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There was a broad smile on one side, a great many bows on the other; and then my guide said to me, “ This is the Countess."
She showed me two small rooms, the rent of which was very large; I did not like them at all; but when she said that fire was included in the rent, I thought that fire, in Sweden, for the winter, must cost so much that the rent was really low. And when she added that the house was very quiet, and her son, Grefven, or the Count, talked English, why I thought I could not be better off; and as the old lady said lodgings were only let from October to April, I took mine for that term.
The Salong, which, according to the mode of Swedish pronunciation, is spelt as the word salon is there pronounced, communicates with my rooms by a narrow folding door; the whole house, almost, is en suite; consisting of a row of rooms, the number and length of which are really curious, so that standing at the end of mine, at one extremity, and looking on when all the doors are open, you see a view perfectly enchanting to a Swedish eye; an immensely long line of rooms, the floors of which are of very clean, bare wood, unpainted, unpolished, uncarpetted, and nearly as long as the
breadth of a dozen common-sized houses in an English street.
The salong was profoundly still when I took my apartments, and I understood that it was not in ordinary use. Alas! when I take possession of them I find it is the only sitting, as well as eatingroom of the household; and the gabble of voices, and the loud laughs of which I have the full benefit through the folding doors, give me plenty of noise without society, and cause me fully to experience what it is to be a solitary in a crowd.
See what it is to yield to persecution. I fled from the flies; but I have only exchanged one plague for another.
And when I opened the folding doors, thinking I would begin my acquaintance with social life in Sweden, what do you think was the first thing ? A little woman in a Bloomer costume-a tunic and trousers of coarse brown merino.
“What is it?" I inquired.
“One of my young ladies is on the gymnastics," said my new hostess.
So it is; in summer every one who can rushes from the capital to the country, to take baths or drink waters; and in winter, or autumn rather,
every one who suffers any bodily complaint, and can manage to move, moves up to Stockholm to take gymnastic exercises; young men and maidens, old men and children, if they are too weak or too stout, too little worked or too hard worked, they must “ go on the gymnastics” when winter draws on.
And when these doors are shut, I have sufficient evidence through that barrier, that Swedish hilarity at home bears some proportion to Swedish quietness abroad. Such ringing laughter, such fearfully loud voices, might be tolerated, were it not for the offensive—to refined ears I could term it appalling-practice of mingling in common, and even jocund discourse, the most reverend, sacred, or awful words and phrases. My own ears, at least, tingle at some of these sounds, uttered often amid bursts of laughter, or with trifling expressions of pleasure, surprise, or admiration.
The commonest, vulgarest, of Swedish exclamations is Kors Jesu !-Cross of Jesus !- the most sacred words to Christian hearts! And this, contracted usually to Kors, prefaces a remark that a dress is pretty, or a dance is pleasant. The little children can exclaim Herr Gud! with their first accents; and a young lady, who is one
of my next-door neighbours, appears to be quite an adept in stringing whole lines of sacred words together, and uttering them as the only means of attracting observation to what she says.
We may ask, Why do not the Priests of the land set themselves against this vile practice ? Alas! the Priests themselves are not exempt from it.
END OF VOL I.
Just Published, in 2 Vols. post 8vo, price 21s. bound,
BY J. BERNARD BURKE, ESQ.,
Among the many other interesting legends and romantic family histories comprised in these volumes, will be found the following:-The wonderful narrative of Maria Stella, Lady Newborough, who claimed on such strong evidence to be a Princess of the House of Orleans, and disputed the identity of Louis Philippe The story of the humble marriage of the beautiful Countess of Strathmore, and the fate of her only child—The Leaders of Fashion, from Gramont to D'Orsay, The rise of the celebrated Baron Ward, now Prime Minister at Parma,Î'he curious claim to the Earldom of Crawford— The Strange Vicissitudes of our Great Families, replete with the most romantic details—The story of the Kirkpatricks of Close burn (the ancestors of the French Empress), and the remarkable tradition associated with them--The Legend of the Lamptons—The verification in our own time of the famous prediction as to the Earls of Mar-Lady Ogilvy's escape - The Beresford and Wynyard ghost stories, correctly told—&c., &c.
" It were impossible to praise too highly as a work of amusement these most interesting volumes, whether we have regard to its excellent plan, or its not less excellent execution. The volumes are just what ought to be found on every drawingroom table. Here you have nearly fifty captivating romances with the pith of all their interest preserved in undiminished poignancy, and any one may be read in half-an-hour. It is not the least of their merits that the romances are founded on fact-or what at least has been handed down for truth by long tradition and the romance of reality far exceeds the romance of fiction. Each story is told in the clear, unaffected style with which the author's former works have made the public familiar ; while they afford evidence of the value, even to a work of amusement, of that historical and genealogical learning that may be justly expected of the author of the The Peerage and Baronetage,' and 'The Landed Gentry,'-each the best of its kind ever published. The aristocracy and gentry owe, indeed, a great debt to Mr. Burke as their family historian.”- Štandard.
“There is no man living who is better versed than Mr. Burke in the domestic annals of the nobility of this country. In these volumes he has opened a source of interest which cannot fail to be most attractive. Some of the episodes in the career of various families described are of startling character, and tend to explain events of history, which hitherto have appeared inexplicable. Valuable as all Mr. Burke's former literary labours have been, few will attract a more lively curiosity than ‘Family Romance.' "-Messenger.
"The very reading for sea-side or fire-side in our hours of idleness."-Athenæum.
“A work of most entertaining reading, not without points of public and historical interest.”—Literary Gazette.
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