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natives, the Russians at Berezov eat both fish and meat in their raw state, especially in winter when they are frozen. Others delight in sipping the warm blood of slaughtered reindeer, and most of them eat their food without a particle of salt; though that condiment can easily be obtained at a trifling cost; a sufficient quantity of it being always kept at the government magazine, and sold at a moderate price. Indeed, were the price of salt even much higher, it could make no difference to the wealthier class of the inhabitants, who can so well afford every indulgence, and procure for their table the most expensive luxuries. But salt is not at all in use, and hence I am led to the conclusion that their taste is such as not to require with their food that condiment, which is everywhere else considered indispensable. Their soups, vegetables, and even roast meat, are eaten and prepared without salt.
I have further observed, that the Berezovians are not particularly distinguished for their delicacy of smell.
They not only disregard, in their houses, the suffocating, and almost dead
ening fumes of charcoal; but I have seen them eat horribly putrid meat, not from hunger or necessity, but merely because they liked it better.
Walk on a frosty day—Mode of preserving meat-Im
providence of the Ostiaks — Distressing case of a starving family - Cockroaches - Message from the Kierghes Khan-Going to communion-Easter reflections and visits—Cause of blindness among the Ostiaks — Meteorologic phenomena — Appearance of a crow-Snow-birds—The 3rd of May.
In March, though the weather was frosty, we had some beautiful days. The sunbeams encircling the blue vault of the sky in its huge bow, and brilliantly reflected from the crystalized surface of the snow, presented to the eye a circle radiating with myriads of brilliants profusely spread over a white sheet, extending far beyond the reach of the eye.
The air was
quite still and intensely cold; but I ventured out for a walk. And delightful it was to inhale with free lungs the pure air of this desert. What a solemn, majestic stillness was around: I was all alone amid this solitude. My thoughts filed upward, they soared through infinite space; there was nothing to stop them in their flight. I felt that thought alone was mistress of this immense wilderness, and on its unfolded wings, and shooting through immeasurable
it roamed on the one hand to Behring's Straits, and on the other took rest on the rugged summits of the Uralian mountains. Nothing could stay its progress through all these desolate regions. All nature seemed in accord with the spirit of solitude, and, as though in reverence of him, preserved a profound silence. Not a breath of wind stirred; not a single bough moved; no living being rustled through the thickets of the immense forests ; no bird disturbed, with its wings, the serenity of the clear air. There was something solemn-a charm indescribable in this total and profound stillness. Gladly would I have spent whole days in the midst of it; continue my solitary
walk and never return to my exile home. Home ! how feebly does it represent that sacred place ! how void of all its endearing associations !
While my thoughts were thus busy, the frost attacked my limbs and compelled me to think of my physical wants. . I felt that neither my European clothes nor my boots, were sufficient to protect me any longer from the piercing cold of Berezov. One must needs be a native of this inclement wilderness, reared and brought up amidst its snows-must, in fact, become an Ostiak or a bear, or at least adopt their peculiar habits and manners, to be able to face the rigours of its climate.
Not wishing to be frozen to death, I bent my. steps homeward, though not without regret, as I scarcely could expect to find such another opportunity for a solitary walk at a distance from town. The depth of snow is usually so great, that a pedestrian cannot diverge even one step from the highway without danger, and thus one is obliged to follow the only beaten track existing, which runs from Berezov to Tobolsk. There you encounter people of the