- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
8

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
In this, our last town, there were a good many
things to be seen to. Telegrams and letters had to be
sent off, and our outfit for the Polar Sea completed ;
mits, leather caps and muftiers bought—indeed, Loris-
Melikov bought a complete costume in elegant brown
leather, like a chauffeur’s, to make sure of being able to
face the severity of the Arctic Ocean.
Then came a message that I must really come and
see Captain Alfred Ritscher, who was lying in the
Catholic hospital at Tromso. He was the master of
the ship on the unfortunate Schroder-Stranz expedition
to Spitsbergen, which had gone north the summer
before, and in aid of which I had assisted the German
committee in sending a relief expedition under Captain
Staxrud in the following spring.
I went to him, and found a pleasant, smart young
German sailor lying in bed, who greeted me with a
smile. Poor fellow, it was more than seven months
since he had at last reached Advent Bay in Spitsbergen
in an exhausted state after his adventurous journey.
There he lay still in bed, with the loss of a foot.
He told me of all the difficulties they had met with,
which, he said, were in great measure due to the fact
that none of them had any previous experience of
voyages of this kind. None of them had been in the
Arctic or in the ice. He told me what outfit they had
had, and then of his own terrible walk from Treurenberg
Bay on the north-east side of Spitsbergen, where the
ship was shut in the ice, down to Advent Bay in the
Ice Fjord.
There were seven men with him to begin with on
that walk, but two left them to go another way, and
they were never heard of again. Two more were left
lying in a hut, as one of them could go no farther.
Finally three more stayed at a hut farther south, and
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