Friday, September 18, 2015

A little black-faced Finlander

To be made the object of ridicule by a little black-faced Finlander was more than Count Denissow could endure. He vanished forthwith, and when Selma, somewhat later, returned to her aunt's sitting-room, having resumed a normal appearance, she was received with marked coldness, not only by her kinswoman, but by the gentleman sitting with that lady. Not in the least depressed, she betook herself to her own room, and just as the Count was saying to the Doktorinna, 'I don't think I yet quite understand the Finnish type of girl,' a burst of music rang through the house. The Russian started, rose, and then sat down again, listening with a face that expressed delight and astonishment.

'As I live, the little girl is neither Finn nor Frenchwoman. She is a pure genius, and stands outside all countries. Who taught her to play like that, Doktorinna?'

'She has lessons,' the Doktorinna answered, with a fineness of idiom of which she was unconscious, 'from your countryman, Professor'


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A perfect pattern to the folk in Finland

One such summer evening surges up before me with a crimson smear across its sunlight. There was a Low Country fellow there, waist deep in schnapps, and a Finlander sucking strong beer like a hog. Meinheer and the Finn came to words and blows, and I, who was sitting astride of the railing staring, heard a shrill scream from the old man and a rattle as he dropped his fiddle, and then a flash and a red rain of blood on the table as my Finn fell with a knife in him, the Hollander's knife, smartly pegged in between the left breast and the shoulder. I declare that, even in my excitement at that first sight of blood drawn in feud, my boyish thought was half divided between the drunken quarrel and the poor old fiddler, all hunched together on the ground and sobbing dry-eyed in a kind of ecstasy of fear and horror. I heard afterwards that he had a son knifed to his death in a seaman's brawl, and never got over it. As for the Finn, they took him home and kept it dark, and he recovered, and may be living yet for all I know to the contrary, and a perfect pattern to the folk in Finland.

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...