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


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...