Friday, December 23, 2011

They are a strange people

'About the Finns I'll warrant,' said Father Cassimer. 'They are a strange people. My brother the merchant told me that he knew one of them at Abo who said he had a charm for the wolves; but somebody informed against him for smuggling, and the Russian government sent him to the lead-mines in Siberia. By Saint Sigismund, there's the first of them!'

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The old hereditary castle, of a wealthy landowner in Finland

Just a year ago, during the Christmas holidays, a numerous society had gathered in the country house, or rather the old hereditary castle, of a wealthy landowner in Finland. Many were the remains in it of our forefathers' hospitable way of living; and many the mediaeval customs preserved, founded on traditions and superstitions, semi-kinnish and semi-Russian, the latter imported into it by its female proprietors from the shores of the Neva. Christmas trees were being prepared and implements for divination were being made ready. For, in that old castle there were grim worm-eaten portraits of famous ancestors and knights and ladies, old deserted turrets, with bastions and Gothic windows; mysterious sombre alleys, and dark and endless cellers, easily transformed into subterranean passages and caves, ghostly prison cells, haunted by the restless phantoms of the heroes of local legends. In short, the old Manor offered every commodity for romantic horrors. But alas! this once they serve for nought; in the present narrative these dear old horrors play no such part as they otherwise might.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Finnois flegmatique qui s'était endormi

Pierre lui fit le salut militaire et reprit son récit après avoir mis sa chaise à l'envers pour s'asseoir à califourchon.

--Je tournai le coin du jardin, suivant qu'il m'avait été ordonné, et je fis arrêter mon équipage. Personne! Un instant je crus que cette proposition d'enlèvement n'avait été qu'une aimable mystification de ma charmante cousine, et je ne saurais dire qu'à cette idée mon coeur éprouvât une douleur bien vive; mais je faisais injure à Clémentine. Je la vis accourir dans l'allée, un petit paquet à la main: elle ouvrit la porte palissadée qui donnait sur la route, et, d'un saut, bondit dans la calèche. Je sautai auprès elle.

--Touche! dis-je à mon postillon, Finnois flegmatique qui s'était endormi sur son siège pendant cette pause.

Quand vous aurez une femme à enlever, mes amis, je vous recommande de prendre un cocher finnois; ces gens-là dorment toujours, ne tournent pas seulement la tête et ne se rappellent jamais rien. Au fait, vous savez cela aussi bien que moi, et ma recommandation était inutile.

Henry Gréville: La fille de Dosia

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Finlander is evidently in uniform

At the British Museum there is a curious collection of broadsides and ballads, printed in Germany during the thirty years' war. One of these designs heads a ballad, and represents an "Irlander," a "Lappe," and a " Findlander." In the ballad the Lappe asks what has brought them all so far from home, and the "Irlander" explains the reason of their coming, which was to assist the Protestant cause. This was in 1631. The Lappe is partly dressed in skins, and is armed with a bow and arrows. His face is very characteristic; Ms boots are of the same pattern as those now made in Lappmark, and his knife and its scabbard resemble those now used on the Tana river.

The Finlander is evidently in uniform; and the Lapp wears knickerbokers; so he was probably clad in part at the expense of his country.

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...