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as an English one might do; simply because the Swede's vanity causes him to think sometimes more of what he can give to the stranger, while the Englishman's pride makes him believe that the stranger must take him as he finds him.
It is so dark I can write no longer. It is just two o'clock in the afternoon of the shortest day. It was quite daylight at ten this morning ; now I am going to dine by lamp light.
That is nothing at all strange to you,” says my hostess, "for in London the streets are lighted up all day long in winter because of the fog. Yes, my relation saw that. And lamps in the Booksellers’ shops, too.”
“True; I have seen them in Paternoster Row of a winter afternoon,” I reply.
“Yes, yes; you see, Madame, we know something here, also," Grefyinnan gaily answers.
JUL-AFTON has come! Well ! I ought to be as glad as every one else.
It is strange that this Eve, a fast in our Church --that is to say, in the Catholic Church of England, as well as in other lands—is a feast here. It is rather an anti-Catholic custom : but so it is. AUI the joy, rejoicings, feastings, and offerings that take place among ourselves on that "happy morn" are anticipated in Sweden; where Jul-Afton is made the grand National and Family Festival, apparently without any religious association.
It is nearly six o'clock on Christmas Eve. I am alone in my apartments, looking from the win
dows at one of the most remarkable and agreeable of the striking scenes which Stockholm at this winter season presents; and hearing, without sharing in, the conversation that is going on in the large house of which myself and my apartments form an atom. To realize the sense of isolation, one should be, for once at least, a solitary stranger on such a day and in such a scene. Yet that feeling does not make me melancholy, as it would do in England; and I have resigned myself, with scarcely a sigh, to a stranger's lot, when a very tall figure, wrapped in a great furred mantle, appears in the half-opened folding doors, nearly filling up the space from top to bottom.
"The Church Service is already over," says this good Swede; “but if you will come and see the Yule-market now, I will come for you at halfpast six to-morrow morning to go to see the churches."
A thickly fur-lined cloak, an enormous pair of long boots, are put on directly, and we go out together. The white ground, the clear air, the still crimson horizon, and the house-lights sparkling here, there, everywhere, have a cheering influ
There is not yet any gas in the city of Stockholm ; they will have it soon, as well as a
but that takes time. The go-a-head system has not travelled to Sweden yet. The streets are miserably lighted by oil-lamps, hung out in the ancient style, sometimes across the streets; but the numerous windows of the broad and high white houses are all in light, for each floor is inhabited, and they are shaded only by tall plants, or, at most, by a muslin drapery; so that Stockholm from my windows at night gives one the idea of a general illumination, rather than that of an ill-lighted city. We went on over Carl Tretons Torg; which gives a view that really affords me companionship in solitude, as I stand gazing at it from my windows, or pop up and down twenty times in the evening or night, to peep out at it. Its surface of frozen snow, which does not yield to the tread, is still only broken by the huge, ugly statue of King Carl XIII., the brother of the murdered Gustavus III., and the adopted father of Bernadotte. His statue, as well as his memory, is disliked here. The first is guarded by a sentinel; the latter—I know not by what.
The light of lanterns flitted curiously over the snow. They were carried by servants, escorting ladies; for it is one of the many rules of Swedish propriety, that no lady can walk out
at night without a lantern. If the moon shines brighter than the sun at noonday, which in winter it often does—if the Northern-lights shoot their gloriously-coloured radiancy along the far-off and elevated horizon, the lantern must precede your steps, casting its blinding, bewildering glare upon your eyes—for the lantern is the Swedish lady's proof of propriety. I made
tall Swede a good substitute for the lantern;' and on Jul-Afton enjoyed that curiously-interesting scene—a winter view of Stockholm at night.
We went over the great square, called that of Gustavus Adolphus, or Gustaf Adolfs Torg, joining the bridge of Norrbro, the great promenade of Stockholm, and the finest part of the town. The splendid palace is at its termination; the waters of Lake Mälar, that most exquisite, and now—except where this current is—frozen up lake, still whirl beneath it to cast themselves into the Baltic Sea, mingling fresh waters with salt. At one side of the bridge these waters are dark as night, except where two solitary red lamps are reflected in deep glowing flames on their broken surface; at the other, innumerable lights, dancing in the flowing stream, look as if the bright sky of the north had dived down there, and bathed