- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
35

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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VISITS FROM SAMOYEDES
35
had a clear horizon and sunshine. Viewed from the
crowVnest the ice lay white and closely packed as far
as one could see to the north and north-west, and right
up to the shore on the landward side ; there was no
sign of a låne in any direction. But the sky was fairly
blue on the north, so that open water could not be very
far away. Along the land to the northward the sky
was whiter, so that the ice must have been closer there
than it was at some distance from land. On the west
it looked as if it could not be far to clear water, judging
by the colour of the air. The noon altitude gave latitude
71° 2’ N., and by our reckoning wc were in longitude
66° 27’ E.
In the afternoon a boat was reported in sight. This
was unexpected here, right out in the ice and so far
from land. It was another Samoyede boat with five
men, rowing towards us. They hardly knew a word of
Russian.
The coxswain lay reclining in the stem, looking like
a pasha. He was no doubt the chief. He bore a
remarkable resemblance to a Chinaman, as did a man
who was rowing in the bow. In the middle of the boat
sat a man with no nose and with a crooked hole where
his mouth should have been. He looked like a leper,
but was more probably a syphilitic ; he was a terrible
sight. The face of another man in the middle of the
boat was swollen, red and scarred, most likely from
smallpox, unless it was also syphilis in his case.
They were allowed to come on board and look round
the deck. There was the same feeling and open
mouthed staring at everything. But they gave us
very little entertainment ; their supply of Russian
words was soon exhausted and conversation had to be
carried on mainly by signs.
When they went back to their boat, the steward

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