- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
38

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
38
There were four other people in the boat. One of
them was quite dark in the face, which was markedly
prognathic and had a savage look. This one appeared
to be a female.
These, like the others, only understood a few words
of Russian and there was nothing to be got out of
them.
No sooner had they come up alongside us, than the
first boafs crew all began shouting to them, telling
them how the mate had sculled the dinghy with one
oar, and that seemed to amuse them all mightily.
The latest arrivals wanted to buy bread and tea ;
unfortunately wc had none to seil, but they were given
a few pieces of bread. Then we gave them walnuts
and chocolate for the child, who was not at all impressed
by it, but just stuffed it into his mouth and seemed
to like it.
The second boat had also a small sealing-boat in
tow, besides a little toy boat, a foot long, which the
chief lifted out of the water and showed us, as soon as
he saw we had noticed it ; it was the prince’s toy. Both
crews had evidently been out after seals in the ice,
and on seeing the big black ship, had rowed towards us.
They talked incessantly and had a great deal to
say to each other ; but their language was entirely
incomprehensible to us. They lay there ståring, and
showed no intention of going away again.
At half-past nine the sun went down in a red glow
behind the ice in the calm night ; the sea was as smooth
as a mirror between the floes and there was not a breath
of wind. On the south was a bank of fog, as blue as
Danish porcelain. The ice was the same as before,
but would now drift out slowly to sea, and we hoped
for an easterly wind next day, to drive it away from
the land.

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