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.understood that he referred to his recent voyage. And then, in the remains of his anxiety and restlessness, he fell to work on the supper, and ate all the poached eggs with the mutton chops, to the infinite dismay of his loving spouse, who, at the moment they were devoured, came in with the soup, which the poached eggs were designed to have been put into.
Soup being, in Sweden, introduced in the middle of a meal, the Captain would have been obliged to have eaten it without poached eggs, but fortunately for him the two which, together with a vast amount of mutton chops, had been put on my plate, were still untouched; and I believe never was a captain or captain's wife much more surprised at foreign peculiarities than were these, when, affirming that I could not eat eggs and soup together, I expressed a wish to get rid of mine. With an expression of mingled pity for me and congratulation to himself, he delicately blended them up in his plate of soup, and made himself as happy as a captain need be after the trials and dangers of the sea.
So after supper I went to bed and slept, first truly and gratefully repeating the Captain's expressive "Thank God it is over!" How often on bended knees do we utter the thanksgiving— "for all the blessings of this life !"—how often do we murmur at the want of the least? how seldom do we attempt to enumerate their disproportion to our deserts; to watch their daily renewal, fresh to us every morning, new to us every moment! He redeemeth thy life from destruction; and asks but thy love for all He gives. And the next day I found every one out of Gottenburg whom I wished to see, and every berth, or hut, secured in the boat I wanted to go by to Stockholm. This was not agreeable, for a day at the Captain's was enough. I resolved, therefore, to go by the well-laden boat, hoping some one would drop off en route, and leave a vacant spot for me.
At two o'clock, a.m., a couple of the Captain's men conveyed my luggage, the Captain himself held my hand, and we groped our way in thick darkness to the deck of the little steamer. There was not even a light burning on board, though it was to depart in two hours.
"Where am I to go?"
"Here," the Captain answered, opening a door. I plunged in in the dark, and went over a whole crowd of prostrate bodies. The cabins, or berths, on board these boats are really nice little dormitories, and are ranged along each side of the passage into which I now stumbled. Here the men, women, and children, who were unable to get a berth elsewhere, were snatching a rather uneasy repose. They started into life as I tumbled over them; but the worst part of the matter was, that I fell right over two savagely-disposed Flikas, or waiting-maids, who growled at me, not only then, but for the whole four days and three nights that our unhappy propinquity• lasted.
Every one, indeed, thought I had no business there; but where could I go? The deck is dirty, wet, cold ******
Well, there is a whole line of asterisks; for I always find them the next best resource to hysterics, in helping one out of explanations.
Now the sun is coming out; but you know what sunshine is to a miserable, awake-all-night traveller. Ah, if 1 could only get a good breakfast; there might then be a chance of my getting a good humour also. Spend as uncomfortable a night as you may on board French boats, and a French breakfast will put you into a pleasant temper, if any earthly thing can. But a cup of cafe au lait is unknown here, although you are served with a little cup of the coffee and thick cold cream, which is drank before breakfast and after dinner by most Swedes.
Even an English breakfast would be comforting now; but a Swedish one !—and on board these little boats!
In the first place, it is served in a sort of hold, to which ingress and egress are very difiicult. Then you get all sorts of fish, fried, boiled, and raw, a quantity of strangely-cooked hard meat, vegetables, cheese, and various compounds; with ale, porter, and spirits for male drinkers, but nothing at all that gentler lips can be supposed capable of imbibing. There are some slices of white, soft bread, cut in a basket, and a quantity of the hard dry cake called knaeken, which name a learned Swede tells me comes from the verb to crack. I found the derivation enough for me, and have not tried to make my teeth do that which the power of my hands could not effect.
This hard stuff, however, is so much relished by natives, that a piece of it is always laid beside them at dinner; and, I am told, I could meet it at the Swedish minister's in London, if I am ever happy enough to be there.
The Flikas would growl if I were to ask for a cup of tea; the obliging "Mamsell" who keeps the restauration departments would be utterly astonished; and every one of the good people here would, in their hearts, accuse me of a want of sobriety.
On this particular trip, however, we must all take what we can get and be thankful. The boat is in an awful state of over-population. What is to be done with the half of us would puzzle a bet