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Though we experienced some rather warm weather during a part of this sommer, the temperature in general varied but little from that in England, at the like perics of the year. During my stay in the north of Europe, indeed, I never recollect the quicksilver to rise higher than ninety in the shade, according to the scale at Fahrenheit.
At this season of the year, the forest was enlivened by the song of several of the feathered tribe. Among these, the sweet notes of the thrush were particularly to be distinguished. The cuckoo was also to be heard in every direction.
• The lowing of the cattle, and the tinkling of the bells attached to their necks, together with the sound of the lure, or shepherd's pipe, tended also not a little to relieve the gloomy monotony of the wild forest scene. The lure is a simple straight tube generally of several feet in length; but from these rude instruments, some of the peasants can elicit far from unmelodious sounds.
"The song and shouts of the shepherds were likewise not unfrequently to be heard in the forests. This constant exertion of their voices was as well to prevent the cattle from straggling, as to drive the wild beasts to a distance from their charge.'--vol. i. pp. 232, 233.
Of the game which occupied the attention of our sportsman, we have already mentioned the capercali. This shy bird is supposed to have been an inhabitant of the British Isles, within the last century. It is said that attempts will be made to introduce it here again. The author in his account of the mode of getting at it, mentions several curious circumstances connected with its habits.
· The greatest destruction, however, that takes place among the capercali in the northern forests is, as I have more than once observed, during the time of incubation, in the spring of the year.
' At this period, and often when the ground is still deeply covered with snow,
the cock stations himself on a pine, and commences his love-song, or play, as it is termed in Sweden, to attract the hens about him. This is usually from the first dawn of day to sunrise, or from a little after sunset, until it is quite dark. The time, however, more or less, depends upon the mildness of the weather, and the advanced state of the season.
During his play, the neck of the capercali is stretched out, his tail is raised and spread like a fan, his wings droop, his feathers are ruffed up, and, in short, he much resembles in appearance an angry turkey-cock. He begins his play with a call, something resembling peller, peller, peller ; these sounds he repeats at first at some little intervals; but as he proceeds they increase in rapidity, until at last, and after perhaps the lapse of a minute or so, he makes a sort of gulp in his throat, and finishes with sucking in, as it were, his breath,
During the continuance of this latter process, which only lasts a few seconds, the head of the capercali is thrown up, his eyes are partially closed, and his whole appearance would denote that he is worked up into an agony of passion. At this time his faculties are much absorbed, and it is not difficult to approach him; many indeed, and among the rest Mr. Nilsson, assert that the capercali can then neither see nor hear; and that he is not aware of the report or flash of a gun, even if fired immediately near to him. To this assertion I cannot agree; for though it is true that if the
capercali has not been much disturbed previously, he is not easily frightened during the last note, if so it may be termed, of his play, should the contrary be the case, he is constantly on the watch; and I have reason to suppose that, eren at that time, if noise be made, or that a person exposes himself incautiously, he takes alarm, and immediately flies.
• The play of the capercali is not loud ; and should there be wind stirring in the trees at the time, it cannot be heard at any considerable distance. Indeed, during the calmest and most favourable weather, it is not audible at more than two or three hundred
paces. • On hearing the call of the cock, the hens, whose cry
in some degree resembles the croak of the raven, or rather, perhaps, the sounds gock, gock, gock, assemble from all parts of the surrounding forest. The male bird now descends from the eminence on which he was perched, to the ground, where he and his female friends join company.
• The capercalı does not play indiscriminately over the forest ; but he has his certain stations, (Tjader-lek, which may perhaps be rendered, his playing grounds.) These, however, are often of some little extent. Here, unless
of these birds may be heard in the spring for years together. The capercali does not, during his play, confine himself to any particular tree, as Mr. Nilsson asserts to be the case; for, on the contrary, it is seldom he is to be met with exactly on the same spot for two days in succession.
On these lek, several capercali may occasionally be heard playing at the same time; Mr. Grieff in his quaint way, observes, “ it then goes
, gloriously." So long, however, as the old male birds are alive, they will not, it is said, permit the young ones, or those of the preceding season to play. Should the old birds however be killed, the young ones, in the course of a day or two, usually open their pipes. Combats, as it may be supposed, not unfrequently take place on these occasions; though I do not recollect having heard of more than two of those birds being engaged at the same time.' -vol. i.
pp. 274–277. Ude, with all his pre-eminent skill, can furnish nothing, to our thinking, equal to the natural flavour and taste of the hazel hen. Mr. Nilsson, an authority on this subject, says that it is the most wholesome of the Swedish game. It feeds chiefly in the summer on insects, berries, and worms; in the winter, upon the buds of alder, birch, and other trees. It furnishes tame sport, being a very stupid bird, and one that might be easily domesticated in England.
With the setting in of winter, our chasseur stationed himself in a romantic cottage on the banks of the Klar, in the midst of scenery partaking of a bold and picturesque character. According to the general fashion of the country, the ceiling and sides of his apartment were painted all over with subjects from Scripture. Like a jolly fellow, as he was, he now gave himself up to all the delights of capital eating, drinking, smoking, dancing, and all sorts of revelling: Soon came the Christmas holidays, with all their merriment; it does one's heart good to read of the conviviality with which our Scandinavian first cousins,- for some such relationship they bear to Englishmen,--continue to observe that glorious
festival. One little circumstance is mentioned amid the enjoyments of the season, which is singularly touching---the provision made for the birds, as if they too were to share in the general joy. We fear that there are very few amongst us, who, during the last inclement winter, thought of strewing a crumb or two in the way of the robin and the sparrow.
• Great preparations were now made by all classe to celebrate the solemn festival of Christmas. The floors of the rooms, belonging as well to rich as poor, after undergoing a thorough purification, were littered with straw, in commemoration of the birth of our Saviour in a stable.
One might also frequently see a number of young pine-trees, of thirty or forty feet
in height, which after having been stripped of their bark and leaves, with the exception of a bunch at the top, were placed in an upright position at stated intervals, around the dwellings of the peasantry. This custom, for which I could never obtain a satisfactory explanation, is universal in many parts of Dalecarlia.
* Every good thing that could pamper the appetite, as far as their means went, was likewise put in requisition, as with us in England, at this season. Though they thought of themselves, however, many of the peasants did not forget the inferior order of the creation. Indeed, it was an almost universal custom among them, to expose a sheaf of unthrashed corn on a pole in the vicinity of their dwellings, for the poor sparrows and other birds, which, at this inclement period of the year, must be in a state of starvation. They alleged as their reason for performing this act of beneficence, that all creatures should be made to rejoice on the anniversary of Christ's coming
• I wish I had not to record another circumstance that is not quite so creditable to the peasantry :--but, to tell the truth, during the few days the festivities last, they usually make such frequent application to the brandy bottle, that they are far too commonly in a state of intoxication.
• I had the pleasure of spending Christmas eve at Uddeholm.
* Near the conclusion of the supper, two figures (Jul. Gubbar) masked and attired in the most grotesque habiliments, entered the room. One of them carried a bell in his hand; the other, an immense basket: this latter contained a vast variety of presents destined for the different branches of the family and guests. To many of these presents, some amusing little scrap of prose or poetry was appended, the reading of which occasionally created no little merriment among the assembled party. The names of the donors were not attached to the presents, though in most instances, it is probable, shrewd guésses were entertained.
• It was highly gratifying to witness this little reciprocation of kindnesses. Indeed Mrs. Geijer's children, of which she had several, always looked forward to this day as one big with events and as by far the happiest of their lives.
The merry and hearty sociality of the time, as observed in Sweden, will remind the reader of our old English Christmas celebrations, when feasting alone was not considered sufficient without an interchange of the kindness of the heart. These genial customs are now injured by over-refinement, and are degraded into the sordid Christmas-box given to menials. —vol. ii. pp. 51–53.
among us mortals.
Even the winter, however, in Sweden, is not without its out-ofdoor sports. Our author gives some curious details of the mode pursued in fishing under the ice. Of course he had some hare shooting, though not a great deal, if we may judge from the difficulty which his party encountered in starting one. To assist the dogs, all sorts of noises are made. A soldier carries before him an immense drum, upon which he thunders away; another is armed with a horse pistol, which he repeatedly discharges; and, as if these sounds were not enough to wake the dead, others of the party are incessantly engaged in whirling rattles, like those with which our ex-watchmen used to vex the ear of night. It seems that when a hare is killed in Sweden, the universal fashion is to cut off his head in the first instance, with the exception of the ears, which remain attached to the skin. The reason assigned for this custom is, that if a pregnant woman were to see the head of the animal, 'her offspring would inevitably have a hare lip!' Winter is also the time for shooting wolves, which at that season become very troublesome in Sweden. Our author had not much success in pursuing those destructive animals. He has, however, collected a few anedotes concerning them, which strongly indicate their ferocity. The following one he relates upon the authority of Mr. Garberg, of Gefle.
About twenty years ago, during a very severe winter, and when there were known to be many wolves roaming about the country, a Captain Nordenalder, together with several companions, started off on an excursion similar to those I have been describing.
• The party were provided with a large sledge, such as are used in Sweden to convey coke to the furnaces, a pig, and an ample supply of guns, ammunition, &c. They drove on to a great piece of water, which was then frozen over, in the vicinity of Forsbacka, and at no great distance from the town of Gefle. Here they began to pinch the ears, &c. of the pig, who of course squeaked out tremendously.
This, as they anticipated, soon drew a multitude of famished wolves about their sledge. When these had approached within range, the party opened a fire upon them, and destroyed or mutilated several of the number. All the animals that were either killed or wounded, were quickly torn to pieces and devoured by their companions. This, as I have observed, is said invariably to be the case, if there be many congregated together.
• The blood with which the ravenous beasts had now glutted themselves, instead of satiating their hunger, only served to make them more savage and ferocious than before; for, in spite of the fire kept up by the party, they advanced close to the sledge with the apparent intention of making an instant attack. To preserve their lives, therefore, the Captain and his friends threw the pig on to the ice; this, which was quickly devoured by the wolves, had the effect, for the moment, of diverting their fury to another object.
Whilst this was going forward, the horse, driven to desperation by the pear approach of the ferocious animals, struggled and plunged so violently, that he broke the shafts to pieces: being thus disengaged from the vehicle,
poor animal galloped off, and, as the story goes, succeeded in making good his escape.
• When the pig was devoured, which was probably bardly the work of a minute, the wolves again threatened to attack the party; and as the destruction of a few out of so immense a drove as was then assembled, only served to render the survivors more blood-thirsty, the Captain and his friends now turned their sledge bottom up, and thus took refuge beneath its friendly shelter.
In this situation, it is said, they remained for many hours; the wolves in that while making repeated attempts to get at them, by tearing the sledge with their teeth. At length, however, assistance arrived, and they were then to their great joy relieved from their most perilous situation.'-vol. ii. pp. 165—167.
We could hardly credit the following tragical story, if it were not quoted upon the authority of a gentleman of rank, attached to the embassy at Petersburg. The circumstances are said to have happened in Russia.
• A woman, accompanied by three of her children, was one day in a sledge, when they were pursued by a number of wolves. On this she put the horse into a gallop, and drove towards her home, from which she was not far distant, with all possible speed. All, however, would not avail, for the ferocious animals gained upon her, and, at last, were on the point of rushing on the sledge. For the preservation of her own life and that of the remaining children, the poor frantic creature now took one of her babes, and cast it a prey to her blood-thirsty pursuers. This stopped their career for a moment; but, after devouring the little innocent, they renewed the pursuit, and a second time came up with the vehicle. The mother, driven to desperation, resorted to the same horrible expedient, and threw her ferocious assailants another of her offspring. To cut short this melancholy story, her third child was sacrificed in a similar maner.
• Soon after this the wretched being, whose feelings may more easily be conceived than described, reached her home in safety. Here she related what had happened, and endeavoured to palliate her own conduct, by describing the dreadful alternative to which she had been reduced. A peasant, however, who was among the bystanders, and heard the recital, took up an axe, and with one blow cleft her skull in two; saying, at the same time, that a mother who could thus sacrifice her children for the preservation of her own life, was no longer fit to live.
• This man was committed to prison, but the Emperor subsequently gave him a pardon.'--vol. ii. pp. 173, 174.
Towards the beginning of the new year, our author varies his amusements by taking a journey to Stockholm. We have, within the last few years, so often visited that capital, in spirit, with dull and lively, with descriptive and non-descriptive, religious, medical, diplomatical, lounging, and other tourists, that we have no fancy for again going over the sights with Mr. Lloyd. We shall only wait to take a glance at the royalized family.
. Though the needful etiquette to support the dignity of a monarchical government is kept up at the Swedish Court, where I have had the honour