- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
10

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
desire now was to get out of bed and go north again to
Spitsbergen to fetch back his ship ; for that was what
he ought to do, there was no question about it, he said.
I thought that might very well be left to others, and
that he had better see about getting quite well first, as
it was to be hoped he had a long life before him yet.
When I left him I thought of all the needless disasters
and tragedies this unhappy hankering after the Arctic
and the polar regions is responsible for. If these men
had had a little experience of ice and snow, all this
misery might easily have been avoided. Travels in
these latitudes present difficulties enough, one would
think, without their being increased by careless equip
ment and a superfluity of ignorance. How often I
have said this to impatient young men in a hurry to
start, but what is the use ? And certainly nothing is
gained by immature voyages of this kind.
But, to show how everything may depend on
chance, it happened that in that very month of August
1912, I was up in those same waters to the north of
Spitsbergen and Hinlopen Strait in my little boat, and
there cannot have been very many miles between us.
If we had happened to meet, who knows, perhaps a
chance word or piece of advice might have averted the
whole calamity, and they might all have been still
alive and happy.
But such is the way of things. The weather was
foggy just at that time, and we must have passed each
other without knowing it.
At last we finished all we had to do at Tromso.
That is to say, Vostrotin still wanted a motor-boat,
which he had been trying to buy to take us up the
Yenisei. But buying a motor-boat of that size in such
a place was not to be done at a momenfs notice
Finally, in the course of the afternoon, we went on
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