- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
29

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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LETTER III.



The population of Sweden has been estimated from
two millions and a half to three millions; a small
number for such an immense tract of country, of which
only so much is cultivated—and that in the simplest
manner—as is absolutely requisite to supply the
necessaries of life; and near the seashore, whence herrings
are easily procured, there scarcely appears a vestige of
cultivation. The scattered huts that stand shivering
on the naked rocks, braving the pitiless elements, are
formed of logs of wood rudely hewn; and so little
pains are taken with the craggy foundation that
nothing like a pathway points out the door.

Gathered into himself by the cold, lowering his
visage to avoid the cutting blast, is it surprising that
the churlish pleasure of drinking drams takes place of
social enjoyments amongst the poor, especially if we
take into the account that they mostly live on
high-seasoned provision and rye bread? Hard enough, you
may imagine, as it is baked only once a year. The
servants also, in most families, eat this kind of bread,
and have a different kind of food from their masters,
which, in spite of all the arguments I have heard to
vindicate the custom, appears to me a remnant of
barbarism.

In fact, the situation of the servants in every respect,
particularly that of the women, shows how far the
Swedes are from having a just conception of rational

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