Monday, October 6, 2008

Somewhat dirty streets

We landed on a broad wooden pier, and entered the town through a crowd which was composed of all these elements. There was to be a fair on the morrow, and from the northern shore of the lake, as well as the wild inland region towards the Saima, the people had collected for trade, gossip, and festivity. Children in ragged garments of hemp, bleached upon their bodies, impudently begged for pocket-money; women in scarlet kerchiefs curiously scrutinized us; peasants carried bundles of freshly mown grass to the horses which were exposed for sale; ladies with Hungarian hats, crushed their crinolines into queer old cabriolets; gentlemen with business faces and an aspect of wealth smoked paper cigars; and numbers of hucksters offered baskets of biscuit and cakes, of a disagreeable yellow color and great apparent toughness. It was a repetition, with slight variations, of a village fair anywhere else, or an election day in America.

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