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

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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To avoid the trouble of moving our things from
one carriage to another and lashing them at each
stage, Vostrotin had his own private tarantass, and
Loris-Melikov and I had also tåken one for the whole
journey, in which we travelled together, so that we
only changed horses and coachmen. The tarantass
is a four-wheeled carriage which is generally used for
travelling in Siberia; it is specially suited for these
long distances, where one has to travel night and day
and sleep in the carriage, if one wishes to arrive in
reasonable time. It cannot be called an elegant con
veyance, this tarantass, but it is strong and well suited
for its use, which would knock our European vehicles
to pieces in a very short time. Steel springs it luckily
does not possess, as they would soon be done for ; in
stead of them the body of the carriage is borne on two
long, elastic poles, which rest on the axles of the front
and back wheels ; but in order to stand the jolting
these poles have to be thick and strong, so that there
is not very much spring in them. Wheels, axles, and
everything must be strong and firm. The carriage
body has a coach-box in front, on which the well-wrapped
driver sits, shouting incessantly to his horses ; behind
is a sort of hood, from which in wet weather, as now,
a tarpaulin is stretched to the coach-box, shutting in
the back part of the carriage entirely.
There is no seat to sit upon inside the carriage, and
we passengers lic on the floor as well as we can. There
is room for two in each tarantass. Straw is laid on the
bottom, and generally pillows and mattresses as well,
or rugs, to fend off the jolts and give one a tolerable
berth. Then one covers oneself over with blankets or
furs, or whatever there may be, and if it were not for
the desperate shaking on these roads, the tarantass
would be an ideal vehicle for long journeys. When

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