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does not seem to have sufficiently foreseen, and concerning which it is the duty of the Russian Government to enlighten him.
“ It is easy to trace in the map of the world, across the immense wildernesses of Northern Siberia, an itinerary which might lead to the end desired to be reached by Lieutenant Pim; but, in executing such a project, it must not be forgotten that, in addition to the enormous distances to be traversed, vast deserts must also be passed over, which, buried under eternal snows, offer neither means of transport nor provisions—unexplored regions, in which tribes of savage people are scattered at wide intervals -people over whom the Russian power exercises only the slightest influence, and whose warlike character, barbarous customs, and hatred of strangers, are such that the Imperial Government would find it impossible to guarantee the personal security of Lieutenant Pim and his party.
“To give an idea of the difficulties that such a journey presents, it is well to call to mind the expedition undertaken some years ago by Admiral Wrangel. Prepared during two preceding years
by the local authorities, this expedition, though undertaken on a scale of research much less extensive than that now contemplated, had to be diminished in consequence of a disease among the dogs employed to drag the sledges, and yet fifty sledges and six hundred dogs were required.
“From this example, it is easy to judge of the fate which would attend Mr. Pim and his companions in the endeavour to execute a journey almost treble the extent of that accomplished by Admiral Wrangel, and in which the British officer, having to be accompanied by interpreters, must be provided with more considerable means of transport.
“ To define more precisely the nature of these difficulties, and to establish the basis of an approximate estimate, it is sufficient to remember that as Admiral Wrangel was compelled to employ fifty sledges and six hundred dogs (each sledge being supplied with from fifty to seventy salt herrings per diem), Lieutenant Pim's expedition would call for from one thousand two hundred to one thousand five hundred dogs, and provisions in proportion. Now, these animals are
only kept in sufficient number for the use of the inhabitants, and it is doubtful if it would be possible to collect such a quantity of dogs, even if the complete ruin of the natives, which must ensue, were entirely put out of the ques
“ As to the idea of setting on foot such a journey at present, and without having made the necessary preparations, the Imperial Government does not hesitate to view it as physically (matériellement) impossible.”
These remarks will prepare the reader for the revelations of our author, to which we will now return.
A great panic was created at Berezov, by the reported approach of a Samoied, named Waul, a chief of a Samoied wataha, or clan, who two or three years before, being pressed by famine, had ravaged the lands of the neighbouring watahas. Waul was not looked upon as a common robber.
Popular imagination and custom invested him with extraordinary characteristics, so that he every day gained more ground among the natives, exciting their admiration by his exploits and prowess. The
number of his partisans was increased by those who suffered from want, or sought his protectection; and others joined him from fear of persecution.
But in proportion as his successes and the power of his wataha increased, so did he augment the number of his enemies. Most of the neighbouring clans, which he had conquered and compelled to pay tribute, became his adversaries; but nothing daunted, and confident in the courage and attachment of his partisans, he turned a deaf ear to their murmurs, and treated them with utter contempt.
At length a fatal hour struck for the Samoied chieftain. Through the instrumentality of the Prince of Obdorsk, Waul was captured, and delivered a prisoner to the Russian Government. He was tried at the tribunal of the Berezovian district, and sentenced to be banished to Surgut, a small settlement in the same district, eight hundred versts from Berezov.
Brought to the place of exile, it was not long before a man so shrewd, courageous, and adroit, contrived to escape, and returned to his native wilderness on the coast of the Arctic Sea.
No sooner did a rumour of his return get abroad, that he was released from prison in consequence of his innocence, than all bis
his former adherents flocked around him more, and he was soon at the head of a large force. Many were actuated by feelings of affection towards him, and confidence in his bravery; and others were deluded by the false colouring he gave to the whole transaction. Thus he declared that during his long absence he had had a personal interview with the White Czar, as the Emperor is called by the common people in Russia; and though he had been admonished at first, that he afterwards restored him his freedom, and intrusted him at parting with many
confidential orders. This was more than enough to augment the number of his adherents. His bold and imposing attitude—his enterprising and adventurous spirit—and, above all, his Shamanic character and rank, which made him a depository of all the secrets and mysteries appertaining to the priestly order, led the Samoieds to look on him as some superior being ; and thus, partly from fear of giving him offence, and partly from