« ПредишнаНапред »
I retired to my apartment with regret. The night was so fine, that I would gladly have rambled about much longer ; yet recollecting that I must rise very early, I reluctantly went to bed: but my senses had been so awake, and my imagination till continued to busy, that I fought for rest in vain. Rifing before fix, I scented the sweet morning air; I had long before heard the birds twittering to hail the dawning day, though it could scarcely have been allowed to have departed.
Nothing, in fact, can equal the beauty of the nor. thern summer's evening and night; if night it may be called that only wants the glare of day, the full light, which frequently seems so impertinent; for I could write at midnight very well without a candle. I contemplated all nature at rest; the rocks, even grown darker in their appearance, looked as if they partook of the general repose, and reclined more heavily on their foundation.-What, I exclaimed, is this active principle which keeps me ftill awake ?-Why Ay my thoughts abroad when every thing around me appears at home? My child was sleeping with equal calmness—innocent and sweet as the closing fowers.—Some recollections, attached to the idea of home mingled with reflections res. pecting the state of society I had been contemplating that evening, made a tear drop on the rosy cheek 1 had just kissed ; and emotions that trembled on the brink of extacy and agony gave a poignancy to my sensations, which made me feel more alive than usual.
What are these imperious sympathies? How frequently has melancholy and even misanthropy taken possession of me, when the world has disgusted me, and friends have proved unkind. I have then considered myself as a particle broken off from the grand mass of mankind ;--I was alone, till some involuntary sympathetic emotion, like the attraction of adhesion, made me feel that I was still a part of a mighty whole, from which I could not fever myself—not, perhaps, for the reflection has been carried very far, by snapping the thread of an existence which loses its charms in proportion as the cruel experience of life stops or poisons the current of the heart. Futurity, what hast thou not to gire to those who know that there is such a thing as happiness! I speak not of philosophical contentment, though pain has afforded me the itrongest conviction of it.
CIVILIZATION. The more I fee of the world, the more I am convinced that civilization is a blessing not sufficiently estimated by those who have not traced its progress ; for it not only refines our enjoyments, but produces a variety which enables us to retain the primitive delicacy of our fensations. Without the aid of the imagination all the pleafures of the senses must sink into groffness, unless, continual novelty serve as a substitute for the imagination, which being impossible, it was to this weariness, I suppose, that Solomon alluded when he declared that there was nothing new under the sun !--nothing for the common sensations excited by the senses. Yet who will deny that the imagination and understanding have made many, very many discoveries since those days, which only seem harbingers of others still more noble and beneficial. I never met with much imagination amongst people who had not acquired a habit of reflection ; and in that state of society in which the judgment and taste are not called forth, and formed by the cultivation of the arts and sciences, little of that delicacy of feeling and thinking is to be found characterized by the word fentiment. The want of scientific pursuits perhaps accounts for the hospitality, as well as for the cordial reception which strangers receive from the inhabitants of small towns.
The Swedes pique themselves on their politeness; but far from being the polish of a cultivated mind, it confifts merely of tiresome forms and ceremonies. So far indeed from entering immediately into your character, and making you feel instantly at your ease, like the well-bred French, their over-acted civility is a continual restraint on all your actions. The sort of supericrity which a fortune gives when there is no superiority of education, excepting what consists in the observance of senseless forms, has a contrary effect than what is intended; so that I could not help reckoning the peasantry the politest people of Sweden, who only aiming at pleasing you, never thing of being admired for their behaviour.
Their tabies, like their compliments, feem equally a caricature of the French. The dishes are composed, as well as theirs, of a variety of mixtures to destroy the native taste of the food without being as relishing.-Spices and sugar are put into every thing, even into the bread ; and the only way I can account for their partiality to high-seasoned dishes, is the constant use of salted provisions. Neceffity obliges them to lay up a store of dried fish, and salted meat, for the winter; and in summer, fresh meat and fill taste insipid after them. To which may be added the constant use of spirits.Every day, before dinner and supper, even whilst the dishes are cooling on the table, men and women repair to a lide-table, and to obtain an appetite, eat bread and butter, cheese, raw salmon, or anchories, drinking a glass of brandy. Salt fish or meat then immediately fol. lows, to give a further whet to the stomach. As the dinner advances, pardon me for taking up a few minutes to describe what, alas ! has detained me two or three hours on the stretch, observing, dish after dilla is changed, in endless rotation, and handed round with solemn pace to each guest : but should you happen not
to like the first dishes, which was often my case, it is a gross breach of politeness to ask for part of any other till its turn comes. But have patience, and there will be eating enough. Allow me to run over the acts of a visiting day, not overlooking the interludes.
Prelude a luncheon--then a succession of filh, flesh and fowl for two hours; during which time the desert, I was forry for the strawberries and cream, rests on the table to be impregnated by the fumes of the viands. Coffee immediately follows in the drawing-room ; but does not preclude punch, ale, tea and cakes, raw falmon, &c. A fupper brings up the rear, not forget. ting the introductory luncheon, almost equalling in removes the dinner. A day of this kind you would imagine fufficient~but a to-morrow and a to-morrow-A never ending, still beginning feast may be bearable, perhaps, when stern winter frowns, shaking with chil. ling aspect his hoary locks; but during a summer, sweet as Meeting, let me, my kind strangers, escape sometimes into your fir groves, wander on the margin of your beautiful lakes, or clime your rocks to view still others in endless perspective; which, piled by more than giant's hand, scale the heavens to intercept its rays, or to receive the parting tinge of lingering day-day that, Scarcely softened into twilight, allows the freihening breeze to wake, and the moon to burst forth in all her glory to glide with solemn elegance through the azure expanse.
The cow's bell has ceased to tinkle the herd to rest; they have all paced across the heath. Is not this the witching time of night? The waters murmur, and fall with more than mortal music, and spirits of peace walk abroad to calm the agitated breast. Eternity is in these moments : worldly cares melt into the airy stuff that dreams are made of; and reveries, mild and enchanting as the first hopes of love, or the recollection of lost enjoyment, carry the hapless wight into futurity, who, in buftling life, has vainly ftrove to throw off the grief which lies heavy at the heart. Good night! A crescent hangs out in the vault before, which woos me to stray abroad :-it is not a filvery reflection of the sun, but glows with all its golden splendour. Who fears the falling dew! It only makes the mown grass smell more fragrant.
The situation of the servants in every respect, parti. ticularly that of the women, thews how far the Swedes are from having a just conception of rational equality. They are not termed flaves; yet a inan may strike a man with impunity because he pays him wages ; though these wages are so low, that necessity must teach them to pilfer, whilf servility renders them false and boorish, Still the men stand up for the dignity of man, by oppressing the women. The most menial, and even la. borious offices, are therefore left to these poor drudges. Much of this I have seen. In the winter, I am told, they take the linen down to the river, to wash it in the cold water; and though their hands, cut by the ice, are cracked and bleeding, the men, their fellow servants, will not disgrace their manhood by carrying a tub to lighten their burden.
You will not be surprised to hear that they do not wear shoes or stockings, when I inform you that their wages are seldom more than twenty or thirty fhillings per annum. It is the custom, I know, to give them a new year's gift, and a present at some other period; but, can it all amount to a just indemnity for their labour ? The treatment of servants in most countries, I graut, is very unjust ; and in England, that boasted land of freedom, it is often extremely tyrannical. I have frequente ly, with indignation, heard gentleman declare that they would never allow a servant to answer them; and ladies of the most exquisite sensibility, who were continually exclaiming against the cruelty of the vulgar to the brute creation, have in my presence forgot that their atten