Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Those Finns who fired guns after a dead man

Unhappily all ghosts are not open to persuasion, and see through the designs of the mourners, and with them severer measures have to be resorted to. Among the Sclavs of the Danube and the Czechs, the bereaved, after the funeral, on going home turn themselves about after every few steps and throw sticks, stones, mud, even hot coals in the direction of the churchyard, so as to frighten the spirit back to the grave so considerately provided for it. A Finnish tribe has not even the decency to wait till the corpse is covered with soil; they fire pistols and guns after it as it goes to its grave, and lies in it.

[...] Those Finns who fired guns after a dead man had another expedient for holding him fast, and that was to nail him down in his coffin. The Arabs tie his legs together. The Wallacks drive a long nail through the skull; and this usage explains the many skulls that have been exhumed in Germany thus perforated. The Icelanders, when a ghost proved troublesome, opened the grave, cut off the dead man’s head, and made the body sit on it. That, they concluded, would effectually puzzle it how to get about.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bombs and other explosives were to be used in Finland

Christiania, June 24, 1917. The police on Saturday arrested a certain Baron von Rautenfels, who declares that he was born in Finland, but is now a German subject, and two Finlanders. At their lodgings and in the luggage of these persons the police found nearly a ton of explosives of a very powerful variety. Part of these explosives was made up to resemble coal briquettes, and was all ready to be mixed with the coal in ships' bunkers. The baron's luggage also contained cigarettes and tobacco mixed with carborundum, which can be used to ruin engines or machinery. The baron and the other arrested persons declare that the bombs and other explosives were to be used in Finland.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

He ascended Mount Avasaxa, in Finland

Mr. Mickley set sail on the 5th of June, 1869, being at that time a few months past his seventieth year. He remained abroad for three years, visiting every country in Europe, ascending the Nile to the first cataract, passing through the Suez Canal, and across a portion of Asia Minor and Palestine. He made two trips to Northern Sweden to behold the spectacle of the midnight sun. Being a week too late on the first season, he tried it again the following year. Passing through the entire length of the Gulf of Bothnia, and ascending the Tornea River, he entered Lapland, crossing the Arctic circle and penetrating the Arctic zone in a sledge-journey of seventy miles. The indomitable old traveller pushed on until he reached a small lumber-village named Pajala. On the night of June 23, 1871, crossing the river with a small party of Swedes and Finns, he ascended Mount Avasaxa, in Finland. At this altitude, he says, "the sky happened to be clear in the direction of the sun, and he shone in all his glory as the clock struck twelve."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finland, a province most unhappily under Russia's bigoted, despotic sway

On my trip north, I sailed over the Gulf of Bothnia which, the reader will recollect, separates Sweden from Finland, a province most unhappily under Russia's bigoted, despotic sway; and while at Haparanda, I was seized with a desire to visit Torneå, in Finland. I was well aware that if I attempted to do so by the regular routes on land, it would be necessary to pass the Russian customhouse, where officers would be sure to examine my passport; and knowing, as the whole liberal world now more than ever knows, that a person of Jewish faith finds the merest sally beyond the Russian border beset with unreasonable obstacles, I decided to walk across the wide marsh in the northern part of the Gulf, and thus circumvent these exponents of intolerance. Besides, I was curious to learn whether, in such a benighted country, blacking and ink were used at all. I set out, therefore, through the great moist waste, making my way without much difficulty, and in due time arrived at Torneå, when I proceeded immediately to the first store in the neighborhood; but there I was destined to experience a rude, unexpected setback. An old man, evidently the proprietor, met me and straightway asked, "Are you a Jew?" and seeing, or imagining that I saw, a delay (perhaps not altogether temporary!) in a Russian jail, I withdrew from the store without ceremony, and returned to the place whence I had come. Notwithstanding this adventure, I reached Stockholm in due season, the trip back consuming about three weeks; and during part of that period I subsisted almost entirely on salmon, bear's meat, milk, and knäckebröd, the last a bread usually made of rye flour in which the bran had been preserved. All in all, I was well pleased with this maiden-trip; and as it was then September, I returned to Loebau to spend one more winter at home.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Finland was becoming a German province

While these military operations were being carried on, Finland was becoming a German province. Late in March an American and an English officer, visiting General Mannerheim at Vasa upon orders from their legations, were threatened by Finnish White Guard officers with personal violence and turned out of the dining room of the chief hotel. This incident was described as characteristic of the feeling existing among the majority of Finns. On April 1 Vasabladet, the chief Vasa newspaper, wrote: "No military or other similar persons from any of the countries at war with Germany ought to be allowed to stay within the borders of our country so long as we, with the help of God and Germany, are fighting our hard fight for liberty, order, and justice against the barbarous ally of the western powers." It appears from a case reported on April 26 that the viséing of foreign passports by Finnish officials depends now upon the consent of the Berlin authorities.

Finland was proclaimed a republic in December, 1917. It has always been one of the most democratic countries in Europe. It is asserted, nevertheless, that the experiences through which the former grand duchy has passed in the last six months have converted many classes of the population to monarchism. A Stockholm dispatch dated May 8 declared that a monarchy would probably be proclaimed in Finland, and that Duke Adolph Frederick of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, uncle of the Crown Princess of Germany, would be appointed King.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Touched Russian soil at Abo, the ancient capital of Finland

“To-morr punkt at 'leven wir schiff for St. Petersburg,” was the polyglot announcement by which all of us, Swedes, Germans, English, and one solitary American, were given to understand at what hour on the ensuing day we were to commence our voyage from Stockholm for the Russian capital. With praiseworthy punctuality the steam was up at the appointed hour of eleven, and as our steamer shot out into the Baltic we took our farewell view of Stockholm, the “City of Piles.” As we steamed northward we dashed through archipelago after archipelago of islands, some with bold and rocky shores, and others sloping greenly down to the tranquil sea. Having passed the Aland Islands, one of which, not thirty miles from the coast of Sweden, has been seized and strongly fortified by her powerful and unscrupulous neighbor, we turned into a narrow inlet, and touched Russian soil at Abo, the ancient capital of Finland.
Here we made our first acquaintance with those fascinating gentry, whom his Imperial Majesty deputes to watch that nothing treasonable or contraband finds entrance into his dominions. Our intercourse here was, however, brief, our passports merely being demanded, and permission granted us to go on shore while the steamer was detained. At Cronstadt and St. Petersburg we formed a more intimate if not more agreeable acquaintance with these functionaries. Setting out again we coasted eastward up the Gulf of Finland, passing the grim fortress of Sveaborg, with its eight hundred guns, and garrison of fifteen thousand men, and shot up the beautiful bay to Helsingfors, one of the great naval stations of Russia. Touching at Revel, on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Finland, we ran due east up the Gulf, encountering the great Russian summer fleet, which was performing its annual manœuvres, and on the morning after leaving Helsingfors came in sight of the shipping and fortifications of Cronstadt. As we crept slowly up the narrow and winding channel, by which alone the harbor can be reached, and passed successively the grim lines of batteries which command every portion of it, we were forced to confess that it formed a fitting outpost to a great military power. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ruder places than these isles

The old navigators stigmatized Labrador as the place to which Cain was banished, no vegetation being produced among the rocks but thorns and moss. What a subject White Island would make for a painting of the Deluge!

A Finlander with whom I parleyed told me his country could show ruder places than these isles, and that the winters there were longer and colder. Parson Tucke used to say the winters at the Shoals were "a thin under-waistcoat, warmer" than on the opposite main-land. Doubtless the Orkneys or Hebrides equal these islands in desolateness and wildness of aspect, but they could scarce surpass them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Finlanders relish penny candles

I have heard it said that the Germans eat ants. Finlanders relish penny candles. The Nepaulese gourmandise on putrid fish. I am fond of mouldy cheese, and organ-grinders are an object of affection with some of our home community. I _know_ that the general run of natives delight in a nautch. Tastes differ, but to me it is an inexplicable phenomenon.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A servant girl in Finland was suspected

"Not long ago a servant girl in Finland was suspected of having secretly given birth to a child. She was watched, and a box of which no one knew anything was found in the corner of the loft, behind some bricks. It was opened and inside was found the body of a new-born child which she had killed. In the same box were found the skeletons of two other babies which, according to her own confession, she had killed at the moment of their birth.

"Gentlemen of the jury, was she a mother to her children? She gave birth to them, indeed; but was she a mother to them? Would anyone venture to give her the sacred name of mother? Let us be bold, gentlemen, let us be audacious even: it's our duty to be so at this moment and not to be afraid of certain words and ideas like the Moscow women in Ostrovsky's play, who are scared at the sound of certain words. No, let us prove that the progress of the last few years has touched even us, and let us say plainly, the father is not merely he who begets the child, but he who begets it and does his duty by it.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finlanders were not attacked with scurvy

The sailors on the corvette were robust and powerful fellows, with appetites to frighten a hotel keeper. Russian sailors from the interior of the empire are very liable to scurvy. Those from Finland are the best for long voyages. Captain Lund once told me the experience of a Russian expedition of five ships upon a long cruise. One ship was manned by Finlanders, and the others carried sailors from the interior. The Finlanders were not attacked with scurvy, but the rest suffered severely.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The town of Helsingforst is clean and handsome

MR. BARRAUD. "There are people of almost every nation living in the government of Reval, the chief town of which is a port on the Gulf of Finland, of the same name. Within the last few years, the inhabitants of this place have been making a growing acquaintance with the Finlanders on the opposite shores, at a place called Helsingforst, which is only approachable between a number of rocky islands. The town of Helsingforst is clean and handsome, with good shops, containing cheap commodities, which are a source of great attraction to the Esthonians (or natives of Reval) and others who reside in Reval; consequently, in the fine weather, parties are made about once a fortnight for a trip to Helsingforst: these trips are both pleasurable and profitable. The voyage occupies six hours in a little steamboat; and, when landed, the voyagers procure every requisite at a magnificent hotel in the town for moderate charges. They then go shopping, buying umbrellas, India-rubber galoshes, and all descriptions of wearing apparel, which they contrive to smuggle over, notwithstanding the vigilance of the custom-house officers at Reval."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

He received two decorations for the Finnish war also

In the Finnish war he also managed to distinguish himself. He had picked up the scrap of a grenade that had killed an aide-de-camp standing near the commander in chief and had taken it to his commander. Just as he had done after Austerlitz, he related this occurrence at such length and so insistently that everyone again believed it had been necessary to do this, and he received two decorations for the Finnish war also. In 1809 he was a captain in the Guards, wore medals, and held some special lucrative posts in Petersburg.

Though some skeptics smiled when told of Berg's merits, it could not be denied that he was a painstaking and brave officer, on excellent terms with his superiors, and a moral young man with a brilliant career before him and an assured position in society.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


Rosy cheeks and bodies as fat as seals

"Turkey, Egypt, Arabia, have sent no dolls. Do they make none, under the impression, correct in a low state of culture, that dolls for children become idols for men?

"The Finlanders and Laplanders, who are not troubled with such religious prejudices, give rosy cheeks and bodies as fat as seals to their dolls.

"The French toy represents the versatility of the nation, touching every topic, grave or grotesque.

"From Berlin come long trains of artillery, regiments of lead, horse and foot on moving tramways.

Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Smith: Children's Rights

Friday, March 1, 2013

The calamity had happened in Finland

And then, as a last ghastly memory, there was the letter from Moscow, in which she wrote that she could not return home; that she was a miserable, abandoned woman, asking only to be forgiven and forgotten. Then the horrid recollection of the scene with his wife came to him; their surmises and their suspicions, which became a certainty. The calamity had happened in Finland, where they had let her visit her aunt; and the culprit was an insignificant Swede, a student, an empty-headed, worthless creature--and married.

All this came back to him now as he paced backwards and forwards on the bedroom carpet, recollecting his former love for her, his pride in her. He recoiled with terror before the incomprehensible fact of her downfall, and he hated her for the agony she was causing him. He remembered the conversation with his sister-in-law, and tried to imagine how he might forgive her. But as soon as the thought of "him" arose, there surged up in his heart horror, disgust, and wounded pride. He groaned aloud, and tried to think of something else.

My Dream. by Leo Tolstoy


Monday, February 11, 2013

Jäger, a gigantic young fellow, a Finlander

The jäger, a gigantic young fellow, a Finlander, seized the foremost horse by the bridle, and, dealing out blows roundly with his other arm on the mujiks, thought to steer the carriage in this way through the crush. All very well; that kind of thing may do with the mujik, who is accustomed to the lash; but your thoroughbred has noble blood in his veins, and does not suffer himself to be led by the bridle. Violently shaking himself loose, the horse dealt the jäger such a blow on the head that he fell senseless to the ground.

"Oh, what are we to do now?" asked the Duchess, terror-stricken, bursting into tears.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Three hundred Finland volunteers were the first who crossed

By daybreak on the 5th, all necessary preparations having been made, the bridge was begun to be laid, and completed under the king’s inspection. Three hundred Finland volunteers were the first who crossed, excited by the reward of ten crowns each to undertake the dangerous service of throwing up a slight work upon the other side for its protection. By four in the afternoon the Finlanders had finished their undertaking, having been protected from a close attack by the musketry of their own party and the batteries behind them, from which the king is said to have discharged more than sixty shots with his own hand, to encourage his gunners to charge their pieces more expeditiously.

Mason Jackson: The Pictorial Press

Saturday, January 19, 2013

That Finnish teacher who taught the landed proprietor's children Finnish instead of French

But it now appears, that all these great factors in the science and art of the past are no longer of use to us. Nowadays, scientific and artistic authorities can, in accordance with the law of division of labor, be turned out by factory methods; and, in one decade, more great men have been manufactured in art and science, than have ever been born of such among all nations, since the foundation of the world. Nowadays there is a guild of learned men and artists, and they prepare, by perfected methods, all that spiritual food which man requires. And they have prepared so much of it, that it is no longer necessary to refer to the elder authorities, who have preceded them,--not only to the ancients, but to those much nearer to us. All that was the activity of the theological and metaphysical period,--all that must be wiped out: but the true, the rational activity began, say, fifty years ago, and in the course of those fifty years we have made so many great men, that there are about ten great men to every branch of science. And there have come to be so many sciences, that, fortunately, it is easy to make them. All that is required is to add the Greek word "logy" to the name, and force them to conform to a set rubric, and the science is all complete. They have created so many sciences, that not only can no one man know them all, but not a single individual can remember all the titles of all the existing sciences; the titles alone form a thick lexicon, and new sciences are manufactured every day. They have been manufactured on the pattern of that Finnish teacher who taught the landed proprietor's children Finnish instead of French. Every thing has been excellently inculcated; but there is one objection,--that no one except ourselves can understand any thing of it, and all this is reckoned as utterly useless nonsense. However, there is an explanation even for this. People do not appreciate the full value of scientific science, because they are under the influence of the theological period, that profound period when all the people, both among the Hebrews, and the Chinese, and the Indians, and the Greeks, understood every thing that their great teachers said to them.

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...