But I could not yield to this demand, even though death were threatened.
"Listen," I said. "Tell me frankly. Is yours really a detachment fighting against the Boisheviki or is it a Red contingent?"
"No, I assure you!" replied the Buriat officer Vandaloff, approaching me. "We have already been fighting the Bolsheviki for three years."
"Then I cannot hand you my weapon," I calmly replied. "I brought it from Soviet Siberia, have had many fights with this faithful weapon and now I am to be disarmed by White officers! It is an offence that I cannot allow."
With these words I threw my rifle and my Mauser into the stream. The officers were confused. Bezrodnoff turned red with anger.
"I freed you and myself from humiliation," I explained.
Bezrodnoff in silence turned his horse, the whole detachment of three hundred men passed immediately before me and only the last two riders stopped, ordered my Mongols to turn my cart round and then fell in behind my little group. So I was arrested! One of the horsemen behind me was a Russian and he told me that Bezrodnoff carried with him many death decrees. I was sure that mine was among them.
Stupid, very stupid! What was the use of fighting one's way through Red detachments, of being frozen and hungry, of almost perishing in Tibet only to die from a bullet of one of Bezrodnoff's Mongols? For such a pleasure it was not worth while to travel so long and so far! In every Siberian "Cheka" I could have had this end so joyfully accorded me.