One of the principal traits which characterise neuropaths is a mania for travel.  They are mobile, anxious, going from town to town, running from country to country, never finding a permanent home.

After her abdication, Christina thinks only of tasting the full charms of unlimited liberty, and has only one desire:  to roam freely throughout the world, with no ties nor restraints.

She goes first to Flanders, and arrives at Anvers during the first week of 1654.  A few days later, she enters Brussels.  In this town, she gives herself up to many excentricities.

She pulls faces at the multitude which follows her around to see her.  She changes clothes inside her carriage, with the help of a clown, to confuse sightseers, who are unable to recognize who is who.

She swears, or makes an off-colour joke, at the most solemn moments.  She suddenly assumes a cabaret posture and bursts out laughing while some great person is talking to her.

It is in Brussels, where she stays for several months, that she abjures Lutheranism, and converts to Catholicism.  Should we list among her usual oddities this sudden religious change?  Is her artistic soul drawn to the pomp and ceremonies of the new cult to which she adheres?

What we can say is that she has only a surface devotion, and the Church dignitaries, themselves, understand that.  However, such a powerful recruit cannot be disdained.  Perhaps she has also inherited from her father Gustave-Adolphe his mystic religiosity, and it is this which disconcerts those who are surprised by her new avatar.

She intends to compose with religion the same way that she does with other social customs.  She writes to one of her friends:  “I don’t listen to sermons;  I have no respect for orators;  after what Solomon said, everything else is foolishness;  for each must live happily, eating, drinking and singing.”

Someone even hears her say:  “If there is a God, I shall be really caught out.”  Her motto is:  deprive yourself of nothing, whatever damage you may do to others.  Her whims alone are her rules.  This causes her a few problems when she visits Rome and France.

Her contradictions are innumerable.  Today she wants what she didn’t want yesterday.  She will not want tomorrow what she wants now.

There are moments when she gets angry with people who dominate her by their prestige, like the Pope.  There are other moments when she shows herself to be humble and submissive to them, ready to implore their pardon.

These mood changes have the most futile causes.  Although she flatters herself on being a lover of liberty and of simplicity, she cannot tolerate that any ceremonial detail be omitted in her presence.  Most of her fallings-out with ambassadors of foreign powers have practically no other motive.

Continuing her travels, she arrives in Collen, where she dresses as a man, and calls herself the son of Count Dohna, so as to voyage with more liberty.  But the Queen of Denmark, having learnt of her disguise, dresses up as a cabaret servant so as to approach her without being recognized by her.

At the other extreme, when Christina arrives in a city, she dresses in a gala costume, and has herself loudly announced.

The death of her mother, the dowager Queen of Sweden, curbs her fantasies.  For three weeks, she deprives herself of all public company.  She spends several months in Flanders.

Having had everything prepared for her trip, and sent to Sweden for a fairly important sum of money, pretexting that she wants to go to Spa to take the waters, having arrived too late the preceding year, she leaves Brussels on 22 September and travels to Rome with a suite of two hundred people.

She wants to see Venice, but the Republic creates a few difficulties about according her free passage, because of an eruption of plague.  She only stops in a village, where she is complimented by the Deputies of the Doge and of the Senate, who present their homages to her and have refreshments served.

Then she continues on her way to the Eternal City.

Sixth part tomorrow.

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