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There was a fine timber ship split on a rock as we drifted by; her masts were partly above water, and the rescued crew, taken off by a line, were on the adjoining rock. On some of these most singular island rocks are many houses, and even villages. I saw one church; and I could not help thinking, with regret, that had this been a Roman Catholic country there would have been several. How peaceful it looks there! even that one—to the 'tempest-tost passengers—bringing thoughts of another life—another destiny!
The coast we came by, which surpasses in dreary desolateness any I ever saw, is one, I believe, rarely, if ever, visited by English tourists; it is known as Bohus Lan, and is, if I do not mistake, the scene of a romance by the Swedish authoress, Emilie Carlen, which is to me a very unpleasing one.
"We stopped a little for shelter at one of these rocky islands, where there is a station; and here a council was held as to whether we ought to proceed or not; but all the worst was then over, and the passengers agreed to go on.
We seemed to make the rest of our way with greater rapidity, sometimes exposed to the horrible rolling in of the sea, sometimes sheltered by the rocks. And so at last we got to the other fashionable watering place of Sweden, called Marlstrand; a place much resorted to by the rich merchants of Gottenburg, who congregate there, with Stockholmers and others, on a rocky island which allows them a little more than room to stand. Some very smart-looking young ladies and handsome gentlemen adorned the pier; and looked at us in our miserable plight, and seemed trying hard to make use of the advantages of their position.
Then we were in calm water; and so we came to Gottenburg in the dead of night; and the bulky Captain rushed up to me, still wearing the white waistcoat, which true Swedes don on all state occasions, in the morning as well as evening; and the face was redder, and the great blue eye rolled still, as he caught my hand, and cried, "Here is my wife; you will lodge with me; she will take care of you."
So I was transferred from the pitching steamboat to a really handsome room in the Captain's house. His wife went to get supper, and when it was ready the Captain came in and said grace very devoutly, and instantly added, "Thank God it is finished!"—which words puzzled me until I understood that lie referred to his recent voyage. And then, in the remains of his anxiety and restlessness, he fell to work on the supper, and ate all the poached eggs with the mutton chops, to the infinite dismay of his loving spouse, who, at the moment they were devouredj came in with the soup, which the poached eggs were designed to have been put into.
Soup being, in Sweden, introduced in the middle of a meal, the Captain would have been obliged to have eaten it without poached eggs, but fortunately for him the two which, together with a vast amount of mutton chops, had been put on my plate, were still untouched; and I believe never was a captain or captain's wife much more surprised at foreign peculiarities than were these, when, affirming that I could not eat eggs and soup together, I expressed a wish to get rid of mine. With an expression of mingled pity for me and congratulation to himself, he delicately blended them up in his plate of soup, and made himself as happy as a captain need be after the trials and dangers of the sea.
So after supper I went to bed and slept, first truly and gratefully repeating the Captain's ex- . pressive "Thank God it is over!" How often on bended knees do we utter the thanksgiving— "for all the blessings of this life !"—how often do we murmur at the want of the least? how seldom do we attempt to enumerate their disproportion to our deserts; to watch their daily renewal, fresh to us every morning, new to us every moment! He redeemeth thy life from destruction; and asks but thy love for all He gives.
And the next day I found every one out of Gottenburg whom I wished to see, and every berth, or hut, secured in the boat I wanted to go by to Stockholm. This was not agreeable, for a day at the Captain's was enough. I resolved, therefore, to go by the well-laden boat, hoping some one would drop off en route, and leave a vacant spot for me.
At two o'clock, a.m., a couple of the Captain's men conveyed my luggage, the Captain himself held my hand, and we groped our way in thick darkness to the deck of the little steamer. There was not even a light burning on board, though it was to depart in two hours.
"Where am I to go?"
"Here," the Captain answered, opening a door. I plunged in in the dark, and went over a whole crowd of prostrate bodies. The cabins, or berths, on board these boats are really nice little dormitories, and are ranged along each side of the passage into which I now stumbled. Here the men, women, and children, who were unable to get a berth elsewhere, were snatching a rather uneasy repose. They started into life as I tumbled over them; but the worst part of the matter was, that I fell right over two savagely-disposed Flikas, or waiting-maids, who growled at me, not only then, but for the whole four days and