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

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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history, arithmetic, and so on. They certainly received
a good education ; and the school seemed excellently
equipped with all appliances and had large and airy
After that I went through the museum again to have
another look at the ethnographical collections. Then
I simply had to go and see a primary school for boys,
which was a State institution, and a primary school for
girls, which was supported by private contributions
as the State does not consider itself obliged to educate
more than the boys. Then at last we went off to the
lunch at the high school. As I said, it ought to have
begun at twelve, but it was one o’clock before we sat
down, and it lasted till four. There is no hurry here ;
Siberia is still a country that has a superabundance of
time, as of everything else ; they may think themselves
lucky for håving so far escaped the nervous stress that
we know too well in Europe. But there was great
enthusiasm and cordiality, which were voiced in many
speeches. I witnessed there a convenient custom that
I had not seen before ; when the guests were tired of
waiting between the courses they got up and went for
a walk in the corridors or in the neighbouring rooms,
lit a cigarette and strolled about for a while ; and there
one might see reverend prelates in their long robes, or
other gentlemen and ladies filling up the time, after
which they came in and sat down again.
Even a Siberian lunch comes to an end, and at last
we were able to say good-bye to our kind hosts. A few
necessary purchases had to be made in the town—then
aboard the Omul to say good-bye to the captain, the
pilot and the crew ; and then there was packing to
be done, while the seventh class of the girls’ school,
without my knowing anything about it, had been sitting
at Madame Kitmanov’s from three o’clock, waiting for

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