- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
26

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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The Swedes pique themselves on their politeness;
but far from being the polish of a cultivated mind, it
consists merely of tiresome forms and ceremonies. So
far, indeed, from entering immediately into your
character, and making you feel instantly at your ease,
like the well-bred French, their over-acted civility is
a continual restraint on all your actions. The sort of
superiority which a fortune gives when there is no
superiority of education, excepting what consists in the
observance of senseless forms, has a contrary effect
than what is intended; so that I could not help reckoning
the peasantry the politest people of Sweden, who,
only aiming at pleasing you, never think of being
admired for their behaviour.

Their tables, like their compliments, seem equally
a caricature of the French. The dishes are composed,
as well as theirs, of a variety of mixtures to destroy
the native taste of the food without being as relishing.
Spices and sugar are put into everything, even into
the bread; and the only way I can account for their
partiality to high-seasoned dishes is the constant use
of salted provisions. Necessity obliges them to lay up
a store of dried fish and salted meat for the winter;
and in summer, fresh meat and fish taste insipid after
them. To which may be added the constant use of
spirits. Every day, before dinner and supper, even
whilst the dishes are cooling on the table, men and
women repair to a side-table; and to obtain an
appetite eat bread-and-butter, cheese, raw salmon, or
anchovies, drinking a glass of brandy. Salt fish or meat
then immediately follows, to give a further whet to

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