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not so good to have to walk in such strong cold. Whereas, it was just the part of the evening I most admired.
“Madame must not think that the ceiling will come down on Madame's head to-night, when Madame is sleeping,” said little Karin the next day.
"If I do I shall call Karin to hold it up,” I answered; "but why should
" but why should I think that ?” “ Yes; that is what I must say to Madame,” said Karin, speaking very distinctly, and making me perfectly comprehend every word. At my blunders she never laughs—at least not until she gets out of the room, when I hear her repeating what I said, and setting the party in the salong in a
“See now, Madame: Groshandlarens daughter is betrothed, and shall soon be married. There will be dancing up there to-night, and then the ceiling will go so—so,” and Karin stamped her little foot on the floor; and Grefvinnan said I must tell Madame not to be frightened, because in Madame's country they never dance, but sit so still so still !”
Now, the voning, or storey over us, was occu
pied by a merchant, which term is implied by that of Groshandlare, as such a person is always called, instead of our Mr. So-and-so.
“Groshandlarens daughter to be married !" I cried. “ Can Karin get me to see that? I will see a Swedish wedding."
“Nay, that I cannot do; but Madame shall speak of that to Grefyinnan.”
To Grefvinnan, in due time, I applied—told her of what I had heard, and of my desire to witness the ceremony. 66 That I fear
you cannot do," she replied, only her relations will be present.
“I am so sorry; I should like to see a Swedish bride."
“That you can certainly do without any trouble."
"How? Shall I go to the church ; that is all I wanted." the bride ?
At church ! O, no, Madame; our brides do not go to church; that is too public; they are married in the house. Our brides, Madame, are very modest."
I felt this a cut at England ; and I hung my head, and tried to blush for all the poor brides who went to church there.
How then, I asked, was the bride to be seen ?": “She will show herself when she is dressed all brides must do that. The people in the streets might otherwise tear the house down.”
“I do not quite understand.”
“Yet it is very simple. But I will explain that, as you do not know the Swedish customs. When persons are betrothed, their banns are published in church; and when they are to be married, it is announced from the pulpit, and put in the papers. The people then know when there is to be a wedding, and they gather at the house to look at the bride. If she did not show herself, they would call out for her: so when she is dressed for the ceremony, and has her crown on, she must stand at a window, or in the tambour, or salong, or wherever she can be seen; and then the doors are open and whoever likes comes and looks at her. It is fatiguing, for she may have to stand for two hours to be looked at; or just so long as there are people to come. They do not like this, and sometimes get away to a country church to be married in private; but this is our custom, and one cannot help it."
My desire to be allowed, as a foreigner, to share in the national practice, was made known to Mrs.
Merchant up stairs, and I received an invitation to accompany Grefvinnan to the bride's apartment. My hostess came to inform me of this, and told me also that the bridegroom had taken the voning beneath us, and the bride would both equip and show herself down there, as it was more convenient than to bring the people up so high. “ Afterwards,” said she,
” said she, “the bride will come up through our house, so as to avoid passing the court when she is dressed; she will then return to her father's voning, where the ceremony will be performed."
At seven o'clock in the evening, for morning marriages are extremely rare in Sweden, I put on a black silk dress to please my hostess, as it was in her opinion most suitable to the occasion; and taking the always indispensable white gloves and shawl, we descended the lower flight of stone stairs belonging to our immense mansion, and found the entrance door of the bridegroom's dwelling already crowded with persons of both sexes, but chiefly of those of the lower orders.
As we came by invitation, we penetrated through these, and entered the salong, into which those of a higher grade had found admittance; but we, being still more privileged, pushed on to
the inner, or what we should term sitting-room, which was, as indeed this room in a respectable Swedish house generally is, very comfortably furnished, actually more comfortably than many English ones; and with an English carpet and window curtains too.
Here a servant brought us tea and cake, rather to the discomfiture of my companion, who said it ought to have been wine, which is more usual. Soon afterwards two gentlemen, attired in the state and evening dress of Sweden—black clothes, white neckerchiefs and waistcoats, which are worn morning as well as evening in visits of ceremony, or occasions of importance-passed through the room, carrying each a large silver branch candlestick of three lights. They bowed to us in passing, but went straight into the bridal chamber, where the bride had completed her toilet. Grifvinnan whispered—the marshals, or bridegroom's
Almost immediately afterwards, the door was thrown open and the marshals reappeared; one fat, fair, and jolly, with a smile all over his face; the other tall, thin, and seeming to lead a prisoner to trial, rather than a bride to exhibition. Each held the three long candles before him; and now they