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"There has not been time."
"Then, Madame — you choose to be called Madame too, and not Mamzell ?—Well; let me tell you, however, that people may not understand. No one in our country can wear feathers who is not married—that is to say, in the head; they may wear them in bonnets; but if you are seen with feathers in your head, all the world will say you are married."
"That would be a calumny. But where do the single ladies put their bonnets when they put feathers in them?"
"They put them on—on their heads certainly."
"But, then, are not the feathers also on their head?"
"Madame, if you do not wish to understand, it is not my fault. You may wear a feather in your bonnet if you are unmarried; but if you wear one on your head, then you are married."
"That is droll."
"Not at all; you do not know our country yet, Madame; it is natural you should not, for in England they are too proud of their own land and of themselves to care to know anything of other places. But when strangers come here, they learn to do as we do, and find our customs the best,—yes, my relation's wife says that; and so I counsel you—"
"Oh yes," I interrupted, "and I recollect now, that in England, also, when a young lady has had a proposal, they say it is a feather in her cap."
"Ja-so /" was the speech that followed; and it may now be added to the list of information given respecting England and the English, that young ladies on receiving a proposal of marriage put a feather in their caps.
As I was unable to eke out the little adornment, which nature herself had bestowed upon my head, by wearing the plumes more lavishly bestowed on other creatures, without being guilty of usurping the honours of matrimony, I felt it necessary to make the most of my natural advantages, by calling in the aid of a hair-dresser. Eecollecting having seen a shop of that description, kept by a Frenchman from Paris, somewhere about Brunkeberg, I thought there was no difficulty in the way, and asking Froken to accompany me on a walk, I went out, intending to make this matter its object.
The shop proved to be a perfumery and fancy stationery one also. There was a woman only therein, who, when I asked for Monsieur, said she was his wife, and supposed she would do as well. I replied no, for I wanted him to come to dress my hair.
"Not your own hair," she said, in a solemn and questioning manner.
"Certainly my own hair."
"On your head?"
"Certainly on my own head. Can I see him?"
The good woman looked at me with a face that plainly said, "What an audaciously hardened creature this must be to make such a proposal!" Then abruptly saying, "He is absent! he is in Paris! he is very ill in bed!" she turned her back, and looked up at the articles on her shelf.
I went away; on our road I saw a sign with "Perukmakare" upon it; and before Froken could stop me I entered the shop. There was a man here.
"Is it to make a peruke?" he inquired.
"No! to come to dress my hair."
The poor man seemed to undergo a convulsion to avoid laughter. Then he looked so awkward; I think he Hushed. But I looked out, and saw Froken standing, with a very pretty face of perfect distress, in the street.
"Madame! Madame!" she cried at the door, when I appeared, "that is impossible that we can ask for a hair-dresser in Stockholm! Pray, Madame, come home; I want to be at home."
I went home with the poor girl, thinking only that it is very unpleasant for any one not interested in an object to go about thus on an unpleasant day, looking for what is not easily found.
A few minutes after we entered the house, I followed Froken to the salong, and found my hostess leaning her back against the kakelugn, or stove, and laughing most heartily; while Froken stood before with a half-ashamed, half-relieved countenance, evidently in the act of confession.
"Yes, Madame," cried the former, interrupting her laugh to speak to me, and taking it up again, "yes, I am telling her that is not so dangerous," and the laugh recommenced.
"To ask for a hair-dresser."
That there was some infection going which such persons were in danger of conveying, I was now quite convinced: but when I simply asked if this