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on the same level, and not from the fort he was besieging without foreseeing that that fortress, by means of things called treaties, and perhaps the intervention of a few British menof-war, would be one day quietly brought round to the service of his country.
And I came away from Frederiksteen, perhaps a little wiser than when I went there. One thing is certain, I came away impressed with the idea, that if Frederiksteen were in England, very few poor little peasant boys would tell me anything of its history, and still fewer would feel so much pride in pointing to the untaken fortress, and saying of the invader, "he tried to take it, but he could not do it!" How much do our peasants know of our history? As much, perhaps, as an old Londoner, who, in arguing with me once on behalf of Unitarianism, said, "The Unitarians are of the oldest religion, for there were Unitarians in England in the time of William the Conqueror, and William the Conqueror was before Christ."
"Well, my little patriotic conductor, and my intelligent little guide, who made me comprehend more by her expressive and graceful gesticulations than she did by her words, put me into a steam-boat, which took me from Frederikshalde at 5 p.m., and landed me somewhere else at some other later p.m. I thought it should have been at Gottcnburg, but it was not. It was amid a group of white and grey wooden houses, encircled by granite rocks. So drear, so sterile a spectacle of human habitation, I never saw before. Rocks— bare, stone-grey, granite rocks—nothing else.
"Where am I ?" I asked.
"You are in Sweden," was the evidently congratulatory reply.
"This is not Gottenburg?"
"Nay, this is Stromstad, the fashionable watering-place of Sweden. You will have the advantage of seeing the baths of Stromstad. It is a piece of good fortune for the Swedes to come here in summer, and here we shall stop two days. So much the better for you."
"Ack!" I cried, looking round on the grim, grey rocks; "and where shall I stay?"
"You shall lodge at the English Consul's."
A little man with one eye and half a leg came to me. He spoke some English, and brought me to a horrid little room in a very uncouth house, telling me a great deal about the time when Lord Bloomfield was minister at Stockholm, and wishing me joy on my good fortune to be brought to the renowned Stromstad without my own knowledge.
"What am I to do here for two whole days?" I asked.
"You can take a bath," said the British Consul.
"Delightful! yes, I will take a bath."
"If you will allow me the honour of conducting you, I will present you to my son-in-law, who will give you a ticket."
I made a deep curtsey.
The next morning we set off to the ticket office. In it I met the Pacha of three tails, who,* charmed by the looks of the grey granite rocks, or by the accounts of Stromstad as a fashionable watering place (and somehow such three-tailed Pachas are fond of fashionable watering places), had suddenly resolved to leave our steam-boat to its fate, and stop short here.
I took my ticket, which cost, if I recollect right, about ninepence, or perhaps a shilling English, and this I was told would admit me to all. What the final word meant I did not ask. I was told I had only to present my ticket, and all would be said to the attendants.
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I went, and presented the ticket to some very yellow-skinned old women, one of whom took me under her direction, and conducted me to a bathing-room. There she commenced operations; and, having left me sitting on a stool, went out for a moment, and came back with a tin can full of warm, soft, slimy, black mud. This she rubbed on smoothly, until it was clear that though the Ethiopian cannot change his skin, a European woman can. When the Ethiopian colouring process was complete, she put me to stand in a deep bath of warm water, and raising a sort of pump, or immense squirt, she discharged at me a volume of cold water. At this I shrieked, and entreated mercy; but on she went—I suppose my ticket had said so— until the water-battery was exhausted. She then turned more hot water into the bath, ceased the cannonade, said something very polite, and went away; thinking, I suppose, that I had now got the worth of my ticket, and leaving me to faint or revive in the warm-bath, as seemed most convenient to me.
This slimy mud—taken, I believe, from the bottom of the sea, and made warm—is reckoned very good for rheumatism; but the baths of Stromstad in summer, and the Gymnastics of Stockholm in winter, are the Swedish panaceas, more especially for the daughters of Swedish families. For my part, I found two days at Stromstad rather too much of a good thing. It is a small group of houses held in granite jaws, without a bud or blossom, leaf or sprig, to diversify the earthen grey and iron-hard aspects of all around.
I lay awake all night in order to be in time to leave this Paradise of Swedish bath-lovers at four o'clock in the morning. The kind British Consul came to me with his little bill, and said I should have a rough day. I thought the morning looked charming. «
"The Captain says he can go," said the Consul, looking up, and out to sea.
I looked only at the sun, which was as bright as sun need be, though there was what I have heard sailors call " a bit of a breeze."
"Well! what a day it proved to be! What a scene I beheld! I am glad I saw it, very glad; but I hope I may never see it again. I had imagined something to myself of the coast of old Scandinavia; I had heard of the granite frame of Sweden; I had seen it in sunny and calm weather. But fancy what it is to coast along the