- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
269

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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YENISEISK TO KRASNOYARSK AND BEYOND
269
so bad that we had to drive round the whole village over
the surrounding land.
We left the last station, the thirteenth, at about half
past four in the afternoon, and from there it was thirty
five versts to Krasnoyarsk. The thing was now to get in
before it was too dark ; and the driver plied his knout
incessantly, and the horses went at a gallop, while the
man uttered his peculiar howls, now long and plaintive
like adying dog, now sharp and merry cries of " Hoi ! "
Before leaving Yeniseisk we had been warned by a
friendly and prudent official and many others against
driving this last bit into Krasnoyarsk by night, as it was
not safe. The amnesty on the occasion of the Romanov
Jubilee had set free, not political exiles, but a mass of
convicts, who had since made the roads unsafe at night
in this part. Not long before there had been an attack on
the mail ; the horses had been shot, the mail-carrier
murdered and the mail containing money tåken. The
thieves, of course, had never been caught, they seldom are
here. We drove past the place before darkness came on.
It was a desolate rolling plain all about, which seemed
well suited to work of that kind. A wooden cross was
supposed to mark the spot. They put these up wherever
people have been killed in Siberia, so that passers-by
may say a prayer for the soul of the dead man. But
wc did not see the cross and said no prayer.
We could not allow ourselves to be frightened by such
things, and were more inclined to laugh at the possibility
of our being attacked. It is a fact that strangers and
foreigners are not as a rule attacked in Siberia, chiefly
perhaps because the robbers assume that they always
travel well armed. This was not precisely the case with
us ; I for my part had no other weapon than a pocket
knife. My gun I had sent by the steamboat. And,
after all, we were scarcely justified in laughing at the

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