Page:Mongolia, the Tangut country, and the solitudes of northern Tibet vol 2 (1876).djvu/284

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'MOLODTSI.' NEWS FROM HOME.

some distance apart, having agreed to rendezvous at Koko-nor. As the foremost files met us, they exclaimed, 'See where our brave fellows have got to!' and could hardly believe at first that we four had actually penetrated into Tibet. But what must have been the appearance of the Russian molodtsi?[1] Exhausted with fatigue, half-starved, unkempt, with ragged clothes and boots worn into holes, we were regular tatterdemalions! So completely had we lost the European aspect that when we arrived at Din-yuan-ing the natives remarked that we were the very image of their own people! i.e. of the Mongols.

At Din-yuan-ing we received a thousand lans in money, sent to us from Peking by General Vlangali. We also received letters from Russia,[2] with three of the last numbers of the 'Goloss' for 1872. No words could depict our pleasure at sight of these. We read with feverish impatience letters and newspapers which, although more than a year old, were new to us, Europe, our country, old times, rose up before us with startling vividness, and we became more than ever sensible of our lonely position in the midst of a people alien not in aspect alone but in every shade of character.

The Prince of Ala-shan and his sons were not at

  1. Molodtsi, i.e. brave fellows.
  2. I cannot refrain from mentioning an absurd incident with reference to a letter sent me from one of the governmental towns of my fatherland. The address was 'Peking, viâ Kiakhta.' The word Peking had been erased doubtless by the postmaster, and the following words written in large letters: 'There is no such town as Peking, therefore forward this only as far as Kiakhta.'