Almost every one can read. In every little town there is a bookseller's shop, and sometimes there are more booksellers than butchers. It is never so in America, as you will see if you observe.
You are ready to think the Swedes are a wise and good people. Not so. There is no country in Europe where so many people are put in prison.
I do not mean to say that there are as many robbers in Sweden as in Sicily; there the robbers are seldom punished at all: in Sweden they are punished; but yet the rest of the people go on stealing. Travellers think the Swedes honest, because they do not steal their trunks; but I suppose they know they should be found out if they did, for the king has a great number of men watching to take up thieves. The Swedes swear also in a dreadful manner, the gentlemen as well as the poor people. They get drunk also very often.
The great people in Sweden set a bad example to the poor. There are many lords and ladies who spend all their time in dressing, and dancing, and singing foolish songs. The shopkeepers also neglect their business and waste their time.
The Swedes are very polite. Even the beggars will show their gratitude by kissing your sleeve or the skirt of your coat. But what is politeness compared to truth and honesty!
The Swedes do not care as much for comfort, as for ornaments. They have fine looking-glasses, and sofas, and chandeliers, and pictures, but they often go without basins, jugs, chests of drawers, curtains and other useful furniture. Nothing useful is well done in Sweden. The carpenters and blacksmiths are very clumsy in their work, but the musicians play beautifully, and the sculptors make fine statues.