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

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...