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with the enormous number of creatures to be seen after. But in such a household as this, one of those most useful beings called, by the common torturing of French words into Swedish, Mamzel, (and in its more barbarised plural, Mamzeller,) comes to the aid of the mistress, and on her devolves the real labour and responsibility. These young women are generally the daughters of the clergy, or of officers.
The art of cookery is a good deal talked of, and forms an important item of occupation in Sweden. The mysteries of that art are yet unpenetrated by
I asked for some soup the other day; it was sent from the table of
ту hostess, and on the surface of some light brown fluid floated a round of preserved pear, and at the bottom lay two fine French plums; the never-absent basin of pounded white sugar was handed to use with the compound, which, tasting like warm water, vinegar, and sugar, I only shook my head at. My Swedish companion, however, added my plate to her own, and putting more sugar to it, seemed to relish the dose amazingly.
Another time, when I asked for soup, I got barley water with one solitary looking French plum swimming in it.
What we term soup
is, however, called here by the barbarised French term of Bouljong.
The sugar-basin always holds the place of honour on the family dinner table; it is used almost with all things; vegetables, such as spinach, salad, &c., are dressed with it. Meat is horribly bad, and but little used. The art of feeding and fattening cattle, by any artificial means, appears unknown to Sweden; and the look of the wretched creatures, in a living state, which are to form beef and mutton in a dead
one, is quite enough to make one prefer another diet. Vegetables, however, are very unattainable; fish and game are the best articles of food; and the first is the chief
Game, when in season, is excellent and cheap; the flesh of the reindeer is also very good, and
often be had here. I ought to prepare for a good winter by buying some warm clothing. Alas ! for my English wardrobe, which I foolishly left at home. It would be at a premium here. All articles, especially of warm clothing, are dear, bad, and hard to be got. The Swedes make all they can make at home. Woollen goods are dear in proportion to their necessity; and curious are the contrivances made to supply their places. The protective duty system appears to me to be a mistake, and, in most
respects, a drawback to the country. Some sort of goods are heavily taxed, others altogether prohibited. This latter is the most unintelligible : the importation of watered silk, for instance, being prohibited, a dress of watered silk is the most fashionable and elegant you can wear in Sweden. Smuggling is thus encouraged, for the prohibited silk is worn by whoever can afford to get it. A shopkeeper of high standing told me this when showing me a piece of this high-priced silk.
“How, then, did it come here," I innocently asked, “if it is prohibited ?”
She shook her head, and answered gravely, "I do not know how."
Another showed me some Scotch tartan, and told me it was not permitted to enter Sweden; and to a similar inquiry as to the manner in which the rebellious invaders crept in, replied that he only knew they were now for sale on his counter.
I do not think that this system really benefits home manufacture; few lands are more backward in the mechanical, as well as in the fine arts, than Sweden is. Foreign goods are bought at high prices, and the people are deprived of the benefit of good models. Of late the manufactory of cutlery, and of all hardware and ironwork, has
greatly advanced; but from the monopoly system, or the want of sufficient workmen, English cutlery can be bought here at even lower price. Sweden, like Norway, is an agricultural and pastoral country; except in iron-works, cannon foundries, and steamboat building, it has made no great progress in common manufactures under its strict protective system; and it is not unreasonable to believe that, in their long winters, the peasants should still employ themselves at their looms, whether foreign cloths were accessible to them or not. As it is, travellers in the country parts are more likely to find a sheep-skin than a home-made blanket on their beds.
In one respect, indeed, the paucity of manufactures, and consequent dearness of bought clothing, is a real blessing to Sweden; it confines the people to their plain, substantial, and distinctive dress-home-made dress. The tawdry finery, the miserable affectation of finery and fashion, so common in England, even in the Highlands of Scotland, and among the ragged population of Ireland, are yet happily unknown to Sweden.
The plain, strong, distinctive, yet nice and becoming dress of the maid-seryants here, is something quite refreshing, after the absurd
mimicry and setting-up airs of a similar class among ourselves. No bonnet is ever worn except by the upper ranks; the thick, rich black silk kerchief which supplies its place, and is tastefully yet carelessly tied beneath the chin, often costs more than the paltry bonnet, with its flowers and ribbons, does in England. A dark or black stuff dress black is the state one-a paletot, or shawl, an apron, and a good pair of gloves, without which no decent servant would go out in the street, complete a simple attire which does not change with the changes of their superiors. Yet they are most addicted to dress in their own way, and think almost as much of it in others as the French people do. The class of servant-women in Stockholm is certainly the best looking, and, I might almost say,
the most graceful of the persons I usually see. make you a curtsey," said an Englishman of rank, “worthy of a duchess.”
I do not know if duchesses are famous for curtseys, but I know that I have been watching a workman and a servant girl talking in the street -the man with his hat in his hand, bowing to her as if she were a duchess, and she making à curtsey suited to a court drawing-room.