21 Aug 2009

Fun times in Stockholm 1760

Baron Joachim Otto Schack, Danish envoy in Stockholm, writes to his female friend back home in Denmark in November 1760, after she has asked him what Bon Ton is like in Sweden:

"...it is not prejudice, that now dictates my pen, but I write only what what my eyes have seen.

Thirty to forty persons of both sexes, of all ages and all ranks, gather every night at 8 o'clock at someones' house, where you have supper...

The ladies wear robe ronde and mantelets, and the gentlemen usually wear black velvet nightgowns... You play piquet, tre-sept and reversis.

At 10 o'clock you are seated at the table where you are served by thirty badly dressed and filthy servants, who usually knick some spoon, fork or napkin, and who snatches away your plate as soon as you turn your head away...

Food is plentiful, but the table is set without order or taste. You are very badly provided for with drinks, the desserts are awful and consist of nothing but freezingly cold ices and dry candied fruit, which one greedily throws oneself upon. The crockery is badly washed, with one word: everythng is in this style!

The conversation is either whispered in your ear or noisy with horselaughs, so incessant and piercing that you get dizzy...

When one rises from the table, the conversation gets heated and even louder. You start to tickle one another, you throw hats, muffs and fans on one another, you disarrange you fellow's hair and pinch him and then you go home and believe that you have enjoyed yourself.

Privy councillors, presidents, foreign ministers, everyone is treated in this manner, and pitied be he, who is very ticklish! One has seen such wretched creatures seek refuge under the sofa, and please note that I'm not talking about one evening, but of all..!


  1. I can't decide whether it sounds like a fun slumber party or just a get-together with my group of friends! Either way, I like it!

  2. Me too! I don't know what it says about my level of maturity, tough...