- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
206

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
me from the church, and we walked a little way along
the road. A young couple passed us. I could see that
she gave him her hand again when they were past, and
the soft, insinuating tone of her voice showed plainly
enough that flirtation flourished even in these latitudes.
Loris-Melikov said he could tell by her accent that she
was a Jewess. They were also political exiles, no doubt,
who were consoling themselves as well as they could.
Another couple appeared, and Loris-Melikov had a chat
with them. They were from Tomsk, and had come here
on their marriage ; the husband was to have travelled
on business. But they were short of funds, and had
been here ever since. She was coquettish and would
have liked to gossip ; and she went on chatting, while
he stood there growing more and more sulky and im
patient, and trying to get her into the house.
When we came back to the church, the christening
was unfortunately all over, so we did not see it ; but to
make up for it the priest took us downstairs and showed
us the winter church, which was quite as gorgeous as
the summer church above. The pictures on the reredos
were the usual ones of saints, the Virgin Mary and Child,
and so on. They were for the most part painted by a
political exile from Krasnoyarsk. He must have had
a certain facility with the brush, though perhaps not
much originality.
We then went for a moonlight walk through the
village street, accompanied by the priest. The street
had a sort of side-walk ot planks ; but otherwise the
ground was cut up by the feet of cattle, which had sunk
deep in mud and cow-dung, making it difficult to walk,
even where it was dry. We found a shop, and were able
to make some purchases towards completing our still
defective culinary outfit.
I wanted to take a photograph of the street by
206

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