- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
397

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVII. The Amúr district and the Amúr railway

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397
k THE AMUR DISTRICT AND AMUR RAILWAY
but to wait for the armoured car which was following.
Wc waited and waited, but it did not appear. It had
been just behind us on the crest of the ridge. Time
went on, it grew later and later. Then a man came
by on horseback ; he was asked to ride back and look
for the other car, and then to fetch the horses and
carriages which were following us as a precaution, in
case of accident.
At last a troika arrived ; the armoured car had
broken a spring. So both cars were disabled at the
same time ; but this was not to be wondered at on such
a road. Then another troika came up, and wc went on
with horses. Even then the pace was not very slow ;
the horses trotted or galloped incessantly ; but now wc
were used to more speed and thought horses a slow means
of progression, even at a gallop. I drove with the
German engineer, Ratijen, who is in charge of the work
on all these tunnels and has great experience in the
boring of tunnels, as he has had a share in such work
in Switzerland and elsewhere. Wc then passed the
same man on horseback who had fetched the carriages
for us ; he was a Russian, with a rifle slung on his back
and bags hanging over his saddle. He told us with
imprecations that he was out searching for his horse,
which had been stolen by some smugglers. It seemed
a somewhat hopeless task to look for a horse in this
widespread country with its boundless forests.
The German engineer had much to say about the
safety of the roads here, and about these smugglers,
who carry on an illicit liquor traffic with the labourers,
besides any kind of thievery that may offer. About six
weeks before a contractor for one of the tunnels had been
shot here in broad daylight. On going away for a few
days he had been so unwise as to say that he would pay
the labourers when he came back. It was thus clear

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