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PEKING TO PETERSBURG

BY

ARNOT REID

WITH FRONTISPIECE AND MAP

SECOND EDITION

LONDON
EDWARD ARNOLD

Publisher to the India Office
37 BEDFORD STREET, STRAND

1899

RS

To

MY WIFE.

For
spur

I had one constant thought,
A pleasant thought to me:
That every step the nearer brought

My wand'ring feet to thee.
And though the world be fair and wide,

Yet home and love are sweet ;
I wrote this story by thy side,
I lay it at thy feet.

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THE record of this journey through Asia does not claim to be a tale of adventure. Although I have travelled a good deal, I am no explorer. I am the average indoors man, and for that reason the story

, of my journey may correct some misapprehensions. There are many to be corrected. Thus, when I arranged to travel through the continent of Asia, from Peking to St. Petersburg, and told my friends of what I proposed to do, they said I should leave that kind of thing to explorers. People thought that I was about to enter on a difficult and hazardous undertaking, and no one quite believed me when I predicted that the journey would involve no risk and little hardship

The provocative cause of this journey was a very matter-of-fact one. I was at Singapore, midway between India and China, and I had already travelled from Singapore to London by way of Japan and America, and by way of the Suez Canal. Desiring to travel homewards again, I wished to do so by a different route. That was the initial reason, but also, as one deeply interested in the political outlook in Asia, I wished to traverse the old routes of overland trade, and to judge of the uses and possibilities of the new Trans-Siberian Railway.

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I made my journey with ease, and in the time that I allowed myself. From Peking to Petersburg took fifty days. With a little preparation in advance, and with much labour, it could be done in thirty days; but in my case such speed was impracticable. And now I seek to bring to the notice of the public a route that is little known, that is full of interest, and that leads one through parts of the world that are much in the public mind.

Let me add that in dealing with the people and the incidents, and in drawing the lessons, of this journey, I had the advantage of having travelled previously in many parts of Asia, and of having had ample opportunity to know something of the Chinese race. Thus, I did not enter on the journey unprepared for the incidents of Asiatic travel ; and I did enter on it in the firm belief that one could penetrate China, could cross ‘the dread Desert of Gobi,' and could travel through Siberia, with no greater hardship than might suffice to sharpen one's appetite for dinner, and with less risk than might attend a foreigner in some parts of London. In support of that theory I offer the simple story of my travels.

ARNOT REID. WESTMINSTER, LONDON,

January, 1899.

Two chapters of this book consist, in part, of articles that were written for, and were published in, the Times. Five chapters consist, in part, of articles that were written for the Straits Times, and were simultaneously published in that newspaper, in the Queen, and in some other journals of Britain and of Asia.

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