« 上一頁繼續 »
great disappointment, however, I soon found that the wound upon my side, inflicted by the Captain, as I have previously stated, imperatively forbade my performing severe physical labor ; and, after working for two hours in great pain, and with the utmost difficulty, I was compelled to desist, and retire to an unoccupied hut, where I lay for the remainder of the day in a state of complete exhaustion, and unable to rise, or even to move, without the most excruciating pain.
This unexpected and disagreeable event, of course, frustrated my plan of joining the other inhabitants of the village in their labors, and sharing their home and fare ; and compelled
: me to accept their first offer.
As soon as I had succeeded in making them understand my desire, and the cause which led me to change my mind in regard to my mode of life, they placed a small hut at my disposal, which, although somewhat out of repair, might be easily made snug and comfortable for the winter; and I immediately commenced to repair and improve it, with the design of making, not only a comfortable, but a pleasant dwelling, which should resemble, as far as possible, in its internal arrangements, a New England cottage.
In the first place, I carefully closed
all the cracks and openings in the sides and roof, through which the icy north wind might have found an entrance; and then, as no provision had been made for warming the hut, I proceeded to build a rough fire-place and chimney, with flat stones, which I collected with considerable labor and difficulty, and cemented together with clay.
This labor occupied a whole week, for, notwithstanding I kept a fire burning in the interior of my chimney from the commencement of the work, I found it almost impossible to keep my clay from freezing as fast as I could spread it.
At length, however, the task was pleted; and, although my chimney was far from being a masterpiece of the masonic art, it still answered my purpose very well, and added not a little to my comfort during the following winter.
Having finished my chimney, I next proceeded to construct a sleeping place, and a few rude articles of furniture, with which to give my dwelling a comfortable, home-like appear
The former task I accomplished without difficulty, by making a rough, but substantial
framework from the unhewn limbs of the firtree, raising it a foot or more from the ground by placing the corners upon four flat stones of equal height, and fastening slender and elastic boughs in the form of transverse bars or slats across the frame. Upon this I piled a quantity of dried leaves and grass which I procured from the natives ; completing the arrangement of this essential article of household furniture, by covering the bed of leaves with my bear skin, which was large enough to serve the double purpose of blankets and outer covering.
A rough table, a box or horizontal closet in which to keep my provision, a few shelves, and several camp-stools, completed my inventory of furniture; and when I had arranged these articles in proper order, and furnished my shelves with wooden dishes, platters, and spoons, and drinking vessels of birch bark, and had built a cheerful fire in my rude grate, I could, by giving loose rein to my imagination, almost fancy myself in the kitchen of some humble New England cottage ; and the reader may rest assured that my heart swelled with gratitude to God for Ilis mercies toward me, as I compared my present comfortable position, with the fate that might have been mine in that desolate region, but for Ilis protecting care, or the life of horrible elavery from which I had escaped in leaving the Condor.
Having thus set before the reader a picture of my winter home in the midst of the Siberian forest, I shall now proceed to give a brief description of our daily life, and the adventures which befell me during my sojourn in that Arctic region.
On the first day of every month, I received the following allowance of provisions, which, whether suficient or insufficient for my necessities, must serve me until the first day of the next month, viz:-Twenty pounds of horse flesh; ten pounds of rye meal; ten pounds of fish.
To this was added a quantity of bear's meat, when such could be obtained, which, however, was but seldom ; and, as I could never eat the fish without being made sick by it, I was compelled to lose this part of my allowance, or exchange it with some of my neighbors whose tastes were not so fastidious as my own, for a few pounds of rye meal, or a lump of horse flesh.
During my residence in Siberia, I was, necessarily, left alone a great part of the time, not
being able, for some months, to communicate intelligibly with the Russian and native inhabitants, and having but few opportunities of holding intercourse with my friend Tolman, who was constantly employed with a party of Russians and natives, at a distance from my solitary dwelling
Hence, we seldom met; and if, in the following pages, I seldom allude to him who had been a good ship-mate and a kind friend, as well as a brave and faithful companion in the hours of danger, the reader will understand that I do not neglect him from any feeling of unfriendliness, but, simply, because our adventures in the wilds of Siberia were, of necessity, separate and distinct; and, as the purpose of this work is simply to give a narrative of my own personal adventures, I do not feel at liberty to introduce anything not directly pertaining to my subject, and the end which I have in view.
Before I had completed the arrangement of my dwelling, the weather had become intensely cold ; and the severe and constant labo which I was compelled to perform, in order t finish hut before the snow and ice shoul put an end to my operations, inflamed and i