Long before we reached Pushchin it grew dark; but our tired horses freshened up after sunset, with the cool evening air, and about eight o’clock we heard the distant howling of dogs, which we had already come to associate with hot tea, rest, and sleep. In twenty minutes we were lying comfortably on our bearskins in a Kamchadal house.
We had made sixty miles since daybreak; but the road had been good. We were becoming more accustomed to horseback riding, and were by no means so tired as we had been at Malqua. Only thirty versts now intervened between us and the head-waters of the Kamchatka River, where we were to abandon our horses and float down two hundred and fifty miles on rafts or in native canoes.
A sharp trot of four hours over a level plain brought us on the following morning to Sherom (sheh-rome’), where rafts had already been prepared for our use.
It was with no little regret that I ended for the present my horseback travel. The life suited me in every respect, and I could not recall any previous journey which had ever afforded me more pure, healthful enjoyment, or seemed more like a delightful pleasure excursion than this. All Siberia, however, lay before us; and our regret at leaving scenes which we should never again revisit was relieved by anticipations of future adventures equally novel, and prospective scenery grander even than anything which we had yet witnessed.
THE KAMCHATKA RIVER—LIFE ON A CANOE RAFT—RECEPTION AT MILKOVA—MISTAKEN FOR THE TSAR
To a person of an indolent disposition there is something particularly pleasant in floating in a boat down a river. One has all the advantages of variety, and change of incident and scenery, without any exertion; all the lazy pleasures—for such they must be called—of boat life, without any of the monotony which makes a long sea voyage so unendurable. I think it was Gray who said that his idea of paradise