Page images

gry, as



sions signifying successive draughts so The sexa lasted about two hours, taken that the glass is to be filled and and no one needed to quit it hunemptied entirely the first time, to its

we returned “home” again half part the second time, to its third for the "zwyck.” The dancing hall part the third time, and so forth. I in the nation's house, already spoken have seen “the octave” accomplished, of, now presents itself in the shape but to ascend the ladder so high of a beer saloon, of special splendour. is a very rare exception, and there In the middle is a long table, and is usually some sham in the whole couple of small ones in the proceeding. Some of Apollo's sons corners ; besides these nothing but do not even touch the “Swedish wine" a pianoforte, and benches along the at all, though they may fetch the walls. The other apartments-drawglasses and fill them. The clang of the ing-room, library and reading-room, glasses is accompanied by songs; the &c.— preserve their usual fittings. On leader of the national orchestra giving the side-tables are soda and seltzer, the tune, and all present joining at and on the large one numbers of small least in the refrain. The intervals of glasses and two or three big bowls, these songs are occupied by the har- with pitchers for filling the bowls when monies of the band in the gallery. In empty. All these vessels are brimaddition, all through the repast every ming with “Swedish punch,” which one is free to chat, laugh, walk about, constitutes the only stimulating liquor and so forth, the sexa always being a during the rest of the night. This promenade one, and not like a Ger- exclusively national drink assuredly commerz," where the students

owes its great popularity in my Fatherare riveted, as it were, to their land to its Swedish origin. Among benches, tables, and schoppen. foreigners its repute, however, is not

The Swedish bread--as indispens- yet solid, and many will probably still able for a

sexa as the brandy- say of it, as did a distingushed American differs materially from bread in Eng- scholar: "The Swedish punch has a land and on the Continent.

celestial taste, but there is something of mopolitan” bread is little used with the devil about it.” Even a German, us, being regarded as more appro

albeit accustomed to exhaust twenty priate for babies and very old people or thirty schoppen a night, pays than for persons of vigorous health, respect to the Swedish punch ; it will and to the “national” one it will never cause him, he says, · feeble knees" become a dangerous rival. Fancy the

and “ Kater" or

“graues Elend; dough baked out in a circular plate of but my countrymen, well-knowing the about twelve inches in diameter, and "devil” in the punch, take care to completely flat, with numerous parallel elude the charming tempter. Hay. lines on the upper side and a hole in ing stepped into the hall we are ad. the centre, and you have our Swedish dressed by the “curator” in a toast, bread before you. Being quite hard, inviting us to be welcome and enjoy it is easy to break, but you cannot life, and are then left to ourselves bend it, and in broken pieces it is

in all the liberties of the sexa, put into the basket.

including power to smoke. Hence"Help yourself” is here the rule. forth speeches, student-songs, and No doubt some attention is paid to the performances on the piano alterprofessors—knives and forks are put nate.

Later on the large table is into their hands, for instance; no doubt moved away, and the wardrobe of the all present behave as gentlemen ; but theatre is searched for robes, pettithere is an American liberty of action coats, bonnets, shawls, muffs, hats, about the whole which contrasts strik- dress-coats, &c., &c. ; for Terpsichora ingly with the manners at a London once more deigns to call us, and some dinner.)

of the company prepare to greet her.

- Cos

Immediately before her appearance I the 30th of April all the students, led quitted the nation for my room, not by the standard of the corps and the one in a “duly licensed lodging,” but “national” colours, and marching to one of my own choosing, and with no the airs of the Singers' Chorus, proceed fear of being reported for late hours. from the market-place to the Royal Others had done the same already; Castle,c lose by the city, in order to hail among them probably all honorary the coming of spring. A few lingering members, the scholar from Oxford snow-flakes will occasionally protest without question.

Our absence or against the festival, whilst blazing bonpresence, however, in no way alters fires and fireworks from the great resthe general character of such a meet- taurant outside Upsala, form a poor ing as that of which I have sketched substitute for the absent sun, in glory the outline. The students, having of which "the white-capped” sing no reason to avoid the professors, like “How beautiful the May sun shines.” to meet them, while the latter know Having performed the customary pretty well that the students, though proceedings, they set out for their they occasionally show themselves respective nations, for the purpose of as jolly companions, on the whole finishing by sexa and zwyck the work live a life more laborious, earnest, begun. The festivities are continued and moral than the greater part through May-day, the nations with of other youths of their own class their colours mutually greeting each and age. Of those who greeted the other with songs and addresses.

On Muses some saluted Phæbus also, the occasion in question, these merry and in his presence gratified them- customs protracted themselves into an selves with a so-called “night sexa.” extempore May carnival, characterized This meal, when indulged in, is of by scenes and figures of great excourse a frugal one, consisting merely travagance - on foot, on horseback, of “what the house can afford to and in coaches. offer" out of the national pantry. So Closing here my sketch of Upsala far for my initiation to Alma Mater. University in general, and the student

As regards the general student fes- life in particular, I would add but tival when I quitted the university in these words :-If there be one feature 1874, my account may be condensed peculiarly characteristic of an Upsala into a few lines. This festivity deals student, it is his love of singing, in with the celebration of the arrival the practice of which he is, perhaps, of spring, and is carried on by the not unworthy of being a countryman "student corps" at large, in accordance of Jenny Lind and Christine Nilsson. with ancient rules. On the evening of


[ocr errors][merged small]

He was


The beginning of this century wit- Walpole's famous words is good feelnessed the gradual extinction of a ing. Who that ever knew her does great social power. It has died out, not remember the graceful hostess, and its place knows it no more.

whose house the most insignificant La Grande Dame s'en va, wrote a never left without feeling he had French author about the year 1830; received an individual welcome, while le milieu respirable pour elle n'existant the familiar word or jest distinguished plus ; elle n'a pas faire école.

the friend or habitué ? She who had right; la Grande Dame is extinct. And for all the kind word, the happy not only in France, but in English phrase, yet whose gentle dignity kept society almost. simultaneously she dis- aloof


risk of the forwardness appeared. Whether from the same which might have been feared in a

--that the elements necessary society as mixed as that which the to her existence are wanting here interests of the Liberal party obliged also-or whether, according to the her to receive. She who to her latest inflexible laws of supply and demand, day reigned over society by her exshe ceased to exist when the restless- quisite tact even more than by her ness of modern life no longer re- position; and gained all hearts by quired her calm, obstructive influence, that irresistible charm which sprang I leave to wiser heads to determine. from the well of kindness in her own. Enough to note the fact that she has But the exigencies of the so-ety in departed, and left no successors. I which she played so prominent a part trust that I shall not be misunder- had effaced in her the traditions of stood to imply that our society has her youthful days. Between the type not still, notwithstanding the debas- she represented and that of the Grande ing influences of slang and fastness, Dame de l'Ancien Régime there is a numerous specimens of the high-bred great gulf fixed by national habits and lady “ of the best class, and better than character. Lady Palmerston, under her class," who has ever been the boast fostering circumstances, might live of our aristocracy, and remains to bear again; but the Grande Dame was an her own witness to her own days. anomaly: she is gone

for ever. Those who are now gone, but in my To attempt to trace out this dissimiyouth were still living and retained in larity and its causes would require an their manners the traditions of the abler pen than mine, a profound knowold school, were so numerous and well- ledge of the social history of the past known that to name some would be century in both countries, and, above invidious, to omit none impossible, all, the risk of entering on a subject without trenching on the sacredness treated by master minds of the past of private life. Still, there was one generation, and in this by De Tocquewhom I may be forgiven for naming, ville, Prévost Paradol, Henri Taine, because her political existence and rôle and many other celebrated writers. I have marked her place in the history wish carefully to avoid any national of her times ; one who will ever be to comparisons, and simply try to fix the me the type of the perfect lady, every

recollections of my earliest youth, where recognised, whatever her out- passed entirely in Paris in close inward symbols, by that inward grace timacy with many of the families of good breeding, which in Horace representing the greatest names in

French history. Thus I became better Neuilly, where everything distinacquainted with their domestic life, guished in arts, literature, and even with the tone of their very restricted finance, was entertained with the intimate circle, than was perhaps the most princely hospitality, was, by its case with any English in the days suc- very contrast, equally distasteful to ceeding the Restoration, when the the gloomy, ascetic Court. The soreness of recent defeat had just Duchesse d'Orleans, adored by all succeeded the privations of the Conti- who approached her, lived but for her nental Blocus, and the name of Eng- husband and her beautiful young land was with few exceptions odious family, in whom her somewhat southern to all French ears. It happened in piety counteracted the liberal tendenour case that amongst the noble émigrés cies of their education. She cultivated returned from England my parents in them religious feelings. She anihad some personal friends, and a mated them with enthusiastic loyalty family connection in the Faubourg St. to the throne. I remember hearing Germain, and thus saw them in their that when the guns were firing for the own homes, a favour seldom accorded birth of the first child of the Duchesse to strangers. We children continued de Berri, the young Duc de Chartres, playmates of our still older friends, the then between eight and nine years children of the Orleans family, which old, sat intently listening for the gave us a foot in both camps for eventful twenty-first gun (which inopposite camps they were. The Duc dicated the birth of a prince), saying, d'Orleans, tolerated from his position Silence ! j'écoute si c'est mon roi, ou;ma as premier Prince du sang, and until femme, unconscious of anxiety for the the birth of the Duc de Bordeaux, heir throne which hung on the balance. to the Crown—was looked upon with Such was the state of parties in 1823, distrust by the Court and the noble when I first recollect the families of Faubourg as the son of Egalité, the whom I shall now speak. pupil of Madame de Genlis, the Swiss It is very remarkable how little, schoolmaster, the American democratic although only separated by that wanderer, the bold advocate of the poli

Channel passed daily by tical offender. The well-known am- thousands, how imperfectly we know bition and influence of his sister, good French society. We have our Madame Adelaide, added to this un- preconceived notions, our judgments just distrust, which not even respect formed on the writings of a certain for his angelic wife could conquer. A class of French novelists, who because king's daughter, a Bourbon, aunt of they write about comtesses and the young Duchesse de Berri, who was duchesses, we fancy must know them.' tenderly attached to her,--such claims We in England may safely trust to as these could not be wholly ignored the novels of the late Lord Lytton, by the Court and its followers; but the Lord Beaconsfield, Mr. Whyte Melgloomy Duchesse d'Angoulême, who ville, George Elliot, Mrs. Oliphant, had never forgiven the murder of her Thackeray, Lady G. Fullerton, and parents, naturally kept aloof from the a few others, to give a foreigner Duc d'Orleans, and only the necessary a sufficiently accurate idea of life intercourse took place between the on the higher rungs of the ladder Court and the Palais Royal. The to which they mostly belong. But liberal education which Louis Philippe it is not

in the France of gave his sons, sending them to walk modern days, where writers do not daily, satchel on back, to the Collége belong to the upper classes, or do not de France, to pursue their studies in write novels. Some memoirs written common with boys of all classes, went

i Sce this well stated in " French Novels counter to all their ideas. The bril

and French Life," hy: H. de Lagardie ; Jacliant society of the Palais Royal and millan for March, 1877.





by themselves, but printed for pri- easily the porter swung it on its vate circulation only, could alone give circular hinges, admitted carriages ; an idea of a class to which in our the foot-passengers entering by a small appreciation of their home life and door cut in the large one, as in some of domestic virtues 1 fear we do but our own old houses. These hotels were scant justice. I, who have seen them immense ; none of our largest houses in in the bosom of their families, who London, except Burlington House behave received from these, the last of fore its alteration, give an idea of them. their social type, constant kindness, You drove into a large court, round and cordial reception should indeed which the house was built, a peristyle feel proud and happy, could my simple in the centre. The garden front on the but faithful witness serve to dispel ground and first floors was devoted to one erroneous impression, or conquer the heads of families and to reception; one unjust prejudice against those I the second floor, and the two sides of early learnt to love and respect. the court, were divided into innumer

There were other reasons besides able apartments with entresols ; these the natural distaste for the English to although low-pitched, were roomy, and account for so few of them having been in the clear sky and light air of Paris admitted into the intimacy of French had none of the stuffy darkness which families. All foreigners, accueillant as would be their lot in London. That they are to strangers in society, are they are pleasant abodes enough any far more chary than we are of admit- who has enjoyed the entreso! ting them into domestic life, partly apartment at the Hotel Bristol will because, owing to the spoliations of testify. In these were lodged the the Revolution, and the new laws younger branches of the family, the of division of property, many of the tutor, M. l'Abbé, the secrétaire, and great families were poor, partly that the hangers-on-their name “hugger mugger" " is the only term legion. As the sons and daughters to express the life of a French family, grew up and married, each young even many of the greatest, in those couple took an apartment in the caradays when it was the custom for all vanserai of one or other paternal abode. the different ménuges composing it There could not be a separate kitchen to live under one roof. These ances- to each, therefore from mingled motives tral houses, Hôtels as they were called, of economy and a wish to keep a due were mostly situated in the Fau- watch and hold over the young couple, bourg St. Germain, where some of all had their meals in common in the them are still to be seen spared by apartment of the head of the house, the Revolution-although more have excepting the morning café, which perished in the suicidal fires of the was taken by each person when and Commune. Some streets, as the Rue where they liked. There is still in de Lille, Rue de l'Université, Rue St. some French houses of my acquaintDominique, were entirely composed ance a sort of buttery, where, between of these lordly elevations, with their the hours of eight and nine, an ungrand old trees towering over the high restricted supply of coffee, milk, and wall which separated them from the bread in the rough, but excellent in quiet street they overshadowed, to its kind, can be had ; served on white which no shops brought traffic or noise. marble slabs, cleaner and less expenIt was difficult to realise that this was sive than tablecloths. This arrangethe bustling Paris whose deafening ment saves time, as each servant comes roar and whirl of excitement you had at the hour most convenient. left on the Boulevard but a few Between eleven and twelve came minutes before. In this wall the en- the déjeuner, which we should call trance gate, called the Porte Cochère, luncheon. Often have I assisted with so gigantic that you wondered how my young companions at these repasts,

« EelmineJätka »