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.

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