{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Thomas Wallace Knox_Chapter XIX.

Thomas Wallace Knox_Chapter XIX. - THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–15. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
Background image of page 9

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 10
Background image of page 11

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 12
Background image of page 13

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 14
Background image of page 15
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE ADVENTURES OF TWO YOUTHS IN A JOURNEY IN EUROPEAN AND ASIATIC RUSSIA, WITH ACCOUNTS OF A TOUR ACROSS SIBERIA VOYAGES ON THE AMOOR, VOLGA, AND OTHER RIVERS, A VISIT TO CENTRAL ASIA, TRAVELS AMONG THE EXILES, AND A HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE EMPIRE FROM ITS FOUNDATION TO THE PRESENT TIME BY THOMAS W; KNOX AUTHOR OF “ THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE FAR EAST {, “THE YOUNG NIMRODS” ETC- 31111511501121) NEW YORK AND LONDON HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 1902 544‘ I _- ‘n. 376 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE. A DANGEROUS RIDE. taken his seat and the driver was about mounting to his place, when the horses made a sudden start and dragged the reins from the driver’s hands. “All that the Englishman could do was to hold on, and this he did to A the best of his ability. The horses made straight for a ravine two or three hundred feet deep; the unfortunate passenger and his friends thought he was going to certain death, but as they reached the edge of the ravine the horses Whirled about and ran in the opposite direction. “The sledge in turning was swung over the abyss, and hung for an in- stant in the air; the team ran two or three miles before it was stopped by one of the horses stumbling among some logs. Severely bruised and with his hand half crushed, the Englishman got out of the sledge, and concluded he had had all the riding he desired for that day at least.” PECULIARITIES OF KRASNOYARSK. 377 CHAPTER XIX. POSITION AND CHARACTER 0F KRASNOYARSK.—A LESSONT IN RUSSIAN PRONUN~ CIATION.——MARKET SCENE—SIBERIAN TREES—THE 0UKHABA.—A NEIV SEN~ SATION.—ROAD—FEVER AND ITS CAUSE—AN EXCITING ADVENTURE WITH VVOLVES.~—HOW W'OLVES ARE HUNTED.——FRO)I KRASNOYARSK T0 T0)ISK.— STEAM NAVIGATION IN SIBERIA.—BARNAGOD—MINES OF THE ALTAI.—TIGERS- AND TIGER STORIES—THE BOURAAi—ACROSS THE BARABA STEPPE.—TUMEN AND EKATERINEBURG.—FRO)I EUROPE T0 ASIA—PERM, KAZAN, AND NIJNI NOVGOROD.—END OF THE SLEIGH—RIDE. FRANK asked what was meant by the word Krasnoyarsk: was it de- rived from a river, a mountain, or did it belong to an individual? “Ifitasnoe,” said Mr. Hegeman, “means ‘red,’ and Krasnoyarsk gets- its name from the red cliffs of the Yenisei on which it stands. All around the town the soil is of a reddish hue, and so are the hills that form the horizon in every direction. The Yenisei is a fine river, one of the largest in Siberia, and Where it passes Krasnoyarsk it is fully half a mile wide. In summer there are two or three steamboats running to the Arctic Ocean from a point a little below Krasnoyarsk; rapids and shoals prevent their coming up to the town. The tributaries of the river are rich in gold de- posits, and many of the residents have grown wealthy by gold-mining. “ Krasnoyarsk has a population of about twelve thousand, and in a gen— eral way is a sort of pocket edition of Irkutsk. It is the capital of the province of Yeniseisk, and the centre of trade for a wide extent of coun- try. Markets, churches, and buildings in general are like those of Irkutsk, and there is an appearance of prosperity throughout the place.” Fred asked 110W it happened that the names of nearly all the towns in Siberia ended in “sk.” They had been hearing about Irkutsk, Yeniseisk, Selenginsk, and he didn’t know how many others. Dr. Bronson came to the young man’s relief as follows: “I think you learned in St. Petersburg that the termination ‘sk’ is equivalent to ‘of’ in English 3” ' “ Certainly,” replied Fred, “I learned that ‘vitch’ means ‘son of.’ Paul Ivanovitch, for example, being Paul, son of Ivan. I understand also that Alexandrovsky was named after Alexander, Petrovski after Peter, .378 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE. Nicolayevsk after Nicholas, and so on through the list of Russian saints and emperors. But I’ve not heard of any distinguished personages with the names I’ve just quoted belonging to towns or cities.” “These Siberian names really assist the memory in a geographical way,” the Doctor answered, “as they tell us where the town is located. REGGAE AT A SIBERIAN STATION. 'Selenginsk is on the Selenga River; Irkutsk is on the Irkut, where it emp- ties into the Angara; Yeniseisk (province) is in the valley of the Yenisei, and the town of that name is on the river’s bank. In the same way Omsk is on the Om, Tomsk on the Tom, Tobolsk on the Tobol, Irbitsk on the Irbit, and Kansk on the Kan. The list could be extended to great length.” “I must make a note of that,” said Fred, “as it will be of use to stu- dents of geography in the schools at home. But What hard words they are to pronounce!” “They are not as difficult as they seem at first sight,” said the Doctor. “The chief difficulty comes from our knowing they are Russian, and ex! pecting they will twist our tongues. Three consonants together are terri- ble—in Russian; in English they are easy enough.” A LESSON IN RUSSIAN PRONUNCIATION. 379 “I quite agree with you,” said Mr. Hegeman. “After I went to America, on my return from Siberia, many of my friends complained of the jaw-breaking names of the places I had visited, and declared they never could speak them. A lady of my acquaintance tried in vain to pronounce Irkutsk; its three consonants, t, s, and 70, were too much for her, but she had not the slightest difiiculty in asking me about the fasts and feasts of the Church. The s, t, and s of ‘fasts’ and ‘feasts’ are con- sonants, and just as difficult of pronunciation as the others; but the one set is Russian and the other ‘English, you know.’ “Let me suggest an easy way of wrestling with the Russian terminals tsk, ask, mslc, and the like: “If you’re struggling with Irkutsk take the word ‘coot,’ which is per- fectly familiar to you. Put an s to it and make ‘coots,’ and then a k to that and make ‘cootsk ’ or ‘kutsk.’ With the prefix 67" you have the capi~ tal of Eastern Siberia before you. “In the same way dispose of Kansk by building up the word ‘can” till you have reached the end. The other terminals which seem so diffi- cult may be rendered perfectly innocuous to the organs of speech if kind- ly and intelligently treated. “ To return to Krasnoyarsk and its snowless district. “A description of the place, its buildings, markets, and other features would be nearly a repetition of that of Irkutsk, but on a smaller scale. In the market I was particularly interested in the character and abun- dance of the fish offered for sale. Among them were pike, sturgeon, perch, and others with which I was familiar, and there was one fish which closely resembled the smelt. Another that I had never before seen had a bill resembling that of a duck and a long and thin body. All these fishes came from the Yenisei or its tributaries; some of them dwell per- manently in the river, and others ascend in the summer from the Arctic Ocean. “There is a fish called omullc' by the Russians, and evidently a mem- ber of the trout family. It lives in the smaller streams of Siberia, and furnishes a caviar that is greatly prized. The omulli’s caviar is of a gold- en color, and quite in contrast with the black caviar made from the roe of the sturgeon. “The Yenisei at Krasnoyarsk has a swift current, and resembles the Mississippi at St. Louis, according to the descriptions they gave me. Of course I could not verify the statement, as the river was frozen over at the time of my visit. The width and volume of the Yenisei gave inter- est to a story which was told by one of the residents: ' 380 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE. “One of the good citizens of Krasnoyarsk had been attending a wed- ding on the other side of the river, and started for home rather late at night, with the intention of reaching the ferry about daylight. He was in a telega drawn by two horses; on the way from the wedding he fell asleep, and the horses took their own course. “Then they reached the river they were doubtless hungry, and impatient to return to their stable. The ferry-boat was on the other side, and the animals did not choose to wait. They plunged in and started across; the telega, being wholly of wood, had sufficient buoyancy to keep it afloat, but the occupant was awak- ened by the cold bath. .Though frightened half to death, he had the good sense to lie perfectly still and make the best of the situation ; the hardy beasts took him safely over, but he never cared to repeat the advent- ure. The few individuals that saw him coming in the early daylight could hardly believe their eyes; and one, at least, thought it was Nep- tune in his chariot ascending the waters of the Yenisei.” “Another illustration of the eX- cellence of the horses of Siberia,” said Fred. “I long to travel in that country, and have the experi- ence of riding behind them.” Frank asked Mr. Hegeman if there were any high mountains in the neighborhood of Krasnoyarsk. “There are not,” was the reply, “only some low hills and rounded peaks that do not rise to the height and dignity of mountains. I believe most geographers are agreed on applying the term ‘mountain’ only to elevations of fifteen hundred feet and more, everything below that figure being called a hill. Under this restriction there are no mountains on the road through Siberia between Lake Baikal and the Ural range. Most of the country is flat and unin- teresting; sometimes it is a perfectly level plain, and in other places it is undulating like a rolling prairie in Kansas or Nebraska. Along the rivers it is broken by ranges of hills, but as soon as you go back from the rivers you come to the plain again. POLICEMAN AT KRASNOYARSK. CHARACTER OF SIBERIAN FORESTS. 381 “Hour after hour, and day after day, we rode over this monotonous country, the landscape, or rather snowscape, presenting very little to at- tract the eye. This feature of the country makes the Siberian journey a dreary one, not unlike the journey from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains before the days of the transcontinental railway.” Fred asked if this level part of Siberia was treeless like many portions of our Western country. “There is a vast amount of treeless land,” said Mr. Hegeman, in re— sponse to the inquiry, “but it is not all of that sort. There are many forests of birch, pine, spruce, and larch. In some localities birch is the HILLS NEAR A SIBERIAN RIVER. only wood for building purposes, in others larch, and in others pine or spruce. Other Siberian trees are willow, fir, poplar, elm, and maple. Cen- tral and Southern Siberia are well wooded, but the farther we go towards the north the fewer trees do we find. The plains bordering the Arctic Ocean are treeless; the poplar disappears at 60° north latitude, the birch at 63°, and the pine and larch at 64°.” “I thought I had read about a species of cedar that grows over the plains to the far North,” said the Doctor, “and that it serves to make that region habitable by furnishing fuel for the natives.” “I was about to mention the trailing cedar,” said Mr. Hegeman. “The Russians call it keclrervn'ik, and some of the native tribes regard it as a spe— cial gift of Providence. It spreads on the ground like a vine, and has 382 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE. needles and cones similar to those of the cedar; the trunks are gnarled and twisted, very difficult to cut or split, but vastly preferable to no wood at all. Thousands of miles of country are covered with the trailing cedar, and in winter it is found by digging in the snow. “On leaving Krasnoyarsk,” continued Mr. Hegeman, “I travelled with a gentleman who had been northward to the shores of the Arctic Ocean during the previous summer, he accompanying me in my sleigh, while his own was occupied by a servant and a goodly amount of baggage. For JUMPING AN “ OUKHABA.” thirty miles there was no snow, and so we mounted our sleighs on wagons and sent them to the beginning of the snow road, while we followed in a telega a few hours after their departure. We overtOok them just at the beginning of the snow road, and were glad enough to change from the telega. The vehicle had no springs, and we were shaken in it worse than if tossed in a blanket. The frozen ground was rough, and reminded me of a nutmeg—grater on a Brobdingnagian scale. “We had started with the intention of overtaking the sleighs before sunset, but our slow progress over the rough roads had so delayed us that the evening was well advanced before our destination was reached. The transfer of baggage was made in the moonlight; one or two small articles disappeared in the operation, but whether stolen or accidentally lost we never knew. “In Irkutsk I had been told that a new sensation awaited me in the Siberian ouk/baba, and I found it on the first night’s travelling after leav- ing Krasnoyarsk. What do you suppose it was 2” THE RUSSIAN “ROAD FEVER.” 383'- Both the youths shook their heads and said they didn’t know, while- Doctor Bronson preserved a discreet silence. “ The oukhaba of the Siberian road,” Mr. Hegeman explained, “is the- equivalent of the ‘hog—wallow’ of the American one; the former is formed in the snow, and the latter in the bare ground. It is caused by the snow lying in drifts or ridges when it is blown by the wind, and also by the roads being worn with much travel. The road is a succession of ridges and hollows; the drivers go at full speed, without the slightest regard to the pitching and tossing of the sleigh, and the result is a severe trial of one’s nerves. The motion causes a rush of blood to one’s head, and de- velops what the Russians call ‘the road-fever.’ “I did not escape the road-fever, and to this day I shudder when think- ing of this part of my experience, the most disagreeable feature of the journey. My body was sore and stiff; at every jolt it seemed as though the top of my head would fly ofl ; sleep was next to impossible ; and when I did manage to slumber, my dreams were something frightful. My temper was spoiled, and a quarrel might have’been created with anything and any- body without the least eflort. The fever runs its course in two or three days, but may last longer; as long as the roads are bad the inexperienced traveller is liable to it. Sometimes the sleigh made a clear jump of five or six feet, and the wonder was that the vehicle did not go to pieces and leave us hopelessly wrecked.” Fred asked if any wolves were seen in this part of the journey or else- where in Siberia. “Occasionally we saw wolves,” was the reply, “ but not often. There are plenty of wolves in Siberia, but they have enough to live upon in the- game that abounds everywhere, so that they are not likely to attack trav- ellers. Siberian and American wolves are much alike, but the former are said to be larger and fiercer than their American cousins. “I can tell you some wolf stories, but they do not belong to Siberia. It is only in YVestern Russia and in Poland that travellers are attacked by wolves, and then only in the severest winters, when game is very scarce and hunger has made the animals desperate.” “Please tell us one of those stories,” said Frank. “I have read ac- counts of men being chased by wolves, but have just now forgotten what they were.” The request was echoed by Fred, and Mr. Hegeman kindly gratified their wish. ' “ To begin with,” said he, “the horses are the object of attack and not the men in the vehicle; but of course when the horses are overpowered 384 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE. the wolves make no distinction and devour everything edible. 'When des- perate they will venture to the farm-yards to kill sheep and cattle. Their favorite article of food, other than wild game, is a pig, and the squealing of a pig is an appeal that no hungry wolf can resist. “Advantage of this propensity is taken by those who go out to hunt the wolf for amusement. On a moonlight night two hunters go out with WOLVES ATTACKING A BUFFALO. an 'open sledge drawn by two horses; they carry their guns, with plenty of ammunition, a pig tied by the feet, and a bag of hay, together with furs and robes to keep them warm. When they reach the middle of the forest where the wolves abound, the horses’ heads are turned towards home, the bag of hay, fastened to a rope from twenty to forty feet long, is thrown out, and the pig’s ear is pinched until the poor creature squeals in his loud- est tones. If a wolf is within hearing he comes at once, and if there are oth- er wolves they follow him and his example. The pig’s ear is continually twisted; the squealing resounds through the forest, and when the wolves come in sight they mistake the bag of hay for the animal they seek. They rush for it, and as they come within range are shot down. The A RUSSIAN WOLF STORY. 385 :sleigh does not stop to pick up the game, but continues its course at a walk or slow trot, provided the driver can restrain the terror-stricken .horses. The next day the dead wolves, if any, are gathered for the sake of their skins. ‘ “Sometimes a dozen or more wolves will be killed in this way in a :single night, but more frequently the hunters return empty-handed. Some- times the wolves conie in great numbers, and with so much fierceness that the hunters are obliged to flee for their lives—not always successfully. “And now comes the wolf story I promised ; it was told to me by a Russian officer some years ago, and I will endeavor to give it as nearly as possible in his own words. Imagine that he is talking to you as he talked :to me: “ ‘I was stopping for a part of the winter at the house of a fellow-offi- cer near Vilna, where he had a large estate. His name was Selmanofi, and .he was noted' for his excellent .horsemanship and his love for all kinds of hunting sport. “ ‘The winter was one of the worst that had been known for .a long while, and two or three times we heard of travellers through the forest having been pursued by wolves. Of course this led to a wolf hunt, which {Selmanofi proposed and I heart- .ily accepted. g .. '_ “ ‘We made our preparations, h m: 553““), wow. 7 selecting a broad sledge open all around, and formed of wicker-work, so that it was light as well as strong. .WVe carried two short, smooth-bore guns of large calibre—rifles are not ' desirable on these hunts, as it is impossible to take accurate aim from the moving sledge in the moonlight. The guns were breech -loaders, and the charge was a heavy one of buck-shot and ball. “ ‘W'e had two horses, young and powerful beasts, and the driver was one of the best on the estate. After dining heartily we started about sun- :set and drove some twenty miles or so into the middle of the forest, over a good road which had been trodden by the peasants carrying their produce to the market at the nearest town. Our decoy pig lay quietly among the furs, and gave no sign of his presence save an occasional grunt of dissatis- faction at his uncomfortable position. 05 ;_4 386 THE BOY TRAVELLERS IN THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE. “‘At the spot where the hunt was to begin we. turned about and threw out. our bag of hay; then we: twisted the pigs ear and he: protested with a loud squeal. “‘An answering howl came from the forest, and seemingly not a dozen yards away. Anoth— er howl and another followed, quickly, and then the air was full of them. “‘In a minute or so a dark form was revealed on the snow behind us, and making straight for the hay-bag. Selmanoff gave- me the first fire, and I took it. The wolf fell at my shot just as he was within a few yards of the- bag. “ ‘But another came, and then another, and in a few minutes. there were a dozen or more in sight. We shot them as fast as they came within range, but the numbers did not diminish. The shoot- P . SUMMER AND WINTER IN RUSSIA. M... .._.______,..-_ K “A. CHASED BY WOLVES. 387 ing and the howling of the wolves frightened the horses, and the driver had a difficult task to restrain them. “ ‘As the wolves increased in number, we saw we were in danger; the extent of the pack was far beyond our expectation, and the long-continued hunger of the brutes had made them very fierce. The shooting of one after another did not se...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}