- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
196

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
red afterglow of daylight, which passes through yellowish
green into the boundless blue higher up, arching over
us with hundreds of pale stars. Along the southern
horizon there is a veil of purple light below the
moon.
We are driven to the south by the regular beat of
the engine while the mighty, never-resting mass of water
under us glides onward to the north, spreading on all
sides its dark blue surface, like watered silk, rippled by
the wind between the smooth eddies, which flow on,
ring after ring, till they merge into one another out in
the darkness. And then on both sides there is the river
bank and the endless black forest.
At 9 p.m. we anchor under the high east bank. By
about midnight the moon has set. The sky sparkles
with a thousand stars, strangely brilliant. It must be
the dryness of the atmosphere within the great continent
that makes the sky such a deep blue and the stars so
brilliant, and brings out such an infinity of them as one
does not see near the ocean. There is shelter here, and
smooth black water under the bank. How still it is !
A faint whisper across the water is, perhaps, the ripple
of the waves against the western bank—and a low
murmur comes from within the forest.
Friday, September 12. Early in the morning we go
on to the south. The woods are rather more luxuriant
than farther north, but there is still the remarkable feature
that on the east side of the river we have a much higher
and steeper bank, and lofty coniferous trees, with a few
foliferous in front along the edge, while the west bank is
lower and more shelving, and for the most part has only
foliferous trees. Almost everywhere here the deepest
channel follows the land on the east. Only here and
there, especially where the river makes a turn to the
right, it may happen that the channel lies near the
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