- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
16

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
rivers, which dug out their long, wide valleys across the
plains, with broad, low hills extending between the
river valleys. Then, later on, these valleys were trans
formed by glaciers and by a great ice-sheath, and the
whole country with its heights and valleys was depressed
below the sea, or more correctly perhaps was inundated
by it ; and now the sea flows with its boundless surface
over the forgotten lands.
We are excited about how we shall get on to the
eastward, and at every meal, when we assemble in the
saloon, our prospects are discussed : how we shall
escape the ice, and how soon we can arrive at the mouth
of the Yenisei. Wagering has begun ; Lied has made
a bet with Loris-Melikov that we shall be there by
Thursday (August 14).
The ice-pilot, Johansen, firmly believes we shall get
through. An old fortune-teller at Tromso predicted it
before he left ; but there would be two difficulties to
overcome on the way. And her prophecies generally
come true, he declared. But then she had said that he
was to earn a handsome gratuity on the trip, and he
had no idea what that could mean. But when Lied,
who was a mighty Nimrod and was burning to shoot a
bear, promised fifty kroner to anybody who saw one,
Johansen thought that would be the solution ; for if
we came into the ice, it was not unlikely that he would
be able to find a bear with the glasses from the crow’s
nest.
We are still talking about the ice encountered by
the steamer from the Pechora ; but I do not think this
can matter very much to us, as the ice in those waters
has little to do with the ice conditions in the Kara Sea ;
probably it was only ice from the sea to the west of
Vaigach that had drifted northward.
Saturday, August 9. The wind is still fresh from
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