- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
89

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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NORWAY, AND DENMARK. 80
place to gallantry and refinement of manners ;
but tlio
change will not be suddenly produced.
The people of every class are constant in their at-
tendance at church; they are very fond of dancing,
and the Sunday evenings in Norway, as in Catholic
countries, are spent in exercises which exhilarate the
spirits without vitiating the heart. The rest of labour
ought to be gay; and the gladness I have felt in
France on a Sunday, or Decadi, which I caught from
the faces around me, was a sentiment more truly
religious than all the stupid stillness which the streets
of London ever inspired where the Sabbath is so de-
corously observed. I recollect, in the country parts of
England, the churchwardens used to go out during the
service to see if they could catch any luckless wight
playing at bowls or skittles ; yet what could be more
harmless ? It would even, I think, be a great ad-
vantage to the English, if feats of activity (I do not
include boxing matches) were encouraged on a Sunday,
as it might stop the progress of Methodism, and of
that fanatical spirit which appears to be gaining
ground. I was surprised when I visited Yorkshire,
on my way to Sweden, to find that sullen narrowness
of thinking had made such a progress since I was au
inhabitant of the country. I could hardly have sup-
posed that sixteen or seventeen years could have pro-
duced such an alteration for the worse in the morals of
a place yes, I say morals ;
for observance of forms,
and avoiding of practices, indifferent in themselves,
often supply the place of that regular attention to
duties which are so natural, that they seldom are

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