- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
115

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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WAITING TO GO ON
115
It was cold, and they were badly equipped ; three of the
convicts died of scurvy during the winter, and the fourth
was drowned in trying to cross the ice to Tolstoi Nos.
Nummelin was now alone, but got two fresh men from
Tolstoi Nos and from Golchikha ; and then, in the middle
of May, three more men came from the south to help
him. The first thing to be done was to dig the vessel
out of the snow, which lay several yards deep on the
river ice. When at last they had got her nearly free,
she was buried again by a fresh blizzard.
But the worst came in the middle of June. The ice
began to move and the river to rise. It rose higher and
higher ; there was a heavy flow of ice which carried all
before it. The vessel was soon adrift, broke up and dis
appeared. The river rose to the hut, and the six men
and two dogs had to take refuge on the roof, carrying
with them some food and wood.
The whole country was now under water ; the other
cabins and turf-huts in the neighbourhood were carried
away by the water and ice, which also threatened the
last one on which they sat. From their roof they could
see nothing but endless wastes of eddying water and
ice continually drifting past, with here and there the
tops of some osier bushes that nodded in the stream as
the floes scraped past them.
The river rose higher and higher ; it had now risen
16 feet. They had to work day and night with poles
to keep the floes off them. The roof was now only
10 inches above the water, and the whole hut trembled
under the pressure of a heavy floe that had lodged round
it and threatened to carry it away under them ; then
their last refuge would have been a little boat that they
had made fast to the roof.
The great flood had come too suddenly even for the
birds. For miles around there was not a single dry

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