I den här boken kan vi lära oss, inte bara hur vi nordbor lever och vad för slags karaktär vi har — varje land som deltog i världsutställningen i London 1851 får en kortare, eller längre, mer eller mindre sanningsenlig presentation.
CHILDREN'S PRIZE GIFT BOOK
BEAUTIFUL INVENTIONS AND MANUFACTURES
PRETTY STORIES ABOUT THE PEOPLE
WHO HAVE MADE AND SENT THEM;
HOW THEY LIVE WHEN AT HOME
THOMAS DEAN AND SON 35, THREADNEEDLE-STREET, AND
ACKERMANN AND CO. 96, STRAND.
THE WORLD'S FAIR;
CHILDREN'S PRIZE GIFT BOOK
What a pretty picture we have in the first title page, of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park! This gigantic structure is built of iron, glass, and wood; but as, at a distance, it seems to be made entirely of glass, it is called the "Crystal Palace." Does it not look like one of those magnificent palaces we read about in fairy tales?
The Swedish and Danish people have made many things to be exhibited in the World's Fair. Sweden is in the north of Europe, and the climate is very disagreeable, for it is extremely cold in winter, and intolerably hot in summer. The people do not live very luxuriantly; their bread is not only black and coarse, but so hard that they are sometimes obliged to break it with a hatchet; and this, with dried fish, and salt meat, forms the chief part of their food. Yet they are very hardy and contented. At Michaelmas, they kill their cattle and salt them, for the winter and spring. Their favourite drink is beer, and they delight in malt spirits; some of them have tea and coffee. Their houses are generally built of wood, and their cottages are made of rough logs; the roofs are covered with turf, on which the goats browse. The Swedish women do everything that men are employed to do in other countries; they plough, sow, and thresh, and work with the bricklayers; the country women, as well as the ladies, wear veils to shade their faces from the glare of the snow in winter, and from the scorching rays of the sun reflected from the barren rocks in summer.
The iron mines of Sweden are exceedingly useful; they furnish great quantities of metal, to be exported to England, for the use of our steel manufactories. The extensive forests supply numerous pine trees, which are cut down and sent to foreign countries, for ship and house building; while pitch and tar are made from the sap,—a preparation which gives employment to many of the inhabitants.
The Swedes contrive to make things from materials we should throw away as good for nothing; they twist rope from hogs'-bristles, horses' manes, and the bark of trees; and form bridles of eel-skins. The coarse cloth they wear they make themselves, for the women are continually busy spinning or weaving. Sweden is the birth-place of the famous botanist, Linnæus, and the charming singer, Jenny Lind.
Norway is united to Sweden, but it is still colder in winter and hotter in summer. The people live very simply, mostly on milk, cheese, and dried fish; and sometimes they have slices of meat, sprinkled with salt and dried in the wind. In some parts of the country, the people make bread of the bark of the pine tree; and in winter, for want of hay, they are obliged to feed their cattle on dried fish. The houses are built of wood, and many of the roads are made of the same material; while wooden fences are used instead of hedges. The Norwegians send metals, minerals, salt, butter, dried fish, and furs, to other countries.
Denmark is a very fine country, perfectly level, except a single ridge of mountains. Its chief products are grain, tobacco, flax, madder, and hops. There are a great many mines, but few manufactures carried on; though the Danish gloves are much esteemed. The climate is generally rather warm, but very wet. The Danes are mostly well-educated; they are like the Swedes in their manners and customs. They have sent many specimens of their industry to the Great Exhibition.
Om andra länder och deras invånare får vi också lära oss en del.
The Poles live in a cold, flat, marshy country, in the north of Europe. The peasantry are in a miserable state, very dirty and frequently drunken; and their land is in a wretched condition.
The Prussians are a very polite and well-educated people, and nowhere are there more schools than in their country.
The women are extremely domestic, delighting in their children; and all the Swiss are remarkable for their passionate love of home. In every village there is a school, established by the Government for the instruction of poor children. The Swiss are the most graceful of all peasants, and wear very smart costumes. The men wear large hats, and their dress is generally a brown cloth jacket without sleeves, and puffed breeches of ticking. The women have short blue petticoats, a cherry-coloured boddice, full white sleeves fastened above the elbow, and a muslin kerchief thrown round their necks; while their hair is plaited, and twisted about their heads. They also wear pretty flat straw hats, ornamented with bows of ribbon.
The Dutch people are industrious, and cleanly. The women are the most active and nicest house-wives in the world; they scour and brighten, and rub not only the furniture and inside of their houses, but the outside as well; the houses in Holland, by-the-bye, look like painted baby-houses, and are roofed with glossy delft tiles, and the rooms are lined with smooth square tiles of delft, and the floors paved with marble. The people are never idle in Holland, but are always working at a great variety of manufactures, among which are leather, woollen, and linen articles,—also, paper, wax, starch, pottery, and tiles. The Dutch are most excellent gardeners, though they sometimes ruin themselves by their love for flowers
You know a good deal about Germany itself, I dare say, already; but I must tell you something about the Germans themselves. They are grave and thoughtful, but highly romantic and full of enthusiasm. Their love for their country is most remarkable. All classes in Germany are well-educated, and many painters, poets, and musicians, have been born among them. The German people are in general fair, with blue eyes, flaxen hair, and full figures; but they do not wear any very peculiar dress.
.The Italians are very handsome, and have jet black hair, dark roguish eyes, and fine figures.
I don't think you would find the Spanish cookery much to your taste; for the Spaniards are very fond of rancid butter in their meals, and of oil that has a very strong smell and flavour; indeed, when they are going to cook anything that requires fat, they lift down the lamp from the ceiling, and take out what oil they want. Bread, steeped in oil, and occasionally seasoned with vinegar, is the common food of the country people. Their favourite wine is that which has a strong taste of the leather bottles or casks, in which they keep it; and they will hardly eat any thing that has not saffron, pimento, or garlic, in it.
The Russians are remarkable for their cheerfulness and contentment, and are so fond of singing, that they are always enjoying a song when at work. Russian songs are very different from ours, and sound rather odd to us.
The food of the common people is black rye bread, sometimes, by way of treat, stuffed with onions, carrots, or green corn, and seasoned with sweet oil. They use eggs, salt fish, bacon, and mushrooms, of which last they have a great plenty.
The Turks do not undress and go to bed at any time, but being seated on a sofa, they smoke till they are sleepy, then laying themselves down, their slaves cover them over for the night.
There are numerous brigands, or thieves, in Greece, who are divided into bands, and rob with the utmost impunity. They manage to hide themselves very artfully in the roads where they expect to meet travellers, doubling their bodies up behind stones and bushes, or else lying flat on their faces on the ground, when they suddenly all start up and surround any unfortunate individual who may happen to pass that way. There are also honest, industrious people in Greece; and among them are the guides, men who show strangers over the curious portions of the cities for a trifling sum of money; and there are the cabmen of Athens, who are usually very intelligent and well-informed; there are a number of cabs in Athens.
America was formerly inhabited by numerous tribes of Red Indians,—a wild, warlike race,—of whom but few now remain, and those not at all civilized; but the greater number of the white people of America are the same in their dress, manners, and language, as ourselves.
The rich people in America are free from haughtiness, awkwardness, or formality, but they do not display the elegance and refinement of the higher classes in England or France. As for the common people, they are serious, shrewd, and industrious; but often seem rude and uncourtly to strangers, for they wish to show their independance by an annoying surliness of behaviour. A great number of turnpike roads, railways, canals, and bridges, have been formed, and improve the country very much, as you may imagine.