Kennan traveled by ship over Northern Pacific in abortive attempt to plan a trans-Pacific telegraph cable; covers his encounters with seasickness, native culture, and everything else.
p. 15, describes books, papers, telegraph materials etc. rolling around cabin.
p. 19: In reading,playing checkers, fencing, and climbing about the rigging when the weather permits, we pass away the day, as we have already passed away twenty and must pass twenty more before we can hope to see land.
p. 32, at the home of a German merchant in Petropavlovski: I noticed, among other books lying upon Mr. F.’s table, “Life Thoughts,”by Beecher, and “The Schönberg-Cotta Family,” and wondered that the latter had already found its way to the far distant shores of Kamtchatka [sic].
p. 82, on use of Illustrated London News as wallpaper.
p. 114, singing an American song (“Oh Susannah”) in Kamchatka: I was waked early on the following morning by the jubilant music of “Oh, Su-sán-na-a-a, don’t ye cry for me,” and crawling out of the tent I surprised one of our native boatmen in the very act of drumming on a frying-pan and yelling out joyously
“Litenin’ struck de telegraf,
Killed two thousand niggers;
Shut my eyes to hole my breff,
Su-sán-na-a-a, don’t ye cry!”
A comical skin-clad native, in the heart of Kamtchatka, playing on a frying-pan and singing, “Oh, Susanna,” like an arctic negro minstrel, was too much for my gravity, and I burst into a fit of laughter….
p. 279, lecturing on astronomy to relieve monotony and boredom.
p. 328, describes reading in front of natives with no written language, who laughed at him for his laughter at a text..
p. 344: We therefore rented ourselves a little log-house overlooking the valley of the Geezhega River, furnished it as comfortably as possible with a few plain wooden chairs and tables, hunt up our maps and charts over the rough log walls, displayed rur small library of two books—Shakespeare and the New Testament—as advantageously as possible in one corner, and prepared for at least a month of luxurious idleness.
p. 469-70—account of how he learned Russian, contrasted to a Russian telegrapher in Irkutsk who learned his English from a small dictionary and a volume of Shakespeare plays, mainly to increase his salary with an added language.