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them all English families. The fact is, they are all Scotchmen, who came over very young, embarked in large commercial concerns, and married Swedish women; and the female taste, of course, directing all domestic concerns, the customs, establishments, and entertainments are all entirely Swedish.
Eating and drinking.–The style of the dinners, suppers, and living, is quite unlike our own : the universal hour of dining is two o'clock; and the cookery, the carving, the order of serving the dishes, the appearance of the table, the waiting, and every part of the whole concern, is wholly different from the English. In the first place, none have houses to themselves. Two or three families occupy one, each having an extensive floor, consisting of a splendid suite of apartments, all lying one through another, all of them heated, and every room, even the bed rooms, laid open; the great object seeming to be, to have as large a range for the company as possible. In one of these rooms a table is laid out with savoury fish, Parmesan cheese, and liqueurs, of which even the most delicate lady partakes a few minutes before she is led into the dinner room. When arrived there, the first course served is meat, the second fish; this is succeeded by game or poultry, over-roasted and spoiled, and served up with sweet gravies, that do not suit an Englishman's palate ; and the dinner terminates with a profusion of the most curious and delicious confectionery, but pastry they have none; and you cannot think how they
eat our's in preference to any thing else. The order of the table is, that no one is to help himself to what is next him, or to send his plate, as in England, for what he likes best, but is to wait until it is the turn for the dish to be handed; the contents of every dish, after it has been cut in pieces (by the bye often very disgustingly) being taken off the table, and carried round to every person by the servants. Clean knives and forks are out of the question, even at the highest tables. A large one, with a silver fork, for meats and fish, and a small one for sweets, are all you have any where, and indeed people here eat of such innumerable dishes, (never twice of the same,) that it would be impossible to find changes for every thing. One servant goes round with a napkin at his button-hole, and wipes them all; a second collects all the plates; and a third follows with a pile awkwardly put on his arm, and replaces them all: and then round goes another dish, which is followed by the same process. This mode of helping the dishes relieves the host and hostess of all trouble of inviting the guests to eat; but it induces a habit of gluttony, from the facility and temptation it offers to the guests to taste of every thing; and it also prolongs the time of dinner to a great length, generally twó or three hours. But as the quantum of wine is taken at dinner, and the desert forms part of the dinner, there is no sitting afterwards at any house except at the British Consul's ; for as soon as the last dish has been handed, the whole company
rise together, and retire to the other rooms to take coffee. Some order their carriages, and go out for an hour to pay visits till tea-time, (morning visits not being the custom here) and those who remain lounge about, and even nap upon the sofas after their hearty dinners. When all reasonable, cards and conversation groupes are the order of the evening till nine or ten o'clock, when an immense supper is served in the same order as the dinner; for suppers are here indispensable, and considered the principal meal, and the ladies are famous for eating to a degree absolutely disgusting; they seem wholly absorbed in ex. amining every dish, leaving upon their plates, and yet tasting again with an avidity that asto. nishes every stranger. The last dish handed, they again jump up with an abruptness really surprising; they then walk up to the hostess, and thank her for her entertainment, departing immediately; and, heavy as has been their supper, I am told they are all in bed within ten minutes afterwards. So much for a Swedish entertainment. . .
Music and Dancing.-The Swedish ladies and gentlemen are very musical, and dance most beautifully. I never saw any thing equal to the dancing of most of the Swedish officers; and as to the Governor's nephew, the young Count Rosen, he might certainly exhibit at the Opera House. Their dances are chiefly quadrilles, and the favourite waltzes, which no stranger would have the temerity to attempt to dance with them. They have very agreeable concerts here once a week,
and sometimes extra public concerts; but these weekly meetings are quite select, as no one can visit them except with a member ; and they are called the Harmonic Society. The band consists principally of amateurs, some of them people of title; it is a large one, and has some very good performers, among whom the greatest novelty to me was two ladies, who play famously on the violin. I have been told it is an instrument frequently played by ladies on the continent, and that it is considered quite feminine. It had to me, however, a strange effect, to see these two females standing conspicuously in front, and boldly leading the band. These concerts are held in a fine room belonging to the Free Masons. The company consists of one hundred or one hundred and fifty; they first assemble and take tea and coffee, and the evening closes with a handsome
General Hope. I was at one of these parties about a month ago, when General Hope, his suite, and some British naval officers were present. They gave an additional brilliancy to the room. I know not when I spent so pleasant an evening : it was quite a treat to hear the English language spoken without a Scotch or foreign accent. General Hope is a very fine gentlemanly man, and, from the dignity of his person and manners, seemed well calculated for the important mission he was sent upon. He and his suite staid three days at the consul's before they proceeded to Stockholm, for the consul entertains all the English of any distinction.
Mode of guarding against the Cold.--With the great wraps we go out in, and with the excellent stoves within the houses, it is impossible to suffer from the cold; and I only wonder that the enlightened English should be so far behind their more ignorant neighbours in the art of obtaining warmth. The natives, it is true, often pervert their knowledge to a very bad purpose, for, by keeping their rooms so highly heated, and omitting a daily ventilation, they generally look pale and emaciated, and bring on a premature old age. They also heat their bed-rooms intensely, which debilitates more than any thing. But this we have wholly avoided, and, by regulating the temperature of our sitting-rooms with a thermometer, we keep the heat to a degree most salubrious, and enjoy the benefit alone of a method that, for economy and comfort, I wish was adopted in our little island. Thus we avoid all the evils the prejudice of the English would ascribe to the stoves of the continent.
Ladies' Dresses.—The ladies wear odious short waists, and indelicate short sleeves, which make them look very ungraceful. They imitate the English in every thing; but from this it appears they are several years behind us. They get what millinery and dresses they can from England; but it is very difficult to procure such things here, on account of the Custom House; and yet, strict as