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Thus, if a foreigner, by means perhaps of an introduction, falls into one class of native society, he will naturally come to a very erroneous notion of all, unless he works his way into the others: and this, in Sweden, is not easy. The Swedes are a strictly national people; they are not really fond of new acquaintances; curiosity, or vanity, may lead them to seek a presentation to a foreigner, if a person of notoriety, but that effected the acquaintance may go no further. Foreign artists are by no means so admired here as they are in London; and public singers or actors, Avith moderate Swedish voices, or talents, will be far greater popular favourites than foreign ones of superior powers. Society also being so much divided into classes, proves another obstacle to easy acquaintance with it as a whole. It is by no means easy for one who moves in the aristocratic circle to obtain friendly access to the houses of the plain citizens of Stockholm. The vanity, also, with which Swedish dispositions are so strongly imbued, operates unfavourably for the stranger's easy intercourse with domestic and social life- To ask a stranger to share share a family meal, is scarcely ever thought of; and, in general, unless [a Stockholmer can give you a feast, he will let you fast; so far as depends on his invitation.
Notwithstanding all this, I am sure that the stranger, who goes freely and familiarly among all classes of the people, high and low, rich and poor, who seems pleased with what he sees, and thankful for the attentions he meets with, will not have any just cause to accuse the Swedes of want of good-nature or hospitality.
Literary society can scarcely be said to exist in Stockholm—not as we usually understand the term. The few literary men here are, I am told, chiefly a class apart; associating among themselves, speaking their own language only, and living, perhaps, much as our Goldsmith, &c., used to do in old times in London.
I do not know if there are any blue stockings to be found here; I have not seen them. There are two well-known authoresses—but very different ones—one twice married, Emilie Carlen; the other still a single sister, Frederika Bremer.
Science has had some very eminent names to boast from Sweden. Not to go back to the old tale of Tycho Brahe and Celsius, &c., there is that of Berzelius, only just added to the list of the departed; and a living one, Professor Bezius— I introduce to you here as that of one of my most useful friends.—The Professor has a celebrity which, I own, is the least pleasing of his many qualifications to my mind; I mean as an anatomist. His collection of skulls is frightfully interesting.
The delightful fashion of visiting in the evenings is general here. In the quieter circle, with which I am now associated, it is so very pleasant, that I find myself once more beginning to pity that much-prized domestic life of England that causes an evening visit to be deemed an intrusion on its hours of private bliss.
An English lady here told me she was at home every evening; but when I went I found I caused a surprise; and on three several occasions I had a walk for nothing. The English do not do this sort of thing naturally. Among the Swedes an excuse is seldom made or invented. The servants either give a true answer, that the lady is not at home, or say that she cannot or does not receive that evening. If you are received, you leave hoods, cloaks, boots, or goloshes, in the outer apartment; enter, without ceremony; sit and converse for a little, and stay for tea or supper, or como away without either, as is mutually desirable. When I do not like to risk a cold walk in uncertainty, I send a message before I go to ask if the persons I mean to visit will be at home.
And now, even so short time as I have been here, what thanks do I owe to two, at least, of these pleasant friends for many, many pleasant hours: Eru Cedersohiold and her most kind husband, and that aged lady of infinite talent, Ofverstinnan Ehrenstrom, who was maid-ofhonour to the Queen of the murdered Gustavus III., and whose memories are a volume of interest. How many a time, when weary or lonely, have I thrown on my cloak and stolen secretly out — careful lest any well-behaved Swede should know of such an escapade—and found my way, without a lantern, to one or the other; and have been refreshed and made very pleasant.
Then the table is always ready for me: the tea, and cold chopped-up hard eggs, and cold sliced meat and sausages, and afterwards nice preserve and cakes; and a hospitality and welcome and kindliness that is better than all.
Oh! miserable fact! that a man, a Briton—1 know not if English or Scotch, or what—could dwell in this land a whole year, and leave it, and write a volume, and breathe no word of thanks, nor cast back one memory to a friend! Such has never been my case, although I have wandered far and dwelt among many people. That such may not be, here, my case, I thus early record two names which my memory will cherish when we meet no more; and many, many others might I add.
There is, strange to say, no banker in Stockholm. The chief mercantile house, that of Arfvedson, transacts money affairs for strangers. When I spoke of the literary men here, 1 ought to have made an exception with regard to this name; for one of the firm, the Consul for America, is a very pleasing writer of what is called historical novels, and a most agreeable and gentlemanlike friend and companion, speaking English like a native, and French also. Indeed, the whole family is one which it is a pleasure to be acquainted with, and of whose kindness, I am sure, English people of respectability must have cause to speak highly.
The general hour for dinner parties, except in the diplomatic circle, which is an hour later—is four o'clock; this is the royal time also. Dinner is served as in France and Germany, and as is