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Two children had already been carried to the grave, and when the hopes of the parents were a third time revived, they were flattered and SCARCELY had the roar of the cannon fretted with all manner of prognostications. ceased after the great day of Leipsic, or the The child was to be a prince that was cershouts of victory died away which had every-tain, the astrologers declared, by every sign, where throughout Germany greeted the tri- including mysterious dreams that had visited umphal procession of the great hero of the the parents. His birth, however, was to be Thirty Years' War, when there reached fatal either to the king, the queen, or himself; Stockholm, borne as it were on the wings of but if he outlived the first twenty-four hours, the wind, the news of another glorious victory he would rise to great celebrity: for at the at Lützen, filling up the measure of the nation- birth, as at that of Gustavus, appeared the al joy and exultation. The people shouted rare combination of the Sun, Venus, Mercury, on, regardless of certain muffled sounds of woe and Mars. When the moment arrived, and which kept slowly approaching ever nearer the child was ushered into the world, its head and nearer, till at length every voice was still, covered with hair as with a helmet, and having and every ear could hear that the great Gus- a strong and harsh voice, the general hope tavus Adolphus-the Lion of the North-the was thought fulfilled, and the news flew even mightiest of all the champions of the Protes- to Gustavus that a prince was born. When tant cause the victor of many a hard-fought his sister, trembling to undeceive him, apfield, had met at Lützen a hero's death. So proached with the infant, he mildly said: "I sudden was the revulsion, so deep the general am content, dear sister, and pray God may depression, that it seemed for a time as if preserve her to me:" ordered Te Deum to be Sweden herself was about to pass away with sung, and all the usual rejoicings as for a her great monarch. She was hurled at once prince, and also smilingly remarked: She from the very summit of her greatness. In will be clever, for she has tricked us all." Thus the person of Gustavus she had been the lead- was every prophecy falsified. er of a great work, which was still far from its completion. The Protestants, never famous for unanimity, and displaying in this war fully the usual amount of petty jealousy and mistrust, had been kept together by him who could both think and do, who united strength of will and strength of arm; and wherever they might now turn for a leader, it could not be to Sweden, who must henceforth, as the nation then feared, be of small account in the Protestant League, the total rupture of which seemed not improbable.


According to Christina's own account, her life and health in her infancy were exposed to continual danger by wicked attempts ascribed to the agency of the king of Polandsuch as a large beam falling close to her cradle, intended to crush the small occupant; but for verification of all these injuries she had nothing to show but a rather high shoulder, which she contrived to conceal by skilful dress and gait. These attempts, of which she could know nothing, and which would have frightened no one less than herself, are chiefly the usual stories of idle gossipping attendants. Constant war demanded the presence of Gustavus, but during the short intervals spent at home, he showed a tender interest in his daughter. On her recovery from an apparently hopeless illness at the age of two, he ordered public

The war had now lasted for twenty-three years; the resources of Sweden were miserably exhausted; in many parts of the kingdom loud discontents prevailed, rendering new exactions dangerous; the heir to the throne was a child, a girl of six years; the widowed queen, Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, was a beauty thanksgivings in all the churches. When, in with a weak mind; on one side Denmark, 1630, he departed, never to return, he arrangspurred by former jealousies, looked threat- ed, as if prophetically, all his affairs, seemed eningly on the king of Poland, on the other, sunk in thought, and took so tender a leave like another Sigismund, was on the eve of re- of his daughter, that she who scarcely ever viving the slumbering claim to the ancient shed tears, is said to have wept for three days; inheritance of his house; while in Sweden while, on the contrary, the news of his death itself a considerable party clamored for a re-affected her little-natural enough, and showpublic. In this crisis, the promptitude and ing the usual feeling of children towards the energy of the men to whom Gustavus had present and the absent. Two letters of Chrisconfided the government on his departure-tina have been preserved, written to her absent the famous Chancellor Oxenstiern being the father, one of which runs thus: "Most grachief-saved the kingdom. They hastened to cious and well-beloved father, because I have acknowledge and do homage to his daughter, not the happiness of being with your majesty, and to proclaim her everywhere as queen. I send you my humble counterfeit. I beg your Christina, queen of Sweden, so celebrated majesty will with it think of me, and soon come for her talents and eccentricities, was born at again to me: send me, meanwhile, something Stockholm on the 18th of December, 1626. pretty. I will always be pious, and diligently

From Chambers's Repository.


learn to pray. Praise God, I am healthy. God | a heart-shaped medal. Although her husband give us always good tidings of your majesty, had, with good reason, shown no confidence and I will always remain your majesty's obe- in her judgment, he had loved her with an dient daughter, CHRISTINA." The other is extreme tenderness. The melancholy uninearly in the same words, both showing that formity of this life in nowise either dulled or Gustavus had made religion an important ele- chilled the buoyant mind of Christina, who ment in his daughter's education. Of the says herself, that her impatience of it caused brilliant deeds which shed a halo over her in- her to spend much of her time in study which fant days, Christina says exultingly: "I was she might otherwise have frittered away. born among palms and laurels; I slept under From her eighth to her tenth year she studied cover of their shadows; my first slumber was six hours in the morning and six in the evenourished by trophies; victory and fortune ning, excepting on Saturday and Sundayseemed to sport with me." By the fatal vic- an amount of application neither natural nor tory of Lützen, the palm and the laurel were wholesome, and greatly to be attributed to its exchanged for a darker shadow; the child- being her recreation. Like all weak people, queen must sleep under the cypress, and wake the queen-mother had strong prejudices, and to the weight of a diadem. one was that she would not permit her daughEarly in 1633-about two months after the ter to drink water: and Christina recounts, death of Gustavus-the States were assembled, that having a strong repugnance to beer and and when the proposal was made to acknowl-wine, she often suffered from excessive thirst; edge his daughter as their queen, a country and having been detected one day stealing the deputy demanded: "Who is she! We have rose-water from her mother's toilet, she was never seen her;" upon which Christina being severely punished, but became a water-drinker led into the assembly, the same deputy ex- for life. With an early dislike to everything claimed: "It is she! The very nose, and unmeaning and absurd, she abhorred, as a eyes, and brow of Gustavus Adolphus! She relic of barbarism, the fools and dwarfs that shall be our queen!" Murmurs were turned swarmed around the queen-mother. Everyinto applauses: she was seated on the throne, thing with Christina must have or subserve a and comported herself, it is alleged, with all purpose. Even as a child, nothing alarmed the dignity of a queen. A regency of five or surprised her. When only two years old, was agreed on, the president being Chancellor Gustavus having her with him in one of his Oxenstiern, the celebrated minister: two journeys, on entering the fortress of Calmar others of his name and family were also in- the governor hesitated to fire the salute, lest cluded in the regency. By the testament of the noise should terrify the child. Gustavus Gustavus, the queen-mother was excluded exclaimed: "Fire! She is a soldier's daughfrom all share in her daughter's education, ter, and must learn to bear it!" Far from which was to be thoroughly masculine; and being startled, she laughed and clapped her he confided her to the care of his sister Cath-hands, which so pleased her father that he erine, the wife of the Prince Palatine, which thereupon conceived the unfortunate idea, created much jealousy, as it was feared they little forseeing the effect, of giving her so might attempt to marry the queen to their masculine an education, that she forgot her sex, and was even heard to regret that she had never headed an army, or seen blood flow in mortal strife. In her extreme youth she liked to play the queen. When only seven she was called on to receive the Muscovite ambassadors, but was warned by her ministers not to be afraid or laugh at their uncouth appearance and long beards. "Why should I be afraid?" said she; "what have I to do with their beards? Have you not also long beards? and yet I am not afraid of you!" At the audience she comported herself with so much queenly propriety as to excite the admiring astonishment


The queen-mother, who had been with her husband at the seat of war, returned with his body to Sweden; and when Christina, at the head of her court, went forth in great pomp to meet the mournful procession, her features the precise image of her father's, her mother caught her in her arms, bedewed her with tears, half smothered her with embraces, and kept her with her in entire seclusion for two years, during which she never quitted the body of her husband. At the end of that period it was interred, though her desire was never to part with it during her life. Her chamber had been hung with black, and even of the strange visitants. the windows darkened: day and night wax torches shed their mourning light: she lived as in a grave, and seemed a very priestess of long permitted to remain under her care. At death. Her husband's heart, incased in a jew-nine, she was placed, according to the instrucelled casket, was suspended to her bed: every tions left by Gustavus, under that of his sisday she wept over it; and afterwards, to per- ter Catherine, of Axel Bauer-described as a petuate her sorrow, instituted the order of the courtier-and of John Mathias, a man both "Golden Heart," the decoration of which was of parts and virtues, whom Christina never

It was only from compassion for the poor widowed queen that Christina had been so

ceased to regard with respect and affection, deportment towards them; while instructed in though she severely tried his equanimity, as the laws and customs of other lands, she was well as that of all who approached her, so to prefer and reverence those of Sweden; a great were her impatience, arrogance, and certain number of young ladies of rank were obstinacy. Before she attained the age of to be educated with her; she was to be denied fourteen she had thrown off all control, and not only pernicious books, but all trifling and resented the slightest opposition to her many merely amusing works; to be brought up caprices; and had not her taste led her to strictly in the Lutheran faith, and in early much and constant study, which her rare study of the Scriptures, as the basis of all quickness rendered easy, she might have grown knowledge and virtue. Nothing more easy up as ignorant as she was arrogant. So un- than to draw up a plan: but even had Cath

wearied was she in her studies that she erine and Mathias been endowed with a rare fatigued all her instructors. She says herself: mixture of saintly patience and Spartan firm"The men and women who taught and waited ness, what could they effect with a pupil who, on me I fatigued furiously; they were quite in at fourteen, harangued her senate and dictated despair; I gave them rest neither night nor to her ministers? About this time died the day: and when my women wished to per- Princess Catherine, on which Christina wrote suade me against such a manner of life, I rid- a letter of sympathy to the Prince Palatine, iculed them, and said: "If you are sleepy, go and said, "She hoped not with words only, to rest, I can do without you." She was an but in deeds, to requite to the children all the excellent classical scholar; at fourteen she love and fealty shown to her by their mother." could read Thucydides in the original, and There were nominal successors to this lady was a great admirer of the ancient heroes and who might possibly, had she lived, attained an poets, especially of Homer and Alexander the influence over Christina, which it is certain no Great. Besides lessons in the classics, history, one else ever did. The queen-mother, seeing and philosophy, she acquired as an amuse- that any ascendency for her was more hopement, and without any assistance, German, less than ever, and highly offended, fled secretItalian, Spanish, and French. She was also ly to Denmark, to the great alarm of Christina learned in mathematics and in astronomy. and the regency, the two countries being more Mathias, a great theologian and pious man, sundered than before in political relations. constantly instructed her in religion, teaching She had never liked Sweden or the Swedes, her from Luther's Catechism, and laying before and now was heard to declare that she "would her a collection of moral maxims from the best rather live on bread and water in strange writers. Of feminine accomplishments, danc- lands, than feast on royal fare in Sweden." ing was the only one she applied to. In her At sixteen, Christina began to preside in autobiography-La Vie de la Reine Christine, the senate; gave her opinion with promptitude faite par elle-même, et dedice a Dieu, a curious and propriety, and seemed from this time to fragment of a few pages, written in French inspire a hope that experience would cool with characteristic force, but no elegance-down her strange effervescences, and issue in from which we have already quoted, she says: a long and auspicious reign. During her "I had early an antipathy to all that women minority, by the vigor and sagacity of Oxensdo and say." Surrounded almost entirely by tiern, the war was carried on with high crèdit, men, she neglected the graces and virtues of if not always with success, Sweden giving such She was insensible to cold and heat; generals as Torstenson and Wrangel to comtook long walks with long strides; rode and mand the allied armies against the famous hunted, managed a horse and used a gun to Wallenstien, Piccolomini and Tilly. The Emadmiration. She says: "Although I loved peror Ferdinand would fain have made peace the chase, I was not cruel, and never killed an on condition that Christina would give her animal without a true feeling of compassion." hand to his son, believing to flatter her with She was quick to discern and despise the flat- the prospect of becoming empress of Germany; tery always offered even to infant monarchs. but to this and all other proposals of marShe says: "Men flatter princes even in their riage, so much desired by her senate, and cradles, and fear their memory as well as their which now thickened upon her, she either power: they handle them timidly as they do turned a deaf ear or made them subject of young lions who can only scratch but amusement. Gustavus had destined as her may hereafter tear and devour." An excel- husband the young elector of Brandenburg; lent code of instructions was drawn up by the Oxenstiern, it was said, was ambitious enough regency for the guidance of those who had the to wish to marry her to his favorite son; two more direct management of the queen. She sons of the king of Denmark, Don John of was to understand that the duties of prince Austria, Philip IV. of Spain, Ladislaus, king and subject were reciprocal; she was to love of Poland, and John Casimir, his successor, and esteem her people, and be affable in her all entered the lists; but to canvass their pre

her sex.


tensions and jealousies were idle-to all she | the middle size, but well formed, except the had the same answer: she would remain inde- slight deformity in her shoulder; her features pendent both as a woman and a queen. rather large in proportion to her figure; her countenance mobile and vivacious, unless when she purposely controlled it; her eyes a bril

At eighteen, she was declared of age, according to the laws of Sweden, and was the only considerable sovereign in Europe who liant hazel, quick and penetrating; her nose then maintained the royal dignity in person. aquiline; her mouth wide, and not agreeable The emperor had become imbecile; Spain was in repose; her smile, however, bright and governed by Olivarez in the name of Philip; pleasing, and her teeth fine. Of her profuse Louis XIV. was still a minor; and Cromwell light-brown hair, she took little care, only was king of England, but without the name. combing it once a week, sometimes only once All eyes were fixed on Christina with wonder- a fortnight. In dress, she was extremely neging interest, which ripened into admiration ligent, never allowing herself more than a when the wise and vigorous acts of her open-quarter of an hour for her morning toilet; and ing reign became known. She made salutary she wore, except on state occasions, a suit of and profitable regulations as to commerce, plain gray stuff, made short for convenience taxes, and the coinage; she brought skilful in walking and riding; a black scarf round shipwrights from Holland, and greatly added her neck, and rarely any ornament. She geto her fleet; she richly endowed the university nerally wore a man's fur cap, or tied her locks of Abo in Finland, which she had founded in with a knot of ribbon; later in life she used a her minority, and established a library, which, wig. She was temperate, even abstemious in in a few years, amounted to 10,000 volumes; eating; cared not what she ate; and was she added to the revenues and privileges of never heard to remark on any dish at table. the university of Upsal, and founded at Stock-Much as she liked to play the queen, and asholm an academy of literature. sume a haughty expression, daunting with a Only a few generations had passed away look those who approached her, in ordinary since, by the prowess of Gustavus Vasa, Swe-conversation she was so familiar, that no one den, then an obscure corner of Europe, had would have taken her for a woman of rank, been delivered from the usurpation of the far less for a sovereign princess. Openly proDanes. The great Gustavus, by his military fessing contempt for her own sex, she scarcely exploits and general political influence, had condescended to notice, far less converse with raised it to a high degree of glory and impor- any of her women, with the exception of one tance, which, in the minority of Christina, of her maids of honor, the Countess Ebba even when the prestige of a hero's name was Sparre, whom she always called "La belle gone, had been honorably maintained. Such comtesse." She was young, beautiful, amiable was the inheritance to which she brought a vi- and unobtrusive, but did not attempt to exergorous mind, youth, health, talents, a sublime cise the slightest influence over her royal misidea of her high destiny, and a salutary feel- tress, who never ceased to treat her with reing of the tremendous responsibility it involved. spect, and even with kindness. True, she was proud, passionate, and capricious; but she was also frank, generous, and apparently honest in her intentions. Literature was as yet to her an amusement, not a mania. Understanding most of the modern languages, she spoke and wrote fluently in Latin, German, Italian, and French, the last being that used at court. She was her own prime minister; received and read all the despatches, dictated, and afterwards corrected the replies. For many months she did not sleep of Sweden, and Count de la Gardie, her more than three to five hours in the twenty-grand chamberlain, whom she loaded with hofour; and was once, as she herself tells us, nors, and opposing these to the Oxenstierns, "seized with a sickness almost unto death, she put herself at the head of what might be through fatigue and application to business." called the French party; gave much of her Foreign ministers marvelled at, and her own confidence to M. Chanut, the French minispeople admired her unwearied attention to ter: and finally offended them all by raising state affairs, and the unbounded influence and to a seat in the senate, and intrusting with the resolution, before which aged and experienced most secret negotiations, Adler Salvius, a man statesmen bowed. She was more despotic of the most plebeian origin. When the senathan any Swedish monarch had been since the tors murmured at receiving him among them, time of Eric XIV.; but then she was an easy, Christina said angrily: "When good advice frank, generally good-humored despot. and wise counsel are wanted, who looks for sixteen quarters? What is requisite in all

Christina, too clever not to appreciate the transcendent talents of Oxenstiern-more than equal to those of Richelieu whom he surpassed in wisdom and integrity-and too politic openly to quarrel with him, yet showed him and his party little favor, and was enough to sow dissension among her ministers, that she might hold the reins more tightly in her own grasp. Not content with distinguishing by her favor Count Brahé, grand-justiciary


In person, Christina is described as under

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