Saturday, August 9, 2008

English Nursing Sister in Belgium & Russia

The frozen track was so uneven that we rocked from side to side, and were thrown violently about in the car, like little kernels in a very large nut. But it was a wonderful night all the same, the air was thin and intoxicating like champagne, and the stars up in these northern latitudes more dazzlingly brilliant than anything I have seen before. We had to get out at Haparanda and walk over the long bridge which led to Torneo, where the Finnish Custom House was, and where our luggage and passports had to be examined.

We arrived there very cheerful and well pleased with ourselves, to find all our old travelling companions waiting till the Custom House was open; the bishop and his party; the bad-tempered man and his family; a Russian and a Chinese student who were travelling together, and some others. They had been waiting in the cold for hours, and had not had their papers or luggage examined yet, so we had had the best of it after all.

And we scored yet once more, for "St. Raphael," who spoke fluent Finnish, at once secured the only cart to take our things over the ferry to the railway station about half a mile away.

It was borne in upon me during this journey what an immense country Russia is. From Torneo to Petrograd does not look far on the map, but we left Torneo on Wednesday night, and did not arrive in Petrograd till 12.30 A. M. on Saturday, about fifty-two hours' hard travelling to cover this little track—a narrow thread, almost lost the immensity of this great Empire.

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