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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
A Family Picture
By Fredrika Bremer (1801–1865)
 
From ‘The Home’

THE FAMILY is assembled in the library; tea is just finished. Louise, at the pressing request of Gabrielle and Petrea, lays out the cards in order to tell the sisters their fortune. The Candidate seats himself beside her, and seems to have made up his mind to be a little more cheerful. But then “the object” looks more like a cathedral than ever. The Landed Proprietor enters, bows, blows his nose, and kisses the hand of his “gracious aunt.”  1
  Landed Proprietor—Very cold this evening; I think we shall have frost.  2
  Elise—It is a miserable spring; we have just read a melancholy account of the famine in the northern provinces; these years of dearth are truly unfortunate.  3
  Landed Proprietor—Oh yes, the famine up there. No, let us talk of something else; that is too gloomy. I have had my peas covered with straw. Cousin Louise, are you fond of playing Patience? I am very fond of it myself; it is so composing. At Oestanvik I have got very small cards for Patience; I am quite sure you would like them, Cousin Louise.  4
  The Landed Proprietor seats himself on the other side of Louise. The Candidate is seized with a fit of curious shrugs.  5
  Louise—This is not Patience, but a little conjuring by means of which I can tell future things. Shall I tell your fortune, Cousin Thure?  6
  Landed Proprietor—Oh yes! do tell my fortune; but don’t tell me anything disagreeable. If I hear anything disagreeable in the evening, I always dream of it at night. Tell me now from the cards that I shall have a pretty little wife;—a wife beautiful and amiable as Cousin Louise.  7
  The Candidate  (with an expression in his eyes as if he would send the Landed Proprietor head-over-heels to Oestanvik)—I don’t know whether Miss Louise likes flattery.  8
  Landed Proprietor  (who takes no notice of his rival)—Cousin Louise, are you fond of blue?  9
  Louise—Blue? It is a pretty color; but I almost like green better.  10
  Landed Proprietor—Well, that’s very droll; it suits exceedingly well. At Oestanvik my drawing-room furniture is blue; beautiful light-blue satin. But in my bedroom I have green moreen. Cousin Louise, I believe really—  11
  The Candidate coughs as though he were going to be suffocated, and rushes out of the room. Louise looks after him and sighs, and afterwards sees in the cards so many misfortunes for Cousin Thure that he is quite frightened. “The peas frosted!”—“conflagration in the drawing-room”—and at last “a basket” [“the mitten”]. The Landed Proprietor declares still laughingly that he will not receive “a basket.” The sisters smile and make their remarks.  12
 
 
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