The Finland women are extremely coarse in their persons and features. They wear a strange kind of dress, ornamented with embroidery of different coloured threads, and hung in every corner with glass beads, which are even wrought into the cloth. They are even fond too of gold and silver ornaments, and have each a silver gorget upon their breasts; but this is their holiday dress; in ordinary, it differs little from that of the men. The married women tie up their hair, and wear upon their heads a small hood of linen ; the unmarried women allow their hair to fall upon their shoulders, and have sometimes a gaudy head-dress, composed of a bit of pasteboard or other stiff substance, studded with beads, or sparkling with lace. This last piece of finery encircles but does not cover their heads. In this last article of dress they appear to have copied after the Russian females, whose habits, I have already observed, bear a strong resemblance to that of the women in the highlands of Scotland; yet the dress of the Russian men does not, in the smallest degree, resemble that of the Highlander: indeed, neither of them wear breeches; but the - Russian
, Russian long trowsers have no similarity to the philibeg. The dress of the Russian is long, flowing, and warm. —The highland er's, the plaid excepted, short and scanty.
The inhabitants in many countries under the line, are not more tawny than the Finland men and women, at an advanced, and even at a middle period of life. The extreme cold of the polar winter, not less than the hot stoves and baths, and the sultry summer, produces this effect, with the assistance of their dirty habits. The Russians, particularly the women, have a spirit of cleanliness, in defiance of their general customs, which are inconsistent with it. But the Finlanders, when old, retire as it were amidst filth itself; their forms are encrusted with nastiness; and indeed the human form, amongst them, is nearly lost. When young, their colour is rather delicate; their snowy hair spreads upon their shoulders, and they would seem to promise more agreeable persons in old age. The Russians have dark hair and complexions from infancy, though many of the Russian women have not only fair complexions, but delicate shapes, which, added to their enchanting demeanour, render them irresistibly charming.
Beauty among the Finlanders is rarely found. I have nevertheless seen some perfect models of beauty among the females, which their awkward manner and dress could not hide; for the Finland ladies have not the native politeness of the Russian, and when they are polite, their politeness is copied from the latter. I have in vain attempted to discover what the Finlander inherits from nature, unless a soft disposition, which is entirely moulded by the actions of those causes already mentioned.
William Thomson: Letters from Scandinavia, on the past and present. 1796
(Anthony Cross (In the land of the Romanovs) tulkitsee matkakertomuksen plagiaatiksi Andrew Swintonin kirjasta.)