- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
331

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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IRKUTSK TO VLADIVOSTOK
331
khuses find stores of provisions when they come in the
spring. But if all these stores were destroyed, the Baron
thought their existence up there in the summer would
be made practically impossible.
It is difficult enough, however, to come to close quar
ters with these people, even when they are found. For
instance, if mounted soldiers approach a wood, where
Khunkhuses are ambushed, the latter fire on the soldiers
at long range with their good Mannlicher rifles and then
make off into the wood and hide their arms ; when
the soldiers come up, they meet some peaceful and
innocent Chinese walking along the forest path. Only
the other day some were caught like this near Kharbin.
At one of the stations here (Selinkhe) we met an end
lessly long train of high goods-waggons ; it was full of
colonists on their way back to Russia. It is usually
reckoned that of the settlers who come out to the East, on
an average 10 per cent. go back again ; indeed, the per
centage has been much higher in some years. In these
goods-waggons, the comforts of which are not great, many
of them are often crowded together, and they have to
arrange themselves as best they can, with their wives
and children ; their journey is not a rapid one, they go
on when the line is not occupied by other faster trains
and they may be a month or two on the way. It is a
sad sight, one of these trains full of disappointed hopes.
They sold all they possessed in the village at home and
went off with great expectations to the new home that
was to be made in the East ; but there they found only
discomfiture, and perhaps distress, until they were
forced to go back again, to appear as beggars in their
native village.
Then we arrived at the frontier station of Manchuria,
Progranichnoye (i.e. on the frontier) ; a large and
handsome station built in rising terraces like a place of

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