Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/126

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ADVENTURE WITH SOLDIERS.

plished, but the following morning, not far from the temple of Altin, an adventure befell us. Our guides had warned us that this was a dangerous place, owing to the patrols of Chinese soldiers, who plundered friends or foes indiscriminately. We replied that it was quite the same to us, and that our bullets would serve for Chinese as well as Dungans. Their information proved correct. No sooner were we in sight of the temple than thirty mounted soldiers suddenly appeared, and after firing a few shots into the air charged our caravan with fearful cries. When they were within 500 paces I told our guides to motion to them and warn them that we were not Dungans but Russians, and that we would fire if they attacked us. Probably misunderstanding these explanations, the Chinese continued to advance at a gallop to within 200 paces of us, and we were on the point of firing. Fortunately, the affair passed off peaceably. Observing that our guns were at the ready, and that we were not in the least alarmed by their cries, they halted, dismounted, and came towards us, declaring that they had made a mistake, and had taken us for Dungans. This was of course a mere excuse, as the brigands never ride camels; and if we had shown fear and run away we should doubtless have been plundered. A few miles further the same adventure was repeated with some more Chinese, who retired empty-handed.

Our third day's march was the most dangerous, for we had to cross two high roads leading between Seng-kwan and Tatung. We passed the first suc-