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great rock, and their dark green heads towering in unchangeableness; looking as if they never had, nor could have, any sympathy with the Nature that lay subdued, withered, blighted, and oppressed around them.
I have often thought in England, that leafless trees possess a peculiar, but indescribable beauty, especially when their branches rise up in strong sunlight or bright moonshine. But this charm of leaflessness, whatever it may arise from, is unknown to the trees of Sweden. The intensity of desolation their aspect evinces is quite curious; they are the colour of dry parched earth. It never struck me that England was always green until I had seen the winter aspect of Sweden, its spring aspect also. The trees wreathed with ivy, the hedgerows set with holly and privet, the evergreen things that grow by the waysides, and the bright green grass of the fields, say that England takes the winter as some good folks take this Lenten season, disguising its hardness with all the substitutes for gaieties that they can gracefully devise. A Swedish forest without firs, in winter, must be a miserable sight. The leaf trees, as all others are called here, when they have endured some winter months, look as if thoy never could bear a greon leaf again; so earthy-coloured, so sapless, so dried-up do they seem. Spectres of trees, such as I this day saw in the forest of Haga, rising from the cold white ground, and contrasting with the sternly domineering firs, actually haunt my imagination.
And the 6th of April was a charming day; the heat of the sun was so great that ice and snow could no longer resist it. I returned from a long walk, over Skeppsholmen into the Djurgord, with my face painfully burned. My good hostess warned me not to go out again without a veil and parasol. I went over the bridge, where I had seen the boats so deeply imbedded in the thick ice on that arm of the Baltic; and on the ice some fishermen were then seated on stools; they had bored holes in it, and let down lines, and beguiled unwary little trouts and small red gurnet, and drew them up, and cast them to leap and twist and flutter upon it, and to suffer the penalty of having been led into temptation.
But now the water was free at one side, though still bound up at the other: the boats and the fishers were gone. As for the poor little fish, they would re-appear no more. I saw a change, and I felt the spring was coming; but I did not see it coming.
I walked on into Djurgorden, and there the trees were like those of Haga; the snow was melting; but where the grass was left bare, it was the colour of straw or withered hay. They were beginning to open some of the houses: in a court at the back of a restaurant, I heard a woman scream; I ran forward, and saw a man nearly kill another with a great knife. Two women were at an opposite window eating their dinner, and they ate it on, and never stirred nor stopped, though the man, with his cheek laid open from eye to chin, was full before them. A woman was trying to save him; I ran on, and held up my hands; and I think the brutal man was afraid of me, for he went away and shut up the door.
I related the circumstance when I came back, and expressed my astonishment at the two women in the restaurant, who continued to eat their dinner.
"That is quite the Swedish way," said a clever native of that land, who had travelled a good deal elsewhere; "they do not like here to interfere with what does not belong to them, especially if it may bring them into trouble to do so. I saw a woman once run over by a cart. She lay at the side of a street, and no one would raise her up; for she seemed to be dead, and they do not think it lucky to be the first to touch the body in such a case. But when I lifted her up the bystanders said directly, 'Come, let us help;' and then I had many assistants."
I related then how I had seen, in the marketplace in Stockholm, a woman vigorously beating a man; she had got his head down, and beat it dreadfully. There was no crying, shouting, nor what we call "mobbing;" all was profound quietness, except for the sound of the blows. Neither the woman who was beating, nor the man who was being beat, nor the crowd that stood composedly looking at both, spoke a word, or uttered a sound.
A nice-looking young woman, with her market basket and tidy dress, a brown merino kafta, muff, and black silk kerchief on her head, was the last to come up. She looked on as if counting the blows for about a minute, and then tranquilly said, "I shall go for the policeman;" but I came away without having seen her go.
"Yes," he replied, "that is quite the Swedish
way; they do not like to interfere; but if the woman were punishing a man, I fancy he must have been a thief; in that case she had a-right to beat him."
The right of summary conviction, and of the administration of punishment, too. That is a simplification of justice ; but in the instance I saw, it seemed a dangerous degree of power to entrust to female hands.
People cannot be convicted of crime in Sweden without a witness, or the confession of the accused. And the efforts made to extract the latter seem strange to us. In England, whatever policemen may do, the magistrates caution prisoners to be careful of criminating themselves; but in Sweden every pains is taken to make them do so, unless the offence can be otherwise proved. I saw a poor youth of, I think, eighteen years of age, the other day, who is to be a prisoner for life for stealing one rix daler, Is. 2d. English. The reason of this fearful punishment, and infliction on the country, is, that this was his third offence. In cases of theft, for the first offence the punishment is slight, the second heavier, the third deprives the culprit of liberty for life, let it be for the most trifling object. What gangs of young convicts we should have to