Just as round the dark-blue billows of the Mediterranean a ring of white cities arose, so there grew up around the light-blue waters of the Baltic a circle of brick-red cities, urban communities, where the citizens were conscious of the precious boon of greater comfort and enhanced security conferred by gathering together into cities in these unsettled times. And they noted and watched with pride and satisfaction the growing might of Danzig or Lubeck, the cities of the Leaguel across the waters, and how churches and town-halls with dark-red walls rose above the gables of the houses. The heart leapt for very joy in the burghers' breasts, when from the slender copper spires, with their patina of green and with their gold emblazonry, they harkened to the familiar tones from the belfry peal merrily amid narrow streets and alleys and resound down away at the harbour, where men were busily a-toiling over lumbering bales and portly wine casks, penetrate into the noisy jollity of the town-hall tavern and into the hall where the governors of the town were seated in solemn deliberation on its welfare, into the chambers where the divinity of the city was glorified in sculpture and painting in full-ﬂeshed figures, bearing a mural crown on the head. Round the shores of the Baltic there arose German, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, and Russian cities, wealthy, wise, and beautiful, a beauty now fuller in form, now slenderer, in citing to mutual rivalry. Stockholm is younger than many other Swedish towns, but at any rate it can boast of the very respectable age of 700 years. Visby had already concluded treaties of commerce, and'the mass had long been heard in the churches of Lund and Sigtuna when lilies-of-the-valley and bilberries might still be plucked along the shores, where the waters of Norrstro'm (north Stream) and So'derstro'm (south Stream) gushed past the pine-clad islets.