F. Scott

“Not at all. I’m interested. I used to have a theory about these people. I think they’re freezing up.”


“I think they’re growing like Swedes – Ibsenesque, you know. Very gradually getting gloomy and melancholy. It’s these long winters. Ever read any Ibsen?”

She shook her head.

“Well, you find in his characters a certain brooding rigidity. They’re righteous, narrow, and cheerless, without infinite possibilities for great sorrow or joy.”

“Without smiles or tears?”

“Exactly. That’s my theory. You see there are thousands of Swedes up here. They come, I imagine, because the climate is very much like their own, and there’s been a gradual mingling. There’re probably not half a dozen here to-night, but — we’ve had four Swedish governors. Am I boring you?”

“I’m mighty interested.”

“Your future sister-in-law is half Swedish. Personally I like her, but my theory is that Swedes react rather badly on us as a whole. Scandinavians, you know, have the largest suicide rate in the world.”

From “The Ice Palace” by F. Scott Fitzgerald