Sunday, January 30, 2011

Am I so very much to blame?

But while the birds about the Harringtons' home simply offend my regard for the truth, the Harringtons' dog causes me acute bodily and mental discomfort. He is of a spotted white, with a disreputable black patch over one eye, and weighs, I should imagine, between eighty and ninety pounds. During luncheon he takes his place under the table, and from there emits blood-curdling howls with sufficient frequency to make conversation extremely difficult. This he varies by nosing about the visitor's legs and growling. I am not fond of dogs under the best of circumstances. I always labour under the presumption that they will bite. Their habit of suddenly dashing across the floor, in furious pursuit of nothing in particular, upsets me. But an invisible dog under a dining-room table is a dreadful experience. It is true that I managed to give Mrs. Harrington a fairly rational account of the woman's suffrage parade. But was she aware, as I sat there smiling spasmodically, what agonies of fear were mine as I waited for those white fangs under the table to sink into my flesh? If, under the circumstances, I confused Harriet Beecher Stowe with Julia Ward Howe, and made a bad blunder about woman's rights in Finland, am I so very much to blame?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ten Days That Shook the World

Old Russia was rapidly breaking up. In Ukraine, in Finland, Poland, White Russia, the nationalist movements gathered strength and became bolder. The local Governments, controlled by the propertied classes, claimed autonomy, refusing to obey orders from Petrograd. At Helsingfors the Finnish Senate declined to loan money to the Provisional Government, declared Finland autonomous, and demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Finlander, happily, can read a little English

" November 15. We have been this afternoon to take leave of our friends of the Brig George, which was an event of deep interest to us. All on board exhibited feelings of kind regard. It is a little singular that an American crew, with its officers, amounting to eleven souls only, should speak seven languages; viz. the Finnish, Danish, Swedish, German, French, Italian, and English. We found all these persons destitute of the word of God, except one of the Danes; who had a German Testament. We leave them provided with Bibles, each one in his own tongue, except the Finlander, who, happily, can read a little English.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Finlander, or "Hiawatha," as we familiarly called him

I left on the 21st of January. The evening before I called on some friends to take a final leave, and some called on me for the same purpose. My friends, the Pole, the Finn, the Saxon, and Erben, chatted around my little log fire until a late hour. Talking about the sweets of friendship and the sadness of severing its ties, the Finlander, or "Hiawatha," as we familiarly called him, said, " Well, we shall all make a journey to another still sunnier Italy, won't we ? And we shall walk together through the streets of another Eternal City, where we shall find no ruins to dream over. There nothing will fade or grow old." "Yes," I said, "what our eyes fail to see now, our ears to hear, our hearts to feel, we shall experience up there. There we can speak more about these things."

NATHAN: MY PILGRIM'S POUCH.The Guardian, Volumes 8-9

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Finlander, with a credulous and oval physiognomy

Ludlow had seen, on entering the vessel, that her crew was composed of men of different countries. Age and personal character seemed to have been more consulted, in their selection, than national distinctions. There was a Finlander, with a credulous and oval physiognomy, sturdy but short frame, and a light vacant eye; and a darkskinned seaman of the Mediterranean, whose classical outline of feature was often disturbed by uneasy and sensitive glances at the horizon. These two men had come and placed themselves near the group on the quarter-deck, when the last music was heard, and Ludlow had ascribed the circumstance to a sensibility to melody, when the child Zephyr stole to their side, in a manner to show that more was meant by the movement than was apparent in the ac tion itself. The appearance of Tiller, who invited the party to re-enter the cabin, explained its meaning, by showing that these men, like themselves, had business with the being who, it was pretended, had so great an agency in controlling the fortunes of the brigantine.

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...