National Geographic : 1934 Jul
COUNTRY-HOUSE LIFE IN SWEDEN Photograph by Almberg and Preinitz ERIKSBERG'S SIXTY THOUSAND VOLUMES AFFORD A HISTORY OF SWEDEN These rare printed works, which date from the eras of Gustavus Adolphus, of Shakespeare, and of George Washington, are in the main library on the second floor. The author found in the archive cases around the walls of her bedroom on the ground floor portfolios containing letters and manuscripts from the pens of early military heroes, intellectual grandees, and nearly all of the Swedish kings (see text, page 60). our King Gustavus III for having recalled a certain envoy who had won her favor and inclination in a high degree. To judge from her peevish tone, the fellow must have been a regular charmeur. There were also polished epistles from the last king of Poland, Poniatowski (Stan islaus II Augustus). And when I began to look around the shelves, I found so many names of kings and intellectual grandees from different lands and centuries that my cheeks began to glow. Certainly, I had often heard the collec tions of documents at Eriksberg praised as unique. But I had taken for granted that they were kept in the well-secured library bookcases on the second floor. It had not occurred to me for a moment that I had been sleeping here right in the very thick of world history. Now, all of a sudden, it seemed to me impossible to go to bed and fall asleep and forget it all. When I had looked at historical docu ments of this kind through a cold sheet of glass in public libraries and museums, they had generally left me rather indifferent and unmoved. But it was quite another thing to come into personal contact with them in this way-to get a glimpse into the most intimate destinies of these men and women while sitting in my own temporary bedroom and every now and again giving my hair an absent-minded brush. GHOSTS IN BOOKS BANISH SLEEP In the case between the windows prac tically the whole of the Swedish line of kings was represented. Gustavus Adolphus' clear, sober hand formed a characteristic contrast to the vigorous writing of Charles XII, full of willfulness and despotism. Even his crooked, ink-blurred scrawls at the age of four or five betrayed his de vouring interest in military matters, both in the text and drawings. With a little shiver I touched Gustavus Vasa's handwriting (pages 21, 42), though I could no more read his 16th-century calligraphy than the still earlier documents which I carefully extracted from the covers.