- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
146

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
who was so like our former genial harbour-master at
Christiania, Bassoe, that one might have been tåken
for the other. This one was also an active, capable
man, who kept things stirring.
All this time we were filling up with petroleum, which
is a long business, and the lighter was discharging goods
into a big boat that takes them ashore, which is longer
still. They sometimes stop for several days at each
place. These shelving banks make it impossible to go
alongside, so that unloading has to be done by boats,
and it is slow work.
It is true that our friend the geographer and ex
pedition-hunter thought it scandalous, the way they
wasted time in this country. He had been chafing at
this on the trip down the river ; there would have to be a
reform, he would see to that and write about it ; it was
absurd not to take the lighters alongside and use a gang
way instead of these boats. What he was going to do
about the shelving banks, he did not say.
It was all kinds of goods that were being discharged :
mostly sacks of flour, and stoves made of thin sheet-iron,
bedding and many other things. The quantity of goods
carried down the river by the three Government tugs
and nine lighters varies from year to year. This year,
for instance, as the catch of foxes had been good and
people had money to spend, they ordered a lot of things,
and there was much to be tåken down the river. If the
fishing also turned out well, there might be large quanti
ties of fish to take back. But in some years there were
not many foxes, and perhaps the fishing was poor as well,
and then the cargoes were light.
These three Government steamboats and nine lighters
which are now running on the Yenisei were bought
in 1905, at the time of the war, and brought here with
the idea that they would be wanted for the trafnc up
146

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