Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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 and friendly answer. With man it has often been otherwise. In wandering over the barren plains of inhospitable Denmark, through honest Sweden, frozen Lapland, rude and churlish Finland, unprincipled Russia, and the wide spread regions of the wandering Tartar, if hungry, dry, cold, wet, or sick, woman has ever been friendly to me, and uniformly so; and to add to this virtue, so worthy of the appellation of benevolence, these actions have been performed in so free and so kind a manner, that, if I was dry, I drank the sweet draught, and, if hungry, ate the coarse morsel, with a double relish.

Jared Sparks: The Life of John Ledyard, the American Traveller; comprising selections from his journals and correspondence

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gooseberries with ruddy tints in barren districts of Finland

Some of the northern and cold countries of Europe, as Sweden and Norway, produce a great quantity of large and beautiful berries. "I have seen," says St. Pierre, "a display of cherries and gooseberries with ruddy tints in barren districts of Finland, and on soils where, as on the tops of the alpine mountains, rocks appeared to form the only surface." The same countries produce the juniper and the cloudberry (a fruit in colour and size resembling the mulberry), while the woods are thick with raspberry-bushes.

Monday, December 5, 2016

"What, police, even here in free Finland?"

On Sunday last I went by train to a place called Terioky in Finland, where a meeting was to be held by the Labour Party of the Duma. [...]
After a journey of an hour and a quarter we arrived at Terrioky. The crowd leapt from the train and immediately unfurled red flags and sang the "Marseillaise." The crowd occupied the second line, and a policeman observed that, as another train was coming in and would occupy that line, it would be advisable if they were to move on. "What, police, even here in free Finland?" somebody cried. "The police are elected here by the people," was the pacifying reply, and the crowd moved on, formed into a procession six abreast, and started marching to the gardens where the meeting was to be held, singing the "Marseillaise" and other songs all the way. The dust was so abundant that, after marching with the procession for some time, I took a cab and told the driver to take me to the meeting. We drove off at a brisk speed past innumerable wooden houses, villas, shops (where Finnish knives and English tobacco are sold) into a wood. After we had driven for twenty minutes I asked the driver if we still had far to go. He turned round and, smiling, said in pidgin-Russian (he was a Finn), " Me not know where you want go." Then we turned back, and, after a long search and much questioning of passers-by, found the garden,into which one was admitted by ticket. (Here, again, anyone could get in.) In a large grassy and green garden, shady with many trees, a kind of wooden semicircular proscenium had been erected, and in one part of it was a low and exiguous platform not more spacious than a table. On the proscenium the red flags were hung. In front of the table there were a few benches, but the greater part of the public stood and formed a large crowd. The inhabitants of the villas were here in large numbers; there were not many workmen, but a number of students and various other members of the " Intelligentsia"; young men with undisciplined hair and young ladies in large art nouveau hats and Reform-kleider. M. Zhilkin, the leader of the Labour Party in the Duma, took the chair.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Much stouter and better made

There is like diversity in the Finnish race. The Laplanders are diminutive and deformed; have black hair and a swarthy brown complexion. The Finns, though nearly related to them, are much stouter and better made: they have fair complexions, and very generally red hair.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Come, let us fly to Finland: we can build better nests there.

After hearing this, the Prince wondered how he could get a message carried to Finland. He heard one swallow cry to another: 'Come, let us fly to Finland: we can build better nests there.'

'Stop, kind friends!' cried the Prince. 'Will ye do something for me?' The birds consented, and he said:

'Take a thousand greetings from me to the wizard of Fnland, and ask him how I may restore a maiden who is changed into a flower to her own form.'

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Swedish was now of no use

It was night when they reached Tammerfors, and to Ramsay's great suprise he found that Swedish was now of no use, as all the porters, cab-drivers, and most of the shopkeepers spoke only Finnish. What he thought even more remarkable was that Anders Ramsay did not know even the coins and numerals, and the cap fares had to be settled by holding out a handful of money and leaving it to the cab-driver to choose.