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chin, and they now fully expected to be drifted on its shores. However, as the night approached, the wind changed to the very opposite direction, and blew even more violently than before. The clump of ice was tossed about in a most uneasy manner, and several times the ostals and the thongs were in danger of being broken by the violent concussion of the waves against the ice.
“All that night and all the next day the storm continued with unceasing violence. On the morning of the fourth day, before daylight, they found that their clump had been driven amongst other cakes of ice, and was closely surrounded on all sides. When the day broke, how great was their joy and astonishment to perceive themselves near the land, and within about twenty versts of the place whence they had been driven! They had suffered much from thirst, as they found the ice salt as well as the water. Not having either eaten or drunk during all the time, they found themselves so weak that they had the greatest difficulty in preparing their sledges, and in getting from the ice to the land. The moment they landed, they offered up their prayers and thanks to God. Spiridon charged his companions not to eat snow or drink much water at a time, although they were almost dying with thirst; as they could soon get to an ostrog that was only about twenty or thirty versts distant. They had not proceeded far before Spiridon saw the tracks of some reindeer ; he therefore made his companions stop, and, taking his gun, walked gently round a high bluff on the coast, whither the deer had gone, and had the good fortune to shoot one of them. His companions no sooner heard the noise of the gun than they came to him. They cut the throat of the deer immediately, and drank his blood while warm. Spiridon said that they felt their strength revived almost immediately after drinking the blood. Having given some of the meat to the dogs, they rested themselves about an hour, and then set off for the ostrog, where they arrived safely. One of them, who indulged too much in eating at first, died a short time after ; the other two survived ; but Spiridon said he had ever since been afflicted with a complaint in his breast and shortness of breath."
On the 21st of October the winter set in, and made the travelling much more difficult and uncomfortable. The cold, however, in Kamtchatka, is by no means so severe as is generally supposed. About the sea coast, the thermometer rarely passes 15o to 20° of Reaumur, and in the interior, seldom exceeds 20° to 25° ; and even this but for a short time. The ordinary cold is about go to 109.
After remaining nearly three months at St. Peter and St. Paul, Mr. Dobell set out on his expedition to Russia. He left the former place on the 15th of January, with the determination to proceed along the Aleuters or north-east coast of the peninsula of Kamtchatka, thence cross over to Kammina at the head of the sea of Ochotsk, and proceed along the eastern shore of that large bay to the town of Ochotsk itself. He was accompanied by two Chinese servants, and proceeded in sledges drawn by dogs. He had frequent occasions to confirm the sentiments he had previously entertained of the hospitable and honest character of the inhabitants of the peninsula of Kamtchatka ; and he found the climate and natural resources of the country far superior to what he had been led to expect. He combats the opinion, long prevalent, that it is a barren and desolate country, depopulated of the aborigines through the extreme poverty of its resources ; and contends that few parts of the world would more amply repay
the industry of the inhabitants, if well peopled and wisely governed.
The dogs displayed all the sagacity, perseverance, and swiftness for which they have been celebrated by travellers in northern regions, and he had frequent opportunities of observing the instinct or skill with which they pursued their way in the midst of the most violent storms, when every trace of the road had disappeared. He gives them a decided preference over the reindeer, though he states that the latter are more fleet, when put to their full speed. They are not docile however. When the snows are deep, and the roads difficult, if the reindeer be pressed to exert himself he becomes restive and stubborn, and neither beating nor coaxing will move him. He will lie down and remain in one spot for several hours, until hunger presses him forward ; and if at the second attempt he is again embarrassed, he will lie down and perish in the snow for want of food. Reindeer consequently require a great deal of care and management, and should never be treated too roughly, or they become totally unmanageable. Besides, great attention must be paid to them in summer, and their pastures often changed, or they contract diseases and die fast.
At Veyteway, the most northern point on the eastern coast visited by Mr. Dobell, he found a Toyune who had come a hundred and fifty versts, from motives of curiosity, to meet him. Though he had never before seen any one adopting the customs of civilized life, he behaved with great propriety, and did not seem in the least embarrassed. Some of the trunks which were covered with lackered leather and full of brass nails, excited his astonishment, and indeed proved a fund of amusement for the natives on all the road. Bets were made constantly as to the number of nails on each trunk, and they were counted over and over, a hundred times, with the greatest care. From this point Mr. Dobell struck across the peninsula, and reached Kammina, at the head of the sea of Ochotsk, on the 24th of March.
In proceeding southwardly along the coast, the hardiness of his dogs was strongly put to the test. An insufficient supply of provisions had been laid in, and some time before they reached Igiga, the first town where a fresh stock could be obtained, they were reduced to an allowance of half a fish each, daily. When the dried fish were consumed, they were fed on reindeer meat and biscuit, of which but a very small supply was left; but it refreshed and strengthened them, so that one of the party, whose dogs were strongest, was enabled to go on more rapidly to Igiga, to beg from the commandant assistance and food for the rest of the party. When the poor creatures who were left perceived the dogs coming to assist them, nothing could exceed their joy. They sprang into the air, barked aloud, and set forward with such eager
ness to meet them, that restraint was impossible. When they came up, they jumped and fawned upon them, and licked them with an expression of pleasure and satisfaction which it was impossible to mistake. As they approached the town, it was utterly in vain to hold them back, they set off at full speed, and if it had not been for the assistance of several of the inhabitants, who ran and caught hold of them, the sledges would have been upset, and every thing broken to pieces.
Leaving Igiga, Mr. Dobell continued his journey by Yamsk and Towisk, through the country of the Tongusees. He found these people active, persevering, and obliging; those whom he employed performing every sort of service with cheerfulness. They are men of small stature, slightly made, and resembling the northern Chinese in features. Their countenances generally were indicative of a tractable mild disposition, and bore a strong Asiatic cast of character, which is indeed found amongst all the natives throughout Siberia. Their fidelity, however, was not on an equality with their other good characteristics, as our travellers had soon an opportunity of learning, by an event which placed their lives in most imminent peril. The provisions laid in at Towisk were nearly consumed, and the time at which they should have reached the next town had arrived, when the native guides confessed that they had mistaken the road, and there was every prospect of the whole party perishing in the desert. What were the feelings of Mr. Dobell, when awaking one morning, in this situation, he found that the Tongusees were no longer with him ; the rascals had gone off in the night, not leaving a single deer for food, and deserting a party of five in number, all strangers, on one of the highest mountains of Siberia, in a wild and uninhabited country! In this emergency Mr. Dobell displayed great firmness, resolution, and all the energy and resources of an experienced traveller ; indeed the portion of his volumes which contains the account of his escape from the perilous situation in which he was left, and of the sufferings he endured, and the expedients to which he was obliged to resort, is peculiarly and highly interesting. With the aid of a partial map of Kamtchatka, and a pocket compass, he set out to regain the sea coast, from which they were, as he supposed, not very far distant. Leaving all their clothes, and every article with which they could possibly dispense, they put the rest of their baggage on two sleds, which they dragged with them. They limited their nourishment to the least possible quantity of food, drinking tea, of which they had a small supply, twice in twenty-four hours, and in the morning taking some thin rice water, with a small lump of chocolate each, to make it palatable. They were obliged to construct bridges of logs over numerous rivulets, swelled with the snows, which crossed their path, and
they were exposed to a succession of furious storms. On the twentieth day they arrived at what they supposed a long narrow lake, and determined there to pass the night. Having left his companions to make what preparations for so doing their wretched situation afforded, Mr. Dobell went to examine the lake. On approaching the bank, he discovered two small ducks, quite near the shore, and had the good fortune to shoot them both at one shot. “Running to the water to pick them up,” he says, “God only knows the inexpressible joy that filled my heart, at beholding the water move, and finding that we were on the banks of a large river.” They all set to work actively the next day, and had soon completed a raft on which they embarked, and trusted themselves to the current to reach the ocean, so long and eagerly desired.
“We had” says Mr. Dobell, “a most unpleasant time, but anxious to arrive at the ocean, would not lie by-particularly as the stream increased greatly in rapidity, and hurried us along with considerable swiftness. About one o'clock on the 10th of June, although we were nearly in the middle of the river, which was here upwards of a verst wide, we were suddenly seized by a whirlpool, and in spite of our utmost efforts, having nothing but poles to guide the raft, were drawn violently towards the left bank, and forced under some large trees which had been undermined by the water and hung over the surface of the stream, the roots still holding them fast to the shore. I perceived the danger to which we were exposed, and called out to every one to lie flat on his face and hold fast to the baggage. The branches were so thick it was impossible for all to escape, and there being barely room to admit the raft under them, they swept off the two Chinese, the Karaikee, my tin-box with all my papers and valuables, our soup-kettle, &c. Nothing now remained but a small tea-kettle, and a few other things that happened to be tied fast with thongs. The Karaikee and one of the Chinese seized hold of the branches that swept them off, and held their heads above water, but the youngest of the Chinese having floated away with the current, the Cossack and myself had the greatest difficulty in paddling the raft up to him. We came just in time to poke our poles down after him as he sunk for the third time, which he fortunately seized, and we drew him upon the raft balf drowned. As the current was running at the rate of six or seven miles an hour, we were carried more than half a verst down before we gained the shore ; the other Chinese and the Karaikee crying out for assistance. I ran up the shore as quickly as possible, taking a long pole with me, and leaving the Cossack to take care of the raft and the young Chinese. When I arrived at the spot, my Chinese cook informed me he had seized my tin-box with one hand, and was so tired of bolding with the other, that if I did not come soon to his assistance he must leave it to the mercy of the current. Whilst I attempted to walk out on the body of the tree whose branches they were holding, one of the roots broke and very nearly separated it from the shore ; I was therefore obliged to jump off and stride to one that was nearly two feet under water, hauling myself along by the branches of the others, and at length I got near enough to give the Chinese the pole. He seized fast hold and I pulled bim between two branches, enabling him to get a leg over one and keep his body above water. Thus placed he tied the tin-box with his handkerchiet to the pole, and I got it safely ashore. I was now obliged to return and assist the Karaikee, who held by some branches far out, and where there were no others near enough for him to reach in order to draw himself in. After half an hour's labour I got them both on the bank, neither of them knowing how to swim, and both much exbausted by the cold, and the difficulty of holding so long against a rapid current."
They continued for several days longer buffeting with the
stream, and exposed to all the inclemencies of the weather. Their food depended on the scanty supplies of wild fowl they could shoot, and their stock of cooking utensils was reduced to a small tea-kettle and the lid of the tin box saved by the Chinese.
Between two and three o'clock in the afternoon of the seventh day since they had embarked on board their frail vessel, and nearly a month since they had been deserted on the mountains by the treacherous Tongusees, they found themselves in a fine wide channel, with a moderate current, and on a beach not far below descried a man and two boys mending a canoe. The effect the sight of human beings had upon them was deeply interesting. Every soul shed tears of joy, and when the natives approached to assist them in landing, they were unable for some minutes to reply to their inquiries, and could only answer by hasty signs. The elder person proved to be a Yakut who had seen Mr. Dobell before ; as soon as he recognised him, he sprung into the raft, clasped him in his arms, and shed tears in abundance, exclaiming " thank God, thank God ! you are all saved !” Heinformed them that the Tongusees having returned and confessed their treachery, an old chief living near Towisk had despatched his son with a party in search of them, but that every one there had given them up for lost, knowing how difficult it was to procure food on those deserted plains and mountains in the spring of the year. The miraculous escape of the party, after having been left in such a wilderness, was indeed a matter of surprise to every one ; and they had particular reason to rejoice in having taken the route they did, as they found on inquiry that had they pursued any other they must infallibly have perished.
After remaining three days with the hospitable people whom they so fortunately encountered, and recovering their baggage which had been left on the mountain, by means of the party sent in search of them from Towisk, they resumed their journey, and reached Ochotsk without further accident, on the 4th of July.
Ochotsk, the capital of the Russian province of the same name, which embraces the most easterly portion of that vast empire, is a town composed of between two and three hundred houses, and about two thousand inhabitants. It is situated in north latitude 59° 20' 22", and east longitude from Greenwich 143° 20' 23", on a small island or sand bank, three versts and three hundred paces in length, and two hundred in breadth, where the town stands. The admiralty, marine stores, magazines, and workshops, were examined by Mr. Dobell, and found to be disposed in perfectly good order, and prepared for service in the best possible manner. In the admiralty, there are a school, and shops for coopers, turners, and blockmakers. There are