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The Home Or, Life in Sweden   By: (1801-1865)

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First Page:

FREDRIKA BREMER'S WORKS.

THE HOME

OR, LIFE IN SWEDEN.

TRANSLATED BY MARY HOWITT.

LONDON: HENRY G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN. 1853.

C. WHITING, BEAUFORT HOUSE.

THE HOME:

OR, LIFE IN SWEDEN.

PART I.

CHAPTER I.

MORNING DISPUTE AND EVENING CONTENTION.

"My sweet friend," said Judge Frank, in a tone of vexation, "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 his 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 strong built 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 the corner."

"Ah! always difficulties and impediments!" said the husband. "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, 'Ah, 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 molestation making 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 of a little trouble whenever a great advantage is to be obtained. But are we to have no breakfast to day? It is twenty two 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... Continue reading book >>




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