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OR, LIFE IN SWEDEN.
STRIFE AND PEACE.
BY MARY HOWITT.
AND NEW YORK.
REPRINTED FROM THE STEREOTYPE PLATES BY WM. CLOWES & SONS, LTD.,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
OR, LIFE IN SWEDEN
CHAPTER I. MORNING DISPUTE AND EVENING CONTENTION. “ My sweet friend,” said Judge Frank, in a tone of voia tion, “it is not worth while reading aloud to you if you keep yawning incessantly, and looking about, first to the right and then to the left;" and with these words he laid down a treatise of Jeremy Bentham, which he had been reading, and rose from bis seat.
“Ah, forgive me, dear friend !" returned his wife, “but really these good things are all somewhat indigestible, and I was thinking about- Come here, dear Brigitta !” said Mrs. Elise Frank, beckoning an old servant to her, to whom she then spoke in an under tone.
Whilst this was going on, the Judge, a handsome strongbuilt man of probably forty, walked up and down the room, and then suddenly pausing as if in consideration, before one of the walls, he exclaimed to his wife, who by this time had finished her conversation with the old servant, “ See, love, now if we were to have a door opened here—and it could very easily be done, for it is only a lath-and-plaster wall-we could then get so conveniently into our bedroom, without first going through the sitting-room and the nursery-it would indeed be capital !"
“But then, where could the sofa stand ?” answered Elise, with some anxiety.
“The sofa ?” returned her husband; "oh, the sofa could be wheeled a little aside; there is more than room enough for it.”
“But, my best friend,” replied she," there would come a very dangerous draft from the door to every one who sat in “Ah! always difficulties and impediments !" said the lius. band. “ But cannot you see, yourself, what a great advantage it would be if there were a door here?”
"No, candidly speaking," said she, “I think it is better as it is.”
Yes, that is always the way with ladies," returned he; " they will have nothing touched, nothing done, nothing changed, even to obtain improvement and convenience ; everything is good and excellent as it is, till somebody makes the alteration for them, and then they can see at once how much better it is; and then they exclaim, 'Ab, see now that is charming! Ladies, without doubt, belong to the stand-still party!"
And the gentlemen,” added she, “ belong to the movement party; at least wherever building and molestationmaking comes across them !"
The conversation, which had hitherto appeared perfectly good-humoured, seemed to assume a tone of bitterness from that word“ molestation-making ;" and in return the voice of the Judge was somewhat austere, as he replied to her taunt against the gentlemen. “ Yes," said he, “ they are not afraid ofa little trouble whenever a great advantage is to be obtained. kut are we to have no breakfast to-day? It is twentytwo minutes after nine! It really is shocking, dear Elise, that you cannot teach your maids punctuality! There is nothing more intolerable than to lose one's time in waiting; nothing more useless; nothing more insupportable; nothing which more easily might be prevented, if people would only resolutely set about it! Life is really too short for one to be able to waste half of it in waiting! Five-and-twenty minutes after nine ! and the children—are they not ready too? Dear Elise
I'll go and see after them,” said she; and went out quickly, It was Sunday. The June sun shone into a large cheerful room, and upon a snow-white damask tablecloth, which in soft silken folds .was spread over a long table, on which a handsome coffee-service was set out with considerable elegance. The disturbed countenance with which the Judge had approached the breakfast-table, cleared itself instantly as a person, whom young ladies would unquestionably have called “horribly ugly," but whom no reflective physiognomist could have observed without interest, entered the room,
This person was tall, extremely thin, and somewhat inclining to the left side; the complexion was dark, and the somewhat noble features wore a melancholy expression, which but sel. dom gave place to a smile of unusual beauty. The forehead elevated itself, with its deep lines, above the large brown er. traordinary eyes, and above this a wood of black-brown hair erected itself, under whose thick stiff curls people said a multitude of ill-humours and paradoxes housed themselves; so also, indeed, might they in all those deep furrows with which his countenance was lined, not one of which certainly was without its own signification. Still, there was not a sharp angle of that face; there was nothing, either in word or voice, of the Assessor, Jeremias Munter, however severe they might seem to be, which at the same time did not conceal an expression of the deepest goodness of heart, and which stamped itself upon his whole being, in the same way as the sap clothes with green foliage the stiff resisting branches of the knotted oak.
“Good day, brother!" exclaimed the Judge, cordially offering him his hand, “how are you?”
“Bad!" answered the melancholy man; “ how can it be otherwise? What weather we have! As cold as January ! And what people we have in the world too: it is both a sin and shame! I am so angry to-day that
Have you read that malicious article against you in the
“No, I don't take in that paper; but I have heard speak of the article,” said Judge Frank. "It is directed against my writing on the condition of the poor in the province, is it not?
“Yes; or more properly no,” replied the Assessor, “for the extraordinary fact is, that it contains nothing about that affair. It is against yourself that it is aimed—the lowest insinuations, the coarsest abuse !"
“So I have heard,” said the Judge; “and on that very account I do not trouble myself to read it." Have
you heard who has written it ?” asked the visitor. No," returned the other; nor do I wish to know.” “But you should do so," argued the Assessor ; " people ought to know who are their enemies. It is Mr. N. I should like to give the fellow three emetics, that he might know the taste of his own gall !”
“What !” exclaimed Judge Frank, at once interested in the Assessor's news—“ N., who lives nearly opposite to 118,