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makers in the world-at least in the world that I have seen. I studied, and studied, and studied my reve
I am sure I never knew my face and figure so well before then, for I was continually at the long glass; but yet it was with a failing heart that, at a quarter before nine o'clock on the evening of Carl’s-day, I heard the cry, “The carriage is coming !” and saw the English-looking lights flashing through the gloom.
I ran full speed to the saloon, let fall my train, and made such a curtsey to my hostess, that the state-loving dame was enraptured, really thinking I meant it as a matter-of-fact leave-taking salutation to herself, whereas I only wanted to act again the rehearsal of my part at the Palace. She followed me as I got on my mufflers, calling out, even while venturing her nose into the miserably chilly air of the stone-passage, “Now, Madame, remember to let your train drop well when you make your reverence; and, remember, you must let it drop whenever the King, or Queen, or Princes come to speak to you;
must let your long shawl drop from your shoulders also— and you must
The stairs were too long and too cold for me to hear the rest.
With our mufflings on, we ascended the wide and very long stone stairs of the Swedish Palace. I thought we never should get to the top. Were it in England, we should believe we were mounting to a tower-top, instead of to the receptionrooms of a king; and yet the Palace of Stockholm, viewed outside, in my opinion wants elevation.
At last, having gained the summit, our boots and cloaks were taken off; my hood I displaced myself. I was the only lady of the party; and I was conducted by my kind patron to a room, where the lights, or my own pre-occupation, somewhat bewildering me, I saw only a number of officers, and ladies in court-dresses ranged in lines. I was not aware of the presence of the hero of the day, the dashing Crown Prince, and the Crown Princes, until my recent acquaintance, the Mistress of the Robes, coming up, caught my hand, and saying, “I will present you to their Royal Highnesses first ;” turned me round, and, to my confusion, showed me that I had not distinguished the handsome hussar uniform, which is nearly as rare now in Stockholm as Queen Anne's farthing in England. I was presented; and their Royal Highnesses talked to me in French,
and I replied; but I do not know what either of us said. An English attaché whispered me not to stay talking to them so long, but to go to the ladies; I placed myself in the ranks accordingly; but scarcely had I done so, when the Mistress of the Robes came hastily up, and, catching my hand, said I must not stand there. She led me inside the folding-doors of the next room, and desired me to stand near the door till she should come to lead me to Her Majesty.
The lady went away, and I was alone; my other acquaintances were in the outer-room. In the centre of that wherein I stood, a number of officers, aides-de-camp, and gentlemen of the Court, were grouped, together with many ladies; they were all talking Swedish, which I could read, but at that time could not readily understand when spoken, especially when many persons spoke together. I was apart from them, yet near to
and feeling by no means at ease, I continued to work back until I got behind the shelter of the folding door: a marble slab was on one side, the door at the other, and the wall at my
back. Thus intrenched, I leaned an arm on the slab of marble, my back to the wall, and turned my face
to the door; so that, seeing nothing else myself, I thought nothing could see me.
It was strange enough to feel alone in the midst of a vast foreign palace, filled with living, moving beings, among whom one had no companionship; an atom, isolated, as it were, from the mass of society; like a bird that had broken its cage-wires and alighted among flocks of its kind, with whom it was connected by nature, but separated by circumstances—who wondered where it had come from, and to whom the notes of the others were strange. Poor little wanderer! alone, though among its kindred, it would still preserve the sense of distinctiveness, as much as if it mixed with a different order of creation.
I fell into a long fit of musing. Whether my thoughts were in the past, present, or future, I know not; but I have some recollection that, while I stood thus in that noble palace, surrounded with pomp and splendour, and waiting the honour of being presented to the Queen of Sweden, my thoughts contrived to roll away backward, and trace out the handsome and adventurous youth who, enticed by those seductive instruments, the fife and drum, left the Pyrenean town of Pau to
follow the wonderful career of Napoleon Bonaparte, and to rise by his own merit to be the King of Sweden and Norway. I had been in the house at Pau wherein the soldier of fortune was born; I had seen also the old castle in the same town wherein Henry IV. of France was born; and I might have been thinking how both these brave soldiers exchanged their religion, whatever religion they had, for a crown-Henry IV. becoming a Roman Catholic for that of France, and Carl Johan a Protestant for that of Sweden. And so from that humble dwelling in Pau I was transplanted to the Palace of Stockholm; and I stood in it surrounded with state, and brightness, and pleasure; but he, the soldier and the king, had changed it again for another dwelling, lower still than the first-a tomb in Ridderholmen Church.
Whether my thoughts were most in the town of Pau, in the Palace of Stockholm, or in the Church of the Isle of Knights, where Sweden's kings are entombed, I cannot exactly say, but I know I was thinking of anything in the world but the presentation I had come for, and was quite unconscious that the buzz of voices had ceased, or that any other persons had entered the apartments.