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to be talking about things so long that one would fancy, if it be true that in the multitude of counsellors is wisdom—that goods might be packed or travellers driven off, without the one or the other being liable to roll about the roads.
While I was writing this, my little attendant Karin, whose gesticulations first got me to understand Swedish, comes hastily in, exclaiming
“Madame, Madame, the three kings !”
“The three kings, Madame; they are going to be drawn out. Madame shall come and see. Madame shall stand at the window."
I stood beside her, and saw about two score soldiers in a double line, pulling by long ropes. Presently, out of the half-demolished building came a truck bearing three statues—I think, those of Charles XII., Gustavus Adolphus, and Gustavus III.
Charles XIII., or Carl Treton, whose ugly statue adorns the place before my windows, is still accused by the liberal party as being accessory to the assassination of the latter, his brother; and a paper, which I believe aims to be the "Punch” of Sweden, took occasion of this incident of the statues, to remark how pertinaciously he turned his back on his royal predecessors.
At the beginning of November the boughs on the headless trees were still green. No frost had set in, no snow fallen. The terrors of a Swedish winter appeared to me quite exaggerated, and the cold of a frosty September had been much greater than that of the end of October.
The heat of my rooms I found almost intolerable; in the day time I was stupefied, and the nights found me awake; in the bright, light clear nights of the north, I was roving through the rooms, or gazing from the windows, to the horror of my cold-dreading hosts.
To-day, however, the 8th day of November, the weather is cold enough to herald the approach
of a Swedish “good winter.” And this is also the baptismal day of the eight-day-old royal baby, whose birth I announced in my last letter.
Yesterday I had a note from kind Lady L., telling me I might count upon having tickets of admission to the Chapel Royal to witness the ceremony.
These tickets came; and with a carriage full of other ladies, and Grefven attired in full uniform, to act as our cavalier-for Swedish ladies seldom appear without a cavalier, nor, if they have the most lingering pretensions to youth, without a matron—we set off to the chapel. The fair Swedes had their heads enveloped in hoods, or tied up in a black silk kerchief; I quietly put on my fur cloak and bonnet, believing that such a costume was most suited to the weather, if not to the occasion, and if I did not go among the Court circle I wished to go as a stranger and foreigner. There were heads with half a conservatory upon them around
but there were covered ones also, and I passed off very well.
I believe in the whole world such patient sightseers as the Swedes could not be found. We were in the chapel two hours before the appointed time, and we were so far from being the first as to be
considerably removed from the altar, where the baptismal ceremony, curiously enough, is performed.
The Court was in full dress, and all ladies who had been presented at Court had a right to a particular place, and must also appear in full dress ; which, on this occasion, was white for all ages. Men of all classes wore uniforms, either military or civil. The members of the diplomatic corps entered together, each lady being led by another lady's husband. A Russian lady, with her curious Court head-dress, was among these, though not belonging to the tribe.
The ceiling of the chapel is loaded with paintings, and there is a great deal of gilding; but the seats, as in all the Swedish churches, are of the hideous and forbidding box style. There is nothing to be admired in it at any time, but on this occasion the aspect of the altar was most singular. The font is within the rails, though baptisms in the church are of very rare occurrence in Sweden. Just before the altar, with their backs to the assembly, were a range of large throne chairs, for the use of the royal personages; and at one side of it stood an old Bishop, with a glittering mitre on his head of an incredible size.
An immense, high, and broad plate of gold, or gilding, rose
above the aged face, and made one really fear for the head that was obliged to support such a weight.
The appearance of the altar seemed singularly out of character with the initiatory rite of baptism; and the glittering and warlike aspect of the church no less so.
Deputations from all the corporate bodies came by invitation, wearing their distinctive uniforms. The fine-looking body guards—formed, if I mistake not, by the late King, and wearing the appropriate equipment of the soldiers of Charles XII., frocks of dark blue with buff bandeliers—lined the aisle, and with the more gorgeous, but not more to be admired equipments of the aides-de-camp, the old generals, and the officers of cavalry regiments, rendered the scene a brilliant and effective one. The entrance of a troop of smartly dressed pages, and of chamberlains in their handsome uniforms of dark blue and gold, and of heralds with large plumes, announced the approach of his Majesty Oscar I., who entered in a very plain military dress, of dark blue, with scarcely an ornament or order; and bowing and smiling, his own quiet, amiable smile, looked mildness itself as he walked
the aisle, glancing from pew to pew, or sometimes