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With joy we found ourselves once more on the river Soswa, and as if distrusting the evidence of our own senses, or apprehensive that treachery might lurk beneath, we all pulled at the oars, in order to get across the river, and reach some point on the opposite bank, from whence we could return home, if necessity arose, on foot.
But our fears were unfounded; and without further danger we arrived before the town, and landed on the bairak (pier), just opposite our own house.
There is great truth in the assertion, that it is only through anxieties, troubles, and privations, that we can discover the real value of our daily enjoyments; for in an even tenor of life, their value would never be observed, and they would glide away unprized. But let us be bereft of them, though for ever so short a time, and we then learn how much they contribute to our comfort. On this occasion I returned
without reserve, recourse is had to analogies and figurative language. " Æsop's Fables," composed by their ingenious author under a reign of terror, might be adduced in illustration of the fact.
home to my cleanly, comfortable, snug room, with more delight than I can express.
The whole family were already up, and busily engaged at their samovar.. We followed their example; and after a refreshing breakfast, closed our window-shutters, and sought in our comfortable warm beds a little repose.
Ungenial spring—The annual supplies of provisionsVisit to one of the vessels—Visit from a Frenchman
Characteristics of the Siberians—The Frenchman's adventures Sudden heat-River scenery — Promenade-A tempest-Conservatories of plants-Kozlow's departure for the Oby Gulf
A YEAR had now elapsed since my arrival at Berezov. I asked myself if this interval had wrought any change in my condition or in my spirit? and my heart answered-none. One year of anguish had been struck off my life, and this was all I had gained.
The spring here is cold and melancholy, and has no pretension to the name; it is a mis
The term was associated in my mind
with ideas of genial heat, of life, of beauty, and of rapturous delight; but it has none of these attributes under this clime? May brought no appearance of grass, no budding of trees; the water was still frozen, and continual fires were kept in doors. It is true that the buds of the trees looked considerably swollen, and birds flitted through the air, but these, after all, are but the signs, the first harbingers of spring, and but a poor instalment of the loveliness and luxuriant verdure which it spreads over the rest of the world.
Vessels now began to arrive from Tobolsk and other places, on their way to the fisheries in the Oby Gulf, and the town became a scene of unusual activity. These barges were freighted with a variety of provisions for the inhabitants ; and the river in consequence had the appearance of a large market-place. At this season it is customary at Berezov to procure a stock of provisions for the whole year, and the river-side is thronged with purchasers of flour, eggs, candles, soap, tar, earthenware, iron-nails, and other household implements. Numberless boats are seen plying from the town to the vessels,
and returning to the shore laden or empty. Passengers and crews exchange visits with the inhabitants; as they are all old acquaintances, and like the migratory flocks of birds, move periodically backwards and forwards to the Arctic Ocean.
Apart from this external movement, an internal one is also in progress. The wealthier part of the Berezovians, who are the owners of the vessels, are fitting them out to take part in the fishing expedition to the North. Men are busy in loading their vessels ; women in baking biscuits and providing the necessary victuals, taking care at the same time to keep back a sufficient stock for the subsistence of the family. Some persons are welcoming their arriving friends; while others are mournfully taking leave of those who are sailing away. Wives accompany their husbands-children their fathers—to the river, whence they are to start on the long and perilous expedition, and with tears and tender embraces bid each other farewell. Every hour the report of a gun is heard—a signal that some new vessel has