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And in the middle of the same night, all the members of the royal family, the household, and the ministers of state, went to church to return thanks on the instant for the mercy vouchsafed. They had offered prayers, and they returned thanks. I was much struck by this observance; and though, alas ! we cannot help feeling that: the observation the literary Swede made concerning the nobility of Sweden, is too generally as applicable to its religion as to its nobility, there is something good and pleasing in this outward and visible recognition by the State of religious observances.
A gentleman, at whose house I dined the next day, answered to this remark of mine by saying, that such observances were form merely, a ceremony observed as a custom alone.
“But outward things are what we have to do with," I replied. “There is only one who can see that the inside of the
cup and platter are not what the outside appear; therefore, as long as a ceremonial is in itself good, we have no right to complain that it is a ceremonial merely. Rather may we hope that if that which is seen be right, that which cannot be seen may be made right also."
“ You may be correct,” said my friend; “yet I cannot but feel that our religion is too much
you rarely, if
a lifeless form. It is a part of our Swedish education; we learn it as we learn anything else:
any one deny its truthsthat indeed is not permitted; neither can we openly dissent from its prescribed and established forms and doctrines; but as to the practical, vivifying influence of Christianity in the heart and life, what can we say ?”
I felt that I could say nothing; and I thought that he was more able to answer his own question than I was.
One of my occupations during this dreary month has been to watch the taking down of an old ricketty building, which stood with its back to my windows, behind the wall that bounds that large place called Carl Tretons Torg, or Charles the Thirteenth's square. This place in the olden time formed the royal gardens of Stockholm; it is now the only public promenade, though but little used as such, except as a foot thoroughfare. The wide space
in the centre lies quite open and bare, broken only by the huge ugly statue of King Carl. At each side there is a broad walk bordered by small elm trees without heads; and at one of these walks is a sentry box, and a sentry to guard the statue.
Now this place I had been told would afford me a fine view from my rooms; but like many another delusion to which I had been subjected, this view had been invisible to me. nothing but a dead wall, the top of an old house, the towers of the church, and the upper parts of the headless trees.
Grefven came to pay his evening visit, and informed me that the old building belonged to the Government, and had been let to a Professor, who used it as what is termed a pump room, for the sale of artificial mineral water of his own manufacture; but it was now sold and ordered to be taken down, and cleared away before the winter
I was discontented then, so I only replied that I would rather the Government left it as it was ; I did not like the noise of workmen.
“Oh!" said Grefven, “ that will go quickly on, and you shall be content when the view is open.”
“ View !" I repeated, rather scornfully, “of some trees without heads."
However, the workmen came; but I must say the noise did not; and certainly the removal of the ricketty old building, with its white moulded wooden roof, was an unthought-of source of interest
and amusement to me in my solitary confinement. Twenty times, at least, in the day did I long for the power of turning on a dozen, or half-a-dozen, English workmen, to astonish those who were there at work! One stout-looking young fellow particularly amused me. He would carry a brick in both hands along the top of the house, and letting it fall down before me, stand and look at it as if considering whether it took up the exact position on the ground which it ought to take. Having considered that, he would turn his head and talk to a comrade, who always looked back from his work also, as if deciding on the conduct of the brick. The pieces of wood, which were carried separately and precipitated in the same way, gave still more scope for observation and reflection, as they made more rattle in coming down, and took more time in adjusting themselves, apparently, on the heap to which they were added beneath. ·
Then, each time he descended from the roof, a black bottle looked out of his coat pocket, was applied to his mouth, and held up to a fellow workman.
One cannot help at every moment being reminded of Irish workmen and Irish drivers, when looking at those of Sweden. The same “It-will
do-well-enough” system is curiously apparent. The carts, too, are like those used in Ireland—at at least some years ago—and the wild look of the drivers, with their long hair, is just what may be seen dashing through the streets of Dublin, either with carts, or with the singular machines called jaunting-cars.
The manner in which goods are loaded, is quite on the same system. One is now stopping under my window filled
with coopers' wares, tubs and buckets, and ladies' bonnet-boxes. One of these has dropped off three times within my own sight; each time a stoppage of at least three minutes has occurred. The article has been, after some seeming consideration—for the Swedes do not seem to do things without considerationthrown up, and pushed into a spot where it has tottered about, and from whence it has soon descended. This one specimen just happens to be passing; it is nothing in comparison of others. I have followed hand-carts in the street, the progress of which has been literally strewn with little fish; and I believe I may challenge any one who has ever travelled with hired horses in Sweden to declare that the harness had not to be altered very soon after they started. And yet they seem