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34 How the “ Mastiffs ” went to Iceland. acquainted, and with the minister’s house of which some of us knew the details very well before we left the place. In the churchyard our tents were pitched and dinner laid. While we were preparing for dinner news which at first seemed to be very sad was told of one of the party. Mrs. Burns, our hostess, could not go any farther. The pony selected for her had been uncomfortable, and the heat and labour of the ride had been too much for her. J. B. and the minister had already discussed the matter, and she was to remain as guest with the minister’s wife. This she did, J. B. remaining with her, till our Providence had galloped on to the Geysers, seen them, and then returned; so as to liberate J. B. from his attendance. When this was done J. B. also galloped on to the Geysers, and came back with the rest of the party. In this way Providence and J. B. had a good deal to do,—which they did like “ Mastiffs.” About a quarter of a mile from the church, at the back of it, with a delicious walk to the place among the rift-divided meadows, is the Althing. The Althing is a spot among the pasture lands on which used to assemble the Parliament of the Icelandic Republic. That such meetings were held there cannot, I think, be doubted; but the Parliament was, probably, rather judicial than legislative. Decisions of the Supreme Court were given before a frequent assembly by the wise ones seated on a rock. That is the idea which, thinking about the Althing of Thingvalla, I have formed in my own mind. The spot consists of a narrow field perhaps 400 yards long, and, though very irregular, fifty broad on an average. But to it there is but one possible mode of entrance, by a narrow gangway through the deep rifts in the rocks. Along each side, meeting together in a point at the top, there are these rifts, perhaps thirty feet deep, the sides of which are perfectly perpendicular, and at the bottom of which there is dark, black, deep water, most mysterious, almost infernal to be looked upon. Our Artist made a wonderfully correct sketch of the place, which the reader will see. On the right hand were the abrupt rocks of the ravine down which we had come, with a waterfall tumbling over them into the rivers; away in the front, beyond the
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How the Mastiffs went to Iceland

Ár
1878
Tungumál
Enska
Blaðsíður
98