- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
344

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
This train crawls on with long stops at the stations.
It is more like a local line here, and it is worked at a
rate to which one is unaccustomed in places where the
pulses of life beat more quickly. The line is leased
by the Eastern Chinese railway and is under the same
management, and not yet connected with the rest of
the railway system of the Russian Empire. But
as soon as the Amiir line is completed and this
connexion is established, there will no doubt be a
change.
At last, at 10 p.m., we arrived at Khabarovsk, and
were cordially received at the station in the dark by the
Mayor, the President of the Geographical Society and
some of its members, the Eastern Siberian traveller,
Arseniev, and others. Wourtzel and I took a droshki
for the long drive from the station into the town, but
this was noticed by the manager of the great German
finn of Kunst and Albers, which has a branch here,
and he and his wife immediately got out of their elegant
carriage and insisted on our taking it, while they took
the droshki—they are certainly hospitable people in
this country. We drove to a restaurant to have some
thing to eat. It was chiefly filled with officers and
engineers and their wives. Like Vladivostok, Khaba
rovsk is an important garrison town, and its social life
therefore receives it stamp from the officers, and now,
of course, during the making of the railway, from the
engineers as well. There was some good music by a
German pianist and an Italian violinist. They played
several Russian tunes, and then a Russian gipsy melody,
which was as melancholy as these endless mournful
steppes. But all at once a familiar strain began ; it
was Solveig’s Song, and the mountains of Norway
gleamed high above the plains. Strange, here again,
so far away in the East and so unexpectedly, to come
844

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