Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/376

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302
A WAYFARER IN CHINA

occurred frequently, and presently we entered the remnants of a fine pine forest, and from this time on there was no lack of trees. We were now almost at the Russian frontier, and I was becoming uneasy about the fate of my little revolver. It had already undergone various vicissitudes; discovered by the customs officials at Constantinople, they had threatened to fine me for violating the law about bringing in firearms, but finally decided to remit the fine but confiscate the weapon. When remonstrated with on the ground that I was a lady going to Asiatic Turkey and might need it, they made matters straight by returning the revolver, but kept the ammunition. I had paid duty on the thing in Bombay, I had spent hours fitting it with cartridges in Shanghai, many miles it had been carried, kept handy in case of need, although I could not imagine what the need could be, and now I was assured it would be seized and I would be fined if I tried to take it over the Russian frontier. No firearms of any sort may be brought into the empire without a permit procured beforehand. No, the Russians should not have my little revolver. We passed a small pond; one toss and it was gone.

The sun was setting as looking across the valley I caught the white gleam of the great church in Kiakhta, but it was after eleven when we rumbled through Mai-ma-chin, the frontier post of China, and,