- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
76

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
The Jew was the spokesman. He was not yet a
free man. True, he had been released from prison,
but he was not allowed to leave this part of Siberia,
and even here he could go nowhere without permis
sion. Why had he been exiled ? It may have been
sufficient that revolutionary documents were found in
his house.
When Loris-Melikov asked him how it was that the
Tsar’s amnesty on the occasion of the Romanov Jubilee
had not applied to him, he replied that it was not cer
tain whether a man of principle would care to accept
favours from the Government. This looked rather as if
he was suspected of belonging to the anarchists. He
was now overseer of the fisheries here for a trader in
Krasnoyarsk.
As we went out of the hut, the other political exile
came up and asked if we would not pay him a call too.
His hut was quite small, with only room for himself
and for a woman who kept house for him. As we came
in she greeted us, sitting on a stool and filling up a lot
of room.
She was uncommonly ugly, had seen her best days,
and was anything but attractive; she must have been
half-Samoyede, probably, but spoke perfect Russian
and came from Golchikha. She was so fat that she
must at least have been pregnant, one would have
thought, although she looked too old and ugly for that.
Otherwise she must have had dropsy, for it was scarcely
credible that it could all be natural fat ; although I
must say I have seen some amazingly fat women in this
country, both Russians and natives.
A paraffin lamp was burning in the little room. And
little it was, so low in the roof that we had to stoop ;
but it made a clean and tidy impression : a bed with
curtains, a small table with ikons above it, a stove with
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