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(at last) made his wife and queen. From this palace, built by their common father, Erik wrote to his usurping brother, saying that God knew, though he was sure his brother could not know, how inhumanly he was tortured by hunger, cold, stench, blows, and darkness. He conjured him to send him into banishment, for the world was wide enough to allow fraternal hate to be stilled by distance.
The banishment which King Johan III. decreed for his royal brother was that of death. After separating him completely from his beloved and ever constant wife, he caused him to be put to death by poison in the castle of Westeros, in the year 1577, in the forty-fourth year of his age, and after nine years of horrible sufferings.
The use that may be made of Scripture texts to suit a purpose, or a doctrine, is curiously exemplified by the tomb of King Erik, in the cathedral of Westeros. It bore in Latin the words, taken from the Book of Kings, "The kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's; for it was his from the Lord." When the Bible was formally presented to Gustavus Vasa, how little thought he that his son and successor should make such a use of its words! Gustavus III. took the crown and sceptre from the tomb of Johan, in Upsala Cathedral, and placed it upon that of the murdered King Erik, over whose plain tomb he erected a monument. It was in looking at that monument in Westeros that these thoughts came to my mind.
And at Gripsholm, too, ended the dynasty and race of Vasa; we may say that Gustavus I. laid the foundation in his eldest son, and completed it in his youngest. Gustavus IV. was deposed, imprisoned, and finally exiled from the palace of Gripsholm. It now contains an immense collection of royal portraits from many kingdoms; some from England, among them that of Henry VIII. and others.
The history of the family of Vasa is curious; that of the immediate family of the founder of the line, most wild and cruel; one child seeming to strive to rival the other in sinfulness.
In this history of sin there is something rather redeeming in the strong and constant love of poor Catherine; Erik's for her was imputed to witchcraft; but her love for him, constant in misery as it had been in joy and greatness, appears much more like the influence of some power not commonly exercised over the hearts of the children of this world.
The weather was now most lovely; the views on the lake most charming. A cross, erected on one bank, marks the spot where the Christian faith is said to have been first preached in Sweden. It was at a late epoch; Sweden was not Christianised till towards the close of the tenth century. My tall Swede walked about with a long cloak pendant from his shoulders, and goloshes on his feet. I had only a very slight silk mantilla, and pointed out to him the difference.
"Yes," he said, "but that is not so safe here; a party went to Drottningholm lately, and one of the gentlemen had nothing at all on him—"
"Nothing at all!"
"No, nothing! no cloak, no goloshes," he added, looking at his own attire, and down to his feet.
"0! I understand now what 'nothing at all' means."
"Yes; and the rain came, and the ladies and all were wet."
"It is unwise to go with nothing at all on," I said, "especially here."
"Yes, Madam, you must be careful of our climate; and of your feet, for the ground is cold, if it is not wet."
A short distance from Gripsholm is the great cannon foundry of Baron Wahrendorff. I had the pleasure of meeting the Baron on the boat, and receiving an invitation, of which I hope yet to profit.
And thus am I spending out the lingering days of summer; I can scarcely call it autumn now, for summer seems to have returned. The sun is very warm, almost too warm; the trees are green as ever; all is very bright and very beautiful; and I go sailing from isle to isle in the Dahlkuller's boats, worked by paddles, which the strong arms of these active women turn. And pleasant are the evenings I spend when the little black-eyed semi-English girl, who calls herself my "tolk" or interpreter, is my only companion; there is none more delightful than an intelligent and lively child, one in whose heart the first fresh feelings of nature are springing; and my tenyear-old tolk, in her gipsy hat, runs over pretty Eeimersholm, or any of the other holms or islands at which I land, and leaves me to meditate, and comes back with her bright, black eyes sparkling, and her tawny little face in a glow, looking so coquettish and insinuating that I at once declare it is impossible I can think of a story now; I have told all—I know no more.
And we come back.' And what a sight is before us! It is a group of enchanted palaces; glittering in refulgent gold—the whole of Stockholm is one sparkling sun-blaze.
We see it from the western side, when the radiancy of the setting sun is reflected from the myriads of windows in the great houses, the sashes of which are level with the outer walls: the houses that climb the heights of Sodor are enveloped in golden glory; the object indistinctly visible is the tall, delicate bronze spire of Eiddarholms Church, on the top of which dark line there is seen to glitter and dance in the golden light a cross of exquisite radiancy—a sacred symbol that seems to tell the dazzled stranger, that this beautifully glowing and wondrous scene is wrought by Heaven's own work, and not by the spell of enchantment.
And over the now cooling lake flits the dancing paddle-boats; and when the hardy Dahlkuller bring them to land, they sit in them knitting or sewing for a little time; and then a bell sounds, and they rise, and laugh, and patiently set off again, laughing and talking as they toil away.
Their dress is most curious. It varies, both for male and female Dalecarlians, as we call them,