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are being hurried in, and all exports are hurried off. Hurry-scurry dash the rough, primitivelooking carts along; their wild-looking drivers, reminding me constantly of Irish ones, standing up when they are empty, with the long cord-reins held in their hands, but with their heads almost always turned in the contrary direction to that their horses are taking.
Foot passengers may take care of themselves; the case is different with them here from what it is in Russia, neither law nor sentiment appears to be in their favour. Industry must go on is the word, and as the sequence of the axiom, carts must drive helter-skelter as they like.
During the twenty-four hours there is not more than four of anything like repose. My old hostess sits in her window and looks up in my complaining face, and says,
“Do you hear a noise ? I sit here all day and hear none."
Let no one, I say, come to Stockholm in the autumn. In summer its charming environs and lovely views may well occupy long and pleasant days; but now my
beautiful sails, and delightful land and water excursions, must end. The Dahlkuller are laying up their boats; and coming round
to our doors with a child cradled up in a leathern pouch on their backs, to sell their hair rings and bracelets and chains; made so beautifully that no one can imagine the great thick fingers of those immensely strong, active, and hard-working women can have manufactured such delicate things. Now most of them will go off to their homes in Dalarne; or, as we foolishly call the province, Dalecarlia. Some will stay to pick up a hardly-gained and precarious existence in Stockholm. This is not thought so well for the young; but, alas ! in spring the weak and famished figures that may be seen coming from the remote or famine-stricken districts, make one cease to wonder that a people, who so love their forest and mountain huts, leave them for the ungenial life of the capital where they can earn their daily bread.
And this October month, which we are apt to think so peculiarly in character with our own old England,—which we associate with old memories of nut-brown ale, with weather as cheerful and bright as the faces of its ruddy-cheeked farmers; with brown and yellow woods, stubble fields, blackberry hedges and nutting groves — this October month this
year in the capital of Sweden is most horrible. The Swedes tell me it is only this year it is so: they are dissatisfied with it,
I believe, as much as I am, but they are too patriotic to say so; and while the rain pours down in ceaseless torrents, they assure me this is nothing to the always dark and foggy weather in England.
Nevertheless they are looking to the approach of frost and snow as eagerly as the citizens of a famine-pressed town expect that of a plentybringing deliverer.
“ Let us only have a good winter,” says my Grefve, "and then you will be content with Sweden.”
Was it a good one last winter?" I ask, being only desirous to find out what “a good winter" means.
“Nay, last winter was a bare winter; all was open; it is a bad winter then.”
“What is a good one then ???
“When there is plenty of snow and ice; when it is not bare. It is bad when there is no snow; but the snow should not come before the frost; then it will soon melt away; the frost should come first, then the snow, and so the frost again; then it will hold; the snow freezes in the frozen ground and grows hard; and—what do you call that?'' said Grefven, moving a creaking boot up and down on the bare floor.
“Yes, it crackles—so; yes, that is good, then there is good sledging, and the industry goes on well in the country. It is well when the weather sets in so in October month, and lasts on good till April; and then if the sun comes out at once warm and strong, it brings the spring quickly on. But our seasons are changing, and the winters are not so good as they were formerly; this winter, they say, we shall have a good hard one."
I shivered in anticipation, and strove not to wish for a bad Swedish winter, because I really wished to brave the terrors of what is here considered a good one. My state is a dull, quiescent, and expectant one; but all is activity and preparation around me. Housewifes are now preparing their winter stores, changing the arrangement of rooms, making numerous and excellent preserves, pickling meat and fish, laying in all sorts of provisions—the necessity of which in a town would puzzle me if my good dame, with a singularly knowing nod of the head, did not enlighten me by saying
“Yes, yes, Madame, you do not know that; that is natural, for in England you know nothing of housekeeping—but here, you see, we understand all that. We could get all these from the shops certainly, if the shops had them; but before
the water is open, the shops may
be finished, and if they are not finished they would be dear. So you see we understand all that here. In England they leave all to servants. Yes, I know that."
As the dear old woman has never been beyond the confines of two or three Swedish provinces, I venture to ask how she comes to know our manners and customs so well. But a wise nodding of the head, a glance over the large spectacles, a broad grin, and the words, “Yes, yes, I know all that”-are my answers. Then a half whisper to a lady who is knitting beside her, lets out more of the secret:
“A relation of mine married an Englishwoman; she knew nothing, nothing at all of our housekeeping; they are so droll, those English--they think of nothing but their education.”
Now, what are termed in Swedish speech “the good families”-that is, the rich or noble ones are coming into town for the winter; houses and apartments are now let and taken; servants are changing places; everything, and every one, is in a state of movement. The pleasant villapalaces of Haga, Drottningholm, and Rosendal, will be shut up, and that of Stockholm be occupied