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

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVIII. From the Buréya to Transbaikalia

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by a horse-capstan, two horses going round and working
a wheel.
A large new town has been founded here, which has
been named Alexéyevsk after the Tsarevich. The
central offices of the whole Amiir railway are to be
situated here ; we went up to look at the site which will
be occupied by all these buildings ; but at present only
one house has been built, and curiously enough it is
an orphanage for the children of labourers who have
died. We went over the house ; it had large rooms
with immense windows, so the children will have plenty
of sunlight. Only three were there as yet. The first
to come were two little girls who had been there since
Easter. Their father was a labourer who had killed
their mother, probably when intoxicated. The elder
daughter, a girl of seven, had come in before her mother
was quite dead, and seen her father in the act of cutting
off her head. The daughter had given an account of
how it all happened. What an awful thing, and what
an impression for the receptive mind of a child to carry
through life. The father was in prison, and would no
doubt get penal servitude. The third child was a
deformed boy of three, with rickets, so that he could
hardly walk ; the mother was dead and the father
drank. A year before the site of this house had been a
bog. In another year there will be a whole town of
buildings here for the management of the railway.
We went on to the new town that was laid out a
year ago. At that time there was not a hut on the
site ; now there were broad streets with blocks staked
out, boulevards and promenades, and a large park also
staked out. But as yet there were few houses. We
visited the school, where there were already 250 work
men^ children ; so many that they had to attend in
two divisions, one in the morning and the other in the

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