The Atlantic Monthlyssa julkaistun matkakertomuksen matkalaiset yllättyivät, kun laivan pysähtyessä Käkisalmeen kaupunkia ei näkynyt ollenkaan. Siihen tutustumiseen jäi aikaa vähemmän kuin moderneilla risteilyturisteilla. Eikä kuljetus ollut yhtä mukava.
"But where is Kexholm?
"A verst inland," says the captain; "and I will give you just half an hour to see it.
There were a score of peasants, with clumsy two-wheeled carts and shaggy ponies at the landing. Into one of these we clambered, gave the word of command, and were whirled off at a gallop. There may have been some elasticity in the horse, but there certainly was none in the cart. It was a perfect conductor, and the shock with which it passed over stones and leaped ruts was instantly communicated to the os sacrum, passing thence along the vertebræ, to discharge itself in the teeth. Our driver was a sunburnt Finn, who was bent upon performing his share of the contract, in order that he might afterwards with a better face demand a ruble. On receiving just the half, however, he put it into his pocket, without a word of remonstrance.
"Suomi?" I asked, calling up a Finnish word with an effort.
"Suomi-laïnen" he answered, proudly enough, though the exact meaning is, "I am a Swamplander.
|Kuvaaja Tommi Nummelin CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia|
Kexholm, which was founded in 1295, has attained since then a population of several hundreds. Grass grows between the cobble-stones of its broad streets, but the houses are altogether so bright, so clean, so substantially comfortable, and the geraniums and roses peeping out between snowy curtains in almost every window suggested such cozy interiors, that I found myself quite attracted towards the plain little town. "Here," said I to P., "is a nook which is really out of the world. No need of a monastery, where you have such perfect seclusion, and the indispensable solace of natural society to make it endurable." Pleasant faces occasionally looked out, curiously, at the impetuous strangers: had they known our nationality, I fancy the whole population would have run together. Reaching the last house, nestled among twinkling birch-trees on a bend of the river beyond, we turned about, and made for the fortress,—another conquest of the Great Peter. Its low ramparts had a shabby, neglected look; an old drawbridge spanned the moat, and there was no sentinel to challenge us as we galloped across. In and out again, and down the long, quiet street, and over the jolting level to the top of the sandhill,—we had seen Kexholm in half an hour.