Monday, December 20, 2010

At present Finland is a terra incognita

My friend was not singular in his idea, for they are probably those of most people in England. At present Finland is a terra incognita, though fortunately not likely to remain one. Nevertheless, it will probably take years to eradicate a notion that one of the most attractive and advanced countries in Europe, possessed in summer of the finest climate in the world, is not the eternal abode of poverty, cold, and darkness.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

From the recesses of Finland

When the King had prepared his ship, he removed all his army from the capital to Eidsvags; afterwards he himself returned to the city, where he remained some nights, and then set out for Herlover. Here all the troops, both from the Northern and Southern districts, assembled, as is described in the Ravens-ode, which Sturla sung.

From the recesses of Finland, bands, keen for battle, sought the potent Ruler of the storm of Javelins. The boisterous deep, that girds this earth, bore the ships of the Protector of thrones west from the streams of Gotelfa.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finland teems with stories of werwolves

However, in Finland as in Scandinavia, it is very difficult to procure information as to werwolves. The common peasant, who alone knows anything about the anomaly, is withheld by superstition from even mentioning its name; and if he mentions a werwolf at all, designates him only as the "old one," or the "grey one," or the "great dog," feeling that to call this terror by its true name is a sure way to exasperate it. It is only by strategy one learns from a peasant that when a fine young ox is found in the morning breathing hard, his hide bathed in foam, and with every sign of fright and exhaustion, while, perhaps, only one trifling wound is discovered on the whole body, which swells and inflames as if poison had been infused, the animal generally dying before night; and that when, on examination of the corpse, the intestines are found to be torn as with the claws of a wolf, and the whole body is in a state of inflammation, it is accounted certain that the mischief has been caused by a werwolf.

It is thus a werwolf serves his quarry when he kills for the mere love of killing, and not for food.

Elliott O'Donnell: Werwolves

A budget of home-made Christmas gifts

Sand-Bags for Windows.

These are capital presents for grandmammas whose windows rattle in winter weather and let cold air in between the sashes. You must measure the window, and cut in stout cotton cloth a bag just as long as the sash is wide, and about four inches across. Stitch this all round, leaving one end open, and stuff it firmly with fine, dry sand. Sew up the open end, and slip the bag into an outer case of bright scarlet flannel, made just a trifle larger than the inner one, so that it may go in easily. Lay the sand-bag over the crack between the two sashes, and on cold nights, when you are asleep, grandmamma will rejoice in the little giver of such a comfortable bulwark against the wind.

A Work Basket in Vanilla Grass.

If any of you live where the sweet-scented vanilla grass grows plentifully, you can make a delicious little basket by drying the long wiry blades, braiding them in strands of three, tying the ends firmly together to make a long braid, and coiling and sewing as in straw plaiting. Two circles the size of a dessert plate should be prepared, one for the bottom of the basket, and the other for the top of the lid (the latter a trifle the larger). Then draw the braid tighter, and form a rim to each about two inches deep. The lid, which is separate, fits over the bottom, and the scent of the grass will impart itself to everything kept in the basket.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In this expectation they were not deceived.

In this expectation they were not deceived. About a week after the offer had been proclaimed, a Finnish peasant (one of the Quäns, as they are called) made his appearance at their headquarters, add announced that he had “ringed” a black bear. It was welcome tidings; and the young Russians at once proceeded to the indicated place.

It may be necessary to explain what the man meant when he told them he had “ringed” the bear; since that is a phrase of specific meaning throughout the countries of Scandinavia. In these countries, when the track of a bear is observed in the snow, it is followed up by the person who has discovered it, with the intention of “ringing” the animal—that is, ascertaining as near as maybe, the locality in which it may have halted from its rambles, and lain down to rest. Of course, if the person thus trailing the bear be a hunter—or if it be a party of hunters actually engaged in the chase, they will keep on until they have found the bear in his den. But in nine cases out of ten, bears are not pursued in this fashion. Generally, their haunt—whether temporary or otherwise—has been ascertained beforehand, by some shepherd or woodcutter, and a party of hunters then proceeds to the spot, and makes a surround of the animal before rousing him from his lair.

This “surround,” however, has nothing whatever to do with the “ringing” of the bear, which is an operation of a different character, and is performed by the party who has first chanced upon the tracks. The mode of proceeding is simply to follow the trail, or spar, of the bear as silently as possible—until the tracker has reason to believe that the animal is not far off. This he discovers by observing that the spar no longer trends in a direct line, but doubles about in zigzags, and backward turnings, upon itself; for when a bear intends to lie down, it is his habit to quarter the ground in every direction, precisely as does the hare before squatting in her form.

Captain Mayne Reid: Bruin. The Grand Bear Hunt

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What are we getting from Russia?

Until now Finland has been resigned to all these disadvantages ; but these are increasing as reactionary tendencies grow upon the Russian Government. The St. Petersburg police find the protection accorded to individual liberty by the constitution daily more inconvenient. The arbitrary arrest, in 1882, of two Finland citizens at Helsingfors, the capital of the principality, called forth an energetic protest from the Senate. The reactionary party around Alexander III. is always working against the "un-just privileges " of Finland. The rigid protectionists, who have, these last few years, sacrificed all general political interests to those of the manufacturers of Moscow, sing the same song. In Moscow the competition of Finland is looked upon as insurmountable, and the Government, in its weakness, is beginning to multiply the barriers between the empire and the great principality.

Further, the Finlanders are asking themselves, again and again, this question: "What are we getting from Russia? What are the advantages to make us forget the inconveniences of our union with an arbitrary country?" Discontent, hitherto dumb, is being shown more and more frequently in hostile manifestations against Russia, and these manifestations, in their turn, are fresh reasons alleged in favour of a decisive policy by the Russian reactionaries.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An approximate knowledge even of Norway, Sweden, Finland

Born at Ceuta in 1099, this great geographer travelled through Spain, France, the Western Mediterranean, and North Africa before settling at the Norman Court of Palermo. Roger, the most civilised prince in Christendom, the final product of the great race of Robert Guiscard and William the Conqueror, valued Edrisi at his proper worth, refused to part with him, and employed men in every part of the world to collect materials for his study. Thus the Moor gained, not only for the Moslem world but for Southern Europe as well, an approximate knowledge even of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the coasts of the White Sea.


C. Raymond Beazley: Prince Henry the Navigator, the Hero of Portugal and of Modern Discovery, 1394-1460 A.D. With an Account of Geographical Progress Throughout the Middle Ages As the Preparation for His Work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It was Groa the Witch, thy Finnish bedmate

"I had no hand. If any did this thing, it was Groa the Witch, thy Finnish bedmate. For the rest, I was mad and know not what I did. But hearken, Asmund: ill shall befall thee and thy house, and I will ever be thy foe. Moreover, I will yet wed this maid of thine. And now, thou Eric, hearken also: I will have another game with thee. This one was but the sport of boys; when we meet again—and the time shall not be long—swords shall be aloft, and thou shalt learn the play of men. I tell thee that I will slay thee, and tear Gudruda, shrieking, from thy arms to be my wife! I tell thee that, with yonder good sword Whitefire, I will yet hew off thy head!"—and he choked and stopped.

H. Rider Haggard: Eric Brighteyes

Monday, November 1, 2010

Wild wailing wind of misfortune and sorrow

Finnish wizards used to sell wind to storm-stayed mariners. The wind was enclosed in three knots; if they undid the first knot, a moderate wind sprang up; if the second, it blew half a gale; if the third, a hurricane. Indeed the Esthonians, whose country is divided from Finland only by an arm of the sea, still believe in the magical powers of their northern neighbours. The bitter winds that blow in spring from the north and north-east, bringing ague and rheumatic inflammations in their train, are set down by the simple Esthonian peasantry to the machinations of the Finnish wizards and witches. In particular they regard with special dread three days in spring to which they give the name of Days of the Cross; one of them falls on the Eve of Ascension Day. The people in the neighbourhood of Fellin fear to go out on these days lest the cruel winds from Lappland should smite them dead. A popular Esthonian song runs:

Wind of the Cross! rushing and mighty!
Heavy the blow of thy wings sweeping past!
Wild wailing wind of misfortune and sorrow,
Wizards of Finland ride by on the blast.

James George Frazer: The Golden Bough

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Marching among the Finnish mountains

"Fallen!" exclaimed Frithiof; "King Helge is fallen?"

"Yes, my Frithiof. Thou must know that while thou wert building this temple, Helge was far away, marching among the Finnish mountains. On a lonely crag of the mountains was an ancient shrine. He wished to enter, but the gate was closed and the key fast in the lock. Helge was angry, and, grasping the doorposts, he shook them with all his might. All at once with horrid crash the rotten pillars gave way, and a great image standing on the doorposts fell upon him, and crushed him to earth. Thus he died.

Florence Holbrook: Northland Heroes

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Helsingfors has a small community of girls engaged in teaching and nursing

Three other places are served from Petrograd--Helsingfors, Narva, and Schlusselberg. Helsingfors has a small community of girls engaged in teaching and nursing, and the one Englishman who lives there with his wife, a Mr. Reid, is a Professor of English in the Finn University. One has to go there and return during the night, and during my day there I had a Confirmation in the Art School, most carefully and reverently prepared, and in the evening Mr. and Mrs. Reid had all the girls for a reception, at which I was able to chat with them individually and speak to them about the important and responsible trust they had in being allowed to lay the foundations of character in young lives. At midnight they were all on the station to say good-bye, bright English girls with sparkling eyes and happy faces. Who could not go away deeply thankful that they were not allowed to feel in that remote place that they were forgotten by their Church?

Right Rev. Herbert Bury: Russian Life To-day

Monday, October 18, 2010

Viborg — a delightfully picturesque place

The country through which we are just now passing has very little to recommend it, picturesquely considered. True, in the vicinity of the villages there are signs of cultivation and small pasture-lands; but grey rocks constantly cropping out bear unmistakable witness to the shallowness of the soil. Otherwise, for the most part, heathery moorland and dismal swamp predominate, with, here and there, belts and stretches of stunted, wind-bowed pine and birch. The method of construction of the fences which separate the fields is as curious as it is ingenious, and not easy, therefore, to describe. But, roughly speaking, it is this. At intervals of every ten feet or so two posts are planted side by side at something like the angle of 45°, and linked together by spaced-out rungs. On these rungs are laid slant-wise wooden battens, increasing in length as they ascend the 'ladder,' so that, while those at the bottom reach across to the next 'point d'appui' with but little to spare, their successors project through and beyond it with a progressively greater overlap, thus supplying in a raggedly effective way the upper half of the neighbouring division. The manufacture of haycocks is also carried out in this part of the world in a distinctly original way. A tall stake is driven into the ground, which, fitted promiscuously with nine or ten short arms, suggests nothing more exactly than a gigantic edition of the perch-holder in a parrot's cage. On to this quaintly-devised apparatus the hay is tossed; that portion of it which remains lodged on the arms forming the nucleus round which is gradually built up a compact little stack not dissimilar in shape to an overgrown beehive. At 2.30 we reach the historic old fortified town of Viborg — a delightfully picturesque place, even as seen from the railway; on the left, a busy harbour, guarded by an ancient castle of a somewhat ecclesiastical type of architecture; on the right, a broad, winding estuary, dotted with green-clad islands, which forms the sea-ward end of the canal that connects it with Lake Siama some forty miles to the north.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Most of the magical Finnish songs were composed since the twelfth century

The Hon. John Abercromby, in the second volume of his work entitled "Pre- and Proto-historic Finns," gives a vast number of the magic songs, or charms, of Finland, among which are to be found a collection of formulas, under the caption, "words of healing power," which were recited for the cure of physical ailments of every description. For the purpose of comparison the author has also grouped together many specimens of spells and incantations in vogue among the neighboring peoples, as the Swedes, Slavs, and Lithuanians. He is of the opinion that most of the magical Finnish songs were composed since the twelfth century, and in the transition period, before Christianity had fully taken the place of paganism. During this period the recitation of metrical charms was no longer restricted to the skilled magician, but became popular in every Finnish household. Hence apparently the gradual evolution of a mass of incantations for use in every conceivable exigency or emergency of life. A chief feature of many of these medical charms consists in vituperation and personal abuse of the particular spirit of sickness addressed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We spoke mostly about the sea

Wangel. But how on earth, Ellida! How did you come to betroth yourself to such a man? To an absolute stranger! What is his name?

Ellida. At that time he called himself Friman. Later, in his letters he signed himself Alfred Johnston.

Wangel. And where did he come from?

Ellida. From Finmark, he said. For the rest, he was born in Finland, had come to Norway there as a child with his father, I think.

Wangel. A Finlander, then?

Ellida. Yes, so he called himself.

Wangel. What else do you know about him?

Ellida. Only that he went to sea very young. And that he had been on long voyages.

Wangel. Nothing more?

Ellida. No. We never spoke of such things.

Wangel. Of what did you speak, then?

Ellida. We spoke mostly about the sea.

Henrik Ibsen: The Lady From The Sea

Monday, October 4, 2010

We know nothing of how she got to Helsingfors

She stayed for a week at the British Embassy in Petrograd, where her escort was obliged to leave her, so the rest of the journey was undertaken alone.

We know nothing of how she got to Helsingfors, but I believe it was at that place that she had to walk some considerable distance over a frozen lake to reach the ship. She was hobbling along, leaning heavily on two sticks, and just as she stumbled and almost fell, a young Englishman came up and offered her his arm.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It seemed like a voyage through fairyland.

Having satisfactorily completed all my business arrangements in St. Petersburg, I prepared to set out homewards. But as I had some business to transact at Stockholm and Copenhagen I resolved to visit those cities. I left St. Petersburg for Stockholm by a small steamer, which touched at Helsingfors and Abo, both in Finland. The weather was beautiful. Clear blue shy and bright sunshine by day, and the light prolonged far into the night. Even in September the duration of the sunshine is so great and the night so short that the air has scarcely time to cool till it gets heated again by the bright morning rays. Even at twelve at night the sun dips but a little beneath the bright horizon on the north. The night is so bright in the Abo latitude that one can read the smallest print.

Nothing can be more beautiful than the charming scenery we passed through in our tortuous voyage to Stockholm. We threaded between the granite islands which crowd the shores of the Baltic. They are covered with pines, which descend to the water's edge. We swept them with our paddle-boxes, and dipped their bright green fronds into the perfectly clear sea. For about two days our course lay through those beautiful small islands. It seemed like a voyage through fairyland. And it continued in this exquisite tranquil way until we reached that crowning feature of all--the magnificent city of Stockholm, sleeping, as it were, on the waters of the Malar Lake, and surrounded by noble mountains clad with pines.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A l'université même, certains cours se font en finnois

En Finlande, par exemple, la lutte est entre les Suédois, qui forment la classe aisée habitant les villes de la côte, et les Finnois, qui constituent la classe rurale. Visitant le pays avec le fils de l'éminent linguiste Castrèn, qui est mort en allant chercher jusqu'au fond de l'Asie les origines de la langue finnoise, je trouvai que celle-ci dominait même dans les faubourgs des grandes villes, comme Abo et Helsingfors. Les inscriptions officielles y sont bilingues. L'enseignement primaire se donne presque partout en finnois. A côté des gymnases suédois, il y en a de finnois. A l'université même, certains cours se font en finnois. Il y a jusqu'à un théâtre national où j'ai entendu chanter _Martha_ en finnois.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"And where on earth is Imatra?" ask I innocently.

When I first made the acquaintance of Viborg, a journey thither from St. Petersburg, though the distance by land is only about eighty miles, was no light undertaking. The daring traveler who elected to travel by road had no choice but to provide himself with abundant wrappings and a good stock of food, draw his strong boots up to his knee, fortify his inner man with scalding tea or fiery corn-whisky, and struggle through axle-deep mud or breast-high snow (according to the season), sometimes for two days together. "Mais nous avons changé tout cela." Two trains run daily from St. Petersburg, covering the whole distance in about four hours, and the stations along the line, though bearing marks of hasty construction, are still sufficiently comfortable and well supplied with provisions. Thanks to this direct communication with the capital, Viborg is now completely au fait of the news of the day, and all fashionable topics are canvassed as eagerly on the promenade of this little Finnish seaport as along the pavements of the Nevski Prospect.

David Ker: A Day's March through Finland

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finland was distinct from Russia

To the traveller without special credentials, the short journey from Haparanda to the railway-car at Tornea which is to bear him onwards must have been almost a foretaste of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Even for the members of a military mission with "red passports," whose advent had been announced, it was one prolonged agony; and it would probably have been even worse when the intervening estuaries were not frozen over and when one had to take the ferry. All the formalities had to be gone through twice over because there was an island, although the Russian officials were the very pink of courtesy. One learns a great deal of geography on journeys of this kind; we had not realized the extent to which Finland, with its special money, its special language, and its special frontier worries, was distinct from Russia. The train took three days and nights between Stockholm and Petrograd, and one was supposed to fetch up at the terminus somewhere about midnight; but it always took two or three hours to get through the frontier station between Finland and Russia at the last moment, with the result that one might arrive at the capital at any hour of the early morning.

Charles Edward Callwell: Experiences of a Dug-out, 1914-1918

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Among the dwellers in this little-known land

A short time since I received a well-printed but mysterious booklet, entitled: _Tri L. Zamenhofin kansainvalinen apukieli Esperanto. Kielioppi seka Esimerkki ja Harjoitussarja. Suomenkielelle
Muodostaneet._

At first I thought it was some new mysterious Volapuk, but soon discovered that brethren in the _Land of Lakes and Marshes_ now have their own Esperanto textbook (72 pages, 1s.).

Up to the present there are not many Esperantists in Finland, and those who already exist must, doubtless, have learned from the Swedish Textbook of Dr. Henriclundquest.

It is now to be hoped that our Army will gain many recruits among the dwellers in this little-known land.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Found himself stranded at Helsingfors in Finland

Sainton, a southern Frenchman from Toulouse, of naive and fiery temperament, was living with a full-blooded German musician from Hamburg, named Luders, the son of a bandsman, of a brusque but friendly disposition. I was much affected when I heard, later on, of the incident which had made these two men inseparable friends. Sainton had been making a concert tour by way of St. Petersburg, and found himself stranded at Helsingfors in Finland, unable to get any further, pursued as he was by the demon of ill-luck. At this moment the curious figure of the modest Hamburg bandsman's son had accosted him on the staircase of the hotel, asking whether he would be inclined to accept his offer of friendship and take half of his available cash, as he (Luders) had of course noticed the awkwardness of the other's position.

Richard Wagner: My Life, Volume II

Friday, September 17, 2010

A regular supply of seal's flesh for their dinner

There is no term in political philosophy more ambiguous and lax in its meaning than Luxury. In Ireland, salt with a potato is, by the peasant, placed in this category. Among the Cossacks, a clean shirt is more than a luxury--it is an effeminacy; and a Scotch nobleman is reported to have declared, that the act of scratching one's self is a luxury too great for any thing under royalty. The Russians (there is no disputing on tastes) hold train-oil to be a prime luxury; and I remember seeing a group of them following an exciseman on the quays at Dover to plunder the oil casks, as they were successively opened for his operations. A poor Finland woman, who for her sins had married an Englishman and followed him to this country, was very glad to avail herself of her husband's death to leave a land where the people were so unhappy as to be without a regular supply of seal's flesh for their dinner. While the good man lived, her affection for him somewhat balanced her hankering after this native luxury; but no sooner was the husband dead, than her lawyer-like propensity re-assumed its full force, and, like Proteus released from his chains, she abandoned civilized life to get back to her favourite shores, to liberty, and the animals of her predilection.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We managed to steal a plane and flew it to Finland

"We tried to get out by air but that proved impossible. All civil flights were canceled so that the fields could accommodate the armadas of military aircraft that swarmed into the area. We couldn't even get a wireless message out because of the spreading chaos. We had to proceed out of the city on foot and by then affairs were beginning to take an ugly turn. Food supplies were becoming exhausted and as long as the military refused to budge nothing could be brought in, even their own supplies. Once out of the city we took to the river. No one attempted to stop us but neither did any official attempt to help their Chinese comrades. The curious paralysis had spread. It was as if the entire countryside was holding its breath, waiting for some positive sign of authority. In Gorki, where there was less air-congestion, we managed to steal a plane and flew it to Finland. The rest you know."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Funny place for people to come from—Finland—isn’t it?

Batterby bit off the end of a great black cigar.

“If the missus will let me,” said he.

“Missus? Your wife? You are married, my dear Reginald?” Aristide leaped, in his unexpected fashion, from his chair and almost embraced him. “Ah, but you are happy, you are lucky. It was always like that. You open your mouth and the larks fall ready roasted into it! My congratulations. And she is here, in this hotel, your wife? Tell me about her.”

Batterby lit his cigar. “She’s nothing to write home about,” he said, modestly. “She’s French.”

“French? No—you don’t say so!” exclaimed Aristide, in ecstasy.

“Well, she was brought up in France from her childhood, but her parents were Finns. Funny place for people to come from—Finland—isn’t it? You could never expect it—might just as well think of ’em coming from Lapland. She’s an orphan. I met her in London.”

Friday, September 3, 2010

The sight of Sveaborg made me feel that I was still a Swede in soul and heart

In the fall of the same year I took a trip through Finland and Russia, having secured a passport issued by Gen. C. C. Andrews, who was then United States minister in Stockholm. I went with the steamer Aura from Stockholm to Abo, Helsingfors, and Cronstadt. The pine-clad islands and shores of the Bay of Finland afforded a beautiful panorama from the steamer. The sight of Sveaborg made me feel that I was still a Swede in soul and heart, for I was overpowered by a deep sadness when I thought of the heinous treason by which this impregnable fortress was forced to surrender.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Finns were an absolutely unreliable people

Captain Rustenberg went to Helsingfors in Finland where he had been ordered to look up certain Finnish agitators with whom the German Intelligence Department was in communication. He found them much excited against Russia and just as much against Sweden. None of them was in the least sympathetic with Germany and German Kultur, and when the captain tried to discuss with them their eventual attitude in the, as he put it, improbable case of war breaking out between Russia and Germany they told him frankly that they would support Russia so long as they had no hopes of winning back their independence, but that the moment they saw the least likelihood of doing this, they would organize a systematic revolt against their present masters. When they were asked whether they would seek help from Germany in their attempt to shake off the Russian yoke, they replied categorically that they would never dream of doing such a thing, because it would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

On the other hand the anarchist elements in Finland, of whom there were more than the captain had been led to think, were absolutely pro-German and seemed to him at least to be in complete accord with several German socialist groups. They considered Scheidemann a kind of prophet, and they made no secret of the fact that at different times they had accepted financial subsidies from their German comrades, especially during the troubled years which had followed the Russo-Japanese war.

After several days spent in their society, the captain considered that the Finns were an absolutely unreliable people ready to conclude an alliance with any person who flattered them and just as ready to break afterwards. In case of a war they would undoubtedly cause trouble, even if they ostensibly declared themselves on the German side.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It is her proud boast that she is "Framtidsland," the land of the future

Finland is in a very unfortunate position. Geographically she is bound to form part of the Russian Empire; even the extremest Russophobes in the country have long ago given up hopes of re-union with Sweden; and yet the frontier between Finland and Russia is one which divides two worlds, as all who have made the journey from Helsingfors to Petrograd must have noticed. In literature, art, education, politics, commerce, industry, and social reform Finland is as much alive as any of the Scandinavian States from whom she first derived her culture. In many ways indeed she is the most progressive country in Europe, and it is her proud boast that she is "Framtidsland," the land of the future.

R.W. Seton-Watson, J. Dover Wilson, Alfred E. Zimmern, and Arthur Greenwood: The War and Democracy

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Finland

Feet and faces tingle
In that frore land:
Legs wobble and go wingle,
You scarce can stand.

The skies are jewelled all around,
The ploughshare snaps in the iron ground,
The Finn with face like paper
And eyes like a lighted taper
Hurls his rough rune
At the wintry moon
And stamps to mark the tune.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From Finland's birchen groves exiled

Haply, from Finland's birchen groves exiled,
Manly in thought, in simple ways a child,
His white hair floating round his visage mild,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heureusement, notre caravane arrivait au grand galop

PARTIE DE SAINT-PÉTERSBOURG 28 JANVIER 1813.—FINLANDE.—VIBORG. ...

A chaque relais, changement d'équipage. Vous arrivez là; il pleut: vite et vite, on vous amène un équipage, une atroce charrette; on met là-dessus deux ou trois matelas. Vous vous étendez à la belle étoile, qu'il pleuve, qu'il vente, qu'il neige, n'importe. Ma sœur tombe sur la route, dans la boue, avec son gros sac, ses grosses bottes, et moi ne pouvant lui donner de secours, tant ma gaieté l'emportait sur le danger. Heureusement, notre caravane arrivait au grand galop, munie de fusils, pour faire face aux dangers des loups.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A foreign nihilist is to be arrested at Helsingfors

In an hour I was aboard the ship Alexis as it steamed down the Neva, bound for Stockholm. It was the same boat on which I had come to St. Petersburg, and the Captain and I were friends. In the morning, at breakfast, I sat at the Captain's left hand, and he said, motioning to the opposite seat : "Inspector Denisov, a high official of the police, is on board and will eat with us. He is on a serious errand. A foreign nihilist is among the passengers, it seems, and is to be arrested at Helsingfors if he does not try to get off the ship before we reach there. He is charming — the Inspector, I mean. I will introduce you. By-the-way, you have not yet given me your passport. I must trouble you for it, as our companion at table desires the papers of all the passengers to be submitted to his inspection."

I blushed rose red and stammered something about my papers being in my trunk. For an instant the hope that I could retain possession of the paper lingered in my mind, but I quickly dismissed it. Of what use could it be to postpone events, since it could be but a question of a few hours' time when all my belongings, and my person as well, must pass into the custody of my pursuer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The boggy forests of Finland

It's hard for Anglo-Saxons, ante-social, as suspicious of neighbors as if they still lived in the boggy forests of Finland, city-dwellers for a paltry thirty generations, to understand the publicity, the communal quality of life in the region of the Mediterranean. The first thought when one gets up is to go out of doors to see what people are talking of, the last thing before going to bed is to chat with the neighbors about the events of the day. The home, cloistered off, exclusive, can hardly be said to exist. Instead of the nordic hearth there is the courtyard about which the women sit while the men are away at the marketplace.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Senate House is not so gorgeous

Toward evening we left Abo and again entered the maze of granite islands. Early next morning we arrived at Hango and at noon we reached Helsingfors where another halt of six hours was made . This city is the capital of Finland and the seat of the university. The coast is fortified for miles on each side of the harbor and six monitors and a few other war vessels were lying in the roads . The two most prominent buildings in Helsingfors are the Greek Catholic Cathedral and the Senate House. Both stand upon elevations above the city and make quite an imposing appearance . The church has five towers resplendent in gilt which glitters in the sun. The Senate House is not so gorgeous, especially upon nearer examination, but still looks very well from a distance.

Finland is quite distinct from Russia, the Czar being but a grand duke. It has a different coinage and a representative system like that which Gustavus Adolphus gave to Sweden. It is considered the best administered province in the empire. The people have a more pleasing character than the Russians and ninety-eight per cent, of the population are Protestants.

In the evening our steamer turned her head once more toward the sea and we soon passed the monitors and forts bristling with cannon. The next day at noon we reached Viburg where I spent the two hours of our stay in walking around the walls and looking at the hideous old castle.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The ex-king of Greece on the throne of Finland

There are now 1,000,000 Americans in France. But the Kaiser and his War-lords are still passing their victims through the fire to the Pan-German Moloch, and threatening to send German generals to teach the Austrian Army how to win offensives. It is even reported that the Germans contemplate placing the ex-king of Greece on the throne of Finland. Fantastic rumours are rife in these days; but there is only too good reason to believe the report that the ex-Tsar, the Tsaritsa, and their daughters have all been murdered by their brutal captors at Ekaterinburg. It seems but yesterday when Nicholas was acclaimed as the Saviour and regenerator of his people, and now Tsardom, irrevocably fallen from its high estate, has gone down amid scenes of butchery and barbarity that eclipse the Reign of Terror in France.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Willie Burmester

At the end of four years' study under Joachim he was refused a certificate, for some reason not stated, and he went to Helsingfors in Finland, where he worked according to his own ideas, which were to unlearn all he had studied, and begin afresh. During this period he worked with the greatest perseverance, practising nine or ten hours a day, and thus developed the wonderful technique which has astonished the world. For three years he continued this work,supporting himself meanwhile with a modest appointment which he had obtained.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Some small urchins begged of us

Our steamer is a fine one and we are quite comfortable. I have a stateroom with a Finnish lady, who is charming for she goes up on deck at 4 A. M. and lets me dress in peace and quiet and then she arrays herself. Unfortunately we have a cracked basin, so it is rather hard work to dress comfortably, but they have promised another for tomorrow. Ed. has a stateroom with Mr. Calmeyn who decided to go to Petersburg, so he is all right. He has captured a small girl who came on board to sell flowers, so he is happy drawing her. She is quite pretty and is posing beautifully. We went round the town and saw the old Cathedral and also a fine view from the Observatory. The people here speak Swedish or Finnish, not Russian. Tomorrow we go to Helsingfors and thence by rail to Petersburg. We took some time to get here and came quite a distance up the river to anchor alongside the quay. The town is extremely clean and the people ditto; but some small urchins begged of us, whilst in Norway such a thing is unknown.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In this gloomy mood she went to visit an aunt in Finland

Her friends directed her thoughts to charity. On the one hand, she saw poverty which was real and repulsive, and a sham poverty even more repulsive and pitiable; on the other, she saw the terrible indifference of the lady patronesses who came in carriages and gowns worth thousands. Life became to her more and more unbearable. She yearned for something real, for life itself—not this playing at living, not this skimming life of its cream. Of real life there was none. The best of her memories was her love for the little cadet Koko. That had been a good, honest, straight-forward impulse, and now there was nothing like it. There could not be. She grew more and more depressed, and in this gloomy mood she went to visit an aunt in Finland. The fresh scenery and surroundings, the people strangely different to her own, appealed to her at any rate as a new experience.

How and when it all began she could not clearly remember. Her aunt had another guest, a Swede. He talked of his work, his people, the latest Swedish novel. Somehow, she herself did not know how that terrible fascination of glances and smiles began, the meaning of which cannot be put into words.

These smiles and glances seemed to reveal to each, not only the soul of the other, but some vital and universal mystery. Every word they spoke was invested by these smiles with a profound and wonderful significance. Music, too, when they were listening together, or when they sang duets, became full of the same deep meaning. So, also, the words in the books they read aloud. Sometimes they would argue, but the moment their eyes met, or a smile flashed between them, the discussion remained far behind. They soared beyond it to some higher plane consecrated to themselves.

How it had come about, how and when the devil, who had seized hold of them both, first appeared behind these smiles and glances, she could not say. But, when terror first seized her, the invisible threads that bound them were already so interwoven that she had no power to tear herself free. She could only count on him and on his honour. She hoped that he would not make use of his power; yet all the while she vaguely desired it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

This is a Motor Car.

This is a Motor Car. It can travel forty miles an hour. There is a number on the back of it. If the car runs over you make a note of the number and complain to the County Council. That is what the number is for.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Among the innumerable Aland Islands

After a good night's sleep and a smooth sea, we find ourselves in the morning winding our way among the innumerable Aland Islands ; the sailing is intricate and dangerous, but picturesque ; we are obliged to stop nights on account of the danger and difficulty in navigating among the rocks.

The Gulf of Finland, which we enter, is in possession of Russia ; by occupying the Aland Islands she is only twenty miles from Stockholm, and is, therefore, brought into close proximity to Sweden. Our passengers on the steamer are mostly Fins and a few Russians, and a more intelligent class of people than the former we never met ; they were evidently from the higher classes, and one of the young ladies was reported to be the belle of the capital of Finland. Of the party, a prominent lawyer and a member of the Senate, could speak a little English, and they gave us much valuable information.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jaampa, Jaampa, what will become of you

But Jaampa would not learn Norwegian, nor could he even if he wished it ever so much ; for who would teach him ?

What, then, did he do? He had again recourse, in secret, to the Lappish gods, who still were not quite forgotten, and whose images yet stood here and there on hill and strand. These, he thought, must, at least, be just as skilled in languages as himself, or understand both Lappish and Finnish, which he spoke equally well. He prayed, then, his own way; but when he prayed, where he prayed, and what his prayers were, the Lord alone knows !

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Twigs of the birch are used for beds

"The old tree goes on to say," continued Miss Harson, "that 'Finland mothers form of the dried leaves soft, elastic beds for their children, and from me is prepared the mona, their sole medicine in all diseases. My buds in spring exhale a delicious fragrance after showers, and the bark, when burnt, seems to purify the air in confined dwellings.'

"In Lapland the twigs of the birch, covered with reindeer-skins, are used for beds, but they cannot be so comfortable, I should think, as the leaves. The fragrant wood of the tree makes the fires which have to be kept up inside the huts even in summer to drive away the mosquitoes, and the people of those Northern regions would find it hard to get along without the useful birch."

"I like to hear about it," said Clara. "Can you tell us something more that is done with it, Miss Harson?"

"There is just one thing more," replied her governess, with a smile, "which I will read out of an old book; and I desire you all to pay particular attention to it."

Little Edith was wide awake again by this time, and her great blue eyes looked as if she were ready to devour every word.

"Birch rods," continued Miss Harson, "are quite different from birch twigs, and the uses to which they were put were not altogether agreeable to the boys who ran away from school or did not get their lessons. 'My branches,' says the birch, 'gently waving in the wind, awakened in those days no feelings of dread with truant urchins--for all might be truants then, if so it pleased them--but at length a scribe arose who thus wrote concerning my ductile twigs: "The civil uses whereunto the birch serveth are many, as for the punishment of children both at home and abroad; for it hath an admirable influence upon them to quiet them when they wax unruly, and therefore some call the tree make-peace"'" Malcolm and Clara both laughed, and asked their young governess when the birch rods were coming; but Edith did not feel quite so easy, and, with her bruised foot and all, it took a great deal of petting that night to get her comfortably to bed.

Ella Rodman Church: Among the Trees at Elmridge

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The wide- awake, liberty-loving nation of Finland

But what shall we say of the acute pangs of woe now gripping the hearts of the wide-awake, liberty-loving nation of Finland? Their constitutional rights — more highly prized than life itself — have been ruthlessly trampled under foot. Is it possible that today lives any loyal Finn who could find even a particle of pure joy in any one of these superfluous Russian holidays? Fast days, when they might call upon the God of nations for vengeance, they would gladly welcome. Finland's lament rends the heavens :

If I forget thee, O Helsingfors,
Let my right hand forget her cunning!
If I do not remember thee,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!
If I prefer not Helsingfors above my chief joy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

They are novel and interesting, these Finlanders

It was not really in running order for the summer, the landlady was away, and I was again struggling with the sign language, when somebody came to the rescue — a tall, dark, grave, distinguished-looking lady who spoke a little English and brought a vague odor of attar of roses. She was from Finland, also come to see Ellen Key, with whom she was dining that evening, and she said she would report my arrival and find out when it would be convenient for me to call.

They are novel and interesting, these Finlanders, to the simple-minded American who thinks of Finland as consisting of reindeer and ice. Every grown-up person votes in Finland, and the women sit in the Legislature. And this faraway place consists, apparently, not of reindeer and ice, but of lively and intelligent people who speak every language you ever heard of. The companion of this particular lady did, indeed, speak all the languages of Europe; she was a tremendous politician and suffragist, spoke familiarly of Mrs. Chapman Catt and other Americans, and she was, as her card related: Medlem av Finlands Landtag. II viceordrforanden i internat. Kvinnorostrattalliansen. Ordforande i Svenska Kvinnoforbundet i Finland — which means a member of the Finnish Diet, among other things.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Finland mates and Finland sailors, speaking both English and Russian

All my surroundings were those of the country of the midnight sun, and I should have felt more bewildered than when in the fog I viewed and chased this spectral-looking ship, had not Captain Bergelund, in most excellent English, entertained me with a flow of conversation which put me at my ease. He discoursed of Finland, where lakes covered the country from near Abo, its chief city, to the far north, where the summer days are "nearly all night long."

Painting in high colors the delights of his native land, he begged me to visit it. Finally, as midnight drew near, this genial sailor insisted upon putting me in his own comfortable stateroom, while he slept upon a lounge in the cabin.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A cruise on Lake Ladoga

"Dear Q.,—The steamboat Valamo is advertised to leave on Tuesday, the 26th, (July 8th, New Style,) for Serdopol, at the very head of Lake Ladoga, stopping on the way at Schlüsselburg, Konewitz Island, Kexholm, and the island and monastery of Valaam. The anniversary of Saints Sergius and Herrmann, miracle-workers, will be celebrated at the last-named place on Thursday, and the festival of the Apostles Peter and Paul on Friday. If the weather is fine, the boat will take passengers to the Holy Island. The fare is nine rubles for the trip. You can be back again in St. Petersburg by six o'clock on Saturday evening. Provisions can be had on board, but (probably) not beds; so, if you are luxurious in this particular, take along your own sheets, pillow-cases, and blankets. I intend going, and depend upon your company. Make up your mind by ten o'clock, when I will call for your decision.

"Yours,
"P."

I laid down the note, looked at my watch, and found that I had an hour for deliberation before P.'s arrival. "Lake Ladoga?" said I to myself; "it is the largest lake in Europe,—I learned that at school. It is full of fish; it is stormy; and the Neva is its outlet. What else?" I took down a geographical dictionary, and obtained the following additional particulars: The name Lad'oga (not Lado'ga, as it is pronounced in America) is Finnish, and means "new." The lake lies between 60° and 61° 45' north latitude, is 175 versts—about 117 miles—in length, from north to south, and 100 versts in breadth; receives the great river Volkhoff on the south, the Svir, which pours into it the waters of Lake Onega, on the east, and the overflow of nearly half the lakes of Finland, on the west; and is, in some parts, fourteen hundred feet deep.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The little bridge that gave us our freedom

"At the border a suspicious sailor on guard searched us. He turned many back to Petrograd. The train pulled back carrying four hundred women and children and babies disappointed at the very door to freedom, weeping, penniless, and starving, starting back into Russia all to suit the whim
of an ignorant under officer. Under the influence of flattery he softened toward us and after robbing us of everything that had been provided us by our friends for the journey, taking even the official papers sent by the Bolshevik government to our government which we were to deliver to American representatives in Finland, he let us go.

"After he let us go we saw the soldiers in the house grabbing for the American money which Mr. Taylor had given us. They had not thought it worth while to take the Russian roubles away from us. Of course they were of no value to us in Finland. After a two kilometer walk, carrying a sick English soldier with us, my three comrades and I reached the little bridge that gave us our freedom."--By Sgt. Glenn W. Leitzell, Co. M, 339th Inf.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My father was in Helsingfors during the rioting

The Finnish question is to Russia much what the Irish question has been to England. Successive Tsars have sought to deprive the Finns of the liberties they were granted when, in 1809, their country was finally annexed to Russia. The Russian language was forced on the people, and Russian officials overran the country. Nicholas II. promulgated a new military law soon after his accession, which aimed at incorporating the Finnish forces in the Russian army, whilst further steps were taken to override the Finnish Diet. Matters culminated in 1905, when Finland went "on strike," and quickly forced the Russian Government to give way. My father was in Helsingfors during the rioting, and was able to be of inconsiderable assistance in putting the views of the Finns before the Emperor. Not only was the Diet allowed to meet again, but it was permitted to remodel the constitution. Universal suffrage was brought in, and women, for the first time,were elected members of Parliament and took their seats in the Diet. Unfortunately, though, some three years before the outbreak of the present war there was further friction, and efforts were made to curtail the power of the Diet and override its decisions. Some of its more prominent members were banished to Siberia.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In the open-air restaurant of Brunn's Park

"YOU ask how I happened to go to Siberia to study music," said my Russian friend Hartveld, as we sat smoking in the open-air restaurant of Brunn's Park, Helsingfors. "I might reply by asking you how you happened to go there to study penal servitude. I presume the inducement in both cases was the same. You thought you would find, among the political exiles in Siberia, characters, conditions and stories of personal adventure that would be novel and interesting, and that you could use as literary material."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The friendly, courageous Finns had lied

The effects of this control were brought forcibly to view during the Russo-Finnish War, when a controlled Finnish press painted a glowing and almost fantastic picture of Finnish victories over insurmountable odds. But the public over here was taken in. The story struck a chord in the hearts of every American, as we read how a tiny handful of Finns smashed a Russian army of 300,000 men. Then the United States slowly began to hear the real story. It seemed hard to believe that the friendly, courageous Finns had lied. But there were the facts. And Americans learned the importance of controlling the news, the value of censorship in total war strategy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

City of Fredericksham, upon a dunghill

I have seen, in Finland, near Wiburg, beyond the fixty-first degree of Latitude, cherry-trees entirely exposed to the weather, though these trees are natives of the forty-second degree ; that is, of the kingdom of Pontus, from whence Lucullus transplanted them to Rome, after the defeat of Mithridates. The peasantry of that Province cultivate tobacco with success, which is a much more southerly plant, being originally a native of Brasil. It is, I admit, an annual plant, and that it does not acquire, in it's northern situation, a very high degree of perfume ; for they are under the necessity of exposing it to the heat of their stoves, in order to bring it to a state of perfect maturity. But the rocks with which Finland is covered over, would undoubtedly present, to attentive eyes, reverberating situations, which might bring it to a sufficient degree of maturity, without the aid of artificial heat.

I myself found, not far from the city of Fredericksham, upon a dunghill, under the shelter of a rock, a very lofty tuft of oats, the produce of a single seed, consisting of thirty-seven stalks, loaded with as many ears completely ripe, without reckoning a multitude of other small sucklers. I gathered it, with an intention of having it presented to her Imperial Majesty, Catharine II. by my General M. Dubfosquet, under whose orders, and in whose company I was then visiting the fortified places of that province ...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Må de, som vilja veta det, lyssna

Hur dvärgarna lämnade från sig hornet Månegarm och hur ett frö gömdes i mullen, innan ett stort träd kunde växa, det skall här beskrivas. Här skall berättas om en släkt, som vann högsta ära och sedan spårlöst sopades från jorden. Vad de mäktiga av denna ätt tänkte om sina guldkronor, när deras livsdagar stupade som kalla och slippriga trappsteg ned till helvetet, och de olyckliga och ömkade om sina fjättrar, det skall också bli sagt. Må de, som vilja veta det, lyssna. Ingenting skall bli förtegat. Oöverskådliga avstånd breda sig mellan dem och oss, men alla människoöden susa under fingrarna på samma spinnerskor.

Verner von Heidenstam: Folkungaträdet

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The conquest of Finland

ACROSS the frozen marshes
The winds of autumn blow.
And the fen-lands of the Wetter
Are white with early snow.

But where the low, gray headlands
Look o'er the Baltic brine.
A bark is sailing in the track
Of England's battle-line.

No wares bath she to barter
For Bothnia's fish and grain;
She saileth not for pleasure.
She saileth not for gain.

But still by isle or mainland
She drops her anchor down.
Where'er the British cannon
Rained lire on tower and town.

Outspake the ancient Amtman,
At the gate of Helsingfors :
"Why comes this ship a-spying
In the track of England's wars ? "

"God bless her," said the coast-guard,
"God bless the ship, I say,
The holy angels trim the sails
That speed her on her way !

"Where'er she drops her anchor,
The peasant's heart is glad ;
Where'er she spreads her parting sail.
The peasant's heart is sad.

" Each wasted town and hamlet
She visits to restore;
To roof the shattered cabin.
And feed the starving poor.

"The sunken boats of fishers.
The foraged beeves and grain.
The spoil of flake and storehouse.
The good ship brings again.

"And so to Finland's sorrow
The sweet amend is made,
As if the healing hand of Christ
Upon her wounds were laid!"

Then said the gray old Amtman:
"The will of God be done!
The battle lost by England's hate
By England's love is won !

"We braved the iron tempest
That thundered on our shore;
But when did kindness fail to find
The key to Finland's door?

"No more from Aland's ramparts
Sliall warning signal come,
Nor startled Sweaborg hear again
The roll of midnight drum.

"Beside our fierce Black Eagle
The Dove of Peace shall rest ;
And in the mouths of cannon
The sea-bird make her nest.

" For Finland, looking seaward,
No coming foe shall scan;
And the holy bells of Abo
Shall ring 'Good-will to man!'

"Then row thy boat, fisher!
In peace on lake and bay;
And thou, young maiden, dance again
Around the poles of May!

"Sit down, old men, together.
Old wives, in quiet spin;
Henceforth the Anglo-Saxon
Is the brother of the Tinn ! "

John Greenleaf Whittier.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"I'm sure I can manage on here alone."

There were once two orphans, a brother and a sister, who lived alone in the old farmhouse where their fathers before them had lived for many generations. The brother's name was Osmo, the sister's Ilona. Osmo was an industrious youth, but the farm was small and barren and he was hard put to it to make a livelihood.

"Sister," he said one day, "I think it might be well if I went out into the world and found work."

"Do as you think best, brother," Ilona said. "I'm sure I can manage on here alone."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Politicians here more unscrupulous than Bobrikoff

TIM. Not another word. Shake hands.

BROADBENT. But I should like to explain—

TIM. Sure I know every word you're goin to say before yev said it. I know the sort o man yar. An so you're thinkin o comin to Ireland for a bit?

BROADBENT. Where else can I go? I am an Englishman and a Liberal; and now that South Africa has been enslaved and destroyed, there is no country left to me to take an interest in but Ireland. Mind: I don't say that an Englishman has not other duties. He has a duty to Finland and a duty to Macedonia. But what sane man can deny that an Englishman's first duty is his duty to Ireland? Unfortunately, we have politicians here more unscrupulous than Bobrikoff, more bloodthirsty than Abdul the Damned; and it is under their heel that Ireland is now writhing.

TIM. Faith, they've reckoned up with poor oul Bobrikoff anyhow.

BROADBENT. Not that I defend assassination: God forbid! However strongly we may feel that the unfortunate and patriotic young man who avenged the wrongs of Finland on the Russian tyrant was perfectly right from his own point of view, yet every civilized man must regard murder with abhorrence. Not even in defence of Free Trade would I lift my hand against a political opponent, however richly he might deserve it.

George Bernard Shaw: John Bull's Other Island

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I sold and gave away 250 Finnish Common Prayer Books

In the middle of Sept. 1828, two of my pious neighbors called on me. Our conversation was chiefly respecting an excellent young man and his wife, who wished to visit an island in the gulf of Finland, named Hogland. It contains about 600 inhabitants, but without a resident pastor or apothecary. The young man had been a theological student in a celebrated university, and his wife was the daughter of a physician, and possessed a good knowledge of medicine.

On the 29th of September — memorable day! — I was packing one of their boxes with medicine, apparel, tracts, and Bibles, when a poor woman from the suburbs called at my house, and the following conversation took place: "Can you read?" "Yes, I can read Finnish." I then put a Finnish Bible into her hands, which she appeared to read fluently. "Have you ever possessed a Bible?" "No, never." "Should you like to buy one?" "Oh yes, I should like it, but I have not money enough." "How much money have you?" "Alas! I have only one ruble." "Well, good woman, you shall have it for a ruble: take it." At this intelligence her eyes sparkled with joy. As she was going away, I requested her to publish it among her neighbors, and to inform them that they might also have a Bible for a ruble. She went immediately to the hay-market, which is the great resort of her countrymen, and there she gave publicity to the glad tidings she had heard, and as a proof of its certainty she exhibited the book. The effect was wonderful! The inteligence flew to all the surrounding villages, and, in the space of six weeks, we sold eight hundred Finnish Bibles.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Studies in the slums

I looked to where he pointed. On the wall, near the small looking-glass, hung a round cap with hanging fox's tail—such a cap as the half-bloods of our north-western forests wear, and the peasants of the European North as well.

Jan smiled as he saw my puzzled look. "It iss vy I say I vill tell it all," he went on in his grave, steady voice. "Ven I see dat it iss to see de North. For, see, it vas not alvays I am in de city. No. It iss true I am many years in Stockholm, but I am not Swede: I am Finn—yes, true Finn—and know my own tongue vell, and dat iss vat some Finns vill nefer do. I haf learn to read Swedish, for I must. Our own tongue iss not for us, but I learn it, and Brita dere, she know it too. Brita iss of Helsingfors, and I am of de country far out, but I come dere vid fur, for I hunt many months each year. Den I know Brita, and ve marry, and I must stay in de city, and I am strong; and first I am porter, but soon dey know I read and can be drusted, and it iss china dat I must put in boxes all day, and I know soon how to touch it so as it nefer break.

"But dere is not money. My Brita iss born, and little Jan, and I dink alvay, 'I must haf home vere dey may know more;' and all de days it iss America dat dey say iss home for all, and much money—so much no man can be hungry, and vork iss for all. Brita iss ready, and soon ve come, and all de children glad. Yes, dere are six, and good children dat lofe us, and I say efery day, 'Oh, my God, but you are so good! and my life lofes you, for so much good I haf.' Brita too iss happy. She vork hard, but ve do not care, and ve dink, 'Soon ve can rest a little, for it iss not so hard dere as here;' and ve sail to America.

Studies in the slums. IV Jan of the north in
Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 26, October, 1880

Friday, February 26, 2010

Anna-Clara och Hennes Bröder

Där stod Anna-Clara mitt i rummet framför den stora spegeln. Psalmboken höll hon uppslagen framför sig och med sin falska röst sjöng hon ur boken. Då och då tittade hon i spegeln för att se hur hon gjorde sig. Ibland satte hon hårrosetten rätt och ibland var det ett veck på kjolen som inte låg som det skulle.

Jag öppnade dörren och steg in.

--Min kära Anna-Clara, sade jag, en psalmbok är en mycket allvarligare sak än vad du föreställer dig. För att sjunga ur en psalmbok behöver man ingen repetition framför en spegel. Det passar sig inte alls. En psalmbok är ingenting att kokettera med. Då du kommer högre upp i skolan kommer din lärarinna att berätta dig vad en psalmbok egentligen är.

Anna-Clara satt tyst och allvarlig. Så såg hon mig rätt i ansiktet och sade i en bestämd ton:

--Jag vill bara säga dig en sak: man går inte in i ett stängt rum utan att knacka först!

Jag tror inte att Anna-Clara är mogen för de religiösa spörsmålen.

Hasse Zetterström: Anna-Clara och Hennes Bröder

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Such minor fortresses as Sveaborg, Helsingfors

During the Crimean war the allied British and French navies distinguished themselves by their signal failure to effect the reduction of such minor fortresses as Sveaborg, Helsingfors, and the fortified lighthouses upon the Gulf of Finland. Their respective Admirals fired their severest broadsides into each other, and the bombardment of the forts was silenced by the smart interchange of nautical civilities between the two flagships. Napoleon III, who sought an explanation of this failure of his fleet, was given a reply that I cannot refrain from recommending to the British Admiralty to-day. "Well, Sire," replied the French diplomatist, who knew the circumstances, "both the Admirals were old women, but ours was at least a lady." If British Admirals cannot put to sea without incurring this risk, they might, at least, take the gunboat woman with them to prescribe the courtesies of naval debate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

He left Petrograd yesterday for Helsingfors

"Feodor, I want you to go to the booking-office of the Finnish station at the departure of the train for Helsingfors at five-thirty. There you will meet a fair-haired young man who knows you by sight. He will say the word 'Anak,' and when he does, hand him this in secret. He will quite understand."

This order I carried out. I had not been at the crowded station five minutes when a young man, carrying a small handbag, elbowed his way through the excited crowd and uttered in an undertone the word "Anak." I greeted him, and surreptitiously handed him the little packet, for which he thanked me and disappeared on to the platform.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

They illegally impressed me at Helsingfors

"In my young days I shipped aboard a bark plying between Helsingfors and New York."

"You are a Russian?"

"I am a Finlander, Madam."

"Have you been a sailor all your life?"

"Yes, Madam. For a time I was an unimportant officer on board a battleship in the Russian Navy, until I was discovered to be a Nihilist, when I was cast into prison. I escaped last May, and came to New York."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Great pianist

In 1881 Busoni toured Italy and was made a member of the Reale Accademia Filharmonica at Bologna. In 1886 he went to reside at Leipsic. Two years later he became teacher of pianoforte at the Helsingfors Conservatory in the Finnish capital. In 1890 he captured the famous Rubinstein prizes for both pianoforte and composition. In the same year he became Professor of pianoforte playing at the Moscow Imperial Conservatory.

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...