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thing. No; they travel everywhere, and see nothing.”
This occasion, on which the Kingly Family was to be seen, was that of an entertainment, or, according to the general mode of speech in these days, a soirée, given by a society for the benefit of literary persons and artists, something like our Literary Fund Society ; but the classes it is intended to benefit are not so much to be pitied as similar ones among us. They are comparatively few; real merit becomes soon and easily known, and is then rewarded. And where such merit does not exist, it is well that a literary or artistic inclination should be nipped in the very bud, if either is to be made the occupation of a life.
The cards of admission cost a daler banco, or ls. 8d. English; there was a large assembly, for the Society is under Royal patronage; and a little of everything was presented by way of entertainment.
The entertainment began with a lecture delivered by a literary priest. Then there was a song from an English opera-singer, who styles herself Signora Normani, a nice and interesting person: a very pretty native one, who is about to
leave the stage to marry a Swedish noble, followed her, and, I think, looked much better than she sung.
Then the Kingly Family were invited to look at some pictures by the native painters. They adjourned to a very small room, designed for a gallery, and the whole of the assembly crowded after them. I found myself brought into close propinquity with Prince Oscar, who could understand Grefven's English, at least as well as he could understand it himself, when he was giving me the information I desired.
The Queen was not present, but the little old Dowager-Queen, who is everywhere, went about with an explaining chamberlain and her constant eye-glass, half glancing at a picture, presenting the glass at it, and saying, “Tout-a-fait charmant,” to each and all.
Her Majesty, no more than her late husband, has patronised the Swedish language; and after, as I think she told me, a residence of more than forty years in the country, cannot speak a word of it.
The young princess, too, was all smiles and good-natured admiration. Nevertheless, art has not progressed in Sweden. Byström, Sergel,
and Fogelberg are its chief statuaries ; but it has had no Thorwaldsen, and certainly it is not in search of the fine arts that one comes to this land of the North; and painting is, perhaps, more backward than sculpture. There is some fine, and some very graceful, native statuary in the Royal Museum.
When we returned to the assembly-room, from our inspection of the paintings, we were presented with some tableaux vivans—not those my hostess spoke of—and these were, in my opinion, the best part of the entertainment, which, having begun with a lecture, closed with a little comedy or burlesque.
“Now,” said Grefven, when the comic actor appeared, “there will be a lying-in on the stage.”
I stared; and then, though seldom given to laughter at mistakes in speech, I could not forbear a laugh.
“What is the matter ?” he said, rather annoyed. 66 Is not that what
call it—a lying-in —that is, a feminine lion ?" *
“Oh! that is a lioness in English,” I explained.
* Swedish-lejoninna—the j pronounced y.
Well, there is no great difference,” he rejoined.
So we had a vast variety for the sum of one and eightpence. But I thought the best part of the entertainment was to be found in coming out.
The cold in the lower hall of entrance, where we had to put on cloaks, boots, capuchons, and that medley of precautionary wraps of which our servants disrobe and robe us again, was almost unendurable. The touch of the ground, or of the unwarmed flags in Sweden, penetrates one's frame in a manner that causes fear; and on such flags we had to stand for some minutes, because the man and his lantern had not arrived ; and if the night was something brighter than the day, it is not thought respectable to walk out without a lantern going before you.
But when the lantern had come, and we got out on that square on the top of the high hill called Brunkeberg, in memory of the execution thereon of the cruel Brunke, in those cruel times which humanity now shudders to read of—the scene was one that will be longer present to my memory than anything I saw or heard within doors.
The ground was deep in snow-snow frozen so
soon that it is not tossed about or trodden down as it is in milder regions. Many sledges, covered and uncovered, were there in waiting; each not only having lamps in front, but attended also by a footman with the inevitable lantern, which, indeed, is necessary in entering the dark courts of the houses, or ascending the often dirty and dangerous stone stairs.
The royal sledge was attended by an outrider on a spirited horse, holding a very long and wildly flaming turpentine torch, the sparks from which were flung about with every plunge of the animal, while its streaming blaze fell over the snowy scene, with which it was quite in character. The wolf-skin clad coachmen, with their great fur caps and capes gemmed with snow, the tinkling bells, and the capering of the royal horse, which, frightened by the glare in his eyes, plunged about, flinging the sparks and streaming blaze hither and thither, made up a scene more new and charming to me than anything I had seen in the assembly rooms—the feminine lion included.
My companions, however—and I had a great many—thought I was very polite in trying to be pleased with such a cold, rough coming out as this; and Grefyen very often said I must find it