maanantai 12. elokuuta 2013

Kirje "Skandinaviasta"

The British Critic julkaisi kirjasta "Letters from Scandinavia, on the past and present State of the northern Nations of Europe. 2 Vols. Robinsons. 1796" arvostelun, johon oli lainattu  näinkin herkullista tekstiä suomalaisista (tai mahdollisesti suomensukuisista):
"Sometimes you would have found me in a Finland hut, conversing by means of an interpreter with the family; sometimes making love to a Finland or a Russian girl, which needed no interpreter. One day I got half seas over with a Russian, the next day with a Cossac; nothing can be done with the Scythians without the help of brandy.
"Whenever any traveller arrived at the post-house, I placed myself by his side; and having an interpreter at hand, I enquired of him whatever related to his journey, or to his country. I did not satisfy myself with this; I took my pencil and delineated his figure, physiognomy, and dress.
"You would have seen me sometimes sitting by the highway; before me passed a variety of nations: sometimes walking with a band of gypsies; at other times journeying with a Russian boor upon a cart; sometimes examining into the houshold œconomy of a Finland matron; or seated with them at a feast upon their saint's day. Not a wedding, nor a christening, nor a burial occurred, that I did not attend as punctually as a clerk of the parish."
Kiitos Googlen digitointien, kyseinen kirjakin on luettavissa verkossa! Selviää, että yllä oleva lainaus on Pietarissa huhtikuussa 1791 kirjoitetusta kirjeestä. Inkerinmaalta marraskuussa 1790 William Thomson (jos Googlen metadata oikein) kirjoittaa
No two nations differ more from each other than the Russians and Finlanders. The former are as active, acute, and sensible, as the latter are slow, heavy, and stupid.
No, alkoi ainakin lupaavasti.

Kuva. Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Wikimedia

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