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Having spent a most agreeable and social evening with friends who had really become dear to me, but whom I was doubtful of seeing again, I was conducted to Brunkebergs Torg, where I was to take up my temporary abode till the water was open. .
My rooms were four trapper upp—that is, up four flights of almost interminably winding stone stairs; and as this was on the high hill called that of Brunke, you may fancy to what an elevation I attained, and how complacently I might, from my new windows, look down on all the rest of the visible world.
Mamzellen, or the mamzell, the housekeeper, or superintendent of the hotel, had told me, when I went out, that if it were shut up at my return for the night, I should clap my hands in the street, outside the door, which would immediately open to admit me. This eastern, and magical mode of action, extremely pleased my fancy; but the solid Englishman who attended me thought I had lost my senses, when he saw me clapping my hands together outside the great strong door of the hotel: and when I convinced him that I was only obeying orders, he clapped his with such a real John Bull determination, that
the door seemed to fly open at the sound of its own accord. I bade him god natt, and went four trapper up by myself.
On entering in the dark the first of my long suite of small rooms, the salong—the honour of possessing which I had now attained to—the view from the three windows at once struck me. It was not only from its great difference to that I had lately so much delighted in, looking over as it did a vast number of windmills, and the redtopped houses of a great part of Stockholm; but from the singularity of the night-scene it showed me, that the effect arose.
The horizon presented a most curious aspect, and being so extensive,-far beyond the limits of the capital,—I had an opportunity of watching the progress of the phenomenon.
Far away, beyond the windmills, whose long arms were flinging about in a strange wild manner, there lay a deep, yet glowing light; a crimson sky. I thought it strange to see the red sunlight rest on the horizon at eleven o'clock on the night of the first of May; and I stood looking at it without recollecting it was not at the west I was looking. But, while I looked, the flame colour brightened and spread, instead of fading and lessening; some lines of light came shooting athwart the crimson, then a green and orange hue blended with it, suddenly it blazed up, far over the northern sky
-dancing, glittering, making a festival in the midnight skies.
This was the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis, seen often in the frosty winter season here; but more curious, more delightful to me, when these glorious lights come on the first night of May, to welcome my first entrance into my solitary dwelling, to which I had climbed in the dark, four trapper upp!
“In everything give thanks !" said an apostle ; and oh ! for all, even of the lesser circumstances that lighten the weight of mortal life, how does the heart respond to the injunction? How many glad, how many brighter thoughts, may just this litttle accident of nature furnish to me in future perhaps more dreary_times, when no Northern Lights may illume another lonely abode.
And now the twelfth day of May has come. The ice has quite broken up; the water is clear ; the sun shines, and the breeze blows strong. My friends are in waiting on the Crown Princess Louise, in order to have the pleasure, as some of them politely say, of seeing me go off.
And I must really go! I must at last finish my winter life at Stockholm. Well, if I do so, it will be only to begin a summer in Sweden.
I have waited for the spring; for one is taught in the south that the spring of the north is instantaneous :
“O'tis the touch of Fairy hand
That makes the spring of Northern land !"
and truly my notion of spring here was, that when the snow melted off, greenness, and flowers, and summer brightness appeared underneath.
The flowers certainly are there, and most interesting and curious do these sweet little ones of the forest appear, blooming so innocently amid half-melted snow and straw-coloured grass and dry skeleton-like trees, just like virtue and youth and beauty in an atmosphere of evil. But here is the twelfth of May, and the buds are still invisible on the trees. The only greenness on the shores of Lake Mälar is still derived from the changeless firs. The truth is, there is no spring, strictly speaking, here; the summer bursts out at once, and the season preceding it is not a young and joyous spring, but a dreary dissolution of winter. *
And now “Faryal,” “Adieu,” “Good-bye,” " Fortunate journey," all is said to each and all. The “ Crown Princess” puts up her steam, and I am once more floating over my dear Lake Mälar.
I am sorry; I should like to return. I leave those I shall not forget; those whom my heart will spring to meet again, but whom I never may meet.
Thanks to the land, thanks to the friends, -thanks to the Father of all Mercies,-for pleasures, enjoyments, benefits to which I had no claim; for exemption from pining cares and griefs I deserve to suffer; for an interval of rest in a life of labour, and for a fresh source from which to derive future work.
* In scarcely more than a fortnight I sailed back again on the Mälar, and then vegetation had burst out, and the luxuriance of summer had come on without the opening charms of spring.
M. S. Myers, Printer, 22, Tavistock Street, Covent Garden.