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ance with ""the social life of Sweden." His knowledge of English was strictly grammatical, and between each word of a sentence he paused, I think, to run over the tenses and moods of a verb, and be sure that some one of them fitted into the place he wanted to fill up.
He came to tell me that the writer of my complimentary letter was absent, and had asked him to conduct me to see the Swedish Parliament, which was now holding the last days of its triennial term. Although I could not, at the epoch, speak Swedish, either grammatically or ungrammatically, I joyfully went forth with my Adjunct, depending that he would interpret to me all the debates I wished to hear.
We proceeded direct to Eiddarholmen, or the Isle of Knights, through dirty, close, and crowded streets. Certainly, if I had never seen Stockholm again, I should now think of it just as many travellers have done who have landed there, perchance from Eussia, for a few days, or even spent a few autumn weeks there in rainy weather.
Eiddarholmen is the most picturesque of the seven connected isles which form this capital. The market, with the laborious women in their varied attire, and the always-delightful Dalecarlians, or Dahlkuller, in their quaint costume, with their jocund laughter and arduously-plied boats, give it an air of animation which is a relief to the measured formality of progress and procedure that never seems totally absent from any of the leading streets of Stockholm. The buildings, though far from beautiful, may still lay claim to picturesqueness. The old church of the Isle of Knights, or Nobles, is more interesting than beautiful; it is now the royal burying-place, and its bell tolls only to announce some very few distinguished deaths. Its red and white colour, and the red and white of the Eiddarhus, or House of Lords, beside it, are in keeping with the scenery of the spot.
There are a great many curious things to be seen within this old church, which once was to Stockholm what our Temple Church was to London. But the mighty are fallen in every sense. There is something so very cold, neglected-looking, about this still noble church, that everything seems mouldering in decay and rusti >g in damp. At the entrance you meet a range v mounted men in armour, representatives of kings and heroes, and exhibiting the armour worn in Sweden from the time of the founder of its capital, Birger Jarl. Here, after life's fitful fever, sleep some who made much stir in this "brief scene—Charles XII., Gustarus Adolphus, and Carl Johan, best known to England as Bernadotte. The choir is hung round with the shields of theXnights of the Seraphim, among them is that of Napoleon Buonaparte. This order is the highest in Sweden; and on the death of its members, the great bell of the church is tolled or rung, for they do not toll for deaths as we do.
And in the square or court, between the House of Lords and the church, there is a statue of Gustavus Yasa with a wreath of laurels. It looked very well as I saw it afterwards, covered with snow, and only the sharp laurel leaves projecting out. I am going, you must recollect, to see the Swedish Parliament, while I am thus drily chatting along the way—chatting with you—for my Adjunct is conjugating the English verbs. Now I must hammer out of my own brain all the information I have to give, for he has just managed to make me understand, that being nearly a stranger to Stockholm, he is a stranger to the Parliament of his country. This is by no means unlikely in Sweden. The Parliament of Sweden, however, consists in four chambers of members, occupying
two houses. One of these is the rather garish Eiddarhus; the other is a very plain building, not so good-looking as most of the town-halls in your small country towns. The first is for the exclusive use of the nobles; the second contains the other three chambers or houses—that is to say, the clergy house, the burghers', the peasants'.
It was hard to find any one of these houses at work. The truth is, that the Parliament of Sweden may now be well tired of sitting; it has sat for ten months, and is just going to be dismissed by the King. It meets by his order every three years, dating from the time of its dissolution; for, with the exception of the Eiddarhus, the seats in which are hereditary, the other members are re-elected each time; the same may be chosen again, and in some cases are so.
Each head of a noble family possesses a seat in the Eiddarhus; and if that head cannot, or will not, use it, his eldest son may do so on attaining the age of twenty-five years, before which age no one is admitted to the legislature.
If this son, even, will not do so, the next immediate relative possesses the same right. Yet with all this wide scope for what we call a Parliamentary career, out of a body of so-called nobility, amounting to between thirteen and fourteen thousand, among a population of, I think, about three millions—there are not more than six or seven hundred nobles who concern themselves in the affairs of their country. Such a parliamentary nation as ours may view with admiration the total indifference with which public measures are here regarded.
The Clergy's house is composed of priests, which term signifies incumbents of parishes; they are elected to serve by the votes of the beneficed clergy of each diocese. The two Universities, Upsala and Lund, also contribute their representatives; and the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm sends a member, who, though not clerical, takes his seat in the Clerical chamber, as the representative of learning.
The Burgesses' house, of course, represents the trading and commercial classes, and in this the iron factories, a distinct and favoured class in Sweden, have also a representative.
The Peasants' house is composed of what we would perhaps, I really do not know for certain, term small freeholders—they may be small farmers, but they must not, I believe, be great farmers; for any one who raises himself to the