Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/84

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husband, where she got frightfully into debt, and died after leading a rambling and dissolute life.[1]

Charles IX., by far the flower of the family, inherited much of the genius and character of his father.

Although the transcendent merits of Charles the Ninth are eclipsed by the superior qualities of his father and son, yet even as the son of Gustavus Vasa and father of Gustavus Adolphus he seems to shine no less with nature than reflected luster. He was enterprising yet cautious in war, sagacious and decisive in the cabinet, a friend to humanity, yet severe in punishment of crimes. Attached by principle to the Protestant cause, he raised it, almost drooping, again to preeminence. Zealous to promote the interest of his people, he built towns, encouraged commerce and agriculture and patronized letters. Of quick and lively feelings, he was subject to violent but short transports of passion, which harassed his frame and finally occasioned his death.[2]

Another type of Vasa eccentricity is found in the career of Gustavus, the son of the mad Eric XIV. Gustavus had from youth an adventurous and curious existence. Rescued when an infant from the sac in which he was to have been murdered, he was conveyed from Sweden to the Jesuit convents of Thorn and Vienna.

In these different seminaries he made considerable progress in literature and in particular distinguished himself in so much by his proficiency in chemistry that he was called the second Paracelsus. He was no less remarkable for his knowledge of languages, speaking with fluency, besides his native tongue, French, Italian, German, Polish, Russian and Latin. He was indeed so zealous in the prosecution of his studies, that on account of his indigent circumstances, after attending the schools by day, he used in the evening to play at the inns in the lowest capacity, in order to procure a scanty subsistence. His literary acquisitions, however, did not advance his future, for he passed a wandering life in the greatest misery; was reduced to such straits that he frequently had recourse to charity and at other times earned his living by the meanest occupations.[3]

Here we see a striking instance of a son resembling his father. The literary and scientific one-sidedness so strongly marked appears with equal force even under these trying and humble circumstances, and when no influence of family example could have taken a share in its formation, since Gustavus when an infant was removed from the surroundings in which he was born.

Sigismond III., 1566-1632, the next to be considered, was also in his way a rather unusual character, though the figures 4.5 do not indicate it. This son of the brother. John, and of Catherine, daughter of Sigismond I. of Poland, acquired the throne of Sweden before his uncle, Charles IX. The bigotry of Sigismond, combined with his weakness and peevishness, led to discords and estranged his subjects from

  1. W. B. Rye, 'England as seen by Foreigners,' 1865, introduction.
  2. Coxe, V., 175.
  3. Coxe, 'Travels in Russia, Sweden, Denmark,' IV., 251.