A disastrous journey on foot--Chased by Boxers--Hand-to- hand fights--Dissension among the refugees--Separation-- The last night--Hiding in a marsh--The capture of a Chinese gun--Safe at last--M. Ketels and his volunteers--Cossacks and their pluck--LieutenantBlonsky the most wounded officer of the Allies.
THE next morning the small party of survivors tried to proceed on foot to Tientsin. The boats with provisions and clothes had been abandoned or sunk. Marching incessantly day and night, followed by a swarm of Boxers, whom they just managed to keep at bay, with no food except grass and the water of marshes, they pushed on and on, exhausted, panting, footsore and bleeding, chased by the angry mob of human vampires behind them.
When they became half dead with fatigue, or when they were waiting for the women and children to rest awhile, the Boxers grew bold, and on six occasions made fierce attacks on them. But these brave men were armed with old Chinese Mauser rifles, and each attack was repulsed. Over seventy Boxers were killed by them.
They found their way by following the line of telegraph poles. In some instances the Boxers came to such close quarters that a hand-to-hand fight arose, in which the women took part with the men.
Their sufferings were appalling, and their strength had almost altogether vanished, yet, clinging to life to the last