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Full text of "Life, letters, and posthumous works of Frederika Bremer"

LIFE, LETTERS, 



POSTHUMOUS WOKKS 

OF 

\ / 

FREDRIKA BREMER, 

Edited by her Sister, 

CHARLOTTE BREMER. 

Translated from the Swedish by 
FREDR. MILOW. 

THE POETRY MARKED WITH AN ASTERISK TRANSLATED BY 

EMILY NONNEN. 




LONDON: 
SAMPSON LOW, SON, AND MARSTON, 

MILTON HOUSE, LUDGATE HILL. 
1868. 



p^ 

2 



PREFACE. 



WHEN noble and distinguished individuals have fiinishecl 
their pilgrimage upon earth, a more general desire is usu- 
ally felt to become acquainted with every thing relating to 
them with every thing in connection with them during 
their journey from the cradle to the grave. A wish has 
accordingly been expressed in the Old as well as in the 
New World, that a sketch of the life of Fredrika Bremer 
might be written and published by some person who was 
dear to her, some friend, who fully understood how to 
judge of her and her writings, and who wag perfectly 
acquainted with even the most trifling circurristances of 
her life, and able to represent the same faithfully. 

It is a matter of great interest to contemplate, in re- 
markable characters, the innate natural disposition of the 
child, and to watch its development ; but it is more inter- 
esting still to mark the outward relations of life, untier 
which the child has grown up, and which always have 
such a material influence upon the young mind, the 
struggles and the trials it has had to undergo in the posi- 
tion in the world in which it has pleased the Almighty to 
place it, there to let circumstances and adversities, often 
not known by man, be its best teacher. Intellectual and 
highly gifted natures are always deeply sensitive ; often, 
like the sensitive plant, shrinking under the slightest 



vi PREFACE. 

touch. If this touch be ungentle, it creates feelings of bit- 
terness, of suffering, of pain. Even the mere sight of all 
the misery misery both of body and soul which exists 
in the world, is to them a source of painful, rebellious feel- 
ings and doubts, doubts of the most precious treasure 
belonging to man, the belief in an- all-wise, loving Provi- 
dence and Supreme Ruler, guiding all created beings. 
These doubts, repeatedly combated and conquered, revive 
often in the breast of a reflecting and sensitive mind ; 
cause inward conflicts, moments of anxiety and anguish ; 
but eventually, after a persevering search after light and 
clearness, and by means of prayer to the Giver of all good, 
they change into a happy submissiveness to, and hopeful 
trust in, the mercy of the Eternal Creator, Redeemer, and 
Saviour. 

These thoughts, these words, may perhaps with equal 
truth be applied to many noble and gifted minds. Here 
they apply to my departed, beloved sister, Fredrika 
Bremer. 

Amongst the numerous friends who made her acquaint- 
ance in later years, or who know her only through her 
writings, she has in many called into life hidden or slum- 
bering seeds of much that is noble and good, and they 
cherish therefore her memory in grateful hearts as a 
precious treasure. To these friends a sketch of her life, 
of the home of her childhood and of her youth (which by 
a strange dispensation was also to be her last home upon 
earth), is .here given by her sole surviving sister, who for 
more than a quarter of a century shared with her under 
the parental roof the same solicitudes, the same education, 
the same instruction, and the good and ills of life. 

During this time they became warmly attached to each 



PREFACE. Vll 

other. Separated in more advanced years, this sister re- 
ceived, almost every post-day, letters from her which best 
show her warm, loving heart, and with them much of what 
she wrote both in verse and prose. All this is too beauti- 
ful and too instructive to be withheld. 

May it therefore be given to the world, and may she by 
these posthumous writings perhaps amongst the best 
that have emanated from her pen exalt and ennoble 
many a susceptible human heart. 

It is possible, even probable, that the publication of these 
letters may call forth censorious remarks. The profoundly 
melancholy and sorrowful frame of mind, which most of 
them betray, shows the existence of disharmonies in her, 
home, home which always ought to be sacred from 
the intrusive eye of the stranger. But how could Fredrika 
Bremer's biography be written, and written faithfully, if 
the cause which so materially influenced the whole direc- 
tion of her soul and her object in life in a word, which 
made her what she became both as woman and authoress 
were to be passed over in silence ? It is therefore indis- 
pensable that she, who writes the biography of the dear 
departed one, should not only faithfully adhere to truth, 
but should also truthfully relate every thing that may ex- 
culpate and explain these incongruities. 

It is also possible that some remarks may be made re- 
specting the publication of letters so full of the breath of 
sisterly love, that she who wrote them saw in the beloved 
sister every thing couleur de rose, and that this sister, 
therefore, out of a feeling of modesty, ought not to have 
allowed them to be published. To these remarks it may 
be answered, that the omission of any part of the contents 
of these letters would be to deprive them of their heart, and 



viii PREFACE. 

of the essential characteristics of Fredrika Bremer. They 
resemble, in many respects, the well known letters of 
Madame de Sevigne to her beloved daughter, Madame de 
Grignan, the same ease and grace of style, the same 
exclusive feeling for the persons to whom they are written. 
The letters of the former reflect motherly, those of the 
latter sisterly, love, which sees every thing belonging to its 
object in a beautifying and poetical light. 

Here are also given some extracts of Fredrika Bremer's 
letters to a friend, who had the sorrow of losing two chil- 
dren. Perhaps the consolatory thoughts, with which Fre- 
drika had the happiness to assuage the grief of this friend 
may bring comfort with them when read by a mother 
severely tried under similar circumstances. 

To these letters are added some others which merit to 
be preserved, as showing Fredrika Bremer's views on some 
important subjects, and which are, besides, remarkable for 
the liveliness and grace of their style. 

Amongst the papers left by my sister were also found 
several poems and writings, and some sketches more or 
less finished. 

I have selected some of these to be published with the 
others, and I have besides inserted a few which were 
printed previously in some obscure annuals, but which 
were afterwards revised by my sister. Her Autobiography, 
the composition of which was interrupted shortly after my 
father's death, and shortly before she became for some time 
an inmate of my home, is with few omissions published 
here. 



CONTENTS. 



PAOE 

BIOGRAPHY 1 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY 101 

LETTERS 117 

SKETCHES 268 

My Dream 268 

AVision 270 

A Violet, found in Stockholm in 1827 27-3 

At Forty Years of Age . . 278 

My Window, 1825. The Visitor 288 

My Window, 1855. New Prospects. 'The Beggar- Woman . 296 

The Sisters 311 

An Evening with the Sisters at Werna 320 

The Morning 332 

The Light- House 337 

The Eagless 359 

The Romance, the Epos of our Day 367 

The Child's Prayer 372 

May Thoughts 374 

The Grateful Little Flower 376 

The Ugly Hand and the Beautiful Hand 377 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Matins 383 

POEMS 407 

Hymn 407 

Gospel Tidings 407 

The Lord's Supper 408 

To my Sisters 410 

The Cradle of Love . . *. 411 

The Star 412 

The Poetry of Spring 413 

Autumn Sighs 415 

The Cripple's Mission 41G 

The Song of the Weary One 418 

Resignation . . . . ** 420 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Consolation in Nature 420 

Cradle and Grave - 421 

My Morning Song 424 

Peace 425 

The Volcano 426 

Chilly blows the Wind 426 

Had I Strong Faith 428 

I Trust in Thee 420 

The Sage and the Cataract 429 

On reading Bishop Esaias Tegner's Poem, " Resignation " . 432 

The Sound in Time of Peace 434 

My Wrinkles 435 

Summer Evenings ......... 437 

The Grave . 438 

The Last Song of the Lonely One . . . . . 439 



BIOGRAPHY. 



FREDRIKA BREMER was born in Tuorla Manor-house, 
near Abo, in Finland, on the 17th of August, 1801. Her 
father, the Bruks-patron, or Iron-master, Carl Fredric 
Bremer, was descended from an ancient German noble 
family, which settled in Sweden in the reign of King Gus- 
tavus Adolphus the Great ; her mother was Brigitta Char- 
lotta Hollstrom. Fredrika's paternal grandfather, Jacob 
Bremer, had removed from Sweden to Finland, in which 
latter country he had, by commercial enterprises, iron- 
works, and factories prudently managed, succeeded in ac- 
cumulating considerable wealth, while giving bread to sev- 
eral hundred industrious people, who had him to thank for 
their prosperity and comfort. Out of his rich store he 
gave liberally to the poor and needy, and at his death he 
was therefore generally regretted in Finland. He was 
twice married. In his first marriage with a young Lady 
Pipping, he had eleven children, of which only five sur- 
vived him three sons and two daughters. One of these 
daughters married the Governor of the county of Wasa, 
Krabbe ; and the other, Baron Hisingor, a counselor of 
the Royal Court of Justice in Abo. In his second wedlock 
with the young and handsome daughter of the Assessor of 
the Royal Court of Justice, Mr. Salonius, he had two chil- 
dren, Carl Fredric and Agatha. The latter was married 
at the age of sixteen to an old gentleman, Mr. Carleson, 
one of the court chamberlains ; and when, at the age of 
twenty-one, she became a widow, and free to follow the 



2 BIOGRAPHY. 

dictates of her heart, she married General Baron, after- 
wards Field-Marshal Count Fabian Wrede. 

Foreseeing the fate which was in store for Finland, his 
heart overflowing with grief, my father determined to re- 
move to Sweden before the dreaded hour should arrive. 
After having sold one of his estates, he left Finland in the 
year 1804, together with his wife, his mother-in-law, and 
four children born in that country, and settled in Stock- 
holm. The following year he purchased the estate of 
Arsta, in the parish of Oster - Hanninge, about three 
Swedish, or twenty English, miles from the capital. Little 
children of three years of age cannot have any recollec- 
tions ; and all that I can remember is, that we lived in 
Abo, beside a market-place, in a house which belonged to 
my parents. 

My mother had brought with her from Finland a young 
housekeeper, a Miss Louise Synnerberg, who became 
Fredrika's and my first teacher. From her we learned to 
read Swedish ; and, in 1806, when I had completed my 
sixth, and Fredrika had not quite attained her fifth year, 
we had a governess whom we have to thank, not only for 
all that we have learnt, but also for her motherly tender- 
ness and kindness towards us. The name of this friend so 
dear to, so beloved by us, was Sara Eleanore de Frumerie ; 
she was descended from a French emigrant family. Hav- 
ing no property of her own, and having devoted herself to 
the calling of a teacher, she determined to drop the de, 
calling herself Miss Frumerie. Just, truthful, and God- 
fearing, she laid the foundation of all that was good in us. 
By her pleasant and judicious method of imparting knowl- 
edge to us, she made her pupils not only anxious to learn, 
the more the better, but also to find a real pleasure in 
learning. To her we came in all our troubles, and in her 
we placed an unbounded confidence, 

At the time when Fredrika and I were children, there 
did not exist the same relation between parents and chil- 



BIOGRAPHY. 3 

dren as nowadays. Severe parents belong now to the 
exceptions ; at that time they were generally severe, and 
children felt for them more fear than love and confidence. 
I remember still how frequently, when we heard the voices 
of our parents on their return home, we hastened to hide 
ourselves in our governess's room, or in that of our Finland 
nurse, old Lena. During the winters, in the first years of 
our residence in Stockholm, my parents used to be a great 
deal out in the fashionable world, and we children saw 
them rarely except at stated times in the day. At eight 
o'clock in the morning we were to be ready dressed, and 
had to come in to say " Good morning " first to my mother, 
who sat in a small drawing-room taking her coffee. She 
looked at us with a scrutinizing glance during our walk 
from the door up to her chair. If we had walked badly, we 
had to go back again to the door to renew our promenade, 
curtsey, and kiss her hand. If our curtsey had been awk- 
wardly performed, we had to make it over again. Poor 
little Fredrika could never walk, stand, sit, or curtsey to 
the satisfaction of my mother, and had many bitter and 
wretched moments in consequence. Then we had to go to 
salute my father. When we entered his outer room, the 
footman laid down a large square carpet in the centre of 
the floor, and placed on it a chair, on which my father sat 
down, after having been enveloped in a large white cloak 
which reached down to the ankles. Mr. Hagelin, his hair- 
dresser a real original in a light-gray overcoat, then 
made his appearance with a comb stuck behind his ear 
and a powder-puff in his hand, himself powdered, bow- 
ing deeply and scraping with one foot, first to my father, 
and then to us little ones. He handed the powder-puff to 
the footman, who was to hold it, while he himself undid 
the ribbon tied round the pigtail, and then combed and 
replaited it. After that the powder-box was produced, the 
puff dipped into it, and Mr. Hagelin, like a true amateur, 
with a sweet smile on his countenance, his head inclined 



BIOGRAPHY. 

on one side, stepping back now and then to take a survey 
of the effect of the powdering process, powdered my 
father's head and face so thoroughly, that he was unable to 
open his eyes until the footman had handed him a basin of 
water and a towel. This ceremony amused us exceed- 
ingly, and we were permitted to look on for a short time. 
When we had curtsied to my father, we had our break- 
fast, and afterwards went to Miss Frumerie to read and 
work from nine till one o'clock. 

My mother had laid down three inviolable principles for 
the education of her children. They were to grow up in 
perfect ignorance of every thing evil in the world ; they 
were to learn (acquire knowledge) as much as possible ; 
and they were to eat as little as possible. The first of 
these principles was founded upon my mother's conviction 
that unacquaintance with all evil would preserve in her 
children an innocent mind, and accustom them to an at- 
mosphere of purity, which would beneficially influence 
their whole development. I am grateful for this beautiful 
idea, emanating from my mother's own innate innocence, 
and I believe that it has in us led to purity of thought and 
mind; although, when we came out into the world, we 
found ourselves painfully deceived in all our imaginations, 
when one illusion after the other vanished. In order to 
gain the desired object, we were never permitted to re- 
main in the drawing-room when my parents had any vis- 
itors or .company, at the utmost perhaps only a few 
minutes, for fear that our innocent ears should listen 
to something which they ought not to hear ; and we were 
strictly forbidden to speak to the servants, except to old 
Lena, who again was forbidden to tell us any thing. 

We did not require any incitement to read or to learn ; 
it was our, and especially Fredrika's, greatest pleasure. 
Within a couple of years we learnt to read and speak 
French, and we learnt to repeat by heart out of Madame 
de Genlis's plays, " L'lle Heureuse," " La Rosiere," " Les 



BIOGRAPHY. 5 

Flacons," and others, such scenes in which only two persons 
appeared at a time ; and these lessons we took so long, that 
" Bonne Amie," as we called Miss Frumerie, had not 
patience enough to listen to them to the end. Fredrika 
frequently knew a whole act by heart, and " Bonne Amie " 
exclaimed more than once, " That Fredrika, she is perfectly 
intolerable with her recitations ; there is never an end to 
them ! " 

The third of nry mother's principles, that her children 
should eat as little as possible, she had laid down partly 
under the conviction that if children are allowed to eat 
much, they become stupid and slow to learn ; and partly 
from a detestation of strong, stout, and tall women. My 
mother read vast quantities of novels, and I suspect that 
the hope of one day beholding in her daughters delicate, 
zephyr-like heroines of romance, was constantly haunting 
her imagination. This principle certainly succeeded in 
making them short of stature, and not too strong ; but with 
the prescribed diet it could not be otherwise. At eight 
o'clock in the morning we got a small basin I have 
never seen such small basins of icold milk, and with it a 
small piece of " knackebrod. 1 If we were ever so hungry, 
which happened every day, still we did not venture to ask 
for any thing more to eat. Once or twice old Lena, when 
we told her of our distress, had given us each a piece of 
dry bread ; but my mother having heard of it, Lena got 
such a scolding that she never dared to try that experiment 
again. 

At two o'clock the dinner was always served in my par- 
ents' house, and that was indeed a glorious time for us 
hungry children. We were then allowed to eat as much as 
was considered necessary. Of the four or five dishes 
which, according to the fashion of the day, were put at 
once upon the table, we had permission to eat of three, 
and they tasted wonderfully good. After dinner we were 
1 A kind of very thin, hard, rye biscuit. 



6 BIOGRAPHY. 

all assembled in the drawing-room to drink coffee, we 
children of course only as spectators, after which, at 
four o'clock, we went with " Bonne Amie " into her room 
to write, cipher, and work. My father, who was beyond 
description orderly and punctual, determined that every 
thing should be done by the clock, looked during the time 
repeatedly at his watch, and until it pointed at four exactly, 
nobody was allowed to leave the room, when he went to 
his own room to take a nap. 

At six precisely, there came a knock at a Bonne Amie's " 
door, the footman announced that tea was ready, and 
we then marched, " Bonne Amie," Fredrika, and myself, 
through the dining to the drawing-room. There my par- 
ents, " Bonne Amie," and sometimes those who came to 
pay a visit, drank tea, while we were looking on, occasion- 
ally getting a rusk, with permission to go to the nursery to 
play, for now the lessons were over for the day. 

At nine, my parents, " Bonne Amie," and mostly some 
guests, were seated round a table in the dining-room cov- 
ered with two or three warm dishes ; but we children had 
already at eight o'clock had a small glass of cold milk and 
a small piece of knackebrod. When we had finished our 
supper, we went to the dining-room, curtsied, kissed my 
father's and mother's hand, said " Good night," and pro- 
ceeded to " Bonne Amie's " room, in which we both had 
our beds upon a corner sofa. Old Lena was there to un- 
dress us, and always used to hold a long lecture to Fre- 
drika, who preferred running about the room and dancing 
with Lena to going to bed. After jumping and romping 
about for a little while, she usually got tired ; but Lena 
fared far worse in the morning, when she wanted to dress 
her. The old nurse had then to run about to get hold 
of the little wild girl, who always bolted from her when 
she was going to be washed and dressed. Sometimes 
Lena was so angry with her that she got quite red in the 
face, and then she burst out with what I believe was her 



BIOGRAPHY. 7 

only article of faith : "Ah ! that will be a nice one when 
she gets older; for certain, it is, that the longer people live 
the worse they become ! " 

I am not quite sure, but I believe it was in 1806, when 
my maternal grandmother died. She lived with my par- 
ents, suffered a great deal from some painful internal dis- 
ease, and was always confined to her bed. She was inde- 
scribably kind and tender to Fredrika and me, and always 
wanted to have us beside her during those moments when 
she was tolerably free from pain. It interested her much 
to hear what we had learnt ; and if we read nicely to her, 
we knew that, one after another, we were allowed to put our 
hand into a large paper bag full of sweetmeats, which was 
lying upon the bed beside her, and take out of it as muc,h 
as we could grasp. Otherwise I do not remember much 
of my kind old grandmother ; except that on the day of 
her funeral we cried a great deal and eat a great deal of 
confectionery. 

At midsummer, 1806, the whole family removed out to 
Arsta. Like all children, we were enchanted at being al- 
lowed to go on a journey suph a long journey a 
whole twenty English miles ! And during the preceding 
eight days we were busy, every leisure moment, packing 
and unpacking again and again all our toys and dolls. At 
last came the happy day, and in three large carriages the 
whole family proceeded to the country. I remember ex- 
ceedingly well, that, on our arrival, both Fredrika and I 
thought that the large, palace-like edifice, with its project- 
ing turrets, its uncommonly high, sloping roof, its high lat- 
tice windows, with small glass panes set in lead, and its 
dark walls, from which in many places the plaster had fall- 
en off, did not look well at all. If we had understood the 
meaning of the word awftd, we should certainly have thought 
of it on beholding the then dilapidated old Arsta, built 
nearly two centuries before by Mrs. Barbro Akes's daughter, 



8 BIOGRAPHY. 

Natt-och-Dag, while her husband, Admiral Bjelkenstjerna, 
was out in the German Thirty Years' War. 1 

When we had alighted from the carriage, and entered 
the spacious, vaulted hall, rising through three storeys, with 
its high stone pillars and double staircases, we were de- 
lighted, and asked permission to run up and down them, 
which was willingly granted, as being the best means of 
keeping us out of the way while every thing was taken out 
of the carriages. We must have been indulging in this 
pleasure of running up one pair of stairs and down another 
a long time, for I remember our being very hot and very 
tired when we were called in to eat our supper and go to 
bed. 

Now came a happy time for us. When we had finished 
our lessons at one o'clock, we were allowed to go down 
into the large garden, and to take long walks in the after- 
noon with " Bonne Amie," after she had had her tea. We 
thought it wonderfully delightful to run out and play about. 
In town we had scarcely ever permission to go out. 
Happy beyond measure were we to hear the little birds 
sing ; to gather flowers^ and fruit ; but as happy as the 
curate's children, that we clearly saw we should never be. 
One day, when our carriage-horses had to be exercised, 

1 Arsta belonged in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to the German 
order of the Knights of the Sword. It was afterwards sold, and became 
in the year 1500 the property of Axel Laurson Tott, after which it became 
an heir-loom in the Bjelkenstjerna and Fleming families. See Ground- 
rent Book of the County of Upland, 1680, and Tham's Description of the 
Province of Stockholm. 

In July, 1621, Gustavus Adolphus assembled his army and fleet to lead 
them in person across the Baltic to Riga. From the port of Elfsnabben, 
where the fleet was lying at anchor, detained by contrary winds, Gustavus 
Adolphus proclaimed his Articles of War, drawn up by himself, and writ- 
ten by his own hand. These Articles of War were read aloud for the first 
time by the Chancellor, Axel Oxenstjerna, to the army, consisting of 20,000 
men, drawn up in battle array on the fields of Arsta. The whole royal 
family was there assembled on that occasion. See Geyer's History of the 
Swedes. 



BIOGRAPHY. 9 

" Bonne Amie " took us for a ride to pay a \isit to the 
curate's wife. 

In the little yard before the red-painted house lay a hil- 
lock of sand, and on it were lying four children, busy with 
large wooden ladles digging out walks and flower-beds. 
We were so fortunate as to be allowed to join in their play 
that afternoon, but never again. 

The summer passed quickly away. We read and studied 
industriously, and were a great deal out in the open air. 

On Sundays, the Countess F and her daughter, 

then sixteen years old, were almost always invited to 

dine with us. Countess F , the former owner of 

Arsta, had, when she sold the estate, made it a condition 
that she should be allowed to remain there over the sum- 
mer. She occupied one part of the lower storey, and my 
parents the other. The whole of the upper storey in the 
old house was unfurnished, and consisted of very large 
rooms with thick walls, and with heavy oak timbers across 
the ceiling. The largest of these rooms was forty-eight 
feet square, had nine high windows, and a gigantic chim- 
ney, upon the upper part of which were resting two mas- 
sive blocks of stone, in which the Bjelkenstjerna's and the 
Fleming's arms were cut. The floor was inlaid with 
squares of polished oak. This room had in former times 
been the banqueting hall, and the heavy, clumsy, horse- 
shoe table, which took up two entire sides of the room, 
was still remaining. On one of the small window-panes 
was scratched, 

" Lady Sigrid is a nincompoop, 
So is also her beloved Soop." 

All the rooms were nineteen feet high ; every step awoke 
a loud echo ; and the wind was incessantly whistling 
through the small window-panes, loosely set in their leaden 
frames. We were neither allowed, nor dared we go alone 
to the upper storey ; but, whenever we could, we watched 
an opportunity for visiting the kind Countess F and 



10 BIOGRAPHY. 

her daughter, who were always so very friendly to us. We 
had then to pass through a large apartment, the walls of 
which were covered with gilt leather in sombre figures, and 
the floor was inlaid with large, square, polished stones. 
We were a little afraid of passing through this room ; but 
we used to run as fast as possible, and in that manner al- 
ways got through it without any adventure. 

In a large apartment in that part of the flat which was 
occupied by my parents, were seen two well-painted por- 
traits of the former owners of Arsta, Mistress Barbro 
Akes's daughter Natt-och-Dag of Goholm and Hedeso a 
severe and sharp-looking lady ; and her husband, Admiral 
Bjelkenstjerna, the latter cased in full armor, looking 
very fierce. From this apartment we had a view of a long 
avenue leading down to a creek or arm of the Baltic, 
which could be descried only when the water happened to 
be very high. From most of the other rooms in the build- 
ing, which stood on an eminence, the eye wandered over 
meadows, and fields, and villages belonging to the estate, 
stretching in one direction over nearly five English miles. 
Two churches raised their old-fashioned, high, pointed 
spires above the distant forest. They were the Oster and 
Wester Hanninge churches. 

Only once during this summer my parents invited their 
relatives and friends from town to a so-called " hemkom- 
61," or house-warming. Dinner was served in the banquet- 
ing-hall, and after dinner the guests drank coffee under 
the high, two hundred years' old maples, which, planted in 
two rows, divided the court-yard from the garden, form- 
ing a broad, shady walk. 

When autumn and cold weather set in at last, my par- 
ents moved to town, and during several succeeding years 
we lived winter after winter, each week like the last : much 
reading, little eating, and rarely permission to go out. 
Another difficulty was now added to our other troubles. 
My mother considered it very wholesome that we should 



BIOGRAPHY. 11 

be thinly dressed, with bare neck and arms. We shivered 
with cold. It was probably cold in our rooms, which were 
large, and at that time double windows were unknown. I 
recollect very well that often, for days together, we could 
not look out of the window, the panes being covered with 
ice. 

When I was eight and Fredrika seven years old, we had 
music and drawing masters. It was not expected in those 
days, as it is now, that a governess should possess all kinds 
of talent. Besides, our " Bonne Arnie " would not have 
been sufficient for us all, especially as she had now to teach 
the younger children, Hedda and Claes, and three little 
future pupils had been added to our family up to the year 
1810, so that she had a whole troop in perspective. 

The good little Hedda had great difficulty in learning ; 
but Claes could already, at the age of six, read both Swed- 
ish and French. 

From seven till ten years of age, little Fredrika began 
to manifest strange dispositions and inclinations. Occa- 
sionally she threw into the fire whatever she could lay her 
hands upon pocket-handkerchiefs, the younger children's 
night-caps, stockings, and the like. The servants com- 
plained to my mother, and Fredrika was interrogated. 
She confessed at once ; and the only reason she could give 
for her delinquency was, " that it was so delightful to see 
the flames." In spite of scoldings and prohibitions, she 
frequently repeated this pleasure. If a knife or a pair of 
scissors happened to be lying about, they, and Fredrika 
too, disappeared immediately. She then walked about 
alone, meditating ; and if nobody happened to be present, 
she cut a piece out of a window-curtain, or a round or 
square hole in the front of her dress. She looked very 
awkward if interrupted in her proceedings. One day, our 
parents being out, she fell upon the idea of quietly steal- 
ing into the drawing-room and double locking the door. 
Old Lena, suspecting that some mischief was on foot be- 



12 BIOGRAPHY. 

cause Fredrika had disappeared, looked for her every- 
where, and coming to the drawing-room, which she found 
locked, she knocked, calling to Fredrika to open the door. 
" Yes, immediately," answered Fredrika ; but it took some 
minutes before she unlocked the door ; probably she 
wanted first to finish her work. When she had unlocked 
the door, Lena went round the room to see what Fredrika 
had been doing, and was terrified when she discovered that 
|he had cut a large round hole in the middle of the silk 
covering of one of the large arm-chairs, and had poked a 
piece of her own dress, cut out of the front breadth, into 
the hole. 

With the knife she experimented upon the arms and 
legs of her dolls, to find out what they contained ; and one 
poor doll had to lose its head. She wanted to find out 
what was inside of it. When Fredrika had performed 
any cutting or carving, and Lena was ordered to go and 
find it out, Fredrika always used to follow her, silently and 
calmly, as if she had done no wrong; and when Lena had 
found out what she had cut and chopped to pieces, and be- 
gan to moralize, Fredrika walked up to Lena, stared at her 
and at her own handiwork, turned round and walked off 
without saying a word. If the discovery took too long, 
Fredrika lost her patience, and pointed silently in the di- 
rection in which Lena ought to go. 

One day Fredrika and I had each got two beautiful 
figures of French porcelain as presents from one of my 
mother's friends. Before evening, Fredrika had tried 
whether one of these figures would break if thrown upon 
the stone flags lying before the stove ; the brittleness of 
the other was tried upon a load of fire-wood, which the ser- 
vant was carrying into a room to make a fire. Of course, 
she succeeded in smashing them both ; but this did not in 
the least trouble her. Another day she came to my mother 
tendering . a penny, the only one she had left in her little 
purse, asking at the same time her forgiveness for having 



BIOGRAPHY. 13 

* 

broken a decanter and three glasses, for which she wished 
to make compensation with her penny. My mother could 
not help laughing. Fredrika got a slight scolding, and 
was allowed to keep her penny. 

Fredrika and I had each three dolls, with very hand- 
some wardrobes for them. As I was of a very quiet na- 
ture, and very orderly, my dolls were as carefully tended as 
if they had been little children, and I felt for them as a 
real mother. They were undressed every evening and put 
to bed, and were dressed again regularly every morning. 
Fredrika's dolls, on the contrary, were often much neg- 
lected. They remained occasionally dressed for a fort- 
night together ; and if they happened to be once undressed, 
they usually remained undressed for an equally long time, 
and were then lying about in their chemises in the corners 
of the nursery. At last she got quite tired of her dolls, 
and I, who used to pity them very much, undertook to at- 
tend to them ; but I got tired of this after some time, and 
complained that it was really too much for me to manage 
six children. Fredrika then made an agreement with little 
Hedda, that if she would take charge of her dolls, she 
should have a piece of gingerbread every time Fredrika 
got any, and also, now and then, a piece of confectionery ; 
but not every time that Fredrika got any, because she was 
very fond of it herself. Hedda held boldly out for the 
confectionery, and the matter was ultimately arranged to 
her satisfaction ; but Fredrika undertook to dress her dolls 
elegantly every time they were invited to a ball. 

Every Christinas Eve, our parents had the kindness to 
give us as much pleasure as possible. In the large draw- 
ing-room a Christmas table was set out, literally covered 
with all kinds of good things. Each child had its jul-hog, 
or yule-heap, of saffron-bread, buns, and wheaten cakes, 
and, besides, plates full of raisins, almonds, nuts, and 
sweetmeats ; and before every heap stood a three-branched 
wax candle. 



14 BIOGRAPHY. 

A great number of Christmas-boxes, wrapped up in paper 
and sealed, were thrown into the room by a masked figure 
with horns on its head, called the yule-buck. We children 
ran a race after the various parcels dancing about on 
the floor, and great was the delight when she whose name 
was written on the parcel happened to pick it up herself. 
That evening was not like any other evening in the whole 
year, and I never saw my parents so happy as at the hap- 
piness which they gave to their children. We on our 
part were inexpressibly delighted and grateful. All fear 
of our parents was gone ; we only ran about thanking 
them and kissing their hands for every new present we 
got. Besides many useful presents, we got also a great 
number of toys, which afforded us great delight during the 
whole of Christmas time ; but Fredrika soon began mak- 
ing her experiments, and long before the next Christmas 
all her beautiful playthings were gone. 

At eight years of age Fredrika wrote her first verses in 
French to the moon. She has unfortunately burnt them, 
and I remember only the first line : 

" 0, corps celeste de la Nature ! " 

A couple of years later, she composed a little ballad, 
which she also destroyed, but of which she introduced the 
first verse in " The Home," where she describes herself in 
Petrea's person, letting her compose the same. It is as 

follows : 

" In the fine palace Elfvakolasti, 
Situated in some part of Sverge, 
Once resided little Melanie, 
Only daughter of Count Stjerneberge." 

About this time she intended writing a poem, the title of 
which, written in large letters, was, " The Creation of the 
World." The creation of the world began with 

CHAOS. 

In clouds and gloomy darkness ever lying 
Was all the world before, 



BIOGRAPHY. 15 

And ever all in vain, the minutes onward flying, 

Expected that this darkness would be o'er. 

The world to-day with men o'erflowing 

Was then a thing of naught; 

And all our lovely starry heavens glowing, 

They then no light had got ; 

But He wa^s who has been ever, 

Who is, and ever shall be. 

"At this glimpse of light, the creation of the world was 
suspended," writes Fredrika in " The Home " ; " prob- 
ably doomed under Petrea's hand never to emerge out of 
Chaos." 

Amongst my papers and letters from Fredrika I have 
found an old slip of paper, on which, in her childhood, 
she had written a couple of verses to Baron Wrede on the 
occasion, as it seems from their contents, of some little fes- 
tival which she had arranged for him during one of his 
visits to Arsta. 

This occurred probably in 1811, when Fredrika was ten 
years old, because my aunt is not mentioned. She died in 
1810, and in 1811 Baron Wrede removed from Stockholm. 
At the top of the verses stands 

(AiR: La Biondina.) 

Flowers we here present, Your Lordship ! 
They 're the produce of Fredrikaberg. 
Flowers we here present, Your Lordship ! 
They have blossomed at Fredrikaberg. 
There we 've fruits and flowers ever, 
Winter, summer, failing never. 
'T is, indeed, a splendid place! 
Berries in whole hillocks growing, 
Are varied by flowery ling. 
Sand and gravel, mines o'erflowing, 
Will make you as rich as a king. 

(Repeat the second refrain.) 

Under lofty fir-trees' shadow 
Cows' and pigs' food can be had, ! 
Cows' and pigs' food can be had, ! 
Come, O ! come into these regions, 
Where your numerous virtues' prize, 



16 BIOGRAPHY. 

Wreaths of fir in countless legions, 
Wait you in your Paradise. 

(Repeat the second refrain.) 

Thus we greet you, Baron Wrede ! 
Great and powerful Lord Manorial. 
Thus we greet you, Baron Wrede ! 
Noble baron, this our present 
Can boast of little worth, 't is true. 
Give us yet assurance pleasant, 
That for our sakes 't is dear to you. 

" Fredrikaberg " was a stony hillock lying on the verge 
of fertile meadows. Fredrika got this hillock as a present 
from my father on her birthday, with full right of posses- 
sion. The previous year a similar hillock had been pre- 
sented to me, in a place where the nature of the soil al- 
lowed of laying out walks, and where my father had or- 
dered a large, round, wooden seat to be constructed. This 
hillock was inaugurated on my birthday by an invitation to 
several friends, who took their coffee there in the after- 
noon, after which my father made a speech announcing 
that this " Property " was to be called Charlotteberg, and 
should belong to his eldest daughter. I recollect well, 
even now, my delight. We had some presentiment that 
Fredrika, the following year, would also get such a hillock, 
to be presented to her with similar solemnities. 

She got the hillock ; but no wooden seat, no walks, no 
inauguration festival ; and then, for the first time, the 
thought arose within her that she was less loved. 

Amongst Fredrika's papers I found, in a very small old 
copy-book, a couple of verses which had escaped the fate 
of all her other earlier effusions, that were to be, as she 
used to call it, " destroyed as contraband." In this copy- 
book are found a few verses, remarkable only for being 
written by a little child, which one can ^see that she must 
then have been, from the great difference between the 
characters in which they were written and the verses 
which she wrote when ten years old. One might almost 



BIOGRAPHY. 17 

doubt that she was the authoress ; but at all events they 
prove that woman's dependent and subordinate position in 
life had already made a deep impression on her childish 
mind. They are as follows, without either a comma or full 
stop : 

can man not learn the art of saving 

could not our stronger sex be taught 

not from their poor wives all help craving 

to save their wages as they ought 

to give up cards and take to reading 
not novels no but books more meet 
and from mad scenes of mirth receding 
to fly from art to nature sweet 

It does really seem as if the good Fredrika was ready 
to become, even as a child, the champion of her sex. 
I have heard it said that Fredrika was not an agree- 
able child. A child myself, I was unable to judge. Very 
kind she was always ; " ready to give away indiscrim- 
inately the presents which had been given to her," as she 
says of Petrea in " The Home." In later years I found 
that her eyes were very handsome, thoughtful, and ex- 
pressing goodness and vivacity ; but the head was large 
in proportion to the small and slight figure ; and the nose 
filled up a large place in her physiognomy. Her nose 
would probably never have been so large if she had not, 
from her earliest childhood, been displeased with its form, 
and therefore had determined to improve it ; but all her 
experiments to this effect resulted in making her nose 
swell considerably, become larger and larger, and often 
very red. Fredrika had, when a child, an uncommonly 
low forehead. She had frequently heard my mother re- 
mark this, and she undertook, therefore, one day, to make 
it high, by cutting away the hair at the roots all round the 
forehead. While occupied with this operation, she heard 
my mother's step, and was as terrified as if she had com- 
mitted a crime. My mother, who did not at once perceive 



18 BIOGRAPHY. 

what Fredrika had been doing, probably thought that she 
looked unusually well, and said to her later in the day, 
" Your forehead is, after all, not so very low," and Fre- 
drika was enchanted with her successful handiwork. But 
in a few days the hair began to grow again, sticking out 
like bristles. Great was then her distress to find out how 
this was to be prevented in future, and Fredrika was 
obliged to walk about for some time with her bristles, until 
the hairs had grown so long that they could be seized with 
a pair of tweezers, when she tore them out, root and all. 
They continued, however, to grow; but Fredrika perse- 
vered patiently to pull them out, and produced ultimately 
in this way a fine high forehead, which became her much 
better than the low one which Nature had given her. 

Fredrika was already, as a child, very inquisitive and 
eager for information. She wanted to know every thing ; 
was very restless, and put all kinds of questions, especially 
on certain days, which I used to call her " inquiring days." 
" Bonne Amie " got tired, and told her to be quiet ; and 
.Lena also got tired, and gave her no other answer than 
" saucebox ! " Fredrika was occasionally excessively wild 
and frolicsome, and then again she would dissolve in tears, 
especially if she had been scolded, and scoldings she 
got, indeed, and plenty of them, particularly during our 
stay in the country. There we had permission to go out, 
and in our rambles Fredrika always managed to lose her 
pocket-handkerchief, gloves, or garters; or she tore her 
dress, or came home too late for dinner. She could never 
learn to be punctual, and in this my father was very strict ; 
although she had an unusually good memory while study- 
ing, yet she could never remember what was told her in 
daily life. She was very anxious to please her parents, 
and it grieved her deeply that she could not remember 
what they told he*r, and to see them displeased with her. 
Her childish freaks to burn her things, cut her clothes to 
pieces, and so on, brought upon her many a severe scold- 



BIOGRAPHY. 19 

ing: this was also the case with her obstinacy. It was 
one of her juvenile faults, as also to give saucy and pert 
answers, which always irritated my father, so that he be- 
came excited and angry, and not able to correct the delin- 
quent with gentleness. But poor Fredrika got indeed so 
many scoldings for mere trifles, that her mind became at 
times embittered. 

My mother felt annoyed at all this, and Fredrika always 
forgetting the reprimands which she continually got, my 
mother treated her rather severely, believing that this 
would improve matters, and that, as Fredrika had an ex- 
cellent memory for learning, she ought to have an equally 
good memory in every thing that was told her. Strange 
as it may appear, that memory can be as it were twofold ; 
such was the case here, and Fredrika could not help it, 
that every thing which she was told to remember was for- 
gotten a moment afterwards. 

Notwithstanding my mother's severity, Fredrika enter- 
tained for some time a really passionate love for her, and 
tried every means to please her. My mother was always 
very elegant in her deportment and toilet ; she had ex- 
ceedingly agreeable manners, and Fredrika's admiring 
gaze followed her every movement. 

My father was very taciturn and reserved, and his tem- 
per was melancholy and gloomy. During the disastrous 
war which was raging in Finland in 1808, and ended in 
its being lost to Sweden, he was more gloomy than ever. 
In the evenings he was in the habit of walking incessantly 
sometimes for two or three hours together up and 
down in the dark, in the dining-room in town, for he 
would not have the candles lighted ; and we often imag- 
ined that we heard him weeping. " Bonne Amie's " room 
was next to the dining-room, and as long as my father was 
walking there, we did not venture to go through it. When 
tea was brought in at six o'clock, he broke off his walk, 
but he resumed it as soon as he had finished tea. 



20 BIOGRAPHY. 

One day in 1809, while the war was still raging in Fin- 
land, a note was brought to my father while we were still 
at dinner. The contents seemed to surprise him, but he 
said nothing, and put the note in his pocket. Early on the 
following morning he entered " Bonne Amie's " room, after 
we had gone in to read, and asked her to let him have the 
two elder children for an hour or two. 

" Bonne Amie " of course gave her consent at once, but 
seemed to be as much surprised as we girls. We followed 
my father, and when we had got into his private room, we 
heard a knock at the door of the outer room. All this ap- 
peared to us rather awful, and we did not know what to 
think of it. My father opened the door, and a man-servant 
in the livery of a Jagare-chasseur entered, saying that he 
had brought with him four soldiers of the guards, carrying 
two chests which he had orders to deliver to my father, 
handing him at the same time a sealed packet, with com- 
pliments from Count L m, who would call upon my 

father about dinner-time. Two large iron-hooped chests 
were then carried in, which were placed in my father's 
outer room. When the Jagare had gone, my father 
double-locked and bolted, first the outer door leading to 
the hall, then the double doors, and lastly the door between 
his two rooms, all the time in profound silence and to our 
great amazement. This done, my father broke the sealed 
packet, took out of it two large keys, and applied them to 
the chests, which he unlocked and opened. They were full 
of small linen bags, and on each was written the initials 
of my lather's name, C. F. B. We were now told to take 
out the bags and place them in rows upon the floor. 
These small bags were very heavy. When they had all 
been taken out, my father counted them, untying the string 
of one of them. We then saw that they contained large 
silver coin. My father then opened the door of a large 
closet or wardrobe, telling us to place all the bags in it ; 
they were so many in number that, when piled one upon 



BIOGRAPHY. 21 

the other, they formed a large heap. When all this was 
done, my father locked the door to the wardrobe, took out 
the key, patted us, and told us not to mention what we had 
seen to any body, except to " Bonne Amie ; " not to Lena, 
lest the little children should hear of it. We promised 
this, and kept our word. 

Before the end of the year we heard it said, that, during 

the height of the war, Count Gustavus L m had put 

the royal seal upon these chests, and had brought them 
over with him to Sweden, and that they contained the pur- 
chase money for a foundry and an estate in Finland, which 
my father had sold. 

This or the following year, I am not quite sure which 
my father bought the estate of Nynas, in the parish ot 
Osmo, probably with the contents of the linen bags which 
we had taken out of the chests. My parents took up their 
abode at Nynas the ensuing summer. The situation was 
exceedingly beautiful ; but the principal dwelling-house, 
old and very decayed, contained only one floor, consisting 
of low rooms, so very different to those which we had been 
accustomed to at Arsta. 

One thing very delightful at Nynas was, that two glass 
doors opened out of a very large dining-room to the gar- 
den, into which we descended by two low steps. At the 
back of the dwelling-house was a spacious court-yard, 
planted all round with high, shady lime-trees, and opposite 
it was a beautiful chapel, in which divine service was held 
every Sunday. An arm of the Baltic came up close to 
one side of the fine court-yard, and we had there a splen- 
did view of the wooded shores, and in the background, at 
some distance, was an island covered with stately oaks. 
Oh ! how beautiful it was there, and on Sundays how sol- 
emn ! Then, early in the morning, the people belonging 
to the estate were all assembled in the court-yard clad in 
their holiday dress; they seated themselves, some upon a 
row of benches placed on that side which was nearest to 



22 BIOGRAPHY. 

the water, and others under the lime-trees upon the grassy 
stone terraces. Waiting for the arrival of the clergyman 
and the ringing of the bells, the smartly dressed peasant 
women sat holding in their hands large bouquets of " south- 
ernwood." After the service, the clergyman came to see. 
my parents. It was a custom from old times that he 
should dine at the Manor-house. 

My father had purchased Nynas of Count Mauritz Arm- 
felt. I saw this favorite of Gustavus III., famous for his 
personal beauty, his wit, and his political intrigues, when 
he came one day to Nynas. He was then already an 
elderly man, powerfully built, rather stout, but with an 
exceedingly beautiful head. My parents endeavored to 
persuade him to remain, at any rate, to dinner ; but he de- 
clined their invitation, demanding only some luncheon, of 
which he would not partake in the dining-room, but alone, 
in his own former private apartment. This was a large 
room, and on the long wall hung a full-size portrait of the 
late King Gustavus Adolphus IV. 

Immediately after luncheon, Count Armfelt returned to 
Stockholm. There was something so strange in his visit to 
Nynas, that it gave rise to much surprise and many sur- 
mises. I heard subsequently that being a zealous adherent 
of the deposed king and his family, he did not consider 
himself quite safe in his native country, and that imme- 
diately after his return to the capital he had taken up his 
abode in the hotel of the Russian ambassador, Count 
Tuchtelen, where he remained until he went over to Fin- 
land. 

Count Armfelt had left an homme d'affaires at Nynas, 
who was to stay there over the summer, in order to settle 
all the accounts relating to the sale of the estate. 

He was a Frenchman, an old Abbe, by name Gredaine. 
The good, hoary-headed Abbe soon became charmed with 
the little, witty, lively Fredrika, and said to her one day, 
" Mademoiselle Frederique, je vous fais mon heritiere uni- 



BIOGRAPHY. 23 

verselle." The Abbe had had a summer-house fitted up 
for himself, which rested upon wheels, so that it could be 
moved wherever he wished ; at present it was standing in 
the garden in the shade of beautiful trees, and he now 
made a present of it to Fredrika. She jumped and 
danced about with delight, patted and thanked the good 
Abbe, and was almost beside herself with joy. The good 
old man was quite as happy at seeing her happiness, and 
from that moment, whenever he met Fredrika he always 
repeated his " Mademoiselle Frederique, je vous fais mon 
heritiere universelle." 

The Abbe dined frequently with my parents, and on 
such occasions the important question, relating to every 
thing belonging to the summer-house, sofas, chairs, table, 
&c., &c., was discussed in French, and when Fredrika was 
told that it all belonged to her, there was a fresh outburst 
of delight. After some time, and when the novelty had 
worn off a little, and the Abbe was one day again dining 
with us, Fredrika walked up to him asking if he had noth- 
ing else to give her. The good Abbe pretended to be 
angry, although it was easy to see that it was difficult for 
him not to laugh, and exclaimed, " Comment Mademoiselle 
Frederique, vous etes une ingrate ! je vous fais cadeau de 
Ja plus jolie petite maison du monde, toute meublee, et vous 
n'etes pas contente." Peace was, however, soon restored, 
and when the Abbe added, " Attelez quatre chevaux a 
votre petite maison, Mademoiselle Frederique, et vous 
pouvez aller au bout du monde," Fredrika took this quite 
seriously, and invited me to be her travelling companion. 

The happiest memories of my childhood I carry with me 
from Nynas. I do not know whether Fredrika enjoyed as 
much as I the beautiful situation of this estate and the 
charming scenery of its environs ; but I remember never 
having felt so grateful for every thing good, and so happy as 
then. So much singing of birds I have never listened to 
as there, and Fredrika was as much delighted at it as I, 



24 BIOGRAPHY. 

and at the delicious fragrance which the stately lime-trees 
diffused while they were in blossom. Grateful still for 
these moments of enjoyment, I remember even now many 
a beautiful Sunday morning on the other days of the 
week we were not allowed to go out until one o'clock 
when we used to wander through the park down to the 
sea, or sit under the old-fashioned porch facing the court- 
yard, looking at the church people as they assembled. 

My mother, who looked upon us as too much of children 
to be able to understand a sermon, would not allow us 
to go to church. This was a great loss both to Fredrika 
and me, because we were then really seriously disposed, and 
wished so much to attend the service. But we soon fell 
upon the idea of seating ourselves upon a grass-sofa behind 
a hedge of lilacs. 

Shaded by beautiful birch-trees, this sofa stood close to 
the chapel, on that side of it where the altar was placed. 
Seated there, we could hear the whole service, and we did 
not leave our place of concealment until the congregation 
had left the church. 

Fredrika's tenth birthday, the 17th of August, was cele- 
brated as all birthdays in our family, with a gouter, or lunch- 
eon, consisting of all kinds of nice things, tea, lemonade, 
tea-cakes, sweetmeats, fruits, &c., &c. During the preced- 
ing winter I had conceived a bright idea. Fredrika had a 
real passion for sweetmeats, and I had proposed to Hedda 
and Claes that every time when, in the course of the 
winter, we should get any sweetmeats, we should eat only 
two or three of them each, and keep the remainder, in 
order to collect a large quantity for Fredrika on her birth- 
day. I undertook to take care of the treasure. 

They agreed at once to my proposal, but when it came 
to be realized, it frequently met with many difficulties. 
The little children wanted to eat up all that they got, and 
sometimes they seemed determined to besiege and storm 
the wooden box in which I had treasured the sweetmeats. 



BIOGRAPHY. 25 

They were not quiet until I had given them each one, 
for all my remonstrances and beautiful speeches were in 
vain. At last came the 17th of August, and I took Hedda 
and Claes with me when I was going to put the sweet- 
meats upon the dining-room table, which was decorated 
with flowers and leaves in honor of the occasion. 

To my great astonishment, I found that the contents of 
the wooden box filled four large plates, which were placed 
triumphantly upon the table. My parents were very much 
astonished, for nobody but " Bonne Amie " had been let 
into the grand secret. 

They caressed and praised me and the little ones, who 
now made up for lost time. My mother's brother, who had 
spent a few days at Nynas, entered in the midst of the re- 
joicings of the children. 

Fredrika was delighted and happy on account of all the 
good things, and my uncle asked what was the matter ? 
When the secret was revealed to him, he exclaimed, " They 
must be delicious, indeed, after being warehoused a whole 
year ! " Then the truth flashed upon my mind, and I un- 
derstood at once that the sweetmeats must be too old. All 
the almond confectionery was as hard as stone, and had to 
be pounded in a mortar ; but then, we thought, it tasted 
deliciously. 

In the autumn, it was very damp at Nynas. I believe 
that the fine, high trees, with their rich foliage surrounding 
the old wooden mansion, were the cause of this. My par- 
ents, therefore, returned to Arsta early every autumn, I 
believe in September, where we remained a couple of 
months before we went into winter-quarters in town. 

Extensive repairs and improvements in the whole upper 
storey in the mansion at Arsta had been commenced and 
were carried on until 1814, when the elegant and comfort- 
able suite of apartments was finished. 

We were very sorry to leave the country, for there we 
were allowed to go out. My parents, when in town, had 



26 BIOGRAPHY. 

always two pair of carriage-horses in their stables during 
the winter. My mother's, a pair of stately, beautiful " Isa- 
belles," were used by her alone when paying visits, or 
when, with one of her friends, she took a drive out through 
" Norrtull," in those days the favorite drive of the fashion- 
able world. My father always drove his fiery, splendid 
black horses to run down to Arsta, or sometimes when he 
went out for an airing, which he preferred doing in the 
afternoon at dusk. He then always took two of the chil- 
dren with him, in order that they might breathe the fresh 
air, of which, however, they could not get much in a covered 
sledge with only one window let down. We did not par- 
ticularly enjoy these excursions. Scarcely a word was then 
spoken, and we always went my father's favorite road, 
from Regerings-gatan," where we then lived, past St. 
John's church-yard, and out through " Roslags-tull." 

Between the age of nine and twelve, Fredrika and I 
studied the English and German languages; made great 
progress in history, geography, &c., &c., and underwent reg- 
ularly every year an examination before my father's early 
friend, the Rector of St. Clara's Church, afterwards Bishop 
Franzen. He was pleased with our studies in general, but 
astonished at the progress which we had made in geog- 
raphy. This we owed to " Bonne Amie's " excellent method 
of teaching. On the map lying before us, she made us a 
present of empires and kingdoms in those parts of the 
world which we were studying for the time. When, for 
instance, I got France and Fredrika England, we were 
very anxious to become thoroughly acquainted wi:h all the 
provinces, towns, and rivers, bays and boundaries of the 
country which we were governing, and this afforded us a 
great deal of pleasure. But Fredrika always knew all the 
produce of her kingdom much better than its boundaries ; 
the latter she could never remember. 

Fredrika had an innate aversion to all kinds of needle- 
work. She turned upside down or inside out what she had 



BIOGRAPHY. 27 

to sew, constantly lost meshes when she was knitting, and 
would never take them up. When she dropped any meshes, 
she did not say a word, but, quick as lightning, she threw 
the stocking under her chair and ran out of the room. 
" Bonne Amie " used to be very much amused at this 
manoeuvre. We knew perfectly well what was the matter, 
when Fredrika, silently and in haste, made off, and the 
stocking was lying under her chair. 

41 Bonnie Amie " had in her youth learnt to make very 
beautiful things in pasteboard. In order to amuse us, she 
taught us in the long autumn evenings, after we came to 
town, the art of making small work-boxes, baskets, needle- 
cases, &c., &c., which, succeeding more or less, were always 
admired by us ; and to educate us, she proposed that we 
should sell these things, and, for the proceeds, buy stuff for 
shirts and clothes which we were to make up for poor chil- 
dren and distribute at Christmas. This proposal gave us a 
great deal of pleasure ; and thus " Bonne Amie " gained 
her object, to create in us a desire to assist those who 
were in want ; to gain, by working, the means of doing so ; 
or, by denying ourselves things that were not indispensably 
necessary, to apply our means in quarters where they were 
better wanted. We were astonished at the ready sale 
which our work met with, which we were told had been 
sent out to be sold. It was long before we discovered that 
my mother and " Bonne Amie " had bought most of it. 

During three winters Fredrika, Hedda, and I took les- 
sons in dancing, which delighted us very much. Fredrika 
was so weak about this time, that when, at the beginning 
of every lesson, she had to curtsey, standing behind a 
chair in all the five positions, she was often on the point of 
falling down ; and her small feet were so soft and lissom 
that our teacher, when she was going to bend them, fancied 
they were broken to pieces. 

It was the fashion in those days to make beautiful pas 
and entrechats when dancing quadrilles, as the modern fran- 



28 BIOGRAPHY. 

gaise was then called ; and young ladies learnt to dance the 
gavotte, the shawl-dance, and a kind of dance with a tambour 
de Basque, from which this dance derived its name. A 
first-rate danseuse from the opera came to our house twice 
a week, accompanied by an old gentleman, who played the 
violin while we were dancing, in order to teach us to keep 
time. This old gentleman stood in need of much patience, 
but this he had not. He became angry when, during every 
lesson, he had to play the same reprise over and over 
again ; because we could never be ready with our steps 
when he began playing. He beat time with his foot louder 
and louder, then he grumbled in a half-suppressed voice to 
the tune of his violin, and now and then we heard him ex- 
claim, as if to himself, " Devil's children ! " We were very 
much offended at the old man's impoliteness ; we dared not 
complain of it to our parents, but spoke, as usual, to " Bonne 
Amie." who gave us the prudent advice to do our best to 
fall into time at once, and to pretend not to hear what the 
old man was saying when he lost his temper. 

I believe it must have been about this time, or when 
Fredrika was between nine and ten years old, that my par- 
ents, one beautiful day in spring, made an excursion with 
some friends to Skuro, a royal domain famous for its 
beautiful park. Before dinner, which was ordered at the 
neighboring hotel, the company took a stroll through some 
part of the extensive park, the intention being to take a 
longer walk through it after dinner ; but after having 
sauntered about for some time, Fredrika was missing. We 
all returned at once to search for her, shouting her name 
in all directions, but in vain ; Fredrika was not to be seen. 
Unacquainted with the large extent of the park, we did not 
venture to separate, for fear that any more of our party 
might be lost. It was, therefore, determined that my 
mother should return, with the greater part of the com- 
pany, to the hotel, and from thence send out people to 
search for the lost one. Only my father, one of his friends, 



BIOGRAPHY. 29 

and myself continued to look for her, and to call her by 
name in another direction, along a path which we had 
crossed before, but which she perhaps might have followed. 
We soon came to more cross-roads, and having wandered 
about a long while, shouting her name, my father was get- 
ting fatigued, and was just on the point of returning to the 
hotel, when suddenly, at the turn of the road, we saw Fre- 
drika walking quietly along. As soon as she espied my 
father, she ran up to him, exclaiming, 

" Oh, papa, papa, I have seen Pan, the sylvan god ! " 

" What do you mean by that ? " asked my father. 

"Why, he stands yonder," replied Fredrika, "playing 
his flute. I asked a strange gentleman, whom I met, to 
tell me who it was, and he said it was the wood-god Pan." 

But Fredrika's delight at her new acquaintance, the syl- 
van god, was of very short duration ; for now followed re- 
proaches and scoldings for having so thoughtlessly strayed 
away from the company, who had been searching for her 
more than a couple of hours. We returned to the hotel ; 
the elder ladies were fatigued and not inclined for any 
further walk, and we went back to town earlier than we 
intended doing. 

In the spring of 1813 we returned to Arsta. My father 
had sold the beautiful Nynas, to my great sorrow and re- 
gret. He found it too troublesome to attend to the man- 
agement of two large estates. 

Shortly after our arrival at Arsta, a strange gentleman 
called upon my parents with an unexpected message. The 
" Sodermanland Regiment " had been ordered to embark 
on board a transport at Dalaro, to proceed, in company 
with several other regiments, to Germany, and this gentle- 
man had received orders, I do not know from whom, to 
request that the officers of the regiment might be quartered 
at Arsta. My father, of course, willingly gave his consent, 
and in the following week there was a great deal of stir 
and bustle at Arsta, ordinarily so quiet. No less than ten 



30 BIOGRAPHY. 

officers, and amongst them the commander, General R , 

were quartered at the mansion, together with the band, and 
one thousand men were quartered in the villages and farms 
belonging to the estate. 

We children thought this exceedingly delightful. Every 
morning and evening the reveille and tattoo were sounded in 
the spacious court-yard. My father renewed his acquaint- 
ance with an early friend, Lieutenant-Colonel H . They 

had studied together in Gottingen, and had not met since. 
This company remained more than three weeks at Arsta. 
Payment was made to cottagers and peasants for the com- 
mon men. I remember well that there was also a question 
of remunerating my father ; but this he would not listen 

to. I remember also General R being very much 

annoyed at not receiving orders to embark his men, and 
that he went two or three times to Stockholm to inquire 
how matters stood and push them on ; but he always re- 
turned vexed, apologizing to my parents for all the trouble 
which he and his officers in voluntarily o gave them. 

When all these guests were gone, Arsta relapsed again 
into its usual quiet and silence. We children missed 
especially the military band, and not hearing the reveille 
and tattoo, and after that the solemn " chorum," the sing- 
ing of a psalm or evening hymn. 

Twice a week a messenger was sent to town with the 
produce of the estate, and on his return we received letters 
and newspapers. My father read these latter aloud after 
supper. They were full of news from the theatre of war. 
Most of the European nations rose to grapple with the 
hitherto invincible Napoleon, who was now retreating after 
his defeat and enormous losses in Russia. Under the 
command of the Crown-Prince of Sweden, Bernadotte, in 
whom the nations saw one of their liberators, a part of the 
Swedish army had crossed over to Germany. 

Then new ideas and feelings were awakened in Fre- 
drika. She wept* bitterly for not having been born a man, 



BIOGRAPHY. 31 

so that she could have joined her countrymen to fight 
against the general disturber of peace and oppressor of 
nations ; she wanted to fight for her native country ; 
longed to distinguish herself to win renown and glory. 
She felt that she would not be wanting in courage, if she 
could only get over to Germany. There she would dis- 
guise herself; perhaps be made page to the Crown-Prince. 
With her head full of these dreams, and how, to begin 
with, she was to get to Stockholm, she one day took her 
little shawl upon her arm, and set out upon the high road 
to the capital, in the hope that some chance but of what 
kind she did not know might favor her design. She got 
no farther this time than to the so-called " red gate," a 
short distance from Arsta. Thence she returned home, 
unhappy that she had failed in her attempt, and revealed 
to me in the evening all her plans. I prayed her by all 
means not to entertain such a silly idea, representing to 
her that she could do nothing as a warrior ; and I spoke of 
the sorrow which she would cause our parents. But she 
was not at all convinced that she could not, with the cour- 
age which she felt herself to possess, distinguish herself in 
war ; and once again in the summer she set out, trusting 
that chance this time would be more favorable to her. 

She continued her march about a mile. Here she re- 
mained standing for nearly half an hour, in the expectation 
of seeing some family with whom she might be allowed to 
go to town. Disappointed in this hope, she returned 
home. " No carriage, not even a cat," had she seen during 
her walk. A long time did these warlike notions occupy 
her mind, but at last they gradually died away. 

In the large dining-room in my parents' house in town, 
a luncheon-table was always spread for my father at eleven 
o'clock. It stood in a corner near the door opening from 
" Bonne Amie's " room. Upon this table, covered with 
several delicacies on small dishes, we trespassed on several 
occasions. We suffered afterwards many pangs of con- 



32 BIOGRAPHY. 

science ; but this did not prevent us sinning again when 
the temptation offered. Deeply repentant, as if we had 
been guilty of some dark crime, we hastened always to 
confess our sin to " Bonne Amie." 

On Sundays we had permission to run about and play in 
the dining-room. One day Fredrika said to us, " Now we 
shall play at theatre." We placed some chairs along one 
side of the room. " Now, Charlotte, Hedda, and Claes 
must sit upon those chairs and pretend to be asleep, and I 
shall run across the stage." We did so ; but, all remain- 
ing silent a good while after we had heard Fredrika run 
across the stage, we looked up, and exclaimed simultane- 
ously, "Ah, Fredrika ! " There was Fredrika standing at 
the luncheon-table, swallowing as fast as she could what 
my father had left on the sundry dishes. 

Fredrika's childish desire to cut things to pieces in 
order to examine and experimentalize upon them, had by 
this time given way to a desire to try practical jokes and 
harmless tricks ; and nobody was so frequently her : butt as 

my brother's tutor, the good Mr. R . " Bonne Amie " 

and Mr. R used often to play at chess, and fell always 

to disputing during, as well as after, the game. " Bonne 

Amie" could not bear to have Mr. R capture the 

pieces which she had exposed, and Mr. R - remon- 
strated and tried to prove that the game would never fin- 
ish unless he captured all the pieces which " Bonne Amie " 
had endangered ; and after the game there were long dis- 
cussions how he or she might have avoided becoming 
checkmate. Fredrika availed herself of these opportu- 
nities to play her tricks. One day, while Mr. R was 

standing demonstrating before "Bonne Amie," Fredrika 
took a heavy leaden pincushion, belonging to my mother, 

stole behind Mr. R , and dropped it quietly into one of 

the pockets of his dress-coat. His coat was drawn all on 

one side, and Mr. R looked quite woful, but did not 

take any notice of it. Fredrika was very much astonished, 



BIOGRAPHY. 33 

and fancied that he did not feel the weight of the leaden 
cushion, which dragged his coat all on one side. She was 

strengthened .in this belief when Mr. R , bowing as 

usual, said " Good night ; " and when, the following morning 
at breakfast, he did not mention a word about the cushion, 
Fredrika got frightened, and imagined that there must 

have been a hole in Mr. R 's pocket, and that he had 

lost my mother's pincushion without observing it, in going 
up-stairs. She did not know what to do to find out the 

matter, and at last went up to Mr. R , asking him 

if he did not see a pincushion somewhere ? "A pin- 
cushion ! " said Mr. R , with great difficulty trying to 

keep from laughing. " What pincushion ? " It now came 
to an explanation between him and Fredrika, who confessed 
what she had done, wondering that he had not felt the 
weight of the heavy pincushion in his pocket, saying that 

there surely must be a hole in it. Mr. R went to 

fetch the cushion, which he returned to Fredrika. Many 
a time Afterwards have we been amused when we remem- 
bered this trick of Fredrika's, and her anxiety about the 
lost cushion. 

Another time, amongst the many, when " Bonne Amie " 

was disputing with Mr. R , after having finished their 

game at chess, Fredrika broke the cotton with which she 
was knitting a stocking, took the ball, and fastened the end 

of the string with a pin to Mr. R 's coat. When he 

began walking about the room, the ball was rolling after 
him ; but Fredrika could not understand why he kept con- 
stantly walking in a circle, and always round her, so that 
he entangled her feet in the cotton. It was a good while 

before she became aware that Mr. R had observed 

her trick, and wanted to punish her for it in his good-nat- 
ured and jovial way. 

" Bonne Amie " had promised us that at the age of fif- 
teen we should be allowed to read aloud to her some good 
novels in the evenings, after we had finished our lessons for 
3 



34 BIOGRAPHY. 

the day. In order that we both might share this great 
pleasure, she let Fredrika read with me, although one year 
younger than myself; and Fredrika was beyond measure 
happy, when, on my fifteenth birthday, we began " Les 
Petits Emigres," by Madame de Genlis. We were not 
permitted to read more than half an hour each at a time, 
and for this hour we longed the whole day. After having 
gone through " Les Petits Emigres," we read Miss Bur- 
ney's interesting and cleverly written novels, " Camilla," 
" Evelina," and " Cecilia." abounding, however, as I after- 
wards discovered, in romantic adventures. 

How little profitable such reading is for young girls, 
especially at our age, and so entirely without experience as 
we were then, soon became manifest by all the fancies and 
imaginations which we got into our heads about ourselves 
and what might happen to us. We only longed to escape 
from our convent-like seclusion at Arsta. We did not at 
all doubt that, when we came out in the world, we should 
become the heroines of romance, and, like the heroines in 
novels, find many admirers, and meet with many advent- 
ures of which we had not even dreamt previously. Who 
could answer for it that even now, before we came out in 
the world, some extraordinary adventure might not happen 
at Arsta. During the whole autumn, I was listening every 
evening in the dusk, to hear a ladder raised against the 
wall under one of the windows of my room ; and, although 
the escape down the high ladder might be a break-neck 
affair, yet I felt a kind of foreboding that, like the lovely 
Indiana in " Camilla," I should be carried off, I did not 
know by whom, this I could never guess, but the hero 
would perhaps afterwards discover and declare himself. 

Fredrika had also forebodings of abductions : either she 
or myself was to be the object ; but neither did she know 
l>y whom we were to be carried off; she was sure that it 
was going to happen in broad daylight, on a Sunday, on 
our way from church, to which we drove, as usual, accom- 



BIOGRAPHY. 35 

panied by " Bonne Amie," to attend divine service. Fre- 
drika was, therefore, sitting in the carriage, looking with 
eager attention, first to the right, then to the left, to see 
whether any horsemen would be rushing out of the forest, 
commanding the coachman to stop. When, therefore, 
Sunday after Sunday, we came back to Arsta with- 
out any adventure, Fredrika found herself greatly disap- 
pointed. 

After having been locked up the following winter, as 

O O ' 

usual, in Stockholm, Fredrika and I felt a greater desire 
than ever to walk out and take exercise in the fresh air ; 
but how this was to be managed we were at a loss to un- 
derstand. We discussed the matter together, and it was 
determined that we should ask my mother's permission to 
go out occasionally, at all events twice a week. With a 
palpitating heart I preferred my request. My mother an- 
swered that she did not like it, and that it would not look 
well for young girls to go out alone in the streets ; that if 
we were in want of exercise, we might stand behind a 
chair, hold on to the back, and jump. When I came back 
to Fredrika with this answer, she was in despair, but what 
was to be done ? I proposed that we should begin the 
jumping that same evening, after we had said " Good- 
night" to our parents and come into our room. We did 
so, and that night I made two hundred jumps behind my 
chair, resting now and then for a moment ; but Fredrika 
had not performed one hundred before she gave in, began 
to cry, went to bed and fell asleep, glad in sleep to forget 
every thing. I continued jumping almost every evening, 
and persuaded Fredrika now and then to try the same, 
fancying that it did me a great deal of good, which it also 
might have done her, being deprived as she was of other 
exercise, but I could seldom induce her to do so. In one 
thing, however, we agreed, namely, that no novel writers 
ever would fall upon the idea of letting their heroines jump 
behind chairs, by way of taking exercise. They would, no 



36 BIOGRAPHY. 

doubt have hit upon a more agreeable manner of gaining 
their object. Meanwhile I found myself thriving very well 
under this regime of jumping, and continued it this and 
the following winter. It had the same effect upon me as 
two cups of elder tea, and I slept excellently. 

At the age of sixteen I was preparing for Confirmation. 
Fredrika was not considered steady enough to take this 
step, but she read together with me for the Rev. T. Colli- 
ander, curate of Adolphus Fredric's church, a man at that 
time highly esteemed as a clergyman and teacher. He 
gave us religious instruction in my parents' house. The 
following year he prepared Fredrika for Confirmation, and 
I was always present as a listener. He was a good, sin- 
cere, honest Christian, and was often moved to tears while 
explaining to us the doctrine of the Atonement. The sum 
total of his teaching was this : that one ought blindly to 
believe what one could not understand, and try to live 
according to Christ's divine doctrine. 

Fredrika and I had, when children, read an excellent 
book called " Gumal and Lina," written for children with a 
view of imparting to them the first ideas of religion, by 
Caspar Friederich Lossius, deacon of Erfurth, and trans- 
lated by Broocman. The latter died soon after having 
finished the first volume of this work, and the two last vol- 
umes had not been translated into Swedish. We deter- 
mined to translate them, and we did so during the time 
that we prepared for our First Communion. Fredrika took 
upon herself the second and I the third volume. After 
two years this work, which had interested us in the highest 
degree, was finished, and the following Christmas pre- 
sented by us to our father. This touched him so deeply, 
that he embraced us both with tears, and the following 
year he had the work printed and published at his own 
expense. 

I had " come out " a year before Fredrika, and I was 
allowed to go to balls and suppers, at which latter there 



BIOGRAPHY. 37 

was then dancing, which afforded me a great deal of pleas- 
ure. * Fredrika made her entrance into the world the fol- 
lowing year ; but she found less pleasure there than I did ; 
she was not always invited to dance, and therefore soon got 
tired of these gayeties. But she was, on the other hand, 
very much interested in the many good plays which my 
parents were kind enough to let us go to see. All this was 
new to us, for we had not been to the theatre until we had 
completed our sixteenth year. 

In the winter of 1817 a young gentleman, born and set- 
tled in France, was introduced into my parents' house. On 
my birthday in May he gave me a charade to guess. The 
significant word, full of mighty moment, had a double 
meaning. The following morning I found a note lying 
upon my bed. I opened it and read these lines : 

" All grandeur renounce, choose virtue and worth, 

So taught the wise men of the ages: 
Then let us while choosing our lot on this earth 

Adopt the advice of the sages. 
For grandeur resembles the foam of Champagne, 

It flies as we gaze on its swelling: 
Blest he who renounces Chateaux en Espagne 

For peace in a northern dwelling." 

These verses were in Fredrika's handwriting, but signed 
" J. P. Mall en," the name of an old man at that time known 
in Stockholm as a writer of occasional poems. 

After our Confirmation, my father wished Fredrika and 
me to go through a regular training in household duties, 
and to learn the art of cooking. In the beginning we had 
each our week, when,* under the superintendence of the 
housekeeper, we had to give out to the cook every thing 
that was required for the various meals, and to see that 
nothing was wanting at table. Later in the summer a 
clever superior cook was engaged from Stockholm, and as 
we were to learn to prepare the most delicate, dishes, we 
had a feast every day. My father, who was very fond of 
the luxuries of the table, thought this delightful ; and we, 



38 BIOGRAPHY. 

especially myself, found it very pleasant to prepare the 
choicest viands. Many times in my life have I gratefully 
acknowledged my parents' wise idea, to let us learn thor- 
oughly all that belongs to the management of a house 
and household. A wife, who has learned all this in her 
youth, becomes quite independent of her servants' igno- 
rance and will have every thing in her house good, but less 
expensive than if she had no experience in these matters. 
For two summers the Stockholm cook stayed with us at 
Arsta, a couple of months each time. 

It was now determined in family council that we should 
stu^y the art of musical composition and thorough-bass, 
and that I should learn to sing, as I had a good voice. 
The Italian language' being necessary in singing, we had 
studied it several years under the guidance of an Italian 
settled in Stockholm, a Signor Cartoni, who had at last 
advanced so far in his knowledge of languages, that he 
could not speak any language correctly. We studied 
thorough-bass under a very eminent musician, Professor 
Strurve, formerly a physician, who had given up his prac- 
tice in order to occupy himself exclusively with music, and 
now we were to try our skill at composition. 

Fredrika wrote a theatrical piece in one act, called " The 
Poet," and I composed the music to it. When my teacher 
was going to play the overture, he exclaimed, " What a 
very difficult piece ! it is really such a muddle I shall never 
be able to play it ! " He expressed more satisfaction with 
my music to a couple of romances, with which I was de- 
lighted myself. This masterpiece,." The Poet," was to be 
performed on my father's birthday, the 2d of April, 1818. 
Several of my parents' friends and acquaintances were in- 
vited by my mother to tea. After tea, the company sat 
down in the dining-room upon chairs placed in rows ; the 
doors to on.e of the drawing-rooms, which had been fitted 
up as a theatre, were thrown open, and I was discovered 
sitting at the piano playing my exceedingly difficult over- 



BIOGRAPHY. * 39 

ture. I broke down at least three tinies, and long before I 
had finished, I was ready to burst out crying. 

Then came the comedy, which has since unfortunately 
been lost ; but the first verse of one of the airs, written 
between the leaves of the music-book which I have still in 
my possession, is as follows : 

" To woman, issuing from All- Father's hand, 
The fruits of glory were denied; this was her duty: 
The soothing balm of comfort to dispense, to stand 
By grief with sympathy, and grace life by her beauty." 

My father, as usual at these little entertainments, was 
touched and delighted, and patted and thanked us chil- 
dren. He was very fond of music, and since Fredrika and 
I had now, for our age, become very good performers on 
the piano, he liked us to play to him every day some of his 
favorite pieces. This we always did with pleasure. But 
he now also wished to let other people hear how clever .his 
daughters were, and this did them no good. I shone with 
the overture to " The Caliph of Bagdad ; " Fredrika, with 
<l La Bataille de Fleurus," and we both strove to paint 
the booming of the cannon, the drums, and the trumpet- 
clangor in " The Battle of Prague," as powerfully as pos- 
sible. My father enjoyed the praise which was showered 
upon us ; then we had to produce our landscape-drawings 
and our flowers in crayon. This had no good influence 
upon us, least of all upon Fredrika, whose innate desire to 
be praised, to win renown and glory, was stimulated to such 
a degree, that she often found herself really unhappy when 
she thought she had no chance of distinguishing herself. 
I had not the same desire, but began to be fond of admira- 
tion, and to entertain a high opinion of myself, partly on 
account of the praises which I received, partly on account 
of the greater tenderness which my father always had 
shown me, as compared with the other children. Fredrika 
had an instinctive feeling of independence, which mani- 
fested itself more and more as she advanced in years. 



40 BIOGRAPHY. 

This jarred upon my' father's temper, and became the cause 
t>f many unhappy moments for her. 

These exhibitions of our talents were always held in 

o * 

town, for nobody was ever invited out to Arsta. 

Although Arsta was situated at a distance of only twenty 
English miles from the metropolis, our family led there, 
nevertheless, a very solitary life, totally separated from the 
outer world. If the milk-carriers had not brought out 
news of what was going on in the neighboring capital, we 
might have imagined that we were distant from it hundreds 
of miles, in some very remote province. My father felt 
embarrassed ' when receiving visitors in the country, and 
would therefore never invite any body to see us while we 
were there. The Rector and Curate of the parish, with their 
wives, were the only people who once or twice were invited 
to dinner ; my father seemed then to have performed an 
arduous duty, and these people were the only ones which 
we saw during the summer. My father, who in his youth 
had studied at two universities in Germany and afterwards 
had travelled a great deal in foreign countries, felt occa- 
sionally the want of change and diversion. When, there- 
fore, the life at Arsta became too monotonous, he went to 
town for one or two days ; but it happened frequently that, 
on his arrival there, he never left his rooms, and returned 
to Arsta without having spoken to a single human being. 

When he came back and had saluted us, he always asked 
for news ; but as never any thing happened at Arsta, we 
had no news to tell. One day, however, we were more for- 
tunate. It was late in the autumn ; a number of bullocks 
had been let out to be watered at a pond, and when they 
had approached a spot in the " English Park," a kind of 
inclosure near the mansion where, at that season, the gates 
were taken away, every bullock, on crossing that spot, was 
seized with a dancing fit, so that they began jumping, 
prancing, and kicking their hind legs in the air. This was 
something very strange, something wonderful, a real evene- 



BIOGRAPHY. 41 

ment at Arsta. My father returned the same evening from 
town. I must at this time have been fifteen or sixteen 
years old, because we had now removed into the upper 
storey, and I had got my mother's distinct permission a 
permission not given until we should* have reached that 
age to eat as much as we liked both at breakfast, dinner, 
and supper. 

We had just finished supper, and went as usual into my 
father's library, to converse until the clock in the old tower 
had struck ten. I do not remember how it happened that 
the four elder children did not follow our parents into the 
library, but only I, who, when my father was seated on 
the sofa, and, as usual, asked for news, related to him the 
wonderful occurrence of the day. My father listened at- 
tentively to my recital, wondering what could have been 
the cause. Then in came one of the other children, relat- 
ing the same story. My father listened, but said nothing. 
Then came a third, repeating what the others had told ; and 
when at last Fredrika made her appearance, and began 
with u Do you know, papa, that the bullocks " my father 
interrupted her, saying, " Ah ! very well ; this is the fourth 
time I have heard that story, and now there must be an 
end of it." A general silence ensued, and no one had 
another word to say until the clock struck ten, when my 
father said " Good night," and we went to our own rooms. 

In the long, dark autumn evenings at Arsta, we all as- 
sembled in the " yellow drawing-room." At ten minutes 
to six the footman entered to lay the cloth for tea, and 
shortly after came the housekeeper, who was to make and 
pour out tea. Our party consisted always of my mother 
and father, our governess and my eldest brother's tutor, 
Fredrika, Hedda, and myself. When they all had had 
their tea, with the exception of us three sisters, who were 
mere lookers-on, the housekeeper fortunate woman ! 
disappeared, and we sisters remained sitting, with our work, 
at a table in one corner of the room ; my mother sat down 



42 BIOGRAPHY. 

in a corner of a sofa, and ray father beside a table in the 
centre of the room, reading aloud until supper-time at nine 
o'clock. My father, who was only interested in classical 
literature, chose in preference historical works, which were 
rather tiresome for 'his young daughters to listen to, espe- 
cially as they were written in German and in English, my 
father's favorite languages, which he read beautifully, but 
which we did not then understand well enough to follow 
when he was reading aloud. 

After the first ten minutes, my mother fell asleep, and 
we were often ready to follow her example. Fredrika 
yawned till the tears rolled down her cheeks ; and if my 
brother's tutor, the good Mr. R , had not hit upon sev- 
eral tricks to keep us awake, I do not know how we should 
have fared. But sometimes we were on the point of being 
found out ; for instance, when we were seized with an irre- 
sistible youthful desire to laugh, which fortunately my father 
did not notice, as we were sitting far away from him. Once, 

however, while we were nodding, half asleeep, Mr. R 

happened to strike his hand so loudly upon the table that my 
father looked up and said, u What was that ? " "It was 
it was " answered Fredrika, quite frightened, " the table 
that was going to jump." My father looked displeased, 
but said nothing more, and continued after a time his read- 
ing. In this manner we labored through Schiller's " Thirty 
Years' War," Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire," and Robertson's " History of America," the two 
last in English. 

After supper we all went into my father's library to con- 
verse until ten o'clock. When we came back to our own 
room Fredrika often sat down to cry, and, dejected as we 
were ourselves, neither Hedda nor I could offer her any 
consolation. 

The monotonous, joyless, and inactive life which we led 
was felt by us all, but especially by Fredrika. One year was 
exactly like the other. We had certainly occupation ; we 



BIOGRAPHY. 43 

read, drew, embroidered, played scales, sonatas, and themas 
with variations, and Fredrika wrote both prose and verse, 
but she wept often and said that nobody understood her. 
The relation between my father and Fredrika had cer- 
tainly become much better than formerly ; and when, on 
his or my mother's birthday, she wrote some little play, 
which was performed by us children, my father was much 
amused and pleased ; and when it was my mother's birth- 
day that was to be celebrated, he copied out the parts 
himself. 

The monotonous resemblance of one year to the other 
continued until 1820, when Fredrika and our youngest sis- 
ter Agatha were ordered by our doctor to drink mineral 
waters. Inexpressibly happy to be allowed to see a little 
of the world, I had also permission to be of the party. 
We went with my mother to a Swedish spa, but so late in 
the season that most of the mineral-water drinkers had al- 
ready left on our arrival. We led there a quiet, agreeable 
life during three weeks' time. The country around was 
very beautiful, and an amiable old married couple, owners 
of the spa, and residing on their estate in the neighbor- 
hood, did all in their power to make our solitary stay there 
as pleasant and agreeable as possible. This little trip did 
us all a great deal of good, especially Fredrika, who really 
stood in need of getting away from home, which to her ap- 
peared more dull than to us. 

For a couple of years it had been my father's wish to 
sell Arsta, and to settle in the south of France. During 
his many travels in foreign parts, he had not seen any 
country which pleased him more, and every succeeding 
year his desire to live in a milder climate became stronger 
and stronger. As, however, he could not obtain the price 
for Arsta which he had asked for it, it was determined that 
the whole family should travel a year, and spend a winter 
in Marseilles. 

In the beginning of August, 1821, we all set out upon 



44 BIOGRAPHY. 

this long journey, in two large travelling landaus, each 
drawn by four horses. After having, on our way to Ystad, 
visited some relatives at their estates, we sailed from Ystad 
to Stralsund, in the mail-packet. Leaving Stralsund, we 
ploughed our way through the sandy deserts of Pomerania 
and Liineburg, occasionally with six large horses harnessed 
to each carriage, and two postilion smoking-pipes to each 
set of horses. It was nevertheless with great difficulty that 
we could get along the bottomless roads. Not until we 
came to Hanover could we proceed along good, firm chans- 
sees. In Darmstadt, Fredrika became ill. She had al- 
ready, in Frankfort on Main, felt unwell ; but it being in the 
height of the "Messe," the large annual fair, and the 
town being full of travellers, and consequently very noisy, 
my parents determined to push on to Darmstadt, and re- 
main there in case Fredrika should get worse. She became 
seriously ill. The most skillful doctor in the town, Baron 
Wedekind, physician in ordinary to the Grand Duke, was 
called in. He declared that Fredrika's illness was a bilious 
fever, not dangerous, but which might be lingering. We 
remained for three weeks quietly in this pretty little town, 
with its well-built houses surrounded by their gardens and 
fine, old, shady lime-trees. The good old Baron Wedekind 
came to see Fredrika every day ; and when at last she got 
so well that she could go out for a drive, he sent her his 
own equipage daily. We were staying at an excellent 
hotel, " Die Traube," on one side of a large square, and 
our landlord and landlady were very kind and attentive, 
and did all they could to insure quiet and peace to the in- 
valid foreigner. Only one single night was our rest dis- 
turbed. We were all roused out of our sleep by the most 
horrible noises and shouts. The officers of the garrison 
had been assembled at the " Traube " for some festival, 
and they finished off by smashing dishes, plates, glasses, 
and bottles, and even the tables at which they had had their 
banquet. Noble exploits for the defenders of- their country ! 



BIOGRAPHY. 45 

Time passed quietly and pleasantly for us at Darmstadt. 
My father had the kindness to let Hedda and me frequently 
go to the pretty little theatre, where the famous Madame 
Schroder-Devrient was then playing. We read many good 
books, sometimes taken at a circulating library, sometimes 
sent by Baron Wedekind ; we took long walks with my 
father in the beautiful environs, and visited occasionally 
the painting-gallery, where we admired the works of the 
great masters. But it grieved us very much to see Fre- 
drika for some days really so very ill, and that she could 
not participate in our pleasure. 

During the whole of this time, my father had been in an 
unusually good temper, and it was therefore with trembling 
that we looked forward to the day when our journey should 
be continued. Nothing tries so much the temper as trav- 
elling, and my father, who could stoically and submissively 
bear serious misfortunes, could less than many others bear 
trifling annoyances, - such as, for instance, when my mother, 
the six children, and his Swedish servant were not quite 
ready to start at the appointed hour. There was then a 
scene as if some great calamity had happened ; and, al- 
though we all tried to be punctual, it occurred neverthe- 
less, frequently, that, amongst so many as we were, some 
one got into the carriage a minute or two too late. This 
and similar trifles became, therefore, a serious drawback to 
the pleasure which we otherwise might have derived from 
a journey through a beautiful country. As soon as Fre- 
drika had somewhat regained her strength, we proceeded 
on our journey, but she being still very weak, we were to 
make only very short stages the first days, and to begin 
with, not further than to Heppenheim. Before we arrived 
there, w# saw, in passing the fine park of the castle of 
Auerbach, the summer residence of the Grand Duke, a 
horseman coming at full gallop towards our carriages. It 
was Baron Wedekind, who had promised to see us once 
more, and who, in order to escape the ducal dinner party 



46 BIOGRAPHY. 

at Auerbach, had made the Grand Duke believe that my 
father had written to him to say that Fredrika was worse. 
" Go, go, by all means ! " was the Grand Duke's answer, and 
now the good old doctor accompanied us to Heppenheim, 
to assure himself that we should be well lodged in the 
hotel which he had recommended to us there, after which, 
with tears in his eyes, he took leave of us. 

Our journey now lay through the wealthy, beautiful 
Baden to Basle, and thence through Switzerland to Ge- 
neva, where the news reached us that the yellow fever had 
broken out in Marseilles. In order to obtain further in- 
formation, my father determined to remain for some time 
on the borders of the Lake of Geneva, at all events until 
there should not be any danger of infection ; but, having 
received positive news that the disease was gaining ground, 
and that numbers of foreign families were leaving Mar- 
seilles, all thoughts of spending the winter there had to be 
abandoned. After a short excursion to Lausanne and 
Vevay, and, after having placed my eldest brother Claes in 
a boarding-school with a professor in Geneva, we crossed 
the Jura Alps to Dijon, going thence to Paris, where we 
were to remain over the winter. 

My parents having engaged comfortable apartments in 
the "Hotel de Bruxelles," Rue Richelieu, "the same 
suite," said the landlord, as u votre compatriote, Monsieur 
de Lagerbie (Lagerbjelke), Ministre de Suede," had oc- 
cupied several years, we sisters had the benefit of ex- 
cellent teachers, good and expensive, in music, drawing, 
painting, and singing. At the larger theatres we had an 
opportunity of seeing and hearing, at least once or twice a 
week, the famous artists which appeared there at that time, 
namely, Talma, Mademoiselle Duchesnoix, Mademoiselle 
Mars, Mademoiselle Georges, Madame Pasta, Madame 
Mainville, Fodar, and others. None of them enchanted 
Fredrika and me so much as Mademoiselle Mars, and at 
no one's great fame were we so astonished as at Talma's. 



BIOGRAPHY. 47 

We both agreed in thinking that in his tragic parts he 
was devoid of truth> and that on the contrary he exag- 
gerated ; and we could not understand why, the more he 
made his raised arms tremble, the more the audience ap- 
plauded. We went also during the winter to some grand 
balls given by families whose acquaintance my parents had 
made through my father's bankers. Galleries, museums, 
and collections of works of art, we visited often ; and in the 
spring we made excursions to Versailles, and other remark- 
able places in the environs of Paris. We returned to 
Sweden in the month of June, passing through the Nether- 
lands and Germany, and came back to Stockholm without 
meeting with any adventures, and soon after we were once 
more installed at our old Arsta. 

In the beginning we were very happy to be at home 
again, and to enjoy the quiet of the country ; but when 
autumn came, our life resumed its former course. We had 
now, however, much to speak about, and many reminis- 
cences from our travels to fall back upon, during our even- 
ing conversations in the library. This always amused and 
interested my father ; but Fredrika sat generally silent, and 
very rarely took part in the conversation. To her these 
compulsory conversations and our inactive life were a real 
torture ; she longed to get into the world ; longed for some- 
thing to labor and work for ; longed to distinguish herself 
in any way. The realization of these longings was the aim 
of all her desires and endeavors, but how it was to be ac- 
complished was still hidden in darkness. She had pro- 
jected several plans, but she did not venture to propose 
them either to my father or my mother ; and every thing, 
therefore, remained as it was. After tea, at six o'clock, my 
father read now Schiller's " Maid of Orleans," " Don Car- 
los," and others, and Fredrika seemed to derive new life. 
While listening to these masterpieces, we were deeply in- 
terested and often touched, but Fredrika was at times, as 
it were, dissolved in tears. She, however, felt herself 



48 BIOGRAPHY. 

happy during these readings, until the conversations after 
supper again froze her feelings. 

As in many ancient country mansions in Sweden, there 
was also an old tradition that the manor-house of Arsta 
was haunted. One evening while our family was assembled 
round the tea-table in the yellow drawing-room, the steward 
came in and told my father that he could not prevail upon 
any of the men to go up to the attic to fetch down some 
empty bags which were wanted in the morning, on account 
of their fear of ghosts. He added, that he knew there 
stood in the attic a wooden chest, in which were lying a 
cannon-ball and bloody garments, and that there were 
hanging two swords, of which one was two-edged, and with 
which somebody had been beheaded. My father gave the 
steward orders how to act ; but we soon heard that he had 
not succeeded, and that he had to go himself up to the 
much-dreaded attic and place the bags outside the door, so 
that the men could fetch them thence in the morning, when 
it was daylight. It was believed that the gory clothes lying 
in the chest had belonged to Admiral Bjelkenstjerna, and 
that the ball was the identical one with which he had been 
wounded during the Thirty Years' War. Afterwards, it was 
ascertained that the clothes had belonged to an Admiral 
Claes Fleming, who was killed during the war with Den- 
mark, in the reign of Queen Christina, on board his ship 
in the Sound, by a hostile ball, while he was making his 
morning toilet, and this ball, it was said, was the one lying 
in the chest. 

On the broad, two-edged sword was engraved, that with it 
John Fleming had been beheaded at the command of Charles 
IX. The other sword was without any inscription, but un- 
usually long. The old chest and the two swords were on 
the following day sent to the Bjelkenstjerna Mausoleum, in 
the church of Oster Hanninge, where they are now pre- 
served. 

After our return from our long journey, my parents hired 



BIOGRAPHY. 49 

a beautiful suite of apartments in the Blasseholm Square, 
in Stockholm, to which we moved in 1822. With mutual 
pleasure we saw our near and dear relatives again ; but 
most of our acquaintances looked upon us with rather 
envious eyes, scrutinized our fashionable and elegant 
toilet, and thought that we were giving ourselves grand 
airs. After all, perhaps, they were not far wrong ; we 
were proud of our talents, and considered ourselves rather 
distinguished. In those days it was a rare occurrence that 
a Swedish lady had travelled in foreign countries, and 
we had been travelling so far and seen so much of the 
world ! 

Fredrika, who did not like dancing as much I did, often 
begged to be allowed to stay at home when we were invited 
out to balls ; therefore, Hedda went instead. Fredrika 
now began painting portraits in miniature under Professor 

W , and it was soon evident that she had great natural 

talent for catching the likeness, but always beautified, and 
with wonderful expression. There was a great deal of 
genius in her manner of painting portraits. Under the 
sense of the heavy atmosphere in our home, she found a 
great comfort in her painting, and therefore spent many 
hours every day at her easel. My father was pleased with 
Fredrika's beautiful works, and admired them exceedingly. 
Fredrika had not much of a voice, but she sang duets with 
me, and the charming " Nocturnes " of Signor Blangini, my 
singing-master in Paris, for the sake of amusing my father. 
His temper became every year more gloomy and irritable. 
His return to Sweden and the cold climate had an unfavor- 
able influence upon his temper and his health. 

In the summer of 1824 my mother went to Paris with 
my Bister Agatha, in order to place her in an Orthopedic 
Institution. She had, unfortunately, of late become very 
crooked, and in those days there was no remedy in Sweden 
for this disease. Hedda and Claes accompanied them, in 
order to assist my mother on the journey. After a fort- 
4 



50 BIOGRAPHY. 

night's stay in Paris they returned home, having left Agatha 
at the above-mentioned excellent institution, where, before 
their departure, she already felt herself improving under 
the treatment. Two amiable Parisian ladies, acquaintances 
of my parents, Madame Holterman and Madame Pictet. 
promised my mother to take the little, lovable Swede 
under their maternal care ; and these good, excellent ladies 
fulfilled their promise faithfully during a period of two 
years. 

My father went one day, about the end of September, 
down into the park at Arsta, and took a bath in the bath- 
house built there. This had such a bad effect upon his 
health that he became seriously ill the following day, and 
he felt his feet becoming almost paralyzed. Our family 

physician, the eminent Dr. E m, was sent for, and he 

declared that my father must be at once removed to town, 
in order to have proper attendance. The following day 
my father was placed in a close carriage, and my mother 
and I went with him to nurse him. My sisters and brother 
came to town a fortnight later ; and now commenced a 
time of sickness and severe suffering for my father, which 
returned every winter, but which he bore with admirable 
patience without ever once complaining. Only the expres- 
sion of pain in his face betrayed how much he suffered. 
The disease, which was gout, having now attacked his 
body, my father was so kind, so little exacting, so satis- 
fied with every thing, and frequently so cheerful, that we 
felt convinced that the gout had formerly been in his tem- 
per, because my father when ill, and my father when in 
health, were two very different beings. Probably, also, his 
more cheerful temper was owing to his altered diet. 

It was the wish of my mother, and of us all, to make this 
'time of severe trial as pleasant to my father as possible. 
'When his sufferings were not too severe we read aloud to 
him a great many accounts of travels, which always inter- 
ested him ; and whenever the gout did not attack his hands, 



BIOGRAPHY. 51 

we played chess with him all through the long winter even- 
ings. My father was passionately fond of chess, but he did 
not like to lose the game ; whereas he laughed at us when 
we were checkmate. This vexed and annoyed Fredrika 
very much, who disliked exceedingly that my father should 
laugh and chuckle while capturing those of her pieces 
which she frequently left unguarded. She could, on such 
occasions, rarely restrain her tears. This displeased my 
father, who sent her away, and I had to come and finish 
the game, which, in most cases, stood very unfavorably for 
her. Sometimes she had only the king and the queen left, 
and these I had to move about until I became checkmate. 
I used to take it very coolly, and was glad, although aston- 
ished, that my father could find any pleasure in seeing such 
a wretched end to the game. Hedda did not know how to 
play chess ; it was therefore Fredrika and I who each 
alternately had to play with him. Poor Fredrika went 
with an insurmountable aversion to the chess-table. I de- 
termined to manage so that I won one or two games every 
night, in order that my father should not consider himself 
too clever ; but by some wrong moves I always let him win 
the last game, for otherwise he lost his temper, and that 
he should be in a good temper was, after all, the main point. 
I begged of Fredrika to think of this, and to try to over- 
come her aversion ; but she never could calmly submit. 

Not until about midsummer did my father so far recover 
from his illness that he could be moved out to Arsta, and 
how delightful this was to us sisters I can hardly express. 
At the dear old Arsta we again breathed freely. 

During the summer, no less than five daughters of peas- 
ants belonging to the estate applied to us to be dressed as 
brides, and to be married at Arsta, in the autumn. Almost 
every autumn, one or more such weddings were celebrated 
in our large dining-room, with the ceremonies customary in 
the district. There was something so old-fashioned, so pe- 
culiarly mediaeval in the costume of the brides, and in the 



52 BIOGRAPHY. 

appearance of the bridal-train, that they are well deserv- 
ing of a more detailed description. 

On the evening before the wedding-day, the bride and 
her two bridemaids came to the manor-house with the 
" forming," as it was called. The bride was too grand to 
carry any thing herself, but the bridemaids carried each a 
gigantic round pewter dish with wheaten bread, biscuits, 
tarts, pastry, and a variety of cakes, etc., etc. 

This " forming " was intended as a present to the Lord 
and Lady of the manor, but it was always given to the 
housekeeper, who distributed it amongst the servants. 
Then the housekeeper and my mother's waiting-maid took 
charge of the poor bride, who, before going to bed for the 
night, had to submit her head to the following treatment, 
in order that she might look splendid on the wedding-day, 
namely : her hair was parted across the head from ear to 
ear ; the hair on the back of the head was then braided 
into eighteen narrow plaits ; the hair on the front of the 
head was cut off in such a manner, that what remained of 
it was barely long enough to be laid in curl-papers, which 
were afterwards pinched with curling tongs. The French 
proverb, " II faut souifrir pour etre belle," was verified here ; 
for the wretched bride was always sleepy, and sat nodding, 
and got the headache from this troublesome and unusual 
process, long before she was allowed to retire to her bed. 
If a word of pity was spoken to her, she always answered, 
" Oh, I shall get used to it by and by." 

Late at night the bride went to bed, and the following 
morning she had to be up early, in order to be dressed in 
her bridal costume by one o'clock, when the clergyman, 
after the close of the morning service, was to come to 
Arsta to perform the marriage ceremony. After having 
strengthened her nerves with some wine and other refresh- 
ments, the toilet commenced. The eighteen plaits were 
combed out, so that they fell in curls, like a cascade, down 
her back ; the curl-papers were removed, and the whole of 



BIOGRAPHY. 53 

the front hair was dressed so that it stood straight up all 
round the forehead, which was left free. This head-dress 
was then powdered and adorned with all kinds of tinsel, 
pieces of cut and colored glass set in brass, so-called 
Falu jewels, gilt leaves, buds of flowers, the more the 
better. Behind this high head-dress was laid a small 
cushion, and upon it was fixed the bridal-crown, made of 
silver-gilt, and very heavy, which, on the morning of the 
wedding-day, had solemnly been brought to Arsta from 
the church by the bridegroom, accompanied by two of 
his svenner, or bridegroom's men. On one side of the 
crown were then fixed three long ostrich-feathers, standing 
straight up, one of which was white, one blue, and one red. 
And now the bride's head was dressed ! If the bride was 
good-looking, which sometimes happened to be the case, 
she then looked very grand in this costume. 

Then the bridal robe was put on. It was one of my 
mother's cast-off black silk dresses, which had lost its orig- 
inal fraicheur, and had now been renovated and trimmed 
all round the bottom with a broad gold band. The sleeves, 
which in two divisions reached down to the elbows, were 
trimmed with very smart black lace, exactly as one sees it 
in old portraits. A berthe or cape of black lace was fast- 
ened to the dress round the neck, and a large bouquet of 
natural flowers from the greenhouse was fastened in the 
front of the bride's dress. Two or three chains were hung 
round her neck, and a gold band encircled her waist by 
way of sash. But now comes the drollest part of the 
whole costume. To this sash were tied all the bride- 
groom's presents, consisting of a black silk neckerchief; 
one or two cotton ditto ; a white handkerchief for the 
head, embroidered with colored cotton thread ; one or two 
pair of gloves, etc., etc. All these things were hanging 
straight down her dress, so that the body looked like an 
itinerant clothes-shop ; whereas her head looked as if it 
had belonged to a queen of the Middle Ages. 



54 BIOGRAPHY. 

The Psalm-book, which was also one of the bridegroom's 
presents, was held in her left hand, together with a white 
pocket-handkerchief spread out, and so large that it looked 
like a towel. 

When the bride and the bridemaids at last were ready, 
the latter dressed in white, with enormous bouquets of ar- 
tificial flowers, not always of the prettiest, but full of gold 
tinsel, stuck in their bosoms, they were conducted to the 
upper storey, in order that the bride might admire herself 
in the pier-glasses in the large drawing-room, and there 
she wandered about a good while from one glass to the 
other, and thought that she was " cruelly grand." 

There was a popular belief in our parish that the one, of 
those who were going to be united for life, who first should 
catch a glimpse of the other before the ceremony, 
would be the one who should afterwards obtain the sway 
in the house. We sisters were of course very anxious 
that the bride should first catch a glimpse of the bride- 
groom ; but nobody was more anxious about this than 
Fredrika, and she always stood on the lookout, that she 
might call the bride when she saw the bridegroom with 
his train riding up. 

This train of bridegroom's men, all on horseback, was 
most amusing to look at. It was headed by two musicians 
playing the violin, who had the greatest difficulty in the 
world to manage their horses, which seemed to be the case 
more or less with all the equestrians, as the horses dashed 
hither and thither during their calvacade up to the court- 
yard. When they were assembled there, and the riders 
had got off their steeds, and the female part of the assem- 
blage had alighted from their vehicles, and they all had 
entered the large hall, the bride, who a short time before 
had gone down into the housekeeper's room with her 
bridemaids, made her appearance, giving her hand to her 
future husband, curtseying to him at the same time. Two 
processions were then formed : a fiddler, scraping his vio- 



BIOGRAPHY. 55 

lin, preceded the male procession, which was headed by 
the bridegroom, with a large bouquet of artificial flowers 
stuck on his breast, and followed by his groomsmen, 
all with smaller bouquets, and by a number of other 
people; the other fiddler led the female procession, 
which was headed by the bride and her bridemaids. 
Each procession walked up a separate flight of stairs to 
the upper storey, to the accompaniment of music ; and the 
fine large hall, with its granite columns and double flight 
of stairs, all crowded with people, presented a grand ap- 
pearance. The crowd then entered the dining - room, 
where, as soon as the clergyman arrived, my parents and 
we children made our entrance, saluting the company. 

After the ceremony, my parents, in going up to the 
newly - married couple to congratulate them, gave the 
signal to all the rest to do the same, and then began a 
bowing and scraping and curtseying that seemed as if it 
would never come to an end, and was very amusing to be- 
hold. Thereupon my parents sent round wine, cakes, and 
sweetmeats, for which the guests returned thanks to us by 
innumerable bows and curtseys. 

Finally, the whole company marched off and went to the- 
house of the bride's parents to eat, drink, and dance. The 
festivities often lasted for a whole week. 

One of the brides who was dressed and married at 
Arsta this autumn had a complexion dark as a gypsy. 
While dressed in her bridal costume, and looking at her- 
self in the pier-glass in the drawing-room, she said : " I 
don't know what can be the reason that I am so red in the 
face ! Sure I am that I have done every thing to get 
white. Every time I was washing linen at home, I 
scrubbed myself with soap-lye, and then laid myself down 
beside the linen on the bleaching-ground in the sunshine^ 
and I have done it many times besides ; but it has been of 
no use." I do not remember whether any of us had the 
heart to tell her that she and the linen could not be 



56 BIOGRAPHY. 

bleached by one and the same process; the thing was 
incurable now. 

If the wedding was celebrated on the large islet, Galon, 
belonging to Arsta, then the bride and bridegroom, each 
with their train, arrived in boats decorated with foliage ; 
and when the procession returned, the bride sat in the first 
boat, with her parents and bridemaids and musicians, 
heading a long line of boats full of people in holiday 
dress. On a fine day in autumn, such a procession, with 
its music on the calm waters, was very imposing and 
pleasant to behold. 

We children were always invited to these weddings, but 
were never allowed to go. The housekeeper and steward 
always accompanied the bridal-train, and were, together 
with the clergyman, the guests of honor at the wedding 
dinner, which usually lasted three or four hours, after 
which dancing began, which I believe frequently was rather 
boisterous, when the bridal-crown was to be danced off, as 
it was called, and when there was a fight for the bride be- 
tween the married and the unmarried women, which, of 
course, was to end in such a way that the married ones 
triumphantly carried her off. 

Another autumn was now at the door. Instead of read- 
ing aloud after tea, my father proposed that we should 
play whist, dummy, or chess, on alternate evenings. After 
we had continued this for some time, Fredrika became 
more and more melancholy, especially on those evenings 
when the chess-board was brought out ; for, when Fredrika 
was check-mate, my father wanted to find out how she 
could have avoided it, and the pieces were again arranged 
as they stood before the fatal moves were made. 

The same was done in my case, so that on these wretch- 
ed chess evenings it often happened that the clock in the 
old tower struck both eleven and twelve before we were 
allowed to go to bed. The gout was again in my father's 
temper, and Fredrika trembled at the thought of the win- 



BIOGRAPHY. 57 

ter. One day, while we were speaking of our trials, Fre- 
drika said that she could not stand such another winter as 
the last, and that she had made up her mind to write a 
letter to our parents, and candidly tell them that she could 
not bear the life which we led at home, and beg of them 
not to be displeased if she went into one*of the hospitals in 
Stockholm as a nurse. She would tell them how much 
she suffered from not being able to do any good, and from 
leading a useless and unprofitable life. I got alarmed at 
this determination ; begged of her not to be too hasty ; to 
remember what a dreadful storm she would raise ; that 
she would not gain her point ; that our parents would 
never give their consent to her proposal ; and that her 
position, after such a refusal, would become much more 
painful than before. Besides, our parents would look upon 
her conduct as ungrateful. They had surely no idea of 
how painful our home was to us ; but, as they had given 
us a good, careful education, regardless of expense, I was 
of opinion that there remained nothing else for us to do 
but patiently to submit to what could not be avoided. 
Fredrika promised to defer writing the letter, and it 
never was written. 

Ever since our stay in Paris, where Fredrika had seen 
those excellent " Soeurs de Charite" wander about early 
and late to nurse and assist the indigent sick, she had 
longed for such an occupation in the world. Such an in- 
stitution did not then exist in Stockholm, and our home 
was so shut up that she had not liberty to go out when she 
liked. She therefore saw no chance of coming into the 
much coveted activity except by entering a hospital. 

Meanwhile Fredrika continued devising plans for the 
future, partly in this direction and partly speculating on 
coming events, which might afford her an opportunity, by 
some great sacrifice on her part, of becoming famous and 
spoken of. We had in the country each our own room ; 
and except those hours of the day when we took our walk, 



58 BIOGRAPHY. 

or played billiards with my father, we had liberty to oc- 
cupy ourselves as we pleased. All this time Fredrika was 
busy writing both prose and verse, which she often read to 
me. This was to her a pleasure and a pastime, and helped 
her to forget and escape many heavy hours. 

Little did she stispect then that she was laboring to ac- 
complish what one day was to gain for her the desired 
renown. 

Many of the beautiful poems, of which some have al- 
ready appeared in print, and others will be found in the 
present work, were composed during this time, and bear 
the stamp thereof. 

This desire, this thirst after fame, had in later years 
greatly subsided. Now and then, however, it revived 
again ; but in a journal, in which Fredrika occasionally 
noted down her thoughts, impressions, and inspirations, 
we find the following sensible and true observations : 

22d November, 1822. " Practice is the nurse of vir- 
tue. Virtue is a child which decays and dies before it 
reaches maturity, if we neglect to feed it every day and to 
cultivate its strength. If we rarely find an opportunity for 
great deeds and sacrifices, still we have every day an op- 
portunity of practicing patience, submission, self- denial, 
and many simple virtues, which often are the most diffi- 
cult to practice for certain minds, because these virtues 
are in themselves so quiet and unobserved." 

24^ November. " Why burns within thee the desire to 
become famous and renowned ? When thou art laid low 
in thy cold grave, dost thou then hear thy name mentioned 
on earth ? " 

27th November. " Life is a journey ! Let this thought 
penetrate thee : that all the daily petty annoyances which 
meet thee on thy road are as nothing when compared with 
the beautiful goal that lies before thee." 

2Sth November. " Father, thy will be done, and not 
mine ! It is an inexpressible happiness to be able to pray 



BIOGRAPHY. 59 

this prayer with a fervent heart. It is the outpouring of 
love to Eternal Love. Father, O my Father ! grant that 
I may always pray to thee thus, with the same devout, 
blissful feeling." 

How characteristic of Fredrika's rich, loving heart and 
lively soul are the following lines, written a few days later 
in the same journal ! 

' Love, and thou shalt be happy ; love all mankind ; 
press the whole world to thy heart. Some one will meet 
thee with equal love ; but even if none should thank thee, 
should love thee in return, oh ! still I must love man- 
kind, or I should be deeply unhappy." 

" What a strange thing is often the heart of a young 
girl ! All thoughts, feelings, imaginations are linked to- 
gether, are blended with reality, round which they sport 
like a Will-o'-the-wisp. She suffers, enjoys, weeps, smiles, 
hopes, despairs at one and the same moment, and all this 
with her thoughts alone, without the influence of outward 
circumstances. Her soul resembles a magic lantern. The 
figures gambol past in pleasing or repulsive forms, rarely 
leaving a lasting impression behind. And yet every atom of 
her life is full of feeling ; every pulsation is a joy or a pain." 

4th December. " Pray often. Accustom thy thoughts 
to follow thy glance up to the bright firmament. It will 
give thee a cheerful and heavenly mind." 

Wth December. " Eternity ! Immortality ! Celestial 
promises 1 Who can contemplate you without shedding 
tears of joy ! " 

9th February, 1823. "To have suffered pain does al- 
ways good afterwards. Early discovery of my twenty years' 
experience ! " 

On the 1st of March, the same year, Fredrika wrote in 
her diary : 

" How stagnant, like a muddy pool, is time to youth drag- 
ging on a dull and inactive life." 

" I am only twenty-two, and yet I am often tired of the 



60 BIOGRAPHY. 

world, and wish I was taken from it. But then, we do lead 
a very dull life." 

18th March. " Never marry, Fredrika ! Be firm ; thou 
wilt bitterly, bitterly repent it if thou allowest the weak- 
ness of thy heart to induce thee to such a step. Watch, 
pray, struggle, and hope ! " 

13th April. " In vain, young, enthusiastic girl, in vain 
does thy fiery heart beat for all that is great and noble ; in 
vain thy eye looks forth into a world where every thing ap- 
pears to thee to be great and noble ; where the temples of 
honor and virtue, raised amongst rocky heights and preci- 
pices, appear to thee so easy of access. Poor young girl ! 
Soon, very soon, shall thy bold step be arrested by opinion 
and the etiquette of every-day life ; soon shall thy feelings 
be damped, thy thoughts be lowered to trifles, enthusiasm 
die away in thy soul, thy heart become debased ; and soon 
shalt thou find every thing around thee as weak and 
wretched as thou art thyself." 

On the 9th of July, 1823, Fredrika writes : 

" How is it that almost all old people become more and 
more egotistical with increase of years ? I shall do all I 
can to guard against this despicable, low feeling. I will 
remain unmarried, in order not to attach my heart exclu- 
sively to those whom I should have to call mine ; but I 
shall, for the sake of God and of Eternal Love, love all 
my fellow-men ; help and comfort all, as far as lies in my 
power, which ought to be so much easier when no domes- 
tic cares weigh upon my mind. That must be a beautiful 
and happy life ! " 

In the summer of 1826, the two years which had been 
fixed for my sister Agatha's stay at the Orthopedic Institu- 
tion in Paris had expired. She had perfectly recovered 
her health, and her deformity had been considerably re- 
duced, but it was considered necessary that she should con- 
tinue the same treatment another year in order to become 
perfectly well. This could be done in two ways : either by 



BIOGRAPHY. 61 

letting Agatha remain another year in Paris, or by pur- 
chasing an orthopedic bed, with the necessary machinery, 
and bringing the same over to Sweden, so that Agatha 
might here continue the same cure as long as it was expe- 
dient. She had in several letters complained of home- 
sickness, and it was therefore determined that my mother, 
myself, and my brother Claes should go to Paris to fetch 
her home. My father, who never looked at expense when 
the welfare of any of his children was in question, gave a 
considerable sum of money for the journey and purchase 
of the requisite machinery. 

On our arrival in Paris we found Agatha, who, two years 
previously, had been brought thither ill in health, suffering, 
and prematurely old, now well, happy, youthful, and full of 
life. Such a blessed effect had this treatment had upon 
her. A little elegant French woman amongst a number 
of merry and lively companions, her friends in the institu- 
tion, she spoke now only of her joy at returning to Sweden. 
My joy at our happy meeting was in some degree embit- 
tered by the thought of how Agatha would thrive at home ; 
but I trusted in her innate happy and cheerful temper as 
long as she remained well. 

I took lessons for a fortnight of one of the brothers Milly, 
superintendents of the institution, in order to be able to 
continue the orthopedic treatment, and at the expiration of 
that time we returned to Sweden. 

After a few happy days spent at home in our family 
circle, without restraint or machinery, the treatment pre- 
scribed for Agatha was again commenced. But the ortho- 
pedic bed was found to be so long that it was impossible to 
find a suitable place for it in our rooms in town. It was 
therefore decided in the autumn, when our family moved 
to town, that Agatha should remain over the winter at 
Arsta. I ought also to have remained there to nurse 
Agatha, according to the method which I had studied in 
Paris ; but my father would not hear it mentioned that I 
should not go to town with him. 



62 BIOGRAPHY. 

Nobody was more anxious to remain in the country than 
Fredrika, partly for the sake of tending Agatha, and partly 
to avoid the life in town, so painful to her. But this had 
great difficulties was almost impossible. Fredrika did 
not lack good-will to attempt even the impossible, but she 
wanted physical strength for some of the gymnastic move- 
ments, which Agatha had to exercise several times every 
day, and attentiveness to observe carefully that all the va- 
rious pieces of machinery belonging to the bed came in 
due connection with each other when the patient laid down 
upon it, and this was of the utmost importance. Nobody 
dared to believe that Fredrika would be able to attend to 
all this, and our parents therefore made up their minds 
that Hedda should remain at Arsta with Agatha, and that 
I should initiate her in every thing that I had learned with 
regard to the prescribed treatment. 

Nothing, of course, was mentioned to Fredrika about any 
doubt of her being able to understand how to attend upon 
Agatha, this would have grieved her deeply, but only 
the physical strength, required for the daily gymnastic 
movements, was put in question ; and our good Hedda was 
the strongest of us all. 

Fredrika was much grieved when she heard what had 
been decided. I spoke to my mother, and begged of her to 
arrange so that Fredrika also could remain at Arsta over 
the winter. I spoke also to my father about it. He gave 
me his hand, saying with emotion, ;t If I get ill, as usual, 
you alone will have to nurse me." I spoke of my strength, 
of my good health, and of Fredrika's ardent wish to be 
allowed to remain over the winter at Arsta. At last my 
father gave his consent, and, full of joy, I hastened to bring 
Fredrika this good news. Permission was given to her 
and Hedda to assist each other in nursing Agatha. 

My mother had the kindness to arrange with an old 
French lady, Madame Laval, who had been lectrice to 
the Queen Dowager Sophia Magdalena, to come out to 
Arsta as a chaperone for my sisters. 



BIOGRAPHY. 68 

We moved to town. Our family, formerly so numerous 
when we went to Stockholm for the winter, consisted now 
of only my father, my mother, and myself. My brothers 
were absent. Claes was staying with the judge of a dis- 
trict, in order to become in time a judge himself. August 
was a student at the University of Upsala. 

I determined courageously to go through this winter 
alone, pleased that my sisters were happy and comfortable 
together ; but my strength began to fail. My father sick- 
ened already early in the autumn. In the beginning, I 
and an old faithful servant watched over him alternately 
every other night. Afterwards I read aloud to him for 
days together, and often until late at night ; and I became 

at last so weak and worn that Dr. E had to tell my 

parents that it would never do in the long run for me to 
be shut up in my father's sick-room, but that one of my sis- 
ters ought to come to town to assist me in reading aloud, 
and " mount guard," as he expressed himself. 

My father, who had not noticed any change in me, be- 
came alarmed, and wanted me to go out to Arsta on the 
following day ; but it was necessary to prepare my sisters 
for this change, and I remained, therefore, a few days 
longer in town. 

Fredrika had written several times, both to my mother 
and to me, offering to come to town to assist in nursing my 
father; but when we asked him which of the sisters he 
wished to come, he answered, most decidedly, " Hedda." 

On a bright, sunny winter's day, toward the end of Jan- 
uary, I was seated in my grandmother's little covered 
sledge, on my way to Arsta, calm, but very depressed. On 
my arrival in the afternoon I was received with open arms 
by my three good sisters, who, wrapped up in furs, met me 
in the court-yard to bid me " welcome." We went up-stairs 
together, and entered the dining-room, in the centre of 
which stood a richly laden coffee-table, and a cheerful fire 
was burning and crackling in the stove. Excited and weak 



64 BIOGRAPHY. 

as I was then, I could do nothing but cry in the beginning ; 
but, reproaching myself for this weakness, and fearing that 
I should disturb my sisters' innocent happiness, I soon 
plucked up courage, sat down with them at the cosy coffee- 
table, and before night we had many a hearty laugh to- 
gether ; I forget now at what innocent ideas, words, and 
remarks. Only one little incident do I remember. In the 
numerous accounts of travels that I read to my father dur- 
ing the winter, when I occasionally stumbled upon words 
or sentences which were not exactly fit to be read aloud, I 
fell upon the idea of saying, " Well, here comes some Latin." 
Often, when I was sitting up very late reading, and thought 
that my father had fallen asleep, I stopped, when he sud- 
denly looked up and said, " Is there now Latin again ? " 
He never found out what kind of Latin the book contained. 

Our good, kind Hedda was not pleased to leave Arsta, 
but she made no complaint ; she was glad that I could 
have some rest ; and on the following day we wrapped her 
well up in furs, and she set out for Stockholm. 

I resumed my office of nurse to Agatha, and we lived a 
quiet, cheerful, and cosy life at old Arsta. Agatha, with 
her French vivacity, merry as a little bird, singing French 
songs and romances, was happy to feel herself well, and 
lived in the hope of perfect recovery. Fredrika, de- 
lighted at the liberty which she enjoyed in the country, 
and feeling herself independent of the whole world, read 
and wrote a great deal, and wandered about alone in glen 
and forest. She had also begun to practice medicine ; 
made up drugs of her own composition, and made several 
successful cures. She had a peculiar luck in prescribing 
medicines which there was reason to suspect would do her 
patients more harm than good. 

An old peasant woman, living some four or five English 
miles from Arsta, came one day and begged Fredrika to 
give her some remedy for her eyes, in which she had for 
some time felt a severe pricking, while she had observed 



BIOGRAPHY. 65 

that her eye-sight had become weaker and weaker. Fre- 
drika took her down into the so-called " Dispensary," and 
gave her a phial, with directions to put every day two or 
three drops of the contents into her eyes. A couple of 
hours afterwards another patient came and wanted some 
drops for toothache ; but when Fredrika was going to give 
her some tincture of cloves for the teeth, she observed that 
it was this which she had given to the peasant woman for 
the eyes. Fredrika became alarmed at her mistake, and; 
came to tell me of it ; I wanted her to send a message at 
once to the woman with orders not to use the powerful 
tincture which had been given to her ; but Fredrika said it 
would be of no use, because, at the distance; where the 
woman lived, our messenger could not possibly reach her 
until after she had used the tincture twice, and if any harm 
came of it, it could not now be prevented. I was aston- 
ished at seeing Fredrika, always so anxious to render 
assistance to others, take her mistake and the possibility 
of some misfortune arising out of it so coolly ; but I was 
still more astonished when, about a month afterwards, while 
I was again staying with my father in town, I received a 
letter from Fredrika informing me that the tooth tincture 
had perfectly cured the diseased eyes, and that the good 
peasant woman had come on the previous day to Arsta and 
asked Fredrika for some more of the " blessed drops " 
which had done her eyes so much good. 

I had scarcely been a fortnight at Arsta, when my 
mother wrote to me to say that my father wished me to 
return to town, provided I had had sufficient rest ; and the 
following day, when Hedda pame back to the country, I 
went to town. At midsummer we were all again assem- 
bled at Arsta. 

In the beginning of November, 1827, my cousin and 
most intimate friend became a widow, after only two years' 
wedlock, with the hope of soon becoming a mother. Con- 
vinced that I was willing to come to her at any moment, 
5 



36 BIOGRAPHY. 

she wrote to me, asking at the same time, in a touching 
letter to my parents, permission for me to spend the follow- 
ing winter with her. 

In the beginning my father thought this impossible, and 
that I could not be spared from home ; but after turning 
the matter over in his mind a few days, being very fond 
of his niece, she being a daughter of the sister whom he 
had loved so much, and deeply sympathizing with her 
grief and her wish to have a friend staying with her, he 
gave his consent at last. 

Preparations were at once made for my departure. It 
gave me great pain to part from my sisters, especially 
Fredrika. We had hitherto faithfully shared joys and sor- 
rows together, and we promised to write frequently to each 
other. We kept our word, and the mail had to carry, at 
least once a week, a heavy letter from the one to the other. 
These letters from Fredrika, or extracts from them, are 
now laid before the public, together with the verses and 
beautiful pieces of poetical prose writings which she com- 
posed during this time, and sent to me. 

In company with a relation and friend, General H , 

I went about the middle of December to his estate in 
Smaland, where, a few days before Christmas, I had the 
happiness of embracing my two cousins, his wife and my 

sorrowing friend, the Countess W , who had arrived 

there a short time previously. After the Christmas holi- 
days, spent in quiet and sisterly confidence, we both set out 
for her home in C a. 

Fully determined not to make any new acquaintances, 
or go into society, I wished to live only for my friend, and 
endeavor to make her life as happy and as comfortable as 
possible. We tried to arrange our mode of living in the 
most agreeable way. The greater part of the day one of 
us read aloud to the other the works of good authors. 
.Now and then, gloomy forebodings cast for a moment their 
shadows over our happiness ; but they were entirely dis- 



BIOGRAPHY. 6T 

pelled when, towards the close of February, a fine, strong 
boy was born. 

Delighted as she was at the birth of her child, my friend 
yet suffered deeply at the thought of her departed hus- 
band, who on this occasion, to which he had looked forward 
with so much longing, would have been so happy. 

After a lengthened stay of about two years with my 
friend at her beautiful estates, I hus and T 6, 1 re- 
turned home, in compliance with my father's wish, in the 
autumn of 1829. I was very much touched at his evident 
delight to have me back again, and I was happy to find 
Fredrika more calm and cheerful than formerly. Only a 
short time were we now allowed to enjoy undisturbed our 
quiet, sisterly life at Arsta. My father was very unexpect- 
edly visited by a slight attack of apoplexy, and hurried 
preparations for moving to town were therefore made at 
once. 

My father continued to suffer more or less during the 
whole of the winter, and he bore his heavy sufferings, as 
usual, with wonderful patience and fortitude. 

Fredrika, Hedda, and I watched over and nursed him, 
and read aloud to him when he had strength enough to 
listen to us, while my mother, as much as lay in her power, 
devoted her attentions to him. 

My mother had, from the very beginning of this his last 
illness, taken upon herself the superintendence of the 
Arsta property, and the management of the other affairs 
of the family. In order that my father, whose strength 
was evidently beginning to fail, should be near his doctor, 
it was determined that we should not go to Arsta in the 
ensuing summer ; instead of which a summer residence 
Lilla Ingemarshof, near Stockholm was taken, to which 
we went about midsummer. There my father seemed in 
some measure to recover strength, and he enjoyed inde- 
scribably much the pleasure of sitting out in the sunshine 
during a few warm, splendid da^s ; but he soon got worse 



68 BIOGRAPHY. 

I 

again, and on the 23d of July he expired tranquilly, sur- 
rounded by his wife, his children, and a near relative, dear 
to us all. 

o 

Soo after this we went out to Arsta, whither my fa- 
ther's body was taken ; he was buried in our family vault in 
Oster-Hanninge church-yard, under the shade of four beau- 
tiful lime-trees, where the remains of his daughter, the 
pretty, charming little Sophie, who died at the age of four- 
teen, had previously been deposited. 

My parents had given their consent to my betrothal 

with ; the wedding was to be celebrated in November, 

after which I was to go to my new home in Christianstad. 
My good sisters, and not the least Fredrika, were inde- 
fatigable in assisting me to provide every thing requisite on 
such occasions ; and on the 7th of November, the day fixed 
for the wedding, only our nearest relatives and my father's 
old friend, Bishop Franzen, who was to perform the cere- 
mony, were invited. 

Fredrika, so sympathizing in every thing that concerned 
me, saw in this marriage a store of only joy and happiness 
for me, and augured, in a prophetic spirit, that it would be 
one of the few really happy unions on earth. 

Shortly after the wedding, my husband and I left Arsta, 
and, as soon as I had arrived in Christianstad, a very ani- 
mated correspondence was again opened with Fredrika. 

In the summer of the following year, 1831. I had the 
happiness of embracing Fredrika in my own homfe. She 
came to stay with us at least a twelvemonth, to read, study, 
and write in quietness. Previous to my arrival in Scania, 1 
she was already known there and loved as the authoress of 
" Sketches of E very-day Life," since, at the close of the 
preceding year, her former anonyrne had been unveiled. 
The highest, most intellectual, and elegant society of Chris- 
tianstad longed to make her acquaintance. 

1 The southernmost province of Sweden, in which the town of Chris- 
tianstad is situated. * 



BIOGRAPHY. 69 

i 

Fredrika had determined not to mix in society or accept 
any invitations, but to live hi retirement at home, and de- 
velop herself for what she now considered to be her mis- 
sion and her vocation, namely, to become an authoress ; 
and, enriched by experience of the world, to devote in a 
double measure her talents to the comfort and succor of 
the suffering and the unhappy. 

Fredrika found and felt that she required to learn much, 
and that she stood in need of a firm religious faith, which 
she had not. The contradictions which she saw in the 
Bible and in the world had long shaken her faith, and 
raised doubts in her soul to such a degree that, at times, 
with her reflecting and searching mind, they seemed to 
darken her whole life. 

The teacher or guide whom Fredrika had so much 
yearned after, she found in Christianstad. The head-mas- 
ter of the high school there, the Rev. Pehr Boklin, was 
the man who, by his philosophical education, his clear 
mind, his profound, truly Christian faith, imparted that 
faith to Fredrika, and thus gave her peace of mind and 
strength to proceed on that path in life which she had 
determined to follow. _ 

Elaborate and elegant biographies may be written, but 
not often do we through them become intimately acquainted 
with the inmost mind of the person described therein. 
Fredrika showed me one day a letter from her teacher and 
friend, and from it I have copied the following passage : 

" Your mission is a beautiful one, Miss Bremer ! Your 
mission is the noblest in the world. Regardless of our own 
cares and sorrows in life, to walk with heavenly comfort 
through earth's cells, so full of agony, is the lot of an angel. 
May God's finger appear to you and show you the right 
way ! As a brother I will stand by your side, and, praying 
and meditating, I will impart to you every ray of light that 
may be vouchsafed to me ! " 

How clearly, from these simple words, do we not per- 



70 BIOGRAPHY. 

ceive the kind of spirit which lived in and animated the 
pupil as well as the teacher ! - 

In our house, Fredrika made the acquaintance of many 
amiable, intelligent, and pleasant persons. They tried to 
prevail upon her to go out in the little world of Christian- 
stad, that is to say, " La creme de la societe " there, but all 
in vain. Fredrika remained true to her determination to 
live isolated in order to educate herself for the aim in life 
which she had in view, nor was she tempted to recom- 
mence a social life which had never been to her taste. 
At home in our house, she liked, however, to meet with 
people, and she moved with ease and cheerfulness in the 
little circle which frequently met there. She was liked by 
all. One lady in this circle formed a passionate friendship 
for Fredrika. She was talented, witty, handsome, musical, 
but passionate, frivolous, and exceedingly worldly minded. 
How a woman with such a character could feel such a vio- 
lent friendship for Fredrika, who was now so seriously 
minded and so free from vanity, I could not understand,, 
and it made me a little uneasy. In the beginning, Fre- 
drika felt averse to a more intimate acquaintance with her, 
and was rather embarrassed by her long, daily visits. 
Sometimes she came twice in the course of the day, which 
interfered with Fredrika's studies and work ; but soon Fre- 
drika began to return her friendship with equal warmth. 
I was aware that this lady could not exercise any good in- 
fluence over Fredrika, but she hoped tt be able to exercise 
a good influence over her. " Nina " became, although 
somewhat later, the visible result of this acquaintance, 
" Nina," which contains so many poetically beautiful 
sketches, but which does not carry the same impress of 
purity as all Fredrika's previous charming works. 

Early in the summer of 1832 we had a very unexpected 
visit from my youngest brother August, who had felt un- 
well for some time, and, by the advice of his physician, 
was now going to consult the famous Surgeon Grafe in 



BIOGRAPHY. 71 

Berlin. I had the pleasure of having this much loved 

brother, the Cornet in " The H Family," staying with 

us for a few days, after which he continued his journey to 
Berlin, when Fredrika, my husband, and I went to Stock- 
holm, and thence to Arsta. 

After a visit of a couple of months, my husband and I 
were again on our way to Christianstad, but Fredrika re- 
mained with my mother, with whom she was to stay until 
the autumn, when she would come back to us. 

Some time after our return home I received a letter in- 
forming me that my brother August had become much 
worse. He expressed an earnest wish that my mother and 
sisters should spend the winter in Berlin. After the re- 
ceipt of a second letter from August, in which he said that 
he was getting worse and worse, my mother determined 
that she and my three sisters should fulfill his wish, and on 
their way to Berlin they paid us a visit. I was not allowed 
to have these dear guests more than two days in my house ; 
thej were in a hurry, and I hoped only that they might 
soon reach my brother. 

Shortly after their arrival in Berlin, I received a letter 
from Fredrika, telling me that my dear brother had ended 
his days, and that he had died without suspecting that his 
end was so near. He had for some time before suffered 
severe pain. Fredrika adds : 

" Pure was his life, warm his heart, and patiently he suf- 
fered. He yearned* for light and freedom, and he has found 
both." " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
God." 

On the 21st of September, Fredrika wrote from Ber- 
lin: 

" Dear Sister, Under acacias ' im neuen Kirchhoff' 
our August is now sleeping. On Wednesday morning, be- 
tween seven and eight, we sisters and August's friend- 
Caspar W , who has faithfully watched at his bedside, 

followed him to his last resting-place. Theremin held a 
funeral oration at the grave. 



72 BIOGRAPHY. 

" It was a beautiful and solemn scene. The morning 
was so splendid, the sun shone so brightly, the breeze was 
so fresh and invigorating, that every thing spoke to us 
more of resurrection than of death. The people who had 
assembled round the grave showed deep 'sympathy, and 
we ... 

" I did not feel it so heavily. Ah ! how I longed to have 
been with August ! 

" On the plain monument, which will be raised over him, 
is to be engraved : ' August Bremer, his mother's and sis- 
ters' darling. Born, . . . Died, . . .' 

" I cannot find words to describe to you our Ambassador's 
(Braudel) kindness and care of August during his illness. 

" More when we meet again ! On the 28th we shall 
probably be in Ystad, and on the 7th of October we shall 
be with you." 

A few days later Fredrika writes : 

"We are all now more composed. This morning we 
have been to plant some beautiful acacias upon the grave. 
The cemetery is out of town, and in the style of Pere la 
Chaise, near Paris, full of fine trees and flowers. We leave 
on Monday. In Ystad we shall have to undergo a long 
and wearisome quarantine." 

On the appointed day my dear relatives arrived in Chris- 
tianstad. They remained, however, only a few days, it 
being late in the season, and my mother anxious to be at 
home before the cold weather set in. 

During these days there was a table in our drawing-room 
always covered with the choicest fruit, pine-apples, grapes, 
peaches, apricots, plums, pears, and transparent Astrachan 
apples, presents from my good friends and acquaintances, 
who daily, from their splendid greenhouses and gardens on 
their estates in the neighborhood, sent me these fruits to 
offer to my mother and sisters. Such magnificent grapes, 

in large bunches, as those which I got from A p, I have 

scarcely seen even in the south of Europe. They were 



BIOGRAPHY. 73 

* 

sent to me by the amiable Countess W -, formerly Lady 

F , daughter of the former owner of Arsta. I always 

gratefully remember this graceful kindness. 

My mother and my two youngest sisters left for Stock- 
holm, but Fredrika remained with us. 

Much as I loved to see Fredrika in our house, I yet 
dreaded the winter, when her friend would return to Chris- 
tianstad from her estate in another province. But matters 
were changed. Her friend came back, but seized with a 
mortal illness, and now Fredrika became her guiding, min- 
istering angel, pointing out to her the road to heaven, to 
which Fredrika wished to lead all. 

In the spring, Fredrika's friend longed to go into the 
country, and in an almost dying state she was carried out 
to her beautiful country-seat, distant some miles from 
Christianstad. Fredrika wished to join her, and I accom- 
panied her thither. Fredrika remained with her friend 
until about the middle of summer, when she returned to us, 
deeply affected and mourning her whose eyes she had closed. 
At her death-bed Fredrika gained a new friend, the Count- 
ess S , a near relative and friend of the departed. 

Countess S invited Tredrika to spend a year with her 

at her estate, Tomb, in Norway, provided she was not afraid 
of the complete seclusion from the world in which she lived 
there. 

Fredrika accepted this offer as one of the most desirable 
which could be made to her. In her then melancholy state 
of mind, she only longed to get away from people and from 
society, " the farther away the better," as she said when, in 
August, 1833, we took leave of each other. I felt happy 
at seeing her under the protection of the good Countess 
. She remained two years at Tomb. The quiet and 
perfect retirement which Fredrika enjoyed there was to her 
a real "elixir of life," as she expressed herself in one of her 
letters to me. What added to her happiness was, that she 
was allowed to arrange her mode of life exactly as she 



74 BIOGRAPHY. 

pleased ; was at liberty to remain in her room those days 
when she did not wish to see any body ; but always was 
welcome at any moment when she wished to come down to 

the Countess S . Generally, Fredrika spent the whole 

of the forenoon in her own room, reading and writing, and 
came into the drawing-room in the evening, when the day 
usually closed with a game at chess, of which the Countess 
was passionately fond, and of which Fredrika was now no 
longer afraid. Fredrika paid a visit of a couple of months to 
Arsta in 1 835, but returned in the autumn to Tomb, where 
she spent the winters of 1836, 1837, 1838, and 1839, visit- 
ing in the summer baths and spas, either with the Count- 
ess S or with my mother and Agatha. When my 

mother, in the autumn of 1841, went to Nizza with Agatha, 
in the hope that the milder climate of the south might 
strengthen Agatha's weak health, Fredrika remained quite 
alone at Arsta, and enjoyed then her solitude and her per- 
fect freedom. In June, the following year, my mother and 
Agatha returned to her from Nizza. 

While, in 1844, I was using the cold-water cure at 

Soderkoping, I saw again the Countess S , suffering 

and very sickly ; she was also going to try this cure, " in- 
vented for witches," as she called it. We were together 
almost daily in the intervals between the five baths which 
we each had to take every day, and Fredrika was frequently 
the subject of our conversation. " Sincerely as I love 
Fredrika," the Countess said to me one day, " still I never 
liked her whim to enter the hospital at Christiana as a 
nurse. Every year, when Fredrika was staying with me, 
she wanted to realize this fancy, and it never was so near 
being realized as in 1835. The day had already been fixed 
for our journey to Christiana, to install Fredrika in the 
hospital. My arguments, aided by an expression used by 
me about the hospital calling it her Hermitage caused 
her to weigh the matter over in her mind once more. She 

& 

herself proposed immediately to postpone our journey ; the 



BIOGRAPHY. 75 

plan was given up altogether ; we did not again mention it, 
and glad I was that Fredrika never again alluded to the 
subject" 

Fredrika stayed with this friend and excellent woman 
again the following year, 1845, and, for the last time, to 
watch at her sick-bed and close her eyes. 

After her return from Norway, Fredrika remained some 
time at home with my mother. She did not feel happy ; 
she longed for a change in her position in life, and she 
now began making plans for her voyage to America. She 
did not, however, communicate these plans either to my 
mother or to Agatha, fearing that they would meet with 
strenuous opposition. 

Already, before Fredrika had been spoken of and had 
a name as an authoress, that is to say, before she had 
completed her thirtieth year, she had had three different 
offers of marriage ; but she did not wish to marry. 

One of 'the three persons who more than once tried to 
persuade her to alter her resolution, was an amiable young 
man, of good family, for whom Fredrika, in her earliest 
youth, had felt a kind of childish love ; but she would not 
let herself be persuaded, believing that she was not made 
for the married state, and that, if ever she were to try the 
experiment, she would bitterly repent it, find herself un- 
happy, and lose her dearly loved independence. Once 
only she hesitated ; but it was for one moment only, when 
an amiable, good, and original elderly gentleman hoped to 
find in his union with her a compensation for the domestic 
happiness which he had lost through the death of a be- 
loved wife, and who saw in Fredrika the only one capable 
of being a comfort and happiness to him during the re- 
mainder of his days. After her thirtieth year, and when 
she had already gained fame, she had several offers ; but 
she remained true to her determination to live ena 
(single), a good expression, which she had learnt in 
Norway. 



76 BIOGRAPHY! 

My husband's appointment to another post was the cause 
of our removal to Stockholm about the latter part of 1847. 
This made Fredrika, the following year, consider the time 
propitious for announcing her plans for travelling. She 
thought that she might now set out, easy in her mind, 
knowing that my husband and myself would be near my 
mother and Agatha. We all certainly represented to her 
the risk of the long voyage, which Fredrika intended to 
undertake quite alone ; but she would not listen to our 
arguments. Agatha cried and was in despair at these 
plans. In order to comfort her, Fredrika promised to 
write to her all her letters from America. I do not deny 
that it appeared to me really awful, that Fredrika, this 
delicate little creature, should start quite alone on such a 
voyage, and I did not understand how she could have the 
courage to do it ; but she never wanted courage ; and I re- 
membered her wish, when she was a child, to enter the 
army and join the Swedish troops in Germany. The only 
consolatory thought for us at home was, that immediately 
on Fredrika's arrival in America, she would be met and 
received by friends, who, although personally unknown to 
her, had, after reading her works, invited her in the most 
amiable manner to be a guest in their homes in New 
York. 

In August, 1848, Fredrika left home, paying first a visit 
to her old friend and teacher, the Rev. P. Boklin, in Scania. 
The autumn and following winter she spent in Copen- 
hagen, and after several trips to the Danish islands during 
the ensuing summer, she travelled to New York by way of 
London. 

I shall pause here a few moments in my narrative, in 
order to give some account of Fredrika's first appearance 
as an authoress. 

It was during the year 1828 that, for the first time, the 
thought arose in Fredrika's mind of publishing the best of 
all that she had written the previous years, in order thereby 



BIOGRAPHY. 77 

to procure the means of satisfying the dearest wish of her 
kind heart, namely, to assist the poor. She had hitherto 
written to give expression to her feelings, and to retain the 
images of her ever-active fantasy, and for this intended 
work she now wrote " Axel and Anna ; or, Correspondence 
between two Stories," and " Letters on the Supper-parties 
in Stockholm." 

Uncertain whether she would succeed, and uncertain, 
too, whether our parents would allow her to appear pub- 
licly as an authoress, Fredrika determined to send her 
manuscript to Upsala with my brother August, when he 
went to the University in the autumn of that year. 

He found a willing publisher for her little work in Mr. 
Palmblad, the printer. He was, however, so little certain 
how far the enterprise might succeed, that he considered 
that the edition ought not to exceed three hundred volumes, 
and the price of the copyright was therefore low in propor- 
tion, although sufficient to make Fredrika happy and satis- 
fied. The book was published before the end of the year, 
under the title of " Sketches of E very-day Life," without 
the name of the author, of which, also, Mr. Palmblad was 
left in ignorance. It gained the approval of the public 
and the praises of the reviewers, although not unmixed 
with a few friendly remarks. In one of the reviews, it was 
supposed that " a lady, a young lady," was the authoress, 
and the critic hoped that when her talent had become 
more matured he might have occasion to give her works 
more unlimited praise. On a copy of this review Fredrika 
has written, " Yes, dear critic ; that rests in the hands of 
God." 

This success encouraged Fredrika to proceed on the path 
which she had chosen as an authoress, and to try to write 
a novel. She occupied herself with this during the sum- 
mer of 1829, and the result of this attempt was the first part 

of " The H Family," which, together with some other 

minor pieces, she had designed for the second volume of 



78 BIOGRAPHY. 

the " Sketches." For the publication thereof she caused ne- 
gotiations to be opened I do not know for what reason 
with a publisher in Stockholm, to whom the manuscript 
was sent for perusal. He declined the proposal, so un- 
certain were people at that time about the value of Fre- 
drika's works. But through the instrumentality of the 
former publisher, Mr. Palmblad, the second volume was 
printed and published in 1830. The great applause with 
which it was received, the sensation which it created, sur- 
passed every thing which Fredrika thought she could have 
expected. In a newspaper review, Swedish literature was 
congratulated on the acquisition of such a talent as that 
of the authoress. 

Fredrika's authorship had, from the very beginning, 
been kept a secret between her and her sisters. She did 
not wish to reveal it to our parents until she knew whether 
she would succeed. But now she thought that the time 
had come to mention it to my mother. Meanwhile the 
book had become the subject of general conversation in all 
circles of society in Stockholm. When one day Franzen, 
while paying us a visit, spoke of it in a highly flattering 
manner, expressing an ardent wish to raise the veil behind 
which the authoress concealed herself, my mother and 
Fredrika thought that, out of consideration for this old 
friend of .the family, the secret ought to be confided to him. 
Shortly after this, the Swedish Academy awarded its lesser 
gold medal to Fredrika, as a token of its esteem and ap- 
probation. Thus the hitherto preserved secret of the 
authorship was revealed. , 

The success which also the third volume of these 
" Sketches " met with seemed to point out the road on which 
Fredrika had to find the realization of her mission in life. 
She obeyed this call, by laboring diligently as an authoress, 
at shorter or longer intervals, until the end of her life. 
Most of her works were translated into foreign languages, 
were read with avidity, and made her name known, loved, 
and respected abroad. 



BIOGRAPHY. 79 

The fame which they attained called forth, in her native 
country, a new public distinction. On the anniversary of 
the Swedish Academy, on the 20th of December, 1844, 
the president, after having announced which of the writings, 
handed in during the year for competition, had been re- 
warded with a prize, said : 

" The academy being of opinion that it would act in ac- 
cordance with the prescribed rules in following attentively 
the events in Swedish literature, even beyond the arena 
which it has opened for competition, has more than once 
had the satisfaction, in acknowledging distinguished merit, 
of uniting with the public in paying homage to such merit. 

" It is now thirteen years since the academy awarded a 
prize to a young genius, whose first essays gave signs of a 
talent of uncommon order, in a branch of literature for 
which we hitherto have been without a model. The rare 
union of the qualitie's of the heart and of the mind, of 
beauty in delineation and purity of thought which breathe 
through the pictures of domestic life, beginning with 
' Sketches of Every-day Life,' and continued in a series 
of charming paintings of the interior of social life, often 
hidden from the eyes of the public, had drawn the attention 
not only of Sweden, but also of Europe, to the authoress. 
The Swedish Academy has requested and obtained the 
sanction of its illustrious patron l to award to the author- 
ess, Miss Fredrika Bremer, its large medal in gold, with 
the motto, 'Genius and Taste.' not as a reward, for this can- 



1 King Gustavus III. founded, on the 20th of March, 1786, an academy, 
which, un^er the name of " The Swedish Academy," and with the motto 
" Genius and Taste," was to consist of eighteen members, whose object it 
would be to labor for the improvement of the Swedish language, to en- 
courage emulation in eloquence and poetry, and sing the praises of the 
great men who had either ruled or served or fought for their native coun- 
try. With the sanction of the king, as patron of the academy, the academy 
is empowered to distinguish with the large and small medal in gold Swed- 
ish authors for met itorious writings, even when such works have not been 
sent in for the purpose of contending for the annual prizes. 



80 BIOGRAPHY. 



not come in question, but as an acknowledgment of a merit 
whichj according to the words of the founder, ' has raised 
the fame of Swedish literature in foreign countries.' " 

When Fredrika, in 1861, had closed, under the title of 
" Life in the Old World," the narrative of her travels in 
Palestine, Greece, and other countries, she does not appear 
to have been occupied with any larger work. The imper- 
fect outlines of such works, found amongst her papers, 
which she has left behind, bear the stamp of belonging to a 
previous period. But her pen was not allowed to have 
perfect rest. ^>he contributed, together with some other 
ladies, to the publication of " Writings for Children," l and 
at Christmas, 1865, the first part of "A Little Pilgrimage " 
appeared in print. Her intention was, in this little narra- 
tive, to make an exposition of the most essential and high- 
est doctrine of the Christian religion, in a manner simple 
and plain enough to be understood eVen by children, which 
essential was intended to be shown more clearly in a sub- 
sequent number. But, in order to be able to do her best, 
she considered that she ought first to read again Olshati- 
sen's " Commentaries on the New Testament," and Nean- 
der's " Leben Jesu." In reference to the latter, she said, 
in a letter to my husband, that although one might differ in 
much from the opinions of Neander, still it was impossible 
not to love his love of truth, the candor with which he had 
expressed his thoughts, and to learn much from his pro- 
foundness and honest research. These studies, and the 
continuation of the little narrative, were interrupted by 
Fredrika's death, which took place soon after. 

I resume here the thread of my narrative.; When 
Fredrika returned to her native country from America^ 
in the autumn of 1851, she was met by mournful tidings. 
Our sister Agatha, whose health had long been weak and 

1 As a specimen of Fredrika's talent in this kind of literature, I subjoin 
two tales, The Ugly Hand and the Beautiful Hand, and Christmas Eve and 
Christmas Matins. 



BIOGRAPHY. 81 

failing, had, some time previous to Fredrika's return, fallen 
into a state of hectic decline. Calmly, and apparently with- 
out pain, she departed this life. In order that Fredrika 
should not return to her own home unprepared for this 
painful loss, and not find Agatha any more there, my 
mother and I wished to inform her of this sad event. We 
knew that she was on her way home, but we did not know 
which route she intended to take. In this uncertainty, let- 
ters were despatched to her both to Dalaro and to Gothen- 
burg. The former she received on her arrival in Sweden, 
and her return to Stockholm and her home was any thing 
but joyful. 

After a few days' rest, Fredrika resumed her old habits 
and occupations. The forenoons were devoted to reading 
and writing. During these moments no one was allowed 
to enter the room, and she received no visitors until one 
o'clock, when she usually went out to breathe a little fresh 
air, or to visit some friend. Fredrika was allowed to man 
age and act as it best suited her convenience, and she 
therefore now led an independent life at home. 

Fredrika had during her career as an authoress, partly 
in consequence of her own experience in youth and partly 
from what she had witnessed in the world, made it the aim 
of her life to labor in the cause of Woman, oppressed, ac- 
cording to her notions; and on her return from America. " 
became her favorite idea to work for the entire emancipa- 
tion of the Swedish woman and her deliverance from the 
traditional restrictions in her social position, which Fredrika 
considered to be both injurious and opposed to her natural 
rights. She wished, therefore, that women should, like 
men, and together with them, be allowed to study in the 
elementary schools and at the academies, in order to gain 
an opportunity of obtaining employments and situations 
suitable for them, in the service of the state. According 
to Fredrika's ideas it was a crying injustice to deny women, 
even those with exceedingly brilliant intellect and great 



82 BIOGRAPHY. 

talents, such opportunities. She said she was firmly con- 
vinced that they could acquire all kinds of knowledge just 
as well as men ; that they ought to stand on the same level 
with them, and that they ought to prepare themselves in 
the public schools and universities to become lecturers, 
professors, judges, physicians, and functionaries in the serv- 
ice of the state. She predicted that if women were per- 
mitted, like men, to acquire knowledge and skill, they 
would, when their capacity and indispensableness in the 
labor of society had become more generally acknowledged, 
be found fit for a variety of occupations, which partly 
already now existed, and partly would be required in future 
under a more energetic development of society ; and she 
maintained that Woman ought to have the same right to 
benefit her native country with her talents as Man. 

We had many conversations on this subject before 
" Hertha " was written. I fully coincided with Fredrika's 
opinion, that a great injustice was contained in our legisla- 
tion not to allow Swedish women, as women in other coun- 
tries, to attain their majority when they arrived at a certain 
age, for instance, when they had reached their twenty-fifth 
year ; and consequently to dispose of their future life and 
their property ; but in other respects our opinions differed. 
I could not see that the management of the business of the 
si te was the province of women, and I begged Fredrika 
to consider well before writing, even with the best inten- 
tions, and encouraging Swedish women to enter upon a 
path which, according to my view, would lead them to 
misery instead of happiness. " Let us," I said, " remember 
the beautiful lines of Pope, which we learned by heart 
when we were children : 

" ' A woman is born to dignify retreat, 
In shade to flourish, and unseen be great ; 
Fearful of fame, unwilling to be known, 
Should seek but Heaven's applauses and her own.' " 

Fredrika observed that the noble virtue, modesty, ought 



BIOGRAPHY. Od 

not to be abased in order to veil under it a glaring defect- 
iveness in the education of women. The youth always 
finds for his education a sure guide in the schools of his 
native country, and a possibility of choosing a sphere of 
activity according to his capacity and mental gifts. Such 
advantages are to the young woman forbidden fruit, and 
her aspirations to attain them considered derogatory to 
female modesty. 

The sense of Pope's lines, just quoted, I considered to 
express in general woman's quiet, noble mission, although 
naturally there are exceptions. But one ought not to re- 
gard the exceptions, but only the general rule. I acknowl- 
edged that there existed a great diversity of mental gifts, 
and that Fredrika, with her rare talents and accomplish- 
ments, had chosen the path in which as an authoress she 
could labor, ennobling humanity, and thereby effect an im- 
mense deal of good ; but how small is not the number of 
women who have been so gifted, and how dangerous would 
it not be to encourage young girls, who are generally 
inclined to entertain a high opinion of themselves and of 
their capacities, to choose a career, in which, while con- 
tending with young men in their studies and in employ- 
ments under government, they would or could be subject 
to influences detrimental to true womanhood and modesty. 
Educated with this aim in view, they would become neither 
men nor women, and, when older, unfit for domestic life. 

As a wife, a mother, or instructress, only there I saw 
woman in the place which God had assigned her ; and if 
she rightly understood her exalted and important mission 
in the world, she might become the educator of the whole 
human race, and as such be of infinitely greater use to the 
state and her native country than by holding an employ- 
ment under government. Woman's influence upon the 
rising generation how incalculably great is it not ! None 
stands nearer to the child than a woman ; none knows bet- 
ter how to guide it from its earliest age, develop its mind, 



84 BIOGRAPHY. 

teach it to think, to hearken to the voice of conscience, 
and lead it in the fear of God and love of truth and justice. 
I entreated, therefore, Fredrika, who had drawn woman 
so beautifully and truly in her proper sphere of activity, 
and who had, by her previous writings, drawn forth the 
motherly element in society, to write her new book in the 
same spirit, and to teach women to ennoble themselves, to 
develop themselves into truly Christian, prudent, clever 
not learned, but enlightened educators, able to lay the 
sure moral foundation on which all education ought to rest, 
and which now, in general, is wanting. I owned that more 
ways than hitherto of providing honestly for themselves 
ought to be made accessible to women with indifferent 
capacities, and that the question here had reference only 
to women more highly gifted. 

Considering Fredrika's projects impossible to realize, in 
a physical as well as a moral and economical point of view, 
I asked her to propose, just for these more gifted women, 
that they should, several or few of them, unite in estab- 
lishing educational institutions for girls in the country, in 
the vicinity of towns, where they could remain until their 
education was finished, not in a superficial, frivolous di- 
rection, such as now is frequently the case, but aiming 
at their immortal soul's development in purity and in 
Christian spirit, while at the same time they could enjoy 
every innocent recreation and amusement, learn practical 
utility, and acquire every useful knowledge in languages. 
&c., &c. 

I proposed that these gifted women should also establish 
similar institutions for boys of between six and ten years 
of age, after which time their more learned education be- 
gins. During this time the good moral foundation, which 
so many children cannot obtain in their parental home or 
in ordinary schools, could be laid by these women, through 
a guidance which would develop the children into think- 
ing, honest, and conscientious beings, to the improvement 



BIOGRAPHY. 85 

and advantage of society, when in a more mature age they 
began to act, if coming out of the first mentioned institu- 
tion, as well educated mothers and teachers ; or, if out 
of the latter, as men in the state. And how beneficially 
would not such an education in the country influence the 
children's health both of body and mind ! 

But I was of opinion that these gifted women ought not 
to be too young ; that they should be from thirty to forty 
years old ; that they ought likewise to be distinguished by 
capacity and experience as well as in a moral point of 
view. They would then have sufficient time to prepare 
themselves for their important mission, and I imagined that 
this preparation could be compassed in a practical way by 
the experience which they could gain as teachers in pri- 
vate families or in good boarding-schools. In these also 
unmarried women would have an ample field for a noble 
and blessed activity, provided they understood the word 
education in its spiritual and moral sense, and did not con- 
found or consider it equivalent with mere teaching and 
acquiring knowledge, which, of course, they would have 
to impart to the young. 

Nobody understood better than Fredrika, as will be 
seen by her previous writings and by her active life, how 
to estimate in its full significance woman's mission to be 
the mother and educator of the human race ; but, after her 
return from America, her predominating thought was how 
she might be able to secure liberty and an unrestricted 
sphere of activity for Swedish women. She remarked, that 
a number of functions belong to human life, which cannot 
be said to be either fatherly or motherly, but which as 
she maintained the " fatherly " had in all times undi- 
videdly taken upon itself. She seemed to understand the 
reason. Man is superior to woman in physical strength, 
and as long as people lived for the most part in a kind of 
savage state, man was woman's natural master, and woman 
merely a part of the man. But now, Fredrika argued, 



86 BIOGRAPHY. 

the ancient tradition about Adam's rib has undergone a 
considerable modification through Christianity itself. Our 
life is now more essentially a spiritual life a spiritual 
world in which no one is man or woman with respect to 
right of inheritance, majority, or the unbounded produc- 
tiveness of mental gifts. Through Christianity woman is 
already emancipated, but the force of habit is strong, and 
strongest in woman. The old, so to speak, natural condi- 
tion, she has been used to look upon as the most conven- 
ient. Fredrika felt herself called upon to give woman a 
strong reminder of her true, that is her full, mission. 

Woman's true mission and sphere of activity in general, 
appeared to me to have been pointed out to her by her na- 
ture, which in all times and amongst all nations, in ordinary 
cases, is the same, and which in Christianity has received 
her highest and noblest mission in leading man's immortal 
soul to God. 

Fredrika had frequently requested me to communicate 
to her any thing which I had found uncommon, any pe- 
culiarity in people, especially in unmarried women, and 
what afforded them any pleasure here in this world. This 
I had often done. And now I related to her some beauti- 
ful traits in children, in case she should wish to make use 
of them in her new book, and as illustrations to my project 
for her eminently gifted women, for whom I was anxious 
to point out a higher and more important mission, more 
suitable both for their head and heart, than that of becom- 
ing public functionaries. 

I was one evening, some years ago, at a concert in 
Stockholm, with one of my friends and her son, then ten 
years old. The lad was sitting before us. On the other 
side of me I had another intimate friend. She noticed in 
the course of the evening that the boy several times put 
his hand to his forehead, and she asked him therefore if 
he had the headache ? " No," he answered ; " I never 
have the headache." My friend began then to converse 



BIOGRAPHY. 87 

with some acquaintances who were sitting behind her. After 
a little while the lad became very uneasy, and it seemed as 
if he wanted to say something to 'my friend; but she was 
deep in conversation with her acquaintances. At last he 
was unable to wait any longer, and he said to her: " I say ! 
I say ! " And when she turned round to him, he said : " I 
told you just now that I never had the headache ; but it is 
possible that I have had it, although I do not recollect it." 
It was the word never which disturbed the boy's conscience, 
because he was not sure that it was perfectly true. 

One day I paid a visit to one of my friends. On enter- 
ing the dining-room, I saw two of "her sons, of about seven 
or eight years old, sitting each in a corner of the room. 
They came forward to greet me, and I asked them the 
reason why they were sitting so far apart. " Well," said 
one of them, " mamma has said that when we get angry 
with one another we are not allowed to fight, but that we 
must sit down as far as possible from each other, until our 
anger is over." He had scarcely finished these words 
when they both ran as fast as possible to sit down, each in 
their corner, looking fiercely at one another. " Is not your 
anger over yet ? " I asked. " No," they both shouted at 
once. I went in to my friend, and when, after a quarter 
of an hour, I came back into the dining-room, I found the 
little brothers playing together. " Is it over now ? " I 
asked. They answered, quite pleased, "Yes, now it's 
over." What an excellent method to teach children to 
conquer their violent passions, to calm themselves, and to 
think before acting. 

One day when I had gone out shopping, a gentleman, 
one of our acquaintances, saw me, and came into the shop 
where I was to speak to me. A moment after, a young 
lad who had seen me also, entered for the same purpose. 

Mr. de R exclaimed : " Ah, voila mon bon ami 

George ! " adding, while he turned round to me : " Nous 
nous sommes rencontres 1'autre soir a un bal d'enfans, et 



88 BIOGRAPHY. 

nous sommes devenues de si bons amis. N'est ce pas que 
nous sommes bons amis?" he said, patting the lad, who 
was twelve years old, on the shoulder. The latter looked 
a little uneasy, but answered, after a short reflection : " Je 
crois certainement que nous le deviendrons lorsque nous 
nous connaitrons mieux." It was impossible to answer 
more candidly, and at the same time more politely. 

These boys had the in* valuable happiness of having 
mothers who had understood how to lay the best founda- 
tion of all education. 

" I know no other sphere of activity for your gifted 
women, none more useful and blessed for the state," I said 
to Fredrika, " than to educate the youth of the country, 
and to give them the compass which shows them the right 
way on their journey through life, and the beneficial influ- 
ence of which extends over generations." 

Fredrika did not say much in reply to my educational 
projects ; she wanted to see woman active in all directions 
of the world's stage. 

My mother and sisters had several years previously 
founded a school on an estate in the neighborhood of Ar- 
sta, also belonging to our family. An elderly widow had 
been engaged as teacher, after having passed the Normal 
School for National School-teachers in Stockholm, and 
her daughter instructed the girls in sewing, knitting, and 
spinning. My sister Hedda, who warmly and truly appre- 
ciated the practical in life, superintended this department 
of the school, and saw that the girls were taught to mend 
their stockings, and patch and repair their clothes. Every 
thing went on excellently in this school. The children 
were industrious, good, and very anxious to attend regu- 
larly. In this manner it was carried on many years, until 
1842, when a statute was passed in which more extended 
knowledge was required as a condition for competent 
teachers in national schools. These requirements our 
teacher could riot fulfill. A good and clever man was en- 



BIOGRAPHY. 89 

gaged as teacher in the parish, and the old school had to 
break up for want of a sufficient number of pupils from our 
estate. But one consequence of this change was, that the 
instruction in handiworks, so useful and so necessary in 
female education, ceased; for the school-master was not 
bound to give such instruction. Fredrika, who was much 
interested in the school, which she had helped to establish, 
was exceedingly sorry for this ; and when she heard that in 
the neighboring parish, in which there were some farms 
belonging to Arsta, a youth of only eighteen years of age 
had been engaged as teacher, who had neither judgment 
nor patience with the children, but, on the contrary, taught 
them what was bad, she was very urgent that only women 
should be admitted as teachers in national schools. 

That such would be the case, both Fredrika and I 
hoped, because, from what we had seen ourselves, none but 
a woman could exert a motherly influence over the chil- 
dren, none better and with more patience correct their 
faults, make them obedient, orderly, and cleanly, which 
ought to be the first object in educating children. And 
how incalculably must the good moral foundation which 
these female teachers ought to understand how to lay, in- 
fluence the future conduct of the children ! But when 
this change was to take place we could not guess. As late 
as 1842, a learned, wise, and witty bishop, with whom Fre- 
drika and I spoke on this subject with all the warmth of 
conviction, when he one day paid a visit to Arsta, only an- 
swered, " They won't do ! They won't do ! There must 
be male teachers in the schools ! " 1 And how many, both 
widows and unmarried women, might earn their bread in a 
position so suitable for them, where they could labor so 
beneficially for the rising generation ! 

In the spring of 1853 my mother fell ill, and had to take 

1 Not until many years later, in 1859, a statute appeared, that what had 
been enacted respecting teachers in schools should apply also to such 
women whose capability had been tried and approved in the Seminary for 
Teachers in National Schools. 



90 BIOGRAPHY. 

to her bed. It was therefore out of the question to remove 
her that summer to Arsta, and consequently Fredrika re- 
mained in town in order to keep her company and to nurse 
her. Her illness, with an occasional temporary improve- 
ment, lasted two years, until the 2d of March, 1855, when 
my mother, after much suffering, borne with Christian 
resignation, departed to a better life. 

Fredrika, who was never slow in rendering assistance, 
whenever she had it in her power, devoted to the promo- 
tion of charitable undertakings of greater extent, both her 
personal activity and the power which she possessed of 
deeply touching with her words all human hearts, when 
she wished to move them to alleviate the distress of the 
suffering. 

When, in the summer of 1853, the cholera broke out in 
Stockholm, Fredrika joined a society of noble-hearted 
women, whose president she became, and whose aim it was 
to take charge of, and procure a home for, those children 
who had lost their parents by this epidemic, and to render 
assistance to those poor families in which either the father 
or the mother had died and left children. 

She published in the newspapers an invitation to a sub- 
scription for the benefit of these children and families, and 
had the satisfaction of seeing the money thus collected 
amount to Rg. 26,000, besides contributions which were 
promised to be continued for several years. It was ar- 
ranged for the orphans that the society should take the 
entire charge of them, until they had been confirmed, and 
a place had been procured for them. 

In the winter of 1855, Fredrika placed herself at the 
head of a small association of ladies, whose object it was 
to visit the prisons of the metropolis. This object was ex- 
ceedingly good, and I hope that, at all events, some of 
those who had taken the first steps on the path of vice and 
crime, and now in the cells of the prisons had leisure, in 
silence and solitude, to meditate on what had been said to 



BIOGRAPHY. 91 

them, returned, after undergoing their punishment, to the 
path of virtue. The greater number of them seemed to 
be sincerely grateful for the sympathy shown to them, and 
when one had time to disentangle their notions of right 
and wrong, they listened with sincere repentance, and joy- 
fully, to the exhortations to confess candidly their crimes, 
patiently to submit to the punishment inflicted upon them, 
and then to endeavor to become new beings. 

These visits were continued during the following winter, 
when Fredrika was residing in Stockholm. The hope of 
having effected some permanent good in this way was, 
however, more than once disappointed ; because several of 
those for whom much had been done, and for whom, after 
they had been discharged from prison, good places as serv- 
ants had been procured, returned again to a life of vice 
and crime. 

Fredrika, together with two other ladies of this society, 
also visited the large penitentiary for women. Those who 
were imprisoned there were more hardened and more prac- 
ticed in crimes ; still they were not inaccessible to the en- 
deavors made with gentleness and in a Christian spirit, to 
awaken their feelings and create in them a wish to repent. 

On Fredrika's visit to this prison on New Year's Day, 
1856, the following New Year's greeting was presented to 
her by its inmates : 

" Now entering on another year, 
E'en with its course our hope grows clear, 
That God the erring keeps in mind, 
Though worldly judgments are unkind. 
With moved and grateful spirit 
Our thanks we send to thee, 
Who God's good pleasure's pathway 
Hast made us clearly see. 
We here before thy feet do humbly lay 
Our New Year's greeting, and we pray 
That thou our words will not despise, 
Though they from captive hearts arise. 
May health and joy and peace in full 
Be with thee until life depart ; 



92 BIOGRAPHY. 

When thy last morning greets thy sight, 
To choirs of angels take thy flight." 

Fredrika likewise devoted her pen and her eloquence, 
during the last years of her life, to call upon society to col- 
lect money for the benefit of several charitable institutions ; 
for the erection of dwellings for laborers, for which a con- 
siderable sum was gathered ; for an asylum for aged fe- 
males, and for the so-called " Silent School " for deaf and 
dumb children, and for several other institutions. 

After reading Alexandre Vinet's excellent works, Fre- 
drika longed to follow more attentively on the spot the 
religious movement, which had been called forth in Prot- 
estant Switzerland by the " Free Church," of which Vinet 
was the founder. This occasioned Fredrika's journey to 
Switzerland in the summer of 1856. She had intended 
at the same time to visit Greece, and spend a year in 
Athens. I did all I could to dissuade her from under- 
taking such a long journey, upon which she proposed to set 
out, as usual, quite alone. But when Fredrika had once 
got an idea into her head, it must be realized. 

To her desire of knowledge, was now also added a cer- 
tain restlessness of temper, a longmg for change, which, 
when she had been at home a short time and in quietness, 
made her fancy that she required to travel. When she left 
Sweden this time, she had, however, no idea of making 
such a long journey as it eventually turned out, namely, 
during five years, through Switzerland, Belgium, France, 
Italy, Palestine, and Greece. While travelling, a desire 
awoke within her, and opportunities presented themselves, 
to visit one country after another. Fredrika returned 
home in the summer of 1861, and in the following year 
she again visited Germany. But this was the fast journey 
which she made. 

Fredrika was permitted to live to see four important 
events realized at which her heart, always warm and sym- 
pathizing for all progress in a noble and good direction, felt 



BIOGRAPHY. 93 

the sincerest joy : the abolition of slavery in the United 
States of America ; a law passed in Sweden, that unmar- 
ried women should attain their majority at twenty-five years 
of age ; the organization in Stockholm of a seminary for 
educating female teachers ; and the parliamentary reform 
in Sweden, carried through in such a dignified manner. 

It was more especially after her return from her last 
journey that Fredrika was constantly importuned, not only 
by a number of persons who wanted to beg or borrow 
money of her ; by authoresses who came to request her to 
read through and improve their, for the most part, unim- 
provable writings ; but also by both men and women who 
wanted her assistance to procure employment for them. 
She got in this way more and more overrun by all kinds 
of people. Frequently poor Fredrika felt very unhappy 
that it was not in her power to assist all the really poor 
and destitute ; but she assured me that she had taught 
herself to ^say " No ! " with the greatest coolness to persons 
who were perfect strangers to her, and who wanted to bor- 
row of her both large and small sums of money. 

Fredrika, while she was residing during the winters in 
Stockholm, had been in the habit of giving small evening 
parties, sometimes twice a week, in her comfortable little 
home, to which a few friends and more intimate acquaint- 
ances were invited. But she had now become tired of 
these soirees, and wished to live henceforth in quiet. 

This wish, and the feeling that it would be necessary for 
her to flee from Stockholm, in order to escape from all 
those who came to ask for assistance, and almost every day 
occupied her time, made her determine to remove some 
miles from Stockholm into the country, and thus the 
thought and wish arose in her to remove to Arsta, which, 
since the autumn of 1853, had not belonged to our family. 
Before making up her mind to stay for any greater length 
of time, she wanted first to try how she would find herself 
there under these altered circumstances, and therefore she 
spent three months of the summer of 1864 at Arsta. 



94 BIOGRAPHY. 

On her return to town, Fredrika was greatly charmed 
with the patriarchal family who were now the owners of 
our former paternal estate, and she had vastly enjoyed the 
peace and quietness in which she had lived there. She 
therefore determined to remove to Arsta the following 
summer, to board with the present owners, and she chose 
the rooms which were to be put in order for her. Besides 
the hope of the rural peace which she would enjoy there, 
her kind, generous heart was gladdened when she thought 
that by this change she would save a considerable portion 
of her annual income, to give away, compared with what 
she was able to do formerly, while living in Stockholm. 

In the spring of 1865, Fredrika was seized with a severe 
attack of erysipelas, and until the month of July she had 
not recovered so far as to be able to remove to Arsta ; but 
there she soon recovered her health and strength. During 
the visits which Fredrika, later in the summer, paid to my 
husband and me at our little country-seat we heard with 
sincere pleasure that she found herself more^ happy and 
contented than she had ever felt before at Arsta. Her 
mind was also now at ease ; all doubts of God's goodness 
and justice had vanished; all rebellious feelings, which had 
been awakened in her, when contemplating the unequal 
lots on earth, were silenced ; and when we, especially on her 
last visit to us, spoke of some unhappy people whom we 
knew personally, and who in poverty and sickness had for 
years been suffering great bodily pain, I found Fredrika 
full of hope, and convinced that their sufferings here below 
would be requited in a double measure in a better world. 
In a word, I had never before seen Fredrika so hopeful 
and so calm. 

I cannot better paint the peaceful state of her mind than 
by quoting her own beautiful words, written, most probably, 
at the close of her life : 

" No longer against destiny I murmur ; 
The Providence of God I clearly see ; 



BIOGRAPHY. 95 

It makes itself not known within the world's 

And chance's ever-shifting, changing forms, 

But it reveals itself in hearts of mortals, 

And thus in them expressed is its spirit: 

' That sons of earth in greatest earthly need 

May then on " bread of life " from heaven feed; ' 

And when I hear them tell how fate ungentle 

Has acted 'gainst some mortal good and noble, 

Fate is to me a darkling cloud no more, 

A cloud which hides the sun of light and beauty ; 

Praise be to God! I know now how it is, 

I know that in the sufferer's meek submission 

Lies strength concealed to feed and nourish gladness ; 

I know that in the martyr's crown of thorns, 

When borne with patience, there is not one point, 

Which or in time or in eternity, 

Blooms not into a rose." 

Although fully prepared and joyfully looking forward to 
a better life, Fredrika yet believed that she was destined 
to remain longer in this world, in which she fancied that a 
great deal still remained for her to do, while leading a life 
full of love for mankind and wandering in the paths of our 
Saviour : to help, solace, and comfort the destitute, the suf- 
fering, the unhappy, the abandoned, who from all quarters 
turned to her for assistance and consolation. 

But this belief was not to be realized. Although Fre- 
drika, after having taken up her abode in the country, had 
regained health and strength, she yet felt a something 
within her foreboding the great removal, arising either 
from the prophetic element in her nature, or from a con- 
sciousness of physical decline ; probably from both. She 
communicated her thoughts and feelings on this subject to 
an old friend in Sweden and to a friend in America ; but 
as she never was in the habit of paying much attention to 
her bodily ailments or dangers to life or health, she did not 
attach any particular importance to these forebodings, not 
suspecting that the solemn hour was so near. 

It was in the beginning of September when Fredrika, 
for the last time, visited us in the country. ^On the 30th 
of December we received two letters from Arsta : one, a 



96 BIOGRAPHY. 

long letter to my husband, dictated by Fredrika, relating 
to her worldly affairs, in which she told us that she had 
caught cold on Christmas Day, after having attended the 
morning service in church ; but that she now felt better, 
although still very weak. The other letter was from the 
physician who had been called in, informing us that Fre- 
drika was suffering from inflammation of the lungs, and 
preparing us for the possibility that she might not have 
strength enough to go through this serious illness. 

My husband and I drove out at once, in a heavy gale of 
wind and rain, to Arsta. On our arrival, at nine o'clock at 
night, I asked Fredrika's kind hostess to prepare her cau- 
tiously for our arrival. She was exceedingly weak. Alas ! 
I saw at once death in her face. She was glad when we 
entered her room, and said, in broken accents, " It is so 
kind of you to come and see me ! I have been ill ; have 
suffered much pain ; I have never been so ill." " Do you 
feel yourself better now ? " I asked. " Yes, much better/' 
she answered. After a little while, during which she 
seemed to have fallen into a short slumber, she looked up, 
saying, u Have I dreamt that my sister and brother-in-law 
are here ? " We again approached her bedside and took 
her hand, while we said a few loving words to her. Much 
talking she could not bear. Again her mind seemed to 
wander for a short time ; when again she looked up, she 
said to me, "You cannot think how kind and attentive 
every one here has been to me ; they have watched over 
and tended me in the most kind manner. They are such 
excellent people ! " 

It did my heart good that the amiable family at Arsta, 
who, sorrowing, surrounded her bed, should hear from her 
own lips these expressions of gratitude. 

Shortly after Fredrika had said these words, the last 
earthly struggle began, that between life and death, 
and, thank God ! it was a short one, although painful, last- 
ing about an hour, after which all consciousness seemed to 



BIOGRAPHY. 97 

be gone, and Fredrika peacefully drew her last breath, at 
three o'clock on the morning of the last day of the year, to 
awake again in heaven. 

Happy they who have lived as she had done ! they are 
every moment ready to enter into the mansions of the 
blessed. 

The wind had gone down, the sky had become bright 
and clear, and the moon lit up the room in which Fre- 
drika was now lying quietly, as one asleep. 

She had finished her earthly career, during which she 
had been permitted to realize the dearest wish of her 
youth, to live for the sake of comforting, consoling, and 
relieving her suffering fellow-men ; and this noble, loving 
heart, which had glowed so warmly and bravely for the 
light of truth and the weal of humanity, had ceased to 
beat. Many are they who bless her memory and mourn 
her loss. The following day we got a detailed account of 
all the particulars of Fredrika's last illness. Fredrika, 
whose greatest pleasure it was to give pleasure to others, 
had, on Christmas Eve, invited thirty children belonging 
to the families of the farmers and laborers on the estate. 
After a liberal entertainment, every child got a Christmas- 
box, and they were then allowed to dance round a beauti- 
fully decorated Christmas-tree, radiant with light. Fre- 
drika danced with them, and taught them several games ; 
in a word, she over-exerted herself, and went to bed later 
than usual. On Christmas Day she drove to church. After 
the service she stood for some time in the church-yard 
conversing with several people. The wind was high and 
piercing, and it is supposed that it was then she caught 
cold. She was, however, well and cheerful the whole day. 

During the night she was taken ill, and when Mrs. S g, 

her hostess, on the following day, wanted to send for a 
physician, Fredrika would not allow it, saying, that she 
knew her own constitution well, and that if she did not get 
better in the course of the day, she would then take some 
7 



98 BIOGRAPHY. 

of her small homoeopathic globules. It was not until the 
fourth day, when Fredrika felt herself getting worse, that 
she gave permission to send for a physician. When he 
arrived and found, on inquiry, that she was suffering from 
a severe inflammation of the lungs, she requested that her 
relatives might be informed of her illness. She did not 
herself imagine that there was any danger ; and, notwith- 
standing increasing pain and difficulty in breathing, she 
could not be persuaded to lie down, but walked about even 
the very last day of her life, exceedingly restless, moving 
from one place to another in her large drawing-room. Her 
mind was as usual, always calm and cheerful. 

To her young nurse, who assisted her to change her 
position, which soothed her pains, she said : " It would be 
delightful to die in this way, without pain ; but not yet ; I 
would wish to finish my last work. And you know it is 
not my death-year," she added, alluding to a dream which 
she had had several years before, and according to which 
she ought to have more than a year to live. 1 On the 
Friday after, she went, leaning upon the arm of her nurse, 
from window to window in the large room ; and it seemed 
as if she wanted to take leave of the surrounding country 
which she loved so much. Then she spoke with a faint, 
scarcely audible, voice, broken sentences, repeated often : 
" Light, eternal light ; " and, while taking her nurse's hands 
between her own, she said, with a glorified expression in 
her face : "Ah ! my child, let us speak of Christ's love, 
the best, the highest love ! " 

My husband and I returned later in the day to town, in 
order to make the necessary arrangements for the funeral. 
It took place on the day before Twelfth Night, the 5th of 



1 This dream had made such an impression upon Fredrika, that she 
really believed, and often mentioned to her most intimate friends, that she 
would live to be sixty-six years and two months old ; which age, dying 
as she did, at a little more than sixty-four years old, she was not permit- 
ted to reach. 



BIOGRAPHY. 99 

O 

January, 1866. Besides the Arsta family, the clergyman 
and his wife, and a few of the neighbors, only our nearest 
relatives, and two elderly gentlemen, Fredrika's old friends, 
were invited, with my husband and myself, to accompany 
her to her last resting-place. Some people from town had 
also the kindness to join us. 

On Fredrika's birthday the previous year, while she was 
staying at Arsta, her kind hostess, with her daughters, in 
order to afford her a pleasure, had invited to coffee all the 
survivors of those who, during my parents' time, had 
served on the estate. When they had assembled, it was 
found that these old faithful servants male and female 
included numbered twenty-four in all. Now the male 
portion of them were invited, and they were to carry Fre- 
drika to the church. 

The beautiful coffin was entirely covered with garlands 
of flowers, sent from friends in Stockholm, and were mixed 
with those which we and the invited funeral guests had 
brought out from town. But none of them were so beauti- 
ful as the garland sent by the children of the " Silent 
School ; " it was made of dazzling white camellias and the 
most beautiful feather-like grass. 

On one of the plates of the coffin was written : 

"FREDRIKA BREMER: 

Born at Tuorla Manor, near Abo, in Finland, on the 17th August, 1801; 
Died at Arsta, at three o'clock in the morning, the 31st December, 1865. 

Beloved and regretted by all who knew her, she leaves after her only 
dear and loving memories." 

On the other plate was written : 

" Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." 

After having partaken of some luncheon, the procession 
set out for church, where we were met by a number of young 
ladies from Stockholm, amongst whom were several of the 
teachers from the Seminary, who, grateful for the kindness 
and friendly favors shown them by Fredrika, had wished 



100 BIOGRAPHY. 

to follow her to the grave. The coffin was placed upon 
the catafalque before the altar, covered with flowers. The 
church was filled with country people, who had come to 
witness the funeral, and who all seemed to be deeply 
moved. The organ pealed forth the 461st psalm: "Oh, 
day of hope, which brightens now," of which the first, 
fifth, and eighth verses were sung. 

Hereupon the clergyman, the Rev. Mr. L 11, ap- 
proached the coffin, and held a funeral oration, dig- 
nified, eloquent, true, and delivered with deep and sincere 
emotion. 

After the ceremony, the 452d psalm was sung : " I go 
towards death where'er I go ; " and then, in a chorus of 
young, fresh voices : " Hosanna, David's Son ! " 

The old servants then approached, took the coffin, and 
carried it to the grave, into which it was lowered under a 
shower of flowers, offered with sincere tears and deep 
emotion by her young friends. 

At the head of the grave, shaded by two lime-trees with 
luxuriant foliage, stands now a handsome monument of 
polished granite, with a cross on the top. On the pedestal 
is engraved in golden letters : 

" HERE SLEEPS 

FREDRIKA BREMER, 

BORN 17TH AUGUST, 1801; DIED 31sT DECEMBER, 1865;" 
and underneath, according to Fredrika's own wish, the 
following words of Scripture : 

" When I cried unto the Lord, He delivered me out of all my trouble." 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 



THE first word which my infant lips uttered in this sub- 
lunary world was " Moon." Eight years later I wrote my 
first verses, " A la lune." My first juvenile feelings, so far 
as I can now recollect, were immoderate greediness after 
.sweetmeats, and likewise an immoderate desire to distin- 
guish myself and be spoken of. These were soon suc- 
ceeded by warmer feelings and nobler desires, which all 
wore the stamp of passion. My first love was my native 
country. I loved it as Elizabeth in " Sketches of Every- 
day Life." In the description which she gives of her youth 
and her feelings, I have portrayed my own. By degrees, 
as my intelligence and my mind became developed (both 
equally warped and chaotic), a spirit of inquiry was also de- 
veloped within me a why and wherefore which none 
of those who were around me could, or cared to, answer or 
enlighten. My education was of a very desultory kind. 
They stuffed my head full of fine precepts against vanity, 
but they planted vanity itself in my heart. During my 
endeavors to deaden wild sensations, I went for the first 
time to the Lord's table. An atmosphere of innocence 
and purity, emanating from my mother's whole being, 
breathed round my home, and for a long time kept aloof 
from the children's souls all knowledge of evil ; but the 
desire for it was, unconscious to me, slumbering in my soul. 
Modesty, in its widest sense, I knew not. But I had an 
ardent and enthusiastic feeling for all heroic virtues, a 
boundless capacity to love and to sacrifice myself with joy, 



102 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

in small things as in great, for the good of those whom I 
loved; a desire to give, to make happy, and to comfort. 
Yes, if I could have done it, I would have given to the 
hungry the flesh of my own body. I loved my mother 
most tenderly and passionately, and longed, above every 
thing else in the world, to please her. I failed herein com 
pletely. I walked badly, sat badly, stood badly, curtsied 
badly ; and many bitter moments this cost me, because my 
mother wished that her daughters should be perfect, as the 
heroines of romance are perfect, by birth and nature. 
This, of course, we sincerely wished to be, but to me Dame 
Nature was rather unfriendly, throwing all kinds of diffi- 
culties in my way. None of those who surrounded me un- 
derstood how to guide a character like mine to good. They % 
tried to curb me by severity, or else my thoughts and feel- 
ings were ridiculed. I was very unhappy in my early youth, 
and, violent as I was in every thing, I formed many plans 
to shorten my life, to put out my eyes, &c., &c., merely for 
the sake of making my mother repent her severity ; but all 
ended in my standing on the margin of the lake, looking 
down into the water, or feeling the pricking of the knife in 
my eyeball. Unhappy at home, because I was a restless, 
passionate creature, without the least of what one would call 
tact, my soul clung ardently to the events of the outer world. 
The war against Napoleon stirred within me all my deepest 
feelings. I determined to flee from home, to proceed to 
the theatre of war, which I imagined would be an easy 
matter, and, dressed in male costume, to become page to 
the Crown-Prince (afterwards King Charles XIV.), who 
at that time appeared to me to be little less than a demi- 
god. I entertained these plans more than a year, until 
they melted away slowly, like snow in water. Gradually 
my patriotic and warlike feelings were lulled, but only to 
make room for new ones of another kind. Religious en- 
thusiasm and the most worldly coquetry were struggling 
within me, with feelings for which I was unable fully to ac- 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 103 

count, but which seemed to bwrst my young bosom, and 
which sometimes filled it with a heaven and sometimes with 
a hell. Like two all-consuming flames, the desire to know 
and the desire to enjoy were burning in my soul, without 
being satisfied for many long years. The mere sight of 
certain words in a book, words such as Truth, Liberty, 
Glory, Immortality, roused within me feelings which 
vainly I would try to describe. I wanted in some way or 
other to give vent to and express the same ; and I wrote 
verses, theatrical pieces, and a thousand different kinds of 
essays ; composed music, drew and painted pictures, some 
of them greater trash than the others. I was brought out 
into the world, went out visiting, went to evening parties, 
balls, and concerts, and very rarely enjoyed myself any- 
where except at the theatre, and there my soul was thrown 
into a state of topsy-turvy. 

My nose, naturally large, used to become illuminated in 
hot places, and, I had almost said, become double its ordi- 
nary size, darkening my prospects of pleasure and of ad- 
mirers, which latter it kept at a distance. I have said it : 
I was a coquette, and I became more and more a coquette 
when I observed that I found favor with my parents in 
proportion as I anywhere or in any thing was admired by 
others. In company I frequently behaved in a ridiculous 
manner, because it was utterly impossible for me to keep 
my soul or my body quiet. Thence arose fresh troubles 
for my motherland consequently fresh troubles for me. 
Du reste, my vivacity and my fraicheur, which, so long 
as it did not concentrate itself into my nose, was rather 
pretty, procured me admirers and flatterers, when we hap- 
pened to be in any place of public entertainment. This 
was a consolation to us both, namely, to my mother and to 
myself. A young gentleman, betrothed to the daughter of 
the oldest friend of my parents, came one day to pay them 
a visit. He was exceedingly handsome, full of vigor and 
life. I saw him for a couple of hours and became en- 



104 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

chanted. During a fortnight I felt the arrow sticking in 
my heart; then it dropped out. Another young gentle- 
man, nowise handsome, but rich, saw me a couple of hours, 
while I was paying a visit, and he fell in love with me. 
With his hand upon his heart, he whispered to me his 
agony. He tried to get an introduction to our family, but 
the door was forcibly shut against him by my father, who 
willingly would have got all his daughters married, but who 
never could tolerate the face of a suitor in his house. I 
was then seventeen years old, read Madame Le Prince de 
Beaumont's works, and determined never to marry. From 
this time forth there was for me a vacuum of suitors and 
lovers until 1820, when I was twenty. N. B. It was fortu- 
nate, for the keeping of my word, that during this time no 
suitor appeared to put my word to the test. Meanwhile I 
had improved somewhat in my gait, in sitting, in curtsey- 
ing, and got my person a little more into shape ; got the 
name of being witty ; had less love for and more favor with 
my mother. I understood better how to agree with people, 
and to suit myself to them. I had, moreover, begun to ac- 
quire a certain quantity of every-day wisdom and common 
sense, which made people entertain some hope respecting 
my understanding, the doubts and questions of which I 
tried to stifle as vain fermentations. In 1820 I accom- 
panied my mother and sisters to a watering-place. It 
was during the third term of the season, and we were 
therefore alone. A very amiable and chivalrous elderly 
gentleman and his wife, residing in the neighborhood, did 
all they could to make our stay as agreeable as possible. 
They had a son, a young, gay, good, and handsome lieuten- 
ant. He began to sigh for me, and I began to warm a 
little for him. It was a pastoral moment, when once, " in 
the green fields," I was wiping and scraping some tar off 
one of my shoes, and when he, with half words and sighs 
well, nothing more came of it. We left at last, and he 
accompanied 1 us to the nearest town. I remember, not 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 105 

without a pleasant sensation, this first silent, friendly har- 
mony of my soul with another's. We parted. I gave him 
a carnation and a curl-paper, and he gave me a few sprigs 
of lavender. I cried the whole night after our parting, 
and for a long time afterwards I sighed his name in my 
heart, but very calmly. 

In order to please my parents, I had labored very hard 
to get used to household duties. I succeeded, because I 
had then, as now, a very strong will, although I rarely 
understood how to give it the proper direction. I also 
worked and labored hard at my piano, and rose at four in 
the mornings, merely for the purpose of playing the scales. 
I wrote theatrical pieces in honor of every birthday in the 
family ; arranged small fetes, and began to flatter the heads 
of the family in a delicate manner ; in a word, I became a 
complete courtier, and rose with jny parents to the rank of 
favorite. By means of this favoritism, I wished, however, 
to get an opportunity of serving my sisters, and I succeeded 
sometimes, but not often. Nowhere have I seen so many 
impossibilities for every thing, except for very long journeys, 
as in our house. I wrote during this time some humorous 
and some tragic pieces, which I believe gave promise of 
something better ; but nobody cared to take the trouble of 
trying to develop this promise. I had no idea of being 
able by industry to make something of myself in the way 
of intellect and knowledge. 

All my actions during many years were devoid of plan 
or order. In 1821 we worked through our continental 
trip, and journeyed in covered carriages, and " toiled on 
our weary way" through Germany, Switzerland, France, 
and the Netherlands. For all the treasures of tnis world, 
aye, even for the genius of Tegner, I would not again make 
this journey in the same way. I will only speak of the 
suffering which more particularly fell to my share. The 
desire for knowledge and the desire for enjoyment were 
reawakened within me a new, all-consuming fire, at the 
sight of the masterpieces of Nature and of Art. 



106 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

I suffered like Tantalus. Within a year we had returned 
to our quiet home in the north. Then began for us a life, 
the heaviness and torture of which it would be vain to at- 
tempt to paint. Our home became to us a prison, compared 
with which a real prison would, so it appeared to me, have 
been a delicious retreat. We saw nobody in our house, 
and those whom we saw in the houses of others were un- 
kind and unfriendly to us on account of our foreign jour- 
ney, and on account of the airs which people fancied we 
wanted to give ourselves. Year after year a heavier and 
darker cloud lowered itself over my home, and still more 
over my soul. Gradually all illusions vanished. With a 
soul infinitely lively and active, I found myself shut out 
from all activity. If a charitable hand had then pointed 
out to me the road to light and future usefulness, through 
cultivation of my intellect and a judicious division of the 
time to be devoted to this purpose, oh ! then so many 
years would not have rolled past me like zeroes, and I 
would have borne better every day's bitterness and pain. 
But my soul was still, as it were, in its swaddling clothes. 
I read heaps of novels ; they awakened within me a longing 
for happiness and love, which could not be realized. I 
read large quantities of sermons, which did not make me 
a bit better or less unhappy. I played the piano, and occu- 
pied myself in one way or other, but more and more list- 
lessly. I waited for a turn in events, in order to enter into 
activity, but no such events happened. Embroidering an 
interminable gray neckerchief, I became more and more 
benumbed, that is to say, in my vital powers, in my desire 
to live. The sense of pain did not become benumbed ; it 
became, on the contrary, more sharp every day, like the 
frost in a steadily increasing winter. The flame in my soul 
was flickering fearfully, and wanted only one thing to be 
extinguished forever. My sisters suffered with me ; they 
suffered in me and I in them. During the common sor- 
rows of our continental journey, we had become sincerely 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 107 

and closely united. During the common sufferings of our 
domestic life, we became still more tenderly united ; and 
under affliction and tears those ties were knit which noth- 
ing can make stronger, which nothing can tear asunder, 
and which are now the chief source of my life's happiness. 
Years rolled past, and every thing remained in the same 
state ; physical pains, caused by inward pains, seized me ; an 
eruption covered my face ; my eyes became yellow. I felt, 
both in body and soul, a sense of the utmost discomfort, a 
kind of frost, a sensation as if I was becoming mouldy. I 
had a fear and horror of people looking at me. My posi- 
tion, with respect to them and to myself, was insupportable. 
The fate of women in general, and my own in particular, 
appeared to me to be frightful. I saw assurance and cour- 
age in men's looks ; heard them express openly their 
thoughts and feelings, and I was doomed to silence, to 
live without life. I was conscious of being born with pow- 
erful wings, but I was also conscious of their being clipped, 
and I fancied that they would always remain so. I saw 
that I was disagreeable and repugnant in the eyes of others, 
and I felt that it could not be otherwise, for I was dissatis- 
fied with myself, with my inward and outward being. 

But during all this suffering, a certain strength was 
called into life within me. My glance penetrated deeply 
into the dark mysteries of human life ; I understood every 
thing called suffering ; and in my own name, and in that 
of all unhappy beings, I raised a painful and rebellious 
cry to Heaven : 

My cheek was pale, my eyes were running o'er 
With bitter tears ; my heart, in desolation, 

Saw suffering, like a vast and rankling sore, 
Prey on the vitals of God's fair creation. 

I looked for dawn, I found but nightly gloom, 
No hope of happier days, no blessed faith ; 

Life turned like some wild meteor on a tomb 
In my sad heart, I only prayed for death. 



108 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

Now I stood in need of faith ; now I stood in need of 
religious comfort. Wildly impatient, I prayed for it ; my 
agony remained the same. Exasperated, I turned away 
my looks from heaven and asked, with my eyes riveted 
upon the night of human misery, a shuddering wherefore ? 
No voice, either from heaven or from earth, returned an 
answer ; my faith and my hope were shaken in their deep- 
est foundations. Every thing was tottering ; I doubted, 
I despaired, and now I understood hell. I suffered so 
deeply, so dreadfully, but at the same time so quietly, that 
just thereby I felt a kind of superiority over other people ; 
because, during this suffering, I became so good, so gentle, 
that I would willingly have suffered still more to save the 
most insignificant insect a pang. And I knew nobody so 
good as I. God may He forgive my weakness this irrev- 
erence or blindness permitted this suffering. Man hum- 
bled me, because I was a kind of Lazarus, at any rate in 
my own imagination ; but I overlooked mankind ; in my 
soul raged giant agony. I felt that I could suffer, and that 
I suffered more than others. 

Although at this time I should have found it easy to 
achieve any great and noble action, even at the sacrifice 
of my life ; yet I must in truth confess, that on the other 
hand, I have never looked upon crime and vice with so 
little abhorrence as then, and it is only Him, who rules 
events and circumstances, to whom I ascribe the innocence 
of my actions. One thing only afforded me some consola- 
tion during this long time of suffering, and this was paint- 
ing. Seated at my easel, I frequently forgot, for hours 
together, my agony and the bitterness of my life ; and in 
creating the beautiful with my pencil, I found therein con- 
solation for not being able to re-create myself, for I was 
ever weak for beauty. In order to find pecuniary means 
for assuaging affliction which made my heart bleed to hear 
mentioned, I tried to earn money with my paintings. I 
painted little portraits of the Crown-Princess, whom I had 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 109 

seen in the theatre ; painted that of the King ; sold them 
in secret, and within a year I earned nearly two hundred 
rix dollars. To employ this sum, afforded me for the mo- 
ment a healing balm. 

My sister Agatha had finished the orthopedic treatment, 
which she had gone through in Paris, and returned home 
in the summer of 1826. She scarcely knew me again, so 
much had I become altered in two years. It was decided 
that she, my sister Hedda, and myself should remain in 
the country, in order to continue Agatha's treatment. We 
were allowed to remain there alone with an old French 
lady as a chaperon. 

My sister Charlotte accompanied my parents to town in 
the autumn. These sisters were and are good, gentle, pa- 
tient, and pure beings, beings, whom nothing in the 
world could tempt to deviate from what they consider vir- 
tuous and right. My life now gained outward peace, but 
severe bodily suffering, toothache, and rheumatism in the 
head, together with the chaotic state of my soul, prevented 
me from enjoying this peace. By degrees there awoke 
within me an intensely deep desire for improvement of, and 
for conciliation with, my better self. I did not hope t$ 
arrive at light and truth until after death, that dear, longed- 
for dawn of a better life. 

So it appeared to me in my calmer moments. In the 
country around me, near and far, there were many poor 
and sick. I became their physician, nurse, and helper, as 
far as I had it in my power. I felt an intense pleasure in 
exposing myself to and braving cold, tempests, snow- 
storms, even hunger ; because the food which I took with 
me on my excursions I gave away. Battling with Nature's 
roughness, I felt with delight the moral strength of my 
being. I submitted joyously to the most loathsome med- 
ical employments. My bodily feelings were disgust, my 
mental feelings were delight at suffering in order to soothe 
and heal. I denied myself all kinds of comforts, in order 



110 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

to give them to others. In a word, I was during two years 
a Catholic enthusiast, but became, in the mean time, a bet- 
ter, purer, more virtuous being than I had been before. I 
studied the Bible assiduously. I was often, very often, on 
my knees ; yes, rose in the night to pray for light and 
peace. A breath of the celestial children's wings fanned 
now and then my heart. The fruit of such a moment is 
the passage in " The Solitary One," beginning with " Now 
is peaceful, blessed rest," &c., &c. I had indeed moments 
of inexpressible happiness ; but my feelings, like billows, 
rose and fell ; I felt no settled calm. A warm feeling of 
piety filled my soul. My doubts were not solved, but I had 
faith and hope ; I had a measureless love for all sufferers ; 
for all who were in affliction ; for all unhappy ones. To 
exercise this love unwaveringly, during the whole remain- 
der of my life, became my sole wish, and I made the firm 
determination, that, as soon as I should become my own 
mistress, I would enter a hospital as a " Sister of Charity," 
and devote my days to tending the sufferers of the poorer 
classes, little caring for what the world or my own family 
would say of it ; so little was at that time the right appli- 
cation of the " principle of usefulness " understood by me. 
With my soul full of the determination to devote my life 
to God in this way, I drove one Sunday, a gloomy winter's 
day, alone to church, in order to consecrate myself, as it 
were, to a new life by taking the Sacrament. I remember 
still, with a feeling of pleasing melancholy, how I was 
sitting alone in my pew, shivering with cold, while, with a 
calm pleasure in my soul, I contemplated the altar-piece, 
representing the Resurrection, and heard how the congre- 
gation, one by one, with heavy footsteps walked up the aisle 
and entered the pews. All of a sudden the sun shone out 
brightly, and threw his life-giving rays upon me. They 
continued during the whole service to warm me gently, and 
with blissful tears I felt this as a blessing from Heaven. 
At the foot of the altar, I laid down the offering of my 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Ill 

whole life, but found, during the holy act and after it, my 
feelings to be less warm than I had wished. However, 
every thing now became better than it had been previously. 
I imagined that I had closed my accounts with the world ; 
the desire for its life and enjoyments was extinguished 
within me. My soul became pure and at the same time 
true. My incessant activity gave me a delightful con- 
sciousness of being here in this world a consoling atom. 
In consequence of frequent and fatiguing exercise in the 
open air, my body became invigorated, my blood flowed 
more freely, my health improved. 

One day, about the end of March, I walked across snow- 
covered fields just as the sun was setting; the tear of grati- 
tude and joy of one, to whom I had just then given comfort, 
had fallen like balm upon my heart. I had been walking 
very fast to avoid coming home in the twilight, and I had 
stopped a moment to recover breath and to inhale the 
mild, pure air. I stood still, with my eyes turned to where 
the sun was sinking in a flood of purple and golden glory 
beneath the western sky. Then came thence towards me, 
sweeping across the wide expanse of snow, a breath of air 
delicious and full of a foretaste of spring. I drank in its 
life-giving freshness with body and Soul. I collected my 
excited feelings to more calmness, looked round, and 
turned, with full consciousness of the state of my being, my 
thoughts upon myself, with this question : Would I now 
wish to die ? For the first time during many years, I felt 
that I could answer, No ! Oh, moment of immeasurable 
delight ! Now awoke within me the hope of a resurrection 
to happiness even on earth, a hope, which has not been 
deceived, but which has been beautifully realized. 

During this period of my life, a rather unusual circum- 
stance contributed to give my mind a new direction. A 
noble-hearted and estimable lady, who then learnt to know 
me in my outward, and partly also in my inward, life, con- 
ceived for me a friendship which amounted almost to a 
real passion. 



112 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

She was, and is still, one of the few friends whom God 
has given me, and to whom I can say : " Go," and she 
goes ; " come," and she comes ; " do this," and she does it. 
I felt that it was only through the ennobling of my own 
being that I had gained this power over her, and I rose 
accordingly still more in my own estimation. To describe 
all my own feelings would be impossible. There is some- 
thing so gigantic and so full of the infinite in every deep 
feeling which fills my soul, that words cannot express it. 
A medical treatment, which I prescribed for myself during 
this time, contributed essentially to restore the equilibrium 
of my whole being, and to make me find some comfort in 
myself. I bathed frequently in lukewarm water, which 
had an inexpressibly beneficial effect upon me ; and I was 
repeatedly bled. This drew from my poor head the quan- 
tity of blood which used to rush into it, and which caused 
all my uneasiness. At last I applied a seton to each arm. 
They made the eruption in my face disappear, and drew 
out of my body the humors which had accumulated therein 
for years. My complexion became clear, and I became 
bodily like one new-born. 

During the last winter which I spent alone in the coun- 
try, I wrote the first Volume of the " Sketches of Every- 
day Life." It afforded me pleasure ; but I felt, while try- 
ing to produce something as an authoress, how very chaotic 
was my whole world of imagination, and I had no idea that 
within me could lie any talent in that way. The chief 
motive for having my little book printed, was the hope of 
getting a little money to assist the poor in the country. 
When my brother August wrote to me from Upsala that 
Mr. Palmblad, the publisher, was willing to pay for it one 
hundred rix dollars, my sisters and I danced with delight. 

I now accompanied Agatha to town to spend the winter 
there. I had determined to go nowhere, and obtained at 
last permission, although with infinite difficulty, to live 
quietly. 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 113 

I had of late read, and was still reading, several good 
books, which in some measure reconciled me to my suffer- 
ings on earth, by showing me their unavoidableness and 
their aim. Herder's " Ideen " 1 made a deep and soothing 
impression upon me. When I came to town with my im- 
proved complexion and my calmer soul, I found, as a vis- 
itor in my parents' house, a distant relative, with arms and 
crest on his seal, with a major's title, and an estate in the 
country. Honest soul ! I listened patiently to his La- 
ponic French ; played to him, " Welcome, O moon, my 
ancient friend ; " and got from him an offer of his heart 
and hand, his crest, and his estate in the country. My 
family agreed perfectly with me in giving him a friendly 
refusal. 

I made also the acquaintance of another gentleman, who 
inspired me with a pure and warm feeling, which, although 
it was never responded to, yet had a powerful influence 
upon my development, and which still lives silently and 
ennobling in my heart. 

During the summer of 1829, 1 wrote, encouraged by an 
occasional eulogy on my little book, the second volume of 
my Sketches." 

The better feelings which I had experienced, I ex- 
pressed to a certain extent in " The Solitary One," and in 
" The Consoler." That kind of humor which is found in 

" The H Family " was, until then, entirely unknown 

to me, and the discovery of it in me was quite unexpected. 
It was first shown in a small sketch written during the 
previous winter, " Christmas in Sweden." 

The following winter my father's long and last illness 

began. Towards the spring, I offered to H , the 

printer in Stockholm, my manuscript of the second volume 
of my " Sketches." He was at first willing to receive it ; 
but, after having had it some time for perusal, he refused 
to print it or to pay any thing for it. Then my opinion of 

1 Herder's Ideen zur Philosophic der Geschichte der Menschheit. 
8 



114 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

my talent as an authoress received a heavy blow indeed. 
Nevertheless, I had my manuscript offered to my former 
publisher, Mr. Palmblad, who at once undertook to print 
it in the course of the summer. Meanwhile we nursed 
and watched over my father. It did me good to tend him 
and to watch over him during his last long suffering, borne 
with heroic fortitude. He seemed to improve a little, and 
we went with him to live at a place in the environs of the 
town. There he enjoyed for a few days the summer air, 
but soon got worse, and died calmly, with my mother and 
sisters surrounding his bed. It was a comfort to see him 
at rest after a troubled life ; a comfort to shed tears of 
reconciliation upon his cold hand and^ forehead. 

Shortly afterwards we removed to Arsta, where we led a 
quiet, retired life. In October the second volume of my 
book made its appearance, and I soon reaped a rich har- 
vest of eulogia and compliments from all quarters. 

Charlotte's wedding was celebrated on the 7th of No- 
vember. This was one of the happiest days which I have 
spent in our family. 

The presence of Franzen ; his verses to me ; Charlotte's 
happy and joyous state of mind, contributed to make this 
day a bright spot in my life. But the whole of this time 
was full of happiness and innocent joy in our home. 
Charlotte's departure caused me much pain. 

Soon after, we moved to Stockholm, and I now passed 
a winter which, in many respects, was rich and full of im- 
portance to me. I got a great deal of praise and distinc- 
tion for my book. The Swedish Academy awarded me a 
gold medal, accompanied by a very flattering letter. I had 
now what' I had so warmly coveted in my early youth, 
distinction ; and now it gave me but little pleasure ; nay, 
I felt frequently even cold and indifferent to it all. 

But at this time I made the acquaintance of Miss Fran- 
ces L , and, through her, of Bentham. She showed 

me that the more knowledge I could acquire, the more 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 115 

clearness and perspicuity to which I could train my intel- 
lect, the greater would become my means to labor for 
the benefit of mankind, and to become happy myself. 
Bentham gave me, in his " Principles of Utility," a new 
light, and at the same time I had an opportunity of fre- 
quently conversing with distinguished and highly intelli- 
gent people. A new world opened within me ; I beheld a 
new sun, and in his light a paradise. My happiness at this 
new resurrection within me was inexpressible. My old 
plans, to which I had hitherto adhered, fell to the ground. 
I soon saw the road which I ought to follow. Oh, delight ! 
Now I would and I could rise higher and higher to light 
and truth, and every one of my steps would bring with it 
some fruit for my fellow-men. My soul rejoiced. 

Letters arrived about this time ; one for my mother and 
one for me. The young gentleman, who therein offered me 
his hand and heart, spoke with such warm sincerity, good- 
ness, and real excellence of soul, and with so much candor 
and openness of himself, that I was deeply touched by it. 
I felt no aversion for him ; but I did not wish to marry. 
By the refusal which I gave, I considered that I had for- 
ever placed a barrier between myself and marriage. I did 
not fear that the fulfillment of my duties as a wife and a 
mother would not be my chief aim if I entered into the 
married state ; but it became clear to me that my mission 
as an authoress would then become totally neglected, be- 
cause I knew and I felt that one cannot unite these two 
vocations without failing in both ; while by devoting myself 
exclusively to the latter, that of an authoress, I be- 
lieved that I could make myself as useful as my power ad- 
mitted. 

The third volume of my " Sketches," which I wrote in 
the winter of 1831, in a hurry-skurry, appeared in print 
in the following spring, and the success which it met with, 
together with the advice of several highly estimable per- 
sons, determined me to devote myself seriously to the life 



116 AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 

of an authoress, and to develop my talent as much as 
possible. 

I am now thirty years old, and am working systemat- 
ically and with earnestness towards a fixed aim. My 
worldly position is prosperous, and within me is life and 
peace. If it pleased God, I might become a respectable 
and useful writer. 

For the sake of my sisters, more than for my own sake, 
I wish to succeed and to gain honor and applause. They 
live so much in me, and I have so much to thank them for, 
especially my dear Hedda, who is as good as an angel. 



LETTERS. 



AESTA, 14th January, 1828. 

IT is still early morning when I sit down to write to my 
darling Lotten. I see by your letter, which I received 
yesterday, that mine had not then reached you. Dearest 
Charlotte ! If you but knew how much good your letter 
(although far too short) has done me, you would at once 
abandon needle and thread, piano-forte and music-books, 
or what else you may be busy with, in order to fabricate 
another such letter, which shall more vividly and clearly 

picture to my longing eyes Agatha W 's and your own 

every-day life. Thanks be to God that Agatha is so well, 
so comfortable, so sensible ! Thanks be to God that you 
are beside her ! and that, while contributing to render her 
life more pleasant, you can yourself enjoy the delightful 
feeling of leading a comfortable and useful existence. 
Born and qualified, as you are, for an active life, and to 
devote yourself to others, how must I not rejoice to see 
you fulfill now for the first time your beautiful mission ; 
yourself happy, by making others happy. How delightfiil 
your plans for this winter ! Music and reading, life's po- 
etry ; work, its most enchanting prose ; and I feel con- 
vinced that its more commonplace yet necessary side, to 
eat and to sleep, will not be forgotten. But I must have a 
more detailed sketch of all this. Until then I shall find 
no leisure myself, either for eating or sleeping. 
. And then this little " expected stranger," how he inter- 
ests me already ! How sweet he must be, and how happy ! 



118 LETTERS. 

He shall therefore be the first who again awakens my slum- 
bering vena : 

* Slumbering cherub, 
Quietly nestling 
Safe in thy mother's 
Fluttering bosom ; 
Fondly we greet thee, 
Child fondly longed for, 
Hail to thee, hail ! 

Life bids thee welcome, 
Life with its thousand 
Joys that await thee ; 
Yet in mysterious 
Darkness reposing, 
Thou love-created, 
Know'st not what shadows 
Brood over life ; 
Though life already, 
Warm as the genial 
Breezes of spring-tide, 
Quickens thy breast. 

Time bids thee welcome; 
Little thou knowest 
Him, who in wisdom 
Tenderly fosters 
All things created, 
Time, who will fold thee 
In his embrace. 

Earth bids thee welcome ; 
There as a merry 
Child shalt thou gambol, 
Rip'ning through youth to 
High-hearted manhood, 
Active and strong. 

Suffering and sorrow, 
Darkest of shadows, 
Loom in the valley, 
Yet fear them not. 
Fondly a mother's 
Love never-failing, 
Like a strong buckler, 
Shelters thy wand'rings, 
Shields thee from harm. 



LETTERS. 

Briers, sharp and thorny, 
Fierce-stinging nettles, 
Spring by the way-side, 
Yet fear them not. 
Soon shall a tender 
Hand be up-raised, 
Smoothing its roughness, 
Strewing with thornless 
Roses thy path. 

Spirits of evil, 
Dark and malignant, 
Lurk 'mid the od'rous 
Flow'r-laden coverts, 
Yet fear tnem not; 
For on love's snow-white 
Pinions upspringing, 
Guarding thy young brow, 
Heavenward hovers 
A mother's prayer. 

Angels aforetime 
Guided the pilgrim 
Up to the holy 
Hills of the faithful. 
Blest was his lot ! 
Slumbering pilgrim, 
Wake from thy dreaming ! 
Morning already 
Glows in the welkin, 
Whilst at thy side an 
Angel is waiting : 
Waiting to lead thee 
Up to yon sun-bright 
Heights of the blessed, 
Where spring eternal, 
With its green palm-branch, 
Crowneth the feeble 
Though faithful strivings 
Of mortal man. 

Who is the guardian 
Angel that watches 
O'er thy young life ? 
Whose is that fair form 
Over thy cradle, 
Singing and weeping 
Tears of delight V 



120 LETTERS. 

Who at her bosom 
Wakes thee to gladness, 
Gladness and life V 
Pilgrim thrice blessed ! 
Thou who still sleepest 
Peacefully resting 
Close to thy mother's 
Quick-beating heart; 
Babe of our prayers, 
Yearn' d for so fondly, 
Lo, in yon angel, 
Thy mother behold! 

Do not read this to Agatha, if f you think that it will excite 
her. You know that every thing which I write is more or 
less helter-skelter work, and that these poetic effusions are 
founded upon my blissful ignorance of rules and correctness, 
so important, however, if one wishes to produce any thing 
above mediocrity. I shall send you the verses which you 
have asked for in my next letter. I have no time to-day. 

I have nothing more to add to the description, which I 
gave last, of the life led by the Arsta colony, except that I 
am painting most industriously for a certain General, who 
has implored me on his knees for a picture, and that we 
consume a great deal of water-gruel. 

August fancies himself in heaven with his cornetcy and 

his uniform. General H is very kind to him. He 

will probably begin 1 to pass his grades for the military 

service in February. F is his oracle, and what 

" F says " and " F thinks " is as incontrovertible 

as the Bible. It is quite delightful to witness his happi- 
ness. And fortunate it is that, while life is fresh and we 
are still young ourselves, Fate shows itself like a complai- 
sant and loving bride, and not like asurly and quarrelsome 
old woman, who, grumbling, follows our every step, which 
often happens to many an honest wanderer. 

1 In order to obtain an accurate acquaintance with the details of mili- 
tary service, an officer has to do duty for some time (in the cavalry from 
four to six months) as a private, as a corporal, and as a non-commissioned 
officer. This is termed " passing the degrees," or " going through the 
grades." 



LETTERS. 121 

Our father is very weak ; Hedda watches over him every 
other night ; and, knowing this, it is with real remorse that 
at night I lay my head on my pillow. 

Our Agatha is thriving excellently well amongst her ma- 
chinery, such as it has lately been arranged for her. She 
is merrier than formerly, singing from morning till night 
her favorite refrain, 

" Witschly, watschly, witschly, watschly, 
Bump, there goes one ! " 

My tear little Charlotte ! For aught I know I have 
nothing more to relate to you. Amongst more indifferent 
acquaintances, I know of nobody who is dying, or who is 
going to be married. With the exception of these two 
epochs, tfyre is nothing in their life interesting enough for 
me to write about. 

Farewellimy dearest Charlotte ! A long letter I expect 
and beg froi^ you. Remember how deeply I am interested 
in all that concerns you, and that nothing so effectually dis- 
perses the melancholy which sometimes affects me, as to 
hear and knoV that you are enjoying yourself and are 
happy. Give ny love to Agatha. How happy I am, how 
I rejoice to knov, that you are together ; but tell me much, 
much of yoursel v es. Farewell ! 

February, 1828. 

"Good gracious! Oh, how fortunate that is! Well, 
how happy I am ! " 

Do not blot out ny joyful effusions, my good, my happy 
Agatha, my sweet CWlotte, with a contemptuous ejacula- 
tion, only because thjy are not served up with tears or 
with phosphoric flamea 

You may e very dull, 

Inditing hrases crude, 
Yet may yot heart be full, 

With richOt stores imbued. 
Of feelings wy m iy glowing 

You may poV forth whole hoards, 



122 LETTERS. 

Both earth and sea o'erflowing 

With flow'ry, flaunting words. 
Yet on the board of common sense, 
A simple dish, without pretense, 
Say plain potatoes, crisp and dry, 
Should have a value full as high 
As puddings ever so delicious, 
Served up in gold or silver dishes ; 

Then Agatha, my dear, 

You must not think it queer, 

If I in simplest language here 
Present you my good wishes : 
" May this dear boy both stout and strong 

In heart and soul and body be. 
And may his lady mother long 

Live in good health right happily! " 

Amen. 

You will certainly think, my dear Charlotte, tiat I have 
nothing else to do than to think and dream of those I 
love, and, like a turtle-dove, coo out my feelhgs. All a 
mistake ! A tremendous mistake ! I am rverrun with 
people from morning to night; and what io you think 
they want ? Hear only : 

'T is either the good mother, 
Or 't is the darling brother, 
Or else the small boy quaking, 
All with the ague shaking ! 
Now round the good Mam'selle, 
Who in the house doth dwell, 
They crowd in anxious mood, 
And beg her to supply 
Some sovereign remedy; 
No matter where 't was brewd, 
Or how they gulp it down, 
With many an angry frowr; 
If it but make them well, 
From direful ague free, 
'Twill life's elixir be! 

And this elixir of life I compse of all kinds of ingre- 
dients ; such as ale, allspice, Swedish brandy, wormwood, 
and caraway-seeds, etc., etc. Cne person I really believed 



LETTERS. 123 

I had poisoned ; but she recovered, and my remedies upon 
the whole succeed very well. 

Your letter made me happy. You are calm, therefore 
I am so too. It arrived on a Sabbath morning ; and, after 
we had read it, Agatha and I, we had our morning 
service, and prayed fervently and repeatedly : " Charlotte, 
dear Charlotte ! God grant that she may be happy ! " Oh, 
yes ! God, the All-good, grant that you may be happy, 

Charlotte, you and all my sisters, and Agatha W . I 

feel that, to complete my earthly happiness, I need you all ; 
and if I only attain this, the saddest circumstances which 
can surround me in future will not be able to disturb the 
peace of my soul. Towards that future, to these objects 
so sorrowful, yet for me so dear, you know, my whole heart 
and soul yearns, whilst it thanks God for the peace it now 
enjoys. 

* Morning sun and star of evening, 
All the garish hours of daylight, 
All the silent midnight watches, 
In each throbbing heart discover 
One bright hope, one bitter anguish, * 

Still the same unchanging ever, 
And the same deep, fervent prayer. 
In the darksome mine is smouldering 
Fire that preys upon its vitals ; 
Sudden as it finds an outlet, 
Lo ! its blaze ascends to heaven, 
Like some altar-flame majestic, 
That in clear effulgence glowing 
Rises o'er this earthly sphere. 

How busy you must have been for the christening ! I 
picture to myself every thing that is near and about you. 
How happy we were to hear of Agatha's safe confinement, 
I cannot describe. It cured our Agatha's headache, and I 
did every thing topsy-turvy the whole morning. Farewell, 
dear, kind friends. My compliments to the little Count. 

1828. 

. . . To your grave questions I answer by refer- 
ring you to my last two letters. It is not now left to my 



124 LETTERS. 

own choice to travel ; but rest assured that my choice and 
my wish is, that it should remain as it is now. 

. . . You are right, my dear Charlotte ! I should cer- 
tainly not be able, as you think possible, to bear stoically 
such trifling discomforts as those which you anticipate. I 
may in this respect compare your soul to the stout satin, 
the smooth surface of which can withstand many creases 
and much wear and tear, in comparison to the soft muslin, 
which the slightest rough handling spoils, and the likeness 
of which I recognize in the composition of my own weak 
and helpless soul. Be not uneasy about me and my dis- 
position. Gay I am not, it is true ; but I am often very 
happy when I contemplate this peaceful life of self-denial, 
which, I trust in God, may guide me to the goal which 
I have always deemed the only one worth longing for. 
Earthly happiness I hope to receive at the hands of my 
brothers and sisters, especially my sisters, and I know that 
their happiness will render my own too great almost for 
this earth. Do not see herein any feature of melancholy. 
It is, -believe me, not melancholy. On the contrary, in 
these ideas my brightest hopes are clothed; and also 
the belief (I will not call it a fantastic one) that the 
fervent and constant prayers which a heart, renouncing 
all its own claims and devoting itself to God, pours out 
for those whom it loves above all others, and for their own 
sake, will not be ineffectual. Do not deprive me of the 
happiness of hoping that one day I shall be your invisible 
guardian angel. And if your Fredrika, once so worldly- 
minded, should seek, under a more serious exterior, for 
peace and a more spiritual life, it ought not to make you 
uneasy, dearest Charlotte, you who know that it is neces- 
sary, especially for certain characters. My dearest Char- 
lotte, you can never write too much about yourself; for me 
it will always be too little. You are really very good to 
write, when I know that letter-writing does not much inter- 
est you. But you think of me, you wish to make me 
happy, and you do it. 



LETTERS. 125 

The painting of the old man with the cap, which was 
hanging in my bedroom, I have copied in sepia in minia- 
ture, on ivory. I intend giving either this or a " Sainte 
Famille," also miniature in sepia, to the General.. My 
" Napoleon " is indeed very good ; and he who wants to 
have him must pay me seventy-five rix dollars for him. 

My vena is very dry ; but when it again begins to flow, 
it shall flow towards you. 

The manuscript of the narrative of the " War with the 
Barbarians " has chanced to be made an auto-da-fe of, to- 
gether with some other contraband ; and our father has 
got the newspaper. As you want it, I shall ask Hedda to 
copy and send it to you. 

Embrace Agatha for me, and say to her every thing that 
is loving. 

ACCOUNT OF THE WAR WITH THE BARBARIANS.! 
Extract of a Letter from Arsta, dated 2Qth of March, 1827. 

" This neighborhood has lately witnessed terrible scenes ; 
and even if time were to throw its thickest veil over the 
heroic deeds which they engendered, still History would 
be able to read, without spectacles, the letters shining like 
flames through night's darkness, and record the eternal 
characters upon her tables. But I will not keep you any 
longer upon the rack of curiosity. 

" Innumerable hordes of Barbarians overran our peace- 
ful neighborhood ; their fearful shouts and grunting filled, 

^ When my sister Agatha, while undergoing the orthopedic treatment 
at Arsta, and still using crutches, and wearing round her head an instru- 
ment or machine resembling a helmet, and called " Minerva," was one day 
going to take a walk, together with Fredrika and Hedda, they were sur- 
rounded in the court-yard by a herd of pigs. Their terror and confusion 
was much increased when all the dogs began barking at and chasing these 
animals, until my sisters were at last saved by the man-servant, Lindberg, 
who came to their rescue. Fredrika wrote the same night an account of 
this incident, heading it the Arsta Gazette, which she wrote in printed 
characters, to imitate a newspaper, and sent to town in order to amuse 
my father on his birthday. 



126 LETTERS. 

even at a distance, the hearts of the inhabitants with terror, 
and dreadful was the havoc committed by them wherever 
their sharp swords encountered any resistance. The earth 
shook under the thunder of their war-engines ; the danger 
was pressing; while, with noble self-sacrifice, Brigadier- 
General Hedda di Bravura made a sortie from the for- 
tress of Arsta, at the head of the regiment ' Fredrika,' so 
renowned for its bravery, but now reduced, in consequence 
of heavy losses, to a small corps. In another direction 
was seen hastening to the attack, in double-quick time, and 
with loud war-cries of ' Bow-wow ! ' the heroic volunteers 
Terrible, Vainqueur, Diana, Camilla, the youthful hero Ar- 
row, the undaunted Hunter, led on by the General-en-cLef 
of the jumping infantry, the incomparable Agatha della 
Poltronna. Their plan was to surround the enemy. The 
attack of our generals from two opposite sides was made 
with the greatest valor ; and notwithstanding the triple su- 
periority of the Barbarians in numerical strength, their war- 
cry becoming louder and louder every moment, they began 
to show that disorder and terror was spreading through their 
ranks ; when all at once, in consequence of the too great 
ardor of the curveting volunteers, a momentary confusion 
arose among our troops ; friend and foe were fighting in 
one entangled mass, scarcely able to recognize each other ; 
every thing was in a hurly-burly, and terror and confusion 
reached its height, when, in the very brunt of the battle, 
General Hedda di Bravura, while performing deeds of mar- 
velous gallantry, fell, as there is every reason to suspect, 
more in consequence of the incautious onset of the curvet- 
ing volunteers, than in consequence of the cuffs of the Bar- 
barians. The regiment ' Fredrika/ seeing with despair its 
undaunted leader down, took to flight with inconceivable 
celerity ; while the youthful Della Poltronna stood alone 
and unconquered, in the midst of the combatants, animat- 
ing by voice and example his volunteers, already flagging 
from over-exertion, to a renewed attack. It seemed as if 



LETTERS. 127 

Minerva herself was hovering over his head, and by a well- 
timed application of certain war-engines, called crutches, 
he succeeded, as by a miracle, to turn the scale in our 
favor. He became, however, soon aware of the necessity 
of a speedy retreat ; and he was just weighing in his mind 
how this could be effected with honor, and without too seri- 
ous a loss, when suddenly a helping angel, sent from above, 
came like a whirlwind to the rescue. It is Alexander ! 
It is Bucephalus ! In a word, it was Lindberg ! He runs, 
he gallops, he flies ; he is everywhere. The enemy was, 
after a few minutes, dispersed in a headlong flight in all 
directions ; he was pursued with unflinching energy by 
Lindberg, flaming like the Aurora Borealis; and before 
night had thrown its mantle over the scene, innumerable 
prisoners were made. Scarcely had the battle-field been 
cleared of the hostile army, when, to the amazement of 
every body, General Hedda di Bravura, who was thought 
to be amongst the fallen, got up, and, staring at the field 
of honor with tearful eyes, struck up with a loud voice a 
thundering song of victory ; after which, with glowing 
countenance, he turned towards the fortress, where the 
regiment ' Fredrika ' was lying in ambush, ready to open, 
if necessary, a brisk fire through the windows, and shouted 
with all his might these words : ' Veni, vidi, vici ! ' which 
were answered by the said gallant regiment with loud 
huzzas ! ' Long live our General, Hedda di Bravura ! ' 
With triumphal music and huzzas the conquerors held 
their entry into the fortress, where General Hedda di Bra- 
vura, under careful tending, will recover from his wounds, 
which were found to consist in merely a severe contusion. 

" There are strong reasons (and I mention it with great 
indignation) to suspect the commander of the fortress, 

Chevalier C. B , of being in secret understanding with 

the Barbarians. The inefficient measures taken, and the 
want of energy displayed by him during their daring in- 
road, would alone have been sufficient to inspire this belief, 



128 LETTERS. 

even had he not himself confirmed the same one day at 
dinner, when roast pork was put upon the table, by openly 
proposing a toast for the Barbarians. It is even whis- 
pered that a colony of these brutes, founded in a neighbor- 
ing allied state, is in a very flourishing condition, owing to 
his secret agency." 



The latter part of your letter, my dear Charlotte, has 
effaced the painful impression which its other contents 
made upon me. That you are well is to me a necessity, 
and this knowledge throws a light upon my path, like a 
friendly little star, so that complete darkness never sur- 
rounds me. Do not reply to this by any thanks: it is 
not of my own free will that it is so ; it is necessity, it is 
fate. And if I had a choice, I might perhaps not have 
submitted to it. because my beloved banner, Independence, 
will therefore always be in danger. Meanwhile, I am 
tolerably reconciled to my fate. On you alone rests the 
responsibility and duty to take care, above all. of your own 
happiness for the sake of mine. Remember well what I 
am now going to write, my dear sister. I feel convinced 
that it depends only upon yourself to remain where you 
are as long as you like. Our father is exceedingly pleased 
that you and Agatha, whom he really loves, are together, 
and he says " that he cannot now understand how he could 
ever have made any difficulties about it." We all, and I 
especially, wish that you would remain there ; every thing 
seems to promise you an agreeable life, and more useful 
activity than could have fallen to your lot at old Arsta. 

I hus and T 6, so it seems to me, will in their 

shades harbor my little Charlotte so pleasantly and so 
comfortably, and no doubt soften every thought of regret 
at not wandering among our hazel-woods and gooseberry- 
bushes. Sincerely happy as I should be to see you again, 
and conscious, as I am, that my longing will increase in 



LETTERS. 129 

proportion as the days grow shorter, still I shall enjoy this 
summer in a double measure, provided I can be sure that 
you do the same ; a thing which you have not done for 
many years. Consider this well, dearest Charlotte, and 
then follow the dictates of your own free will. A let- 
ter from Agatha, who writes so well and so engagingly, 
and one from yourself, will surely cause a prolongation 
of your stay. 

I do not share the apprehension which you express, as 
long as you always remain what you were created to be, 
artless, good, and obliging. It is not a new, but a true, 
thought, that every body ought to endeavor thoroughly to 
know the intrinsic worth of his own character, and, like a 
skillful sculptor, to form, work, and polish it until the rough 
cast made by Nature stands out in its harmonious and 
original beauty ; that every thing foreign every angle 
may disappear. This is the work of at least half a life- 
time. For the remaining other half one stands, in the 
most fortunate case, like Psyche in Sergei's studio. The 
master who carries the ideal in his soul, is never perfectly 
satisfied with his workmanship ; the small alterations and 
embellishments which he makes, are most frequently vis- 
ible only to his own artist eye. 

Your expression " that I have returned to life," amuses 
me. I am still the same that I was when, by some chance> 
I became so painfully depressed ; perhaps even more calm, 
more submissive, more meek, and therefore less in danger 
of being again exposed to any thing similar. Gay I am 
not, and not merry, except in my letters ; and shall per- 
haps not be so again ; nor do I even wish it after the bent 
which my feelings and my thoughts have taken. But I am 
so calm that I often feel happy, and am ready to derive en- 
joyment and pleasure from even the least of the good 
things of life. A flower, a book, a fine day, gives rne 
pleasure now as much as when I was a child ; and above 
all, my painting, upon which I build great speculations. 



130 LETTERS. 

With respect to my grand project of travelling, I see 
plainly that nothing can now be done. I must wait. In 
my present position, especially my pecuniary position, 
patience is the best wisdom. God's will be done ! Mean- 
while I intend to be more active in all that surrounds me. 
Be it said with due permission, I am thoroughly healthy 
and strong. But who will believe my words ? 

Farewell, my dear Charlotte ; write more about your- 
self ; read " Grandison," and be not more reserved than 
this model of perfection, and his Miss Byron. 

AESTA, 13th June, 1828. 

Our letters cross each other, my dear Charlotte ! By 
your last, addressed to us all, I see with sincere delight 
that you seem to thrive well and to amuse yourself occa- 
sionally. When next you write, tell me more particularly 
how you feel, and of the state of your mind, etc., etc. It 
interests me more than any thing else. Ah ! how exceed- 
ingly delightful it will be to see you again, and yet I wish 
that it may not be so soon. Our family atmosphere is 
heavy, and I know that if I should see it depress you, I 
should again lose the strength which I have recovered in 
the course of these two pleasant, but solitary winters at 
Arsta. I am a poor child, dearest Charlotte, sensitive in 
the extreme both for myself and for others ; and amongst 
these others, you are nearest to my heart. Do not, how- 
ever, believe that I am sad; far from it; I enjoy very 
gratefully and contentedly the many peaceful days which I 
now have ; and the glances which I cast into the future, 
although half shy and by stealth, reveal to me always what 
I wish for my sisters and for myself. I occupy myself as 
usual, and more I might do if I would meddle in the inter- 
nal state affairs of this place. Now and then a peasant or 
a peasant woman come to solicit my intercession and my 
protection in one thing or another ; but I, poor thing, who 
have less influence than the dishclout of a Prime Minis- 



LETTERS. 131 

ter's cook, am obliged to put them off with fair words and 
slender hope. 

Agatha W has written an amiable and eloquent let- 
ter (according to her wont) to our mother, in which she 
asks that you may stay over the summer with her. How 
happy I am that you are so dear to Agatha ! 

I am not going to the L sens for many reasons, the 

most weighty of which is, that I want to be all I can to our 
dear Agatha, especially now when she requires care and 
assistance. We are now busy getting up her wardrobe. 
I sew, turn the wrong way, as usual, and have to rip open 
and sew over again ; but I get through, after all. The day 
when August makes his appearance here in full regiment- 
als, I intend dressing my darling in dazzling white and rose 
color. I shall give you a full and detailed account of this 
meeting, which I heartily rejoice in. 

Now, farewell, my darling ; remain well, sleep well, sing 
well, and enjoy yourself well. 

Agatha embraces you with a volume of Madame de 
Genlis' "Memoirs" in her hand. 

ARSTA, 16th September. 

Having now been alone a whole week, I have with all 
my heart and soul enjoyed repose. Solitude is my greatest 
happiness ; why or how I do riot understand, when sisters, 
good as angels, are my daily companions. But so it is. 
Only when I am quite alone, do I feel happy. 

Our mother has gone to town to meet our father, from 
whom we have not had any letter for three weeks. Two 
have now arrived which our mother sent out to us yester- 
day. Our father is feasted, caressed, and made a great 
deal of by friends and relatives, who drink our healths and 
hold banquets to celebrate his arrival in Finland. You, 
my dear Charlotte, who are so very fond of all relatives, 
ought to have been with him on this journey, which, to 
judge from his and Claes' letters, must have been very 



132 LETTERS. 

pleasant. Agatha is now up, often half the day ; is stronger, 
and very charming. Hedda is weaving down-stairs in the 
corner room, and I I preserve fruit, write novels and 
write letters, paint, spin, go and come, in and out, and when 
evening comes I look to see whither the morning flew so 
fast. 

My sisters stretch out hands, unsoiled by ink, to embrace 
you. 

AESTA, 20th October, 1828. 

Yesterday we received the Holy Communion, Agatha 
and I. I returned thanks for two years of rest, and prayed 
for strength ; prayed for strength humbly to receive all 
future dispensations ; prayed for the happiness and peace 
of all those who belong to me, and also most fervently for 
her who now, for the first time after several years, went to 
the Lord's table. Agatha was deeply and sincerely moved, 
and this impression upon her did me an infinite deal of 
good. Ah ! may she be happy ; may she be good ! May 
in her the former effect the latter. The path of sorrow is 
so bitter and embitters so much ! I am a little sad to-night, 
and I ought, perhaps, not to write to you. 

I long very much to hear that you are enjoying yourself. 
The winter will, I hope, be a pleasant one for us, and if 
Agatha has any pleasure, it will give pleasure also to me. 
But the anticipation of the town air gives me the horrors. 
To-morrow we expect our mother and Claes here, and then 
the day for our moving will be fixed. 

27th October. 

Bishop T s arrived here to-day. I liked him very 

much. Energetic and wise a real bishop. He led the 
conversation to Wallin's sermon on Annunciation Day, 
which last year caused me so much racking of the brain. 1 

1 The subject of Bishop Wallin's sermon on Annunciation Day, 1827, was 
"Woman's noble and humble mission," for the faithful fulfillment of which 
the Bishop urged, by examples taken out of the Virgin Mary's life, the ne- 



LETTERS. 133 

It was excellent, thought the Bishop. We argued the 
point for a little while, when he allowed that Wallin, in one 

cessity of the following qualities: "Pure and sincere piety; unassuming 
and unaffected modesty; wise and gentle meekness; tender and delicate 
attention; all-sacrificing and all-submissive love." In accordance herewith 
it was argued, " that the domestic sphere was woman's proper world; " it 
was further said, " that what especially belonged to her mission was, that 
she ought humbly to step back when sudden angry passions vent them- 
selves upon her ; that there is no circumstance in life where a contrary con- 
duct could be excused ; that, in order to triumph, she ought carefully to 
watch her own temper and submit unconstrainedly to that of others; have 
respect for the opinion of others, without any prepossession in favor of her 
own ; and that even where her own opinion should in reality be the right 
one, she ought patiently to wait her time to make it valid. Without pure 
and sincere piety, woman's virtue was nothing but vanity; her liberal edu- 
cation nothing but surface ; her life nothing but a volatile play, and her 
whole existence nothing else but an endless contradiction. But a man, even 
if he does not always see the heavenly truths with the same quickness, or 
if he appears sometimes to doubt them, or think less of, or live less in them, 
would still, provided his words or actions do not otherwise stamp him as 
blasphemous or godless, in most cases merit only pity, and his unfortunate 
state of mind could be, if not exactly excused, still often accounted for. 
by saying that no pious mother had formerly given his mind a better tend- 
ency, or that in later years no pious wife had turned his dim and confused 
thoughts from earthly to heavenly matters. But a woman who does not 
feel that religion is the soul of her soul, is an inexplicable and odious devia- 
tion from the celestial order of things," etc., etc. 

The incongruities which Fredrika Bremer imagined with sorrow that she 
had found in the social position of woman, appeared to her to have been, as 
it were, systematized and advocated in this sermon. It made a most pain- 
ful impression upon her; and on coming home from church, she gave vent 
to her feelings in an essay, held in a satirical tone, on the superiority of man 
and the inferiority of woman, finishing with this dialogue: Man, with head 
erect, striking his breast proudl}' with his hand : "7 / " Woman : " Thou ! " 
Man : " / will ! " Woman : " Oh, very well ! " Man : " Go." Woman 
goes. Man: " Come back." She comes back. Man: " Be merry." Woman 
dies. Aft^r her death heaven was opened to receive her; but when after- 
wards the man also tried to get admittance, it was denied to him by the 
porter at heaven's gates, who referred him to Bishop Wallin, under whose 
surplice he hastened to conceal himself. 

On the following day, Fredrika Bremer wrote and sent an anonymous 
letter to the Bishop, in which she requested that woman, to her noble and 
peaceful mission, might have a counterpart in a delineation of the man, 
such as he ought to be in his domestic relations, and drawn with the same 
severity and power, in order that the first picture might have a companion, 
and in order, also, that men may in the former sermon not find an excuse 



134 LETTERS. 

or two places, had not been quite sincere. " Meanwhile," 
said he, " Wallin is perfectly right in advocating religiosity 
amongst women ; for if it is not found amongst them, then 
all is lost. A man returns always to his wife and children 
from the world, from his errors, from noise and bustle ; but 
if he does not find religion amongst them, he remains for- 
ever a stranger to it." 

On Friday, the 31st, we are move to town. Oh, my 
beloved, my beautiful country ! 

As you, my dear Charlotte, and also Agatha W , are 

so very indulgent regarding my poetry, I shall trumpet 
forth a piece, which I composed last night in bed. 

The incident which I sing is true, and its unfortunate 
little hero is to come to me to-morrow: 

THE SON OF MISERY. 

A desolate cottage stands by the wood's verge ; 

Within it is dismal, and wretched and dreary; 

Deep sighs issue forth as from hearts that are weary, 
And outside the owl hoots a funeral dirge. 

A girl so defenseless and needy and lone, 
On pallet of straw in the cottage was lying ; 
But none came to comfort or care for the dying, 

Till kindly Death took her and made her his own. 

for their indifference in religious matters ; that the despotic nature of a great 
many amongst them may not, on the strength of the same, try to prove 
that the duty of woman is to be man's most humble servant, and to bear 
patiently all the heart-gnawing sorrows which, through his faults and his 
conduct, he might every day cause her, #nd still be entitled to demand of 
her love and all love's sacrifices; and if he (the Bishop) would soon deliver 
a religious lecture or sermon, similar to the one addressed to woman, by 
which the conscience of all destroyers of domestic peace might be awak- 
ened, woman would then have to thank the Bishop for increased happiness ; 
and the grateful hearts of many women would call down blessings on him 
who had insured this happiness to them, by convincing men, in his stirring 
and powerful language, how essentially their conduct would contribute to 
the comfort of home, to the wife's happiness, and thus enable her more 
willingly to fulfill her duties. 
This request was never responded to. 



LETTERS. 135 

Then hushed was the heart that uneasily beat, 
A heart fond and loving, though erring and failing; 
And silenced the voice that 'mid anguish was wailing 

To Jesus to pardon her lover's deceit. 

The offspring of frailty and misery drear 
Alone in the hut by the death-bed was playing; 
O'er stiffening limbs his fond fingers were straying, 

Caressing the mother who 'd held him so dear. 

His look was bewildered, and pale was his cheek; 

No word did he utter, though hungry and chilly ; 

A dog could have begged, but he, stricken and silly, 
Though sorely in want, was unable to speak. 

I looked in his face, and methought I saw there 
Expression, though faintly for life it was striving ; 
A spark from the Author celestial, surviving, 

Might yet burn brightly in life-giving air. 

Now toll the church-bells, and the dead on a bier 

To silence is borne in humble procession ; 

And wanting that noble, that precious possession, 
His reason, the orphan walks carelessly near. 

Oh, God! he ne'er dreameth that he has no more 
A tender and motherly heart to watch o'er him; 
That now from him taken has gone on before him 

The one who in sorrow to sorrow him bore. 

The coffin is raised from the black-covered bier; 
Already deep down in the earth it is sinking : 
Ah ! none at this grave, of the lonely one thinking, 

Will offer a flower, will weep but a tear. 

The grave is soon filled, the cross stands in its place, 
A sign which to perishing sinners proclaimeth 
And showeth that God, who this sinner reclaimeth, 

Is full of compassion, and mercy, and grace. 

His pale cheek he leaneth against the church wall, -^ 

Neglected, forgotten; he now has no keeper; 

While psalms for the last time are raised for the sleeper, 
And slowly on breezes of evening they fall. 

The sun has gone down while he rambles around, 
But kind stars protectingly over him brighten, 



136 LETTERS. 

And home to a cottage his tired soul they lighten, 
His mother's ah! there will no mother be found. 

But gladly the boy sees his wanderings end, 
And now towards the hut so deserted he presses, 
Expecting fond motherly cares and caresses : 

The mother has gone to the penitent's Friend. 

Alone in the cottage, so patient and mild, 
The orphan is waiting, and while the day beameth, 
In mercy deceived, his poor fancy still dreameth 

That soon soon the mother will come to her child. 

When day-time and evening to darkness have rolled, 
A painful disquiet the little one haunteth ; 
He wandereth round, seeking that which he wanteth, 

As restlessly seeketh the miser his gold. 

He looks in the bed where his mother has lain, 
And where she sat spinning, in all her old places ; 
Her longs for her loving, her tender embraces, 

He stretches out fond little arms, but in vain. 

The clothing she wore in the cottage still lies, 
He toucheth it, thinking 't is hers, and he crieth, 
And faintly a stammering " mammy" he sigheth, 

But never but never the mother replies. 

M. B. W. 



30th October. 

I did intend to have taken a sketch to-day of the poor 
little boy, whom an old grandmother, aged 70, liying in the 
hut " Bakom," takes care of. Agatha took a lively inter- 
est in him, and wished very much to see him. I must con- 
fess that I looked a little awkward when I beheld a little 
stout and chubby boy, with a face radiant with happiness. 
He is six years old. He cannot articulate any words, but 
Tie produces a variety of sounds. He was otherwise highly, 
although Idiotically, comical, making the sweetest, smiling 
grimaces ; and only when now and then he called out, 
"Aja" (his mother's name was Maja), the expression of 
his face and the tone of his voice became very sad. For 
the little sketch of the " Son of Misery " in my album, I 



LETTERS. 137 

therefore took only his eyes, and all the rest out of my 
own head. 

STOCKHOLM, 3d November. 

Here we are, my dearest Charlotte ! And while writing 
this I can scarcely refrain from tears. On Friday we left 
for town. The weather was in the beginning rough and 
unpleasant, but the nearer we came to town, the more the 
sky began to brighten before us, until we approached the 
outskirts of the metropolis, when it became perfectly blue 
and brilliant. I mention this because it made me think . 
in the beginning it will be heavy and dull, then better, and 
ultimately well. When one has doubts and fears, one easily 
becomes a little superstitious. 

In the evening I received your letter. How happy I am 

to see that you are thriving so well ! F came a little 

later to see us, gay and lively. I went early to bed, with 
an autumnal night in my heart and in my soul. Saturday 
was to me an indescribably sad day, and I wept bitter, bit- 
ter tears ; a tribute to past moments, against the heavy and 
gnawing return of which no seraph's wings can protect us ; 
and, as so often before, I only sighed, " Alas, die, die ! " 
In the evening I got a little better ; I read a good book, 
prayed to God, became calmer, and vowed to bear up 
against it. 

4th November. 

I shall say only a little more of ourselves. We are very 
comfortably lodged ; our drawing-room is elegantly fur- 
nished and very cosy. But I miss what I value more than 
every thing else, a private room all to myself, if ever 
so small. We are very quiet here, and are allowed to 
be much by ourselves down-stairs. Our father's good and 
gentle temper is gone ; as yet it is not difficult to manage, 
but may at any moment become so. Our mother is cheer- 
ful and kind ; Hedda calm and quiet, but not gay ; Agatha 
joyous and full of hope (as long as it lasts), and I alas, 
my dearest Charlotte ! I fight against oppressive feelings ; 



138 LETTERS. 

I say to myself, I will be cheerful," and I weep bt *- " But it 
will be better when the worst is over." Do not .'. oralize, 
dearest Charlotte ! I know how well you mean it -, but it 
is all in vain. Born to feel every thing deeply and vivic *dly, 
philosophy and reasoning can, only to a certain and vei, "y 
insufficient degree, avail, until submission to God's will can 
have time to fill my heart with peace and repose ; but be- 
fore that, my poor heart must have become faint from its 
own pulsations. Meanwhile I have hope, and that is much. 
In my next letter I shall be able to tell you that I am bet- 
ter. A propos, write more about yourself and less about 
us, my dear Charlotte. How much good it does me to 
know that you are so happy ! 

I send you now the verses which you asked for : 

*THE MOURNER'S LULLABY. 

Cease thy weary beating, 

Heart with care opprest ! 
Life's deep canker, Sorrow! 

Taste the balm of rest. 

Close, ye heavy eyelids, 

O'er each burning tear! 
Eve, with starry mantle, 

Waves her poppies near. 

Slumber, gentle slumber, 

Soon o'er earth shall reign ; 
Airy dreams are flitting 

Lightly in her train. 

Soft as mists of evening 

Spread their downy wings, 
In the silent midnight, 

Peace and rest she brings. 

Lo, the day is ended, 

Day both long and drear ! 
On my pillow falling. 

Drops the silent tear. 

Tears are friends in sorrow; 
Soft as dew they flow 



LETTERS. 139 

On the fire that burneth 
In our day of woe. 

O'er the troubled spirit 

Peace is stealing now, 
When sleep, like an angel, 

Kisses this sad brow. 

Hush ! oh let me slumber; 

Let me dream of bliss ; 
Cease, fond heart, thy throbbing 

Grudge not rest like this ! 

Oh, my silent pillow, 

Friend so true, so dear ! 
Where, in dreams Elysian, 

Joy still hovers near. 

Fancy's star above me 

Beams with lustre bland; 
Hope's fair daughter, smiling, 

Takes my willing hand. 

Then the weary captive 

Bursts his fetters sore, 
Sings a song of triumph 

On a fairer shore. 

Sees, as in a mirror, 

Future ages gleam ; 
Faith, with bark unswerving, 

Stems the surging stream. 

Feels all pangs departing, 

Sees the heavens grow bright, 
Sees the journey ended, 

Sees the Lord of Light. 

And a voice melodious 

Whispers, He is thine ! 
Holy hymns shall praise Thee, 

Father of all and mine ! 

Fain of such glad tidings 

I would yet dream on ; 
Of all pangs forgetful, 

Thanking God alone ! 

M. R. W. 



140 LETTERS. 

STOCKHOLM, 22d December, 1828. 

I steal away from rny Christmas-boxes and all bustle, in 
order to write to you a few lines. If I had not had so 
much to paint at daylight- and also at candle-light, I would 
have written a great deal. 

August, the dear boy, came home on the llth instant, 
full of life, in good health and high spirits. His examina- 
tion testimonials are the best that have been given during 
the last twenty years for a civil service examination. He 
got two " cum laude," and two " laudatur." This examina- 
tion has really created quite a sensation. I have never 
seen our father so touched and overjoyed ; he pressed Au- 
gust to his heart, and wept for joy. One ought to acknowl- 
edge that it is very praiseworthy in a youth, just turned 
eighteen, to have passed the grades, and, after three months' 
study, to deserve such testimonials. Agatha, who, with our 
mother, has been to the opera to see " La Dame Blanche," 
was the whole evening very much enchanted with the 
White Lady and the studious cornet. August is tall, thin, 
very plain, but looks very nice nevertheless. 

God bless you, and consequently also me, with a happy 
and good New Year ! 

STOCKHOLM, 18th February, 1829. 

This time I shall not send you any formal letter. For a 
while I have been too lazy to write. Neither has any thing 
happened worth writing about. See here, however, what 
is most remarkable. Yesterday evening, after my mother 
and sisters had gone to pay some visits, I went up-stairs to 
our father, who sat reading his newspapers at the tea-table. 
He asked me whether I wanted some tea. I answered 
with a gentle " No, thank you." I then asked him if he 
wished me to read the newspapers to him. He answered 
with a gentle " No," but said that he had something for me 
to read, and went into the next room and returned with a 
letter, which he gave me ; the handwriting was unknown 



LETTERS. 141 

to me. I went into the drawing-room and read, to my as- 
tonishment, a very well-written offer of marriage in due 

form for my chetive person from , who probably had 

waited for his promotion to a higher office before making 
a final attempt, which rather astonished me after all that I 
had told him. The letter is otherwise very good, and I 
was really sorry for the man, that he should have addressed 
the wrong person. Having read the letter, I returned it 
to my father, who asked me what he was to answer. "With- 
out the slightest hesitation, as you may well imagine, I 
begged of him to say, " No, I thank you most humbly ! " 
And there was an end of it for that evening. This morn- 
ing my father sent for me, read me his answer, and asked 
me whether it was according to my wish. It contained 
many good things, but others which might have been left 
out. But it would never have done for me to make any 
remark. Afterwards I agreed with my mother and sisters, 
that, in order to enjoy life's mediocre happiness, which, per- 
haps, is all one can expect, one would do wiser to take a 

, than many another one with great external gifts and 

large estates, provided, nota bene, one intends to enter 
into the holy state of matrimony, which I pray, together 
with all the tortures mentioned in the Litany, to be spared 
from. I confess, however, that I would rather wish to be 
able to exclaim, with one of Sir Walter Scott's personages, 
" Mon mari, epargnez notre ennemi," than " Genereux en- 

nemis, epargnez mon mari ; " which latter, no doubt, 's 

wife will have to learn by heart. 

You ask me whether I would like to stay with Agatha 
W ? I should like it, at least for some time, for a win- 
ter or so. One of my reasons is, that I should like to write 
and try my wings as an authoress. Here in town this is 
impossible. All my energy, my wit, my ideas become 
mouldy. Besides, I have a great longing to breathe a little 
fresh air, and would wish at the same time to be, if I could, 
of some comfort to Agatha W . For my sisters I can 



142 LETTERS. 

do so very little, because my mind is not happy. I believe 
that my letters, far more than my conversation, would 
amuse them. Our father feels now sometimes a feverish 
longing to have you at home, and we shall see whether I 
cannot obtain permission to be absent for some time. It 
is strange with what a heavy hand time has led us through 
our years of youth. We you and I are approaching 
thirty years, and what enjoyments have we yet had, al- 
though we are both, I venture to say it, made to enjoy and 
to give enjoyment to others. How little have we not been 
able to do, although both gifted with so much energy and 
desire for useful and beneficent activity. However, I will 
not complain of those two last years, which I have spent in 
the country. I have during that time been useful, and fre- 
quently happy. Rarely a day went past when I had not 
an opportunity of alleviating some sorrow and giving some 
happiness. Besides, I had liberty, this precious elixir of 
life and health, and I drank of it, and of the fresh country 
air, in full draughts. My health, both of body and of soul, 
improved, and I enjoyed a life free from pain, especially as 
it was not a useless one for others. I often remembered 
your frequently expressed wish, that you might have beside 
you some mouths into which you could put the food which 
you thought superfluous for yourself. This pleasure I have 
had almost daily, often at the expense of my own enjoy- 
ment, and this little voluntary low diet did me a great deal 
of good. But all this is past. I am now a zero in liberty 
and in power. It is, however, not with any bitter or dissat- 
isfied feelings that I have to-day thrown a sad glance over 
the past years of our youth. I believe that a wiser will 
than our own has guided our destinies, and I trust that the 
remaining part of our life may with more reason be called 
the better party as being more useful, more active, and there- 
fore more happy. I say, I hope so, because the prospects 
are as much, and perhaps more, limited than they have 
ever been. All the happiness, all the joy which I now ask 



LETTERS. 143 

is, to be allowed to be a silent witness to that of yourself 
and of our sisters. Alas ! when shall it be so ? Our fkmily 
frigate either sails too much by the head, or lies becalmed, 
or is rolling in a ground-swell, and since she was launched 
she never has had a fair wind. Blow, winds, blow ! 

I send you herewith the verses which I wrote the other 
day. 

As regards my authorship, I intend continuing " Sketches 
of Every-day Life," and also novels with this title. I have 
several such in my head, and have begun one, which I 
fancy will be interesting and useful. But these poor but- 
terflies want fresh air and warmth to enable them to take 
wing. I do not intend devoting myself to composition. I 
hope, if it pleases God, to do something better in this world 
for myself and others. It is a mere pastime for the pres- 
ent. 

*THE EARLY CHRISTMAS SERVICE. 

Hark ! the chimes in mellow cadence fall : 
See, the church is decked in festive state; 

Fain her children round her she would call; 

Peace and joy she would pour forth on all, 
And to God earth's children consecrate. 

Winter's icy hand o'er hill and bower 
Spreads his shroud of snow in northern clime ; 

Yet on earth we hail the sacred hour 

When a bud, become Life's glorious flower, 
Thorn-encircled sprang from depths of time. 

Silver stars still twinkle in the sky, 

Fires of joy are kindled o'er the earth; 
While the angels tune their songs on high, 
Jubilant the ransomed bands reply 

In the house of God with solemn mirth. 

Say why far and near, through darksome night, 
Gleam those countless lights, with flickering ray ? 

Hark ! a heaven-born strain replies with might, 

O'er the mists of yore has dawn'd a light, 
Let us sing, "A child is born to-day! " 



144 LETTERS. 

May each infant heart in hut or hall 

Beat with joy, as dawns this happy day; 
On their knees may pious mothers fall, 
Teach their babes with lisping voice to call 
On that Child in lowly crib that lay; 

Tell how child-like hearts to Him are dear; 

How the pure, the meek, He loving sought ; 
And, as runes in bark cut deep and clear, 
On their infant minds impress whate'er 

Jesus did on earth and what He taught. 

Haste, ye nations, to His courts with song ; 

Praise in tuneful strains His name most blest; 
Children, pure in heart! the young, the strong; 
Ye aged ! that slowly creep along, 

Hasten, in your Brother's arms to rest ! 

He hath lit a star in darkest night. 

Through the mists of life it sheds its ray ; 
Heav'n-born Hope its name, that maiden bright, 
Who the pilgrim guides to realms of light, 

Where all mysteries shall be clear as day. 

Dark the midnight hour that 's passed away, 
Dark as death ; but once, when time shall cease, 

Dawns the morning of eternal day, 

That with countless lights of purest ray, 
Hails the reign of endless grace and peace. 

STOCKHOLM, 12th April, 1829. 

I am so eager to write to you, that I really believe that 
the mail will have to carry every post-day the extra weight 
of a letter from me. My first thought when I awake in 
the morning is " Charlotte." And this thought is now so 
cheering, that I fancy we have got sunshine and spring 
weather, until I look out of the window and see that win- 
ter and snow-storms have not left us yet, in the midst of 
April. How I long for a letter from you ! I am sure I 

wish every success. " Brilliant match ! " God save 

us from it ! I can never couple with it the idea of happy 

marriage. I believe that with you will enjoy real, 

true, domestic happiness. Of his character and qualities 



LETTERS. 145 

you will soon be able to judge best yourself. I am only 
afraid that you expect too much. I learn to value more 
highly every day in a man, goodness and justice. But I 
have such a sincere and joyful hope that these rare house- 
hold gods shall change my Charlotte's earthly home into a 
heaven. By the by, notre futur beau-frere is, I suppose, 

now in C a ? The other morning we had an immense 

deal to do to remember his physiognomy. Hedda knew it a 
little better ; but you must be so amiable as to come to our 
assistance, especially in what regards the shape of his nose, 
which has entirely escaped our memory. And, once more, 
my dear Charlotte, I must ask you to write about every 
thing ; the greatest trifle is now of interest. I shall now 
try to speak of something else. 

Last Monday I was at the Baroness F 's pour toute la 

journee, together with the L s ; it was very agreeable, 

not to speak of the pleasure (of which I feel very little 
nowadays) of being warmly complimented by the assem- 
bled company upon my paintings, of which only two were 

there, namely, that of Countess B in sepia, which 

always hangs behind Lady F 's chair; and that of 

L in colors, which latter I had just finished, and 

which has afforded me a great deal of pleasure, by the 
pleasure which it gives his wife. 

1829. 

After dispatching my letter to you last Friday, we three 
sisters here at home sat down together on the sofa to read 
your letter over again ; made again our commentaries on 
the same ; and gave free vent to our cheerful hopes in (I 
may well say so) the innocence of our hearts, and in our 
affection for you. The imagination of girls, like young 
fiery colts, is sometimes disposed to bolt, and ours cleared 
with a few bounds all the five-barred gates of time, while 
we thought of how to furnish the house and how to do all the 
needle-work for you. Hedda had seen charming curtains 
10 



146 LETTERS. 

made with patchwork, which she wished to take as models. 
Agatha thought of pocket-handkerchiefs and lots of em- 
broidery. I declared that I had not courage to venture 
upon this kind of artistic needle-work, but offered to do all 
sorts of hemming, stitching, and felling, which might be 
required. We all agreed in being perfectly satisfied with 
the exterior of the person in question, and in our fervent 
hope, or rather belief, in his being excellent and good. In- 
form our mother soon of all. By doing so, you do not in 
any case bind yourself to any thing against your own in- 
clination, because without inclination you ought certainly 
not to unite yourself to him ; but remember this good and 
true passage : 

"The happiness of human life is at best comparative. The 
utmost we should hope for here is such a situation as, with a self- 
approving mind, will carry us best through the present scene of 
trial ; such a situation as, all circumstances considered, is, upon 
the whole, most eligible for us, though some of its circumstances 
may be disagreeable." 

In another place in " Grandison," where Lady D 

tries to persuade Harriet to marry her son, she says, with 
equal truth : 

" You are pious, dutiful, benevolent. Cannot you, if you are 
unable to entertain for the man who now with so much ardor ad- 
dresses you, were you married to him, the passion called love, 
regard him as gratitude would oblige you to prefer any other 
man who is assiduous to do you service or pleasure ? Cannot you 
show him as much good will as you could any other man whom it 
was in your power to make happy ? Would you esteem him less 
than a person absolutely a stranger to you ? The exertion of 
your native benevolence, of your natural obligingness, of your 
common gratitude, of your pity, is all that is asked of you. The 
exertion will make him happy; and if you retain that delight 
which you have hitherto taken in promoting the happiness of 
others, who are not undeserving, you will be yourself not un- 
happy." 

This might at all events be said to you, unless, as I be- 



LETTERS. 147 

lieve, soon manages so that all persuasion will be su- 
perfluous. May this be so ! 

I might have all sorts of trifling and funny things to tell 
you, but I have now neither thoughts, ink, nor pen for any 
other than the one subject. Why has not the mail wings ? 
Write soon and about every thing. 

The other night, at the Franzens, my mother heard my 
little book spoken of. It was very much liked, and many 
surmises were made as to who the author could be. 

STOCKHOLM, 30th June, 1829. 

Lost in the infinite, an obscure Atom bewailed his 
nothingness : " Why was I created," he complained, " if, 
amongst all that lives, moves, and acts, I alone should feel 
the pain of my insignificance ? Oh ! that I were only a 
dew-drop, fallen from the clouds to refresh earth's flowers. 
Oh ! that I were only a particle of the fountain's crystal 
water, so salutary to earth's noblest son, man ; or a 
breath of air, which, at the Creator's will, cools the weary 
pilgrim's throbbing temples ; or a flower's fragrant exhala- 
tion, which, life-giving and lovely, loses itself in the air 
which it enriches. Oh ! that I were for only one moment 
of my obscure life, a comfort to some one, then would I 
bless my existence ! " Thus moaned the Atom. 

Brightly the sun shone upon earth, giving life to all and 
blessed by all. The rippling waves caressed the shores 
where flowers gratefully bent over the refreshing stream, 
on whose bosom their smiling images were mirrored. 
Freshly and merrily the wind played amongst flowers and 
foliage. Evening came. The dew fell upon the earth, 
which gratefully sent up endless fragrance to benign 
Heaven. Nature in silence scattered her favors. Nobody 
and nothing either wanted or missed the Atom. He felt it, 
and in a dim void, he thought that his life was slowly ending 
or sinking like twilight into night. And night rested upon 
the Atom ; but he felt his own darker night. Then upon 



148 LETTERS. 

Aurora's rays came the Angel of Consolation, a bright 
seraph, who, with inexhaustible treasures of celestial balm, 
soared forth over the earth ; and wherever a martyr suffers 
for truth, wherever a down-trod ant feels a pang, there he 
halts, gives life, enjoyment, comfort, forgetfulness, or 
death. The seraph saw the suffering Atom, and heard his 
silent complaint. 

" Rejoice, suffering Atom ! " said his friendly voice. 
" Thy wish has been heard by an ever-listening ear. A 
tear of compassion and consolation, thou shalt glisten in my 
wreath, and fall, a drop of balm, upon Affliction's burning 
pain." 

He spoke, and already the Atom glittered, transformed, 
blissful, and bright, like a smiling tear, upon a beautiful 
poppy in the seraph's wreath. " Oh ! " whispered he, with 
humble joy, " I am but a drop ; but, beautiful seraph, if 
sanctified by thee, it gives to me the power to comfort a 
sufferer, then will I praise my glorious destiny, then 
will I bless thee and my eternal origin." 

Who is the Atom, dearest Charlotte, who else but 
your poor Fredrique, who hopes and strives to become 
this soothing drop of balm ? My second volume of the 
" Sketches of Every-day Life " will contain several smaller 
pieces, in which, from my own experience, I intend sketch- 
ing, under the form of real occurrences, several misfor- 
tunes and sufferings, and also eventual comfort and balm 
for the same. I am just now busy composing these. The 
little piece, which stands here above, is intended to ex- 
press, at the conclusion of the book, the fervent wishes 
and humble hopes of the " Atom." I wrote also the other 
day another piece, called " The Home of Prayer," which I 
now send you, as I suppose it will give you pleasure to 
read it. 

We have some relatives in town, my dearest little clan- 
loving sister, and it was a pity that you were not present 
at a little dinner-party which our parents gave in honor of 



LETTERS. 149 

them. In the evening I sketched and colored Helene 
Franzen's portrait, and wrote underneath it : 

" Voyez ici Helene, 
Non pas 1'H^l^ne de Troie ; 
Elle est bien mieux, ina foi, 
Elle est fille de Franzdn." 

She is very handsome, and her parents were exceedingly 
delighted with the portrait, which really represented a 
young, beautiful Greek maiden, and besides, it was very 
like her. 

Shall I have no letter from you to-day ? 

THE HOME OF PRAYER. 

Billows, bitter as Affliction's tears, were beating wildly 
and with monotonous sound against a rock, on the dull 
gray surface of which not even the tiniest shrub had taken 
root, and whereon no little bird ever perched chirping, to 
search for a seed or a grain, carried thither by the winds 
of heaven. The thunder of malediction seemed to have 
swept over that dreary rock. Dark, cold clouds crowned 
its top. Yonder, on that awful height, a solitary being was 
sitting a woman. Known she is to many a child of 
mortality. Deadly pale was her face; but her paleness 
was that of sorrow. Calm she sat and quiet, like one de- 
void of hope. Eternal tears coursed each other, drop by 
drop, down her cheeks slowly, as, for her, time's endless 
minutes vanished. Closed were her ashy lips ; but the ex- 
pression which played over her features, like a dark genius, 
seemed distinctly to say these words : " I suffer, I suffer ! " 
In her sunken, yet flaming, eye ; on her forehead, from 
which waves of gray hair were floating on the icy blast, 
while she was bent low, not by age, but by suffering, 
stood written that her heart was cankered. Happy art 
thou, who, in the bright heaven of thy heart, never sawest 
even the shadow of this picture ! Happy art ttfou, oh 
favorite of angels, who canst say : " I know her not ! " 



150 LETTERS. 

Alas ! / have known her. Already, in my childhood's 
heaven, I saw the lightning of her bloodshot eye, and 
many, many know her well ; her life is suffering ; her 
name Affliction. 

Radiant in the light of beatitude, the genius of heavenly 
love soared one morning through space. A glance from 
his bright eye lighted, like a ray of the sun, upon the cloud- 
capped height upon which Affliction hopelessly wept. 

He beheld her, and he loved her ; for she suffered ; and 
his mission was to scatter happiness around him. 

He bore her away into his beautiful Eden, tended her, 
loved her, and comforted her, and tried, but in vain, to 
teach her to hope. 

She bore him a daughter, a wondrously beautiful child, 
on whose angelic face the father's bright smile and the 
mother's tears were blended in sweetest harmony. They 
called her Prayer. Clasped were her hands, half-open her 
lips, like a rose-bud ; and her beautiful eyes, in which tears 
were trembling, were raised on high. 

At the sight of this beautiful being, Affliction's torn 
bosom vibrated for the first time with joy; for the first 
time she gave a look full of tender hope to her heavenly 
consort, whose eye, overflowing with happiness and love, 
rested upon her. She pressed to her heart her first-born 
darling, sighed, smiled, and looked forward into the future 
with confidence. But in Affliction's soul joy lingered only 
for a moment. Longing for her dark home, she returned 
to it ; but with one comfort, that she had given birth to 
Prayer ; and with one hope, that she one day should 
cease to exist. 

Under her father's care, the beautiful daughter grew up 
amongst heaven's flowers, disporting with heaven's angels. 
But the more she became developed, the more she felt a 
dim, half-understood presentiment that there was not her 
right home. She had tears ; and these strangers in the 
abodes of light were unknown to heaven's children. The 



LETTERS. 151 

eternal and unchanging beauty of things on high were in 
disharmony with her inner being her soul. Longing, 
she cast her eyes downwards, and saw in foreboding 
dreams a lower world, not far separated from her mother's 
home, where dusky clouds often darkened the sun ; where 
vapors curled over rose-gardens, and where heaven itself 
shed tears over a green-clad world. And her heart beat, 
and she sighed, " Thither, oh, thither ! " 

The genius of heavenly love, marked with loving looks 
his daughter's silent sadness. And when the time had 
arrived, the hour which Jehovah had appointed, he took 
her hand, and soared with her through ci cation's endless 
space. They approached a star, called Earth, where the 
seraph's eye with melancholy joy found again images con- 
genial to her heart and soul. Bright tears glittered in the 
bells of flowers. The sun burst through heavy clouds. 
Summer days and winter nights rested alternately on the 
shadowy vales, and gloomy fogs rolled over its loveliest 
landscapes. 

" Here let us linger, here let us rest ! " whispered she, 
beseechingly. They lowered their flight and alighted 
upon a hill, from which wide-spreading cedars threw their 
lengthening evening shadows. Sweetly smiling, the seraph 
looked round, looked towards heaven, over whose face 
bright clouds were wafted by gentle winds, and then at her 
heavenly guide, saying : " Here it is good to remain ; here 
is my home ; here let me stay ! " 

" Daughter of my love," replied her father, " yes, here 
thou shalt stay, here is thy home ; Jehovah wills it so ; 
here is the cradle of immortal beings man's native land. 
Here, under suffering, are born eternal joys. But, in or- 
der that man shall not miss his goal, thou shalt be near 
him, a link between me and my eternal home, which shall 
be his also one day. Thou shalt teach him to pray that 
is, to trust and hope. Thou shalt watch at his cradle and 
at his grave. Thou shalt teach him, in all changes, to look 



152 LETTERS. 

upwards, that a ray of the Eternal's brightness may throw 
light into his soul. Consolation shall be thy name; thy 
mission, a woman's, to comfort and support." 

So saying, he spread his dazzling pinions, and, slowly 
soaring upwards, fixed a look full of measureless love upon 
the daughter, who, kneeling, with clasped hands and 
smiling in her tears, prayed : " Oh ! let it be so ; oh, my 
father, my happiness is to do thy will. Morning and 
evening, in the bright hours of day, in the silent watches 
of night, I will direct man's looks and man's heart to thee. 
But, that I may be always full of hope, full of comfort and 
joy ; that my smile may always beam triumphant over my 
tears, oh ! therefore, be ever near me, abandon me never, 
my father ! " 

The genius of heavenly love vanished behind a veil of 
clouds out of the supplicant's sight ; but a breath full of 
heavenly sweetness fanned her fair curls and gently kissed 
her forehead, cheek, and eyelids ; and she felt conscious 
of a father's blessing. Tremblingly rustled the cedar- 
branches, and " Never ! " softly whispered with a sound 
as if out of eternity, reached her ear. She felt that he was 
ever near her. 

Earth became Prayer's home. Prayer became man's 
good angel. She watched at his cradle, watched over his 
youth, comforted him in every period of his life, cheered 
his old age ; and, amongst the foliage of the trees which 
overshadowed his mortal resting-place, she was still heard 
to breathe peace and joy, whispering that now she had 
borne him home, and there he did not need her aid any 
longer. 

Consolation she was called. She taught man to smile 
in tears to hope. 

And we, my brethren and sisters, we, whom she longed 
to comfort and make happy, let us not misunderstand the 
sweet seraph; let us follow her teaching. Let us pray 
with childhood's stammering lips, in our youth, in man- 



LETTERS. 153 

hood, in old age, in temptation, in joy and in sorrow, in 
our last hour, in the hour of strife, and in the hour of 
victory let us pray, let us pray ! 

ARSTA, 19th November, 1830. 

Heaven be praised ! the weather is fine, bright, and 
mild. You have, I hope, a pleasant journey. We speak 
of you continually ; make remarks on the weather every - 
other minute, and, for the first time in my life, I find this 
to be one of the most interesting topics. My dearest Char- 
lotte ! Since we parted from one another I have been like 
sour, unripe fruit. I was tolerably calm when you left; 
but the agony began soon after. Yesterday, all the after- 
noon and evening, I felt a dreadful longing to see you 
once more ; to embrace you, weep, and bless you, and to 
pray you to forgive every little unkindness of which I may 
have been guilty towards you. My tears are flowing while 
I am writing this. Charlotte, my dearest Charlotte ! will 
you perhaps one day forget how warmly, how long, how 
sincerely we have been united? Will the novel scenes 
and new relations into which you enter, the novel sensa- 
tions which gradually will fill your soul, ever let old mem- 
ories wane ? I dread it sometimes. But, above all, may 
you be happy feel yourself happy. That is all I want. 

I have no heart for brothers-in-law ; I feel that they take 

from me what I hold dearest my sisters. But may 

perhaps one day be able to convert me. If he makes his 
wife happy, he shall in me find an affectionate and grateful 
sister. 

Now for a sketch of every-day life. In rain, wind, and 
in darkness, Hedda and I drove to Arsta, while you and 
your husband drove in another direction under the same 
celestial signs. We got soaked, shaken, and fatigued, but 
were concerned only about you. In Egyptian darkness we 
came to old Castle Blow-hard, where we found our mother 
and Agatha cheerful, comfortable, and well, longing to chat 



154 LETTERS. 

about you and yours : we have hitherto done this most in- 
defatigably. It is an inexhaustible well. Our mother's 
thoughts are stalking about everywhere, building castles 
in the air here and there. " L'etoffe a pris son pli." 

We are busy setting up our little dumb pensioner. It 
is not yet decided where to dispose of him. 

I must now finish, dear Charlotte, because I have both 
headache and heart-ache. Thank God, you have such beau- 
tiful weather for travelling ! Our mother's best love to you 
and to your husband, in which Hedda joins. It is pleasant 
here and quiet ; nevertheless, I am peevish, and could 
make sour faces at ; but, after all, that would be silly. 

Farewell, my dear Charlotte ! Half of my heart, fare- 
well ! Your 

FREDRIQUE. 

AESTA, 30th November, 1830. 

What a delightful little letter you wrote to me from 
Djula. We had just finished our tea and our potatoes 
when it arrived. In fact, I had already gone to bed, 
fatigued and tired of the world. Your letter was brought 
to me ; my mother and sisters all assembled round my 
bedside. I read it aloud; but when I came to where 

you say, " has few who can be compared with him ; 1 

am happy!" I could read no more. I wept for joy, and 
sympathetic tears stood in the eyes of the smiling listeners. 
Also in August's eyes tears were seen to tremble, when the 
following evening this passage was read to him. You see, 
my dearest Charlotte, how beloved you are by all ! Re- 
member, my dear sister, that when you are happy, you 
thereby add to the happiness of others. I wrote my first 

letter to you under very melancholy feelings. May 

pardon my lamentations and my doubts. I sincerely be- 
lieve that, with a husband like him, it depends only upon 
yourself to be happy, and therefore I ought to be tran- 
quil. The description of your journey hitherto sounds 



LETTERS. 155 

very pleasant. God be praised for every happy day you 
have ! 

I ought now to speak a little of ourselves. To-morrow 
by this time we shall probably be in town. I cannot say 
that this prospect delights me ; but, of course, every thing 
can be done. We sisters in the beginning have to occupy 
our old rooms, and that pleases me. Our mother pictures 
to herself this winter as a little " partie de plaisir ; " but I 
expect to find it very dull. She intends to receive visits, 
to issue invitations, etc., etc. 

May Agatha remain as well as she is now ! As to my- 
self, I intend this winter to read, to write, to paint a great 
deal. I hear from all quarters much that is gratifying 
and flattering about my " Sketches," but it makes very 
little impression upon me : and then how far is it not to 
the stars ; and to him who strives upwards, what are these 
exhalations floating upon and dispersed by the winds ? 
Meanwhile I long to write, and may perhaps in the course 
of the winter publish, the third volume of the " Sketches." 
Since you left, I have written a little lively piece for this 
volume, which I have entitled, " Spring in the North." 
Perhaps you would like to read it. Here you have it. 

* SPRING IN THE NORTH. 

Lo! the Queen of Spring one day, 

Angrily her pinions folding, 

Gave her son, young May, a scolding : 

" The first of May ! 

Alack the day ! 

Art not ashamed, thou wicked boy ? 

Weeping still, 

Damp and chill, 

Dost thou come 

Looking glum, 

Marring all our hope and joy." 

i; Thou hadst orders 

O'er our borders 

Flowers to spread, and azure skies; 

To deck the woods 



156 LETTERS. 

With fragrant buds, 

Sporting like the butterflies. 

Words of mirth, 

In our North, 

Thou should'st speak to every soul: 

4 Lo ! I bring 

Lovely Spring; 

Fill with wine the sparkling bowl ! ' 

" What a shame 

To take that name 

Given you in the almanac ; 

' Month of flowers,' 

Gracious powers ! 

Say how dare you thus to mock ? 

Pouting? Ha! 

Mind, mamma 

All such tempers soon will settle ; 

If you dare, 

I declare 

I '11 whip you with my first young nettle ! *' 

" Mother, why," 
Cried the boy, 

" Do you take me thus to task ? 
Brother April scold, I pray, 
He was lazy, would not ask 
The sun to melt the snow away ; 
Let it lie on lake and plain ; 
Left old Boreas free to reign ; 
And when I at length came forth 
On my merry birthday morn, 
Hailed with joy by all the North, 
Fain would I this earth adorn : 
But 't was still so cold and nipping, 
That I quaked with aguish fears, 
With my garments wet and dripping, 
And my face all blurred with tears." 

Quoth April then, 

With angry mien, 

" Who such wretched falsehood utters ? 

Have n't I washed and cleaned the gutters ? 

Have n't I broken up the ice, 

Swept the roofs quite clean and nice ? 

On my honor I declare, 

Your demands are most unfair ! 



LETTERS. 157 

Surely, if the truth you 'd search, 

I 've battled hard with brother March ; 

With all kinds of wind and weather 

That I e'er could bring together, 

I have tried to force niy way 

Through his serried, firm array 

Of some twenty odd degrees 

Of cold, enough your blood to freeze. 

I have sought through shield and spear, 

By fair means a path to clear, 

Where I might on flying wing 

Plant the banner of the Spring. 

Vain my prayers. ' Avaunt ! ' quoth he. 

Thus the fault lies not with me." 

With a pout, 

March cried out: 

" Must I all these burdens carry ? 

Sure I 'm bound to sweep the tomb 

Of old uncle February ; 

Filling all the North with gloom, 

With a mountain's weight it lay, 

Held o'er earth its icy sway. 

Nought remained for me the while, 

Save drive my plough ! across the soil, 

On the snow without delay, 

Till the drifts were cleared away. 

Thus I did my best, you see, 

In frost-nipped humility ! " 

So said March. The Queen of Spring 
Stood awhile, considering 
Which -of all the urchins three 
Most deserved severity. 
Each threw blame upon his brother; 
But the wise and prudent mother 
Bit her lips with action grave, 
Thought a moment, and then gave, 
With a rod of nettles bound, 
To each one a whipping sound. 
How the wretched boys did squall ! 
How they promised, one and all, 
To amend their evil ways, 
To call forth the sun's warm rays, 
Scattering flowers o'er hill and plain, 
Till the earth should smile again ! 

The snow-plough, used in Sweden to clear away the snow-drifts. 



158 LETTERS. 

To-day we have boarded and lodged our little " Son of 
Misery " with " good " Mr. Gardener, at any rate for the first 
six months. The kind Christine has promised to take 
most tender care of the poor little child ; perhaps he may 
be able to learn to think and articulate. He left us well 
and amply provided for with every thing. When I this 
morning marked his linen, I stamped it, without thinking 
of it, with a small cross, in shape like those which are here 
put upon graves. I wonder whether there was any thing 
prophetic in it for the child. Our mother and I did cele- 
brate the day of Jubilee in church. H bawled dread- 
fully about our forefathers being all in utter darkness and 
the shadow of death. The sun this beautiful image of 
intellectual light broke through heavy clouds, and throw- 
ing now and then his brilliant rays into the church, was the 
best part of the whole service. 

Farewell, dearest sister ; millions of greetings from all 
at home ; also to your husband. 

STOCKHOLM, 7th December. 

You are a dear, kind, darling one for writing so often 
and so fully. You cannot imagine how greedy we are for 
your letters ; how we all gather round every one of them, 
when they arrive, like so many flies round the cream ; and 
how we taste and taste, again and again, and chat, and won- 
der, and are delighted with you and your journey. I re- 
ceived this morning your letter from Hellinge, but I am 
most anxious to hear something of you from Christianstad. 
I believe you will arrive there to-day. Oh, if I were there 
to welcome you ! I shall now say something about our- 
selves. My dearest Charlotte, do not get frightened, when, 
for the sake of truth, I must confess that I have not had 
courage to write to you sooner from Stockholm, because 
every thing here has appeared to me so heavy, so cold, and 
even intolerable ; but, thank God ! it looks considerably 
brighter now, and will no doubt become still brighter. 



LETTERS. 159 

Hedda has also been very low-spirited. Agatha alone has 
kept up her courage. However, we are now all in good 
spirits. The first discomfort was not to be avoided. To- 
day especially we are all very animated on account of the 
occurrences of the day, Brinckman's letter, Franzen's, 
Wallin's, and others' overwhelming eulogia. What a 
wonderfully fine letter ! and this I am to reply to in 
writing? In what way ? That I do not know yet, but I 
will tell you next time I write to you. Reuterborg has 
been here. He said, " Go where you will, you hear noth- 
ing spoken of but a Lady Bremer, or Miss Bremer, who 
has written, etc., etc., and to whom verses have been dedi- 
cated." Farewell, my dear sister. Our mother is kind 
and cheerful. Possibly things may become better at home. 
I shall write more by next mail. Kind remembrances to 
your husband. 

Hedda insists upon copying Brinckman's letter, "in 
order," as she says, "that you may get it quite fresh." 
Fresh ! That may be, but sugared over and spiced beyond 
measure. I inclose it herewith : 

" STOCKHOLM, 6th December, 1830. 

" Not without fear of being considered like an uninvited guest, 
too bold and intruding, do I now seize the pen in order to pay 
homage to an amiable and charming Muse, who cannot conde- 
scend to a personal acquaintance with all those whom her genius 
has filled with respect and admiration. 

" But I have hitherto not gone beyond the wish that, by some 
well-known friend, I might be introduced to the illustrious Un- 
known, and my noble friend Franzen has promised to undertake 
this kindly office, * as soon as circumstances permit it.' But in 
what most nearly concerns genius and the heart, one can rarely 
rely except upon oneself; deign therefore to pardon my warm, 
perhaps too impatient, longing to express personally to you my 
gratitude for the greatest and holiest enjoyments, which the polite 
literature of my native country has for a long time afforded me. 

"Franzen's sensitive Muse first drew my attention to the 
* Sketches of Every-day Life,' of which the very superficial review 



160 LETTERS. 

in the periodical ' Heimdal ' did not give me any more favorable 
or higher ideas than of many other ephemeral, pretty, poetical 
effusions, of which that periodical has issued baptismal certificates. 
But how shall I be able to describe to you the deep impression of 
true delight and warm interest which the first perusal of your 
work made upon me, whilst reading it in a single night. Full of 
this impression, I hastened on the following day to Franzen, anx- 
ious to express to him the gratitude which I felt for the veracious 
testimony which he had given to the younger sister of his Muse, 
and telling him that I would willingly make a pilgrimage of many, 
many miles with naked feet, in order to behold the features and 
listen to the voice of her who, in a manner so living, so tender, so 
witty, and so affecting, takes us by storm in every line of her 
splendid poetry. 

" * Unglaublich ! Wie ! Ein solches Madchen hatte mein hand 
und ich, und ich erfahr' es heute zum ersten Mai ? ' 

" So exclaimed Don Carlos, and still he found himself deceived ! 
I know, however, for certain, whom I can trust. An artful, co- 
quettish beauty, such as Eboli, may perhaps, during a few moments 
of conversation, act a character foreign to herself; but a poetess, 
such as she who has written these 4 Sketches,' is ' herself alone ; ' 
she is, whether in the playfulness or in the earnestness of her 
genius, and in all other circumstances of life, genuine, innocent, 
and true to her soul's inspirations. 

" See here, my noble benefactress ! my candid confession of 
faith. I am proud that our literature can boast of such an author- 
ess ; but it is humiliating to our critics, that the first volume of 
your work should have vegetated amongst them in silence for 
more than two years, and that not one amongst them all should 
have discovered the high lineage and innate wealth of the modest 
stranger. But then you have restricted yourself to ' every-day 
life,' and it is not there where these gentlemen try to discover the 
realms of poetry, but rather among the stately palaces of the 
great. I am acquainted with the choicest literature of most coun- 
tries, but I defy them all to produce, in the genre which you have 
chosen, more beautiful or truer pictures, not only of reality, but 
also of the ideal world which lives and breathes within us. No- 
body in our country, either man or woman, has, as far as I am 
aware, hitherto understood living events more thoroughly, with 
the penetrating eye of genius, nor drawn with a more masterly 



LETTERS. 161 

hand their varied forms, and the miniatures of domestic life. And 
all this with such genuine, unmistakable womanliness! I have 
heard some silly maidens say, ' She must surely have been assisted 
by some man, some scholar.' Pardon them ; they know not what 
they say. It was therefore with unfeigned delight that I heard 
the most appropriate opinion of your work expressed by a noble- 
hearted and highly intelligent Countess, who is not unworthy to 
be ranked amongst the congenials of your own soul. She pointed' 
out to me many passages which she had marked. ' Look there,' 
she said, ' my friend, what none of you others would have found 
out ; you may thank Heaven if you can feel and appreciate the 
peculiar excellence of such holy revelations of female genius ! ' 

" But I did not intend to produce an improved edition of the 
certificate of ' Heimdal.' I only wanted to signify my longing, 
and remind Franzen of his promise that, if ever you should come 
to Stockholm, he would ask permission to introduce his friend to 
our mutual enchantress. I hand this letter over to him. May he 
speak more eloquently in my favor than I am able to do it. Be 
gracious ayid merciful, and do not say * No ! ' 

" A stranger's greeting, deep respect, and sincere devotion. 

"V. B." 
STOCKHOLM, 12th December, 1830. 

It is absurd, absurd, absurd ! I believe that some kind 
fairy has pronounced some hocus-pocus on me and my little 
book. The sensation which it creates is quite ridiculous. 
It is now the ton to read it, especially in the fashionable 
world. It is spoken of everywhere, and so is its author- 
ess, who cannot now any longer hope to remain anony- 
mous. I am obliged to listen to so many fine things, that 
I am only astonished that they do not make me quite giddy 
(which, after all, they do not). " Medborgaren " (the news- 
paper) has also reviewed the work, and in a most flattering 
manner it speaks of the unusual talent of the authoress ; 
and " The H Family," especially, gets the most splen- 
did encomiums. Palmblad has written to G strom that 

the book meets with such a rapid sale, that he must pro- 
vide a second edition thereof. 
11 



162 LETTERS. 

Last night we were very animated at home. Franzen 
came with Brinckman, who was almost half crazy. He 
actually courted me. I was fairly overwhelmed with flat- 
tering compliments. Brinckman quoted my book contin- 
ually, saying, " that I had not read it properly myself." 
Franzen also was full of kindness and praises. Anxious 
to make his protege shine as much as possible, he asked to 
be allowed to see my paintings. They went through them 
all ; and when Brinckman heard that I also was musicienne, 
he exclaimed, u Indeed, I begin to get quite tifed now." 
The conversation was exceedingly animated. Mrs. De 

R and some other friends also came to see us- Then 

I got some more rosemary. Mrs. De R had the pre- 
vious night been to two large parties. She told me that 
there was nothing else spoken of except my " Sketches." 
Brinckman finished by going down on his knees to me, 
when, after a three hours' visit, he took leave. Your hus- 
band would have been very much amused if he had seen 
Hedda and Brinckman together. He made her his confi- 
dente, continually whispering in her ear all sorts of things 
about my book, giving her now and then little " pats," in 
order to awaken her attention, which " pats " Hedda seemed 
inclined to pay back. She expressed herself to him, once 
or twice, in such honest and plain terms, that they formed 

a ludicrous contrast to his sugared compliments. B an, 

who was here the evening before last, asked me whether 
we were not overrun by all sorts of people coming to look 
at me, such a sensation has my talent as an authoress cre- 
ated. In a word, my dear Charlotte, it is absurd, absurd, 
absurd! I do not think that all this would amuse me 
much if our sisters were not so delighted with it. In fact, 
.Agatha jumped about like a fish out of water. But I must 
say good-by to the anonymous. Vogue la galere ! Blow, 
<winds, blow ! I say, and by that I mean a prayer to my 
-Muse, who also seems willing to hear my prayer. I am 
working at the continuation of " The H Family." 



LETTERS. 163 

Franzen says that people expect to see the blind one act- 
ing a part. She shall do so. 

Sunday, the 13th. 

The day before yesterday all was brilliant ; last night 
every thing was flat and dull. So changeable is the wind ! 
August was not at all well ; to-day he is seriously ill. 
Agatha has had an attack of her old rheumatic complaint, 
and is not well yet ; but she has good courage, and then all 
is well. 

STOCKHOLM, 23d January, 1831. 

Yesterday I received your letter of the 16th. I was 
very much touched by it, and it made me very happy, be- 
cause the state of your mind, which it shows, is so beauti- 
ful, so noble, so amiable, that, as surely as the spring brings 
flowers in its train, so surely must it bring with it happiness 
and all its joyous flowers. I feel convinced that in another 
respect also you will feel yourself more and more happy, 
when, as you say yourself, the memory of a gloomy life be- 
gins to fade from your view, and at last dies altogether. 
Yes, a good and noble husband is the chief good in mar- 
ried life ; such a husband throws over all circumstances in 
life thousands of comforts and charms, of which formerly 

one could have no idea. God bless ! When you 

get quite settled in your new home, you will surely find 
yourself still more comfortable. Write to me, dearest 
Charlotte, especially about your state of mind. 

Not every thing at home is quite as it ought to be. Our 
little Agatha, with whose health and spirits we have been 
so pleased, has for the last fortnight been rather on the de- 
cadence in both. The other evening, when, in spite of her 
ill health, she was out, we had a brilliant soiree at the 
" Singing Union." The Royal Family was there, and had 
a few words to say to every body. We sang choruses from 
" Guillaume Tell," which succeeded famously, and made a 
splendid effect. That evening ended in a brilliant way for 
me. Acquaintances and strangers of the fashionable world 



164 LETTERS. 

flocked round me, and showered eulogia and thanks upon 
the little authoress, who curtsied and thanked and thanked 
again. Baron A - requested to be introduced to me. 
Our mother was sitting the whole evening, hearing how the 

Countess Sp , a whole row of the ladies of the court, 

and a great number of gentlemen, had been discussing my 
" Sketches," and the merits thereof. The sensation which 
the little book is creating is indeed ridiculous. It is the 
regular souper-conversation all over the town (which, be it 
said in parenthesis, does not mean much), and not a day 
goes past without my hearing what has been said of it here 
and there, and always in praise of it. In the booksellers' 
shops, all the copies have been sold. Palmblad wrote a 
few days ago, to say that he must print a second edition as 
quickly as possible, and that for that purpose he must em- 
ploy three compositors, because there is a desperate run 
upon his agent in Stockholm, by all the booksellers, for 
more copies. I wonder how long this will last ? It has 
become, I am afraid, a mere matter of fashion mais 
n'importe ! but upon this matter of fashion I shall this 
year earn three hundred thirty rix dollars, which is delight- 
ful ! Perhaps I shall in future reap as much severe criti- 
cism as eulogy now. May it find me equally calm, or, 
rather, indifferent ; but of that I am not quite sure. 

Next winter, my dearest Charlotte, Agatha and I are 
going to visit you. We intend taking the two rooms on 
the ground floor, and we wish to board with you. May we 
not do so ? How pleasant it would be ! But " 1'homme 
propose et Dieu dispose ! " 

Our little dumb boy has now closed his eyes. He died 
after about a month's decline. Peace be with him ! 

You have probably seen by the newspapers that the 
Swedish Academy has awarded me a gold medal on ac- 
count of my authorship. It would, perhaps, have been 
possible to have warded off this honor, if the " Afton- 
bladet" had not trumpeted forth the news all over town, 
before Franzen had spoken of it with my mother. 



LETTERS. 165 

If you should happen to see any remarkable personages, 
any real originals, please describe them to me. I want to 
make use of them in my " Sketches." But pray, dearest, 
mention this, or whatever else I write to you about my au- 
thorship, to nobody. People are in general very fright- 
ened of being described in books, and in our country an 
authoress is often looked upon as a regular scarecrow. 
If I should come to Christianstad, I wish to be known there 
merely as the sister of Mrs. , which I am sure will be 

the best letter of introduction for me. 

% 

CHRISTIANSTAD, October 25th, 1831. 

MY DEAREST MOTHER, Ah ! what a joy it is to be 
able to turn in full confidence to the one whom we have to 
thank for our existence. I say thank ; for life seems now 
to be of value to me. Formerly it was not so. My youth 
has not been happy ; on the contrary, it has been a time 
of suffering, and its days, to a great extent (this is indeed 
truth), have passed away in a continual wish to die. But 
now it is otherwise. As a compensation for that long time 
of suffering and compulsory inactivity, another has suc- 
ceeded, which gives me the means of usefulness, and there- 
fore also of new life and gladness. We hope, we desire, 
my sisters and I, nothing else than to be able to do some 
little good, whilst we are wandering here on earth, and 
according to the power that is given to us, to work for the 
good of others, and live ourselves in peace and harmony ; 
and perhaps our joyless youth, if it has deprived us of some 
of the enjoyments of life, may in some measure have led 
our minds to higher aspirations, and to a stronger desire 
for real usefulness. 

At this moment my plan for the future is the following : 
to spend as little as possible of my own fortune upon my- 
self, so that I may be able as much as possible to devote 
my life to acquiring all the means that may be of service 
to me in the development of my mission as an authoress. 



166 LETTERS. 

Never have I felt so much that I have been created for this 
aim as now ; never have I felt my intellectual being, as it 
were, grow, strengthen, gain stability and clearness, as now ; 
knowing what it is to desire to live and learn, and never to 
have had the joyful hope (to speak in the language of St. 
Paul) " to be a vessel formed to honor." The desire and 
the hope that I become to you and to my sisters a subject 
of rejoicing, is to me how shall I express it? a spur 
of roses. 

Yes, dearest mother ! what I have often felt, what I have 
often wanted to say to my beloved ones at home is, I am 
happy. Never has any one enjoyed their life more fully 
than I do at this moment. The brightening thoughts with- 
in me, which promise such sweet harmony for my soul in 
future, contribute much to this : and then my own little 
quiet room. Oh ! dear mother, if I should be at home 
next winter, do you think I could get a little garret in Mr. 
Bruhn's house ? It is more important for me than any one 
can believe, to have a little quiet nest of my own, where I 
can be quite undisturbed. In the suite of apartments in 
our house this would be impossible ; but in the garret it 
would be delightful, if it only can be managed. 

TOMB, 30th August, 1835. 

In my last letter, my dear mother, I told you such a mis- 
erable story, that I feel a need of coming to you with some- 
thing more cheerful, and of such subjects there is no lack. 
I begin with what touches me most. I must therefore tell 
you, that my good and excellent friend has returned from 
Alingsas. She is so delighted and happy to be here again. 
I cannot imagine how such a warm-hearted and lively 
creature could have resigned herself to live for eight years 
alone at this solitary Tomb ; but no one can excel her in 
the power of quietly fixing a purpose and then pursuing it 
This she calls her "fool-hardiness." I count myself happy 
to be able to be something for her ; we suit each other ad- 



LETTERS. 167 

mirably. The solitary life which she leads is delightful to 
me. Here in this quietude, in a new neighborhood, sur- 
rounded by new objects, there awaken within me many 
dormant feelings, many interests that I knew nothing of. 
I am going through a spiritual " mineral-water cure," which 
will strengthen me in body and mind ; and they both 
needed strengthening. 

Norway's history, ancient and modern, its literature, na- 
ture, and relationship to Sweden, interests me greatly. 

I inquire into, I think of, many things which never be- 
fore gave me a thought or an interest. Plans for new 
" Sketches" are in progress ; thoughts stream forth, and I 
feel that both the time and the place are important for my 
development. The spring air which I breathe, being con- 
tinually beside the Countess S , and the influence of 

her heart, her character, and her temper, certainly does me 
good ; but what is even more to me than all this, is that I 
am allowed to be so perfectly in peace. You cannot think 
how delightful it is, my dear mother, to be so far away from 
all acquaintances, to have no visits to pay and none to re- 
ceive. This kind of unsociableness is a real disease, but 
is at present unconquerable. My nervous system has been 
weakened. I trust that in the course of time, living in re- 
tirement, and with prudent care of my health, I may get 
stronger, and get rid of that most painful feeling ; but until 
then, it is so good for me not to have that feeling tried. 
When I am alone in my quiet room, the blue sky peeping 
in, and with my books and papers around me, then I think 
the whole world is mine, especially if a dear letter lies be- 
fore me, bringing good news from those who belong to me, 
and telling me that they love me. Then my heart beats 
gratefully to the Great Father of all, and full of hope to 
be able to do some good for my fellow-creatures ; then I 
am as happy as any one can be ; then I love mankind best 
and live best for them. 

On Sunday the Countess had invited a small party to an 



168 LETTERS. 

oyster-dinner. After dinner, I kept the young people at 
the piano, and they sang Norwegian songs both grand and 
simple. Between whiles , who is said to be a book- 
worm, and I, who am the same, taught each other a num- 
ber of pieces out of Lord Byron's works, whilst I in secret 
admired our perseverance in keeping up a mutual instruc- 
tion of which we both knew equally much, or equally little. 
After this lesson, I was obliged to go out, overpowered by 
my migraine, which the music had kept back, but which 
the conversation about Lord Byron had brought on again. 
At last I was obliged to go to bed. 

Nearly all with whom I have come in contact here ap- 
pear to me to have the universal characteristic of kindness, 
cheerfulness, and enjoyment of life, together with a home- 
liness which is almost too naive ; but from the last I must 

except the Countess W , who in any society would be 

distinguished for her natural wit and elegant taste. 

Life here is absorbed in domestic occupations, and from 
people with cultivated minds, or longing after cultivation, 
one often hears painful lamentations that they stand alone, 
have no one to speak to, and that the duties of their daily 
life entirely exhaust and kill their Aand (soul). In general, 
I think the Norwegian mothers of families are to be pitied, 
for they must be housekeepers to a degree which we in 
Sweden have no idea of. It is true, they read here with 
pleasure all the modern authors, and young ladies discuss 
Bulwer, "tout comme chez nous," and we have even in 
Moss our masquerades with Greek and Swiss girls, and 
great hospitality, and kindness, and good-will meets one 
everywhere. I have had a good share of this, which I hold 
in grateful memory ; but by the culture among the country 
people, I have been very little edified. I saw with aston- 
ishment last Sunday, when the people wended their way to 
a chapel in the neighborhood of this estate, peasants and 
small farmers in dress-coats and fashionable hats, regular 
"dandies;" their wives and servant-maids and others in 



LETTERS. 169 

bonnets with gauze ribbons of various colors, with shawls, 
c aps, gigot-sleeves, and curls, quite like the better trades- 
men's wives in Stockholm. I went into the church and 
waited to see if the service accorded with their progress in 
fashion ; but, oh dear ! oh dear ! quite the reverse. The 
music was absolutely barbarous, and the sermon so stupid 
and dull that one could have wept over it. The clergy- 
man, a young man of respectable appearance, was smartly 
dressed, and looked very well in his broad frill a la Henri 
Quatre, which belongs to the priests' canonicals here. The 
service was different from the Swedish ; but, in my opinion, 
not to the Norwegians' advantage. 

I am glad that you liked the easy-chair which I bought 
out of the profits of my book. " Nina " just owed her kind 
patroness this proof of her gratitude. That you, my dear 
mother, from the beginning have liked her so much, has 
been a great comfort and pleasure to me. It seems now 
as if others would follow your example. From east and 
west I have flattering notices of her being taken into favor 
and honor. Yet she has many faults, and above all there 
is one which I would give much to be able to take away, 
and that is in reference to Edla. " The Neighbors " also 
has many faults, and I sincerely acknowledge them and all 
my great short-comings and imperfections ; but still I have 
good hopes for future " Sketches." 

TOMB, Easter Eve, 1837. 

What shall I give you, dearest Charlotte, for all the good 
and pleasant things which your letter contained. My life 
is so quiet and monotonous outwardly, that the description 
of one day would do for them all. Inwardly it is certainly 
living and stirring enough ; and during three fourths of the 
day, while alone in my room, I feel how foolish it would 
have been of me if I had married, because I see with pain 
how short and insufficient are the days and years for all 
that I wish and require to learn, and to make clear to my- 



170 LETTERS. 

self. More than ever do I work, in order to improve a:ad 
perfect what gifts I possess, so that next time I may appear 
before the public less unfinished. But I shall yet wail 
awhile. It does me an immense deal of good to be alone, 
to see so few people, to live undisturbed for my calling. 
Besides, I have a kind of nervousness which makes me 
unfit for, and also disagreeable to people. This is at times 
very painful to me ; but I feel with gratitude that it brings 
with it some more positive good. I will, therefore, devote 
myself more exclusively to my calling. Amongst certain 
people I find myself, however, more at ease, and to them 
I feel a kind of gratitude. You, my dearest Charlotte, are 
one of them, and I remember this with delight from the 
town where I was with you last. Beside you I always felt 
repose and comfort. So also I do beside my splendid 
Lady Stina. Her's is a bright, energetic, and artless nature, 
and in her society one gets refreshed in body and soul. 
And then she is so good and amiable ! I love her most 
sincerely. 

You have heard of Hedda's strange complaint. It makes 
me exceedingly uneasy. I cannot help fearing that it will 
prove dangerous, and God save us from the grief that 
Hedda should . I dare not write it, I dare not think it 
I do not know what then would become of us all. May 
God protect our dear Hedda ! I long to see her again, and 
intend going home this summer for a few weeks. I shall 
then return to this place. It is best so for us all. 

You are right, dear Charlotte ! " I have not been able 
to make Bruno l fall deeply enough " with respect to deeds, 
for only then true love could reveal its power and sub- 
limity. Ah ! when the guilty to the eyes of the indiffer- 
ent spectator disappears in the depths of his dark abyss, 
when he has forfeited every body's sympathy and interest, 
and when the pure and the good turn away from him with 
horror, then it is that true love triumphantly feels its power, 
l In The Neighbors. 



LETTERS. 171 

stoops down to the forsaken one, seizes hold of him, and 
does not rest until it has raised him out of the slough. I 
know that it is so, and that this picture is true. But it 
would have been truer and better, if I had chosen for Bruno 
another kind of criminality. A murder would have been 
more in accordance with his character ; but there is some- 
thing so horrible in a murder. On the other hand, a 
participation to a certain degree in the slave-trade may be 
imagined without the participator necessarily being a hard- 
ened villain, especially when his active share in such a 
trade is soon given up, which his confession seems to im- 
ply. It would, therefore, have been better if I had more 
clearly defined Bruno's share in the misdeed. Some per- 
sons have reproached me for having made Bruno finally 
happy. But to these I can only reply, he never can be 
happy, whatever he may appear to be in the eyes of others 
(as for instance, in the eyes of the Rosenvik people). He 
says so himself in his confession, and one feels that he 
speaks the truth. The thunderbolt, which grazes his fore- 
head, lightens also in his soul, and shall there lighten re- 
proachfully till the end of his life. Conscience and mem- 
ory are his tormentors. But he has stepped into the courts 
of atonement. Celestial melodies will occasionally find an 
echo in his soul, and the angel who has gained the ascend- 
ency over his heart, will guide him to the goal. 

STOCKHOLM, 29th September, 1837 .* 

Dearest sister Charlotte and , you who have tended 

our Hedda, you who have loved her so much, who have 

1 While my husband and I were staying at a watering-place in Ger- 
many, our mother communicated to us her wish that we should accompany 
my sister Hedda to Paris, to consult the physicians there about her ill- 
ness. We hastened accordingly to meet her and my youngest sister, 
Agatha, in Hamburg. Having ibund no relief, she returned after a short 
time in a hopeless state. My husband and I were obliged to take a pain- 
ful leave of her in Ystad, and she died a few days after her arrival in 
Stockholm. 



172 LETTERS. 

witnessed her sufferings and watched her incurable disease, 
you will feel resigned and thankful to God, as I am, 
when I now inform you that she has found peace ; that God 
has taken her away from us. When I wrote to you last 
Tuesday, she was still happy ; found enjoyment in her 
home and in the society of her family, i-n conversing with 
them. Towards evening the same day her pains increased. 
The remedies which were given to her to alleviate her pain 
gave her no relief. The same was the case the following 
morning ; and now began, oh, merciful God ! such horrible 
agonies. The doctor arrived about noon. The medicine 
which he prescribed gave her relief for a time, for which 
we thanked God. But her strength began suddenly to 
give way, and the pains began again. Hands and feet be- 
came cold, and I felt that her Redeemer was approaching. 
She suffered a great deal during the night. In the early 
part of it, Hedda, although continually lying in bed, was 
constantly on the point of swooning. At last she fell 
asleep, and when she awoke she felt a heavenly joy. She 
said repeatedly how happy she was, how free from pain ; 
she praised God, embraced us all ; her eyes shone with a 
loving, glorified lustre, and her frequent, deep-drawn sighs 
seemed to announce her approaching dissolution. It came 
at last ; but she had still moments of great suffering ; they 
passed away, and she fell asleep peacefully and quietly like 
a child. She died at a quarter past ten this morning. 
Agatha has patiently and unceasingly sat like a comforting 
angel beside her bed. Poor, dear Agatha ! Nobody loses 
in the departed one so much as she does. Hedda is now 
lying there so peacefully and quietly, and all her sufferings 

are ended. F , who has shared with us the anguish 

of these last days, like a son and a brother ; K , and 

Frances, and several more, have to-day been sitting round 
her bed, wept over her, and said how good, how amiable 
she was. Yes, during these days she has been like an angel 
in human shape. What she said was so full of love, of 



LETTERS. 173 

purity, of patience, and so void of all selfishness ! Her 
looks, her words, her tears, her submissiveness and her 
gratitude to God, her bitter sufferings, have made an indel- 
ible impression upon me ; and her cold, clammy hand, 
which in her agony so often stroked my forehead, has not 
rested there in vain. God be praised ! I say it from my 
very heart, when I think that now she has peace. But 
now comes the consciousness of the heavy loss, and then 
oh ! it seems so very hard that she should have suffered so 
much ; and bitter, bitter tears must I weep over this. And 
my dear Agatha : how will it be for her ? I shall endeavor 
to be to her and to our mother all I can ; but I can never 
be the same to them as Hedda. Dear sister and brother, 
you have done much for Hedda ; this memory must be 
dear to you. Farewell for this time. It looks dark in 
more ways than one. Think with love of your 

FREDRIKA. 

STOCKHOLM, 4th October, 1837. 

My dearest Charlotte ! Another heavy day has passed, 
and every thing I hope will now become better and more 
serene. Agatha even feels it so. She bears her heavy 
loss bravely ; she is so good, so strong, both in mind and 
in body. You remember- that our Hedda always wished to 
be buried in Solna church-yard. We have chosen a place 
for her there. But she could not be taken out there at 
once. A great many preparations were required, and 
meanwhile her coffin has been placed in a vault in St. 
James' Church. This was done the day before yesterday ^ 
and yet a day so mournful made the most soothing impres- 
sion which such a day ever can make. F had set 

apart a room in our suite of apartments, and, with white 
cloth, had arranged a kind of funeral chapel there. The 
door opened to the dining-room, where the funeral guests 
were assembled. In this inner room, Hedda's last bed 
stood. There she was lying beautifully shrouded, like one 



174 LETTERS. 

sleeping, so peaceful, so saint-like her whole appearance. 
She had scarcely changed at all, and the light of the lamp, 
which hung down from the top of the little vault, prevented 
our seeing the first traces of decay, which were noticeable 
by daylight. In her hand she held her crown of myrtles ; 
bouquets of myrtles and heart's-ease were laid in the coffin 
round her feet. The castrum doloris was richly decorated 
with beautiful flowers, and the floor strewn with myrtle and 
many flowers. It was a beautiful death-bed. It was like 
Hedda's memory. All said that they had never seen death 
in a more pleasing form. Tears of sincere regret were 
wept over her. Brinckman, strange to say, wept most bit- 
terly. On the plate at her feet was written, " Blessed 
are the peaceful, for they shall be called the children 
of God ; " and on the plate at her head, " Hedda Bremer, 
her mother's and sisters' darling. Born ; died ." 

After the funeral, to which only the most intimate ac- 
quaintances and our relations were invited, F and the 

K s remained with us all the evening, and it was not a 

sad evening. She was free from pain, liberated, and saved 
in the bosom of her Heavenly Father ! Oh, what a com- 
fort it was to know this ! I cannot tell you how much com- 
fort I especially feel at this deliverance ! Her suffering was 
to me a chalice full of bitterness. I dreaded it, I revolted 
against it. Her death was to me, as well as to her, an 
opiate. Our mother's grief is deep, but she is so resigned 
and tolerably composed. To-morrow we leave for the coun- 
try, but return to town next week, to accompany Hedda to 
her last resting-place. I trust that Agatha's health and the 
tender love of her friends will enable her to keep up her 
courage. 

F has been all to us during the whole of this time. 

Tenderly as a brother he has wept for Hedda, at whose 
death-bed he was present ; and ever since he has been like 
a son to our mother, like a brother to us. May you and 
your husband reap much benefit from a journey, one half 



LETTERS. 175 

of which has been so full of uneasiness, but which, through 
you and Agatha, became so beneficial to Hedda. I have 
done the least of us all for her ; but I have loved her truly, 
and the influence she has had upon me shall never be for- 
gotten. 

STOCKHOLM, 21st December, 1837. 

Now, my dear Charlotte ! I will sit down and write a tol- 
erably long letter to you, and at the same time thank you 
sincerely for yours. Thank God, that you and your hus- 
band are in good health, and have good courage to en- 
counter all the evening parties which you will have to go 
through ! I should be terrified if I were you. But I would 
gladly taste your delicious suppers. I declared myself de- 
cidedly in favor of " Zampa ; " our mother was in favor of 
the roasted blackcocks ; and Agatha, the little greedy one, 
declared her desire to have a taste of every thing. 

I have had the pleasure of seeing Geijer several times 
of late. It is indeed a great pleasure to me, and I must 
tell you all about a little fete which we had arranged for 
him last week. I had written a little play, which was to be 
acted by Frances, Agatha, and myself. I had procured some 
beautiful flowers; a few friends were invited to tea, and 
amongst them " le heros de la fete," Geijer, who came kind 
and cheerful, very different from what he is said to be gen- 
erally in society. When the company had assembled, and 
we had conversed a little while, the folding-doors to the 
dining-room were thrown open, and there the little scene 
was acted, of which I am now going to give you a sketch. 
A good, but somewhat old-fashioned aunt finds her nieces 
reading, the one Geijer's " History of the Swedes," the 
other, his " Poems." She gives them a scolding for it ; 
condemns ladies' reading history and poetry ; abuses Geijer, 
and so on. The nieces defend him and his writings ; show 
the influence of both upon the mind and upon life ; many 
witty and many grave things are said ; and ultimately the 
aunt allows herself to be convinced, gives her nieces per- 



176 LETTERS. 

mission to read all that Geijer has written, and promises to 
invite him, in order to have a chat with him over a cup of 
tea. She goes away, and the nieces continue their conver- 
sation for a while : get into ecstasies at Geijer's words 
about the aim of education, which words I recite ; they 
wish to thank him for so much good ; get suddenly the 
sublime idea of presenting him with the wreath which they 
had bound in the morning, and I exclaim, " Let us imag- 
ine that he is now sitting here before us." We go to him 
with the wreath, and say to him (here we went up to him, 
and I recited the following verses) : 

Oh, dear to every Swedish heart, 

Thou who didst thy " Memorials" write 

In every spirit pure and bright ; 
What wisdom do thy lips impart ! 
Laurels thou hast for all true worth, 

For every pain sweet melody, 

For dissonances, harmony 
From some far brighter home than earth. 

On Swedish annals thou hast thrown 
Fresh lustre ; fame on thee she showers ; 
Thou deck'st her homes with fairest flowers, 

Accept from us this floral crown. 

When History on her varied pages 

Has graven deep thy honored name, 

When centuries have borne its fame 
To the dim shores of future ages, 
E'en then thy strains melodious sung 

In peaceful homes, shall charm the ear, 

Thy songs call forth full many a tear, 
Thy name be blest by many a tongue. 

With a trembling voice I repeated the last lines. I was 
moved, and so was Geijer ; so were we, in fact, all of us. 
When I had finished, he put his hands upon my head and 
kissed my forehead ; so he did also with Agatha. How 
amiable and how full of life he was afterwards ! He played 
some exquisitely beautiful capricios on the piano, with so 
much fire, with so much genius, and then accompanied 



LETTERS. 177 

Frances to some of his own charming songs. Frances and 
her brother sang some of their beautiful Irish melodies. 
At supper, anecdotes were told, and loud and merry rang 
the laughter. All were happy and pleased except myself. 
I do not know what sadness had come over me this even- 
ing ; and although every body was kind and pleasant, and I 
had succeeded so well, yet I could not warm either my 
cheek or my heart. Frances had been very nervous about 

her part in the scene, and K was in great fear about 

his wife. When the little play was over, he was therefore 
radiant with joy. And Frances had really acted her part 
wonderfully well. She preached and moralized in such a 
serious and anxious tone of voice, that one could scarcely 
believe that it was mere acting. Geijer came the day be- 
fore yesterday to say good-by. There is such a grand 
and vigorous heartiness in this man ! I really love him. 
Yesterday I heard him speak in the Swedish Academy, 
where he presided as president, and where he addressed 
Baron Berzelius, who appeared there for the first time after 
his election as a member of the academy. His address to 
Berzelius created a general feeling of delight. Unfortu- 
nately I sat too far away to be able to follow him properly, 
especially as he occasionally lowered his voice. Some of 
his expressions I shall try to quote, such as I understood 
them. He spoke of the influence which Sweden has exer- 
cised upon the rest of the world, not only by warlike, but 
also by peaceful deeds. " The names of the Swedish kings," 
said he, " had gone far ; Linne's had gone farther." Turn- 
ing to Berzelius, he said, " The whole intellectual world 
considers your name coupled with Sweden's glory." When 
Geijer had finished speaking, Berzelius held his inaugura- 
tion speech, which was intended to be a eulogy on the 
late Archbishop. This subject was rather a dry one, and 
the speaker's eloquence not very great. Berzelius did like 
a sensible man ; he cut the matter as short as possible. I 
did not hear well, because he has rather a weak voice. All 
12 



178 LETTERS. 

I can remember was his saying that " the study of Nature 
does not constitute so great a part of the education of youth 
as it ought to do," and on this occasion he gave a cut at 
Upeala University. Berzelius' entrance in the hall created 
a universal sensation of delight. Finally a young clergy- 
man was honored with a prize for a poem on Luther and 
his friend Alexis, which our new Archbishop (Wallin) re- 
cited with his fine, melodious voice. It was beautiful ; but, 
according to my taste, the plain recital of true events has 
far more savor and poetry in it, than verses written on 
the subject. Exaggeration spoils truth ; and where truth 
wanes, beauty also wanes. The Queen and the Crown- 
Prince and Crown-Princess were present; the hall was 
crowded. The greatest enjoyment I had was from Gei- 
jer, from his dignified manner and his powerful lan- 
guage. My soul has this autumn been like a gloomy day. 
Geijer has passed across it like a ray of the sun ; for many 
years, nobody has made such an impression upon me as he 
has done. I am happy to know that I shall see him again 
in March. 

TOMB, 2d March, 1839. 

My dear Charlotte ! Your description of the state of 
the young girl has touched my heart ; for her own sake, 
and for the sake of those who speak for her, I shall with 
the greatest pleasure do what I can. See here what I am 
'thinking of : My book, " The Home," is still in hand, and 
not even ready to be written clean, and notwithstanding I 
have already borrowed three hundred rix dollars on ac- 
count of the expected profit on the same, in order to con- 
tribute to save a respectable man, father of a family. Until 
autumn the book cannot possibly be ready for the press, 
and until then I have no means at my disposal. But I 
think I can already now, without hesitation, promise you 
three hundred rix dollars about that time, for the cure of 
:the poor girl, if required. Most willingly will they be 
'given. May it please God that some cure might be found 



LETTERS. 179 

for the poor sufferer. Thanks, dearest Charlotte, for hav- 
ing applied to me in this matter. May your kind exer- 
tions on her behalf be crowned with success ! 

We are all very happy to hear that your husband is now 
so well again. It is so pleasant to be able to number you 
amongst the happy couples in this world. I number my- 
self amongst the happy odd ones ; I am satisfied with, and 
grateful for, my position, my solitariness, which gives me 
peace in my dear occupations, and for a friend so good, so 
amiable, so gifted in point of heart and head, and perfectly 
harmonizing with me. I am proceeding slowly with my 
book. My anxious desire for completeness and perfection 
induces me to do so. How much kindness have I not met 
with on my path as an authoress ! The only way of prov- 
ing my gratitude is to produce a better work. We shall 
see how I succeed. Do you know, dearest Charlotte, any 
elderly ladies, not married, kind and happy ? If so, would 
you tell me something of them, and of what affords them 
the greatest pleasure in this world. I have to provide a 
few such characters in my book ; and it is good to seize 
upon some touches of nature here and there. If my book 
should be launched in autumn, I intend to let some minor 
works succeed it in the course of winter. 

ARSTA, 15th June, 1841. 

Now, my dear Charlotte, I intended executing what I 
have so long contemplated, namely, the great achievement 
of writing a long letter to you, in which I shall make 
friends and acquaintances appear higgledy-piggledy ; but 
the fact is, ever since yesterday morning, a terrible woman 
has been sitting here, who incessantly repeats : " Goethe 
says," " Byron says," " Borne says," " Schiller says," etc., 
etc., etc. And then follow such trite and commonplace 
sayings, that every good sort of man or woman, with a 
little common sense, could say just the same things. And 
then she comes down upon one with quotations from 



180 LETTERS. 

" Euphrosine," Grafstrom, Bottiger, and other poets. All 
this has fatigued me very much. In order to refresh my- 
self a little, I sit down to write to you, and shall begin 
with thanking you very much for your letter of the 4th of 
June. Ever since Whitsuntide, I have led a very active 
and stirring life amongst a great many people, whom I 
shall here introduce to you. First, then, comes the Bar- 
oness Knorring, nee Zelow, who spent the Whitsun holi- 
days here. She is an exceedingly animated and very witty 
lady ; but she is also, what is better than this, more cordial 
and amiable than the majority of people, although this is 
not observed until after a more intimate acquaintance with 
her. She resembles in this respect her own face, in which 
there is not, strictly speaking, any thing very agreeable, 
when the expression is listless, but in which the prettiest 
looks, full of life and grace, are, as it were, budding out, 
when, in the course of conversation, she becomes animated 
with speaking or relating; and this latter is her most 
brilliant part. The days which she spent here with her 
daughter made in many respects a mutually bright and 
cheerful impression. The weather and Nature were won- 
derfully charming, so that one felt inclined to accept the 
old popular belief that God's angels, at this time of the 
season, soar up and down between heaven and earth, in 
order to impart to the latter some of the glories of the 
former. 

On the Monday after Whitsun week, our mother and I 
went to town. There I again spent much of my time 
with the Baroness Knorring, and I had the pleasure of 
introducing to her several literary notabilities, such as 
Franzen, Geijer, Brinckman, Grafstrom, which was very 
pleasant, and afforded her great delight. Brinckman be- 
came very animated on account of this new acquaintance. 
He invited us to tea, together with several others ; and he 
will certainly not fail to hover round the witty Baroness 
during her mineral-water drinking in Stockholm. Brinck- 



LETTERS. 181 

man and I have, after a three years' silence, commenced 
some fire-works together. But they turn out only ashes in 
the end. Not so my intercourse with Geijer. You, who 
have seen him only a short time, cannot imagine what a 
wealth of goodness, of fresh, bracing, noble life there is in 
this man. His influence is in the highest degree invigor- 
ating and ennobling; I do not know sometimes in what 
way. His mere presence brings this with it. Like the 
billows of the ocean, he is tossed, or seems to be tossed, 
about by impulses ; but they are directed by a wind from 
heaven, so pure, so fresh. I am very fond of him, and will 
therefore not say any thing more of him, because I cannot 
speak of him highly enough to please myself. But, thank 
God, that I have made Geijer's acquaintance I The Baron- 
ess Knorring was very much charmed with him ; he less 
with her, although he was exceedingly friendly, and did not 
do what Brinckman and Franzen could not leave off doing, 
tease her about her supposed authorship. Franzen has 
got very old, and it seems as if he could not long tarry 
here on earth. But he decays in a noble way, like the 
temples of antiquity ; he looks well in his pallor, with the 
poetical expression of his face, and with his gentle, patri- 
archal manner. To me he is exceedingly kind. But, 
now to lesser notabilities in the world of mankind, who, 
nevertheless, in God's world may stand equally high as 
the more prominent ones. Who ought not then to stand 
here on the top of the ladder, but thou, honest, good 

R , so firm in friendship, so faithful in the fulfilment 

of all good deeds and of your duty ; although a little in- 
tolerable when you repeat the same thing over and over, 
making the same indifferent remarks, till from very weari- 
ness one ceases to argue a point on which it is impossible 
to coincide with you ; but a little harmless tediousness is 
permitted to nag as much as it pleases : the heart is never- 
theless in the right place, and so is the head. R is in 

good health this year, and in good humor; he carries 



182 LETTERS. 

always about with him in his pocket Franzen's lines on 
" Strife and Peace," and a German criticism on the 
" Sketches," and reads them out aloud wherever he finds 
an opportunity. I am afraid, however, that it is not always 
a propos ; but I am grateful for his kindness, and for the 
lively interest which he takes in them. 

It is said to be decided now that Jenny Lind is to go to 
France in July. Her singing and acting in " Norma " has 
raised her reputation still more. I attended, in company 

with L , the first representation of " Norma," and we 

were very much delighted with Miss Lind. Her acting 
was so pure, so artistical throughout, with the exception of 
two or three movements, which I think might have been 
more impressive if they had been properly interpreted. 
L informed me that this was Jenny Lind's first re- 
hearsal of " Norma," as far as regarded the acting. She 
can never act during the usual rehearsal, but leaves this 
until the moment when she appears before the public, 
when she often gets the most beautiful sudden inspirations. 

L was really a little anxious on her account, because 

she felt an aversion for this character, and did not know 
what to make of it. He was, therefore, the more delighted 
with her beautiful, powerful acting. 

ABSTA, llth February, 1842. 

After about a month's stay in town, I have now been 
allowed to return to my dear peaceful country. Amongst 
remarkable things which happened during my stay in 
town, I can tell you about a conflagration, which fortu- 
nately was extinguished after having consumed the roof 
and the garret of the house. I was that evening visiting 
some friends, not far from where the fire was. It was a 
splendid sight. The inhabitants of the house on fire took 
it very coolly. Relying on the solid fire-proof flooring of 
the attic, a gentleman was quietly sitting in a room next 
below the burning roof, reading, with two burning candles 



LETTERS. 183 

beside him, and holding a pitcher of water in his hand, 
having got a promise from the chief of the fire-brigade to 
let him know in case the fire should choose to come down 
to him. But the fire did not come down to him ; and the 
gentleman was left in peace with his book, his candles, and 
his pitcher of water. 

STOCKHOLM, 12th October, 1845. 

From your letter to Agatha, my dear Charlotte, I see 
that you want some detailed accounts of the last illness 

and death of the Countess S ; and being now at 

home, after my melancholy watching at her bedside, I will 
give you all the information which you have asked for. I 
had intended to write to you under all circumstances about 
her, as you liked each other, and as her welfare or her sor- 
rows could not be indifferent to you. You know already 
that her mineral-water cure was succeeded by a wonderful 
change for the better. Both herself and I, who immedi- 
ately on my arrival in her house had almost daily both 
thought and spoken of death, and had prepared every 
thing to receive this guest, a guest always expected 
with solemn feelings, although without fear, began now, 
with real surprise, to believe that he would not arrive, but 
that instead life and health would be restored. She said 
several times, " I begin now myself to think that I shall 
continue to live ; " and she was happy in this thought, be- 
cause her mind was lively and strong, and took a warm 
interest in every thing, the same as in her healthy days. 
This was still the case when her relations arrived at Tomb. 
The meeting with them was like a joyful festival. Lady 
Stina had been very active in all the preparations for their 
reception, and she felt herself very happy. This lasted 
three days. On the fourth day there was an end to it. 
After dinner she got a violent attack of illness, and pains 
soon began, which brought on violent delirium ; and I was 
nearly in despair. Her last moments were, however, free 



184 LETTERS. 

from pain, and she fell asleep. During this last illness, 
we often read psalms to her, and her dearest thoughts 
were her reunion with the beloved ones who had gone be- 
fore. Love and hope never left her heart. Thank God, 
that I was permitted to come and be near her during this 
time. I would not barter the bitterness thereof for much 
that is sweet and delightful. Above her grave heaven's 
vault expands itself, full of bright promises of glittering 
lights. The day of her funeral was very fine, and all went 
off beautifully and well. She would have been pleased 
with it herself. I left Tomb a few days after the funeral, 
and on my arrival at Arsta I had the pleasure of finding 
our mother and Agatha well and in good spirits, and our 
home peaceful and happy as usual. 

ToMB, 26th November, 1835. 

Dearest Frances ! The thanks which so long have been 
on my lips for your friendly lines, must at last leave them 
and take wing. Let them also tell you, that it makes me 
so very happy that you think of me, and that you find 
pleasure' in my epistles. 

Many, many times have I intended writing to you, and 
to speak with you about the real and the ideal, about re- 
ligion, about morals, etc., etc. I wished to tell you my 
views on these subjects, in exchange for yours ; but of these 
I have always remembered something since last winter. 
Do you remember how we then read together some pas- 
sages out of Miss Martineau's pleasant little novel, " Briery 
Creek ? " do you remember when strangely enough for 
such an intelligent person she expresses the idea that 
knowledge is the highest aim of man and of civilization, 
and that virtue is to be considered only as a means to that 
end ; how we both were unanimous in saying, " No ! vir- 
tue is the aim ; knowledge only the means of attaining 
that aim ? " But if we agree in this point, I have been 
thinking, What in the world do we then dispute about ? 



LETTERS. 185 

And it appears to me that it is quite unnecessary to wage 
any war with each other, when we agree on the main 
point. For I know that we hold the same opinions, not 
only about the intrinsic worth of virtue, but also with re- 
spect to its eternal origin, the source from whence the 
veins of truth and strength well forth. We agree that 
virtue is the highest, and that we ought to practice it, each 
in her own path in life. Your life seems to be like an 
endless kiss, a tender embrace, in which you give your own 
self for the good of beloved beings ; my life does perhaps 
span a more extensive sphere, but it is also less warm, less 
tender, perchance less good. Indeed, yours appears to me 
to be more beautiful ; and I think often of Byron's words : 

" Many are poets who have never penn'd 
Their inspiration, and perchance the best: 
They felt, they loved, and died, but would not lend 
Their thoughts to meaner beings ; they compress' d 
The god within them, and rejoin' d the stars 
Unlaurel'd upon earth, but far more blest. 
Than those who are degraded by their jars 
Of passions, and their frailties link'd to fame," etc., etc. 

Many times, when thus I have thought and felt, have I 
been tempted to abandon a path on which selfishness, am- 
bition, and many weaknesses so easily steal into the heart, 
and to choose instead a new one, which would lead to a 
purification of the soul, and would fill the heart with love 
and patience. But an irresistible voice has lured me on- 
ward, has put pen and paper in my hand, and has whis- 
pered to me, " Proceed ! " I have determined to go on- 
ward ; but I have invited Earnestness and Love to be my 
travelling companions, to guide, to support, and to enlighten 
me. To you will I also confess that the life which now 
lies before me gives me pleasure ; that the perfect freedom 
which I enjoy to devote myself to my beloved occupations, 
is to me like fresh, pure air, in which one joyously breathes 
and lives. I believe that my real working-time shall now 
begin. Much have I yet to learn, and great is my thirst 



186 LETTERS. 

for knowledge. Man is the subject of which, before all 
others, I shall treat. It is therefore man whom I must 
study more closely. And I hope that Philosophy and His- 
tory will lend me the key : Philosophy, by explaining to me 
more in general his powers, his elements, his affinity with 
heaven and with nature ; and History, by showing me the 
concrete man in his doings, in all his various stages of civ- 
ilization, in different climates, in all the changing scenes 
of life. By these means alone I hope that I shall be able 
to judge rightly of man, such as he is at present, with refer- 
ence both to the general tendency of the age, and to his 
own individuality. Man and the State are surely not chil- 
dren born to-day. Neither have they been created out of 
nothing. Their inner organism has its root far back in 
antiquity ; their life derives its origin from a life which is 
beyond all time and beyond all change. It is only by con- 
templating them in their connection with an historical past 
and a spiritual eternity, that one can rightly understand 
them ; that is to say, understand their heart, their inmost, 
intrinsic, real life, and that, as a moralist, one can hope to 
effect any good for them. I should wish to tell you much 
about all this, if I could come to you, or could transport 
you hither, and place you on my sofa beside me ; we would 
then, if you did not get tired of me, have a long, long chat 
about all this. A chat by correspondence about these 
subjects is for me too heavy and too tedious ; therefore, 
now to something else. 

You have been in Norway, my dear Frances. You have 
crossed the Swine Sound. You have there seen how the 
hills, after having long followed you on the Swedish side in 
bleak and barren undulations, suddenly rise on the borders 
into mountains, both on the Swedish and on the Norwegian 
frontier, their tops crowned with " evergreen," which they 
wave, as it were, in mutual salutations, until at last they 
sink quietly their brows into the sound, whose waters part, 
and at the same time unite, the two countries. When I 



LETTERS. 187 

walked up the mountain on the Norwegian side, I read on 
some red and white painted sign-posts on the road-side the 
word Sorgenfri (free from cares). I took this word grate- 
fully as an omen, and did not allow some cackling geese, 
which met me with hostile intentions, to disturb my con- 
templations. And this word has hitherto proved itself a 
true prophet ; for not only has my own life been as free 
from cares and as pleasant as one could wish to have it 
here on earth, but I fancy also that the life of the inhabit- 
ants here is more free from cares and more fresh than in 
Sweden. I have not seen much of it myself; but I have 

heard a great deal, partly through the Countess S , 

whose delicate tact rarely leads her into any mistakes, and 
partly from the inhabitants themselves. See here what, 
amongst other things, I have noticed : greater simplicity 
than in Sweden, more naturalness in the social order of 
things and in social life. Education is more generally dif- 
fused, and consequently there exists scarcely any difference 
of rank. Huusjomfruen (the housekeeper) prepares the 
dinner and other meals, and then goes with la Comtesse 
to pay visits and to balls. She says " thou " to the daugh- 
ters of the house, and nothing happens in the family with 
which she is not as well acquainted as every member of 
the household, and her voice and opinion is listened to 
in all matters. The steward at Tomb goes to dine with 

Baron W , without being invited ; he occupies, as a 

guest, the seat of honor at table ; the host converses with 
him as with one equal to him in rank. They show him 
the young ladies' embroidery ; they chat with him and he 
dances with them, when there is an opportunity. The 
Counts' as well as the peasants' daughters say " thou " to 
their parents. The clergyman's daughter isfroken (lady) ; 
whereas the daughter of a rich landed proprietor, unless 
her father is a high military or civil officer, is simply Miss, 
or jornfru. Beside this humane spirit of equality, there 
is amongst the good Norwegians a strong sentiment of 



188 LETTERS. 

national pride, which frequently degenerates into personal 
rudeness and dorskhed (clumsiness), which they themselves 
turn into caricature by calling it Norskhed (Norwegianism ) ; 
and they seem ever ready to say, " Get out of my way, 
thou ! nobody in the world is as good as I am ! " The 
inhabitants of Trondhjem distinguish themselves above all 
others by this spirit, and consider the name, a Tronder, the 
highest in the world. Beyond Trondhjem, in towns sepa- 
rated from each other by a distance of one hundred and 
fifty to two hundred English miles, and obscured the 
greater part of the year by a veil of darkness and cold, 
there prevails, I understand, a higher degree of civilization 
than in the more southern parts of Norway. " What is 
the reason of this ? " I asked the steward here, who was 
born in the north. " Because," said he, " people in the 
north have so very few amusements, and they are, there- 
fore, thrown more upon their intellectual resources ; to 
these they must look for what makes life valuable and 
beautiful." " But," I said, " the labor for daily bread, to 
procure the means of existence, must be very heavy there, 
and cannot allow much time for a more refined education ? " 
" No, their requirements are easily satisfied. Their exten- 
sive fisheries, which constitute their most lucrative branch 
of trade, enable them to procure with facility all they want, 
and their material wants are few. The majority of the 
inhabitants are in good circumstances, and find themselves 
happy and comfortable." 

My dear Frances, does not this sound delightful ? " I 
wonder whether the people up there in the dismal north 
do not, after all, live a more buoyant, a better, a more hu- 
manly beautiful life, than most of the inhabitants of turbu- 
lent Paris, and of the great workshop London, the mighty 
centres of art and of the civilization of the present cent- 
ury? Thank God! little is required to live a life hu- 
manely pure and happy. 

With respect to Sweden, the temper of the Norwegians 



LETTERS. 189 

is a little aigre doux. Norway regards the union with 
Sweden with rather sour looks. Many complaints have 
been made that Norway is not allowed to have her own 
flag, and that in the Swedish flag, which they are obliged 
to use, Norway is represented as a province subject to 
Sweden. 1 But if the Norwegians are not yet quite satis- 
fied with Sweden, they are, nevertheless, far more pleased 
at being united with the Swedes than with the Danes, 
which latter they look down on. They are, however, most 
satisfied with themselves, although the more enlightened 
amongst them look upon this self-satisfaction rather as a 
fault. History shows the Norwegians to be a brave, but a 
turbulent and always grumbling people. Possibly the phil- 
osophical and with it also the humanistic education, 
which begins to be spread here more and more, may alter 
this and produce more peaceable feelings between neigh- 
bor families, as well as for the neighbor country. I can 
say nothing but good of the Norwegians, as far as my own 
experience of them goes. To me they have always been 
most friendly. The Norwegian women especially appear 
to me very agreeable, on account of their pleasant, lively, 
and naive manners. One feels perfectly comfortable and 
at home in their society. 

Farewell, dearest Frances, and be happy ! 

TOMB, 18th April, 1830. 

My sincerest thanks, dearest Frances, for two letters, and 
especially for the last one, so kind, so like yourself, which 
might awaken in me a desire to write a whole volume in 
answer to it. Let me first congratulate you on having re- 
visited your native country, your relatives, and your friends, 
and let me express my sincere wish and my hope that this 
journey may give you strength and reestablish your health. 

Yes, it is true that body and soul are in close connection 

1 This matter has, since the above was written, been satisfactorily ar- 
ranged. 



190 LETTERS. 

with each other. The former influences the latter, and so 
vice versa. I have never mistaken this reciprocal influ- 
ence ; but under certain circumstances it is good and per- 
haps even necessary that the body should suffer, in order 
that the soul may take a higher flight. Childhood and 
youth ought to be carefully tended and corporeally devel- 
oped ; but the adult, the man, who is too careful of his 
body, his sleep, his meals, in a word of his health, will 
never become a great man. In order to become such a 
one, waking, working exertions of all kinds are required. 
Theory and experience prove this. And if I must suc- 
cumb, I will much rather do it for the sake of my soul than 
for the sake of my body. In most cases, however, this 
alternative is not required ; and if only the foremost word 
in life is soul, then the second may, gladly for me, be body, 
namely, in mature age. My disease has had, as it were, its 
seat between body and soul ; but the real life of the latter 
it has not touched. Even when I felt its influence most ; 
when I felt that I was a bore to myself and to others; 
when I was obliged to shun those dearest and nearest to 
me, even then I could, like Gregoire (in Victor Hugo's 
novel, "Notre Dame de Paris"), to whom somebody said, 
" Vous etes done bien miserable et malheureux," answer, 
" Miserable, oui ; malheureux, non." In truth, I know 
only one thing which could now make me perfectly un- 
happy, always supposing that I do not lose my reason. Do 
you know what would turn my spring into winter ; make all 
happiness a misery ; change all interest in life to dust and 
ashes ; make my body mouldy and dried up, and make life 
a burden to me ? If I were to lose my belief in all-loving 
God and Ruler of the Universe, and in his perfect revela- 
tion in Jesus Christ. Then would I go forth amongst the 
miserable and destitute in this world, and say to them, 
" Brethren, let us die ; life's greatest treasure is mere van- 
ity, and beyond that every thing is only corruption ! " and 
I would lie down and starve myself to death. But I have 



LETTERS. 191 

no need of saying this, for another voice has made itself 
heard, and has lighted life's darkest riddle ; the stone has 
been removed from the grave. Since I have gained cer- 
tainty in this, and rny belief has been firmly established, 
I am calm. It is this certainty, dearest Frances, which 
causes me now to contemplate the world " couleur de rose," 
and makes my cheeks easily borrow that color. When my 
soul's sanctuary is not encumbered by doubts, my body 
bears buoyantly up against every thing. And it has done 
so. I am quite well again ; at any rate much better. It 
is true that Selters-water, repose, and my leaving off tea 
has essentially contributed hereto ; but that which, more 
than every thing else, has contributed to it, is that I have 
for months drank living mineral-waters ; and this well, out 

of which I have been drinking, is called Countess S . 

I will not attempt to describe her to you ; you have guessed 
her, dear Frances ; but one must know her, to be able to 
understand what she can be to those whom she loves. We 
have thought, talked, wept, and laughed together, and I 
have recovered my health. Repose, solitude, country air, 
a friend, serious and dear occupations, 

" and mirth, 

That humblest harmonist of cares on earth: " 

how should I not get well with all these ! 

Certain it is, my dearest Frances, that, with different nat- 
ural qualities, different dispositions and characters follow 
different degrees of activity and happiness. But there is 
one name that comprises all that life has most powerful 
and most gentle, most sublime and most holy ; a name that 
has its origin in a moment of struggle between life and 
death ; a name which God himself once did pronounce in 
love and in agony, and that name is mother. O Fran- 
ces ! no other attribute and no other name can bestow what 
this name, this attribute develops in the human heart of 
love, of virtue, of pure self-denial, of true beauty. And 
therefore I have prized your lot in life higher than mine. 



192 LETTERS. 

But do not therefore believe that I underrate mine. No, I 
thank God for it, and I will endeavor to guard against the 
egotism and meanness which so frequently sully an author, 
by that earnestness which grasps life in its profundity, and 
by thinking only one thing is of importance to do good. 
In my walk in life I shall also try to labor for the good. 
Should I not succeed, I shall then rejoice if others succeed 
better. That God's will be done and the welfare of man- 
kind be promoted, that is the essential, the beautiful, and 
the good of life. 

I thank you most sincerely for your remarks about 
" Nina." If you will let me hear some more of them, I 
should be still more grateful to you. Your words are al- 
ways delightful to me, and afford me many subjects for 
reflection. You are right in saying that I ought not to 
shrink from the severest criticism, as long as it is profound, 
true, and enlightening. But a criticism, like that of Mr. 

A n's, which is full of arrogance, superficial, bitter, 

hasty, full of contradictions, neither sensible nor true, can 
only provoke indignation. But do not fancy that my indig- 
nation was either bitter or of long duration. It was like 
April snow, or like the crackling of burning pine wood. 
This unwise criticism defeats its own end, and truth is in- 
deed not a gainer thereby. It is no easy task to be a good 
critic. It requires a knowledge and a profundity of thought, 
of which common critics have no idea. Fortunate it is 
that an author has other sources than these, to which he 
can look for light and power. The opinion of highly edu- 
cated women is of the greatest value to me. In feeling 
and in judgment they have a correctness which is incontro- 
vertible, when man and what relates to him is in question. 
Women have been my best critics, and if I could have fol- 
lowed their advice more I should have avoided many faults. 
Yes, many and great faults have I made in my calling; 
nobody can feel this more acutely than I, and nobody can 
be so dissatisfied with " Nina " as I am. Mr. A n was 



LETTERS. 193 

quite welcome to exclaim " Woe ! woe ! " if he had only 
done so in a reasonable way. But I cannot be angry with 
him ; he meant well, and every body has his own way of 
doing a thing. But smile I must, when I see how the 
critics think that they can make " la pluie et le beau temps " 
for the authoress. That which gives light to thought and 
power to the heart does indeed not come from them. 

Yes, my dearest Frances, there exists a source of happi- 
ness and of goodness, for the soul becomes good by drink- 
ing of it, a source which makes us independent of our 
own fortune or misfortune, and that is philosophy ; the 
contemplation of life, of man, of God and His works. 
The more we therein attain coherence and clearness, the 
more the great and the little, the past, the present, and 
the future gain consistency in a higher light, the calmer 
and the happier our mind becomes. Oh ! there is happi- 
ness, devotion, bliss in this path, which only he feels who, 
with a warm heart, has wandered along it. Malebranche's 
" Vision en Dieu " is, rightly understood, I believe, the re- 
sult of true philosophy, and therefore it makes me so happy. 
Those who imagine that I here mean a fantastic sight, or 
what we in every-day language call a vision, understand me 
very little. But you, Frances, will not misunderstand me. 

Certainly, dearest friend, I would wish to go to England. 
I would wish to become acquainted with the people, whom 
you know, and whose active philanthropy has made them 
so lovable ; I would wish to learn more to value the im- 
portant questions, the useful and practical sciences, which 
your native country, par excellence, works out for the ben- 
efit of mankind. (When I say value, I do not employ the 
right word. I can value them, because I know their tend- 
ency ; but I should wish to understand them better.) But 
perhaps this would not be of any importance for my real 
development. In order to be able to work out something 
good, one ought to perfect oneself in some special branch 
of knowledge and ability. To do this, one must, above all, 
13 



194 LETTERS. 

learn to know one's real powers. I believe that I have 
found out mine, and I am of opinion that my literary activ- 
ity ought to confine itself to the delineation of family life, 
which is the nurse of the State, of eternal life, and of the 
individual man. To portray that which makes the family 
tie delightful and secure ; which, in all changes of life, 
makes the individual man safe and good ; this, and the de- 
lineation of original characters and of peculiar events and 
circumstances, I consider to be my task, that in which I 
ought to try to improve myself. Solitude, reflection, and 
good books will, I believe, guide me to the goal, although 
certainly conversations with enlightened people, and a 
more extensive knowledge of the world, would be of im- 
mense value to me ; but one cannot have every thing at 
once, and for my present purpose the first-mentioned means 
are the most important. 

I may perchance not be able to see you again for many 
years, and I wish therefore that you, who have been so kind 
to me, and whom I value so highly and so sincerely, should 
rightly understand me. Take, therefore, here this hasty 
sketch of the plan of a work which, above all others, I have 
:in view ; one to which all my other works are mere pre- 
ludes ; one which is never out of my thoughts, and for 
which I wish to mature and to labor for several years to 
come. It is closely connected with my views of life. But 
remember, that I do not here propound any axioms for 
others, but merely state my own opinion. 

To man, his religious views are of paramount impor- 
tance. Consciously or unconsciously, he regulates his life, 
his morality, in accordance with them. Man's happiness 
and virtue depend entirely upon the idea which he forms 
of God, of His will and His Providence, of His relation 
to mankind, man's own mission in the world, and his belief 
in a future life. The best police regulations cannot supply 
what is wanting in society, when this life-giving longing for 
all that is good, for the knowledge of God and love of His 



LETTERS. 195 

will, is gone. An impenetrable veil hides the truths of the 
gospel from most people's eyes. Philosophy in our days 
has partially removed this veil. But this philosophy is any 
thing but popular. My sincerest wish, my earnest labor 
shall be to make it popular. This labor shall be my last 
will and testament. What philosophy has taught me, I 
shall teach others, in simple language, which the learned do 
riot like, perchance cannot employ. It is mainly this : phil- 
osophy has taught me to understand the connection between 
the kingdoms of life ; has taught me to conceive how the 
same mighty power is working throughout the universe, 
although in different degrees. Above all, the philosophy of 
history has taught me to comprehend that the voice which 
pervades all mankind, this : " See ! I tell you a secret," 
which in all religions has preached to man of a higher 
Being, of a life after this, of punishments and rewards, has 
spoken purest and clearest through Christ ; that Christian- 
ity is the only pure ore of all religions ; and that Brahma, 
Buddha, Odin, and others, in their best doctrines have said, 
only imperfectly and partially, what has been so beautifully 
revealed in Christianity. And this revelation, contem- 
plated in connection with other religious doctrines, and 
with reference to man's nature, I intend to unfold, such as 
I have comprehended it. But this would require a whole 
book ; for a letter it is too much. May I one day be able 
fully and clearly to explain all this ! Then I shall die 
happy. 

5th April, 1837. 

Only a moment ago all was as gloomy, as silent, as if no 
spring, no song existed in the world ; but, on a sudden, 
came a little wind, which soon dispersed the clouds, and a 
lark rose singing toward heaven. I listened to her song, 
and I thought of you, dearest Frances, and saw in the lark 
an image of your buoyant soul, which for a moment can be 
oppressed by a gloomy day, but soon again soars on high 
full of life and joys of spring. And the breath, the light 



196 LETTEES. 

which calls it into life oh ! I know whence that emanates. 
Be it love, be it the spring sun, or a secret, unutterable 
hope of life and trust in the eternal goodness, still all comes 
from Him, who fills creation with His life and His power, 
and who awakens here on earth love, hope, life, that He 
may one day perfect them all. Believing this, as I do, with 
my whole heart and soul, I think, full of sympathy, of you 
and your departed darling, your only daughter ; although, 
while reading your letter, I wept bitterly for you both. 
Silently to mourn for a beloved being, who has been taken 
from us, is indeed a comfort to our feelings, and makes us 
beforehand feel familiar with another world ; it seems to us 
as if it were the beginning of our own impending removal. 
" Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 
Agatha had in her early youth a painful dread of death ; 
but this vanished when she saw her beloved brother Au- 
gust die. The thought that he was expecting her in another 
world dispelled to her the darkness of the grave. I have 
never feared death, on the contrary ; but no thought can so 
much sweeten my last hour as this, that I shall then be 
again united with the friend whom I have so sincerely 
loved ; who has been lost to me for this terrestrial life, but 
who always lives in my heart, so good, so amiable, such 
as the world never knew her ! 

IRSTA, 23d June, 1838. 

You have been ill, my dearest Frances ! I will now im- 
agine that you are lying on your couch, and that I steal into 
your room with the wish to divert you by all kinds of prat- 
tle. To begin with, then, a word about your brother, whom 
we saw before we left town after our return from Upsala. 
He was delighted : he was charmed ; not by Ole Bull, 
whom we heard play the evening before, oh dear, no ! 
he could at most be called " an ingenious charlatan, a fallen 
angel ; " not by the oranges which were offered to him, 
no, indeed, he never liked to eat oranges, especially not 



LETTERS. 197 

this time; not by the lilies of the valley, which he was 
allowed to smell, oh, no ! they also were to him fallen 
angels, having now lost their original beauty ; no, but he 
was delighted, he was enchanted at having got completely 
drenched in a heavy shower of rain, a pleasure which 
certainly not many envied him. Otherwise, he was agree- 
able, kind, and interesting, as he can be when he likes. 

That the Emperor Nicholas came down in the midst of 
us like a bomb-shell, you know already long since, and you 
have probably also heard some of the thousands of anec- 
dotes which group themselves round this " lion," which all 
have heard, and yet every body tells every body else. The 
general opinion of him can be best expressed in your 
brother's words : " He is really a man with a thoroughly 
imperial exterior." In him one saw the personified ruling 
majesty. But it was more the majesty of Power than the 
majesty of Mercy. But even the former has its beauty. 
How rich is creation ! 'Of all its forms, of all its revealed 
thoughts, there is not one which does not possess its own 
peculiar beauty. Creation is a diamond, all the facets of 
which can be turned towards the light, reflecting its pure 
and glittering rays. Every age, every stage of develop- 
ment, every nation, every condition of mankind, every in- 
dividual man carries within him this celestial ray, although 
it is not always placed so as to be visible. Affliction 
cannot even that call forth a peculiar beauty ; beauty, be- 
side which all the splendor of happiness, of health, and of 
the world becomes pale ? The purest, the brightest ray of 
heavenly light which I have seen, shone out of an expiring 
eye ; on a face wasted by bitter sufferings, and already 
darkening under death's lengthening shadows, have I seen 
celestial bliss reflected. Like a solitary, steadily burning 
light, this vision will follow me through life down to my 
grave, and throw its light upon it. 

But I have wandered far away from Nicholas. No mat- 
ter ! Agatha does not much like that we speak of him ; 



198 LETTERS. 

she prefers speaking of Upsala, and the people there who 
she thinks are " such real human beings." I will not say 
No to this, because it was pleasant to see so many people 
of distinct species inwardly and outwardly, and these both 
pleasant and amiable, each in their way and in their con- 
tact with others. Such a merry and free social life I have 
nowhere met with. Much kindness and hospitality was 
shown us by every body ; we exchanged " thou " with whole 
battalions of ladies, with girls of seventeen up to ma- 
trons of seventy, and we felt besides quite " thou -ish " 
with professors and with students. " Brother " Tornros, 
" Brother " Atterbom, " Brother " Fahlcrantz, " Brother " 
Bergfalk rose spontaneously to our lips. Beautiful songs 
we heard both day and night, and enjoyed conversation 
and curiosities, more almost than we could digest. I can- 
not say that I have picked up many gold nuggets of wisdom 
in that learned city ; neither is my mind much bent upon 
them at present. I would rather hear a story of quiet, 
private life, with its joys and its sorrows, than listen to ab- 
stract reflections upon times and customs and manners, 
history, arts, and so on. 

You have been in Upsala, and I cannot, therefore, tell 
you any thing new of what is interesting there. But I 
suppose you have not seen the fresco-paintings of Sand- 
berg in Gustavus Vasa's chapel in the cathedral. They 
are very beautiful, but most of them are, as it seems to 
me, not expressive of deep thought. The chief personage, 
Gustavus Vasa, has, in nearly all of them, not succeeded 
well. I like him most in the painting in which he is repre- 
sented as saying his last farewell to the assembled estates 
of the realm. You see here the old, but still vigorous 
king, his face pale with age and cares, but with eye full 
of fire, feeling death's approach, and bidding a last farewell 
to the people over whom he has ruled with force and with 
kindness, whom he has loved and made great. You fancy 
you hear the words which he said on this solemn occasion : 



LETTERS. 199 

If I have done any good, give God the honor ; what I 
have failed in, from human weakness and error, overlook 
and forgive it for Christ's sake. Many have called me a 
hard king ; yet a time will come when Sweden's children 
would gladly pluck me out of the earth if they could ! " 
These words are in golden letters on blue ground engraved 
under the painting. It is a fine idea to let this gallery of 
paintings round the tomb upon which the marble image 
of the great king is lying dumb, speak of his achievements 
and remind us of his life, his toils, and his undaunted 
energy. Do you remember Skytte's tomb that prayer in 
marble ; that devout eye ; those clasped hands, which thus 
have watched and prayed for centuries ? Were I a great 
man, I would then like to be so represented after death, or 
not at all. Did you see Linne, where he is sitting ab- 
sorbed in the study of Nature's book, enraptured at the 
wisdom and the deep meaning which he reads in a tiny 
flower ? But I must not leave the cathedral without mak- 
ing my u reverence " to the splendid, lofty cupola. That 
is also, as it were, a prayer, a bold, fervent approach to the 
Most High ; a gently rising heaven under heaven. Fahl- 
crantz said to me, " When I become peevish and irritable, 
which happens occasionally during my toils of every-day 
life, I know no feeling so elevating and cheering as that 
which fills my soul when I wander under this dome." And 
so I say farewell to the old cathedral ! Of all the remark- 
able objects of interest, which I have seen in our little trip, 
this is the only one which has made a grand and lasting 
impression upon me. 

ARSTA, llth September, 1838. 

I thank you most sincerely, my dearest Frances, for the 
pleasure which your letter has given me. You say, " I am 
happy." No words have a more pleasant sound in my ear. 
It does me so much good to hear this from your own lips, 
and to fancy that I see your eye beaming with happiness. 
I feel with regret that I have not been to you what I ought 



200 LETTERS. 

to have been. It is much my own fault, arising from want 
of calmness and clearness in expressing myself; but much 
is also owing to circumstances. Last winter I went often 
to see you, my soul overflowing with words, which I thought 
would have been full of comfort to you after the loss of 
your daughter ; for I know there was consolation and light 
in them, light which streams forth out of the treasures 
of the Word, but which the human soul is not always capa- 
ble of receiving with equal life and clearness. I longed 
to communicate with you, but you were never alone, and it 
is impossible for me to speak on serious subjects in the 
presence of a third person, a mere listener. We shall 
meet again, if it pleases God, and then, I trust, in a brighter 
and more hopeful frame of mind. Yes, oh yes ! we shall 
again rejoice in the light which the gospel sheds over the 
gloomiest portion of our life, of our fate. Next year I 
shall devote almost exclusively to the study of the Bible. 
In much I hope to gain more clearness, more coherence ; 
but I know that many of the details will remain dark and 
incomprehensible to me. But during this study, I shall 
steadily adhere to one opinion ; and that is, that the Bible, 
like all writings, has its body and its soul. The body may 
change, may grow old, may become deformed ; yet the soul 
will remain the same in all its main features. The written 
word is the body ; the spirit is the soul. By rightly becom- 
ing acquainted with the latter, we shall learn to interpret 
the meaning truly and best, even where it has become less 
clear from bodily defects. But I know that what is dark 
and incomprehensible will not disturb me any more. The 
knowledge of the wants of mankind, and a devout acquaint- 
ance with Christ's individuality, give to his existence, life, 
and teachings a reality, and give also a firmness to our 
belief (namely, to a sensible, rational belief) in Him, which 
no obscurity of occasional passages and no fit of doubt can 
shake. And these difficulties, doubts, disquietudes, and 
sufferings, which formerly so often have assailed me, have 



LETTERS. 201 

now, like questions humbly waiting for reply, fallen at the 
Redeemer's feet, patiently waiting for the hour when it 
shall please Him to remove the veil. 

TOMB, 9th March, 1839. 

Your letter, my dearest Frances, has made me both sad 
and happy ; sad, because I have so little deserved it, and at 
the receipt thereof, I could not but reproach myself very 
deeply for not having earlier congratulated you on the birth 
of your little son ; happy, on account of your hearty and 
loving words. I have often longed to speak with you about 
life's fullness and beauty, and to share with you your happi- 
ness in the future, which probably is in store for your chil- 
dren. Love and purity in the home, harmony between 
the parents : this is a blessing to the children ; it opens at an 
early age their eyes and hearts to all that is good and noble 
in life. Ah ! well may we rejoice at having been born in 
this world, although here is much of evil, much of suffer- 
ing, if we only would see that our life is an education, lead- 
ing to perfection, under the guidance of an all-good and 
Almighty Father ; if we would but see that it is a progress 
upwards to a heavenly home. You know that affliction has 
to me been a heavy burden in this world, both to my heart 
and to my mind ; yes, it has dimmed for me all the beauty 
of this world of ours ; but the happiness which, during 
these latter years, I have deeply felt, has opened my eyes, 
while the Crucified One has reconciled me to the sufferings 
on earth, or has chased away its darkness and bitterness, 
through the light which He has shed beyond the grave, 
beyond all earthly darkness, sorrow, and affliction. There 
is a last and highest court to which mankind can appeal for 
the solution of all life's enigmas ; a Judge to whom we can 
refer those cases on which no earthly tribunals can give a 
verdict. But that One is all sufficient. With our eyes 
steadily fixed on Him, we can confidently wander through 
life, rejoice at the good, and, each in our way, add our mite 



202 LETTERS. 

thereto. Pleasing in the highest degree, indeed, is the fer- 
ment of the times in which we live : the development 
of the state into a constitutional society ; a development 
founded upon the spirit of Christianity, of liberty, and 
equality, and which makes every individual, every talent, 
every power valuable and useful in the whole. Christ is 
the first originator of true liberalism. He made religion 
popular, and with it and through it also every other good 
teaching and wisdom ; for if all human beings are in reality 
the children of the same Father and equal before Him, 
then they also have all an equal right to enjoy the blessings 
which the genius of man can create. Is it not this knowl- 
edge which, after and through many long and sanguinary 
conflicts, permeates the age and reorganizes society ; 
erects schools ; instructs the children of the poor ; spreads 
amongst all classes the results of scientific researches ; re- 
sounds in the chords of poetry's lyre (the whole of the 
modern literature of romance is but a lay, a development 
of the moral truths, which flow out of this one great truth) ; 
draws nearer to each other master and man ; unites more 
closely parents and children ; eradicates hateful prejudices 
and humanizes the world ? Long life, therefore, to print- 
ing-presses, steamboats, and all such inventions, for they 
are the heralds of ideas ; and, above all, long life to the 
ideas themselves, the great, the noble, I mean ; to their 
organs, mankind ; and, above all, praise to the Great and 
the Good, who sends them ! This was a wide embrace, my 
dear Frances ; but such a one is sometimes wanted, to be 
able heartily to embrace also what is little within our own 
little world and sphere of activity. In contemplating this 
great institution, the world, we can better understand our 
own place there, our mission and our children's, be they 
human beings or books. 

For my next work I want a vignette, representing a 
butterfly fluttering over its chrysalis. The world-life in 
all its forms, has no truer image of its reality, its essence. 



LETTERS. 203 

The chrysalis this body of earth's dust, which envelops 
and fetters Psyche's wings that it is which binds, which 
impedes, which burdens you and me and most people. 
The chrysalides of home are the household cares with 
all their concomitant difficulties and hardships. I know 
many married women, who, like yourself, endure and man- 
age these against their inclination, from a mere sense of 
duty and necessity ; but to you, as well as to them, the 
thought must be very encouraging and consolatory under 
all the moments devoted, to all appearance uselessly, to 
speculations about eating and other household duties, that 
it is only under this chrysalis that home's Psyche can de- 
velop herself. But I hope meanwhile that in future 
this machinery of life may be simplified and made more 
easy. This would be especially desirable for our mothers 
of families here in the North. Be this as it may, our soul 
becomes materialized from too much occupation with the 
material. 

IS th May, 1839. 

True it is that a mother, a housewife in Sweden, is 
obliged, more than in southern countries, to devote herself 
to practical life in her house and in her home provided 
she wishes to fulfill her duties and that she must deny 
herself, comparatively, many of the enjoyments of intel- 
lectual life and of the fine arts. And if human worth 
consisted in these, or if they essentially contributed to the 
development of our eternal nature, then it would be a hard 
fate to be a wife and a mother in Sweden. But it is not 
so. That which really constitutes human worth is moral 
virtue and an exalted mind ; it is only this which unites 
man with God ; which gives the rank of citizen in His 
kingdom here on earth and in heaven. Oh ! my. dear 
Frances, this was always a delightful thought to me, and 
this doctrine of Christianity, which equalizes all ranks on 
earth, which weakens the power of all external contingen- 



204 LETTERS. 

cies, this it was that from my earliest youth drew me to the 
gospel, already before I understood all the depth, all the 
happiness, contained in its "joyful message." You see, 
dearest friend, that it is this which makes the poor fisher- 
man, the simple peasant's wife, quell what is evil in their 
propensities and in their nature, in order to follow Christ's 
teachings, and thus stand nearer God than the greatest 
philosopher and the most distinguished scientific man in 
the intellectual circles of London or Paris, if these do not 
also overcome their sinful nature, their pride, or other evil 
passions which may possess them. If now we contemplate 
woman's position in our Swedish homes, we shall find it 
brightening more and more, when we consider that the 
practical life in the same, the relation between parents, 
children and servants and others, tends more to develop 
people's moral virtues than books and all the intellectual 
education in the world. From this, however, I except 
Christian knowledge, which comprises the wisest doctrines 
of the past and present times relating to God and man, 
and which knowledge we stand in need of in order to live 
as we ought to do. This knowledge we all gain, in the civ- 
ilized world, directly or indirectly through the gospel ; for 
all the state, society, literature, etc., etc., is now founded 
upon Christianity, and almost all of us know what we 
ought to do. But these moral duties are not easy to fulfill ; 
moral goodness and nobleness is difficult to attain, sur- 
rounded as we are by sinful fellow-creatures, and in our 
contest with them and with our own faults and weaknesses. 
How deeply have I not felt and do I not feel this in my own 
weak and restless soul ! It is only Christianity's doctrine 
of God ; of His love to us ; of what He has done for us 
and intends doing with us ; it is only the love for Him, which 
is a result thereof in our hearts ; only prayer, through 
which we approach Him and experience the affinity of His 
spirit with ours ; it is this only, which can strengthen 
our desire to practice what is really pure and good ; which 



LETTERS. 205 

can create within us the harmonious frame of mind, from 
which emanates meekness, tolerance, patience in a word 
all the virtues of Christian love, which give peace to our 
own heart ; make our home pleasant ; our nearest and 
dearest happy ; and which opens for us, after this life, the 
heavenly home, where harmonies resound, more beautiful 
than those with which Mozart's Genii in the " Magic 
Flute " enchant our ear, as a foretaste of the eternal har- 
monies. The songs of the Genii in the " Magic Flute ! " 
Yes, if any thing can give us an idea of Paradise, it is that 
music. How well I understand the feeling that has been 
awakened in your soul ; such sensations I have myself 
often experienced during the preludes of the organ in our 
churches, before the hymn was sung. There is something 
so sweet and earnest in these melodies, quite separate from 
earthly joys, but which tells me of the joys of the blessed 
in heaven. 

26th August, 1839. 

Well now, my lazy hand ! take up the pen. for I must 
tell my dear Frances what I have been busy writing to 
her every day in my thoughts. Yes, what was it all 
about ? Indeed, I can now only remember your own words 
in your last letter : " What a happiness it is to love ! " for 
these words have haunted me continually during all this 
time of sorrow as well as happiness. Yes ! to love that 
is happiness, that is bliss, that is life's summer. How well 
do I not feel the truth of St. Theresa's words about the 
wicked : " The unhappy ! they do not love." Could we but 
always love first God .and then our fellow-men. Yes, 
then life would not be weary. Oh, Frances ! He who re- 
vealed God, our Creator, as Love, and who ordained that 
love for Him and for our fellow-men should be the law of 
our life, should be the condition for gaining eternal life, 
eternal bliss and fullness, has He not at the same time 
given us the surest guide to attain eternal bliss. Indeed ! 
He is the best teacher how to gain happiness. How have 



206 LETTERS. 

I not felt Him to be so, not only in my heart, but also in 
my home. But I ought to speak, not to write about this. 
About this : " What a happiness it is to love," I said the 
other day in a few* words to the good, honest Agren. You 
would have embraced him if you had seen the indescrib- 
able expression of love which spread over his honest face, 
while tears rolled down his cheeks, when he said, " that 
to love certainly gave happiness, but that it also caused so 
much pain, so much suffering, that it is quite dreadful." 
Alas ! it may be so ; but also this suffering has its sweets. 
It does not embitter, it ennobles. Our soul does not be- 
come mouldy under it ; it becomes invigorated and soars 
heavenward. 

And now let me speak of what has called forth this 
paraphrase of your words. Agatha has been very ill. 
Our mother and I have been exceedingly urfeasy on her 
account, and yet, in the midst of our distress and our anx- 
iety, we felt peace, aye, had even many happy moments, 
because we loved one another and felt it then so warmly. 
Now, when our Agatha, after nearly three weeks' painful 
illness, is again restored, we feel so happy, and cannot say 
gratefully enough : " God be thanked ! " and she is now 
more than ever every body's in the family " little lady ; " is 
lauded to the skies for every morsel which she eats ; is 
protected against every puff of wind, and is fondled and 
petted in every way. Yet, I have never found her to be a 
more earnest and amiable creature than just now. 

9th September, 1839. 

Only a few words to-day, my dearest Frances, to thank 
you most sincerely for your letter of the 30th of last month, 
and to tell you, that those who here love you so warmly 
sympathize with you in the loss of your friend, and long to 
see you well and happy again. Happy ! yes certainly, for 
the departed one was, as you say yourself, prepared, and 
thus she lives and will love you in the better world which 



LETTERS. 207 

God has prepared for those who are His own. The death 
of a good person, has to me something beautiful in it, be- 
cause I look upon death in the light of Christianity ; as 
a transition from this to another life - for those who are 
good to a higher existence. I do not wonder, dearest 
Frances, that the doctrine of the atonement is still so often 
obscure to you, for I know from my own experience how 
deeply rooted in our mind are the notions which we have 
been imbued with in childhood and in youth, and how 
difficult it is to divest ourselves of them, notwithstanding 
that they so often appear unsatisfactory and dark. I 
wish that I could express my thoughts so that they found 
an echo in your heart. I shall endeavor to do so, if you wish 
it, when I have more leisure and peace. I shall now only 
remark, with regard to the 6th chapter of the Gospel of 
St. John, tlmt Jesus himself divests his words of all ma- 
terial interpretation, when in the 63d verse He says : " It is 
the spirit that quiclceneth ; the flesh profiteth nothing ; the 
words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are 
life" Blood, in the Hebrew, and in many languages, is 
equivalent to life ; bread signifies doctrine. Jesus represents 
Himself here as the bread of life, by His life as well as by 
His doctrine. With everlasting life is here and everywhere 
in the Scriptures not meant eternal life, with reference to 
space of time (for even the wicked have thus eternal life), 
but the real, full, blissful life ; in a word, God's, the Eternal 
life. Our Saviour says in this chapter : " The bread 
(manna) which feedeth the body is not heavenly food, and 
saves neither from spiritual nor from bodily death " (the 
hardened sinner is said to be spiritually dead), "but I, 
my life (blood,) my doctrine (bread,) am the true bread 
which cometh down from heaven and giveth life." This 
new life (God's life, eternal life) by which man gains 
strength to overcome his evil passions, to become purer 
and more loving, Jesus has grafted on the world (" I am 
the vine and ye are the branches") by His life, and His 



208 LETTERS. 

doctrine of His revelation of God's heart and will, and 
our relation to Him and to the next world. By graft- 
ing that life on the world, upon us, He has reconciled 
the world and us with God, or, according to the words of 
St. Paul : " God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto 
Himself." When He makes us good, He takes away our 
sins. Christ's justification consists therein, that He makes 
us justified. All moments in the life of Christ, His temp- 
tation and His transfiguration on Mount Tabor, His death 
and his resurrection, are moments of this great work of 
atonement, because they all affect beneficently different 
moments of our life. 

I have frequently been astonished at the innumerable 
different ways of understanding and of explaining the 
doctrine of the Atonement, ever since the introduction of 
Christianity until this day, and at the great number of 
sects, each explaining their belief in a different way, and 
still all calling themselves Christians, and I have come to 
the conviction that this must be so. These disparities are a 
consequence of people's different intellectual capacities 
and different experiences in life. There must, in conse- 
quence of Nature's manifold creative powers, be found 
turnips and apple-trees, lichens and cedars, in the world 
of mankind, as well as in the world of Nature. If only 
each species tries to gain the benefit of light, so that its 
fruits can ripen and become good, then also is each species 
good. But there are plants and herbs of lower and of 
higher degree ; and there is also a profound as well as a 
superficial way of explaining Christianity. But Christianity 
has also this resemblance to the sun, that the little as well 
as the great drink life out of it. Nobody can sound the 
depths of Christianity without having first dived into the 
depths of life ; but even the most superficial thinker, the 
most shallow natures, can from some one of its rays gain 
light and strength enough for life. It is the river " through 
which the lion can swim and the lamb walk." 



LETTERS. 209 

Pardon this rhapsody. I shall be able to write better 
another time. Oh! that I could clearly enough express 
the truths which I acknowledge ; I am then sure that your 
heart and your reason would find peace therein. Man's 
wants also in this respect are different. May each one 
find what he needs, and may every body (for this is the 
most essential) follow the doctrine of Christ, and he will 
then come to His " eternal life. 1 " I have lately heard Mr. 

T 's and Agren's confessions of religious faith. What 

contrasts ! and yet how they agree as followers of Christ. 
They shall therefore be left in peace by me, although I 
find the former's views of God and His revelation so de- 
plorable, and the latter's so unsatisfactory. But may I be 
found worthy one day to meet them in the mansion of our 
Father. 

ARSTA, 2d October, 1840. 

Dearest Frances ! After having read your letter, which 
I received last Wednesday evening, I thought to myself, 
now I will at once sit down to write, because it would be a 
great shame if a solitary dweller in the country, who has 
nobody else to take care of but herself; nothing to look at 
but fields and phlegmatic oxen ; nothing to manage but 
her goose-quill, I say it would be a great shame if she 
could not find time to write a pertinent letter, when the 
wife of the chief of a government office (a government 
office chief ess?), residing in the capital, who has to cut 
a figure in the world ; give grand dinner and evening 
parties ; be wife to her husband ; keep a watchful eye upon 
four boys ; upon the debates in the House of Nobles ; 
upon erring fellow-men ; and upon the improvement of 
the world, etc., etc., and having all this to attend to, still 
can find time to delight her friends with her letters. 

Now, my dearest Frances, attention ! I shall now come 
with a really fine and polite Swedish phrase : " How de- 
lighted I am not to be in your clothes," which means, 
how pleased I am not to have your responsibilities in the 
H 



210 LETTERS. 

vortex of the world, because I should find myself utterly 
unfit for it and lost But do not think that I pity you. No 
such thing! I might perhaps say to yon, when you are 
fatigued in body and soul : " Oh ! how sorry I am for you, 
my dearest Frances ; " but I do not pity you on account of 
the life which you are leading. It is really so ordained in 
this world, that in every direction, and in every position in 
life, one can improve one's self, and develop a peculiar' 
beauty and excellence. And she who lives in the great 
world, active in all domestic duties, gains thereby strength, 
assurance, aplomb, and ability, which the solitary one never 
attains, even if she could get into her head all the books 
which she collects round her in her silent and quiet little 
home. She can also develop herself, and work good in 
her own way and in her retirement ; but she would miss 
much of what is gained in a more stirring, outwardly more 
practical, life. It makes me happy to feel how every one 
can go onwards in his own path. All depends upon going 
forward in the right direction. The retired study has its 
dangers, its temptations, as well as the salons of the great. 
One can become dried up in the former, whilst in the lat- 
ter one evaporates. All roads have their by-roads. It is 
therefore necessary that we should take with us the proper 
guide. My sincerest thanks for your encouraging words 
about my " children." I wish only that I could properly 
execute what I intend and ought to do. But it is with 
books as with deeds. We know what is right, but we are 
not able to achieve it. Frequently, when I have finished 
some book, I feel with anxiety and a kind of pain how 
much of it I could have done better. In order to console 
myself, I look forward to the future and to new works. I 
wonder whether I shall be more pleased with them ? 

What you say of our Swedish Psalm-book delights me. 
Its compiler has well deserved Tegner's eulogy : 

" The merits of Wallin sure we may all discuss, - 
He 's yet a psalm-book in advance of us." 



LETTERS. 211 

Do you know the psalm, No. 201 : " Create in me, O 
God, a heart, which holy is and good and pure ? " It is 
my favorite morning-psalm ; and the splendid invocation, 
No. 131: "Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth," I know no 
words which flow more naturally from heart and lips in 
solitary and agitated moments. Besides, I think that 
psalms ought to be an outpouring of the heart, either 
imploring or praising; but not long self -meditations, 
which so many of our psalms really are. For such, prose 
is more suitable. Psalms are prayer's efflorescence ; and 
prayer is the soul's flight upwards to bloom in heaven. 
Prayer is the conductor by which we put ourselves in con- 
nection with eternal life's current of light, which thereby 
being drawn to us, elevates and animates (electrifies) us. 
Therefore prayer is of such great importance, and so 
strongly commended in our Christian religion, and without 
it namely, prayer in the spirit of Christianity no 
thorough improvement is possible. It is a true and beau- 
tiful saying of one of the fathers of the Church : " Prayer 
will either make us abandon sin, or sin will make us 
abandon prayer." . . . 

ARSTA, 12th January, 1841. 

For a long time I have been writing to you in my 
thoughts, my dearest Frances. When I was last in town, 
we had never an opportunity of saying all that we had to 
say to each other. Sometimes one is not in the vein, and 
then there is no help for it. I was also, I know not why, 
morally shut up. The soul and the mind have their winter 
as well as their spring ; and it is sad that increasing age 
often spreads a benumbing snow-covering over the mind. 
In youth we are often on the point of melting from mere 
feeling ; in old age we are often in danger of congealing to 
ice ; and the last danger is greater than the first. We 
find a remedy against it in the gospel, in the sun, and in 
good, noble-minded people. Warmed by such spirits of 



212 LETTERS. 

spring, we again begin to thaw. What a delightful sensa- 
tion it is to thaw under silent tears of love, under happi- 
ness, or gentle sorrow. It is like the sweetest music. 

Why do we, in all descriptive sketches of heaven and of 
the realms of bliss, always find something resembling 
music? Because music only can interpret the unspeak- 
ably deep and sweet in human feeling, the melting har- 
mony, the transition of the soul, or rather its glorifica- 
tion, in an element of the purest love and beatitude. 
Surely you and your husband will one day sing the song 
of the blessed together in harmony's perfect world. 

When I was last with you, you did not then sing in con- 
cert together ; each of you had your own part ; but they 
were somewhat discordant in a question respecting anger, 
and whether this feeling was blamable and ignoble or not. 
I remember that we have sometimes spoken on this sub- 
ject ; and I will now make a fair copy, of which I then 
made a rough one. 

I believe that anger, like any other affection or impulse 
of the soul, has its truth and its good. It is the violent 
protest of the sense of right and justice against what is 
wrong and unworthy. Such is anger in its purity in 
God. In its impurity it is a violent outbreak of the mind 
against every thing which wounds its opinions and will, be 
this what it may. And when you, my dearest Frances, 
said, " I do not think that I am sinning when I get angry," 
I side with you, provided your anger is just, that is to 
say, directed against what is wicked and bad. But when 
your husband says : " We never act so prudently when we 
are angry, as when we are calm and collected ; we are 
generally carried away from what is reasonable, and let, in 
our passion, the guiltless suffer with the guilty ; " then I 
place myself beside him, humbly giving him right ; and 
thereupon I place myself between you two, and wish to 
decide the question thus : 

There is a noble and an ignoble anger. There are 



LETTERS. 213 

moments and situations in life when one requires a burst 
of anger, to be able to grapple powerfully and lend justice 
a strong helping-hand. But such moments come seldom ; 
and the danger of falling, in the annoyances and little 
vexations of every-day life, from a noble into an ignoble 
anger, is so great, that we ought to do all we can to govern 
and conquer this emotion and its eruptions. When our 
Saviour, in noble wrath, thundered his anathema against 
the hypocritical Pharisees, He knew what He did. But we. 
weak, narrow-minded beings, often know not what we are 
doing when our feelings are agitated. A noble, high- 
minded character ought, therefore, not to quell any of the 
feelings which the Creator has interwoven with his nature ; 
but he ought so to rule and direct them, that, like the 
waves in a river, they fertilize its banks without inundating 
them. 

And now to something more trivial. Whilst you, Fran- 
ces, are waging a war here and there in the world, we spin 
out life here in quiet and peace. I begin now firmly to 
believe that, for Agatha's sake, we could not have come to 
a better determination than to remain at Arsta over the 
winter. I did not believe this last autumn ; but in all 
transitions from one condition to another, there arises usu- 
ally some suspense, something wavering ; in a word, some- 
thing uncomfortable. So it is in the autumn, within as well 
as out of doors, when we have to pass from summer into 
winter. When we are tacking, the sails hang shivering 
uneasily until they are again caught and swelled out by the 
wind. Thus it was with us last autumn. We have now 
tacked about ; our sails are again caught and filled, if not 
by a strong, at all events by a steady and gentle breeze. 
We are bounding along, and ever and anon we call out, 
" All 's well ! " During day-time I am left much alone ; 
but in the evenings I read aloud to our mother and Aga- 
tha, until we take our little " tea-supper," and soon after 
bid one another good-night. Agatha and I then chat 



214 LETTERS. 

together until, very quietly, we fall asleep. It is a great 
pleasure to me to converse with Agatha, about any thing. 
" Vivent les gens d'esprit ! " It is refreshing to live with 
somebody who can understand every thing, and who is 
always ready prepared with sense and wit, especially when 
this is joined to real goodness. With the truly good and 
the truly sensible we inhale fresh air, and if even now and 
then we should come upon small stumbling-blocks, we do 
not run against or stick fast upon them. 

You are on a sailing-excursion very unlike ours (Heaven 
knows how I have managed to get out to sea, from whence 
it seems as if I could not come back). Yours is more ex- 
citing, but also more unquiet. Your four boys occasion 
many contrary winds, and you sail amongst reefs and 
sunken rocks. But while love and good sense are at the 
helm, you have a prosperous voyage, and I am sure that 
after a heavy day, you exclaim in the silent hours of night, 
gratefully, " All 's well ! " and then I would join with you 
in a " Thank God ! " for it is His spirit in the heart of 
man which leads them victoriously through dangers and 
difficulties. 

But I must now make for port with my epistle. I em- 
brace you in thought and beg you to remember me kindly 
to your husband. 

AESTA, 13th July, 1841. 

"Ypu say, my dearest Frances, that you feel yourself 
getting older, and feel the consequences thereof. I also 
have for some years (and I am a couple of years older 
than you are) distinctly felt within me this transition to an 
advanced season in life. I have welcomed and blessed it. 
It does me so much good to feel the cooling evening breeze 
fan my temples and my heart ; to feel how it gains more 
and more peace and calmness, and I thus look at life with 
a clearer eye. This autumn of life is dear to me. Its sun 
is less scorching and often brighter than summer's sun, 



LETTERS. 215 

which is sometimes dimmed by hot exhalations. If friends 
have departed this world, they have taken our heart with 
them to a better home ; if many an enjoyment has with- 
ered away, other and new enjoyments have come in their 
stead, and many, many sufferings have ceased. Thus at 
all events have I found it. Yes, the autumn of life can be 
a genial, a rich age ; one must only guard against fros^. 
That is the danger in this season, and earth's best flower 
our heart is then in as great a danger of being frost- 
bitten as are earth's more humble and more material chil- 
dren. But for a mother and happy wife this danger is not 
very great. Round her beat hearts in loving unison with 
her's, and her's cannot then be chilled. Greater is the 
danger to her who stands comparatively alone. The only 
remedy is love. And this feeling can inspire every heart 
which longs for it, because a heart forever warm beats in 
the centre of the universe, with which we all can have 
communion. 

ABSTA, 28th September, 1841. 

Oh ! if my dream should be realized, my dearest Fran- 
ces, your little boy would then be in a fair way of recov- 
ery. I dreamt that he upset me in one of his lively gam- 
bols. I long so much to hear how he is, and I hope the 
best for your and your husband's sake, for otherwise I do 
not grieve when people are dying. I have always looked 
upon the coming of death as a deliverance from one evil 
or another, so that in my mind death is deeply connected 
with my idea of something desirable and tranquilizing. I 
know, however, that it is not always so, and I have to-day 
had an instance of its bitterness. A young woman here 
has lost her husband, with whom she lived most happily. 
It was very touching to hear her subdued and deep wail- 
ing : " Alas ! that he should go away from me in my 
youth ! Many bitter tears do I weep every night, when 
the others " (the wives of the other laborers on the estate) 
" meet their husbands coming home ; but no husband 



216 LETTERS. 

comes to me. And how happy we were when he came 
home in the evening from his work ! He was the best of 
husbands ; we lived so happily together. Indeed, it could 
happen, as it does sometimes happen between husband and 
wife, that we did not quite agree, and sometimes he would 
take a glass of brandy ; but never was I afraid when he 
opened the door ! " This last sentence touched my heart. 
I found it so characteristic of the relation in married life, 
and I remembered what you told me, and what you feel 
when you hear your husband's steps at your threshold, and 
how I have seen less happy wives turn pale and look fright- 
ened, when they have heard their husband's footfall near 
the door, and heard their hand touch the handle of the 
lock. I wept with the poor bereaved one, whose door will 
not again be opened by the loved one's hand ; whose 
threshold will not again be touched by the foot of him 
who was the light of her heart and the prop and stay of 
her life. And then the three little children, who always 
asked when their " daddy " is coming home again ! 

But the same woman, who so deeply bewailed her hus- 
band, had but a moderate love for her children. Once last 
summer she declared openly her conviction that her young- 
est boy a fine little fellow had brought misfortune 
over her, " because when he was born, her pig died." I 
moralized her a little for seeing things in this light, and 
told her that she ought to look upon the boy as a compen- 
sation for the pig ; but I doubt much that I succeeded in 
altering her view of the case. 

ARSTA, 4th, October, 1841. 

I have heard through F , my dearest Frances, that 

Gpd has taken away your little boy, and I hasten to town 
to-morrow, to be with you and your husband, and to tell 
you what I feel for you in my heart. Alas ! there is only 
one word of comfort ; as for every thing sorrowful in this 
world there is only one great consolation the conviction 



LETTERS. 217 

that over us all, and for us all, rules a good and loving 
Father, almighty and all-good. With Him is your son, 
and there you shall one day see him again. 
To-morrow I shall be with you. 

1841. 

Dearest Frances ! It made me very unhappy on read- 
ing your letter, to find you grieving so painfully. You do 
not feel in these hours of anguish and bitterness the secret 
blessing which invisibly rests upon you, like a Father's 
loving hand placed upon your down bent head ; but in 
your calmer moments you must see it. Your own words 
ibear witness to the holy power of the hours of suffering. 
Let me quote them out of your last agitated letter : " My 
dearest occupation now is to read about religious subjects, 
and to contemplate the same. They so absorb my thoughts 
that, for the moment, I forget my grief at the loss of our 
boy, in the happiness which I feel in trying to look up to 
him." 

This and your hopeful words of belief and trust, do 
they not tell your soul that which must assuage its grief; 
which must let you see that you are under the guidance of 
a higher power, under the care of an earnest but loving 
Father. Alas ! it must be so for you, for me, for all of us, 
that when the bitter cup is held to our lips, we must drain 
it, even with tears drain it submissively, and must say 
in our deepest anguish: "Father! if it is not possible 
that this cup be removed from me, without I drink it, Thy 
will be done ! " While I am writing this, my tears are 
flowing and make my words dim. I remember only too 
well, how in my hours of temptation, I could not say these 
words, on account of the bitterness of my rebellious heart. 
Now, I think, I could do it. 1 know that when the victory 
has been gained, come the angels heavenly messengers, 
heavenly powers to administer to man ; and I know well 
from my own experience the developing and beneficial 
power of suffering. I know that " much bread is growing 



218 LETTERS. 

in the winter's night," and one day also you will verify 
this. 

15th October, 1841. 

I do not know whether, at this moment, you are inclined 
for any deeper meditations. A suffering mind is often 
more pained than soothed by contemplating abstract sub- 
jects. But I will lay before you only one reflection, which 
I think is full of consolation. You spoke last of the 
" natural religion," and of your intention to adhere to it, as 
the true one. But tell me, dearest Frances, what comfort 
could you derive from it in the present case? What 
answer could it give you to your questions about your little 
child? Would it not answer: God is great and wise. 
He has in his wisdom ordained, that a certain number of 
individuals shall be born and that a certain number shall 
die every year amongst the species inhabiting the earth, 
be they sparrows or human beings ; because for the main- 
tenance and improvement of the species the individuals of 
each must be sacrificed ; for the benefit of the whole the 
individual must give way. God is great ! 

Hear now revealed religion in the words of Christ : 
God is great and good. His eternal laws of order 
govern the world in the great as in the little ; in the gen- 
eral as in the minute. While generations are continued 
upon earth, the individuals disappear from it, but not from 
the kingdom of God's love. " No sparrow falls to the ground 
without your Father's will and knowledge. And man 
is of more value than many sparrows. But the very hairs 
of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore 
misery or death, for God is love." Oh ! my dear Frances, 
is not this a more consolatory doctrine and more worthy 
our higher notions of God ? So also is every thing in re- 
vealed religion, which is the fulfillment and perfection of 
the natural religion. 

<r 7th November. 

Suffering and anguish have long appeared to me as the 



LETTERS. 219 

dark genii of life. Not so now. I have seen that they 
can be life's good genii. They become so to us, if with 
deep and energetic confidence, we cling to the power, to 
the Father, " who smites and who heals, and who out of 
the very wounds creates minds open to receive Him." I 
shall never forget an expression, which I heard more than 
fifteen years ago, at a time when, in consequence of my 
own state of mind, I sympathized, with a painful feeling, 
with every suffering in the world, even with that of the 
innocent brute creation. Of the injustice of this latter, I 
said something . during a conversation which I had with a 
man, who used to converse with me on the commonest 
every-day topics. I cannot describe the expression of his 
calm, blue eye, and the tone of voice in which he an- 
swered : " I should not wish that any created being should be 
exempt from the capability of suffering." He did not say 
any thing more on the subject, for I did not understand 
him. Since then I have learnt to comprehend the mean- 
ing of these words ; comprehended it from my own ex- 
perience, and am now inclined to think, that suffering is a 
prerogative in life. Without penetrating into the depths 
of suffering, into its bitter " Gethsemane," we cannot climb 
bright and blissful heights. He who cannot suffer, cannot 
enjoy. But all depends upon, that we should let suffer- 
ing purify and ennoble the soul. This cannot come in 
question with respect to the sufferings of animals, but their 
suffering is distantly connected with a final atonement, 
concerning which I cannot now unfold my ideas. I will 
merely add, that according to the spirit of Christianity, it 
is through hope, and not through despair, that suffering 
works upon man. 

If only I could be tranquil in my mind with respect to 
our mother and Agatha in Nizza, I could be so happy here 
in my solitude. It has always a beneficial, as well as an 
exalting effect upon me. When I cannot communicate 
with any body, I seem to expand, like a balloon, with 
thoughts and feeling, and life appears then so full. 



220 LETTERS. 

1841. 

Thank God ! my dear Frances, that we shall one day 
get rid of this material body. I think that is a glorious 
thing ; for I feel often deeply the truth of what is written 
in the Book of wisdom : " The mortal body burdens the 
soul, and the .earthly body makes heavy the mind ; " and 
I feel that we shall be able to love more warmly and to 
think better, when we are set free from the chrysalis, which 
again and again throws its folds round the spirit longing 
for liberty. I feel it also now, when a lingering cloud of 
migraine in my head presses down my thoughts and words, 
which fain would reach you, and infolds the mind so that it 
feels itself fettered. Ah ! it will be indeed delightful one 
day to get rid of this heavy and infirm load. A body 
(form, organs,) we shall get, for it is the antitype and in- 
dispensable expression of the soul. The resurrection of 
Christ, is the real manifestation hereof. St. Paul explains 
this in his splendid Epistle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. xv. 
35-57) wherein he says : " It is sown a natural body ; 
it is raised a spiritual body." . . . " It is sown in dishonor ; 
it is raised in glory," etc., etc. Raised in glory, in power ! 
Yes, but on condition that we, here in mortality, develop 
the life, which beyond the grave shall be thus raised also 
in outward glory. Is there on earth a nourishment, a food 
which can strengthen and develop man to become heav- 
enly, to become a citizen in the kingdom of glory? Is 
there on earth a heavenly bread, a heavenly wine ? You 
long to reach heaven. Look up to the symbol thereof, 
which arches itself over our heads. Does not all light 
come from thence? Light, the cheerful, the warm, the 
vivifying, which gives to all beings, to all conditions de- 
velopment and beauty ; in which all attain their glorifica- 
tion, and which, reflected in millions of rays, gives itself to 
all beings, gives to all a part of its life. Thus there is in 
every thing from which our soul derives nourishment, a 
secret, divine power, a heavenly bread and wine given 



LETTERS. 221 

to us for the development and glorification of our being. 
It is found in the life of love ; in the work of scientific re- 
search ; in the beauty of art ; in the splendor of Nature ; 
it is found in joy, in sorrow, in suffering, in every thing ; 
aye, even in the bustle of every one's business ; in the food 
which we enjoy corporeally. But we must understand 
this ; we must understand the heavenly, which is hidden 
in the earthly ; we must in us receive the eternal, which 
lives and develops itself in finite (transitive) temporal cir- 
cumstances. Only in this way do we prepare our real trans- 
formation, and make, already here, the wings grow, which 
shall be made perfect when the earthly shell breaks. 

" I am the living bread, which came down from heaven," 
says Jesus ; and He says further : " Except ye eat the flesh 
of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in 
you ; " and again, in the same chapter (St. John vi. 63,) 
" It is the spirit that quickeneth ; the flesh profiteth noth- 
ing ; the words which I speak unto you, they are spirit, and 
they are life." And at the last supper He says : " Take, 
eat, this is my body ; drink, for this is my blood," etc., etc. 
Deep is this doctrine, but any thing but dark and mystical. 
Here Christ says : " I am the life of the world ; for I am 
in the Father, and the Father in me ; we two are one." 
" Even as I gave myself for you, so will God give himself 
to you in eternity " (for Christ is the manifestation upon 
earth of what God is in eternity). "As I call you to com- 
munion with me, so does God call you in eternity to that 
heavenly feast, to impart to you His life, for your soul's 
and your body's glorification. Abide in me ; feed upon 
my life (blood), upon my body (doctrine), then shall you 
also live through me, and all that you shall do and work, 
shall be to your own gain ; for a sanctified soul will in all 
things seek for sanctifying food. Be one with me, that I 
may dwell in you, so that at the resurrection you may be 
like unto me, for because I live, ye shall also live, and be 
with me where I am." 



222 LETTERS. 

In a word : in the last supper is pronounced the pro- 
found doctrine of God's relation to mankind (He feeds us 
with His life and communicates it to us), and the doctrine 
of affinity between the spiritual and the corporeal teaches 
us " such as the spirit is, so shall the body be also ; the 
outward as the inward." 

Oh ! Frances, how feebly does not my tongue stammer 
forth the profundity of eternal wisdom. Yes, I know it is 
only in part ; but in these parts of an inexpressible whole, 
in these single letters of the eternal word, the soul finds 
light and joy. So has mine done ; therefore it unfolds 
itself to yours. 

Only one word more on this subject. The world is full 
of weak and also of bad food, in a spiritual point of view. 
We should deteriorate and go to ruin by it, if we were not 
strengthened and elevated by a heavenly (eternal) bread 
food, and wine drink. This goes forth concretely in 
the holy communion. It is the doctrine of the atone- 
ment, expressed in deed ; the heavenly synthesis, in which 
all life's antitheses are annulled (as such) and united and 
reconciled in a higher oneness. 

As regards the sufferings of your little children, as an 
atonement, I can only say, that the suffering which can 
have a saving quality or one reconciling with God, must be 
a suffering which develops something good within us, and 
which thereby can make us active for others. But your 
departed children work beneficially for you, I can clearly 
see, from the direction which your mind has taken towards 
the invisible home, to which God has called them. But 
whether their suffering (I mean from their disease, for any 
other suffering these little, happy children could not know) 
has contributed to this, I do not know. If we can assume 
that this suffering has had a developing effect upon their in- 
nocent souls (and this may be probable), they have thereby 
attained to a higher capacity. Not your sins, but the sins 
and the fallen state of all mankind, acted upon them, and 



LETTERS. 223 

acts upon every individual member thereof who is born in 
this world. He partakes of the evil in the world, but 
through the virtues and truth of mankind and yours 
also he also partakes of its good ; and in proportion as 
he develops himself in the latter, he becomes, in his way, 
a saviour of his race from the former ; for no human being 
stands isolated. What he develops within him of good or 
bad, works far and wide, although often invisibly. 

I know so well from my own experience how difficult it 
is to understand the doctrine of the atonement, notwith- 
standing its clearness and simplicity if it is rightly ex- 
plained ; and the reason is, that ever since our childhood 
it has been so distorted to our understanding. But grad- 
ually we seize upon certain main points, and by these the 
others are by degrees lighted up. 

I am writing this with a continually increasing headache ; 
but I do not mention it for the sake of complaining, but in 
order that you may excuse, in case the cloud in my head 
should have thrown some darkness over the paper. 

AESTA, 21st December, 1841. 

Dearest Frances ! Not being able to come to you per- 
sonally during the approaching Christmas holidays, I shall 
pay you a visit in spirit. I know that during these days 
a sorrowful memory is awakened in your heart, and 
I should much wish not to chase it away ; no, no ; 
such memories are sacred guests, but to contribute 
to make it calm and bright. Let me now converse with 
you a short while. If I speak badly, you need not listen 
to me ; if I speak well, then why then it is well. 

It is a general national belief that children, who are 
taken from us at a tender age, are happy, because they are 
saved from all life's dangers and sufferings, and are playing 
as innocent angels in light and bliss round the throne of 
the Almighty. One may consider this belief as having a 
reasonable foundation or not ; still it is in itself a beautiful, 



224 LETTERS. 

innocent angel beside the death-bed of little children, giv- 
ing peace to many a mother's and father's bleeding heart. 
It is always interesting to hear the ideas of distinguished 
persons on this subject, and I have read some of these dur- 
ing the last days. You have, no doubt, heard something 
of a celebrated Swedish scholar, the visionary Swedenborg. 
He is still a problem and a marvel to our philosophers ; 
many have endeavored to explain his visions, but have 
finished by declaring them to be inexplicable. All, 
however, agree that Swedenborg was a man of almost gi- 
gantic learning, and his life and character of the highest 
moral beauty. His visions and his intercourse with spirits 
did not disturb the equanimity of his soul, and he reached 
a very advanced age in the happiest and most amiable 
frame of mind. What I have read of his visions and reve- 
lations from the world of spirits, has not struck me as 
being more profound revejations, but often as very ingenious 
intuitions, although absurd and extravagant. But in gen- 
eral his doctrine distinguishes itself by its moral nobleness 
and beauty. Nobody speaks more beautifully than Swe- 
denborg of, for instance, conjugal love, and his visions 
concerning the state of married couples in another world 
are indeed heavenly. He speaks of these visions and reve- 
lations with remarkable simplicity. He never proves any 
thing ; he merely says, " I saw it ; " or, " it is so and so." 
With respect to the state of children after death, he has 
such a beautiful idea, or, as he considers it, revelation, that 
I believe your maternal eye would rest upon it with de- 
light. I shall begin by quoting his words relating to the 
parents : 

" When the husband has been taught by the wife to experience 
love for the children, he shares with her this kind of love, which, 
in the strength of its disinterestedness and its sacrifices, in which 
it finds the greatest enjoyment, is, of all human love, nearest the 
divine love. We see hereby clearly how great and beneficial 
must be the influences of the love for Children in parents, who in- 



LETTERS. 225 

deed are life of each other's life, or have * become one flesh ' in 
the full and sacred tense of the word. And it requires no ex- 
planation to show what a delight it is to them, when they are per- 
mitted to keep their children with them alive, until, surrounded 
by them, they close their own eyes forever. But even that is a 
blessing, to have, as one expresses it, lost children by death in 
their tender age. For these, who in heaven are educated by 
angels especially appointed for that purpose, until they themselves 
have become qualified to be such angels, continue to be connected: 
with their parents remaining on earth, by love's immortal, sym- 
pathetic ties. These ties are the root of their being, and hence 
it follows that these ties, by the development of the conscious- 
ness of these children, themselves become developed into a con- 
stantly higher love ; and this makes that from the third or highest 
heaven, which is the heaven of innocence and of children, they 
constantly visit the parents through soothing and purifying influ- 
ences. 

" All children who, in their tenderest age, are taken away from 
earth, are in the beginning brought up in that circle of heaven 
which has been mentioned first. For this purpose female angels 
are employed whose distinguishing characteristic during their 
mortal life has been sincere piety, and great love of children. 
Thereafter their education is continued by male angels in that 
branch of celestial knowledge and wisdom to which their disposi- 
tion directs them. During this latter education, or while growing 
up, they are removed to other celestial spheres. It then de- 
pends upon themselves whether they can again be received into 
the third celestial sphere. Fully grown up and educated are 
they, when the innocence of childhood in them is transformed 
into the innocence of wisdom; for just thereby, but not before, 
are they real angels. In general, this transformation is the 
common fundamental condition of all heavenly life, although 
different grades are possible. It is this fundamental condition 
which is expressed in the words of our Saviour : ' Whosoever 
shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no 
wise enter therein.' When full grown, and when their education 
has been finished, those who have thus been prepared for a celes- 
tial social life, receive those angel-spouses which from eternity 
have been destined for them. But in form and features they 
remain forever youth and maiden. 
15 



226 LETTERS. 

" The more thousands of years the angels live, the more beau- 
tifully and blissfully do they bloom ; and so in all eternity. To 
grow old in heaven, is to grow younger." 

So says Swedenborg, and while he has been speaking, 
evening has come on, and it is now too late for me to write 
more. Swedenborg was a most devout Christian, who wor- 
shiped God in Christ. One may share his intuitions or 
not, in part or in the whole ; yet, in the most important 
and essential, one cannot but devoutly side with him, 
namely : that if in Christ we see the revelation of God's 
heart, being, and will, we can then confidently and joyously 
leave ourselves and our beloved ones in His hands, certain 
that He will order every thing with endless love to the 
best. 

And now I kiss you and say, farewell and be happy ! 

ARSTA, 3d October, 1842. 

It is one of the tenets of my good, dear friend, the 

Countess S , that when we do not hear any thing 

from our friends, we may be sure that they are perfectly 
well and lead a merry life ; and I hope, my dear Frances, 
that this holds good with respect to you, our dear friends, 
during the long silence between you and us Arsta people. 
As to ourselves, we have not had quite such pleasant cause 
for our silence. We have already for some time had a 
visitor in the house, called Illness, and his conduct has been 
any thing but pleasant or agreeable to witness. But now, 
thank God ! he is preparing to leave us, together with all 
his odious train, and Health is returning with her compan- 
ions, appetite, happy faces, and joyous hearts. Charlotte 
is still confined to her bed, but the fountain of laughter 
which is in her is again beginning to burst forth, murmur- 
ing duets with Agatha's, which is constantly flowing. Our 
mother likes this, and is always ready to accompany them. 
I, who am less inclined for this merriment, must, however, 
" follow my leaders," it cannot be helped. It would be 



LETTERS. 227 

difficult to find any place where, while health predominates, 
there is so much laughter as here. At what ? it would 
be difficult to tell : at childishness, at nonsense, in fact, 
at nothing. Such merriment belongs to the family myste- 
ries, and by no means to the worst amongst them. It often 
springs out of a number of trifling peculiarities of the 
family members, which, perhaps, would have become rude 
and harsh, unless they had in time been partly trimmed and 
polished by love, and partly been softened by good temper. 
You and your countrymen understand this better than oth- 
ers. Therein lies, I believe, the source of what you call 
" humor," of which they have so much. 

I am now making the acquaintance of the ancient Finn- 
ish national poesy, and I am very much struck by its 
originality and life. But I am not so enchanted now, after 
studying the same, as I was in the anticipation. It is a 
savage beauty, like that of our old, grand pine-forests, with 
their gloomy recesses, their fresfy wonderfully pleasant fra- 
grance ; their wild, mysterious rustling ; but which do not 
afford any food for our imagination and our feeling. It is 
a magical life of Nature, full of witchcraft, and full of strife 
between the energetic, prudent spirit of man and Nature's 
fierce powers, which are conquered and bound by the for- 
mer, by means of " elementary spells " and the power of 
music. This latter has frequently great natural beauty, 
but we miss all moral life and a higher flight. The soul, 
after wandering about in these regions, longs as much for 
more solid food as the body after a long, fatiguing walk 
through heath and forest. 

There is a Finnish proverb, which speaks to my soul 
with indescribable grace : 

" Listen to the fir-tree's rustling, 
At whose root thy nest is made." 

These words are full of deep meaning ; they awaken in 
me refreshing and delicious thoughts. 

Simultaneously with this study, I am busy with another 



228 LETTERS. 

one of a very different description, which ought to afford 
the soul that food which is denied to it in the Finnish na- 
tional poem " Kalevala." It is Lord Brougham's " Emi- 
nent Statesmen." I wonder whether it is a deficiency in 
me that I find these delineations below my expectation ? 
I longed to see characters, distinguished men, and I see 
before me only orators. Lord Brougham appears to me 
to be so preoccupied by the speeches of his statesmen, and 
their talents in that line, that he almost overlooks their 
actions as moral people ; or, at any rate, looks upon that 
character as a secondary consideration, alluding to it only 
in passing. Lord North is the personage amongst them 
which I imagine that I know and see ; not from Lord 
Brougham's biography, but from his daughter's, Lady 
Lindsay, because she seizes just upon those moments in 
which the character stands out naturally and completely. 
In order to be able to know man, one must see him in the 
hours of success and of adversity ; one must see him love ; 
see his angry passions roused ; see him suffer, and see him 
die. I longed to have seen in Lord Brougham's work 
man stand forth out of the moral elementary life (out of 
which the majority of mankind scarcely ever steps forth), 
and reveal himself in a form energetic in good or in evil, 
in life and in death. But I did not find there what I 
looked for. Lord Brougham's moral feeling, so it seems 
to me, is of English nature : pure, and noble, and strong. 
But I miss " la scentilla celesta " in his expressions either 
of blame or of praise ; I miss vigor in spirit and in words. 
Well, there you have quite unexpectedly got a whole 
criticism. Tell me, my dearest Frances, whether it is just 
or unjust. 

AESTA, 1842. 

My dear, sweet Frances! I went through your letter 
from beginning to end, only stumbling over, or stopping 
at, a few words, of which some still figure as stones and 
stumps on my road; but they do not now impede me; 



LETTERS. 229 

for when I walk round them my path lies before me, 
quite distinctly, with flowers edging its graceful windings. 
Thanks, my dearest Frances ! You come like a good, val- 
ued friend, who has gathered the best fruits and flowers 
which she has found on her way, to gladden the friend 
whom she goes to see. It is this spirit of kindness and 
love in a friend, which makes her warnings, her correc- 
tions, and serious advice so pleasant to receive, so pleasant 
to follow. In that pure mirror one will willingly see the 
spot in one's own soul ; by that gentle hand, gratefully 
kissing it, one willingly allows the " beam " to be removed 
from one's eye. We do not know the best of a sincere 
friendship until we have experienced it in ourselves. Do 
you know, dearest Frances, what I fancy that Hedda at 
this moment would have said to you, whom, next to her 
own sisters, she held most dear in her heart and in her 
thoughts, and of whom she spoke so much in her last mo- 
ments ? I fancy I hear her saying : 

" My dear Frances ! you have been wandering a long 
and toilsome road, and you are weary. Sit down beneath 
this tree ; rest yourself, and let it spread its shady branches 
over you ; lean your head against its stem, and let the sum- 
mer's breeze that summer's breeze which is the breath 
of God's love caress your cheeks and eyelids, and think 
that all will be well one day. Rest so awhile, until you 
have gathered strength to begin your walk again ; you will 
reach the goal one day, and then you will see that all is 
well." 

And the tree, under which she tells you to rest, it is 
the same under which she herself did rest, and which gave 
peace and shelter to her life; the tree under which you 
now so often are standing. 

You ask me what I felt in going out to Arsta ? 

I read lately in a " Gazette of Fashions," that we ought 
to keep our happiness secret and not speak of it to others, 
because they cannot " tolerate it." But this is a piece of 



230 LETTERS. 

the Rochefoucauld wisdom, which I hate like the plague, 
because it sucks all its juice, or rather its venom, out of 
mankind's plague-blister, egotism, which it mistakes for 
the true, sound nature of man. My faith in the latter is 
firmly rooted as a rock, and I know its loveableness and its 
power to feel sympathy ; u to weep with them that weep, 
and rejoice with them that are happy ; " and I am, there- 
fore, by no means afraid of telling you what I felt in going 
out to Arsta, little as it is to speak of. 

It was a splendid winter's day. The sun was shining so 
brightly on the new-fallen snow, and the pine forests smelt 
so fresh. The rocks were 'clothed in draperies of snow; 
the mosses and lichen my best friends amongst plants 
shone so fresh and many-colored from the moisture which 
they drank out of the melting snow. They are the kind, 
the pious folks in the vegetable kingdom ; there is no 
nakedness, no poverty, no ugliness which they scorn to 
hide with their beautiful living carpets, and, through these, 
to unite with the regions of beauty and light. It is only 
the really rotten and putrid which they abandon to the 
parasitical mushrooms. Across the frozen lakes were glid- 
ing long lines of peasants' sleighs, and my own covered 
sledge, with its clear, tinkling bells, flew so merrily along 
over lake and through forest. It was a winter's day in its 
most beautiful garb, and to me as charming as summer in 
all its splendor. Beside me sat my good Marie, with her 
warm heart and her keen sense of Nature's beauties ; ready, 
at the slightest hint, to melt from mere ecstasy. When, 
after my pleasant and easy drive, I came out here to these 
good, benevolent people ; to these quiet, large, and lofty 
rooms, in which many flowers were blooming ; when at 
night I beheld, through a transparent, silvery frost-vapor, 
the red lights from the windows in the work-people's 
homes, in which I knew that the households of the labor- 
ers on the estate were living comfortably and decently ; 
when I then saw my beloved constellations Orion and 



LETTERS. 231 

the Northern Crown slowly mounting the wide, clear 
heavens, and saw before me a time of solitude and liberty, 
oh ! then all appeared so beautiful and life so blessed ! 
I had received a letter informing me that our mother's and 
Agatha's health was very much improving at Nizza ; all 
the friends in whose society I lately had enjoyed my life, 
appeared to be near me, so pleasant, so living. My heart 
beat warmly for them. 

Ah, my dear Frances ! in such moments of our life, 
when every thing in us and around us is so well, we ought 
to fear one thing : to forget, in our own consciousness of 
well-being, that the world is full of misery and suffering. 
But we weak mortals are only too prone to forget this. If 
all in this world were beautiful, all good, there would be no 
need of a transformation, an amendment, which we call 
redemption or atonement. We should, in beautiful har- 
mony, develop ourselves " from one brightness to another." 
If all were evil, yes, then no such improvement would 
be possible, nor a loving God either. Now there is both 
good and evil. Nature brings forth thistles and thorns (as 
it is symbolically said in Genesis iii. 18), but she brings 
forth also roses and lilies. In man there is sin and dis- 
ease ; but also love, truth, and health. A true contempla- 
tion of the world owns both and must ; man and his world 
having an organic coherence, apply to this world TegneYs 
beautiful words on Nature : 

" The features of the fallen one transparent 
Shew noble signs of origin celestial, 
And Daphne's heart beneath the bark is throbbing.'' 

With respect to your question, whether I would have the 
" Morning Watches " translated, I can only answer that 
I cannot answer any thing ; for, you see, I am a party in 
this matter. On a more critical examination of the book, 
I beg you not to forget what it is called, namely, " Morning 
Watches ; " that is, the first faint streaks of light between 
night and a new day. These leave of course a number of 



232 LETTERS. 

objects only partly lit up, and many still in darkness ; they 
light up only the heights, only the general outlines of the 
landscape. They forebode and bring with them a more 
complete light, and this will, if it pleases God, also come in 
due time. Your impression of this book delights me, and 
that is all that I dare at present wish. You have rightly 
understood its leading idea : the right idea of God, as 
shown in Christ's manifestation, creates in man a higher 
and nobler life, and saves him from anxiety and darkness. 
We learn here to know God as a loving Father, and we, 
and those dear to us, repose on His heart and in His care. 
I read here for the first time Madame de Sevigne's 
"Letters." I am delighted with their liveliness and wit, 
and astonished to see how pleasantly at that time people 
enjoyed each other's society. Those were other " parties " 
and other sensations than those of Messrs. N. N. and Com- 
pany of our own time. But very afraid were they of old 
age and of death. Rather than encounter these, the 
charming SeVigne would have renounced the life which she 
had lived, and wished to have died in the arms of her nurse. 
The ever-sparkling champagne in her letters could not 
keep up the interest, unless this thema of ardent, living 
love, " Ma fille ! ma fille ! " was not constantly heard in 
this impetuous, burning heart and mind of the loving and 
amiable mother. 

TO BISHOP TEGNER. 

IRSTA, 7th April, 1842. 

A pigeon had one day flown out of the dove-cote and 
set out upon a journey to foreign countries. Some sports- 
men caught sight of her and exclaimed, " What kind of 
bird is this ; whence comes it ? We must catch it and 
pluck it ! " And forthwith they began firing at her ; but, 
how they managed, they hit only one or two of her feath- 
ers. The pigeon continued her gyrations on high, and the 
sportsmen, when they had fired at her for some time, be- 
came tired and soon lost sight of her. 



LETTERS. 233 

An eagle a real golden eagle had meanwhile from 
his eyrie watched the ignoble sport. His heart revolted ; 
he spread his mighty pinions and flew to the pigeon, say- 
ing, " Fear not ; innocence is on your side, and I will shel- 
ter you under my wings." But when the sportsmen beheld 
the royal bird spreading his wings over the pigeon, and 
heard him deride their attempts, they became exceedingly 
excited, and cried, " Look here, the eagle with the pigeon 
under his wing ! " and now began a more furious firing, 
and the poor pigeon was worse off than before, for the last 
danger was greater than the first. 

In this fable you see, my dear, my kind, for me sympa- 
thizing Tegner, my idea of how matters stand with my 
" Morning Watches," and with their radical reviewers, and 
how it would be, if you, in the criticism which you had in 
view, were to undertake the defense of my work. You 
say yourself, u Defiled we get, but that we are used to." 
True ! and the eagle need not mind what is thrown at 
him ; he has already soared too high to be reached by the 
low-minded, and he perches in peace upon his Alpine 
height. But the pigeon, the pigeon, which is still on 
the wing, which does not soar so high, she can be reached 
and hit, and even if this does not much impede her flight, 
her joy on the journey which she has begun, still, she can- 
not with indifference behold her wings soiled by impure 
hands. Oh, no, Tegner ! she must be glad the sooner the 
persecution ends, and she may forget it while she is bath- 
ing her plumage in some clear, purifying Bethesda water. 
And has not this been offered to me ? Oh, yes ! I find 
this Bethesda is my own conscience, in my joy at having 
acknowledged the Holy One before the children of men ; 
I find it in the public and private acknowledgment of many 
an honest and noble soul ; in the certainty that in my work, 
imperfect as it is, I have yet spoken words and thoughts 
which shall not have been spoken in vain ; which shall, 
like the " dandelion " plant, grow all the stronger for being 



234 LETTERS. 

trampled upon. All this comforts me. And, therefore, 
peace, peace, dear, good Tegner ! peace and not strife with 
the world ; at all events, not for my sake. I beseech you, 
peace ! 

Although in your review and in the verses which you 
dedicate to me, there are things, which, both for the sake 
of my own self-love, as well as for the truth and beauty of 
the thoughts, I would wish to see given to the public ; still 
the publication of them cannot now call forth the acknowl- 
edgment which they deserve ; because they are too nearly 
connected with things, whichj especially at this moment, 
would hide them from the eyes of the multitude. Later on, 
when people's minds have become more calm, this review 
will be gratefully felt and greeted with pleasure. 

You have asked for my sincere opinion, and I have 
given it according to my best and earnest convictions. 

TO MR . 

I am afraid that in our last conversation I have ex- 
pressed myself on some important points imperfectly, or 
in a manner easily misunderstood. Do not therefore feel 
displeased, if in a few words I attempt better to explain 
my meaning. I spoke of going to work only to pull down. 
I did not here, however, wish to speak of religion and its 
spirit. This, I believe, can as little be pulled down or 
attacked successfully, as the heart can be pulled out of a 
man's breast, if he shall continue to exist. No, I believe 
that as long as it beats, as long as a human eye exists here 
below to contemplate the wonders of the world and of the 
heavens, so long will the religious truths, which in all times 
have been dimly felt and have attained full consciousness 
in Christianity, live and work in mankind. But the forms, 
in which the human imagination has conceived them, can 
vary with it. Therefore I spoke of distinguishing between 
religion and the dogmas or doctrines in which these truths 
are embodied and have assumed a form. Not that the 



LETTERS. 235 

inner and the outer, the truth and the form, differ in prin- 
ciple. The dogmas of the Church can contain the purest, 
fullest truths, although many of them have become fixed in 
a manner and in phrases which no longer suit the more 
extended knowledge of mankind. This belongs to the 
nature of the shell, and to throw away with it the kernel, 
would be the same as throwing away the baby together 
with the water in which it has been bathing. Within the 
shell the fruit was fostered for a certain period, and when 
the shell bursts, it is in order that the fruit may appear in 
a more complete and purer ffcrm ; in a form more adequate 
to its life and truth. The most Christian and learned 
priests in the Evangelical Church amongst them the 
noble Neander in Berlin acknowledge openly the want 
of such a regeneration of the Church. But thjpy demand, 
and they are right, that one ought not to misunderstand, 
nor let the solid tenor of the dogmas volatilize, and that 
before creating new ones, one ought thoroughly and rightly 
to fathom the sense and essence of the Christian revela- 
tion. How strange the world would look, if one or the 
other dogma, one or the other article of our creed, was to 
be taken away : the experiment is not a new one in the 
world. During the French Revolution this was done 
thoroughly, by declaring all the Christian articles of faith 
invalid, and the soil, on which this was done, became incar- 
nadined with blood. The noble Condorcet, who, amongst 
all the French Naturalists, urged this doctrine to the utter- 
most, and endeavored to establish the hope of the perfecti- 
bility of mankind upon earth by means of arts and sciences, 
etc. etc., finished his career by suicide. But this anarchy 
in the realms of reason could not be of any long duration. 
The instant a calm moment set in, Robespierre decreed 
that " there exists a God." And soon again the old doc- 
trines asserted their right, as indestructible foundations of 
the nature of man and of the stability of society, purified in 
much from the old dross, but still in many points impure and 



236 LETTERS. 

dark. And why ? Probably because the process of purifi 
cation had, to a great extent, taken the character of demo 
lition, instead of caution. It is tolerably well acknowledged, 
that the cause hereof was lying quite as much in a faulty 
conception of the defenders of the old, as of the advocates 
of the new, doctrine. 

But now is it necessary that this experiment should 
be tried again? Surely you believe this as little as I do. 
What then was done, is done. New times and new means 
have come into the world. The regeneration which for- 
merly was effected by violent means, can now, ought now 
to be effected by peaceful means ; by the power of enlight- 
enment, of conviction, and of truth. For to these the minds 
of the people are open, and the press is a mighty engine to 
work upon, hearts and brains. But all its labor for the 
rights of man and for the regeneration of society, in that 
Christian sense which equalizes the conditions of men, and 
makes mankind brothers and sisters, will remain imperfect 
and lame, if it is torn away from the eternal principles 
upon which Christianity itself has based its doctrine of 
freedom and love ; and this, because these alone go to the 
bottom of the thing, and contain and exhaust the whole 
truth ; for they alone comprise " the laws and words of 
eternal life." What man of sense would plant branches in 
dry sand, instead of grafting them upon a living tree, where 
they can grow and live ; or who would erect a building 
without giving it a safe foundation ? But they appear to me 
to do this, who preach the moral and political doctrines of 
Christianity, while at the same time they contradict the 
principles out of which these emanate. 

But to plead for the former in the name of the latter, 
would be a task worthy a great reformer, and our times 
require to see such a one appear. A sense of the greatest 
want of mankind, a search into its inmost history and into 
its relation to the Christian revelation these will proba- 
bly be the most essential conditions for the success of his 



LETTERS. 237 

mission. But blessed be every one who paves the way for 
him in this spirit. And what subject can be more worthy 
of the attention of the acute thinker? Nowadays one 
hastens to point telescopes at every social phenomenon 
which occupies any tolerably broad historical base : upon the 
progress of journalism as well as upon that of communism 
and of others. And a phenomenon (I speak of the relig- 
ious doctrines) which manifests itself wheresoever society is 
formed, all over the earth, amongst all nations in all times 
what a subject for thought and for contemplation ! 

TO THE SAME. 

In taking the liberty of sending you herewith my little 
book, " Two Leaves from the Borders of the Rhine," I 
wish you to receive it as it is meant : the expression of a sin- 
cere and friendly disposition of mind. Besides, I wish you 
to peruse my trip to the Rhine, and that, in reference to the 
same, you would afford me an opportunity of saying a few 
words. It seemed to me as if you had only cursorily 
glanced at the manuscript, and that you had imagined to 
detect in it some polemical allusion to the political opinions 
which you entertain. Believe me, I havemot had an idea of 
any such thing. I could not have dreamt of it, as I myself 
embrace these opinions, in as far as they refer to the ever 
increasing advancement of liberty, of the people's more 
extensive share in legislation, and in other matters. My 
little pamphlet aims, besides an account of the Diaconess 
Institution of Kaiserswerth, at nothing but a faithful sketch 
of real circumstances and situations, such as they have been 
viewed I venture to say it by an honest and unpreju- 
diced mind. I have in my pamphlet merely changed 
names and accessories, as much as it was necessary, in 
order that some of the characters mentioned therein, might 
not be recognized. That in the pamphlet the Republican 
has been allowed to act a part not very advantageous to 
society, is nothing but a fact ; and in relating it I have not 



238 LETTERS. 

intended any Dolitical allusion. But if such a one should 
nevertheless be inferred, I am even willing to admit it in 
so far as I always consider the man of the extreme left, 
the ultra-Republican, to be dangerous to be followed, as a 
leader, by the people. My young friend at Marienberg 
did not belong to the moderate party, and you would your- 
self have been one of the foremost to endeavor to bring 
him to political reason. The position which I occupy in 
this little pamphlet, is no other than that which I have held 
in " Sister-life," and in my other writings, and which I 
should wish to improve more and more. It is a position 
above the parties ; one from which I will contemplate and 
acknowledge the humanly good and pure in the ultra-Re- 
publican, as well as in the ultra- Conservative ; amongst 
the Protestants, even if he were an adherent of Bruno 
Bauer's atheism and communism, as well as amongst the 
Catholics,* even if he were the most obdurate worshiper 
of the coat in Frier; and I would besides let opinions 
be valued at what they are worth, even if I should be 
obliged, in consequence of the imperative force of thought, 
to join one of them in preference. You have surely, 
more than many others, felt within you this imperative 
force of thought, and that is ..enough to know that others 
also must feel the same in the direction which they have 
taken. My meaning, however, is not that all these 
others are right in their views ; but they have a right to 
adhere to their belief and conviction, even if these are 
one-sided, until they are convinced of their one-sidedness, 
and can rise to a more liberal and more perfect conviction. 
That this can be the case, I believe, for I believe in an 
eternal right, an eternal reason, and in man's capacity to 
understand this, and in consequence to coincide in, and to 
settle, if not all controversies, at any rate, all bitter contro- 
versies. But nothing could contribute more effectually to 
attain the aim which we covet, than to keep this position 
above all parties, and to acknowledge willingly the rights 



LETTERS. 239 

and motives of others, wherever it can be done, while, with 
the whole energy of our mind, we endeavor to throw light 
upon the subjects under contention, and thus, by the inhe- 
rent power of truth and light, compel the antagonist to 
be converted, and amend his views when they are wrong. 
I do not know whether a writer who is the leader of a cer- 
tain party, can absolutely hold this point of view in which 
he acknowledges the good in an opponent and sees the 
wrong in the ultra, even if he belonged to his own party 
the impartial, the Christian point of view ; but I feel 
sure that he would infinitely promote the cause of a higher 
civilization and the interests for which he works, if he oc- 
cupies this position (because the acrimony of the opposi- 
tion would thereby become softened), while, with all the 
power of political penetration, tact, etc., which are at his 
command, and which he ought preeminently to possess, he 
would throw light upon the political arena. He would be- 
come irresistible, unconquerable, if in his political phalanx 
he were to enroll this higher system of politics aye, made 
it the commander-in-chief of his army. 

Listen to me one moment, as you have done once before 
on serious subjects. Surely your own sister could not 
approach you in a more sincere and friendly spirit than I 
do at this moment. It is therefore that I request you to 
grant me a moment's hearing, and also I confess it 
because I feel that I have something to tell you, which 
ought not to be rejected. See herein only a proof of the 
confidence which I have in you ; of the weight and the 
value which I attach to your activity for our beloved native 
country, for letter-writing is not my weakness, least of all 
when it requires any great exertion of thought. I would 
rather be silent, if it were not that now and then something 
within me compels me to speak out, at all events to per- 
sons in whose head and heart I feel confidence. 

In my little pamphlet upon Marienberg and Kaisers- 
werth, I have shown the contrast between two convictions : 



240 LETTERS. 

the one, which, disengaged from its eternal foundation, be- 
lieves in nothing beyond this life and hopes nothing after 
death; the other, that which believes, hopes, loves, and 
lives in Christ. I have shown this, because I saw and 
found it so in the places and amongst the people of whom 
I speak ; and I have also done it because this opinion is 
rooted in my inmost conviction. And I would rather allow 
my right hand to be cut off, than cease, directly or indi- 
rectly, to point out to man the only true road to happiness, 
and to show him the darkness and danger which he will 
have to encounter on the contrary road. 

We observe the latter in the national agitations of the 
present day. These, in themselves, are not for evil. No, 
they are for good ; they are necessary ; they are the rising 
of the oppressed million to civil rights, to the participation 
in all the privileges and obligations which make man a re- 
sponsible being, a citizen, and which belong to him in his 
quality of man ; this is the entrance of Christianity upon 
the political territory. But the barbarity, the bloodshed, 
and the confusion, by which the ideas, manifested in such 
agitations, assert themselves, are certainly not the acts of 
Christianity. The unwise and irritating opposition has 
much to answer for in this ; but an equally great responsi- 
bility rests with the unwise demagogues ; they, who, like 
Bruno Bauer, Griin, and others, try to establish the princi- 
ple that, in order to solve satisfactorily the world's enigma, 
one need only " Gott ganz wegzustreichen ; " who thereby 
exempt man from all higher responsibility, making him the 
sport of his own passions, or giving him up to the leaders, 
who understand, cleverly enough, how to avail themselves 
of them. Miigge has therefore very logically said : " Das 
Volk ist die todte Masse; die grossen Geister sind die, 
welche es regieren." What this would ultimately lead to, 
ought to be easily seen by every person, with a' good and 
clear head, who would take the trouble thoroughly to sift 
the matter. But history has in our days taken upon her- 



LETTERS. 241 

self to record this in letters of blood. Laborers and arti- 
sans, who believe in God, in his providence and in his 
retributive laws, will not drench the cities in blood. Chris- 
tian people will not torture their victims, and call down 
upon their own heads and upon their country a sanguinary 
reaction and civil war. They will insist upon the claims to, 
political rights which have been awakened in their breast, 
and they will also, if necessity should compel them, fight 
for them ; but they will also know how to pray, and how 
to wield the sword of intellect, instead of that of force. 
Compelled by the nature of my own mind, which wants to 
see things in their inmost necessity, I have asked myself: 
Is it not necessary that atheists, such as Helvetius, Thomas 
Paine, Strauss, Bruno Bauer, and others like them, should 
exist ? Is it not ordained by the eternal laws and plans of 
Providence, that they should exist and speak? And 1 
have been obliged to answer Yes ! Yes, it lies in the na- 
ture of thought that it should develop itself, even to the 
utmost extremes. Only thereby can they be combated and . 
vanquished. The thinking atheist serves God as much as 
he who acknowledges Him, although in a different way ; 
the former, as the negation over which affirmation must 
advance, in order to gain corroboration ; and the latter, as 
this affirmation itself. The former might therefore be 
looked upon as the martyr of the idea, and of the thought,, 
if he were not deficient in that which constitutes the great- 
ness of the martyr, namely : temporarily to perish, while 
the eternal truth, for which which he fought, shines in 
greater glory, watered by his blood, blessing mankind, 
which will ultimately acknowledge in the martyr their 
hero and benefactor. But the demagogues of the extreme 
left, in point of religion as well as of politics, of whom I 
have spoken, shall perish many of them probably in the 
earthquake which they have called forth without being 
able to say : " I fall in defense of the highest truths, as the 

servant of God and of mankind, and my work shall remain 

16 



242 LETTERS. 

as a blessing to the world when I have left the arena." 
They shall not be able to say this ; for the goblet of liberty 
which they offered to the nations, contained poison. 
Perhaps they knew it not ; they may be morally irrespon- 
sible, but unhappy and unwise I must call them. 

I have said that they must exist as actors in that life, 
and those ideas which develop themselves in history. But 
why should I then speak and fight against them ? I do it 
in the conviction that this moment may be more transitory 
and more easily overcome, in proportion as its representa- 
tives become fewer in number and more insignificant. 
Certain it is, that the more life's central powers become 
strengthened (I mean here those which place earthly de- 
velopment in immediate connection with the eternal idea 
which is its foundation), the more quietly will the develop- 
ment of society progress towards liberty and happiness ; 
the more will the extremes of u right " and " left " be weak- 
ened, and become more harmless and vanishing accidents. 

One acknowledges pretty generally in the camp of the 
liberals, that the development of liberty and universal cit- 
izenship, which now causes society to ferment, has its foun- 
dation in the doctrine, revealed by Christianity, of men's 
equality before God. It has been said that this is Chris- 
tianity's origin in political life, and that Christianity ought 
to become political. I grant this with all my heart. But 
how does it become so ? Why, by grafting the lower, the 
earthly politics, upon the higher (the branch upon the 
tree), and by proving its foundation to lie in the eternal, 
immortal idea, whose doctrine we call Christianity. Only 
thereby can it grow in strength and freshness, and escape the 
fate of those branches which are planted in loose sand, and 
which, though fresh in the beginning, soon become withered. 

Richert and Geyer and also Torsten Rudenskold in 
his way have in our country shown how this lower and 
higher policy can be connected ; how the former cannot be 
consistently imagined without the latter ; and the greatest 



LETTERS. 243 

thinker of our day, Hegel, has proved in his work, " Die 
Philosophic der Religion," how all the powerful thoughts, 
which now are uttered, claiming as a right national liberty, 
equity, justice to all, have their foundation and definition 
only in God, as manifested in Christ. But from this follows 
also, that every development of liberty, which is not con- 
scious of this its foundation, or which is reactionary against 
the same, must miss the aim which it strives for, or bring 
forth weeds amongst the wheat to such an extent as easily 
to destroy it all. 

I once heard you express the fear, that Sweden was des- 
tined, as a nation, to sink under, or merge into, the larger 
continental powers. I believe that this might come to 
pass, if it were possible to extinguish in the breasts of the 
people that belief in God, in His eternal laws, in the per- 
sonal responsibility of the individual in a word, that be- 
lief in a heaven, which is earth's greatest strength, and 
which hitherto has made the little, the poor Sweden's 
greatness and power. If it holds fast to this root of its 
life and its will, it must continue to exist, although it may 
stand behind in much of the industrial development which 
constitutes the wealth of other countries. But I do not 
think that this belief in God can be eradicated in Sweden. 
But it can be weakened or strengthened, and it may de- 
pend upon this, whether the social development, towards 
which we are now progressing, will be egotistical and san- 
guinary, or will be founded upon love's free and liberty- 
giving life. 

TO BARON VON BRINCKMAN. 

I thank you very much, my dear Baron, for having af- 
forded me an opportunity of trying to explain my views on 
the Fine Arts as a part of life. You have yourself made the 
remark, that it is the " writing laziness," which is the cause 
why we so often rest contented with our half-thoughts with- 
out knowing their incompleteness. This incompleteness is 



244 LETTERS. 

not discovered until our thoughts are to be ranged in rank 
and file, and not until then can they be placed in regular 
order. And in now going to march up my recruits, I must 
request the experienced general experienced on the field 
of fine arts whenever it is required, to give the words of 
command : halt ! right ! left ! 

If yesterday my words should have made you believe, 
my dear Baron, that I do not understand how to appreciate 
the happiness of the collector of works of art, I should be 
very sorry, because they must then have been more stupid 
than myself. I only wanted to express a way of feeling, 
individual to myself, and with reference only to my own 
life. The indescribable enjoyment which I derive from 
works of art, the higher life which I feel while wandering 
about in your museum, must be the best interpreters of 
what I think of the influence of the fine arts upon happi- 
ness, and of the life of the collector. That, notwithstand- 
ing this, I shall never be a collector of works of art, nor, 
like you, surround myself with visible productions of art, 
is owing to reasons which I do not wish to explain. I will 
only say this much, that any thing having money value will 
not long remain in my possession not even a medal 
awarded by the Swedish Academy. Offer me fifty rix dol- 
lars for any thing, except for a warm cloak, and it is yours 
at once. Nevertheless, my dear Baron, I adore art, and 
walk through life allow me to say it with humble joy as 
a novice in art. Of every thing which I experience in life ; 
which I enjoy and suffer ; and which I perceive in man, in 
nature, in my own soul of all this I endeavor with love 
to comprehend the meaning and essence, according to my 
best understanding, and to form out of it a clearer and 
more perfect image of life with its power, that is to say, a 
group, in which God, man, and things, live together in har- . 
mony. This I would wish to call, the art of life. This 
seems to me to belong to every intelligent person, and 
without this art I do not understand life, neither here on 



LETTERS. 245 

earth nor beyond it. It is my sincere belief, that the Eter- 
nal Architect of the universe has auditories and laboratories 
enough, and models also, to prevent the divine exercise of 
this culture from ever dying but amongst the thinking and 
feeling spirits. Artists, in the sense now alluded to, I would 
call not only him who creates aesthetic works of art, but 
also the honest man who lives according to strict and pure 
principles, and the good man whose life is devoted to pure 
sacrifices of love. He creates his world out of the genius 
of the heart. These are human artists, as well as Shakes- 
peare, Goethe, and Schiller. 

I have mentioned Goethe, and this name calls up before 
my imagination the world of art, par excellence; reality 
embodied in beautiful forms, comprehensible to our out- 
ward senses in its reality, in its truth. I have never been 
able to understand the contrast, which so many and 
amongst others Schiller speak of, in reality and poetry. 
It is this innermost reality of life, of existence, of things, 
which to me appear the romance of poetry, and this poe- 
try but how to express the unfathomable has seemed to 
me to be a sound, a power, a spiritual essence ; something 
eternal, living, life-giving ; something of God ; something 
which reveals Him within as well as without us. Ah ! it is 
in such meetings, when the lyre of the poet resounds invol- 
untarily ; when the Eros-image is born within the poet's 
joy-inspired bosom ; when even the Paul's power stands 
speechless, only to be born anew, glorified, because he has 
beheld God. The artist does not then invent, he only con- 
ceives in a certain form the eternally living, eternally ex- 
isting. Life, in its highest moments, is called " inspira- 
tion." In these moments the image of a God is born ; it 
is inspiration ; it is inborn. 

Goethe's life appears to me to be one of the richest, most 
perfect artist-lives. Up to his last moments his Genius 
stood beside him. His making signs with his finger in the 
air, when' his tongue had refused to speak, this last at- 



246 LETTERS. 

tempt of the earthly organ to create, is beautifully touch- 
ing. These signs appear to me as a sacred signature to his 
closed career, so near the confines of a new one. Oh ! he 
has not finished yet, the glorious one. Art is eternal ! 

The artist's different tasks faithfully to copy reality in 
its e very-day dress ; to reveal it in its ideal form ; to copy 
its details ; to form a whole out of many parts have often 
been the subject of my thoughts. It has appeared to me 
that no work of art can be beautiful in the highest sense 
of the word, unless the beautiful form is based upon an 
eternal, divine truth. Then shall Milton's " Paradise 
Lost " stand higher than all the works of Byron ; " La Ma- 
donna di San Sisto " be worth more than the Laocoon 
group ; Fogelberg's " Oden " the personification of power 
and wisdom more than Hogarth's paintings. For the 
beautiful, as well as for the good, I would wish to have a 
Jacob's ladder with an endless number of steps reaching 
from earth up to heaven ; but the lower ones ought to be 
prized as well as the highest. To value all, enjoy all, do 
justice to all therein, I see the greatest happiness and an 
enviable faculty. 

I have not yet told you what I think of the life of a col- 
lector of works of art. But I have said that it is a happy 
life. It is a social life in its noblest form : he associates 
with what life has most noble and most valuable, were it 
only not in things ! You see, my dear Baron, herein lies 
one of the reasons which makes me incapable of becoming 
a collector, and which has determined my taste for a life 
a la Diogene. With every trifling toy we forge another 
little chain, which fetters us to earth. 

But I will not tire you any longer. I am a beginner, 
although old in years, and my endeavors to unriddle my- 
self cannot be pleasant to others. 



LETTERS. 247 

TO MR. GEORGE A * 

STOCKHOLM, 29th March, 1844. 

DEAR SIR, The doubts which you have imparted to me, 
in consequence of the public appeal made by me to the 
women of Sweden to labor for the establishment of a 
Refuge for neglected children, gives me an opportunity of 
discussing thoroughly with you a subject so much deserv- 
ing of consideration, and so dear to my heart. I thank 
you for this, and while I look upon it as an agreeable duty 
to reply to your objections, I shall endeavor, where I can- 
not satisfactorily solve your doubts, to take a road on 
which we both, perhaps, with our united efforts, may find 
an exit out of the labyrinth ; a point of rest for our inquir- 
ing, hesitating spirits. 

That you should have seen in my appeal something else 
and something more than merely an inducement to a col- 
lection, an activity for some special purpose for this, your 
way of seeing and understanding things in general, and 
your letter to me, are a sufficient warrant. My more imme- 
diate object has been to call forth or to rouse the con- 
sciousness of social life and worth in woman's life and 
sphere of activity, considered in a Christian and social 
point of view ; I wanted to infuse a fresher life into the 
public spirit in this sphere, and to do it with a breath of 
Christianity's holy spirit. The invitation, which some la- 
dies, with whom I am personally unacquainted, have ad- 
dressed to me, to apply to the women of Sweden in favor 
of a " Refuge and Reformatory," I at once availed myself 
of as a welcome opportunity for expressing thoughts, the 
inmost aim of which goes beyond the immediate visible 
and stated purpose, and the seed of which I hope will 
strike root and grow like the grain hidden in the earth. It 
is not now my intention to speak of these more extensive 
views. I have appealed to the motherly element in society 
to feel, think, labor more largely, and above all, to take 



248 LETTERS. 

care of the destitute children ; to save them, and, at the 
same time, to insure the future of our native country, in as 
far as this is dependent upon them. It is this more imme- 
diate, practical purpose, which here and there calls forth 
agitations and echoes, which I also would have wished to 
have seen revealed in another way. But they may perhaps 
be allowed without inconvenience to resound, and as far as 
their power goes, to strike the chords or expire. 

The superfluous will adjust itself, and from under the 
perishable flowers a really fresh, life-giving stream of spring 
water may gush forth. 

The before mentioned purpose, warmly advocated by 
many, has, however, amongst several earnest people of 
both sexes, raised some scruples, which I also find stated 
in your letter. Let us therefore speak of the rescue of the 
destitute children, and of the " Refuge and Reformatory " as 
a means to this end. Some of your objections against the 
same, especially with respect to the depraved children, and 
their seclusion in a separate Institution, may be best met 
by a little historical sketch of the origin of the " Reforma- 
tory " in Stockholm. 

In the year 1813, when Major Venus was Superintend- 
ent of the House of Correction here in Stockholm, several 
boys from twelve to sixteen years of age, were imprisoned 
in it for various crimes committed by them. The author- 
ities were uncertain what to do with them, as it was 
considered dangerous to let them remain at large, with 
their evil propensities, in a world where they found 
no more protection or guidance than the birds in the 
air. In the course of his conversation with these boys, 
the Superintendent began to perceive that their misfor- 
tune might have been prevented, if they, instead of being 
driven out of their homes, in consequence of the vices or 
misfortunes of their parents, had been early taken care of 
by the charity of society, and properly trained ; and that 
they might still be saved from utter ruin, if placed under 



LETTERS. 249 

parental care in a separate Institution, where they could be 
made, as it were, new beings. Major Venus accordingly 
appealed to the public, through the " Dagligt Allehanda " 
newspaper, for the establishment of such an Institution. 
The Bishop Wallin, and Mr. Wannquist, the Chief of the 
Police in Stockholm, examined and approved of the plan ; 
but it was not until several years afterwards, or until the 
birth of Prince Carl in 1826, that these two gentlemen 
came forward and placed themselves at the head of the en- 
terprise, and this so successfully, that the " Reformatory " 
soon was established, and opened for a great many unfor- 
tunate children, whose number in the capital had increased 
year after year. In the beginning, both neglected and de- 
praved children (or children publicly known as vicious, and 
punished as such) were placed together in one and the 
same Institution. But soon it became apparent that their 
separation would be necessary. The depraved children, 
comparatively few in number, stood branded amongst 
those who were only neglected, and had always to hear or to 
feel from their thoughtless little comrades the reproach, 
" This you have done." Besides, the Cain's mark was only 
too distinctly stamped upon their forehead. They were 
also, after having undergone their punishment, and when 
they were handed over by the police to the Institution, 
found to be so depraved, that they not only corrupted the 
innocent ones, but also became highly dangerous to the 
" Reformatory," in which a stop was put to their idleness 
and vices, which roused their revengeful spirit, and their 
desire cost what it would to free themselves from the 
discipline of the Institution, in order to continue their 
former dissolute life. It was therefore found necessary to 
establish a separate " Reformatory " for these boys, which 
in its exterior became a kind of prison, but which in its 
interior was organized so as to afford them all the advanta- 
ges of a home, and of a moral and religious education. Of 
ten boys who have gone out of this " Reformatory," nine 



250 LETTERS. 

have hitherto remained good : several of them are in cor- 
respondence with their former teacher and friend, and only 
one has again fallen into evil courses. 

In large cities it is necessity which compels the estab- 
lishment of a " Refuge and Reformatory." A fact presents 
itself there, which cannot be ignored : there exists a fallen 
race, whose numerous offspring grows up to become a 
plague-sore to society. Ought we to let them grow up thus ? 
I say " No ! " Instead of the fallen race, we ought to foster 
a better and a more healthy one. Or, how is the evil to be 
attacked at the root? The number of wicked people's 
unfortunate offspring is increased by children who are too 
many in the home of honest but poor parents, or who by 
death have lost their natural protectors and support, and 
are consequently thrown upon the world to shift for them- 
selves. 

There are, therefore, and with an increasing population, 
there will probably always be found destitute children in 
sufficient numbers to make such a Refuge necessary in its 
first form. Possibly its later division may be gradually 
dispensed with through the efficacy of the former. 

I shall now proceed to the second point in your letter : 

" Let us grant the necessity and the use of separate Re- 
formatory Institutions may we perhaps not get too many 
of them ? Have we considered in all its parts what such 
an Institution really is, and what children ought to be its 
objects ? Have we formed a distinct idea of the difference 
between a Reformatory and a Boarding School ? " . . . . 
These questions require to be more thoroughly weighed, 
and they will no doubt be so now, when the attention of the 
public has been directed to the chief object, and the public 
mind is alive to it. 

The indispensableness of a Refuge and Reformatory 
seems to be a settled thing. The number of these Institu- 
tions, the locality where, and the manner how, they are to 
be established, must depend upon the want thereof, and 



LETTERS. 251 

upon local circumstances, which may be different in each 
province of the country. The knowledge hereof, and a 
clear idea of the meaning with, and the purpose of, such an 
Institution, must decide the question. 

One may also imagine this establishment to be at work 
where no Refuge, properly so called, does exist. It then 
forms a part of the invisible church, and can, like the visi- 
ble church, be found in every congregation. 

There, where the Refuge stands forth as an independent 
Institution, having its own government, its nearer relation 
to society and to the other establishments for relief and 
education becomes a matter of importance to decide, and 
the question then touches in the first instance the inner 
organization, system of working, and the object of the Insti- 
tution. 

With reference to older depraved children, it appears to 
me that one cannot hesitate. For them the Reformatory 
must have, above all, a moral tendency. It must then be 
an educational institution. It becomes to the young person 
every thing or nothing. The State must here, for the sake 
of its own good and for its own security, meet the prodigal 
son, as did the father in the gospel. Mercy must there go 
before Justice. 

The case is different with regard to merely neglected or 
younger children. The security of the State and the good 
of the children do not require unconditionally that in the 
House of Refuge they should receive a complete moral and 
physical education ; because, even without it, they can be 
saved, and become good and useful members of society. 
Therefore we ought here to consider the important ques- 
tion, concerning the moral injustice which would be done 
in society, if the children of bad parents, by being admitted 
into the House of Refuge, were to be better provided for, 
and if better prospects for the future were to be opened for 
them, than for the children of honest but poor parents. 
This question is of the greatest importance, and I beg of 



252 LETTERS. 

you to consider it with me, and try to discover the point at 
which the influence of the House of Refuge would become 
combined with the moral justice which is the foundation 
of virtue and of society, and which ordains that man shall 
be responsible for his actions, that " as he sows so shall 
he reap." 

The House of Refuge for neglected children in Stock- 
holm is, at the same time, an educational institution. More 
than one hundred children are educated there at present, 
and provided for from their eighth year until, when they 
have been confirmed, they enter into service, which the 
Directors of the Institution procure for them. 

They very easily find employment, because these unusu- 
ally clever and well-taught children are much in request. 
All this is well and good ; but the greater number of these 
have come out of the abodes of vice and neglect. Here 

o 

appears the moral injustice, and this seems to me so dan- 
gerous in its consequences in general, that, having been 
led by thinking people seriously to weigh this matter in my 
mind, I have taken the liberty to submit to the Directors, 
whether the House of Refuge ought not properly to be 
considered as a central depot for these children, into which 
they should be received and taken care of during the 
earliest part of their misery, which often is so great, that, 
being previously nearly starved, they can in the beginning, 
only with difficulty bear food ; and from which depot they 
may afterwards, as soon as convenient, be transplanted into 
the country amongst peasants and small farmers, against 
some moderate remuneration, by which means not only the 
child would cost scarcely half of what it now costs the Insti- 
tution ; but the Institution would be enabled to admit a 
much greater number of children ; besides which the still 
more important advantage would be gained, that the chil- 
dren would be placed in the same condition of life, would 
become inured to the same toil, and would have the same 
prospects for the future as poor people's children in gen- 
eral in Sweden. 



LETTERS. 253 

The moral injustice would in this way be, to a great ex- 
tent, counteracted. Besides, one would avoid the danger 
of getting, as it is the case now, a superfluity of artisans 
and mechanics, whereas the healthy and useful class of 
country people and agriculturists would increase, which in 
our country is considered to be very advantageous. I 
have been answered : " Your project is very judicious ; 
but in that case the House of Eefuge ceases to be a moral 
House of Refuge it is then placed on the same footing 
as the Orphan Asylum ; it becomes merely an extension 
of the same ; and see what is the fate of those children 
who are taken out of it and placed with other people. 
Do not a great number of them become utterly lost in 
the hands of their greedy foster-parents, who do not care 
for them ? Nor does any body know how they are trained 
morally. Therefore, first to admit the children and then 
to plant them out, would not be to save them." 

Notwithstanding these objections, I cannot help thinking 
that this method would be the best and the right one; if 
we consider the matter at large. The dangerous conse- 
quences, which you allude to, might be guarded against to 
a great extent by a strict surveillance. This surveillance 
could best be kept up by the clergy in the respective con- 
gregations ; but I allow that the thing has its difficulties. 1 

Some part of the moral injustice of which we have 
spoken, may be avoided by means of the principles which 
are followed in selecting the children which are to be ad- 
mitted into the House of E-efuge. In Stockholm this has 
been actually done in this way : that the Directors in the 

1 The plan suggested as above, was a few years ago adopted by the Di- 
rectors of the House of Refuge, who, after having purchased an island of 
considerable extent, situated at a distance of about five and twenty English 
miles from Stockholm, entered into a contract with the peasants and farm- 
ers living on the same, according to which they engaged themselves, on the 
payment of a fixed sum, each to receive, educate, and to instruct in agricult- 
ure, one or more children of the House of Refuge, under the supervision of 
the manager of the principal estate on the island. This arrangement has 
proved very beneficial to the children. EDITOR'S REMARK. 



254 LETTERS. 

first instance admit orphans, destitute in every respect, and 
then children of honest, industrious people, when these 
have fallen into misery and are prevented by illness from 
providing for all their children. In general, these parents 
can only with the greatest difficulty be prevailed upon to 
give up their children. In most instances they prefer to 
starve and to suffer any thing, rather than to part with their 
children. 

Meanwhile, there is no doubt that the greatest number 
of the children in the House of Refuge come from the 
abodes of vice and recklessness. An important question 
remains therefore always to be put to the House of Refuge 
(in whatever way it may arrange with regard to the chil- 
dren and their future), namely : does it not encourage reck- 
lessness and indolence ? 

In reply it may be, asked : would there be less reckless- 
ness and indolence if the House of Refuge did not exist? 
I do not believe this. If the former had not been so prev- 
alent throughout society, the latter would not have been 
wanted or been established. But this question has roots 
lying far deeper. What else is the House of Refuge than 
a branch of the universal tree of charity, which has grown 
out of Christianity ? At every new contrivance for the 
assistance or the saving of mankind, we have heard the 
warning repeated to us : " The more you assist, the more 
you call forth distress ; the more zeal you manifest to 
save, the more you encourage recklessness, and weaken 
the power and the desire of people to help themselves. 
Why should the sinner be more cared for than the just? 
By this lax love you make sin abound." All this seems 
to be true ; the dangers pointed at, seem to be a natural 
consequence. The warners, who thus complain, we find 
represented in the gospel in the brother of the prodigal 
son, at whose return the father prepares a feast ; and also 
in the first hour's laborers in the vineyard, who complain 
that the workers of the eleventh hour receive equal wages 



LETTERS. 255 

* 

with those " which have borne the burden and heat of the 
day." I confess that this complaint always troubles my 
heart, because it appears to me to be so reasonable, but the 
answer which they receive, to be less so. 

Well now : either Christ is wrong, and all those are in the 
wrong who, inspired by His spirit, have preached through 
the world with words and deeds His helping and saving 
gospel, or the matter has a much deeper meaning, and un- 
der the seeming injustice a deeper justice is hidden. If it 
is so, this justice must also develop itself to a higher good, 
to a more perfect order, founded upon the highest justice. 

And what we see now, can be compared to the pertur- 
bations which Newton discovered with anxiety in the solar 
system, but which was in reality only a transition to that 
order, where every thing is again restored to its proper orbit 
and place. 

If we contemplate the nature of the world-evolution, 
which Christianity has caused, we shall find that it consists 
in a sinking down of the higher to the lower, which the 
higher attracts, after having filled it with its power, its life, 
that it consists in the extension of the participation of 
all mankind in all the gifts of heaven and of earth ; the 
participation of all in the same bread and the same wine. 
Thus the phenomenon of the regeneration of the world 
manifests itself, even in our days, in the stir of the political 
life of the free, living nations, amongst which we with pride 
can number our own. Here the question is of a deeper 
justice than the outward, more common one ; here the 
question is of a justice founded upon a great love. This 
love wishes, in the first instance, to neutralize every injus- 
tice and ruggedness of chance, to remedy all that pre- 
vents mankind to stand one day before his Creator as one 
perfect man, created after His image, and in whom all indi- 
viduals are like brothers and sisters, like children of one 
father. This love of mankind, inspired by a grand idea, 
goes therefore forth upon its divine mission, often setting 



256 LETTERS. 

aside ordinary systems of justice, regardless of its contin- 
gent irregularities, which seem to be the consequences of 
its activity ; for this love knows and feels within itself that 
it alone is able, in accomplishing its orbit, to adjust all in a 
higher order ; that it alone can ultimately " stop the evil on 
earth." 

The labors of love manifest themselves herein in two di- 
rections. The one has for aim to lighten pain ; to atone 
for errors, to obviate the consequences or to help to bear 
them : the other aims at enlightening the understanding ; 
to strengthen knowledge, and to encourage by conferring 
a share in noble privileges and duties. Both unite in 
taking an active part in ennobling and making others 
happy. When the more favored ones on earth thus lower 
themselves to the destitute, or the fallen, they must neces- 
sarily eventually communicate to them the mind and the 
power which they possess themselves, and in thus lowering 
themselves, they can raise their fallen brothers to the step 
of moral worth upon which they themselves are standing, 
and become their saviours and the saviours of society. The 
remedy against the momentary disorder, therefore, lies in 
accomplishing the evolution, not in restraining it. 

If now all this should be so, and I believe it is so, then 
do not let us fear the movements which originate in warm 
feelings, in devout faith. They have in all times been life's 
prophets ; they hold in their hand the divining-rod, which 
points out life's hidden springs. Let them become free ; 
but let the methodical thought follow them faithfully, light 
them on their way, and give them the watchword to their 
presentiments. Let wisdom guide the loving will, and 
point out the way, prudently to promote the good cause. 

My letter has unconsciously swelled into a treatise. It 
would frighten me, did I not hope that my kind reader 
would also herein see my earnest wish to answer his ques- 
tions and doubts to the best of my ability. 



LETTERS. 257 

TO MR. S. H . 

STOCKHOLM, 16th December, 1853. 

I cannot let the old year close without sending you, my 

young friend in my thanks for your letter of the 

15th of October, together with my warmest congratulations 
on your betrothal to an amiable young lady, and through it 
to your near connection with a gentleman so estimable and 

so esteemed as . I had certainly heard this betrothal 

already mentioned by report, but the confirmation thereof 
reached me only through your letter. It gave me sincere 
pleasure to hear that report had spoken the truth, for noth- 
ing is so beneficial, nothing so develops a good, noble- 
minded young man and contributes to settle him, as his 
union with a young woman of genuine female worth. 

In a profound and divine manner two such natures per- 
fect themselves in their dependence on each other, while 
they in love reflect in each other the profound and the 
good which they individually possess, revealing treasures 
hitherto hidden to themselves, and a new spiritual life 
through the union of their souls, creating a reality and full- 
ness of life of which before they had only a dim presenti- 
ment, but which they never had felt. I speak here only of 
the perfect union between two souls in love or in friendship, 
for these two come very near each other. May you in your 
wedlock find a happiness which I have also learnt to feel 
in happy and sincere friendship, but of which now only 
the memory is left. Those whom I have thus loved, and 
by whom I was thus loved myself are all dead. But to 
have thus loved, to have thus lived, is an unspeakable 
blessing. We know then what heaven is, and we believe 
then in its eternal reality. There lives then in our heart, 
in our inmost soul, a spot perpetually green, where fount- 
ains well forth, where roses are blooming a peaceful 
oasis, where an eternal summer is reigning, and to which 
we can fly in darker moments as to our proper home. For 
17 



258 LETTERS. 

if we have once found such a home in anothei s soul, then 
every thing discordant which chanced to come between us, 
wa^ a mere fleeting cloud in a bright sky ; if we once have 
felt such a deep union with another being that nothing in 
the world could shake its sincerity ; if we have felt that we 
belonged to one another eternally from a deep, divine 
necessity, then we can let much ih this life come and go as 
it will ; can lose much, suffer much, and yet be tranquil, 
still have enough, and still thank God for immeasurable 
wealth in the confidence of our heart. 

May it be thus with you ! 

I might be willing to accede to your views, relating to a 
new legislation with respect to matrimony, 1 if you could 
convince me that the children's fate would thereby become 
in a measure as much secured, or that it would not be more 
exposed to chance and to neglect than is now the case. If 
we contemplate man, such as he is in general on earth and 
in society, we find clearly that it is not good to trust to his 
inspirations. 

Caprice and passion play too prominent a part therein ; 
they frequently overrule his better conscience, and would 
probably do this effectually, if he had not in the higher 
conscience of humanity, and in the laws which pronounce 
and represent the same, a friendly monitor and a judge, 
who prevent him from becoming the slave of the tyranny 
of selfish passions. It is no doubt clear that the judicial 
ties in matrimony are the means at the disposal of society 
for protecting the life and the future of the weak and help- 
less (the wife and children) against the husband's or the 
parent's neglect, or their disregard of their duties. And 
the interposition of the clergyman, in the name of the 
church or of religion, in order to unite man or woman, is 
merely the visible expression of the inward truth and aim 
which alone can make the union between man and woman 

1 These views appear to have referred to the so-called civil marriage, 
without the cooperation of the clergy for its legal institution. 



LETTERS. 259 

something really noble and sacred. It was a sacred union 
previous to the act performed by the clergyman ; but peo- 
ple would either not consider this, or forget it, if the Church 
did not give to the inward law a form and a word which 
express its sacredness, and become a tie only because they 
represent what most ought to unite man and wife. Geijer 
said once : " Love wants to be backed by duty ; " and 
another time : " One speaks of love as something stag- 
nant, and yet no love can be imagined without metamor- 
phoses." Look round in the world, and ask yourself how 
many men would continue to be a faithful husband and 
father, if, during the fluctuations of his love, he had not a 
support in duty and in public moral opinion (the offspring 
of duty) ; if, during the metamorphoses of his life of love, 
a sacred law did not lead to a normal development. 

The Society of Friends, who have rejected all outward 
laws, and appeal to the inward law, the inner voice, as the 
only rule of conduct, have yet presupposed that this inner 
law must be valid for all, and upon it they found their 
unions. Thus, for instance, in weddings, the contracting 
parties declare before the congregation that they purport 
living together as husband and wife, and this is sufficient to 
consecrate the marriage. But the discipline of feelings, of 
thoughts, and of the whole course of life, is so severe from 
early childhood amongst the Society of Friends, that public 
opinion is more binding for them than are the forms of 
law and of the Church for us, and they lead with them to 
the same end. That persons before they bring children 
into the world ought well to weigh the importance of such 
a step, and of the duties which belong to it, this, one would 
think, is the claim of sound morality and of experience. 
Therefore also it is that one gives the name of illegitimate 
to the union which disregards this higher aim of marriage. 
That the children should suffer for this as illegitimate is 
unjust as far as they are concerned, but how can this be 
avoided ? It is the fault of the parents, and the sins of the 



260 LETTERS. 

parents must always, to a certain degree, be visited upon 
the children. Society cannot relinquish its idea of pure 
morality. But charity, which is the crown of society, 
adheres less severely to this idea, and takes therefore the 
wronged ones in its supporting arms. This is done every 
day, partly through private charities and partly by public 
wise institutions. 

How often, in the present time, when after the ravages 
of the cholera, inquiries have been made into the condition 
of the children of the poorer classes, have not fathers been 
found, who have shaken off every care of their offspring, and 
who have succeeded herein, as they could not be bound to 
it by any certificate of lawful marriage. Several of these 
abandoned little ones have been taken care of by our 
" Ladies' Association." But you will one day, perhaps, be 
yourself a father, and although I am fully aware that your 
heart is to you a power more binding than ^11 outward 
legal forms, still, in looking at your children, you may prob- 
ably feel yourself, in your character of father, also in the 
position of society ; and you will then, in the name of the 
parental society, demand the assistance both of the laws and 
of the clergyman in order to secure the moral and economical 
guardianship over the rising generation. If this guardian- 
ship could be extended so as to protect also the innocent 
so-called illegitimate little ones, it would be still better. 

But I have too long detained you on this subject. I 
agree fully and most heartily with you in regard to the 
question of woman's majority, and I see the only safe 
guarantee for a better future of the rising generation, in 
woman's moral and social elevation amongst all classes. 
My remaining days shall be devoted to labor for this end, 
as far as in my power lies. In the second and third 
volume of my work, " The Homes in the New World," 
you will see my opinions and my thoughts on this subject. 
Christmas is at the door with its darkness, and will soon 
come with all its lights. The Stockholm " Ladies' Associa- 



LETTERS. 261 

tion " intends during this festive time to let every home, 
in which misery and death have been guests during the 
epidemic, shine, in the name of the great Physician, joy- 
ously and more richly than ever before. This Association 
intends likewise to distribute books for children, by native 
authors, and will try to edit a special Swedish child's litera- 
ture. Perhaps I shall be able to send you next Christmas 
a budget of this kind of literature for children, for a little 
son or a little daughter in your house. 

Hearty wishes of joy and happiness, and all good this 
year and every year from your old friend, 

FREDKIKA BREMER. 

TO THE SAME. 

STOCKHOLM, 7th February, 1854. 

It is high time that I should thank you with a few words 
for your friendly letter, and especially for the sincere and 
warm sympathy which you manifest for the condition of my 
sex. You say that many an unmarried, middle-aged woman 
would have a fresher and purer mind if she had a child 
which could be the object of her heart's tender care. I 
must, however, dissent from your opinion, as if this were the 
sine qua non for her soul's purity and health, and I beg you 
will now believe a true womanly nature who could have 
loved husband and child devotedly, and yet voluntarily 
renounced the same, and who has since without them 
enjoyed the fullness and richness of her existence, aye, 
enjoys them at this moment, with a freedom, a joy, which 
not always falls to the lot of every wife and mother. 

But if this happiness were egotistical, I would not speak 
of it. " He, who does not love, knows not God." The 
life of the unmarried or childless woman has its own tempta- 
tions and sorrows, but many of these arise (at any rate 
in regard to their power over her) from the one-sided and 
false direction of her education and of the literature which 
she feeds upon, and which refers her almost exclusively, in 



262 LETTERS. 

order to gain happiness and position, to the married state 
and to the dignity of mother. 

Besides, the slavery under which the unmarried woman 
labors, in consequence of public opinion and the law, is, 
to a great extent, the cause of her want of moral and phys- 
ical health, her want of ability and happiness. And may 
God bless you with a beautiful and lovable daughter for 
"couching your lance" in defense of the cause of the 
enchained ! 

But look, even at the present time, at an unmarried 
woman, past the first bloom of youth v with some degree of 
liberty and a little property of her own, with a good heart 
and a good head. I should like to show you some such 
women amongst our towns-women, active on behalf of the 
poor, and you would find a freshness and aptitude, a joyous 
life, bearing witness of a far happier existence than that of 
many a married woman with a quarrelsome or careless hus- 
band and with perhaps several children, which she has to 
provide for under anxieties and cares. Yes, if women really 
knew, previous to their marriage, all the troubles and all the 
anxiety which the children often cause, then many a one 
would think twice before she attempted such a venture. At 
any rate they would, more than now too often is the case, 
be careful to give their heart and hand only to a man who 
could be a support and assistance to them in life's more 
serious situations. 

There is also a higher aspiration which does not unfre- 
quently arise, when a young woman does not give way to 
an inclination so natural at her age, of concluding a matri- 
monial alliance, which aspiration in Catholic countries finds 
a more beautiful sphere of activity and life than in our 
country. The warm feeling, turned away from seeking 
response and fullness in earthly, turns frequently to heavenly 
objects, and finds in its communion with and in its life in 
them a perfection, which every-day life could never so 
have given. Believe me : there are delights, ecstasies, un- 



LETTERS. 263 

speakable happiness in lonely hearts, shedding brightness 
over existence, over earthly and heavenly things, over the 
present and the ftiture, making the heart burn with love 
and praise. But of these joys, the purest, warmest mo- 
ments of love, of loving hearts moments when tears drop 
upon smiling lips, and one desires nothing more than to 
sacrifice one's self in order to prove one's faith and love 
give an idea. But these blooming moments in man's life 
become shorter and shorter with advancing years. Some- 
thing worldly adheres to them, dragging them down to 
earth or arresting their pinions. Like the Sylphide, in the 
ballet of the same name, the wings fall off and they die 
smothered in reality's cold embrace. What of this human 
Psyche can liberate itself from this embrace, gains new 
life with immortal wings and with rays which are not ex- 
tinguished ; it belongs not to a natural, but to a supernatural 
love. Happy they who in wedlock are able to develop and 
to preserve this latter. Then love is " born of God." If 
you wish to see what woman's life of love can be, you must 
read " Les Confessions de St. Therese " and then ask your- 
self how many happy lovers in their earthly circumstances 
can speak of such joys in such terms. And those joys they 
are not dependent on contingencies ; they are full of hope 
and promise, and presentiment of eternal life ; they do not 
wane, but become rather more intense with advancing 
age. 

What our unmarried women, both young and old in 
Sweden, are still much in need of in general, is freedom, 
and full consciousness of its value, and of their own capa- 
bility of turning the same to practical account. A noble 
independence, self-reliance, and trust in God, constitute the 
first condition for all higher development and happiness. 

In every thing which I have written, I have labored for 
this ; but I hope that before I die my labor shall leave a 
more complete result. Henceforth I shall more concen- 
trate my powers ; more exclusively live for this aim. 



264 LETTERS. 

Thanks for the little beautiful sketch of your home-life 

at S o ! How glad I am for your sake, at your alliance 

with this family, which assuredly will give your pure and 
good heart just what it wanted, to live rightly and actively 
in your home as well as in society. 



My favorite study now is the works of the Swiss, A. 
Vinet. He is a Christian Emerson, high-minded like him 
in the worship of truth and spiritual liberty, but greater in 
his induction ; and in his deduction, greater in humility, 
more perfect in every way, and to me he is one of the most 
valuable acquaintances amongst the literature of later 
days. 

Your friend, 

FREDRIKA BREMER. 

TO THE COUNTESS LOTTEN VON R . 

ARSTA, 4th September, 1864. 

I write to you to-day from my ancestral hall and home, 
where I have not resided since about ten years ago, when 
it passed into the hands of another owner. Previous to 
that time, I had with the exception of the several years I 
spent in Norway, Denmark, and America, passed the 
greater part of my life here, rarely satisfied, never happy, 
except at those times when I was permitted to stay here 
alone ; in my youth longing to get away from here, out into 
the great stirring, ever-changing world; away from the 
monastic solitude of Arsta, where my whole life was spent 
in my inner dream-world, and in the gleams of light which 
books and the restless workings of my brain occasionally 
shed over the same ; but never receiving any satisfactory 
answers to my heaven-storming questions. It has appeared 
strange to me, now in my old age (I have lately completed 
my sixty-third year), to be again for a few quiet weeks in 
this house, and to look back from my observatory in the 



LETTERS. 265 

large, secluded rooms of the upper story, upon my path in 
life, and upon what I have gained and found in it. 

You, who like to contemplate human life in the light of 
God's love, you will hear with pleasure that these weeks 
have been to me a continual feast of thanksgiving ; a re- 
joicing at the belief with which my own course of life has 
inspired me, in an all-guiding, loving Providence, although 
for the greater number of human beings it is not revealed 
during this mortal life ; a thanksgiving for the days of suf- 
fering and strife in the dark, which absorbed my soul and 
gave to its chaotic powers unity in their direction ; thanks- 
giving for the grace, which when the time had arrived, let 
the caterpillar's life change, and the butterfly burst its 
fettering chrysalis, or, to speak without allegory let me 
find God in Christ, and in Him an answer to all my ques- 
tions ; comfort in my afflictions ; hope for all who were 
seeking and suffering, for all who were sighing and strug- 
gling ; and then to see earth, its nations and generations 
in the light of this glorifying, paternal Providence, this 
Redeemer and Accomplisher. How often, during this 
time, have I not in grateful joy repeated those words of 
Scripture, which I wish to have one day written on my 
grave, thence to speak to all mankind : " When I called 
upon the Lord, He delivered me out of all my trouble." 

Something in the state of my body and soul tells me 
that my actual working-days are over, that I now may have 
rest, at any rate comparatively, and that my labor hence- 
forth must be more inward than outward. And also this 
is a pleasant feeling. The amiable patriarchal family, to 
whom my former home now belongs, and which lets me 
feel as if it still were mine, enables me here to find the 
quiet of my old age, a peaceful home after life's restless 
journey. In about a week's time I return to Stockholm to 
spend the winter. There I hope to receive a few lines 
from you, my dear Lotten. 



266 LETTERS. 

STOCKHOLH, 13th October, 1864. 

God's gifts to us, and His ways with us, are various. 
Me He has led, by the unconquerable longing and desire 
of thought, to coherence and harmony ; to an insight into 
His manifestation in Christ; and its all-explaining light. 
Through doubt and through struggles He has led me to 
certainty and peace, and from one light on to another. 

That, while striving to find the precious pearl, of which 
our Saviour speaks, much of its shell, which to many is 
identical with the pearl itself, should have assumed another 
signification than strict orthodoxy admits and that many 
of the dogmas of the Church should have taken another 
meaning than the strictly literal one this I could not 
help. Without it I should not have discovered the treas- 
ure, the pearl the word of eternal life in Christ ; nor 
should I, without it, in the midst of the conflict which is 
now going on in the world, and which is carried on in 
newspapers and in innumerable periodicals, against the 
more profound Christianity and its most substantial and 
consolatory doctrines, have felt so happy, so confident, so 
certain, that out of the ruins of the antiquated Church, a 
new one, more real in spirit and in truth, shall arise ; when 
also I shall be prepared to bear witness in her favor, and 
show that the most profound Christianity is the highest 
reason, yes, is the most undeviable right of reason as well 
as of sense and of conscience. Man, nowadays, is not 
helped with devout confessions, unless these, at the same 
time, contain light for the thinking spirit. 

The religious fermentation of the present day is nothing 
else than the struggle of reason and thought to penetrate 
to God. When they have arrived there, they shall worship 
and sing praises to the Lord, and then the first command- 
ment shall be fulfilled, that which tells man : " Thou shalt 
love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy 
soul and with all thy mind," that is, with all thy power. 

My remaining days shall be devoted to praising the Lord 



LETTERS. 267 

with all the strength which He has given me in this strug 
gle, for which he has prepared me. His Spirit will show 
me the manner and the time. 

With child-like love and confidence I shall follow His 
guidance. The peace and happiness which I have enjoyed 
during the past summer, spent in the home of my childhood 
and youth, are deeply connected with and have their roots 
in, the presentiment that here, where my life developed its 
first buds in happiness and in affliction, it will produce its 
last, and I hope with God's help, its ripest fruit, 

AESTA, 20th September, 1865. 

Well may the devout who rest upon the heart of Christ, 
"thank God that they do not feel the desire to inquire into 
those things which God has hidden from us, and which 
shall never be made clear to us on this side of the grave ; " 
for they rest safely in His love ; but they whom God has 
called to combat with the weapons of thought for light, and 
against darkness and shadows ; to distinguish between what 
is divine and what is human ; they who believe with St. 
Paul, that " the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep 
things of God," and that man can and shall, step by step, 
be brought to love and praise God " with all his heart, with 
all his soul and with all his mind" (or thoughts), with all 
his powers, and therefore also with all the strength of the 
intellect and reason with which He has endowed him ; 
also they can thank Him that they have got a talent to de- 
vote to His service and to His glorification. 



SKETCHES. 



MY DREAM. 

I HAD last night a strange dream. I fancied that I was 
in Stockholm. It was evening. I was expecting visitors : 
I was just going to dress to receive them, and I went for 
this purpose through the dining-room, when the door 
opened, and my good old friend Eric Reuterborg entered, 
elegantly dressed, his hair speckled with gray, curled in a 
toupet on the forehead exactly as when he was alive. I 
became alarmed, for I was well aware that he had been 
dead three years. But I was pleased, nevertheless, for the 
thought suddenly crossed my brain think if he is not 
really dead ! and doubtful and astonished, I went to meet 
him, asking : " Is it possible ! Are you not " " Reuter- 
borg ? " he answered in a friendly and cheerful tone ; " yes, 
it is." 

An indescribable feeling of awe seized me, while we 
went into the drawing-room together. I remembered 
having seen him in his coffin ; remembered the cold, sad 
expression in his face which had succeeded that of kindness 
and open-heartedness ; remembered how I had placed 
flowers at his feet, and put hyacinths in his cold, bluish 
hand, which drooped their heads upon his breast; and 
afterwards I had planted flowers upon his grave. Yes, he 
was indeed dead, and that which I now beheld was his 
ghost. While these memories passed before me, I stared 
at the form which now stood beside me, and I drew timidly 
back while I said : "But how how is it possible ? " 



SKETCHES. 269 

At the same moment his face, until now so friendly and 
calm, became troubled, looked disturbed, and he also drew 
back, became shadowy and dim. Then the fear seized me 
that he would in this way leave me. I summoned up my 
courage ; approached him again ; called him by endearing 
names ; begged him to be heartily welcome, and expressed 
my great delight at seeing him again. He now grew brighter ; 
came closer up to me, and looked more and more friendly 
and radiant, yet not in a supernatural manner. It seemed 
to me that we were both playing a part with each other ; 
that he wanted to make me believe that he was not dead ; 
just as I did not wish him to observe that I looked upon 
him as having come from the other world. Meanwhile I 
felt an indescribable longing to ask him how it was there, 
and whether he was happy ; but I was prevented by I do 
not know what kind of fear. He looked heartily pleased 
and friendly. I said : 

" You will stay with me this evening, my dear Reuter- 
borg?" 

I said this, as if to try him. 

" No," he replied, " I must go to some place and read the 
newspapers." 

Half jocularly I then said : 

" Well, well, you read the newspapers beside God him- 
self. That is surely a good place, and there you can learn 
much." 

He only smiled, and I could not help thinking that it was 
rather cunning of him to want to make himself so living 
and worldly. 

" But," I went on to say, " as you will not stay with me, 
then tell me, Reuterborg, when shall I come to you in your 
home ? How old shall I be on earth ? " 

He looked upwards for a moment, and then said medi- 
tatingly, but very decidedly : 

" You shall be sixty-six years and two months old." 

" So old ? " I said, " I must then live still a long time here 
on earth ; but God's will be done." 



270 SKETCHES. 

At this moment I awoke, with a vivid consciousness of 
having learnt the time of my death. I am now forty-five 
years old. Consequently twenty-one years more. May 
God in me accomplish the work which may have been given 
me to execute. 

ARSTA, 23d March, 1847. 

A VISION. 

I SAW a throne standing in a bright shining light, and 
from the face of Him who sat upon the throne, there ema- 
nated a radiance which filled and glorified all things. 
Hosts of seraphs and cherubs surrounded Him, turning 
their faces alternately to Him and towards infinite space 
before them, which resembled a boundless ocean of clouds. 
It seemed as if they were expecting something. 

" What is it that is going to happen ? " I asked an angel 
who stood near me. 

" Dost thou not know," he answered, " that the Lord to- 
day will try the spirit of the peoples of the earth ? They 
shall be called before Him and receive their reward or 
punishment, according to how they have fulfilled their 
charge." 

And now I heard a voice, mighty as thunder, exclaim : 

" Arise, thou the oldest amongst the Northern nations ! 
Arise before thy Lord ! " 

And out of the boundless ocean of clouds I saw a shape 
rise like a woman's, with noble, earnest features, with a 
clear, frank eye. A plain white robe, white as snow, fell 
in soft folds around her strong, but classical figure ; on her 
forehead the Northern star shone with mild lustre, and as 
she approached nearer the throne, her face looked younger 
and more beautiful in the light which was streaming from 
it. I heard a chorus of innumerable voices sing thus : 

" Struggling with want, she has nursed her children ; 
but honestly has she combated. Her liberty she has de- 
fended with her strong arm, and at the sound of the 



SKETCHES. 271 

eternal Redeemer's voice she banished thralldom from her 
free soil. Herself free, she drew her good sword and shed 
her blood for the cause of the oppressed. Therefore her 
faults shall be forgiven her, and strength shall be given to 
her to combat her evil spirits, and power to proclaim the 
gospel of liberty in the name of eternal laws. Fear not, 
thou little nation ! it is thy Lord's will to exalt thee above 
many wealthy and great nations. Approach to receive 
thy Father's blessing ! " 

Adoring, she bowed before the Eternal. Golden clouds 
enveloped her, and harps resounded. I covered my dazzled 
eyes ; but they shed tears of bliss, for the blessed one, 
she was my mother. 

When I again looked up, I beheld once more the 
heavenly legions in endless space, and another form rose 
resplendent out of the ocean of clouds. Stately was she. 
and beautiful as a queen ; her raiment shone with gold, 
but the traces of dark passions had marked her features 
and overshadowed her forehead. But still her glance was 
steady and open, as if conscious of something great. She 
looked calmly up to the throne, adoring whilst she ap- 
proached it. 

The heavenly chorus sang : 

" Great have been her sins, but she has abjured them at 
the feet of the Holy One. She has raised the banner of 
Him who proceeded out of the bosom of Divinity, to say to 
earth's children : ' Ye are all brethren, and God is your 
father ! " She has burst the chains of her prisoners, and 
works of love have effaced the traces of cruelty. Therefore 
shall her sins be forgiven her, and she shall live to see 
many glorious days, and proceed from one brightness to 
another ! " 

And whilst they thus sang and she advanced towards the 
throne, her face became glorified by the brightness which 
she was approaching, and the furrows on her forehead be- 
came like streaks of light. 



272 SKETCHES. 

After a while I heard again the voice crying aloud : 

" Thou, the youngest of the great nations of earth ; thou 
messenger of the Lord's latest, last word to humanity ! 
arise ! come before thy Judge." 

And I beheld something like a green mount rise out of 
the ocean of clouds, and on it stood a figure oh, how 
glorious ! Youth and beauty and strength marked her 
whole being; the rosy morn of hope glowed upon her 
cheeks and in her beautiful and joyous glance. On her 
fresh lips the words of life seemed to lie. Rich and splen- 
did raiments infolded the youthful and vigorous form. On 
her head she wore a diadem of twenty-six stars, glittering 
with various light. With her right hand she raised a ban- 
ner which the wind unfurled, and on which stood written : 
" Liberty." 

She was so beautiful that I felt spell-bound before her, 
and I called her in my heart, Earth's hope. And the 
heavenly hosts and the spirits of Earth's nations turned 
eagerly their eyes upon her. 

The celestial voices sang sweetly : 

" Step before thy Creator, thou young, thou highly 
gifted, thou, the youngest and most beautiful of His 
daughters ! " 

And she advanced, not straight forward, but in an ob- 
lique direction, seemingly not aware of it herself. She 
stumbled now and then, and her face wore an expression of 
uneasiness and embarrassment. Surprised, I looked at her 
attentively, and beheld her ankle encircled by a golden 
chain, the other end of which was bound on to the arm of a 
negro, who walked a few steps behind her and who seemed 
to be her servant. 

Also, he moved along, but half asleep and listlessly. He 
was unconsciously approaching the edge of a frightful preci- 
pice, at the foot of which, dragons, snakes, and slime-cov- 
ered monsters of the deep, with horrible shapes, were crawl- 
ing about. 



SKETCHES. 273 

His beautiful mistress followed, apparently without know- 
ing whither her slave was dragging her, and I saw the 
moment approaching when both were to be hurled over 
the precipice. I shuddered, and was on the point of cry- 
ing out aloud, when I heard the heavenly chorus sound 
like thunder through space : 

" Awake ! unhappy one, awake ! see thy thralldom, thy 
danger. Give liberty and be thyself free. Let the word 
whose banner thou carriest, become a truth. Else thou 
shalt perish in thy falsehood ! " 

The light vanished from heaven, and clouds, like floods 
of tears, lowered before the throne. 

And the heavenly chorus sang : 

" When He turns away His face, then darkness comes 
over the nations of the earth. When He takes His spirit 
away, then they perish and return again to dust ! " 

Then all was silent, so silent and hushed as when the 
breath is held back in anxious expectation of what is going 
to happen. 

My heart trembled. It asked : " Will she be saved and 
rise ? or will she fall in the sight of the Eternal ? " In- 
quiringly my looks were turned towards space, seeking her, 
but then my vision vanished. 

A VIOLET. 

FOUND IN STOCKHOLM IN 1827. 

" WHO could ever have expected to find so much virtue, 
walking between two milk-pails ! " exclaimed my friend, Dr. 

S , on entering my room one warm August evening ; 

and, sitting down almost exhausted, he wiped the perspira- 
tion from his forehead. I asked for an explanation of these 
words, which appeared to me rather extraordinary, when 
he related the following slory : 

" You must know, my friend, that I have made acquaint- 
ance with a person in a house nearly opposite mine 
yes, a nice acquaintance with an old woman, who for more 
18 



274 SKETCHES. 

than ten years has served me with milk and cr-eam twice a 
week. During all this time she has come and gone, quietly, 
neatly dressed, and honest, with a deep curtsey, a * good 
morning ! ' and ' many thanks,' without my ever thinking of 
looking upon her otherwise than as an old regular piece of 
clock-work, which strikes the hours at certain intervals of 
time, or as one of those kind of people who live, they do 
not know precisely why ; who walk through life without 
knowing wherefore ; and who yet from morning till noon, 
from noon until night, after all, manage better than those 
who know infinitely more. Last week, during two milk- 
days, for the first time she did not make her appearance. 
I began to wonder whether my good old clock-work had 
stopped for ever, and was just going to see what was the 
matter with it, when this morning a boy about ten years 
old called upon me, and with tears in his eyes besought me 
to come and see his 'dear Nanna,' who was very ill. I 
accompanied the boy across the street to the house where 
my milk-woman lived, and was shown into a clean, but 
poor-looking room, where I found my old acquaintance 
lying on a straw pallet, and to all appearance in a bad state. 
A well-dressed lady, between twenty and thirty years of 
age, with pleasant, but extremely delicate features, was sit- 
ting beside her, holding the old woman's hand in hers. A 
young girl was lying weeping upon her knees before her. 
She seemed to be of nearly the same age as the boy, who 
was her brother. I was a little astonished at what I saw, 
but as I do not like superfluous questions, I merely inquired 
into the old woman's state of health. She had not much 
strength herself to speak, but the lady tried, evidently with 
deep emotion, to describe her malady. I prescribed some- 
thing; spoke, according to my habit, not many words, and 
took, in going through the door, a pinch of snuff, much 
doubting in my own mind the efficacy of the medicines in 
a creature whom old age, poverty, and disease, were hurry- 
ing to the grave. ' And if/ I thought to myself, ' I should 



SKETCHES. 275 

even be able to save her this time, it would, after all, per- 
haps be of little benefit to her. To walk about with falter- 
ing steps a few years longer, borne down by care, in order 
to earn a miserable crust of dry bread, and then to die upon 
a straw pallet, is surely not worth a rhubarb-powder. To 
the old and destitute death is a solacing angel in whose 
way we doctors ought not to stand. Our physic serves fre- 
quently nothing else than to make the poor patient again 
taste, what to him is more bitter than any medicine 
life.' During this soliloquy, I stood still on the landing, 
pulling down a spider's web with my walking-stick, and lib- 
erating two agonized flies that showed their gratitude by 
buzzing round my nose for nearly half an hour. 

" I now observed that the lady had followed me. * My 
dear doctor,' she said with a quivering voice, clasping her 
hands together, 'excuse me but if you knew what a 
life is in jeopardy you would exert all your skill ; you 
would do every thing in your power to save it.' * A human 
life, madam,' I answered, ' is always valuable ; my science 
is not omnipotent, but my exertions are the same for all.' 
She looked as if she did not quite believe me, and in truth 
I felt some small stings of conscience ; I muttered a few 
words that it would interest me to hear something more 
concerning the invalid. The lady opened a door on the 
opposite side, saying in a steadier voice : ' Please to walk 
in a moment, you will not repent it ; I will make you ac- 
quainted with your patient's character, and you will then, 
perhaps, think of some other treatment.' 

" She led me into a small, well-furnished room, and thence 
into another one, where even a certain elegance was pre- 
vailing. ' Look around you, Doctor,' she said, * these 
rooms, every thing that is in them, every chair, every cush- 
ion, yes, my own and my two children's clothes, are presents 
from the poor old woman, who you but now saw lying upon 
straw.' Tears glittered in the lady's eyes. Roused out of 
my phlegmatic trance, I asked her anxiously for some further 



276 SKETCHES. 

information. We sat down, and in a voice which often 
vainly strove to be firm, she continued: 'My old good 
Nanna was a servant in my parents' house, and entered 
into my service when I married. My husband and myself 
possessed but little, but it was enough. He allowed him- 
self to be persuaded to become security for one of his 
friends, was deceived, and we lost our all. Broken down 
with grief, after two years' illness, he died, leaving me in 
deep affliction, with two very young children, and with debts 
which I found it impossible to discharge. In consequence 
of grief and want of sleep, I had became very sickly, and 
should certainly have perished in misery with my children, 
if it had not been for my Nanna. Already during my hus- 
band's last illness, when she saw that the little which we had 
left did not by far suffice for our housekeeping, and for the 
extra expenses which his state of health made indispensa- 
ble, she undertook, without our knowledge, to sell milk, 
and what she earnt in that way, she employed for our ben- 
efit. After the death of my good husband, when I was 
incapacitated from illness to do any thing, she entirely pro- 
vided for me and for my poor children. She worked like a 
slave all day long, and often in my sleepless nights I heard 
the whirring of her spinning-wheel in the next room, or I 
saw, through a chink in the door, the light of her candle at 
which she sat working for my little ones and their poor 
mother. Her indefatigable industry procured for us by 
degrees better food, better clothing, and good lodgings ; her 
milk-trade gradually became more lucrative as she became 
more known ; but all, all was spent upon us. She lived as 
if she had no existence for herself; her bed was straw, her 
food what we had left over, and never could our prayers 
prevail upon her to equally with us, even in trifles. 

Always friendly and m y, "'iouli taciturn, we could 
always read in her looks the w*- is which she often used to 
say in order to comfort us: ' J esi lady ! all will be well 
again one day." Yes, dear $an.na., you have made it well ; 



SKETCHES. 277 

night and day did you work for me, and would not have 
thanks for it. When I got so well, that I was able to work 
again, I wanted her to allow herself some rest, of which she 
was the more in need as her health was much impaired, and 
she was evidently becoming weaker every day ; but all in 
vain. She continued carrying out milk until last week, when 
she fell ill. She wishes to live merely for the sake of being 
of use to me and my children. About herself she is per- 
fectly indifferent, as for one already dead ; I have not been 
able to persuade her to allow herself to be carried into a 
more comfortable room and to have a softer bed. f I am 
used to it,' she says, ' it is good enough for me.' Oh ! 
if you knew, Sir, how, only a short time ago, I rejoiced in 
the hope of working for her who has so long worked for 
me ; to see her old age made peaceful and happy through 
our tender care and grateful love, you would also be able 
to understand how bitterly I must feel it to see her fall a 
sacrifice to her heroic devotion, just at a moment when she 
might be able, through me and my children, to enjoy a re- 
ward, earned by the self-denial of half a life-time. If it is 
in your power, try to save her, do it for her sake ; she 
may still see happy days here on earth, do it for my 
sake ; for I do not think that I could bear the idea that I 
should have been the cause of the death of this angelic 
woman ; do it for my children's sake, who love her dearly, 
and who would lose in her a daily example of the noblest 
virtues. Oh ! save her and my gratitude ' I rose, 
asking her not to mention gratitude. ' I consider myself 
sufficiently rewarded, if I succeed in saving such a life,' I 
said, and returned to the sick-bed. I confess that I now 
contemplated her with very different eyes, and I comforted 
the lady and her children with the assurance, that, unless 
the thread of her life had not entirely run out, my excel- 
lent medicine would add fresh elasticity to the springs and 
set the pendulum going again as regularly as before. 

" Well, what do you think of her ? " added the Doctor 



278 SKETCHES. 

" was I not right in saying, Who would have expected to 
find so much virtue walking between two milk-pails ? " 

I agreed with him that such self-sacrificing virtue was 
exceedingly rare. Still, I believe that if we would take the 
trouble to look for it, we should far more frequently find 
instances of it amongst the classes commonly called the 
uneducated, than in the atmosphere of the so-called refined 
classes. The nobility of the soul, the qualities of the 
heart, resemble those sweet juices of honey which the 
humblest flowers of the fields conceal in their bosom: 
whereas often the choicest and most wonderful plants of the 
flower-beds and of the hot-houses contain venom amongst 
their brilliant leaves. Art rarely educates without, at the 
same time, miseducating, and one generally loses in inner 
worth what one gains in outward appearance. 

It is doubtful whether we ought to ascribe to Doctor 

S 's wonderful medicines the recovery of the old woman ; 

or whether her own constitution and the tender care of her ' 
mistress were not chiefly instrumental herein ; but, suffice 
it to say, she recovered her health completely. My friend 
allows her a small annuity, which she devotes entirely to the 
use of her now happy mistress and her amiable children. 
She carries twice a week the milk to my friend, the Doctor, 
and all that she consents to accept of him for her own ac- 
count, is the cup of coffee with sugar and biscuits, which 
he always has ready for her every morning when she calls. 
But in return she insists upon deducting six stiver for every 
can of milk which he buys of her. How they have ulti- 
mately settled this important point, I do not know. 

AT FORTY YEARS OF AGE. 

THE age of fifteen has been celebrated in song as life's 
rosy period, and it has been allowed to bloom up to twenty, 
aye, even up to twenty-five ; the age of sixty or seventy has 
been honored as being the years of wisdom and of mature 
virtues : I will sing the praise of the age of forty the 



SKETCHES. 279 

present century's and my own age. I know a lady, who, 
when twenty-eight years old, gave herself out to be thirty 
" for," said she, " what is the use of sticking to those two 
years ? " Perhaps I also follow a little her footsteps, for, 
I think with her: thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty, why, it 
comes to almost the same thing. The wisdom-teeth and 
the wrinkles have already come. 

Forty years ! do not you feel something " set " in those 
words ? At forty one has generally settled down in life. 
This is why one can quietly walk about and contemplate 
the world, and there is much to contemplate in this 
world. Our century has also settled down, but it has set- 
tled down in Parliament and meditates upon the State, and 
therefore it looks neither merry nor uneasy, but thoughtful. 
So also is woman at forty. The heart does not then any 
longer beat uneasily before a ball, or still more uneasily 
after one ; nor do we then stand here in life as a poor can- 
didate for any thing, a prey to wishes, hopes, uncertainties, 
contrarieties, happiness, and misery, neither does the frame 
of our mind, like a chameleon, take the impression of 
every new object, changing from rose-color to black, from 
green to gray, in the course of only a few hours ; nor do 
you see in every one whom you meet some important per- 
sonage in the romance of your life, nor in every uttered 
nonsense a monster which you are to rush upon and attack, 
like Don Quixote battling with the windmill; you need not 
then dance when you want to sit still, nor walk according 
to the will of others, when you have your own will in a 
word, you are above a great deal of anxiety and trouble. 
Many a rosy light has, it is true, perchance waned, but also 
many mists have rolled away and brightened. You see your 
way clearer, you walk along more steadily; not swayed 
hither and thither by the wind, as in youth ; not leaning with 
faltering steps upon the crutches of old age ; you walk 
sturdily on your own legs, and look round in the world with- 
out coming to fisticuffs with it. Forty years is the age of 
contemplation, of practical thought. Long life be to them! 



280 SKETCHES. 

I was yesterday in town. A large town is after all a 
strange thing. We feel this most when we have been liv- 
ing a long time in the country. The country ! I wish that 
everybody could live there, and become well acquainted 
with all its peaceful objects. 

How beneficial is it not for sore eyes (sore from contem- 
plating the world and humanity) to rest upon the " Eyes- 
delight " with which Sweden's Flora has so richly studded 
our verdant fields ; to see in old forests the " Yellow-bird V 
head" juicy and odoriferous, shoot out of the poorest soil 
at the roots of the firs ; to see and hear the waves beat 
upon the shore ; to rest near the murmuring brook, when 
the " Money-wort " and the " Purple-specked loosestrife " 
shine amongst the bushes upon its bank ; to listen to the 
country-people's songs in the evening, while they are piling 
the fragrant hay-cocks ; to see the cows graze upon the 
lately-mown fields, and the sheep pictures all of repose 
and innocence, bringing peace and refreshing coolness to 
our soul. It makes you more pious, more healthy. Yes, 
everybody ought to live in the country, but nevertheless 
visit the town now and then. This was just what I did 
yesterday. 

Stockholm is not a very large, nor is it a very populous 
town. London is much larger. But still Stockholm is a 
real capital I think it is splendid. 

Born of a wedding and of a murder, 1 a child of love and 
revenge, the soil inaugurated by mead and royal blood, the 
former Agnefit, the present Stockholm, rose from out the 
waters, both salt and fresh. Even to this day, as then, the 
sea and the lake mingle their floods round its base, and in 
it thrives and moans in wonderful union, love and hatred, 
virtue and crime, the great and the little, beauty and ugli- 
ness, the bitter and the sweet. 

l See tales of Swedish history, how King Agne of the Ynglinga dy- 
nasty, after having conquered a Finnish king and made his daughter pris- 
oner, and when on his way home, their wedding being celebrated, became 
intoxicated, and was hanged on a tree at her instigation. 



SKETCHES. 281 

The sun, the high and pure, shone over that chaotic 
world on an August evening as I went forth for a walk to 
view the town. Every object around me stood out in bold 
relief. 

The House of Nobles ! hem what have I to do 
there ? There the legislators of the country discuss the 
weal of society, and I belong God help me ! (or thank 
God !) to the minors in the State, who, as the wise-acres 
say, ought, for the good of the State, always to remain so 
(in a political sense). 

Two things I believe in, and the third I take to be 
certain : 

1st. That the wiseacres are right 

2d. That not compulsion, as now, but free choice, free 
conviction (which must be preceded by a complete eman- 
cipation), ought, and one day shall, decide woman's social 
position. 

3d. That I shall not live to see the day when such an 
emancipation takes place ; to see all the madness and the 
stupidity walk about in open daylight, which are now sitting 
quietly at home spinning. " For certain it is " (said my 
youngest sister just now, laughing), " that all the mad ones 
want to rule, and that would be a disgrace to the whole 
corps ! " 

However, I leave the House of Nobles to itself. Gus- 
tavus Vasa stands in the square of the House of Nobles. 
I always loiter some time before that figure. When I turn 
away from the human faces in the street (mine own 
amongst them), and look up to that face, I fancy there 
must be some truth in the Indian myth, that some people 
have emanated out of the head of the Creator, and others 
out of his feet. It is not, therefore, necessary to arrange 
them in Indian castes. No Pariahs ! Look round on Na- 
ture. Do here not grow beside each other moss and holly, 
turnips and astrakhan apple-trees, anemone and rose-tree ? 
They drink the same dew, and develop and bloom in the 



282 SKETCHES. 

light of the same sun. But let us return to the hero's 
statue. So a king and a hero ought to look ! So free, so 
firm, so quiet, so cheerful. It is at the word of command 
of such a king that nations arise and march onward. Gus- 
tavus Vasa's last word was " Yes ! " so was his life : strongly 
confirmatory. A truly royal life ! 

While I stood contemplating the splendid head, I saw a 
large spider spinning its web between the sceptre and his 
laurel crown. What did it want there ? 

Close by rise the royal sepulchres. Sceptres and crowns 
have fallen there. Heads and hands that have worn them 
rest there in darkness, in dust. Happy it is that a bold 
spire again is raised over them, pointing to the hope be- 
yond the tomb ! Happy it is that the temple arches itself 
over the dead, under whose vault was preached Immor- 
tality. 

All round the " Riddarholm " stand fine large edifices, 
which formerly were private palaces, but now are govern- 
ment offices. A sign of the times ! 

In a straight line from the king's statue, near the water, 
there sit a long line of " Queens," every one in her own 
realm. True it is that market-women always have ap- 
peared to me to have a certain resemblance to queens. 
But there is a difference a great one ! There, however, 
they sat, all the market-queens, powerful and important, 
each one at the head of a long table, her realm, over whose 
provinces they kept a sharp and watchful eye. What beau- 
tiful provinces ! Here vegetables of all kinds ; there the 
produce of the orchard ; here again berries of all colors 
and kinds, and there flowers in pots and brooms, too. 

Housewives and their cooks wander about amongst them 
to admire, inquire, choose, bargain, purchase. An elderly 
gentleman who looks as if he had a well-filled purse 
contemplates all the various treasures, but makes wry faces. 
Surely he must have a bad digestion. Yonder ragged 
urchin has certainly not many farthings, but oh ! see how 



SKETCHES. 283 

greedily he eats out of the paper bag which he has got 
filled with berries. Which of the two is most to be envied ? 
Old-fashioned, silly question ! Save us from an answer. 

" Storkyrkobrinken ! " Book-sellers' shops book-sell- 
ers' shops book-sellers' shops ! 

" Roasted pigeons do not fly into our mouths," says an 
old proverb. Oh ! it is far better than that nowadays, my 
dear Proverb ! For what is needed now to imbibe knowl- 
edge of all sorts ? Only to open your mouth. Happy 
times ! 

Along " Norrbro," what a variety of professions and 
faces ! What a variety, what a stir there is around the old 
palace, standing there in silent majesty, staring out of hun- 
dreds of windows, like Argus-eyes, out over the waters and 
the town, delighting the eye of the wanderer with its grand 
proportions. Amusing to see people go in and out of the ele- 
gant shops in the Bazaar, buying costly stuffs, books, music, 
" Madame Bishop," " the Archbishop," cigars, and Heaven 
knows what all ; pleasant to see people have plenty of 
money ! I shall not go there, to-day ; I prefer looking at 
the people outside. There a young and charming lady, 
dressed in the height of fashion, in gauze and muslin, sails 
past the steps on which a beggar-woman, scarcely covered 
with rags, is sitting, chewing a mouldy crust of bread ! 
There but here a young gentleman came across my 
thoughts. 

He came from the " Helgeands-holm." Handsome face, 
but what traces of dissipation ! His dark curls in wild dis- 
order round his forehead, the disorder in his looks wilder 
still ; the hat too small for his face, and much battered ; 
his clothes torn ! With hasty steps he sped along the 
bridge, in the beautiful sunshine, through the motley crowd. 
A young girl with rosy cheeks and dress stared at him, 
and laughed. The silly one ! A stout gentleman, with 
a pompous appearance, looked at him also, and started. 
Fancy a large, substantial, ruddy face, in which nose, 



284 SKETCHES. 

mouth, eyes, in a word, every thing, was pointing strongly 
upwards, and put upon this an expression of utter aston- 
ishment, and you will. I hope, pardon me for smiling. The 
unhappy youth walked along through the crowd. As he 
walked on, all turned round to look at him, and then quietly 
turned away again. He walked on the brink of destruc- 
tion, I fancied ; he disappeared. The human stream closed 
noisily in his wake ; the dark-green current surged and 
boiled through the arches of the bridge. It is here where 
the salt and fresh waters meet, and struggle, and mingle. 
Boats, full of people, were rowed backwards and forwards 
on both sides of the bridge. Fishermen, in their small 
canoes floating calmly on the river, were angling. Sea- 
gulls were making their airy gyrations, screaming and 
plunging. On the " Strom- parterre " the silver poplars 
were waving their slender forms. Down below in the gar- 
den pretty children ran about playing, guarded by watchful 
mothers seated on the benches under the trees. Round 
small tables, small parties were eating ices, laughing, and 
chatting. Gentlemen smoked cigars and read newspapers. 
" Necken " shot foaming and smoking through the clear 
water, and laid to at the parterre, inviting you to a trip 
to " Djurgarden." 

Merry folks accepted the invitation, stepped on board, 
and quickly the " Necken " darted off with them across the 
blue waters. Cares, gloomy looks and faces where were 
they ? Not here. 

Horses, carts, cabs, and riders, high and low, are un- 
pleasant things in a town. Their riding and driving hither 
and thither always prevent me walking across Gustavus 
Adolphus Square quietly and collectedly, and therefore I 
cannot tell you any thing about my thoughts at the base of 
the statue of " the Great Gustaf Adolf; " not a word of 
his generals, nor of the Royal Opera, nor for whom it was 
that the sentinel just now called the guard " under arms ! " 

There reigns more quiet under the lime-trees in the 



SKETCHES 285 

square a little further on. The old " King's Garden " is 
still a peaceful place, where children can run about undis- 
turbed ; where old people can sit down to rest quietly, and 
where philosophical pedestrians can walk up and down, 
contemplating, from under the shade of large, wide-spread- 
ing, leafy trees, the busy world round about them, the estu- 
ary, and the palace. The August evening was very sultry, 
the town air hung heavily over the garden, but the lime- 
trees were blooming and their fresh fragrance broke now 
and then through the oppressive air. Carriages and vehi- 
cles of all kinds were rattling out to the Djurgarden, and 
gentlemen were galloping along on fine horses. In the 
avenues of the garden all was silent. One couple was 
there walking, whom I followed with my eyes for a good 
while. He was tall, middle-aged (about the golden forty), 
with a noble, manly countenance ; vigor and gentleness 
united. She was shorter, a slender figure, a beautiful, 
youthful face. 

They walked slowly, conversing with one another, and 
when he looked down at her, and she up to him, there was 
something in their faces and in their manner which made 
me think, " So it is right, so it is beautiful ! " They walked 
arm in arm in the shade, close beside each other, full of 
confidence, united in pure love, and happy. 

A little further on, sat on a bench one of the wealthiest 
and first men in the country. A splendid figure ! He was 
sitting alone and thoughtful, leaning his hands upon his 
walking-stick. 

On the next bench was sitting a wretch, whose rags 
scarcely covered his body. He also sat thoughtful, leaning 
upon his staff. Over both, the lime-trees waved their fra- 
grant crowns. The bells pealed from the church-steeples. 
Sounds of music were heard from the water. 

My road led me afterwards far out to the outskirts of the 
town. 

Here the houses decrease in size, creeping at last in the 



286 SKETCHES. 

shape of huts and cottages up the sides of the hills or 
downwards to the common ; every thing becomes smaller, 
narrower, poorer ; the town is absorbed by the country, and 
the street by the turnpike road. Here the poor people 
live. It is the world of the cryptogamia of town life. 
Still the student loves to point his spy-glass at them, to 
try to discover the great, the important, in the seemingly 
insignificant. 

Here, far out upon the outskirts, is a narrow street, and 
in that street stands a small house, and in that house dwells 
an old couple. Young, blooming bride ! can you think it 
possible that the woman there was fifty-seven years old 
when she was married to her equally old husband ; and 
would you believe it, that the little god, who flies from so 
many young and handsome couples in those fine houses in 
town, has taken up his abode with the old couple, there in 
the small cottage in that narrow street? Yet so it is. 
Husband and wife love one another with all their heart, 
and surprise each other often with small improvements in 
their home. The old woman showed me her kitchen stove. 
It had formerly been low and inconvenient. The old man 
could not bear to see how the wife was obliged to bend 
her back when employed at it. He once watched the op- 
portunity when she was absent for a couple of days, and 
had it altered and raised a foot. Now it was " the best 
kitchen stove in the world," and cheerfully must the fire 
dance on the hearth and shine in the little room. I do not 
think that I would look at the ruins of the Coliseum in 
Rome with so much pleasure as at that kitchen-stove. The 
old woman boasted also of a small bit of a garden with one 
tree in it, and a "real bower" of half-naked lilac-tree 
branches covered with spider-webs. " Swedish poverty ! " 
I thought, and remembered what is expressed in these two 
words : to find one's self rich with little, with almost nothing. 

I peeped accidentally into a dark closet ; a shadowy form 
in it made a curtsey to me. It was a woman seventy years 



SKETCHES. 287 

old, not married, who lived there in poverty and content- 
ment, earning her bread with the labor of her hands, and 
who had never received or asked assistance from anybody. 
" She bakes a kind of small cakes, which she sells to 
hucksters at four stivers apiece. Well, I would'nt eat 
them," said, with a significant grin, the well-to-do old 
woman who told me this (the owner of the kitchen stove, 
the tree, and the spider-web bower), " but boys and such 
like buy them, I believe, and thus she manages to pay 
her rent and her food. And as to clothes poor old 
body ! she has no others than those she stands and walks 
in ; but content she is with them, and then she is so kind, 
and always merry." 

But would you believe it, that this poor old woman had 
her pride ? And in what did this pride, concealed under 
that only garment, and in that dark, solitary room, consist ? 
" I have never been a burden to anybody, and nobody 
shall ever be able to say that I have been a burden to the 
State either ! " said the old maid, and her pale seventy- 
years' old eyes sparkled at these words with a noble self- 
consciousness, also a kind of patriotism as good as any 
other ! 

Are you tired of my wanderings ? I was by this time 
fatigued myself, and therefore I returned home. From it 
I wish you farewell ! May God grant you clear eyes, the 
wish, the time, and liberty to look about you in the world, 
and somebody at home to whom you can relate what you 
have seen, who smiles at your conceits, sheds a tear at 
your sorrows, and takes an interest in your impressions, 
somebody to love, and you will see how pleasant, how 
blissful life can be at forty years ! 



288 SKETCHES. 

WINDOW PICTURES. 
MY WINDOW, 1825. 

THE VISITOR. 

WHAT a pity it is that the whole world should know so 
well what a window is ! Otherwise an account of one might 
have afforded me a subject for very curious descriptions. 
I will therefore now merely notice, what the whole world 
has not so very carefully observed, namely, all the advanta- 
ges which this valuable contrivance, the Window, presents to 
man, and more especially to us towns-people in the winter 
season, when, in order not to perish from cold, we are 
doomed, like the bear, to spend most of our time in our 
warm lair. In grateful remembrance hereof, I have drawn 
up the following memorial relating to these advantages, 
namely : 

1st. A prospect of the earth. 

2d. A view of the sky. 

3d. A survey of our own and other people's business. 

4th. An insight into daily life. 

5th. An inducement to meditation. 

6th. Light during day. 

7th. Air whenever we wish for it. 

8th. A place of lefuge from the hydra of civilized every- 
day life ; that hydra, which causes the Frenchman to com- 
mit " sot' *ses," the Englishman to hang himself, the German 
to write narcotic books, the Swede to drink or play at cards, 
and the whole world to yawn ; which fastens lead to Time's 
wings and makes minutes eternal ; that hydra, at whose 
door one may well lay half of all the evil which is practiced 
in the world, which almost everybody knows and every- 
body dreads - w ^rd ennui. 

How glaclL, 1 *- not turn it out of the house, throw 

it out of the window, s) , annihilate it. But it is immor- 
tal here upon earth, li 3njoyment and pain, and makes 
its appearance in th^ir <> b::ence like a tiresome " dame de 



SKETCHES. 289 

compagnie," unless we make an alliance against it with 
some friend who is more trustworthy and powerful than it. 

Personally I am not much acquainted with ennui ; but 
I have known it a little in former days, when in order to fly 
from it I retreated to my window, and there found a cure 
for it. I remember particularly one day, or rather one 
evening ! I was at that time young, and carried in my 
bosom a heart palpitating with a longing for life's richness, 
for that fullness of existence which I had heard of and read 
of, and which I had deeply felt that I could enjoy, impart- 
ing and receiving, but which I had not then ever tasted. 
For my home was rich enough in silks and finery and 
French engravings and parties and equipages ; but my life 
was nevertheless poor, and my soul hungered. This hap- 
pens to many. 

I resided in the capital. All those who belonged to 
me, my father, mother, and sisters, were at the New 
Year's ball, given by the Burgesses to the Royal Family, 
but I had to stay at home, in order to nurse the remain- 
der of a slight cold, and to keep my old paternal grand- 
mother company. (N. B., I had entertained some little 
suspicion that the remainder of my cold was magnified 
somewhat by my good parents, for the sake of the old 
grandmother, and that she might have company, which 
suspicion did not much improve my temper.) But I 
secretly wiped away a tear ; was glad that my eldest sis- 
ter looked so handsome in her new ball-dress, and that 
she might possibly have a dance with the Crown-Prince ; 
was delighted with my brother's new uniform, in which 
he looked so stately, and determined to amuse myself 
as well as possible in my solitude with reading, music, 
and myself. Old grandmother was not a very cheering 
companion. She was a little deaf, and spent her evenings 
by telling fortunes in cards to herself, until the hour for 
going to bed at ten o'clock when, after having looked at 
her watch, she invariably took her bedroom candle, say- 

19 



290 SKETCHES. 

ing : " No, now we must proceed to the latter part ! " or, 
" No, now we must think of the eider-downs ! " which gen- 
erally was a signal for the whole house to go to bed, but 
frequently not to any rest for me ; for restless feelings and 
thoughts made the " eider-downs " to me any thing but the 
peaceful downs of forgetfulness and pleasant dreams. 

This evening, especially, after recovering from my fever- 
ishness, the pulses of life seemed to rise with renewed vigor, 
and to beat with double strokes. I was walking about 
through all the deserted rooms longing for something 
pleasant, something animating. Hitherto I had had very 
little pleasure in the world, and yet I felt that I could enjoy 
much. I was alone, had nothing to do, nothing to work 
for, nothing I fancied to live for. The old interminable 
" frill " at which I was working while I was sitting at the 
window in the day, I did not care even to look at. In fact, 
I detested embroidery. To play the piano was more pleas- 
ant, but then somebody ought to listen to me and find 
pleasure in my music ; but I was now alone and my old 
grandmother was deaf and was sitting at her cards in the 
boudoir, muttering in a half-suppressed voice over the 
Queen of hearts and the King of spades, and about deaths 
and marriages and presents, and all kinds of adventures; 
but I was used to this, and used to her prophecies never 
being fulfilled ; for never did any adventures or events, any 
thing unusual or wonderful, happen in our family, which I 
thought was exceedingly tiresome, and I therefore sketched 
one day in my album a figure yawning awfully, and with 
outstretched arms sighing forth 

The worst of all destinies 
Is to have no destiny at all. 

I feared that I was doomed to this fate and to live in an 
eternal calm. Alas ! like a bird in its cage, flapping its 
wings against the imprisoning bars and beating itself to 
death rather than live in it, such was at this time my poor 
heart. This evening, at all events, it beat so ; it was be- 



SKETCHES. 291 

sides, New Year's Day, and I was so full of life and youth 
and strength ; the New Year had come. Would it not 
bring a new year for my life, for my soul ? Images, forms? 
presages, mirages of coming events floated over the future ; 
but they were still far distant and indistinct. I did not 
yet quite know what I was seeking, what I wanted. Some 
shapes now approached nearer. There was amongst them 
one figure, dressed in a man's costume, who had shown me 
a great deal of politeness, even a little more than that. 
I did not exactly feel any inclination towards him, but this 
evening he appeared to me more amiable than usual ; this 
evening I fancied that I could almost love him. 

Just then I heard grandmother say over her cards, 
" Somebody is coining to pay us -a visit to-night ! " Ah ! 
if only somebody would come, I thought to myself, and for 
the first time I ascribed a power of a higher nature to my 
grandmother's gift of divination. She had pronounced my 
soul's secret wish. Piano-forte, books, engravings, inani- 
mate objects could not satisfy the cravings of my soul. I 
wanted a living soul, an equal, a friend. And now grand- 
mother promised me a visitor. If he came, surely he came 
for my sake, and not for grandmamma's, and I would have 
the conversation all to myself, and my grandmamma would 
have to look on. And that figure if he came, why, then 
surely there would be a very interesting conversation be- 
tween him and me ; nobody could tell what it would lead 
to ; yes, when I thought of it, I became almost a little 
afraid. For there was another figure, also in man's cos- 
tume, to whom I was far more partial, aye, whose footsteps 
and voice made my heart palpitate, although he felt no in- 
clination towards me. But this evening oh ! if he should 
come it might be different ; this evening I felt that I could 
charm his heart to me, and there might then be New Year 
for him as well as for me in this life. And there was 
a third figure a friend from childhood who loved me 
still, although I have refused his addresses ; oh ! if he would 
come, I would be so friendly to him, tell him so many beau- 



292 SKETCHES. 

tiful exalted things, that they would make him happy, and 
we would form a league of friendship for eternity. And 
then there was a friend, whose very shadow on the wall was 
dear to me ; oh ! if she should come, and I could embrace 
her, open my heart to her, show her my love, make her 
rich with the wealth of my feelings ! True she was some 
hundred miles distant at her estate, but who knows whether 
she might not come for all that, as a New Year's surprise ; 
whether my longing could not draw her towards me with 
magic power. Every thing seemed to me possible this 
evening. And there was one person, who had done me 
some wrong ; oh ! that he would come ; I would do him 
good in return ; I would give him a treasure of love and 
confidence forever. 

There was above all, a man, a great man, a genius whom 
I worshipped and loved almost to idolatry ; oh ! if he would 
come ! what happiness to see him, to converse with him, 
to listen to his exalted thoughts ; pour out wine for him ; 
wait upon him at the tea-table, and if he should ask a favor 
of me, my purse or my life, what happiness to give it to 
him, to live or to die for him ! No, that would be too great 
happiness ! He won't come. But there are in this world 
so many interesting people, so many extraordinary cir- 
cumstances. If only some of them would come and claim 
my attention or my activity ; my love or my bravery ; yes, 
if nobody else would come, then, at any rate, thieves and 
robbers; I would perform some desperate act of valor, 
save my grandmother's life, kill a man, perhaps two, with a 
log of wood or with the poker, be spoken of, become 
famous ; perhans suspected, be imprisoned, appear as a 
witness before the police courts, which seemed to me to be 
much more pleasant and interesting than to be or do- 
nothing. I left the hall-door unlocked, in order to receive 
the expected visitors, friends or foes. I felt as if I could 
have governed the whole world. But the world seemed to 
take care of itself and net to care for me. The minutes 
fled ; nobody came. But was not somebody to come ? 



SKETCHES. 293 

Grandmother was sitting in the boudoir telling fortunes 
out of her cards ; I wandered about with noiseless steps 
upon the carpet in the large drawing-room next to it. 
The candle in the chandelier threw a romantic twilight 
over the room, and the hyacinths in the window filled 
it with summer fragrance. I glanced now and then at 
the large pier-glass, and thought that I looked very well, 
and that some one might like, or even fall in love with a 
girl who looked so. Occasionally, also, I peeped through 
the window, spying for the expected visitor. 

Our house was situated in a square, so that I had an 
open prospect. Opposite to me, in the corner of the street, 
a lamp was burning, and almost straight under it was 
hanging a large, red wooden hand, with the fore-finger 
stretched out ; a dyer's sign. The finger pointed at every 
person that passed under the lamp ; that is to say, when it 
did not move, for every now and then it was swung back- 
wards and forwards by the wind. It was snowing, and the 
snow-flakes were falling round about the red hand in the 
lamplight. There now, it is still, and the large finger is 
pointing at a figure. I fancy it is a little like that figure 
which I first thought of. I wonder whether he will come 
here ? No, he turns off to the left. I dare say it was not 
he. I continue to walk up and down the room. " After all 
life flies so quickly ; it is best to make a person happy, if 
we can do so, and be happy through his happiness. The 
perfect is not man's lot, and least of all woman's. They 
have so little choice, and so little liberty. It is best to take 
moderate happiness when it is offered to us, and " again 1 
look through the window. The snow falls. The lamplight 
is flickering. The hand swings to the wind ; now it is still 
again, pointing at a figure, surely the second one ! How 
my heart is beating ! He walks straight up to our house. 
How could I think of the first one ? May he never come ! 
The second one, the right one, is coming. Him, him alone, 
can I love. He comes ; he enters the gate ; ascends the 



294 SKETCHES. 

staircase ; soon he will be in the hall ! " Dear grand- 
mother, we shall have a visitor! Shall we not receive 
him V " " Yes, of course ; have I not seen it in the cards ? 
Who is he ? " 

" I think it is ; I am not quite sure, though." Strange 

that he should take such a long time in walking up-stairs. 
His steps are otherwise so lively ; so is also his manner of 
grasping the door-handle. I know it well. Now no, 
it was the wind. Minute after minute glides away. No- 
body comes. I must have made a mistake in the person. 
That visit was not intended for my home. 

There is a covered sledge, with tinkling bells, driving 
right up to our house. Oh ! if it were she ! I open the 
gates of my heart ; she shall drive into it. And were she 
covered with snow, and congealed to ice, she shall there be 
welcome and warm. The sledge stops! No, it drives 
past our door. It was not she ! 

The minutes fly ; now the clock strikes a quarter to nine. 
It begins to get late for ordinary visitors. But some 
extraordinary visitor might yet come. The genius, for 
instance; he measures neither time nor hours. He is 
extraordinary. See there! Does not the red hand point 
at a figure in a cloak, just like his cloak ? It is him ; my 
friend, the genius ; the immortal man ; and I shall see him, 
and feel my heart beat for immortal feelings and thoughts. 
How grand ! how splendid life can be ! Yes, but how nar- 
row, poor, and empty also. It must not have been he, the 
genius, my friend. He could not have passed by my home, 
as that cloak has done. 

It strikes nine. The footman enters with the supper for 
grandmamma and me. Grandmamma sips her milk-posset, 
and I my tea. We eat and drink in silence. My heart 
does not now beat so loudly. It is not probable that my 
friend will call now ; and an enemy, or a thief, or a robber 
that would be moderately pleasant, comparatively at least. 

The supper is carried out. Grandmamma is again at her 



SKETCHES. 295 

cards. I stand again at the window. A white frost-mist 
fills the air all around, hiding all objects, also the red hand, 
and the lamp which throws out a faint, sickly light. I can 
no longer see whether any figures are passing under it ; 
but this is now indifferent to me, for nobody will come 
now who can make my heart beat, or to whom I can afford 
a New Year's pleasure. I wander again up and down in 
the romantic twilight and flower-fragrance of the drawing- 
room. The clock strikes ten. Grandmamma rises from her 
seat, takes her candle, and says : " No, my dear Fanny, 
now we must think of the latter part ! Good night, my 
heart's delight ! " Heart's delight kisses grandmamma, sees 
her to her bedroom and then returns to the drawing- 
room. 

I am now quite alone. When I look through the window 
again, the mist has fallen lower, and covered the street 
and its world with an impenetrable veil ; but behold ! high 
above it the starry heavens are unveiled, and shine forth 
with indescribable lustre. 

A magnificent constellation rises over my head. What 
is its name ? I had just begun studying a little astronomy, 
and I hastened to get out my charts and books. Soon I 
was with my whole soul and life up amongst the stars ; 
gave them names ; made the acquaintance of new ones, and 
learnt about them what astronomical books teach us. This 
so absorbed my whole attention that I was highly astonished 
when I heard the clock strike twelve. I could scarcely 
believe my own ears. But so it was, the first day of the 
New Year had closed, and neither thieves nor robbers had 
availed themselves of the unlocked hall-door to pay me a 
New Year's visit, and really I was not sorry for it now ; 
aye, I was not sad in any way now ; I felt wonderfully cheer- 
ful, and peaceful at the same time. Heaven's starry vault 
was, as it were, glittering within me, and as I passed the 
pier-glass, I fancied that my eyes were sparkling brightly 
like stars. 



296 SKETCHES. 

How is this ? What has happened ? I asked myself, 
while I sat down upon the sofa in the boudoir to rest a 
little, under the impression that really something had hap- 
pened to me. 

A feeling of exaltation, of inward independence, filled 
my soul, as if some truth, some light, rich with the future, 
had arisen in it. Something great had come over me ; had 
made me forget time, solitude, myself, and my petty, selfish 
wishes, and inspired me with new thoughts ; a fresh inter- 
est ; and when I asked its name, I was answered, " The 
Glory of God ! " For " God's shadow wanders through 
Nature." 1 

Grandmother had predicted truly. A visitor had act- 
ually come ; not through the door, but from above 
through the window. 

MY WINDOW, 1855. 

NEW PROSPECTS. 
THE BEGGAR-WOMAN. 

Now it is autumn ; late in the autumn ; November. 
Winter is at the door. 

Somebody has made the remark, that after the lapse of 
ten years the causes of man's happiness or misery in life 
are very different from those previous to these ten years. 
How much more applicable is not this to a period of thirty 
years ? 

It lies in our nature that, at certain periods of time, we 
look back upon the road which we have travelled, to meas- 
ure it from the point which we have reached and the goal 
which lies before us. We place ourselves, as it were, in 
the window of our inner room in the world, to survey our 
life, its forms, its efforts, and its aim, and try to get a clear 
and distinct view of it. 

"The development of individual life progresses from 
1 Linne. 



SKETCHES. 297 

condition to condition," says the modern Simon Stylites, 
Aabye Kjerkegaard, sitting upon his solitary pillar, staring 
at the sky, and now and then spitting at the people round 
about him on earth. Upon the direction of this movement 
depends the condition in which we ultimately remain, or 
rather to which we arrive, for stop we cannot, unless we 
become spiritually petrified. 

" As we do not," says the Danish prophet just mentioned, 
" rise from the Christian, the unsophisticated, to become 
'eventually interesting, witty, an artist, philosopher, states- 
man, etc., etc. ; but as on the contrary, out of all these 
through reflection we become in all more and more a hum- 
ble Christian," in the same manner also the true aim of 
life ought to let our petty passions, our love for such and 
such a one, for this or that, and above all our self-love, fall 
away, or rather be absorbed, lost, or glorified in our love 
for Love itself, the only lovable, ever yielding, ever ful- 
filling spirit. Absorbed in that spirit, man turns again 
towards the world of humanity, not like the Danish Simon 
Stylites, but with a new love, more general, but there- 
fore not the less warm ; no, fiery and pure, like that of the 
highest Being whose child it is. That is thy aim, loving 
heart ! Blessed art thou who reach est it ! 

Thus much about life's " condition." I return to my 
window. Both window and condition are not any longer 
the same as those in the picture thirty years ago. All is 
changed. Only some pieces of the old furniture remind 
me of the old home. Those people who in it constituted 
the delight or the misery of my life, are all gone, dead, or 
away. There is much besides death, which separates peo- 
ple. The heart which then but hush, hush, or it will 
bleed, from the memory of the life, the faith, the love, of 
which it then was capable. It still beats warmly, although 
for other objects. Thirty years of a life, rich in important 
events and changes, more rich than all the tropically bril- 
liant and warm dreams of youth, have flown past, but not 



298 SKETCHES. 

vainly. They have changed much. There is now snow on 
my locks, the hot winds have become cool, I feel the fan- 
ning of another spring-air from other regions, and I thank 
God for it. 

My window looks again out upon a square, but a differ- 
ent one to that of thirty years ago. I see less of the street 
and more of the sky. I am living one story higher up. 
Again I am alone, quite alone in my home, but yet less 
lonely than ever, and my desire for activity that was so in- 
tense thirty years ago has been more than fulfilled, for I 
have more to do than I can really manage. I expect no 
visitor, and long for none. But there are visitors which are 
still dear to me, and heartily welcome. Amongst these is 
the sun, which about noon usually peeps into my window. 
In the evening I have his last ray, for my room lies towards 
that point where he sets. Across a great number of house- 
tops I look forth upon fir-crowned hills on the horizon, and 
see in the green valleys between them small white rural 
cottages, and on the heights seven windmills, swinging 
round their wings and grinding a great deal of corn. 
When I open my window, I feel coming from those hills a 
fresh country air, as delightful as if it had not crossed the 
town and square to reach me. This is a great enjoyment 
indeed. 

I love to stand in my window morning and evening for 
a short time ; in the morning to contemplate the wondrous 
beauty of the changing colors of early dawn ; to behold the 
sun's first, brilliant rays falling upon the windows of the 
cottages amongst the hills; to see the active life of the 
market-place under my windows awake and become astir ; 
in the evening, to see it die away and cease, and to catch 
the last farewell looks of the sun sinking behind the hills. 
Occasionally also during the day I amuse myself by looking 
at the market-place and its bustle and trade. 

But that which is the object of my contemplation, what 
I enjoy, what I receive within me as a bright image, or a 



SKETCHES. 299 

perception, I maintain to be my property quite as much and 
even more than if I had acquired it by any legal purchase. 
What I thus obtain through God's mercy, that I take, I 
have, and I keep, and nobody can deprive me of it ; it is 
actually and indisputably mine. I consider myself, there- 
fore, fully entitled to say not only my window, but also my 
prospect, my hills, my windmills, my market-place, my mar- 
ket-women, tables, vegetables, etc., etc. in a word, my 
large household, my pantry in the market-place ; it is all, all 
my individual property, the same as the large magnificent 
cupola above it in which the sun and the stars are shining. 

My market-place is a comfortable market-place ; it has 
no sanguinary memories, like most of the other market- 
places in Stockholm. Peaceful industry and peaceful trades 
have there set out their tables, loaded with inland produce. 

You may every day witness the silent, pleasant bustle of 
buyers and sellers surrounding the tables, covered with every 
thing necessary for the requirements of the body. But 
what you cannot see as well as he who lives at the market- 
place, is how its life begins, how it moves and stirs from 
morning till night ; and it is not uninteresting to contem- 
plate it now and then. 

The first groups that make their appearance at early 
dawn, are the breakfast-groups; the first tables that are 
laid out are the coffee-tables. There are two or three 
right in the centre of the square. Comfortably dressed 
sales-women present themselves with gigantic coffee-urns, 
carried in enormous baskets, wrapped in linen cloth. Work- 
people gather round them from all sides, each paying their 
half-penny, for which they receive in exchange a cup of the 
steaming beverage with cream and a piece of sugar. Bread 
must be bought separately. The breakfast in the open air 
looks very comfortable. Some Dalecarlian peasant girls 
and " Madams," i. e. women wearing bonnets, make their 
appearance at the upper end of the square. Then tables 
are laid out, and are covered with vegetables and fruit. 



300 SKETCHES. 

You may count about twenty such tables in each row, and 
even he who has seen the vegetable markets in other, more 
wealthy countries, has very little reason to find fault with 
the good quality and the variety of the articles exposed for 
sale. Better cabbage-heads are decidedly not found on 
the other side of the Atlantic ; nowhere are the carrots 
more beautiful, more sweet, and nowhere can you find 
better potatoes. 

The vegetables do good to our eyes, they look so fresh 
and so crisp. The tables belonging to the fruit-women are 
not so well furnished, and we see turnips and other plebeian 
round-heads intruding amongst the apple, pear, and berga- 
mot baskets, in order to fill up the vacant places on the 
tables. These vegetable venders evidently consider them- 
selves to be the aristocracy of the market. They wear 
bonnets and style themselves "Mistress." Their group 
occupies the upper part of the square. Next after the veg- 
etable-sellers come the potato-groups in small families of 
sacks and measures. In the centre thereof " Mother " is 
seated upon a chair, sometimes upon a sack filled with 
potatoes, quietly waiting for her admirers, who never fail 
to arrive, carrying away one sack after another. The 
" Mother " of the potato-family does not wear a bonnet but 
a hood. In the third row the fish-women are seated, each 
in a wooden tub with a high back to lean against, and be- 
fore them large pails and tables full of fish in season, from 
the Baltic as well as from the Malar Lake. 

In the fourth row stand the tables and bins filled with 
all the various kinds of Swedish bread, of which I will only 
mention brown, sour bread (here called anchor-stocks), rye- 
biscuits, rye and wheaten cakes, buns, penny rolls, aniseed- 
bread, French bread, almond-bread, saffron-cakes, rusks, 
and twists of all kinds. A little pale but sharp-looking 
girl of eleven years is sitting at one of these tables, as 
shrewd and clever at her business as any " Madam " of 
forty ; but it is not a good school. The bread-tables look 



SKETCHES. 301 

inviting at a distance, but afford, upon closer inspection, 
subjects for less agreeable thoughts ; the six-stiver cake has 
a hole in the centre as large as a small tea-cup and the 
four-stiver wheaten bread is so small and gray, and looks so 
miserable, that if I or my friend were obliged to eat it I 
believe that I would first have to moisten it with a few 
tears. " Hard times for the poor," people say, and go past. 
Next in order come the flour-stands, small boxes on 
wheels, beside which floury " Madams," sometimes men, 
covered with meal, weigh out the produce of the mills. 
Here in the vicinity are also seen pease, beans, groats, etc., 
etc. Nearly in a line with these come the booths with 
canvas-roofs, where a variety of smaller articles of dress, 
from woolen socks up to gauze caps, toys for children, rib- 
bons, and all kinds of wares, are sold cheap. Between these 
stand small tables with bread, sugar-candy, fruit, etc. Lower 
down, in a line with all these lines, we see the beef and 
pork sellers at their tables, and those who sell butter, and 
eggs, and salt-salmon in large tubs. In this neighborhood 
every thing is more higgledy-piggledy ; sweetmeats jostling 
eggs, and brooms poked in amongst the butter ; window 
ornaments, made of the beautiful reindeer lichen, mixed 
with green moss and red barberries, are thrust in be- 
tween turkeys and smoked goose-breasts. Ragged women 
are seen trudging in from the forests, carrying fresh spruce- 
fir branches and fragrant juniper twigs. 

This division of the market-place, commencing at the 
Bazaar I must apologize to its " Madams " for not 
having mentioned them earlier where all kinds of nice 
stone-wares are exposed in groups for sale, is bounded by a 
line of one-horse milk-carts, where Dalecarlian and rosy 
cheeked milk-maids, with pink checked handkerchiefs on 
their heads, are enthroned on their vehicles, retailing the 
beautiful white beverage, which, alas ! is said to be mixed 
sometimes with a little water. These milk-carts all turn 
their backs towards the lane dividing the market-place into 



302 SKETCHES. 

two equal parts. On the other side of this lane, you may, 
especially on certain market clays, see the country-people 
with large wagon-loads of hay, grain, meat, wooden uten- 
sils, and other produce, as well as cattle. Here is a stir 
and a life as in an ant-hill. At the upper end of the square, 
along the houses, women and girls sit busy weaving wreaths 
of flowers and moss and red whortleberries to lay upon 
graves, offering you the fragrant produce of the forests. 

Here amongst the country people you may admire one 
or more tall, fine figures, in their provincial dress, and the 
little Swedish peasant horses, with short-cut, comb-like 
manes, small hoofs and heads, looking as if they were 
not capable of long journeys and heavy work, but which 
the Arctic traveller, Sir John Ross, avouched to be the 
horses best suited for an expedition to the North Pole. 
The commerce in this part of the market-place is most 
lively between the hours of ten and twelve. After that 
time the place begins to get empty. Business is car- 
ried on much longer in the other part. About noon the 
market-women take their humble dinner, each at her 
table ; in rainy weather, under large umbrellas. After 
dinner they drink their coffee. This is all very comfortable 
fln fine weather, but in rain and wind ugh ! 

We cannot, in contemplating the arrangements here and 
comparing them to those which are made for similar pur- 
poses abroad, help admiring with what few comforts and 
small resources we here in Sweden understand how to 
work our way. And yet here, more than in many other 
countries, some consideration and care ought to be shown 
those who are every day exposed to the rigor of the climate. 

One cannot help wishing that these poor market-women, 
wives and girls, should have the advantage of wooden floor- 
ing and a roof over their head. When we see them sitting 
all day long with their feet upon the cold, wet ground, their 
head not sheltered against snow or rain, or at best only by 
an old ragged umbrella, while their goods are not sheltered 



SKETCHES. 303 

at all, we ought not to wonder that in the course of time they 
become bad-tempered, gouty, morose, quarrelsome, and 
which is the case with several of them ultimately take 
to the brandy bottle, to help them to keep up their spirits, 
and keep themselves warm. Discomfort is the mother of 
vice. Not exactly that the market-women here should 
necessarily be driven to it. An energetic and God-fearing 
soul can keep the body in spirits and dry, even in the worst 
weather. There is, for instance, amongst the market- 
women, one whom I wish you could know yonder sub- 
stantial, good-looking woman, looking so stately in her 
butcher's stall. She said one day to a young wife, who was 
crying for the loss of her husband, who had died and left 
her alone with five children totally unprovided for : 

" Hearken to me, my good Mistress H . Do not go 

about in this manner, lamenting and crying, but go home ; 
take off your cloak and put on a proper working dress ; get 
a table, come here, and sell some article. So I did five and 
twenty years ago, when my husband deserted me. All I 
then possessed in the world was three children and three 
shillings. But some kind people advanced me the money 
to buy a pig. I carried it home myself, cut it up, and came 
here the next day to sell it. And here I stood until I 
could afford to get my own stall. I have now portioned off 
and married my three children ; I have three servants, and 
am the owner of a stone-house in the north part of the 
town, and the Lord's hand is over me all my days. Do as 
I did, exert yourself to the utmost, work and trust in God, 
and all will go well. I shall myself give you the first 
handsel ! " 

She to whom this advice was given, did follow it ; she is 
now standing in the market every day, in high spirits, at her 
pork-table, and has already verified the words of her coun- 
selor. 

But in order to be able to withstand the rough weather 
and discomfort of a market life, it requires not only a soul 



304 SKETCHES. 

firm as a rock, but also iron health. Our market-women 
have generally neither the one nor the other. 

They who in the course of the day first make their exit 
from the market-place after the milk-women, are the fish- 
women and the potato families ; then the vegetable, and 
lastly the meat-women. A few meat and vegetable stalls 
remain, however, until the evening. Those who sell fruit 
and bread remain the longest. In the afternoon a number 
of men with brooms, and large flocks of sparrows, come 
regularly to sweep away and feast upon the remains of the 
day's sale. A dog amuses himself now and then with 
hunting the winged scavengers, and when he sees a flock 
of them he makes a desperate rush at them ; but they are 
off like lightning, and he stands still, disconcerted, until he 
espies another flock, at which he again makes a rush, with 
the same result. The place becomes gradually more and 
more empty and desolate ; there a blind fiddler is led about 
by a boy, to play outside the various public houses ; the 
brooms and the sparrows are at last masters of the field ; 
only on Saturday nights the sales-women remain until a 
late hour, and we see the light of their small lanterns 
glimmer through the darkness in which the whole scene is 
shrouded. 

On Sundays the square is totally deserted, but thousands 
of sparrows appear to hold an animated and spirited com- 
merce, while the dogs amuse themselves with sparrow- 
hunting. 

As regards the buying population of the market-place, 
it offers to the beholder little that is characteristic : it re- 
sembles the market-place customers of all other Swedish 
towns. The neat servant-maids, with woolen shawls and 
black silk handkerchiefs on their heads, and a basket on 
their arm ; the homely housewife with cloak and bonnet, 
carefully examining the various goods before buying them ; 
the old gentleman, who wants a tidbit for his own and 
his family's dinner, and who carries off a bird and some 



SKETCHES. 305 

vegetables ; the servant-maid, who walks home with a 
large sucking-pig in her arms ; the little girl, who buys 
a half measure of potatoes, an onion and three turnips, a 
pennyworth of parsley and rusks, a skein of cotton thread, 
a piece of gingerbread and a Danish lollipop, and stows it 
all away in her little bag, or " pirate," of plaited straw ;. 
the urchin, who thumbs all the apples before he buys one 
you know all these figures, and can see them every day in 
every market here in town. But what you do not see every 
day nor everywhere, is a little man, walking upon four legs, 
and accompanied by three large dogs. Him I saw just 
now crossing the market-place upon two wooden legs and 
two legs of flesh and bone paralyzed. It is the horse- 
butcher, or rather horse-friend and poet, Ekeblad, an orig- 
inal ; and it would be well if we had many such in this 
town and in the world, not only for the sake of the poor 
horses, but also for the sake of those people who suffer 
pain by seeing them treated with cruelty. 

For it was his love for the brute creation, and his sym- 
pathy with that noble animal, the horse, which first induced 
Mr. Ekeblad to wander through our streets and market- 
places like a missionary, to preach amongst cabmen and 
other horse-tormentors, kindness to animals. They shut 
their ears to him and abused him. The horse-friend then 
began lecturing to the better classes on the treatment of 
animals especially the horse. He only got laughed at, 
and was left to lecture to empty walls. The Swedes are 
not more harsh or cruel than other nations ; but we have 
not here, as in other civilized countries, any laws for the 
prevention of cruelty to animals, 1 nor has attention been 
publicly directed to their characteristics, their merits, their 
sufferings to " the sighs of the animals." 

Yet there are in this country many women and men who 
silently feel these " sighs." Foremost amongst these latter 
stands Mr. Ekeblad, for he has not only thought and pub- 
1 Such laws do now exist since the year 1857. 



306 SKETCHES. 

licly complained in favor of the animals, but he has also 
acted vigorously in their interest. Not being able by lec- 
turing to prevent the ill-treatment of horses by their selfish 
and heartless owners, he began buying up all worn-out and 
broken-down animals, and slaughtered them in a way which 
gave them death without pain. 

Honor be to this Christian horse-friend ! He has, under 
hard struggles and with much self-sacrifice, effected much 
good. 

Having now described my present residence and the 
prospects which it offers, I shall now go back a little in my 
narrative, in order to relate what I saw on the 26th of 
April. 

I was that day not exactly out of humor. God forbid 
that a woman before she has reached fifty should be out of 
humor ; that is impossible ! That belongs only to old men 
and old women, doomed to take snuff and play at " pa- 
tience." But to say the truth, I was not quite in good temper. 
I sat down to my piano : it was out of tune, or perhaps I 
was out of tune myself. Even out of the " Magic Flute " 
came only disharmony. I had recourse to my easel. On 
it stood a portrait just finished. It stared at me with a 
squinting, cross look. I turned away from it with disgust, 
and tried to console myself by writing a verse, but could not 
find a rhyme for am; dissatisfied, I opened a book, but 
could not understand what I was reading. I threw my 
talents overboard and sat down at the window. 

The April wind played his capricious pranks in the air. 
The sun, which had only just been shining out brightly, 
was now hidden by clouds, which in their turn were again 
dispersed by the merry winds, forming, in so doing, a fan- 
tastic triumphal arch for the King of Light. But they re- 
turned thicker and darker, now hanging in heavy draperies 
upon the earth, anon beating it with icy hail-showers, or 
powdering it with curling wreaths of snow. Through their 
gradually thinning veil the bright, blue sky soon again 



SKETCHES. 307 

peeped forth ; it blew, then it became calm, the sky bright- 
ened and darkened, darkened and brightened, exactly as in 
the daily repeated comedy of " Love's Quarrel," or in life's 
great wonderful drama. A sudden severe hailstorm com- 
ing on, I saw the pedestrians in the street, leading into the 
square, rushing about in wild dismay seeking a shelter from 
the pelting hailstones. A young servant-maid, walking 
rather more upon her dress than upon the stones of the 
street, came running with a jug full of cream and a basket 
with bread in her hands, stumbled, spilt the contents of the 
one and dropped what was contained in the other, all for 
the benefit of a lean dog, who, poor animal, to judge from 
his insensibility to the hailstones, must have been accus- 
tomed to take his meals under the accompaniment of kicks 
the good with the bad. With light boots and a woeful 
countenance, an elegant gentleman skipped across the 
street to a house, out of whose window a young lady 
seemed compassionately to contemplate the sorely beset 
hero, who, with his eyes fixed upon her, and blind as the 
little God of Love, rushed into the arms of a stout " Mad- 
am," who, in her innocence, surely did not think of envel- 
oping in her cloak any body else than her own fat self and 
her basket full of gingerbread. 

Here a woman, with a child in her arms, was hastening 
towards her home. She unfastened the handkerchief upon 
her head, in order to wrap it round the child. Mercilessly 
the hail was battering against her brown curls, while in 
front of her two gentlemen were butting at each other with 
their umbrellas, swearing at each other in their blindness 
and hurry. An ancient horse was philosophically shaking 
his shaggy head at the unwonted noise, and being left to 
manage it according to his own pleasure, for himself and 
for the old friend to which he was harnessed, a cart, shaky 
from old age and long service, he found himself at last 
induced to do as other people, to drag his appendix and 
himself, with bent head and drooping ears, into an open 



308 SKETCHES. 

covered gate-way. Three cats and two dogs followed his 
example, but in opposite directions. The sparrows, those 
little airy optimists, merrily chirping under the shelter of 
the eaves of the houses, seemed to rejoice that nothing 
could upset their good temper. 

Soon the street became empty. A mummy-like figure 
was sitting alone and immovable on the steps of the house 
from which I made my observations. She was sitting as 
if she did not notice the hailstones, staring straight before 
her with a look which seemed to feel no more interest in 
any thing in this world. The crutch lying beside her, and 
the rags of her tolerably clean dress, seemed to explain to 
me her listlessness. Poor woman ! I said to myself, she 
is poor, old, decrepit, abandoned, and alone in the world. 
She has nothing more to fear, nothing more to hope. Why 
should she have looked out for a shelter ? She may well 
be indifferent about every thing. She is a zero in the 
world, and to her the world is a zero. I was deceived. 
The hailstorm ceased ; the clouds broke, and the sun shone 
bright and warm. The old woman looked up so happy, 
so gratefully happy at life's light and joy. Her face, on 
which old age, sickness, and misery had left deep and dark 
traces, still retained the expression which the poet so 
beautifully paints : 

" There, through sorrow's bitter tears, 

And the beaming rays of joy, 

Hope, immortal, smiles." 

Thus sat the old woman, enjoying what nobody envied, 
what nobody could take away from her the light. Some- 
body approached her ; she put out a supplicating hand, 
and did not draw it back empty. 

In a summer garb more than transparent, a little pale 
boy came wandering along with downcast eyes, past the 
row of houses, he and his dog looking out for some thrown 
away, but for them precious, morsel of food. 

The old woman beckoned the boy to come to her, and with 



SKETCHES. 309 

some friendly word gave him the alms which she had her- 
self but now received. With his hungry four-footed friend 
he hastened, with merry bounds, to a neighboring baker's 
shop, where they shared their luxurious meal with enviable 
appetite and delight. 

Their benefactress looked after them with a pleasant smile. 
A few minutes afterwards she took a piece of soft bread 
out of her apron, and ate it with evident enjoyment. 
Again she looked up to the bright sky, so gratefully, as if 
she had nothing more to wish for in life. 

This sight gave me something to think of, and in har- 
mony with the change in the weather, my thoughts were 
now the very reverse of those which I had entertained a 
short time before. 

This old woman, whom we pity, ought we not rather to 
deem her enviable? She may have what we all of us 
want, what we all long for an interest in every day. The 
beginning of each day offers to her an eventful future. 
What she receives at the hands of the charitable, is to her 
a favor of fortune, or rather a mercy from Heaven, who 
does not abandon her any more than the sparrow, which, 
merrily chirping, picks up the grain that has fallen for him 
to the ground. If occasionally her prayer is refused, why 
she is used to it ; it neither spoils nor embitters her temper, 
and wanting but little, she still always gets that little. 
What she gives out of her poverty to others, has, like the 
widow's mite, a great value in the eyes of the Great Judge 
who examines the heart and the will. She has no cares 
for the morrow, and no day goes past which does not 
bring her some good, which yesterday she did not expect 
to get. Hardened from long habit against the changes of 
the weather, she suffers little from its roughness, whereas 
she enjoys undisturbed and free its more genial moments. 

I believe that they who live and move about much in the 
open air, they who frequently have no other roof over their 
heads than heaven's vault, feel themselves more vividly 
and more trustfully to be under the protection of the higher 



310 SKETCHES. 

Being, who, their heart tells them, is up above. ,Just as in 
the new-built temple of Solomon, the Lord manifested 
His presence in a cloud, so in Nature's glorious temple He 
manifests Himself to us, even to this day, in the atmosphere 
of the high and the holy which everywhere surrounds us ; 
and although a cloudy darkness still hides the revelation 
to our eye, yet we feel it in the light, in the invisible, 
mighty wind, in all the life which surrounds us, and the 
hidden source of which we are called upon to feel, to pay 
homage to, and to worship. The ever-varying changes 
of the seasons ; the rigor and often splendor of winter ; 
spring's creative glory ; summer's thunder and lightning, 
and its charms; autumn's ripening life, fogs, and fare- 
well festival ; day, night, morning, evening every thing 
speaks to the child of Nature, and spreads before its view 
a picture in the harmonious variety of which it learns to 
trace a heavenly Master's hand. 

And it was surely not in the bosom of full life-giving 
Nature, where they were created, these systems of ma- 
terialism, of eternal death, this nothing doctrine of noth- 
ingness. Spring's balmy winds did not fan the forehead 
within which this gloomy phantom was born. It was 
within the dark walls of his narrow cell, while breathing 
close and unwholesome air ; it was by the dim glimmer 
of his midnight lamp, that the fallen son of light and truth 
did exert the whole power of his ingenuity to disclaim his 
soul, and with it life's every flower. It was there he could 
deprive suffering and longing man of the angel of hope, 
and in exchange, give him a skeleton. 

Happy, immeasurably happy, art thou, although poor and 
despised, if Heaven's light, which shines before thy mortal 
eye, shines also in thy soul. How rich thou art ! how little 
dost thou miss ! What is it thou hast less than the mighty 
and the rich ? Want. What more than they ? Content. 

The golden grains of happiness are sown more evenly 
than we generally believe ; perhaps with a more liberal 
hand on that side where earthly gold is not found. 



SKETCHES. 311 

I do not know whether Alexander the Great, or whether 
the still greater Napoleon, ever knew real happiness. I do 
not know whether the possession of the whole world could 
have given them contentment ; and yet this, the highest 
for which they struggled, which they needed, was given to 
a poor beggar woman in a ray of sunlight, and a morsel of 
dry bread. 

And I, who in the silent shadow of an unnoticed life 
ought sooner to find the hidden violet of happiness, but 
who find so little enjoyment in many gifts of fortune, I feel 
that I possess less than thou, poor and yet wealthy woman. 
I have envied thee thy smile and thy glance so free from 
care. 

By way of penitence I will at once make a pilgrimage 
across the street to thee, saint of rags, and humbly offering 
my little gift at thy shrine, earn from thee a " God bless 
you ! " " Amen ! " I shall say silently, and pray that He, 
as His best gift, may give me thy patient contentment. I 
gave her my mite and returned home. 

In the window opposite, the young gentleman and the 
young lady stood side by side. They smiled. The old 
beggar-woman smiled with silent satisfaction, and the sun 
was smiling over us all. My bad temper had vanished, 
and I smiled likewise. 

THE SISTERS. 

NOVEL writers have planted the world's fields full of a 
flower called love ; and every one, who, like me at the age 
of ten years, has collected an herbarium of knowledge of 
mankind only in their gardens, expects at his first peep 
into the real world to see the beauteous, wonderful flower 
blooming in the verdant summer groves ; on the frozen 
snow-hill ; in the park ; on the heath ; in the valley and on 
the mountain-tops ; at sea and on shore ; in every cottage ; 
in every palace, and especially in the road-side inns but, 
like me, he will be grievously deceived. 



312 SKETCHES. 

This glorious, eternal flower, fed by heaven's purest dew, 
is in reality very rare. I have seen it growing in the silent 
sanctuary of the breast of a few noble people, there enno- 
bling and glorifying every thing. I have seen it in a few 
earthly homes create a paradise. Yes, it is found on earth, 
this flower ; I know it and I feel it. 

But what we do not unfrequently see, is a kind of love in 
idleness, blooming for one short summer and then wither- 
ing away ; some passion-flowers with four and twenty hours 
of life ; and a number of love-anemones, which the spring 
sun calls into life, which come in May and depart in May, 
and about all of which trifles the world makes a great fuss ; 
but what we see much more frequently is the grassy or 
ploughed pasture-land within or without doors, without any 
love-anemones at all. 

And then also the novel writers have woven round the 
world a net of golden threads, on which man dances merrily 
along. These life-threads meet, resist, follow, or cross each 
other incessantly ; one finds everywhere complications 
and denouement, and consequently interest; nothing dis- 
jointed ; nothing fragmentary ; nothing of the knots of the 
life-thread ; nothing of this melancholy " we sit where we 
sit," which so often occurs in reality : on the contrary, one 
sees always progression, in prosperity as well as in adversity ; 
always a contact of man with his fellow-men, full of interest ; 
and I will wager with you, young maiden with rosy cheeks, 
with you, young man with downy chin, that you believe 
you cannot take a single step in this world of ours, without 
encountering people who care for you ; yes, they do, as the 
spider cares for the fly or the butterfly for the rose. You 
may, it is true, probably now and then create some interest 
in this way ; perchance frequently meet with people who 
ask what value you have in money ; but what you will 
meet with much more frequently is a number of peo- 
ple who each of them look after their own selves, and 
their bag and baggage, but who do not care for each other, 



SKETCHES. 313 

or for you, more than for the man in the moon, and some- 
times still less. 

Tt is in the miniature copies of the world's large posting- 
house, where the truth of this sad sketch is forced upon 
your experience with glaring colors ; and in order to illus- 
trate this, I will here tell, especially for the benefit of those 
who have never been at an hotel or a road-side inn, how, 
one fine day, towards the close of September, two hand- 
some carriages, containing a mother with her three daugh- 
ters, son, and a nephew with moustaches, stopped at the 
door of the hotel at the Falls of Trollhattan ; how these 
travellers, after having ordered supper and lodgings for the 
night, proceeded, as it becomes civilized people eager for 
enlightenment, to see the locks, while they philosophized 
over man's genius to create water where formerly stood 
mountains ; and how they, thereupon, during all kinds of 
pleasant chat, went to view the roaring waterfalls, in order 
to fall, as becomes thinking people, into deep meditations 
at the wonders of Nature ; and how at the the Guild cata- 
ract, in one of the daughters, who, besides very round cheeks 
had also been gifted with a poetical vein, all kinds of 
thoughts arose, bedewed with the misty spray of the water- 
fall, but from which thoughts she hoped that one day the 
mist might roll away, so as to discover some outlines of cer- 
tain " Sketches." 

It is further worth remarking, how the cousin with the 
moustaches not only fell into a deep reverie on the Tappo 
cataract, but was on the point of falling into it himself, and 
how thereupon the whole company walked back to the 
hotel, installed themselves in apartments No. 6 and 7 and 
8 and 9 and 10, drank tea and ate sandwiches, amidst the 
sound of merry laughter and pleasant chat. 

From another quarter two Englishmen, returning from a 
shooting excursion, thoroughly soaked and bespattered all 
over, but in " high spirits," let off their fowling-pieces at 
the hotel door, and took possession, with a vast deal of noise 



314 SKETCHES. 

and bustle, of room No 11, where, on the untuned strings 
of a harp, they struck distracting discords, at which one of 
the daughters in the adjacent room, who had a wonderfully 
acute musical ear, grumbled a good deal, which did not 
prevent the friend of disharmony from jingling and twang- 
ing until midnight. 

In No. 1 a dear papa gave his two daughters a spir. 
itual gymnastic exercise : " Have you brought up the 
portfolio ? " " Yes, dear papa." "I hope you have not 
forgotten the travelling-map in the carriage ? " " No, dear 
papa." " Where is my pipe ? " " Here, dear papa." " Do 
not stand there, Wendla, and look foolish ; sew fast my star 
to my coat ; do you hear ? " " Yes, dear papa." " Fanny, 
have you ordered tea?" "Yes, dear papa." "And coffee 
for "Wendla, and ale-posset for me ? " " Yes, dear papa." 
"And bread and butter and beef? you think of nothing; 
I must manage every thing. See now that you sleep soundly 
and well to-night, so that we may be ready for travelling 
a little early to-morrow morning." 

In No. 3 a young gentleman was writing his " travelling 
impressions," beginning with these words : " I am now writ- 
ing" . . . (for posterity he thought, so I suppose). 

In No. 5 two young fellows were playing at cards, and 
drinking punch ; they found it good, and they thought with 
Kaja in " Noah's Ark," l 

" I think our world is the best of worlds, 
For far far worse in Hamburg it is." 

In No 15 a married couple sat conversing in the beau- 
tiful moonlight. Of the subject of their conversation we 
can judge best by the words which were most frequently 
heard in the course thereof: "Expenses, income, living, 
hard times, electoral sheep, pigs, corn-brandy, barm, steward, 
eggs, butter, milk, pork, cow-houses, and barns." My young 
readers, I could go on until to-morrow, reciting all the 
1 A satirical poem by Bishop Fahlcrantz. 



SKETCHES. 315 

various subjects of conversation, and still not find place for 
the word love. 

In No. 18 somebody was continually yawning and ring- 
ing the bell, seeming desirous of coming in contact with 
the other inmates of the hotel, but these (as it often happens 
in similar cases) did not seem inclined to come in contact 
with him. Still he made the landlady's seven chamber- 
maids chase each other up and down the stairs. 

In No. 20, a small and dismal room, a mother was sitting 
beside her child's sick-bed. The landlady entered to speak 
with her about her new arrivals, and to give the pale, 
poorly dressed stranger a hint to continue her journey with 
as little delay as possible. 

Her eye lighted upon the child, whose sleep was dis- 
turbed by frequently returning cramp-attacks, and she 
exclaimed : " Lor ! what is the matter with the brat ? It 
won't live till to-morrow, I can tell you ! " The poor mother 
bent over her child with kisses and tears. The landlady 
went on : " If you were to put a blister upon its head ; or 
gave it some ' Hoffman's Drops ; ' or put it in a bath, 
or if we could make it swallow some camomile-tea but 
what at all events is certain, is, that it won't live over the 
night ; but, if you could afford it, you might buy a bottle 
of French wine." .... 

The stranger interrupted her, by asking how far it was 

to Werna, where the Ladies L were living, and whether 

a messenger could be found at once, to send on to them ? 

" About thirteen miles," was the answer, " and a messen- 
ger you can certainly get ; but my dear little lady, if you 
believe that you can get any assistance from the " Ladies at 
Werna," you are mightily mistaken. They are proud and 
hard-hearted people." 

" That is not true," interrupted the stranger with vehe- 
mence. 

" Not true ! " rejoined the landlady, much offended. 
" Whether it is true or not, I ought to know best, who have 



316 SKETCHES. 

myself asked a favor of them and have been refused, get- 
ting well moralized by Lady Helena into the bargain. Not 
true ! I ought to know it best, who have had a step-daugh- 
ter in their service. Not true ! very well, go to them, go 
to them, and you will see yourself whether I tell any 
stories. 1 You will be shown the door, as well as others. 
Go ! go ! " 

" Had not " the stranger asked in a tone of deep dejec- 
tion " had not the Ladies L a sister ? " 

" Yes, certainly ; but she has been absent many years, 
and I would not advise her to return to her sisters, unless 
she were very wealthy or married to some Prince, for other- 
wise they won't acknowledge her. They are very proud 
women ; they associate only with grand folks, and live in 
style. They have a ball to-night." 

" To-night ! " said the stranger. 

"Yes, and they have one every Sunday night; I say 
nothing, I ; but still I think that on the Lord's day one 
ought " 

The stranger here interrupted her, peremptorily desiring 
to be furnished with writing materials and a candle, and to 
get a messenger, who would for payment undertake to go 
at once to Werna. 

" Oh, certainly ! " replied the landlady, with a taunting 
sneer, " I won't be in the way of your fortune." 

A quarter of an hour afterwards, the stranger sat beside 
a wretched candle, writing in feverish haste. The faint 
light fell upon her pale and sunken cheeks. She was the 
very image of suffering. 

The messenger, Mother Bengta, was now ready to go to 
Werna, to which place she also had an errand on her own 
account, and the last bank-note was transferred from the 

1 Excuse me, my good woman, you do tell a story, and a friend of truth 
must here bear witness, that you look upon the sisters at Werna in such a 
dark light only because they refused your request to become security for 
one of your sons, who wished to set up in business as a tradesman, but who 
was well known to be a good-for-nothing fellow. 



SKETCHES. 317 

stranger's pocket-book to Mother Bengta, in payment for 
her trouble with the letter, which with real agony she en- 
joined her to take good care of and to deliver without loss 
of time. 

She then turned again to the child, which had just awak- 
ened. 

" How the waterfall roars," said the little one ; " I feel 
so uneasy, mamma ! take me upon your knee ; I shall rest 
better there." 

" How are you, my child ? " " Better, mamma ; I have 
had such a beautiful dream ; I saw an angel and a bright 
light mamma, you 're weeping ; kiss me. How the water- 
fall roars ! sing to me the song about the North, mamma, so 
that I may not hear that roar ; when you sing to me, time 
flies quicker." 

The mother sang, and when she came to the last lines, 
she sang so slowly and with deep emotion : 

O thou glorious North 

That a cradle me gave, 

In thy well-beloved earth 

Let me sleep in my grave ; 

With my little one dreaming 

Where the snow-drifts are gleaming. * 

And thus she sat all night, rocking her child upon her 
lap, slowly singing. 

Meanwhile, Mother Bengta was trudging goose-fashion 
along the road to Werna. Have you, dear reader, ever 
known persons who were wonderfully clever at the trick 
of losing every thing ? It is a curious spectacle ! They 
begin, for instance, with dropping their pocket-handkerchief; 
and when they stoop down to pick it up, they drop a key, 
a glove, or a letter, or a memorandum-book, or the pocket- 
handkerchief a second time ; and if they do not drop their 
nose, it is merely because they do not have it in their hands. 
Mother Bengta was one of those persons, gifted with a 
similar talent, and after having (on her way to Werna, be- 
ginning with her garter) gone through the aforesaid drop- 



318 SKETCHES. 

ping process, she arrived there at last, minus the letter so 
anxiously recommended to her care. She looked for it 
everywhere, but it could not be found. 

The early morning-sun shone upon scenes of various 
kinds at the Trollhatta Hotel. 

" Dear papa " in No. 1, loaded his daughters with pack- 
ages and books to be deposited in the carriage. " Can you 
carry any thing more ? " he asked one of his daughters, 
whose head was just visible above the pyramid of packages 
which she was carrying in her arms. " Yes, with my nose," 
she replied with that good-natured and merry laugh, such 
as buoys up body and soul, and two books were accordingly 
confided to the care of the little nose. 

The two Englishmen went out shooting, singing at the 
top of their voices, without looking even with half an eye 
at " Gullon," standing there in the golden sunshine so glo- 
rious with its yellow autumn birches and evergreen firs, 
while the cataract, roaring and foaming, rained showers of 
sparkling diamonds upon its mossy banks. 

The youngster in No. 3 tried to rub the sleep out of his 
eyes ; he began slowly dressing, and while looking at him- 
self in the looking-glass, he muttered : " My dear Figge ! 
thou art certainly not so very handsome, but thou art not 
so very ugly either." 

The refined and interesting family's travelling-carriages 
drove up to the door. My lady-mother and her two 
daughters, each with her reticule, took their seats, rejoic- 
ing at the beautiful morning, while the third daughter went 
with her brother, who was to pay the heavy bill, in order to 
assist him in trying to beat down the exorbitant charge, 
which object so his future wife will no doubt one day 
say was quite contrary to the young gentleman's nature. 

The landlord and landlady were not visible, but their 
seven servant-girls stood all in a heap to defend the bill. 

" Nothing could be abated ; that was utterly impossi- 
ble ! " His sister, the sage Hulda, moralized and demon- 



SKETCHES. 319 

strated ; the brother looked black and fierce ; all in vain 
the bill did not grow less, and from the ranks of the 
seven servant-girls was heard a low growling about " a 
shabby company, that wants to bargain." Then stalked in 
through the open door the cousin with the moustaches, 
looking awful and threatening ; but he ended by strutting 
with large strides through the kitchen, thundering between 
his teeth : " This is scandalous ! " 

Then the brother made a tack or two round the seven 
servant-girls, who, in some alarm, had gathered in a knot 
in the middle of the kitchen floor, while he repeated with 
the calmness of despair : " This is a confounded shame ! " 
whereupon all three sailed out of the kitchen to the car- 
riages, in which the fresh morning soon made them for- 
get their night's lodgings, the exorbitant charge, and the 
league of the servant-girls. 

When the bright beams of the morning sun looked in 
through the window of No. 20, an angel bore away a little 
child's spirit, and carried it to the throne of the Almighty. 

With her child's lifeless body in her arms, the mother 
sat, closing with kisses the eyelids of the beautiful, now 
lustreless, eyes, and as she had sat all night with her child 
in her arms, so she sat all day, rocking it silently. 

Towards evening she asked whether any messenger had 
arrived for her with a letter, but none had arrived. On 
the second day old Mother Bengta returned, stoutly assert- 
ing that she had delivered the letter, but that she had re- 
ceived no answer. 

One, two, three, four five days passed, and the stranger 
wandered about, pale as a ghost, without either eating, 
drinking, or sleeping ; only asking, ever and anon : " Is 
there no letter for me ? " On the sixth day she laid her 
little child, with the aid of the clergyman of the parish, in 
its silent grave, and when it was buried, a light covering of 
snow spread itself over the tiny hillock, and it comforted 
the heart of the poor mother. Long she sat beside the 



320 SKETCHES. 

grave, and suffered the snow-flakes to fall upon her bare 
head. Then, with faltering steps, she dragged herself back 
to the hotel, asking again : " Is there no message, no letter 
for me ? " But there was none. Then sickness laid its 
hand upon her heart and head, and whispered to her 
agonized soul, Enough ! enough ! 

Sickness, bodily pain ! Thou hast been called an evil 
upon earth, but thou art often a good and salutary balm, 
under whose influence the soul finds rest after its hard bat- 
tle, and the raging tempests are stilled. More than once 
hast thou prevented suicide, or saved from madness. The 
fearful, the bitter words which disappointed expectation and 
deluded hope have written upon our heart, are gradually 
defaced in the dark and feverish dreams of sickness. The 
terrors which lately were so near, fly far away from us, 
we forget, thank God ! We forget, and when at last weak 
and tottering, we arise from a bed of sickness, our soul 
often awakens as from a long night to a new morning. 

While we are waiting for this new morning to dawn upon 
our poor sufferer, let us spend 

AN EVENING WITH THE SISTERS AT WERNA. 

The customary little Sunday night's dance was over, and 
the young boarders, after lovingly kissing and embracing 
their kind governesses, had retired to their respective dor- 
mitories. 

The candles were put out; the cold November wind 
whirled the snow-flakes round in mad gambols, but the 
autumn night's cosy fire was burning with a bright flame, 
throwing its cheering light round the room, in which the 
sisters, Helena and Amelia, were sitting in their easy chairs 
on each side of the stove, from which the light fell upon 
their kindly thoughtful faces. 

Once, contemplating an elderly lady's sad countenance, 
which seemed to bear the stamp of a joyless life, I thought, 
Oh ! how much that is beautiful remains undeveloped in 



SKETCHES. 321 

the face of the woman, who has never experienced the 
blessing of life's joy, of a pure, happy love ; it resembles 
the soil upon which no ray of the sun has fallen, and which, 
therefore, brings forth only sickly colorless flowers. But 
in contemplating these two sisters, I said to myself, Oh, 
how beautiful are not the features of those, who have pre- 
served their soul's peace by patience. 

Earthly love, enjoyment, and happiness cannot thus make 
the human face a bright mirror of heaven. This alone 
Oh ! do not turn away thy glance, young woman, whose 
eye is still beaming with youth and hope this alone can 
the cross of self-denial, humbly and patiently borne, do ; 
this alone be reflected by a firm mind, sanctified by a 
whole life, when it says : " Thy will be done, O Father ! " 
And the sisters had said this, and they had borne the cross. 
When one day they become glorified angels, they will per- 
haps appear with more beautiful features ; but this look, so 
bright, so serene, this smile, so gentle, so kind can 
heaven's children have one more beautiful ? I do not 
believe it ; for the angel was already there in the sisters' 
souls, and smiled and looked out of them, blessing earth. 
There were lines on their foreheads; their eyes were 
sunken ; there were traces of suffering on their cheeks ; but 
the spirit of humble submission had passed over all and had 
chased away all gloom. But not only the soul's beauty 
and peace lay spread over the faces of the sisters; for 
especially when they spoke, there sparkled a ray of lively 
humor, of that quiet, good-natured temper, which I believe 
we begin to feel when the stormy season of passion is past, 
and we submit to let alone what cannot be altered ; when 
we take man as he is, and put the best face upon things, 
and, above all, when we do not allow the minor business 
of life to irritate us, or become annoyed at petty vexations. 
We have much to combat with before we arrive at this de- 
lightful peace of mind, but the sisters have communicated 
to me the prescription, which they have themselves made 
21 



322 SKETCHES. 

use of, and this was to consider the Disposer of their fate as 
more clear-sighted than they themselves, and mankind often 
troubled with a cataract ; and therefore, in misfortunes and 
troubles, which they had to suffer in consequence of other 
people's hostility and errors, they merely remarked : " If 
they saw clearer, they would act differently ! " 

In the sky it is so arranged, that when all darkening 
clouds are swept away, the sun will shine out, or the stars 
will twinkle ; and in the same manner, when clouds of doubt 
or bitterness no longer hide the soul's heaven, the mild 
bright light of cheerfulness will shine forth, and in its rays 
are kindled these lively fancies, this innocent mirth, these 
merry jests, of which the airy and animating fire-works of 
e very-day life are composed. 

At a little distance from the sisters, opposite the fire- 
place, a young girl was seated on a low stool, her head 
leaning upon her small hand. She was watching, with a 
pensive mien, the dancing flames, which, to judge from the 
expression of her face, spoke to her more of life's play 
than of life's earnestness. She was pretty, eighteen years 
old, and her name Emma. 

To her Helena turned round, after a short pause in the 
conversation, opened her lips, and began as follows : 

" I have got a Bible for you, my dear Emma. You shall 
take it with you when you part from us. I think you can 
find a place for it in your portmanteau." 

" And I have got a large cookery-book .for you," said 
Amelia, with an arch smile ; " you must not forget to take 
that with you, also. It must not be said that you come 

from the sisters L 's house, soon to enter your own, 

without being well provided with that which can teach you 
how to become a clever housewife and mistress in your 
own home." 

" As to your housekeeping," chimed in Helena, " it is 
necessary that you should always attend carefully and have 
an eye to the garret, the cellars, and the kitchen, and keep 



SKETCHES. 323 

a sharp lookout after the cook. But be careful, my dear 
child, not to make all the fuss and bustle that so many mis- 
tresses are in the habit of indulging in from morning till 
night. One would think that no fire could be lit and would 
burn, and no fish could be fried, without their poking their 
nose into every thing. Believe me, the cook pestered by 
her mistress, while she herself is bustling about amongst 
her pots and pans, will do her work much worse than if 
she were left to manage for herself. Let every body in a 
household rule and govern in his own province, while the 
head thereof, that is to say, the housewife, superintends and 
rules the whole. But to do this properly, she must be 
herself a pattern of order and regularity." 

" Above all," observed Amelia, " it is necessary to be 
strict and even-tempered in your treatment of the servants. 
They ought each of them to have their certain and dis- 
tinct duties, and be kept to them strictly, but with kind- 
ness." 

" So that not," interrupted Helena, " as I have seen it 
somewhere, when any thing is to be clone, the man-servant 
tells the lady's maid to do it ; the lady's maid tells the 
house-maid ; the house-maid tells the cook ; and the cook 
tells the scullery-maid ; and that at last the mistress has to 
light the fire herself." 

" Besides," said Amelia, " there is a certain quiet, regu- 
lar clock-work in household affairs, which is much to be 
recommended. And, moreover, that part of the house 
which is occupied by the family, ought, if possible, in so 
far to resemble a fairy palace, that every thing in it is kept 
in the greatest order; free from every particle of dust; 
perfectly clean and ready, without any body, except the 
fairy herself, knowing how and when all has been man- 



aged." 



Yes," said Helena, " by all means manage so that your 
husband may never have reason to complain, like Captain 
Knock , Knack , I forget his name, who never observed 



324 SKETCHES. 

when his room was scoured, except when he stumbled 
over the water-pail." 

" To praise in proper time and to blame in proper time," 
remarked Amelia, " is an effective means by which a house- 
wife can use her influence. I have heard many complaints 
made in this world about servants, but I have almost always 
noticed that the principal fault which caused all the com- 
plaint, was owing to the master and mistress themselves. 
Wherever those who are to command are morally and in- 
tellectually superior, which, in consequence of their higher 
position in the world, they ought to be, the inferiors will, if 
they are treated with justice, common sense, and kindness, 
in general be not only obedient, but also willing, respect- 
ful, and often become sincerely attached ; in most instances 
the faults of the master or mis-tress are the cause of the 
faults and errors in their servants." 

" You have, my dear child," said Helena, " a little fault, 
against which I must warn you, especially on account of 
the annoyance which it may cause your husband. You 
think you are always right, even in the greatest trifles, and 
you become therefore frequently irritable. In such little 
altercations a straw often becomes a large forest and a 
pin's head a cannon-ball." 

" Which often," remarked Amelia, " make a breach in the 
wall of domestic peace." 

" Alas ! " continued Helena, " here in this life, where so 
many real cares and misfortunes can befall us, the greatest 
wisdom consists in letting, especially in less important 
matters, five be an even number, in order to preserve 
domestic peace." 

"You have also," said Amelia, "another little fault, 
which, at your age, it is important to overcome. This is a 
carelessness in dress. How often have we not been ob- 
liged to say to you : ' Emma, your shawl is all awry.' " 

" Or," observed Helena, " your shoe-string is broken." 

" Or," said Amelia, " your collar has been put on with 



SKETCHES. 325 

the wrong side out, or, your dress looks more gray than 
white ! My dear child J you cannot imagine what a dis- 
comfort a woman brings with her who is disorderly in her 

O 

dress ; and on the other hand, what a comfort it is to one's 
self, or to those who are around us, to be strictly attentive 
to the neatness of one's personal appearance. This atten- 
tion to neatness can supply the want of beauty, and no 
beauty can have any charms without it, in the long run. 
Remember the words of a great author : ' God alone sees 
the heart ; manage thou so, that also others may see some- 
thing tolerable.' " 

" You have," said Helena, " a quality for which you can- 
not enough thank kind Nature, and which you ought to try 
to preserve through all the changes in life, and that is, a 
cheerful, happy temper. This, as it were, blows away the 
dust from the leaves of life's tree, and they will grow all 
the more fresh and green. I have always sincerely pitied 
those husbands, whose wives have a face like a gloomy No- 
vember day." 

" Unless," interrupted Amelia, with liveliness, " the hus- 
bands themselves are the autumn wind which had caused 
that gloom." 

" Of course," added Helena, " every season must have 
its own days ; but he who is to become our Emma's hus- 
band, unites with a noble character a gentle mind ; and as 
far as he is concerned, nothing will prevent her from look- 
ing like a bright May-clay." 

" Create then a spring in your home, my child," said 
Amelia. " The son of the North has his world in his home, 
more so than the children of more genial climates. Nature, 
here in our North, does not, as in the South, give to man 
a home in her bosom, and a treasure in the sun and in the 
air, full of joy and love of life. Severe and cold, she here 
compels him to seek a shelter against her inclemency ; 
and he looks for it in his home at his hearth. If he does 
not find comfort, delight, and love of life there, then life in 



326 SKETCHES. 

this our North is to him nothing else than a long, bleak, 
autumn day. My dear child, create a spring in your home." 

" And do not forget the flowers, my little Flora," said 
Helena, "your singing, your music, your painting; in a 
word, your talents are the flowers which you must care- 
fully tend, to decorate with them the altar of your home." 

" And then," said Amelia, " I can predict that a little 
god, who thrives well amongst flowers and spring, will 
come and build his nest in your home : guess what he is 
called? 

Emma did not by any means look stupid. 

" Above all, my dear girl." Helena went on to admonish 
with gentle but deep earnestness, " lay one thing on your 
heart, the only one necessary. Think, think often, of Him 
who gave thee here on earth a mission to fulfill and talents 
to improve. Life is changing in all its stages ; greatness 
and lowliness, enjoyment and pain, relieve each other in 
turn ; if in these changes we have nothing to lean upon, 
we shall be tossed about like a reed in the wind, and this 
support we have only in an enlightened and sincere fear of 
God. Pray every day to Him, in whom alone is light, this 
prayer so full of wisdom : ' Enlighten our understanding 
in Thy knowledge, and teach our hearts to make Thee an 
offering of true obedience ! ' * 

" Then," said Amelia, " you shall in your walk through 
life, in all your actions, be able to maintain that order, that 
loving spirit, full of truth and peace, without which a 
woman never can properly fulfill her beautiful mission on 
earth. Your husband will then lean upon you with full 
confidence, in joy as well as in affliction, and all those who 
surround you will, through you, reverence and love true 
Christian virtue. In success you will not then become 
proud and overbearing." 

"And in adversity," continued Helena, "you will not 
allow yourself to be crushed, but have hope, and forget 
yourself in order to comfort others." 



SKETCHES. 327 

" Around all life's joy," said Amelia, " you will spread 
the all-beautifying radiance of innocence." 

" And in the depth of your sorrows," continued Helena, 
u you will not feel bitterness, but be able to say with the 
suffering ' VitahV " (here Helena unconsciously clasped her 
hands, and in her serene face one could read the pain and 
the beauty of self-denial mingled, while she recited with 
deep feeling) : 

" * Let my will-offering in thy sight find favor. 

O Thou ! who dost my inmost spirit read ; 
With love I take the cup, nor will I waver 

Whene'er it doth from thine own love proceed.' " 

" And then," said Amelia, much moved, " may the love 
of your fellow-men and the peace of God's angels follow 
you through life ! " 

Emma wept and embraced her kind governesses. 

" I will," she exclaimed, " become good, make you happy, 
and try to merit God's approbation and my Edward's love. 
Oh ! that my power to do so could equal my desire ! I often 
feel anxiety, when I think of the duties which await me ; 
and I fear that in the active life upon which I am about to 
enter, while still so young, I shall not always be able to dis- 
tinguish the right from the wrong." 

" There is," said Amelia, " one way of acting, one maxim, 
which, if we follow it, will enable us easily and surely to 
accommodate ourselves to all circumstances in life, accord- 
ing to the will of the eternal Goodness." 

" And that is ? " 

" Between two different ways of acting, if you would know 
to which you ought to give the preference, weigh the conse- 
quence for the letter or the worse, and choose the one which 
promises to insure the greatest amount of real happiness. In 
order to arrive at clearness and certainty in your choice, 
you require above all, an enlightened understanding ; but 
of this and how to gain this understanding we have already 
spoken." 



328 SKETCHES. 

" And now," said Helena, " go to bed ; it is growing late, 
and you have heard a longer homily than you may per- 
haps be able to remember. Never mind your portmanteau 
to-night ; I shall to-morrow morning put into it your Bible 
and your cookery-book, and some trifles which we have 
made for you. Good night, my own dear girl." 

Emma kissed, wept, and thanked, and in the fullness of 
her young heart did so again and again. There is a period 
in life, when we think we can never show enough of grati- 
tude and love. Emma went away at last, followed by the 
sisters' blessing. 

The two sisters were now left alone. The fire was burning 
with expiring flames, and around them it grew more and 
more dark. The gale began blowing in louder and louder 
gusts round their dwelling, intermingled with strange sounds, 
like human sighs. Gradually their hearts were seized with 
deep melancholy. It is so with us in this life when once 
we have experienced a deep sorrow, that even the smallest 
additional pain suffices to make the old wounds bleed afresh, 
even if time has succeeded to throw over them its healing 
balm. Love and sorrow in our soul resemble the fire in 
some deep mines ; it may for a long time be apparently 
smothered, we fancy that it is entirely extinguished, but 
some sudden draught, some ashes dropped, and the flames, 
wild and consuming, will break forth with redoubled fury. 

The two sisters had, during four years, directed Emma's 
education ; she had become dear to them, and they felt 
painfully the impending parting. But she would be happy, 
and then, as Helena used to say in similar cases, " all was 
well." But the new impression of sadness which they had 
just experienced, awakened within them another feeling 
of pain, often conquered, but as often returning with the 
same intensity, and which now, when their hearts were 
stirred, forced itself upon them more vividly than ever. 
An empty chair was standing between the two sisters, and 
on it their eyes were fixed. Now they were but two, 



SKETCHES. 329 

formerly they were three. Cecilia should have sat there, 
sat between them, if she had not, blinded by love, contrary 
to their advice, united herself to a man who was not worthy 
of her, and allowed him to tear her from their side ; and 
now rose again before their fancy the sister's image in all 
its melancholy beauty. Cecilia whom they had so sincerely 
loved Cecilia with her loving, warm soul, her rich natural 
gifts, had died in a foreign country, poor, lonely, and de- 
serted. Surely, she must have longed for her home, have 
tried in vain to come back to it. Alas ! she had suffered 
alone, so long, so deeply ; no loving look had comforted her 
in the hour of death, no friend's hand had closed her eyes, 
and she had till the last struggled struggled with stern 
necessity. Perchance she had doubted her sisters' tender- 
ness ; perhaps she had called them and they had not been 
able to answer her. Oh ! bitter, bitter memories. The sisters' 
eyes met ; they were full of tears. Helena rose, and, to 
conceal her agitation, she seized the fire-shovel to rake to- 
gether the dying embers ; but while she did so, anguish was 
depicted on her features ; tear followed tear, and fell upon 
the cold stone. Amelia saw it ; she rose, embraced her sis- 
ter, leant her forehead upon her shoulder and whispered : 
" Cecilia ! " 

They were here interrupted by a servant-girl who came 
to inform them that a poor woman was standing in the 
kitchen, wishing to speak to them. 

Helena desired the servant-maid to show the woman 
into the room, declining at the same time her sister's pro- 
posal to have the candles lit, " because," said she, " her 
eyes smarted so much, that she did not think she could 
bear the light." 

After a short while the stranger entered. In the dying 
light from the fire-place her features could not be distin- 
guished. She stopped short at the door, and stood there 
in the dusk like a shadow, silent and immovable. 

A kind of awe came over the two sisters, and with unea- 



330 SKETCHES. 

siness, which betrayed itself in the tone of her voice, Helena 
asked her what she wanted. 

The shadow remained silent ; but a faint sound, proceed- 
ing from the handle of the door, showed that her hand, 
which held it, was trembling. 

Helena repeated her question in a more serious tone, 
receiving an answer, but so indistinct that it was impossi- 
ble to find out any coherence in the broken words and half 
sentences. So much she could, however, understand, that 
the stranger wanted some assistance, and that she asked to 
be taken into the service of the two sisters. 

With some surprise and with some severity in her voice, 
Helena said, that " the proper time for changing servants 
was already past ; that they did not want any more servants 
than those which they had at present, and that, besides, 
they did not know her." 

The shadow was silent, and the sound proceeding from 
the door-handle became more distinct. 

" Have you got," asked Amelia, '* any certificate to show 
us?" 

" Yes," answered the shadow. 

" From whom ? " Amelia again inquired. 

" From Misfortune," was the reply. 

" Who are you ? " asked Helena. 

" A shadow of what I was formerly." 

" Where do you come from ? " 

" From the grave," sounded the answer. 

Not without some impatience Helena said : " I do not 
know what your meaning may be with these mysterious 
words. Say at once what you want and who you are, if 
you wish that we should help you, which, however, I doubt 
that we shall be able to do." 

" If you cannot," the shadow said slowly, " nobody can ; " 
and in a lower tone she added, " Do they then not know 
me by my voice ? " 

" God can help," said Helena, " where mortals do not 



SKETCHES. 331 

see their way ; if we only confide in Him, and pray to Him 
with a humble mind." 

" God helps by man or by death," answered the shadow. 
" If the former casts me eff, I must seek my refuge in the 
latter." 

"Those are very sinful words," said Helena, gravely. 
" God allows no one to despair, who trusts in Him. By 
doubt and impatience we frustrate our own fate." 

The shadow here interrupted her in a bitter tone of 
voice : " This is beautifully said ; 't is only a pity that such 
reference to God's mercy generally flows from a want of 
mercy in ourselves." 

With some indignation Amelia exclaimed : " We have 
not deserved this. If you have come hither to insult us, 
you only injure yourself. We cannot talk to you any 
longer to-night ; but the night is dark and tempestuous ; 
we will give you a bed here and food." She rang the bell, 
and added in a milder tone, " To-morrow at daylight, we 
may perhaps understand one another better. Go now ! " 

" Go ! " reechoed the shadow in a low voice ; " go ! but 
whither, whither ? " and suddenly letting go the handle of 
the door, she dropped on her knees, ejaculating in a heart- 
rending voice : " Sisters ! sisters ! " 

Oh ! God. Then it was she, the lost, the beloved, the 
long wept-for sister ; it was Cecilia ! 

Trembling with joy and fear, the two sisters would have 
asked in that moment whether there were really spectres ; 
whether the inhabitants of the grave can revisit the earth. 
The sisters did, however, not ask these questions ; the first 
agitating impression which they experienced was : It is her 
spirit ; but then they thought : To her, to her, even if she 
came out of the grave ; and under an irresistible impulse 
they hastened with open arms to the kneeling form, with 
feelings in which heavenly joy and terror were mingled. 
Unable to speak, the three sisters embraced each other. 

O Death ! if thou then hadst taken them in thy arms, 



332 SKETCHES. 

thy bitterness, thy pangs would not have been felt, and no 
look of regret would they have turned back to the friendly, 
earthly home. Regret ? yes, for who can deny that it is 
good and beautiful to live here in this world, when we have 
there built a bright and peaceful home ; when every day 
that passes leaves behind a kindly memory ; when every 
day that dawns upon us is greeted with silent hope. 
When life, notwithstanding all its shadows, still has a 
bright side, then death, at least for a while, appears to us a 
dark angel. But it was not now death which reunited 
the sisters ; it was life, it was joy. 

And when they arrived at the full consciousness thereof, 
when they found themselves locked in each other's arms, 
meeting again in a life full of love, then they felt what I 
feel in my heart for them. 

I remember having seen a beautiful engraving of a 
painting, in the Vienna gallery of paintings, representing 
the return of the " prodigal son " to the parental home. 
The father bends his head in joy, in love, and in sorrow 
over the son, who, kneeling before him and contrite, hides 
his face upon his father's knees. Only a small part of the 
profile is visible a large tear rolls slowly down the furrowed 
cheek. I will follow the painter's example, and leave it to 
the feeling and loving heart to imagine what pen or pencil 
would vainly try to tell. 

THE MORNING. 

Oh ! that I were like the ray of that bright autumnal 
sun, which, on the morning after the events which I have 
now related, peeped through the snow-white curtains into 
" Cecilia's room," and that I could shed the same cheerful 
light and life over my narrative, as that which this ray 
shed over the little world in that room ! Then would my 
reader exclaim : " It is the home of comfort and of bliss ! " 
Comfort ! Let me see if with the help of the pen of the 
blessed " Beata Commonplace," which she has bequeathed 



SKETCHES. 333 

to me, I can make your lips pronounce this word, dear 
reader. 

But first, a general observation. There is in our language 
a pleasant little word with a corresponding pleasant idea 
attached to it, and this is " rum-trefnad," " room-cosiness." 
This word expresses a thing which constitutes a part a 
quality of the room itself, and which makes, that in it a 
feeling of delight and quiet enjoyment steals over our 
senses ; a something which has a soothing influence upon 
our soul. This lies in a certain comfort displayed in 
every thing, yet without any thing affected or any thing 
prim or stiff; a certain juste-milieu, bright, cheerful, genial, 
which we feel instinctively, but cannot describe, and which, 
I believe, strikes us in its refreshing delight, especially 
where a gentle, order-loving woman has set the impress of 
her own inward being upon the outer world in which she 
moves. 

In the room now arranged and decorated con amore by 
the two sisters, and which had been hitherto left empty in 
order one day to be occupied by Cecilia, this kind of com- 
fort was found. Genial warmth, pure air, pervaded by a 
slight fragrance of flowers ; furniture of a graceful, simple, 
and commodious form ; a proper arrangement in every 
thing, so that one found a chair in the very place where one 
wished to sit down, where nothing stood in one's way when 
one moved about the floor. Not the slightest particle of 
dust on the green carpet ; on the bright polished tables, not 
the smallest speck. Harmony in all the colors, every thing 
was pleasant, and the large looking-glass did not, as they 
sometimes do, reflect a parody of one's face, but showed a 
true and exact copy of it. Against the bright window- 
panes monthly roses and mignonette displayed their fresh 
verdant leaves and their flowers. 

It happens sometimes that Nature smiles upon man's 
joys as if she wished to share and heighten them, like a 
mother sharing in the sports of her children. Now she 



334 SKETCHES. 

was smiling kindly upon the sisters' home ; the air was 
bright and mild ; beautiful clouds sailed in stately array 
over the clear azure of the northern sky. A dazzling 
carpet of snow lay spread over the landscape, and seemed 
to be studded with millions of glittering diamonds. A 
little bird sat in the leafless tree beside one of the windows, 
singing and chirping so merrily and sweetly that one could 
almost be tempted to believe him to be one of Nature's 
messengers, sent to congratulate the reunited sisters. The 
sun, which I shall now try to resemble in clearness and 
slow progression, was shining on the breakfast-table, mak- 
ing the dazzlingly white damask table-cloth more dazzling 
still. 

The breakfast cups were standing upon the table, and 
one with a broad, gold edge stood between the other two ; 
in the crystal cream-jug, in the shape of a nautilus, the 
rich cream, not whipped, was frothing from its own in- 
herent richness. Snow-white pieces of sugar, not resem- 
bling the atoms shaped in primitive chaos, pointed, triangu- 
lar, and octangular, such as we often see them in the sugar- 
basins of even fashionable people, but square and even ; 
rusks, which in their light brown color did honor to the 
flour, the yeast, the oven, and above all to the baker ; and 
then the mysterious coffee-urn, which, by its curling, 
aromatic steam, gave notice of the comfortable beverage 
contained within it. Oh ! my dear female reader ! is not all 
this enough for " comfort ? " 

And for happiness ? Look at the three reunited sisters, 
the long lost one now returned, between the two others, at 
home, in her own home (for her is the cup with the gilt 
edge intended). Remark in the two elder ones, the moist 
and happy glance of the eye, the low voice, the tender, 
broken words, the lip quivering with joy and delight, the 
warmth and indescribable expression of features which 
cannot find words and yet so distinctly says : " All that we 
possess is thine, thou our joy and darling ! Thou hast 



SKETCHES. 335 

again been given to us we shall now be able to tend, to 
love, and to make thee happy ! " 

And in the third returned one, mark the repose, the hope, 
the consciousness of home, of peace, of sisterly love, this 
love so tender, so pure, so rich, so powerful to create happi- 
ness. She wants words, but the tear that glides from her 
eye is one of joy, and speaks volumes. There is a rosy hue 
on her cheek ; there is happiness in her heart ; she presses 
her sisters' hands and feels that she can be happy yet. 

And why should she not again be happy ? The home 
which shall again hold her, the port in which she has cast 
anchor, is that of kindness and peace. Kindness led by 
wisdom has a great, a wondrous power, and few are the 
pains which it cannot assuage, few the afflictions the mem- 
ory of which it cannot gradually efface. 

The effect of its power seems natural when one sees and 
marks how this power is wielded. Life is an aggregate of 
moments (any body less clever than I am, may make this 
wise observation) ; kindness seeks to seize these moments in 
order to lay down in each of them a seed of comfort for 
the sufferer. 

Now it is called rest, anon cheerfulness, sensation of 
comfort for body and soul aye, even flattery ; kindness 
can flatter, but only the unhappy one. It acts like the sun 
in spring ; melts slowly away winter's snow and ice, and 
sheds warmth everywhere ; and then earth begins to get 
green, and then come the flowers the wish to live. 

In this world, so full of suffering and of enjoyment, 
of splendor and misery, of greatness and littleness, of 
strength and weakness, of life and death, above all others, 
happy is he in whose soul lies active kindness, holiness, 
and peace. He alone stands in this restless world as if it 
were a paradise, whose sanctuary no tempests can reach. 
He alone goes on his way in joy and affliction, in wealth 
and in poverty, in life and in death, calmly and unwaver- 
ingly ; suffers and enjoys alike silently, loves, forgives, does 



336 SKETCHES. 

good, and feels peace. In order to work on uninterruptedly, 
in order not to weary in his work for the weal of fellow- 
men, he does not want the " desire of a name which 
shall survive him ; " not glory's beautiful vision, which a 
great Roman calls " the only passion of the wise," and 
without which to many a one " the past were nothing, the 
present a narrow and sterile sphere of action, and the future 
vanished." No, no laurel-wreath shall be laid upon his 
forgotten grave ; no line in a funeral-oration shall be dedi- 
cated to him ; no patriotic bard shall sing what he did for 
his native country. He will be forgotten, he knows it, and 
yet he labors night and day, and his lamp is not extinguished 
until with his life's last spark. Here a fellow-creature has 
been comforted, there another has been given work to 
do, and with it hope ; here a seed has been sown of a 
future noble laurel, which will confer honor upon his native 
country and upon mankind ; there again a spark has been 
kindled, a flame kept burning, and here happiness secured 
the good has been done ; that is enough. 

" Doth pure religion gather here below 
A harvest of unfruitful treasures ? No, 
Unpaid, unthanked, she with unceasing toil 
Sows seeds of blessedness in sorrow's soil." 

Fall freely, O days of our life ! silently, like yellow 
leaves from life's tree ; cover its stem and branches, ye 
wintry snows ; oblivion ! take his memory. What to him 
is all this ? The good has been done that is enough. 

Yes, it is enough for him, but not for me. Like a bee I 
would wish to fly over the world's fields, to gather honey 
out of these beautiful, but hidden and modest flowers, and 
store it in the hives of memory, in order that men might 
see and taste how sweet it is, and rejoice at it. 

I pause. Friendly reader ! when I invited thee to enter 
into my balloon, I promised to carry thee to " the home of 
comfort and happiness." I have fulfilled my promise, and 
I will not now, like a honey-bee, persuade thee to a fresh 



SKETCHES. 337 

excursion, but I may perhaps during my journey visit thee 
(unknown to thee and unexpected) to imbibe out of thy 
life's flower a drop of honey, clear and sweet as that which 
I got from the sisters. 

THE LIGHT-HOUSE. 

" LOOK, Axel, look how the bridal-lights are gleaming 
upon yonder height ! And look how the bridal guests are 
dancing down below it ! And now, behold how the lights 
themselves are dancing about ! Look how they waltz and 
swing round! How droll! But now, now they become 
paler now they die away now they are gone ! Why 
are the bridal-lights extinguished, Axel ? Why has the 
chandelier up there gone out ? Ah, see, now they return ! 
There the bridal-lights are again, so bright, so joyous, and 
they shine upon the waves far, far out at sea, and upon you 
too, and make you look so handsome ! But, Axel, why are 
they gone sometimes, and why do they then come back ? " 

And the young wife, who, herself radiant as a happy 
bride, thus asked, stood fondly leaning upon her husband, 
while she pointed to a group of lights which were lit, as it 
were, high up in the air, shining against the dark evening 
sky, and slowly swinging round the same point, now hiding 
their lustre, and anon shining forth in full splendor, throw- 
ing a bright gleam over the rolling billows of the sea, -and 
into the silent sombre room in which this new married 
couple stood at the window of their new home. 

" It is a light-house with a revolving light, little one," said 
her husband, amused at his young wife's ignorance. " It 
revolves in this way in order to tell the sea-farer, in the 
night, where he is ; and the shadowy forms which you see 
moving about below the flames, are the men who kindle 
the beacon. Do you understand ? " 

" Oh, no ; they are bonfires, they are bridal-lights," said 
Ellina, smiling. " Oh, how I love them, the beautiful friendly 
lights. How pleasant it will be to see them every evening 

22 



338 SKETCHES. 

and every night. They remind me of our wedding-night, 
Axel. Oh, those lights ! I cannot forget how they dazzled 
my eyes when I entered the room to be married. For 
some time I could not see any thing. But soon I fancied 
that every thing, that the whole world shone. There were 
so many, many lights ! " 

" But you yourself shone brighter than all the bridal- 
lights. I saw not them, I saw only you ; " said the fond 
husband, pressing his young wife to his bosom. 

But she could at this moment see and speak only of the 
bridal-lights on the height, and however Axel tried to ex- 
plain the phenomena of the revolving light, its fires and re- 
flectors, still Ellina would inwardly make an explanation of 
it of her own. And at night, on her pillow, sleep she 
could not, but was constantly looking at the light as it re- 
volved, now illuminating her room, and anon leaving it in 
utter darkness; she would listen to the wind as with deep- 
drawn breath it was sighing round their dwelling ; listen to 
the monotonous rushing of the sea as the waves unceas- 
ingly broke upon the rocks. For it was now autumn, and 
the weather was tempestuous. And this ceaseless again 
and again, this endless heaving without rest, without aim, 
awoke in the soul of the young wife thoughts and presenti- 
ments almost sad. It was the first night in her new home. 

In a peaceful home in one of the most beautiful valleys 
of the south of Sweden, surrounded by loving parents, sis- 
ters, and youthful companions, she had dreamt a quiet 
dream of childhood. There was in the neighborhood a 
large town with a university, and from it came voices and 
visions of fountains of wisdom, of the fine arts, and of in- 
tellectual ornaments of life. Much that was beautiful 
Ellina beheld around her in Nature and in her home ; but 
she knew that beyond this her quiet world, there existed 
one still more beautiful and splendid, which she would see 
when she had grown to be a woman. And thus the child 
grew up in joyous presentiment of life, thinking constantly, 



SKETCHES. 339 

" When I am older, then I shall see, then I shall learn much 
more; then will come something still better, something 
more beautiful still." But what this was to be, she did not 
clearly understand. And what young girl has a name for 
her beautiful visions ? But it was to be something in feel- 
ing, something in thought, which made her life seem to 
stand forth in radiant glory ; which let her step forth 
out of darkness into the light of life and joy ; which 
answered all her young soul's silent but earnest questions 
and aspirations ; something of that kind it would be, some- 
thing of that kind would come. Thus thought Ellina, and 
thus almost all happy young girls think. And then came 
a young man and offered the lovely young girl his hand. 
Her parents said " Yes," for Axel Ern was an excellent 
young man ; Ellina did not say him " Nay ; " for bride- 
groom, bridal- wreath, wedding, it was that which was to 
come first, which was to be the commencement of the bril- 
liant vision. Her parents would be so happy ; Axel would 
be so happy, and how then would not she also be happy ! 
To be sure, she was still rather young, and was reluctant 
to leave her parents and brothers and sisters, but they all 
said that it was to be, that she would make them all happy, 
and she said " Yes ; " became affianced, courted, teased, and 
adorned. And then came the wedding ; and that evening 
when Ellina saw " so many, many lights," when she thought 
that a life of light was to begin for her. And so she accom- 
panied her husband to the place where he had built his nest. 
It was situated amongst rocks, surrounded by the sea, in 
the neighborhood of one of the fortresses on the western 
coast of Sweden. I shall not say whether it was the for- 
tress of Elfsborg, or Carlsten, or Bohus. But the place 
was far distant from Ellina's childhood's home, and very 
different from its beautiful valleys. There were leafy for- 
ests and nightingales ; here, only islands, and barren, gray 
rocks, and round them the surging, dangerous Cattegat. 
Such is in general the rocky coast of Bohuslan. Many find 



340 SKETCHES. 

Nature there ugly, terrible, repulsive. I love her. To me 
she has in her something more attractive, more pleasing, 
than landscapes of soft verdure, cultivation, and fertility, 
which one can, as it were, look quite through. Reader, 
canst thou love a nature without mystery? I cannot 
do it, and I feel sure that thou canst not either do it, in 
case it were question of a human nature, of a human soul. 
But beware of saying (I am now speaking to myself), this 
nature has no mystery ! Is there, I ask, generally speak- 
ing, any human soul devoid of an unknown depth ? Say 
then : This soul has not yet had its Whitsun festival ; no 
tongue of fire has breathed upon it with reviving breath, 
and one knows not what is in it. 

But to return to the islands on the rock-bound coast of 
Bohuslan, and their mystery. They possess such a mys- 
tery : they resemble those human natures, whose surface 
is hard and harsh, but hide within fertile and beautiful val- 
leys. Approach nearer to these granite islands, these naked 
rocks, and you will not find one amongst them which has 
not grassy spots and beautiful flowery paths. These gray 
rocks drink in the sun's rays, and long retain their fire in 
their granite bosom. They communicate it to the soil 
round their foot, and in their bosom and out of it blooms 
forth life in its fullness. Out of every crevice honeysuckle 
and blackberry bushes spring forth in wild profusion, en- 
circling with their flowery arms the mossy boulders, and 
transforming them into beautiful monuments upon the 
graves of the ancient Vikings. Bouquets of golden " Iris " 
and of wild roses are blooming amongst the granite rocks, 
and high up on their rugged tops, where only the goat and 
the sea-mew can find a footing, tiny white and yellow flow- 
ers are nodding in the breeze, whilst the wild breakers of 
the Cattegat are foaming round their base. Even upon the 
smallest of these rocky islets the sheep find nourishment 
and fatten, and upon the larger islands one finds hidden 
from the eyes of the world a small blooming paradise, full 



SKETCHES. 341 

of roses, lilies, and fruit, where some son of Adam is living 
with his Eve, peacefully and happy. We would gladly 
believe the latter if there were not some peculiar circum- 
stances attached to these secluded paradises. Things did 
not turn out quite well in the first one we know that 
and they do not turn out much better in the later ones, 
provided man remains there long. Life in solitary islands 
is rarely beneficial. The sameness in the surrounding 
objects, the want of diversion, of amusement, of something 
new, of intercourse with the great, changing world, cramps 
the soul, and feelings and thoughts become one-sided on 
certain points and there stick fast, as it were. We see this 
in Iceland ; we see how in Corsica, under the ceaseless and 
repeated pressure of many years, and the beating of the 
same bitter billows upon the heart, secret animosity grew 
into hatred, hatred into revenge and sanguinary retribu- 
tion. We see it even to this day in the Farroe Islands, in 
the silent, half-witted forms wandering about amongst the 
mist-enveloped hills, and who have become such, because 
when misfortunes and adversity came, they had no place 
to go to, nowhere to seek a refuge from these gloomy im- 
pressions, these frowning rocks, and heavy, misty atmos- 
phere. The mails from the outer world are sometimes 
from seven to eight months in reaching them. 

But loving solitude, as I do, and the undisturbed com- 
munion of the soul with itself, I cannot pursue the argu- 
ment, to which these examples lead, any further than by 
saying, that it is not good for man to be alone for any 
length of time. 

And so let us return to one young couple Axel and 
Ellina. It was as if an eagle had carried a pigeon to his 
eyrie. The strange and solemn surrounding scenery, the 
solitude, the roar and turmoil of the breakers, the autumn 
gales all this filled Ellina's bosom with fear and name- 
less anxiety. But she had her own home and there is 
no woman who does not feel this as a blessing she had 



342 SKETCHES. 

her household duties to attend to in this home. And then 
there was the light-house, the revolving bridal-lights on high? 
which reminded her every dark night of the most beautiful 
evening in her life, her wedding, when she saw " so many 
lights, oh, so many lights." And there was first and last, 
and above all, her husband, and this husband was a noble- 
hearted man, and still more he was an excellent husband. 

It is perhaps as well that I avail myself of this opportu- 
nity to make a confession, which has frequency hovered 
over my lips, but which I have hitherto hesitated to give to 
the world, out of fear that I thereby should incur the 
hatred of all married ladies. I dread this even now, but 
never mind, I must unburden my heart. I confess, 
therefore, that I have never found, that I never find a man 
more amiable than when he is a married man, that is to 
say, a good married man. In my eyes a man is never 
more noble, more perfect, than when he is a married man, 
a tender husband, a father of a family, supporting with 
vigor and with manly kindness his wife and the domestic 
circle, which, by his entering into the wedded state, has 
closed round him as a part of his home, of his world. He 
becomes thereby not only more worthy of love, but in 
reality also more dignified. Therefore the excellence of a 
man consists in his being a good married man, and only 
with such a one am I tempted to fall in love. But this 
being strictly forbidden, and Moses, as well as all other 
legislators, having pronounced it to be a sin, all married 
ladies will consider it a sacred duty to stone me. 

Nevertheless, I cannot help this. My only hope of rec- 
onciling the offended parties lies in proceeding in my con- 
fession : that no happiness makes me more happy to be- 
hold, no love touches me more deeply, than the mutual 
love of husband and wife. I am myself astonished at 
this ; for it seems to me that being myself not married, I 
have very little to do with that happiness. However, so it 
is, and so it has always been. I was yet a child, when one 



SKETCHES. 343 

day I saw my father enter my mother's room, laying down 
before her a present, which gave her great pleasure. She 
took hold of his hand, and kissed it, and words and looks 
of love passed between them. Never shall I forget the 
sensation of happiness which filled my soul, where I stood 
alone in a corner of the room, playing with my doll. It was 
as if heaven had lighted upon my heart. I stood silent, 
overwhelmed with the power of this sensation, when the 
eyes of my parents discovered me. "You blush so pret- 
tily, little one ! " said my mother, tenderly, and my father 
came and laid his hand gently upon my head. Never shall 
I forget this. 

Something of this first sensation I experience still, when 
I witness the happiness of husband and wife some distance 
beyond the honey-moon. 

Ellina was very young when, for the first time in her 
new home, she beheld the "bridal-lights on the height." 
Many years had rolled past since, and Ellina was now no 
longer young. She was now the mother of seven boys. 
Serious illness, many cares, much work of all kinds, and 
narrow circumstances, had wrought a great change in her 
inwardly as well as outwardly. But she was still a 
pleasing woman, though the bloom of her youth was gone ; 
and her soul that soul which had foreboded so much that 
is greaf and beautiful in life, which believed that it would 
progress from one light to another, until the whole world 
and her own heart, her own life, should stand glorified in 
radiant light had said farewell to all its hopes, one by 
one, had said farewell to all its dawning thoughts, until it 
had spun itself round by innumerable threads into the web 
of her domestic duties and cares, which were renewed 
every day, like the beating of the waves upon the rocks, 
like the revolving shadows of the light-house, like the deep- 
drawn sighs of the autumn wind. And Ellina faithfully 
spun her thread, faithfully fulfilled her duties. But happy 



344 SKETCHES. 

she was not, for the road of duty, although it certainly 
leads to happiness, as the working-days of the week lead to 
the Sabbath, is yet not happiness itself. Ellina was no 
longer merry, as formerly ; she felt that something living 
and beautiful, which in days gone past was within her, was 
gradually becoming buried under the weight of years and 
petty cares. She found herself changing sadly. She had 
imagined life in general, and her own life in particular, 
as something quite different. Sometimes she felt an inde- 
scribable longing to weep over herself. 

It is thus with a great many women. They feel them- 
selves born to conceive life and things in beautiful har- 
mony. They believe themselves progressing in knowledge, 
in love, in enjoyment of all that is good and beautiful, as 
in an elevating metamorphosis. But life's current comes 
and bears them away to barren and desolate regions. 
They are spun round by earthly anxieties ; are surrounded 
by the trammels of petty cares, of trifles, of mean interests, 
and upon these at last they themselves spin. Then life 
loses by degrees its beauty, the mind its rosy tint, the soul 
becomes oppressed, their temper soured, and their horizon 
becomes narrower and more dim. In some silent hour 
perchance they look round now and then ; look into their 
own soul with melancholy surprise, and exclaim : " Was 
this to be the end of it ? Is life nothing else ? Was it 
for nothing else that I was born ? " And they recall the 
illusions, the hopes of their youth. " Dreams ! " they say, 
and they suppress a sigh, wipe away a tear, and weave 
again the daily web, until they have woven their shroud, 
and their earthly days are closed. 

But such is the fate not only of many women, no, it is 
the fate also of a great many men, with warm, rich souls. 
At the yard-measure, at the needle, at the weighing-scales, 
at the writing desk, under the withering influence of dead 
figures from morning to night, they feel themselves gradu- 
ally becoming blunted and like a stock ; they feel the poesy, 



SKETCHES. 345 

the sensitive, loving, creative spirit within them, buried even 
before it has had time to live. Also they sometimes look 
up sadly, asking : " Why do I live ? Is life nothing else ? " 

These all are souls awaiting their Whitsuntide. Ex- 
pectant souls ! could I but let you feel and believe, as firmly 
as I do it myself, that it is coming, and the glory of its 
reality shall exceed your most beautiful dreams. 

Some of my fair readers have probably already guessed, 
from the change which I have mentioned as having taken 
place in Ellina, that her husband and the first conjugal hap- 
piness also had changed. It was so. What husband and 
what marriage remains the same during a period of nine- 
teen or twenty years ? Ellina's husband was a noble and 
good man, as I have said, and I repeat it. But still he was 
too one-sided manly, as Ellina was too one-sided womanly. 
His was a nature energetic, practical, looking at the outer 
world ; hers poetical, sensitive, living in the world within 
her. In several points husband and wife never harmonized. 
They harmonized less and less, when, during succeeding 
years and with an increasing family, the support of the 
same necessarily claimed a greater exertion of his industry, 
and when his time and his mind became more and more 
taken up by outward, practical life. She felt herself more 
and more lonely, and too proud and too wise to complain 
of the unsatisfied wants of her soul and heart, she shut 
herself up more within herself. She became still more like 
the steep, rugged rock; she resembled the solitary lily 
near it. Besides, there was between them another subject 
of dispute and discontent, which, though frequently dropped, 
was still as often renewed. And thus they became gradu- 
ally estranged without clearly knowing how ; between them 
rose a something, a darkening cloud, an invisible wall, 
something nameless, they knew not what, which made them 
more and more strangers to each other. 

Husbands and wives ! ye who have wandered together 
through life some distance beyond the " halcyon-days." tell 



346 SKETCHES. 

me, is it not an every-day story, this one which I have 
sketched here ; is it not the history of nine married couples 
out of ten ? Where the mutual relation proceeds in this 
downward direction, married life is transformed into that 
Dead Sea on whose shore no flower is thriving, no bird is 
singing ; over whose surface pestilential vapors are hang- 
ing, and in whose depths one can occasionally descry the 
ruins of a once beautiful, but accursed city. Married life 
is as little stationary on earth as any other life. Within 
it a slow but continual change upwards or downwards 
takes place, according to the will or the fault of the hus- 
band or the wife. The causes may be different in all mar- 
riages, but in all there are moments, crises, from which we 
can guess how time advances, what " the clock strikes." 
And in them all arises a temptation, when the first flame 
has burnt down, to let the deeper union dissolve, let the 
spirit fly. And it will do so. 

" Should not the heavenly Amor then 
Hold fast his Psyche with new bridal kiss," 

and consecrate her to a higher, truer union ? 

There will not be wanting Nicodemus'-heads in the world, 
who will ask doubtingly, " How can these things be ? " 

We have little else to reply hereto than this : That we 
know that they are ; but we know no other fundamental 
cause for it than the one upon which every good result de- 
pends, the driving-wheel in life's steam-engine, the axis of 
life's revolving-light, the earnest, hearty will of the parties 
concerned. But to continue my story. I wish (I whisper this 
to myself) that I could avoid lengthening it by reflections, 
which the reader can make himself without my assistance. 

The first subject of discord which arose between Axel 
and Ellina, and which we have alluded to, was the education 
of the boys. The father averred that the mother petted, 
indulged, in a word, spoilt them. Very possibly he was 
right. However, I believe that she did it in the right way. 
The boys were obedient and adored their mother. No 



SKETCHES. 347 

really spoilt children do this. But the father was too se- 
vere, where he found the mother too weak. He was very 
anxious to send the boys out of the house into a good 
school, that they might u learn something," and that they 
might " be made men of." Six eaglets had already left the 
eyrie and winged their flight to distant parts. The moth- 
er's heart had said " Nay " to each flight, but her reason 
had said " Aye," and so it was done as the father wished 
it. The youngest boy alone remained now. "He also," 
said the father, " must go away, must out in the world." 
But now the mother said " No, he was still too young, too 
tender, too weak." " Just therefore," the father argued, 
"he must go away from home, out amongst other boys, 
to lead a more vigorous, a fresher life ; the boy was al- 
ready nearly ten years old." The father's will triumphed 
over the mother's ; but when he tore her youngest one out 
of her arms, he broke the thread which tied her heart to 
her husband. So Ellina felt, for she fancied that he had 
used her harshly. When she thus found herself alone, she 
found herself doubly alone. She had not any longer a 
little curly head to fondle when she went to bed at night ; 
no warm, tiny breath near her pillow rocked her heart to 
rest and sleep ; no little arms full of trust encircled her 
neck night and morning ; no childish prattle in the day 
made her forget what her soul had lost. Gone was every 
thing, and the worst of it was, that also Axel was away, not 
only from home, but also from her heart. She felt it so 
empty that it almost frightened her. Yes, it is probable 
that she would have borne the absence of her boys and her 
loneliness very differently, if she only could have held fast 
in her heart her husband's image, as bright as it was in 
days gone by. 

Again it was autumn, and all the domestic duties for the 
autumn had to be attended to, all those duties which Ellina 
had never loved, and which now appeared to her more irk- 
some than ever. Bullocks and sheep were to be killed for 



348 SKETCHES. 

the winter, meat to be salted down, bread to be baked, 
sausages and black-puddings to be made, candles to be 
moulded, etc., etc. The autumnal gales came on, the bil- 
lows roared and thundered against the rocks, the wind 
howled round their dwelling, and the lights in the light- 
house revolved with the same lights and the same shadows. 
This eternal sameness had an almost suffocating effect 
upon Ellina's desponding mind. 

Axel stayed away a long time, much longer than was 
required for placing the little boy. When he returned, he 
brought with him three strange gentlemen as guests. Ellina 
did not belong to the impossible women (read : impossible 
women) who make impossibilities and grim faces, when 
occasionally their husbands come home to dinner or sup- 
per, bringing with them an unexpected guest. But three 
at once, and at this moment too, when her heart was sore 
and heavy and the larder empty that was too much ! 
When Axel folded her warmly and affectionately in his 
arms, she stood in this embrace cold and pale as the lily 
in the mountain-cleft, and gave him no pressure of the 
hand, no kiss in return. He turned therefore to his merry 
guests, occupying himself with them. Ellina went out to 
arrange about the supper and to prepare what else the new- 
comers might require. Perchance husband and wife felt 
dimly that it would not be good for them to be now left 
alone together. 

When the goblet is full, it wants only one drop more to 
make it overflow. This drop came now to Ellina in the 
shape of her help in house and kitchen, Miss Unready, 
the gentlest, most faithful, and also one of the most efficient 
persons in the world, but who had a great inclination to 
look at every thing from a tragic point of view, and who in 
all emergencies always began by saying that " she knew of 
no living means," on account of which Ellina used to call 
her in earnest and in jest, " my Miss Unready." But as 
Ellina herself always found out some ways and means, and 



SKETCHES. 349 

Miss Unready really excelled in doing all that her mistress 
desired her to do, they managed beautifully together ; al- 
though Ellina's patience was put to the proof now and then, 
when she spoke about the dinner, and "Miss Unready" 
stood before her, straight as a post, rubbing her long thin 
arms, " knowing of no living means," and having nothing 
to suggest except spinach. If the moon and all her 
supposed unknown inhabitants had tumbled down upon 
earth and into Miss Unready's kitchen, she would have 
looked scarcely more irresolute, terrified, and bewildered 
than now, when the master of the house came home unex- 
pectedly with three guests ; and of all evenings in the world 
just on that evening, when preparations were to be made 
for baking bread for the winter, and when the larder had 
not yet been stocked with its winter provisions. 

At the sight of her Ellina could scarcely suppress her 
vexation, and she said to her in a half angry tone : "It is 
no use, Unready, looking like misery itself, but advise me 
now what you think we can have for supper." 

Miss Unready rubbed her right arm, that hung straight 
down, with her left hand up and down, and down and up, 
but " knew of no living means." 

Ellina : " Have we got nothing in the larder ; cannot you 
invent something, which can be ready in a short time ? " 

Unready rubbed her left arm with her right hand up and 
down, and stammered : " Yes, spinach ! " 

Ellina, impatiently : " Spinach ! but how can you, 
Unready, think that four gentlemen can be satisfied with 
spinach ? " 

And it ended as usual : Ellina herself had to find ways 
and means, and to be this night both head and hand in the 
kitchen, because Miss Unready had completely lost her 
head, and, besides, every cranny, bin, and shelf in the 
larder was unusually empty. 

Ellina succeeded only with great difficulty in providing 
what was necessary for the moment ; but when supper was 



350 SKETCHES. 

finished, and she saw the four gentlemen seated at the whist- 
table with their cigars and punch, she drew a long breath, 
bade the whist-players and smokers a good night, and re- 
tired to her room. She felt weary both in body and soul. 

Her soul was wearied, yes, but yet like an agitated sea. 
Within it moved a something which Ellina had never before 
experienced. It was something like discontent and bitter- 
ness against her husband voices rose out of these agi- 
tated waves, whispering : " Has it come to this ? Am I 
to him nothing but a housekeeper, a servant, destined to 
attend to his whims, his pleasures, his comforts ? My feel- 
ings, my pain, my heart's life do not they deserve some 
consideration, some forbearance ? Am I really so fallen ? 
And he he who " 

" Be silent ! " Ellina interrupted resolutely the resent- 
ful voices, pressing her hands hard upon her beating heart, 
as if she would have stifled its throbs ; " be silent ! not 
a word against him : whatever he may be, whatever I 
may become to him, I shall always know how to fulfill my 
duties faithfully. He shall not see the agony of my soul, 
the cloud in my heart. He shall miss nothing ; he shall 
never find cause of complaint ! " 

With this determination Ellina tried to calm her feelings. 
She covered up the windows closely, so that " the bridal- 
lights on the height " might not shine into her room. She 
would not see them now. Chilled, indifferent, and sad in 
her mind, she laid herself down upon her sofa, shut her eyes, 
trying to feel nothing, think nothing to sleep. In vain. 
The misery in the depths of her heart was too great. Again 
and again returned the galling wave ; again and again was 
heard the complaining, resentful voice, and heavy tears 
gathered under her burning eyelids. Every moment she 
felt more uneasy, more unhappy she could hot rest, she 
could not even pray. 

When she again opened her sleepless eyes, she found her 
room light, not from daylight, because it was now near 



SKETCHES. 351 

midnight ; not from the unsteady gleam of the revolving 
light, but from a mild, steady, though faint glimmer. Ellina 
rose, went to the window, and drew up the blind. She saw 
then that the clouds, which for many days had hung like 
a heavy canopy over the sky,- had been dispersed, and had 
given way to the moon, which now in her first quarter, 
stood with her pointed horns turned upwards, bright and 
beautiful over the distant hill-tops. The gale had subsided. 
Ellina opened the window. Warm, and refreshing at the 
same time, the wind fanned her burning temples. The 
moon's rays fell so peacefully upon rocks and waves, on 
the greensward along the shore, and on the dew-drops 
hanging on the leaves of the trees. It was as if they had 
whispered to her : " Come out ! come out ! " 

Ellina threw round her a large shawl, tied a veil over 
her head and stepped out. As she passed her husband's 
door she stopped involuntarily. She heard that he was still 
up, and she thought : " If I were to go in and lean my head 
upon his shoulder, and I did not receive him in a loving 
manner to-day. Perhaps this has given him pain. If I 
were " " No," said another voice within her ; " he cares 
little for me and he does not deserve it." And she passed 
on silently and quickly. How many good feelings, how 
many a moment of reconciliation does not thus pass by dis- 
regarded, and time passes also, and then it is too late. 

Ellina stood upon the terrace near the shore, outside 
their house. It was a beautiful September night, such as 
we see so frequently on the west coast of Sweden. A re- 
pose had come over Nature after the last days of stormy 
weather. The leaves dropped down yellow from the trees, 
and the flowers upon their stalks drooped their withered 
heads ; but in the glittering drops which trembled in 
them, glimmered the moon's silvery beams, and they stirred 
gently under the caresses of the balmy breeze. It was as 
if some power of love was here busy to reconcile, to beau- 
tify. Even the billows of the Cattegat seemed charmed ; 



352 SKETCHES. 

they rose and fell slowly, as if lovingly murmuring, and laid 
themselves to rest upon the granite bosom, which so often 
had chafed and broken their surge. 

Ellina contemplated the fallen leaves, the withered flow- 
ers, the soft moonbeams, the charmed billows, and a feel- 
ing of indescribable pain, at this moment nearly approach- 
ing to despair, overpowered her. She, who was ordinarily 
so calm, now wrung her hands, raised them on high, and 
exclaimed, while long suppressed, bitter tears, chased each 
other down her cheeks : 

" Oh, that I were a seared leaf, a withered flower ! Oh, 
that I might fall like them ! that I might die before my 
heart dies, before I become wretched and embittered ! 
Father in heaven ! take me to your mansions, for I have 
done with earth. Gone away are my children, and my 
husband loves me no longer. Youth, health, joy, love of 
life, love, and faith all are gone, gone forever ! " 

But before her outstretched arms had again sunk down, 
other arms seized her, and a voice whispered in her ear : 
" What is gone, gone forever ? " 

It was Axel's voice, but Ellina was too agitated to be 
able to make any answer. She turned her face away from 
him and wept, only wept, while he still was holding her in 
his arms. When she seemed to be a little more composed, 
he said : " Come, go with me to our resting-place on ' chat- 
island.' The night is fine, and I have something to say to 
you." 

Ellina followed him down some steps into the little 
green-painted gondola, the boys' boat, the " North Star," 
which now, impelled by Axel's powerful stroke of the oars, 
flew swiftly across the calm waters. 

They sat both silent Ellina with downcast, tearful 
eyes ; she felt that Axel's glance was resting upon her, and 
her heart beat in uneasy expectation. It was not long be- 
fore they arrived at a small rocky islet, higher than the 
others with which the coast was dotted. A high granite 

I 



SKETCHES. 353 

wall constituted its protection against the north and east, 
gathering on the south the rays of the sun as in a focus. 
Nature herself had cut out a "causeuse" in the rock, a 
small seat for two persons, which Axel had made more 
comfortable, and round which he had trailed the luxuriant 
ivy and honeysuckle. This he had done during the earlier 
period of his love, and he had frequently brought his young 
wife thither. Many a dark evening, when the sea was 
glittering with phosphoric light, and the wind was softly 
whispering, had they sat there exchanging words of love 
and looking with hopeful, bright eyes at future, coming- 
days, while the light-house on the fortress threw its dazzling 
light upon the rising and falling billows. 

A very long time had elapsed since they last had been 
there many years. 

The honeysuckle and ivy tendrils grew as luxuriantly as 
ever, but they were hanging round in wild confusion for 
want of a tending hand. 

Husband and wife sat again side by side, with the wide 
sea around them, over which a gentle breeze came sweeping 
to them which seemed to whisper : Speak ! speak ! 

And Axel spoke, saying, while he drew Ellina closer to 
him : " Ellina, what is it that is gone, gone forever ? " 

Oh, that voice ! It sounded as in former happy days. 
Twenty years gone by, rolled in a moment past Ellina's 
soul. She leant her forehead upon Axel's shoulder, say- 
ing only, " Axel, do not ask me ! " but she felt conscious 
that he had read her heart, and she therefore added, in a 
scarcely audible voice, " you know it." 

Again they were silent, but the friendly breeze whis- 
pered : Speak ! speak ! 

" Yes, I know it," he said slowly " yes, I know how it 
is. I have seen it for some time. Ellina, you cannot any 
longer live here. You must be nearer your children, 
nearer objects and persons who can give you what your 
heart, what your soul, longs for, and what I cannot give." 

23 



354 SKETCHES. 

His voice trembled. Axel's nature was like unto the 
scenery of his birthplace. A granite nature was his, but 
when it revealed itself, life was blooming forth luxuriantly ; 
paradise opened itself. Generally taciturn, he then be- 
came eloquent. 

" Do not believe," he said with a violent exertion, which 
caused his cheeks to become pale, and forced the tears into 
his piercing eagle eyes, " do not believe, Ellina, that I am 
blind to the dissimilarity between us, and that I do not see 
that in much I am not sufficient for you. You stand above 
me in many things ; you have more exalted and noble as- 
pirations, which it is beyond my power to satisfy. I have 
sometimes endeavored to conceal this from myself, be- 
cause it has pained me. I have tried to harden myself 
against this feeling and against you ; I have walked as if 
in a fog, and placed a rock upon my bosom to appear strong 
and manly. Your gentleness and your tears have blasted 
the rock. O Ellina ! I see by your pale face that you are 
unhappy, and that it is I, who but no ! I will not make 
you unhappy, I, who have sworn to live for your happiness. 
Already, when last time I had to go away from you, my res- 
olution was formed, and I will now tell you what it is. I 
have applied for some other employment and to be removed 
from here. If my application should be granted, which I 
hope it will be, you will then be near your childhood's 
home, near the town in which our boys are, and where you 
will be able to find that circle of friends and those pleas- 
ures which you long for. You will then be able to see 
our sons once a week, if you wish it ; they shall often come 
to see us. Believe me ! I will not remove them from 
your influence; I only wanted to remove them from too 
effeminate an education at home. I know that there is 
in life but one true high-school, that in which the heart 
is educated, and to do this a mother's heart is required. 1 
have long been desirous of removing from here, although 
it cannot perhaps be done without some serious pecuniary 



SKETCHES. 355 

sacrifices. It is possible that I may have hitherto overesti- 
mated them. And now, if my plans should not after all 
be realized, if the hopes which I have raised should after 
all be disappointed, or be so, at any rate for some time, 
will you submit to this patiently, Ellina ; will you still try 
to be happy, to love me as formerly ? " 

" No, not as formerly, no, but a thousand times more ! " 
ejaculated Ellina with overflowing heart. " Oh ! why speak 
of missing, of waiting, of disappointed hopes now, when I 
see how you think of me, when I see that you love me ! " 

" But how how could you have doubted ? " 

" Alas, Axel ! you have been so very much changed ; 
therefore every thing round me has become changed." 

" And you, Ellina, have you always been the same as 
formerly ? Have you not often been cold, when I ap- 
proached you with warm feelings ? Have you not in later 
years often stood aloof from me, when and this very 
evening yes, / might have reason to doubt that you still 
love me." 

Ellina was silent and looked down. She felt conscious 
that it was as Axel had said. 

He went on : "I am too proud, Ellina, and perhaps too 
sensitive also, to enforce a love which is not voluntarily 
yielded to me. I have stood aloof, because you stood 
aloof. But perchance, I have been more proud than I 
ought to have been, more distant than I wanted to be. It 
is difficult, Ellina, to see how far we err. But one thing is 
certain. I cannot, I will not go on as we have done now 
for some time. Give me your hand, and if you can do 
it give me back your heart; read mine and you will 
see what I mean, and pardon me." 

" Oh, hush ! " said Ellina, kissing away the words from 
his lips. " Oh, say nothing more ! Oh ! that I had 
rightly understood you, you would not then have had any 
reason to complain. But now God bless you for having 
said what you have said ! Be it with our removal from 



356 SKETCHES. 

hence as it may, good will come of it, I feel ; for you 
have again taken up your abode in my heart, and I feel 
again at home there. And now look ! I am yours, 
your wife, your servant, every thing you wish, Axel ! I 
feel that you again are mine. Come death, come life, 
cares, sorrows, still I shall be happy in you, in your kind- 
ness, in your love, with the certainty that you are mine and 
that I am yours." 

When such words have been uttered between husband 
and wife, there is not much more to say. There is then 
only one language, silent yet eloquent, one which can ex- 
press the fullness of the feelings. Ellina felt the glowing 
words fall like a dew upon her throbbing forehead, upon 
her cheeks, upon her eyelids. Every wrinkle of time, and 
sorrow seemed to be effaced by these words. It was as if 
she had become young again. Paradise was again bloom- 
ing within and round the two. 

When Axel rowed Ellina back to their house, the moon 
had gone down behind the hills and the night had become 
quite dark. But the sea shone and sparkled at every 
stroke, and fiery pearls dropped from the oars. Over the 
heads of husband and wife the stars peeped forth out of 
the fleecy clouds, and " the bridal-lights on the height " 
shone and danced brighter than usual against the dark 
sky. " The bridal lights " shone again in Ellina's heart, 
and everywhere, in the sky and on the earth, she beheld 
again as on her own bridal-night, " so many, oh, so many 
lights." 

And it was never more to be extinguished, the steady 
beam which fell into her heart ; its waves might rise or 
fall, but light would always be there. The consciousness 
of this filled Ellina with celestial, child-like joy. Yes, 
she was so happy, so confident, that she became almost 
like a child. She toyed with the glittering ripples they 
also were full of love's life she splashed her hands in 
them, and made them glisten and glitter, and in wanton 



SKETCHES. 357 

delight she sprinkled Axel's hands and face with water, 
while he was paying her back the showers of fire and 
water which she gave him. Their eyes sparkled in the 
dark, starry night their soul's wedding-night. 

But when Ellina on the following morning entered her 
kitchen, she looked like the rosy tint of the young day, il- 
luminating " Miss Unready's " soul and mind so that they 
threw a reflected light into the darkest corners of the cel- 
lars and pantry. Ways and means for every thing were 
found at once. <k Spinach ! " No question about spinach 
any longer ; no thought of poor spinach, mean, miserable 
food ! Sausages, roast joints, the fish of the sea, the birds 
of the air, came as if by enchantment. Kitchen and table 
became full. Nothing was wanting, or if any thing was 
wanting it was not noticed, which is better still. 

And they who know what a mighty wizard a joyful 
stout heart is, and how it knows the primordial word which 
is the key to and can command every thing, will not be 
astonished at this. 

I will not tell you any thing about the projected removal, 
whether it took place or not, because I do not know any 
thing about it. But I must tell you fhat within a year a 
girl was born, who was christened after father and mother, 
Axellina. And if you should want to know how the sun's 
light and joy can become, as it were, embodied in a human 
face, I would then show you the face of this child, show 
you its bright curls and laughing eyes. No language is 
more incomprehensible and more charming than the words 
which flow from its little mouth, chirping bird eloquence. 
The honeysuckle tendrils cannot be more wild and lissom 
in their growth than this little girl. You should see her 
in thousand graceful, ever varying attitudes, twining her 
arms around her father, or playing at his feet. And if ever 
a strong, firm man can be conquered and ensnared by the 
witcheries of a little child, it is Axel Ern, when he holds 
in his arms the wild, supple, laughing, charming little girl, 



358 SKETCHES. 

pressing her iii silent eloquence to his heart, or sitting at 
night beside her little crib, hearing her saying her pray- 
ers, while from her he again learns to pray. Yes, he is 
not a whit better than Hercules spinning at the feet of the 
young Omphale. I think that he is even a little worse and 
more weak, being fettered by a yet weaker and more child- 
ish being. 

Ellina threatens sometimes and you may guess how 
seriously to send the little girl out of the house to a 
boarding - school, as otherwise, " she will be perfectly 
spoilt " by her father, and she ought in time to learn to 
become " a sensible woman." The father says nothing to 
these threats, but he lays the child in the mother's arms 
and then embraces them both. He is meanwhile very 
anxious for all the boys to come home during the holidays. 

Ellina is no longer pale and suffering. She is a bloom- 
ing middle-aged matron, with the calmness of happiness 
in her whole being, and she likes to say to young married 
women : " When the time of first love is passed, then 
comes something better still, something more beautiful; 
then comes the second Jove, the faithful friendship, which 
never changes, which makes every thing bright and peace- 
ful. But we ought to manage so that it does come. Then 
every thing changes, every thing turns to the best." 

Miss Unready was also changed, metamorphosed into 
Mrs. Sheriff Ready. But whether her spinachomania has 
also changed, I am not aware. 

The eaglets have grown up to be young eagles. When 
from their flight over earth's or thought's sea they revisit 
their eyrie with tales from foreign lands, and with new dis- 
coveries in science and art, then much is added to the 
wealth within it. 



But Bohuslan's rocks, they stand now as before; 
The waves of the Cattegat flow as of yore ; 
To-day they roll on 
As in centuries gone. 



SKETCHES. 359 

The flames of the light-house kind reader, pray 

Think of the nuptial torches so gay, 

They ! re turning and turning and turning to-day. 

THE EAGLESS. 

IT was morning, and the sun was shining brightly. The 
Eagle's sister sat in her eyrie upon the cliff, looking with 
longing eyes into bright space, involuntarily raising her 
wings, untried as yet. Proudly heaved her breast. 

" Towards the sun ! Up, towards the sun ! " thus a voice 
seemed to say within her. " Why should not I also see 
the glorious one nearer, bathe my eye in his light, and drink 
strength from his rays ? Why should not the pilgrimage 
of the Eagless to the sun be praised in song, as well as 
that of the Eagle ? My sight is strong, my wings young, 
my will powerful ; up, up, towards the sun, towards the 
sun!" 

She flew. The morning, the sunlight, and the freshness 
of endless space, the feeling of youthful vigor and energy 
filled her breast with delight. 

In order to rest herself awhile, to look round and enjoy 
the new, beautiful life, she perched upon the-top of an oak. 

In the woods below all kinds of birds had flocked to- 
gether. They had witnessed her bold flight. 

" Trillili, well, well, trillili ! " sang the larks, exultingly ; 
" fly on, Eagless, thou wilt be the glory of thy sex ! " 

" Courage ! " cried a noble heron, " courage, my little 
friend!" 

" Hail, sister, hail ! " sang the white swans, sailing 
among verdant islets. 

" Croak, croak ! " croaked the crow, " that flight is dan- 
gerous ; take care of yourself, my dear young lady." 

" Coo-coo-coo ! " cooed the dove ; " why dost thou seek 
happiness so far away ? Stay at home in your nest ; warm 
yourself beside your mate ; hatch your eggs and feed your 
young ones, and you may live many, many years ! Coo- 
coo-coo ! " 



360 SKETCHES. 

" Kle-vit, kle-vit ! " screeched an owl. " Some mischief 
will be done here." 

" Some mischief will be done here," repeated starlings 
and parrots. 

" All goes well, all goes well ! " cried a flock of merry 
wild geese ; " very well ! " 

But a young and noble Eagle came and perched beside 
the Eagless, saying gently and tenderly : " Thy flight is 
beautiful, but the road is long and thy strength is not yet 
sufficient. 1 Let me accompany thee ; when thou beginnest 
to break down, my wing shall support thee ; it shall shade 
thy eyes when the sun begins to dazzle them ; and when 
danger approaches, or when thou tirest in thy flight, I 
will lead thee to my safe nest, yonder, upon that far off 
cliff, and stay beside thee ! " 

Gratefully declining his offer, the Eagless bent her head 
to the noble bird : " I will be alone," she answered ; " alone 
will I work out my destiny ! " The cries of the other birds 
she took no notice of. She hastened only to the voice in 
her own breast : " Up towards the sun, towards the sun ! " 

And again she raised her wings. Enraptured by the 
sun, by the freshness and joy, she rose higher and higher, 
far away from all the others. 

Sadly and gloomily the young Eagle shook his wings, 
turned his eye away from the daring one, chose another 
mate, and conducted her to his eyrie on the distant cliff. 

Meanwhile, the Eagless pursued her flight alone, and ap- 
proached nearer the sun. But alas ! her eyes were sud- 
denly dazzled, her head became dizzy, and she could not 
any longer clearly see her road. Still she flew on, but un- 
consciously she had lowered her flight towards earth. A 
sportsman saw her ; he aimed at her with his murderous 
weapon ; he fired, and the lead was buried near the 
Eagless' heart. 

1 Ornithologists must excuse the authoress for having in her poetical 
allegory depreciated the physical strength of the Eagless. 



SKETCHES. 361 

On she flew still, but not upwards ; she flew towards the 
deep, deep forest. She felt herself struck by death. 

Far into the dark forest she flew, and the dark forest 
closed rustling around her, concealing her from all eyes. 

With bleeding bosom and a tear in her dimmed eye, the 
Eagless perched upon a fir-tree's branch. " Happy for 
me," she sighed, " that I die unlamented and alone ! " 

Then she heard the dove coo to her young ones : 
" Daughters of mine ! Do not do as the Eagless ! The 
proud silly one will surely come to grief in her flight. 
Stay at home in your valley, in your peaceful nests, and you 
will live many, many years." 

" I have erred ! " said the Eagless, but proudly her 
heart swelled under the deadly wound ; " from youthful 
presumption have I erred and am punished. But silently 
I submit to my fate ; may others be more happy ! I do 
not complain, for I have beheld the sun nearer ! " 

" Kle-vit, kle-vit ! " screeched the owls. 

" Kle-vit, kle-vit ! " repeated the starlings and parrots. 

" All goes well, all goes well ! " tauntingly sang the wild 
geese, while they sailed away over the forest. 

" I die," said the Eagless, with expiring strength ; " I 
die, but the sun ! I have beheld the sun nearer ! 
Happy for me ! " 

And from the branch on which she had perched, she fell 
down with expanded wings, and was no more. 

THE NOVEL AND THE NOVELS. 

" THIS is the time for Novels ; but what is to come after 
the Novels ? " a literary man said to me one day, half in 
jest. I do not now exactly remember what I answered 
something thoughtless, I believe ; but I began afterwards 
to ponder on this subject the Novels. 

I had read, nay devoured, in the course of my life I 
cannot tell how many dozen novels, and I had wept and 
laughed over them, loved, reveled, lived, and almost died in 



362 SKETCHES. 

them ; my soul has transmigrated through their Sophias, 
Julias, Rosas, Amandas, Alices, Elizas, until I was on the 
point of losing myself, when, in a fright, I vowed a deadly 
hatred of all novels ; wished their eternal thema, Love, at 
Jericho, and determined to live for reality, and to cultivate 
friendship and potatoes. 

About this time I began myself to write ; not novels, 
oh dear, no ; but lo ! before I knew a, word about it, it 
turned out to be a novel after all, or something very like it. 
Gracious Heaven ! had I not then suffered enough from 
the poisonous stuff? And was I now going to poison 
others with it ? And yet I wished to do something quite 
different. Have I not known young ladies, who, through 
romantic whims, had mistaken the aim of their life, failed 
to become real human beings, because they had failed to 
become happy heroines of romance ; who for the love and 
moonlight of the novel had forgotten life's real light ; sigh- 
ing for grand dramatic effects, until they had forgotten the 
significance of their own part in the great drama of life ? 
Have I not known young men, who, enamored and daz- 
zled by romantic scenes, had forgotten to be honest men, 
and who, when they came out of the world of illusions into 
the world of reality, saw therein nothing but prose, and 
want, and " reality's barren rocks," on which no beauty and 
no happiness could grow. Have I not at one time been so 
" novel possessed," that every time I went to church I ex- 
pected to be carried off on the road ? No, no ; by no 
means no more novels ; away with them all ! 

So I exclaimed, but at that moment I saw marching up 
before me silently the whole host of novels in formidable 
array. From England they came, from France, from Den- 
mark, from North America, aye, also from China (whose 
long novel, " The Two Brides, Miss Li and Miss Lo" one 
cannot praise without being one's self a Chinese, or Mr. 
Abel Remusat 1 ). And I saw this host rising out of the 
1 The name of the translator. 



SKETCHES. 363 

bosom of even my own native country, all forming an army 
of millions, billions, trillions of volumes. They inarched 
towards me, and I heard them say in a voice like thunder : 

" Behold in us a power upon earth : we are mighty under 
the sun ; citizens in all enlightened countries ; beloved by 
all enlightened nations ; at home in the enlightened home 
of all enlightened nations ; enjoying the friendship of old 
and of young, of professors and of students, of octogena- 
rian matrons, and of maidens still in their teens. He who 
would combat us, must first be prepared to conquer all 
these." 

What a terrible prospect ; enough to make even a Napo- 
leon beat a retreat I What, then, could such a dwarf as I 
am, do ? Must I not lay down arms, rescue or no rescue, 
and own myself vanquished? Or shall I, like another 
Charles XII , fight against the Turks (the novels must, in 
that case, represent the Turks, although they, as I believe, 
are not guilty of writing novels), and gain immortal glory 
even by my own overthrow ? This would be a prospect 
which might inspire me with courage. I might try it, but 
the worst of it is, that yes, I feel it I would then have 
to fight against myself also. 

I hold the firm belief, namely, that what has occupied 
mankind for a long period, must have some reason in it, 
some common sense, something connected with what is 
eternally true and rational. And as now mankind, since 
more than a century, writes and reads novels, and as this 
taste for them, instead of decreasing, is increasing more 
and more, and is spreading further and further, therefore, 
my friend ! I hope that you will see the conclusive argu- 
ment yourself. 

And then, after carefully sounding my own soul, was 
there nothing in it, which spoke in favor of the worth of 
the novel ; of the many delightful moments, the warm 
feelings, the beautiful pictures, which it has given me to 
enjoy? And did I not, amongst the many weeds which 



364 SKETCHES. 

the novels have sown, note also the seeds of noble plants, 
of shading trees, which have since grown and become de- 
veloped ? And now, when the soul has grown older and 
calmer, has it not often been awaked by the novel to warm 
sympathy with man's joys and sufferings, and did not the 
novel call forth kindly and generous feelings ? Yes, yes, 
it is so, and the result of it all is that 

Novels certainly must have a sensible, good aim ; must 
have the right of citizenship in the world. 

But, what is it they really aim at ? Do they want merely 
to amuse, to awaken sympathy, to excite the imagination, 
to light up playfully the depth of the human soul, and the 
innumerable winding passages and mazes in life's laby- 
rinth ? Are they to be looked upon as resembling those 
millions of butterflies which, coaxed out of the chrysalides 
by the warm sun-rays, flutter about, delighting us a short 
time with their splendor and with the brilliancy of their 
colors, and then die ? Nothing more ? Impossible. There 
must be something more in it. But what ? 

Think only, if those legions from all nations and coun- 
tries should have an invisible leader, a commander-in-chief 
round whose standard they gather, for whose plans they 
fight, consciously or unconsciously, bravely or timidly, 
according to circumstances. But if this is so, I must look 
to this leader, the Napoleon of the novel army, to discover 
the movements of the grand army and its object. 

A bright idea ! 

Goethe searched for the primeval plant ; the philologist 
is seeking for the primeval language ; the Finnish exorcists 
searched for the primeval word of things, and I went in 
search of the primeval novel. 

I called up the spirits which have made the greatest 
impression upon me, from Grandison, Joseph Andrews, 
Corinna, and Rousseau's beautiful Heloise, up to the variety 
of works of our own days, and I adjured the Spirit of these 
spirits to reveal to me his nature and his aim. 



SKETCHES. 365 

And I heard him answer : 

" In me thou seest a picture of man's inner development. 
I represent the metamorphoses of human life, ascending 
and descending in accordance with eternally ruling laws. 
What thou seest in me is thy own past, or present, or 
future history. Therefore thou learnest of me, whilst thou 
lookest into my mirror, or beholdest how this world goes 
on. And out of my lesson I create for thee a pleasure. 
For I take the flowers of the day, and the stars of the 
night, and I dye my robes in Aurora's roses, in order, 
beloved one ! to come to thee and make thee happy with 
my beauty, by showing thee life's dark mysteries, making 
them light to thee, through my earnestness. On my arms 
I raise thee above the earth, and let thee behold the struggle 
which agitates man's bosom. Wherever thou seest powers 
wrestling with each other, developing themselves under 
liberty's banner, either for good or for evil ; wherever thou 
seest life's most secret history, lighted by the torch of 
heavenly love, there also thou seest me the novel." 

"Yes, the genuine one," I exclaimed involuntarily. 
" Beautiful Genius ! I understand thee, but " .... I un- 
derstand also clearly why the world loves the novel so 
much, but I learnt to distinguish more keenly between 
the genuine and the false; between the enlightened 
and the blind imitators of the genius whose words I 
have just quoted. I beheld a countless number of novels, 
so widely differing from him, that in order to find again 
the primeval novel it would be necessary to refer . man 
from his books to his own life. For even in the most 
commonplace human life we discover the metamorphoses 
which constitute the nature of the novel life's changes, 
its transitions. In whose life are there not struggles, if 
ever so silent, defeats, and victories ? Where do we not 
see obligations between people, be they lovers, or brothers 
and sisters, married couples, parents or children ? where do 
we not see the deepest of all relations, the tenderest, the 



366 SKETCHES. 

mightiest, the most romantic the relation between man 
and his highest, his best, his first and his last friend ? I 
also have a little objection to novels in general, when I 
compare them to the novel of novels real, living life. 

It is because they occupy themselves too much with con- 
jugating, in a certain exclusive sense, the eternal verb. I 
love, thou lovest, we love, etc., etc. Yes, I object a little 
to this, for I find that it is not so on earth. I am of the 
opinion of England's great Dr. Johnson, when he says in 
his preface to Shakespeare's works : " Love is only one of 
many passions, and as it has no great influence upon the 
sum of life, it has little operation in the dramas of a poet 
who caught his ideas from the living world, and exhibited 
only what he saw before him. He knew that any other 
passion, according as it be regular or exorbitant, is a cause 
of happiness or calamity." 

There are novels which are free from the one-sidedness of 
which I have complained, and which contain much of the 
best which characterizes the genuine novel. Their worth 
lies above all in the moral tone which breathes through 
them like a healthy, invigorating breeze, and which holds 
up to view the influence of good over circumstances, and 
also man's power to help himself. We see in them the 
good intent, the pure purpose, perseverance, industry, pa- 
tience struggling with all kinds of difficulties, conquering at 
last, and man becoming the creator of his own happiness. 
These novels can have a beneficial influence upon youthful 
minds on the point of making the acquaintance of life and 
the world. 

All novels which approach the primeval novel, I wish 
every success and an inconceivable number of readers. 
These readers I wish mind and sense rightly to understand 
them ; for true is the saying of Lichtenberg : " If, when a 
book and a head happen to knock against each other, it 
should sound hollow or discordant, it is not always the 
fault of the book." 



SKETCH KS. 367 

And if any body hereafter should ask me, " What is to 
come after the novel ? " I intend answering : " The day of 
judgment." 

But who can answer for, that after the day of judgment 
a new evolution of an entirely new romantic literature and 
new novels shall not take its beginning ? This seems very 
probable. 

THE ROMANCE, THE EPOS OF OUR DAY. 

ADAM OEHLENSCHLAGER has said truly and to the point, 
" The romance is the Epos of our day," and although 
learned men have proved that the ancient Greek Epos is 
not strictly an heroic poem, not the same as the epopee, 
still they grant that the " Epos " is a narrative of actions or 
occurrences in which one person is the principal figure, 
who therefore becomes the hero or heroine of such a narra- 
tive. 

A German scholar says that the distinguishing character- 
istic of the heroic poem is, " that it contains what interests 
all mankind." But so does every narrative which tends to 
the honor of humanity. The ancient "Epos," and its 
younger brother the romance, appear thus both to come 
so near the heroic poem, that they may lay claim to its 
title, honor, and dignities. The hero of the modern epic 
poem is quite different from that of the ancients, and his 
life and achievements are measured by a different standard. 
The hero of the ancient " Epos " is, generally, a gladiator, 
who conquers by means of assassinations and cunning, and 
who slays a great number of people. He is handsome, 
brave, fortunate, and his grand achievements consist in 
battles. But the hero of romance is, above all men, the 
feeling, thinking, moral man, in his struggle with the world 
on his road to the goal which his genius points out to him. 
The ancient " Epos " knows only a few human beings, and 
they are the favorites of the gods ; they are the great and 
gifted ones upon earth. All the rest of mankind is merely 



368 SKETCHES. 

rabble, good enough to serve as stepping-stones to the ad- 
vancement and rise of the hero. In the Epos of modern 
times every man can be the hero, every woman the heroine ; 
for man is the chosen favorite, loved by God, called to 
great destinies, to the possession of a measureless realm. 

This is owing to the ancient Epos being a Pagan, where- 
as the romance is baptized in the life of Christianity. 
Christianity attributes to every human soul an infinite 
worth before God, and an infinite possibility of perfection. 
It makes man the inmost essence of creation. 

The romance, the novel, understood this doctrine, and 
grouped round its hero, round the loving, searching, 
struggling man, as his world, nature, science, arts, society. 
To the romance, man is the centre of life, and it is his task 
to explain life. In the romance man is still a conqueror, 
but to bless ; and his first and greatest victories are won 
upon an inward battle-field within his own breast. If 
victorious there, he conquers the world. 

The romance became thus essentially a biography. In the 
delineation of the individual man, it purposes to show the 
human in every sphere of the existence. The hero, or the 
heroine, is the representative of the higher, the spiritual 
humanity, who through it vanquishes devils and goblins, 
and is declared, though often not before death, the victor. 
The romance preaches to every body this counsel, " Learn 
to conquer ! " It is a multifarious paraphrase of the words 
" Behold the man." 

The romance says further to man, " Behold thy world, in 
all its beauty, its deformity, its greatness, its littleness, its 
pleasantness, its bitterness, in a word, in all its reality." 

To a clear-sighted criticism no doubts can therefore 
arise of the great importance and value of the romance in 
literature as a means of higher cultivation. To a clear- 
sighted criticism therefore the romance ought to present 
itself as one of the most deeply influencing art-productions 
which civilization has produced. 



SKETCHES. 369 

The great development which romance literature has at- 
tained during this century, is a proof according to my 
opinion of the great humanizing development of the age ; 
and the fact that romance or novel-reading has become a 
favorite study throughout all classes of society, shows their 
sound taste and clear eye. We are here ready to say with 
Madame de Sevigne, " Man ami, le public a bon nez et ne. se 
meprend guere." 

The question of the value of the romance in general 
ought to be restricted to a question of the value of such or 
such a romance in relation to its purport as a romance, 
as the epic poem of mankind.* 

We do not deny that the romance has frequently mis- 
taken its aim ; that it has often carried darkness and 
poison in its leaves instead of light and healing life. 

This constitutes its sin. But this sin ought to be as 
little ascribed to the whole race of romances, as Nero's 
abominations ought to be laid at the door of mankind. 

Far more frequently the romance has carried pleasure, 
comfort, hope, strength, healing life to man's heart. It will 
do so in a far greater measure when it has learnt better to 
understand itself and its mission. 

Rousseau's " Heloise," Richardson's " Pamela," St. 
Pierre's " Chaumiere Indienne," and in later times " Con- 
suelo," by Madame Du Devant, are beautiful human epic 
poems, justly admired by all nations and models of the 
Epos of our time. Higher still than they stands " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin," the book of our own days, which is being 
read most and is most liked ; for not only does nature, 
family life, and life's moral questions group themselves 
round the man who is the centre of the narrative, but the 

1 We can discover in romance literature two leading tendencies, like 
those which in painting are called the Italian and the Flemish school. The 
former tries to represent the ideal, the latter strives more to show a vigor- 
ous and pithy reality. Our Swedish literature has to thank Mrs. Emilie 
Carlen for exquisite pictures of this latter kind; pictures which have 
scarcely been equaled. 

24 



370 SKETCHES. 

profoundest and most weighty questions of life, of the 
state, and of society, throng along this lonely, loving, bleed- 
ing human heart to receive light and judgment. 1 

And what is the man who is here the hero ; who makes 
our hearts beat, our eyes shed tears ; who lets the people of 
two worlds feel the same interest, the same sorrow, make 
the same reflections, and converse on the same common 
subject ; a subject which belongs to humanity at large ? 
He is the humblest, the most defenseless, the most despised 
of men ; a man who can scarcely read, who cannot write 
at all a poor negro-slave. But he is a man in the high- 
est acceptation of the word, for he is a Christian. And 
humanity rejoices in him over its highest life. 

Thus far the divine hero has advanced, and thus far the 
'romance has followed his footsteps in raising man. 

The romance, and its sisters the novels and sketches, 
have likewise this merit, that they make us acquainted 
with far distant lands and nations, in a more hearty and 
living manner than other books are capable of doing it. 
Travels give us a description of outward things and situa- 
tions. Scientific works can inform us of a country's geog- 
raphy and geology, of its Flora and Fauna, etc., etc., and 
of the character of its people. The romance, on the other 
.hand, lets us see the heart of the people and its inward life. 
It opens to us the home ; shows us the father, the 
youth, the maiden, the child, the servant ; shows us what 
constitutes the aim of their life, their joys and sorrows, 
their work and pastime ; shows us the trees which afford 
them shade, and the flowers which delight them ; lets us, in 
a word, see man in his human world, and lets us see that 
world in its peculiar form in such a land and amongst such 
a people. 

And we know scarcely a greater, and at the same time a 

%1 The English novels " Mary Barton " and " Alton Locke " discuss like- 
<\vise the great social questions of the day (in England) in their relation to 
man, who in them appears in his highest signification as a member of soci- 
ety. The political or social novel thus appears upon the stage. 



SKETCHES. 371 

more useful enjoyment, than to be transported from our 
quiet home, as if by a magician's wand, to foreign coun- 
tries, and to make the acquaintance of new characters, and 
a new state of things, and to learn from them, at any 
rate, what is going on in the world. 

For although Sweden's noble and amiable poet, Franzen, 
did characterize the romance as " an occurrence which 
has never occurred," still we venture to assert that every 
thing which the true romance describes, has really hap- 
pened and happens every day, if not exactly in the same 
way as told in the romance, yet in an analogous manner, 
and that no romance is so romantic as is frequently 
actual life. 

We would wish that every young man and every young 
girl would understand their life in its truly romantic signifi- 
cation, and that they would at an early age think of writ- 
ing their autobiography. The romance in it would be 
more than a little love-story. 

But if it is a love-story on a grand scale, so much the 
better. 

The genuine romance is such a biography. 

But let us return to the mission of the romance to 
bring near each other far distant people and countries by a 
delineation of their inner life. 

The American people have been glad to become ac- 
quainted with Sweden and its home-life through Swedish 
novels. Swedish readers who, through " Uncle Tom," 
have been introduced to North American houses, natural 
scenery, and social conditions, will no doubt with increasing 
interest renew the acquaintance with America through 
American novels and sketches. They who, with a beat- 
ing heart, have followed " Uncle Tom " through his 
checkered life, will willingly follow her who has described 
the same in her sketches of characters and scenes amongst 
the descendants of the Pilgrims, given in the " May- 
flower," the first full-blown flower of her talent as an 



372 SKETCHES. 

authoress. She was, while writing that work, a young 
mother, taken up by domestic cares, of which the little 
sketch, " A Mother's Trials," is a humorous picture. 

She wrote these sketches in her leisure hours, for a 
small circle of friends, without at that time thinking of 
publishing the same. 

They are the firstlings of a youthful, richly endowed 
soul, and although they carry the impress of firstlings, and 
lack artistic finish, yet we find in them the same qualities 
which are so essentially characteristic of " Uncle Tom ; " 
an acute perception of the peculiar and national, an over- 
flowing vein of humor, and a deeply religious mind. 

Washington Irving, Caroline Kirkland, Catharine Sedg- 
wick, Fenimore Cooper, and Nathaniel Hawthorne have 
given us masterly sketches of America and of her peo- 
ple, but none more striking sketches of character, none 
more American, than those of the authoress of the " May- 
flower " and of " Uncle Tom's Cabin." 

THE CHILD'S PRAYER. 

" IN my childhood," relates the great and brave Captain 

G , " I was exceedingly strictly educated. Every fault 

even the most trifling, was most severely punished by 
my mother, a woman strong both in body and mind. 
This severity filled me with great dread and terror, which 
easily might have led me to falsehood and hypocrisy, if 
these sins had not been even more severely punished than 
all others. Meantime I was often very unhappy. In my 
extremity I had recourse to prayer, prayer to the invisible 
Father, whom I knew to be watching over me and over all. 
A flat stone behind one of the hedges in our garden was 
my oratory. Often have I been lying there on my knees 
praying and weeping. 

" One day I had undertaken the praiseworthy labor of 
weeding the hot-beds in our garden. In doing this, I 
worked especially very hard at a large plant with such 



SKETCHES. 373 

deep and strong roots, that, notwithstanding all my en- 
deavors, I could not tear up the root entirely. One piece 
of it, deeply imbedded in the earth, I was obliged to leave 
behind. Delighted with my work, I went to the gardener, 
saying to him, * Well, now I think I have very nearly 
pulled up all the weeds from the hot-beds. There was 
only one large plant, which I could not quite tear up, but' 

" ' What in the name of goodness have you been doing ? ' 
exclaimed the gardener in evident consternation ; ' I hope 
you have not torn up Mistress's chervil ? ' 

" He ran to the garden-seat ; I followed him, trembling. 
Alas ! it was indeed so ; the only chervil-plant in the gar- 
den, my mother's favorite herb for cabbage-soup, I had in 
the sweat of my brow labored to exterminate. Oh, how I 
prayed and entreated the gardener not to mention my 
misdeed. He promised not to do so, but only conditionally. 
As long as nobody asked him, he would be silent ; but if 
his mistress discovered the mischief and wanted to know 
the cause of it, he considered it his duty to tell her. 

" From this moment I listened every day with indescrib- 
able anxiety, and especially every Sunday, to the orders 
which were issued to the cook about dinner, trembling from 
fear that I should hear the dreadful word, ' cabbage- 
soup.' For three weeks it was never once mentioned, and 
my anxiety had gradually become less intense, when one 
Sunday morning I heard my mother saying to the cook : 
' I suppose we must soon have cabbage-soup again ; I was 
thinking of having it to-day. The chervil ought by this 
time to be large enough.' 

" More I could not hear. Half frantic with terror, I ran 
down into the garden ; I was almost in despair. Again I 
had recourse to my oratory, and there I sent up as fer- 
vent prayers for delivery out of my misery, as ever passed 
child's lips. Having prayed long, I rose, saying in a 
gloomy frame of mind : ' I shall now see whether there is 
any efficacy in prayer, and whether it can do any thing to 



374 SKETCHES. 

help us.' And with quick steps I hastened to the fatal 
hot-bed, which during all the time I had never thought of 
visiting. I approached it ; with a heart beating almost to 
bursting, I threw at it a terrified, searching glance, and be- 
hold ! a luxuriant chervil-plant stood there verdant, a foot 
high, on the same spot where the former one had stood. 
My surprise and my joy cannot be described. It was the 
root which had been left behind, which had shot up. The 
matter could easily be accounted for, but upon me it made 
an impression never to be effaced. And it was not diffi- 
cult for me afterwards to follow the advice which my 
father gave me many years later, when I left my parental 
home to enter the great world as a military officer. 
* Above all,' said he, ' do not forget prayer ; let it be the 
beginning and the close of your day ; for however our fate 
may vary, to that we always return ! ' ' 

MAY THOUGHTS. 

GENTLE breezes, pearly dew-drops, warm sun-rays, spring, 
spring life, blessed, blessing all, welcome to all ! How the 
earth quickens ; how it stirs in the seed, in the bud ; how 
it sings in the air, in the waters ! Glorious life, giver of 
joy and of beauty, receive our thanks for having returned ; 
for again awakening earth with kisses and warmth; for 
again awakening hopeful feelings and thoughts in the souls 
of men ! Over them also snow was lying winter's sleep 
and heaviness ; but they feel thy spirit, and they breathe 
again, and send forth into life an " Ah ! " of longing and of 
hope. 

Spring, which so often I have seen come and depart, 
bloom into beauty and die away on a bed of withered 
leaves ; enchanting, but ephemeral season, why do I now 
greet thee with so much joy ? Is it for the sake of thy 
verdant fields, thy tender foliage, thy flowers, thy butter- 
flies ? They must all soon perish. Is it for the general 
joy which thou callest forth amongst all people, my brothers 



SKETCHES. 375 

and sisters ? Oh, yes ! But with thee this joy must also 
die away. 

Delicious spring-time ! no, it is not at thee that I rejoice 
so much, but at the life of which thou art the symbol, 
whose spirit thou bearest ; at a spring which I feel is ap- 
proaching ; a spring which does not wane ; a life which does 
not die, and which, like thine, imparts its all to all. 

It is the spring of community, of universality ; it is all 
mankind's participation in the communion of God's good 
gifts. 

That spring is spiritual life ; that life is eternal. 

It descended from heaven to exalt and to bless earth. 
During eighteen centuries it has breathed upon genera- 
tions, melted icebergs, burst fetters, cleansed, purified the 
air, and penetrated in innumerable individual hearts. Now 
it penetrates public life, Society, and also its movement 
has become a downward one, in order to elevate. 

Associations are formed for the propagation of God's 
kingdom upon earth in goodness, in wisdom, in beauty. 
Weak men join their hands in long chains, which gives 
them power ; and the electric current of God's love runs 
more rapidly along them all. 

And the neglected children are adopted, educated ; the 
ignorant are taught ; the erring improved, and the condition 
of the poor is raised nearer to that of the rich. 

Science steps forth from its study, and in bright beams 
gives to the people the light which it has discovered the 
truth which it has gained during solitary labor and watch- 
ing. And man learns better to conceive the God in whom 
he has believed; learns better to understand himself, to 
know the world in which he lives, the stars which shine 
above his head, the flowers which grow at his feet. Thus 
he wanders more securely and more happy upon earth. 
More securely, but also more humbly, more peacefully, and 
" Blessed are the peaceful ! " 

The social system becomes a general and sacred system,- 



376 SKETCHES. 

and social life expands to receive more and more citizens, 
participators of the same noble duties and rights. 

Art descends from sun-lit heights to throw like the 
sun itself its light into obscure, hidden valleys ; into the 
cottages of the poor life-giving, cheering. Beautiful 
pictures adorn the lowly cot. Poetry and song fall like 
fertilizing dew out of warm spring clouds upon the soil of 
the rnind, quickening the noble, slumbering seed. 

And upon earth breathes although in various tints 
and degrees one heart, one reason, one sense of beauty ; 
and from earth one common, bright, radiant eye is raised 
towards heaven. 

Spring of the human race ! Day of participation for 
all ! Alas ! it is yet only approaching. It is obscured by 
the dark shadows, the heavy crust of ice which still rests 
upon earth. But the tints of its dawn are visible in the 
sky ; its spirit breathes through space. It is coming, it is 
coming, God's " Let there be light ! " His first com- 
mandment to the world has been given to us to repeat, to 
realize until the last day of time. May herein every one 
of us be a spark, a ray ! 

Go then, when thy time is up, beautiful, earthly spring ! 
Thy farewell, thy withered flowers, thy death, shall not dis- 
courage us. The spring life which knows of no death, the 
bloom which does not decay, is approaching. In it we 
shall unite ; in it we shall labor as thou laborest for all, 
every one according to his individual powers and in his 
place, if even only as a breath of air, as a drop of rain, aye, 
even if only, as now here, by a drop of ink ! 

THE GRATEFUL LITTLE FLOWER. 

THE closed bud of a tiny flower was shooting forth un- 
noticed amongst the grass, while the vapors of a May 
morning were sweeping, like dreams before the soul of a 
slumberer, over earth, yet sunk in sleep. Still every thing 
was dusky, but in the bosom of the tiny flower a dim 



SKETCHES. 377 

dream was stirring, a presentiment of light, of joy, of 
something that was to develop and beautify its little life. 
Thus dreams the child of the sun which shall rise over its 
noonday. Thus man divines, through life's long dawn, the 
new light, which, at the command of a new " Let there be 
light," shall beam forth and annihilate every particle of the 
dust of ancient chaos. Dreams sometimes become truth. 
How beautiful to awake from a pleasant dream to the 
joys of which it has whispered to us. Such was the fate 
of the tiny flower. 

The sun threw a ray upon the lonely one. Delighted, it 
felt light and warmth develop and beautify its life. The 
wandering wayfarer cast his eye upon it, saying, " See how 
beautifully the sun lights up the little flower ! " Deeply the 
flower felt the beneficence of the king of the firmament. It 
could acknowledge it only by trying to preserve unspotted 
its inner part, which light had deigned to look upon, and it 
followed, with an eye never turned away and with joyous 
and humble adoration, the course of the glorious one as 
he moved along his path in the heavens. Occasionally it 
whispers to a passing breath of air, hoping that it will 
carry with it and carry to him its sigh : " Oh, if the sun 
could but know how grateful the little flower feels ! " 

THE UGLY HAND AND THE BEAUTIFUL HAND. 
A TRUE STORY. 

" Now you shall hear," said Grandmother one day to 
Peter and Lotta, who were seated on the floor before the 
stove, in the light of the fire, looking with curious eyes at 
the old woman, who sat herself down opposite to them in 
the shade. Mother was baking the pease-flour pancake in 
the hearth fire ; father was sitting at his joiner's bench, but 
they all listened attentively to Granny when she began. 

" Now you shall hear : listen attentively ! There was, 
once upon a time, a young peasant lad, who married a 
young peasant lass ; and her name was Gertrud and his 



378 SKETCHES. 

name was Sven. Oh, what a grand wedding that was ! She 
was dressed at the parsonage, and she looked so splendid, 
oh, so splendid, that all the people crowded round to get a 
look at her. And she was so fine and so grand, where she 
was riding on horseback, with a large nosegay stuck in her 
stomacher, and with fiddlers riding before her. And so 
they went to church, and were married. And the church 
was cram full of people to look at her. And so they went 
home and had a grand feast. And while all the dishes 
were brought in, the fiddlers scraped away, and then they 
ate and they drank, and they danced nearly all night 
That was the wedding. Then the newly married couple 
went to their own cottage ; for they had their own cottage 
with two rooms in it, and before it stood a mountain-ash, 
in which the birds sang ; and a farm-yard they had, too, 
with a cow, and sheep, and pigs ; and furniture they had, 
and meat and drink as much as they wanted. All this 
they had got from their parents. And they were very 
happy, and said : * Now we shall be merry and enjoy our 
life thoroughly/ And so they began eating and drinking 
and sleeping, and they rose late in the day, and slept also 
during day-time. But for all that they were not happier, 
but only more sleepy, and yawned all day long, One even- 
ing, just as they were going to have their supper, they saw 
coming into the cottage but whether it was through the 
door or through the window, they could not tell a large, 
ugly, black hand with long fingers : look you, children, in 
this way it came, so slowly, stretching towards the table, 
seized the basin with the porridge, and carried it away right 
before their noses, which grew so long so long, that they 
would have knocked against each other, if both Sven and 
Gertrud had not tumbled backward from sheer fright, when 
the large ugly hand came and took away their supper and 
disappeared with it, they could not guess how. * But,' said 
they, ' we won't mind it, but we shall go to bed, and it will 
be all right to-morrow ; ' and they went to bed, but they 



SKETCHES. 379 

did not sleep, because the horn-owl sat in the mountain- 
ash, crying all night, ' Uh, hu, hu ! ' and they fancied that the 
ugly hand was moving about in the kitchen, but it was so 
dark they could not see. At last they fell asleep, and when 
they awoke it was broad daylight, and then the gudeman 
said : ' Get up now, gudewife, and light the fire and make 
some coffee.' And she went and lit the fire, but just as 
she was going to take hold of the coffee-pot, what do you 
think she saw ? Why, the large, ugly hand ; it caught 
hold of the handle of the coffee-pot and was off with it in 
a trice, as if it had flown through the wall. Then the 
gudeman flew in a rage, clenched his fist, and said : ' Well, 
come once more if you dare, you great ugly brute, and I '11 
squeeze you so that you shan't forget it in a hurry : and 
now I '11 go to the bailiff.' And he got out of bed and 
dressed, and wanted to put on his holiday coat ; but just 
as he was going to take it down from the peg, he felt some- 
thing pulling at it that was stronger than he was himself, and 
when he turned round, lo ! there was the large ugly hand, 
grasping his coat and flying off with it before he had time 
to understand how it was done. And thus it went on every 
day. Every day came the ugly hand into his cottage, and 
took away something or other, either victuals, or clothes, or 
household furniture. And then husband and wife got very 
frightened, and they asked each other : ' How will this 
end ? ' One day they heard the cow lowing, and they saw 
the ugly hand dragging her along by the horns into the 
forest. And the poor cow was so lean, and looked back 
imploringly to the young wife, and then disappeared in the 
forest. Then the wife began to weep so bitterly ; but 
the husband said he did not like to see all this misery, 
and so he emptied the brandy bottle and fell asleep, and 
slept as heavily as if he was dead ; and the wife did nothing 
but cry, and did not know what to do. ' Now I have not 
got a single drop of milk to give to my husband ; what 
shall I give him to eat ? ' And she thought more of her 



380 SKETCHES. 

husband than of herself, for she was, after all, a good soul 
While she was crying and staring up at the sky and pray- 
ing to God for help, she thought she heard a bird in the 
tree sing : 

" ' Industry wins bread, 
Stands us in good stead ; 
If the handsome hand is busy, 
Sure the ugly one 's away.' 

" And when she heard this, the scales fell from her eyes 
and her heart became light. She dried her tears, took her 
spinning-wheel out of the corner, where it had stood forgot- 
ten with the flax upon it for many weeks, and she began 
spinning : whirr, whirr, whirr-irr-rr. She thought it sounded 
so nice she had almost forgotten the sound. * What is 
that strange music ? ' asked her husband, when he awoke. 
And the wife told him how she had felt, and what the bird 
had been singing in the tree, and how she had thought 
that if they were to begin to work, things might perhaps 
turn out better for them. And he scratched his ear and 
said that ' There might be something in that.' And then 
they kissed each other, and promised one another to begin 
living in a different way. And all day long they worked 
away, and that day the ugly hand was not seen to take any 
thing away from them. But it is true there was not much 
to take now, for the ugly hand had already carried off so 
much. They had only one kettle left, and a few potatoes 
in a basket, but no bread. When therefore the young wife 
was boiling the potatoes in the kettle at night, she said : 
* Think if the ugly hand should come now and take away 
the kettle also ! ' And she was in a great fright. But no, 
no ugly hand did she see ; and when the potatoes were ready 
and she was going to put them on the table, she saw a 
pretty little white hand, placing a loaf of bread upon her 
plate and one upon Sven's plate. And the bird in the tree 

sang: 

" ' Industry wins bread, 
Stands us in good stead; 



SKETCHES. 381 

If the handsome hand is busy, 
Sure the ugly one 's away.' 

" She was so glad, oh, so glad, that she had almost let the 
potatoes drop on the floor, for she was so anxious to run 
and kiss the blessed little white hand ; but it was gone, 
and at that instant her husband came home from his work, 
carrying a large bundle of wood, and the wife told him with 
joyful tears what she had seen. And he was also heartily 
glad, and they sat down to eat. And for many, many a day, 
their meal had not tasted so well. They were happier than 
they had been for a long time, and they thanked God. 
And now they began another life. Every morning they 
got up at daybreak and worked all day long, that often, 
when night came, they were so tired, oh, so tired ; but then 
they had encouragement, for every day they saw the white 
hand come in, bringing back some of the things which the 
ugly hand had dragged away ; yes, and one day it came 
and put the coffee-kettle on the fire, and hung up Sven's 
holiday coat on the peg ; but the funniest thing was when 
they heard one evening a lowing outside the window. ' My 
cow, my cow, my blessed " May-rose ! " ' cried Gertrud, and 
ran out, and behold, it was 'May-rose' that had come 
back, led by the horns by the white hand, and she looked 
at Gertrud with her large, friendly eyes, and lowed so mer- 
rily. Gertrud could not sleep that night, for she longed so 
to get up in the morning to give her dear * May-rose ' her 
fodder, and caress and milk her. 

" And now Gertrud was much more industrious than any 
wife in the whole neighborhood, and she had woven such 
beautiful stuffs out of her yarn, and she sold them to the 
people all round. And the husband wrought weaving- 
looms during the winter for those who wanted to weave, 
and Gertrud taught them how to do it. When now Sven 
and Gertrud had become rich, they took his old mother 
into their house, and made her old age happy, for which 
God blessed them. And He did so indeed, for He gave 



382 SKETCHES. 

them two nice little children, a boy and a girl, and they 
liked much to hear stories told to them, just as you do, chil- 
dren. 

" And then there was a great fuss and a loud cry all round 
the neighborhood : ' The King is coming ! the King is com- 
ing ! ' And, sure enough, it was the King himself, who sat 
in a large, large carriage beside his Queen. And every body 
ran to see the King and the Queen, for he was a very good 
King and she was a very good Queen, and they thought 
only of how they could do justice to all, and make the people 
happy. And when the large carriage stopped at the inn, 
there were so many people that it looked like an ant-hill. 
And the King and the Queen went about amongst the people, 
and spoke in such a friendly way with them all. And the 
King was such a fine gentleman, with dark hair and brown 
eyes, which shone like the sun ; and the Queen was a tall, 
beautiful lady, and looked as good as an angel in heaven. 
And they saw that all the women and girls had such nice 
clothes of homespun stuff, and they asked, * Who is it that 
weaves such stuff here in the neighborhood ? ' And the 
people answered that ' Gertrud does, Sven's wife.' Then 
Gertrud was told to come before the King and Queen with 
her husband, and they praised them, and said that they 
would buy some of their stuffs. And so they ordered fifty 
ells of cloth, and six dozen handkerchiefs with red and blue 
checks for the little princess. And the King made Gertrud 
and her husband a present of a silver medal with his por- 
trait on it, as a remembrance of him, and he said, ' I wish 
you every happiness, my children.' 

" And it became known through all the neighborhood 
how that the King had spoken with Sven and Gertrud, and 
every Sunday they had to take out the silver medal, for all 
wanted to see the King's portrait. 

" This was a great delight to Sven and Gertrud, as you 
may believe, and they became still more industrious, and 
more and more rich ; and they joyfully helped poor people 



SKETCHES. 388 

T 

out of what they had earned, and told them their own story, 
and all about the naughty hand and the kind hand. But 
never again did they see the naughty hand in their cot- 
tage. 

" For look you, dear children, the naughty, ugly hand, that 
was Want, which drags every thing out of the house, when 
laziness, and extravagance, and carelessness enter into it ; 
and the kind, beautiful hand do you know who that was ? 
Well, that was Industry, which brings every thing into the 
house, and makes comfort and independence dwell therein. 
And the King, that was our own King Oscar, God bless 
him ! And the Queen was our Queen Josephine, and they 
like to see their people happy and industrious, and to re- 
ward them that are honest. So you see that this whole 
story is nothing but the real truth. And now my tale is 
finished, and just in good time, for now mother has just 
baked the last pancake and we are going to have our 
supper." 

Peter and Lotta jumped up from the floor ; Granny also 
got up from her chair, and all sat down round the table 
where the pancakes were smoking. And the husband and 
the wife winked at each other and smiled, as if they meant 
to say : " We know that story, we do ! " 

And when they had sat down to the table and were all 
so pleased, they heard the swallows outside the window 
chirping to their young ones : " Be busy, be busy, be 
busy ! " 

" Hark ! " said Lotta, " what the swallows are teaching 
their young ones. That they have taught themselves." 
" Lotta is stupid," Peter said ; " God has taught it them." 

CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS MATINS. 

I SHALL now relate to you, my dear little children in 

Stockholm, how Christmas is celebrated in the country, for 

you probably do not know this ; but I know it, for I have 

often taken part in it myself, and seen it with my own eyes, 



384 SKETCHES. 

and have enjoyed it vastly ; and I know that it will interest 
you to hear all about it. 

But the mother and children of whom I am about to tell 
you, I have not known myself; a good friend of mine has 
told me all that I am now going to relate to you. 

Well, you see, children, there was a cottage lying on the 
margin of a dark-green pine forest, and upon it and round 
about it the snow fell in large flakes, one dark winter's 
night. But the interior of the cottage was light, for the 
fire was blazing merrily upon the hearth, and threw its 
friendly glare upon the pine-tree which stretched its heavy 
snow-laden branches against the outer wall of the cottage, 
and the fire also threw its light into the forest where the 
large owl sat screeching, " Uh, hu, hu, hu ! " Merrily the 
smoke was curling up through the chimney, and the sparks 
danced about amongst the snow-flakes so that these became 
quite giddy, and tumbled down through the chimney into 
the porridge-pan, that is to say, they would have tumbled 
into it, if they had not melted on their way through the 
smoke. 

It was the Christmas porridge which sputtered and bub- 
bled on the hearth, besides other Yule fare ; for it was now 
Christmas Eve, and according to the custom in the rural 
districts in Sweden, the food for the whole Christmas holi- 
days was to be prepared, so that it only required to be 
warmed up for the meals during those days. 

It was not, you may believe, rich man's fare which was 
being cooked in the cottage. For in it there lived only a 
cottar's wife and she was a widow with three children. 
But she was an industrious and thoughtful woman, and a 
good mother, and had now, in honor of Yule time, prepared 
the very best ; and that was not to be despised. Three 
pounds of meat she had bought, and it was now boiling 
together with parsly-roots and celery, and promised to 
make a savory soup, with cabbage, on Christmas Day. For 
in the country people must have cabbage-soup on that day. 



SKETCHES. 385 

There was also " lutfisk," quite white and soft in a pan, and 
potatoes, as a matter of course. 

The Christmas cake was already placed upon the table, 
and there also stood the " Yule-Kuse" with long horns. 
And there he was to stand during all the holidays, in the 
midst of all the Christmas fare. Have you heard, children, 
what a " Yule-Kuse " is, and why he stands upon the Christ-, 
mas tables in the country? I will tell you. 

The " Yule-Kuse " is a large lump of dough, which is 
kneaded and made into the shape of a large goat, with long 
horns. When he has stood upon the Christmas table all 
the holidays, he is put into a wooden chest, where he rests in 
peace until spring comes, and the fields, are to be ploughed. 
Then the " Yule-Kuse " comes forth again out of the chest, 
is chopped in pieces, and given to the horses and oxen that 
have to labor in the fields, and which through the " Yule- 
Kuse " become doubly as strong as before. 

And if the fields are well ploughed, the grain will grow 
beautifully, and a vast number of sheaves will be brought 
into the barns, and a great deal of grist to the mills, and 
much bread into the house, and all this the " Yule-Kuse " 
does, th.it wonderful animal. 

Two little children, Pehr and Maja, were running round 
the Christmas table, and could scarcely conceal their delight 
at the " Yule-Kuse," and the cakes, and at the Yule fare 
boiling on the hearth, smelling so nice in the cottage, and 
at the Christmas Day matins, which they were going to 
attend the following morning with their mother. Brother 
Anders was going to take them all in the sledge drawn by 
old Polle. And the children had never yet been to the 
Christmas matins, and did not quite know what it meant ; 
but something grand and beautiful it was to be, and that 
they had heard and could well believe. 

Brother Anders was still standing upon the hillock be- 
hind the cottage, cutting wood, that there might be plenty 
of fuel for the whole week, from Christmas Eve until 
25 



386 SKETCHES. 

New Year's Day ; but if any ,body had seen him where he 
stood, with gloomy looks and his hair hanging down over 
his forehead, he would have seen that Anders did not 
think that Christmas was a merry time, and that he was 
not much satisfied with the world. 

The mother was busy at the hearth. But why does she 
always stand thus turned towards the fire, as if anxious to 
keep her face away from the merry children ? The flames 
might tell us, if they could speak, for they see that her 
face is sorrowful, and that now and then tears roll down 
her cheeks. And she does not wish the children to see 
this ; she will not spoil their pleasure. But she cannot 
help it ; she must this evening again and again -think of 
her husband, who died only three months ago, and how 
happy she was with him last Christmas ; how good he was, 
how honest, how industrious, how kind and loving to her and 
the children ; how they two together had labored to over- 
come many cares, and how their circumstances had im- 
proved year after year, so that they began to look forward 
to the future with pleasure. She thought of how faithfully 
he had assisted her in every thing, and how he sometimes 
said: "We must work hard for some time yet, my little 
Margret, but then you will see that all will be well for us 
and the children ! " And she remembered how, when he 
felt that he was dying, he had comforted her, and had told 
her that " it was to be so : that if one of them was to be 
taken away, it was better that this lot fell upon the husband 
than upon the wife, because she was able to take better 
care of the children than he could ! " But the wife 
thought this a heavy burden to bear, and she had much 
anxiety for the future. For she felt now so lonely both in 
her heart and in her cottage ; and the eldest son, her step- 
son Anders, who had hitherto been out at service in 
another parish, but had now come home to assist his 
mother in her little farm after the father's death, was of a 
sullen temper, and was evidently unfriendly and bitterly 



SKETCHES. 387 

disposed towards his step-mother, which she had hitherto in 
vain tried to overcome by kindness. 

Anders was in the house like a dark cloud ; he was al- 
ways dissatisfied, and rude in his language. This was a 
great trouble to the mother. And especially this evening, 
when she had determined, for the sake of the festival and 
the children, to get rid of all anxious thoughts, just this 
evening they crowded round her thickly, thickly as the 
snow-flakes upon the pine-tree, and whenever she tried to 
shake them off, look they were there again, worse than 
before, and seemed almost to crush her down. 

But the children, little Pehr and Maja, they could not 
think of any thing unpleasant, not they. 

" Oh, but look at the Kuse, Maja ! see how he stares at 
you with his large black eyes ! take care, he will butt at 
you if you touch him. He says : If you come near me, I 
will butt you with my long, long horns ! " 

" Oh, do you think that he will butt ? Do you think 
that he really lives ? Oh, how nice the soup smells ! Is 
it not soon ready, mother ? And may we not soon go to 
May-rose and Doll and let them look at the star and taste 
of Christmas ? " 

Yes, all right ; the soup was ready and lifted from the 
fire. And the mother lit the candle in the lantern, and 
round the candle was put a beautiful star made of yellow 
paper, which was illuminated by the candle, and which 
again illuminated the candle. And the children got each 
a small loaf of bread, and the mother filled a large stone- 
jar with new Christmas ale, and so they went off to the 
cow-house to let the cattle know that it was Yule. 

For it is the custom everywhere in the country, in 
Sweden, to let the cattle also have the benefit of Christ- 
mas, which is both right and good. For every creature 
upon earth ought to rejoice at the birth of Him who gives 
new life to the world, and who sent out His Apostles, say- 
ing to them : " Preach the gospel to all creatures." 



388 SKETCHES. 

It is chiefly the domestic animals to which, according to 
old Swedish custom, they give a treat at Christmas. But in 
some parts of Sweden, and in the country throughout the 
whole of Norway, it is usual to place outside the house and 
barn doors, oat and barley sheaves on the top of high poles, 
or pine-tree saplings, so that the little birds may eat their 
fill. And when I was one year in Norway, I had two such 
poles before my window, with large barley sheaves on the 
top of them, and swarms of little sparrows, and green 
finches and bull-finches had their Yule feast in them, and 
seemed incessantly to be twittering " It 's Christmas ! it 's 
Christmas ! " 

There was so much rejoicing, and they made such a 
noise, that you could scarcely hear any thing else. But to 
return to our cottage in Sweden. 

May-rose and Doll did certainly not think of any thing 
where they stood in their cribs, chewing their straw, 
when the door of the cow-house was opened and a light 
shone into their eyes. They turned their heads towards 
that side, looked a little astonished, lowed and snorted a 
little to signify that they knew those who entered, and that 
they were welcome. But when the children in their zeal 
ran forward, each holding out their cake, screaming in 
May-rose's and Doll's ears : " It 's Christmas now ! " they 
stepped back a pace or two, shook their heads violently, 
and stared at them with their large eyes as if they would 
have said : " Ah, what sort of a thing is that ? " 

But being both very sensible and good creatures of 
brown color, with white spots they soon recovered from 
their surprise, put out their tongues for the bread, smelt at 
the Christmas ale, had both a good drink of it, and seemed 
to be vastly pleased. And when mother had strewn fresh 
straw under them, and filled their manger with the best 
sweet hay, and had said to them, as she went away : " God 
bless you now, dearies ; now you have got your Yule fare ! " 
then they seemed to understand the matter, stared at the 



SKETCHES. 389 

candle and star, which the children tried to make shine 
right into their eyes, and with a large tuft of hay in 
their mouths they laid themselves comfortably down to 
think the matter over. However, they said nothing but 
boo-o ! 

Then they were off to old Polle, to let him also have a 
taste of Christmas cake and Yule ale, and let him also 
know that it was Christmas. And Polle pricked up his 
ears, lifted up his head, and looked as if he would have 
said that he expected these news, and that he also bade 
them welcome. Polle was an old stager, and had during 
many years tasted Christinas. And horses have a won- 
derful good memory. 

The sheep were bleating with delight, and licked the 
hands which gave them their Christmas treat. And the 
little pigs jumped and ran about as if they had been 
crazy. 

Arid if you could but know, my dear children, how 
much pleasure we can have from the domestic animals in 
the country, how happy one can live in the cottage and in 
the farm where one is daily surrounded by, and is, as it 
were, on friendly terms with the gentle, tame animals, so 
useful to us, I believe you would then all wish to live in 
the country. 

Puss on the hearth was just beginning to find that time 
was getting a little too long, and that it was rather dry 
work to lick her paws, when the mother entered the cot- 
tage with the children. Puss now got a whole saucer full 
of thick creamy milk. 

The chickens were very unruly this evening, and would 
not go to roost upon their perches in the hen-coop ; they 
flew up and down, clacking all the while, and had a great 
deal to say which nobody could understand. But now 
when handfuls of golden grain rained over them, and the 
children shouted to them, " Now it 's Yule ! " they began 
clacking and flying about worse than ever, making a 



390 SKETCHES. 

dreadful noise ; the cock crowed as if it had been morning, 
and his wife, the white hen, laid an egg. 

Anders was also in the cottage when the mother came 
in with her children. He was a tall lad of about seventeen, 
and had a sullen and gloomy appearance. The mother 
gave him an anxious look. Ever since his father had 
married a second time he had borne his step-mother a 
grudge, and would not remain in the house after she came 
into it. He had, therefore, gone into the service of a peas- 
ant in a neighboring parish, who certainly was a well-to-do, 
but not a good man. 

Anders now sat with his elbow resting upon the table ; 
he was gazing silently at the fire, and seemed neither to 
notice that the housewife put the eatables on the table and 
made every thing so comfortable, nor little Maja's prattle, 
who wanted to tell him about all the animals, and how they 
had got their Christmas supper. 

For Maja was a nice, friendly little girl who loved 
every body, and seemed particularly to like brother Anders, 
although he rarely was friendly to her. 

When they now were all seated round the table, and the 
mother had poured out the Yule ale, the little ones peered 
at each other, at their mother, and at Anders, winking at 
one another, and looking so sly, as if they would have said : 
" Now it comes ! " 

And now the mother raised her glass, and the children 
took up their little pewter mugs, and all three said, " Here 
is to you, Anders ! " 

Anders looked up, as much astonished almost as May- 
rose, when they shouted to her that it was Christmas. But 
when the mother added, " And much happiness to you, my 
son, for on this night you were born," Anders said in a 
sulky tone, " Well, what is that to drink to, and what sort 
of happiness is that? It would be much better not to 
have been born." 

The mother answered gravely : " Those are sinful words, 



SKETCHES. 391 

my son. When God has given us health and strength to 
strive and work" 

" Yes, but why must one strive and work ? " interrupted 
Anders in a sullen tone. 

" My dear boy, how can you ask so ? " she said ; " one 
must live, I should think." 

k ' And why should one live ? " retorted Anders. 

The mother was silent, for she could not immediately 
find an answer to that question, and it pained her that the 
lad so often used such dissatisfied and bitter words. 
Anders went on : 

" When one has neither father nor mother, nor money, 
nor any thing in the world to live for, it would be just as 
well to be dead. One would be out of all bother then." 

" Am I not your mother ? " said the widow, while the 
tears rose to her eyes. 

' You are only my step-mother I " retorted Anders 
harshly. " Had you been my mother, you would have 
thought more of me than you have done, and I should not 
then have had to go in this old coat of my father's, but you 
would have got me a new one." 

" That I would have done, if I could have afforded it," 
answered the widow, blushing from indignation at the un- 
just accusation. " But you know that I was obliged to sell 
your father's best coat, to be able to get him decently 
buried. And you know also that I am busy spinning wool 
for a new coat for you." 

" Aye, but when will it be ready ? " said Anders. " You 
might have sold the old brute of a horse, Polle, and have 
got money for him, instead of selling father's best coat. 
But you are proud, and want to keep Polle only to drive to 
church with him, although he is of no use, but eats up the 
fodder for the cows. The wisest and best thing would be 
to sell him." 

" My son," said the mother, " Polle is old and has served 
us many years, and therefore I am unwilling to sell him,. 



392 SKETCHES. 

but not from pride. And I know also that Polle brings us 
in many a rix dollar, when our neighbors hire him for 
their journeys ; but if it is so, that it is best to sell him, I 
shall have no objection to it, if I can only find him a kind 
master. But it will be painful to part with the faithful 
animal, and then I shall never again be able to go to 
church, as I cannot any longer walk there, ever since I 
have got the pain in my side ! But it cannot be helped ! " 

" A gentle word turneth away wrath," says the Scripture, 
and the mother's words were uttered so gently and with so 
much dignity, that Anders could not say any thing in reply ; 
but he felt a sting of conscience, and he rose hastily, pushed 
aside little Maja so roughly as nearly to upset her, and 
went out, violently banging the door after him. 

All this hurt the mother very deeply. And if you knew, 
my dear children, what pain parents suffer when a child is 
naughty or ungrateful, and what a bitter root grows up 
from malicious and hard words, you would then certainly 
always be on your guard, even for your own sake. For, 
believe me, you will one day surely have it back again. 
And the child who causes his father or mother a sorrow, 
will one day have to bear sorrow from his own children, 
and must then feel how it tastes. 

Now, the mother felt within her that she had a motherly 
love for her step-son, and that she did not deserve his 
'harshness. 

But she felt also, that he might be right with regard to 
old Polle, and that it would be most prudent to get rid of 
him. And the thought that she could not any longer go to 
church a distance of a couple of miles from the cottage 
was very painful to her. 

The children could not make out what was the matter 
with their brother. They ate, however, and drank . to 
their heart's content, and thought that nobody could be 
better off than they were, and that it was very pleasant to 
live. 



SKETCHES. 393 

When the mother saw that they had eaten enough, she 
proposed that they should put aside a part of the supper 
for the "flower-woman" in the parish poor-house. The 
children were heartily willing to do this. Bread and meat 
were accordingly tied up in a blue-checked handkerchief, 
and the bundle was put away on the shelf until the follow- 
ing morning. They would take it with them when they 
went to church to attend the matins, and they got permis- 
sion to go themselves to the poor-house and give it to the 
" flower-woman." 

Then the children went to lie down on a large sheaf of 
yellow straw, which they had dragged into the cottage for 
Christmas : because in the country people must dance and 
sleep upon straw at Christmas, if, every thing is to be done 
properly. The children did not undress, that they might 
the sooner be ready in the morning. And they got from 
their mother each a white pocket handkerchief to put upon 
the straw under their head, and then they lay down and 
were soon fast asleep, side by side, while the light from the 
fire-place was dancing over them and seemed to kiss their 
cheeks. 

Anders came in silent and sullen, and went to bed with- 
out saying good-night. 

Last of them all the mother went to bed, after having 
put all things to rights in the cottage, washed plates and 
dishes, and put every thing in its proper place, and after 
having thrown more wood upon the fire, for it is the custom 
in the country that the fire shall burn during the whole of 
Christmas night. 

As she was now lying on her bed, she could not sleep, 
for she had anxious thoughts, and she heard that Anders 
was turning and tossing about in his bed, as if uneasy 
thoughts had been tormenting him also. And she said to 
herself: "I wonder whether I ought to speak to him; 
whether I ought to tell him that he has grieved me and 
done ' me wrong ; that I bear a motherly heart to him, 



394 SKETCHES. 

although I am not his real mother ; that I would love him 
if he only would let me ; but I have told him this 
already more than once. What shall I do ? It is Christ- 
mas Eve, and then one ought not to part in unkindness ! " 

In a low voice she called out : " Anders, are you awake ? " 
But Anders did not answer ; he was perfectly still and 
silent. And so she thought : " He has fallen asleep." 

And she remained, therefore, silent, but turned her 
thoughts to God, praying that he might change the boy's 
dissatisfied and bitter mind. And so, without knowing it, 
she followed the advice of the pious Thomas a Kempis, 
when he says : 

" When you have reproached any body for a fault once 
or twice, and if he then does not mend, then say nothing 
more, but leave it in God's hands." 

And this is a wise and a pious advice. For you do not 
make any one better by continually scolding and railing. 
But when nothing else avails, prayer will do it. 

Believe me, children, prayer will help in one way or 
other, and although it sometimes feels and seems to him 
who prays as if God did not hear his prayers, yet he will, 
in good time, find that the Lord is faithful, and that " He 
who prays will be answered, and he who seeks will find." 
For it is with our prayers as with the vapors which rise out 
of the earth ; they return to it again as fertilizing rain. 
And if the hearing of our prayers sometimes does not 
manifest itself in the way you expect, you will still find, 
sooner or later, that it does come ; that the load which you 
have prayed might be taken away from you, has been re- 
moved ; that the blessing which you have prayed for has 
been given to you, and that you have got much more 
(although, perhaps, in another way) than you have prayed 
for or even dared to think of. Yes, children, hold fast to 
prayer ; it is, when all comes round, the only thing that is 
sufficient on this earth ; it is the most wonderful and also 
the most effective and powerful in man's life. For it is like 



SKETCHES. 395 

a thread which unites us to heaven, by which God's life 
and power comes to us. The Lord himself has given this 
thread into our hands and bade us use it rightly, that we 
through it may get all the good which we stand in need of. 
But good is nothing, after all, without God's life and light 
in our hearts. 

And the mother prayed for this and for her children, and 
for a blessing upon them all. And while she thus prayed, 
she became more calm inwardly. She then turned round 
to look at her little ones, on whose rosy faces the light from 
the fire was dancing, and while she thus lay looking at 
them she fell asleep. 

When she awoke it was totally dark in the room, and 
she felt fear and anxiety come upon her, and a heavy 
weight in her heart and head. It was as if a large, heavy 
tear had gathered there and would not drop down, but was 
lying heavy as lead. The death of her husband, the 
gloomy mind and bitter reproaches of her son Anders, 
her loneliness, and the dark future which was before her, 
all came now upon her like a snow avalanche, and seemed 
almost to overwhelm her. She heard in her soul Anders' 
bitter words : 

" Why should one live ? " and she thought she would like 
never to rise, but lie still forever. 

But yet she got up and dressed, and lit the fire as usual, 
and put on the coffee-pot. For although she was not one 
of the wasteful housewives who drink coffee every day, 
still the whole household should now be treated to coffee 
in honor of Christmas. 

And then she lit the candles in the Yule tree at the win- 
dow, which had been prepared the previous evening, and 
then she awoke the children. 

" Christmas matins, children ! Christmas matins ! " 

The little ones started up bewildered, rubbing their eyes, 
opened them wide, and saw the candles burning in the Yule 
tree. Then they remembered that it was Christmas, and 



396 SKETCHES. 

that they were to go to matins. Then they jumped up and 
were soon wide awake. 

The mother prepared the breakfast for them and for 
Anders, and then went out to milk the cows and look to 
the other animals ; when she came back she dressed 
herself and the children for breakfast, while Anders, 
always sulky and taciturn, went to harness Polle to the 
sledge. 

When the sledge stood at the door, and the mother 
stepped out of the cottage in her holiday dress, with her 
Psalm-book and white pocket handkerchief in her hand, 
and with her two children, one on each side of her, she 
looked so pious and pretty ; and Anders, who looked at her 
stealthily, perhaps thought so too. 

The morning-star and the moon shone so bright on the 
firmament over the dark pine-forest, and shone so friendly 
in the bright, frosty morning upon the new-fallen snow. 
The widow thought : " How much that is beautiful has not 
God done for us ! " 

And she inhaled the fresh wintry air (not very cold this 
morning), and she felt her heart becoming lighter. 

Polle, poor old Polle, had no idea that they contemplated 
selling him ; he was in high spirits, neighed, pricked up his 
ears, turning his pretty head now to one side and now to 
the other, pawing the snow with his fore feet, and was as 
merry as a foal. 

The widow and the two children were soon seated in the 
sledge. Anders stood behind driving, and Polle's bell was 
tinkling right merrily, while they were driving along the 
village road through forest and field, and the morning-star 
shone upon the white snow fields, and upon the pine-trees 
heavily laden with snow, and here and there a light was 
seen twinkling in the forest. The little ones were very 
talkative. 

" Oh, look," they cried, " look how the candles are shining 
in the Manor-house ; candles in every window ! Is there 



SKETCHES. 397 

not to b& a grand ball the day after to-morrow, mother ? 
And look ! there is also a light at old Mother Brita's on 
the hill. And look there ! far, far in the forest is also a 
light ! And look there ! well, it is wonderful, three lights 
in the window at the turnpike's, three candles in their Yule 
tree in the window; see how they shine all along the 
road ! How beautiful ! Is it more beautiful in the matins, 
mother ? " 

' You little gooseys," said the mother, " the matins are 
beautiful in another way ! " 

And now they came out upon the high road, and a great 
many people came driving, all going to church ; there was 
a long line of sledges, and such a tinkling of bells that the 
children became almost giddy in the head. When they 
came out of the forest upon a height, there was lying before 
them an open valley, and yonder, with the dark forest as a 
background, lay the white church with its spire pointing 
high up towards heaven, and with lights shining through 
the windows as if there was an ocean of light within. Just 
then the bells began ringing to summon the people to 
church. 

The children became quite silent ; a solemn and strange 
feeling came over them. 

They were soon at the church. The bells were pealing 
and light was streaming out of the church, and the song 
and the organ burst forth. All around was dark ; the moon 
had gone down. 

All round the church small sledges and horses stood 
closely packed, the horses munching their hay. And 
amongst these Polle got a place and a large bundle of the 
best fodder for Christmas breakfast, and a horse-cloth over 
him, so that he should not feel the cold while waiting. And 
the widow patted his neck so kindly, thinking, " Thanks, 
old friend ; perhaps this is the last time you take me to 
church ! " And she could not help sighing deeply. 

The widow with her children walked across the church- 



398 SKETCHES. 

yard between the silent graves, which during the night 
had been covered with a thick mantle of snow. 

" Do you remember, children." she said, while slowly 
walking forward, " what I have told you about the Christ- 
mas matins, and why we have Christmas matins ? " 

" Yes," said little Pehr ; " it is, it is because " 

" Because our Lord and Redeemer was born on the 
Christmas night," said little Maja. 

" And do you remember," continued the mother, " what 
I have told you about Him, and of the good which He has 
done to us and to all mankind ? " 

" He has taught us " stammered the children, uncer- 
tain what words they should use. 

" Yes, dearest children," said the mother, " I cannot tell 
you all that He has done for us, for it is more than either 
you or I can understand. Recollect only, that He has lived 
and died for us ; that He has revealed to us God's heart 
and God's will with us ; and that without Him we should 
not know God as He is, nor have any certain hope of an 
hereafter. He came to this earth to make us understand 
God's love and to teach us to love God." 

" And is it His birth which we celebrate in the Christ- 
mas matins ? " asked little Maja. 

" Yes," said the mother. " He is the light of the world ; 
and He has made life light for us, and therefore we light 
candles on His birthday." 

And just then they entered the church, and the whole 
congregation sang, "All hail ! ye radiant morning hours ! " 

But the children did not think of the singing. 

They could only stare and be astonished. There was so 
much light, so much light ! They could scarcely see any 
thing for all the light. The four large chandeliers which 
were hanging over the middle aisle were quite full of can- 
dles, and on the altar candles were burning in large 
candelabra. There was a long row of candles along the 
gallery, and on the walls were gilt sconces carrying whole 



SKETCHES. 399 

bunches of candles, and at every seat a candle was burn- 
ing, so that the aisle looked like an avenue of flames. 
Wherever one looked there was nothing but candles. 

The seats were crowded with people who sat close to- 
gether. The children had never seen so many people. 
And they thought that they would never get a seat. But 
they got a seat in a pew where the people made a little 
room for them. An honest peasant woman took little Maja 
upon her knee, and the widow took Pehr upon hers, and so 
they could all sit comfortably. 

The children kept gazing about, and had eyes only for the 
splendor around them. But the mother soon forgot this 
and every thing else about her ; for just as she was going 
to open her Psalm-book to join in the singing, the congre- 
gation struck up the verse : 

" Yea, even as we our Lord shall weep, 
Shall know our wants, watch o'er us keep, 

With holy strength us fill ; 
To us His Father's law repeat, 
And everlasting mercy sweet 

In sorrow's cup distill." 

Then the leaden weight which had been lying upon the 
widow's heart melted away and was dissolved in tears, 
which, though painful at first, became more and more sweet. 
They were like a balm to her. 

Now the clergyman came into the pulpit. He was a 
young man with a good face, expressive of much earnest- 
ness and hearty kindness. He was a son of the old incum- 
bent of the congregation, and it was known that he was a 
pure-minded young man, who, although poor himself, had 
yet done a great deal of good ; was always cheerful while 
visiting the cottages, consoling the sick, and teaching and 
conversing with the children. And it is a great thing when 
the clergyman who is to teach others lives according to 
what he preaches, and when one knows that he is a good 
Christian. For then the people believe in his word, and in 
the power which works through him. 



400 SKETCHES. 

It was a strange feeling for the widow (and for another 
person, too, in the church), when they heard the young 
clergyman's first words : 

" Why are we to live ? " 

She could not help stealing a hasty glance at Anders, 
and she saw that he looked up at the clergyman in aston- 
ishment, as if he had said this to him personally. 

And he did so, for he spoke to all as well as to himself. 
And especially he spoke to all the poor, all whom in the 
world are called lowly and simple. He showed how the 
Saviour had let Himself be bora like one of them, in 
order to wander amongst them, to show them what they 
should live for, and how beautiful life is here and still more 
hereafter, in eternity, if we follow Him and become one 
with Him, and through Him with God. When he then 
spoke of this life, how great it could be, even in the lowliest 
cottage ; how every, even apparently insignificant, human 
being could through his life labor for God's kingdom, and 
for the advent of that glory for which we all long, and how 
every one could in this labor follow the heavenly Redeemer, 
" as mother, sister, or brother," and afterwards be received 
in the heavenly mansions, where they shall see His glory, 
then this little life appeared so great, so rich, so wonderful, 
and so full of the future and of happiness, that the widow 
when she heard it (and she thought that she had never be- 
fore understood it so) thanked God for having been born, 
and for being allowed to live for so beautiful and great an 
aim. She felt at this moment as if nothing could be too 
difficult for her any more. That every trouble has a change ; 
that is certain. God's goodness and glory lasted eternally : 
that was likewise certain. And the young clergyman spoke 
of this with a joy which lit up his whole face, so that it ap- 
peared to the widow like an angel's. 

When the sermon was finished, she felt an impulse to 
turn her head towards Anders, and then she saw also his 
eyes bright, as she had never seen them before. It was as 
if a light had been lit within him. 



SKETCHES. 401 

The congregation sang another psalm, after which some 
of them left the church. But some remained, because in 
half an hour the usual morning service was to commence, 
and the people do not all go home between the two ser- 
vices in the country, where they often live at a great 
distance from the church. It was now daylight and all the- 
candles were put out. 

The widow left the church with her two little children, 
because they were to go to the poor-house and take the 
" flower-woman " her Christmas treat. 

The " flower-woman " was a handsome, pale, aged woman, 
blind of both eyes, so that the black spot in the pupil of 
the eye was completely gone. They had become so, she 
said, when she had her eye-teeth taken out, from which she 
had suffered severe pain. This was now ten years ago. 
Formerly she used to wander about the country, teaching 
little children to read, and making beautiful bouquets of 
flowers of colored paper, which she put into platted paper 
flower-pots, and gave away in those houses where people 
had given her shelter and been kind to her. Thus she had 
wandered about and lived in the district for fifteen years, 
and nobody knew her name, nor whence she came ; they 
only knew that she came from a distant part of the country, 
and never would speak of herself or of her family, nor give 
any account of herself; there was, however, something in 
her manners and in her speech which made people say that 
there was something " strange " about her, but that one 
could easily see that she belonged to the better class ; and 
being very gentle and pious, and besides, neat and well-man- 
nered in her person, teaching the children so well and 
making such beautiful bouquets of flowers, she was liked 
everywhere, and was called the " flower- woman " by every 
one ; and peasants and farmers all liked to have the " flower- 
woman " in their house for a few weeks at a time. After 
she became blind, and was not able either to make any 
more bouquets, or to teach the children to read, or to pro- 

26 



402 SKETCHES. 

vide for herself, she had been admitted into the parish poor- 
house. And people who still had some of her bouquets, 
used on Sundays to come and give her a little "grub," 
as they called it in the country a few eggs, some butter, 
or some such things, which a poor old body might relish. 

When our widow from the cottage in the forest entered 
the poor-house, she found the " flower-woman " sitting on 
her bed, and four other old women sat there also on their 
beds, all in their holiday dress, and the floor was strewn 
with juniper, and it smelt as sweet as in the forest. The 
" flower-woman " was paler than usual, but the gentle intel- 
ligent face looked more happy than it did usually since she 
became blind. And when the widow had chatted with her 
a little while, and asked how she felt at present, she an- 
swered : 

" God be praised ! for since some time I have had much 
comfort, for 1 have lately occasionally seen a light. It is 
not sunlight, nor is it light from the flowers ; but I believe it 
is a light warning me that I am approaching that country 
where the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and shall be- 
hold the glory of God ! " 

The widow kept these words, and the light from the face 
of the old blind woman when she uttered them, in her 
heart, amongst the bright impressions which she had re- 
ceived this morning. 

Then, before the morning service began, she was seen 
standing beside Polle with the farmer from " the Manor- 
house," and both were patting and stroking Polle. And 
the " Manor-house " farmer, some said, looked afterwards 
as if he was richer by a horse. 

The sun stood high in the heavens when the service was 
over and the bells were ringing the people out of church. 

In a few minutes it was entirely empty, and now the 
church people were seen running and driving away in all 
directions along the roads and foot-paths, over snow-clad 
hills and dales, trying who should get home first. For it is 



SKETCHES. 403 

a saying in the country, that he who reaches home first on 
Christmas Day will be the first to get in his harvest in 
the autumn. 

But this is more a saying than a truth, and certain it is 
that the people, while driving and running away over hill 
and dale, looked so merry, that it was easy to see that there 
was more fun than earnest in it. 

The widow was not in any hurry, but was the last to 
leave the church with her children. The sun shone brightly 
over the earth, which was now sleeping its winter-sleep 
under a shining white coverlet, and the dark pine-forest 
looked sleepy also, as it stood there with a white night-cap 
upon its rugged head. 

In silence the widow drove home with her children 
through the forest. 

Serious, although not gloomy thoughts made her silent. 
The little ones were hungry and cold, and what Anders 
thought, they did not know. But Polle was thinking of his 
dinner, that was clear, for he trotted home as fast as ever 
he could, and his bells were tinkling merrily through the 
forest. 

And soon after Polle was standing in his stable, and gave 
himself a treat of Christmas fodder, so that you could 
almost hear how he enjoyed it. And the widow with her 
children was also soon seated at the dinner-table, eating a 
delicious dish of cabbage-soup and beef. And I cannot 
describe to you how well it tasted. Certain it is that the 
king's cabbage-soup could not taste better. After dinner 
they had a cup of coffee in honor of Christmas Day. 

Now, when it was dusk and they were all sitting in the 
cotiage, where the Christmas log was flaming and crackling 
on the hearth, the widow said to the children : 

" Well, I wonder whether my little ones remember any- 
thing of the sermon at the matins, and what the young 
clergyman told us about Christ, and what He has taught us, 
and what we ought to live for." 



404 SKETCHES. 

But alas ! the poor little things did not remember a 
single word ; no, they had not heard even one : " There 
was so much light," said they ; " they could not listen for 
all the light!" 

Then the mother told them what the clergyman had 
said, not so well and in such beautiful words, yet clearly 
and beautifully after her own fashion, so that the children 
understood it much better than if the clergyman himself 
had told it them. For a good mother is always the best 
teacher of her children, and can put her words so that 
they go direct to the heart and remain there. Therefore, 
also, one of Sweden's greatest kings 1 made it a necessary 
point, that before a woman was allowed to marry, she 
should be able to prove herself well instructed in the 
Christian religion, " for," said he, " it is the mother who is 
to teach the children." 

Pehr and Maja were good and intelligent children, and 
understood what the mother told them, and remembered it 
in their hearts. Then they were allowed to go and play 
with their paper flowers, and some toys which the " flower- 
woman " had given them, and which she had kept since 
the time when she still could see. 

The mother and the son Anders remained sitting alone 
at the hearth. Anders was sitting with folded arms and 
bent head, while he was intently gazing at the fire. The 
mother looked at him. Hitherto he had not said a single 
friendly word to her since the previous evening ; but yet it 
appeared to her as if something had softened within him. 

After a while she said, suppressing a rising sigh, which 
almost choked her voice : 

" Anders, I have been thinking what you said last night 
about Polle, that we ought to sell him, and I have spoken 
to the farmer from the ' Manor-house,' and he told me 
that he would take him for one hundred rix dollars. He 
will come to fetch him away to-morrow, and pay half the 
1 Charles XL 



SKETCHES. 405 

money at once. This shall be yours, Anders, and you may 
do with it what you like ; you are sensible enough to man- 
age your own affairs now ; only my son don't again say 
that I am only your step-mother ; for your father was very 
dear to me ! " The widow could not keep back her tears. 

Anders rose from his seat. It was as if the ice about 
his heart had at once broken up and the snow over it had 
melted away. His lips trembled, and his whole frame shook 
with emotion, while he said : 

" No, mother, you shall not sell Polle ; the farmer from 
the ' Manor-house ' shall not have him ; you shall keep 
him, and every Sunday, if it pleases God, I will drive 

you to church with him I have done you 

wrong, mother ;....! know now that you love 
me, and I know now for what I shall live ! I have not 
known it before ; but now, henceforth it shall be otherwise. 
. . . You shall see it, mother ! This farm I shall man- 
age so that we have credit of it, and fodder enough shall 
Polle have until his dying day ; . . . that shall be my 
business. Every thing shall henceforth be different ; . . . 
I do not know how it is ; but I feel so strange within me 
since this morning. Do not be sorry any longer, mother ! 
God has " He became silent and could not continue ; and 
as now little Maja came to him with her flower-pot, asking 
him to smell it, he took her and the flower-pot in his arms, 
and kissed her again and again, and cried over her and over 
the paper flowers so bitterly, that little Maja, quite alarmed, 
began also to cry with all her might. 

" The peace of God be with you ! " said a happy and 
friendly voice at the door, which slowly opened, and in 
stepped the young clergyman who had preached in the 
matins, and who looked as if he had brought all the light 
from it along with him. He had heard the sorrowing 
widow in the forest cottage spoken of, and came to speak 
words of comfort to her, and if possible to bring happiness 
into the house of mourning. 



406 SKETCHES. 

But he found it already there, for before him had been 
He of whom he had preached in the morning, and whose 
message he wanted to bring to them. 

But yet he remained a long while in the cottage, con- 
versing with the widow and Anders, whose heart now 
seemed to be, as it were, new-born. The young clergyman 
promised to lend him books, anfl invited him to come and 
see him. 

He wished to instruct and make some young men 
amongst the country people practice singing quartettes, and 
he wished Anders to join them, for he had heard that 
Anders had a good voice. And so he had. 

When the friendly young clergyman took leave, and 
shook Anders' hand, then Anders' eyes sparkled more hap- 
pily than they had ever done before. He felt as if he had 
that day got father, mother, brother, and the whole world. 

He wondered inwardly how every thing could have 
changed so much in such a short time. 

And from this moment Anders became quite a different 
being to what he had been formerly. Not exactly that he 
became more talkative or more lively, for every body has in 
this respect his own humor, but he became very industri- 
ous, and friendly to all. Every body liked him and one 
could see that he now liked to live. In the church he sang 
so that it was a pleasure to hear him. At home the widow 
forgot that he was not her real son ; for a real son could 
not have been more loving to his mother. And although 
he was taciturn, yet he was never sulky ; nay, his very out- 
ward appearance became changed. It seemed at times as 
if something was shining within him, so brightly shone his 
eyes. And the little brother and sister, who noticed it, 
used then to say to each other and to their mother, 

" Now there 's Christmas matins in Anders ! " 



POEMS. 



* HYMN. 

LORD God, we worship Thee ! 

Heavenly Father, we give thanks to Thee, 

For Thy word, 

For Thy love made manifest on earth, Lord. 
Thou who hast saved us, 
From death's bonds delivered us, 
Called us to life eternal, 

Glory be to Thee ! 

Father, O bless us, 

Cause Thy face to shine on us! 

Let Thy light 

Guide our steps to Thy mansions bright! 
O let Thy Spirit 
Thy fallen image glorify, 
That in Thine image, Father, 
Thou may'st be glorified ! 

* GOSPEL TIDINGS. 

O GOD, we never knew Thee, 
We walked in darkest night, 
Till thou didst send the Saviour 
Clothed in Thy power and light; 
To Thee be praise and honor, 
In heaven -and earth, Lord, 



408 POEMS. 

For the blessings of our Christian faith, 
And for Thy gospel's word. 

Oh blest are those who treasure 

The word of life and love, 

Who tread the paths that lead them 

To God's own heaven above. 

And they shall learn forever 

How precious is the Lord, 

How those who love His holy name 

Shall reap a rich reward. 

*THE LORD'S SUPPER. 

OH, miracle of grace ! 

On thee our thoughts shall dwell, 
In hours of lonely peace, 

With love unspeakable. 
God gives Himself for me, 

Hid in this wine and bread, 
That I in life and death may be 

One with our living Head. 

He is our meat indeed, 

Our drink, life of our life ; 
Thus sanctified He '11 lead 

Us to eternal life. 
Fain would He see our hearts 

Holy and pure as His, 
As strong 'gainst sin and sorrow's darts, 

As full of tenderness. 

So God this earth did seek, 

Of human form possessed, 
Salvation's word to speak, 

And clasp us to His breast. 



POEMS. 409 

Then hopes of life immortal 

Rose in this vale of death, 
Those hopes that ope heaven's glorious portal, 

To all on earth beneath. 

He still draws nigh this day 

To us, that Saviour good, 
And would our thirst allay 

With His most precious blood; 
Would make our hearts more pure, 

More chastened and upright, 
And grant our union firm and sure 

With God in endless light. 

O Thou ! once pierced for us, 

Who didst our souls deliver, 
Thou who hast died for us, 

Of life and light the giver ! 
Accept us, Christ, we pray, 

While we, in holy peace, 
Renew with grateful hearts this day 

Thy covenant of grace. 

Be Thou our hope most sure, 

Our strength, life's precious bread ! 
Within Thy church secure 

E'en death we need not dread. 
Our life, our resurrection, 

Thou evermore shalt be: 
To Thee all worlds are in subjection : 

Glory, O Lord, to Thee ! 



410 POEMS. 



*TO MY SISTERS. 

How blest is he that, like Tobias, goes 

Upon his way by some good angel led 
Who gives him light when midnight shadows close, 

Who gives him strength when sinks his weary head. 

Thus once my way was dark ; oh, fain would I 
That none might tread a path so full of gloom ; 

I knew not whither from deep woe to fly, 

From anguish that my life-blood would consume ! 

My cheek was pale, my eyes were running o'er 
With bitter tears. My heart in desolation 

Saw suffering, like a vast and rankling sore, 
Prey on the vitals of God's fair creation. 

I looked for dawn, I found but nightly gloom, 
No hope of happier days, no blessed faith ; 

Life burned, like some wild meteor in a tomb, 
In my sad heart : I only prayed for death. 

Then spake a voice, like angel-whispers blest, 
And at those tones of love, so soft and clear 

Stilled was the tumult wild, peace filled my breast, 
And lo! those angels were my sisters dear. 

The skies grew bright ; my tear-dimmed eyes once more 
With hopeful gaze I raised to heaven above ; 

I looked around; earth smiled from shore to shore, 
For joy had wooed me in my sisters' love. 

O God, 'tis sweet such solace to receive, 

With nobler aims to see new springs draw nigh ! 

My sisters, lo! wild storms no longer heave, 
My soul is calm, my tears are tears of joy. 



POEMS. 411 

Pure, gentle ones, I turn with fond emotion 
To you, and would to all the world express, 

That all I have I owe to your devotion, 

My mite of strength, my hope, my earthly bliss. 

Oh, it is hard to feel such loving debt, 

Which by our deeds can ne'er be canceled quite ; 

To throw it off I wrote a book, and yet 
That pleasant burden never grew more light. 

Sisters, if in these pages, now to you 

Inscribed, you find some balm for tears that fall 

From sorrow's eye, some thoughts both pure and true, 
From my good angels' hearts I 've called them all. 



*THE CRADLE OF LOVE. 

ROCK, rock, cradle of Love ! 
Flow, O Song, with thy silvery strain ; 
Throbbing hearts shall its sweetness prove, 
Soothe this earth in her tumult and pain : 
Rock, rock, cradle of Love ! 

Lull the memories of bitter wrong ; 
Bid each tender and holy dream 
Herald of truth round the slumberer throng ; 
Launch the keel, but on Love's broad stream, 
Guided by Hope, the immortal, the strong. 

Thoughts soar upward to realms above ; 
Fight, strong arm, in our stalwart North ; 
Champion of truth and of right thou shalt prove ; 
Over all this tumultuous earth 
Flow, O Song, let thy strains go forth: 
Rock, rock, cradle of Love ! 



412 POEMS. 



*THE STAR. 

GLITTERING in the skies I burn, 

Brilliant as when erst. 
Singing on my natal morn, 

I from chaos burst. 
Far in azure space, where I 

Dwelt since thousand years, 
I have seen the storms sweep by 

Round yon lower spheres. 

Mortals ! gazing silently 

With unchanging ray, 
Every lurking snare I see 

On your mazy way ; 
See how passions wild enthrall 

All the race of man ; 
How his empires rise and fall 

Silently I scan ; 

See men lavish wealth and state, 

See them idly fret; 
How eternal love and hate, 

Yet full soon forget. 
I have seen how pleasures showe 

Then as swiftly fly, 
Beauty fading like a flower, 

But unchanged was I. 

He whose sceptre ruled the world 

I have seen forlorn, 
From his throne imperial hurled, 

Pointed at with scorn. 
Heroes, sovereigns, and slaves, 

All to dust must turn : 



POEMS. 413 



Silent o'er forgotten graves, 
Still my lamp doth burn. 

Oft when in the dead of night 

Some sad eye was raised, 
Tearful, to my placid light, 

All undimmed I gazed. 
On the mourner still I 'd shine, 

By her prayers unmoved, 
For I knew she soon would join 

Him she fondly loved. 

Oft when innocence opprest 

Bows her troubled head, 
And with anguish-stricken breast 

Cries to Heaven for aid, 
Then I beam more golden bright, 

Knowing she will shine 
Once 'mid angels with a light 

Clear and white as mine. 

Mortals ! 't is decreed by Heaven 

Ye like flowers should die, 
Yet accept the promise given 

Ere your hour draws nigh ; 
Know God's faithful ones shall be 

Stars of heaven bright, 
When I and all these orbs with m 

Long have lost our light. 

* THE POETRY OF SPRING. 

Now the trees their snow-capes doff, 
While the swallows, light of wing, 

On their airy trips set off, 
Merry harbingers of spring. 



414 POEMS. 

Zephyr with his team is dashing 

Swiftly over land and sea, 
Where he sweeps the waves are flashing. 

Banks are green, and streamlets free. 

'Neath the azure skies of spring, 
All the budding groves among, 

Little birds in joyous ring, 

Gather for their feast of song. 

Charmed by their strains, each bud 
Opes its eye in field and brake ; 

While, applauding in the wood, 
Tender leaflets thrill and shake. 

Merry midges loudly cheer, 

Dancing in their chambers bright ; 

Round the honeyed blossom near 
Bees are murmuring with delight. 

In the golden sunbeams flash 

Purple-winged butterflies ; 
O'er the flow'ry meads they dash, 

Full of fluttering hopes and joys. 

Spring all living creatures hail ; 

Whilst man claims, with yearnings high, 
Promises that ne'er shall fail, 

As he gazes towards the sky. 

For this short-lived spring, this clear 
Crescent moon of life, was given 

As a type, foreshadowing here 
That eternal spring of heaven. 



POEMS. 415 

When life's wintry days have fled, 

To that spring of endless joys, 
By a law eternal led, 

The heaven-born bird of passage flies. 

* AUTUMN SIGHS. 

COME, Nature's sleep, come, silvery snow, 

Life's solace in the North, 
And a shower of downy blossoms throw 

O'er the poor, hard-frozen earth. 

O'er all the fallen, frost-nipped leaves. 

And the withered flow'rets small, 
O'er the herbs of the field thy finger weaves 

A cold and solemn pall. 

It seemeth sad, that snow-white pall, 

Yet peace beneath it dwells, 
And 't is ever in peace God worketh all 

His wondrous miracles. 

The snow shall melt at the breath of spring, 

And moisten the lap of earth, 
And the germs in her bosom slumbering 

Shall wake to sunshine and mirth. 

In tears the snow-drift melts away, 

The brook makes a tender moan, 
And earth grows green as the soft winds play, 

Nor thinks of the days that are gone. 

The tree that braved the wintry storm, 

With branches bare and brown, 
As the brooklets sing in the sunbeam warm, 

Puts on its leafy crown. 



416 POEMS. 

And we who have buried hopes and joys 

On dark Oblivion's shore, 
Oh may not we, e'en we, arise 

To live and praise once more ? 

Then fall, O snow, tired Nature's sleep, 
We '11 rest and forget while 't is night ; 

But in winter's slumber, calm and deep, 
We'll dream of the spring-tide bright. 
December, 1847. 



*THE CRIPPLE'S MISSION. 

ON bed of straw, all racked with pain, 

A wretched woman lay; 
For twenty years she thus had lain, 

And suffered night and day : 
With crippled limbs, with joints awry, 
She writhed in bitter agony. 

No friend or kin with watchful care 

Her bed of pain did tend, 
But she was wont in silence there 

Her lonely hours to spend: 
'T was but the hand of charity 
At times would food or aid supply. 

A worthy pastor heard one day 

This tale of hopeless woe, 
He took his staff and went his way 

Some comfort to bestow : 
And by her bed, in accents meek, 
Of peace and love he fain would speak. 

And when he saw her thus laid low, 
All comfort he forgot, 



POEMS. 417 

He could but falter : " Child of woe, 

Thine is a grievous lot." 
And at that fearful sight amazed, 
To heaven his tear-dimmed eyes he raised. 

Thus the consoler found no word 

To soothe the sufferer there ; 
Yet not a single plaint he heard, 

No murmur met his ear : 
And wond'rous sight with glances mild 
She turned to him, and gently smiled. 

" Thanks, reverend Sir, for this warm tear ! 

Yet, should it please the Lord 
Still twenty years to keep me here, 

I 'd speak no fretful word." 
She said : surprised, once more to try 
Her faith, the pastor made reply, 

" What ! pray'st thou not that God above 

Would end thy misery soon ? " 
" I 'm thankful, thankful for His love ; 

His will alone be done/' 
" But such fierce pains are hard to bear." 
" In bitterest pains my God is near." 

But what if God forgetteth thee ?" 

His own he '11 ne'er forget." 
" He dwells so far from thee and me, 

Where thousand stars are set." 
" The sparrows small His eye can see, 
Far more He '11 watch o'er thee and me." 

u O daughter ! sure such faith is rare, 

Whence was this grace obtained ? " 
" In God's own word, with many a prayer, 

This certain trust I gained, 



418 POEMS. 

And oft in mine own breast I hear 
My Father's voice that whispers cheer. 

" He says : ' Yet bear a little while 

Thy cross with patient love, 
And thus to men, by thy calm smile, 

My strength in weakness prove ; 
Such be thy work, perform it well, 
Then come with Me in bliss to dwell/ 

" Oh, blest even now, the captive may 

Bear witness of His love, 
Till, freed from bonds, as clear as day 

She sees His face above. 
To serve Him there as here, aright, 
Is my desire, my sole delight." 

Struck dumb, but not, as erst, with dread, 

The worthy pastor stood : 
" O gracious God ! " he inly said, 

In grateful, melting mood, 
" Take health, take all my earthly bliss, 
But give me, Lord, a heart like this ! " 

* THE SONG OF THE WEARY ONE. 

OH that day will come, it will come at last, 

When my weary eyelids close, 
When I lay me down to my long, long rest, 

And this aching heart shall repose. 

All bitter memories oh, thought of peace ! 
Shall fade when my breath is fleeting ; 

And the anguish that racks my heart shall cease 
When that heart is no longer beating. 



POEMS. 419 

Oh, even to rest and forget were a boon, 

Nought more would I pray for now ; 
But I know that the Lord in his mercy soon 

A happier fate will bestow. 

I know, oh, I know that a morning will break, 
When from death's dark sleep I shall rise, 

When the soul, no more toil-worn, wayward, and weak, 
Shall plume its bright wings for the skies. 

I know, oh, I know that once more I shall see, 

In glories that tongue cannot tell, 
Those eyes that were wont to look fondly on me, 

Those friends that have loved me so well. 

I know that the discords that harassed us here 

Shall melt into strains of joy ; 
For love is the sun of that heavenly sphere, 

And its light is in every eye. 

I know that the radiance of heaven shall illume 

Life's pathways on earth, and show 
Why the pilgrims who seek their Father's home 

Oft must wander through toil and woe. 

I know that beside the pure waters of life 

The weary will find repose ; 
Will drink new strength, after sorrow and strife, 

From the fountain that ever flows. 

Then be of good cheer, and wait, O my soul ! 

And take what the Lord shall provide ; 
All things are done well by His loving control, 

In His keeping securely abide. 



420 POEMS. 

And whilst thou art wandering, oh, list to the song, 
Through earth's wide chambers it rings : 

" The day shall be dawning, it coraeth erelong, 
When the slumberer awaketh with wings." 



* RESIGNATION. 

IN the flower, the billow, the beams of the sun, 

God, we can read of thy might ! 
It gleams in the gorgeous garlands of June, 
'T is traced in the insects' dances at noon, 
In the star-spangled garments of night. 

But brightest those heavenly features glow 

In a suffering mortal's breast, 
When he calmly tastes of the banquet of woe, 
And drains its cup to the dregs below, 

With a saint-like patience blest. 

On his lips unmurmuring a smile doth play, 

Whilst of hope and faith they tell ; 
We see him go on his weary way, 
And we laud our God, and humbly pray, 
That in us, too, His spirit may dwell. 

* CONSOLATION IN NATURE. 

O CHILD of sorrow ! Thine eye is dimmed 

By the mists of bitter woe ; 
O'er all this earth thy glance hath skimmed, 

Yet it could not read nor know 
That holy writ, full of solace sweet, 
Which springs from the sod beneath thy feet 

Oh, wipe the tear-drop from thine eyes, 
God's writing it must not hide ; 



POEMS. 421 



See how the beams of morning rise 
From the darksome ocean's tide, 
And how the sweet spring breezes play 
When the stormy winter has passed away. 

And learn that symbol's message blest : 

A brighter dawn shall come ; 
Soon in thy anguish-stricken breast 

The spring of peace will bloom. 
And as yon lowering thunder-cloud 

Is swept from heaven away, 
The shades that now thy spirit shroud 

Shall yield to perfect day. 

And when thou seest the bud that opes 

To a flower of gorgeous hue, 
Know that erelong thy heart's fond hopes 

Shall bloom and blossom too. 
But let the seed of the withered flower 

Teach thee, blossom fair, 
That thou must die in happier hour 

Yet fairer flowers to bear ! 

CRADLE AND GRAVE. 

EARLIEST, latest, 
Sacred to mortals, 
Consecrate places 
Of slumber and peace ! 
Tranquil asylums, 
Sheltering harbors, 
Shrouded in airy 
Fugitive shadows, 
Where tears of humanity 
Have their beginning, 
Have too their ending, 



422 POEMS. 

Mortals have called you 
Cradle and grave. 

By you, twin-brothers, 
Mystical cherubs 
With torches low-drooping 
Stand ever watchful ; 
Slumber and Death, 
Innocent children, 
By you stand weaving 
Garlands of poppies, 
Garlands of lovely 
Blossoms immortal ; 
Placing them softly 
Now on the hoary 
Head of the old man, 
Now on the young child's 
Bright golden curls, 
Now on the thoughtful 
Strong man's brow. 
Whisper : Sleep sweetly ! " 
Straightway they slumber, 
Moments speed onwards, 
Sorrows lie silent, 
All is so well. 

Ye blessed, ye radiant 
Visions of childhood ! 
Haply the sleeper 
The sleeper low lying 
Once more beholds you ! 
Haply he findeth 
In peaceful seclusion, 
Not as delusion, 
His cradle's dream. 



POEMS. 423 

Rose tints of morning, 

Evening clouds golden ! 

Gleams of eternity 

Beckon from both ; 

Breathe in the flowers 

Love scatters over 

The bed of the sleeper ; 

Echo in music 

Of lullabies tender, 

Which love singeth softly 

By cradle and grave: 

" During thy sleep 

An angel doth keep 

Watch over thee ; 

Waiting the hour 

When thou, by the power 

Of love's kiss, wakened shalt be." 

Cradle of childhood ! 
Sweetly I slumbered 
On thee, thou tiny 
Snowy white bed : 
Grave ever yearned for! 
Laid in thy harder, 
Gloomier bosom, 
I long to lie sleeping, 
Long to find coolness 
For heart-burning fever, 
Long to find rest. 

O! might I only 
Slumber so calmly 
In motherly bosom, 
Lying so peaceful 
In motherly earth! 
Blessed and thankful, 



424 POEMS. 

My vision departing, 
Then with my final 
Sigh would bear witness: 
" Fair was my morning, 
Sweet is my eveJ? 

M. B. w. 

*MY MORNING SONG. 

August 24th, 1828. 

O THOU, of life the light, the joy, 
Thou morning sun, God's glorious eye ! 
Now do I hail thee, bending lowly, 
And bless the love, so pure, so holy, 
That lights thy beams o'er earth and sky. 

Eternal Lord, how bright, how clear, 
How warm, Thy being all divine, 
In Nature imaged, meets us here ! 
Father of light, in light's own shrine 
Revealed, we see Thy glory shine. 

E'en as the smallest meadow flower, 
Thus lowly am I in Thy sight ; 
Yet on us both Thou deign'st to pour 
The fullness of Thy blessed light, 
Making our hidden paths look bright. 

A grateful heart that lowly one 
Doth bring; what else can she bestow? 
O Father, look Thy child upon : 
'Midst all thy children, high and low, 
She humbly brings this offering now. 



POEMS. 



* PEACE. 

October 24th, 1828 

ALL is still; sweet Peace descending, 
Bids my heart no longer languish ; 

While the hours too swiftly wending 
Wake no restless sigh of anguish. 

Beauteous stranger, whence art coming 
Coming, when my need is sorest? 

With thy lilies ever blooming, 

Thou this drooping heart restorest. 

Com'st thou like some nightly vision, 

O thou flattering deceiver? 
Shall thy fountain's stream Elysian 

From my lips be snatched forever? 

Art thou like the north light beaming, 
When my charmed eye beholds thee ? 

Like the flame o'er tombstone gleaming, 

Swiftly quenched when darkness folds thee? 

Like the west wind softly blowing, 
That of summer's advent speaketh ? 

Like those tears repentant showing 
When God's voice the sinner waketh ? 

Com'st thou from bright regions soaring, 

With some blessed salutation? 
Then with psalms I '11 turn adoring 

To the God of my salvation. 

Sure some glimpses thou wilt waken 
Of that home with all its treasures ; 

Make this heart, with anguish shaken, 
Fit to taste of heavenly pleasures. 



426 POEMS. 

Soon, methinks, on loosened pinions, 

Hope reviving in my bosom, 
I shall seek those blest dominions, 

Where thy silver lilies blossom. 

Where no tear the cheek shall furrow ; 

Where no heart with pain shall quiver; 
Where the ransomed sons of sorrow 

Rest in arms of peace forever. 

*THE VOLCANO. 

'T is done, burnt out is the volcano's fire, 
The lava flood no longer wildly dashes ; 

Gained is its object: lo, the fierce destroyer 
Grows calm at last, for it is burnt to ashes ! 

Know'st thou the spot where rose a fiery pillar, 
Fearfully bright, in night's embraces lost? 

Seest thou in blaze of noon yon dim cloud-pillar, 
On funeral pyre ? 'T is the dead mountain's ghost. 

And know'st thou where the seething lava streams, 
Poured from the giant's heart with terror rife ? 

Behold yon Eden, fair as childhood's dreams, 
From the u destroyer 's " breast it sprang to life. 

O'er sunlit uplands golden harvests spread, 
And cities rise with hum of toil and mirth; 

The mountain sleeps even as the mighty dead, 
That from their graves yet wake new life on earth. 

CHILLY BLOWS THE WIND. 

COME, O Bertha, from the storm ! 
Come to my embrace, 



POEMS. 427 

Come into love's sheltering place ; 
By my heart thy bosom warm : 

Chilly blows the wind. 

To my breast O woman turn ! 
Wilt thou be my own ? 
Let the whole world freeze like stone, 
Ever I for thee will burn : 

Chilly blows the wind. 

Bertha, by love's radiance taken, 
Lover's vows believes ; 
But for distant shores he leaves : 
O'er the heart of the forsaken 

Chilly blows the wind. 

Bertha prays as time goes slowly: 
Lord, be kind to me ; 
Take my child and me to thee, 
Let me in the grave lie lowly : 

Chilly blows the wind. 

'T is the last hour by the dying, 
Weeping kindred stay; 
Sorrowful for her they pray, 
In the dread death conflict lying 

Chilly blows the wind. 

Farewell! Brothers, sisters, hear me! 
Pardon me, O Lord! 
And to him thy grace afford ; 
Death approacheth standeth near me: 
Chilly blows the wind. 

In the grave is Bertha sleeping, 
Late so young and warm, 



428 POEMS. 

Cold her baby on her arm; 
O'er her broken heart is sweeping 
Still the chilly wind. 

M. R. w. 

*HAD I STRONG FAITH. 

HAD I strong faith, then all unmoved I 'd gaze 
On earthly storms, safe in my port of rest, 

Unscared by jarring cries, or troublous days; 
For that safe haven is God's lovin breast. 






Had I strong faith, oh how serenely then 

My heart the tangled knots of life should ope ; 

Whilst cradled lovingly, both joy and pain 
Would rest in the soft arms of heav'nly hope. 

Had I strong faith, no passions wild would sway, 
No evil thoughts have power to torture me, 

No galling fetters on my soul should weigh; 
Had I such faith, then were my spirit free. 

Had I strong faith, I should indeed be strong, 
Unmoved, unscathed, though evil-doers smite; 

Even as the sun o'er clouds, I'd pass along, 
Turning all cold to warmth, darkness to light. 

Had I strong faith, Thy holy peace, O God, 
Would ne'er, as ofttimes now, abandon me ; 

I 'd fight my fight on earth with dauntless mood, 
And find eternal peace and bliss in Thee. 

November 17th, 1844. 



POEMS. 429 



*I TRUST IN THEE. 

TO A FRIEND OP MY YOUTH. 

WHAT is't to me, 
If thou at times dost look askance 
And give me a less loving glance ? 
I trust in thee ! 

What is't to me, 

Even if I thought thou did'st forget me, 
At times, when many cares beset thee ? 
I trust in thee! 

What is't to me, 

If I perchance thy words should find 
A little colder and less kind? 
I trust in thee ! 

I trust in thee : 

I know that beyond time's control, 
Even in the depths of thy undying soul, 
Thou lovest me. 

Thou lovest me ! 

And though all earthly ties should sever, 

My heart's clear torch would burn as bright as ever 

My peace in thee ! 
April 15th, 1841. 



*THE SAGE AND THE CATARACT. 

TO ERIK GUSTAF GEIJER. 1846. 

A STRANGER rapt in thought stood by the river, 
Where it leapt down into a cataract ; 



430 POEMS. 

He watched its rushing course, he saw it battle 
With toppling crags, with broken forest stems, 
Yea, even with its own waves, with its own might; 
He saw the foam dashed up to highest heaven, 
He heard the thunder in its deep caves growling ; 
He saw, and gravely shaking his wise head 
With disapproving mien, demanded : " Wherefore, 
And to what end, is all this toil and tumult? 
What frenzy goads thee on to such fierce warfare, 
Such strife for life and death with all around thee ? 
In this wild vortex thou dost lose thyself, 
Thy calm, thy crystal brightness. Better far 
In yonder silent, solitary valley, 

Where thou didst glide serene 'twixt shelter'd margins, 
Reflecting every flower and tree that crowned them, 
The craggy peaks, and lustrous vault of heaven ! 
Then thou wert clear and bright, and blue libellulas, 
With emerald flashing wings, shot downward, rocking 
On the broad leaves of silver water-lilies, 
That, heaving, lay upon the crystal billow, 
Calm as an infant in its mother's arms ; 
Then in thy lap the golden sunbeams showered ; 
The queen of night with her pale lustre kissed thee ; 
And blooming village maidens, gayly tripping, 
Went down to fill their pitchers at thy waters, 
And there the weary laborer quenched his thirst 
With thankful spirit. Say, what would'st thou more ? 
Oh let thy life be spent in peaceful labors ; 
Sweet is it thus to bless and to be blessed, 
And then to sleep on flow'ry meadow's breast ! 
Say, is not this enough ? " Thus asked the sage ; 
But all regardless of his questions, onward 
With headlong speed the cataract rushed impetuous, 
Cleaving the rocks that barred its foaming current. 
Yet one reply it made ; even in that power 
Which mighty spirits exercise, constraining 



POEMS. 431 

To follow when they lead, to watch their workings, 
To mark their onward course, the end that waits them, 
And the deep meaning of their life and struggles. 

And thus the sage pursued the river's windings, 

Saw how at hasty intervals reposing, 

Its calm and radiant eye looked up to heaven, 

With childlike spirit and with childlike glances 

Reflecting back that image on its bosom ; 

Then wildly rushing on to wage fresh warfare 

With open foes or hidden obstacles, 

And plunging boldly over heights and depths 

With an intense indomitable purpose, 

As to some fixed and ever bright'ning goal, 

He marked it grow more calm in broadening channel, 

Clear to its inmost depths, like some brave spirit, 

When the good fight is fought; then free and peaceful, 

A glorious river 'mid rich margins flowing, 

Calmly it rolled toward the ocean, bearing 

Not only its own waves, but on their bosom 

A world of human labors, human hopes, 

Set free by the same power itself that freed. 

He saw the stately ships, the barges slow, 

Alike from city and from village borne 

Upon the river's arms to world-wide marts 

Of commerce, while light winds their sails were swelling, 

And joyous songs rung in the evening breezes. 

The sage rejoiced ; he felt the answer given, 

And graven in his heart. The river's answer 

Lay in the tenor of its noble life ! 

April, 1847. 

And thus it was one day, on banks of Clara river, 

With thoughts all fixed on thee, fair Wermland's lofty 

son, 
That one who loved thee well, whom thou hast called " thy 

friend," 



432 POEMS. 

Did sing this song, borrowed from thine own life, to thee. 

A year has passed away, and lo, thy noble spirit 

Too soon has burst its narrow bonds, and winged its way, 

Freed from the burden of this earth, to cast itself 

Into the ocean of God's endless love. 

His name confessing, in whose name thou still hast striven, 
Before the sons of men, 1 in thy last prayer on earth, 
The battle thou didst quit, at peace with life, at peace 
With thine own self, to seek th' Eternal God, who rules 
O'er strife and peace, and reap thy labors' rich reward. 

Yes, thou art blest, for blest is he who thus hath ended ! 
Glorified Spirit ! Do thou still the path illumine 
Of those that loved thee well ; oh, shine upon thy people 
Whose annals thou did write ; thy wife, thy children, friends, 
And even on her, who now looks up to thee through 
tears. 



* ON READING BISHOP ESAIAS TEGNfiR'S POEM, 
RESIGNATION." 

HUSH thee, vain, thoughtless world ! Hush, he is speaking ; 

Once more he speaks, old Svea's minstrel-king. 

He has aroused him from his bed of suffering, 

'Mid (Eta's flames, the funeral pile of Genius, 

He strikes his harp. Listen ye young and aged, 

Hear how the spirit worketh in Esaias, 

Hear what the Lord hath to His servant spoken 

In the dark midnight hours of pain and anguish. 

Well didst thou sing, O bard, of " Resignation," 
Thy " song of songs," life's loftiest it is ; 

1 See Geijer's confession of faith in his last printed work, A Word on 
the Religion* Questions of the Day. 



POEMS. 433 

Led by this power to God in adoration, 
Te deums we shall sing in realms of bliss. 

How noble is thy song ! So Phoenix springs, 
Fed by a fire divine, from fragrant ashes ; 
And o'er the desert spreads his shining wings, 
On which the dawn of brighter eras flashes. 

Our hearts within us burn ! Oh speak again, 
Our ears yet more thy glowing words would drink : 
Oh speak once more ! Teach us in strife and pain 
Like thee with noble aims to feel, to think ! 

Racked by fierce pain, Heracles stormed with ire, 
Wild were his shrieks and loud his maledictions ; 
Thou sun 'rest, too, but from thine altar fire 
Ring words of gentle peace and benedictions. 

Heracles lives in many a tale of yore, 
But thine, Tegner, a fairer fate shall be ; 
A life that knows no grave yet evermore 
A life on earth of immortality. 



* 



Where is that home, in which 't is good to be, 
Safe from the surge of time on shelter'd shore ? 
O Svea's bard ! Thy country answers thee : 
Here liv'st thou, and shalt live for evermore. 

There is a public, light as ocean's foam ; 
A people, too, there is, that ne'er shall die ; 
Within its arms was laid thy children's home ; 
Within its heart shall live thy memory. 

28 



434 POEMS. 



* THE SOUND IN TIME OF PEACE. 

HURRAH ! How briskly the south winds blow, 

Crisping the Sound as it sleeps in the sun. 

Hurrah ! What sails sweep to and fro, 

Swelling and scudding and hurrying on ; 

Of every nation, 

Color and fashion, 

Foe or confederate, 

From cities small and great, 

On the blue waters that dance round each prow, 

Glowing in sunlight they come and they go. 

And Denmark's green shores, how they gleam through the 

mist, 

With gold waving harvests round " Marienlyst ; " 
And " Kronoborg's " castle, that fortress of pride, 
Where " Holger the Dane " is still said to reside ; 
There rise Odin's heights, there the royal town 
With its palaces, churches, and towers looks down 
O'er the placid wave. But from Svea's strand 
Frowns the dark cliff of Kullen, her pride and her boast ; 
A greeting it sends to the opposite coast 
A greeting of peace from the " Jernbarar " land l 
And Scania's parks, and the island of " Hven," 
Where rose Brahe's tower on the starlit plain ; 
Those shores, once ringing with warlike cries, 
Now bound by a thousand peaceful ties, 
By the glittering Sound that their borders laves 
They look on its waves. 

The sun shines bright over sea and land, 
Sparkles the sail-laden Sound in its ray ; 
Dolphins gambol and hornbeaks play, 
Fishermen lay out their nets from the strand. 

1 The Ironbeariny land, one of the ancient names of Sweden, on ac 
count of the iron which is one of its chief productions. 



POEMS. 435 

Smoking " dragons " with track of foam 

Lash their tails, as snorting they roam 

From city to city. But time doth flee ; 

The sun is setting, the shades grow deep, 

The waves are silent, the breezes sleep, 

And the barks lie still on the motionless sea ; 

The fisherman hastes to his cottage the while 

To rest from his toil. 

The boats lie empty down by the shore, 

The butterfly sleeps in the drooping flower, 

Every blade has its pearl of dew, 

Night birds fly, 

Arches of shadows are flung o'er the sky, 

Stars peep forth from the heaven's deep blue. 

Hark ! the evening gun 

Tells that the day is done; 

While the broad moon o'er the glittering tide 

Spangles with silver the sails as they glide, 

" God's peace " proclaiming from shore 

O'er Sweden and Denmark for evermore. 

Labors are ending ! 

Slumber descending : 

Only yon beacon keeps vigil there 

And the silent prayer. 



* MY WRINKLES 

1846 

OH runes, by time's unerring chisel graven ! 
Ye wrinkles slowly gathering round my eyes, 
Thanks for the kindly message ye have brought me ; 
Thanks, for ye wake no terror in my heart. 
I know your meaning well ; full soon, ye whisper, 
Old age shall come, with silent footstep stealing, 
And then comes death and it is time to bid 
A long farewell to this world's vanities, 



436 POEMS. . 

To flattery, and the idle lust of praise. 
Ah, fatal lust ! full oft in fond illusion 
We deem that we have quenched it, mounted far 
Above it on the wings of lofty thought, 
Of feelings glowing for a world's redemption, 
Deem that we've drown'd it in a higher love, 
In prayer and streaming tears at Jesus' feet, 
When lo ! 't is crawling still as crawled the serpent 
Amid th' ambrosial groves of Paradise, 
Luring the soul with false, degrading pleasures, 
And tainting life with venomed shafts of discord. 
But the great Lord of life, who sees our weakness, 
Sends us an angel messenger pale Time ; 
And lo! Time's angel, grave, yet merciful, 
Compassionate even in sternest mood, right gently 
Prints on our brow his stamp indelible, 
Closes the temple of our former pleasures, 
And posts Scorn's grinning demon at its portals. 
And all beyond it is a howling desert, 
Of uncouth monsters full, that eat men's hearts ; 
But there are fair and sheltered paths as well, 
That lead to blissful homes, long sought, long dreamt of; 
And there a voice is heard, all men inviting 
To realms of peace, to those blest tabernacles 
Where dwells the good, the beautiful forever. 
Oh, to those heights I lift my folded hands, % 

For there He dwells, who shall make all things clear 
Through the effulgence of His might and mercy ; 
And in His presence it is good to be : 
This do I know, if I know naught besides ! 
Oh then, my soul, be youthful evermore, 
Be strong in faith, be strong in charity. 
And follow Him to everlasting mansions, 
Undaunted, though this house of clay be shattered, 
And through a thousand deaths thy paths should lead 
thee; 



POEMS. 437 

Yet follow Him, till thou hast reached the goal 

Where He will turn His glorious face upon thee ; 

Then shalt thou look on Him, the world forgetting, 

Forgetting thine own self and oh, thrice happy, 

That thou canst thus forget, that thou canst die 

Unto thyself, and live alone in Him. 

Rejoice, my soul, for then thus say the Scriptures 

His own thou shalt be called, and on thy forehead 

The Lord will write His name. O thou frail body, 

And O ye furrows worn by time and weeping, 

And all infirmities of earth, where are ye ? 

Changed to the glories of a youth eternal. 

Changed to God's image, to His holy image ! 

See, " All things are made new " all save the gracious, 

Th' eternal Renovator of the world. 

I thank you then, ye runes, Time's noiseless footprints, 

That bring such kindly message : " Time is waning." 

I will arise and build a tabernacle 

That shall endure when Time's frail tents are shattered : 

Then will I strive like holy Paul, and tarry, 

"Till we shall all be changed." 



SUMMER EVENINGS. 

EVE approaches ; cold mist streaming 

O'er the earth will gather soon, 
Hide the stars above me gleaming, 

Hide the smiling, friendly moon. 
Yet 'tis naught though mists do tarry 

O'er the earth before my eyes, 
If the spirit's gaze can carry 

All my hopes beyond the skies. 
No earth's clouds, so dark and dreary, 

Me nor fear nor doubt can bring; 



488 POEMS. 

For beyond life's desert weary, 

I can see a heavenly spring. 
Draw around, ye clouds, and cover, 

Shroud me ; stars ! conceal your light ; 
Yet my home I can discover, 

Clear the way lies in my sight. 

M. R. w, 

THE GRAVE. 

[Probably translated by Fredrika Bremer from the German.] 

How dark and cold the grave is, 

And terrible its rand ! 
It hides as deep the wave is, 

An undiscovered land. 

No sound its gateway knoweth ; 

The song of birds is still ; 
And only friendship streweth 

The flowers o'er the hill. 

And he who therein sleepeth 
The widow's sigh ne'er hears ; 

E'en when the orphan weepeth, 
The grave admits no tears. 

Yet it in peace exceedeth 

Each spot; 'tis truly fair; 
The road that homeward leadeth 

Must ever enter there. 

And from all storms defended. 
Where storm and conflict cease. 

The heart its throbbings ended, 
At last obtaineth peace. 

M. R. W. 



POEMS. 439 

THE LAST SONG OF THE LONELY ONE. 

FALL, gentle snow, fall deep ; 
Make cold my place of sleep : 
The heart that 's burning here 
Longs for the coolness there. 

And when I sleep below, 
Fall faster still, kind snow; 
No one will mourn for me, 
Then hide me deep in thee. 

For oh ! no mother will 
Kneel at the lonely hill, 
Nor any father know 
Where I am laid so low. 

Ah me ! no sister dear 
Will give my grave a tear; 
And there no brother's grief 
Will ever seek relief; 

And not a single friend 
Will ever o'er it bend, 
And in remembrance throw 
A flower on the snow. 

And he who was my all, 
His footstep there may fall : 
Woe 's me ! for by his side 
She walks, his chosen bride 

Fall, icy snow, fall deep ; 
Make doubly cold my sleep: 
The heart, now burning sore, 
When frozen, feels no more. 






78 ft