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AN EVENING PARTY.
"No where," says the proverb, "do things happen more oddly than in this world." And no where in the world did things happen more oddly than on a certain evening in our good town of Kungsköping; for there was a great party there, and people were heard talking in this style :
"Now, ladies and gentlemen, we must set to and arrange everything! Every group in order! Camellias, mignonettes, and roses, you all stand in that corner; good fairies and hobgoblins in the opposite one. Gods and goddesses, stand forward-Olympus to the right, Valhalla to the left!-Jupiter, Colonel Jupiter, where is he?-Pon my honour, standing and shaking hands with Odin. Colonel Jupiter, do you hear? What have you to do with Valhalla? You belong to the Olympian division. Mrs. Frigga, be so good as to take charge of Odin and his people. We must keep order in the world."
Yes, certainly: only don't forget that Odin must dance with Juno, and I with Jupiter."
"Of course, in the grand Polonaise. But now every one must go to his own post. Colonel Jupiter, be so good and stand here beside your worthy offspring, Mars
General Odin, march
and Vulcan, Apollo and Bacchus! forward-if I may be so bold! superb! Assessor Balder; very good! Miss Iduna, be so obliging!-Iron-master Brage-where the deuce is he gone to? Ha ha! he stands bowing to the Graces of Olympus. Do you hear, my good sir, leave all that till the great polska. Your place, for the present, is in Valhalla, and on this side. The Parca here; the Nornor there; that is as it should be. Good fairies and goblins, let me see you in your own region! It is enough to turn one's head! where have we a Mimer's head? Mimer?"
66 'Professor Methodius!"
No deserters now. Apropos of head, Where can we get a
"Our one-eyed uncle! Splendid. But where is he?" "There; standing with his forefinger to his nose, demonstrating his system to the Countess P. He is, no doubt, at this very moment amid the creation of the world. I can see it in his face."
And that was true enough. The Professor, called Methodius, was really standing before the Countess P., and replying to her somewhat mischievous inquiry of "how the system was going on?"
"Thank you for the inquiry; oh yes, it rocks to and fro like the seaman aground in his vessel." And the Professor laughed heartily at his own conceit. "The fact is, that as yet I cannot get it rightly in order, cannot set it to work, as they say. Nevertheless I have got part way. And if one is only sure of the foundation, one may feel quite safe in building up the house and putting the roof on. In the same way if one will improve the state of the world, one must know something about the beginning of the world, and therefore must begin at the beginning. One must go methodically to work. Suppose now that we imagine the beginning, I mean the creation. Imagine then, my gracious Countess, a-movement, yes,
just a movement, as of an immense mass of meal porridge, which fills all space; and the whole of this mass moves and moves and seathes, just as one sees porridge heaving and seathing in a big pot. But through all this heaving and this seathing, the grains (the atoms, as the learned call them, but we will express ourselves in a popular manner), collect or mass themselves together into small lumps and clumps, and these again lump themselves together into still larger and larger lumps and masses-and so it goes on till-till at last all the porridge-grains have adhered in one great lump or mass, which we call the earth. Now it is ready; now there it lies, like a great ball, and now it gets a good sound blow or bang on its side, which sends it spinning round and round into infinite space till”
"But, my dear Professor, who gave it the blow?" inquired the Countess.
"Blow here and bang there!" exclaimed Major von Post, the lively maître des plaisirs of both the town and the present company, interrupting at this point the history of creation; "pardon, good uncle, but since you helped our Lord in the creation of the world, be so good as to help us a little in bringing our Valhalla into order, and lend us your head for Mimer's head."
The good Professor seemed at the first moment somewhat confounded by this unexpected proposal, but immediately replied with a good-tempered smile;
"Most willingly, if I can only be sure about what is going to happen to my head. For as I remember, Mimer's head had to undergo some extraordinary operations, such as being cut off, being boiled, and
"Ah, dear papa, there is no danger. I'll be answerable for your head," interrupted, laughing, an elegantly attired lady, over whose full, but still youthful countenance, such a sunshine of joy and kindliness was diffused, that it seemed as though it could never have any wrinkles; and
while Mimmi Svanberg endeavoured with her white and soft hand to smooth down the Professor's disorderly gray-streaked locks, she continued; "we assume here many dissimilar shapes, but always remain ourselves nevertheless. I am going to be, one after another, first a witch, then a goddess, and lastly, Pax Domestica, with a whole train of sweeping-brooms and dust-pans ;-papa, be a splendid Mimer!"
"Well, just as you like, my dear Mimmi; but”
Everybody must come; one go after another. Let us begin, let us begin, ladies and gentlemen, or we shall never be ready!" exclaimed the Major.
"One moment; just one moment more, my dear Major," besought the lady of the house; "let us first have tea. It is just ready. And everything will go on with so much more spirit when people have had some refreshment."
We hope that by this time we have corrected the suspicion which our readers at the beginning might have entertained, namely, that they were in a company of fools. They are now aware most likely that they are in company with very rational people, assembled to amuse themselves with a merry scheme. The company have this evening met in Merchant Dufva's large drawingroom, for the rehearsal of a great fancy-ball, which was to take place a few days later in the splendid new Assembly Rooms of the town, and which was to be the crowning festivity of all the festive occasions of the present winter; "altogether most exquisitely, most divinely amusing," said the young girls.
People had enjoyed this winter many public festivities in the good town of Kungsköping, which, although not properly belonging to the small towns, yet, nevertheless, under ordinary circumstances, participated in the ordinary mode of life peculiar to small Swedish towns, which has been described by a lady, residing in a