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

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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people who attend at the ferries have a stupid kind of
sluggishness in their manner, which is very provoking
when you are in haste. At present I did not feel it,
for, scrambling up the cliffs, my eye followed the river
as it rolled between the grand rocky banks; and, to
complete the scenery, they were covered with firs and
pines, through which the wind rustled as if it were
lulling itself to sleep with the declining sun.

Behold us now in Norway; and I could not avoid
feeling surprise at observing the difference in the
manners of the inhabitants of the two sides of the
river, for everything shows that the Norwegians are
more industrious and more opulent. The Swedes (for
neighbours are seldom the best friends) accuse the
Norwegians of knavery, and they retaliate by bringing
a charge of hypocrisy against the Swedes. Local
circumstances probably render both unjust, speaking
from their feelings rather than reason; and is this
astonishing when we consider that most writers of
travels have done the same, whose works have served
as materials for the compilers of universal histories?
All are eager to give a national character, which is
rarely just, because they do not discriminate the
natural from the acquired difference. The natural, I
believe, on due consideration, will be found to consist
merely in the degree of vivacity, or thoughtfulness,
pleasure, or pain, inspired by the climate, whilst the
varieties which the forms of government, including
religion, produce are much more numerous and

A people have been characterised as stupid by nature;

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