Sunday, July 27, 2008

We shall have plenty of fun, in spite of the snow,

I changed horses at several post stations during the day, among them the stations of Korpikyla, Niemis, Ruskola, and Matarengi. I found that the Finnish language was now prevalent, Swedish being only spoken by comparatively few people.

That day was the end of the fine weather. Towards evening the wind was blowing very hard, and it increased in strength every minute until it blew a perfect hurricane. Then what my friends had said to me came to mind. It was indeed a fearful windstorm!

The gale had become such that the horse at times did not seem to have strength enough to pull our sleigh. The snow flew in thick cloudy masses to a great height, curling and recurling upon itself and blinding us. Fortunately our robes were fastened very securely. I wore my hood, and it was so arranged that my eyes were the only part of my face that was not covered. The wind was so powerful that our sleigh was in continual danger of upsetting, and was only saved because it was so low.

I was glad indeed when I reached the hamlet of Matarengi with its red-painted log church, two hundred years old, and separate belfry of the same color.

Paul du Chaillu: The Land of the Long Night (1899)

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