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THE HAPPY LIFE OF A PARISH PRIEST IN SWEDEN.
Sweden apart, the condition of a tinged with the colours of youth by parish priest is in itself sufficiently the rosy morning-lustre; and the happy: in Sweden, then, much more priest, as he looks away from them
There he enjoys summer and to mother earth lying in the sleep of winter pure and unalloyed by any winter, and to the church-yard, where tedious interruptions: a Swedish the flowers and the men are all in spring, which is always a late one, is their graves together, might secretly no repetition, in a lower key, of the exclaim with the poet:- “Upon the harshness winter, but anticipates, dead mother, in peace and utter and is a prelibation of perfect sum- gloom, are reposing the dead chilmer,- laden with blossoms,-radiant dren. After a time, uprises the everwith the lily and the rose : insomuch, lasting sun; and the mother starts that a Swedish summer-night repre- up at the summons of the heavenly sents implicitly one half of Italy, and dawn with a resurrection of her ana winter-night one half of the world cient bloom :—And her children? beside.
Yes : but they must wait awhile.” I will begin with winter, and I will At home he is awaited by a warm suppose it to be Christmas. The study, and a “ long-levelled rule” of priest, whom we shall imagine to be sun-light upon the book-clad wall. a German, and summoned from the The afternoon he spends delightsouthern climate of Germany upon fully; for, having before him such a presentation to the church of a Swe- perfect flower-stand of pleasures, he dish hamlet lying in a high polar lati- scarcely knows where he should settude, rises in cheerfulness about seven tle. Supposing it to be Christmas-, o'clock in the morning; and till half day, he preaches again: he preaches past nine he burns his lamp. At on a subject which calls up images of nine o'clock, the stars are still shine the beauteous eastern-land, or of etering, and the unclouded moon even nity. By this time, twilight and yet longer. This prolongation of gloom prevail through the church: star-light into the forenoon is to only a couple of wax lights upon the him delightful; for he is a German, altar throw wondrous and mighty and has a sense of something mar- shadows through the aisles : vellous in a starry forenoon. Me angel that hangs down from the roof thinks, I behold the priest and his above the baptismal font, is awoke tlock moving towards the church with into a solemn life by the shadows and lanterns: the lights dispersed amongst the rays, and seems almost in the act of the crowd connect the congregation ascension: through the windows, the into the appearance of some domestic stars or the moon are beginning to groupę or larger household, and carry peer ; aloft, in the pulpit, which is the priest back to his childish years now hid in gloom, the priest is induring the winter season and Christ- flamed and possessed by the sacred mas matins, when every hand bore burthen of glad tidings which he is its candle. Arrived at the pulpit, he announcing : he is lost and insensible declares to his audience the plain to all besides ; and from amidst the truth, word for word, as it stands in darkness which surrounds him, he the Gospel : in the presence of God, pours down his thunders, with tears all intellectual pretensions are called and agitation, reasoning of future upon to be silent; the very reason worlds, and of the heaven of heaceases to be reasonable; nor is any vens, and whatsoever else can most thing reasonable in the sight of God powerfully shake the heart and the but a sincere and upright heart. affections.
Descending from his pulpit in these Just as he and his flock are is- holy fervours, he now, perhaps, takes suing from the church the bright a walk : it is about four o'clock: and Christmas sun ascends above the he walks beneath a sky lit up by horizon, and shoots his beams up- the shifting northern lights, that on their faces. The old men, who to his eye appear but an Aurora are numerous in Sweden, are all striking upwards from the eterna!
morning of the south, or as a forest that he is in Sweden by the time that composed of saintly thickets, like his lamp is brought in; and then, inthe fiery bushes of Moses, that are deed, he will be somewhat disconround about the throne of God. certed to recognize his study in what
Thus, if it be the afternoon of had now shaped itself to his fancy as Christmas day: but, if it be any other a room in some foreign land. Howafternoon, visitors, perhaps, come ever, if he would pursue this airy and bring their well bred, grown- creation, he need but light at his up daughters; like the fashionable lamp a wax-candle-end, to gain a world in London, he dines at sun- glimpse through the whole evening set; that is to say, like the. un- into that world of fashion and splenfashionable world of London, he dour, from which he purchased the dines at two o'clock; and he drinks said wax-candle-end. For I should coffee by moonlight; and the par- suppose, that at the court of Stocksonage-house becomes an enchanted holm, as elsewhere, there must be palace of pleasure gleaming with candle-ends to be bought of the twilight, star-light, and moon-light. state-footmen. Or, perhaps, he goes over to the But now, after the lapse of half schoolmaster, who is teaching his af- a year, all at once there strikes upon ternoon school : there, by the candle- his heart something more beautiful light, he gathers round his knees all than Italy, where the sun sets so the scholars, as if-being the children much earlier in summer-time than it of his spiritual children—they must does at our Swedish hamlet: and therefore be his own grand-children; what is that? It is the longest day, and with delightful words he wins with the rich freight that it carries in their attention, and pours knowledge its bosom, and leading by the hand into their docile hearts.
the early dawn blushing with rosy All these pleasures failing, he may light, and melodious with the caroling pace up and down in his library al- of larks at one o'clock in the mornready, by three o'clock, gloomy with ing. Before two, that is, at sun-rise, twilight, but fitfully enlivened by a the elegant party that we mentioned glowing fire, and steadily by the last winter arrive in gay clothing bright moonlight; and he needs do no at the parsonage; for they are bound more than taste at every turn of his on a little excursion of pleasure in walk a little orange marmalade to company with the priest. At two call up images of beautiful Italy, and o'clock they are in motion ; at which its gardens, and orange groves, be- time all the flowers are glittering, fore all his five senses, and as it were, and the forests are gleaming with the to the very tip of his tongue. Looks mighty light. The warm sun threatens ing at the moon, he will not fail to re- them with no storm nor thunder collect that the very same silver disk showers; for both are rare in Sweden. hangs at the very same moment he- The priest, in common with the rest tween the branches of the laurels in of the company, is attired in the cosItaly. It will delight him to consider tume of Sweden; he wears his short that the Eolian harp, and the lark, jacket with a broad scarf, his short and indeed music of all kinds, and cloak above that, his round hat with the stars, and children, are just the floating plumes, and shoes tied with same in hot climates and in cold. bright ribbons: like the rest of the And when the post-boy, that rides men, he resembles a Spanish knight, in with news from Italy, winds his or a provençal, or other man of the horn through the hamlet, and with a south; more especially when he few simple notes raises up on the and his gay company are seen flying frozen window of his study a vision through the lofty foliage luxuriant of flowery realms; and when he plays with blossom, that within so short a with treasured leaves of roses and of period of weeks has shot forth from lilies from some departed summer, or the garden plots and the vakel with the plumes of a bird of Para, boughs. dise, the memorial of some distant That a longest day like this, friendl; when further, his heart is bearing such a cornucopia of sun. moved by the magnificent sounds of shine, of cloudless ether, of buds and Lady-days. Sallal-season, Cherry, bells, of blossoms and of leisure, time, Trinity-Sundays, the rose of should pass away more rapidly than June, &c. low can he fail to forget the shortest,- is not difficult to sup
pose. As early as eight o'clock in the ber away in beautiful bowers the evening the party breaks up; the sun brief, warm hours until the re-appearis now burning more gently over the ance of the sun. This proposal is half-closed sleepy flowers: ' about generally adopted : and the garden nine he has mitigated his rays, and is occupied : many a lovely pair are is beheld bathing as it were naked in making believe to sleep, but, in fact, the blue depths of heaven: about are holding each other by the hand. ten, at which hour the company re- The happy priest walks up and down assemble at the parsonage, the priest through the parterres. Coolness is deeply moved, for throughout the comes, and a few stars. His nighthamlet, though the tepid sun, now violets and gillyflowers open and sunk to the horizon, is still shedding breathe out their powerful odours. a sullen glow upon the cottages and To the north, from the eternal mornthe window panes, every thing re- ing of the pole, exhales as it were a poses in profoundest silence and golden dawn. The priest thinks of sleep: the birds even are all slum- the village of his childhood far away bering in the golden summits of the in Germany; he thinks of the life of woods : and at last, the solitary sun man, his hopes, and his aspirations : himself sets, like a moon, amidst the and he is calm and at peace with universal quiet of nature. To our himself. Then all at once starts up priest, walking in his romantic dress, the morning sun in his freshness. it seems as though rosy-coloured Some there are in the garden would realms were laid open, in which fai- fain confound it with the evening sun, ries and spirits range; and he would and close their eyes again: but the scarcely feel an emotion of wonder, if, larks betray all, and waken every in this hour of golden vision, his bro- sleeper from bower to bower. ther, who ran away in childhood, Then again begin pleasure and should suddenly present himself as morning in their pomp of radiance e; one alighting from some blooming —and almost I could persuade myself heaven of enchantment.
to delineate the course of this day The priest will not allow his com- also, though it differs from its predepany to depart: he detains them in cessor hardly by so much as the leaf the parsonage garden,--where, says of a rose-bud. be, every one that chooses may slum
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT-THE HOUSE OF WEEPING.
Since the day when the town of Has- hopes, however, were but faint and lau first became the seat of a court, no weakly; for they could not repose man could remember that any one any extraordinary confidence in his event in its annals (always excepting good faith—not only because, in all the birth of the hereditary prince) had cases, he conducted his affairs in been looked for with so anxious a cl- a disinterested spirit, and with a riosity as the opening of the last will perverse obstinacy of moral princiand testament left by Van der Kabel. ple, whereas his seven relatives This Van der Kabel might be styled were mere novices, and young bethe Haslau Cresus; and his whole ginners in the trade of morality, but life might be termed, according to also because, in all these moral extrathe pleasure of the wits, one long fes- vagances of his (so distressing to the tival of God-sends, or a daily wash, feelings of the sincere rascal), he ing of golden sands, nightly impreg- thought proper to be very satirical, nated by golden showers of Danaë. and had liis heart so full of odd caSeven distant surviving relatives of prices, tricks, and snares, for unsuspiseven distant relatives deceased, of cious scoundrels, that (as they all the said Van der Kabel, entertained said) no man, who was but raw in some little hopes of a place amongst the art of virtue, could deal with his legatees, grounded upon an as- him, or place any reliance upon his surance which he had made, “ that intentions. Indeed the covert laughupon his oath he would not fail to ter which played about his temples, remember them in his will." These and the falsetto tones of his sneering voice, somewhat weakened the ad- office of the council, to the councilvantageous impression which was chamber: both were exhibited in romade by the noble composition of his tation to the members of the council face, and by a pair of large hands, and the heirs, in order that they from which were daily dropping fa- might see the privy seal of the town vours little and great, benefit-nights, impressed upon them: the registryChristmas-boxes, and new-year's of-consignment, indorsed upon the gifts: for this reason it was that, by schedule, was read aloud to the the whole flock of birds who sought seven heirs by the town-clerk : and shelter in his boughs, and who fed by that registry it was notified to and built their nests on him, as on them, that the deceased had acany wild service-tree, he was, not- tually consigned the schedule to the withstanding, reputed a secret ma- magistrate, and entrusted it to the gazine of springes; and they were corporation-chest; and that on the scarce able to find eyes for the vise day of consignment he was still of ble berries which fed them, in their sound mind :-finally, the seven scrutiny after the supposed gossamer seals, which he had himself affixed snares.
to the instrument, were found unIn the interval between two apo- broken. These preliminaries gone plectic fits he had drawn up his will, through, it was now (but not until and had deposited it with the ma- a brief registry of all these forms had gistrate. When he was just at been drawn up by the town-clerk) the point of death he transferred to lawful, in God's name, that the will the seven presumptive heirs the cere should be opened and read aloud by tificate of this deposit; and even Mr. Mayor, word for word as folthen said, in his old tone-how far lows :it was from his expectation, that by “ I Van der Kabel, on this 7th of any such anticipation of his ap- May, 179–, being in my house, at Hasproaching decease, he could at all lau, situate in Dog-street, deliver depress the spirits of men so steady and make known this for my last and sedate, whom, for his own part, will ; and without many millions of he would much rather regard in the words ; notwithstanding I have been light of laughing than of weeping both a German notary, and a Dutch heirs: to which remark one only schoolmaster. Howsoever I may disof the whole number, namely, Mr. grace my old professions by this parHarprecht, inspector-of-police, re- simony of words, I believe myself to plied as a cool ironist to a bitter be so far at home in the art and one—“ that the total amount of con- calling of a notary, that I am comcern and of interest, which might petent to act for myself as a testator severally belong to them in such in due form, and as a regular devisor a loss, was not (they were sincerely of property. sorry it was not) in their own power * It is a custom with testators to to determine."
premise the moving causes of their At length the time is come when wills. These, in my case, as in most the seven heirs have made their others, are regard for my happy appearance at the town-hall, with departure, and for the disposal of their certificate-of-deposit; videlicet, the succession to my propertythe ecclesiastical councillor Glantz; which, by the way, is the object of Harprecht, the inspector-of-police; a tender passion in various quarters. Neupeter, the court-agent; the To say any thing about my funeral, court-fiscal, Knoll; Pasvogel, the and all that-would be absurd and bookseller ; the reader of the morn- stupid. This, and what shape my ing lecture, Flacks; and Monsieur remains shall take, let the eternal Flitte, from Alsace. Solemnly, and in sun settle above, not in any gloomy due form, they demanded of the ma- winter, but in some of his most vergistrate the schedule of effects con- dant springs. signed to him by the late Kabel, and “ As to those charitable foundathe opening of his will. The principal tions, and memorial institutions of beexecutor of this will was Mr. Mayor nevolence, about which notaries are so himself: the sub-executors were the much occupied, in my case I appoint rest of the town-council. Thereupon, as follows: to three thousand of my without delay, the schedule and the poor townsmen, of every class, I will were fetched from the register- assign just the same number of flo
" CLAUSE III.
rins, which sum I will that, on the vitated downwards into the dimen.
cepted, my present house in Dog-
At this point, seven faces, like or tears on behalf of the testator. those of the seven sleepers, gra
That since the terraqueous globe dually elongated into preternatural has moved or existed, there can extent. The ecclesiastical councillor, ever have met a more lugubria young man, but already famous ous congress, or one more out of throughout Germany for his sermons temper and enraged than this of printed or preached, was especially Seven United Provinces, as it were, aggrieved by such offensive per- all dry and all confederated for the sonality: Monsieur Flitte rapped purpose of weeping, I suppose no out a curse that rattled even in the impartial judge will believe.
At ears of magistracy: the chin of first some invaluable minutes were Flacks, the morning lecturer, gra- lost in pure confusion of mind, in