Puslapio vaizdai

was furnished with plates, cups and saucers, knives and forks, etc., in the European fashion. Ivory chopsticks were provided for those who desired them, but they were used by the Russian and American guests only in a tentative and experimental way. When we had all taken seats at the table a glass flagon containing a peculiar kind of dark-colored Chinese vinegar was passed round, and every guest poured about half a gill of it into a small saucer beside his plate.

"What is the vinegar for?" I asked Mr. Lushnikoff.

"To dip your food in," he replied. "The Chinese in Maimachin eat almost everything with vinegar. It is n't bad."

As I had not the faintest idea what was coming in the shape of food, I reserved my judgment as to the expediency of using vinegar and maintained an attitude of expectancy. In a few moments the first course was brought in. I will not undertake to say positively what it was, but I find it described in my note-book as "a prickly sea-weed or sea plant of some kind, resembling stiff moss." It had presumably been boiled or cooked in some way, but I cannot venture to affirm anything whatever with regard to it except that it was cold and had a most disagreeable appearance. Each of the Russian guests took a small quantity of it, sopped a morsel in the dark-colored vinegar, and ate it, if not with relish, at least with heroic confidence and composure. There was nothing for Mr. Frost and me to do but to follow the example. The next nine courses, taking them in order, I find described in my note-book as follows:

1. Shreds of cold meat embedded in small diamond-shaped molds of amber-colored jelly. 2. Black mushrooms of a species to me unknown.

3. Salad of onions and finely shredded herbs. 4. Lichens from birch trees.

5. Thin slices of pale, unwholesome-looking sausage, component materials unknown.

6. Small diamonds, circles, and squares of boiled egg, dyed in some way so as to resemble scraps of morocco leather.

7. The tails of crawfish fried brown. 8. Long-fronded sea-weed of a peculiar grass-green color.

9. Curly fibers of some marine plant that looked like shredded cabbage.

I do not pretend to say that these brief entries in my note-book describe with scientific accuracy the articles of food to which they relate. I did not know, and could not find out, what many of the courses were, and all I could do was to note down the impression that they made upon me and call them by the names of the things that they seemed most to

resemble. All of these preparations, without exception, were served cold and were eaten with vinegar. Over a brazier of coals on a broad divan near the table stood a shallow pan of hot water, in which were half immersed three or four silver pots or pitchers containing the colorless rice-brandy known as maigalo. After every course of the dinner a servant went round the table with one of these pitchers and filled with the hot liquor a small porcelain cup like a Japanese saki-cup that had been placed beside every guest's plate.

I had heard a short time before this an anecdote of an ignorant East Siberian peasant, who in making an excavation for some purpose found what he supposed to be the almost perfectly preserved remains of a mammoth. With the hope of obtaining a reward he determined to report this extraordinary find to the ispravnik, and in order to make his story more impressive he tasted some of the flesh of the extinct beast so that he could say to the police officer that the animal was in such a state of preservation as to be actually eatable. An investigation was ordered, a scientist from the Irkutsk geographical society was sent to the spot, and the remains of the mammoth were found to be a large deposit of the peculiar Siberian mineral known as "gorni kozha" (gór-nee kó-zhaa), or "mineral leather." The irritated ispravnik, who felt that he had been made to appear like an ignorant fool in the eyes of the Irkutsk scientists, sent for the peasant and said to him angrily, "You stupid blockhead! Did n't you tell me that you had actually eaten some of this stuff? It is n't a mammoth at all; it's a mineral- a thing that they take out of mines."

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"I did eat it, Barin" (Báh-rin, meaning "Master"), maintained the peasant stoutly; 'but," he added, with a sheepish self-excusatory air, "what can't you eat with butter? "

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As the servants in Maimachin brought round and handed to us successively black mushrooms, crawfish tails, tree-lichens, and sea-weed I thought of the peasant's mammoth and said. to myself, "What can't one eat with vinegar and Chinese brandy?"

After the last of the cold victuals had been served and disposed of the dishes were cleared away, the saucers were replenished with vinegar, and the hot courses came on as follows:

1. Meat dumplings, consisting of finely minced veal inclosed in a covering of dough and boiled.

Mr. Frost, by some occult process of divination, discovered, or thought he discovered, that the essential component of these dumplings was young dog, and he firmly refused to have anything whatever to do with them even in combination with vinegar. I reproached him

for this timidity, and assured him that such unfounded prejudices were unworthy the character of a man who professed to be a traveler and an investigator, and a man, moreover, who had already spent three years in the Russian Empire. Had I known, however, what was yet to come, I think I should have held my peace. 2. Finely minced meat pressed into small balls and fried.

3. Small meat pies, or pâtés.

4. Boiled fowl, served in a thick whitish gravy with large snails.

At this course I felt compelled to draw the line. The snails had turned black in the process of cooking and resembled nothing so much as large boiled tomato-vine worms; and although I drank two cupfuls of hot rice-brandy with the hope of stimulating my resolution up to the point of tasting them, my imagination took the bit between its teeth and ran away with my reason.

5. Fat of some kind in soft, whitish, translucent lumps.

6. Roast sucking pig, served whole. This was perhaps the most satisfactory course of the whole dinner, and as I ate it I thought of Charles Lamb's well-known essay describing the manner in which the Chinese discovered the great art of roasting young pig, and decided that I too would burn down a house if necessary in order to obtain it.

7. Small pieces of mutton spitted on long, slender iron needles and roasted over a hot fire. 8. Chicken in long, thin, shredded fibers, served with the broth.

9. Boiled rice.

10. Peculiar, hard, woody mushrooms, or lichens, boiled and served with brown gravy. II. Thin, translucent, and very slippery macaroni, cooked in a Chinese samovar.

12. Cocks' heads with sections of the necks; and finally,

13 to 19. Different kinds of soup served simultaneously.

The soups virtually brought the dinner to an end. The table was again cleared, the vinegar-saucers and saki-cups were removed, and the servants brought in successively nuts and sweetmeats of various sorts, delicious "flower tea," and French champagne.

The dinner occupied about three hours, and within that time every guest partook of thirty or forty courses, consumed from one to three saucerfuls of Chinese vinegar, drank from fifteen to twenty-five saki-cupfuls of hot rice-brandy flavored with rose, and washed down the last mouthfuls of Chinese confectionery with bumpers of champagne to the health of our host.

That we were able to get to our droshkies without assistance, and did not all die of acute indigestion before the next morning, must be

regarded as a piece of good luck so extraordinary as to be almost miraculous. My curiosity with regard to a Chinese dinner was completely satisfied. If the Chinese dine in this way every day I wonder that the race has not long since become extinct. One such dinner, eaten late in the fall, would enable a man, I should think, if he survived it, to go into a cave like a bear and hibernate until the next spring.

I little thought when I drove away from the Chinese merchant's counting-house in Maimachin late that afternoon that I had enjoyed the last recreation I should know for months to come, and that I was looking at the old Mongolian town for the last time. Early Sunday morning I was taken sick with a violent chill, followed by high fever, severe headache, pain in the back, cough, languor, and great prostration. It was the beginning of a serious illness, which lasted nearly two weeks and from which I did not fully recover for three months. With that sickness began the really hard and trying part of my Siberian experience. Up to that time I had had at least strength to bear the inevitable hardships of life and travel in such a country; but after that time I was sustained chiefly by will power, quinine, and excitement. It is unnecessary to describe the miseries of sickness in such a place as that wretched room adjoining Klembotski's bakery in the frontier town of Troitskosavsk. There are no entries in my note-book to cover that unhappy period of my Siberian life; but in a letter that I managed to write home from there I find my circumstances briefly described in the words, " It is one thing to be sick at home in a good bed, in clean linen and with somebody to take care of you; but it is quite another thing to lie down sick like a dog on a hard plank floor, with all your clothes on, and in the paroxysms of fever be tormented to the verge of frenzy by bedbugs." I had no bedding except my sheepskin overcoat and a dirty blanket, and although I tried the hard bedstead, the floor, and the table by turns, I could not anywhere escape the fleas and the bedbugs. I tried at first to treat my illness myself with a small case of medicines that I had brought with me; but learning that there was a Russian physician in the town, I finally sent for him. He began giving me ten-grain doses of quinine, which ultimately broke the fever, and at the end of twelve days, although still very weak, I was able to be up and to walk about.

I fully realized for the first time while lying sick in Klembotski's bakery what a political exile must suffer when taken sick in a roadside étape. In addition, however, to all that I had to endure the exile must live upon coarse food, breathe air that is more or less foul or infected,

and perhaps lie in leg-fetters upon a hard plank sleeping-bench. Mr. Charushin (Charoó-shin), a political convict whose acquaintance I made in Nerchinsk (Nér-chinsk), was not released from his leg-fetters even when prostrated by typhus fever.

On the 15th of October Mr. Frost and I left Troitskosavsk for Selenginsk. I felt very weak and dizzy that morning and feared that I was about to have a relapse; but I thought that even a jolting telega in the open air could hardly be a worse place in which to be sick than the vermin-infested room that I had so long occupied, and I determined that if I had strength enough to walk out to a vehicle I would make a start. We rode about sixty miles that day, spent the night in the post station of Povorotnaya (Po-vo-róte-na-ya), and reached Selenginsk early the next forenoon. In this wretched little Buriat village there were three interesting political exiles whom I desired to see, and we stopped there for one day for the purpose of making their acquaintance. Their names were Constantine Shamarin (Shah-máh-rin), a young student from Ekaterineburg; Mr. Kardashoff (Kar-da-shóff), a Georgian from the Caucasus; and Madame Breshkofskaya (Bresh-kóffska-ya), a highly educated young married lady from the city of Kiev (approximately Keev). Mr. Kardashoff and Madame Breshkofskaya had both served out penal terms at the mines of Kara (Kah-ráh), and I thought that I could perhaps obtain from them some useful information with regard to the best way of getting to those mines, and the character of the officials with whom I should there have to deal.

Mr. Shamarin, upon whom I called first, was a pleasant-faced young fellow twenty-four or twenty-five years of age, of middle height and quiet, gentlemanly bearing, with honest, trust worthy, friendly eyes that inspired confidence as soon as one looked at him. His history seemed to me to furnish a very instructive illustration of the complete disregard of personal rights that characterizes the Russian Government in its dealings with citizens who happen to be suspected, with or without reason, of political untrustworthiness. While still a university student he was arrested upon a political charge, and after being held for three years in one of the bomb-proof casemates of the Trubetskoi (Troo-bet-skóy) bastion in the fortress of Petropavlovsk (Pet-ro-páv-lovsk) was finally tried by a court. The evidence against him was so insignificant that the court contented itself with sentencing him to two months' imprisonment.

Holding a man in solitary confinement for three years in a bomb-proof casemate before trial, and then sentencing him to so trivial a punishment as two months' imprisonment, is in itself a remarkable proceeding, but I will let that pass without comment. Mr. Shamarin certainly had the right, at the expiration of the two months, to be set at liberty, inasmuch as he had borne the penalty inflicted upon him by virtue of a judicial sentence pronounced after due investigation and trial. The Government, however, instead of liberating him, banished him by administrative process to a village called Barguzin (Bar-goo-zín), in the territory of the Trans-Baikal, more than four thousand miles east of St. Petersburg. In the summer of 1881 he, with three other politicals, including Madame Breshkofskaya, made an unsuccessful attempt to escape across the Trans-Baikal to the Pacific Ocean with the hope of there getting on board an American vessel. For this he was sent to a native ooloos in the sub-arctic province of Yakutsk (Yah-koótsk), where he was seen by some or all of the members of the American expedition sent to the relief of the survivors of the arctic exploring steamer Jeannette. In 1882 or 1883 he was transferred to Selenginsk, and in the autumn of 1884 his term of exile expired, leaving him in an East Siberian village three thousand miles from his home without any means of getting back. The Government does not return to their homes the political exiles whom it has sent to Siberia unless such exiles are willing to travel by étape with a returning criminal party. Owing to the fact that parties going towards Russia do not make as close connections with the armed convoys at the étapes as do parties coming away from Russia, their progress is very slow. Colonel Zagarin, the Inspector of Exile Transportation for Eastern Siberia, told me that returning parties are about three hundred days in making the thousand-mile stretch between Irkutsk (Eer-koótsk) and Tomsk. Very few political exiles are willing to live a year in fever-infected and vermininfested étapes even for the sake of getting back to European Russia; and unless they can earn money enough to defray the expenses of such a journey, or have relatives who are able to send them the necessary money, they remain in Siberia. I helped one such political to get home by buying, for a hundred rubles, a collection of Siberian flowers that he had made, and I should have been glad to help Mr. Shamarin; but he had been at work for more than a year upon an index to the public documents in the archives of the old town of Selenginsk, extend

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ing over a period of a hundred and thirty years, and he hoped that the governor would pay him enough for this labor to enable him to return to European Russia at his own expense. The correspondence of the political exiles in Selenginsk is under police control; that is, all their letters are read and subjected to censorship by the ispravnik. When Mr. Shamarin's term of exile expired he was, of course, de jure and de facto a free man. He sent a petition to the governor of the province asking that the restrictions upon his correspondence be removed. The governor referred the matter to the ispravnik and the ispravnik declined to remove them. Therefore, for more than a year after Mr. Shamarin's term of banishment had expired, and after he had legally re-acquired all the rights of a free citizen, he could receive and send letters only after they had been read and approved by the police. How exasperating this cool, cynical, almost contemptuous disregard of personal rights must be to a highspirited man the reader can perhaps imagine if he will suppose the case to be his own.

While Mr. Shamarin and I were talking, Madame Breshkofskaya came into the room and I was introduced to her. She was a lady perhaps thirty-five years of age, with a strong, intelligent, but not handsome face, a frank, unreserved manner, and sympathies that seemed to be warm, impulsive, and generous. Her face bore traces of much suffering, and her thick, dark wavy hair, which had been cut


short in prison at the mines, was streaked here and there with gray; but neither hardship, nor exile, nor penal servitude had been able to break her brave, finely tempered spirit, or to shake her convictions of honor and duty. She was, as I soon discovered, a woman of much cultivation, having been educated first in the women's schools of her own country, and then at Zurich in Switzerland. She spoke French, German, and English, was a fine musician, and impressed me as being in every way an attractive and interesting woman. She had twice been sent to the mines of Kara,-the second time for an attempt to escape from forced colonization in the Trans-Baikal village of Barguzin,

and after serving out her second penal term had again been sent as a forced colonist to this wretched, God-forsaken Buriat settlement of Selenginsk, where she was under the direct supervision and control of the interesting chief of police who on the occasion of our first visit had accompanied us to the Buddhist lamasery of Goose Lake. There was not another educated woman, so far as I know, within a hundred miles in any direction; she received from the Government an allowance of a dollar and a quarter a week for her support; her correspondence was under police control; she was separated for life from her family and friends; and she had, it seemed to me, absolutely nothing to look forward to except a few years, more or less, of hardship and privation, and at last burial in a lonely graveyard beside the Selenga

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woman contemplated her dreary future, and the faith that she manifested in the ultimate triumph of liberty in her native country, were as touching as they were heroic. Almost the last words that she said to me were: "Mr. Kennan, we may die in exile, and our children may die in exile, and our children's children may die in exile, but something will come of it at last." I have never seen nor heard of Madame Breshkofskaya since that day. She has passed as completely out of my life as if she had died when I bade her good-bye; but I cannot recall her last words to me without feeling conscious that all my standards of courage, of fortitude, and of heroic self-sacrifice have been raised for all time, and raised by the hand of a woman. Interviews with such political exiles - and I met many in the TransBaikal-were to me a more bracing tonic than medicine. I might be sick and weak, I might feel

We left Selenginsk at four o'clock on the afternoon of Friday, October 16, and after a ride of a hundred and eight miles, which we made in less than twenty-four hours, reached the district town of Verkhni Udinsk (Vérkh-nee Oódinsk). The weather, particularly at night, was cold and raw, and the jolting of the springless post vehicles was rather trying to one who had not yet rallied from the weakness and prostration of fever; but the fresh open air was full of invigoration, and I felt no worse, at least, than at the time of our departure from Troitskosavsk, although we had

made in two days and nights a distance of a hundred and seventy miles. There were two prisons in Verkhni Udinsk that I desired to in

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