- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
103

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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NORWAY, AND PENMARK. 103
ids, before we saw about two hundred houses
crowded together under a very high rock still higher
appearing above. Talk not of Bastilles ! To be born
here was to be bastilled by nature shut out from all
that opens the understanding, or enlarges the heart.
Huddled one behind another, not more than a quarter
of the dwellings even had a prospect of the sea. A
few planks formed passages from house to house, which
you must often scale, mounting steps like a ladder to
enter.
The only road across the rocks leads to a habitation
sterile enough, you may suppose, when I tell you that
the little earth on the adjacent ones was carried there
by the late inhabitant. A path, almost impracticable
for a horse, goes on to Arendall, still further to the
westward.
I inquired for a walk, and, mounting near two
hundred steps made round a rock, walked up and down
for about a hundred yards viewing the sea, to which I
quickly descended by steps that cheated the declivity.
The ocean and these tremendous bulwarks enclosed me
on every side. I felt the confinement, and wished for
wings to reach still loftier cliffs, whose slippery sides
no foot was so hardy as to tread. Yet what was it to
see ? only a boundless waste of water not a glimpse
of smiling nature not a patch of lively green to relieve
the aching sight, or vary the objects of meditation.
I felt my breath oppressed, though nothing could be
clearer than the atmosphere. Wandering there alone,
I found the solitude desirable ; my mind was stored
with ideas, which this new scene associated with

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