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Some Scotch visitors here said, the other day, that this park was praised more than it deserved. I only know that I have seen most of the parks in most parts of Europe, and I never yet saw one which yielded me so often fresh pleasure. The Caffes are fearfully numerous, but they are pretty, well-kept, and never noisy, though almost always crowded. In summer the Djurgord is the most populous place imaginable; most of the Ministers of State have villas here, and others take houses, or apartments, for the season. In winter all these are shut up, and the Djurgord is left to the animals for which its name says it was originally designed.
But the place of resort which amuses me most here, to look at, not to enter, is a small spot of ground reclaimed from the stream which so beautifully rushes under Norrbro. It is about a quarter of an English acre in extent. The descent from the bridge is by a long flight of fine stone steps, which, for the entire of a summer's evening, are covered with figures flitting up and down them. Under the bridge is a caffe, or restaurant, which I should think must form the nucleus of the attractions which this little spot, with its few ungainly-looking trees, present to the good Stockholmers. It is really a curious sight, when one stands on the bridge and looks down at the mass of human beings wedged together in that tiny garden—
"Thick as bottled wasps upon a southern .wall."
There is some music generally playing, and the stream rushes by, and the nicely-dressed people sit or stand, and smoke, or talk in low voices; but no loud voice, no laugh can be heard, and very little motion is seen. There are children there, boys and girls, but just as demure as their mammas, papas, and nurse-maids. A scene of more rigid propriety, in aspect, it is hard to imagine. There are jovial faces, and social little parties, seated at small tables, smoking, drinking ponsch, coffee, tea, &c, &c; but a stillness is over the place, which, if your eyes were shut, and you were able to move without difficulty, would never lead you to fancy that such a convocation of good citizens were enjoying the luxuries of a summer evening in that droll little retreat, to which I was presented under the singular title of the "Strumpetter."
"What can that word mean?"
"It is taken partly from the French," said the Swede, who brought me there.
"What French word can have any affinity to that?"
"Parterre," he answered. "Strom is the Swedish for Stream; so the name is Stromsparterre, but we call it rather shorter."
The singular jargon that is introduced into the Swedish language, by this treatment of French words, ought to be a warning to us.
I Do not know how the name of Upsala comes to be associated with all my recollections of childish lessons. I am sure I must have learnt a good deal about it in my first geographies, for I never remember a time when the name of Upsala was first heard.
I wonder if the little Swedes know anything of Oxford? Some of the great Swedes do not; for I had quite a controversy with a young Parson, who had just emanated from the university of Upsala, and who claimed for it the first rank in the world.
His first thesis was, that it was the "most learned universitat i verlden." Failing to make good his point, his next was, that Upsala was the "most ancient universitat i verlden;" and giving up this also, he took refuge in the discussion between Oxford and Upsala, in his strongest point of superiority, that it was the "most northernly universitat i verlden!"
It is no wonder, then, that I ardently desired to see this most learned, most ancient, and most northerly university in the world.
The weather had changed, and was now bitterly cold, wet, and dreary. Nevertheless, before the autumn expired, I resolved to visit Upsala; and, accompanied by a young woman, whom I took as companion, I set off by the steam boat on Lake Malar.
It was truly a miserable day, toward the latter end of September. The cold was such, that no amount of clothing seemed to me enough; and there, on board that boat, was a poor little Frenchwoman, the wife of a professor of Paris, without any sort of cloak or defence against it. I gave her part of mine, and made her put her feet at the open door of the fire-room. We sat there and talked French. She told me her husband had come to Sweden in order to acquaint