- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
205

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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VERKHNE-IMBÅTSKOYE TO SUMAROKOVA
205
drums of one’s ears. There was a crowd of men and
boys practising for the next day, and as far as I could
make out the object was to see who could yell
loudest.
The priest, with the usual long hair and Christ face,
came towards us in his long blue cassock, with a friendly
and clerically solemn expression. He was a remark
ably handsome man, with a high forehead, a fine, clear
cut profile and calm, gentle eyes ; he might well have
sat for the Christ in Leonardo’s Last Supper. He told
us that this was the summer church, and below it on
the ground floor was the winter church, where it was
warmer. While wc were talking he was kind enough
to go behind the dividing wall that concealed the powerful
singers and tell them to keep quiet while wc were there,
and that was a blessed relief to our ears. He said there
was soon to be a christening, if wc liked to witness the
ceremony ; it would take about half an hour. Wc also
saw the small object which was going into the water,
and which was being carried by a very attractive god
mother. It seemed a strange time for a christening—
past eight in the evening ; but no doubt they take things
as they come in this country.
Meanwhile I went out into the moonlight. A
wonderful evening ! A cosy light came from the low
timber houses along the edge of the river-bank, and on
the " promenade " in front of the houses could be heard
the voices of people, sauntering up and down in the
moonlight. As I went along, a fine and powerful man’s
voice suddenly broke into song from the doorstep of the
next house, which lay in darkness. It was a melodious
Russian song, and it was wonderfully effective in the
calm night. Then it stopped ; a door was slammed,
and the voice had withdrawn into the house. It was
certainly a political exile. Loris-Melikov came after

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