he, too, was to be sent to Lanchow for cross-examination and to explain the real intentions of the sation-staff. SÖDERBOM protested, but he was only the more brow-beaten by various persons in authority. Only CmIAO, the burgomaster, was decent to him, assuring him that all would end well.
Meantime, we had transferred money from Hami to Suchow by post for the station's account; and after a lot of prevarication the authorities handed out the sum against security. SÖDERBOM promptly sent the greater part of the amount, as well as provisions, to ZIMMERMANN.
His next step was to wire to the Swedish Legation in Peking and to me that he had been arrested and was being held prisoner in Suchow. The telegram was confiscated in the yamen, where it was maintained that he was not under arrest. »Of course I am under arrest », opined SÖDERBOM, »if I am not at liberty to return to Tsondol and am refused the right to appeal to the Swedish Legation for protection. »
Despite all protests, however, SÖDERBOM was obliged to give way, and on March 25th he climbed up into a big two-wheeled cart together with two policemen. In addition, he was escorted by one FAN tui-chang, an officer, and a troop of soldiers, who had been commissioned at the same time to drive a hundred horses to Lan-chow. The dangerous Swede thus had a guard of thirty men. But then he was as tall as two small Chinese and as strong as a giant. However, FAN turned out to be decent, and the two were soon the best of friends. He even offered SÖDERBoM the privilege of riding, and told him to choose his own horse. SÖDERBOM picked out a lively and intractable stallion from Tibet, which he rode the rest of the way, while FAN preferred to sleep in the cart.
At every hsien-town they changed carts and police, and a fresh horse was put in between the shafts. Both in Kao-t'ai and in Kanchow SÖDERBOM was hospitably received by Catholic missionaries. In Shan-tan the party was reinforced by two fresh policemen armed with great big blunderbusses, as »the highway was swarming with robbers ». But the policemen had no ammunition for their guns.
After a journey of fourteen days they reached Liangchow, where SÖDERBOM was put up by Father KLEIN. He also visited Mr and Mrs BELCHER of the China Inland Mission, in whose hospitable house I had stayed for two weeks in December 1896.1
Liangchow was a terrible sight after the earthquake of May 24th 1927. A torrent from the mountains had added to the débâcle. On the road between Liang-chow and Ku-lang-hsien practically everything had been levelled with the ground, and in the latter town three thousand lives had been lost. A village at a distance of only two kilometers, however, had felt nothing of the earthquake. Huge boulders had come crashing down from the mountains; and in one little village forty people out of the popûlation of sixty had been killed.
1 Both husband and wife died at their post of typhoid in 192g.