- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
36

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



The severity of the long Swedish winter tends to
render the people sluggish, for though this season has
its peculiar pleasures, too much time is employed to
guard against its inclemency. Still as warm clothing
is absolutely necessary, the women spin and the men
weave, and by these exertions get a fence to keep out
the cold. I have rarely passed a knot of cottages
without seeing cloth laid out to bleach, and when I
entered, always found the women spinning or knitting.

A mistaken tenderness, however, for their children,
makes them even in summer load them with flannels,
and having a sort of natural antipathy to cold water,
the squalid appearance of the poor babes, not to speak
of the noxious smell which flannel and rugs retain,
seems a reply to a question I had often asked–Why I
did not see more children in the villages I passed
through? Indeed the children appear to be nipt in
the bud, having neither the graces nor charms of their
age. And this, I am persuaded, is much more owing to
the ignorance of the mothers than to the rudeness of
the climate. Rendered feeble by the continual
perspiration they are kept in, whilst every pore is absorbing
unwholesome moisture, they give them, even at the
breast, brandy, salt fish, and every other crude
substance which air and exercise enables the parent to
digest.

The women of fortune here, as well as everywhere
else, have nurses to suckle their children; and the

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