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by their plain names." Accents and terminations are, indeed, already unthought of by our Frenchified good people; yet once have I had a specimen of the dangerous inroad making on our tongues and pens, by a young lady writing to me from England, that she was to have a marry at her ragged school!
Let us take warning by the sight of Swedish books—of course more especially of Swedish novels—and be cautious, lest "swarry" should become only one of the words that might yet deface our own in an equal degree.
I am writing in a heat so extreme that the close shade of Venetian blinds, meant to exclude the sun, naturally leaves me almost in darkness. Is not this March heat of the northern sun something most wonderful?
Snow and ice, sledging and skating, go on more gaily and vigorously than ever. The ground is white ; the sky blue, bright and beautiful. In the public gardens, not far from me, men and maidens, boys and girls, are gliding rapidly down the ice-hills, on those strange little sledges which I have quite a terror of when they
come five or six in a line down every icy and snow-frozen slope one meets, with their conductors lying flat upon them, as if swimming, and being the conducted, indeed, rather than the conducting, for they have no power over them when once the impetus is given.
A painful event has just happened in these gardens, which shows the danger of this favourite amusement. A young stout girl is killed; her sledge overturned, and another coming after her full speed, struck her on the head. The voices of swan and lark daily blend in the narration of human life. It is so bright, so beautiful here, that the thought of death seems like a great shadow momentarily crossing the sunshine.
The extraordinary power of the sun may be estimated by the fact, just related to me by my landlord, that on the north side of the house, that is in the court which is surrounded by a square of houses, the thermometer is only one degree above freezing point, while on the south, that is on my side, it rises to twenty-five degrees. Celsius, not Fahrenheit, is followed here, in this his native land.
And here I sit moveless, and try to keep my rooms cool; my door is open, my windows are screened, and I say, "What a strange climate!" a thousand times a day. And every one else is astir—at least I fancy so when I cannot stir—and merrily go the sledge-bells from morn to night, beneath and before my windows. You can hear them in these lines:—
"Hear the sledges with the bells—
Now, in that piece of rhyme you'have heard the sledge-bells in the snow and sunshine away off in England, just as well as I hear them in Stockholm.
And all was bright and beautiful, and I was listening to the sledge-bells, and complaining that I was cut off from enjoyment; and now there comes the voice of a great mortal grief,
mingling with the gladness and brightness of
nature; just now, when the warmth of an Eng
ligh May is shed over the snows and ice of a
Swedish March—now there falls the gloom of a
heavy sorrow on hearts in England, and in
Sweden, and in other lands; for one lies dead,
within a few doors of me, for Whom many will
weep—one whom I thought far from death,
when only a week ago I wrote her an account of
my accident. The gentle and amiable Lady L.
has passed away from the joys or the pains of
# # # * #
I managed to get down the stairs, I went out in a carriage, I entered the handsome mansion where so lately her home had been fixed: and as I passed through the noble apartments, so newly and splendidly furnished, now empty and silent; and as I entered the chamber of death, and knelt beside the dead, three words passed with an almost overpowering force upon my heart— life, death, eternity!
Oh! one moment's meditation upon these words by the side of the dead, is more than a volume of sermons could read!
That sweet and gentle lady has gone away. Her loss has made one heart desolate, and many sad. But we sorrow with hope, for the lovely and self-denying life she led in the flesh she led, doubtless, by faith in the Son of God, who loved her, and gave Himself for her; that she might take even Him for an ensample, and follow His steps, till she came to His presence.
And so the first half of this bright month of March has brought a change, and some suffering to me; but, to the respected friend, to whose kindness I have owed so much of my former enjoyments,—how much greater a change, how much deeper a pain!