Monday, August 30, 2010

It is her proud boast that she is "Framtidsland," the land of the future

Finland is in a very unfortunate position. Geographically she is bound to form part of the Russian Empire; even the extremest Russophobes in the country have long ago given up hopes of re-union with Sweden; and yet the frontier between Finland and Russia is one which divides two worlds, as all who have made the journey from Helsingfors to Petrograd must have noticed. In literature, art, education, politics, commerce, industry, and social reform Finland is as much alive as any of the Scandinavian States from whom she first derived her culture. In many ways indeed she is the most progressive country in Europe, and it is her proud boast that she is "Framtidsland," the land of the future.

R.W. Seton-Watson, J. Dover Wilson, Alfred E. Zimmern, and Arthur Greenwood: The War and Democracy

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Finland

Feet and faces tingle
In that frore land:
Legs wobble and go wingle,
You scarce can stand.

The skies are jewelled all around,
The ploughshare snaps in the iron ground,
The Finn with face like paper
And eyes like a lighted taper
Hurls his rough rune
At the wintry moon
And stamps to mark the tune.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From Finland's birchen groves exiled

Haply, from Finland's birchen groves exiled,
Manly in thought, in simple ways a child,
His white hair floating round his visage mild,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heureusement, notre caravane arrivait au grand galop

PARTIE DE SAINT-PÉTERSBOURG 28 JANVIER 1813.—FINLANDE.—VIBORG. ...

A chaque relais, changement d'équipage. Vous arrivez là; il pleut: vite et vite, on vous amène un équipage, une atroce charrette; on met là-dessus deux ou trois matelas. Vous vous étendez à la belle étoile, qu'il pleuve, qu'il vente, qu'il neige, n'importe. Ma sœur tombe sur la route, dans la boue, avec son gros sac, ses grosses bottes, et moi ne pouvant lui donner de secours, tant ma gaieté l'emportait sur le danger. Heureusement, notre caravane arrivait au grand galop, munie de fusils, pour faire face aux dangers des loups.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A foreign nihilist is to be arrested at Helsingfors

In an hour I was aboard the ship Alexis as it steamed down the Neva, bound for Stockholm. It was the same boat on which I had come to St. Petersburg, and the Captain and I were friends. In the morning, at breakfast, I sat at the Captain's left hand, and he said, motioning to the opposite seat : "Inspector Denisov, a high official of the police, is on board and will eat with us. He is on a serious errand. A foreign nihilist is among the passengers, it seems, and is to be arrested at Helsingfors if he does not try to get off the ship before we reach there. He is charming — the Inspector, I mean. I will introduce you. By-the-way, you have not yet given me your passport. I must trouble you for it, as our companion at table desires the papers of all the passengers to be submitted to his inspection."

I blushed rose red and stammered something about my papers being in my trunk. For an instant the hope that I could retain possession of the paper lingered in my mind, but I quickly dismissed it. Of what use could it be to postpone events, since it could be but a question of a few hours' time when all my belongings, and my person as well, must pass into the custody of my pursuer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The boggy forests of Finland

It's hard for Anglo-Saxons, ante-social, as suspicious of neighbors as if they still lived in the boggy forests of Finland, city-dwellers for a paltry thirty generations, to understand the publicity, the communal quality of life in the region of the Mediterranean. The first thought when one gets up is to go out of doors to see what people are talking of, the last thing before going to bed is to chat with the neighbors about the events of the day. The home, cloistered off, exclusive, can hardly be said to exist. Instead of the nordic hearth there is the courtyard about which the women sit while the men are away at the marketplace.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Senate House is not so gorgeous

Toward evening we left Abo and again entered the maze of granite islands. Early next morning we arrived at Hango and at noon we reached Helsingfors where another halt of six hours was made . This city is the capital of Finland and the seat of the university. The coast is fortified for miles on each side of the harbor and six monitors and a few other war vessels were lying in the roads . The two most prominent buildings in Helsingfors are the Greek Catholic Cathedral and the Senate House. Both stand upon elevations above the city and make quite an imposing appearance . The church has five towers resplendent in gilt which glitters in the sun. The Senate House is not so gorgeous, especially upon nearer examination, but still looks very well from a distance.

Finland is quite distinct from Russia, the Czar being but a grand duke. It has a different coinage and a representative system like that which Gustavus Adolphus gave to Sweden. It is considered the best administered province in the empire. The people have a more pleasing character than the Russians and ninety-eight per cent, of the population are Protestants.

In the evening our steamer turned her head once more toward the sea and we soon passed the monitors and forts bristling with cannon. The next day at noon we reached Viburg where I spent the two hours of our stay in walking around the walls and looking at the hideous old castle.

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...