Изображения страниц

the kind Mistress of the Robes. “I will receive and present you."

" If Sir will take me," I cried in English, looking frightened.

A bow, and friendly smile dispelled the fear.

I was about to withdraw, when I ventured to ask the Mistress of the Robes the anxious questionIn what manner should I be clothed ? “Will

you dance ?" was the query in return. “If you dance, you must wear white; then the Princes will see that, and invite you to dance with them.”

“I never dance.”

“Then you must wear black. You must have short white sleeves, puckered black ribbon, and a train like your dress; for all the rest, you are at liberty ;'we are by no means strict in our fashions here. You


your head-dress." I curtsied back to the door-the room was

one-and hastened home to delight my old hostess with all the bustle and anxiety of preparing for a presentation at Court.

That good lady most pertinaciously tries to get me to dress and act in uniformity with the fashions that existed in the world of Sweden when she mixed in it about forty years ago. No other world, past or

up with

a very little

present, has she any idea of; and to be out of this, her now ideal world, is in her opinion to be what? I suspect an uncivilised Briton. The conventional laws of Swedish society, as thus described, appear to me exceedingly galling; and I act the rebel on the simple plea of non-naturalization—of being, in all respects, an alien to them. But such a thing as a Court presentation is one that places me completely under the good lady's yoke. There is not a single point in all my antecedents on which I can rest, not a precedent in all my long experience I can adduce. I know nothing that may be like a presentation at the Court of Stockholm, and so the dear old dame must have her own way, and school me, as she loves well to do. Court fashions are unchanging, Court etiquette and Court costume are despotic. But the head-dress had been left at my own option; glad to exercise self-will, I went to the old Countess as soon as I thought of this.

“I shall wear feathers in my head," I said, thinking of our own Court, where plumes are indispensable.

“ Feathers !” she repeated, looking very grave; “you told me you were not married, have you married since ?"

« There has not been time."
“Then, Madame

- you choose to be called Madame too, and not Mamzell ?-Well; let me tell you, however, that people may not understand. No one in our country can wear feathers who is not married—that is to say, in the head; they may wear them in bonnets; but if you are seen with feathers in your head, all the world will say you are married."

“That would be a calumny. But where do the single ladies put their bonnets when they put feathers in them ?“They put them on-on their heads certainly."

But, then, are not the feathers also on their head ?

“Madame, if you do not wish to understand, it is not my fault. You may wear a feather in your bonnet if you are unmarried; but if you wear one on your

head, then you are married.” « That is droll."

“Not at all; you do not know our country yet, Madame; it is natural you should not, for in England they are too proud of their own land and of themselves to care to know anything of other places. But when strangers come here, they learn to do as we do, and find our customs the best,--yes,

my relation's wife says that; and so I counsel you—”

Oh yes,” I interrupted, " and I recollect now, that in England, also, when a young lady has had a proposal, they say it is a feather in her cap."

Ja-so !was the speech that followed; and it may now be added to the list of information given respecting England and the English, that young ladies on receiving a proposal of marriage put a feather in their caps.



As I was unable to eke out the little adornment, which nature herself had bestowed upon my head, by wearing the plumes more lavishly bestowed on other creatures, without being guilty of usurping the honours of matrimony, I felt it necessary to make the most of my natural advantages, by calling in the aid of a hair-dresser. Recollecting having seen a shop of that description, kept by a Frenchman from Paris, somewhere about Brunkeberg, I thought there was no difficulty in the way, and asking Fröken to accompany me on a walk, I went out, intending to make this matter its object.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »