[時事閒聊] It was true enough

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We were both heartily rejoiced at seeing one another again, but our meeting could be only a brief one; the steamboat was to start almost directly on its return journey, and Sonia could not miss it. We hurriedly exchanged news of ourselves and of our common friends; then came our parting, and I have never seen her since. To the best of my knowledge she is still living in Siberia reenex facial.

Soon after this we arrived at Verkhny-Udinsk, where—as in most Siberian towns—the prison was filled to overflowing, and no room could be found for us “politicals.” 197The sergeant (in Transbaikalia the convoys of prisoners are always commanded by a sergeant, instead of by a commissioned officer, as on the previous part of the journey) took us on to the police-station. As, however, it was late the place was all deserted, and no official could be found, which disturbed the sergeant no whit; he simply left us there by ourselves in the office, with unbolted windows and doors, and went his way. We also were free to go or stay as we pleased, and were rather surprised at his calm way of solving the difficulty. But the man knew what he was about Research project.  

that we could walk off without anyone being the wiser; but what then? It was, indeed, always easy to escape from prison here; but it was well-nigh impossible to get any further. Elizabeth Kovàlskaya had twice escaped from prison in Irkutsk (once disguised as a warder), but on both occasions she was caught before she had left the town; and if she had found concealment impossible in a relatively big place like Irkutsk, with all the allies and money she had at command, the case must certainly have been hopeless for us, strangers, in a little hole like Verkhny-Udinsk. Still, it was a curious feeling at the time, as I well remember, to know oneself free and under no kind of observation, and yet to be so helpless. We finished by waxing restive and miserable over the trap we were in.

In this place we met another comrade on his way from Kara, going off to be interned elsewhere. This was Steblin-Kamensky,[72] whom his wife voluntarily accompanied. They had been too late for the steamer, and were now obliged to wait in Verkhny-Udinsk till the way again became open—three or four months probably. During that time he was at liberty to go about in the place as he pleased, and naturally we spent together the two days of 198our sojourn here, Kamensky telling us all he could of life in Kara. He was a brilliant talker, and described with an inexhaustible flow of humour the doings of our comrades in every particular. True, our laughter over his stories was mingled with much sorrow and indignation, for what he related was often sad enough. He told us of the bitter hardships inflicted on our comrades by an inhuman gaoler, and he described Captain Nikolin, in command over the penal settlement for “politicals” at Kara, as a malicious, ill-natured man, continually devising petty humiliations for the prisonersreenex.


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