I The lenghty road of the Marsalkka (Marshal)
A seemingly endless line of soldiers strode along the snowy cart-track northwards. A German Colonel led his steaming horse halfway in the line. After him came a wagon carrying his belongings and another two thousand men.
The Colonel knew some Russian. The rank and file droned on about what soldiers always talk about: food, rest and warmth. The route went over frozen lakes and between beautifully sweeping hills. The Colonel suspected he was the only soldier on the march to enjoy the scenery and the crisp winter air.
Few of the treading soldiers knew that Russian’s position in North Europe was at stake now. Far off in the southern plains of Poltava, Tsar Peter I had crushed the army of King Charles XII. It had been over seven years since the great victory of Peter, but the fight against the unyielding Sweden was still going on.
Now the column was headed towards the little village of Kajane. Locals called the poor town Kajjaani. The town and above all the waterway to Lake Oulujärvi were protected by a stone castle built on an island. Sheltered by the castle the small garrison had been able to fight off all the Russians’ attacks.
But no more. Major General Tsekin’s troops consisted of 4000 men and had three batteries of cannons. The castle will be beaten in a week, Tsekin boasted to his officers. The enlisted German Colonel was not as confident. In the battlefields of Europe he had learnt to respect the Finns fighting in the Swedish army, whose home ground they were on now. The fast cavalrymen, in particular, were able to bring cold sweat on the brow of any general who was unfortunate enough to appoint his troops against the elite cavalry.
The German Colonel was correct. The besiegement of Kajaani castle was progressing on its second month, already. The Marshal had time to tour around the surrounding areas of Kajaani. The war had emptied the houses of men. The Marshal received hospitality from the peasants, although a representative of the enemy at war. In the village of Sotkamo the soldier made the acquaintance of a local burgher family. Part of his pay stayed in their store, his heart stayed with their sweet daughter.
Cossack general Tsekin had been forced to humiliate himself by requesting more cannons and men for the besiegement. The general boasted that he would cut heads off of the entire garrison, as soon as the castle would be overran.
However, the situation in the castle was severe, as well. Firewood, ammunition and food were scarce. Captain Johan Henrik Fieandt, the commander of the castle, complied with the civilians’ evacuated into the castle, as they begged him to suggest Tsekin an honourable capitulation treaty. The German Colonel took part in drawing the treaty. As customary in those days, the capitulation treaty guaranteed the burghers, the gentry and other civilians of Kajaani, as well as the soldiers, free exit from the castle. The treaty was confirmed with oaths and signatures.
The following development of events changed the German Colonel’s life. Against the treaty, Tsekin commanded the civilians and soldiers to be put under arrest. The unfortunate people of Kajaani were robbed. The General ordered his men to draw their sabres and cut the heads off the prisoners.
The execution of the order was interrupted, as the German Colonel came forward and stepped between the prisoners and the executors. He advised Tsekin to reconsider, as the execution was against all rules of war. “I will give up my position and my sword, if these courageous soldiers and unfortunate civilians are to be executed”, the Colonel announced. The general laughed and told the Colonel to keep his sword. The prisoners were chained and walked to Russia to be slaves.
The freezing February morning Anno Domini 1716 haunted the German Colonel’s mind for the rest of his life. After his assignment in the Russian army the Colonel was commissioned as general by the King of Prussia. Frederick William I was an autocrat who threw money at the military. The general had learned from his experience in the Russian army and did everything in his power to infuse military discipline into his soldiers. The training was hard. Foreign visitors came to watch the general’s work. Throughout Europe messengers carried letters telling about the strengthened Prussia and the new Prussian military discipline.
The German mercenary retired from the Prussian army as a Marshal after a full term of service. He toured Europe but could not settle anywhere. His homeland Prussia felt as strange to him as any other place, although the familiar military had spread into civil administration. In Prussia the Marshal enjoyed greater respect than the ministers of the government.
This may well have been the reason for a privy councillor of the court to invite the Marshal to dine with him. The privy councillor discoursed on Russia and Sweden at length with the Marshal. Crown prince Frederick, the successor of Frederick William I wanted to raise Prussia to be the Great Power of Europe and snatch the wealthy Silesia from Austria. The crown prince wanted to make sure Russia and Sweden kept out of the new partitioning of Europe.
Where the privy councillor and the crown prince saw nothing but thus far unfulfilled possibilities and a new Great Power, the Marshal saw burned towns, crying children and injured soldiers. The new elite ruling power of Prussia had never experienced war and to them it was merely an extension of politics.
The next morning the Marshal ordered his staff to pack his bags. The Preussian army he had trained was ready, but he felt the Silesian war was not for him. He decided to travel to the magnificent scenery near Kajaani. That was where his world had still been intact and just.
II The new friends of the Amiraali (Admiral)
The Admiral saw the Marshal as he was observing the planning of a fortress that was going to rise on an island just outside Helsinki. The man greeted the Admiral back with bad Swedish: foreigner. The Admiral invited the man, who turned out to be a professional soldier, to an inn. A proper swig of beer warmed the men to the bones. It was March in 1741 and a cold wind blew from the Finnish Gulf.
The men talked about the Baltic Sea, the past Hansa Union, Prussia, Sweden and a little bit about Finland. They also talked about cannons. The Admiral was used to using them at high warships, the Marshal on hills.
Profession and rank connected the Admiral and the Marshal more than their nationalities separated them. The men shook hands on their friendship and vowed to meet again inland, where the Marshal was on his way.
There was a command in the headquarters waiting for the Admiral, ordering him to prepare for an offensive war against Russia. Sweden had decided to use the breach between Prussia and Austria to its advantage and attack Russia.
The Admiral set to work. His rare ships that were scattered along the coast needed to be gathered together, the troops needed to be trained, accommodation and food supplies needed to be organised. The coastal fleet headquarters received their commands and the wheels started to turn.
In a battle things rarely go according to the plan. The fleet had to retreat to Sweden but for two coastal fleet frigates. The escape of the infantry was equally shameful. The fortress town Hamina surrendered without a fight. Olavinlinna surrendered after two days of besiegement. The Russians robbed the eastern counties without compunction. The Finnish blood flowed into the greedy ground just like it had in the Admiral’s childhood.
The Admiral, in his creaky flagship lying at anchor by an island, investigated time and again a document that was delivered to him. Elisabeth, the new empress of Russia, had offered Finland independency, if they would give up the Swedish ruling. Finland would be “free and under nobody’s power”, as the manifesto declared in Finnish.
The Admiral missed home. Understanding longing for a land is impossible for those who have never spent years after years at sea or in a strange land.
The only source of joy during this disastrous military expedition was an enterprising officer. The captain, calling himself the Knight, had led his frigate with such skill and arrogance that his name had been mentioned to the King himself. The Admiral still smiled when remembering how the Knight broke his way out of the blockade. The captain had taken down the Swedish flag and hoisted a black flag. The Russians thought the ship surrendered, but instead it spewed fire with all its cannons and snuck between two battleships to the rocky coastal waters in a gust of wind. The pursuit ended as three Russian galleys shipwrecked.
This was a man to discuss Elisabeth’s manifesto and Finland. Moreover, he had vowed to serve the Admiral, not the Crown of Sweden.
III Ritari (Knight) changes collars
Every man is to supply himself with a weapon and ammunition. The haul will be divided into one hundred shares. The injured will be paid first. In addition to one’s own share, two extra shares will be paid for a lost leg or an arm, half a share for a toe or a finger and one share for an eye. The captains pay is four shares, the navigating officer’s and the medical officer’s two shares. The crew gets one share each and the rest will be divided between the ship’s boys.
These were the rules every man joining the Knights forces had to sign. The rules were clear and just. Each of the coast robbers could sign them with a handsome cross.
The Knight had no trouble finding men to try their luck on his ship.
It seemed the coast robbers’ captain was born under lucky stars. On their previous trip they took a wealthy trading ship on its way from Turku to Stockholm. Beer, meat, clothing, guns and liquor. An easy booty.
A pompous burgher was travelling onboard the trading ship; it would have been easy to get a fat ransom for him. However, as the pirates got bountiful loot, they marooned the crew and the burgher in his underwear on a large island. Apparently the burgher was in good relations with the court, as navy warships searched the coasts for months after the plundering.
Few of the crew members could have guessed that their skilful master was born inland. The Knight had never seen his father, but knew he had been a foreign officer. After his mother’s death the Knight moved to live with his aunt in Vasa, but he did not like the town, nor did he thrive in his aunt’s stuffy bourgeois home.
The Knight ran away at the age of fifteen, enlisted on a ship and earned the men’s respect with hard work and courage.
The Knight was hired on a long sail to India. The trading trip was not successful. The return trip got even worse as the captain and the navigating officer both were taken ill. The medical officer tried to cure them by letting blood and feeding them soup made of juniper berries. The ship was commanded to sail to the nearest harbour, but death caught up with them first. The captain and the navigating officer were flung overboard near the southern coast of Africa.
After an eventful sail the trading ship finally arrived home led by the Knight. The chamber of commerce sat long owing to the incident. The disappearance of the captain as well as the navigating officer seemed unconvincing, particularly as the ship had brought in only half of what it was supposed to. The Knight and the rest of the crew were warranted for arrest. As the town garrison marched to the harbour, following the bailiff, the ship had already sailed. The Knight got wind of the chamber’s warrant and escaped with the ship and the crew into the rambling bays of the archipelago.
Not one trading ship sailing on the Baltic Sea was safe anymore.
The successful piracy practised by the Knight came to an abrupt ending in the early summer of 1741. The Admiral, leading a military rehearsal for the Finnish coastal fleet in the Turku archipelago, took the unknown, lightweight frigate by surprise. The experienced sailors took the pirates’ ship over before the crew even realised what was going on.
A vigorous smell of spirits hung in the air on the ship. Only a couple of half empty barrels were left from the last plunder. Also the captain whom the crew called by the extravagant title of the Knight was senselessly drunk.
On the wall of the Knights room hung a painting with some familiarity to the Admiral. The scenery sketched on the canvas was from near the Admiral’s home.
The Admiral told his men to leave the captain’s cabin. He offered the Knight a chair and told him to sit down. It was the first time since his beard had started to grow in his puberty that he obeyed anyone without a grumble.
The painting of Vuokatinvaara hills was painted by the Knights mother.
It was not a nook that choked the Knight’s neck but the high collar of captain of the royal Swedish navy. He and his crew were pardoned on two conditions: firstly: in future, they would serve only the Admiral and secondly: they would hand over what was left of the booty to the navy’s half empty coffers.
The Knight commanded one of the frigates guarding the Finnish coast. The Admiral introduced the Knight to his officers as a distant relative. The navy hierarchy dictated that a young captain could not command his own frigate, but the kinship was enough for an exception in formalities.
His first naval battle was enough to show that he was well worth his own frigate. The only ships to return home were those of the Admiral’s and the Knight’s. Even in the moment of defeat the Knight was able to make jokes about the fact that half of the Finnish coastal fleet crewmen were previously pirates.
IV Ruhtinatar (Princesse) has visitors
The Princesse had dignified visitors. The servants were setting dinner for two naval officers and the Marshal.
The Marshal watched as the Admiral rubbed his stump of an arm. The Admiral’s hand ached, even though there was only an empty sleeve where his right arm used to be. The Russian’s cannon ball had crushed his left elbow when his flagship had been caught by surprise by the enemy navy nearby River Kymijoki.
The Admiral tried to move his thoughts off the pain by fiddling with the book they had brought as a gift. It was a freshly printed encyclopaedia. The tome was edited by a group of French philosophers.
The Knight scratched absentmindedly a beer stain off his uniform coat. Years at sea and battle fields had taken all snobbery off the soldier. However, all three gentlemen stood up straight as the lady of the house, the Princesse, entered the hall.
The Princesse was anxious to hear what was going on in the world. Had the natural scientists sent to America by Uppsala University returned yet? And was it true that a star had been named after the King of Sweden himself?
As the sun set behind Lake Nuasjärvi, the Princesse and her visitors moved outside to the summer house to have a glass of cognac. An eagle wheeled across the sky and the autumn night was full of the bark of thrushes. Around the walnut table harmony prevailed.
The Princesse had had an observatory built on top of the hill. The local gentry never grew tired of wondering how a few ground pieces of glass could bring the stars of the sky nearer. As soon as the night would set, the Princesse was going to observe an interesting star. It looked like a plate with a ball inside. The Princesse’s brother studied at Sorbonne University. Every month a letter arrived from him with wonderfully long and detailed descriptions of his rendezvouses with young intellectuals.
At the moment a Swiss named Rousseau was causing a sensation in Paris. His claim was that science and art only destroy the original, genuine human being. Rousseau should travel here, smiled the Princesse. There were still genuine, good people living here, people who trusted their instincts and conscience instead of reason.
The Princesse received letters from his cousin in Stockholm, as well. He was involved in politics, in the Cap Faction. The Hats were about to regain power despite their unfortunate war. The heir to the throne had sided with the Hats. Sweden was threatening Russia with war once again.
The cousin warned the Princesse to go along with the utopians who were trying to separate Finland from Sweden. It was all about power game between the nations, and a few hundred thousand Finns bore no great significance in the matter.
Finns had selected the Duke of Holstein as King of Finland, but he took the leadership of Russia as Tsar Peter III, instead.
The Princesse knew already what would be the subject discussed next time the Admiral, the Marshal and the Knight came to visit.
V The Lady prays for quidance
The Lady sputtered a silent prayer to the statue of Virgin Mary standing in the corner of the bedroom. In the land, where the eastern orthodox and the western Protestants fought for souls, a Latin prayer to a Catholic Church saint was a fairly rare occasion.
The Lady was flummoxed due to her visit to the Duchess the previous night. She had introduced the Lady to two of her visitors. It felt as if the Hill Vuokatinvaara had shaken as the Lady had laid her eyes on the Knight, bowing to her.
The Lady had felt exactly the same as a young girl in Lyons. Alois could have made Virgin Mary blush. The Lady had fallen in love with the viscount head over heels. She had spent all her allowance in pretty clothes and jewellery. She had made sure she was invited to the same parties Alois was.
Finally Alois noticed her. Her family was invited to Alois’ father’s hunting castle in the valley of Loire. The Lady’s father was flattered for the invitation and thought it was caused by his long career as the city’s mayor. Men are so vain.
The Lady’s life could have taken another course, but as it happened, Alois’ mother was of the Bourbon family. Alois was the young king’s, Ludvig XV’s cousin. Unlike his father, the great Sun King, the reigning king was weak and the power was in practise in the hands of Cardinal Fleury. Rumours of coup d’état flooded the court and later it became evident that Alois’ father was strongly involved in it.
The Lady spent the next few years in a convent. She had revealed her love for Alois to her mother, and her mother shared the information with her father, who was well aware of the chicanery of the Bourbon family. The father was afraid his family would be dragged in the coup d’état and sent his daughter away from Alois. Rather a nun’s cell for one than guillotine for the whole family, the father thought.
In the convent the Lady met companions in misfortune. She learned to give up the past and believe in guidance. One changes plenty in seven years.
As Ludvig XV’s power became stable, the Lady was offered a possibility of getting out of the convent. She was to travel north to relatives and live their on family money. She left and never returned.
The Lady had thought she was happy with her life and her chores. The visit to the Duchess the night before had broken her vision of a world with no room for men. A moment alone with the Virgin put some of the peaces back together.
The Lady believed she would make it. She would have to. She would not flee a country again for love.
VI Sewing night at the Herttuatar (Duchess)
The Duchess’s house smelled like rice porridge and fruit soup. Snow crackled under the runners of sleds, as the local burghers’ and farmers’ wives gathered once again at the Duchess’s house to sew for the orphanage. The latest news was told and the newest offerings of the Duchess’s kitchen were enjoyed.
The Lady was finishing off a pretty wooden box on which she embellished Virgin Mary with pearls. With burning ears she listened to the Duchess’s story on her trip to an island in the middle of Lake Oulujärvi. In the company of the Admiral and the Knight she was heartened to try steering a sailboat.
The Duchess’s announcement on her leaving for Sweden to be a sea captain raised laughs among the ladies. The Lady smiled, as well, but for a completely different reason. She hoped to be able to join the next trip.
The Duchess loved the children at the orphanage. No matter how the family died: from a disease, of hunger, in an accident or from enemy bullet, her orphanage always gave refuge. As the orphanage had its own cattle shelter and arable land the children did not need to eat potato peels to keep hunger away. The Duchess taught the girls cooking and gardening herself.
The upkeep of the orphanage took a lot of assets, as the Crown was not interested in its smallest. The church helped the best it could, but tax revenue was small after years of war.
The Duchess had gathered up a group of ladies to raise money for the orphanage in a regular basis. The Duchess’s sewing night grew into a regular society event, as participation was on invitation only.
The Duchess often swapped recipes with the vicar’s wife. Getting all the food stuff all the way to north was sometimes very difficult, but fortunately there was plenty of new, hitherto unused material. The East-Carelian pedlars, in particular, sometimes carried new, unexpected treats. On her last visit to Sotkamo marketplace she purchased one kilo of genuine caviar.
The Duchess’s opinion on clergy improved greatly after meeting Anders Chydenius on her last visit to her birth home. In addition to spreading the ideals of Christianity, he also medicated people with vaccinations and information on healthy ways of life. The Duchess wished she could make him take interest in farming and growing herbs.
The rice porridge and fruit soup were a success. Many of the ladies were curious as to the ingredients of the sweet soup. The Duchess wrote the recipe for the ladies to take home with them. The Ladies packed in their sleds and so the guests disappeared into the bright blue frosty night, bells jingling on the way. The forthcoming Christmas would see fruit soup in the dinner table in many of the houses.
VII Kreivi (Earl) refines iron
The Earl huffed and puffed out of excitement. His bailiff had found a skillful blacksmith who had attached steam-operated bellows into his forge. The blacksmith was tired of lazy apprentices and built himself the perfect assistant.
This man could help him. The earl scrutinized the drawings of the mill once more. Yes, this should work.
The Earl’s sister, the Duchess, had heard that in the bottom of the local lakes there were clumps of rusty and ragged rock that got caught in the fishermen’s nets. The resilient Earl dived into the lake in various places and discovered the earth exuded iron.
The Earl was not interested in gold. Any old lout could pick up a nugget of gold in a brook and sell it. It would be like creating art out of twigs gathered from a forest. No, refining ore for building bridges and casting cannons was real work. In his hands the fishermen’s nuisance would turn to gold. That would really be something.
The iron from the lake was barren. The blast furnace built according to the drawings worked fine but the cast iron was fragile, weak. No good for casting cannons, fretted the Earl.
The Earl’s experiments made interested burghers all the way from Oulu make an appearance. The men told him that iron ore was richer up north. They were looking for financiers for an iron works they were going to put up. The mill would be built by a river and the produce would be transported to port along the river.
Portions to be financed, profit commissions and costs were wrestled over for months. Finally the Earl was happy with the contract.
Little by little industrialisation began to spread in the middle of Finland, as well. The situation was completely different in the Earl’s homeland, France. The nobility idled away in their castles and mansions as the farm workers took care of their land. Nobody had the strength to start refining iron or displace workers with machinery.
The Earl himself had more land than he could have walked around in a day. Wine, grain and cattle. The same his grandfather produced.
In the Earls’s opinion the people had a right to a better future. They should look forward and not tread the same old paths after their ancestors all through their lives. Sense and engine power were the tools for the future. Religion and fighting over borders merely mess up people’s minds, thought the Earl.
VIII Paroni (Baron) is presented at court
Catherine II was exactly as grand a spectacle as the pictures spread of her indicated. The thin young man was covered by the embrace of the Empress of Russia. The Baron was wondering whether the Empress greeted all courtier trainees with the same graciousness.
The reason for Catherine’s good graces may well have been the Baron’s exquisite features that had the Ladies-in-Waiting sighing for him. What a handsome man he would grow up to be when his shoulders widened and his cheeks grew dark beard.
The Baron’s father had requested the King of Sweden permission to serve the foreign country. The King accepted, maybe a little too fast, and even paid for the family’s trip himself. The father, having served two Kings as a General, understood the undercurrents. Return to Stockholm would not be an option.
The Baron’s career at the Russian court proceeded expeditiously. The courtiers, being on top of the winds of power, invited the Empress’s pet to their cabals. The Baron overhauled his elders in years of service in appointments, causing envy and embitterment in many.
The father began to suffer persistent coughs and joint pains in the humid St Petersburg. The family decided to move inland Finland. The father’s assets were sufficient for buying a handsome house and keeping servants. The Baron helped his parents in settling down but soon returned to St Petersburg to continue his career. The Empress would undoubtedly allow him to visit his parents as often as he desired.
The Baron’s success was not based on his talents after blowing out the candles alone. The Baron was involved in the negotiations with Austria and Prussia, which resulted in dividing Poland between the three Great Powers. Russia got all the land east of Rivers Dnepr and Daugava, thus securing its western rear.
The Baron created good relations with German monarchies during the negotiations. They would be of use as driving the wedge between Finland and Sweden began.
The Empress had also hired several other noblemen despised by Sweden. General Yrjö Mauno Strengtporten was greeted with open arms by Catherine. He was appointed the task of planning the new constitution for Finland with the Baron. The Baron was more than happy to oblige.
The Baron’s visit home was prolonged more than usual. The reason was not his father’s worsened coughing, but a lady. The Baron had never even dreamed of meeting such a woman here, in the middle of Finland. The Marchioness revealed she had been deported to Finland for no reason at all. She stated such strong arguments for her case that the Baron still felt dizzy. If the Russian love was passionate, the Italian version was none the weaker.
The Baron knew the Marchioness wanted to travel to St Petersburg with him. He could not afford it, not now. He had heard whispers that the next position of privy councillor was to be his. The Marchioness was too hazardous. Catherine would never put his name forward for the position should she see the Marchioness.
IX The seductions of the Markiisitar (Marquise)
The Marquise had already passed her fortieth birthday, but she was well-preserved. The woman would have caused a stir-up even in the bustle of the Versailles, but as she stepped ashore in Turku, she was the target of every man’s -and woman’s- stares. The Marquise’s skin tone was amazingly fair, contrasting her glowing red lips and big brown eyes.
Many a merchant would have sold their birthright to spend a night with the Marquise. The expensive dress accentuated her feminine charms, which she generously paraded as she opened her lacy parasol on the decks.
However, the Marquise was on her way to a small town called Kajaani. She had broken a few two many hearts in France and Sweden. In the eastern counties of the Swedish empire she was believed to cause no disturbance in the empire’s politics.
Gustav III, who had seized power in Sweden, had paid too much attention to the French-Swedish Marquise in the opinion of the government. As the King had not spent time in his matrimonial beddings since entering Marquise’s chambers, the mistress had to leave.
The Marquise’s belongings fitted in two horse carriages. So the possessions shrink, the Marquise thought, hovering in the bouncy carriage. As a young maiden her dolls alone would have taken up the same space.
The Milanese maiden’s childhood had come to an end abruptly when his father ran into debt with the trading house. The father had invested fortunes in the spice trade. The ships had either sunk or been sunk. In order to settle his debts the father had been forced to give up his mansion and his land. The Marquise’s marital value at court had sunk at the same speed as the trading houses’ and bankers’ goodwill towards her father. As a young girl the Marquise had dreamed of marrying a handsome Duke. The Duke’s family had often visited the family’s villa at Lake Garda. To father the Duke had been low in rank. After father’s bankruptcy the Marquise had been too poor for the Duke’s father.
Kajaani was an even smaller place than the Marquise had expected. Thank Lord the influential court of Sweden was merciful enough to provide her abode from near the other nobility.
Fortune seemed to be smiling on the Marquise at last. A handsome courtier’s family had recently moved in the neighbourhood. And to crown it all, the Marquise had met the courtier briefly in Sweden, already. This had to be fate. The Baron would be her saviour.
The Marquise was sick to her stomach. All the signs indicated that she was pregnant. It has to be the Baron’s, the Marquise thought. She knew ways of getting rid of the child, but this was a time for good judgement. Her assets would not suffice endlessly and a child with the Baron, who was making career at the court, might well be a good enough life insurance.
The child could very well open her way to St Petersburg and the court. She could hardly interest herself in making the Empress Catherine’s acquaintance, but she was likely to find a noble close relative at the court.
The Marquise heaved again. It was the first time in this neighbourhood that someone smiled while vomiting.
The Marquise gave birth to a son. Alone. She was not able to produce milk and the boy was fed by a wet-nurse. The Marquise’s breasts were aching. The local farmwives tried to foment them with warm clothes but she shooed them away. The Baron would cure her.
The Marquise was buried in an unconsecrated grave close to the cemetery, as none could remember her ever going to church. Her name did not appear in the church register, the villagers explained. Luckily the son was admitted in the orphanage. He was better off there than home, the village women murmured.
The Baron went to the Marquise’s grave to make sure she was in fact dead. The privy councillor had seen her walking near her home the night after his return. The Baron crossed himself three times and made a promise of donating money for the building of church.
X Prinssi (Prince) and Prinsessa (Princess) pay a visit
Everyone at the Baron’s farm was busy. His friends from Italy were coming over for a visit. The privy councillor inspected the guest room facilities and the dinner menu. everything seemed to be in order.
The Prince and the Princess had travelled in Finland for over two weeks. The trouble had been well worth it, the royals thought. Maybe the fields did not trickle milk and honey, as back home, but the sturdy nature of the country made an ineradicable impression on them. At home the mountains disappeared in the sky, but here the nature was comprisable.
The trip was not all leisure for the Prince and the Princess. They were set to find out whether Russia would agree to divide Poland another time. The Baron would know.
The Baron’s mansion and the offerings were excellent. The long trip in addition to the frisk spring weather had truly woken the Prince’s appetite and the Princess did not settle for salads either.
The master of the house smoked his pipe with his guests in the mansion gazebo. The warmth of the sun still stayed in the valley. Wispy pillars of smoke rose around the lake: the villagers were warming up their smoke saunas.
Blowing his own pillars of smoke the Baron defined the Finnish sauna as a place where one came out from dirtier than went in. An inexperienced sauna-goer messed himself in the smoky logs and after washing up was as black as an African. The Prince for one described the Turkish sauna as a place one could easily spend a week in. The Princess would have loved to soak the hardships of the journey off in a hot bath, but as an experienced traveller she presumed she would be offered sauna instead of a bath. And she was right.
When the Princess was already asleep, the Prince and the Baron sat on the benches of sauna drawing the map of Poland anew. Austria could take a portion of south-west, Prussia north and Russia east. To seal the deal the men threw plenty of water on the stove, grimaced and ran into the cold lake. The frolic of the Prince and the Baron woke up a farmhand sleeping in one of the lakeside granaries. The farmhand snorted at the men’s joy and turned over.
XI Tsaari (Tsar) at the gates of heaven
“Hooray, hooray!” shouted the 300 people of Kajaani out loud. The shouting was drowned by the wind from Lake Oulujärvi. The Baron watched the enthusiastic crowd amused. Only a decade before would the ruler, now celebrated, have been received with musket bullets in this town, also.
Two sea boats came ashore the dock built by River Kajaaninjoki. In the first boat stood the ruler of the Grand Duchess of Finland, Tsar Alexander. The Mayor of Kajaani hurried to greet the valued guest. Alexander greeted the man absentmindedly and gazed into the crowds. The Baron knew what the Tsar was looking for, and stepped forward to wish him welcome to the former frontiers.
The visit of the Tsar of Russia had been prepared long and with care. Roads had been repaired, horses reserved, food stored. A saddle had been sent to Kajaani for the Tsar’s horse. The visit of the Tsar was a great success, and thus it would have to be shown in the productions of the drawers and writers hired by the Royal House.
However, at the dock the Tsar’s smile was tired. Alexander whispered to the Baron that he would absolutely never again surrender himself to the roughs of the Kainuu Sea. The journey would have to continue on land. The Baron followed the entourage to the streets of the town. Alexander pointed to the ruins of the Kajaani Castle, and inquired the whereabouts of the other Kainuu castle, and whether it was still standing. The Baron promised to take the Tsar’s party to visit the castle the very same night. The Tsar’s visit to Kajaani lasted only a couple of hours. The short visit was a disappointment to the Mayor. The Baron guided the horse-ridden party towards the massive hill of Vuokatti.
Alexander sat straight on his horse and smelled the crisp forest air. His ancestors had fought with Sweden for centuries over these wilds. The Tsar understood the reasons well, as this kind of scenery was well worth a little sable rattling.
In Vuokatti the Tsar took a brisk walk by the remains of the Vuokatti Castle. Also his party went around the hillside, lead by the Baron’s son. The Tsar noted the caves in the side of the hill and asked whether there were any monks of other holy men living on the hill.
The Tsar dined with the nearly 70-year-old Baron and his family. The Privy counsellor, who had served also Catherine the Great, was greatly valued in the Russian court, knew the Tsar. The men discussed Europe’s future. Would France continue to threat Russia, and would Sweden understand its insignificant role by the Baltic Sea? An excellent night made up for the l ousy boat trip.
The August night grew dusky and stars filled the dark sky. In his bed the Tsar was wondering how close to the sky people lived here. He decided to find out some day.
The Annual Chronicle
1686 The Marshal is born in Prussia.
1701 The Admiral is born in Finland.
1712 The Marshal joins the Russian Tsar as a colonel.
1716 Marshal takes part in the siege of Kajaani Castle, falls in love with a local bourgeois girl. A knight is born in Finland.
1720 5-year-old Louis XV is crowned King of France.
1722 Lady is born in France.
1723 The Earl is born in France.
1725 The Duchess is born in France.
1729 The son of a priest, Anders Chydenius, is born in Sotkamo. He becomes Finland’s leading economic thinker.
1731 The knight escapes to the sea.
1737 The knight becomes a pirate.
1736 The Princesse is born in France.
1739 The Lady is sent to a convent.
1740 Frederick II the Great becomes the ruler of Prussia. The War of the Austrian Succession begins.
1741 The knight is pardoned and becomes a captain in the navy.
1741 An admiral is wounded in a sea battle in the Gulf of Finland. The War of the Hats ends in military disaster.
1742 Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, issues a manifesto promising Finland independence.
1744 Lady moves to Finland.
1746 The Marquise is born in Italy.
1752 The baron is born in Sweden.
1762 Catherine II ascends to the Russian throne.
1767 The baron moves to Finland and ends up at the Russian court.
1768 The Duchess sets up an orphanage in Sotkamo.
1769 The Earl builds an iron refinery on the shores of Lake Oulu.
1771 Gustav III seizes power in Sweden. The Marquise seduces the king.
1772 The Marquise is deported to Kajaani.
1775 A son is born to marquise and baron.
1776 The marchioness dies. The Baron is promoted to Privy Counsellor.
1784 The Prince and Princess visit the Baron.
1789 The War of Kustaa begins. The Baron plots to break Finland away from Sweden.
1809 Finland becomes the Grand Duchy of Russia.