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Réginald Outhier; Matka Pohjan perille

On Finnish food:
It is difficult to descend the mountain. After having got down through a little wood, we met with large and slippery rocks, lying very unevenly ; afterwards we entered into a forest which stretched to the foot of the mountain, where we found the river Tengelio, which on three sides runs round it, and afterwards empties itself into the great river Torneo. In going up and down these mountains, notwithstanding their difficulty, two of our soldiers, marching with a steady pace, carried on their shoulders our two feet quadrant, and so by two and two our baggage and provisions : they never objected to the labour, although it was incessant. Notwithstanding their fatiguing work, these Fins ate very little ; a few dry fish, which they carried in a bag, made of the bark of the birch tree, and which hung at their side, with a cask of soured milk, was all their food and beverage. They sometimes have a little barley-cake, extremely dry, and as they empty their cask of sour milk, they replenish it with water.The inhabitants of the neighbourhood came to our mountains in flocks : many of them offered their boats and their services ; we gave two thalers per day to each man, which is about twenty-four sols French money, very high wages for that country. The ardour which inspired them to serve us engaged some to buy their places of those who brought us from Torneo ; others brought us milk, sheep, or fish. On the two first mountains, Nieva and Cuitaperi, we ate a quantity of fresh salmon : we bought one at Cuitaperi, three feet ten inches long, for which we paid three livres, and the seller thought it a great deal ; he would not have obtained for it more than forty sous from his country people. (p. 282)

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On spices:
They season all their meats with sugar, saffron, ginger, lemon and orange-peel, and mix cummin in all their bread. The ordinary drink is beer, which they make very good : they have a little white wine at Torneo, which they call Vin de Picardon : all red wines they call Pontacte. Many country people know nothing of red wine : some of those who followed us to the mountains, seeing us drink of it, imagined we were drinking the blood of the sheep we had bought of them. (p. 304)

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Threshing barley:
Friday morning, the seventh, one of the Lapland women, very infirm, came, drawn by a rein-deer, to M.de Maupertuis, to bring him a basket which she had made, and which she told to him. A six o'clock we set off in five boats ; we ascended all the cataracts on foot as far as Cainunkila. While waiting there for our boats we saw them thresh their barley : they put it first in a room to dry, in the corner of which is a kind of stove : it is a large square block of stone, rather longer than wide, through the middle of which a cavity is cut which runs its whole length. They kindle a fire in this hollow. As we do in our ovens, and this causes an amazing heat, which continues for a great length of time in the block of stone. It is in this room that they finish the drying of on large ladders, which are erected for this purpose near to every house : there are even some in the middle of the town of Torneo. They thresh their grain, thus dried, with flails, sufficiently resembling those which the country people make use of in France ; and after clearing the grain, by throwing it from one side of the barn to the other to separate the dust, they complete the operation of cleaning in rather deep baskets, which serve them for fans. (p. 294)

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On horses:
During the month of May, earlier or later according to the length of winter, the horses leave their masters on the first thawing of the snow, and go into certain quarters of the forests, where they seem to have established among themselves a rendezvous. These horses form separate troops, which never interfere or separate from each other : each troop takes a different quarter of the forest for its pasturage, and keeps to that which its fixed upon without encroaching on the others. When their food is exhausted they decamp, and go in the same order to occupy another pasture. The police of their society is well regulated, and their march so uniform, that their masters always know where to find them, if by chance they should want in the spring or summer to travel any where in a carriage or sledge, which sometimes happens to be the case ; or if any traveller should want horses. In that case the countrymen, receiving the orders of the gifwergole, that is to say, the postmaster, go into the woods to fetch their horses, which after rendering the services required, return to the forest of themselves, and join their companions again. When the season becomes bad, which it began to do in the month of September, the horses quit their forest in troops, and every one proceeds to his own stable : they are small, but excellent, and lively without vice : their masters lay hold of them sometimes by the tail to catch them, and they seldom make resistance. There are however some, in spite of their general docility, who defend themselves on taking them, or attempting to harness them to carriages. They are very healthy and fat when they return from the forest ; but their almost continual labour during the winter, and the little food given them, makes them lose their good appearance very soon. When fastened to the sledges, they frequently as they run seize on mouthfuls of snow ; and as soon as released they roll amid the snow , as ours are wont to do in the grass : they pass the night as frequently in the yard as the stable, even in the sharpest frosts : they frequently are in want of food, particularly when the winter is very long ; the horses then go and forage for themselves in places where the snow has begun thaw. (p. 295)

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On cows:
Not so with the cows ; in the villages along the rivers they go to no distance from the houses to which they are daily taken to be milked, At Torneo, in the summer, there are few cows brought to the town : during rainy years, when the isthmus of Nara is overflowed by the river, they can only reach it by swimming ; on this account many of the burghers have sheds on the western banks of the river, south of Mattila, to which their wives and maids go by water to milk them ; they are small, almost all white, and many without horns. (p. 296)

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Observations on sauna and the farmhouse living room:
The inhabitants began to bathe frequently : their bath is so hot that M. de Maupertuis, who wished to try it, found that the thermometer of Reaumur rose to 44° above the freezing point. In their baths they have a kind of stove, exactly resembling that which I described as in use among them for drying their corn ; it is as well placed in the corner of the chamber. When the block of stone which forms it becomes well heated, they throw water upon it, and the steam from this water makes their bath : they generally go in two together, each holding a handful twigs, with which they whip each other to excite perspiration. I have seen very old men at Pello go out of a bath quite naked, and violently sweating, and pass across a court through the frosty air, without receiving any injury from it. At Corten Niemi, and in the house of every farmer at all of easy circumstances, besides the room designed for the bath, they have another larger, wherein there is a stove : two or three little square holes, of six inches wide, serve for windows ; here the family sleep during the winter. In the day-time the men work at mending their nets for the fishery, or making new ones ; the women sew, or weave cloth ; they are, as it were, in a hot-house in these rooms, which are called Porti, or Pyrti. Small slips of deal, exceeding thin, two or three feet long, which they light, serve them instead of lamp or candle : these slips of wood, which are very dry, burn well, but do not last long ; the wick which falls off on its being consumed, is received into dishes of snow, to prevent danger from fire. (p. 298)

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On court yards and houses:
All the houses in town as well as country have a large court, inclosed at least on two sides by apartments, and on the two others by stables and hay sheds. In the country these courts are perfectly square; in town they are oblong. The sleeping-rooms have the chimney in the corner, as was the café in all ours : the chimney-places are no more than from two feet and a half to three feet wide, by four or four feet and a half high. Above the chimney-piece there is a very narrow horizontal slit, in which a plate of iron is inserted, called Spihel, in order to shut the funnel of the chimney entirely, or in part, at will.


When they make a fire, the wood is placed upright in sufficiently large quantity, and as soon as lighted it is speedily reduced to charcoal ; the spihel is then shut, and a degree of heat proportionate to their wish is communicated to the apartment. In my room I made the thermometer of Reaumur rise to thirty-six degrees above the freezing point, at a time when the glasses of my windows were covered with ice. A candle placed in a candlestick near the window became so soft, that it bent and fell.


In the country, the bed-rooms and the kitchen are made pretty nearly in the same manner as in town; the chimneys are made of brick and unhewn stones, which is the only mason's work known in the country : frequently under the same chimney-flue, near the fire in the kitchen, they have an oven for baking bread ; and sometimes an alembic for distilling brandy from barley.


Beyond Torneo, in going up the river, every countryman has a kind pavilion, which they call Cotta, larger at top than at the bottom, and higher than the rest of the house, at top of which, at the end of a long pole, is a weather-cock. Close to the window of the cotta, without the housem there is a well ; through the window the water is made to pass into cauldrons, where it is heated, and where snow for the cattle is sometimes thawed ; occasionally, as well they make their brandy there. Moreover they have their granariers, which are several small apartments separate from the house, their baths, their rooms for drying and threshing their barley, somewhat resembling their baths ; and besides, their kitchen, and room called Pyrti, of which I have before spoken ; ordinarily they have two very decent rooms for strangers, to whom they always offer the best in every thing.


The burghers in town, no more than the country people, use above one blanket on their beds, a coverlid of white hare-skin serves instead of a second. Many of these farmers have silver forks, large spoons, and goblets ; with those who are less rich they are of wood : they are kind, studious of making themselves serviceable, and perfectly honest.


I said before that every farmer had his magazines ; the greater part of those of Torneo along the side of the river. This magazine is a room built of wood, like the blocks of stone, to keep away rats : they get up to them by a wooden ladder, which is divided from the door by the space of a foot. It is in this room that they inclose a good part of their provision, Those who are in easy circumstances have several of these magazines.


They are forbid having many coats of the same colour : they are not allowed to wear any cloth coat which is not marked in the folds with the King's signet ; any venturing to do so would have it seized. There are officers whose duty it is to go from house to house to see if the chimney-places are properly kept ; if they have a lanthorn ; in short, if every thing be in proper order. (p. 303-304)

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Tornio church:
The church, which also is of wood, is somewhat separated from the houses, although within the palisades which surround the town, and which as well incloses a space of ground which is cultivated of rather considerable extent.


In this church the prayers are read in the Swedish language, on account of the burghers, who speak that language. The town and this church are situated in an island or peninsula, called Swentzlar. There is another church, built with stone, in another island, called Biorckholm, a quarter of a mile to the south of the town : here the service is read in the Finnish language, for the benefit of the servants of the town and the peasantry of the neighbourhood ; very few of whom understand the Swedish. (p.. 303)

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On agriculture:
At Pello the ninth of September there was rye already up,very green and promising. They cultivate the land with shovels and spades alone, and know nothing of either ploughs or carts. The second of October, as the earth was much frozen, they suffered their horses to graze this fine rye. They sow barley at the earliest in May, but generally in June and it is ripe in the beginning of August, as well as the rye ; they then reap it with a fickle, the same as in France. All the barley is round-eared, and makes a very well-tasted bread. The inhabitants have near their houses long poles, placed horizontally into holes made in two or three upright beams ; the whole forms a kind of ladder, very wide, on which they expose their barley to the rays of the sun, during the remainder of the month of August, while it yet appears for some time above the horizon : when the season is adverse, they take them into the rooms set apart fot threshing ; they place them on large ladders, with the ears downwards, so that birds not being able to perch on them, should do them no damage.


Their harrows are contrived very ingeniously ; they are composed of small pieces of wood, which are fastened together very much in the manner of certain chains made for watches : there are several ranges of these pieces,each range consisting of twelve ; the first rank hung entirely upon two cross pieces, to which the harness is fastened, by which the horse draws. (p. 304-305)

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Observations on trees and plants:
Besides fir and birch, there are some sallows, and here and there aspins, very high and straight

In the meadows is seen a kind of narcissus, very pretty ; the leaf is thick, and like that of clover ; it is called spectrum Carolinum, and known to the French botanists by the same name. We saw a small lily of the valley, much less than ours, whose leaf was heart-shaped. They have also pirola, golden rod, cudweed, or goldy locks, and a plant with long leaves, whose root has two bulos ; it bears, on a lofty stem, a bunch of hoodshaped flowers ; they are not handsome, but have exactly the same smell as honeysuckle. There is besides, a sort of serpent's tongue, or herb without partition, a great quantity of small shrubs, which they call small broom ; most of the marshes are full of them.
(p. 305-306)

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Life at Torneo:
We lived very comfortably at Torneo. M. Duries, lieutenant-colonel, the rector named Proubst, that is to say, priest,answering to deans in our dioceses, our ancient host M. Piping, M. Vigelius, the brother of M. Brunius, made up our general society ; they were plesant and sensible men: as for the rest, our interpreter for the Finnish language, informed us at dinner on Wednesday, the twenty-eighth, that several countrymen wished to go to France with us, where they said they would teach our fishermen how to take salmon.(p. 308)

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