I started myself for Anadyrsk on November 20th with five of the best men and an equal number of the best dog-teams in Penzhina. These men and dogs I intended to take with me to the mouth of the Anadyr River if I heard nothing from Bush before I reached Anadyrsk.
[Illustration: Box for holding cups and teapot]
A MEETING IN THE NIGHT—HARDSHIPS OF BUSH’S PARTY—SIBERIAN FAMINES—FISH SAVINGS BANKS—WORK IN THE NORTHERN DISTRICT—STARVING POLE CUTTERS—A JOURNEY TO YAMSK
Availing ourselves of the road which had been broken by the sledges of the priest, we made more rapid progress toward Anadyrsk than I had anticipated, and on November 22d we camped at the foot of a range of low mountains known as the “Russki Krebet,” only thirty versts south of the settlement. With the hope of reaching our destination before the next morning, we had intended to travel all night; but a storm sprang up most inopportunely just before dark and prevented us from getting over the pass. About midnight the wind abated a little, the moon came out occasionally through rifts in the clouds, and, fearing that we should have no better opportunity, we roused up our tired dogs and began the ascent of the mountain. It was a wild, lonely scene. The snow was drifting in dense clouds down the pass, half hiding from sight the bare white peaks on either side, and blotting out all the landscape behind us as we ascended. Now and then the misty moonbeams would struggle faintly through the clouds of flying snow and light up for a moment the great barren slope of the mountain above our heads; then they would be suddenly smothered in dark vapour, the wind would come roaring down the ravine again, and everything would vanish in clouds and darkness. Blinded and panting for breath, we finally gained the summit, and as we stopped for a moment to rest our tired dogs, we were suddenly