Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

unworthy of the occasion. In such company is an event infront of one of the beautiful deed-one to be long rememBuddhist temples, in a care- bered, to be talked over through fully guarded open space, was many a weary ride, a subject pitched a semicircle of tents. for endless discussion, for reThe centre of the semicircle telling in many a snug yurt, was occupied by the largest, within whose sheltering walls a shamiana resplendent with the traveller is always made what appeared to be gold em- welcome. broidery, the walls lined and About the wrestling itself its inner roof hung with the there was little that was novel sacred coloured yellow silks. save the costume. Although Above a half - throne, half- entirely stripped save for their lounge, upon which reclined long boots and a miniature the god himself, was hung an loin-cloth, the appearance of enormous umbrella of the same the pairs in the ring partook rich material. On the throne of the nature of a triumphal were piled silk cushions of the entry. As each man was introsame gorgeous colour, while duced he began capering and within, on either side, other prancing with curious antics, seats sheltered by more um- making his way the while to brellas offered places for the the immediate forefront of the most distinguished followers. central shamiana. There the To right and left of the central combatants fell prone, reshamiana were pitched tents peatedly kow-towing. Having filled to overflowing with made obeisance, the two are gorgeous hangings, each occu- taken in hand by their seconds, pied by its crowd of Lamas, each man commencing to pose Mongol princes, and Ambans for first grip until the signal to of all degrees. Opposite the fall to is given. semicircle of tents was a ring A throw is almost idensixty to eighty yards across. tical with our own or with Surrounding this on three the Japanese, in that both sides were hundreds of Mon- shoulders of the defeated man gols attired in their pictur- must touch the ground before esque hats, long coats, and he need confess himself vanhigh boots, who stood, knelt, quished. Such a successful and squatted, their whole at- throw is the signal to both tention fixed upon the scene in men to loose hold, the winner the ring. To this, one of the only this time again commencgreat wrestling festas of the ing even more exaggerated Mongols, come picked men, prancings and antics, which, champions from every princi- as before, eventually land him pality, tribe, or family, col. at the feet of the Ever-living lected here before the highest deity. It is fair to his holiness in the land to contest a bout or to add that he appeared quite to overthrow and defeat some sufficiently bored with the rival favourite. A victory in whole performance to entitle

tion.

him to be credited with the it. Whether the remark was manners of the latest civilisa- made unconsciously, the speaker

momentarily forgetful to whom After a bout was ended and he spoke, or whether with the obeisance made, the happy intentional arrière pensée, is winner left the ring, to be not easy to say. Whether welcomed by a whole crowd of or no, the point is immaproud and admiring friends, terial,—the phrase alone was who proceeded to thrust him sufficient to fix it in one's mind, back into his clothes, carry- also serving to make all subing him off, no doubt to cele- sequent study of both Mongol brate a glorious victory in and Kirghiz, as well as of all many bowls of dirty tea and that appertained to their wild curds.

existence, of unusual interest. Of the physique of the men That either would make irreguthere is little to remark. Un- lar cavalry of a high type is like the more famous Japanese not the result of the writer's professors to be seen at Kioto experience. Both are wanting or any of the great annual in pluck and intelligence, nor wrestling - shows in that has the proximity of Russian country, the Mongol is dis- civilisation been in any sense tinctly spare and sinewy. to their advantage. To conNature and his own inclination quer, not civilise, might well have made him a born rider, be the motto adopted by the though a horseman in our forward party in Asia. Of sense of the word he is not. such ordinary attributes to And years spent in the saddle civilisation as schools, educamust tend after many genera- tion moral or physical, the tions to create a type.

conquered Asiatics know little. It was while engaged in It is true some schools have watching the wrestling that a been opened both in Russian remark made to the writer on Turkestan and other Central quite another occasion came Asian territories; but that back with some force. Whilst there is any serious intention travelling in company with a to attempt to raise the moral Russian officer we discussed the nature or condition of the Turcoman irregular cavalry, conquered Kirghiz or Mongols the merits of such troops, and even a Russian would hardly numbers available at the call consider worth arguing. of their Russian masters. The In the present state of affairs statement was made that, in in the Far East it is unsatisaddition to 8000 or 10,000 factory, if not wellnigh imTurcoman horsemen, on the possible, to hold up particular face of it an exaggeration, causes as contributing to the swarms of mounted Kirghiz general hopeless failure of and Mongols would be avail. Russia and of her methods. able “when the day comes,” But among the many minor as the Russian pithily expressed disappointments that the army

has provided, few equal that modern war is the rule. If, caused by the total collapse then, the Cossack, with years of the much vaunted Cossack. of Russian training and, as In Europe a halo of romance has usually been considered by still clings round this pictur- those to whom he is unknown, esque fraud. Could, however, a natural aptitude for war, even a few of the wicked cannot be made of use, what atrocities perpetrated by him chance is there that the igupon defenceless Chinese dur norant Kirghiz will surpass ing the period 1898-1902 in him? There is none. So let Manchuria under the cloak of us hope that the lessons of 80-called war be exposed, he the present war may reach would soon find himself ex- even to far-away Urga, and ecrated for what he is—a blus- that this one at any rate tering, overbearing brigand may tend to confine the harmwhere defenceless women and less Mongol to his peaceful children are concerned, a fraud amusements. and a failure where cold-blooded

PU-LU-SSU.

A STUDY OF THE RUSSO - JAPANESE WAR.

BY CHASSEUR.

VII.—THE OVERTHROW OF THE ARMADA.

THE sanguinary encounter in in the main fighting strength the Straits of Tsushima which of the battleship and the inculminated in the practical an- feriority of the torpedo, that nibilation of Rojdestvensky's he was prepared to meet and armada by the 29th of May, fight Togo without taking complements to a very con- into consideration strategical siderable degree the forecast or geographical considerations. with which we closed the last It cannot be that he had only article in this series. Although sufficient coal to take him to we expressed the belief that Vladivostok, since it is defthe success or failure of all initely reported that Russian battles lay on the knees of the agents had made the coaling gods, yet we committed our- arrangements farther north selves to the assertion that along the Chinese coast, which Togo had “so many advantages we suggested as probable in naval essentials that we when writing before the event. cannot conceive any other issue These arrangements, however, except the one which, as allies, may be now claimed as strategic we desire." We also divined cor- counter-moves, made for the rectly the route which the Rus- purpose of covering up the sian admiral took after entering trail. Not that we believe that Japan's colonial waters. Where a false move like that would we went astray—and of course have deceived such an astute we could only balance proba- strategist as Admiral Togo. bilities — was in the course of It is our impression, now that action which Rojdestvensky the action has been fought, pursued after he sighted the that Rojdestvensky had abandisland of Quelpart. Instead of oned as impracticable the only reconnoitring the Tsushima sound course which lay open Straits from some temporary to him, and had selected to anchorage, the Russian ad- hazard everything upon a fleet miral selected to follow the al- action. Possibly, while he was most puerile course of steaming waiting on the coast of Annam, at once into confined Japanese it may have been borne in upon waters. There could only be him that the coal and supply two reasons for this course : question would take too long either Rojdestvensky imagined to perfect; or he may have rethat he had eluded a portion ceived information which left of the Japanese fleet and left him the sole choice to employ it behind him in the Formosa tactics which we cannot but Straits; or he was so confident condemn.

It is now tolerably certain the fighting fleet. In the that Rojdestvensky remained meantime Admiral Togo kept off the coast of Annam until his whole fleet in the secure May 12. This date would harbours of his home waters. have given Nebogatoff just It was no secret that the bulk time to coal and make any of the Japanese naval strength necessary repairs after his was lying in the Korean Straits, voyage across the Indian as we find the fact reported Ocean. Whatever may have two or three times from differbeen Admiral Rojdestvensky's ent sources between April 12 faults as a sailor, it must and May 24. We have not be allowed that, after he sailed the slightest doubt that the from the coast of Annam, he Russian information was good successfully lost his fleet as far enough to inform Rojdestas European information was vensky of this fact. A single concerned. A general impres- glance at the map, and a small sion prevailed in this country amount of labour spent in that he would steer the Pacific making measurements with a course and avoid the narrow pair of dividers, will apprise seas of Southern Japan: all even the most unlearned that, experts agreed that the For- provided there was no fear of mosa Channel would not be the Russians being able to attempted. And the only in- establish any temporary or formation of a reliable nature flying base in the vicinity of that reached the coast - line Oyama's sea communications, towns of China between May Togo could not have done 12, when a fleet was reported better than to have awaited to be at sea off the Three the course of events in the Kings, and May 20, when harbours in the Korean Straits. fifty ships were sighted by the With the means of observation S.s. Oscar II. off Batan Island and information at his comin the Bashee Channel, was to mand, he was master of the the effect that forty-three situation whichever route the colliers had been counted at Russian admiral might select anchor off Nahbe, and that a in an attempt to reach Vladiportion of Rojdestvensky's fleet vostok. And even in reachhad coaled in a bay on the ing Vladivostok, supposing coast of Hainan. The news that thick weather had caused brought by the s.s. Oscar II. the Japanese observation to was doubtless correct, but it is fail, the hopes for the Russian quite likely that the vessels success were not materially coaling off Hainan were a heightened. portion of the auxiliary cruiser The general belief still obsquadron, which squadron, tained that the Russians were there is no doubt, the Russian heading for La Perouse, when admiral hoped might serve to on May 26 Europe was some extent as a decoy, when electrified by the information for military reasons it became that a Russian squadron had necessary to detach it from appeared off Wusung. The

Ilibidi

« AnteriorContinuar »