Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Married to a white Finnish woman

Mr. Skagstrom, who was married to a white Finnish woman and who was half Swede, quarter Negro, quarter Chinese, with traces of Choctaw and Mexican—which made him one hundred per cent. African—manufactured excellent canoes. He was a pious Lutheran and he disapproved of what he called "all this vice and laziness that you find among so many colored folks." He felt pretty well about his generosity in employing as many Negroes as whites in his factory. He was a typical American businessman, except that he was less interested in race-questions than most of them, and he was glad to have Neil step into his accounting-room every Friday—at cut rates.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Finland then under his heel

"He accepted me as an accomplice, Sire."

"What did you offer?"

"A vigorous scheme. Your Majesty's revolt is to begin in Finland—where Sprengtporten is a landowner and where his regiment, the Nyland Dragoons, is at present, his intention is to take, by surprise, the fortress of Sveaborg—Finland then under his heel, he would sail to Sweden and meet your Majesty at Erstawir, and overcome Stockholm by a night storming, the Senate would be arrested, and a new constitution given to Sweden. Count Karl Scheffer is in this enterprise, it is not known to many beyond him and your Majesty's brothers." Toll turned his steady placid eyes, slightly narrowed with irony directly on the King. "Your Majesty still has sufficient power to deny this, to have me arrested—and disposed of."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Finlander drew another card

A young Finlander came into Montana one day,  and like other precocious youths fancied that he understood the game of poker. There was no  trouble finding a gentleman who was willing to afford him a little amusement, and who knew of a  retired room where the cards could be shufifled without molestation.

The game was strictly for cash, and progressed with varying fortune for about an hour. Then the tricky man concluded it was time to shake things up. So he provided himself with a full hand and gave the Finlander two pair. There was thirteen  dollars in the pot. He drew one card.

It was not intended that the Finlander should  have more than two pair, but the dealer made a botch and gave him an ace, making three aces and  two kings. The mistake was discovered in time, however, and the superfluous ace grabbed from his hand and destroyed. The Finlander drew another card, and th'is time he drew a king, making three kings and a pair of aces. When the dealer discovered that the greenhorn had him beaten out in spite of the crooked work, he settled matters by taking the pot anyway, and the final result was the Finlander had to be pried of¥ by the police.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A little black-faced Finlander

To be made the object of ridicule by a little black-faced Finlander was more than Count Denissow could endure. He vanished forthwith, and when Selma, somewhat later, returned to her aunt's sitting-room, having resumed a normal appearance, she was received with marked coldness, not only by her kinswoman, but by the gentleman sitting with that lady. Not in the least depressed, she betook herself to her own room, and just as the Count was saying to the Doktorinna, 'I don't think I yet quite understand the Finnish type of girl,' a burst of music rang through the house. The Russian started, rose, and then sat down again, listening with a face that expressed delight and astonishment.

'As I live, the little girl is neither Finn nor Frenchwoman. She is a pure genius, and stands outside all countries. Who taught her to play like that, Doktorinna?'

'She has lessons,' the Doktorinna answered, with a fineness of idiom of which she was unconscious, 'from your countryman, Professor'

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A perfect pattern to the folk in Finland

One such summer evening surges up before me with a crimson smear across its sunlight. There was a Low Country fellow there, waist deep in schnapps, and a Finlander sucking strong beer like a hog. Meinheer and the Finn came to words and blows, and I, who was sitting astride of the railing staring, heard a shrill scream from the old man and a rattle as he dropped his fiddle, and then a flash and a red rain of blood on the table as my Finn fell with a knife in him, the Hollander's knife, smartly pegged in between the left breast and the shoulder. I declare that, even in my excitement at that first sight of blood drawn in feud, my boyish thought was half divided between the drunken quarrel and the poor old fiddler, all hunched together on the ground and sobbing dry-eyed in a kind of ecstasy of fear and horror. I heard afterwards that he had a son knifed to his death in a seaman's brawl, and never got over it. As for the Finn, they took him home and kept it dark, and he recovered, and may be living yet for all I know to the contrary, and a perfect pattern to the folk in Finland.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The big Finnish teamster

The teamster took kindly to this proposal, and began to walk slowly through the long storehouse. He looked up and down, right and left, seeking the item for which he had struggled, in vain. Behind him marched the office force, hoping for a possible revelation. On and on, they trod, until suddenly, in a far, cold corner of the great shed, the Finnieman halted, gazed for a moment incredulously, and then dancing wildly, cried, "There he iss, there he iss." His great mittened hands grasped the fore-quarter of a "side of pork" and he chortled, "See," he said, "it iss the 'hook'—the 'pik' I vanted."

A roar of laughter went up from the office crew, as the first clerk gasped, "Well, I'll be doggoned! It was pork he wanted—his 'hook' was a hog and his 'pik' was a pig." Whereupon, John* joined in the hilarity and hugged his 'hook' in fiendish glee.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Smartest Finlander he had ever met

Even above Charlie's vigorous finger-snapping and grunting, Hi-dice could tell that Finn was becoming talkative. Ham was asking short questions. Finn was giving long replies.

How many hours were they working?

They weren't working, just now. Had some other important affairs to settle.

Were the Wobblies active in these parts?

Certainly. A Wobbly was always active. Maybe underground, but working all the same.

For Hi-dice results were slow. The way Finn kept up a continual snickering at every remark of Ham's, it was hard to keep cool and patient. He heard Ham call him the smartest Finlander he had ever met. Finn's self-satisfied chuckle caused him to toss short and miss his point. It irritated him that the dice should go to Charlie just when he was beginning to pile up a few quarters and half dollars. Past Charlie's head he could see that Finn had his arm draped about Ham's shoulder.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"She crossed to Finland in a storm"

Princess number two is the daughter of a king of Sweden, who had trouble in finding a husband for Princess Cecily, inasmuch as she would marry no one who would not promise to take her to England within a year from the wedding day; for the great desire of her life was to see Queen Elizabeth. A marquis of Baden accepted the condition, and on November 12, 1564, they started, by which time she had spent four years learning English and could speak it well. The voyage took ten months, the winter was a severe one, and much of their way lay through countries whose kings were hostile to her father and the inhabitants to every stranger. Leaving Stockholm while her relatives expressed their opinion about her journey by lamentations and fainting-fits, she crossed to Finland in a storm, in which the pilot lost heart to the extent of pointing out the rock on which they were going to be shipwrecked. Finland they left in four days, to escape starvation, during another storm; crossed to Lithuania; thence by land through Poland, North Germany, and Flanders, to Calais. Even from here it was not plain sailing, in any sense of the words; the sea was high when she started; all were sick ("with the cruel surges of the water and the rolling of the unsavoury ship"), except herself, standing on the hatches, looking towards England. But it proved impossible to get into Dover and they had to turn back. "'Alas!' quoth she, 'now must I needs be sick, both in body and in mind,' and therewith taking her cabin, waxed wonderful sick." A second time they tried; and again all were sick but herself; "she sitting always upon the hatches, passed the time in singing the English psalms of David after the English note and ditty." But again they had to turn back and again that made her sick, so sick that they thought she was going to be confined, for she had become pregnant about the time of her starting. A third attempt was successful; and on September 11, 1565, she arrived at Bedford House, Strand; on the 14th Queen Elizabeth arrived there, too, to see her; and on the 15th came the baby. This story ought to end like Della Valle's, that she lived happy ever after; but that cannot truthfully be said, because of what is recorded about Princess Cecily and certain unpaid London tradesmen. Much more would there be to say of her as a tourist, had she written an autobiography; for the rest of her life she continued travelling, spending all her own money on it and much of other people's.