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A RIDICULOUS MISTAKE.
of M. Aftzelius, we were much gratified by seeing some trans parent agates containing flies, elastic sand-stones, incombustible
purses of asbestos, a mineral found in the iron mines of Danemora, some beautiful chrystals and many other rarities, which were displayed and explained with the greatest perspicuity and urbanity. The students amount to about one thousand, lodge, and board themselves according to their finances and inclinations in the town: in general they wear a black gown without sleeves.
By an unaccountable mistake we omitted to bring with us some letters of introduction to the university, which were offered to us at Stockholm, but upon a professor, who happened to be in the cathedral at the same time with ourselves, obserying that we were Englishmen, he, in the politest manner, enabled us to see what was most worthy of our attention. Our omission, and Professor Aftzelius's imperfect knowledge of the English language, produced a momentary embarrassment: “ How dare you,” said he, making a low bow, “ come here “ without letters of introduction?" What he meant is obvious; from the politeness with which he received us. The Professor will not be angry, I am sure, and the following whimsical error will completely keep him in countenance; it was related by the brave and venerable Prince de Ligne, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Mr. Jackson's, our ambassador at Berlin, of an Englishman who had been introduced to him, and
who was vehemently anxious to make himself master of the French language. It was the custom with this gentleman, for the purpose of restraining as much as possible the blunders which he was perpetually committing, always in conversation to speak each sentence in English first, and then to translate it into French. One day he called upon the Prince, who is a very active man, although far advanced in years, and finding him on his couch, and wishing to rally him on the occasion, thus began: “ My prince, Mon prince-I am glad to see you, je suis charmé de vous voir-On your couch, dans votre ac“couchement—that is, instead of ‘on your sopha,' in your “ lying in.”
The revenues of this university, the first in the north of Europe, are rather narrow; fortunate would it be for this learned institution if it were more the fashion to commit the sons of gentlemen and noblemen to its care; nothing but such patronage is wanting to expand its energies, genius and learning having made this spot their favourite residence. The attentions that we received there, and which our own forgetfulness rendered accidental, have left a lasting impression upon my mind of the respect which is paid to Englishmen.
It is by quitting it that we are able best to appreciate the value of our country; every Englishman who leaves it from honourable motives, becomes a subordinate representative of
it, and ought to revolt at tarnishing a name which is every where honoured.
The population of Sweden, including Finland, is rapidly encreasing ; it is at present ascertained to exceed three millions. The revenues of Sweden arise from the poll-tax, about one shilling and three pence each person, with certain exceptions ; royal demesnes, windows, horses, equipages, supernumerary servants, watches, tobacco, snuff, duties on exports and imports and distilled spirits, on mines and forges, part of the great tythes, deductions from salaries, pensions and places, and monopoly of salt-petre. The herring fishery is said to be much on the decline. We found every thing, except cloth, very cheap in Sweden.
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POOR POST-HORSES-LANGUAGB---MERRY CRIMINAL--PRISONS
PSALM-SINGING WATCHMEN-WASHERWOMEN-FRENCH COMEDY
-PASSPORTS-INDECORUM OF A LITTLE DOG-SET SAIL FOR
SWEDISH FINLAND-BEGGING ON A NEW ELEMENT-ISLANDS
UPON ISLANDS-A MASSACRE-THE ARTS-ABO-FLIES-FOX ESIS
N FIRE-RUSSIA-FREDERICKSHAM-RUSSIAN COINS.
THE Swedish peasantry are certainly not so merciful to their horses as their neighbours the Danes : but provident and generous Nature, who, foreseeing the cruelty of man towards the poor ass, armed his sides with the toughest hide, made his temper patient, and taught him to feed contentedly upon the thistle, seems to have fortified the Swedish post-horse against hardships and neglect." I have frequently seen this poor
animal, after he has brought us to the end of a long station, left to stand in the road, refreshed only now and then by some little bits of hard bread, broken from a circle which the driver generally wears slung over his shoulders. During this excursion, as well as on our first progress through the country, my ear was frequently delighted by the strong resemblance be
tween, and even identity of the Swedish and English languages, as in the following words: god dag, good day; farvel, farewell; efter, after; go, go; vel, well; hott, hat; long, long; eta, eat; fisk, fish; peppar, pepper; salt, salt; vinn, wine; liten, little; tvo, two; go out, go out; streum, river; rod, red, &c. &c.
The Swedish language, which is derived from the Gothic, has two different pronunciations; one in which every letter in a word is heard just as it is written, such as it is used in the various branches of oratory; the other, established by custom for common use, has many abbreviations, and, in many instances, I was informed by an intelligent Swede, deviates from the rules of grammar. The language is very sonorous : it places, as does the Danish, the article at the end of the nouns, as in the most antient languages, contrary to the English and German, as the man, der man; Swedish, mannen.
Some of the national songs are said to be very sweet, and to breathe the true spirit of poetry. Amongst their modern poets, they speak with great rapture of Dalin; and amongst their antient of Stiernhielm, who flourished in the reign of Gustavus Adolphus, and, wonderful to relate, was the greatest mathematician and poet of his age. Perhaps it was the life of that singular man that suggested that whimsical satyrical poem, “the Loves of the Triangles.”