WE had now traversed nearly the whole of
Norway, from the North to the South; but had seen nothing of its western province of Bergen, nor of the city of that name. Yet this being the most populous town of the whole country, we were desirous of obtaining from the inhabitants some information respecting its present state ; and for this purpose we introduced the subject in our first conversation with Mr. Anker; telling him that the people of Trönijem seemed almost as ignorant as we were, of every thing relating to Bergen. “It is precisely the same with us in Christiania,” said he: “ Bergen is less known to the inhabitants of this place than London or Paris: in fact, we hardly consider it as forming a part of our country; or as inhabited by Norwegians. The people of Bergen are, for the most part, foreigners, principally
from Holland; persons who have settled there CHAP. for trade; buying and selling the fish taken by the natives of the northern parts of Norway.' We soon forgot Bergen, and turned our inquiries Situation
of Bergen towards Christiania, whose representative we with respect thought we beheld in this high-spirited and of Norway. intelligent man. He had travelled much, and combined, in his manners, all the best characteristics of our own countrymen, with a good deal of French foppery, and that native heartiness of a Norwegian, which knows no bounds to its hospitality, but, as in Sweden, will carry its kind attention to strangers even to excess. It seemed, in this short interview, as if his whole property were to be at our disposal. “My carriages and horses, Gentlemen, are at your service, so long as you choose to remain with us. Our good friends here, Mr. Kent and Mr. Jarret, will tell you, that our parties in Christiania are pretty well attended: there is nothing stiff or formal in them: we meet, chat, play at cards, smoke, sing, and drink Burgundy-bishop: every one comes and goes as he likes. You will be expected this evening at the Governor's: his Lady is a very pleasing woman. If you go to his house, I shall have the honour of introducing you to several families, and of taking you afterwards with me to a rout, where you may amuse
CHAP. yourselves after your fatigues. To-morrow,
Mr. John Collet will expect you to dine at his house: there you will meet many of the inhabitants of this place; and, among others, Dr. Müller, a man of letters, who married an English Lady." Being Chamberlain to the King of DENMARK, Bernard Anker wore the Danish court badge,-a large key and riband, fastened to the button of his coat behind. In his person, he was above the common size, of athletic form, and welllooking. His hair, decorated in the old Parisian taste, was highly frizzled and powdered: and, during the whole of his conversation, he stood opposite a large mirror, attentively surveying and adjusting the different articles of his dress : but in all this there was nothing of mere vanity, or of affectation; it was evidently what, among the French, would have been once considered the ease and gaiety of a well-bred fashionable beau; although, to English eyes, such an air and manner might have been considered as bordering upon those of the petit-maltre. However, we soon found, in the conduct of this exemplary individual, a lesson against judging too hastily from outward appearances.
His heart was possessed by the best qualifications of humannature; and his mind, well stored with intelligence, and full of resources, poured forth, in
every conversation, such general knowledge of CHAP. the world, and of the springs of human actions, whether in court-cabinets or in private life, as made all who became acquainted with him eager to join his company'. His character is so intimately connected with the history of Christiania, and of Norway, that no traveller, who has published an account of the country, during his life-time, has neglected to attend to it. The noble use he made of his princely income, and of all his vast means of doing good, in the encouragement he gave to every measure likely to promote the interests of the nation; the example he set to those around him, of domestic economy, and of social order; the public donations he made,-in all of which he was aided by Bernard a corresponding disposition in the benevolent Anker. conduct of his brother,-have caused the names of Bernard and of Peter Anker to live in the recollection of the Norwegians, associated with
(1) “ His talents were frequently exercised, and bis great wealth employed, in acts of beneficence to his fellow.citizens. He presented the Military Institution at Christiania with a spacious house, and increased their funds by a donation of five thousand dollars. THE NEEDY NEVER SUED TO HIM IN VAIN; and, as his liberality was unbounded, the inferior classes looked up to him with confidence for protection and support. Like the illustrious Lorenzo de Medicis, he was a great merchant, and capable of being a great statesman : he entertained an ambassador with as much ease as be would a factor." See Wolff's Northern Tour, pp. 99, 100. Lond. 1814.