Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


Appearance of the Country

A large part of Sweden is lowland, yet it has mountains so high as to be covered with eternal snows. There are extensive forests of spruce and hemlock, and a great number of beautiful lakes. It is said that one-tenth of the entire area is covered with lakes. The larger of these have been connected by canals, so that small ships can cross the country, from Stockholm on the east coast to Gottenberg on the west. These numerous bodies of water serve to moderate the climate, which, from the position of the country, would naturally be very severe. HS 193.3

This country, though old, is sparsely settled. With an area more than fifteen times larger than that of Denmark, it has only two and a half times as many inhabitants. Outside the great cities the people are primitive in their habits. While they are characterized by general intelligence, they are slow to accept changes or to make improvements. The styles of living, the means of transportation and locomotion, the marriage and funeral customs, and the religious ceremonies, all show how old usages retain their power. Yet the inhabitants of Sweden are generally more willing to listen to new doctrines than are those of Norway or Denmark. HS 193.4

In the country and small towns the houses are nearly all built of logs, or of timbers about six inches square. They are ceiled on the inside, covered with cloth, and papered. After the logs have had a year or two to settle, the houses are boarded on the outside, and painted red. Nearly all the houses in Sweden are red. Many are thatched, and some are roofed with turf; a layer of birch bark is first used, and this is covered with sods; the grass grows on the turf, keeping it fresh and green, and flowers are sometimes planted in it. These houses are said to be warm and dry; they present a quaint and picturesque appearance. HS 193.5

We saw in Stockholm many country-women in their provincial costumes. Those from one locality wore a cone-shaped cap fully a foot high, a red tunic, and a large checked or striped apron woven of coarse yarn as we weave striped carpets in America. HS 194.1

At Copperberg, where we spent the night after leaving Stockholm, we first had an opportunity to observe the Swedish table customs. In the dining-room of the hotel was a table having a large flower-pot in the center, and spread with bread, butter, cheese, cold salt meat, and various relishes and liquors. All are expected to patronize this table as an introduction to their regular meal,—a novel method of stimulating the appetite, which those unaccustomed to it are not likely to find successful. Men and women help themselves to what they wish, and walk about the room, talking and eating. After this they order whatever dishes they desire, seat themselves at one of the small tables, and eat at their leisure. But this first course, called “smorgas,” is always eaten first, and usually in the manner I have described. HS 194.2