- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
121

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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The Grand Bailiffs are mostly noblemen from
Copenhagen, who act as men of common minds will
always act in such situations—aping a degree of
courtly parade which clashes with the independent
character of a magistrate. Besides, they have a degree
of power over the country judges, which some of them,
who exercise a jurisdiction truly patriarchal, most
painfully feel. I can scarcely say why, my friend, but
in this city thoughtfulness seemed to be sliding into
melancholy or rather dullness. The fire of fancy,
which had been kept alive in the country, was almost
extinguished by reflections on the ills that harass such
a large portion of mankind. I felt like a bird
fluttering on the ground unable to mount, yet unwilling to
crawl tranquilly like a reptile, whilst still conscious it
had wings.

I walked out, for the open air is always my remedy
when an aching head proceeds from an oppressed heart.
Chance directed my steps towards the fortress, and the
sight of the slaves, working with chains on their legs,
only served to embitter me still more against the
regulations of society, which treated knaves in such a
different manner, especially as there was a degree of
energy in some of their countenances which
unavoidably excited my attention, and almost created respect.
I wished to have seen, through an iron grate, the
face of a man who has been confined six years for
having induced the farmers to revolt against some
impositions of the Government. I could not obtain a
clear account of the affair, yet, as the complaint was
against some farmers of taxes, I am inclined to believe

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