- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
389

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THE AMUR DISTRICT AND AMUR RAILWAY
389
armoured all over, with loopholes for firing ; and when
carrying the mail, which included the money for wages,
it was always guarded by gendarmes or soldiers with
loaded rifles. It had solid rubber tyres, not pneumatics,
which might be punctured ; but it shook a good deal
in consequence on these roads.
Wc got on pretty fast in this way, too, with big
jumps over holes and rough places, and it seemed a
miracle that the springs and tyres held out ; but wc
frightened the horses ; they made for the ditches on
both sides with their waggons and loads, and how they
got out again wc did not stop to see. Or sometimes the
horses turned right round with their carts and tore off
down the road before us at a mad gallop. Over the
swamps the road was laid on planks, often for several
miles at a time. As the car went over the planks, they
danced and jumped under us and made a fearful noise.
OVER THE LITTLE KHINGÅN
Wc then began to approach the western boundary
of the plain. Wc drew nearer and nearer to the hill
country and the mountains ; the landscape changed,
the birches grew rarer or disappeared altogether, their
place being tåken mostly by oaks, and the road wound
over the ridges through fine oak forests, up and down
hill. It seemed strange that a " primeval forest "
could look like this, with the ground so clean among the
trees ; it was more like a well-kept English deer park
than an uninhabited country near the Amiir. But the
reason must be that the natives have long been in the
habit of burning off the long, dry grass, to provide better
pasture for game ; and perhaps the roving Chinese,
who search for hartshorn, have done so too. In this
way the forests also have often been burnt. As wc

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