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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/427

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A TRIP AROUND ICELAND

A TRIP AROUND ICELAND
By L. P. GRATACAP

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

II

THEN came Husavik, a large village looking amazingly well with its extended domiciles cleanly cut in the sunlight, at the base of some old crater cone, which Professor Gourdon told us repeated the worn down volcanic stocks of Auvergne, which that notable pioneer Guettard first pointed out were igneous accumulations. And how bare it all was! Two wild white swans suddenly swept through the foreground. We dropped off a sysselman here; a kind of local magistrate, governor, collector of the port, friend of the fatherless and widow, and general Pooh-bah who raised his hat as he left us as if he expected us to recognize his official importance. Icelanders pay the most formal respect to each other and doffing his hat for a person of a large acquaintance must, in so uncertain a climate, insure a popular man a permanent cold in his head. The sysselman, who thus returned to his domain, had an earnest mien, and was typical of the strong, resolute and intelligent temperament and mind of these boreal democrats.

We turned westward again over the Skjalfandi, the broad bay west of Husavik, toward the beautiful range of mountains on the opposite shore, the Viknafjöll hills. As they came near to hand in the transfiguring light of the setting sun, they were revealed as a series of enfilading peaks standing up behind each other, with the pockets between them spotted with snow, while snow-fields like spotless rugs hung low down on their steep flanks. They grew upon our eyes in

PSM V71 D427 Flat island near husavik.png
Flat Island near Husavik.