Sunday, December 20, 2009

"There will be an uprising here before long,"

On that gray, dreary northern coast the long winter was fast setting in. Poor oppressed Finland suffers under a hard climate with August frosts, an eight months' winter in the north, and five months of frost in the south. Idling in sleepy Abo, where the public buildings were so mean and meager and the houses for the most part built of wood, I saw on every hand the disastrous result of the attempted Russification of the country. The hand of the oppressor, that official sent from Petersburg to crush and to conquer, was upon the honest Finnish nation. The Russian bureaucracy was trying to destroy its weaker but more successful neighbor, and in order to do so employed the harshest and most unscrupulous officials it could import.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

På gatorna i Helsingfors

På vårvintern stormade det och bände på isarne kring Helsingfors, så att ändtligen midt i april den blå randen utanför Gråhara båk kom allt närmare, medan isarne vid hamnarne alltmer antogo den smutsgrå färg, som ändtligen i slutet af månaden blef lika klar som vattnet, tills det
hela sjönk likt skum och försvann för solstrålarne och några milda vindar i förening.

Studenterna firade som vanligt sin första maj i Kajsaniemi, stodo utanför värdshuset i snömuddret och sjöngo, medan en mängd kypare och jungfrur ombesörjde en artificiel värme och dito solsken medelst en mängd punschbålar, hvilkas innehåll tömdes och fyldes lika hastigt.

Herr Adolf sjöng icke med i qvartetten. Han hade börjat taga lektioner för stadens fashionablaste sånglärarinna och fick inte slita ut sin fina tenor i korsång. Dessutom var han icke omtyckt af kamraterna, fruntimmersaktig som han var. Han tillhörde ett litet kotteri fattige adelsmän, hvilkas ekonomiska stöd han, den borgerlige, i nåder fick vara. Det var en hop finhyade, pomaderade och moderna modejournalsungdomar, mycket nogräknade om sitt rykte, då det gälde det, som verlden fick veta. De visade sig endast i de fashionablaste familjer, talade endast med de unga damer, som i allmänhet i societeten voro mest observerade, och aktade sig på allt vis att i något afseende visa någonsomhelst sjelfständighet eller karaktär. De sågo i allmänhet helst på, voro öfverallt, logo öfverlägset åt allt, och drogo jemt och ständigt i små nödvuxna och ynkliga mustascher, som aldrig blefvo längre.

Daniel Sten: "Sämre folk"

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A number of telegrams from Helsingfors

It is needless for me to tell you that most of the stories that have come from Russia regarding atrocities, horrors, immorality, are manufactured in Viborg, Helsingfors, or Stockholm. The horrible massacres planned for last November were first learned of in Petrograd from the Helsingfors papers. That anybody could even for a moment believe in the nationalization of women seems impossible to anyone in Petrograd. To-day Petrograd is an orderly city--probably the only city of the world of its size without police. Bill Shatov, chief of police, and I were at the opera the other night to hear Chaliapine sing in Boris Gudonov. He excused himself early because he said there had been a robbery the previous night, in which a man had lost 5,000 rubles, that
this was the first robbery in several weeks, and that he had an idea who had done it, and was going to get the men that night. I feel personally that Petrograd is safer than Paris. At night there are automobiles, sleighs, and people on the streets at 12 o'clock to a much greater extent than was true in Paris when I left five weeks ago.

William C. Bullitt: The Bullitt Mission to Russia

Frozen Lapland, rude and churlish Finland

 I never addressed myself, in the language of decency and friendship, to a woman, whether civilized or savage, without receiving a decent an...