- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
213

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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VERKHNE-IMBÅTSKOYE TO SUMAROKOVA
213
low timber buildings as in all these villages. As wc
entered the low, cosy room with the usual small windows,
wc were received by the master of the house, a well
built, pleasant man to look at, of about eight-and-thirty.
He gave us a hearty welcome, but made a longish speech
to Vostrotin, and deeply regretted that he had not been
expecting us now ; he naturally thought wc should come
in one of the big steamers. If he had imagined that wc
should come on in this little boat, he would have tåken
care not to be drunk when we arrived. That was the
politest thing I have heard, from a drunken man ; but
it was impossible to notice anything wrong with him ;
he walked as steadily as a soldier, and was perfectly
pleasant and amiable.
Wc were introduced to his wife in the inner room,
and had to taste her fresh-made caviar, which was first-
rate. According to the hospitable Russian custom wc
also had to drink tea, of course ; and then there was
supper, a rye-bread cake with fish baked in it, which is a
Russian national dish, and with it caviar and pickled
gherkins, followed by tea with preserved wild straw
berries in it.
The man told us that it was an eventful day, as
to-morrow they were to celebrate the semi-anniversary
of his father’s death. " And as Fm a rich man, you
see," he said, " I’ve invited the whole village to come
here to-morrow. Every one who likes may come, and
if they don’t come, I shall be very much offended."
Great preparations had been made in the way of food
and drink, and wc were obliged to sample the feast. It
was a sort of rehearsal for it that had been held to-day.
While wc sat there, two of the fathers of the village
came in to talk to our host. He excused himself, say
ing they had some important business to discuss, and
went into the next room with them. After a while he

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