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wind made it almost intolerable; but lanterns, carried by servants, were moving, with ladies, to morning song at the most fashionable church, the brilliant lights from which guided me onward, for behind the headless but snow-covered trees there gleamed long straight lines of light where all else was dark; the snow was knee-deep at the sides of the streets, but as hard as iron underfoot on the ground. The coachmen, or rather the sledge drivers, wrapped in fur, walked with folded hands and faces buried in their great capes, beside their patient, drooping, evidently frozen horses. The crowd at the church was already nearly as great as on Christmas morn, but the number of children was far less. The piercing cold made me anxious to get in; but when I effected an entrance, the icy feel of the floor I stood on seemed to penetrate throughout my whole frame. The floor was a wooden one, too, but the Swedish churches are never warmed; they say they cannot be warmed. I suppose the difficulty is merely one of cost. The consequence is, that, unless on great occasions, or when a pet preacher is to be heard, they are left nearly empty in winter.
One Swede told me his life was too valuable to be thrown away by going to church.
When I got in, the priest, as every clergyman of this Lutheran land is called, even when conversing with him, was in the pulpit. New Year's Day being a holiday, he was attired in the full and gorgeous robes worn on particular occasions. The dress differs little from that used by the clergy of the Roman Church, except that it is more splendid than we ordinarily see among the latter. The cope, of rich crimson velvet, is nearly covered by an immense gold cross, which, when the priest officiates at the altar with his back to the people, is seen extending from his neck nearly to his feet, and from shoulder to shoulder. The Church of Sweden, however, is exclusively and even bitterly Protestant; so much so, that a Swede is exiled for ever from his country if he forsakes that faith. But they retain many of the old practices and opinions, together with the new ones, which assimilate more nearly to those of Presbyterianism. A Swedish church-yard is generally covered with rows of crosses, often only of wood, for no one thinks of being buried without a cross on the tomb. But morning-song is over; and I shall stay no longer to make remarks on the Swedish Church, for, as that good man said, my life is too valuable to be thrown away.
I returned to my solitary New-Year's morning breakfast. Well! I should have felt the silence more if I had been at home! There are no voices here to cry, A happy new-year!—there would not be the same voices to cry it there.
On my table lay a very large thin letter, with a very large coronetted seal. I opened it, and found it bore this date, written by a Swede in the English language.—“One day, in the year of revolutions generally.” By which I guessed that I was to understand that the letter was written on the first day of the year, which was to be one of general revolution. The writer was a politician, of the Court, or conservative party. This was his prediction for the opening year of 1852. It was verified only as regarded himself, poor fellow !-for it proved one of the last of earthly revolution to him. I have heard that he was accidentally killed in a shocking manner.
That kind brief note began, “I am desolated, Madame.”—These words made me smile then; but another cycle of time has gone away, and I look at that note and smile at it no more.
New Year's-day is the season for ceremonial visiting in Sweden; St. Stephen's-day, as I mentioned in my last, is devoted to friendly, family,
or social entertainments. A short time ago, it was the custom for members of the diplomatic corps, government officers, and other officials, lawyers, &c., to go in the uniform of their rank or guilds, to wait on their superior, and offer the compliments of a new year. Old customs are dying out with amazing rapidity everywhere, and even here, only a few out-of-the-world folks, who move in the past more than in the present, keep up this oldfashioned custom, and present themselves, duly equipped, on the 1st of January, at the houses of their chiefs; but now they are laughed at for their pains. Still every one goes to call on every one on New Year's-day. The crossings and recrossings must be numerous; and as independently of the fact that if every one is out, no one can be at home-morning visitors are rarely received in a capital where every winter evening is spent in balls or receptions, I should think the number of cards exchanged on New Year's-day in Sweden must come to a curious amount.
Whateverold customs may dieout, one of a rather singular nature, still gives a sort of eclat to this day in Stockholm ; it is that of the Exchange Ball—an annual festival for the King and Royal Family, given by the burghers or Corporation of Stockholm
to their Majesties. To this ball they are invited by the townspeople, and to it all who are able to pay one rixdaler, or one shilling and twopence, English money, are at liberty to go, provided only that they are not exactly outcasts from decent society. As I naturally felt desirous to share the honour, or curious to see the sight, I very willingly paid my rix-daler, and attired myself in my best black dress. Only black and white are permitted where their Majesties are present; and if the two state colours were worn on the same person, the magpie aspect of a court ball-room would be complete; but this is not so. A white dress says you are young, or wish to dance a black, that you are old, or not a dancer. I took the black; the two fair Swedes I chaperoned took white; and we set off together to the Stockholm Exchange.
Now as it is no trifling honour to be for once in one's life in society with Royalty, to see the King's sons dance, and even to have a chance of dancing with them, you may fancy what a gathering there was in the great ball-room. For my part, I had lived on hope almost all day, for that new year's day was a dreary one to me. Our highly-respected British Minister was the only