Read CHAPTER XX - STOCKHOLM AND ITS SURROUNDINGS of Up The Baltic Young America in Norway‚ Sweden‚ and Denmark , free online book, by Oliver Optic, on ReadCentral.com.

After the professor’s lecture on board of the ship, the students were piped to dinner.  According to his usual custom, Paul Kendall, with his lady, took rooms at the hotel, and in this instance his example was followed by Shuffles.  Dr. Winstock and Captain Lincoln had already accepted an invitation from Paul to spend the afternoon with him in a ride through the city; and as soon as the boats landed at the quay, they hastened to keep the appointment, while the students scattered all over the city to take a general view.

“Well, Paul, how do you find the hotel?” asked the doctor, when the party were seated in the carriage.

“Very good; it is one of the best hotels I have seen in Europe.”

“It has an excellent location, but I think there was no such hotel when I was here before, and I staid at the Hoetel Kung Carl.”

“This is a bath-house,” said the commissionnaire, as the carriage turned the corner at the hotel, and he pointed to a large, square building, with a court-yard in the middle.

“That looks well for the cleanliness of the people, if they support such fine establishments as that.”

“Three classes of baths, sir,” added Moeller, the guide.  “In the first class you have a dressing-room, and an attendant to scrub you, and showers, douches, and everything of the sort.  This is Drottninggatan, the principal street of the city,” added the man, as the carriage turned into another street.

“In other words, Queen Street,” explained the surgeon.

“It is rather a narrow street for the principal one,” said Paul.

“All the streets of Stockholm are narrow, or nearly all; and very few of them have sidewalks.”

“This street looks very much like the streets at home.  The shops are about the same thing.  There’s a woman in a queer dress,” added Captain Lincoln.

“That’s a Dalecarlian woman.  They used to row the boats about the waters of the city, coming down from Dalecarlia to spend the summer here; but the little steamers have taken the business all away from them.  They hired a boat for the season, and paid the owner one half of the fares.”

“Their costume is rather picturesque,” added Paul.

“But that woman is far from handsome,” laughed Mrs. Kendall.

“None of them are pretty,” replied the doctor.

The dress was a rather short petticoat, with a fanciful bodice, in which red predominated.  Quite a number of them were seen by the party during their stay in Stockholm, but all of them had coarse features and clumsy forms.

The carriage returned to the centre of the city by another street, passing through Carl XIII.  Torg, or square, where stands the statue of that king.

“There is the Cafe Blanche, where they have music every afternoon in summer, with beer, coffee, and other refreshments.  The Swedes are very fond of these gardens,” said Moeller.  “Here is the Hotel Rydberg.  This is Gustaf Adolf Torget, and that is his statue.”

Crossing the bridge to the little island in the stream, the carriage stopped, to enable the party to look down into the garden, which is called Stroemparterren, where a band plays, and refreshments are dispensed in the warm evenings of summer.  Passing the immense palace, the tourists drove along the Skeppsbron, or quay, which is the principal landing-place of the steamers.  Crossing another bridge over the south stream, or outlet of Lake Maeler, they entered the southern suburb of the city, called Soedermalm.  Ascending to the highest point of land, the party were conducted to the roof of a house, where a magnificent view of the city and its surroundings was obtained.

“We will sit down here and rest a while,” said the doctor, suiting the action to the words.  “This promontory, or some other one near it, was formerly called Agne’s Rock, and there is a story connected with it.  Agne was the king of Sweden about 220 B.C.  In a war with the Finns, he killed their king, and captured his daughter Skiolfa.  The princess, according to the custom of those days, became the wife, but practically the slave, of her captor.  She was brought to Sweden, where Agne and his retainers got beastly drunk on the occasion of celebrating the memorial rites of her father.  Skiolfa, with the assistance of her Finnish companions, passed a rope through the massive gold chain on the neck of the king, and hung him to a tree, beneath which their tent was pitched.  Having avenged the death of her father, the princess and her friends embarked in their boats, and escaped to Finland.”

“They finished him, then,” laughed Captain Lincoln.  “But what sort of boats had they?”

“I don’t know,” replied Dr. Winstock.

“Could they cross the Baltic in boats?”

“Yes.  When you go to Finland you will find that the course will be through islands nearly all the way.  There is no difficulty in crossing in an open boat.”

“What is the population of Stockholm?” asked Paul.

“One hundred and thirty-five thousand,” replied Moeller.  “It was founded by King Birger in 1250.”

“There is a monitor,” said Paul, pointing to the waters near Castelholmen, not far from the anchorage of the squadron.

“We have four in the Swedish navy, and Russia has plenty of them.  Ericsson, who invented them, was a Swede, you know.”

After the tourists had surveyed the panorama to their satisfaction, they descended, and entering the carriage, drove over to the Riddarholm, where the guide pointed out the church, the statue of Gustavus Vasa, the house of the Nobles, and other objects of interest.  Returning to the quay, they stopped to look at the little steamers which were whisking about in every direction.

“That is the National Museum,” said Moeller, pointing to a large and elegant building across the stream.

“I should like to sail in one of those little boats,” said Mrs. Kendall.

“We can go over and back in ten minutes, if you like,” added the guide.

“Let us go.”

The party alighted from the carriage, and entered the little boat.

“How much did you pay, Paul?” asked Grace.

“The fare is no larger than the boat.  It is three oere each person.”

“How much is that?”

“Let me see; eight tenths of a cent, or less than a halfpenny, English.”

The excursionists returned without landing.

“I should like to go again,” said Grace.  “It is delightful sailing in such dear little steamers.”

“If you please, we will ride over to the Djurgarden, and return by the steamer, which will land us at the Stroemparterre,” said the guide.

This proposition was accepted, and by a circuitous route they reached the place indicated, which, in English, is the Deer Garden.  It is on an island, separated from the main land by a channel.  The southern portion of it is a thickly-populated village, but the principal part of the island is laid out as a park, of which the people of Stockholm are justly proud.  It was originally a sterile tract of land:  the first improvements converted it into a deer park for the royal use; but Gustaf III. and Charles (XIV.) John, as Bernadotte was styled, turned it into a public park.  It is laid out in walks and avenues beautifully shaded with oaks and other trees.  The land is undulating, and parts of it command splendid views of the islands and watercourses in the vicinity.  On the outskirts is an asylum for the blind and for deaf mutes.  Rosendahl, a country house, built by Charles John in 1830, and often occupied by him, is quite near the park.

The party drove through the principal avenues of the garden, and stopped at the bust of Bellman, the great poet of Sweden, whose birthday is annually celebrated here with music and festivities.  Around the park are various tea-gardens, cafes, and other places of amusement, including a theatre, circus, and opera-house for summer use.  There is an Alhambra, with a restaurant; a Tivoli, with a concert-room; a Novilla, with a winter garden, and a concert hall for summer.  The tourists stopped at Hasselbacken, which is celebrated for its good dinners at moderate prices.  The visitors seated themselves in a broad veranda, overlooking a garden filled with little tables, in the centre of which was a kiosk for the music.  The viands, especially the salmon, were very nice, and the coffee, as usual, was excellent.  After dinner a short walk brought the party to the landing-place of the little steamers, where, paying eight oere, or about two cents, each, they embarked.  The boat flew along at great speed for such a small craft, whisked under the Skeppsholm bridge, and in a few moments landed the tourists at the circular stone quay, which surrounds the Stroemparterre.  Paul and his lady walked to the hotel, and the doctor and the captain went to the Skeppsbron, where a boat soon conveyed them to the ship.

Sanford and Stockwell had been on board several hours, and had had time to make up their minds in regard to their future course.  They had considered the advice of the boatswain, and finally concluded to adopt it.  Clyde Blacklock was as tame as a parlor poodle.  His experience in running away, especially after his three days on board of the Rensdyr, was far from satisfactory.

“I suppose I must go into that cage again,” said he, when he went on board.

“That depends on yourself,” replied Peaks.  “If you say that you don’t intend to run away again, we shall not put you in the brig.”

“I think I won’t,” added Clyde.

“You think?”

“Well, I know I won’t.  I will try to do the best I can.”

“That’s all we ask,” said Peaks.  “You can say all this to the principal.”

Mr. Lowington returned earlier than most of the ship’s company, and Peaks reported to him immediately.  The coxswain and his associate were called up first.

“We have come on board, sir,” said Sanford, touching his cap.

“I see you have.  You have been gone a long time, and I have been told that you had some difficulty in finding the ship,” added the principal.

“We have concluded to tell the whole truth, sir,” said Sanford, hanging his head.

“I am very glad to hear that.”

“We didn’t wish to find the ship.”

“Can you explain the accident by which the second cutter was stove at Christiansand?”

“I did it on purpose; but no other fellow was to blame, or knew anything about it.”

“I am astonished to think you should expose the lives of your crew, by pushing your boat right into the path of a steamer.”

“I didn’t do it, sir, till the steamer had stopped her wheels.  I wanted to get on board of her, and leave the ship.  In Norway, I cheated the rest of the party, and led them out of the way.”

“How could you do that?”

“I told Ole what to say.”

“Then you wished to travel alone?”

“Yes, sir.”

Sanford and Stockwell made a clean breast of it, explaining how they had lost trains and steamers, and thus avoided returning to the ship.

“Then Ole is a rogue as well as the rest of you, it seems.”

“He did what I told him to do, and paid him for doing,” replied Sanford.

“He is a runaway, too,” interposed the boatswain, who proceeded to tell the story of the waif.  “The boy has suffered a good deal from the ill-treatment of his step-father.”

“I am sorry for him; but his character does not seem to be up to the average of that of his countrymen.  I don’t think we want him on board,” replied Mr. Lowington.  “As you say this Olaf has no claim for his services, we will see about him.”

The Rensdyr had by this time arrived at the quay, and it was not believed that Captain Olaf would permit his step-son, whose services seemed to be of so much value to him, to escape without making an effort to reclaim him.  After all hands had returned from the shore, he put in an appearance, and seeing Peaks in the waist, directed his steps towards him.  The profusion of fine uniforms, the order and discipline that reigned on deck, and the dignified mien of the instructors who were walking back and forth, seemed to produce an impression upon the mind of the rough skipper, for he took off his hat, and appeared to be as timid as though he had come into the presence of the king.

“Good evening, Captain Olaf,” said the boatswain.

“I want the boy Ole,” replied the skipper, bowing, and returning the salutation.

“You must talk with the principal about that.”

“I don’t understand.”

Peaks conducted Olaf to the quarter-deck, where Mr. Lowington was conversing with Mr. and Mrs. Kendall, who had come on board to visit their old friends.

“This is the man that claims Ole,” said the boatswain.

“I want the boy, sir,” added Captain Olaf, bowing as gracefully as he knew how.

“If Ole chooses to go with you, he may go,” replied the principal.

“He does not choose to go.”

“I certainly shall not compel him to go,” continued Mr. Lowington.

“I will make him go.”

“I shall allow no violence on board of this ship.”

“But he is my boy; the son of my wife that is dead.”

“He is not your son, and you have no more claim on him than I have.  The boy is an orphan.  Have you been appointed his guardian?”

This question was out of Olaf’s depth in the English language; but it was translated into Danish by Professor Badois, and the skipper did not pretend that he had any legal authority over the boy.

“But I have fed and clothed him, and he must work for me,” said he.

“Ole says you did not feed him, and he had nothing but a few dirty rags on when we picked him up.  I have nothing to do with the matter.  Ole is free to go or stay, just as he pleases,” replied the principal, turning away from the skipper, to intimate that he wished to say nothing more about the matter.

“The boy is here, and I shall make him go with me,” said Olaf, looking ugly enough to do anything.

Mr. Lowington glanced at Peaks, and appeared to be satisfied that no harm would come to Ole.  Olaf walked back into the waist, and then to the forecastle, glancing at every student he met, in order to identify his boy.

“See here, Norway; there comes your guardian genius,” said Scott, who, with a dozen others, had gathered around the trembling waif, determined to protect him if their services were needed.  “Bear a hand, and tumble down the fore-hatch.  Herr Skippenboggin is after you.”

Ole heeded this good advice, and followed by his supporters, he descended to the steerage.  Olaf saw him, and was about to descend the ladder, when Peaks interfered.

“You can’t go down there,” said he, decidedly.

“I want the boy,” replied Olaf.

“No visitors in the steerage without an invitation.”

“I will have Ole;” and the skipper began to descend.

“Avast, my hearty,” interposed the boatswain, laying violent hands on Olaf, and dragging him to the deck.

Bitts, the carpenter, and Leach, the sailmaker, placed themselves beside the boatswain, as the Norwegian picked himself up.

“You may leave the ship, now,” said Peaks, pointing to the accommodation stairs.

Olaf looked at the three stout men before him, and prudence triumphed over his angry passions.

“I will have the boy yet,” said he, as he walked to the stairs, closely attended by the three forward officers.

He went down into his boat, declaring that he would seize upon Ole the first time he caught him on shore.

“Where is Clyde?” asked Mr. Lowington, as soon as the savage skipper had gone.

“He is forward, sir; he behaves like a new man, and says he will not run away,” replied Peaks.

“Send him aft.”

“Ay, ay, sir.”

Clyde went aft.  He was a boy of quick impulses and violent temper.  He had been accustomed to have his own way; and this had done more to spoil him than anything else.  He had to learn that there was a power greater than himself, to which he must submit.  He had twice run away, and failed both times.  Three days of fear and absolute misery on board of the Rensdyr had given him time to think.  He determined, when he reached Stockholm, to return to his mother, and try to be a better boy.  Peaks, in the little steamer, had come upon him like a ghost.  He had expected never again to see the ship, or his particular tormentor; and to have the latter appear to him in such an extraordinary manner was very impressive, to say the least.  He realized that he must submit; but this thought, like that of resistance before, was only an impulse.

Clyde submitted, and was even candid enough to say so to the principal, who talked to him very gently and kindly for an hour, pointing out to him the ruin which he was seeking.

“We will try you again, Clyde,” said Mr. Lowington.  “We will wipe out the past, and begin again.  You may go forward.”

The next day was Sunday, and for a change, the officers and crews of the several vessels were permitted to land, and march to the English church in Stockholm.  The neat and pleasant little church was crowded to its utmost capacity by the attendance of such a large number.  Mr. Agneau, the chaplain, was invited to take a part in the service, and as Mrs. Kendall, Mrs. Shuffles, and many of the ship’s company were good singers, the vocal music was better than usual.

On Monday morning commenced the serious business of sight-seeing in Stockholm.  The royal palace, one of the largest and finest in Europe, and the most prominent building in the city, was the first place to be visited.  It is four hundred and eighteen feet long, by three hundred and ninety-one wide, with a large court-yard in the middle, from which are the principal entrances.  The lower story is of granite; the rest of brick, covered with stucco.  The students walked through the vast number of apartments it contains; through red chambers, green chambers, blue chambers, and yellow chambers, as they are designated, through the royal chapel, which is as large as a good-sized church, and through the throne-room, where the king opens the sessions of the Diet.  Several were devoted to the Swedish orders of knighthood.  The ceilings and walls of the state apartments are beautifully adorned with allegorical and mythological paintings.

The chamber of Bernadotte, or Charles John, remains just as it was during his last sickness.  On the bed lies his military cloak, which he wore in his great campaigns.  His cane, the gift of Charles XIII., stands in the room.  The walls are covered with green silk, and adorned with portraits of the royal family.  The apartments actually occupied by the present king were found to be far inferior in elegance to many republican rooms.  His chamber has a pine floor, with no carpet; but it looked more home-like than the great barn-like state-rooms.  In a series of small and rather low apartments are several collections of curious and antique articles, such as a collection of arms, including a pair of pistols presented to the king by President Lincoln; and of pipes, containing every variety in use, in the smoking-room.  The king’s library looks like business, for its volumes seemed to be for use rather than ornament.  The billiard-room is quite cosy, and his chamber contains photographs of various royal personages, as the Prince of Wales, the Queen of England, and others, which look as though the king had friends, and valued them like common people.  His majesty paints very well for a king, and the red cabinet contains pictures by him, and by Oscar I. The queen’s apartments, as well as the king’s, seemed to the boys like a mockery of royalty, for they were quite plain and comfortable.  The entire palace contains five hundred and eighty-three rooms.

The whole forenoon was employed in visiting the palace, and the students went on board the vessels to dinner.  As the day was pleasant, a boat excursion to Drottningholm was planned, and the fourteen boats of the squadron were soon in line.  A pilot was in the commodore’s barge, to indicate the course.  Passing under the North Bridge, the excursion entered the waters of the Maeler Lake.  A pull of two hours among beautiful islands, covered with the fresh green of spring, through narrow and romantic passages, brought them to their destination.  In some places, within five miles of Stockholm, the scene was so quiet, and nature so primitive, that the excursionists could have believed they were hundreds of miles from the homes of civilization.  Two or three of the islands had a house or two upon them; but generally they seemed to be unimproved.  The boats varied their order at the command of Commodore Cumberland, and when there were any spectators, nothing could exceed their astonishment at the display.

At Drottningholm, or Queen’s Island, there is a fine palace, built by the widow of Charles X., and afterwards improved and embellished by the kings of Sweden.  Attached to it is a beautiful garden, adorned with fountains and statues.  The party went through the palace, which contains a great many historical paintings, and some rooms fitted up in Chinese style.  As the students were about to embark, a char-a-banc, a kind of open omnibus, drawn by four horses, drove up to the palace, and a plainly-dressed lady alighted.  She stood on the portico, looking at the students; and the pilot said she was the Queen Dowager, wife of Oscar I. Of course the boys looked at her with quite as much interest as she regarded them.  The commodore called for three cheers for the royal lady, who was the daughter of Eugene Beauharnais, and granddaughter of the Empress Josephine.  She waved her handkerchief in return for the salute, and the students were soon pulling down the lake towards Stockholm.

The next forenoon was devoted to the Royal Museum, which has been recently erected.  It contains a vast quantity of Swedish antiquities and curiosities, with illustrations of national manners and customs.  It contains specimens of the various implements used in the ages of wood, stone, bronze, and iron, collections of coins and medals, armor, engravings, sculptures, and paintings, including a few works of the great masters of every school in Europe.  The students were particularly interested in what Scott irreverently called the “Old Clothes Room,” in which were deposited in glass cases the garments and other articles belonging to the Swedish kings and queens, such as the cradle and toys of Charles XII., and the huge sword with which he defended himself against the Turks at Bender; the sword of Gustavus Vasa; the costume of Gustaf III., which he wore when he was shot in the opera-house by Ankarstroem; the baton of Gustaf Adolf, and the watch of Queen Christina.

In the afternoon the students made an excursion by steamer to Ulriksdal, the summer residence of Bernadotte, Oscar I., and of the present king.  It is a beautiful place, and is filled with objects of historical interest.  The furniture is neat, pretty, and comfortable.  The chamber of the king is the plainest of all, but the bed was used by Gustaf II. in Germany.  Every chair, table, and mirror has its history.  There is a collection of beer mugs in one chamber, and of pipes in another.  The place is full of interest to the curious.  In the water in front of the palace were several gilded pleasure-boats, and a fanciful steamer for the use of the royal family.

The steamer in which the party had gone to Ulriksdal was one of the larger class, though the company was all she could carry.  She made her way through the several arms of the sea, between the islands, passing through two drawbridges.  For the return trip four of the smaller steamers had been engaged, each of which would carry about fifty boys.  A short distance from the palace, the boats turned into a narrow stream, passing under bridges, in places so contracted that the engine had to be stopped, and the banks were thoroughly washed.  Then they entered a lagoon, bordered with villas, and surrounded by pleasant scenery.  Landing at a point in the northern suburb, most of the students walked through the city to the quay, though several omnibuses ply between this point and the centre of the city.

The next day opened with a visit to Riddarholm.  The church, or Riddarholmskyrkan, on this island, was formerly a convent, but is now the mausoleum of the most celebrated kings of Sweden.  It was once a Gothic structure; but the addition of several chapels on the sides, for monuments, has completely changed the appearance of the structure.  It is remarkable for nothing except the tombs within it.  Formerly it contained a number of equestrian figures, clothed in armor, which was valued as relics of the ancient time, including that of Birger Jarl, the founder of the city, and of Charles IX.; but all these have been removed to the National Museum, which is certainly a more appropriate place for them.  On each side of the church are the sepulchral chapels of Gustavus Adolphus, Charles XII., Bernadotte, and Oscar I. The Queen Desiree, wife of Bernadotte, and sister-in-law of Joseph Bonaparte, with others of the royal family, and some of the great captains of the Thirty Years’ War, are buried here.  In the chapels of Gustavus and Charles XII. are placed many of the trophies of their victories, such as flags, drums, swords, and keys.

The party then visited the Riddarhus, where the nobles meet, which is the scene of several great historical events, and contains the shields of three thousand Swedish nobles.  From this point the tourists went to Mosebacke, a celebrated tea garden, on the high land in the southern suburb, where they ascended to the roof of the theatre in order to obtain a view of the city and its surroundings.

On Thursday, the students made an excursion to Upsala, the ancient capital of Sweden, which contains a fine old cathedral, where Gustavus Vasa and two of his wives are buried.  His tomb was hardly more interesting to the Americans than that of Linnaeus, the great botanist, who was born in Upsala, and buried in this church.  Other Swedish kings are also buried here.  The party visited the university, which contains some curious old books and manuscripts, such as an old Icelandic Edda; the Bible, with written notes by Luther and Melanchthon; the Journal of Linnaeus, and the first book ever printed in Sweden, in 1483.  The house of the great botanist and the botanical garden were not neglected.  The tourists returned to Stockholm in a special steamer, through an arm of Lake Maeler, and landed at the Riddarholm.  On Friday some of the students went to the Navy Yard, and on board of a monitor, while others wandered about the city and its suburbs.

After spending a week in the harbor, the voyagers felt that they had seen enough of Sweden; and early on Saturday morning, with a pilot on board of each vessel, the squadron sailed for the Aland Islands, in the Baltic, where the principal decided to pass a week.  The vessels lay in the channels between the islands, and the students attended to the regular routine of study and seamanship.  Occasional excursions were made on shore, mostly at the uninhabited islands.  Journals of what had been seen in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were written up; but the students were very anxious to visit Russia.

Ole Amundsen was very careful to avoid his step-father while he remained in Stockholm.  He hardly went on shore, so great was his dread of the cruel skipper of the Rensdyr; and no one rejoiced more heartily than he to leave the Swedish waters.  Mr. Lowington did not desire to retain him on board; but the waif begged so hard to remain, and the students liked him so well, that he was finally engaged as an assistant steward in the steerage, at twelve dollars a month; but he made double this sum, besides, out of the boys, by the exercise of his genius in mending clothes, cleaning shoes, and similar services, which the students preferred to pay for, rather than do themselves.

Clyde Blacklock kept his promise as well as he could, and soon learned his duty as a seaman.  Though he certainly improved, his violent temper and imperious manners kept him continually in hot water.  He could not forget his old grudge against Burchmore, and during an excursion on one of the Aland Islands, he attacked him, but was soundly thrashed for his trouble, and punished on board when his black eye betrayed him.  While he is improving there is hope for him.

The runaways promised so much and behaved so well, that none of them were punished as yet, though Sanford was deprived of his position as coxswain of the second cutter; but whether they were to be allowed any liberty in Russia, they were not informed.

At the close of the week among the islands, the squadron was headed for Abo, in Finland, which is now a province of Russia; and what they saw and did there, and in other parts of the vast empire, will be related in NORTHERN LANDS, OR YOUNG AMERICA IN RUSSIA AND PRUSSIA.