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182

DEPARTURE FROM STOCKHOLM.

to know that, in the north, the very stones which form the royal pile are held even penally sacred against defilement of every sort, for, irresistibly impelled, he raised one of his hinder feet against this said royal wall; a sentinel, who had a little whip in his hand, I suppose for this special purpose, sent this fourfooted disloyal violator of decorum howling, with many a backward look of reproach, after his master, whom he vehemently scolded, for not having taken care to prevent such disrespectful behaviour towards the seat of majesty.

At five o'clock in the evening of the sixth of July, with very little wind, we slowly withdrew from Stockholm. Before night we were completely becalmed; our captain rowed us up to a rock, and throwing out a gang board, tied the vessel to a fir-tree for the night. Here we landed, and ascended the rocks, which, sparingly clothed with grey moss, rose from the water's edge in the most grand, romantic, and picturesque disorder. Before us the rich crimson suffusion of the sun, just sunk behind a dark undulating line of fir forests, gave at once tranquillity and tone to the lake-appearance of this arm of the Baltic, which was enlivened by the white-lagging sails of a few boats, that on the opposite side softly and slowly creeped through the deep shadows of the shores, crowned with the woods of Liston-cottage; whilst in the south, the tower of St. Catherine's, mounted

upon her airy summit, the houses, the palace, and the spires, seemed composed of light

AN AQUATIC BEGGAR.

183

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cloud and mist. The silence of this delicious

repose ture was only faintly broken by the dashing of the oar, and the carol of the distant boatmen; in the language of the divine Milton:

« Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad :
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk

now glowed the firmament
With living saphirs.”

Seated upon a rock, we for a long time contemplated this exquisite scene, till at length the calls of sleep induced us to descend into our cabin, where our accommodations were very comfortable. With the sun, which was an early riser, we unmoored, and advanced but very slowly; as we proceeded, misery in a new shape presented itself. From a wretched hovel, upon one of the islands which began to appear in clusters, hanging over the edge of the water, and ready to drop into it, an old man in rags, and nearly blind, put off in a little crazy boat, and rowing towards us implored our charity in the most touching manner, and seemed very grateful for the trifle we gave him.

In the evening, having made but little way,

the master again moored the vessel to another island for the night; as I

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found was the custom, on account of the danger and difficulty of the navigation. This island was indeed a most enchanting scene; upon its romantic summit of

grey

rock we found a little cottage, embowered in trees of fir, ash, and elder, that might well be called “ the peasant's nest.A fisherman, his aged mother, his wife and his children, formed the population of this beautiful spot. A little field of grass, in which a cow was grazing, another of corn, a garden, and the waters of the Baltic, which again resembled a lake, supplied them with all their wants, and all their riches. Here it seemed as if the heart could no longer ache, as if ambition might wish to be what he beheld, and that love might ponder

the past without a pang. The inside of the cottage was neat and cheerful; the good old lady, with the children in their shirts playing round her, sat knitting by the light of a sprightly fire, and under locks of snow presented a face at peace with all the world. Upon hearing that we wished to have some supper, the fisherman, with a countenance of health and gaiety, descended into a little creek, where his boats were moored, for some perch, confined in a wicker well in the water, whilst his young wife, who had a pair of very sweet expressive eyes, laid the cloth in a detached room facing the cottage. Whilst supper was preparing I rambled over this little paradise. Night came on, and all the beauties of the preceding evening, with some variety of new forms, returned; the same bright bespangled heaven!

THE NYMPH OF THE ROCK.

185

the same serenity; the same silence! yielding only to the unceasing rippling of a little stream of rock water, to which, as it gushed from a bed of long moss, and as our fair hostess presented her pitcher, thriftily fenced with wicker, might be applied the beautiful inscription of Bosquillon, on the fountain in the street of Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris :

« La nymphe qui donne de cette eau

Au plus creux de rocher se cache:
Suivez un exemple si beau ;

Donnez sans vouloir qu'on le sache.”

Or thus in English:

“ Prompt to relieve, thoviewless wrapp'd in stone,
The nymph of waters pours her generous stream:
Go, gentle reader, do as she has done;
See while you bless, but blessing be unseen.

J. C.

It was just such a spot as the poetical spirit of Cowper would have coveted: his eye would have penetrated, and his pen could alone have painted every beauty.

On the third day of this voyage of islands, we touched at another, and procured a noble pike, fresh from the net, and some eggs. Our skipper very ingeniously kindled a fire and cooked it in his little canoe, which was towing astern, by placing upon the bottom of it a large stone, upon which he

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186

SWEDISH CLEANLINESS.

set fire to some chips and pieces of fir, and suspended over it, from an oar laid across the sides of the boat, an iron pot containing the fish; our eggs formed the sauce, and with a broken saucer for a plate, we made an excellent Robinson

Crusoe repast.

One morning as I was looking over the deck from the stern, I beheld an operation somewhat ridiculous; but as it originated in rude notions of cleanliness, and moreover is one of the domestic customs of the country, I shall relate it. Our skipper was lying at the feet of a good-natured brawny girl, who was a passenger; his head was on her lap, just as Goliate some time since rested his in that of Delilah; but the fingers of our fair companion were more kindly employed than were those of the woman of the valley of Sorek : the skipper had no comb, perhaps never heard of such a thing, and this kind-hearted creature was sedulously consigning with a humane, because an instantaneous destruction of sensation in every vital part by an equal and forcible pressure, every restless disturber of his peace in that region, which most assuredly must be, though doctors may dispute the point, the seat of reason; the cabin-boy succeeded his master, and in return, with the keen eye and nimble finger of a rnonkey, gratefully repaid the obligation upon the head of his benefactress. In Italy, these engaging little offices of kindness constitute the principal delights of courtship.

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