« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
CHAP. the police of our metropolis: and we are quite
sure, that it is more wanted in London than in Stockholm, where all the watchmen have to do, is, to carry about their rattle-spikes, with these instruments, calling the hour in the same dismal ditty which is heard all over Sweden'
Klockan är tie slagen!
Fran eld, och brand,
Och fienden's hand,
Klockan är tie slagen!
Balls of the Society.
As a contrast to the scene exhibited by their Vauxhall—where, however, there is nothing of rudeness or disorder—a stranger finds in the balls of the Society the utmost degree of elegance and the most polished manners. We accompanied Baron Oxenstierna, with Messrs. Acerbi and Bellotti, and our friends Messrs. Kent and Jarrett, to one of those balls. The preceding day, November 25, had been a great day at Court, and most of the principal personages
(1) The author finds this preserved in the MS. Journal of bis friend Dr. Fiott Lee. It is thus, when literally translated :
The clock has struck ten !
From fire, and burning (fire-brand),
And from the enemies' hand,
The clock has struck ten !
were present upon this occasion.
We were much struck with the magnificence of the assembly. The dancing began with quadrilles ; after which the company joined in what they called the long dance; that is to say, one of our English country-dances: the whole was then concluded with a waltz, when they all adjourned to the supper-rooms. There were three rooms for supper; two ball-rooms; and two other apartments for cards-a very favourite amusement with all the Swedes. This entertainment lasted until near five o'clock in the following morning
From all that we had seen of Sweden, we found much more to admire than to disapprove, and very little to censure: the generality of Englishmen visiting the country will probably coincide in this opinion. The more we became Manners of acquainted with the inhabitants, the better we bitants. were pleased with them. There are few places where the traveller will find a greater facility of intimate intercourse with the different families than in Stockholm: for although the hospitality he may experience be not of that unbounded nature which distinguishes the natives at a distance from the capital, it is on this account less oppressive, and more according to the rules of refinement. The time of paying and receiving
CHAP. visits is in the evening: it begins about five
o'clock. Having been once introduced, no invitation is afterwards necessary. As no visits are made in a morning, every one makes his appearance dressed for the evening parties. They occur in several houses, at each of which it is usual to stay half or three quarters of an hour. At these parties the amusements are, music, singing, cards, and dancing. The conversation is always lively, and generally remarkable for the good humour and mirth which is excited.
Public executions, always rare in the provinces, are not common in the capital. During our residence in Stockholm, an event of this kind took place. Two malefactors, condemned for forging the paper-money, were hanged. The concourse of people, to see these men executed, exceeded any we had ever observed elsewhere, upon a similar occasion. For some hours before the sentence of the law was enforced, the streets of the city leading to the place of execution were full of passengers, moving towards the spot. This is situate in a forest, about three English miles from Stockholm. The lower part of the gibbet was surrounded by a circular wall, concealing the executioners from view, and leaving only the top of the gallows visible. About nine o'clock in the morning the two
culprits were conducted from their prison to this place. The rocks and hills around were covered with spectators, and the throng in the road was so great that carriages could not approach. The two malefactors, after being allowed to halt (as is usual in such cases) at a small cabaret, to drink a glass of wine, were brought to the outside of the circular wall at the foot of the gibbet. Two ropes appeared above this wall, hanging from the beam. At the door which opened into the interior area, the secretary of the police read to the two criminals the sentence which had been pronounced against them; after which they were ushered in. About five minutes had elapsed, after their entrance, when the ropes began to be in motion. The executioner at the same time made his appearance, having ascended a ladder placed against the beam of the gibbet. Immediately one of the criminals was drawn up by a rope fastened round his waist, and exposed to view, with his "hands bound behind him, his eyes covered, and his head and legs hanging down. A short rope was fastened to his neck, with a loop, which the executioner attached to an iron hook in the beam; and then, letting go the rope by which he had been drawn up, and placing his foot upon the criminal's head, his neck was instantly
CHAP. broken. The other malefactor suffered in the
These unfortunate men were remarkably well dressed, and seemed to have paid an attention to their persons which is very remarkable at such an awful moment. One of them had served as a serjeant in the provincial cavalry, of which the Duke of Sudermania was colonel. His melancholy fate seemed to interest and affect the spectators, many of whom were in tears. As he was drawn up, his voice was heard uttering, several times, these words :
We remained in Stockholm during a considerable part of the months of November and December, having no reason to complain either of the climate or of the inhabitants. Indeed, when we considered the latitude of the place, it seemed as if winter bad postponed its annual visit.
In a former volume we mentioned some of the artists of this city. Towards the end of November we were occupied in renewing our visits to them, and also in inspecting the works of others. A painter, Mr. Breda, late pupil of Sir Joshua Reynolds, was engaged in painting a whole-length portrait of the King, who sate to