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0161 History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2
History of the Expedition in Asia, 1927-1935 : vol.2 / Page 161 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000210
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wish to remain for too long at the station and that he desired to be relieved. Perhaps he had a premonition that the loneliness would prove trying. For my own part, however, I do not believe that the quietness at the Edsen-gol affected MA in the slightest degree. It is possible that he would have broken down just as badly even if he had stayed at home. Presumably he had the seeds of insanity in him when he left his home. One thing that was said to have contributed to his depression was a letter from home, informing him that his mother was ill. This made him very anxious. From the report of the Chinese commission of enquiry it also emerges that after receipt of this letter he became abnormal in his actions, and spoke like a totally different person.

For all of us who had learned to know him as a conscientious and modest man his sudden death was a heavy blow.

The period that now followed was an extremely trying one for ZIMMERMANN in his solitude. The general atmosphere at the Edsen-gol was naturally one of mingled excitement and horror. Acquaintances and strangers alike came flocking to Tsondol, for the news of the tragedy spread like wild-fire. Lamas came in procession and struck up their noisy music to exorcize the evil spirits and demons that had settled in the tract.

Meantime, ZIMMERMANN carried on the meteorological observations as if nothing had happened; and the lamas presumably thought that this curious European had his own peculiar way of exorcizing the evil spirits.

At last, on May 21st, SÖDERBOM returned from Suchow with post and my telegrams of January and April, in which I had instructed ZIMMERMANN to return to Peking immediately.

The two brothers of the unfortunate To CHIA came to Tsondol to state their father's doubts as to whether To CHIA was really dead. Finally, they demanded that the grave should be opened, so that they could see the corpse with their own eyes, and thus set their minds at rest. This was done, and they calmed down.

On June loth ZIMMERMANN and SÖDERBOM started out for Suchow to request an official enquiry into MA's death. They had not gone far when they heard that five hundred soldiers had mutinied in Suchow and fled. They therefore deemed it wisest to remain for a time in the desert-tracts, until on June 26th they were informed that the rebels had retired towards Hami. Now, however, the two went separate ways: SÖDERBOM continued to Suchow, and ZIMMERMANN returned to Tsondol.

Just at this time an epidemic of typhoid broke out among the Torguts, and about fifty people were carried off. Many of the sick were transported to ZIMMERMANN'S camp, and it was a wonder that he managed to escape infection.

At the beginning of August SÖDERBOM returned from Suchow, and towards the end of the month came the commission that had been appointed to make an offic-