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compassion, and the unaffianced girls to behold her with something like envy. The former, at least, began to weep; but Swedish tears flow readily. As soon as the ceremony was over, the bride had to bestow about one hundred and fifty kisses, which was the number of persons present. And then, just when-as children say —she might seem to have given all her kisses away, she suddenly turned round, and, with a look of recollection, murmured, "Ack! min Alfred !” and threw herself into the bridegroom's arms. The embrace was momentary, and, as I had just been presented to her, she looked at me, saying, by way,
of apology, —
“I have not seen him for three months, never since we were betrothed.”
The company adjourned to the inner room, where a general feeling of solemnity seemed to prevail.
At last, the usual libation of bad white German wine appeared, to drink the health of the young couple; and at the same time entered the clergyman, whose office was not yet over : he carried a glass of wine in one hand, and the ensignia of office, the white handkerchief; hanging from his finger. He made a long speech, extolling the
state of matrimony in general, and its peculiar blessedness in this particular instance, ending with advice and religious exhortation, which drew forth a renewal of tears from the married ladies. When this was ended, I began to think a Swedish wedding was about as dull a thing as an English one; and, a little discontented, I strolled back again to the salong. A lady was at the piano, and I asked her if there would be any dancing, saying, I had understood it was to be such a wedding as I wanted to see--a real oldfashioned Swedish one.
“Ah !” she replied, “there is no one disposed for dancing; they think too seriously for that. Yes, it is a serious thing to be married ; and the priest's talk was so good! No, they will not dance to-night.”
All the time her fingers were moving the keys. The bride and her husband appeared at the open folding-door; his arm was round her waist-her hand rested on his shoulder. Under the circumstances, such an attitude did not strike me as remarkable: but they flew from their post in a waltz, and in a moment almost every person but myself was whirling round the room.
To understand the real labour of dancing, one
should dance as the Swedes do. The English, beside them, would seem to dance in their sleep. As for the polka and gallopade, the men almost lift their partners from the ground; I should otherwise think it impossible that such light, weaklooking creatures could sustain movements so violent, especially in airless rooms, and throughout a long winter, when dancing is almost all the amusement and life of all classes. One poor young man was a singular evidence of the excitement of the dancing mania. He came from the borders of Dalecarlia; his long light hair was worn as the men there wear it, hanging straight down the sides of his face, not two features of which seemed to have the least connection with each other; his legs were as little akin, one being some inches shorter than the other. The bridegroom, good-naturedly, tried to get him to dance, but for some time ineffectually; finally he yielded, and when once set in motion, there seemed no probability that he would ever stop of himself: the long hair flew wildly up and down, the heterogeneous features breathed the strongest excitement, the short leg pounced on the floor; one would have thought he had got Terpsichore herself for his partner.
At eleven o'clock my sledge had been ordered; and at eleven I was about to retire, when the bridegroom's men, who had the charge of the entertainment, beset me with entreaties to remain to supper. Every one said they “hoped the sweet Fruntimmer would not go away ;” and when the bride told me that after supper her crown was to be danced off, and she hoped I would "do her the honour to stay and look at her,” I felt glad to consent to do what I wished. My open sledge was dismissed, and a covered one placed at
disposal. This real desire to please and gratify a stranger was shown throughout the evening. To the whole party I was quite unknown ; and I now believe that much of what was performed on that evening was performed for my gratification; such weddings being now seldom seen. as an enormous supper was hastily dispatched, the salong was again cleared : a grave judge sat down to the piano, and struck up the wildest, most random-sounding music; all the unmarried people caught hands; all the married ones hastened to the furthest of the three rooms, which in Swedish are almost always en suite. Before I knew what was to be done, I found myself drawn along in a line, singing and moving to this wild
music, through the open doors; while another band, formed at the further extremity, passed us, singing also, and capering in the same fashion. The bride and bridegroom were still in the band of the blessed single, and to keep them so there was to be a struggle. For my part I would have let them go, if I had not wished to see the dancingfight.
The poor, little bride was then placed in the middle of the room, just under the chandelier; it was well she was so little: a handkerchief was tied over her eyes, and we women danced in a circle round her, while she in turns caught one and another in her arms, and swung her round and round with desperate energy; then the crownloosened, shaking, and tottering on her headwas to fall off on that of the girl who was to be next married. This movement was supposed to be accidental, the bride being blindfolded; but I happened to ask her sister beforehand, if she hoped to get the crown, to which the girl rather sulkily answered, “No; it must go to the other bridesmaid, who is betrothed."
And so, on the head of the betrothed, the myrtle crown came down; and the choice it made was applauded by the men, who stood in an outer