FromParistoPekinoverSiberianSnows:ANarrativeofaJourneybySledgeovertheSnowsofEuropeanRussiaandSiberia,byCaravanThroughMongolia,AcrosstheGobiDesertandtheGreatWall,andbyMulePalanquinThroughChinatoPekin

From Paris to Pekin over Siberian Snows: A Narrative of a Journey by Sledge over the Snows of European Russia and Siberia, by Caravan Through Mongolia, Across the Gobi Desert and the Great Wall, and by Mule Palanquin Through China to Pekin [電子書籍版]
Victor Meignan

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When I had quite made up my mind to pass my winter in Siberia and to proceed in the following spring to Pekin by Mongolia and the Desert of Gobi, my friends, hearing of my project, were incredulous of the steadfastness of my resolution; they shrugged their shoulders, quivering, perhaps at the prospect of frost-nipped limbs, and wondered what could induce me to quit the comfortably warmed salons at this season merely to brave the boreal blasts of so rigorous a climate. So far as it concerned me, however, this anticipatory cold was not at all catching, for, indeed, my resolution was then too firmly set to be shaken by a quivering void of sympathetic influence, or to yield to the allurements of the most inviting-Parisian cercleor boudoir. Having therefore already well considered my project, I had decided on attempting to accomplish it for this reason: I had seen Syria and Nubia, lands of the Sun, in their full-blown summer radiance and glory, and I now longed to gaze on Siberia, the region of snow and ice, in its wondrous winter garb. When I am in the humour for a tour, I like to visit countries in their typical season, just as one likes to see a man in the exercise of his proper vocation. There is, undoubtedly, a feeling of satisfaction in contemplating the animate or inanimate world merely in its habitual phases, in so far as these are the normal and appropriate expression of a condition of established law and orderーthe harmonies of nature as well as the moral fitness of things. Siberia, as it is pictured to our imagination, is vividly associated with the stirring incidents of a rigorous arctic winter; it is in this, its most characteristic aspect, that we delight to regard it and muse over it; moreover, in winter only is it so remarkably dissimilar from the nature we are accustomed to see in milder and more genial climates, and in this season alone, with its mighty ice-bound rivers and boundless snow-capped forests, does it present to the wondering eye of the stranger the interest and attractiveness of a striking novelty.

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