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grow grey-haired under prison discipline, were this rule in force in England !
And now I thought I had seen my last of my beautiful views, daily and nightly, over Carl Tretons Torg; that I had walked or driven for the last time through the snow-heaped forests. The intensely hot sun of March melted the snow and softened the ice; they began to break it up with pickaxes in the streets, and it appeared as if an inundation had swept over Stockholm. Words can scarcely describe anything so bad and disagreeable as these streets are in such a state; their closeness—with some fine modern exceptions—their gloom, the want of footways, the horrible nature of the pavement, which inflicts a penalty on the act of walking, the disorderly driving of carts, and sundry other nuisances, render Stockholm, either in rainy weather, or when the ice and snow are breaking up in the spring, one of the most unpleasant of all places.
Yet in the midst of this dissolving of the winter's iron work, I had a charming walk at midnight from the house of Professor Retzius, at Kungsholmen, or King's Island. The moon shone bright, and the scene on the bridge was lovely : at one side the water was clear; at the other the ice bound it up as hard as ever. The picturesque Ridderholm was beside us, and the gilt cross that surmounts the delicate, though inappropriate bronze spire of its church, glittered in the clear light—the moonlight of the north-So beautiful, so bright! Often do I find myself talking of the moon and stars here as being so much larger than the moon and stars of England. That large clear orb, that seems to come down half-way from the elevated sky to look at us, was sparkling in the rippling water at one side of the bridge, and at the other the people could still walk on the ice. Far away, in the scarcely shadowed view, a dark mass, closing it up, indicated the forest of Carlberg.
And the Englishman who had let me drop from the sledge, was with me; and I wished, in coming back, to walk once more over my favourite place Carl Tretons Torg; and he led me over it, and into a shining pond which I had taken for ice, but which proved to be melted ice; and then he laughed, and said he always let persons take their own way, especially when they wished to be romantic.
And so I thought the winter was over and gone, and that I must prepare to run away, for I wanted to see the spring burst out in the country.
“Wait a little,” said my old hostess, rubbing
her hands with a cheery smile; "we shall have winter again yet; and I hope it will come soon, for if we don't have it in April we shall have it in May."
I thought the dear lady merely wished to prolong the pleasure of my society: but I went to take tea with Frederika Bremer, and after hearing some of the music of the now-lamented Prince Gustaf sung by a lady of the Court, I came home as a slight soft rain was falling. I rose next morning expecting to see wet streets and dripping April skies; but all was white-winter had come again. I thought my Place never had looked more lovely; it was, perhaps, because its beauties liad seemed to be over. The heights of Södor were white again, and the headless trees that bound the Torg were just powdered sufficiently to conceal the suffering aspect which headless trees present when bare. The snow does not fall in the tiny drops we have it in England generally; but in large flakes that look quite consequential, and reminds me of how our silly old nurse used to explain the phenomenon of snow to us in our childhood—that it was the angels plucking feathers.
And now, after having been scorched by the
sun in the middle of March, the second week of April has brought us back to intense cold, more bitter than I felt it in winter; for it is not so dry, clear, and invigorating.
And this is Posk-veckan, or the Pascal Weekthe Holy week of the Catholic Church.
The week, when Christ's Church on earth is clothed in mourning-mourning for its Headmourning for its members—for the sinless Head, the sinful members! And I have kept Holy Passiontide in other lands, and mingled in the assemblies of other Christians, where the hushed note of praise was faintly heard amid the plaint of penitence and grief. Holy and blessed time !-a time which might be rich in the gathering in of souls to God, if only men could be withdrawn from the din and strife and money-making of this poor busy world, to kneel for a brief space at the cross of their dying Lord,
Here, there is service, indeed, in the churches ; but in the homes—ah! yes ! there is, I suppose, what is termed the Protestant, but surely not the Biblical basis of the Lutheran faith! Penitence, humiliation, fasting, and prayer-all prescribed in
the Bible, are not in practice here they belong to “the old time,” and my good hostess is exceedingly amused at the thought of the fasting. Such a laugh as hers ought to be heard in England.
I had heard this Pascal Week mentioned long beforehand, as a sort of plea for not having time to do anything. No one could undertake work because Pascal Week was coming on. I, therefore, naturally concluded it was made one of strict retirement and devotion; I looked forward to it, and hoped to feel sympathy with my fellow Christians, even though not in communion with their Church.
The week commenced; and the first request I made to the servants was answered with the words, “ Jag har inte tid." These words were to be repeated—I heard so often that no one had time to give me anything, or do anything, that, though at first very unwilling to break in on their devotions, I went timidly to my good hostess, and explained my necessities.
“Madame," she answered, " that cannot be helped ; they have no time; this is Posk
I withdrew ; my little Karin seemed quite perplexed with affairs, talking of going to Shrift,