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I Believe there is no other characteristic of the world we live in which draws upon it more of the abuse and indignation of the human beings who compose it, than that of its liability to change. A changing world, a world of change, is our daily pathetic complaint.
Yet is there something in our very constitution, in our human composition, to which the idea of a changeless state is positively painful and oppressive. What thoughtful child, who has been taught that heaven would consist in sitting above the skies throughout a changeless eternity, playing on a golden harp, has not experienced the unutterable pain of feeling that it had no real sympathy with such a state of being; that it shrunk from the attempt to grasp and comprehend the notion of blessedness thus presented; presented in a form with which its nature and capacity had no affinities? Such is our complex nature; shrinking from eternal unchangeableness, and still complaining of temporal change.
Now, I am contemplating a change, and this is the cause of my philosophising on the subject. I and am to leave my dear Carl Tretons Torg; and, as soon as the water is open, I am to leave Stockholm. I have been wishing to do both, and I feel very sorry to do either. It may be long before I spend again such pleasant moments as I have spent looking out over the first; still longer before I spend so many gay and amusing hours as I have spent in the last.
"Chance and change are busy ever,
And if duty calls out, and says, "Go back!" while will and pleasure say "Go on!" we all know which must be obeyed, however we may fret and frown about it.
I have been long waiting for the water to open; a vessel sailed, but put back; hopes excited were frozen up again. I had heard a gun fired, and had seen smoke from a chimney, and I was busy preparing for a flight on the first day of May. But Grefven came in, and asked me what I was about.
"Going to the Island of Gottland, I answered."
"That you cannot do till Pingst-dag," he replied.
"And pray what is Pingst-dag?"
"I do not know what you call it in English; but it is the time of our Lord's journey to heaven."
"Yes, then every one goes to Gottland; there is a steamer goes on a pleasure trip on WhitSunday; you can go cheap and return with it, and have much company also."
"Ah! I mean to go alone, and not to return with the steamer that takes me; I am going to meditate at Wisby, and muse among its ruined churches, and over its strange history."
"That you can certainly do, and return with the steamer; it stays some hours there. And if you go before Pingst it will not be green, and you can see no beauty in the ruins."
"But Pingst does not come until the end of May this year, and I must leave Stockholm before then."
"Why must that be?"
"I must go to the Island of Gottland, and see the ruins of Wisby; and then I must make a grand tour all over Sweden; I must go up to Dalecarlia, and down to the south, for I want to have a summer in Sweden as well as a winter in Stockholm."
Grefven openedhis eyes, and smoothed hisbeard.
"And pray, Madame, if one may ask, how do you think you can travel so far?"
We were speaking Swedish, and I replied, with a very bad pronunciation of that language, that I meant to buy a carriage. Now this word carriage, in Swedish, presents to me one of those niceties of pronunciation to which I never am able to fashion my lips. Grefven looked dark when I said, or attempted to say it.
"And pray where does Madame think she can buy that?"
"Here, in Stockholm, undoubtedly."
"Nay, I shall tell Madame, that is not to be done here."
"Not to be done! yes, I am sure it is to be done. An Englishman told me I could buy that here, or hire one if I preferred."
"Yes, that is like an Englishman! The English think they can do all with their money, but I tell Madame that is not to be done in Sweden."
"What do you think I want to buy? tell me the word in English," I wisely said, seeing there was some mistake.
"You said you would buy a friend," he answered.
"A friend! No—a carriage!"
"ImeantVagn. That is because the words sound alike when I say them. But as you have put it into my head, I shall try if a friend is not to be hired as well as a carriage. I would not risk buying one, but as I shall require both when I start for my summer tour I shall hire one if I can." "No one will leave the capital till June," said Grefven, half conceding the point.
This was true in the general; but as for me, I was only waiting for the water to be unbound; as soon as the Malar was free, I should be free also.
The first of May, however, I wished to spend here.