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their eyes and thoughts engaged on anything as much as on the preservation of my limbs.
I had heard so much of the danger of walking on the icy ground, that I had little hope of being able to do so, and a tall Swede told me I should always have his arm; but as I do not always find my own long enough to reach to where it is, I make my own feet supply its place, and I have never yet met the least accident.
Ice and snow have put life into Swedes, and into myself also. Everything goes on sledges, and everything goes quicker; the post comes earlier, the butchers' boys move with more alacrity; they skim over the streets with a load of meat before them, pushing the sledge on with their hands, and, when it has got an impetus, jumping up on the wooden projections behind, and getting a ride in return for a race; then descending and repeating the impetus, and so mounting again.
Women, the true labourers of Sweden, draw sledges to market, and drag heavy loads of wood over the frozen waters. Every description of vehicle bearing that name, is now to be seen, from the splendid royal one of the Crown Prince, who becomes it so well, and seems formed to sit
among its magnificent leopard-skins, and conduct its handsome, white net-covered-and-bell-ornamented steeds, down to the rudest and most primitive ones that labour, industry, or necessity could design.
At this season some one wrote to The Times, saying the intense cold of Stockholm had set the dogs mad. A curious malady was indeed prevalent among them, but it was not caused by cold; for, by the time the announcement appeared in The Times, that intensity of cold had passed away, but the dogs were as mad as ever. No one was allowed to take a dog loose into the streets ; the police killed all the poor stragglers. I met a friend with a long cloak hanging from his shoulders, coming over the bridge, with a dog before him held in a long string ; I thought the poor man had gone blind.
I am now making many acquaintances; a good number of icicled moustaches, beards, and whiskers come into my warm room, and the thaw that commences is droll enough. I often think, that as no Swede would enter a house without leaving his goloshes in the tambour, or entrancehall, they ought to have a sort of frost-proof covering for these appendages of the face, which might also be removed and left in the tambour until they went out again.
A droll young Englishman here advised me to recommend a Bloomer costume to the ladies ; but I think this hint to the men is more in my way.
My old hostess, I say, makes it a rule never to tell me of anything that is worth going to see until it is over; and then she tells me how well worth seeing it was.
“But why not tell me that before, Madame ?"
“ You would not care for that; I knew that. You are a stranger here. Of course it would be no interest to you to see our customs; they are not like your own.”
Most sagacious reasons; but the old lady always departs from her practice in any case where the Royal Family is to be seen.
“Madame, you will go there ; the Kingly Family will be present. It is a tableau vivant to see them."
"But I have seen them often."
" Ack! how droll the English are,” is said sotto voce to another. “They never care to see any
thing. No; they travel everywhere, and see nothing."
This occasion, on which the Kingly Family was to be seen, was that of an entertainment, or, according to the general mode of speech in these days, a soirée, given by a society for the benefit of literary persons and artists, something like our Literary Fund Society ; but the classes it is intended to benefit are not so much to be pitied as similar ones among us. They are comparatively few ; real merit becomes soon and easily known, and is then rewarded. And where such merit does not exist, it is well that a literary or artistic inclination should be nipped in the very bud, if either is to be made the occupation of a
The cards of admission cost a daler banco, or 1s. 8d. English; there was a large assembly, for the Society is under Royal patronage; and a little of everything was presented by way of entertainment.
The entertainment began with a lecture delivered by a literary priest. Then there was a song from an English opera-singer, who styles herself Signora Normani, a nice and interesting person: a very pretty native one, who is about to
leave the stage to marry a Swedish noble, followed her, and, I think, looked much better than she sung.
Then the Kingly Family were invited to look at some pictures by the native painters. They adjourned to a very small room, designed for a gallery, and the whole of the assembly crowded after them. I found myself brought into close propinquity with Prince Oscar, who could understand Grefven's English, at least as well as he could understand it himself, when he was giving me the information I desired.
The Queen was not present, but the little old Dowager-Queen, who is everywhere, went about with an explaining chamberlain and her constant eye-glass, half glancing at a picture, presenting the glass at it, and saying, “Tout-a-fait charmant,” to each and all.
Her Majesty, no more than her late husband, has patronised the Swedish language ; and after, as I think she told me, a residence of more than forty years in the country, cannot speak a word of it.
The young princess, too, was all smiles and good-natured admiration. Nevertheless, art has not progressed in Sweden. Byström, Sergel,