Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

the appearance of greater happiness than her own. I perceived her uneasiness, and attempted to lessen it, by observing, that there was no company in the Park to-day. To this she readily assented; « and yet,» says she, «it is full enough of scrubs of one kind or another.» My smiling at this observation gave her spirits to pursue the bent of her inclination, and now she began to exhibit her skill in secret history, as she found me disposed to listen. «Ob. serve,» says she to me, « that old woman in tawdry silk, and dressed out even beyond the fashion. That is Miss Biddy Evergreen. Miss Biddy, it seems, has money, and as she considers that money was never so scarce as it is now, she seems resolved to keep what she has to herself. She is ugly enough you see; yet I assure you she has refused several offers to my own knowledge, within this twelvemonth. Let me see, three gentlemen from Ireland, who study the law, two waiting captains, a doctor, and a Scotch preacher, who had like to have carried her off. All her time is passed between sickness and finery. Thus she spends the whole week in a close chamber, with no other company but her monkey, her apothecary, and cat; and comes dressed out to the Park every Sunday, to show her airs, to get new lovers, to catch a new cold, and to make new work for the doctor.

« There goes Mrs Roundabout, I mean the fat lady in the lutestring trollopee. Between you and I, she is but cutler's wife. See how she's dressed, as fine as hands and pins can make her, while her two marriageable daughters, like bunters, in stuff gowns, are now taking sixpenny-worth of tea at the White-Conduit-House. Odious puss ! how she waddles along, with her train two yards behind her! She puts me in mind of my Lord Bantam's Indian sheep, which are obliged to have their monstrous tails trundled along in

8

а

VOL. IV.

1

know;

a go-cart. For all her airs, it goes to her husband's heart to see four yards of good lutestring wearing against the ground, like one of his knives on a grindstone. To speak my mind, cousin Jeffery, I never liked tails; for suppose a young fellow should be rude, and the lady should offer to step back in a fright, instead of retiring, she treads upon her train, and falls fairly on her back; and then

you cousin,-her clothes may be spoiled.

« Ah! Miss Mazzard! I knew we should not miss her in the Park; she in the monstrous Prussian bonnet. Miss, though so very fine, was bred a milliner, and might have had some custom if she had minded her business; but the girl was fond of finery, and instead of dressing her customers, laid out all her goods in adorning herself. Every new gown she put on impaired her credit: she still, however, went on improving her appearance, and lessening her little fortune, and is now, you see, become a belle and a bankrupt.»

My cousin was proceeding in her remarks, which were interrupted by the approach of the very lady she had been so freely describing. Miss had perceived her at a distance, and approached to salute her. I found, by the warmth of the two ladies' protestations, that they had been long intimate esteemed friends and acquaintance. Both were so pleased at this happy rencounter, that they were resolved not to part for the day. So we all crossed the Park together, and I saw them into a hackney-coach at the gate of St James's. I could not, however, help observing, « That they are generally most ridiculous themselves, who are apt to see most ridicule in others.»

SOME PARTICULARS RELATIVE TO CHARLES XII.

NOT COMMONLY KNOWN.

Stockholm.

SIR,

I CANNOT resist your solicitations, though it is possible I shall be unable to satisfy your curiosity. The polite of every country seem to have but one character. A gentleman of Sweden differs but little, except in trifles, from one of any other country. It is among the vulgar we are to find those distinctions which characterise a people, and from them it is that I take my picture of the Swedes.

Though the Swedes, in general, appear to languish under oppression, which often renders others wicked, or of malignant dispositions, it has not, however, the same influence upon them, as they are faithful, civil, and incapable of atrocious crimes. Would you believe that, in Sweden, highway robberies are not so much as heard of ? for my part, I have not in the whole country seen a gibbet or a gallows. They pay an infinite respect to their ecclesiastics, whom they suppose to be the privy counsellors of Providence, who, on their part, turn this credulity to their own advantage, and manage their parishioners as they please. In general, however, they seldom abuse their sovereign authority. Hearkened to as oracles, regarded as the dispensers of eternal rewards and punishments, they readily influence their hearers into justice, and make them practical philosophers without the pains of study.

As to their persons, they are perfectly well made, and the men particularly have a very engaging air. The est part of the boys which I saw in the country had very white hair. They were as beautiful as Cupids, and there was something open and entirely happy in their little chubby faces. The girls, on the contrary, have neither such fair, nor such even complexions, and their features are much less delicate, which is a circumstance different from that of almost every other country. Besides this, it is observed, that the women are generally afflicted with the itch, for which Scania is particularly remarkable. I had an instance of this in one of the inns on the road. The hostess was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen: she had so fine a complexion, that I could not avoid admiring it. But what was my surprise, when she opened her bosom in order to suckle her child, to perceive that seat of delight all covered with this disagreeable distemper. The careless manner in which she exposed to our eyes so disgusting an object, sufficiently testifies that they regard it as no very extraordinary malady, and seem to take no pains to conceal it. Such are the remarks, which probably you may think trifling enough, I have made in my journey to Stockholm, which, to take it all together, is a large, beautiful, and even a populous city.

great

The arsenal appears to me one of its greatest curiosities; it is a handsome, spacious building, but, however, scantily supplied with the implements of war.

To recompense this defect, they have almost filled it with trophies, and other marks of their former military glory. I saw there several chambers filled with Danish, Saxon, Polish, and Russian standards. There was at least enough to suffice half-a-dozen armies; but new standards are more easily made than new armies can be enlisted. I saw, besides, some very rich furniture, and some of the crown jewels of great value; but what principally engaged my attention, and touched me with passing melancholy, were the bloody, yet precious spoils of the two greatest heroes the North

ever produced. What I mean are the clothes in which the great Gustavus Adolphus, and the intrepid Charles XII., died, by a fate not unusual to kings. The first, if I remember, is a sort of a buff waistcoat, made antique fashion, very plain, and without the least ornaments; the second, which was even more remarkable, consisted only of a coarse blue cloth coat, a large hat of less value, a shirt of coarse linen, large boots, and buff gloves made to cover a great part of the arm. His saddle, his pistols, and his sword, have nothing in them remarkable; the meanest soldier was in this respect no way inferior to his gallant monarch. I shall use this opportunity to give you some particulars of the life of a man already so well known, which I had from persons who knew. him when a child, and who now, by a fate not unusual to courtiers, spend a life of poverty and retirement, and talk over in raptures all the actions of their old victorious king, companion, and master.

Courage and inflexible constancy formed the basis of this monarch's character.

In his tenderest years

he

gave instances of both. When he was yet scarcely seven years old, being at dinner with the queen his mother, intending to give a bit of bread to a great dog he was fond of, this hungry animal snapped too greedily at the morsel, and bit his hand in a terrible manner. The wound bled copiously, but our young hero, without offering to cry, or taking the least notice of his misfortune, endeavoured to conceal what had happened, lest his dog should be brought into trouble, and wrapped his bloody hand in the napkin. The queen, perceiving that he did not eat, asked him the.

He contented himself with replying, that he thanked her, he was not hungry. They thought he was taken ill, and so repeated their solicitations : but all was in vain, though the poor child was already grown pale

reason.

« PředchozíPokračovat »